After my last post about Natural Deodorants, whether they work and the testing of a few brands, I decided to look into a homemade option as even the ones I tested contained a few ingredients I was unsure of. For full comfort and control over what is going on my body, I went with a simple recipe whose competence is assured by many bloggers and naturalists.
After scouring the internet, blogs and write-ups, I discovered that one recipe monopolized the internet. I decided to try it out for myself and see if it was something practical and efficient.
1/3 cup organic cold-pressed coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 cup baking soda (aluminum-free)
1/4 cup starch (arrowroot powder, cornstarch)
essential oils (optional)
Mix together the arrowroot powder and baking soda in a bowl before adding the coconut oil. Warmed the oil a little bit on the stove in a water bath to soften it. Add the coconut oil and any desired essential oils. Place the mixture in a flexible container and place in the refrigerator for a few hours to harden. Silicon ice pop trays work well.
Coconut oil solidifies at roughly 76°F so it is best to keep this deodorant in the fridge, especially during the summer and to take great care when traveling with it. One of the bloggers who used this recipe loaded it into a cleaned out deodorant stick before being placed in the fridge to harden and form a deodorant “stone.”
All of these ingredients are inexpensive and the concoction works! Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is deemed to have antibacterial qualities. The starch assists in keeping you feeling dry while the baking soda removes any and all odors. As the coconut oil is cold pressed and organic, it is as unrefined as possible and only has a slight coconut smell that will not last long. I decided to add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and lavender essential oil for a fresh and fragrant scent. Be careful when dressing as it does contain oil and can stain your clothes (will come out in the wash). It helps to let it soak in for a bit before dressing. I still found applying twice a day to have the best results.
Lemon bars have always been a favorite dessert of mine.
My mom got me hooked on them as a little girl, and I pine for them whenever I cruise by a bakery display…out of necessity is born a recipe!
This raw version is made up of a chewy, sweet, and slightly tangy bottom layer topped with a rich and creamy layer of lemon-y goodness…the sweetness offsets the lemon enough to keep you from puckering, while still maintaining the citrus flavor that makes these bars so fresh and clean.
Thick Raw Lemon Bars
Prep time- 10 mins
Total time- 10 mins
Author: Lauren Goslin
¾ c. walnuts
¼ c. unsweetened coconut
5 soft dates (I used Medjool)
¼ t. salt
2-3 t. lemon zest
6 T. coconut oil, softened
2 T. maple syrup
2 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
3-5 drops stevia, to taste
pinch of turmeric, to enhance yellow ‘lemon’ color, optional
Process together the ingredients for the bottom layer.
Make sure it is well combined, and press it into a small glass dish (I used a 7 x 5 inch Pyrex dish).
Place the coconut oil into a small bowl.
Beat the oil with a hand mixer until creamy (about 1-2 minutes).
Add in the lemon juice, zest, maple syrup, stevia, and turmeric (if using) and mix until combined and a bit fluffy.
Spread the top layer onto the bottom layer.
Place into the fridge or freezer until set (15-30 minutes)**.
Cut and enjoy!
**If you store your bars in the fridge or freezer for a long period of time, you will need to set them out a bit in advance before consuming them, as they will need time to soften a bit.
Serving size: 9 Calories: 179 Fat: 16 g Saturated fat: 8.9 g Unsaturated fat: 7.1 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 8.3 g Sugar: 3 g Sodium: 68 mg Fiber: 1.3 g Protein: 2.7 g Cholesterol: 0 mg
Thick, luscious bars….
…and the obligatory bite shot…
I can see myself nibbling on one of these while sipping a cup of tea in the late afternoon…bliss.
Sweet Potato Fries – The Quest for Crispy (FAK Friday)
How To Make Perfect Sweet Potato Fries
Tips, Tricks, and Techniques
Preheat the oven – I found my fries baked perfectly between 425f. – 450f.. This temperature may vary depending on your oven, and also the pans you bake your fries on. I found with a black, non-stick coated pan, 425f. was plenty hot enough. With a thicker, non-coated pan, 450f. was the right temperature. Use an oven thermometer to make sure the temperature is correct – it isn’t uncommon for an oven to be as much as 30-40 degrees off.
Use the right baking sheet – I found that a heavy-bottomed baking sheet with a shinier (not coated) surface did the best job making crispy fries. If you’re using a flimsier tray, try reducing the oven temperature a little and increasing the bake time.
Cut the potatoes into evenly sized fries – this way they cook at an even rate. I found that the best size was just under half an inch thick. Much thicker and they didn’t get crisp, much thinner and they burned. Peeling the potato first is up to you, but keep in mind there’s a lot of good flavor (not to mention nutrients) in the skin. I also found the skin gave a better crunch to the fries. Just be sure to wash your potato and dry it well if you plan to leave the skin on.
Use enough oil – one of the main reasons to make fries in the oven instead of the fryer is because they’re so much healthier, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid the oil all together. It does mean you can use healthier oil, though, like olive oil or coconut oil. Once the fries are cut, toss them in 1-2 TBSP to coat. Be sure to grease the pan, too, to keep them from sticking (or you could use parchment paper – I found it didn’t make much difference in terms of crispiness).
Seasoning – After coating the fries in oil is the perfect time to season them, because the oil will help it stick. A pinch of salt is a must, but the flavor possibilities are truly endless. If you’re in the mood for something spicy, try a bit of chili powder or cayenne pepper. Want something sweet? A dash of cinnamon goes a long way. Some of my favorites are cumin and coriander, rosemary or sage, curry powder, paprika, garlic powder, and even nutmeg. Use whatever flavors call to you!
Spread the fries into an even layer – space the fries out on the baking sheet with a bit of room between each one. If the fries are crowding the pan they’ll steam themselves and become soggy instead of crispy. If you’re making a lot of fries, use two trays, or do them in batches. (Don’t put more than two trays in the oven at once, or else the amount of steam may cause them to get soggy.)
Bake in the upper 1/3rd of the oven – you want the oven to be hot, but if the fries are too close to the heating element (at the bottom of most ovens) they may get burnt. I found keeping them on the top, or second to top rack, helped tremendously.
Flip the fries every 10-15 minutes – this will help them cook evenly, and also ensure they get caramelized all ’round. The side of each fry touching the pan will have the most browning, while the side on top will have a chance to dry out and release steam. Both are important! If you’re using two trays, be sure to swap their positions in the oven at this time, too. (I found my fries took about 30-35 minutes, though your time may vary depending on your oven, baking sheet, and the thickness of your fries.)
If you’re using a gas oven – depending on your oven, you may find it necessary to crack the door ever few minutes, just for a moment, to let some of the steam out. Don’t leave the door open for a long period of time, though, because you don’t want the heat to dissipate!
Once the fries are out of the oven – move them immediately to a cooling rack so that air can circulate around them. Keep them spaced out in a single layer (not piled on top of each other) so that they’ll hold on to the crispy exterior.
Devour immediately – it doesn’t need to be said, but fries are best eaten fresh. Fresh, and before anyone else has a chance to get to them.