Ode to clays

I am not going to start this post saying that it’s been a while since I wrote something here… instead I will tell you how good it was seeing my mother and my sister again. We spent more than a week together and we enjoyed every second of it. Now, looking back at those moments, I know I have something beautiful to think of until the next time.
The separation was hard. Maybe harder than last time. Or the older I get , the harder it is…But picking up  the making of soaps made me feel better. Thinking of which clays, which herbs and how to best combine essential oils to make new soaps made me forget the sadness. Especially cutting the soaps. There is always a special emotion cutting them.

Black Clay Soap

Soaps made of: coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, cacao butter. Enriched with almond oil and unrefined shea butter for a luxurious lather.

Made with black clay for gentle exfoliation and for absorbing toxins, scented with green myrte and vetiver essential oils.

Rose Clay SoapRose clay, geranium and pompelmousse essential oil, dried flowers of (Mallow) Malva Sylvestris.

Zinc Oxide&Rose Clay Soap

Rose clay and rubia cordifolia (Manjishta) root powder soap, scented with geranium and patchouli essential oil, calendula petals.

Maté Tea Soap

Maté tea soapIt’s been a while since I posted something here.  And a lot of things happened around me lately…things which make you stop and think about life at a different level … The good thing is that I am not anymore upset because our pc crashed and that we lost every single photo of our children, holidays, soaps etc; I also restarted reading novels…I know, you would say WHAT ? but when you have 2 kids, a job, some hobbies and when you want to make almost everything yourself at home, finding time for reading is not easy. And… it’s May: I love this month of the year more than any other month especially because I go to see my mother. Usually she would come to see us but… Strange how this mother-daugther relation gets stronger after all those years, even if we see each other only twice a year.Maté tea soap

10th may is Mothers day in Belgium. It felt so nice to see my girls coming to me with poems learnt at school, presents and flowers. I only wish those moments would last longer. It made me think more about my mother and her habits.

My mother loved/still loves her daily tea moments and we loved seeing her enjoying it. Every time we visit new places, we bring her some tea. During his last business trip to Chile and Argentina, my husband found a tea which one could buy almost everywhere there but of which I have never heard before: maté tea. I love to discover new ingredients, so immediately I started to google about it . I was surprised to find out that this tea has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate” all in one beverage. Almost known as a national drink of Argentina, this tea has become my morning routine at work at least 2-3 days a week. Drinking it, feels like being on holiday ;)

Soap made of: maté tea, coconut oil, olive oil, cacao butter, shea butter, lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil.

SoapJam

SoapJamIf you are one of the admirers of beautiful soaps on internet, you have certainly heard about SoapJam, soaps made by Silvia in the Philippines. When I first discovered Silvia’s soaps, I was impressed by her good looking soaps taken into account the fact that she was quite new into this hobby! Afterwards, I realized that Sivia is simply passioned and so-so talented! All her soaps look so neat and delicate, her swirls are one of the most beautiful swirls I have ever seen.  Silvia’s soaps are so easy to identify thanks to the special design-swirls which are difficult could copy. If i have to use only one word to describe her soaps it would certainly be ‘perfect’. SoapJam
What I especially admire  about Silvia is her way of combining natural and artificial colors. She does love natural ingredients, as she uses a lot of interesting colorants(some of them still unknown to some of us) like alkanet, moringa, shikon, bamboo charcoal, powdered eucalyptus leaves etc, but she is also open to use other colorants to obtain the most interesting combined swirl soaps! Besides, Silvia makes one of the most white soaps! if you are new to soaps or if you want to see some gorgeous photo’s of some stunning soaps, take a look at Silvia’s soaps.
Silvia is also known among soapers because of the tutorials she posts. Her experience and different tests are precious info. How to remove ash or how to patch up soaps are some of examples of her determination to find the way towards the best looking soaps.
When Silvia posted her moringa soap, I was so in love with the color that I knew I would like to try it also in a soap! I have tried some natural green colorants, but moringa soap made by Silvia had a different  interesting rustic nuance. Silvia was kind to propose to send me some moringa powder (a superfood, btw!), and I accepted, hoping that I could also get a piece of Soapjam soap in the pack ;). Yes, who wouldn’t?
 I had no time yet to make soaps, but I am the lucky user of the beautiful Japanese Indigo soap. I have been using it for several days and I really love this soap. I had to check on Silvia’s post to see what were the other ingredients, besides the oils and butters,  and it seems that Silvia put also yogurt and goat’s milk in it, that’s why this makes such a creamy soap. SoapJamThis precious soap – made of Japanese indigo – contains several essential oils: cypress, petitgrain, lemon, orange, cajeput, basil. The result is a refreshing, slightly spicy and woody perfume with some fruity notes.
As most of the soaps I receive, I cut this soap in 2 pieces: one piece to be used now and a 2nd one to be enjoyed later: it’s always nice to come back to special soaps.
It was a real honour to receive this gift from Silvia: after so much time admiring online her beautiful soaps, now, having one in my hands was a real dream!
Thank you, dear Silvia!

Julicu Soaps

I haven’t made soaps for some weeks, but I have been enjoying ones of the most delicate soaps on blogosphere: Julicu soaps.

IMG_1825[1]kopie (2)

When I discovered how beautiful the soap dishes, made by Iulia and her husband are, I immediately knew that I want to have at least one of them home too! I ordered some and Iulia sent me besides the dishes also 4 soaps and 1 lip balm. It took some time to get them but it was worth waiting.IMG_1848[1]kopie (2)

Iulia makes gorgeous soaps, she is attracted by all natural ingredients, she makes beautiful photos and lately she started some courses to teach other people how to make home your own soap, lip balm, deo, parfum etc. Admiring, isn’t it?
When I received her packet, I was really amazed. I was sure she would put a piece of her work in it, but I didn’t expect to receive 4 different soaps, 1 lip balm and 3 soap dishes!!! I didn’t dare to unwrap the soaps and I admired their labels and packagings during some days: a light paper which lets soaps brief, nicely written list of ingredients( in Latin, English or Romanian), lovely chosen names for the soaps! I like so much all these little details.

IMG_1842[1]kopie (2)The lip balm is such a pure beauty: nourishing the lips with such a delicious vanilla perfume! You just can’t stop using it!
All the soaps are adorable, but the bay-alep soap is such a cutie! Made out of 30% bay leaves oil, this soap smells so so good! I have never tried this oil in soap, but I can’t wait to give it a try as the color of the soap is so lovely! The 2nd soap which drew my attention was the goat milk and oats soap: love its rustic look, its delicate stamp and melissa and ylang-ylang essential oils make such a fine perfume! The 100% olive oil soap has a lavender scent and looks so simple and beautiful as it is: love its natural yellowish-white color. The last soap is a piece of art: melt and pour combined with whipped; white and green; and some petal roses op top! It’s the frozen garden! This is such a delicate soap!
We started using the goat/oats soap. It has a small and cute shape; it makes a gentle exfoliating soap, leaving the hands skin naturally hydrated, soft and with a joyful and fresh scent and I can’t wait to try the other soaps too.

shea_salvie_03The wooden soap dishes are really too beautiful to be used! I know I will use them, but only as decoration and certainly not as soap dishes: they are so attentively and perfectly made, the drawing are original and so unique. Small portraits to be hanged out!

Thank you, Iulia, for these beauties!

Vegan Chestnut Ice Cream

Vegan Chestnut Ice Cream

No, the winter hasn’t ended. And Yes, this is an ice cream. But some recipes just can’t wait till summer. And some chocolate recipes can easily put a smile on our face like this one ;)
Before giving you the recipe (only 3 ingredients!), let me tell you how much I love chestnuts. This love for chestnuts, which has been lasting for more than 2 years already (when I first discovered them) will certainly be a long one. My favourite way of eating them is baked in oven with some salt, but they have also become one of my favourite adds in desserts. Last year, around the same period I posted some chestnut pudding recipes, this year I tried chestnut puree in an ice cream and the result was a creamy and delicious dessert for the chestnut-chocolate lovers and not only.
Serves: 6-8
425 ml unsweetened chestnut puree (1 can)
200 (raw) dark chocolate, melted
200 ml coconut milk (1/2 can)

Optional:
2TbSp carob syrup/your favorite sweetener in case you prefer it sweeter.

Mix these ingredients until you obtain a homogenous cream. Pour the base into your ice cream maker and follow the instructions of your ice-maker machine(or put it in the freezer for some hours and then mix it again using a blender).

Vegan Chestnut Ice Cream

Vegan Hot Chocolate Milk

The coffee, tea and hot chocolate departments have always been my favorite places in the supermarket. I was always attracted by the different choices, flavours and adds of these products. But then I (almost) stopped drinking coffee. Now I still use to stroll through these departments, only to get some inspiration for the homemade versions. Because we all love chocolate at home, the hot chocolate is something we make almost daily, sometimes even, during the weekends, twice per day. I could list here a lot of ingredients we add, depending on what we have available and on whom is the milk chocolate made for. Let’s be honest: someone who is used to his classical version of hot chocolate would appreciate less paprika powder or other exotic spices in it ! I am open to experiment and I do believe that the most delicious recipes start by changing the ingredients with what one has at hand.Vegan Hot Milk Chocolate

To make a summary of the best hot chocolate milk recipe one can make home, I could mention those ingredients:
– cacao mass (or cacao butter+ cacao powder/ or a nut butter like almond/peanut,tahini etc+ cacao powder)
– sweetener (dates are the best ones in my opinion, but for a glycemic index coconut sugar is best)
– oats/or millet, quinoa flour or boiled rice/amaranth/quinoa (I like it more when my milk has a flour and more consisting touch)
– hemp seeds (skip it in case you are using a nut butter)
– warm/hot water

Personalize your milk according to your taste by adding:
– superfoods (lucuma, maca, carob etc)
– spices (cinnamon, cayenne, ginger, curcuma powder, vanilla etc)

I am simply a big fan of the combination cacao-carob powder, and my daughters love it too but whatever you decide to combine, this chocolate milk will put a smile on your face on a cold winter.

Vegan hot chocolate milk

My recipe:
2 serves

2-3 TbSp cacao mass (also called cacao liquor)
1TSp rolled oats
1TS carob powder (optional)
1-2 TbSp hemp seeds
2-3 dates
500 ml hot water

+ your favourite spice/superfood

Mix everything and enjoy it!

Kombucha Soap

Kombucha Soap

If you are interested in living healthy, you have certainly already heard about kombucha tea. Kombucha is a fermented tea which can be easily brewed at home and which has a lot of health benefits, boosting your immune system and energy levels.
Kombucha contains a slippery, living mat of stuff known as a “mother” or SCOBY, a culture of bacteria and yeast, that produces various compounds including alcohol and acetic acid, the primary flavor of vinegar. Plain kombucha has an acidic, vinegar-like flavor compared to the original sweet tea flavor. But the strength of the tea flavor can be adjusted with the amount of tea bags brewed per volume of water. What I like about this tea, is that you can make so many variants. By adding some fruits or spices you can adjust it to your preferred taste.
Kombucha Soap

I have been brewing my kombucha since september. Thursday is the collecting day and even it takes a little bit of time to make it, I do enjoy these moments. While my husband would drink it because he knows that it’s healthy, my little daughter likes it and she asks for it everyday. We use to add it to our morning shakes or to drink mixed with some sweet sweet fruits. Kombucha tea has become part of our daily life.

This soap is inspired by the soap which I made last year of fermented wheat bran and by this kvas soap. Its delicacy, its foam made me want again to try another fermented product in soap. Those who already tried a soap with fermented wheat bran or kombucha know exactly what I mean.

Soap made of: coconut oil, olive oil, shea butter, cacao butter, sunflower oil, kombucha tea, litsea cubeba essential oil, citronella essential oil.