Sunday, November 29, 2015

sourdough rye & spelt crackers with sesame

After eating these, you will be spoiled for any other cracker, I promise. I feel that good about these. They are sturdy, homey, incredibly crunchy & tasty. They love all forms of dips and cheeses.

They take a little bit of time due to the sourdough starter, but other than that, are very, very EASY. This post is super text heavy, not out of complication, but rather my love of over-sharing details to make them as easy as possible...hopefully.

The recipe yield is large because it's best to make them in big batches. They store well too, if no one eats them all first :)

Basically, the only tricky bit is the sourdough starter. It takes time for the fermenting to do it's thing, (1-2 weeks), but once you have it, it's smooth sailing and the sourdough flavour is worth it.

Here we go...

To make rye sourdough starter:

1. Start with rye flour, water (see note about water) and a container with a lid. I use a fido jar but any glass jar with a lid is fine. Make sure it's clean, but with no residue of soap as that can kill your starter before you get going!
2. Measure about 1/4 cup of rye flour and 1/4 cup of water in your starter jar. Stir it up and put the lid on.
3. After 24 hours, add a 1-2 tablespoons of rye flour and about the same quantity of water (doesn't have to be exact by any means). Stir it up well and put the lid back on.
4. Continue this process every 24 hours. You should start to see bubbling forming. The surface of the starter should have a good amount of action.
5. It might take a couple days for the bubbling to start, so don't give up right away. Give it another couple days of feeding. But if there is nothing happening, then the starter isn't starting. Something is wrong....might be one of many things, but you'll have to toss it and start again.

Notes about starter
  • Remember to feed it every 24 hours. You can get away with forgetting a little bit. For example, if you skip a day, feed it again as soon as you think of it. 
  • The consistency should be a little runny and paste-like. 
  • *WATER. I have had better luck with left-out water aka counter water (because I leave it on the counter). Maybe chemicals are evaporating while it sits on the counter that would otherwise kill the starter? I don't use any water that hasn't sat out for a least 12 hours.  
  • see what the 'bubbling' action looks like.
  • Feed the starter for at least 7 days before it is ready to use. But longer is fine too. 
  • I usually make the amount I want to use. For example, I'll keep feeding my starter until I have about 3 cups worth, then use it all up. Some people keep starter going all the time, but I can't be bothered. 
CRACKER RECIPE
Yield: 60-70 crackers

Ingredients
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds (optional, but adds flavour and they look nice too-but don't skip the toasting)
3 cups rye starter (that you made in advance)
3 cups spelt flour
1/2-2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Toast sesame seeds for 5-7 minutes at 325°. Allow to cool slightly before using.
2. In a large bowl, mix starter, flour, salt, apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
3. Mix well in the bowl. Once dough is together, add sesame seeds and work in until they are stuck in the dough.
4. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Kneed for about 5 minutes, working the sesame seeds through the dough.
5. Divide dough in half. Dust one half with flour and cover with a tea towel. It is easier to work with half the dough at the time.
6. Roll out the dough ensuring the counter surface and dough are kept lightly floured to prevent sticking. Roll out to a little thinner than 1/8th inch thickness.
7. I use a pizza cutter to cut out the crackers into squares. Whatever shape you prefer is totally fine. Place them on a parchment lined or silicone lined baking tray.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350°. If you put 2 trays in the oven, switch the trays around halfway through. When the baking time is done, turn the oven off & allow the crackers to remain in the warm oven to keep crisping for an additional 10 minutes or so with the oven door propped open slightly to allow the steam to escape.

Their crispiness depends a lot on how thick the crackers are and how long they are baked. If they are too thick, they will over brown before they get super crispy and be extremely firm (somewhat bulletproof). Thinner is better, but no too thin that they will break easily.
It gets easier and faster if you make them a few times. They keep for several weeks. Store in bag (paper bag works best or a plastic one not fully sealed) or in the freezer for longer storage.

They smell really amazing out of the over and you'll try but not be able to resist eating a bunch with butter. Enjoy!!



Saturday, November 14, 2015

diy spirulina face mask

Giant green face!!
Yes, it's been a long time. I thought I might be at the end of post ideas...but then, found this one I started a few months ago...and face masks came up the other day, so voila!  A post about clay masks.

I boost my mask concoctions with carrier oils and use every other week to 1x month. It's a semi-luxurious treat that actually makes a difference to my skin and it's a pretty darn cheap way to do it.

Yield: enough for about 2 faces (any leftover, I store it in the fridge and use it up later).

Ingredients
1 tbsp multani mitti* clay (or another clay, see below)
1/4 tsp sweet almond, jojoba, evening primrose or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp spirulina powder

Boosters (use at least 2, but feel free to use more)
1/2 tsp liquid honey
1/4 tsp glycerin
1/2 tsp aloe vera gel
1/4 tsp silk peptides
2-3 drops lavender essential oil

Instructions
Measure ingredients into a bowl you don't care about (the clay can scratch as you mix).
Add enough water to make a smooth, but thick paste
Apply to face in a medium thick coating. Leave on for 20 minutes
Gently remove with warm water and a wet facecloth
Finish by moisturizing skin with a few drops of argan or rosehip oil.

FIY Common clays & information
*Multani mitti clay has hydrating properties, is good for treating blackheads and whiteheads and scaring. Helps to remove dead skin cells. It promotes circulation to get skin glowing.
*French green clay: absorbs and removes impurities from skin, helps skin feel toned and refreshed
*Rhassoul clay-good for reducing dryness and flakiness, improves skin clarity and elasticity
*Australian green clay-strong clay, good for detoxifying, can aid in scar repair, good for oily skin

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Natural deodorant (that totally works)

My simple 3-ingredient lemongrass coconut deodorant recipe I posted last summer is still going strong. Using it is a pleasure. A little goes a long way, it last for months and still keeps doing it's odour-free magic on me! I can skip a day if I'm not doing anything too strenuous!. It's insanely economical and totally natural. But it can be boring to use the same thing all the time, right?

Natural deodorants are popping up everywhere; specifically 'cream' styles. I like to use a stick style, but I'm open to options and I keep my eye on them. Some like Routine Cream are made here in Canada (beautiful little jars)...and Black Chicken 'Axilla' is one from Australia. I haven't tried any of them, but they totally inspire me to & I can't help trying to make some myself (especially after seeing their super simple ingredients list!!).

Ok, now, an ingredients list is one thing, a recipe is entirely another. How much of one thing over another can be tricky. But not rocket science. After only after 4 versions, I got one I liked....a lot.

*Note: Like all deodorants, this one helps with odour only. But, heck don't sweat it baby (hehe).

Here's how it went down.

Version 1: Greasy. Not good.

Version 2: Too dry. Attempting to compensate for version #1, the cream just crumpled out of my pits and onto the floor.

Version 3: Better.....

Version 4: Best. Nice texture, goes on easily while still having enough of the dry ingredients to do their odour-busting.

Natural deodorant cream recipe

Yield: 100 grams
p.s. get a scale (if you don't have one, they are pretty inexpensive and you'll use it constantly ....you'll wonder how you ever coped without it)

Ingredients

Wet stuff
15 grams coconut oil
4 grams beeswax
3 grams shea butter
3 grams cocoa butter
5 grams sweet almond oil (or another nice oil like olive or jojoba)

Dry stuff
35 grams baking soda
15 grams arrowroot powder
10 grams corn starch
10 grams kaolin clay

  • 0-10 drops essential oil (depending on your smell preference. Avoid peppermint and other strong/irritating oils as they can sting especially after shaving. Vetiver is nice and earthy. For me, lemongrass and vanilla).
  • 2-3 drops grapefruit seed extract (optional-but acts as a preservative and has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties).

Instructions

1. gently heat (just enough to liquify) wet ingredients in a saucepan.
2. measure dry ingredients in another bowl.
3. add gently heated oils to dry ingredients.
3. mix.
4. add optional essential oils and optional grapefruit seed extract.
5. store in a small container with a lid.
6. to use, scoop out a pea-size amount with your finger and massage into skin.
Enjoy it immensely 

Update: I've noticed this can get a little 'firm' in the winter months (more like rock solid) if you live somewhere chilly. If you anticipate this, instead of a little pot, try putting this into a stick deodorant container (I reuse an old one) or just simple add a little more liquid oil and it will stay softer even in the cold. 
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