Archive | May, 2017

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf (Vegan)

24 May

Hello, today I bring a twist on one of my favourite things to bake: a chocolate zucchini loaf.

Chocolate zucchini loaf

This recipe I decided to swap out the oil and replace it with avocado and of exchange the eggs for Chia seeds. This way I made a new recipe which also happens to be vegan for anyone interested in that.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) 1 1/2 cups (225g) of shredded or grated raw zucchini  (courgette)-I used my veggie spiralizer and it literally took me 5 minutes.

2) 1 cup (130g) flour.

3)1/2 cup (45g) unsweetened cocoa powder .

4) 3/4 tsp baking soda .

5) 1/4 tsp baking powder .

6) 2 Chia eggs– To replace one egg add 1 tbsp of ground Chia seeds (I blitzed mine in the Nutribullet) with 3 tbsp of water and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow it to form a gelatinous consistency. 

7) 1/2 cup of mashed avocado-To replace oil or butter with avocado,  for every 1 cup of oil needed, use 1 cup of avocado. 

8) 1/2 cup of white granulated sugar. 

9) 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

10) 1 tsp of vanilla extract. 

The ingredients 

WHAT TO DO 

Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a loaf pan

1) Sift the flour, Cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda together.

Sifted dry ingredients 


2) Mix the Chia and avocado well (using hand or stand mixer) adding in the sugars.

3) Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Fold in the zucchini into mixture until it forms a moist homogeneous mixture.

You can amp up the chocolate value at this point by adding vegan chocolate chips (yes they exist). OR if you aren’t vegan just add regular chocolate chips

Mixture 
5) Pour into loaf pan and bake at 350 F for 55 minutes or until the Centre is done.

I had to take it out and check a few times because it kept smelling done when it really wasn’t. 

Once it’s done let it cool, Slice and eat!

So swapping out two ingredients definitely changed this recipe. What was before a more firm loaf became a softer one with more of a chewy brownie texture (I’m NOT complaining). I presume using the Chia instead of egg made it less cohesive while the avocado added smoothness that only avocado can. You don’t taste the avocado, only appreciate the creaminess. The addition of vegan (or non-vegan) chocolate chips makes it more chocolate you and a bit gooey.

This is a great loaf especially for a chocolate lover. There is some actual nutrition by way of the zucchini and avocado and Chia seeds but you more than get your chocolate fix. This is a great dessert to keep around and offer unexpected guests or take to a potluck tea party.

Would you try chocolate zucchini loaf or do you prefer regular zucchini loaf? Whatever your answer,  have an awesome day!

Advertisements

(Drugstore) Skincare Essentials 

21 May

Skincare has become as big an industry as makeup, with hundreds to thousands of brands pumping out some new exciting product every other week.  It can make things very confusing and you can find yourself dropping lots of money on these items.

This is my list of skincare essentials all of which may be found in a drugstore. This doesn’t mean there aren’t outstanding higher end skincare products, but it isn’t a necessity.

Before I proceed with my list let me state two important points:

FIRSTLY, Consult your family physician or dermatologist to determine the right skincare regimen for you. Skincare and makeup go side by side, however, one (skincare) falls into the realm of medicine. I’m not saying to disregard any advice given by makeup artists or gurus, however, do not take it as gospel.

SECONDLY, Having healthy skin is affected by lifestyle, so it almost goes without mentioning that you should aim to: eat healthily, exercise regularly, sleep well, limit the amount of alcohol you intake and avoid smoking.

I also want to state that many of my skincare choices come both from my personal dermatologist as well as a dermatologist who has a great, informative YouTube channel; Dr.Dray

Lastly it is worth mentioning that I have acne prone, sensitive, oily-combination skin (that’s also technically ageing). This means that if I can use it,  anyone can!

With all that stuff out of the way, let us proceed.
SKINCARE ESSENTIALS

1 Makeup remover and eye makeup remover– Yes I know these are technically two things! Makeup remover is important in breaking down as much of the cake face before you wash, making it easier. Makeup remover comes in wipes or liquid and even some oils (also technically liquid)

I have nothing but good things to say about the Garnier micellar remover, but there are loads of other brands at the drugstore. 

As for eye makeup remover I’m currently using Almay liquid remover. Another recommendation is witch hazel which is gentle, affordable and effective. 

2 Face wash– A gentle, non-exfoliant face wash for everyday use. This creates a bit of controversy as many persons especially those who wear a lot of makeup think they need a very abrasive face wash to deep clean their pores and get the gunk out. However, being harsh on your skin can ultimately result in further damage and overproduction of oil.

I have three recommendations for gentle everyday face washes: Ceruve, Cetaphil and Neutrogena Ultra gentle cleanser.

3 Day cream WITH SPF!– Do NOT leave out the SPF. This will almost surely defeat the purpose of wearing cream during the day. A day cream with SPF helps keep the skin moisturized, acts as a primer for any makeup products and most importantly protects from sun damage which ultimately leads to wrinkling and increases the risk of skin cancer. If your favourite daily moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF then add a sunscreen.

NB. ANYONE, of any skin tone, can get skin cancer, so cover up!

My drugstore day cream recommendations include: Ceruve, Cetaphil and Oil of Olay.

Sunscreen recommendation: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer sunscreen.

4 Night cream– After you’ve brushed your teeth and washed your face and getting ready to settle in for the night, put on some night cream. A cream with a glycerin base is good for keeping the skin moisturized by protecting it from drying out. You can also use the same daytime moisturizer at night (sans SPF)

Night cream recommendation: Ceruve, Neutrogena Hydro boost .

A tip for nighttime cream is to put it on when your face is still moist to avoid it drying out when the water evaporates.

5 Night eye cream- You don’t need it. Yes the skin surrounding the eye is quite delicate and can show aging before other parts of the face but your regular moisturising cream works for your entire face. I KNOW, I’ve been fooled before.

6 Retinol cream (on alternate nights)- This is optional. Retinol containing products help prevent signs of aging and it is recommended to start using at age 30. Additionally, retinol products also help treat acne, so it’s useful for many persons. When you do use retinol containing products, stil, use your regular night moisturizer and use the retinol sparingly.

Let me clarify that these retinol products have to be “prescription” strength to offer real benefit. There are some prescription strength preparations available over the counter in some places but other than that your doctor will have to write up the prescription for you.

Recommendations for retinol products: Retin A and Differin gel.

7 Lip balm– I use a thick moisturising balm in the morning and the evening to condition my lips, especially with the increased use of drying liquid lipsticks. A petroleum based lip balm also helps in the removal of stubborn lipstick.

This list is one of essentials and not exhaustive. Also, it doesn’t include products to specifically treat acne or other skin conditions. For that you must see your health care provider.

Are there any other drugstore skincare brands you know about? Let me know and have an awesome day!

Cheap Trend: Tassels and Pom Poms

8 May

Tassels hand pom Poms have long adorned clothing and accessories.  From the ends of strings on a peasant blouse to decorating the perimeter of bohemian style cushions. For the past three springs and summers  tassels and pom poms have been out  in full force, dotting otherwise mundane items with dots and splashes of colour and texture. I actually thought this trend was winding down but look and behold it continues to be ever present from runway to the racks of fast fashion stores.

Tassels bangles by Aqua Lilith  $41 US, Pom Poms and Tassels hat by Eric Javitz $250 US, Pom Pom sandals by Elina Linardaki $225 US.

This trend is easy to wear. You can make any look fun and bright with tassels and pom poms, going from zero to vacation mode in seconds. You can shell out some serious coin for a designer item or pick up something more affordable from off price retailers or fast fashion boutiques. OR, you could DIY!

That’s exactly what I did. I decorated a pair of espadrilles, a cross body bag and made a necklace.

Necklace

WHAT YOU NEED 

Length of leather, rope or chain.

Embroidery thread or floss.

Jump rings

WHAT TO DO 

1. Take a length of the thread and wrap it around three fingers multiple times. The more you wrap, the thicker the tassel will be. Alternately, you can use a square of card board, the with determining the length of the tassel.

2. Cut a short piece of the embroidery thread and tie it approximately 1/4 way down the tassel. Make a few wraps then tie off.

3.Thread a piece of the embroidery thread through the top loop and tie off. Add a jump rings and knot.

4.Cut off all the loose ends, then trim the bottom loop to create the fringe.

5.I repeated this twice using different colours and creating varying length fringes. I also combed through the thread with a fine toothed comb to make it fluffy.

6. Slide onto faux leather and tie ends together .

Shoes

WHAT YOU NEED 

Shoes- I used a pair of espadrilles with laces. You can use gladiator sandals or any other shoes with laces.

Pom Poms-These can also be easily DIY’d using yarn but they are very cheap and accessible from craft and stationary stores.

Eye pins- These are the small metal pins with loops at the top. They can either be bought from jewelry supply stores or you can make one yourself with jewelry wire and a round nosed pliers.

WHAT TO DO 

1.Push the eye pin through the Centre of the pom poms.

2. Cut the excess length off the eye pin and using pliers make a loop at the other end. Note, it must be large enough to slide over the laces.

3. Slide the completed pom poms onto the laces at varying points.

An alternate way is using jewelry bales and gluing the pom poms on then sliding those on to the laces.

Bag Charm

WHAT YOU NEED 

Bag- any style you wish, I chose a black square crossbows.

Tassels- you can make them the same way demonstrated above or use inexpensive  ready made ones from a craft stores,  like I am. 

Pom Poms

Thread- I used embroidery thread since it was at hand. You can use rope or ribbon if you like.

WHAT TO DO 

1. Make a loop and knot it.

2. Add an eye pin to the pom poms.

3. Slide onto thread and knot after each addition.

4. Add a jump ring to the top loop then add a keyring to the jump ring.

 

Bonus

I made this little cutie as a bonus. I’ve been seeing pom poms bag charms with eyes all over. This is great for a kid’s bag or for an adult with quirky taste.

I used a larger pom poms, added an eye pin and a jump ring at the top, then a keyring to that and glued on the googly eyes.

Whether you chose to DIY or buy, you’re sure to feel festive and trendy wearing tassels and pom poms.

%d bloggers like this: