Pumpkin Facial Scrub

Pumpkin scrub

In abundance this season, pumpkins are good for more than making jack-o-lanterns. Pumpkin flesh is rich in alpha hydroxy acids, which is a gentle exfoliator for your skin, packed with antioxidants, beta carotene, and vitamins A and C. All of these things combine to provide soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits to delicate, weather-stripped skin. While preparing your pumpkins for decoration, you can scoop out the flesh inside. I recommend steaming it for 10-12 minutes, until it is nice and soft and can be easily mashed. Or, you can simply purchase canned organic pumpkin puree, the kind you would use in recipes. Mix a half cup of pumpkin puree with a quarter cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt (I like Greek because of its thicker consistency, but any…

Radiate a Healthy Glow with this DIY Peach Facial Mask

DIY Peach facial mask

  Peaches are a wonderful gift from nature. During the summer months, we can enjoy them as a snack, for dessert, and of course as part of a DIY skin treatment. The best time to make this mask is when you have a lovely peach that is fully ripe and appropriately juicy; even a touch overripe will do. The key is that the peach needs to have an aroma when you sniff it, and the flesh needs to have flavor and depth. For this mask, you will need: 1 ripe, fresh peach ¾ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt ¼ c. whole oats 1 teaspoon raw honey ½ teaspoon organic vanilla extract Blend all the ingredients together. Apply about ¼ cup of the mixture to your…

Chocolate Banana Pops

chocolate banana pops, nut free

Chocolate Banana Pops A healthy treat for kids or adults that incorporates hemp seeds, sunflower butter and bananas . . . dipped in chocolate. Delicious. This simple snack sneaks in protein, essential fatty acids and vitamin E (plus an array of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, etc). Ingredients 2 bananas sliced 1/3 inch thick 1/2 cup sunflower butter such as Organic Sunbutter (or natural peanut butter if you have no allergies to nuts) 1 cup enjoy life chocolate chips 2 tbsp coconut oil hemp seeds (optional) Shiskabob skewers cut in half, or popsicle sticks   Method Slice banana. Place 1 teaspoon of sunflower butter (or peanut butter) and stack a slice of banana on top. Spear the skewer slowly through banana…

Dessert for your Face

cherry facial mask

The fruit-growing season in Canada is short, and when summer comes I like to take advantage of what is fresh, available, and at its flavour peak. In late June and July, cherries are in abundance. They are rich red, mahogany even, and the plumpest, sweetest, juiciest fruits around. Cherries are magnificent. While cherries are delicious to eat, they also do wonders when applied topically to our skin. The following is a recipe for a chocolate cherry smoothie/mask, which I like to call “Dessert for Your Face”. You will benefit inside and out from this tasty, in-season natural beauty product. “Dessert for Your Face” 1 cup fresh pitted cherries ¾ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt ¼ cup whole oats ¼ cup dark chocolate chips (70% cocoa…

Moonstone

Moonstone

The beautiful luminescence of the moonstone can captivate us with its reflective and pearly sheen. This stunning crystal has a rich and diverse history that has touched many cultures along the way. Moonstone was associated with love, romance, fertility, beauty, and abundance. Both the ancient Romans and Greeks believed moonstone linked with their lunar deities and that it was born out of the solidified rays of the moon. In India it has been considered a sacred stone that held a special significance between lovers or those just starting their journey together through marriage. As a stone of love and lovers, moonstone has been used in jewelry for centuries, including ancient civilizations. It regained popularity during the Art Nouveau period because of a French master goldsmith….

Lavender

lavender at Crystal Hills Organics

  Lavender is well known as a traditional cottage-garden flowering plant, with its violet buds held high on spikes above the gray-green foliage. This beautiful, fragrant herb has been used since the middle ages for a variety of purposes including culinary, medicinal, and cosmetics. This aromatic herb offers a floral and elegant flavor to baked goods, desserts, salads, soups and a variety of dishes. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as decorations on cookies and cake, or infused into sugar to impart a subtle flavor. In the summertime here in Kelowna, the Okanagan Lavender Farm offers delicious scones, jellies, cookies, and more in their cute café. Medicinally, lavender can help soothe nerves and is known to ease mild depression and possess mood-elevating effects….

Chocolate Fudge Cake Pops

Renee Altman

Chocolate Fudge Cake Pops Indulge in these decadent chocolate fudge cake pops to satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping it healthy. Makes 12 balls Ingredients 1 cup tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch), sifted 2 tablespoons coconut flour, sifted 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder 4 tablespoons sunflower seed butter 3 tablespoons raw unpasteurized honey 1/3 cup hemp seeds, for rolling 4-5 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk (add more if needed, 1 tablespoon at a time) Method 1. Add all ingredients in a bowl. 2. Mix by hand (easiest way) to form a large dough ball. If dough is too dry to form a ball, add more coconut milk. 3. Roll dough into one inch balls. 4. Roll with hemp seeds and spear with lollipop stick. 5. Store…

Hair Masque for Soft and Silky Tresses

Hair Masque

  From 1998 to 2003, I lived in Montreal. I enjoyed my time studying there, making new friends, and experiencing the glorious language, culture, shopping, food, and nightlife that the city had to offer.  One beauty-related thing that I noticed about Montreal was that the humidity in the air gave my hair the softest, most voluminous and touchable curls that I had ever known, to say nothing of the wonders it did for my skin. It was like waking up with a massive lion’s mane every day, and I loved it. This new humidity and texture gave me the courage to experiment with some honey and butter blonde highlights, something I had never dared to do when I lived in Edmonton.  The weather in Alberta…

Spring Detox

Crystal Hills Bella Vita Blogger

  You know it’s time to detox when you order a cocktail with your kids at the table. Normally, I limit my alcohol intake to one or two glasses of wine per week, and hard liquor is reserved for special events. The calorie and sugar content is high, alcohol provides no satiety, and it doesn’t promote a healthful glow. At the end of the meal, I was considering the cocktail menu and asked my ten year old son what cocktail I should order for dessert, the Velvet Hammer or the Black Russian. Without missing a beat, he replied, “The Black Russian, Mommy. Go Eurasian!” While I was impressed by his knowledge of geography, I had to stop and ask myself if perhaps I needed to…

Vegan Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies

Vegan Gluten Free Brownies

Vegan Gluten Free Fudgy Brownies Indulge in this rich vegan, fudgy brownie as a well deserved treat or share with that special someone. It’s an delectable dessert for all to enjoy as these brownies are nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free. Recipe   Yields 12 brownies | Prep time 10 minutes | Bake time 20 minutes   Ingredients 1 ½ cups gluten free oat flour ½ cup Dutch cocoa powder (the dark stuff) ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon ground flax seed ½ teaspoon xanthan gum ½ cup coconut sugar dash of salt ½ cup avocado oil or grape seed oil 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk ½ cup dairy free chocolate chips 1 cup raspberries   Method Set oven to 350F. Grease an 8×8 inch pan. In a medium…

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