Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Rise 'N Shine



The wonderful people at Rise 'N Shine sent me some lovely vegan products to try! And I'm so happy they did! It's so great to be introduced to this natural brand. Their concept is simple - To use only premium and natural ingredients for improving overall health through the skin. You can really feel how natural the products are when you use them. I can smell the orange in the Vitamin C Facial Toner. The Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid which stimulates collagen was so soothing on the skin. I can smell the Dead Sea mud in the Dead Sea Mud Mask which sounds gross but is actually very earthy because it's full of so many minerals which are amazing for your skin! I loved all three of these products honestly.

When I first got back from my trip my skin around my chin had broken out because of travel stuff, you know how it is. I started using the products exclusively (other than my regular cleanser) and my skin was all clear with in a couple of days. To top it off over the 10 days which I used the products my skin got clearer and more even toned plus I even had a comment by someone about how my skin was glowing so that was nice!

Usage wise I was using the toner followed by the serum morning and night and then three times a week I used the mask. I will also say the value is huge - you get a lot of product for your money. The 8oz toner is $15.99 (my regular toner is 6oz for $24), the serum is 4oz for $29 (my regular serum is 1oz for $60)!

I can say without a doubt I will return to this brand to try some other vegan products!**

**The only product that is not vegan is the Retinol Moisturizer which contains a bee byproduct.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Thousand Island Dressing

One of my favourite salad's dressings growing up - always the way to get me to eat lettuce. This vegan version comes care of Kitchen Treaty.


Thousand Island Dressing

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (
2 teaspoons finely diced onion (I use onion powder also)
1/4 teaspoon finely minced garlic (I've used garlic powder also)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
2-3 dashes Tabasco sauce (optional)


Method

Whisk all ingredients together and serve!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Flu Bomb - Essential Oil Blend




I just have to share something magical I've discovered. Now I live in a house with three children (one of whom is a toddler) so illness gets around the house frequently and yet I can't remember the last time I was sick. Why, you ask? Because of this magical essential oil blend I've been taking internally. I too was skeptical at first but it really does boost the immune system. If I feel like I'm coming down with something I take two capsules before bed and two in the morning. Some say when they've already caught something that they take two capsules every two hours. I make my own blend and keep the blend and decanter into vegetable capsules when needed. Vegetable capsules tend to disintegrate easily so you can't make them in advance. when I put the blend together in a bottle I find one dose fills the capsule up to the point that you would put the lid on. You can also buy On Guard capsules already made up which is the main oil that boosts the immune system. doTERRA oils are pure enough that you can take them internally.




Flu Bomb

6 drops On Guard
3 drops Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
2 drops Oregano
2 drops Frankincense


Current Everyday Cosmetic & Body Care Faves - 2019

I realised it's been close to 4 years since I last did a post on my favourite cosmetics and skin care so definitely time for an update! If you need help de-cluttering or organizing your cosmetics, which I definitely do, check out this article from One Pampered Life!

So cosmetics, I'm not a person who has to buy only from a vegan company because I appreciate some companies trying - especially if they are cruelty free to begin with and the more demand the more we will see. Plus not a lot of great brands out there that have ALL vegan cosmetics. I'm a firm believer in you get what you pay for and it's going onto your skin...so in clothing I'll buy thrift but in cosmetics I buy quality!

The ones I'm using at the moment definitely have more to do with specific products than whole brand lines...

COSMETICS


First things first, you need to start with primer! I LOVE the Arbonne and INIKA primer. INIKA is a vegan organic cosmetic brand from Australia but now available in the states online! I tried a sample of the Hourglass Veil Primer too and I really liked it also.



Foundation I've been loving Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Foundation (their Amazonian Clay range is all vegan as far as I understand it). I didn't love the only vegan concealer Tarte had though so I've been using a brand named Hourglass that I had never heard of but they have quite a lot in their vegan range. Powder I have a Kat Von D Illuminating powder for light coverage and a Tarte Amazonian Clay powder foundation for those heavy coverage days!






Still loving my INIKA bronzer that I use for contouring my cheekbones, I love the loose powder better than the baked but they are both lovely. For blush I still have an old palette by Paula's Choice who sadly don't make cosmetics anymore :(



Eye shadow wise I like a matte colour, I have brown eyes so usually browns, greys and smoky pinks/purples and luckily I still have my Paula's Choice palette. (WHY DID YOU STOP MAKING COSMETICS PAULA'S CHOICE WHYYYY!??!???) I love using the darker browns to colour in my my eyebrows with an angled brush!

I am LOVING the Chantecaille highlighter - I got one in a pack with the mascara. I mix a little in with my foundation and then use some after my whole base is done on the highlight areas and it's magical how flawless my skin looks! Yes this brand is expensive but you really get what you pay for with this brand. Very natural and made in France, mostly vegan! They make cosmetics, skin care and perfume.
I love Kat Von D liners - the Tattoo and Ink liners are vegan and have the most AMAZING precision! I don't like that they are water proof but that seems to be a trend with all cosmetics these days. The Tattoo is thinner so I love it for real detail but the Ink liners have a lot of colour options!

Mascara I still love Arbonne the best but I do really like the Chantecaille one as well. I think I really like the Arbonne brush for getting defined lashes as appose to clumpy. Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced is amazing too but I just prefer non-waterproof mascara. I've adding a couple drops of Rosemary EO to my mascara pot as well to help with hair growth and strength!



I'm still using my Lucus' Paw Paw Ointment as my go to chapstick (yes I know it has petroleum jelly in it but I just haven't found anything that works as well). Lipstick wise Kat Von D Studded matte lipsticks are amazing. (The one pictured is Cathedral which I LOVE) They smell divine, go on smooth but dry matte and have some major staying power without feeling dry. I still have some of my Manic Panic lipsticks that I love for colour but they don't seem to do much vegan lipstick anymore :(




SKINCARE


For cleansers I'm using L'Occitane's Reine Blanch Facial Scrub and Divine Cream Cleanser. That Divine cleanser will get rid of all your make up - even your waterproof stuff, it's amazing!



For toner I just use the cheap Witch Hazel because I haven't found the expensive ones to do a better job. I do really like the Andalou cleansing wipes I bought on sale. For face masks once a week I love Andalou Naturals and Eminence Organic Skin Care.



Daily cream I usually use Image Skincare daily moisturiser with SPF 32+ suncreen because it smells divine and makes my skin feel so smooth. All Image products are vegan. When I had dark spots I use Roden + Fields REVERSE Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ Sunscreen, it really vanquished them!


At night, after cleaning and toning I've been using L'Occitane's Immortelle Overnight Reset Serum followed by the Immortelle Youth Oil.  I used to be scared of putting oil on my face but it really penetrates so much deeper than cream so you are reaping the benefits.


BODY CARE


In the shower I use my own homemade soap (available on my Etsy store) for cleaning but for moisture and shaving I LOVE L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil. I also have been using the Delicious Scrub from their Almond collection as well, makes me feel so silky!!!


After I get out I like to spray some of L'Occitane's Almond Skin Oil in my hand and mix it with whatever moisturizer I'm currently using. I love Loccitane Almond Milk Concentrate or Milk Veil, also the scented lotions are amazing, EO's body lotion, Nature's Gate Hemp lotion.



For hands, I haven't found a better hand cream than L'Occitane's 20% Shea butter but the original contains honey. The Rose scented 20% Shea does not contain honey and neither does the Almond hand cream which is also a fave of mine!



For feet I am loving the new 25% Shea butter foot cream from L'Occitane! I wish it had the essential oils the old one did but am happy it doesn't have the honey that the 25% shea hand cream has!



In terms of perfume daily I use a doTERRA roll-on called "Motivate" not only because it smells heavenly but also because it really uplifts my mood and gets me moving!
When I want a perfume I reach for my L'Occitane Terre de Lumiere L'Eau or Rose EDT.



HAIR CARE


I still use my hemp shampoo bar every couple of weeks as my only form of shampoo, available on Etsy. I usually just use some good quality Argan oil (Maple Holistics brand) instead of conditioner. I just work it into the ends and then work it up. I also love L'Occitane's Reparing Hair Oil that contains argan oil.



Sometimes I feel like using real conditioner. I love L'Occitane's 1 Minute Intensive Care Conditioner and DeLorenzo's (only available in Australia) "The Ends" Leave in Conditioner. I've also love just using a homemade mask of organic coconut oil and rosemary essential oil and leaving it on my hair for an hour or so before washing out. It can take a couple of washes sometimes but is well work it!



On the rare occasion I style my hair and need some setting products I always go to Pureology first because the quality is great, the smell is great and it's 100% vegan! I've used the hair spray and mousse which are great.





NOTE: I am not paid by any of these brands to advertise, these just the brands I use and love. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Spinach & "Feta" Pot Pie

I made these in four single serve ramekins and they were so delicious! GF pastry recipe originally by Maggie Beer but I made it vegan. Filling I made up as I went. I'm in love with Violife Vegan Feta Cheese, reminds me more of goat's cheese, it's just so smooth and creamy!


Spinach & "Feta" Pot Pie

Filling

1 pack tofu (439g)
1 pack spinach  (283g)
1.5 packets of vegan feta (300g) - I used Violife
1/4 cup shredded vegan Parmesan I use Violife
1 onion, chopped finely
2 garlic cloves minced
2 green onions
salt & pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp of each)
1 Tbls olive oil

Pastry

1 cup water
2 tspn salt
90g unsalted vegan butter
150g gluten free flour Plus 1/2 cup extra for kneeding
2g xanthan gum
2-3 egg replacers


Method

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
To make pastry;
In a heavy based saucepan combine the water, salt and butter.
Bring to a simmer and add the flour and Xanthan gum. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.
Lower temperature and continue to cook until pastry comes away from the sides and is well combined. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Whisk the egg replacer to combine and add half the egg mixture slowly, incorporating fully before adding the final half.
If the mixture is a dough texture when you add in the first half, you may not need to rest of the eggs mixture.
Turn out onto a surface on which you have placed a further ½ cup gluten free flour and knead until shiny.
Try to incorporate as little flour as possible so the pastry does not go crumbly.
Chill pastry.
While the pastry is chilling make the filling;
In a medium frying or saucepan heat olive oil on a medium heat and add onion and garlic and saute until clear.
Press tofu and add to a food processor along with all the filling ingredients.
Pulse a few times to have well mixed but not pureed.
Once done collect pastry dough from the fridge then using a rolling pin roll the pastry between two pieces of baking paper greased on both sides. Roll to half a centimetre thick and place in pie tins. I turned over the ramekins and drew a circle around about 2 cm out from the rim.
Place into the preheated oven and bake for 20minutes.
While cooking roll out remaining dough and create pastry lids for the pies.
Remove and set aside to cool, ready for your filling.
Once cooled slightly add in filling into all pots.
Place pastry lid on each pressing sides down with a fork and cutting off any slack.
Puncture a couple of slits in the top of the lid for air.
Optionally you can also brush some non-dairy milk or vegan butter on the top for a shinier look.
Heat made pies for another 20 minutes or until top looks golden.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Bake at 400 for 30 mins

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Vegan Products Review - September 2018

Sorry these actually go from July - September because I haven't had time to post.

Wild Hibiscus Flowers in syrup are something that reminds me of Christmas in Australia. The adults in my family always had them with their champagne at our Christmas gatherings. It adds a slight sweetness and the obvious aesthetic class to your usual glass of bubbly. Guaranteed to improve the taste of even the cheapest sparking wines LOL. It's made in Australia so the sugar is vegan! I have seen this in the USA in Total Wine and The Fresh Market.



I bought these Eco-Kids natural finger paints for my toddler. They were pretty expensive so I was happy when I saw them on sale. They are powdered paints made from natural ingredients so you actually only end up using a small amount each time and the pouch are zip locked to keep them fresh for next time. The natural elements is great too since with toddlers they like to eat anything. The one thing I didn't like about them, and this is probably true of all naturally made paints, it was a bit gritty and although the colours came out in lovely pastel shades while painting they all dried to a greyish colour which was a bit disappointing from a keepsake point of view.




I found these dried Okra and Broccoli snacks at Trader Joe's and loved that the only ingredients was sunflower oil, salt and the vegetable. However, although I thought they were pretty good the kids didn't love them :(



Also found at Trader Joe's these too spreads, Bruschetta which didn't really taste like bruschetta but was very good on pasta and Artichoke Antipasto which was great on pasta or pizza - especially Gourmet Pizza!



I got these Coconut Bliss ice-cream sandwiches at Native Sun and although I thought the cookie part was a little too sweet they were actually pretty amazing. Around $4-5 they are a bit expensive, I think I tried them on sale but they are quite large so if you're not a total piggy like me then you can easily get 2-4 servings out of it.


Also at Native Sun I found these Jolly Llama Mint Choc Chip Ice-cream pops. I'm a huge sucker for mint chocolate ice-cream and these did not disappoint! Very delicious. The same brand also has other flavors and some sorbet pops.


So it seemed Native Sun was just having a good ice-cream day because they also had some of the new So Delicious range and I tried the Peachy Maple Pecan which was soooo delicious! Get it?  Get it? Ok. Tough crowd.


Now this is going to be quite a local find, sorry! Native Sun had locally made (in Gainesville FL) ArtMoro Black Bean Tempeh and let me tell you, it was really good. Beside being the same price as regular tempeh it's also twice the size so I got two good servings out of it. It was a bit softer than the other brands I've bought and had a slightly tangier flavor but I was a fan!


I am quite the fan of Kite Hill's yoghurt but this cream cheese was on par with Tofutti in my mind, So it wasn't bad, just not worth paying more than Tofutti.


I was completely devo when Wholefoods stopped carrying my Primal Vegan Jerky (since found it at the naval station commissary so all good). They had this Louisville Vegan Jerky instead so I thought I'd try it. Now it was really really good BUT it was $7 a bag, and not a big bag so I'll definitely be looking out for it on sale but for your jerky cravings it will definitely hit the spot!


Native Sun (I think?) Had these Masala Pop vegan popcorns on BOGO (buy one get one) so I had to try. The chai caramel was SO GOOD!!!! I mean vegan caramel popcorn, what else do I need to say! The savory coconut was good too, like plain salt popcorn but with a hint of coconut oil.


I got these Skinny Sticks BBQ at my local discount store where I occasionally find awesome discounted vegan products to try! I LOVED these, really had that BBQ crisps taste but in a convenient stick form. LOL I don't even know what that means, it just sounded how they would sell it! Sadly haven't seen them again but they were good! Website says they are available in Walmart and Walgreens so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for new flavors! All are vegan and GF!


Another discount store find was Super Eats Chipotle BBQ. They were a little spicy for me and I can handle medium amount of spicy. I'd like to try the White Cheddar!


Again discount store to the snacking rescue, this Enjoy Life Plentils flavor I hadn't tried before. At least I don't think I have, who remembers? They were good though and I'd definitely have them again. Dill for life!!


Another discount store find, these The Real Coconut coconut flour tortilla chips were interesting. I think they were going to be like corn chips but they were more like a wheat based tortilla chip and had a coconut taste to them. They weren't bad, I just couldn't find anything to go with them. Maybe Corn Dip?


Another discount store find, these Farmhouse Culture Smoked Jalapeno chips were WAY to spicy for me and I made the mistake of trying them in the car with no water or means of escape. These were so spicy I couldn't eat them so if you're always complaining nothing's ever hot enough for your burnt out taste buds check these out now!!! I love their dill flavor!


I'm always on the look out for healthier options of GF pasta so this looked good. It tasted very strong - I mean maybe for a Asian noodle soup maybe but it wasn't good for pasta. 


I always like finding vegan GF granola bars for snacks because they are so easy to keep in my bag for emergency. These Enjoy Life are pretty decent, grainy and sweet but not too much.


Another discount find, this Hilary's Ranch Chia salad dressing, I wasn't a fan. It was very watery and vinegary.


These Betty Lou's PB&J Bars from the discount store were actually better than expected! Definitely not healthy but a fun treat!


I've had Hail Merry before and it's raw treats so you have to take that into consideration before you try but these were pretty tasty. 


I was told to try Forager Cashew Yoghurt but honestly I wasn't a fan, it was very gritty and quite expensive.


I'm in love with Trader Joe's cauliflower pizza crust! I feel like there must be a trick to baking it correctly so that it's crispy instead of soft but I haven't figured that part out yet. It tasted really good though!



These Veggie Ring's were ok actually, they tasted like onion rings and the family liked them...definitely needs dipping sauce because you get that cauliflower after taste. They also come in butternut.


I was super excited when I saw these Equal Exchange 55% cacoa chocolate chips! I love their 55% dark chocolate! 


Found these Hilary's Mediterranean Bites at commissary and they were pretty good, kind of like falafel!


I was actually looking for another brand when I found these Lucy's Snack'n Go Packs Chocolate Chip Cookies at Winn Dixies. LOVE that the are individual bags (I know it's terrible for the environment but good for no over snacking). They mini cookies and what I like most is that they are crunch,y, not soft, so perfect for dunking in my tea ;)


Most important till last! Found these Glutenberg gluten free/vegan beers at Total Wine which I quite liked. The Canadian brewery also has a few seasonal launches such as stout which I'm dying to try!!!