Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Handmade Beauty Natural You" Class is Now Open!

*Due to technical issues, the highlighted areas are links. Hopefully this will be fixed soon!

You may or not remember way back in October when I first revealed that my sister and I were putting together an online class about making your own beauty products at home and from scratch. Well, after bouts of Christmas chaos, sick kids, tiredness, and life in general, it's finally up for sale!

While in chiropractic school, I began to learn about the toxic ingredients used in conventional beauty products. At that point, I initially started buying the "cleaner" and more "natural" brands, but they sure put a strain on my budget! A few years later, I discovered the joy of making your own beauty products at home. Now, the only products I buy from the store are hair conditioner and gel. That's it! Everything else I use is homemade, effective, safe, and customized to be perfect for me!

The class begins 2 weeks from today (February 10th) and new content will be released for 5 weeks. Each week, we will introduce you to another type of product; lotions, hair care, masks, etc. as well as teach you how to customize your creations so they fit your budget and needs. Not only will you get to see us in all our weird-sister-glory, (it took us almost 3 decades to hone this class act) but you'll also get all the recipes in a PDF at the end of the class.

The corny humor and animal appearances are almost worth the cost of admission alone...

Below, you'll see our easy 3-ingredient body butter recipe that you get just for being here!

To get in on the fun, head over to Post Road Vintage to sign up. We can't wait to see you again in 2 weeks!

*Please pin and share with those that you think would love this class!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Grain-Free Gingerbread Granola

Although I'm completely obsessed with eating eggs for breakfast, sometimes I'm too lazy to clean a pan. The second choice is always yogurt. I'm from the upper peninsula of Michigan, where the wild blueberries are everywhere, so I usually have 30+ pounds in my freezer to get through the winter. So divine when you stir a handful into some yogurt. A little extra crunch from homemade granola also helps.

I'll admit that this granola has more exotic ingredients than my other granola recipe. You can always omit a few ingredients here and there depending on what you have on hand. Granola is very flexible and it shouldn't affect your end result too drastically.

I haven't eaten cold cereal in years, but just this afternoon I was craving it, so I poured this granola in a bowl, sliced up a banana, and poured some milk over it. Fantastic afternoon snack...

Grain-Free Gingerbread Granola
Yield: about 3-4 cups

1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped
1 cup quinoa flakes
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw pepitas
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon molasses
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat oven to 250 F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine almonds, cahsews, quinoa flakes, hazelnuts, pecans, pepitas, and hemp seeds.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg whites, maple syrup, cinnamon, molasses, cloves, and ginger.

Transfer the egg white mixture to the larger bowl and stir to coat evenly.

Spread on the lined pan in an even layer and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.

Allow to cool and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours and thanks for supporting A Finn In The Kitchen!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cocoa and Toasted Coconut Almond Butter

For the most part, I would have been a good pioneer woman. I love making food from scratch; it's cheap and satisfying therapy. Churning butter? Sounds like a muscle-building blast! Kneading bread? Aggression-buster! A garden that would make a master gardener jealous? Tiring but so rewarding! Of course it'd be hard to make almond butter by hand. I guess that's the trade-off I'll have to live with.

My daughter adores peanut butter, but the ones that only have 1 or 2 ingredients are fairly expensive and I like knowing what's in my food.

I didn't add any sweetener because I wanted it to still be almond butter, not some kind of almond nutella. Although it would probably be delish with some honey.

This is great by the spoonful, spread on toast, or on apple slices.

Cocoa and Toasted Coconut Almond Butter

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups raw almonds
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Heat a pan over medium high heat and toast the coconut flakes, shaking or stirring frequently until lightly browned and fragrant. Immediately transfer the coconut to a small plate so it doesn't continue cooking.

In a large food processor with the blade attachment, process the almonds until they make a smooth paste. This takes longer than you'd expect and it will go through a few stages until it smooths out. You may have to periodically scrape the sides of the container.

Add the toasted coconut flakes, cocoa powder, and sea salt to the processor bowl. Process until fully combined.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix (Refined Sugar-Free)

If I had to pin Fall down with one word, it would be 'cozy'. Wearing long johns feels like a novelty (ask me again in a few months if I still feel the same), the only produce I crave is pumpkin and apples, and walking outside means the constant crunching of leaves.

Plus, hot beverages are not as stifling and rich flavors sooth instead of weigh you down. When given the option, I'll almost always choose the rich over the sweet. I cram real whipping cream into an unreasonable amount of foods and the answer to "Butter?" is always "yes!"

Having a hot cocoa mix on hand that makes me happy is going to be essential to getting through this winter. I kept it sickeningly simple and used xylitol instead of sugar.

The homemade marshmallows and spoonful of whipped cream on top isn't necessary, but highly encouraged. That's where real living happens!

I made The Urban Poser marshmallows because they're loaded with gelatin and sweetened only with honey. Truly fun! Plus, not a drop of corn syrup!

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix (Refined Sugar-Free)
Yield: about 12 8-ounce servings of hot cocoa

1/2 cup cocoa powder (darker the better)
1/2 cup xylitol, powdered

Whisk together cocoa and xylitol and store in a airtight container. If your xylitol granules are large, powder them in a blender or coffee grinder before combining with the cocoa.

To make hot cocoa, heat milk in a pan until steaming (8 ounces per serving). Whisk in 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of dry mix for every 8 ounces of milk. For example, 16 ounces of milk will yield 2 servings and use 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons of dry mix.

Serve topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and homemade marshmallows (at least once)!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas

My hubby bases the quality of a Mexican restaurant solely on their fajitas. He can remember the taste of pretty much every fajita he's had and can compare them to the one he's eating. It blows me away.

I judge the quality of the restaurant on the enchiladas; one of the things that always appeals to me when I go. If I ever landed my butt in Mexico, these would be the first thing I'd settle down with.

These enchiladas lean away from the creamy end of the spectrum and land more towards the meaty and filling end.

I made mine large-and-in-charge, but feel free to restrain yourself if you have the ability.

These green chicken chile enchiladas come together pretty quickly and I left them pretty tame (spice wise) because of my daughter. So feel free to up the cayenne if you need to!

Simple but delicious!

Green Chicken Chile Enchiladas
Yield: 6-8 enchiladas

5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on heat tolerance)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 ounces diced green chiles (from a can)
1 1/4 mild green taco sauce or enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon sour cream, plus more for serving
1 cup cheese, shredded (Mexican or cheddar are nice)
6-8 large flour tortillas

Chop chicken into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl with lemon juice, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (if using), and pepper. Stir around with your hands to distribute the spices and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so.

Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat until shimmering. Dump in half of the chicken and spread into a single layer. Cook until no pink remains in the thickest piece, turning pieces about halfway through.

Move cooked chicken to a pan and add more coconut oil if necessary, cooking the remaining chicken the same way.

Leave as much liquid in the pan as possible when moving the second half of the chicken to the plate. If the liquid doesn't cover the bottom of the pan, add more coconut oil and cook the onion and garlic until some pieces have turned crispy on the edges. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the green chiles, 1 cup of taco sauce, and the hot onions and garlic, and 1 tablespoon of sour cream.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour a little of the green sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and spread to coat. Just enough to keep the tortillas from sticking as they bake...

Divide the chicken between 6-8 tortillas in a fat strip down the middle, but keep it from the edges by at least an inch. Then pour a few tablespoons of green sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with shredded cheese (reserving some cheese to melt over the top).

Place the tortilla in front of you so the ends of the filling are pointing left and right. Fold the left and right sides in to cover the ends of the filling, then fold the side closest to you over the filling as well. While holding all this together, roll the enchilada away from you, tucking in any ends if necessary. Place in the pan, seam side down.

Repeat for all enchiladas and top them all with 1/4 cup taco sauce and remaining cheese.

Bake uncovered on a middle rack for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Serve warm and topped with additional sour cream.

Friday, October 4, 2013

"Handmade Beauty - Natural You" E-course Introduction

Drumroll, please!

Rolling, rolling, drum-rolling...
Image via Heather Anderson

Finally getting to reveal what my big sister and I have been brewing up for you!

Other than food, one of my most intense passions is making things from scratch; And that includes cleaning supplies and beauty products.

We decided to put together a class containing all of our favorite handmade beauty recipes called "handmade beauty - natural you". Not only will you get the recipes (about 20 of them!), but we'll also teach you how to create your own unique creations based on your favorite scents or your individual skin needs.

With the Christmas season approaching, our stress levels tend to climb and we need to take time on purpose to take care of ourselves. I can hardly think of a better way to do that than creating your own homemade spa!

Sure, it would be great to head off to the mountains for a weekend and have someone do this all for you, but how realistic is that? Plus, this way, you know exactly what ingredients you are putting on your skin. No background in chemistry required!

Want to join in our nerd-fest and learn how to treat yourself using simple ingredients?

Anything I've said so far make your heart go pitter-patter?

If you want to be the first to know when the class goes live, sign up here (make sure to confirm to the email we send you). I'd be absolutely thrilled to have you!

How thrilled, you ask? This thrilled!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Almond Joy Macaroons and Lime Macaroons (No-Bake)

Spending nearly a week back in the U.P. of Michigan was so dreamy! There was even a freak beach day, which I haven't gotten to experience this summer on Lake Superior.

While I was in Michigan, my pregnant younger sister mentioned she was trying to eat more coconut oil. Since that's something I'd like to eat more of myself, I decided to create a quick and delicious recipe that's loaded with healthy fats, but still satisfies a sweet tooth.

Even as a kid, I adored Almond Joy candy bars which tended to be favored more by adults than kids. So I knew it was essential to recreate that classic flavor. On the other side, I wanted something light, fruity, and a little tropical, so I made a lime version.

I had two of these after shooting them and one hour later, my belly is still full and happy. Good fats will do that to you!

If you only want to make one version, just double up the flavorings for that version and omit the others.

Almond Joy Macaroons & Lime Macaroons (No-Bake)
Yield: 18-20

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup soft, but not melted coconut oil (unrefined)
1 tablespoon honey

For Almond Joy Macaroons (double the ingredients if not making lime version):
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10-15 raw almonds
1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate
1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter

For Lime Macaroons (double the ingredients if not making Almond Joy version):
Zest and juice from 1 lime

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut, coconut oil, and honey with a fork until fully blended.

If making both flavors, place half of the mixture in a small bowl. Add vanilla extract to one of the bowls and stir. Add lime zest and juice to the other bowl and stir to combine.

Place tablespoon-sized scoops of coconut on the parchment-lined pan and place in the freezer for 5 minutes to harden.

Insert an almond (pointed side first) into the middle of the Almond Joy macaroons.

Melt chocolate over very low heat with the butter and drizzle over the almond macaroons.

Keep refrigerated to prevent melting.