almond joy

On March 29, 2015 by theseventhsphinx

There is a definite pattern in my bodycare preferences…

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(and in my eating preferences, too)

It is almond and coconut all the way chez Sphinx, with only occasional forays into other bodywashes here and there (though, come to think of it, I have the Dove nourishing almond oil one, and their nourishing almond deodorant as well) or some alternate body lotion (I like Amlactin, and a number from L’Occitane, like…their almond one…and their almond oil body wash…). Even when I stray from the pure stuff, these ingredients are often in there somewhere.

There’s a definite appeal to raw ingredients, their flexibility and malleability. You can start mixing already complex products but I find the results much more hit or miss, have difficulties getting textures to blend the way I hope, and often, if I like the product, it seems unnecessary. [My sense that it doesn’t always work out, then, may be a result of messing around with products I didn’t especially like in the first place. Hm. By that point I’m convinced I can’t make them any worse, however, so I can really have at them. Example: a body scrub from The Body Shop that I didn’t find scrubby enough, added granulated sugar until I was satisfied. Problem solved.*]

*I have ruined some things, too, but it never serves to discourage future experiments.

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1. NOW Sweet Almond oil—there are other brands but some don’t smell very good, this one has the virtue of not smelling like much at all, absorbs nicely into the skin, acts brilliantly as a carrier for essential oils and perfumes, lovely on the hair as well. Mixes readily with other oils to create still more hair/body options. Edible. Really wouldn’t be without this.

2. Dr. Bronner’s Almond Castile soap—great all-purpose soap. I use it as a body wash and sometimes as a shampoo, and to wash makeup brushes. A touch of marzipan to the scent, which I don’t love but which doesn’t seem to linger. I prefer the peppermint scent (but not the rose one), and have been meaning to try the eucalyptus. Takes ages to finish a bottle. Maybe next year, eucalyptus.

3. Barlean’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil—there are tons of brands of coconut oil around, and most of them seem just fine. This one is especially good to eat, and I use it all over. In my hair as a leave-in or deep treatment, as a skin conditioner, to sautée vegetables, as an oil/butter substitute in various recipes, added to grains to flavor while cooking, just…to eat.

4. Trader Joe’s Coconut Body Butter—I’ve mentioned this before, and I don’t like it any less now. Has a bit of a chocolatey richness to it that makes it especially delicious. Very thick and moisturizing. Such  great value.

5. Sun Bum Coconut lip balm—think will be picking up some of SunBum’s sunscreen come summer. Smart branding, good, skin-friendly ingredients. Nice to find lip balms with a high SPF. This is cocoa butter, mainly, but with coconut scent, so it’s in.

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6. Raw almonds—I cannot begin to tell you how many raw almonds I consume.

7. Coconut flakes—anyone have a good recipe for coconut macarons? They are the kind of indulgence that is just appealing enough and just expensive enough to make me want to take matters into my own hands. I like coconut milk, too, and coconut water, certain brands of, and that So Delicious (that’s the brand, not my emphasis, though it is really good) coconut milk ice cream. The mint/chocolate one.

I really wish I had some of that now.

on the menu: homemade granola

On February 16, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Few foodstuffs seem to me as sublime, as supremely edible as homemade granola. It needn’t be expensive, and you can chuck in all sorts of nice things.

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I use a Fanny Farmer recipe as a base, which I’ve modified over time with a smidgen of every granola recipe I’ve liked or think I might like. The result is a bit different every time, and always to my liking.

Here’s roughly what I did this time, though the proportions can vary quite a bit before it becomes distinctly different. I say add more of what you like most. The main thing is having enough of the oil/honey mixture to coat the dry ingredients evenly.

3 c oats

1+ c almonds (flakes, whole, or both – I like extra)

1 c pumpkin seeds

1 c sunflower seeds

1 c coconut flakes

1/4 c  dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)

1/4 c flax seeds

1/3 c sesame seeds (more like 1/4 c or none for normal people)

1/2 c pistachios or pecans

1 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste; the recipe can handle twice this if you like, also fine with half)

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c coconut oil (or you can substitute 1/4 c canola oil with a couple of tablespoons of butter, but the coconut oil gives excellent flavor. I often add a bit extra.)

1/2 c honey (can substitute maple syrup here, too, or add in addition. I go heavy on the honey, too)

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Warm oil, honey, and vanilla in a saucepan and mix well into dry ingredients, coating evenly.  Spread granola mixture evenly in a baking pan or sheet (line it with parchment paper for easy stirring and removal). Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until granola is deep golden brown, about 35 minutes (this part is flexible as well, you can do 25 minutes for a chewier texture or 45 for more crunch. The shallower the mixture on your baking pan/sheet, the less time it will take). Add dried fruit around the last 5 minutes of baking time. Let cool before eating or storing (it will harden as it cools, so expect it to seem slightly underdone when first removed from the oven). Store in an airtight container.

Note that I mean raw nuts and seeds here. A few roasted ones tend to work out OK if you opt for a quicker cooking time and adjust salt levels accordingly (or don’t mind the extra crunch).

aside: I love pistachios

I often don’t bother baking the dried fruit at all, simply adding it to individual servings as desired.

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Add berries and a fraction of coconut or almond milk. Maybe some maple syrup if feeling decadent.

Happiness.

x

on the menu: rice pudding w/ hazelnuts + sultanas

On May 21, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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Mmmmm.

And I got a zester.

on the menu: bostock & strawberries

On April 15, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

Remember bostock?

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on the menu: other things you can do with brioche

On March 26, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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Bostock. A heretofore unknown [to me] recipe from eastern France. Brioche slathered with almond cream [fragipane], sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked. Good.

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Raisin snails. Brioche dough spread with pastry cream and whiskey-soaked, flambéed raisins, all rolled up. Don’t these look like something you would purchase in a pastry shop? I used a rolling pin, which is when you know stuff is getting serious.

Both from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.

 

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