Organic Homemade Gift Pack


Leonbience Natural Gift PackI love simple pleasures, especially over the holiday. Homemade eggnog, grated nutmeg, holiday winter scene, twinkling lights, these are the things I look forward to each year. It’s how I like it, simple. Only this year, without realizing what I was getting myself into, I embarked on an idea to make homemade Winter Holiday gifts.

It all came about when I made a lip balm for someone complaining about constant chapped and cracked lips. From here, it spawned into a full-scale production of Winter Holiday craft making.

In the excitement of it all, I was remiss in  calculating the time it would take to complete this project, so I cannot give an estimated time of completion. It required that I become part chemist, part lab rat, in-house graphic designer, printing press, production, packaging, quality control, and gift wrap. I soon realized that if there was going to be any egg nogging this holiday season, I’d have to think like an elf, and move it!

I ordered the bottles and dispensers early, and they arrived the first week of December. I purchased them online at one of the many cosmetic packaging companies that offer small quantity purchasing. I adapted the kitchen into a pop-up laboratory,  and the dining room into the workshop for receiving, packaging, printing and shipping, and turned myself into an elf.

My motivation to do this was spawned by my immediate success with the lip balm, thanks to Wellnessmama for the recipe. It amazed me how easy it was to make, and how incredible the results are. Usually first-time homemade things are, well, you know, ten points for effort, but this was a success, right off the bat. I was hooked.

Most lip balms on the market contain synthetic ingredients, including many all-natural brands, that do little to add moisture to your lips. They’re made to feel good when you apply them, but you have to apply them repeatedly, prompting you to purchase them more regularly. They’re also made with synthetic flavourings which they don’t list.

Lip BalmsThe Natural Lip Balm smells like cinnamon toasts. While soothing your lips, it’s also moistening them with a difference you can feel in just one application. It heals and hydrates and leaves your lips with a light glistening finish. The ingredients are food-grade edible and organic.

The Chocolate Lip Balm is luscious. You think you’re applying Belgian Callebaut chocolate onto your lips. Pure raw cocoa butter and pure cacao powder give this recipe a powerful antioxidant complex. I warn you now that applying this balm has an addictive quality that’s rather habit forming, as the aromatic chocolate wafts up into the amygdala.

Blue bottle foamerFrom here I went on to making a foaming hand wash from concentrated liquid castille soap. It’s a saponified vegetable based soap made from the oils of olive and coconut. The blue glass-looking PVC-free foaming dispensers turn any liquid soap into a frothy, lathering spume. I formulated a spectacular fresh scent combining organic essential oils of Bergamot, Lemon and Grapefruit. It’s now my signature scent, appropriately named Citrus Elixir.

My pop-up, now resembling an apothecary, teaming with essential oils, glycerins, unguents and pyrex glass cylinders fit for an apprentice chemist. The only thing missing, a lab coat and the eggnog.

If you’re interested in comparing the cost of making your own, this organic Leonbience Natural Foaming Hand Wash will cost between .78 cents and $1.10. to make, depending on the price you pay for your liquid castille soap; I used Dr. Bronner’s. Heck the foaming dispenser costs more.


For my next preparation, I sought to liberate one of my neurosis: clean countertops. I love clean, not tidy clean, but chemical and germ-free clean. I get particularly concerned when I’m preparing food and it accidentally roles off the cutting board onto a countertop that I just sprayed with a toxic chemical cleaner–oh yum!

Commercial spray cleaners including disposable disinfectant wipes, leave invisible chemical residues that you can’t see and wouldn’t necessarily want to ingest.

Leonbience Natural All Purpose Disinfectant Spray has a mild and clean citrus scent that is natural and not boosted with chemical agents. It only contains three simple ingredients, and it uses oil to remove oil, imagine that? The oil-based liquid castille soap, combined with the powerful disinfecting, grease-lifting quality of grapefruit and lemon essential oils, gently cleanses and leaves surfaces clean and chemical free.


And lastly, my super active dog’s paws were suffering from a long summer and fall season of ball and frisbee play. His pads were cracking and rough.

This body salve is completely edible. The ingredients are almost identical to the lip balm.

Leonbience Natural Salve repairs as it soothes, it moisturizes as it disinfects and eliminates foot odour. After only three doggie spaw treatments, his pads where healing and felt smooth.

Homemade Chocolate Bark

To top off my Gift Pack, a bundle of chocolate bark to temp and entice you in.

Four easy to make, yet time consuming varieties with semisweet chocolate, adding combinations of caramel, pecans, pretzels, walnuts, cranberries and shortbread. They were a big hit, so much so that two bags went missing from the workshop.

Organic Package

All and all it was a lot of fun to make, and it gave me a great sense of satisfaction, not to mention a green light to dismantle the lab, tidy the workshop, and enjoy my winter scene with a tumbler of egg nog.



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Dog Cookies Natural Easy-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal


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I have an active border collie who luvs his dog cookies more than anything in his world. I’ve been feeding him Milkbone cookies at a rate of 3, and sometimes 4, per day. One day, amid the controversy of food labelling, it occurred to me to read the ingredients on the box.

What I uncovered, was a ruse. I unraveled a paragraph of chemical cocktails, fused into the shape of a bone, disguised as dog cookies (one big backhand to the head, sorry little guy).

cookies in jar it copyI needed a recipe that’s easy enough to make once a week, with all the goodness of natural ingredients. I didn’t want any dairy, and I didn’t want store-bought because frankly, I have trust issues, and anything gourmet organic for dogs is priced out of my league.

I’m pretty good in the kitchen and so I came up with this simple recipe. Dog park taste-testing gave it a 5 paws up, it doesn’t get better than this.

This recipe makes enough dough for a large batch of cookies, approximately 30 if you cut them large.

The fancy ingredients are not required, just use your old reliable if it suits you.

What You’ll Need : 2 large baking sheets / 1 extra large mixing bowl / 1 medium mixing bowl / 1 roll parchment paper / 1 good set of hands or food processor


cookies piled up it copy

Wet Ingredients Dog Cookies

Dry Ingredients

4 cups organic flour

2 cups organic rolled oats

3/4 tsp organic turmeric

1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1/4 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients

1/2 to 1 cup natural peanut butter

1/4 cup virgin coconut oil

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp raw honey

1  cup cold water, sometimes a bit more

In an extra large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

In a medium mixing bowl beat the eggs, honey, coconut oil, and peanut butter, and add the mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Use either your hands, a pastry blender, a combo of both, or a food processor to get a good consistency.

Add 1 cup of the water, and combine well with your hands or food processor.

If dough isn’t forming add a bit of water, like 1/8th of a cup and knead lightly until it forms a ball.

Set the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and place  bottom rack one up from the bottom, and the other, two rows above it.

Prepare two large cookie sheets with a layer of parchment paper to avoid any sticking. Spread out a three foot long sheet of parchment paper on your countertop to roll out the dough. I reuse this piece repeatedly, as well as the paper on the cookie sheets.

Lay the ball on the centre of your paper and sprinkle with some floor. Use a floured rolling pin, or wine bottle and roll the dough out, moving from centre outwards. You should end up with a large oblong slab that’s about a 1/2 inch thick. If the edges of the slab are breaking apart, fuse them by pushing them in and re-roll the edge.

I use a pizza wheel to cut out the size that I like. Place them tightly on the backing sheets as they don’t rise or spread, and you’ll need the space. They need to bake for approximately 50 minutes. Flip the cookies over over half way through. It’s important to bake them evenly. To compensate for my oven’s ability to burn baked things on the lower rack, I have to rotate the baking sheets every ten minutes. The idea is to bake them long enough to dry them out and achieve that extra hard crunch consistency that’s too hard for human teeth, when dry.

Allow them to cool completely and store in an airtight glass jar. Plastic containers can kill the crunch.