Three Amazing Chia Recipes!

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I love the versatility of this seed so much that i decided to post about some of my favourite uses. As you can easily google the health benefits of chia, I won’t spend much time detailing its nutritional profile, but will say this – it’s another “super food”, loaded with healthy omega 3’s, calcium, manganese & phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids. You can count on chia as a brain food that gives you an energy boost, as well as keeping your bones & teeth healthy. Apart from just adding it to a lot of recipes & baking, I have a few favourite uses for chia that I would like to share with you.

ONE: As a thickener in recipes calling for things like corn starch or pectin. Jams, jellies, sauces and other dishes that need thickening or a little extra cohesion benefit from added or substituted chia. I personally don’t like using corn starch (because of its low digestibility) or pectin (because of the cost, and it being an extracted ingredient rather than a whole food). I haven’t figured out a super reliable substitution rate, but I would say a safe assumption to start with would be a sub of 2:1 of chia to starch or pectin. If you don’t want the minor seediness that comes with whole chia, you can grind it in a coffee grinder to get the thickening benefits without the seedy texture.

A recipe for quick chia jam:

Combine in a saucepan / small pot:

1 cup of (I use frozen) berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry – whatever you like, or a combination).
2 tbsp of chia seeds
Simmer until reduced (and thawed if frozen) for 5 minutes.
If you want a jam with uniform texture, use your hand blender to lightly puree the mixture while still in the pot. If you like it chunky, leave it! For the pureed jam, simmer for another 5 minutes or so after pureeing; for the chunkier jam, give it about 10 minutes on the stove (or longer) to soften up the lumps a bit. After your jam has finished simmering, stir in:

Approx 1 tbsp raw honey (to taste – however sweet you like it – the chia adds a mild sweetness as well).

You can use the jam warm, or transfer to a jar in the fridge. After some time in the fridge, it will thicken even further. And voila! A jam with added protein and omega 3, without the use of other thickening agents or sweeteners. This jam also freezes very nicely.

TWO: For a homemade hair gel. That’s right, I said it! Hair gel! Chia makes a wonderful plant based jelly when combined with any liquid. For a hair gel, you can combine:

1 cup of water with
2 tbsp of whole chia seeds

Simmer in a small pot for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring fairly constantly to separate lumps. Remove from heat and stir in:

2 tbsp aloe vera gel (food grade please)

– and let cool. Once cooled, get out a jar for storage and place fine meshed cheesecloth over top. Begin pouring mixture over the cheesecloth, and when enough accumulates on the top, squeeze the gel through the cloth into the jar – the leftover grit and seeds will stay in the cheesecloth. Continue until you have strained it all. If you have a very fine mesh strainer, this would work as well – but it needs to be very fine or you will get chunks in the gel.

Keep it in the fridge and use as needed – it will work like a “wet” hair gel. Both the chia and aloe are very conditioning for your hair, so it also makes a great dry hair treatment!

THREE: Chia fruit juice jelly: A really fun, refreshing light snack that is super easy is this chia seed jelly – a little like a slightly softer jello :). Combine in a jar:

1 cup of your favourite fruit juice (my favourite for this recipe is grape) with
2 tbsp of ground or whole chia seed (depending on the texture you would like).

Stir well until distributed evenly in the juice. Let sit on the counter for five minutes in the sealed jar. Give it a good shake or another stir, and place in the fridge for several hours (I let it sit overnight). It’s perfect for a hot summer day, especially to get some fun fluids and vitamins in your kidlets.

And there you have it! My favourite chia based recipes both for on your bod and in. Also check out my recipe for chia rice pudding HERE. A yummy gluten free breakfast! What are your favourite uses for chia?

Cranberry Pecan Rice Pudding with Chia & Turmeric

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Mmmmmm…..rice pudding. Something our family has really started to enjoy since doing a gluten free phase in our diet. After seeing one on the dessert menu at a favourite restaurant, I thought I would try my own twist on this classic dish for a hearty, gluten free breakfast idea! Here’s the recipe:

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The chia adds a protein kick, along with the healthy saturated fats in the coconut milk and butter to get your brain going. That’s right! I said healthy saturated fats – you need these in your diet to keep your nervous system functioning (among other things)! Don’t overdo it, of course, everything in moderation – but these are important for your diet, despite what mainstream dietitians following the ASD might say. The turmeric and cinnamon are excellent anti-inflammatories – you might just get some pain relief from this recipe, too! And the molasses will add lots of natural vitamins and minerals to your meal.

Feel free to sub coconut oil for the butter and just double the molasses instead of adding honey if you would like to go vegan. Also, raisins go just fine if you don’t have cranberries handy, and most nuts will do! I do, however, warn against subbing for chia, as it is very important for the consistency of this recipe. Substitute this at your own risk 😉

Hope you enjoy – my toddler just gobbles this up. It’s become a family favourite!

Why you should book a DIY Party with Jayne!

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So I wanted to write a piece that explains why I choose the business model that I do, and why I think YOU should book a DIY Party with me!

If you are following my blog, you must already have an interest in making your own products. So if I’m preaching to the choir here, I apologize. But here it goes: What are some motivators for learning to make your own products, and for hiring Jayne to help you?

1). Save money. This one is so important to so many of us, that I will repeat it again, with emphasis: Save yourself TONS OF MONEY! I mean it. Making your own products with my simple recipes is CHEAP. Most of my products use very easy to source ingredients that can be purchased very cheaply. You will save lots of money in the long run by learning to DIY. For example, a 120 ml container of my toothpaste costs around $1 to make, compared to $6-$7 for a tube of “natural” toothpaste, that may still be harboring certain toxins. Which leads me to…..

2). Avoid toxins. Many commercially made products are loaded with toxins that are harmful for your health. I always source the least toxic, most natural ingredients possible for all of my recipes. Nearly all of what I use is organic and non-GMO, and I can provide these sources for you to purchase the same quality ingredients when making your own products.

3). Reduce your carbon footprint. Commercial products use a ridiculous amount of packaging, and much of it is non-recyclable in many municipalities. By purchasing individual products rather than making your own and buying your ingredients in bulk, you are contributing to a massive amount of unnecessary waste being sent to our landfill. Go green and learn to DIY today!

4). Get some HANDS ON experience, with troubleshooting right there for you. It can be a lot easier to begin to DIY certain products when you have someone there to coach you through it. Jayne has long term experience tweaking recipes to get the consistency & functionality just right for you. If you aren’t sure whether your finished product looks like it should, Jayne is right there to answer all of your questions. No more searching through endless forums trying to figure out what you should be doing to get your recipe right!

5). Feel empowered. It can feel pretty good to purchase products you know are less toxic alternatives, but it can feel even BETTER to make these products yourself. YOU are in control of what you are putting in your recipes, on your body, and in your home. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you can take control of this part of your life.

6). Have FUN with your favourite people! A DIY party is a unique and fun filled idea for a get together. Share the learning experience with friends, family, or coworkers, and have fun doing it! Laugh along with each other as you embark on your DIY journey. It’s a lot more exciting than googling recipes! And what a better way to convince others to DIY that might not be 100% on board with the idea? Sometimes it helps your loved ones to hear it coming from someone else to give them the jumpstart they need.

7). Support a local, stay-at-home Mom. By using Jayne’s services, you are supporting a local Mama looking to reduce the carbon footprint in her community, and engage in an ethical business that can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

So what are you waiting for? Book your DIY Party today and save money, avoid toxins, reduce your carbon footprint, get some hands on experience, feel empowered, have FUN……and support a local business!

Check out my pricing and party package options HERE.

All natural bug spray!

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So I know this has been a long time coming, but I really wanted to test it out. This recipe combines a lot of tried and true ingredients for homemade bug sprays. Although this recipe mostly targets mosquitos and certain flies, apparently it offers moderate protection from ticks as well – although I really have no sound way of proving this at all, as I have not knowingly exposed myself to any.

I know that when I am out in my garden or sitting on my patio, the mosquitoes leave me quite alone when I am wearing this! But I imagine that if you are in a crazily mosquito infested deep woods scenario, it might not be foolproof. So keep this in mind. I urge you to try it out for yourself in a situation of lighter exposure, and then move towards more intense situations gradually. Also be aware that all bodies are different, and certain people tend to attract mosquitoes and bugs more than others, be it due to amount of CO2 they are releasing, or something about their blood composition – although this seems to be a relative mystery, it does seem to be a reality.

I’ll start with my recipe, and then offer a few other suggestions to naturally keep mosquitoes and bugs away from your campsite or backyard. This is a ‘combine and go’ bug spray, so it is an easy one if you have all the ingredients on hand:

In a bowl or large pyrex pourable measuring cup, combine:

1/4 cup whole leaf aloe vera juice
1/4 cup diluted, alcohol free witch hazel formula (like THIS one)
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cups filtered or distilled water
30 drops citronella essential oil
20 drops peppermint essential oil

Stir well, and pour through a funnel into a spray mister bottle. Shake to mix further. Spray on all parts of your body, and if in tougher conditions, even on your clothes and hair. The mosquitoes will sometimes bite you right through your jeans if you omit these areas! It should not stain most clothing, especially if you are only applying a light mist.

And there you go! I recommend keeping this product refrigerated if you are storing it for long periods (to prolong shelf life), but it should be fine in your backpack or camping kit over the weekend or whatnot.

Some other tricks to keep the bugs away:
Burn citronella candles. These are great for keeping the mosquitoes away from a contained, small area, like around your campsite or back patio. I do not recommend burning these in a more enclosed space, as they are usually made of parrafin, which can be toxic if inhaled in large quantities for prolonged periods. If you can find a non-parrafin citronella candle, like one made with beeswax, even better – and let me know if you find one!

Stay away from standing water, and remove any from your backyard. Things like bird baths and backyard ponds are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, and should be avoided, unfortunately, if you want to banish the bugs. And if you are camping, obviously try and stay away from any boggy or marshy areas.

In an area a little ways (at least 10 metres) from where you are camping / hanging out, put a bowl of baking soda out, and combine it with vinegar. This lets off a bunch of CO2 for a short period, and fools the mosquitoes into thinking someone is exhaling over there. Keeps them distracted and confused for maybe fifteen minutes or so. If you want to prolong the reaction, keep a bunch of small bowls of baking soda out, and then add some vinegar to one every fifteen minutes or so. This is time consuming, but helpful if you are desperate!

Let me know how this bug spray works for you, I would love to hear your feedback on how it works in more intense situations, in different climates, and for different bodies!

“Beauty” Regimens I No Longer Perform

20140528-215510-78910454.jpg…….because it’s unnecessary, and I don’t care what “you” think. That’s right, I said it. I really don’t care what you think, and I don’t think anyone should have to care about it. And if it bothers you that I don’t do these things, well, I think you are sweating the small stuff, baby 😉 Let loose, and check out what I don’t worry about in terms of my beautiful body anymore:

Shaving. Yup, I don’t shave. Anywhere. I personally think it’s ridiculously unnecessary. Sure, if you have hair somewhere that is functionally or hygienically getting in your way, take it off. Like a beard, for example – I get that. It gets food in it. It hangs in yours or your girlfriend’s mouth, yeah. If I had a beard I would probably trim or shave from time to time so it didn’t get out of control. If you are a championship swimmer and you want to cut a few millisecs off your time – raze away. But do I need to spend countless hours of my lifetime stripping minor, non-irritating hair from my pits and legs? And other uncomfortable areas? God, NO! My hubs does NOT care (really, he really really doesn’t) and I don’t think he should. My legs are actually softer without shaving, and I certainly don’t have stinky armpits. In fact, the hair actually binds to my deodorant to make it more effective, IMO. Be strong and resist the brainwashing, ladies! We don’t need to be hairless.

Styling my hair with product. I keep my hair on the short side, although I am waffling on the style lately. My hair has very little volume, and has a lot of weird little flicks and waves in it. But I am NOT spending my time putting product in it anymore. 1). Because I can’t get behind using the kinds of toxic products that it takes to give my limp hair more shape, 2). I can’t be bothered to waste my time making alternative products for it, because I don’t care. If it’s clean and brushed, it is soooo not my problem if you think it looks ‘weird.’ It’s hair. It’s unique. It doesn’t need to look like the overly coiffed hair in commercials. But just FYI, I will eventually be posting a recipe for chia hair gel. It is pretty cool stuff…and fun to make with the kids. Stay tuned.

Applying make-up. So you may have noticed I don’t have any make-up recipes on the site yet. I confess, it’s because I don’t wear it. Ever. My complexion loves me for it. No pimples, no problems. Why do we need to look like dolls? Why? Make-up is super time consuming and annoying to apply (especially eyeliner, holy hell), and creates a vicious cycle of clogged pores and irritated skin cells that fight back and then need to be squelched again under another layer. I really don’t get the whole make-up thing. Well, okay, I do, I guess, maybe you want to impress someone….and I will probably figure out some basic recipes for those of you who may need it. But I am not rushing on that, because I really don’t think you need it. And I will probably only go as far as lip tint, rouge and mascara. I would be more thrilled if y’all would just let your natural loveliness out 🙂

For fun, check out this article on “How to Liberate Yourself From Make-up”.

Dying my hair. So I think it goes without saying that if I am not styling my hair with product, I am certainly not dying it. Dying your hair is an incredibly toxic process (Don’t believe me? Read THIS). It was fun in my youth to play around with crazy colours, but that is soooo done. And I am not interested in covering my grey, which has actually started to come in, by the way (hmmmm, maybe kids really do give you grey hair). You know, I actually kind of like it! I look at it as my wisdom and experience shining through. I earned that grey. And I wouldn’t cover it up for a minute. I think we need to remember that we can age gracefully and without shame. Be proud of your grey – it’s who you are, and it’s beautiful.

So okay, maybe I am extra crunchy for being this way. Then CRUNCH AWAY, I say. Take control of what is really important in your life, like eating healthy, staying active, respecting the earth we live on, being mindful and present, and enjoying each moment and person in your life like this is your last day on earth. And lastly, being kind and compassionate to one another, and teaching our children to do the same. When you think about how important all of these things are, make-up and hair dye seem a little ridiculous, don’t they?

What parts of your beauty routine have you thrown to the curb?

Golden Turmeric Milk – An Amazing Home Remedy

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So I researched “golden milk” a while ago, and have spent some time testing it out – now I want to share this amazing remedy with you! I saw the recipe initially on Pinterest (many a blogger has posted something similar), and felt like I should give it a try just because it truly looked and sounded delicious. Little did I know about all the amazing health benefits to this helpful tonic!

Turmeric has long been an Ayurvedic remedy for many an ailment in India and other parts of the Middle East. Many families would cook with it to prevent and treat illness, and would specially prepare a tonic similar to this for sick family members.

The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been found to have amazing antioxidant , anti-inflammatory , and antibacterial / antiviral properties, as well as being helpful for bone and joint health. It is widely used as an alternative treatment for arthritis, as well as being beneficial for osteoporosis – especially in conjunction with natural, whole milk. It is also a very effective treatment for pain.

Curcumin has also shown promise as a possible aid in the treatment of cancer, (as with many other potent antioxidants), although research is in its early stages and involves the isolated component, and not the whole food (I question whether they would have more immediate results had they not isolated the compound and instead just used it in natural and traditional forms).

One problem with turmeric by itself as a supplement is that the curcumin is not readily absorbed by your bloodstream in its raw form. However, a substance called piperine in black pepper makes it infinitely more bioavailable. Curcumin is also fat soluble, so it is ideally consumed along with healthy fats.

So how should you take this amazing spice? The answer is: in this delicious golden milk recipe!! Milk contains the fats necessary to help your body absorb the curcumin, and the black pepper in the recipe also steps up your absorption a mega-notch. And there are also some other tasty and beneficial ingredients on the list. Care to check it out? Keep reading:

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1). In a small pot, add:

1 to 1.5 cups whole milk (OR for a vegan option, choose whole fat coconut milk)
1 – 2 tsp finely grated / “zested” fresh organic turmeric root OR organic, fair trade pure turmeric powder
10 or so kernels black peppercorns
5 or 6 thin slices of fresh ginger root
A cracked up stick of organic fair trade cinnamon (I don’t recommend subbing the powder, but you can if need be).

2). Bring to a low simmer, stirring frequently, until the milk turns a nice golden colour (3). It will take less time to become golden with the powder than with the fresh root. I usually simmer the milk from 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover the milk to steep for an additional 5 minutes.

Stir in 1 tsp to 1 tbsp (depending on sweetness desired) of organic, quality raw honey. Mix until dissolved. I totally forgot to put this in the picture…..sorry ;). It’s mostly a taste thing.

4). Pour the milk through a reusable coffee filter or very fine strainer, unless you want it chunky ;). Sip and enjoy!

I find that for pain relief, this recipe usually goes to work within 15 to 30 minutes. I once used it to treat some bad menstrual cramps, and it literally took them away for the rest of the day. Just gone. I have been using the milk for a severe headache today, and it has worked pretty amazingly well. I am sitting here sans headache right now. It also works brilliantly well to settle tummy and other digestive troubles, especially with the ginger included.

Not to mention it is SOOOO delicious! I just love it. My picky eating two and a half year old even drinks it! Let me know how it works for you if you try it! I highly recommend giving it a shot before taking and pain meds (although I am certainly not a “doctor” and you should always research for contraindications). I find it works infinitely better than Tylenol or Advil. It’s worth a try, no? And at the very least you get a tasty drink with many other health benefits to your bod 😉

Some sources on turmeric and curcumin:

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

http://www.naturalnews.com/043054_curcumin_antioxidant_cancer_treatment.html

http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/turmeric

Multipurpose Skin Ointment

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Way back when I promised you my ointment recipe. I wanted to really give it a good test before putting it out there. I just LOVE this ointment for our family’s skin issues. This recipe is a very effective balm for lots of problems, such as: eczema, psoriasis, generally chapped skin, rashes, mild burns – try it for anything!**

Melt together, stirring constantly, in a double boiler on medium-low heat (see my FAQ for an explanation of double boiling):

1 part coconut oil
1 part beeswax pellets (organic, preferably)
1 part cocoa butter

Remove from heat, wait to cool for about 3 minutes while still stirring, and then mix in (per 3 tbsp or so of base ingredients):
15 drops cedarwood essential oil*
15 drops rosemary essential oil*

*Please make sure you are using high quality oils, as pure as possible, to get their maximum benefits. A few highly reputable companies are doTERRA, Young Living, and Mountain Rose Herbs.

Pour / spoon into desired container immediately and allow to cool, in the fridge if desired. Should be good to remove in about 5 minutes. Finished product will be somewhat hard – use a fingernail to remove some and soften between fingertips when applying. Can be applied to the face as well (I use it a lot in the creases of my nose) but MAY be pore clogging if used in excess, due to the high beeswax content. Keep applying as often as needed until the issue resolves!

If you are breastfeeding, apply the balm with some of your freshly expressed breast milk, and you will get brilliant results. Breast milk is a fabulous tonic for the skin!

**For pimples / acne related issues, do not apply this balm – it may aggravate the issue by preventing the oils in the pimple to escape. Instead, try using my deodorant recipe to treat a fresh pimple – it will dry it out really well. Apply a thick coating of it directly to the pimple and allow to sit overnight.

Hope this does wonders for your skin troubles! I also sell this balm if you can’t make it yourself. Drop me a line and we can arrange for local pickup!