Tag Archives: honey

Avocado Oatmeal Face Mask

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I am not a particularly beauty-focused gal, but I do like to treat myself once in a while. One thing I do love is a good face mask, but I have a hard time finding commercial products that are a) good for my super-dry skin, b) don’t make my poor sensitive skin break out in rashes, and c) are cheap. Cheap is the deciding factor for me more often than not, so I’ve been working on some DIY stuff that I can make with ingredients I almost always have in my kitchen.

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Some research got me started on an avocado-based mask. I have really, really dry skin, and living in the prairies doesn’t help, especially in the winter. Keeping my face soft and supple in the winter is always a daunting task. This combination of avocado, honey, yogurt and oats is moisturizing and gently exfoliating, exactly what I need to fight back against winter dryness. I added some lavender essential oil at the end, to make it smell pretty, and for the antiseptic and calming benefits that lavender has. This is purely optional, it’s nice without the essential oil, too. The end result is a mask that left my skin soft without being greasy, and feeling perfectly moisturized.

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A note about this mask – I use uncooked oats, because I find the cooked ones make it too slimy and not exfoliating enough for my liking. I used my coffee grinder to grind the oatmeal coarsely. I didn’t grind them particularly fine, just a few pulses. It did leave the mask a bit chunky, but not so much so that it was impossible to apply. I used a makeup brush and my fingers {and a little patience!} to get a nice, thick layer. And I may have ended up looking a little like a swamp monster.

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Avocado Oatmeal Face Mask

1/2 avocado
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp yogurt
1/4 cup uncooked oats, ground coarsely
3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)

Mash together avocado, honey, and yogurt. Mix in oats. Stir in lavender essential oil, if desired.

Apply mixture to a clean, make-up free face {Tip: this is messy! Make sure you are leaning over your sink!}, and let sit for 10-15 minutes, then massage gently in a circular motion to exfoliate gently. Gently remove the mask with a warm, damp cloth, and follow with your favourite moisturizer.

This recipe makes a lot, easily enough for two people. If you’d like, cut the recipe in half if you’re just making it for yourself, or make a full recipe and use the extra for a moisturizing hair treatment. Massage into your scalp, let sit for 15 minutes, and rinse. Follow with shampoo and conditioner as usual.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bagels

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I love bagels. They are truly one of my favourite carb-loaded indulgences. Nothing beats a warm, chewy bagel, spread with delicious, decadent cream cheese, melty and rich and… yeah. My whole family loves bagels, too, so they’re a regular item in the shopping cart. Every week we’re usually buying at least one kind – cinnamon raisin, cheese, and plain whole wheat are the ones in regular rotation.

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If you know me, you know that I’m always up for the challenge of trying to make things myself rather than buying them. I’ve never been particularly successful in my bread-making endeavours, but practice makes perfect, right? I thought I’d give it a go again with bagels, so set out hunting for the perfect recipe. Most traditional recipes are a two-day project, but I rarely have the patience for anything that takes longer than an afternoon. When I found this recipe by The Sophisticated Gourmet, it was perfect. One day bagels? I can totally do that. Of course, I also can’t leave a recipe well enough alone, either – I adapted the recipe a little to make whole wheat bagels with honey. I feel less guilty about indulging in a bagel for breakfast if it’s whole wheat, so that was my choice. It’s probably not an authentic bagel by any stretch, but it’s still a really tasty breakfast bread.

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This recipe makes 8 fairly large bagels, but I’m pretty sure that it could be split into 10 or 12 smaller ones if you feel the portions are too big. The next time I make it, I’ll probably cut the dough into smaller pieces for more bagels and more reasonable servings. And because there are no preservatives in these, they don’t have an amazing shelf-life. They do freeze really well, though, so if you don’t think you’ll get through them all before they get stale or mouldy, you can toss them in the freezer once they have fully cooled and they will be good for quite a while like that. I usually freeze half the batch immediately because it’s really easy to just grab a couple from the freezer when we don’t have any left in the pantry, and they thaw in just a couple hours.

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Honey Whole Wheat Bagels
(adapted from The Sophisticated Gourmet)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cups warm water (possibly more), divided
3 1/2 cups (500g) whole wheat bread flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Baking soda

In 1/2 cup warm water, stir in the honey until mostly dissolved. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. {Tip: To get water to the right temperature, I like to run the tap as hot as I can get it. By the time it has poured into a room-temperature measuring cup and I’ve stirred in the honey, it has cooled enough to be just right to proof the yeast.}

Mix together flour and salt. Make a well, and pour in the yeasty water mixture.

Pour half of the remaining water into the well and mix. Add the remaining water as necessary, plus any extra you need to create a moist, firm dough. This can be anywhere from a tablespoon to an extra 1/4 cup.

On a floured counter, knead the dough for 10 minutes, working in as much flour as possible to make the dough firm and stiff.

Lightly brush or spray a large bowl with oil. Turn the dough into the bowl, and roll it around to coat completely. Cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour. {Tip: Inside the oven with only the light turned on is a good place!}

After the dough has risen, punch down and let rest for another 10 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Gently roll each piece into a ball. {See The Sophisticated Gourmet‘s technique!}

To create the classic bagel shape, coat a finger in flour and gently poke a hole in the middle of a dough ball. Work dough gently, pulling and stretching until the hole in the middle is about 1/3 the diameter of the ring. Repeat for each dough ball.

After shaping your dough, let the bagels rest on a cookie sheet under a damp kitchen towel for 10 minutes, and preheat your oven to 425F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once it begins to simmer, add 1/2 Tbsp baking soda per 2L of water.

Using a skimmer, gently place 2-3 bagels at a time in the simmering water. Let them boil for one minute, then flip and boil for another minute. {Tip: for chewier bagels, boil 2 minutes per side.} Remove the bagels from the water and place on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. If you would like to top your bagels with anything, now is the time to sprinkle it on. Repeat for the remaining bagels.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown. Yield: 8 bagels.

Nutritional Info (per bagel): 212 calories, 43g carbs, 1g fat, 7g protein, 6g fiber

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