Dry skin is particularly sensitive to cold, wind, temperature change and needs special attention. Prickling, tight pulling sensations, redness… In winter, the skin needs to be pampered. This smooth creamy “fondant” is a super buttery in-shower moisturizing bar which will make your dry skin soft, smooth and silky. It’s also super quick and easy to make. A real pleasure! I used Petitgrain essential oil but of course, feel free to use any other essential oil such as lavender, patchouli, grapefruit etc…A blend that I particularly like to make during the colder months is orange/cinnamon. If you’d like to try that blend, see the notes in the formula below. Enjoy!

Baby Foam (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate) is an extremely gentle surfactant based on coconut fatty acids. It gently cleanses without irritation and is mild enough for baby cleansers, personal hygiene, and toiletries.

Shea Butter: Rich and nourishing, it protects, softens and restructures damaged skin.

Babassu Oil: Protects against free radicals and has anti-aging properties (thanks to tocotrienols). It is an excellent skin emollient and moisturizer, and keeps the skin hydratedIt gets easily absorbed by the skin, making it soft and smooth.

This formula will yield 50 grams (1.8 oz) of product. Use the percentages to adjust to a different quantity.

Smooth Creamy Fondant
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Resting time
35 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 


Ingredients
  • 30 % Baby Foam (SCI) 15 grams (0.5 oz)
  • 25 % Shea Butter 12.5 grams (0.4 oz)
  • 44 % Babassu Oil 22 grams (0.8 oz)
  • 1 % Petitgrain Essential Oil 18 drops
Instructions
  1. Melt the baby Foam, Shea butter and babassu oil over low heat in a double boiler, mixing constantly. 

  2. Once melted, remove from heat, add essential oil and mix well.

  3. Let it cool down for 5 minutes then put the preparation in the freezer for a few minutes. Remove from the freezer only when the preparation starts to slightly harden on the edges of the bowl.

  4. Stir the preparation with a mini mixer (see image) to obtain a homogeneous paste. Pour your mixture into a mold and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  5. Unmold. Rub onto wet skin, massage in the rich butters, then rinse and pat dry.

Recipe Notes

For a winter blend use 15 drops of Sweet Orange essential oil and 3 drops of Cinnamon essential oil.

Cultivated in the Punjab region, on the border of India and Pakistan, Basmati rice is a long-grain rice with floral and woody notes. Its name means Queen of Perfume in Hindi (or Prince of Fragrances, depending on the translation). Low in sodium and with a low to medium glycemic index, it is also quick to cook, hence its popular success. I invite you with this recipe to a deliciously flavored trip.

Golden Basmati Rice
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1/2 Large Yellow Onion (chopped finely)
  • 2 tbsp Vegan Butter (or Olive oil)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch Cinnamon
  • 1/2 oz Dried raisins
  • 1/2 oz Roasted almonds (chopped finely)
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute onion in a non-stick pot over low heat in butter until gold and soft.

  2. Add spices, rice, water and mix thoroughly.

  3. Cover with a lid and let simmer for about 18 to 20 minutes.

  4. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and add raisins and almonds and mix. Salt to taste then serve.

Here is a classic and exotic dish that I prepare very often, one of my favorite: Dahl.  Dhal (or Dal or Daal) is one of these pillars of Indian cuisine (such  as rice or curry) also found in Pakistani and Sri Lankan cuisine…It is made with legumes such as lentils (usually red), split peas, chickpeas or beans, seasoned with different spices and herbs (depending on the family budget and which part of India they live), to which water or coconut milk is added. It is most often served with rice (like my Golden Basmati Rice) or bread (Chapati or Naan). It is divine and highly comforting during cold weather (I live in California but will eat Indian food anytime). I hope you like it.

Dahl
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3
Ingredients
  • 3.5 oz Red lentils
  • 1/2 Onion (chopped)
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/3 tbsp Turmeric powder
  • 4 oz Coconut milk (full fat)
  • 4.5 oz Canned tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 lemon (juiced)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 7 oz Water
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and turmeric and sauté for about 3 minutes, until soft.

  2. Add lentils and water, cover with a lid and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. 

  3. Add coconut milk, tomatoes, Garam Masala, cover with a lid and let it simmer for another 15 minutes.

  4. Once ready, add salt, pepper, lemon juice, top with a few chopped cilantro leaves and serve.

Recipe Notes

I like to serve Dahl with my Golden Basmati Rice.

 

I’ve always loved a good Risotto and usually use Arborio rice (which you can easily find at Whole Foods, Target or online on Amazon). But this time I wanted to try a different, healthier version. So I decided to use white quinoa (bought at Trader’s Joe from which this recipe is adapted). Personally I can’t do quinoa but plenty of my friends do and they absolutely looooved that recipe! So go ahead try it and let me know how you liked it.

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

 

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 oz Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup White Quinoa rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups Veggie broth kept warm in pan
  • 2 1/2 tbsp White wine
  • 1 Shallot diced
  • 1 Garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan vegan
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream vegan
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until golden and soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside.

  2. Lower heat, add shallot and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. 

  3. Increase heat to medium and add the quinoa. Stir for about 3 minutes until quinoa is slightly toasted. Lower heat to a simmer. Add the wine and continue to stir until absorbed. 

  4. Pour about 1/2 cup of warm broth into quinoa and continue to stir and simmer until completely absorbed. keep stirring in broth 1/2 cup at a time until quinoa is creamy, about 20 minutes.

  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the vegan Parmesan, remove from heat, cover with a lid and let stand for 2 minutes.

  6. Stir in the mushrooms and vegan sour cream. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh parsley on top.

Recipe Notes

If you don't want to use white wine, you can use Apple Cider Vinegar instead. For each cup of white wine, use 1/2 cup of ACV mixed with 1/2 cup of water.

This super quick and simple marinara is my favorite go-to recipe when I need to whip up a quick sauce. This yummy sauce uses pantry staples that you probably have on hand now. Great for pasta, pizza, rice, as a dipping sauce etc…Enjoy!

Quick Simple Marinara Sauce
Servings: 2 people
Ingredients
  • 1 can Unsalted Organic Diced Tomatoes (about 15oz)
  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 1 TBSP Yellow Onion (chopped)
  • 2 tsp Agave Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 medium Bay Leaf
  • 4 Fresh Basil leaves
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Cilantro
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

  2. Add garlic and onions and heat until the garlic becomes fragrant and just starts to sizzle, and the onion is translucent.

  3. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and reduce heat to low.

  4. Cover and let simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding water if necessary.

  5. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and let it cool for a few minutes.

  6. Pour all in a food processor and mix until you get the desired consistency.

  7. This sauce can be kept 1 week in the fridge, after which you can freeze it.

Solid shampoos are an innovative and eco-friendly concept favored by many. It is a concentrated product, without packaging, without preservatives, which takes up little space and is easy to transport. A shampoo “bar” of 100 g (3.5 Oz) can make about 70 to 80 shampoos. 

Solid shampoos can be fun to make because they can be molded according to your tastes and make very nice personalized gifts for your loved ones. These formulas can also be enriched very easily with butters or nourishing oils, which is more difficult with liquid shampoos.

The benefits of solid shampoos

*They do not take up space
*They are very easy to transport everywhere (no risk of leaking, no travelling restrictions…)
*They are zero waste, just a small box which is easily reused
*They are economical because they last much longer than a bottle of shampoo
*They are easier to dose, there is no risk of wasting it by pouring too much in the hand.

The drawbacks of solid shampoos

*Due to their solid nature, they contain a higher proportion of surfactants, which can in the long run become irritating or dry the scalp. Making the right choice in the ingredients, however, minimizes this problem related to surfactants.
*Between uses, they have to be kept in a cool, dry place, preferably on a soap dish. 
This will prevent the shampoo from being in prolonged contact with water. Otherwise, it may soften, or melt. Once dry, you can store them in a little tin box.

The surfactants

Definition:
A substance that tends to reduce the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved. The surfactant compounds are amphiphilic molecules, that is to say they have two parts of different polarity, one lipophilic which has a high affinity with fats, the other hydrophilic which has a strong affinity with water.

Function:
Depending on their structure, surfactants can have different functions:

  • detergent agent (or cleaner): i.e. able to remove impurities or dirt

  • foaming agent: acting on the water-air interface, this type of agent allows the dispersion of a large volume of gas in a small volume of liquid and therefore the formation of foam

  • wetting agent: this type of agent allows a greater spread of a liquid on a solid

  • emulsifying agent: an emulsifier makes it possible to mix two immiscible liquids, for example water and oil, and to thus form an “emulsion”

  • conditioning agent: this type of surfactant combines with keratin or skin to make them smooth and silky

Types of surfactants: 

There are four types of surfactant compounds, which are grouped according to the nature of the hydrophilic part:

  • anionic surfactants: the hydrophilic part is negatively charged (anion). These surfactants are particularly cleansing. Some common anionic surfactants used in hair care:

    • sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate and other sulfates (such as TEA lauryl sulfate),
    • the carboxylate family: Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, Sodium stearate
    • the sulfonates such as sodium olefin sulfonate,
    • sulfosuccinates such as Disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, disodium oleamine sulfosuccinate and sodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate
    • and others such as Isethionates and Taurates.
  • cationic surfactants: the hydrophilic part is positively charged (cation). Examples of cationic surfactants in shampoos:  Polyquaternium-47, Polyquaternium-22, Polyquaternium-10
  • amphoteric surfactants: with two charges, one positive and one negative. Examples include Sodium Lauriminodipropionate, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, or Cocamido propyl betaine (most popular).

  • non ionic surfactants: the molecule has no charge. These are my preferred surfactants because they are not irritating and are biodegradable. These include Sodium Coco Sulfate, coco glucosides, Sodium cocoyl isethionate, Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol

In cosmetics, synthetic surfactants derived from petrochemicals are regularly used, in particular:

  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), which is very irritating

  • sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which is less irritating

  • ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), certainly the least irritating of synthetic surfactants

However, more and more natural surfactants are being used, especially in the making of organic/natural cosmetics. Those are:

  • sodium cocoyl glutamate, which is very expensive

  • sodium coco sulphate (SCS), a sulphated derivative of the fatty acids in coconut oil

  • sodium cocoyl isethionate (SCI), a mild surfactant well tolerated by the skin, also derived from coconut oil. It is used to soften formulas based on sodium coco sulfate

  • mild surfactants obtained from vegetable oils or sugar: coco glucoside, lauryl glucoside or decyl glucoside

Homemade

Why make it yourself?

  • Because it’s more economical
  • Because you know exactly what goes in it

  • Because you can create a custom recipe specific to your hair type, and your preferences 

  • Because it’s a real pleasure, and also very rewarding to make your own little shampoo from scratch

The choice of ingredients

  • A surfactant (sodium coco sulphate, sodium cocoyl isethionate…)
  • Oils and/or butters (Castor oil, Shea butter…)
  • Water and/or Hydrosol(s) (Lavender, Ylang Ylang…)
  • Powders (Clays, Henna, Ayurvedic powders, Ghassoul, plant powders…)
  • Active ingredients (Panthenol, Rice protein, Wheat protein, Maca…)
  • Fragrance (Essential oils, fragrance oils, spices…)

The basic shampoo bar formula

Surfactant(s) (SCI, SCS…): 10 to 80%
Oil(s) and/or Butter(s) (Coconut oil, Shea butter…): 1 to 10%
Water/Hydrosol(s) (Rosemary, Mint, Ylang Ylang…): 5 to 10%
Plant extracts/powders (Nettle, Peony, Burdock…) : 1 to 10%
Clays (Kaolin, Ghassoul, Henna…): 1 to 10%
Essential Oils/Fragrances: 0.5 to 2%
Specific treatments (Panthenol, vegetal collagen, vegetal silicone…): quantities will vary based on product

Precautions

Before you start making your own cosmetics, please, read these warnings :
• Some ingredients may be allergenic: always perform a preliminary test applying your preparation over about 1 cm² in the crook of your elbow
at least 48 hours before using your preparation in order to ensure that no reaction occurs (stinging, redness, difficulty breathing etc.).
• All cosmetics containing an aqueous phase (water, hydrosols) are very liable to microbiological contamination. So, it is essential to manufacture
your home-made creams in very hygienic conditions.
1. Sanitize the utensils and containers before use: either by immersing them in boiling water for 10 minutes (excluding plastic containers and pumps)
and drying them thoroughly with a clean and dry cloth, or by rinsing them with pharmacy alcohol (excluding gloss containers that are not alcohol resistant : sterilize with boiling water) and air-drying them.
2. Wash your hands before getting started and wear clean gloves.
3. Avoid touching the preparation and ingredients with your hands.
4. Store the temperature-sensitive preparations in cool conditions and use them quickly.
5. Use tested «natural preservatives»
6. Immediately throw away any preparation if you notice the slightest amount of mold, an objectionable odor or changes in its appearance etc.
• It is sometimes necessary to heat certain raw materials up to a high temperature. The precautions for use must be respected to avoid burns. It is advisable to wear eye protection.
• Always carefully label and date your preparations and keep them out children’s of reach.
• Respect the indicated doses. When making your product, fill in a traceability book, note the composition of your product and the batches
of ingredients used, as well as the manufacturing date.

Instructions

To make your own solid shampoo, follow the following instructions step by step:

  1. In a double boiler, heat the surfactant with a little water (or hydrosol), and the oil and/or butter.
  2. Stir constantly. The heat will melt the butter and soften the sodium coco sulfate. Once melted, remove from heat.
  3. Crush the mixture to form a fairly homogeneous dough. Sodium coco sulfate “vermicelli” may still be visible, but it is not a problem.
  4. For variations of the recipe, add powders, essential oils and other ingredients at this stage.
  5. Transfer the dough to a previously oiled soap mold and press down to spread it all in the mold.
  6. Allow the shampoo to harden before unmolding it. (You can optionally put the preparation in the freezer for 10 minutes).
  7. Let the shampoo air dry for 2 to 3 days before using it.

Preservation: well preserved and manufactured under optimal hygiene conditions, your product can be kept at least 6 months.

Happy shampoo bubbles to you!

 

 

After the winter, the body is tired by toxins accumulated during the holidays: bags under the eyes, pimples, lack of sleep and energy…the body is saturated. In spring, as sap rises to the heart of plants, our blood circulation accelerates and regenerates our organs. This is the perfect time to detoxify and, if need be, to get rid of some surplus weight before the arrival of summer!

To detoxify our body means getting rid of the many toxins or health-damaging elements that have accumulated over time through inadequate nutrition and breathing polluted air. The principle of detoxification is simple. Our body has the necessary organs to accomplish this work. These are called “emunctories” (filters), that is to say the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs and skin.

The detox cure allows to revive the machine that is the body and to find a biological and mental balance. After a cure, we are full of vitality and most small ailments (allergies, skin problems, headaches, digestive discomfort, menstrual disorders) disappear. The goal is to strengthen our immune system, that is, the body’s natural defenses.

Do you want to purify your body of the toxins that invade it every day? Try my detox synergy blend made with essential oils to help eliminate all the waste that your body has accumulated!

Verbenone Rosemary essential oil detoxifies and stimulates the liver
Lemon essential oil cleanses and helps regenerate the liver
Juniper berry essential oil helps evacuate toxins, it is draining and diuretic
Lovage root essential oil activates renal and hepatic functions
Carrot essential oil is depurative (purifying, detoxifying) and regenerating
Ledum essential oil stimulates the liver
Peppermint essential oil promotes digestion

5 from 1 vote
Spring Detox Synergy Blend
Ingredients
  • 30 drops Verbenone Rosemary Essential Oil
  • 30 drops Lemon Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Juniper berry Essential Oil
  • 20 drops Lovage Root Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Carrot Essential Oil
  • 15 drops Ledum Essential Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all the essential oils into a small amber bottle and shake thoroughly to blend well.

  2. Take 2 drops morning and evening before meals in a teaspoon of olive oil or honey for 3 weeks

*Do not expose yourself to the sun during the treatment

*Contraindications:

-Pregnant and/or lactating women

-People with epilepsy

-Children

-History of hormone-dependent cancers