Champagne and Orange: Mimosa Soaps

29 Aug

Are you ready for Brunch? These Mimosa soap treats are a perfect blend of Champagne and Orange.

IMG_7682007IMG_7676005Recipe:

  • 100% olive oil
  • Champagne, flat (boil off the alcohol first, otherwise your batch may rice or seize) and frozen
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 5-8% superfat
  • room temperature method

At trace, add

Pour into molds. Unmold after 24 – 48 hours. Cure for 4 – 6 months. Wrap them up so they look like mini Champagne bottles.

Ylang Ylang Castille Soap

29 Aug

Ylang Ylang Castile Soap

Recipe:

At trace, add

Pour into molds. Unmold after 24 – 48 hours. Cure for 4 – 6 months.

Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups

24 Aug

I don’t drink coffee, but I love the smell. These little cups are inspired by my Dad, who is the biggest espresso drinker I know.

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I was going to name these soaps “Cappuccino Cups”, but my Dad suggested “Artisanal Espresso Soap Cups”. I couldn’t agree more.

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Vegan/Vegetarian. All natural ingredients. No added fragrances. Simply coconut and olive oils, lye, water, coffee, cocoa powder, and cinnamon.

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Imagine waking up and washing your hands with your own brew of Artisanal Espresso Soap first thing in the morning! How delightful!

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Espresso Soap Cups Recipe:

  • 25% coconut oil
  • 75% olive oil
  • water (less 1.5 oz because you will be adding coffee later)
  • lye (NaOH)
  • 5% superfat
  • room temperature method

At trace, add to 3/4 of the batch (if making 1# of soap):

  • 1.5 oz extra strength coffee
  • 1/2T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 T raw honey (optional for Vegans)

Fill molds with coffee mixture, top with the remaining soap mixture.

For decoration:

Cure for 4 – 6 weeks. You can either keep them in the mold or unmold them. Your choice. They look deliciously drinkable in these cups though.

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I can’t wait to give these as gifts!

Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar

23 Aug

Last week, I made a list of the types of SOAP BARS I wanted to create:

  1. Castile Soap (100% olive oil)
  2. Bastille Soap (at least 70% olive oil)
  3. Low-Cost Basic Soap (at least 50% of the butters or oils at only $0.10/oz)
  4. Moisturizing Shampoo Soap (that didn’t dry out my hair)
  5. Grease-Cutting Kitchen Soap (so I wouldn’t have to buy dishwashing detergent again)

A few days ago, I blogged about #1, 2, and 3.

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Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars

Today, I unmolded these luscious soaps: my own Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bars. They smell great and feel velvety too.

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My criteria for my soap:

  1. I wanted coconut to be the main ingredient in my bar. Growing up in the Philippines, fresh coconut milk was often applied to my hair as a “hot oil” treatment to moisturize my scalp and hair, and encourage my fine hair to grow thicker. When it was washed off, my hair would shine and smell of the tropics. Naturally, I chose coconut milk and coconut oil for my shampoo soap.
  2. I wanted an extra moisturizing and conditioning bar.
    1. That meant keeping coconut oil to a minimum because saponified coconut oil can be drying over 30%. I limited this to 25%.
    2. I added castor oil, which provides a fluffy lather while conditioning and moisturizing.
    3. I added hemp seed oil for extra conditioning.
    4. I added jojoba oil, an oil similar to our skin sebum, at trace as an extra moisturizer for my scalp.
    5. I added raw honey at trace for extra conditioning.
    6. My other soaps are superfatted at 8%, but this one is at 11%. Superfatting allows some oils LEFTOVER on the soap bar AFTER saponification takes place.
  3. I wanted a softer bar for ease of use on the hair. I don’t mind lathering up a hard soap for my body, but I want a softer soap for a shampoo bar.
    1. Castor oil creates a softer soap.
    2. Hemp seed oil creates a silky bar.
  4. Fragrance and more:
    1. Raw honey not only conditions hair, as stated above, but also smells heavenly.
    2. Optional: add your choice of essential oils or fragrances as the coconut milk smell will disappear.

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I ran my soap recipe through the SoapCalc and was happy with the results:

  • hardness 29 (range is 29-54)
  • cleansing 17 (range 12-22)
  • conditioning 68 (range 44-69)
  • bubbly 35 (range 14-46)
  • creamy 30 (range 16-48)

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Creamy Coconut Milk Lemongrass Shampoo Bar Recipe

  • 5% hemp seed oil
  • 20% castor oil
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 50% olive oil
  • coconut milk, fresh or canned, frozen before you start
  • lye
  • superfat 11%

Use the Room Temperature Method. At trace, add lemongrass essential oils. Refrigerate in mold overnight. Then, take out and place under towels. Unmold after 24-48 hours. Slice and cure for 4 – 6 weeks.

*Shampoo bar results to come in 2 months!

Too-Good-To-Be-True Soap Treats for Kids (Warning: these look edible!)

21 Aug

I have been obsessed about making my own gentle soaps. I don’t know if I can wait 4 to 6 weeks for them to cure! Take a look at my mouth-watering dessert soaps!

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“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap

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“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap, “Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap, “Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap

 Tricks I have learned about making soap:

  1. It’s SO easy. Don’t bother with the Cold Processed Method where you have to heat several bowls and take the temperature of both the lye and the oils. Room Temperature Method is THE WAY to make soaps for busy Mamas. No temperature issues. Less clean up. And it takes about 1 hour or less to make a whole batch, including prepping the molds to cleaning up. This process works for soaps with lye, oil, and butters only. Check out these links:
    1. The Room Temperature Method by Soap Making Essentials
    2. Room Temperature Soap Making by Skin + Soul
  2. Use a soap calculator to check your recipes. My favorite is SoapCalc because you can simply input the percentages, weight, and oils that you want and it calculates everything for you. Plus, they give you very useful information about your soap’s properties: cleansing, hardness, conditioning, lathering, creaminess, and so on.
  3. Prepare your molds before you start making soap. Grease your molds for ease of removing.
  4. Prepare the ingredients you will be adding at trace.
  5. Castile soaps (100% olive oil) take a LONG time to trace. Bastille soaps (bastard Castile, i.e. at least 70% olive oil) trace much quicker.
  6. If you are using liquids with sugars, freeze them first so that when you add lye to them the solution does not get too hot.
  7. Once the soap traces, work quickly to put them in the molds. Or leave them out a few minutes longer if you want to create decorations with them.  

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    Freshly piped whipped cream soap

  8. Fragrances can darken your soaps, so I add these to the darker (chocolate) parts of my soap.
  9. If you are using any milks instead of water in your recipes, refrigerate them overnight. Take a look at my “whipped cream”. After a few hours in the refrigerator, the cream is whiter.
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I just placed them in the fridge

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After a few hours, the soap is a creamier white.

10. Waiting to remove your soaps from the molds requires patience. You can usually do this in 24 -48 hours. My impatience has cost me pox marks on my soap. Plus, see #3, which I failed to do.

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The wait time to remove the soaps from the molds requires patience!

11. But waiting for the soaps to cure requires even more patience. Bastille soaps require 4 – 6 weeks, while Castile soaps require at least 4 – 6 months or even longer (they say 1 – 2 years at least to get a fuller lather).

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I made some Castille Oatmeal and Honey Soaps from the leftover “cream” soap batch by adding ground oats and raw honey.

12. Cleaning up is a breeze. Keep aside everything you used during soap production where little hands cannot reach and hurt themselves. 2 days later, wash them up with soap that has dried on and in them. I usually have enough to wash other things in my kitchen sink too. No waste!

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My son and I CANNOT wait to try these.

My husband says I have enough soap now for my son’s wedding in a couple of decades.

Don’t tell him but I cannot wait to make MORE!

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Recipe Notes:

“Hot Chocolate topped with Whipped Cream and a Piece of Chocolate” Castile Soap: your choice of milk, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and vanilla fragrance for 2/3 the batch.

“Vanilla and Chocolate Fudge” Castile Soap: cocoa powder mixed with olive oil and vanilla fragrance for 1/2 the batch.

“Chocolate Mint Brownie” Basic Soap: I used mint from my garden, cocoa powder mixed with olive oil, and peppermint essential oil.

“Oatmeal and Honey Cookie” Bastille Soap: ground oats and raw honey.

For every 2# soap, at trace I added:

  • 3T cocoa powder mixed with some olive oil for my chocolate soaps
  • 6T ground oats, 2 T honey
  • 2 tsp essential oils or 1 1/2T fragrance for mild scents. Note: these can darken the soap colours, so I added these in in the chocolate bars only.

Liquids:

  • lots of options here
    • plain water
    • tea
    • your choice of milk. If you use any kind of milk, freeze first.

Recipe for my Castile Soap:

  • 100% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 months

Recipe for my very gentle Bastille Soap:

  • 15% coconut oil
  • 85% olive oil
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure at least 4 – 6 weeks

Recipe for my very gentle Basic Soap:

  • 20% coconut oil
  • 30% olive oil
  • 50% tallow/lard/palm oil (If you use palm oil, look for a sustainable option. Otherwise, look into tallow/lard. Any questions about sustainability? Check out why vegetarian Humblebee & Me uses animal fats in her soaps.)
  • lye (NaOH)
  • your choice of liquid
  • 8% superfat
  • cure 4 – 6 weeks

Finally, special thanks to the amazing Liz over at The Paragon House for teaching me how to make soap! She made it look so easy.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes with Kids

1 Jul

I’ve been waiting for my son to show some serious interest in the kitchen. This past week, he volunteered to make Vegan Mashed Potatoes, not once, but twice. I’m pretty sure he would do it another time too. This Mama is so excited to have a willing helper.

Son's Vegan Mashed Potatoes

Vegan Mashed Potatoes are so easy and so forgiving. My son loves every step of the process and wants to do it all himself. Your kids might want to do the same. Here’s what he did:

1. Scrub the potatoes clean.

2. Quarter them. (We keep the peel for extra nutrients.)

3. Drop them in a pot full of water.

4. Boil, then turn down the heat to simmer until the potatoes are tender. (15 minutes?)

5. Drain.

6. Put the potatoes back into the pot.

7. Mash, while adding sea salt, olive oil, and your choice of milk.

8. Serve. My son loves it with Baked Beans.

Vegan Mashed Potato

Harry Potter’s Vegan Eggnog

20 Jun

Any other Vegan Harry Potter fans out there?

Well, my son is currently attending the Online School of Wizardry over at DIY.org for Harry Potter fans. So this Mama in the Kitchen immediately borrowed The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook for him.  One of the things he bookmarked was Eggnog for Kids, which requires 6 eggs, whole milk and heavy cream. The recipe is a complete NO-NO for a kid with super high cholesterol. Since today is a Saturday (a dessert day), I thought I would concoct a Vegan version for him. I would love to create a RAW Vegan Eggnog, but my son is allergic to nuts, so I used soy. This Harry Potter’s Vegan Eggnog was a HIT at our house.

Vegan Eggnog

Place all of the following ingredients in a high-speed blender, like a Vitamix:

  • 2 cups unsweetened organic soymilk
  • 2 cups organic soy creamer
  • 1 cup soy ice cream
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons sea salt
  • pinch of cloves

Vegan Eggnog 2

Pour it straight from the Vitamix. Cast a spell on your Vegan Eggnog and delight in all that foam.

Vegan Eggnog 3

Pretend you are drinking your Vegan Eggnog out of a Butterbeer Mug at The Three Broomsticks and it is Christmas.

Accio Vegan Eggnog!

Oops. Looks like Hermione, Ron, and Harry wanted to try some of your Vegan Eggnog!

“Nicer” Krispie Squares and Vegan CookBook Give-Away

16 Jun

Plant-PoweredFamilies_FrontCover_WEB

After a few months with limited sweets due to a stricter diet at home, I decided to try a couple of desserts from Dreena Burton’s Plant-Powered Families. My family needed a few healthy treats.

3 recipes

We tried her Fudgesicles, Chocolate Chia Pudding, and Oatmeal Banana Bites.

Nicer Krispie Squares

But the “Nicer” Krispie Squares, with modifications based on ingredients I had on hand, was the biggest hit with my son.

Note: I used sunflower seed butter instead of the macadamia nut butter for a nut-free version. I used maple syrup instead of brown rice syrup, which made the squares a little more brittle but still delicious. I did not use the spices she suggested and I used chocolate brown rice crisp cereal, instead of the plain.

Dreena’s “Nicer” Krispie Squares 

Nicer Krispie Squares_WEB

Makes 16 squares

This recipe first appeared in my cookbook Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, and it is such a well-loved, kid-friendly recipe that I had to share a nut-free version here! These squares taste phenomenal, with the buttery richness of the macadamia nut butter and the sweetness of brown rice syrup. They aren’t sticky or gooey like traditional Rice Krispie squares, but the flavor is remarkably similar!

1/2 cup macadamia nut butter (see note for nut free options)

1–2 tablespoons coconut sugar or other unrefined sugar (see note)

1/4 teaspoon agar powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1–11/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 cups natural brown rice crisp cereal (see note)

Line an 8″ × 8″ pan with parchment paper. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the macadamia nut butter, coconut sugar, agar powder, sea salt, brown rice syrup, and vanilla extract. Stir continually as the mixture heats, until the agar powder is fully dissolved (reduce heat if mixture starts bubbling).

Remove from the heat and stir in the cereal, making sure to fully incorporate with the nut butter mixture. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press in evenly (use a nonstick spatula or a piece of parchment to press the mixture without sticking). Refrigerate to cool completely, then cut into squares.

Nut-Free Options:

  • With coconut butter: This is my suggested nut-free option; it may even rival the macadamia nut version, simply because it has a similar mellow flavor but holds together even better— and agar is not needed! Simply replace the macadamia nut butter with 1/3 packed cup coconut butter (not oil). Omit the agar. The remaining ingredients stay the same.
  • With sunflower seed butter: Sunflower seed butter has a stronger nutty taste, almost peanut-y. With this substitution the squares taste different than a traditional Rice Krispie square, but it’s still a nice option. Use 1/2 cup of sunflower seed butter, 3–4 tablespoons of coconut sugar, and add 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom to balance the seed butter flavor. Use the full 11/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and retain the sea salt and agar. A sprinkle of mini chocolate chips just before transferring to the pan is also good!

Sugar Note: I don’t always add the coconut sugar to these squares. For me, the brown rice syrup adds sufficient sweetness. If you think you’d like them a little sweeter, use the added touch of sugar.

Brown Rice Crisp Cereal Note: These squares use the crisp rice cereal similar to Rice Krispies. There are a few organic and brown rice brands available; one of my favorites is by Erewhon.

Chocolate Version: To make a chocolaty version, add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder while melting the ingredients. Whisk through to get out any small lumps. You may want the additional sweetener if using cocoa powder, since it will introduce some bitterness.

Give-Away

Dreena’s book is full of other healthy choices besides desserts: breakfast, lunch, salad, dinner recipes, as well as solutions for picky eaters, lunchbox options, and plant-powered family support. Interested in getting your own book? Let me know in the comments below WHY you would be interested in winning Dreena’s book and please LIKE my Facebook page. US/Canada residents get a physical copy, while International readers will get an e-book. The winner will be announced on the 30th of June 2015 at 9am EST.

THANK YOU!

Forget Statins for Kids: Lower LDL with a Vegan Diet

16 Jun

Over the past year, our family has changed how we eat… yet again.

After our 7 year old Vegan decided to become an Omnivore, we discovered he had extremely high LDL. Several doctors we consulted suggested statins if he was unable to lower his cholesterol. Our goal was to decrease his LDL dramatically.

A Largely Vegetarian Diet Did Not Work

My first response was for him to go back to a Vegan diet but he argued that he wanted to try a largely Vegetarian diet with meat a couple times a month. After 6 months, his LDL stayed basically the same around the high 180s mg/dL.

Vegan Diet Is The Answer

I suggested switching back to a strict Vegan diet. He agreed. After another 6 months, his LDL decreased by 80 mg/dL. Although barely in the normal range, we were all ecstatic. More importantly, my son saw for himself the results of the Vegan diet.

Going Forward

So, what is my son doing these days?

Here is his basic daily health plan which I modified from Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s recommendations for adults.

Health Plan

My son and I need to make sure he gets to write a check mark beside at least 7 things on this list a day: daily exercise, fresh air/time outdoors, at least 3 cups of fruit, at least 2 tablespoons of nuts/seeds/avocado, at least 1/4 cup of whole grains, at least 1 cup of steamed vegetables, at least 1 cup of raw veggies, at least 1/2 bowl of beans/tofu, and a minimum of 1 tablespoon of any sugar (this one is a difficult one!). He is allowed desserts only on the weekend. He is allowed any food of his choice when we do not eat at home, which is only a few times a month.

Is it doable? YES! Is he totally on board? YES!

He has another blood test in a couple of months and I will be sure to update you! In the meantime, Vegan is our way at home!

This Vegan Mama Cooked Lamb

31 Oct

Photo Oct 30, 18 57 56003

 

I chopped a lamb’s leg yesterday morning. I haven’t done that in over 7 years. It was a weird feeling. I had gloves on, washed my hands really well, and even showered, yet the odor of meat still stuck to me for the rest of the day. I roasted the meat for dinner and the smell pervaded the house even more.  I had forgotten how cooked lamb smells. I had forgotten how much cleaning is involved in preparing fresh meat. I had forgotten how the rubbish smells the day after, and worse, the days after that.

Vegans: don’t judge me.

After three years of Vegan food at home, my family has started craving animal products with an intensity I had not seen before.  It was time for me to be sensitive to their wants and needs too. They have asked for meat once a week. They also asked for more Vegetarian meals. It has been a difficult transition for me. I am relearning how to cook with butter, eggs, dairy, and meats. I struggle having to create two separate balanced meals: one for them and one Vegan for me. At certain times, I have broken down and eaten some of their foods because I honestly had no time left in my day to make any for myself.

As I strive to understand my family and how our kitchen is changing, I remember what my friend Ian told me: it is important that I grow together with my family, and not grow apart.

Yes, this is what I choose to do.

Nori Wraps

29 Jul

A meal that takes less than 5 minutes!

Simply mix a huge bowl of salad. Use whatever ingredients you want! Easy minute salad is all I had time for last night.

Place some on a nori sheet.

Wrap.

Eat.

Happy Healthy  Tummy!

Is Veganism Safe For Babies?

9 Jul

HuffPost Live

First of all, thank you Nancy Redd and HuffPost Live for having me for a much needed discussion. Watch the video here!

My thoughts to:

  • @chubbyveganmom – wish we were closer! I totally see our kids having fun in the kitchen together!
  • @FatGirlPosing – enjoy looking at your photos!  I thought you’d be interested in the new study out by National Health and Nutrition Examination
    Survey (NHANES) that states it is the lack of exercise, not food intake, that causes obesity.

Vegan Mamas out there: Are your Vegan Babies Healthy? Would love to hear from you!!!

NOTE: My Twitter is @MamaInDKtchn! Also, our family members are ranked rowers (NOT national rowers… wish we were though)! :)

 

Raw Raspberry Pudding

29 Jun

Raw Raspberry Pudding

Easy Minute Salad

29 Jun

Easy Minute Salad

Raw Chocolate Pudding

29 Jun

Raw Chocolate Pudding

bananas, avocados, dates and cacao powder

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Successfully Treat Plantar Warts?

26 Jun

Problem

My dear friend’s daughter suffered for over a year with big plantar warts on her feet. She couldn’t walk for months!

Freezing DID NOT help. The warts only grew bigger.

Oregano oil DID NOT help either.

What helped? Soaking with Apple Cider Vinegar!

 Results

 

These are the photos after soaking the foot, from Day 1 onwards.
Photo Jun 25, 18 36 14Photo Jun 25, 18 36 08Photo Jun 25, 18 36 26

After 2 weeks, the warts fell off!Photo Jun 25, 18 36 11Photo Jun 25, 18 36 30Photo Jun 25, 18 36 21

The warts are gone. The pain is gone. The foot is BETTER!

It’s hard to believe ALL the hype about apple cider vinegar, but when a friend shows you photographed proof like this… I went right to Vitacost to order some bottles of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar!

 

What Now?

Now, my friend’s question is:  what can we do internally for our daughter so that the warts don’t come back?

Here’s some preliminary research:

– BOOST the IMMUNE SYSTEM

Boost Your Immune System to Fight HPV Naturally

How to Avoid Recurring Warts

Ayurvedic Nutrition suggests boosting immunity through a Vata diet, with nuts (especially almonds and cashews), seeds (flax and sesame) and whole grains, as well as Wheat Grass, spirulina, collards, garlic, jerusalem artichokes, and mushrooms.

– VISIT a NATURAPATH. My Naturapath, Dr. Jenkins of Nature Works, suggests many methods, including:

– treating HPV (the wart virus) through NAET (and NOT vaccinate with Gardasil)

– blue light therapy which helps kill the virus

tapping the thymus gland boosts the immune system

PLEASE COMMENT below and let us all know what worked for you!

An Omni Hubby Goes RAW Vegan for One Week

17 Jun

My Vegan Homeschool buddy, Bonnie, finally succeeded in getting her Omnivore Hubby, Crosby, to go on a Raw Vegan Diet for a week. Together, they lost almost 10 pounds. Bonnie discovered more energy and Crosby discovered he could actually enjoy Raw Vegan foods.

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Day 1

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Day 2

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Day 3

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Day 4

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Day 5

photo 2 (1)

Day 6

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Day 7

Q: Why did you and hubby decide to go raw? How did you convince your hubby to do it with you?  

B – I am Vegan. I want to drop a few pounds and thought I would with a raw diet. I also think it is the most healthy way to eat.

C- Just to see if it would make me feel better. I have ulcerative colitis and wondered if a raw diet would improve my condition.

 

Q: For how long did you eat just raw foods?

B- 100% for 7 days. Now probably 90%

C- 100% for 6 days. Now 10%

 

Q: How did you feel?  

B – I feel better after having lost a few pounds. I always have more energy when I am on a raw diet. I don’t get that afternoon slump and sleep better at night.

C – I was tired the first 4 days, then I felt the way I normally feel.

 

Q: What was the best day?

B – I didn’t really have a best day.

C – The best day was when I no longer felt hungry. Probably day 3.

 

Q: What was the worst day?

B – I didn’t have a worst day.

C – Day 2. I was hungry and tired.

 

Q: What did you crave that was raw during the whole process?

B – I really enjoyed bananas and dates.

C – Avocados and nuts.

 

Q: What did you crave that was not raw during the whole process?

B – I didn’t have any cravings.

C – Meat.

 

Q: What was the best meal? Worst?

B – Collard rolls with sunflower seed pate were great. A beet salad that I made with cumin was not so good.

C – Avocado, tomato and basil plate with Italian dressing. I liked them all.

 

Q: Any side effects of this raw week?

B – I lost 4 lbs and had more energy.

C – I lost 5 lbs.

 

Q: Would you do it again?

B – I would like to eat that way all the time. Its is just hard to find time to prepare both kinds of food (cooked and raw) every day.

C – Probably not 100% raw, but maybe more raw dishes during the week.

 

Q: What was the first thing you ate after the whole week?

B – Some stir fried vegies and rice.

C – A Chick-Fil-A sandwich. A real hot-dog the next day.

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Q: What was the hardest part of the process?

B – Making a lot of different dished to keep Crosby from getting tired of the food.

C – I did not feel satiated. I never felt satisfied even if I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: What was the most surprising part of the process?

B – I was surprised that I had so much energy and that I was not hungry.

C – I wasn’t hungry.

 

Q: How are you changed?

B – I think it will be easier to add more raw meals into our weeknow that Crosby has tried to eat this way.

C – I am more open to eating raw.

 

Q: What was the nastiest thing someone had said about your week?

B – Not really nasty, but it annoys me when people try to tell me I’m not getting enough protein.

C – No one was nasty, but I did get some razzing about not eating meat.

 

Q: How has this experience changed your relationship with food, your family, or everyday diet?

B – It made me realize that I enjoy eating simple salads and fruit more than more complicated dishes.

C – There are some really tasty raw dishes that are fun to eat. My brother encouraged me to change my diet if I thought there were benefits to my health. I appreciated his concern for my health.

 

Both Bonnie and Crosby’s efforts are inspiring: Bonnie, for preparing amazing Raw Vegan dishes for a whole week, and Crosby, who was open to eating RAW for a week. Kudos to both of them!

 

Vegan Son’s High Cholesterol After Switching to Omnivore Diet

30 May

The Art of Proper Eating

A few months ago after an allergy test cleared him for some animal proteins, my Vegan 7 year old son wanted to eat beef jerky, cheese and eggs, and drink goat’s milk. Although as a Vegan, I would naturally like my son to reap the benefits of a plant-based diet, I allowed him to decide for himself. Besides, he would still be eating a whole lot of vegetables and fruits in my kitchen.

My son relished the flavors of foods he had not tasted in years. He drank raw goat’s milk everyday, ate eggs once or twice a week, and ate a few strips of beef jerky on the weekend. Still pretty healthy. Not bad, right?

Fruits on the Counter

Well… recently his Pediatric Well Visit showed that his cholesterol was just too high. The blood tests were re-done after a few days on a Vegetarian diet and results were a bit better. The overall cholesterol decreased from 290’s to 250’s, but his LDL cholesterol levels were at 188mg/dL. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics,  “A total cholesterol level greater than 200 mg/dL and LDL-C greater than 130 mg/dL represent values above the 95th percentile for children and are designated as high.” Drug therapy is recommended when LDL cholesterol levels are at 190 mg/dL or higher.

How could this be? My son’s slim, we eat more fruit and vegetables than most, and he is an athlete. Unless, of course, his cholesterol problem is hereditary.

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The doctor suggested our son return to a Vegan Diet for 6 months. We can then figure out his base cholesterol levels, and go from there.

Here’s hoping that Vegan Food does its magic. I don’t want my young son on medication!

Thai Sweet Sticky Chia with Mango

2 Apr Coconut Chia with Mango

Ataulfo Mangoes are now in season and Whole Foods is giving one of my readers a $75 Gift Card!*

Coconut Chia with Mango. I prefer it a lot more mangoes.

Do you ever crave for Thai Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango?  Well… I do!  This is so easy and simple to prepare, I wish I had done it sooner.  I love this as a dessert and even as a breakfast pudding.

Mix together in a bowl and set aside overnight:

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup raw local honey

1 cup chia seeds

3 cups fresh coconut milk (about 2 Thai coconuts: open and place white meat and coconut water in the high speed blender and puree)

The next day, top the pudding with mangoes and sprinkle on some sesame seeds.  If you want, you can drizzle some sauce on top (freshly made coconut milk mixed with more raw local honey).

*To join the Whole Foods Giveaway, just comment below with your fave mango recipe and we will choose the winner noon, 15th April 2014. Whole Foods will email you the $75 Gift Card! Good luck! And enjoy other ways to eat mangoes!

Easy Roasted Asian Sweet Potatoes

2 Mar

As a side dish or as a snack, this is comfort food for the whole family.

Easy Roasted Asian Sweet Potato

Ingredients

2 large Asian Sweet Potatoes, chopped into bite size chunks (we love to keep the skin on for extra crunch and nutrients)*

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

unrefined olive oil or coconut oil, as needed

1 tablespoon Sucanat, or your choice of sweetener

Method

Easy Roasted Asian Sweet Potato

  1. Heat the oven to 400F.
  2. Mix the sweet potato chunks, cinnamon, sea salt and oil in a pan.
  3. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Take out of the oven and sprinkle with Sucanat.
  5. Mix well and serve.

*Note: Make sure to choose the Asian Sweet Potato that is reddish purple on the outside and beige on the inside. When roasted, the edges of the Asian Sweet Potato become deliciously crunchy whereas the regular American Sweet Potato tends to soften dramatically in this recipe.

Mama’s Now Cooking!

18 Feb

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Yup, this Mama is cooking again! After a few years on a highly Raw Vegan diet, our family’s wants and needs have now changed.  

No More Tree Nuts

Our son has become highly allergic to cashews and pistachios, and we want to make sure there is no cross-reactivity, cross-contamination, nor cross-contact reactions to any other tree nuts. This change rules out many Raw Vegan recipes. We also discovered that his allergies to dairy and eggs have cleared. The test also showed a mild allergy to soy. I see no good reason to make my son feel we are controlling and restricting his diet further. We are now allowing him to make more food choices for himself. He is still trying new things and figuring out what he likes and what his body prefers. So far, he is enjoying his rediscovery of raw goat’s milk and cooked eggs. He’s also since tried store-bought beef and bison jerky, which he says he absolutely loves.

Raw vs Cooked, Vegan vs Vegetarian Foods

As for my husband, he is pretty tired of raw Vegan food, although he still enjoys our faves. It’s nice when he does request for them. He prefers cooked Vegan and Vegetarian foods.

Where do I fit in?  I’m the Vegan Mama who buys and prepares/cooks the Vegan and Vegetarian food for a son who loves goat’s milk, a hubby who prefers soy milk, and for myself who can live on raw foods. Cooking for three people with different food preferences is not admittedly such an easy task when our homeschool days are full.

Keeping Mama in the Kitchen and she ain’t cookin’

I have decided to keep this blog, along with the research and the recipes on Raw Vegan foods, in hopes that the information can continue to help more people out there. My future posts, however, will reflect the new changes in our family’s dietary choices.

Hoping you stick around to watch us on our journey!

The Beans That Blew My Cares Away

27 Mar

My family’s consumption of raw vegan foods has decreased tremendously. We had raw fruit pudding for breakfast today though and the boys licked the Vitamix clean. Hubby enjoyed his raw Chia Lime drink too. I also made an Asian salad, which unfortunately is still sitting in the fridge deteriorating as I write. My family started consuming soy products too, including non-organic processed fake meat once a week. Woo-hoo Bill Gates for supporting fake meat!  For you ‘unprocessed’ die-hards out there, it sounds bad. I know! I’m one of you and just writing it makes me cringe.

Yes, I feel like a Raw Vegan Mama failure sometimes, especially after reading an article that more and more families in England are now going raw and seem successful at it… and even Gwyneth Paltrow‘s kids are dairy, sugar, gluten and soy free (she has a second cookbook to prove it)!  Ok, where can I buy kids like Apple and Moses who don’t complain about being hungry without their fave foods?

In an effort to discover healthier and bulkier cooked vegan foods, I found this Bean Confit recipe on-line the other day and adapted it for my slow-cooker. (Look, if it ain’t raw, I gotta have someone else in charge of cookin’ it if it takes hours.  Is there a devoted Homeschool Mama out there with enough time to spend hours in the kitchen cookin’? Besides The Pioneer Woman…)

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Anyway, the cranberry beans mixed with the rosemary, oregano and garlic made my house smell damn good.  I ate a few bowls of the bean confit for dinner and the crazy amount of extra virgin olive oil gave it a richness and creaminess that comforted me. I dreamed about these barlotti beans that night and the next day while I drove my son to his violin lesson. I think I’ll make another batch tomorrow, with lots of raw veggies for me on the side. It’s  that satisfying especially on a cold Spring day.

Recipe:

27 oz dried cranberry beans (barlotti, as they are known in Italian)

Soak overnight with enough water to cover it by a few inches. Drain and rinse the next day. Place in a slow cooker, add fresh water to cover well and cook on high for 5-6 hours till slightly tender. Drain some of the water, so that the beans peak out of the water. Add the beans back into the slow cooker, top with:

a few sprigs of rosemary

a few sprigs of oregano

a few cloves of garlic

a couple teaspoons of sea salt, try 4 teaspoons (I had no problem adding the salt at this stage)

enough extra virgin olive oil to just cover all the beans.

Cook on low for 2-3 hours. Season to taste. Serve!

The bean confit brought me back down to earth from my Raw Vegan high horse. I got rid of all my hot air and what a relief. I can finally say it is OK to let go of the Raw Vegan Mama Power I had held on to for so long and let my family eat what they want to eat. I now understand that their happiness is truly more important to their well-being than having to eat ‘the right foods’ everyday at every meal.

I also learned:

  1. No more scare tactics. “That’s not healthy for you! Do you know what junk food will do to you? That’s disgusting!”
  2. Satisfy their cravings so they don’t feel so deprived. My son has been asking me for months what Jell-O tastes like. I finally made him some homemade ‘Jell-O’ today from fresh coconut milk and agar-agar. He loved it. He keeps giving me hugs for the foods I’m letting him eat.
  3. I’m a softy. I need to feel… ummm… loved and not resented at the dinner table. “That was yummy! You’re the best Mama in the Kitchen!” instead of “What? Eeewww! This again! This is horrible! Do I have to eat that? Your food isn’t as good as (name of fave restaurant here). I want to eat out…”

Sweet Rice Cakes: Quick, Healthy and Gluten-Free

26 Jan

When I asked my son what he wanted for breakfast, he smiled at me and hugged me tightly, “Cupcakes!”

Really?  Hmmmmpf!  Let’s just say I made an extra effort to be sure he enjoyed his healthy meals today.

green-sundae2001

For breakfast, we had our favorite Green Sundae.  It is always a big hit!  Instead of oranges, bananas and avocado, today I substituted pears for oranges.  Delicious. My hubby actually prefers it with pears.

Sweet Rice Cakes

For a snack, I made Palitaw, which I grew up eating for ‘merienda’ (snack time).  It’s quick and easy to make.

1. Boil water.

2. Make a thick batter of Sweet Rice Flour and water. Make sure the batter is thick enough so you are able to form small balls and then flatten them in your hands to resemble pancakes. The batter is not as sticky when your hands are a little damp with cold water.

3. Carefully drop the cakes in boiling water.

4. When the cakes resurface and float, they are done.

5. Carefully lift the cakes out of the water and place on a plate.  Sprinkle with equal parts Sucanat (dehydrated cane sugar) and coconut (I used raw dehydrated coconut, but freshly grated mature coconut is traditionally used). You can also add a little mixture of sesame seeds and salt.

6. Serve.

My son ate two pieces and exclaimed, “Mama! This is the best!”

I guess he didn’t miss his cupcake.

Mama’s Massaman Curry

15 Jan

Massaman Curry

A real curry made from scratch, my Vegan Massaman Curry is family friendly: just enough spice to satisfy parents and just sweet enough to get kids hooked on this creamy dish.

  • Saute in 1/2 cup of water:

1 chopped onion
2 carrots, diced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder

  • When onion is soft, add in:

all the fresh mature coconut milk squeezed from 2 mature coconuts and 3 cups of water (recipe here)

  • Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.  Cook until slightly thickened.  Then add in your choice of vegetables. Make sure there is enough so that the vegetables just peek out of the sauce.  This way, you have a good ratio of veggies to sauce (not too much sauce leftover when the veggies are all gone and just enough sauce to eat with the veggies):

6 medium red potatoes, chopped

1 pint mushrooms, chopped

4 c broccoli florets, chopped

  • Simmer until vegetables are tender around 10 – 15 minutes, then add:

6 tbspns Tamari or Nama Shoyu
5 – 6 tbspns Sucanat, to taste
2 tbspns fresh lime juice

  • Mix well until well blended and sweetener is dissolved.
  • Serve with Rice (we love a mix of short grain brown rice and sweet rice: cook both together with twice the amount of water for 50 minutes) and top with Salted Peanuts (we use Raw Wild Jungle Peanuts, which is available at our health food shop).

Fresh Mature Coconut Milk

15 Jan


Mature Coconut Milk  from Scratch

If you want to cook with coconut milk, you have to use the milk from mature coconuts.  While we love my raw Curry in a Hurry made from young coconuts, the boys have been craving cooked Massaman Curry with potatoes.  So my hubby bought some mature coconuts the other day and opening it became a family affair.

Mature Coconuts

Since I didn’t have an ice pick, hubby used a drill to make 3 holes on top of the coconut to drain the coconut water out.

The Three Holes in a Mature Coconut

We wrapped the coconut in a towel and my son hammered it open.  It helps so that pieces of coconut don’t fly out everywhere.

Hammering Mature Coconut

Make sure you hammer it more at this stage so you have smaller pieces to work with.  Prying out the meat from a big piece of coconut, like below, is tough.

Opened Mature Coconuts

With a knife, separate the coconut meat from the coconut shell.

Meat from Mature Coconut

Peel the brown skin off the meat, as this part is hard and difficult to chew.

Peel Coconut Meat

Place the peeled coconut meat in your high speed blender with water.  We blended meat from 2 mature coconuts with 3 cups of water.

Clean Coconut Meat

It will seem very thick.  Place in a nut bag and squeeze out all the liquid.

Mature coconut blended with water

You will have about 3 1/2 cups of pure mature coconut milk.  Compared to other nut milks, mature coconut milk is as white and creamy as cow’s milk.  I had to stop myself from drinking more than a sip or else we wouldn’t have enough for our curry.

Mature Coconut Milk

 

Click here for more information about different coconuts and their nutritional effects on our health from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Click here for a nutritional comparison between Young and Mature Coconut Water and Meat.

Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever

13 Jan

My son calls this the Yummiest Raw Coconut Milk Ever!  Not only is it yummy, it is also very easy to make. You only need three ingredients: young Thai Coconut, Vanilla Extract and Raw Honey.

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  1. Open up a Thai Coconut.  Pour the coconut water in a Vitamix.  Take all the white meat out and place in the Vitamix along with the coconut water.
  2. Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of the Singing Dog Vanilla Extract (the one with the vanilla bean in it!).
  3. Add raw honey to taste (usually a tablespoon).  Or alternatively, choose another sweetener.
  4. Blend all together.  Serve.

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

12 Jan

Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts

So I told you I started cooking vegetables to death, right? And, I discovered that my family is consuming a wider variety and a higher quantity of vegetables than before. While my boys learned slowly to shun all raw veggies, cooked ones have a different effect at our dinner table.  The other night, after drinking a huge amount of fresh coconut milk, my son asked for seconds and thirds of both Roasted Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts.  I had to touch his forehead just to make sure he was feeling all right.

Some of my readers wanted me to share these kid-popular recipes… well here they are: quick, easy and addictive.

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

2 cauliflower heads, florets chopped into bite size pieces

1 tbspn fresh ginger, minced

1 tbspn ground coriander

sea salt, to taste (I usually use 1 tsp or less per 1 pound of veggies)

extra virgin olive oil, just enough to coat all the vegetables

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well to evenly distribute spices and oil.
  3. Roast at 400F until brown at the edges but not burned black.  The brown crispy bits actually create a chips-like quality to this vegetable that make them addictive.

 

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Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels Sprouts, cleaned and halved

1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt, to taste

extra virgin olive oil, just enough to coat all the vegetables

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mix well to evenly distribute spices and oil.
  3. Roast at 400F until browned at edges, but not burned black.  Like the cauliflower, the browned crispy bits here make these addictive.

A Vegan Athlete Rows a Marathon and Finishes 4th in the World!

6 Jan

Proud of my husband who has accomplished so much for someone who has only been rowing for 2 years.

Proud of my husband who has trained for months – even during the few weeks when a bug visited our house and we all just wanted to be in bed.

Proud of my husband who decided to stick to his Vegan diet.  Having turned Vegan 2 years ago, he persevered the rigorous athletic training on a plant-based diet.

Here are some thoughts from my husband post his indoor rowing marathon today.

We are an indoor rowing family.  My son is dressed as Wolverine with a serious look on his face.  He wants to beat his record too!

My son, on the rowing machine, is dressed as Wolverine with a serious look on his face.  When he found out his dad came in 4th, he exclaimed: “What? Is that it? I wanted you to finish 1st!”

What is 42,195 meters?

It’s the same distance people run for a marathon – 26 miles and 385 yards.  To cover this distance on an indoor rower, it took me 2 hours 51 minutes and 36 seconds, which currently ranks me 4th in my age group and 7th overall in the world for lightweight male rowers of any age.  It took me close to four months of training to prepare.

What does it feels like?

” Marathon runners talk about hitting ‘the wall’ at the twenty-third mile of the race. What rowers confront isn’t a wall; it’s a hole – an abyss of pain, which opens up in the second minute of the race. Large needles are being driven into your thigh muscles, while your forearms seem to be splitting. Then the pain becomes confused and disorganized, not like the winded-ness of the runner or the leg burn of the biker but an all-over, savage unpleasantness. ” — Ashleigh Teitel, rower

What energy is expended during this row?

About 2,800 calories which are more calories than the average American eats in 24 hours.

My weight dropped by 5.6 pounds (mostly water loss).

What effort did it take?

Heart rate averaged 80% of maximum.

Wattage output average was 193.

12 new blisters, one was big enough to pop with 1 hour of rowing remaining.

Leg muscles still twitching 3 hours after completing the row.

Why do it?

To overcome a fear of failure.

Finding Balance

29 Dec

I haven’t been posting on this blog for a few months because I end this year a little more tentative than I began. In the beginning of Autumn this year, my dear son and hubby decided on “no more nuts”. This was followed by “no more raw smoothies”. Then “no more raw salads”. In other words, NO MORE RAW ANYTHING.

Gah, had I pushed them too far?

So, I started cooking more and more veggies: in soups, with dressing, steamed, boiled, baked, etc. And, I discovered that my family actually have increased their intake of veggies this way. Dead broccoli is the new fave around here and mushroom miso soup. Surprise, surprise – I even lost a few pounds without all the added fats from nuts.

Cooked to death Broccoli.  Boil till the broccoli breaks apart.  Dress with orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and olive oil.

Cooked to death Broccoli: boil till the broccoli breaks apart, dress with a mixture of orange juice or balsamic vinegar, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. My son loves it!

But I’m still a firm believer in RAW, so I slowly but surely added back some old faves after a month or two. Without complaints, we are all enjoying raw fruit puddings for breakfast again, Japanese and Kale salads for pre-meals and lots of coconut smoothies. We are not quite as raw as I would like, but dare I say I have found a new kind of “balance”?

I don’t know how RAW families do it. How do they function in society? How do they enjoy being with family and friends who don’t eat the way they do? How do their kids relate to other kids in the community? My big guess is that they don’t… not really in the same capacity we do. My second guess is that husband and wife have to agree on diet and nutrition principles to make it work for the family. My third guess is that the parents have to impose and work hard to ingrain these beliefs at home (unless the children have allergies and sickness that inhibit their diets). I cannot imagine regular kids not wanting what other mainstream kids can have – unless they don’t have much of a relationship with other kids, and therefore have no knowledge base of what goes on “on the other side”.

My husband recently bought some Maine root beer, a package of cereal and a carton of soy milk. My son’s hoarding some Vegan candy canes and has a new obsession with gum (it was hard finding one he isn’t allergic to).

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked?

Our Xmas Experiment: will Santa prefer the processed candy the restaurant gave you or will he prefer the homemade Vegan cookies we baked from scratch? We discovered that Santa prefers homemade cookies to processed candy… and even left a small bit behind.

As a Mama, it is hard to let go of control – especially in the kitchen. But this year, I found more peace and happiness at the dining table by relinquishing more control over my family’s diet. I still buy the groceries, prepare and cook our food. I still educate my family on food matters. But at the end of the day, I let go and allow them the freedom to choose what they want to eat.

A little discouraged one day, I asked my husband and son separately if they wanted to branch out from our Vegan diet, they both said “NO”. Are you sure? “YES!” Both look forward to their fave homemade organic and Vegan cooked foods: Mulligatawny Soup, Shepherd’s Pie, Japanese Buckwheat Noodles, Popcorn and Chocolate Chip Cookies. But I notice they too have their fave raw foods. My son was sick recently and only wanted to eat fruit. He prefers to start each day with bananas and he asks for fresh raw coconut milk almost everyday. He will eat a huge bowl of romaine lettuce. My hubby can drink a quart of green smoothie during a meal and he will keep going back for more salad.

I offer my family healthy food, I empower them with current food knowledge, and I model good eating habits. Then, I let go in peace.

DIY Raw Anti-Aging Face Mask and Moisturizer

6 Sep DIY Face Mask

DIY Face Mask

This Face Mask is so delicious… I was eating it before, during and after applying it on my face! I adapted PeggyKotsopoulos’ Anti-Aging Homemade Natural Skin Face Mask recipe into a Raw Vegan one.

Simple Face Mask Ingredients

Raw Vegan Face Mask

Puree all together:

  • 1 banana (potassium revitalizes the skin)
  • 1 avocado (for vitamins A and E to soften the skin)
  • 1/2 orange, juiced (vitamin C)
  • 1 big spoonful raw almond butter (more vitamin E and protects skin from pollutants)
  • 1 big spoonful raw honey (for blemishes and zits, and anti-aging properties) (if you don’t use honey, try olive oil or a few drops of sea buckthorn oil instead)

Step 1: Apply generously to your face. Leave it on for 10 – 20 minutes. It will begin feeling firm and tight.

Step 2: Wipe off. My face felt kind of ‘matte’. Then rinse.

Step 3: Apply just enough DIY Anti-Aging Moisturizer and feel your face loving it. Notice my cheeks are a little rosy and glowing.

Anti-Aging Moisturizer

In a small tub, mix together:

Peggy’s book Must Have Been Something I Ate also contains other very easy and simple homemade beauty products, suck as natural skin exfoliators, toners, lip balm, lip gloss, body moisturizer, cellulite treatment, acne zapper, age-spot remover, teeth whitener and breath freshener.

Step 4: Allow your face to soak it all in.

I was surprised that extra-virgin olive oil is not at all greasy. The skin soaks it all in and my skin feels wonderful!

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