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I love cosmetics, love the luxury of breaking routine and having a nice scrub. So much out there that sounds nice- even when so called organic- has stuff with names I can barely pronounce! So I have decided to make my own….technically if you can eat it I will put it in my skin!

Salt scrub/ bath salts

This is multi purpose and cheap!! Can be used on dry skin standing in the shower without water. Scrub all over your body and then just shower off or- can be thrown straight in the bath for a wonderful soak. You can also use any scent you like. This is just one I blended for Christmas pressies- I will be blending a big batch when I’m back plain so I can then add smells as I like to each bath!

(For a bigger batch just multiply each value)

1 cup Epsom salts
1cup of sea salt
Enough olive and sweet almond oil to bind them (maybe 1/2 cup)
Essential oils- I used vanilla, cinnamon, ylang ylang and lavender.

Mix and I store them in ziplock bags I recycle but some nice glass jars would look nicer in the bathroom- jam jars would work just as well too!!

Coffee scrub

I hate waste and throwing things away so when I make my coffee concentrate (here) or from the hubbys coffee machine. I dry out the grains and that’s what I use for this really invigorating coffee scrub.

1 cup coffee grains
1 cup sugar (I use organic brown sugar as its a bit softer)
2 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs nutmeg
vanilla essence (i use medicine flowers- couple if drops)
Enough olive oil to bind it and make it a bit wet (about 1/2 cup)

Again use dry in the shower then just rinse it off. Sustainable, what you have in the cupboards and reducing your chemical impact on your body and in the water system!

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Great for kids

100g sugar (coconut)
113g in salted butter (or coconut mana)

Cream together in the mixer
Sieve in 140g baking gluten free mix- or any gluten free flour
Tsp flax meal mixed with a little water as an egg substitute
30g ground almonds (I use the ones from my almond milk!)
Um- ground ginger, cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg
Grated ginger about a thumb to knuckle size
Tasted and added more ground ginger!
Vanilla essence and a pince pink salt!

Let it sit in the fridge for an hour- roll it thin for cookies and thicker for house (and probably make 4x as much)

Bake at 180 for about 10 mins- allow to cool then ice if you want.

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So having decided to make the Christmas presents this year, I have way more stress than normal!!! Yes Pinterest is great for inspiration but crap at actually sourcing things!! Anyway I digress- chocolate box. I have been enjoying making healthy chocolates as most have you have seen. I also have felt so good being dairy and gluten free for the best part of the year that I wanted to try making some dairy free truffles. I have never made a truffle in my life so this was a bodge job gone good. I mean very good- these are some tasty chocs. Super easy to make. This recipe is gonna make me 17 boxes (probably less due to creative sampling- lets say 10 boxes really!!)

Technically some of the chocolate I have used is not dairy free but that’s just for the outside so not really necessary. Add more cacao to your ‘Elixir of Life’ to make it really rich.

So most have been adapted from this mix I like to call my ‘Elixir of life!’

1 can of coconut milk- I tried the whole put it in the fridge for it to separate and it didn’t so I just used the whole can!
1/2 cup cocoa butter
3-4 heaped tbs raw cacao powder
1 tsp maple syrup (as I was out of coconut nectar and iherb aren’t delivering till tomorrow and I have no patience!)
2-3 drops vanilla essence (all the essences I used are by Medicine Flowers)

So I wizzed this up and refrigerated it thinking it may get solid and it went at best chocolate moose! So because these have got an airplane ride to get through I had to thicken it to ball it up somehow! That’s where the nuts come in!

Meanwhile I am soaking 1/2 cup raisins in some dark rum for the coconut balls and mixed peel, candied cherries and raisins and dried cranberries in tokay for the Christmas pudding marzipan balls (at least overnight is best)

Almond banoffee pie

1 cup of ground almonds (I use my dried ones from making my almond milk)
1 ripe banana
Medicine flower banana essence (to taste and optional)
Baileys Creme Caramel flavour (to taste I used about 1/2 shot and a bit more ūüėČ )
1 tbs coconut mana
4 tbs if the ‘elixir of life)
Coconut flour
1 bar of endangered species chocolate (or for dairy free ground almonds and cacao for rolling)

If you are using whole almonds blix them up till just before it hits almond butter. So they are ground and getting sticky. Add the banana and mash with a fork, add the rest I the ingredients to taste and leave the coconut flour to turn it into a bit more dough like. Roll into balls and place in freezer. Next day roll in milk chocolate (or to keep dairy free ground almond and cacao powder).

Pistachio Mint
The next few are similar-
1 cup of pistachio nuts (raw and unsalted)
Medicine flowers mint essence to taste
Vanilla essence
5-6 tbs of the ‘elixir of life’
Coconut flour
1 bar of 85% chocolate (I used green and blacks)

This one needs less flour as its less wet. But add, mix and taste as you go. Ball up, freeze. I rolled these in 85% dark chocolate with a little coconut oil mixed in.

Hazelnut Cranberry

1 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Vanilla essence
1-2 tbs coconut mana
5/6 tabs elixir of life
Pinch pink Himalayan rock salt (or sea salt)
Coconut flour
Cacao to roll in

Second verse- same as the first. Whizz hazelnuts and cranberries together. Mix everything else leaving coconut flour till end to soak up extra moisture ready to ball up. Rolled in raw cacao powder.

Cashew, Raspberry and White Chocolate
1 cup raw cashews
Fresh Raspberries
2 tbs coconut mana
Medicine Flowers Raspberry and also Vanilla
Pinch of salt (as above)
5/6 tbs of ‘Elixir of life’
Coconut flour
2 bars of white chocolate

So as before whizz the nuts and in a bowl with the mana, Elixir, then add the other ingredients except the fresh raspberries. The raspberry essence should be used sparingly as it just makes the taste of the fresh raspberry pop! Add the coconut flour to soak up excess moisture. Add a little at a time. Ball, freeze. White chocolate is hard to melt- excessive heat makes it thicker so take off the heat and stir and return. Take your time, have patience (what I keep telling my daughter possibly as I constantly need to hear it myself!

Marzipan Christmas pudding

Now I have made marzipan before but since it contains raw eggs I didn’t feel comfortable making it for other people to consume in a weeks time so I bought it. In an ideal world I would have searched for an egg free recipe and if anyone has one please share it with me.

200g marzipan
Handful of glacé cherries, mixed peel, dried cranberries and raisins soaked at least overnight in Tokay.
Drained liquid from above
About a cup Ground almonds (again leftover from almond milk- if anything this may get some of you making almond milk!!)
Coconut flour
1 bar of green and blacks maya gold chocolate

By far the sweetest one of the bunch. Put the marzipan in a bowl and add drained fruit. Using a bit of the liquid and some elbow grease (mine’s called Niall!) mix the two together. It takes a strong wooden spoon and man! Add the drained liquid bit by bit to help make the marzipan more pliable. It is then super sticky. Add ground almonds to counteract the sweetness and some coconut flour (although not much as its always going to be sticky and too much flour will make it chalky.) work quick while balling this one you don’t want it on your hands for too long. I used green and blacks maya gold cause I like the spicey notes. But 85% would be really nice too

Rum raisin coconut balls

Made exactly like the coconut bounty balls I made see here

But I added medicine flowers rum essence and a rum soaked raisin to the middle while rolling. Add some of the drained rum liquor if you like or soak the raisin in coconut water if you want this alcohol free. Roll in 85% chocolate as before

Phew sorry it’s rough and ready and without pictures the right way round! but I wanted it out there… Merry Christmas xxxx

Also below is where I got some inspiration and sound good too.

http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/confectionscandies/r/dftruffles.htm

http://dairyfreecooking.about.com/od/sweetsaucesfrostings/r/Vegan_Chocolate_Ganache_Recipe.htm

http://blackberriesandbloodoranges.com/2012/05/16/dairy-free-dark-chocolate-truffles/

dream bookshelves

Many of you have asked me for some book recommendations here are some if my absolute favourites. This is by no means a definitive list there are many more amazing books- please help me by letting me know if I have missed any of yours!

Enlightening:
The Gentle Art of Blessing- Pierre Pradervand

Ask and it is Given- Esther and Jerry Hicks

Think and Grow Rich- Napoleon Hill

The Journey- Brandon Bays (also comes with an audio cd)

You Can Heal Your Life- Louise Hays (Louise has loads of great books and audio cd’s- she also has an inspiring website and facebook page)

Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life- Byron Katie

The Power of Now- Eckhart Tolle

Dying to be me- Anita Moorjani

Nutrition
The Nutrient Bible- Henry Osiecki

Staying Healthy with Nutrition- Elson M. Haas

Healing with Whole Foods- Paul Pitchford

Nurturing Traditions- Sally Fallon

Coconut Cures- Bruce Fife

Your Body’s Many Cries for Water: A Revolutionary Natural Way to Prevent Illness and Restore Good Health¬†by F. Batmanghelidj

The PH Miracle- Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health- Dr Robert O. Young and Shelley Redford Young

Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities and Repair Your Teeth Naturally with Good Food [Second Edition] by D.D.S. Timothy Gallagher and Ramiel Nagel

Fast Food Nation- Eric Schlosser

Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser

Naturopathic books

Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Dr Schussler’s Biochemic Tissue Salts- A Gateway to Physical and Psychological Health- ¬†Richard Kellenberger and Friedrich Kopsche

Cancer is Not a Disease- Andreas Moritz

Emperor of All Maladies- Siddhartha Mukherjee

An Introduction and Guide to Flower Remedies- Wigmore

Bach Flower Therapy The Complete Approach- Scheffer

Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Year- Miranda Castro

Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How- Useful Practices, Recipes and Formula’s for a Lifetime of Health- Compiled by Amy Rost

The Secret Teachings of Plants- Stephen Harrod Buhner

Women Hormones and the Menstrual Cycle R Trickey

Natural Fertility Management- Francesca  Nash

Birth and Beyond- Gordon Yehudi

The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils-  Julia Lawless

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy- Valarie Ann Wormwood

Parenting Books;

The Wonder Weeks- Hetty van de Rijt Ph.D. and Frans Plooij Ph.D

The no-cry sleep solution and

The no-cry potty training solution- Both by Elizabeth Pantley

Baby Led Weaning-Gill Rapely and Tracey Murkett

Baby Bliss (The happiest Baby on the Block) Dr Harvey Karp

Mother-Daughter Wisdom- Dr Christiane Northrup

Raising Happy Brothers and Sisters- Jan Parker and Jan Stimpson

Raising Boys- Steve Biddulph

Unconditional Parenting- Alfie Kohn

How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk- Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

Healing Our Children- Ramiel Nagel

Let me know your favourites- there are also loads of blogs, podcasts, websites, you tube videos etc. but I still always return to my books.

Have not made my own mince this year- will have to put it on the ‘to do’ list for next year!! But here is a tasty gluten free pastry recipe that’s simple to make and use.

100g almond flour
2 tbs coconut flour
150g biscuit and baking gluten free mix (rice, gram flour, can’t hum gum, baking powder (aluminum free)
100g organic butter, chilled, chopped into cubes
25g coconut mana
1 tbs maple sugar
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
1 egg, chilled
Step 1Process flour, sugar, butter, coconut mana and a pinch of salt in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Step 2Whisk egg and in a bowl with mixture until combined.
Step 3Turn pastry out on to a work surface and knead gently to bring together. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours.
Will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge

Gluten free pastry sometimes doesn’t roll so well so divide into balls and press into a shallow muffin tray. Till 1/2 cm thick. Spoon in mince mixture (this year I had to buy some- next year ill make it!) egg wash round the sides and put a top on- I made lattice top! Egg wash the top and make a hole. Sprinkle a little coconut sugar if desired and cook in the oven for 10-15 mins.