Friday, June 3, 2016

DIY Vegan Body Butter Bars

I love the popularity of lotion bars these days.  Of course, I would rather make them myself to reduce wasted packaging and to ensure the ingredients are safe for my ridiculously sensitive skin.  With a little one, I wanted something safe to use around her.  I also wanted something without beeswax which is a common ingredient in many of the bars on the market as well as many of the DIY recipes I found on the internet.  So, after some testing, this was the recipe I used.

I choose coconut oil not only for its moisturizing properties as an oil, but also due to its high content of vitamin E which is known for its antioxidant properties in repairing skin.  Unlike palm oil, more is being done to ensure sustainable practices are put in place with the increase in popularity of coconut oil.  As always, it is best to do your own research before purchasing to ensure the company you are purchasing from is instituting these practices.

Shea butter is also high in Vitamin E.  It has some of the same moisturizers produced by our own skin making perfect sense as to why it has been popular with the cosmetics industry for some time.  The popularity of shea butter and rise in its fair trade have not only lead to increases in environmentally but also economically sustainable practices with its production.

I choose to use Lavender for my essential oil.  I chose lavender as summer is approaching, and lavender is known as a natural mosquito repellent.  Lavender is also known to be relaxing which I know as a mom to a toddler, I know I can use.

You can use whatever essential oil you prefer, however, you should take safety into consideration.  I would avoid any citrus based essential oils due to photosensitivity they may cause.  Also consider whether you will have little ones around.  Since I have a little one, I avoided peppermint and eucalyptus despite these being scents I enjoy.  Both are known to cause respiratory with small children.  If you have pets, you will want to take their sensitivities into consideration as well.  When in doubt, consult a certified aromatherapist before using any essential oil.  I also highly recommend checking out this site for further questions about essential oils including where to find a certified aromatherapist in your area.  I appreciate their emphasis on safety and testing.

So, here is my recipe:


Mason Jar
Bamboo Skewer
Measuring Cup
Canning Rack or Canning Tongs
1/2 cup Fair Trade Unrefined Shea Butter
1/2 cup Organic, virgin unrefined Coconut Oil
4-6 drops of Essential Oil
Silicone molds
optional: silicone mat

1. Boil water.

2. Measure out the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter into the Mason Jar.

3. Place the jar into the boiling water.

4, Keep the jar in the boiling water until the Coconut Oil and Shea Butter have liquefied and well mixed by stirring occasionally with your bamboo skewer.

5. Carefully remove your Mason Jar either using the canning rack or canning tongs.

6. Allow your mix to cool slightly before adding 4-6 drops of your Essential Oil.

7. Carefully pour your mix into molds.  The size of your mold will determine how many bars you make.  I made 4 with mine. If you are concerned about your ability to pour into the molds, you may wish to place a silicone mat underneath the molds to catch any spillage.

8. Allow to cool until fully set usually at least 4 hours.

9. Remove from molds and store in an airtight container in a cool area. Room temperature is generally cool enough to prevent them from melting with air conditioning though I still would not recommend keeping them in the kitchen as anyone who uses coconut oil can attest to in the summer months.

10, Rub between your hands or directly on the skin you wish to moisturize.  The warmth of your skin will melt the bar enough to moisturize your skin.  The bars will keep for up to a year kept in an airtight container when not in use.

This post is part of series of eco-sustainable Diys from a group of bloggers I know.  Please check their posts out as well.

DIY Upcycled Corkboard

Slow Fashion - Sashiko

How to make your own bug spray and bug bite sticks: ‎

How To Build Your Own Vermicompost Factory ‎

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Free Donuts for National Donut Day

Tomorrow is National Donut Day. Unlike most food holidays, Donut Day actually has a story behind it of Salvation Army  female volunteers handing out doughnuts and warm beverages to World War II soldiers to provide them comfort.  I am more than happy to celebrate the warm goodness of a fresh donut once a year after spending several summers making donuts.  Okay, maybe I indulge a few times a year usually whenever they are free; and I see a hot and fresh sign lit up.

Look at LB enjoying her first half of a hot and fresh donut last Halloween.  Occasionally, she gets that expression of being in absolute heaven eating a food.  That day, I concurred.

Several places are giving away free donuts in honor of the holiday.  Here are a few:

Krispy Kreme: One free donut.  No purchase necessary.(We'll be looking for the hot and fresh sign on our way home.  Fingers crossed it's on.)

Dunkin Donuts: One free donut with the purchase of any beverage.

Duck Donuts: As long as you claim their offer on Facebook, you can get a free sugar donut.  No purchase necessary.

Sugar Shack: Varies by location, and most locations have had different ways to get a free donut all week.

Just in case you happen to be local to Fredericksburg, Virginia, I thought I would include:

Paul's Bakery: One free glazed ring donut.  No purchase necessary.

We may also celebrate by trying to perfect a homemade cronut recipe since I have been a convert ever since trying a croissant donut at a Wawa not in our area.  I haven't been able to find them at any Wawas since.  If I do finally get one that is up to my standard, I'll be sure to share.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chunky Guacamole

I know it's not Meatless Monday.  However, due to the holiday weekend, I thought I would post one of my favorite party or even every day dips.  I struggle with whether I like guacamole or hummus more.  Both are delicious and nutritional powerhouses.  Don't worry, though as I am still planning on my recipe for Coleslaw with Crushed Pineapple on Monday as it will go perfectly with our sweet potato faux bbq sandwiches.


2 avocados
1/2 red onion or a sweet onion like a Vidalia in a pinch
3 roma tomatoes
1 tbs minced garlic
1 lime
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
salt to taste

1. Cut your avocados in half.  Remove the seed and peel.

2. Roughly mash the avocados with a fork being sure to leave occasional chunks of avocado.  Sometimes, I like the chunks the best.

3. Dice your onion and tomatoes and onion adding them to the avocado.

4. Juice the lime and add it to your mix.

5. Using kitchen shears, roughly cut the cilantro and add it in as well.

6. Add the garlic and as much a salt as you prefer.

7.  Stir everything up to mix thoroughly.

This recipe serves 2-4 depending on the appetite.  You can always double as needed.  I gave a recipe instructions for a small batch as this is more than enough for our family of 3.  Guacamole browns easily, so I usually only make as much as we will eat in a sitting and usually prefer to make it as close as possible to serving.

We like to use this as a dip for tortilla chips or veggies as well as on sandwiches and homemade tacos.