Guest Post: DIY Natural Deodorant

Since thinking about sustainable products and routines, I've been thinking a lot about the beauty and health products I use. Making your own beauty products seemed like a pretty good way to cut down on packaging, avoid products tested on animals and stop this constant state of anxiety that I seem to get myself into every time I stare perplexed at the array of choices in the beauty aisle! When I interviewed Jen of 'My Make Do and Mend Life' for the podcast last month, she mentioned she makes her own deodorant and my ears pricked. I'm giving this a go as I already have all the items in my cupboards.

I love the idea of cheap beauty ideas that are all natural!

Homemade deodorant.jpg

"I have been making my own deodorant for a couple of years now, ever since we spent a year Buying Nothing New. Not only have I saved money, and reduced the amount of waste I’m sending to landfill, I know exactly what I am putting onto my skin, AND I still have friends…!

My motivation when searching for a homemade deodorant recipe, was during a ‘Rubbish Diet’, when I was trying to reduce the amount of rubbish that we was going into our black bin every fortnight. I have to confess that I was massively sceptical that I would find something that would actually work. I assumed that anything I could make at home would never be as effective as something I could buy. And I also assumed that it would probably need lots of weird and wonderful ingredients that would be difficult to source.

I asked on the blog if anyone had any good recipes to share, and was surprised when one of my ‘real life’ friends got in touch to share her recipe.  I gathered together the ingredients (most of which I already had at home) and spent a grand total of about 5 minutes making my first batch. Then with some trepidation I tried it out…

And it worked!

Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

Make Your Own Natural Deodorant

Here’s the recipe, if you want to try it too:

  • 6-8 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ¼- ½  cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ cup of cornflour
  • 8-10 drops of essential oils of your choice (optional)

This is the easiest make ever!

  1. In a largish bowl, mash all the ingredients together using a fork until well combined. You are aiming for a smooth paste.
  2. Decant into a suitable container-I re-use a cleaned out body moisturiser tub, which is just about the right size.
  3. To use it, scoop up a small amount on the end of your index finger, and apply! You only need the tiniest bit, and the coconut oil melts at body temperature, so it goes on really smoothly.

You may to play around a little bit with the ratios of the ingredients, to get it to suit you. For example, my own personal version of this is: 8 tablespoons of coconut oil, ¼ cup bicarb, ¼ cup cornflour, and 5 drops each of lemon verbena, and tea tree essential oils. I find if I use more bicarb it can be a little astringent, and cause some redness and irritation. 

I just use cornflour from the supermarket, and you can also buy coconut oil and bicarb there too. As I use bicarb for cleaning, and coconut oil for all kinds of things (moisturiser, and hair conditioner to name two!), I buy both in bulk online from a site called Summer Naturals as it works out cheaper.  

I love this recipe! Each batch takes just minutes to make, and last for several months."

 

With thanks to Jen for providing this simple to use recipe for homemade deodorant. Do you make any of your beauty products? I'd love to hear them. 

Store Cupboard Salad Dressings

I always know Summer is coming by the amount of vinegar and oil being added much more regularly to my shopping basket. The minute the weather picks up and the new produce comes into season, I gorge on fresh vegetables and have a constant rotation of simple dressings that add flavour and interest. 

With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of my go to recipes and a few tips for getting great results in a quick and simple way. Keeping the cupboards stocked with a few basics means you can knock together a healthy and tasty dish in just a few minutes. 

Tips for easy, yummy dressings:

Jars- I keep pesto jars, jam jars and spice jars with screw on lids. That way I can pop my ingredients in, screw on the lid and give it all a vigorous shake. It's really quick, not at all messy and any leftovers can be popped in the fridge for the rest of the week.

Ratios- The rule of thumb here is 3 parts oil to one part acid. You can mix things up by adding herbs, mustard or garlic but this basic ratio will yield a good dressing every time. 

Oil- I like to use cold pressed Olive Oil or at a push, extra virgin oil. I do use some of the nut oils like sesame from time to time but I don't think you can really go wrong with Olive Oil. 

Acid- Vinegar (balsamic, red wine, cider, white wine) or lemon fall into this category. I have been known to use limes but that pushes us into the fancy pants dressing range and that's a conversation for another day. 

Crush- When adding garlic or shallots, I like to use the flat of my knife to smash them along with a little sea salt. This helps grind them up and break them down further so you don't get that blast of onion or garlic that leaves you breathing your salad over people for the rest of the day. 

Mellow- If you are adding onion or garlic, try to allow 20 minutes for the garlic or onion to sit in the oil. This softens and mellows it a bit, infusing into the oil. 

Timing- Always try to add dressing right before you serve to avoid soggy greens. 

Store Cupboard Dressings for Salads and Vegetables

Store Cupboard Dressings for Salads and Vegetables

My go to recipes:

Jamie Oliver's Yoghurt Dressing- This one is perfect for that creamy dressing craving you have and a healthier option too. My addiction to sharp, unsweetened live full fat yoghut pays off here. Delicious. 

Whole Food's Simple Vinaigrette- I love this one for a more complex dressing over just oil and vinegar. I keep a range of herbs in a tin bath in the garden and just snip a handful of what I feel like that day. Basil with griddled asparagus and halloumi is a must!

Simple Lemon Vinaigrette- Summer is here so it's time to stock up on about a million lemons. Trust me on this tip, nothing bad every came of too many lemons (see this post on lemon and lime curd if you don't believe me!)

Chinese Grandma's Balsamic Vinaigrette- I love the taste of honey with the kick from mustard on this one. This is probably my go to on any given day. Balsamic vinegar just lifts vegetables to a whole new level!

 

So now the real question is, what salads and vegetables are you currently gorging on? I feel a trip to the farmer's market coming on!

Roasted Beetroot, Squash and Goats Cheese Salad aka the Shoulder Season Salad.

The other day I popped out to meet a friend for a playdate with our toddlers and on my way went past a really yummy looking vegetable stall. I couldn't help but slow my pace, point to the figs with the Tot and start adding things to a basket. It was a cold and damp day but I wasn't feeling soup. I wanted lots of vegetables but without the boiling. I wanted colour. I wanted flavour. 

I came home with a portion of squash. I'm not sure the exact variety but it had a creamy green skin and bright orange flesh. It looked great next to the purple and golden beetroot that I also brought home that day. I pondered and rummaged in my fridge, googled around and decided to sort of throw it all together and see what happened. 

What happened was delicious. 

Here's some rough notes for how I accidentally made the best 'Shoulder Season' salad I've ever made:

- Take equal volumes of various beetroots and squash- just go with whatever you find and look fr fun colours to put on your plate. Cube and skin them. 

- Cut some red onions into wedges and put all the chopped veg into a large roasting dish, big enough not to overcrowd them. Toss in about 2 tbsp oil (I used coldpressed olive), season and pop in the oven on 225c for about 35 mins. 

- Meanwhile steam some green beans. I think rocket or spinach would be wonderful here too. 

- During last 10 minutes of the roasting, drizzle 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar over the beets, onions and squash and shake it well before popping it back in. 

- Chop about half a cups worth of walnuts and crumble a block of goats cheese. 

- Remove roasted veg from oven and toss in the beans and walnuts. Sprinkle over the cheese. 

I'd also seriously think about a maple and balsamic vinaigrette next time like this one I found- it looks delicious. 

Enjoy!

Homely (and more hidden veg)

Life has began to settle into something of a workable rhythm. Our days are about exploration, our nights are occasionally sleep filled and I've began playing around with recipes again. It works. I'm content. 

I've had some good success with some really fast toddler meals that I wanted to share. Yes, I adapted them so I could hide more goodness in them. Is anyone shocked? No. 

First up I needed a quick supper one weekend that satisfied the grown ups need for a weekend treat, was fast to make if we'd been out all day and would tempt the Tot into trying something new. Step up Pork and Apple Burgers. I used this recipe as a starting point but added in overcooked broccoli (easily mashed and therefore hidden) and put in less water (as the broccoli is wet enough). I used the blender for most of it and then tipped it in a bowl with the meat and worked it into patties. 

I also realised I'm terrified of Pork. Rare beef is no issue in our house but pink Pork? No. I browned these patties off and popped them into the oven for about 20 minutes to be sure they were cooked through. I also found it helpful to prep them ahead of time and pop them in the fridge as it made dinner fast when we rushed through the door but also they held together in the pan that bit better. I served with lazy mummy chips and the obligatory Tot 'side salad'. 

Peas and Sweetcorn- Toddler Side Salad (ketchup on the adults plates only.... for now)

Peas and Sweetcorn- Toddler Side Salad (ketchup on the adults plates only.... for now)

The other popular dish I've been working up is Fishcakes. The Tot will literally eat these by the fistful (we're using cutlery but she gets excited on this one). 

Here's my recipe and the way I keep things quick during a busy week:

Ingredients:

A little wholemilk for poaching the fish

250g Smoked Haddock

Approx 250g mashed potato (make with wholemilk and unsalted butter) with about half a head of brocolli mashed in

1/2 cup of Cooked/ Frozen peas

1/2 cup Grated mature cheddar

1 egg, beaten

25-50g breadcrumbs

 

1. Cook the fish in the whole milk until it is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork (usually only 5 mins)

2. In a bowl tip in your green mash, grated cheese, peas and flake in the fish once cool. 

3. Flour your hands to stop too much sticking and roll into a palm sized cake.

4. Dip first into the egg and then the breadcrumb to coat the cake.

5. Fry approx 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. 

 

Tips for speed: I make these fishcakes following on from a day I was prepping potaotes anyway so I only have to peel and boil once over that period. Premade mash is a winner. I also buy pre grated cheese these days because I hate, hate, hate grating. I know, I know but still, I do. The other tip I have is get in the habit of freezing breadcrumb by whizzing up leftover crusts and stale bread whenever you have it. That way you can also freeze it in smaller batches that defrost quicker. 

 

Both of these meals work well for batch cooking too: do all the prep up to the point of cooking them then pop in a freezer bag with baking paper in between ready to throw in the oven another day. Speedy!