Homemade Organic Skincare & Lip Balm

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Leonbience Natural Gift PackI love simple pleasures, especially over the holiday. Homemade eggnog, grated nutmeg, christmas winter-scene surround, and good cheer with good friends. It’s how I like it, simple. Only this year, without realizing what I was getting myself into, I got an idea to make christmas gifts.

It came about when I made a lip balm for someone complaining about chapped lips. From there, it spawned into a full scale production of christmas holiday craft making.

In the excitement of it all, I was remiss in  calculating the time it would take to complete this project. It required that I become part chemist, part lab rat, in-house graphic designer, printing press, product packaging, quality control, and gift wrap. I soon realized, that if there was going to be any eggnoggin’ this holiday season, I’d have to think like an elf, and move it!  [puts eggnog glass aside]

I ordered the bottles and dispensers early, and they arrived the first week of December. I adapted the kitchen into a daytime laboratory, I turned the dining room table into my workshop, and I turned myself into an elf.

The motivation was my immediate success with the lip balm. It amazed me how easy it was to make, and how incredible the results were. With the enthusiasm of an elf, I hoped for the best and put my hands to work. Usually first-time homemade things are, well, you know, ten points for the effort, but this was a success, right off the bat. I was hooked – it’s all about the simple pleasures!

Most lip balms on the market contain synthetic ingredients. Even the all-natural companies like the one with bees in the name, can use some synthetic ingredients, and they’re not always listed. Most  balms don’t repair chafed and dry lips, and the only relief you get is from regular application.

Lip BalmsLeonbience Natural Lip Balm soothes right away, you can feel it moisten your lips after just one application. It heals and hydrates, and the ingredients are all completely edible food-grade, and organic.

The Chocolate Lip Balm is luscious. It’s like wearing Belgian Callebaut on your lips. Pure raw cocoa butter and pure cacao powder are added to the original recipe. The addictive action of applying it, activates a waft from lips to nose, that’s rather habit forming.

Blue bottle foamerFrom there I went on to making a foaming hand wash from concentrated liquid castile soap; it’s an important ingredient in many organic and natural cleansers. It’s made from saponified vegetable oils, like olive and coconut. The mod blue foaming dispensers turn any liquid soap into a frothy, lathering spume. The newly formulated signature scent Citrus Elixir awakens your senses.

At this point, the laboratory resembled a starter-kit apothecary, stocked with the essential oils, glycerins, and unguents, fit for an apprentice chemist. The only thing missing was 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 costs about 78 cents for the ingredients. Heck, the dispenser costs more! Store-bought organic hand wash comes in between $4.00 and $12.00. Great news if you’re looking to try making your own.

Cleansers

For my next preparation, I sought to liberate one of my neurosis: clean countertops. I love clean, not necessarily tidy, but chemical and germ-free clean. I ‘m concerned when food accidentally misses a plate, or trundles off the cutting board onto a countertop that I just sprayed with chemical cleaner – oh yum!

Commercial spray cleaners, and 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 evaporates quickly. Three simple ingredients, and it uses oil to remove oil, imagine that? The oil-based liquid castile soap, combined with the powerful disinfecting, grease-lifting quality of grapefruit and lemon essential oils, gently cleanses and leaves surfaces clean and chemical free.

Salve

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. Why? Because coconut oil is a miracle oil.

Leonbience Natural Salve repairs as it soothes, it moisturizes as it disinfects, it eliminates body, foot, and underarm odour. It relieves burns, and can cure and kill the dreaded toenail fungus.

After only three doggie spaw-like treatments, his pads and paws were miraculously smooth.

Bark

To top it off, a bundle of chocolate bark – ’cause ain’t nobody gonna celebrate christmas without some chocolate, right?

Four easy, yet time consuming, (think fun!) varieties made with semisweet chocolate, adding combinations of caramel, pecans, pretzels, peanuts, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and shortbread.

They were a big hit. Two bags disappeared from the workshop. Since elves have diplomatic immunity, no questions were asked, and no investigation required. [clears throat]

Organic Package

I purchased the bottles and dispensers online from a really great Canadian company out in British Columbia. The gift bags and decals are from the dollar store. I designed the labels on photoshop, and printed them on inkjet printable stickers (not as easy as the package claims – think fun! ).

All and all, it was a lot of fun to make, and it gave me a great sense of satisfaction. I’ve recently made a shampoo. So far, so good! It leaves my hair shiny and soft, and it smells great. I also prepared a body wash that lathers up like sea foam.

My latest preparation is a pillow and mattress spray, that transforms your bedroom into a spa environment, that relaxes your senses and lulls you to sleep. I’ll blog about them once the lab rat is satisfied with the results. The shampoo scent is Geranium Blossom, and it smells like the morning sun.

Time to get back to simple pleasures. Pours fresh glass of eggnog and retreats to winter scene.

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If you want to go au natural in your environment, it’s easier than you think, costs less than you expected, and will benefit your home, health, and the environment.

If you’d like to refer to the information in this article, please share or link to this blog. Images and text are property of Leonbience, and are copyright protected. All Rights Reserved 2014

Dog Cookies Natural Easy-Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal

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looking in the cookie jar with copy

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

PEANUT BUTTER OATMEAL DOG COOKIES

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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.