Body Butter recipe: prevent stretch marks, relieve dehydrated skin

February is over – Thank God! This winter has been brutal for the East Coast. New Englander’s got slammed with white out conditions, one blizzard after the next. As for my home,¬†Washington, DC,¬†¬†we haven’t had it nearly as bad as up north. But there also hasn’t been a February this cold since the 1970s, and some temperatures were record breaking.

Last week, we had an ice storm followed by a snow storm. Thumbs up to all of the runners out there training for Boston and other spring marathons. I don’t know how you do it, training in the slippery dark winter conditions. However, on a brighter note, I am very excited to say, March is here. Day light savings time has come, the sun is shining and almost all of the snow is melted. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, the arrival of Spring.

In the mean time, I am still trying to tolerate the cold, and what it has done to my skin. With such cold winter conditions,¬†it is no surprise that my skin has becomes dry, dehydrated, and chapped. This year has been more extreme than ever, and nothing seems to relieve it. Trust me, I’ve tried lotion after lotion.

I have recently become obsessed with Coconut Oil. But while on the search for an amazing lotion to use, this winter, I have had a difficult time finding one containing the main ingredient, Coconut Oil. I also have been very sensitive to smell, so the ones I did find, ended up smelling to strong, and not having enough Coconut Oil.

So after some research, I have decided to stop the never ending hunt for the perfect lotion, and instead make my own body butter. By making my own, I am able to really customize it to my needs.

Some needs¬†that are important to me…

  1. High quality ingredients. Organic and raw ingredients. When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you never know how high the quality the ingredients used are. Just like in food, ingredients used in beauty products that are processed or low quality, do not have the same health benefits as those that are organic and raw. When making your own product, you have complete control in which ingredients you choose to put in your recipe. I chose raw for my butters, and organic cold pressed for my oils.
  2. The amount of ingredients found in the product.¬†¬†When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you never know the exact amounts of each ingredient. It may say it has coconut oil in it, but it may only contain a tiny amount. Many lotions are mostly made with water. Also some may have other fillers and¬†preservatives. When making your own product, you have complete control in the amounts of each ingredient.¬†I didn’t put any water, preservative or fillers in my body butter.¬†I wanted coconut oil to be one of the main ingredients so it is.
  3. Texture. When purchasing a lotion or body butter, you have no control over the texture. This drives me crazy! The two coconut lotions I tried were really liquid like in texture. I felt they were too light. Some body butters I used were to greasy, while others were to waxy. I just wanted a really creamy, rich, whipped texture. When I made my own I was finally able to achieve that.
  4. Smell. ¬†I am very sensitive to smell. I tried a lavender coconut lotion that at first I loved the smell, but then I got really sick of it. I also tried a lotion that smelled like coconut. ¬†At first I loved it, because it reminded me of the beach, but it didn’t take long, soon I was over it. When making your own body butter, you can control the smell. Either, keep it natural with the fragrance that comes from the ingredients used, or you can add any fragrance you want, by adding an essential oil.¬†I kept mine natural, so it smells like coconut and chocolate.
  5. Quantity.  You can make as much or as little as you wish, but keep in mind that an organic product only lasts one year or 18 months if refrigerated.

Body Butter

A client of mine gave me some homemade beauty products this Christmas, made with a focus of essential oils. And although I loved them, it wasn’t until I started reading Alicia Silverstone’s¬†book,¬†Kind Mama¬†that I got the urge to make my own. In this book, Silverstone, has a recipe for a homemade oil, and a homemade body butter. These recipes help keep a mother-to-be’s skin hydrated, and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.

How to make the Body Butter…¬†

body butter

Ingredients and Health Benefits

Ingredients

  • Raw Shea Butter:¬†Shea butter comes from a nut from the shea tree found in Africa.¬†It is extremely hydrating and has inflammatory properties. It is usually a whitish color and has a very mild smell.¬†Always¬†use raw like I did in this recipe because while in the raw state it contains vitamins A and E along with other minerals.¬†In this recipe use¬†1/2 cup of raw shea butter.shea butter
  • Raw Cocoa Butter:¬†Cocoa butter is from the cacao bean. When found in the raw state, cocoa butter is a tan color, that smells like chocolate. ¬†Also when used in the raw state, cocoa butter is high in antioxidants that fight off free radicals, making it an anti-ager. It is extremely hydrating, moisturizing even the most severe dry skin. But ultimately, it is best known as the ultimate¬†Stretch Mark Reducer¬†and that is¬†why I used it in this formula of body butter. There are no guarantees, but the secret has spread by moms and moms to be, to liberally rub cocoa butter products all over your growing belly, to prevent or reduce stretch marks. So if you are expecting cocoa butter is a must ingredient to include in your homemade body butter, or one to look for in your belly balm of choice.¬†In this recipe use a 1/2 cup of raw cocoa butter.Cocoa butter
  • Organic Coconut Oil:¬†Coconut oil has been used for many years in Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand. It has recently become trendy here in the USA. It is a clear white wax consistency, that has a mild coconut smell. It has amazing healing properties. However,¬†when it comes to including it in skin care products it is best know for being a great moisturizer with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.¬†In this recipe use a 1/2 cup of organic coconut oil.coconut oil
  • Organic Jojoba Oil:¬†Jojoba (pronounced ho-hoba) comes from the seed of the jojoba plant found in south west USA. It has many vitamins and minerals essential for healthy skin and hair. Jojoba similar to the others above is a moisturizing, anti fungal, stretch mark reducer, anti inflammatory, and has many other healing properties including unclogging hair follicles to promote more hair growth. Although, it does it all, the most unique property about jojoba oil is how gentle it is for sensitive skin. It is a yellow oil, that has a mild smell. ¬†Please read labels on the back of the bottle to ensure it is pure jojoba oil and not mixed with any other oils. ¬†In this recipe use 1/4 cup of Jojoba oil.
  • Vitamin E Oil:¬†Vitamin E oil is best known for its healing properties. It can heal scars, stretch marks and sunburn etc.¬†Warming:¬†I don’t have a bad reaction to Vitamin E oil, however some do. It is strong and can cause irritation, If you experience irritation do not add vitamin e oil to your body butter. If you do not experience irritation, in this recipe use 1/8 a cup of Vitamin E Oil.¬†

Directions

This body butter recipe is vegetarian/vegan and raw/organic.

  1. Heat all solids, (1/2 cup raw shea butter, 1/2 cup raw cocoa butter, 1/2 cup coconut oils,) in a water bath. A water bath is used to slowly melt the ingredients with out altering their integrity. To achieve this, you will place all ingredients in a bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water. Let the steam from the boiling water heat the bowl, which melts the ingredients.
  2. Once ingredients are heated, set out to cool. Once cooled to room temperature place in refrigerator and let cool for 1 hour, until ingredients turn into a soft solid.
  3. After cooling process, remove from refrigerator, and add oils (1/4 cup jojoba, 1/8 cup of vitamin E oil,) to the bowl.
  4. Once oils are added, use electric mixer to combine all ingredients. Use electric mixer until desired whipped texture is achieved. This doesn’t take long, with in minutes the recipe will almost look like a whipped frosting or whipped cream consistency. This is what you want. It smells amazing and becomes a rich, whipped, creamy, soft, body butter.¬†whipped

 

There are lots of great body butters and belly balms out there, but by making your own, you have complete control over what ingredients you use and how much of each ingredient you use.

Other body butter and belly balms that I love.

x354 I have yet to try this one, but I have heard it is very good. And it looks like it is made from the same ingredients I used minus the vitamin E oil.

StorQ belly Balm

Beauty-Square-Belly-Balm_1024x1024_16bbda39-8040-4d7f-8b95-806c9647c764

I have this, and love it! It is a very small amount, but perfect to put in your purse and so you can reapply through out the day.

Have you ever made your own body butter? What is your favorite ingredient found in skin care products?

© 2015 sweat1xdaily

Got leftover Turkey? Make Stock!

Another wonderful Thanksgiving came and went. The feast was amazing full of my favorite fall flavors. ¬†However, just like everyone else, my fridge is over packed with tons of leftovers. Well if you are like me, with a stuffed fridge, questioning what to do with all of those leftovers, you’ve come to the right blog.

I’ve got your back!

Lets start with ideas for your leftover Turkey.

There are lots of things you can do with your leftover turkey. Some like to go traditional, by making a good old turkey sandwich. My husband, however got a little bit more creative by making a turkey pot pie from scratch. I’m so proud of him… This is what we ate for dinner.¬†turkey pot pie

The turkey pot pie was delicious, but it only used some of the left over turkey meat. We still have a lot more meat to use and the whole turkey bones and all. The last thing I am going to do is let those bones go to waste…

At this point, some of you may have your jaws dropped… gasping, “You eat Turkey?” I have said it before, but I will say it again, although, I eat mostly a plant based diet, and almost always experiment with vegan and vegetarian cooking, I do not label myself as a vegetarian. I occasionally eat meat, as long as it is organic/wild caught. I also am working on being more balanced in my life, and definitely believe at certain times in life, organic animal based protein is necessary in moderation.

Moving on…

Lets talk about STOCK…

I use vegetable stock all the time. I use it in my butternut bisque/soup recipe. I use it in replace of water in any recipe that calls for water. It actually really does give that extra flavor. However, two weeks ago, I made my very own vegetable stock for pho soup, and (not bragging, just stating the truth) it was over the top good. Store bought vegetable stock just doesn’t even compare to made from scratch vegetable stock. I was almost a little mad when I discovered this… because now I am going to always have to make my own, or at least have some homemade stock on hand. The key to this is to make it in bulk and then freeze it.¬†

Another reason why I prefer making my own is because I have more control on what I put in it. No additives or preservatives like the store bought kind, plus I can really customize it to my taste buds. Depending on what dish I am making, I can add a little more of one spice. It is also much more economical. Save money, make a big pot of stock, and freeze it so you always have it on hand.

There are also amazing health benefits to stock, especially chicken stock (as long as it is organic.) According to Sarah Wilson from IQS…

  • Stock is full of minerals and electrolytes, in a form easy for the body to assimilate.
  • Stock has been know for centuries as a healing remedy for the digestive track because of it’s soothing effect on areas of inflammation in the gut.
  • Stock is a de-stressor. It repairs and calms the mucous lining in the small intestine.
  • It is great for anyone with Thyroid and autoimmune issues.

Now there are many types of stocks other than Vegetable. There is Chicken, Turkey, Bone, Fish… the list goes on. And for the same reasons, I listed above, it is better to make your own.

But because Thanksgiving has just ended, the odds are you have some leftover Turkey on hand…

So now lets use those turkey bones and make some Stock!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped up roughly
  • 1 white onion, chopped up roughly
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped up roughly
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons of thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 bay leaf
  • Turkey bones (use organic turkey)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Remove turkey meat from bones, leaving some on if desired.
  • Cut turkey meat in small pieces and place a side. (This meat can be used later for turkey soup.)
  • Place all ingredients in a big pot over the stove. (or crock pot, slow cook)
  • Fill pot with water to cover all ingredients, (about 20 cups of water.)
  • Bring liquid to a boil, continue to boil for 20-30 minutes.
  • After 20-30 minutes of boiling, reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Cover and simmer for 3-6 hours. 3 is the minimum, but 6 hours is ideal for ultimate flavor and health benefits.
  • Once simmered for the time you choose, strain all ingredients. Now you have Turkey Stock!

Note: You can use immediately for soup, or you can store in the freezer.

stock 1

stock 2stock 3Have you made Stock form Scratch? What’s your favorite kind of Stock? Leave a comment below and let me know what you do with your leftover Turkey!

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Chai Tea Recipe

I love coffee shops.

I could easily spend the day reading a good book, or writing an interesting blog post in a coffee shop -they are just sooo cozy and welcoming.  I was actually talking to a friend the other day about how I would much rather meet up, to chat over coffee, then go to a bar for a drink.

However, I have a confession to make … I don’t drink coffee.

I am a tea drinker.

I drink it everyday.

I love all different kinds of tea, but my favorite by far is the oh so delicious Chai tea.

When it comes to a Chai Tea latte, I am guilty of  being like every other American, and just grabbing one on the go from Starbucks.  The Chai Tea latte from Starbucks is very addicting, but it is not healthy for you at all (shocker.) Starbucks is the fast food chain for coffee, so what do you expect?! The Starbucks Chai tea is a concentrated syrup that is extremely caffeinated and loaded with sugar.

Because I am trying to limit my sugar intake, (read about I Quit Sugar Detox here.) I have decided to cut back on Starbucks Chai tea. There is no need to drink one of those suckers everyday, when I can make my own delicious chai tea at home, and control the ingredients I put in it.

The idea that I can make my own Chai tea came to mind, when I came across a simple Chai tea recipe in the I Quit Sugar cookbook. Although, the recipe is awesome, (and I plan on trying it soon,) I decided to continue my  Chai tea research.

Here’s what I found…

I came across the blog, indiaphile. The author explains Chai perfectly by saying,¬†‚ÄúChai‚ÄĚ is the Hindi word for ‚Äútea‚ÄĚ but it usually means the well-known sweetened spiced milk-tea of India.” I also learned from this blog, that¬†Chai Tea is the National drink of India. Indians normally drink Chai at least two times a day, once in the morning, and then again in the afternoon. In India you can get Chai anywhere, including right from your favorite street vendor. You will also find a¬†recipe for Masala Chai, on indiphile –¬†¬†I have a feeling I am going to end up like her mom, obsessing over perfecting my Chai tea recipe.

Because the Chai recipe in I Quit Sugar looked  so good, I decided to search for Sarah, the blogger who came up with it. Her blog is called My New Roots.  She invented Chaice-cubes! 

Let me explain…

You will be making your own chai concentrate. Here’s how…

INGREDIENTS

Because of all of the organic ingredients, this Chai is full of health benefits.

  • 5-6 inches fresh, grated ginger root
  • ¬ľ cup whole cardamom pods¬†
  • 1/8 whole fennel seeds
  • scant ¬ľcup whole cloves
  • 6- 8 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 ¬Ĺ liters fresh water

DIRECTIONS

  • Start out by boiling a big pot of water infused with all of the spices found in traditional Masala Chai. Then let this pot simmer for 2-4 hours.chai tea
  • Remove from heat.
  • Strain.
  • Let cool. (I refrigerated my liquid for a couple days. You can refrigerate for up to 2 week.)
  • Once liquid has cooled, pour liquid into ice cube trays.chai tea ice cubes
  • Store in freezer, so you always have chai on hand.

To make Chai Tea Latte by using the Masala …

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat milk or use a milk alternative over the stove.
  • Add a couple chai ice cubes to the milk and simmer.
  • Once mixture is very hot brew tea. Either place tea bag into mixture, or use loose leaf tea. Traditionally, the tea used is Black tea, but you can use which ever tea you desire.
  • Add honey or stevia to sweeten.

It is fall, my favorite season. And nothing gets me in a better mood, or warms me up more, than a spicy Chai Tea Latte. Now that I have these Chaice-Cubes on hand, there is no excuse to go to Starbucks. These cubes are just as fast. Plus, I can tweak the Chaice Cube recipe to my own taste buds, maybe next time I will add vanilla bean. I also like the idea of changing up my milk option, maybe using coconut milk one time, and almond milk the next. 

Are you a coffee drinker or tea drinker? What is your favorite coffee shop?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily