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3-Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Pudding

25 Feb

Chocolate craving + lack of chocolate at home = This recipe. I decided I would try mixing the cocoa powder I had leftover from baking Christmas treats with some of the almond butter I had on hand. Mixed together I got a gross looking paste so I decided to pour some almond milk in to thin it out and somehow that magical combination turned into a decadent chocolate pudding.

Ingredients:

2 tbs almond butter (I’m sure other nut butters would work just as well)

2 tbs cocoa powder (or cacao, my roommate has tried that with success)

2 tbs almond milk (or any type of milk)

photo 1

This recipe could not be easier.

photo 2

This is what the mixture looks like with just one tbs of almond milk – it is more like a spread so if you’re thinking you want a sort of nutella substitute, stop here.

photo 3

I add a tiny bit of sea salt to deepen the flavor. Make sure you are tasting as you go, if it’s not sweet enough add some honey, agave, or maple syrup.

photo 4The pudding is delicious on it’s own but I like to dip my fruit in it (it makes me feel better about eating this for breakfast) – I usually use Granny Smith apples, but bananas, oranges, and berries all work very well also. This batch makes enough for 1-2 people, but is easily multiplied for larger groups.

Heather

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The Kitchen Cupboard Face Mask

18 Jan

I’m always looking for interesting face masks, I love the way my skin feels after washing them off. I have seen a lot of at-home masks lately and combined a few recipes to make my own. This is great because they are items you probably already have in your kitchen!

Supplies:

1/4 cup water
Baking Soda
1 tsp lemon juice

photo 1-4

Combine the water and lemon juice in a bowl and then slowly add your baking soda. Keep mixing it in with a spoon until it starts to turn into a paste.

Scoop it out with your (clean!)fingers and start to gently massage it into your skin. Gently massage for a few minutes and you will start to feel the baking soda turning into less of a paste and more of an exfoliant scrub.

After my entire face was covered, I let it sit for 10 mins and then washed the mixture off with warm water.

photo 2-4
This may be one of the most unflattering photos of me…but I felt like I had to share so you can see what the paste becomes on your face.

My skin was left feeling clean, soft, and tight! I’m going to continue to use this face mask every few days and I’ll let you know if I see any difference in my skin.

Vegan Green Mac & Cheese

19 Apr
I will apologize in advance for lack of photos here, but I wasn’t planning on blogging about this recipe until I tried it and just had to share! I went to my kitchen with the idea that I’d make some sort of spinach-y pasta and this was born. If you have a blender and can boil water, you can make this, I promise.
Ingredients: Serves 2-4
4 oz of fresh spinach – you could also use kale or chard
Handful of dry, unsalted cashews – I think any nut would work here
1 clove of garlic – for those Italians out there like me, suppress your urge to add more, 1 clove was perfect
Approximately 4 tbs of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon zest – optional, I just had a lemon on hand. I probably used 1/2 tsp
Water to blend
Put some water in a pot to boil for your pasta, and then throw all the other ingredients into the blender and have at it.  We have a very basic blender, so this took a bit of poking the spinach down to the blades and adding water to thin it a bit. Look at how rich and creamy the result was!
As you can see, I scrambled to write this all down while it was still fresh in my brain.
Once the pasta is cooked and drained, return it to the pot and pour in some of the spinach sauce to heat it.  No need to turn the burner back on, the heat from the pasta and pot are enough. Seriously though, this had the same consistency and flavor of mac and cheese, and I was so pleasantly surprised. This would also work well as a dip – just use a food processor instead and leave out some of the oil and water so it’s thicker. And for those meat-eaters – pour this sauce over your chicken, fish or steak, I bet it would be amazing.
–Heather

Vegan-Friendly Cuffs

10 Mar

I am really excited to share this project with you. It was really fun, easy, and there are a million ways to customize these cuffs.

Supplies:
Vegan Leather (vinyl or pleather)
Snap fasteners
Masking Tape
Scissors
Hammer
Paint brush
Acrylic Paint
Spool of thread (not for sewing, don’t worry)
I found an old bracelet that I liked the width of, so I did this the easy way and traced it on the back of my vinyl. The dimensions I came up with were 2″ x 6.5″…but this is all based on my wrist. A tape measure would be handy (just wrap it around your wrist and give it about .5″ extra at one end) if you don’t have a flexible bracelet like I did.
Once I cut out my cuff, I started playing around with different designs. 
Using masking tape, I sectioned off my cuff with triangles.
I used 2 coats of everyday acrylic paint for this cuff and it turned out to be my favorite.  For my others, I tried combinations of spray paint, black ink and spray fixative. The paint was the easiest to work with and had the best results.
I purchased these Snap Fasteners from JoAnn Fabrics. They were about $5.00 for 7 snaps.
Here comes the fun part that I’m going to do my best to try to explain. Try on your cuff, marking where you want your snap to be with a pencil on each side. Take your fastener circle (the one with the little sharp teeth on it) and place it on the wrong side of your cuff, teeth side down. Gently hammer the teeth into the fabric so they begin to poke through. Do this on a lightly padded surface. I did it on top of my extra vinyl.
Flip over and place your female end to your snap on top of the teeth you just poked through the right side. Give it a good hammer and it should grasp onto the teeth and now be secure in place.
Now for the other end, repeat the process but place your fastener on the right side of your fabric. Hammer down so the teeth pop through the other side.
Flip over and place your male snap on top of the teeth. This time, grab a sewing spool and place directly over the snap. Hammer on top of the spool.
This way you don’t smush the head of your snap with the hammer.
Here’s a cuff, ready to go!
I sprayed some spray glue on the back of some of my cuffs and attached some scrap fabric I had to give it more of a finished look. This is optional and not really necessary, just thought I’d share incase you wanted to customize these even more, or make them reversible. Just make sure to do this step before adding your snaps.
This was a really addicting project, I can’t wait to make more!
–Emily Jo

Oil Face Cleanser

23 Feb
Ever since high school, my complexion has not been spectacular – not awful, but not the best. I get breakouts which I then pick at and immediately regret, yet I can’t stop myself. So, needless to say I have tried many of the face wash fads – ProActiv, ProActiv rip-offs, antibiotics, creams, washes etc. Still not pleased with the results, I came across some articles on oil based face washes. Advertising has always told me that oil free is the way to be, but logic kicked in when it was pointed out to me that oil removes oil. Duh! I knew this already because I work at a pizza place and we use oil to clean our grill, so why should my face be any different(okay, so maybe this is a stretch, but it made sense to me)?
Supplies:
Travel size container
Castor Oil
Olive Oil
Essential Oil – optional
 This cleanser is seriously cheap on top of the fact that there are no chemicals, no dyes or perfumes, and it’s easy to customize to your skin type.
We didn’t have a funnel, so I made a makeshift one with some tin foil. I then measured out three parts olive oil to two parts castor oil. The dryer your skin is, the more olive oil you want. The oilier your skin is, the more castor oil you want. Adjust accordingly, I sort of just went for the middle ground.
 I had also heard of the benefits of tea tree oil on acne so I added a few drops to the mixture, which also gave it a nice refreshing scent.
Shake it up and test it out! To use, apply a quarter size amount to your face – do not wet your skin before – and rub into your skin for about one minute. Then using a hot towel, steam your face for about a minute then wipe off. It’s that simple! And as an added bonus, you don’t need to moisturize afterwards. I’ve only been using this for two days and can already see an improvement in my skin, so definitely give this a try if you’re like me and have had trouble finding a solution to your skin woes.
–Heather

Rainy days were made for cooking!

10 Nov
I work at a pizza place and you’d probably think that on my days off I would stay clear of the kitchen, but that is not the case. My days off usually have me trying out new recipes and taking the kitchen over for myself, and this day off was no different. I knew I was going to make the Larabars, if you haven’t tried them, they are granola-y type bars made with only fruit and nuts, no added sugars or fillers, but the downside is they are ridiculously expensive. I had seen many recipes online on how to make your own versions so I figured my day off would be a great time to try it out. Since I was already on my way to the grocery store, I decided I should come up with something to make for dinner – kale soup! I have been craving kale lately and the crock pot has become my favorite appliance(just ahead of the food processor) so I knew how my day was going to go from there.
Supplies/Ingredients:
Kale soup –
1 bunch of kale
1 chopped carrot
1 chopped celery stalk
2 small or 1 medium diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
Small bag of baby potatoes cut in half
12 oz of sausage (I used vegan Smoked Apple Sage)
1 can of navy(or any white bean) beans
2 vegan chicken boullion cubes
5 or so cups of water
Salt and Pepper
Dash of sage
Dash of thyme
Larabars –
Chopped nuts of choice(I used walnuts)
Apple of choice(I used granny smith)
Dates
Figs
Coconut oil
Coconut flakes
Dried cranberries
Oat bran
Cinnamon
I started with the kale soup knowing it would need to simmer for at least 4 hours.
The potatoes were just too cute to resist, though I’m sure any other potato would have worked just as well in this soup.
Full to the brim and ready to work its magic!
While being taunted by the smell of the soup, I got to work on the Larabars.
Using that trusty food processor, I chopped everything down to a size that is relatively the same – a little bigger than grains of sand.
Here are the ingredients ready to be mix and matched for different varieties. All of the Larabars use dates and figs as their base and sweetener. They also all have nuts in them almost as a binding agent. I used the coconut oil to smooth the mixture out a bit, and when necessary I added the oat bran to thicken it up.
Here are the three variations I made from left; Apple Cinnamon(based off of Larabar’s Apple Pie), Cranberry Coconut and a mixture of the two(just to use up the rest of the ingredients).
I then patted the mixtures out on a cutting board and divvied them up.
Ready for the fridge!
What good timing, once I wrapped up the Larabars, cleaned up the disaster of a kitchen and got the dishes started my soup was ready to eat! It was a bit early for dinner but I hadn’t eaten lunch yet so this was a perfect mid-afternoon meal to fuel me back up for yoga tonight. Bon Apetit!
–Heather

Solid Perfume

20 Oct

This blog post is dedicated to my friend Nicole. We’ve been friends since elementary school and I grew up in a house right behind that school, so needless to say, we spent many hours playing on the playground. One day we realized that after we had buried ourselves in the sand, our skin was magically softer. So naturally we took some home in a sock, whipped up a concoction using the sand and every bath product in the bathroom, slathered it all over our faces and named it “Purple Chester.” This solid perfume project has the potential for lots of creativity and definitely brought me back to the 4th grade beauty professional in me.

Supplies:
Empty container – the recipe I went off of used a cute locket
Beeswax
Essential oil(s) of your choosing – I used sweet orange and a tiny bit of lavender
Coconut or Jojoba oil
Optional: Eyedropper – it was helpful but not necessary
To begin, I finished off the last of my Rosebud Salve so I could use the container.
Next I decided I would forget what was in the container if I left it as is, so I slapped a sloppy coat of white paint on it.
I left the roses on the side because they’re pretty!
Then I found this bee hanging out in my room, he must have known I was using some of his hard earned beeswax. Sorry buddy!
So here is where the concocting starts. I found a recipe online and doubled it because I had the supplies and thought my container could hold more(in the end it turned out I probably should have quadrupled the recipe).
1 heaping tsp of beeswax
3 tsp of coconut or jojoba oil
55 drops of essential oil
Although the ingredients are shown separate above, I ended up combining them all and microwaving them for about 45 seconds, or until all melted.
Then pour into your container and let cool completely – which took about 20 minutes.
Now to decorate! I added a little chevron pattern with a permanent marker.
Then added some red-orange lines and dots.
And some green lines and dots. This little container makes carrying a perfume around much easier and will become a staple in my purse.
–Heather
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