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MNDFL Beauty December 6, TORONTO!

MNDFL Beauty is a brand discovery and shopping event featuring the most awesome Green Beauty brands that Canada has to offer, hosted by Graydon Skincare!

Not just a shopping event, this is a truly unique opportunity to meet brand founders in person, and ask them your burning skincare questions! This year there will be over 30+ INCREDIBLE beauty and wellness brands!

Mark your calendars now! FREE ADMISSION!

Thursday, December 6 from 3:30 pm to 6 pm

The Jam Factory

2 Matilda Street

Toronto, ON

We are also hosting an evening VIP Cocktail Party!

As you get cozy with brand owners and do a little shopping, you will receive a premium swag bag full of goodies (over $100 value!!) and sip on a complimentary green cocktail provided by Greenhouse Juice Co! Tickets are on our Eventbrite page.

We have some incredible brands to shop from, including:
kaia naturals, Living Libations, Basd body care, Schaf Skincare, Wildcraft Care, Province Apothecary, Sahajan Skincare, Zyderma HS, Pura Botanicals, Aromacentric, Sappho New Paradigm, Helena Lane Skincare, Clean Kiss Organics, East Coast Glow, Shoosha Truly Organic, Étymologie Skin Care, Suncoat, Anointment Natural Skin Care, Plume Science, The Andrea Olivera Centre for Ayurveda, Iremia Skincare, Buck Naked Soap Company, Muni Muni Skin Care, boosh, Merben International, and more!!

This is the perfect time to do your holiday shopping, and stock up on gifts that aren’t only beautiful to look at, but clean, natural, and so good-for-you.

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Sunflower + Calendula Soap

Last week I had the opportunity to lead a soapmaking workshop with a small group of youth from the Sackville Community Garden. Using organic sunflower oil and dried calendula (a type of marigold with excellent skin soothing properties) from their garden we made a small batch of a lovely mild soap.

This was a first for me – I have never given a soapmaking workshop before. I have learned that my workshop space is not particularly well suited to having a group of people! I did enjoy the process and got a rare chance to experiment with a new recipe AND make soap in a rectangular mold for the first time (oh how it is so simple compared to round molds)! It remains to be seen how interested the youth were – their willingness to participate in the process – well, they were a bit stoic about the whole thing but maybe they’ll come to appreciate it later on.

Sunflower oil contains a high percentage of high-oleic acid oils which makes the soap much slower to harden than I am used to – after 48 hours they were still easily ‘smooshable’ when removing them from the molds.

Sunflower + Calendula Soap

This soap also contains a small amount of annatto seed infused in the lye, giving the soap a lovely light yellow colour and tiny reddish flecks. I can’t wait to try it out and compare it to the super-secret-and-highly-coveted Anointment soap formula.

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The Coast Summer Shopping Guide – Halifax, NS

Anointment in The Coast, Halifax

Anointment‘s Rose Toner, Herbal Clay Cleanser and Soothing Skin Ointment were featured in The Coast’s Summer Shopping Guide in Halifax, NS. Also super popular this summer: Lime and Seaweed Soaps.

Find them at your local retailer or order online.

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Sugarin’

Sugarin'

For the last few years my brother has been tapping his trees, collecting sap and making maple syrup in small quantities (2-3 litres) for our own use. This year we were so excited to collect our own sap from four very large and mature maple trees in our own backyard. On a good day these four trees will produce 20 L of sap which will translate to about 500 mL of syrup. We boiled down the sap on the weekend over a wood stove in my brother’s garage. Next year, we’ll plan a party around sugarin’ time!

Last week we had RECORD high temperatures that caused the sap flow to stop and many of us feared the season was over. My brother’s trees were producing “cloudy” sap, an indication that the buds were formed and that the sap was no longer useful for sugaring. Our own trees, however, seem to have restarted, so there is still hope for the seaon!

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Anointment's Custom Shaving Scuttle

Adapted from Soulemama‘s “…Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

Rather than capture a “moment”, I feel inspired to capture the small details around me, to remind me to stop and smell the roses in this new iteration of our lives.

Anointment's Custom Shaving Scuttle

Shaving scuttles custom designed, hand-thrown and glazed for Anointment by Kinkora, Prince Edward Island’s Right Off The Batt Pottery. These scuttles have consumed my day in a very good way!

If you’ve noticed interesting {details} around you, please share or leave a link in the comments.

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vegan gluten-free pumpkin and chocolate chip cupcakes (with cinnamon icing)

This recipe is adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the Worldby Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. The (cinnamon icing) is in brackets because I almost never frost them – they are almost over the top without it! Makes 12 cupcakes.

Mix in advance:
2 3/4 c. rice flour
1 1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. tapioca flour
This is the all-purpose gluten free flour blend we use for EVERYTHING. We mix it in large quantities and store it in a glass container.

1 c. canned pumpkin (be sure it’s 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling – the fillings contain wheat!)
1/3 c. oil
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/4 c. gluten free flour blend
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. dairy free chocolate chips (we use President’s Choice – no dairy, no wheat, no tears!)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Ask your preschooler to line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl stir together pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk, vanilla. Mix lightly. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir by hand or using a mixer, you don’t have to worry about over mixing with gluten free flour!

Fold in chocolate chips.

Fill cupcake liners two-thirds full. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Allow to cool before icing and eating.

CINNAMON ICING
1/2 c. icing sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. vegan margarine, melted (we use Earth Balance)
1 tbsp. soy milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add margarine, soy milk, vanilla and stir until smooth. Keep at room temperature until ready to use. Try not to eat the whole batch at once. We have been guilty of this!

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Adapted from Soulemama‘s “…Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.”

Rather than capture a “moment”, I feel inspired to capture the small details around me, to remind me to stop and smell the roses in this new iteration of our lives.

Tomato Preservin' Season!

If you’ve noticed interesting {details} around you, please share or leave a link in the comments.

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Om Shanti


Here’s another look into the Anointment family of products. This time, Om Shanti – our BEST-SELLING soap. Its popularity is astounding and we’re surprised again and again how often we’re making new batches.

Om Shanti is a phrase used in yoga and meditation that translates roughly to “I am peace” or “to bring peace”. The look of enchantment that comes over the faces of those who pick up and smell the bar of soap brings a smile to my face every single time. I never tire of it!

The first step in our soap making process is actually to make sure we have music. Music is very important to our soap making routine and depending on who is in charge of the workshop that day, you may hear oldies or you may hear top 40. Our workshop is equipped with a state-of-the-art 1980s ghetto blaster complete with non-functioning tape deck. Once we have music, we’re ready for a fun day of soap making!

Om Shanti Soap is the most difficult soap Anointment produces and requires a significant amount of attention to detail, concentration and preferably two people to handle the batch. The soap base is mixed in the same way as all our other soaps by combining 50% olive oil and a combination of solid fats (coconut oil and palm oil) in reaction with lye (sodium hydroxide).

The mixture is stirred until trace is reached – the point where if the soap mixture is dripped from a spoon, it will look like cake batter. Once trace is reached, we have to work quickly as the soap mixture will continue to thicken. The process of swirling the Om Shanti Soap is similar to making marble cake, but on a larger scale. A portion of the soap mixture is separated into a clean bowl and mixed with fair trade coffee beans (ground finely) and fair trade organic cocoa – the good stuff – Dutch Processed. We don’t skimp on our soap additives! The smell is intoxicating, I love it.

In the original soap pot, the essential oil mixture of Patchouli and Cinnamon is added making the whole workshop smell delicious. The properties of these particular essential oils accelerate the soap reaction and if we’re not ready (all dancing ceases at this point), the entire batch of soap will begin to seize making it nearly impossible to pour into our soap molds. Once the essential oils are mixed a small amount of the cocoa-coffee mixture is poured back in and swirled using a spoon. It is then poured into molds. If the batch is beginning to seize, we sometimes employ one person to funnel the mixture into the molds while the other one taps it to remove any trapped air. This process is repeated three times until the entire batch is poured. The molds are then covered with a heavy wool blanket (we also use antique quilts) for a minimum of 24 hours. After 24 hours the soap is gently warmed and removed from the molds. It is then cut by hand and stamped on one side with the Anointment logo. It then sits for another day when each bar is checked for quality, the edges are hand rolled to prevent chipping and denting and the other side is stamped with the soap “flavour”. Each bar is then placed into storage for curing. During the curing process, the chemical reaction will continue to take place, ensuring the lye has completely reacted and has been “used up”, creating a mild, luxurious soap that is gentle on your skin. The curing process requires 3-6 weeks.

Have you tried Om Shanti Soap? Is it your favourite, too?

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Gingerbread Men

Gingerbread Bakers
Gingerbread Bakers

My son is gluten and dairy allergic. We have been a “multi-flour” family since 2009 and the holidays pose a bit of a problem when it comes to entertaining and snacking. A perfect thing for him is a meat tray, but sweets, desserts, and all the fun stuff are really a huge issue. This year, we’re working on a couple of things specifically for his diet: gingerbread men, which go very well with the story they acted out recently in pre-school, and a pumpkin pie with gingersnap crust.

To make your own gluten-free (and incidentally vegan) gingerbread men, here’s the recipe I followed from Carol Fenster’s Wheat Free Recipes and Menus.

Step 1 – make your gluten free flour blend. I normally use the rice blend, which consists of:
2 3/4 c. rice flour
1 1/4 c. potato starch
3/4 c. tapioca flour

To make gingersnaps or gingerbread men, or a super pumpkin pie crust:
1/4 c. vegan margarine (we like Earth Balance)
3 tbsp. molasses
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 flour blend
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

In a large bowl (I used my stand mixer to make life easier), beat the margarine, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla until blended.

In a second bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, spices. Stir the dry ingredients into the molasses and sugar mixture, adding water (2 tbsp.) if necessary to form a dough that can be shaped into a soft ball. I didn’t find I needed water. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour*.

*I found they actually rolled out better at room temperature

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Use some of the remaining flour blend to flour your work surface. Roll your dough to approximately 1/2″ thickness. Cut out gingerbread men using a cookie cutter.

Gingerbread Men In Progress
Gingerbread Men In Progress

Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, until they start to brown on the bottom.

Gingerbread In The Oven
Gingerbread In The Oven

Our gingerbread man cookie cutter is quite large, so BananaMuffin loaned us one of her old Play-Doh shape cutters, so we had bite-sized gingerbread penguins and a few men for decorating. They’re going fast!

Cool the cookies for about 5 minutes on the baking sheet, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Decorate with raisin eyes, icing mouth, and peppermint buttons (these are my son’s explicit decorating instructions).