Monday, March 2

Simple Homemade Toothpaste - You'll never look back!


Having a non-food based post is a bit of a shift for me, but it's something I've been meaning to do for ages now. To be frank, I've actually made quite a few homemade remedies in the past for the blog, but never had the courage to post them here in doubt that anybody would be interested. But when it comes to this homemade concoction, I knew right away that I had to share it with you all! I know what you might be thinking: what... toothpaste? Yeah, I know its not really exciting, or very tasty for that matter. But it's super simple, totally affordable, and best of all, works like a dream! 

I was encouraged to make this after my mum, whose been making her own toothpaste for the last little while now, went in for a check up and was informed by the hygienist that she has surprisingly little plaque, and that compared to last time, her teeth looked whiter! And guess what her secret is? Yup, homemade toothpaste using four pantry ingredients. 

Baking Soda- While some people may be worried that baking soda is too abrasive for teeth, it's actually an alkaline which, it turns out, is less abrasive to enamel and dentine than commercially available toothpastes! It cleans teeth in two different ways. Firstly, by helping dislodge the plaque build up which contributes to dental decay and cavities and secondly, by removing those yellowy stains (in my case from coffee and tea). So all in all, it's both a excellent cleaner and natural tooth whitener!

Coconut Oil- Recently, pulling has become a super trendy habit - and there is good reason behind it! Oil pulling has been used holistically for thousands of years to improve oral and systemic health. Traditionally it consists of swishing about 1 Tbsp. of sesame oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes, much like mouthwash. While this recipe doesn't call for that much oil, or amount of time, it still provides some of the numerous benefits associated with pulling. By swishing the oil around in your mouth, bacteria is said to get caught in the oil and removed.This prevents such mouth problems as bad breath and gingivitis.   

Oil of Oregano- While you may only use this when feeling under the weather, oil of oregano is a great addition to your tooth paste and as a preventative against illness. A antiseptic and great ridder of bacteria, oil of oregano is great at getting into those crevasses  and deep in your gums which are so often a haven for bacteria.

Peppermint Oil- Peppermint oil is a wonderful breath freshener and is great at masking the flavour of the oil of oregano!

I promise you, your teeth will have never felt cleaner (or more like a slip and slide)!


Simple Homemade Toothpaste 


Recipe: (Makes the equivalent of one tube)

6 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Oil (Soften but not melted)
4 Tbsp. Baking Soda
20 Drops of Oil of Oregano
20 Drops of Peppermint Oil

Procedure:

1. Begin by leaving the coconut oil in a warm spot to soften. Mix it with the baking soda until smooth.
2. Add the oils and stir to combine.
3. Divide up the paste into small jars. Keep in a warm spot or use a small spoon to scoop onto your toothbrush.

xox Sophie

Monday, February 9

Things on Toast Part 1- Egyptian Eggs with Dukkah (and a Vegan option too)


I guess you'd call me a bit of a dreamer, or a fantasizer at the very least. I'm always planning our hypothetical future - on long drives, over lingering breakfasts, and cuddles on the couch, our life plans are dreamed up. Recently, these chats have turned to the fantasy of owning our own brunch restaurant. While this idea will probably never come to fruition, we like to play around brainstorming decor ideas, cafe names, and especially, our menu. When it comes to the offerings, the usual suspects like the benny's, pancakes, and oatmeals always show up on our list. But there's always a few exciting meals which manage to sneak their way on, including these lesser known Egyptian Eggs. 

The first time we had this dish was last summer when we went to visit our friends in New York City. Every brunch joint and cafe seemed to offer their own incarnation each differing in some slight variation, but always consisting of beautifully poached eggs a top a bed of greens and toast, topped with the most defining ingredient - the dukkah. While dukkah (also known as duqqa or dakka) isn't a common condiment here on the west coast, or in North America for that matter, it's an essential ingredient to every Egyptian table. Unlike other seasoning mixes which usually consist of just spices, dukka is comprised of mixed nuts, herbs, and spices, which are all pounded together to make a fine sprinkle. While dukkah is popularly used as a dip for bread, it's also a welcome addition to top  dips like houmous, raita, and baba ganoush, or dishes like roasted veggies, avo toast, and adds a great garnish to liven up any old quinoa salad.

For this recipe I used fresh eggs from my parents chickens, but if you're wanting a vegan option, I've devised an alternative using both avocado and roasted butternut squash which is oh, so good! If you desire a gluten free version too, try serving in on toasted Unbelievable Bread.


Dukkah

Recipe: (Makes a lot)

1/4 Cup Hazelnuts
1/4 Cup Pistachios
4 Tbsp. Sesame Seeds
4 Tbsp. Coriander Seeds
2 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp. Fennel Seeds
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1 tsp. Whole Black Pepper

Procedure:
1. Heat a large cast iron pan to low heat. Begin by toasting the nuts just until they begin to brown and turn fragrant. Set aside.
2. Repeat with the seeds and pepper.
3. Let all the ingredients cool before placing in a mortar and pestle (or a food processor) along with the salt. Process the mixture until the nuts, seeds, and spices are a medium consistency and any large pieces are broken down.
4. Store in an airtight container for further use.


Egyptian Eggs with Dukkah (and a vegan option)

Recipe: (Serves 2)

For the Vegan Version:

1/2 Butternut Squash
1 tsp. Oil
A Pinch of Sea Salt
1/2 of an Avocado

For the Egg Version:

4 Veggie Fed Free Range Eggs
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

Salad:

1 Bunch of Parsley
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Clove Garlic, grated
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
1/8 tsp. Ground Black Pepper

Four Pieces Toast (I used Spelt Sourdough)
Dukkah to Serve

Procedure:

1. For the Vegan Version, begin by slicing the squash into rounds, then slice each round into half (my squash was young so I left the skin on it). Toss with the tsp. of oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in a 205 C (400 F) oven for 15-20 minutes (or until golden) flipping halfway through. 
2. Meanwhile, begin to make the salad by removing the leaves of the parsley from the stalks. Chop the parsley leaves roughly and toss with the oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning. 
3. For the egg version, begin by filling a saucepan 3/4 full with water, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer, and add the vinegar. Meanwhile, toast your bread, Once the water is at a simmer stir it gently in a circle so that the water is moving in a light vortex. now crack the four eggs into the moving water. This will prevent the eggs from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cooking time will vary, but it should take around 1.5 to 2 minutes for a medium-soft poached egg. (The whites should be solid,but there will still be some jiggle in the yolk). 
4. To assemble, top each piece of toast with some of the parsley salad, and egg (or roasted squash and avocado sliced), and a generous couple of pinches of dukkah)

xox Sophie

Tuesday, January 13

Kale Craver and a This Rawsome Vegan Life Give-a-way!!!


Another give-a-way? Let me explain!

When I first began to blog, I would spend hours on the computer each and every night perusing others food sites. I would pour over the little details in order to learn how to improve my own blog and style.I would examine the layout of blog headers, the angle at which they photographed the dish, the colour, the composition, you name it. In the midst of being metaphorically knee deep in food blogs and fumbling for direction, I stumbled across the most gorgeous cake photo on Pinterest. With some frantic searching I found the origin of the culinary masterpiece and was introduced to the gorgeous blog and world of This Rawsome Vegan Life. Finding the site was like falling down the rabbit hole and landing in a world comprised of the most mouthwatering cashew cheesecakes, rainbow coloured smoothies, and electric salads I could have ever imagined. 

After finding out that the blog's creator, Emily von Euw, was a fellow British Columbian who lived no more than one-hundred kilometers away from me, I suddenly felt compelled to send her message. My note was a little silly (probably due to that glass of wine I had before writing it, which we all know is a bad idea!) and as soon as I hit 'send', I sat back on the couch and thought to myself  "what did I just do?". Insecurity and anxiety began to grow - "did I spell everything correct", "did that even make sense?", "will she even read it?". By the next day I had forgotten all about the uneasiness I felt about the email the night before, and routinely went around to check my messages. Much to my excitement, awe, shock, and utter amazement, there was a message in my inbox and it was from her! It was full of the sweetest comments, supporting words, and loving advice I could have imagined. For the last two years our little blogging friendship has blossomed. We have joined forces on blog posts, supported each other along the way, and she remains a wonderful source of blogging support to me. But enough about me, lets talk about Emily!


Last year I was thrilled when Emily released her first book which I couldn't wait to get my hands on it! So when I heard she was releasing another book, I was overjoyed. Luckily for me I was sent a copy of her new book 100 Best Juices, Smoothies, and Healthy Snacks, along with a copy to give-a-way to one of my lovely readers! Like her first book, 100 Juices is overflowing with the most mouthwatering photographs (see below) that will make you dream of smoothies every night. Beyond being a bright, charismatic, funny, and all around lovely human, Emily has a way with veggies that few people could master. She is passionate about her ingredients and doesn't bother messing around with a good thing. Her recipes are simple, natural, and best of all, easy! Upon opening 100 Smoothies, my attention was quickly drawn straight to the juice section. While I have always made juice in the past using my old dinosaur of a blender, I just received a Vitamix from a very special somebody, and desperately wanted to try it out...so juice seemed like the best possible option.


***To be entered to win a copy of Emily's new book, please let me know your favorite juice or smoothie flavour in the comments below. The winner will be chosen at random on Monday, January 19th at 9 a.m. PST. My condolences, but this contest is open to Canadian and U.S. addresses only.***


Photos courtesy of Page St. Publishing

While there were a spectacular array of juices to choose from, I narrowed it down to the kale one, because what can I say, I'm just such a sucker for a green juice. This one is a perfect balance of sweet and savory, with a touch of spice from raw garlic and ginger. Sometimes green juice tastes too healthy, or too much like celery for my liking, but this one combines juicy apples and cucumbers along with the classic kale and celery combo to make a nourishing and delicious drink. I pureed the ingredients in my Vitamix in three different batches, then strained through a nut milk bag (or cheese cloth). If you don't have a juicer or a high-speed blender, try blending in your conventional blender (again, in small batches) with just enough water to help the contents move. Strain this mixture through cheese cloth or a nut milk bag before serving. 



Kale Craver


Recipe: (Serves 2-4)

by Emily von Euw
printed with permission of Page St. Publishing

2 Green Apples
3 Cups Kale
6 Celery Sticks
1 Cucumber
1 Garlic Clove
1 tbsp Ginger
1 Lemon

Procedure:

1. Wash, peel, and chop the veggies and if needed, remove any seeds.
2. Put everything through a juicer or blender, straining as needed. 


xox Sophie