Homemade moisturizer recipe plus glass container review

Note: I received Infinity Jars reviewed in this blog post at no charge. All opinions expressed are my own. 

DIY moisterizer and Infinity Jars review | Kale and Ale mainI’ve always had very dry skin, which is a blessing during the acne-prone teenage years and a curse every Midwest winter. Since returning from living in a tropical climate three years ago, I’ve tried so many masks, scrubs, moisturizers and serums to make my skin less dry. I’ve spent more on skincare than makeup the past few years.

DIY skincare

Getting into essential oils this past year,  and my affinity for DIY recipes for my body has led me to realize these over-the-counter products are so expensive and can have ingredients I don’t want on my body. (Learn more about what products are more safe or better to avoid.) This has led me to play around with homemade body products recently.

RELATED: Hydrating homemade beer face mask recipe

I love that by making my own body care and using different products I can control scents, textures, moister levels, etc. (I’m also using essential oils to make home cleaning products and am loving the results.) It’s important to use high-quality essential oils and follow the recipe, but there are many resources out there for recipes and information, including this guide to essential oils 101. Some favorite recipes with essential oils include:

Another benefit of making these products at home is price. I was spending a lot on face serum (a small jar can easily run $50-plus) and realized, especially since I wanted as few ingredients as possible, I could make my own, while controlling exactly what’s in it, for much less. So I’ve come up with the following recipe for face serum:

Dry skin facial serum

DIY moisterizer and Infinity Jars review | Kale and Ale recipeIngredients

  • 2 drops cypress essential oil
  • 3 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vitamin E

Directions

Mix all ingredients into a 30 ml glass dropper jar. Store in a cool, dry place.

To use: Shake before each use. Place 2 to 3 drops in your palm and spread on your face.

Infinity Jar review

Infinity Jars | Kale and AleAfter all that work and time, I need a quality vessel for the products. I’ve looked around for good-quality glass jars, so when Infinity Jars contacted me to review their containers, the timing couldn’t be better. I looked on their website and read about the jars, and they are exactly what I’m looking for in beauty containers. According to Infinity Jars, the containers:

  • Have a tight screw top and airtight seal
  • Contain ultra-violet filtering, blocking out harmful visible rays that degrade organic matter
  • Are scent-proof
  • Naturally preserve and rejuvenate freshness
  • Come in a variety of styles and shapes (over 70) for whatever you are looking to use them for

Suggested uses include a place to hold seasoning herbs, salts, teas, flour, cosmetics, DIY locations, essential oil blends, perfume and more.

Based on my needs, I decided on the following bottle styles:

I loved the idea of the glass screw top jar. It currently has the whipped body butter mentioned above, and is keeping it the perfect consistency (somewhat of a tall order for something with coconut oil as the base). Beyond beauty products, it’s the perfect size for seasoning mixes or herbs I dry and grind from my garden.

And I have been planning to get a glass dropper jar and glass roller applicator for serum and perfume. They both dispense the perfect amount of product, and it’s staying fresh. When I roll the containers around, they are very air tight, with no leaks (which is great because I’m pretty rough on my bottles and jars). I am really happy with the glass jars, and again Infinity Jars come in a large variety of shapes and sizes.

Infinity Jars giveaway-Closed

The great people at Infinity Jars want to share the love. One reader of Kale and Ale will win a $30 gift card toward a purchase at Infinity Jars. Since it’s a gift card, there are no restrictions on who can enter or win, as they ship worldwide. Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. The contest starts at midnight Thursday, Jan. 26, 2017, and runs until Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, midnight central U.S. time. Winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Homemade Dog Treats

Louie outside | Kale and Ale

Louie makes my heart bigger than I knew was possible.

To say my blog has been on the back burner is a bit of an understatement. Case in point: Aaron and I rescued our Louie seven months ago, which means I’ve been meaning to write a post about my sweet guy for half a year! He is a 17-month-old terrier mix with beautiful coloring, an energetic personality and a huge heart. Sometimes he can be a handful, but in the end he just wants to play with everyone (and thing), showing tons of love.

There are many things about him I could focus on: his endless energy, his puppy personality, what it means for someone to rely on you, the list goes on. But I’ll focus—Start? Maybe more topics to come, no promises!—on his diet.

Louie TP | Kale and Ale

What won’t Louie eat? Nothing, so I have to watch him carefully!

The Importance of Diet

It’s been an adjustment having a meat eater in the house. Luckily I don’t have to cook for him (well, meat at least). But he’s gotten some treats that leave me squeamish or are “outside only” treats. I understand a dog’s diet, digestion and nutrition is much different than my own, and I’m not going to put my dog in harm’s way or deny him the things he needs to live a healthy, full life. But still, those hard chew treats? I really don’t need all the details of exactly what part of what animal they come from?

One thing I can control and stick to my morals on is that the food he is eating is whole and nutritious. Like my own food, I’ve started to make his treats so I know he’s getting what is good for him and what he needs. Bananas, apples, carrots, certain greens, sweet potatoes? All good. Gluten and fillers? Not so much. To help with that I’ve made him a treat and have a few more I want to try (including one my friend Amy’s dog loooooves):

Since Louie seems to enjoy ice cubes when being outside on hot days, I decided to make some cold treats, cutting herbs I have from the store and my garden (the mix pictures is cilantro, basil and mint) into ice cube trays, topping with carrot slices and pouring water on to freeze.

Louie ice cube treat | Kale and Ale

On a hot day Louie enjoys ice cubes filled with carrots and herbs.

Louie will eat anything on the ground, so I have to be careful. Do you make treats for your pet, or what kind of diet is (s)he on?

HelloFresh Food Delivery Review and Discount

This post contains an affiliate link for subscription food box HelloFresh. It’s your choice to use the link and new subscribers will get $40 off the first box.

HelloFresh box | Kale And AleSubscription boxes have been the rage for a while—I wrote about snack and beauty subscription boxes a few years ago—so I decided to give HelloFresh a try. I know there are other options, but I picked HelloFresh because I received a coupon and my coworker spoke highly of the service.

Have you used subscription meal boxes? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below for my readers.

HelloFresh Food Delivery

I picked what day I wanted to receive one week of vegetarian food at my door, which is three meals at two large portions each. You are able to see meals for the week a few weeks out, which makes it helpful for meal planning and deciding if you want the food that week. Options include a classic (with meat), vegetarian or family (serves four) box. Each recipe states a difficulty level and time to prepare.

HelloFresh boxes | Kale And AleThe food arrived sealed in silver bubble wrap (to keep out sun, perhaps?) And ice packs. Each meal was neatly organized in separate boxes, which was a relief since many meals had the same ingredient, and I’m used to food from my CSA being dumped together in one box.

HelloFresh Meals

HelloFresh assumes you have basic ingredients on hand (salt, pepper and oil, for example). I found meals contained similar ingredients that I commonly have around home, but the fact it was organized with pictures and instructions made the process go quicker, and I really loved that I didn’t need to think about and shop for these meals, something I miss about my CSA.

Jamie's Sicilian Spaghetti Alla Norma HelloFresh | Kale and Ale

Jamie’s Sicilian Spaghetti Alla Norma from HelloFresh

I probably ended up liking the most the meal I thought I would like the least, the eggplant pasta. The eggplant was some of the best I’ve prepared at home, and flavors tasted like they simmered for hours even though it was about 40 minutes. It tasted like something I would expect at a restaurant that I wouldn’t think I could replicate at home, so that was exciting. And we made this meal five days after receiving the food and everything (basil and eggplant included) stayed fresh.

HelloFresh prep | Kale and Ale

Preparing the shepard’s pie.

All three meals had very different variety and flavor. As I  mentioned, portions were large, there were leftovers for every meal even after having a healthy serving. The meals I received were:

Try HelloFresh-$40 Off

If you are a new user and want to try HelloFresh yourself, go to HelloFresh.com and enter code SHXPYF for $40 off your first shipment!

If you try or have tried HelloFresh or another subscription box, I would love to hear your thoughts and experience.

Recipe: Quick Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble breakfast | KaleAndAle.com

Tofu scramble with hash browns, apple slices and can’t forget the coffee.

The past few weeks I’ve been eating vegan almost all the time. It started from feeling out of energy and not feeling the best after eating animal products. The only animal products I’ve eaten at home for many years are eggs and cheese, and recently I’ve felt like I’m only eating those put of habit or laziness for easy protein. I used my preparation for a trail run event next week as a final reason to eliminate eggs and cheese from my diet right now.

I have to say it hasn’t been easy at times, but I do feel better. In fact, I ate a bit of cheese one day and felt sluggish and off. I know eating vegan is making me feel better, and I’ve been running crazy fast compared to my normal self.

The hardest part has been when I’m looking for some quick protein, especially for breakfast or a late-night snack. I’ve tried to get ahead of that by having a lot of dips with protein on hand, and even have been experimenting with making vegan cheese.

Breakfast takes a little more work because when I felt I needed some quick protein I would grab some yogurt, so I need to make sure I’m planning ahead. Last week I made a tasty chia banana bread and topped it with nut butter. For more vegan breakfast ideas, check out “What Vegans Eat: Breakfast Edition.”

Tofu scramble | KaleAndAle.com

Quick and simple tofu scramble

Having had some great tofu scrambles at restaurants, I tried my hand at it and was surprised how quickly I could prepare something substantial and tasty. This recipe just calls to brown crumbled tofu that has some seasoning mixed in, and doesn’t really take any more time than scrambled eggs. I paired it with hash browns I pan fried while the tofu scramble was cooking and apple slices.

When you want an animal-free breakfast, what do you eat to keep away hangry moments?

Tofu scramble breakfast | KaleAndAle.com
Quick Tofu Scramble
Print Recipe
Crumbled, seasoned and scrambled tofu makes a quick and simple breakfast with flavor and protein to keep you satisfied.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Tofu scramble breakfast | KaleAndAle.com
Quick Tofu Scramble
Print Recipe
Crumbled, seasoned and scrambled tofu makes a quick and simple breakfast with flavor and protein to keep you satisfied.
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 4
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except oil in a large bowl, set aside.
  2. Place oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Once the skillet is warm, add the tofu.
  4. Let tofu brown a few minutes, then flip and let it brown a few more.
  5. Continue to rotate tofu until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.
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Seasonal Produce: Cooking and Eating Now

So much great and bountiful produce has been in my kitchen from my garden, CSA, markets and other peoples gardens. I have been in my happy place making so much great food. Sadly I haven’t been developing new recipes with all this great food, but it’s so hard to justify being in the kitchen when warm weather is in short supply here in Minnesota and I know our days are numbered.

That hardly means I haven’t been making and eating great food! It’s been the opposite, in fact, so I’ve compiled the season-appropriate recipes for others, like me, who are looking for something new and quick to add to a recipe list when produce is bountiful. Because I want this to be a link-sharing post for all to benefit, please let everyone know your current favorite seasonal recipe in the comments.

I have the best problem possible: too much produce. To take care of that, I’ve been more aggressive in my freezing and am in the stages of canning for the first time. I can’t wait to enjoy the summer bounty this winter!

Late Summer/Early Fall Recipes

What follows is the types of food I’ve been making and recipes I’ve used.

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Corn salad/slaw: I threw this together for Taco Tuesday as a way to use a bunch at once and give the tacos some crunch like many taco trucks do. It consists of corn, beets, turnips, onion, lime and salt.

Zucchini spaghetti: Once I learned how to use the julienne attachment on my mandoline, it was over. The best way to have gluten-free pasta, I threw in some garden tomatoes, herbs and chickpeas for protein.

Eggplant balls: These things are quick and easy to make, and so tasty. Finally a way to not mess up making eggplant at home!

Salsa verde: As I said, I’ve been canning, and this is no exception. I have two tomatillo plants in the garden, so green salsa is a must. I’ve been using the Thug Kitchen recipe, but here’s a similar recipe if for some reason you don’t own this amazing cookbook.

Spaghetti squash “lasagna”: Another gluten-free recipe (using squash and zucchini as pasta is my fave, light and yummy!). For this one I prepared the spaghetti squash as you would, then layered the strands with sliced tomatoes and diced peppers and onions and mozzarella and repeated again, then baked it until heated through and cheese on the top was browned.

Please share with us in the comments what seasonal dishes you have been making.

To see more of what I’ve been getting from the farm, growing and making, follow me on Instagram and “like” the Kale and Ale Facebook page.