Natural Living February – Oil Cleansing

I have noticed a lack in natural living posts here as of late so I am here today to share my new favourite way to clean my face.

If you are someone who lives a more natural lifestyle or follows organic/natural trends you have probably heard of oil cleansing before. If you haven’t it may seem absolutely bonkers to you. To be honest at first I thought the idea of cleaning my face with oil seemed so backwards but I was so intrigued by it I wanted to give it a shot.
With how cold it has been this winter and we installed a wood stove in our house, which is a very dry heat, my skin was taking a beating.  I was using my regular cleanser Cocoon Apothecary Petal Purity, which I love and is a great gentle cleanser, but my skin was getting terrible dry patches along my hair line, eyebrows and nose. I decided to give oil cleansing a try and it has kept my skin extremely moisturized and dry skin at bay.

What is Oil Cleansing?

Oil cleansing is using a natural oil to clean your skin. I could describe in detail but this is how they explain it from The Oil Cleansing Method website:

“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.”

There are several oils you can use to oil cleanse: castor, coconut, sweet almond, olive, jojoba, sunflower, safflower. You can use one of these oils on their own or mixed together, depending on what works for your skin.
I use straight Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, I have tried olive oil and also a blend of different oils and found that coconut oil is what works best for my skin right now.
When I first started I did notice a week or so where my skin looked worse than when I started but after doing some reading I found that this is common as the skin is going through a ‘detoxing’ stage of removing all the impurities that have been trapped down in my pores. If this happens to you keep going with it, it does clear up!

How I Oil Cleanse

I take a teaspoon or so of coconut oil, rub it in my hands to warm it up then I gently rub it on my face, like I would a regular cleanser. I massage it around for 30 seconds to a minute, depending how dirty my face is (or how ambitious I’m feeling that night). I then take a face cloth and rub it under really hot water, wring it out, then gently place it on my face allowing the heat to open my pores up, I leave it there for about 30 seconds, rinse under hot water again then start to gently remove the oil from my face with the cloth. Once it looks like it is all removed I apply a little moisturizer, right now I’m using a few drops of Cocoon Apothecary Argan Oil. You may not need the extra moisture as the oil cleansing leaves the skin nicely moisturized, but with the dry winter air I definitely need the extra moisture!

Have you heard of or tried this method before? If you have tried it, what was your experience like?

Happy Saturday!!

Cranberry Seed Muffins

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I have been eyeing this recipe for awhile. I planned on baking them right away, then didn’t, then I added them to my holiday baking list and then they got pushed to the side. I am so happy I finally made them yesterday. I love the crunch from the seeds and the tart bites of the cranberries.

These make a great breakfast muffin or snack throughout the day. I love them as a snack right now, being pregnant I need something at work that is quick and nutritious to eat and with the whole wheat, wheat bran, seeds and fruit I think it comes together as a great fulfilling snack.

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Cranberry Seed Muffins – Canadian Living – makes  approximately 18 muffins

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran or wheat bran
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/3 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp finely grated orange rind
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups thawed cranberries

Topping

3 tbsp each oat bran, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

In a large bowl whisk together both flours, oat or wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add sunflower and pumpkin seeds, whisk to combine.

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In a separate bowl, whisk both sugars and the orange zest. Whisk in eggs and buttermilk. Whisk in butter until combined. Add into flour mixture in 2 additions until just combined. Fold in cranberries.

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Scoop into greased or paper lined muffin tins. Combine the topping ingredients into a small bowl and sprinkle on top of each muffin. Put prepared tins in a preheated 375F oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely on rack then store in air tight container.

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Delicious when warmed through with a little butter or coconut oil.

Enjoy!

Looking Back on 2013

2013 has been one of the most exciting and memorable years of my life. That is truly a bold statement but it really is the truth. Writing and blog wise, this year has been lacking. I’ve been so busy with other things that this project was pushed to the side. At times I felt guilty about it but I knew it was for the best and when I put something up here I want it to be of some quality and not just posting for the sake of it.

So why has 2013 been such a memorable year?

1 – This was the first year I spent living in my new home.

In October 2012 Ryan and I packed up our life and moved from the city in Southern Ontario to the country in Northern Ontario, St. Joseph Island. This is where Ryan grew up, his family roots run deep here and it always amazes me to hear stories of his childhood and how much the Kent’s have brought to this community.

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Moving has been an adjustment, not just in scenery but in lifestyle too. Instead of stopping at the grocery store for a few items every few days, I need to plan out my meals for a few weeks depending on when I’ll be able to get into town again. Even little things like how much internet usage we have (very minimal, because it’s too expensive!) to heating our house with wood instead of flicking on a switch.

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It’s humbling and has made me appreciate a slower pace of living. It definitely gives you room to breath and take in your surroundings rather than in the city where everything goes at a pace you can barely keep up with.

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2 – I married my best friend.

Ryan and I promised to love each other for always on June 22nd. After a reherseal dinner in a torrential downpour we were convinced we’d be getting married in the rain, and we had planned an outdoor wedding.

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We went to bed accepting this thought but when we woke it was clear and birds were signing us a beautiful song. We married on his parents front lawn to birds signing, the calmest, almost glass like water and sun peaking through the clouds. It was a dream.

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3 – Cross Country Honeymoon Road Trip

After Ryan and I married we set off on a 3 week road trip. We left with no real plan, we knew we were heading west through Canada but didn’t know exactly where we would go or what we would see. We decided not to plan too much, being on the open road without a plan seemed like more of an adventure and left the world open and waiting for us to explore it.

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In our 3 weeks on the road we went further than we ever expected. We made it all the way to the Grand Canyon! We traveled 12,000 KM’s, we explored the Rocky Mountains, visited with old friends, drove through the winding roads of the mountains in a sports car going way too fast. We camped under the desert starry sky, touched the Pacific Ocean, walked the beaches in California, got lost and fell in love in the beauty of the Redwood Forest, stood in awe of the Grand Canyon and finally drove 14,000 ft up Mount Evans.

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I crossed off many things on my bucket list in this short but amazing trip across the country and to share it with Ryan was amazing, a great way to kick off our marriage!

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Looking forward to the new year I know that 2014 will be just as memorable with the birth of our first child, watching my big sister get married and spending time with my growing family! I hope that my time here on A Simple Love For Food is more present than last year. I have good intentions set for myself and my health this year and hope to share that here with you.

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All the best to you and yours in the 2014, I hope health and happiness follow you throughout the year.

 

Last minute treats! Gingerbread Spiced Bark & Chai Gingerbread Squares

Ho! Ho! Ho!

I have some last minute recipes that are easy to make and you most likely have everything in your cupboard.
If you want to bake something, these Chai Gingerbread Squares are perfect!

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They are great warm or cold, on their own or with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Since this is a quick post I will direct you to the recipe rather than write it out. I followed it completely and didn’t adjust anything so if you’d like to make them click the link and check out Buttered Side Up’s site! Chai Gingerbread Bars

Next is a great alternative to traditional chocolate bark. I’ve been inspired by Tracy at Shutterbean‘s various bark recipes over the last week but didn’t have any of the toppings she posted on hand. I adjusted the spices in the Minimalist Baker’s Pumpkin Bark, instead of a pumpkin spice blend I used a combination of the spices that went into the gingerbread bars up above with the addition of nutmeg.

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Instead of pumpkin spice, add in a dash of nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice and cinnamon to the white chocolate. It adds such a nice flavour and spice to the bark, it makes it very festive!!

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Enjoy your holidays and time with your family. I hope you all have the most wonderful time! Happy Christmas to all of you!

 

 

 

An Announcement + Chocolate Crinkle Snowflake Cookies

Oh hey there! Are you still out there? I am still here.

I have been on the sidelines for the past month or so. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but it’s been a long time since I’ve posted a recipe. For good reasons too, the past few months I haven’t felt myself and I am finally starting to feel normal again and my energy and appetite is increasing day by day.

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I am 16 weeks into my first pregnancy (!!!!) and like most women it’s been off to a rough start. I will say I am lucky considering what I have gone through is nothing compared to some who are constantly sick, my heart goes out to those ladies.
For the longest time my appetite consisted of bread and butter, broth soups and plain pasta. I just couldn’t stomach (or smell) anything with too much flavour. When you’re trying to run a food blog, this can cause problems because most people know how to butter bread, open a package of saltine crackers and cook pasta and eat it. I figured it was better for me to take a leave then fill this space with very uninteresting recipes and stories of how tired I was.

Things are looking up though, I am started to feel back to my normal self, except dealing with a growing belly. For someone who’s body hasn’t changed much since hitting puberty, this is a big adjustment, but I’m looking forward to it!
Like I said, I’m getting back to my old self and it feels great! I cooked a delicious pork tenderloin with red onion compote tonight that I want to share with you all.
But first, since it’s the holiday season and you need yet one more cookie recipe to look at and wonder if you can fit it into your baking schedule, I’m going to share with you one of my new favourite recipes for the holiday season.

This may be something you bake regularly, or have enjoyed since you were a kid, or it may be new to you like it was to me. This is a popular recipe but I want to share it with you anyway because when I eat these it makes me think that a cookie and brownie got together and had this for a baby. It’s the perfect mix of cookie and brownie, topped with a delicious coating of icing sugar heaven. Yum!

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Chocolate Crinkle Snowflake Cookies

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups confectioners/icing sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cocoa powder, white sugar and vegetable oil until to comes together.
Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds each. Add in vanilla extract, mix until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, add in 1/4 of flour mixture at a time, until just combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let chill in fridge for 2 hours to overnight.
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Preheat over to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Put icing sugar in wide bowl. Scoop out batter and form with your hands into 1 inch sized balls, coat in icing sugar, thick coat is best and place on prepared baking sheets, leaving an inch between each ball. Repeat until all the mixture is formed into balls.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on baking sheets for 1-2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

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Enjoy!

Autumn Favourites

With the cold weather creeping in (we have snow already!), I thought it would be nice to share with you my current favourite products to have and use during the colder weather months.

Desert Essence – Spicy Vanilla Chai Hand and Body Lotion

A warm comforting scent and a rich creamy lotion, perfect for the dry air that is starting to dry my skin out!!

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https://www.desertessence.com/store/spicy-vanilla-chai-hand-and-body-lotion

Cheeky Cosmetics – Tinted Lip Balm

Just the right amount of colour, incredibly moisturizing with a lovely peppermint scent. I bought this last winter and was really sad to see she’s not selling them anymore. I would guess that the regular lip balm she still sells is as moisturizing and peppermint-y as the tinted though!

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http://www.cheekycosmetics.ca/lipbalm.html

Camino Instant Dark Hot Chocolate

Heavenly! I heat milk up on the stove, add the powder and if I’m feeling particularly indulgent add in more chocolate syrup. Yummo!

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http://well.ca/products/camino-dark-hot-chocolate_18769.html

Four O’Clock Rooibos Chai Tea

Chai tea is perfect cold weather flavour! I love it in the Rooibos as it is caffeine free with lots of health benefits!

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http://www.transherb.com/en/products/four.aspx?p=chai_rooibos_e

Cocoon Apothecary Argan Oil for Hair and Skin

I have issues with dry skin in the winter and some spots are particularly more dry than others, this helps enormously! I also apply a little to the ends of my hair to tame split ends and help restore some moisture back into my tips.

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http://www.cocoonapothecary.com/organic-argan-oil-skin-and-hair-serum/

*photos not originals*

I am here

It has been over a month since I showed my face around here. Apologies. My stomach hasn’t been feeling the best lately which means I haven’t been eating or cooking anything exciting enough to share here.
This past month has been eventful around here. We are in the process of installing a wood stove for our main source of heat. There is a wood shed attached to our house which has been used as a dumping ground for garbage for years prior to us moving us. Before we can put in our wood for the winter we have had to clean it out. Ryan has done waaaaaaaaay more than I have, and I appreciate him immensely. We should have wood burning soon… like maybe tonight! Whoa! Excitement is brewing!
I hope to get back in the kitchen soon and share some fall/winter foods with you all.
Thanks for being patient.