Treat Yourself: DIY Lavender Oatmeal Soap
This winter season has definitely taken its toll on my skin. So since one of my 2019 new year’s resolutions is to practise more self-care, I thought what better way to get started than to whip up a batch of some moisturizing soap. If your skin is begging for some hydration, you need to try this super easy and quick recipe.
What you will need:
(Makes 6 soap bars)
· 2 tsps lavender essential oil
· ⅓ cup oatmeal
- To begin, dice up the soap base into cubes and place them in a medium microwave safe bowl. This will help it melt quicker and more evenly. Once the cubes are diced, place the bowl into the microwave, heating it in one-minute intervals until melted, about two and a half minutes in total.
- While the soap base is melting, place a pinch of lavender buds into the bottom of each soap mold. This will give you a nice layer of lavender buds at the top of the soap bar once it is complete.
- Next, add the oatmeal and essential oil to the soap base and mix it.
- Finally, transfer the mixture to the soap molds. To do so, grab a large liquid measuring cup and transfer your mixture to it. It will make it much easier to pour your mixture into the molds from the measuring cup versus straight from the mixing bowl. Pour up to the top of each mold then set aside to cool (approx. two hours).
- Once the soap bars have solidified, you can store them in a cool, dry place, separated with wax paper to prevent them from sticking to each other. If you decide to gift your soap bars, the style you package them in is endless! For these soaps, I used craft tissue paper and thick twine to give them a rustic look. I tore the tissue paper instead of cutting it to help add to that effect.
Treat Your Honey: Blackberry Ganache Tarts
Spending Valentine’s Day in this year? Get cozy and treat your special someone to a decadent dessert that is both simple and delicious. The bonus? This recipe can be prepped in advance for those with a busy schedule (my favourite part)! Pair it alongside the coffee of your choosing or our recommendation: the wine option.
What you will need:
For the crust:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter + 1 Tbsp for tart shells
- ¾ cups icing/confectioners’ sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- Tart shells (3-inch)
- Ceramic pie weights
For the ganache:
- 1-¾ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 Tbsps butter
- ¼ cup heavy cream
For the topping:
- Pint of blackberries (raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries work well too)
- powdered sugar for dusting/decoration
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, combine flour and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium-high speed until fluffy, three to five minutes. Once fluffy, add the sugar and beat until combined.
- Next, add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
- With the remaining butter, evenly coat the tart shells to prevent the dough from sticking. Once finished, roll out the dough on a floured surface to a one-centimetre thickness and press evenly into the shells. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the tart shells from the fridge and place enough pie weights in each to cover the bottom. This will keep the dough from rising in the middle while baking.
- Add the tart shells to a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes or until golden and firm. Once baked, immediately place them on a cooling rack, then once cooled enough, remove the weights and cookies from the shells. Set aside.
- To make the ganache, melt butter in a sauce pan over low heat. Once melted, add the chocolate and mix until melted. Be sure to mix constantly so the chocolate does not burn.
- Next add the heavy cream and stir until it is completely combined and there are no lumps.
- After the ganache is complete, pour a layer into each tart (enough to generously cover the bottom). Spread it evenly with the back of a spoon if needed.
- Finally, the fun part! Add a layer of berries to the top of the tart and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar to decorate. Be sure the berries are completely dry from washing before adding them to the tart.
There you have it! A super simple but decadent dessert to serve this Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion! Enjoy!
Treat Your Gals: Throwing a Galentine’s Day Party
I always jump at any excuse to throw a party for my girlfriends and this Valentine’s Day is no exception. I gathered all the sweets, pink and red décor I could find, and whipped up some super-easy appetizers that are sure to be crowd pleasers. I am sharing these quick Mediterranean-style recipes with you, plus some tips on putting together your own Galentine’s Day party!
Décor for a themed party is key. Luckily, Valentine’s Day is all about the sweets and pink hues when it comes to décor, which makes things super fun and simple to put together. For this party’s tabletop décor, I started off with a pink and gold tablecloth I picked up at HomeSense. However, you could use any pink or neutral hue for the tablecloth as it will mainly act as your base. Then you can play around with colour in other aspects like the charger plates and accent pieces. Before I decided on good old pink, I was actually playing around with a pale blue colour that was to die for!
For the serving pieces, I used some old small vases I had on hand to store the pink and red candy I had grabbed from Bulk Barn, as well as the odd ice cream bowl to hold additional candy. What I like to keep in mind while setting the spread for the table is “layers.” I love to create a three-dimensional look using different heights of serving ware. To continue with this method, I also added a small cake stand for the cookies and left the remaining appetizers to be on flat plates, lowest on the table.
Next, I added some fun Valentine’s craft supplies I had lying around, which included some red, pink, and white pompoms (just from the dollar store), heart-shaped balloons from Canadian small business Joonie + Joe, as well as the “BE MINE” mini banner that I found at HomeSense. I love using these items to fill in the empty spaces on the table between the serving ware to give it that overflowing look.
Lastly, I finished by adding my charger plates, dinner plates, napkins, cutlery, and glassware. This part is pretty standard, but I want to add that you shouldn’t stress if you don’t have any Valentine’s serving-ware. I didn’t either. I used basic off-white charger plates and some gold accented napkins that I thought matched the table nicely. Where you can tie in the Valentine’s theme is what you decide to use for the plated favours. I decided on note cards, but you could use name cards or mini candy favours or anything else you can dream up. The options are truly endless.
Next is the FOOD! You can find some easy and quick recipes below :
What you will need:
· 2 cans chickpeas
· ½ cup tahini
· ½ cup lemon juice
· 2 Tbsps olive oil
· 4 Tbsps water
· Salt to taste
· 2 cloves garlic (optional)
- Begin by boiling the chickpeas in a pot of water for 45 minutes. Once they are finished boiling, strain the chickpeas and rinse. As you are rinsing the chickpeas, massage them with your fingers to help break the skins away from the peas. Removing these skins will help to make the finished hummus extra smooth. Once you have rinsed the chickpeas, fill the pot with water just enough so the skins float to the top. This makes the removal much easier.
- Next, transfer the chickpeas to a food processor with the blade attachment in place. Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. If you are adding garlic, you will need to crush the garlic before adding it to the processor.
- Time to plate! The great thing about hummus is how versatile it is. You can go the traditional route by topping it with olive oil and garnishing with a small amount of paprika or get creative with it!
Bocconcini Cheese & Basil
Makes 15 pieces
What you will need:
· 5 regular-sized bocconcini cheese rounds
· 2 fresh tomatoes (I like Roma for this recipe)
· 10-15 fresh basil leaves
· 1 Tbsp olive oil
· Pinch of salt and pepper
· French baguette
- Begin by slicing the tomatoes and bocconcini about ¾ cm in thickness, then the baguette about 1 cm in thickness. Cut the bread on a slight angle to create more elongated pieces.
- Lay out the bread on a plate, then place the slices of bocconcini and tomatoes on top in that order. One piece of each per slice of bread. Next, sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the tomatoes and place a basil leaf on top of each.
- Once you are ready to serve, drizzle olive oil across the leaves and you’re done!
Zaatar Pita Pies
Makes 6 pieces
What you will need:
· 6 mini pitas or mini naan bread
· ½ cup zaatar blend
· ⅓ cup olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 325°F.
- Take a small bowl and combine the zaatar and olive oil to make a smooth paste-like consistency. Then, take your pitas and spread enough zaatar to cover the centre, leaving a thin crust around the edges.
- Add the finished pitas to a baking sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until they just start to brown.
- Enjoy these pitas with chopped cucumbers and tomatoes, or use them alongside hummus dip!
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