What I Made This Week – Deodorant

For years I’ve been searching for a good deodorant. The regular drugstore kinds are too harsh for my skin, the crystal doesn’t seem to work for me and the natural bars from Lush have overpowering scents that I’m not fond of. I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine for a while now and it’s alright, but I can’t help but wonder if there’s a better alternative. Earlier this week I rummaged through my craft supplies, did some internet research and got to work on making my own.

Here’s how it’s done:

You’ll Need:
Double Boiler
Spatula
Hand Blender
Kitchen Scale
Soap Moulds

Ingredients:
250 grams of cocoa butter
50 grams of beeswax
50 grams of baking soda
100 + drops of essential oil depending on how smelly you’d like it

Melt cocoa butter and beeswax in a double boiler.

Remove from heat and add baking soda and essential oils.

Combine ingredients using a hand blender.

Pour into moulds and allow bars to set.

Should make approximately 3 bars.

Keep in a sealed container to prevent it from drying out.

I’ve been using this all week and so far, so good. It has a light scent and I’m comforted by the fact that there are only four ingredients. It’s practically edible. Most importantly, it’s doing exactly what deodorant is supposed to do. I’m going to call this one a success.

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What I Read This Week – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Over a year ago I joined a book club. Each month we democratically choose a book to read and then meet up the following month to discuss it. One of the great things about being part of a group like this, is having the opportunity to read books I may not have picked up on my own.

This was the case with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. From the title, I just assumed it was some kind of British version of the Ya Ya Sisterhood and I wasn’t very excited about reading it.

It wasn’t what I expected at all.

It takes place in 1946 while Great Britain was recovering from World War II. By chance, a London author begins corresponding with some residents of Guernsey (one of the Channel Islands) and becomes intertwined with the community as she collects their stories of suffering, friendship and humanity during the war. The story is told in a series of letters, to and from the various characters. The novel does contain a cute underlying love story but there is also a darker narrative about the the hardships of war – not from a miltary perspective, but from a civilian one. It’s that story that I found most incredible, because while the novel was a work of fiction, the plight of the islanders was true.

During the war, the Germans were under the impression that the islands held some strategic value. The British did not, and so they left the islands undefended. When the Germans showed up in 1940, the islanders (at least the ones that had not evacuated to England) had no choice but to surrender. The German soldiers fortified the island, took over their homes, commadeered thier resources and forbid communication with the mainland. Eventually, the allies cut off their supply line from Germany and they were all left to fend for themsleves with what little was left on the island. When humitarinan aid finally arrived, nearly everyone, including the soliders, were near starvation.

It boogles my mind to think about what life must have been like for those people during that time. Even after the Germans retreated there were lasting effects that changed the culture of the island and the lives of its inhabitants forever.

For me this book had the best of both worlds: a cute, fluffy story with a touch of humour, but at the same time, gave me some food for thought. Thumbs up.

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What I Made This Week: Sugar Free/Wheat Free Banana Loaf

It’s not as disgusting as it sounds.

Seriously.

Yesterday I went to a friend’s house to watch a movie and I though I would whip up a loaf of banana bread for the occasion. I recently discovered that I could make my banana loaf with gluten free flour but when I looked at the recipe I noticed it called for a ton of sugar. As mentioned in a recent post, I’m trying to cut back on my sugar intake so I decided to adapt the recipe again to be sugar free also.

I’m not even going to pretend this tastes exactly like regular banana bread. It doesn’t – but considering it doesn’t contain sugar or wheat flour, it’s actually not that bad.

Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1/2 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Honey
2 Eggs
3 Mashed Ripe Bananas
2 Cups Bob’s Redmill Gluten Free Flour
1 1/2 TSP Xantham Gum
1 TSP Baking Soda
1/2 TSP Baking Powder
1/2 TSP Salt

Cream butter and honey, then add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. Blend mashed bananas.

In another bowl, combine flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add banana mixture and stir to moisten.

Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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