The Oil Cleansing Method

When I heard this term for the first time, I thought it was pretty odd. Intuitively I would think that the words oil and cleansing should not fit in the same sentence together.

Plain and simple, you wash your face with oil.

Oil Cleansing Method

I didn’t understand the concept at first, but the more I looked into it the more it made sense to me. We’ve already established that I’m up game for trying weird things (hello raw garlic), so this wasn’t really that far out of my comfort zone. Here’s an excerpt from this website that succinctly explains what you need to know about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM).

“The basic concept of this skin care and cleansing method is that the oil used to massage your skin will dissolve the oil that has hardened with impurities and found itself stuck in your pores. The steam will open your pores, allowing the oil to be easily removed. Should you need it, the smallest drop of the same oil formula patted over damp skin will provide the necessary lubrication to keep your skin from over-compensating in oil production.”

So oil dissolves oil. This makes sense to me. For a really good post that explains the ‘how-to’ of oil cleansing and what oils might be best for your skin type, head over to this blog. Below is a mini overview.

What do you need?

  •  Castor Oil
  • a carrier oil (such as jojoba, sweet almond, grape seed, avocado, sunflower seed, etc. Personally I use Sweet Almond Oil)
  • small bottle or dropper to put the oils in (I just sterilized an old oregano oil dropper)
  • wash cloth

What’s the ratio?

  • Oily skin: 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil.
  • Normal skin: equal parts castor oil and carrier oil.
  • Dry skin: 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 carrier oil.

 What do you do?

  • Mix your oils ahead of time, and put into your dropper. Keep this under your sink in a cool dark place and you have your ‘face wash’ ready to go at any time.
  • Put a small amount of your oil mixture into the palm of your hand and then massage into your face in circular motions. Have a goal of doing this for about two minutes.
  • Next soak a wash cloth in hot water. Let the washcloth steam your face and slowly wipe off the oil, rinsing the washcloth under the water as many times as needed.
  • Pat face dry. Your face will feel so soft and clean, and if you need a bit of extra moisture, feel free to dab a bit of the carrier oil back onto your face and just leave it! (I use sweet almond oil in my mixture but then use Jojoba oil as a moisturizer as it is easily absorbed by the skin).

Oil Cleansing Method

Some tips:

1) Use beige or brown washcloths. The dirt and oils that come off your face is significant and your washcloths won’t stain as easily.

2) Use hexane-free, food grade, and 100% pure castor oil. There are good and bad types of castor oil out there. Be mindful about your source. Many varieties of castor oils are derived from castor seeds that have been very heavily and chemically processed, deodorized, and the oil itself may have been contaminated through the treatment.

3) As always, be mindful when trying something new. This method makes sense to me and has worked very well with my skin.  I’ve been doing this for about 6 months with no complaints. However not all people will enjoy this method or find it beneficial. Keep an eye out for any unexpected reactions and by all means stop right away if for some reason you have issues with it.

4) Enjoy the benefits of never having to buy moisturizer or face wash again!

 

Thursday Thoughts

Things I’m loving lately:

1) This cold and creamy breakfast. It is perfect for hot summer mornings and since you assemble it the night before, it is a great grab-n-go option if you need to dash out to work … or take your baby to the park. (I don’t know what it is, by my daughter seems to be on a mission in the mornings to get out the door. To see the trees and people of course. Both important things in a one year old’s life…)

Chia Seed Overnight Oats

2) That blog I mentioned above? It’s the first blog that has made me consider going vegan. I won’t of course. I do love my meat. And cheese. But we try to eat about 4 vegetarian or vegan meals a week and this site has really inspired us.

3) Flowers everywhere.

IMG_4512

4) A little while ago, I mentioned I was going to try a Zumba class for the first time. Well I tried it and I’m hooked. The class was an hour long and I sweated and smiled the entire time. It’s a fantastic cardio workout. Plus I felt a bit like a dancing diva. Since then, I’ve incorporated one zumba class into my weekly workouts. That was a great decision.

5) I found my ultimate summer sandals. They are Crocs. GASP! I know. A few years ago my entire world was flipped upside down when I discovered that Crocs actually makes some pretty stylish looking summer shoes that of course have the comfort of the Crocs we know. I basically lived in these shoes last summer but this year, I was hoping for more sleek look. The practical side of me is impressed: I can traipse into a splash pad and moments later my sandals are dry. At the end of the day, when you have dirty summer feet (you know what I mean), you can simply throw these shoes under running water and dry with a towel.

Crocs Sexi Flip

6) 30 Commonly Mispronounced Food Words (and how to say them correctly). Let’s just say I learned a thing or two.

7) If It Fits, I Sits  😀

8) GOOOALLLLLL! The World Cup has just started. The honking cars have told me so. I had no idea that the World Cup was bigger than the Superbowl and the World Series combined. I love this video explaining it all… #NowIGetIt.

9) Eating fistfuls of blueberries straight from the carton throughout the day. Tis the season!

Blueberry Season

I suppose I could have a worse guilty pleasure. And maybe I do…

IMG_3168

Homemade Baked Sugar Donuts? Yes please. Recipe to come in the following weeks. Happy Thursday!

Kitchen Foraging: Buckwheat Bean Salad and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

If you think you have absolutely nothing to eat in your house, think again. Grain Salad is hiding in your kitchen.

Buckwheat Bean Salad

A few years ago I got really into grain salads out of pure happenstance and my love for them is still going strong. It was lunch time and I was really, really hungry. Foraging through the kitchen cupboards, I felt I had nothing to eat. I found a can of beans, half a cucumber, one lonely bell pepper, a few cherry tomatoes, and a tupperware full of day old (2 days old?) rice. I chopped the veggies and mixed everything else in. I drizzled olive oil over it and cranked on some salt and pepper. I took a bite, then another, and another.

I had 3 thoughts that ran through my head.

#1 Wow this is actually tasty and not bland. I’m impressed.

#2 That was super easy, cheap, filling and nutritious.

#3 I’M MAKING THIS ALL THE TIME NOW.

Since that day, I’ve made many variations of grain salad. I often make a large batch at the beginning of the week and then we have a ready-to-go lunch or dinner side dish.

Here is my base recipe for a Grain Salad:

  •  4 cups of a grain of choice (rice, quinoa, couscous, buckwheat are all great options)
  • 3 types of veggies chopped up
  • 2 cans of beans

You then can add this base mixture to a bed of spinach or kale and add any other ‘fix ins.

Buckwheat Bean Salad on Spinach

Here’s one of my favourite grain salad recipes that I made for this week. As always, feel free to substitute whichever veggies, beans, or grain your prefer. Versatility is the name of the game!

Buckwheat Bean Salad

Mix the following ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with honey mustard vinaigrette. There you have it! Keep in the fridge to have on hand all week. Enjoy on a bed of lettuce topped with some feta cheese or a few slices of avocado.

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes halved
  • 4 cups of cooked buckwheat (in a pot, simply add 2 cups of buckwheat groats and 4 cups of water. Bring to boil then turn down to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes. Once cool, add to the other ingredients). PS- I only recently discovered buckwheat and I’m loving it. Nutty flavour, very high in fiber and protein, and it is gluten-free if you happen to have allergies/intolerances. Wish I had known about it sooner, like 10 years ago.  Quite the superfood.

Buckwheat Bean Salad

Oh and the recipe for Honey Mustard Vinaigrette…

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Bon appétit!

Poutine, Butter Tarts, Kraft Dinner.

According to the all-knowing and credible Wikipedia, these three foods are considered to be the top contenders for Canadian national food.

Kraft Dinner?? <Insert my really awkward grimace here> That’s just sad. On a number of levels.

Poutine? Well, I won’t knock that.

Butter tarts? Yes, absolutely! Full of butter, sugar, and most importantly pure Canadian maple syrup.

I had never even made this quintessential national dessert until just last year. I think we are all secretly intimidated by it. It’s a tricky one to master only because everyone has an opinion on what they like. Flaky pastry or moist chewy pastry. Full of raisins, topped with nuts, or just plain. Runny or gooey filling.

Me? I like gooey filling with no raisins, no pecans, no nothin’, and a pastry that holds together nicely with a bit of crumble.

I ended up loosely following a recipe from Canadian Living magazine for the filling, and then used Anna Olsen’s pastry recipe with a few very minor tweaks. Together, it made for my kind of butter tart.

Best Butter Tart

Butter Tart Pastry

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cup white flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 6 Tbsp cold water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar

Directions:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter by hand until just small pieces of butter are visible. Mix the water and white vinegar together then add this to the dough. Mix until the dough begins to come together.

Now here’s where ‘Pick Your Own Adventure’ comes into play:

Option A: Form two balls, and then roll each ball out with a rolling pin, flouring the surface of your counter when necessary. (If your dough is too warm and is not rolling out nicely, put into the fridge until cool). Use a circular cookie cutter or ramekin, and make rounds to fit in the muffin tray. Press the rounds into the tray.

Option B: Here’s a secret, I was a little bit lazy and decided not to use a rolling pin. I simply flattened the dough into rustic rounds that would fit. So you could do that too…

Maple Syrup Filling

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: dried currants, golden raisin, chopped pecans etc.

Directions

Mix the above ingredients together and pour into each of pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes more until bubbling. Let cool.

Then EAT this glorious, Canadian national dessert. Try to limit yourself to two.

Six invaluable lessons I’ve learned from my Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s out there and to all the women without children who have sacrificed, encouraged, strengthened, cherished, and loved your friends, cousins, nephews, nieces, parents, grandparents and more. You are beautiful and the world is a better place with you.

This is my first official Mother’s Day! A year ago at this time I was awaiting the arrival of our baby. What a tremendous year it has been, full of incalculable growth, challenges, fun, support, love, … and embarrassing moments (oh yup, lots of them). I am so new to this journey of parenting and feel I cannot pass on great words of wisdom, but I wanted to share with you 6 invaluable lessons I’ve learned from a pretty spectacular woman. My mom.

Mother's DayCHAT. Chat with the cashier. With your hairdresser. With friends on the phone or over coffee. With your husband. With your kids. With your kids’ friends. And even when you are in a rush running errands and you have your kids pulling on you, eager to keep going, still chat. That is part of living life.

CRY. Sometimes you just need a good cry. And that’s ok. In fact, that’s good.

DEVELOP HOBBIES. Take time to try something new and spend time developing it. My mom is a seamstress. A knitter. A cook. A baker. A gardener. A colour connoisseur. A poet and so much more. She is a woman of value and is able to contribute to others through these abilities.

CHERISH THE LITTLE THINGS. A good butter tart. A candle’s flickering glow on the table. Flowers blooming. Sunsets and sunrises. A good pair of shoes. Afternoon tea.

ROLL WITH IT.  Embrace new experiences, challenges and obstacles. When something goes wrong, use it as an opportunity to be flexible, grow and learn from it. Whether it’s a botched recipe or an overwhelming life experience. Take it for what it is and try to find the positive.

And last but not least…

WEAR PEARLS. They are truly beautiful and you cannot help but feel beautiful wearing them.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Hope you have your pearls on today. I know I do.

Rise N’ Shine Peppermint Honey Body Wash

Suds up. Lathers well. Smells great. Does the job. OK, you’re hired. Homemade Rise n' Shine Peppermint Body Wash

Here is a simple, lightly scented homemade body wash that will leave your skin feeling soft and tingly fresh.

Rise N’ Shine Peppermint Honey Body Wash

Mix the following ingredients in a glass measuring cup. Then using a funnel, pour the body wash into the bottle. Before each use, give it a shake and pump a small amount onto a loofa (2-3 pumps), then lather up!

  • 1/4 cup peppermint castile soap
  • 1/2 cup unscented castile soap (or lavender, one of my favourites, or other mild scent)
  • 2 Tbsp sweet almond oil (other options include grapeseed, sesame, jojoba or olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 small, clean and sterilized pump (or squirt bottle)

Only have non-scented castile soap on hand? No problem. Simply add approximately 20-30 drops of peppermint essential oil to the mix or according to preference. I really love the peppermint smell and personally I feel it is the ingredient that makes this body wash feel so fresh. However, if you have very sensitive skin I would recommend using only lavender or another milder scent of your choice.

Homemade Rise n' Shine Peppermint Body Wash

Here’s the deal on the ingredients.

Castile Soap is made from 100 percent plant oils and is free of artificial foaming agents. It is one of the most gentle soaps out there and is completely biodegradable. Castile soap has many great uses. Know that when you buy this soap, none of it will go to waste.

Sweet Almond Oil has a high concentration of fatty acids and is easily absorbed by the skin.

Vegetable Glycerin adds a thickness to the mixture and helps it not to separate as easily.

Honey is full of antioxidants and is very moisturizing and soothing. And nope, it will not be sticky at all. In any way. You’ll just have to trust me on that one. 😉

Becky

That Sunday Evening Feeling

Growing up, Sundays were always very restful. The sun would rise, we would have breakfast as a family, head to church, have lunch, and then rest. I mean, really rest. Not surf the web or watch tv kind of rest. Picture a family randomly situated about the house reading a book or a magazine, and slowly dozing off into a peaceful snooze. One person on a bean bag chair in the living room. One on the couch. One on the deck with the warm sun on their back. One person on the hammock in the shade under the trees.

Because our Sundays were so restful, it meant jumping into the week was a little less daunting. To this day, I find I am more reflective on Sunday evenings and I also use it as a time to think about week ahead. Meal ideas, to-do items, and mini adventures.

Here’s my bucket list for the week.

1) Zumba. I’ve never tried it before and I’m going to try a class this week. I love dancing. I love music. I like working out. Match made in heaven? We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully I don’t look like a goober…

2) This recipe knocked my socks off and I plan to make it again this week. My sister made this meal for a few of her friends on Saturday for a Cinco de Mayo dinner party.  We had chatted earlier that afternoon about her menu, and I decided I must copy her (because that’s what little sisters do) and make it for our own dinner as well. It was fantastic and will definitely be a go-to dish in our household.

Enchiladas for Cinco de Mayo

3) Birthday Party Planning. My baby girl is turning 1 in a few weeks. Um, how did that happen?! I am trying really hard not to go overboard ‘pinterest-ing’.  I am so inspired by all the fun ideas out there. I need to make a final decision on a ‘smash’ cake recipe and some decorations. Any advice on throwing a party for a 1 year old? Any fun ideas?

4) Rise N’ Shine Peppermint Honey Body Wash.  A month ago I tried making my own body wash and I am loving it. Slightly scented and very moisturizing. I’ll be making another batch of this. Stay tuned for the recipe later in the week!

Homemade Peppermint Body Wash

5) oh and then Floss. I need to floss. I have a dentist appointment at the end of May…

Becky

 

Salt. You party animal, you.

Gourmet Herb Salt. It’s basically salt that has its party shoes on.

Gourmet Herb Salt

If we break it down, it’s pretty simple. Salt with herbs. But then again, a lot of great things are made up of pretty simple ingredients. Look no further than ice cream. Ice… and cream… and a few other stellar but simple ingredients.

Herb Salt is a great gift for the ‘foodie people’ in your life, and also for yourself. I use herb salt when grilling veggies, roasting potatoes, spiking up a soup, seasoning meat, and alongside olive oil for bread dipping.

What you’ll need

  • 2 cups of sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 cups of loosely packed fresh herbs (I used parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.)
  • a glass jar

Directions

  • Prep your herbs (If using rosemary or thyme, simply take the herb off the stem, since the stem is very coarse. All other herbs should grind up nicely with the stem included).
  • Place all the herbs into the food processor and pulse until herbs are finely broken, but still have a bit of composure. 2 cups of loosely packed herbs, should yield approximately 1 cup of herbs pulsed. Don’t have a food processor? Use your knife skills, er skillz… and just chop very finely.
  • Mix the herbs and salt together.
  • Let air dry for 12 hours and then ready to use!

Gourmet Herb Salt

I really like how rustic this salt is. It’s nice to get a crunch of flavour, however sometimes you don’t want to be crunching into salt. For a more versatile texture, I recommend putting the herb salt back into the food processor and whirring it up until you’ve hit your preferred consistency.

Gourmet Herb Salt

This salt is so incredibly flavourful that you really don’t need a lot. A little does truly go a long way… unlike ice cream.

Becky

Green Smoothies Don’t Scare Me

They never have. I’ve eaten weirder things.

I had this cold once that just wouldn’t go away. I think it was 6 weeks in the running and I was desperate to stomp this cold into oblivion. Someone told me that I should eat raw garlic. Simply mince a large garlic clove, put on a spoon with a dollop of honey and down the hatch.

Well I did this. Not just one evening. But several evenings in a row. I told you, I was desperate to be healthy again.

I got better. I also stank. My husband actually decided to sleep on our couch for a few nights and no besos for me.

All this to say, when people squint and squirm when they hear about green smoothies, they need to know at least it’s not garlic in a smoothie.

Green Smoothie

I’ve added almost all types of greens to my smoothies. Kale, celery, limes, bok choy, spinach etc. and I have to say, spinach is the reigning champion for me. It blends very well and you cannot taste it. I rarely have a smoothie without it.

The key to a green smoothie (especially if you’re new to the ‘green smoothie move’ is to not go overboard with your ingredients. Keep it simple.  I’ve seen a lot of recipes where they add several types vegetables and to be honest, I’m not really into that. My advice? Add 1-3 ingredients that are on the sweeter side, a handful of greens, a protein ingredient of choice (yogurt, milk, almond butter), and cold water.

Mango Spinach Green Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh mango
  • 1/2 banana
  • a few strawberries
  • a large handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup of water (add more water if necessary)
  • Optional: add a spoonful of chia seeds or almond butter

Feel free to play around with the ingredients. Often I actually make this smoothie omitting the banana or sometimes the strawberries (just because I may not have them on hand) and it tastes just as great.

Mango Spinach Green Smoothie

Tips:

  • If adding a heartier green to your smoothie (like kale or celery), blend the green with your water FIRST. Then add other ingredients. By doing this, you’ll break down the chewy fibres of the green and avoid having to chew your smoothie.
  • Frozen bananas make for a very creamy, cold smoothie. If your bananas are going brown, peel off the skin, break them in half, and store in the freezer.
  • If you are making the smoothie to bring with you to work, omit the banana. Any time you make a smoothie with greens and a banana, the longer it sits, the browner and more ‘sludge-water’ look it gets. Not that you can’t get over that, but if you want to enjoy the taste and LOOK of your smoothie, just skip the banana.

Cheers to sipping your greens!

Becky

No poker faces here in Canada. Let’s get giddy.

I LOVE that we have four very distinct seasons. When asked my favourite, I always say summer. For the delicious, local fruits and vegetables, hot beach days, sandy toes, picnics, baseball games, and cottage weekends. But then I think about spring and just how much I love new growth:  beautiful cherry blossom trees, fresh herb gardens blooming, rain boots and bright umbrellas, fresh air. And as soon as I think spring is my favourite, I remember autumn… and so the game continues.

The point is when one season finishes, I’m incredibly excited for the graduation to the next season. With the winter we’ve had, I think it goes without saying that we are all a bit eager.

No poker faces here in Canada. Let’s get giddy.

What am I giddy for? 

…Lounging outside, cherry blossom trees, lilacs, and picnics.

Goodness Grapevine Summer

… beach days, potato salad, and evenings with friends.

Goodness Grapevine Summer

…Herb gardens, bright nails, dock side evenings, and smoothies.

Goodness Grapevine Summer

… and let’s not forget pie. Lots of homemade pie.

What’s your slice of summer?