Elegantly Eco

Eco-Friendly Beauty, Fashion, Reviews, and Info


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DIY: Cookie Dough Balls

One of my favourite recipes from the Earth Diet book is the Cookie Dough Balls. I’m a real snacker. I eat my main meals but often get hungry in between meals as well. I have a sweet tooth so it’s important for me to find healthy, filling, snacks that also address my sweet tooth. These Cookie Dough Balls are perfect small snacks and can add variety to the other snacks I normally bring with me which is a piece of fruit like apples, bananas, and pears.

Ingredients:

Makes 12 balls

1 cup of rolled oats (gluten free)
1 cup of cashews
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt
2 tablespoons of cacao nibs (will be the ‘chocolate chips’)

Action:
1. Blend the cashews and oats in a food processor so it makes a ‘flour meal’ consistency.
2. In a bowl add this blend, along with the vanilla, salt and honey and stir. Once all mixed add the cacao nibs and stir.
3. Taste and add water if needed, or more honey if you like it sweeter. It should be a cookie dough consistency.
4. Roll the mixture into balls. I like to use an ice cream scooper with the lever to ensure they are all the same size (see below)
6. Eat and enjoy. Store in the fridge.

See full recipe on the Earth Diet website or book.


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This basic recipe is so easy to modify. I’ve experimented with using butterscotch chips instead of using cacao nibs. Most recently I made a batch with maca powder, vegan protein powder, dates, and goji berries (see below). They turned out really delicious! If you have a nut allergy you can also substitute the cashews for medjool dates. You may have to eliminate the maple syrup/honey and add more oats since dates are already quite sticky and sweet.

Do you have a sweet tooth too?

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DIY: Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is getting really popular in the healthy eating community these days. It makes sense if you think about it. It’s easy and fast to make and lasts in the fridge for a good amount of time. I like to make this in a batch big enough to last me for a week. I stir all the ingredients together and leave it to soak overnight so that in the morning I just need to put it in my container with the desired toppings and then go.

Ingredients:

½ cup chia seeds

2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, hazelnut, coconut, hempseed, etc.)

3 tablespoons of honey, coconut nectar, maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ground vanilla

Serves 10

Directions:

Soak chia seeds in non-dairy milk for at least one hour. It can also be soaked in the fridge overnight. Then mix it in with the soaked chia seeds. When you’re ready to eat it, place the topping of your choice. Some suggestions would be: nuts, seeds, raisins, goji berries, etc. This can also be eaten as a breakfast pudding or in place of oatmeal. Keeps in the fridge for one week.

Modified from: Oh She Glows


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Book Review: Homemade Beauty by Annie Strole


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About the Author:

Annie Strole is a Brooklyn-based makeup artist, natural beauty expert, and contributing editor for style, beauty, and DIY site, Lovelyish.com. A lifelong luxury beauty product junkie and hippie-at-heart, Annie eventually began researching the ingredients of her beloved beauty potions out of curiosity. Not pleased with her findings of the effects of some particularly nasty ingredients, Annie decided to take her beauty into her own hands by creating effective, all-natural beauty products at home using the freshest ingredients possible. She shares 150 of these recipes in her new release Homemade Beauty: 150 Simple Beauty Recipes Made from All-Natural Ingredients, out November 4, 2014.
from MindBodyGreen.com

Book Review:

This is a pretty simple book of homemade beauty recipes. The ingredients list for most of these recipes are never longer than 8 items. Most are 4 ingredients or less. Also most of the ingredients on the list are commonly used in the kitchen or household. There are of course some specialized ingredients like essential oils, or zinc oxide for sunscreen. But these are easily found at natural food stores online or at retail stores.

I’ve tried some of these recipes and so far my fave is the microdermabrasion recipe. Why microdermabrasion? At the time I’m writing this it’s winter, and my skin has dry, flakey patches on it. So this recipe is amazing at helping to get rid of those dry flakey patches without irritating my skin too much. Also, if you go to the spa to get microdermabrasion done it’s quite expensive, time consuming and you could walk out the door with a red face. Who wants to walk about the city looking like they got a bad sunburn? Not me. With this recipe I can do a less abrasive version of microdermabrasion from the comfort of my home. Plus I don’t need healing time as this version is so much more gentle.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is that Strole doesn’t talk much about how long each recipe will keep. Since none of these products have preservatives, they could go bad easily. While most of the recipes are easy to make on the spot, sometimes it’s nice to make things ahead of time and use when needed. I don’t always have time to do DIY on the spot and I’m sure busy mothers would have the same problem. Strole also doesn’t give any storage advice e.g. store in cool, dry place. I think that would be helpful for those who are newbies to DIY. Besides the recipes, you will also find throughout the book a pageor two devoted to an ingredient spotlight, telling us the properties for each and what it’s good for. I liked the ingredient spotlight and found it interesting.

Overall, this is a fairly good, if simple DIY book. This book is good for those who are beginners at DIY or those who like to keep things simple. For more elaborate or challenging recipes I would recommend The Green Beauty Guide by Julie Gabriel.

Rating: 4/5


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DIY: Avocado Banana Pudding

I don’t usually post about food. But I figured, why not? Being non-toxic is all about being healthy too right? If you’ve been following me then you’ll know I have a serious sweet tooth. Pastries and cakes are my weakness. Red velvet? Chocolate? Oh la la! My mouth starts watering when I hear those words or see those images. So to keep myself eating healthy foods I have to create something that I know will satisfy that sweet tooth and still be healthy at the same time. Enter my Easy Healthy Pudding recipe. I made this in two flavour versions but feel free to play around with your favourite flavours. The basic recipe is so easy to modify to your own tastes.


Basic Ingredients

Easy Healthy Pudding

Ingredients:

1 avocado
2 bananas
1 tablespoon of hemp hearts
1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic dried coconut shreds
1 tablespoon organic cacao powder
2 glass containers if you are making two flavours


Flavourings and sweetener

Instructions:
Prepare your basic ingredients. Halve the avocado and remove the pit. Scoop one half into one container and the other half in the other container. Add a banana to each container as well as your hemp hearts and chia seeds. Add your flavourings. For my two different flavour profiles I added vanilla extract and dried coconut shreds into one container. In the other container I placed the organic cacao powder. I added maple syrup to sweeten. Then I mashed everything to the desired consistency. You can use dates, agave or whatever your preferred sweetener happens to be. You could also use a blender to make this into a smooth pudding. But since I was just whipping this up for snacking I went the low tech way and used a spoon to mash and stir everything.

Voila! Here’s the finished pudding below. Please excuse the messy sides of the containers I had to taste test them to make sure they were up to par. I had hubby try the chocolate pudding and even he said it was good! If you know my hubby I like to joke he’s allergic to anything healthy because he usually turns up his nose at healthy foods.


Finished pudding

Do you have a healthy snack you like to make? What is it?

 


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DIY: Blemish Treatment

I modified this DIY recipe from the No More Dirty Looks blog, Thyme Toner recipe & made it into a spot treatment. It works great as a spot/blemish treatment!

DIY-Thyme-spot-treatment-2

Ingredients:

2-3 tbsp dried organic thyme
6 tbsp witch hazel
1/8 tsp lavender essential oil (optional)
1/8 tsp rosemary essential oil (optional)

Instructions:

Place the thyme in an air tight glass jar (like a mason jar) & pour the witch hazel on top. Let it steep for 3 days (or less if you don’t want it as strong). Once you’re finished steeping, strain the thyme out of the witch hazel. I used a tea strainer for this. If desired, add the lavender & rosemary essential oils for extra anti-septic power. Transfer to the container of your desire. I used an empty glass rollerball container that had previously been used for roll on perfume. That way I don’t need to use a cotton pad or swab to apply it. I just roll it directly onto my blemishes. Store the rest of the spot treatment in the fridge for up to a month.

DIY-Thyme-spot-treatment-1 (1)
Finished Blemish Treatment in rollerball.

I’ve been using this on my blemishes & it works really well! It has a slight brownish tinge when I put it on my skin but that goes away once my skin absorbs it. It doesn’t stain my skin at all.  Now I won’t have to buy anymore acne spot treatments from the store unless I need to test out a new brand for my blog. Smile

Have you ever tried making your own blemish treatment? If you try this one please let me know how it turned out for you!


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DIY Curly Hair Gel, Light hold

I got this recipe for curl conditioning serum from the Minimalist Beauty blog. I’ve also seen it posted in various curly hair forums.  I’m not sure why it’s called a curl conditioning serum.  To me it seems more like a gel with light hold for those with curly hair. People with straight hair, this gel might be too greasy for you. Us curlies need more moisture in our hair. I have 2c or 3a hair type just to give you an idea. Guys with curly hair could use this as well. The great thing about this gel is that all of the ingredients are easily obtainable if you don’t already have them in your kitchen.  Plus, its super easy & super cheap to make. A little goes a long way. The first time I made this gel I used the recipe straight & it lasted me about a week & a half.  This second time I made this gel I doubled the coconut oil since I have dry scalp. You can play with the quantities & tweak it to what’s suitable for your hair/scalp. Have fun!

DIY-curly hair gel-pic1
My Curly Hair Gel, second batch. It looks so pale because I doubled the coconut oil to counteract my dry scalp.

DIY Curly Hair Gel – Light hold

1 – jar (plastic or glass)

1 tsp – vegetable glycerin

½ tsp – agave

1 tsp – coconut oil

3 tbsp – aloe vera

DIY-curly hair gel-pic2
Here’s how the curly hair gel looks in my hand. Hmmm, needs more whisking?

Put all ingredients in a bowl for mixing. I like to whip the mixture using a hand whisk until all the lumps are beaten out of the coconut oil. I didn’t melt it before mixing as it will re-solidify in cool temperatures & get lumpy again. Once everything is mixed to your liking use a spatula to transfer the prepared gel to your jar. The original instructions say to refrigerate this gel in between use but I didn’t bother to do this. Perhaps if you live in a really warm, humid climate this might be necessary to prevent spoilage. But I live in Toronto & the gel was perfectly fine until I used it all up. No funny smells, no funny textures. Give it a go & let me know what you think!


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DIY Conditioning Hair Rinse

Ever since I read Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl book several years ago  (see review here) I’ve weaned my hair off conventional shampoo and conditioners. I came to realize that my hair doesn’t really need shampoo. Most of the time to get it clean all I really need to do is rinse with water and massage my scalp with my fingers gently. Then again, the hair products I use are non-toxic and eco-friendly so perhaps that’s why my hair doesn’t need much maintenance. Here’s a little background for you: I was born with wavy hair (see picture below). In my mid-twenties it changed from being wavy to curly.

HJan-19-14 pic
Me at 2 y.o.                                         Me today

That’s when I my weird hair odyssey started. For the longest time I couldn’t get it into my mind that I now had curly hair. I fought it. Hard. I used to blow dry my hair straight every single day. I used to use the most toxic dandruff shampoos and conditioners. (Of course I didn’t realize they were toxic until I read books like No More Dirty Looks and Ecoholic.)  Finally, one day I got tired to fighting with my hair. I thought to myself: “There must be a way to make it easier to style my hair,  be non-toxic and not spend a fortune..”  I looked around at my local library and that’s how I came across Massey’s Curly Girl book. Wow. It really opened my eyes. I was determined to go no poo (no shampoo for short). So I bought myself some baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Problem was, I couldn’t stand the smell of apple cider vinegar! I swore I could still smell it in my hair after I washed it out. So I developed this modified recipe based on Massey’s apple cider vinegar rinse. Here is my recipe below.

DIYHairRinse-Ingredients
Picture of the ingredients I use for the DIY Conditioning Hair Rinse

DIY Conditioning Hair Rinse

1 part water (filtered if possible)
1 part organic apple cider vinegar
1 part vegetable glycerin
10 drops of each essential oil (optional): lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, sweet orange, rosemary

Pour all ingredients into a bottle. Shake gently to mix ingredients. You can make as much or as little of this rinse as you need. For example if you only want to make a small bottle you can use 1 cup of water, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of vegetable glycerin. You can also adjust the levels. If you need more moisture in your hair you can put more vegetable glycerin. If your hair is more oily, cut down on the glycerin and use more apple cider vinegar. Easy Peasy.  You can also change the essential oils you use. I like to use lavender, tea tree, rosemary, and eucalyptus as they are all anti-bacterial and good for dry scalp which I have. I use sweet orange mostly for the yummy smell. Note: this rinse isn’t for use on coloured hair. That is, unless you had a hair colouring catastrophe and want your colour to wash out of course! I’m not sure how well it works on straight hair either.

diy hair rinse
This is the bottle of DIY Hair Rinse that’s living in my shower right now.
Almost time to swap it out for a full bottle!

I like to make 1 litre batches using old bottles. I’ll make a couple bottles worth so I don’t have to worry about running out. Not only is this so cheap to make, it lasts a long time. Ever since I started using this rinse I haven’t had a flake of dandruff. On the days when I accidentally use too much hair product all I have to do is use a bit of baking soda, mix with water and scrub the paste into my hair. If I don’t have any baking soda on hand, a couple of drops of Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap also does the same thing. Now you might be wondering, why use filtered water and organic ingredients? You don’t have to if you don’t want to or can’t afford it. But if you’re like me and want to be as non-toxic as possible organic is the best way to go.