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?

Cookbook Review: Wild Drinks & Cocktails

This post contains affiliate links, where I may get a small portion of sales to fund this blog.

Wild Drinks and Cocktails

I’m back with my second cookbook review. Last time it was vegan party food with “Thug Kitchen Party Grub,” and this time it’s another thing I really enjoy, “Wild Drinks and Cocktails.” It is a book full of handcrafted squashes, shrubs, switchels, tonics and infusions to mix at home. It focuses on making handcrafted drinks using fresh, foraged ingredients.

Related: Read my review of “Thug Kitchen Party Grub.”

As the name and description imply, there are drinks for syrups, infused beverages, sangria, bases of other drinks both alcoholic and non, and an entire chapter devoted to soda recipes and fizzy drinks.

The range of recipes is incredible, from both the standpoint of ingredients to how long they take to prepare; one drink I made had to ferment for a month. Already a fan of infused vodka (see my instructions on how to infuse vodka) and recently getting into preparing fermented food and drink (think beermaking and canning), this book is calling my name. There are drinks appropriate for every season, so this is a book you can go to year round. Case in point are three drinks I’ve made:

  • Fire Cider: A vinegar tonic that includes horseradish, garlic, ginger, onions and chile peppers. This is full of flavor, but is said to ward off a cold or flu, relieve sinus congestion and warm up on a cold day. It is full of flavor but surprisingly easy drinking.
  • Haymaker’s Punch: Also known as a switchel, becoming the new hip drink. It is full of electrolytes and iron, this is a great drink after a workout or a hot day. It was easy to make with common ingredients and a nice alternative to kombucha. (There’s also a recipe for a Turmeric Switchel, another popular ingredient right now.)
  • Citrus Squash: Not the food, the squash is a base of mixed citrus that is like a concentrate. Add water for juice, add champagne for mimosa or do as I did and add wheat beer for a nice beer cocktails.
Wild drinks and cocktails fire cider | Kale and Ale

Fire cider, the real (healthy) deal.

Enter to win “Wild Drinks and Cocktails”

Enough about what I think of the book and what I’ve had from it. Now it’s your turn to see for yourself. The publishers Quatro Cooks (check out their blog for more great books and recipes) have been kind enough to provide a copy of the book to one lucky reader of Kale and Ale and a recipe from the book for all readers to try. What? I know!

Right below this is the Rafflecopter widget to enter to win a copy of “Wild Drinks and Cocktails” for yourself, and below that read the recipe for the Claret Cup. The giveaway is open worldwide to anyone 18 or older. The contest starts at midnight Wednesday, June 1, 2016, and runs until Tuesday, June 7, 2016, midnight central U.S. time. Winner will be picked at random via Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Claret Cup | Kale and Ale
Claret Cup
Print Recipe
“THE LEAVES AND FLOURES OF BORAGE PUT INTO WINE MAKE MEN AND women glad and merry and drive away all sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy,” wrote sixteenth-century herbalist John Gerard. With its brilliant blue flowers and cucumber-like flavor, borage (Borago officinalis) has enhanced wine for centuries, even millennia. Roman and Celtic warriors drank borage-steeped wine for courage, while the Victorians used borage to garnish the claret cup, a popular punch made with red wine from Bordeaux plus various liqueurs, herbs, fruits, and spices. (Pimm’s Cup, which also traditionally includes borage, may have originated as a variation of the claret cup.) This is my version of a claret cup, and it’s inspired by recipes in historical cookbooks. The first delicious step involves creating a fragrant blend of lemon oil and sugar called oleo-saccharum, a classic technique for adding depth of flavor to punches.
Claret Cup | Kale and Ale
Claret Cup
Print Recipe
“THE LEAVES AND FLOURES OF BORAGE PUT INTO WINE MAKE MEN AND women glad and merry and drive away all sadnesse, dulnesse and melancholy,” wrote sixteenth-century herbalist John Gerard. With its brilliant blue flowers and cucumber-like flavor, borage (Borago officinalis) has enhanced wine for centuries, even millennia. Roman and Celtic warriors drank borage-steeped wine for courage, while the Victorians used borage to garnish the claret cup, a popular punch made with red wine from Bordeaux plus various liqueurs, herbs, fruits, and spices. (Pimm’s Cup, which also traditionally includes borage, may have originated as a variation of the claret cup.) This is my version of a claret cup, and it’s inspired by recipes in historical cookbooks. The first delicious step involves creating a fragrant blend of lemon oil and sugar called oleo-saccharum, a classic technique for adding depth of flavor to punches.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Combine the lemon peels and sugar in a bowl. Using a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, muddle the lemon peels and sugar until the peels start to release their oils. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Combine the lemon peel and sugar mixture in a clean pitcher with the borage sprig, sherry, and red wine. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the solids.
  3. To serve, pour into ice-filled glasses and top with club soda. Garnish with borage flowers.
Recipe Notes

Makes 1/2 gallon drink

Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Just Hampton Creek | Review and Recipe

Note: Hampton Creek provided food for review, but my opinions in this and all posts are my own.

Just Cookie Dough | Kale and AleWith a quick search of my dessert recipe archive, it’s apparent I’m not heavy on end-of-meal treats here. It’s partly because I’m not often one for sweets, favoring the salty taste of popcorn or nachos, and partly because I’m better with the winging-it style of cooking over the exact science of baking. But I’ve been known to crave a dark chocolate bite or sugary, chewy food. For those times, I look to keep it vegan and easy, and I know “just” the place to get my sweet tooth fix.

When I heard that Hampton Creek—best known for Just Mayo—was expanding beyond the sandwich and salad spread, and starting with cookies, I wanted to try it out. Hampton Creek gave me some coupons to test new products, and the cookie dough jumped out, since I wouldn’t make it myself. Using the search to see what was where, I was surprised to find not only the chocolate chip cookie dough I was expecting but also the peanut butter dough that wasn’t mentioned in the store finder, so I grabbed each (in the name of a fair review, right?).

Once I got home I opened the tub of chocolate chip cookies and tried a simple right away. Since Hampton Creek cookie dough is vegan, eating from the tub is safe, if not encouraged. Although the tub looks small, it makes 16 regular sized cookies that are quick to bake, making them quick to enjoy. They aren’t too soft or too crisp, and have even flavor throughout.

Recipe: Pretzel and chocolate peanut butter cookies

Hampton Creek Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel recipe | Kale and Ale

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel cookies

While that’s all well and good and the sweets lover will enjoy these, I’m not into sweets enough. So I gave the peanut butter cookies the Val treatment, giving them a sweet and salty addition. Once I cooked the tub of cookies according to the directions, I topped it with 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips and 1 cup crushed pretzels and let cool. These are a great sweet-salty combo that will appeal to a lot of tastes. All in all. Hampton Creek is a solid choice for when I am looking for a sugar fix.

Have you tried any of the “Just” products? What do you think of them?

 

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocado

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and AleThis weekend I made pulled pork stuffed avocados, and they were a tasty, vegan and gluten free success. Yes, you read that right. That’s because my pulled pork is made of jackfruit, a popular food that had The Guardian asking last year if it’s the next big food craze, and includes a recipe on how to prepare it.

Pulled Pork from Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and AleJackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit, native to South Asia and is a popular food in tropical regions around the world. Often sold in the U.S. in cans at Asian markeets, it is becoming a popular substitution for meats. My pulled pork (with gluten-free chipotle sauce) came from the first vegan butcher in the U.S., Minneapolis’ own Herbivorous Butcher. If you haven’t been and you are in the area, GO! If you aren’t in the area, COME VISIT! If neither of those is possible, you could substitute with real pork (if you eat pork), this jackfruit recipe, this seitan reipce, this stewed carrots recipe or this eggplant recipe.

OK, so now we know what jackfruit is and have a pulled whatever planned. This recipe works because there aren’t many ingredients, it’s quick to assemble (perfect for a weeknight), has fresh flavor and feels more difficult/fancy than it is.

Sauteed avocado | Kale and Ale
Seriously, the flavor is popping, thanks to unexpected surprises like giving avocado a saute in coconut oil to enhance the buttery flavor and a crisp texture, and a tangy vinaigrette to balance the smoothness of the pork and avocado. This recipe really involves heating things through and blending the vinaigrette, and then stacking for a flavor explosion.

Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and Ale
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados
Print Recipe
This meal is quick to pull together on a busy night and features bursts of flavor.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados Herbivorous Butcher | Kale and Ale
Pulled Pork Stuffed Avocados
Print Recipe
This meal is quick to pull together on a busy night and features bursts of flavor.
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Pulled Pork Avocado
Cilantro Vinigrette
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Use a cast-iron skillet if you have it, it will help the avocado to get the best crust.
  2. Season the avocado to taste. Put it into the heated skillet, browning a few minutes per side. When done, set it on paper towels to drain excess oil.
  3. Turn the heat to low. Saute the onions until translucent, about three minutes.
  4. Add the pork to the pan and heat through. Set aside.
  5. For the vinaigrette, place all items in a blender and blend until smooth.
  6. Place two avocado slices on a plate, add half the pork mix and top with cilantro vinaigrette. You will have leftover vinaigrette, which is delicious with corn chips.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe