Homemade nut butter

I love peanut butter ! Unfortunately the commercially-produced versions usually have many ingredients I don’t agree with: palm oil, preservatives, sugar, refined salt… So I went looking for a recipe and found out that it is super easy to make your own !

For this nut butter you can use any nuts you like and you can control what goes in. I just made a batch of almond hazelnut butter with a little honey and salt, the result is just DIVINE !

Give it a try, you’ll never go back to the store-bought version.

sweet & crunchy breakfast oats

To be honest with you, I really don’t like oats much… in fact I can only eat a handful without feeling sick. But I have found a very old recipe that we used to have when I was a kid, and now I can eat a whole bowl of it in the morning!

Oats are super healthy: reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, help protect from cancer, lower bad cholesterol, improve immune system, increase appetite-control hormones, help control blood pressure, just to name some of the benefits. If you want more information about the benefits of oats check out this website.

To make your own breakfast oats you need:

500g rolled oats (optional: add nuts, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds or anything you like)

200-300g of cane sugar (or any non-refined sugar will do)

100g butter or cocnut oil

instructions

– slowly melt 70g of butter in a large pan, then add the sugar

– stir continuously until the sugar starts to dissolve, then add the oats

– stir continuously while adding the rest of the butter until the sugar is caramelised and your whole kitchen smells of it

this whole process can take up to 30 minutes, be careful not to ruin your pan by burning the caramel at the end!

Eating this for breakfast will make you last until lunchtime without feeling hungry. Enjoy!

Highly Sensitive People

I know, I know, I have been absent for too long… I’m just so busy with school and exam preparation at the moment, so at least I have an excuse.

To make up for it I’d like to write about something rather personal today and that would be the fact that I am an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). You’d probably haven’t had heard about this unless you are concerned by this yourself.

And honestly I am not sure if this „label“ is in fact helpful, but in our society we have this need to label each and every little discrepancy and call it an illness or a syndrom (and here we go again, another label). Being highly sensitive is not neither a physical not a mental illness, it is more like a personal characteristic. HSP simply have a nervous system that is more sensitive compared to that of a „normal“ person.

I, for example, register a lot more of what is going on around me and am most of the time unable to block out loud noises, strong smells, bright lights, people talking, pain, emotions, well lets say the environment in general. But what’s worse is that I even register things that other people don’t, like a very faint smell of perfume or sweat… I register the ticking of my wrist watch or hear the breathing of the person sitting next to me on the train. Once registered, it becomes the centre of attention, there’s no way of getting rid of it. It’s like a parasite, the more I try to shake it off, the less it is likely to disappear. And I assure you, if this happens to you in the exam room, you are literally screwed… unless you know how to deal with it. Unfortunately there’s no manual on how to deal with it, because every HSP is different, so everyone has to find out individually what works for them and what doesn’t. I haven’t finished figured it all out yet…

Apart from all these influences from the outside effecting me in everyday life, there’s also the fact that I am having trouble to establish relationships. Mostly I crawl back into the safety of my own company to avoid stressful situations. I have been told that I seem distant, indifferent, shy, anxious, hard to talk to and people around me start to think that I just want to keep to myself (but that’s not how I feel). That is probably what made me an easy target for mobbing in primary school.

Today I am not being mobbed, but I find it extremly hard to socialize. I am working on it though… sometimes it takes up all my strengths to not slide back into old habits, but I have to keep going and know my limits at the same time.

I was completely unaware of this phenomenon until I’ve read about it for the first time a couple of years ago. It was a relief to see that I am not alone and that there are so many others out there dealing with these seemingly irrational episodes. It is supposed that about 20% of the population worldwide are highly sensitive, but only a fraction of these actually know it. Most of them probably just think that something is wrong with them like I did ever since I can remember.

Know that I know that I am not just weird I can learn how to handle it and also see that it is not all bad. The world needs sensitive people, we can’t all be like robots!

how to get rid of chalky deposits in your bathroom/kitchen

I’m talking revolution here ! So open your eyes wide and read this, I promise you will be as astonished as I was.

Who has never scrubbed the bits on your tap to try and get the chalky deposits off until your arms were sore… well, I have, many times and it never quite came off despite of my tireless efforts. Even when I used one of those super chemical cleaning products it wouldn’t go away! So my boyfriend started mixing…

  • 500 ml of water
  • 500 ml of white vinegar (the cheap stuff works best)
  • 1 tbs of baking soda
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp or less of washing-up liquid (it might even work without that, but I haven’t tried yet)

It turns out to be the ultimate “Cillit Bang”, but 99% natural. We soaked our taps in this fluid for a couple of hours and then effortlessly washed it off with a sponge. No scrubbing invovled and now everything is as sparkly as when we first moved into this apartment. I really didn’t expect this!

But it makes sense, because this homemade cleaning product has the same pH value as its non-natural equivalent, so why shouldn’t it work? It’s all in the chemical reaction of the ingredients and the chalk. By the way you can also use this for your toilet or just for cleaning in general. The great thing is that while you get the same if not better result, you go easy on the environment and you don’t have to worry about your kids getting their hands on the product, because it’s not toxic.

When mixing the ingredients together however you should be careful. When you mix vinegar and baking soda, you trigger a chemical reaction. So if you do it too fast you’ll see your bottle overflowing for a couple of minutes and there’s no way of stopping it. (I speak from expierence) So you should put the vinegar into the bottle first and slowly add the baking soda and only then add the rest of the ingredients.

I hope you’ll enjoy cleaning from now on 😉 and don’t forget to let me know below if it works for you too!

vegan burgers

Last night I made the best ever burgers! Healthy and nourishing burgers -> contradiction? How on earth is that possible?

Here is the recipe and some quinoa facts: Quinoa burgers

Quinoa is a food that is more and more available even in regular super market. And although I don’t usually support foods that are imported from far away, I make an exception here, because quinoa is just so delicious. But I still try to make it special occasion meals, I always keep my CO2 footprint in mind when cooking. This is why I replaced the coconut oil with regular organic sunflower seed oil, which is locally available in Switzerland.

With these yummy burgers I didn’t serve normal potato chips, no I made baked butternut chips. This type of pumpkin is one of my favourits and of course it’s seasonal at this time of the year, which is another plus!

The chips are easy to make:

  • Preheat your oven on 220 °C
  • Peel the butternut and cut it into “french-fry-shaped” slices
  • Chuck them on a baking tray and sprinkle them with salt and cayenne pepper (or with anything you like for that matter)
  • Bake about 20 min on each side until the crust starts to become slightly crunchy

Enjoy your healthy autumn meal!

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what to do with your green tomatoes

That’s it… summer is over. When you look out of the window there’s only a grey, rainy sky greeting you. It’s cold and there are all those green tomatoes in the garden that didn’t get a chance to turn red.

Make Green Tomato Chutney! It’s really simple and so tasty, and the longer you keep it the better it gets. If you seal them well you can keep them up to a few months maybe even longer. To be sure they don’t go bad, store it in the fridge.

Check out the recipe here.

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alternative to animal milk

Our daily intake of dairy products is way too high. Although we have been using milk for centuries, our body is not actually made for it. Nowadays a lot of people develop an intolerance to lactose and the reason could possibly our overconsumption of dairy products in the first place.

Since I myself have been reacting to dairy products for a long time, I have made some research online to see if I can find an alternative to cow milk. Of course everyone knows soy milk, but honestly, I can’t stand it! I have tried a lot of different brands and so far I always ended up very disappointed. On top of it there’s the issue about the production of soy beans that is mostly not very ethical… But what options do we have that are available locally?

I have found recipes of hazelnut milk, almond milk, soy milk and oat milk. So you can even make it yourself, which will be a lot cheaper and healthier since these kind of products are usually only available in organic shops where everything is totally overpriced.

Making it yourself is very simple -> see here for the almond milk recipe for example.

So now I am trying to cut down on dairy products daily. I use homemade milk for cooking, breakfast, in coffee and more. Of course it doesn’t replace cheese or yogurt, and every now and then I still have that. But already cutting down to about half the amount of what I used to eat, will have a positive effect on my health I hope!

I any of you know how to make yogurt with homemade milk, please let me know !! I would appreciate any tips about it very much.

the oil cleansing method

IMG_1289A couple of months ago I started cleansing my skin with oil in the evenings, and the result so far wasn’t great. But I’ve just found out why on Crunchy Betty’s blog: Olive oil!

Haven’t I just told you that olive oil is great for almost anything, it’s like a magic fluid… it really is for a lot of things except for the oil cleansing method on your face… apparently olive oil can cause outbreaks, seems like this is quite a common problem. And this could be the reason…

But how does it work? 

As you may already know, your skin produces a sort of oil called sebum. So by cleaning your face with oil, you replace the dirty sebum with clean and nourishing oil.

This method is completely natural, no chemicals involved. Chemical soap, gel or foam facial cleansers usually strip your skin of its natural sebum and it goes into overdrive, trying to create more. And this will clog your pores -> blackheads, pimples and all that goes with it.

Are you convinced? Then read on and learn about which oils are most beneficial for your skin type.

How to choose your oils

IMG_1304 copyCastor oil should definitely be a part of your homemade mixture. It is naturally antibacterial and is easily washed off with water (compared to other oils…). All of my reference books/websites/blogs recommend this oil as the basis of the oil cleansing method.

 

Suitable carrier oils are the following:

  • Jojoba (all skin types, especially acne-prone skin)
  • Hazelnut (especially oily and acne-prone skin)
  • Sweet almond (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Grape Seed (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Avocado (dry and aging skin)
  • Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
  • Apricot Kernel (dry, aging, and normal skin)
  • Argan (all skin types, especially aging skin – very expensive)

NB: Stay clear of coconut and olive oil for this method since it may clog your pores.

Recipe

If you’re trying this for the first time, it might be advisable to prepare the mixture as you go in case you want to change the oil or the ratio after a while. But when you’re sure to have found your recipe nothing stands in your way to prepare a small bottle.

Just remember that you’re dealing with natural oils so you won’t be able to keep the preparations forever, take the expiry date of the oil as a reference.

  • Oily skin: Use 2/3 castor oil to 1/3 carrier oil
  • Normal skin: Use equal parts castor oil and carrier oil
  • Dry skin: Use 1/3 castor oil and 2/3 carrier oil

IMG_1307 copyYou can add essential oils like tea tree or lavender oil (for oily or acne-prone skin) or carrot seed or rose hip oil (for normal/dry skin) or even some rose or myrrh essential oil (for aging skin). But use them moderately they are very strong! Just use 2-3 drops (or even less) in a 30ml bottle.

My mix at the moment is: 2/3 castor oil, 1/3 hazelnut oil, 1 drop each of palmarosa, lavender and grapefruit essential oil.

Don’t hesitate to experiment until you found your perfect mix!

Oil Cleansing: 4 Easy Steps

  1. Prepare your mixed oils ahead of time, or have the bottles ready.
  2. Cleanse starting with a dirty face (no need to pre-clean, even if you’re wearing makeup), rinse your face with warm, clear water. Pour the oil into your palm and then apply gently all over your face. Massage gently for about 2 minutes, always moving upwards. Let the oil sit on your face for 30 more seconds or more.
  3. Rinse your face with a washcloth/sponge dunked in hot/warm water (careful not to burn yourself). Slowly wipe the oil off. Rinse your washcloth and repeat until your skin feels almost oil-free.
  4. Sprinkle some cold water on your face to help close the pores.

No need to apply face cream after this, just let your skin breath!

It is best to do this method in the evening. The frequency is entirely up to you, you can do it every night or just twice a week depending on how much nerve you have to make the effort  ;-).

Where to buy the oils

Castor oil you will most probably find at the pharmacy. Essential oils you’ll find also at the pharmacy or at a local organic store (depending on the country you live in) or you can buy them online. Vegetable oils you find at the supermarket, but be sure only to buy organic and cold pressed oils of good quality!

If you want more detailed information about this method, read this post on one of my favourite blogs.

Now all I can do is wishing you happy oil cleansing!

young skin

Don’t you hate it when you discover one of those nasty pimples in your face in the morning? I do… and although I’m not a teenager anymore I still have bad skin days. Sometimes I wonder if my skin would be different today, if I hadn’t tried to fight it with chemical products when I was 15…

Nowadays teenagers with acne are prescribed aggressive lotions and antiseptics which unbalance the natural pH value of our skin. Or even hormones or antibiotics and this however doesn’t really cure the acne but keeps it under control as long as you take the medicine. As soon as you stop the treatment there’s a chance that the acne comes back.

How you can tackle the problem naturally: The allies of young skin

  • Essential oils, especially Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Tea Tree; antiseptic, repairing
  • Clay (green and white); purifying, helps to tighten the pores and eliminate excess sebum and impurities
  • Aloe vera gel; antiseptic, cicatrizing, hydrating
  • Hazelnut, olive and jojoba oil; balancing
  • Floral waters: rose (astringent), rosemary, lavender and tea tree (antiseptic)
  • Lemon, thyme, bur, cucumber; plants for oily skin
  • Propolis extract, grapefruit seed extract; natural antibiotics

In the morning: Wash your face with clear water or floral water, then put a mixture of aloe vera gel (3/4) and olive, hazelnut or jojoba oil (1/4).

Important: Let your pimples breathe, if absolutely necessary put some special antiseptic cover stick with tea tree oil.

In the evening: Remove your make-up with olive oil massage it into your skin for about 2 minutes and then use a little sponge to wash off, then massage olive, hazelnut or jojoba oil into your skin.

1 or 2 a week: Clay mask; take a spoonful of clay powder (available in a pharmacy) mix with just the right amount of water or floral water to get a paste. Put on your face, sparing eyes and mouth, wash off with warm water after 5-10 minutes. Optionally you can add a drop of essential tea tree oil to the paste.

1 or 2 a week: Micro-hammam; heat 5 dl of water, add a few drops of essential oil (lavender, tea tree, rosemary, thyme, etc.), put your face over the bowl with a towel over the head, stay for about 5 minutes, first wash your face with warm water then splash it with cold water to close the pores. You can also put a bit of honey on your face before the micro-hammam.

Micro-hammams are very purifying and at the same time not irritating, which is important when you have oily skin and a tendency to impurities.

Emergency pimple cure: Pure essential tea tree or lavender oil can be put directly on the spot (only locally!), or put a layer of clay on the spot over night.

Don’t squeeze your pimples and certainly don’t cover them up with lots of make-up, it’ll only make them worse!

It is important to remember that there is no quick cure for acne, if you want to get rid of it for good you need to be patient and let it break out. If you have very bad acne I recommend seeing a naturopath rather than your GP.

shower gel recipe

I have just finished making a bottle of shower gel ! You probably won’t believe me, but it’s really simple:

  • 1 cup of grated Aleppo soap
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 spoonful of glycerine

Heat all ingredients slowly in a bain-marie. I have added a few drops of essential lavender oil for fragrance, because honestly I’m not a big fan of the Aleppo soap smell.

But the great thing is that it is all natural. Aleppo soap is made of olive oil, laurel oil and lye (the liquid obtained by leaching ashes – containing a large amount of potassium carbonate, which is what makes soap feel soapy). And glycerine is a sugar alcohol present in all natural oils, it is extracted with a chemical process called saponification (for more details check wikipedia). When choosing your glycerine you should make sure it is a vegetable glycerine!

Actually you could just use a simple bar of Aleppo soap for your hygiene, but we all like fancy looking products don’t we ? And with this option you can personalize your shower gel and add any fragrance you like.

Lavender is relaxing and particularly mild (also suitable for children), lemon refreshing, ylang-ylang stimulating, rose romantic, etc.

NB: If you’re pregnant you should use essential oils carefully, not all of them are suitable – consult your doctor if you’re not sure!

Here’s the link where I found the recipe.

I can’t wait to take a shower now and tell you if it is any good.