Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

Hot muffins right out of the oven. Is there anything better? That smell that permeates your kitchen and any other room with door left ajar… simply heaven. I make sure to close all windows and open the door to my bedroom while I bake so that when my head rests on my pillow that night I am lulled to sleep with the delicious scent of baked goods dancing in my nostrils. These muffins are to die for. The sweet earthly flavors of the sweet potato and carrot are a perfect match with the cinnamon and garam masala. Throw in some eggs, coconut oil, almond milk, coconut sugar and a dash of honey and you have a winning muffin. These taste reminiscent of carrot cake. With crispy edges and a moist and fluffy inside, my husband, daughter and I quickly gobbled them up. Breakfast dessert never tasted so good. 😉

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Carrot Muffins

~Makes about 18 muffins~

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Ingredients

  • 1 baked organic Japanese yam or any variety or sweet potato
  • 1 1/2 organic shredded carrots
  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose gluten free flour blend, I used this
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 oz dark chocolate chips, I used ghiradelli’s 70% and loved the slight bitterness

Process

  1. Bake sweet potato on 400 for 40 minutes, once cooled, peel skin off and discard
  2. Lower oven to 350 degrees
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, honey, sweet potato, coconut oil and almond milk until smooth
  4. Add carrots and gently mix in
  5. In a medium bow, whisk dry ingredients together
  6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until combined
  7. Fold in chocolate chips
  8. Grease muffin liners and fill 3/4 of the way full with batter
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean

I enjoyed these best in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea, they were also a delicious mid day snack, and absolutely scrumptious for dessert… I guess what I’m saying is these muffins are perfect just any old time. 😉

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DIY Willowbark Facescrub

DIY Willowbark Facescrub

My husband is Armenian. In his case this means beautiful luscious black hair, eyelashes that women would kill for and unfortunately for my cheeks, rough bumpy nose skin. Although he exfoliates, inevitably the roughness is back again the very next day. His exfoliant of choice is Burt’s Bees Willowbark and Apricot Scrub. I once thought that Burt’s Bees was an awesome, forward thinking company and I purchased their products regularly. I’ve since learned that although they started out using all natural ingredients in Maine 30 years ago, they have since sold their company to Clorox for 900+million and their integrity has started to waver. Mass production has diluted the quality of their products and now you may find pesky chemicals and preservatives where wholesome ingredients used to be. This is understandable for products that are expected to sit on a hot shelf for months, possibly even years. Understanding aside, I refuse to put that crap on my largest, most porous organ.

Here are the ingredients that I take issue with,

Sodium Borate- This is essentially Borax. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a chemical compound that is regarded as a ‘natural’ cleaner. It can be used for bleaching clothes, cleaning toilets… I personally use it as ant poison. Sound like something you want on your face? Didn’t think so. 

Fragrance- Fragrance, huh? Ambiguous much? I’m just assuming they aren’t using organic essential oils to make their scrub fragrant. 

Glucose Oxidase- This is a ‘natural’ preservative. It releases hydrogen peroxide which is harmful to bacteria. Hydrogen peroxide can also create free radical damage to the skin. According to MSDS sheets, it is also an eye irritant, a skin irritant a lung irritant and “prolonged or repeated exposure may lead to irreversible damage to health.” Lovely. Why the hell is it in this face scrub Burt’s Bees? Oh yes, because you are now Clorox and aren’t afraid of nasty chemicals. 

I decided that after doing my research, my hubby would no longer be slathering his sweet face with this stuff. I went to my laboratory AKA, kitchen counter, and got to work on making something superior. This scrub smells like a lemon bar. I kinda have a problem not eating it. Although many ingredients in it are edible, Willowbark wouldn’t feel very good going down, so I stop myself… just barely. After using my creation, the hubby proclaims it works way better than his ‘Burt’s Bees’ scrub. Take that Clorox! 

Willowbark Face Scrub
Ingredients 

  • 1 cup dried Willowbark 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unmelted coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp rose hip seed oil
  • 1 tbsp carrot seed oil 
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil

Process

  1. Grind Willowbark in a clean coffee/spice grinder until a rough powder is formed 
  2. Empty ground Willowbark into a medium bowl 
  3. Mix in all other ingredients together with a spoon 
  4. Store in a airtight container for several months
  5. Use a clean spoon to dip into the jar for each application to extend shelf life
  6. Enjoy your soft smooth skin!

 

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All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

Hello lovelies. I want to share with you, my recipe for a decadent little face cream that I’ve been using for the past few weeks. I created this out of sheer necessity. I recently ran out of my usual face moisturizer. This stuff is not cheap, it costs around 45 bucks an ounce. My husband and I have been cracking down on our budget recently and I have been reevaluating my necessary purchases. Extras like clothes and eating out have fallen low on the priority list. My face regime has stayed pretty high on my priority list as healthy skin is super important to my happiness. Call me vain, but it is much harder for me to feel powerful when my skin isn’t looking fresh and vibrant. In the interest of saving some cash while still treating my face to a high quality moisturizer, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a face cream with powerhouse ingredients. I feel that my finished product is superior to the expensive cream that I’ve been rocking for the last few years. In the two weeks that I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed an evening out of my skin tone, a fading of old pimple scars, a softening of the fine lines around my eyes and my forehead and simply an increased all over glow. The ingredients in this cream can be slightly pricey themselves but nowhere near the cost of comparable store bought creams that boast the same high quality ingredients. Bottom line, your cost will be lower overall if you create your own cream, plus you’ll have total control of what goodies you put in and what nasty preservatives you keep out. Below is a list of the ingredients I used and why they do such incredible things for your skin.

Raw Organic Shea Butter- Shea Butter is high in Vitamins A, F and K.

Vitamin A has soothing and hydrating properties which can prevent premature wrinkles.

Vitamin F acts as a skin protector and revitalizer. It soothes rough or chapped skin on contact. Vitamin F also consists of linolenic, and arachidonic acids, which are essential fatty acids.

Vitamin K helps aging and damaged skin look younger and healthier. It also improves skin elasticity and dark under-eye circles.

Shea Butter helps cell regeneration and capillary circulation. It has been known to soothe skin irritations such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis, dermatoses, acne, rash, minor scrapes and burns. Shea Butter restores elasticity of the skin and evens skin tone by lessening dark spots caused by the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Green Tea infused Almond oil- Almond oil is rich in vitamin A, B and E. These vitamins can improve your complexion, soothe irritation and inflammation and relieve dry skin. Green tea contains a cocktail of potent antioxidants called catechins, which help fight damage caused by free radicals. Green tea is also wonderful for brightening and firming the skin.

Rosehip oil- This oil is full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots and hydrate dry, itchy skin, all while reducing scars and fine lines. It’s a total badass when it comes to keeping the skin young and supple.

Carrot seed oil- Carrot seed oil is very high in antioxidants. These components can help protect your skin from environmental assaults like UV rays, pollution, and stress. Carrot seed oil’s ability to rejuvenate skin is miraculous. Scientists think this has something to do with the “carotol,” a primary component found in carrot seed oil. The oil also has moisturizing vitamin E and protective vitamin C, which work together to help encourage healing and to rejuvenate skin cells and bring new life to skin. In fact, carrot seed oil has a reputation for helping to heal eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis because of its ability to stimulate cell growth and repair damaged skin. It is also this ability that makes carrot seed oil a great anti-aging ingredient. Carrot seed oil has the ability to balance both oily and dry skin. It gives skin just enough moisture without clogging pores, making it perfect for all skin types.

Beeswax- Beeswax forms a protective barrier that helps protect the skin from environmental assaults, while also holding in moisture and reducing dryness. Unlike ingredients made from petroleum, however, beeswax doesn’t “suffocate” the skin, and won’t clog pores. Like honey, beeswax has antibacterial properties, helping keep skin clean and reducing the risks of contamination in the formula itself. Beeswax is a humectant which means it attracts water molecules. This helps to keep skin hydrated over time. Beeswax is also a good source of vitamin A which helps support cell turnover and reconstruction.

Vitamin E- Vitamin E protects the skin from environmental pollution. It contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties which can prevent the signs of premature aging and offers excellent wound healing properties. Vitamin E also enhances and helps with the penetration of other compounds into the skin and is itself well absorbed by human skin. On top of all of these powerful benefits to the skin, Vitamin E is also a wonderful natural preservative so putting it into your homemade skin care products will extend it’s shelf life.

Lavender essential oil- Lavender essential oil is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Just a few drops of this incredible essential oil can inhibit the bacteria that causes acne and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal.

All Natural Green Tea Face Cream

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp raw shea butter
  • 1 tbsp green tea infused almond oil
  • 1 tbsp rosehip seed oil
  • 1 tbsp carrot seed oil
  • .25 oz of dry beeswax- if you don’t have a scale, this equals out to about 1/2 tbsp of melted beeswax
  • 1 tsp vitamin e oil
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Process

  • Create your green tea infused oil. (I used almond oil for the many benefits listed above. You can substitute, grapeseed oil, apricot seed oil, jojoba, etc…)
  1. Place 1 1/2 cups of dried green tea leaves in a large bowl
  2. Add in 2 cups of preferred oil
  3. Place bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 3-4 cups of water. (Choose a saucepan that allows the bowl to rest on top of the saucepan without falling inside of it, as shown below.)DSC_0091
  4. Turn burner on high. Once water is boiling, immediately turn flame down low and allow to simmer for 1.5 hours.
  5. Periodically check water to make sure it hasn’t all evaporated. If needed, add more water.
  6. Strain infused oil through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth into a sealable jar and allow to cool.
  • Make your cream
  1. Add all ingredients except essential oil to double boiler or small glass bowl set on top of tea kettle.DSC_0099
  2. Turn burner on medium high and let all ingredients melt together
  3. Once melted, take off heat and let cool for a few minutes before adding essential oil
  4. Using an electric beater, whip ingredients together until light and fluffy
  5. Store in a sanitized air tight container and keep somewhere relatively cool.

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Since this cream contains no water, it should stay good for quite a long time. The vitamin e will add extra assurance in terms of preservation. Always smell homemade beauty products before use. If it smells funny, throw it out.

Enjoy your radiant glow! If you make this, please let me know how it works for you.

XO
Sam