Tag Archives: DIY

{diy dehydrated strawberries}

13 Jun

speaking of strawberries… these are like nature’s candy!

i love to make dehydrated fruit of all kinds! one of my other favourite things to dehydrate is bananas. it’s a great way to preserve in-season foods and enjoy them later. it’s also easy and cost-effective.

strawberries are one of my top favourite fruits to enjoy when they are dehydrated. they are so sweet and so delicious! they curb my craving for gummy bears or gummy snacks, and obviously have way less sugar! the only issue is, they don’t last very long! 😉


{garden fresh strawberries}

10 Jun

aren’t these just the most beautiful strawberries you’ve ever seen?!

and i promise you, they taste better than they look, if you can imagine 😉

by the way, which background do you like better?! comment below…


fun food facts :

strawberries contain more vitamin c than oranges. they are also high in antioxidants and are super easy to grow! they self-seed and make a fun little patch to pick from. they are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. some strawberries contain over 200 seeds! they have a short season, so continuous harvesting is necessary for optimum enjoyment. also, to maintain the sweet flavour, strawberries are better served at room temperature.

 

 

{garden update – volume 2}

7 Jun

this update is a little late… so much has been going on at the garden! we had a lot of rain here, and so the plants are growing and thriving so well!

i typically plant seasonally. so i started with my cool season crops like radishes, peas, beets, spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuce… most of which i have harvested lately. i also harvested the garlic and onions that i adopted from last year. the peas are starting to produce fruit which is exciting, and the lettuce is still thriving and i planted more this week. i started planting my summer crops – cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and more lettuce. i also planted flowers this year, which is kind of new for me – nasturtiums, calendula, and coneflower.

here is a progress report on what my overall garden plot looks like. i currently have a lot of seeds in the ground, and i take some pride in having beautiful soil and very little to no weeds. i am so excited to continue to watch the growth and progress! 🙂

do you have a garden? what are you growing?


          
Continue reading

{DIY up-cycled candles}

25 Oct

i love to repurpose things! do you feel the same way?

i know from personal experience that so many items get tossed out and/or thrown away, unnecessarily. i spent a large portion of my career in grocery retail trying to educate people on this subject… but i still don’t know if most people are acutely aware of where our “trash” goes. i feel like our society tends to have this mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” that said, it is known that some of the highest physical peaks in parts of this country are not something like a mountain-top, but actually more like the tip-top of a landfill.

take that in for a moment… isn’t that crazy to consider?!

all of that said, i love to find ways to “up-cycle” items that would normally get thrown away or would end up in a landfill. recycling is a great option, but sometimes i think we tend to forget about the fact that we can also repurpose things. it’s easy to throw a decent glass jar into a recycling bin… but have you ever considered if you can reuse it for something else?

case and point : i have been loving these yummy french yoghurts that i have recently been buying at my local grocery store. i like them for many reasons… yes, they taste great! and that’s a major selling point! but the main reason i like them is because they come in glass jars. i LOVE to support and also repurpose products that choose to use glass… i’m all about minimizing plastic consumption!

i’ll get off my soapbox for now, but i encourage you all to think about what you throw away… and perhaps {re}consider a creative way to reuse some of the items you may normally toss out or recycle.

and now… onto today’s blog. 😉

a friend of mine gifted me some old candles that had been stored for a long time. the wicks were no longer usable, but the candles were in good condition and still had a great scent! so – i decided to take them home and reuse them to make some DIY {repurposed and up-cycled} homemade candles.

as i mentioned, i had been saving these yoghurt containers. i also repurposed some old candle containers.

i used my double-boiler that i scored at a local antique store {YAY!} i purchased the wicks and wick-holders online, and then i simply re-melted the wax and allowed it to cool slightly before pouring. this is not exactly a perfect method. there is a bit of science to candle-making, which i’ve recently discovered. temperature plays a factor, and in this case my DIY at-home method typically created a ‘sink-hole’. however, i also discovered that in my case, this issue was easily rectified with a second pour. plus, i’m not generally aiming for perfection with this project. {wow – can’t even believe i’m saying that!}

so – overall, i think they look awesome and i am proud of myself and the dedication to creation!


have you ever made your own candles and/or repurposed old ones? i would love to receive your feedback!

happy creating!

 

{thirsty thursday – homemade komucha on tap}

22 Jul

i totally need to make a detailed post about this very soon.

i have been making my own kombucha for about 3 years now and i love it so much!

my favourite flavour is ginger, which is what is pictured in this batch.

are you curious about kombucha? it’s so easy to make and it is a wonderful health tonic full of minerals, amino acids, and gut-supporting probiotics. i’ve been consuming kombucha for almost 2 decades and a few years ago i finally started making my own.

stay tuned, and i’ll post more about my scoby {lovingly named “scooby”} and all of the other fun things that go into brewing kombucha at home 🙂

{sunday (funday) snacks}

18 Jul

speaking of eating seasonally and such…

on sundays lately, i’ve been curating a platter fully of yummy and healthy snacks to eat in leiu of lunch or dinner. i’ll have it out while i am cooking or relaxing or whatever else and just kind of graze on the snacks… basically all day.

here are a couple of pics of how i spent my last 2 sundays :

chianti-wine aged salami, garlic-herb wafer crackers, fresh avocado, fresh pineapple, locally-grown cherries, blueberries, & peaches, super thin pretzels, roasted mixed nuts, truffle parmesan crisps, dehydrated apples, apricots, dates, various chocolate, and a homemade kombucha spritzer mocktail

homemade tuna salad, organic mini toasts, garlic-herb salami, smoked oysters, mixed nuts, homemade pickles, fermented radishes, locally-grown broccoli & cauliflower, fresh avocado, dates, apricots, locally-grown blackberries & peaches, and a ginger tonic mocktail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{DIY bath soak – with himalayan pink salt!}

4 Dec

i love a good soak in the tub!

… it’s so relaxing and comforting. i especially love to enjoy a hot bath when i have sore muscles or if i want to fight off icky feelings possibly related to a cold or germs, or LIFE, etc. i make time to enjoy a hot bath at least once a week, but i prefer to do it twice a week. it’s a crucial part of my self-care routine, and one i look forward to enjoying as frequently as possible.

i’ve been making my own bath soak for a while now. i choose to use himalayan pink salt because it is extremely mineral-rich. sometimes i add in epsom salts or magnesium salts for additional benefits.

soaking for about 20 minutes in a rich salt bath has many rewards. of course, it’s very relaxing but it’s also detoxifying and soothing to both the nerves and the skin.

i like to play around with different ingredient mixtures depending on the season or how i am feeling. sometimes i will make an oatmeal bath for extra moisturizing.

it’s very simple and easy to make your own bath soak, and you can get creative with the ingredients. there are a lot of different recipes out there, but this is my favourite go-to that i’ve been making for quite some time now.

——

  • 2 cups himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 8-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2-3 drops vetiver essential oil

optional ingredients :

  • ginger powder (for detoxification)
  • dried lavender (for relaxation)
  • dried flowers
  • dried sage

Continue reading

{homemade gummy bears}

9 Oct

i have been making my own homemade gummy bears for a while now, and i have been meaning to write a post about it…

i have always loved fruit snacks, gummy bears, et al. however, the ingredient list always detoured me – even the natural ones are full of mostly sugar.

so, i did some research and realized that i could be making my own gummy fruit snacks! and not only that, but i could make them GOOD for me!

my curiosity was piqued when i started looking for a clean source of gelatin to help with collagen production and joint support.

…which i don’t have pictured here because i typically transfer everything i buy into a glass jar… {no shame in my game}…

anyway, i wanted to incorporate gelatin into my diet and that’s when i got super stoked about the idea of making my own gummies! so i found these silicon molds on amazon {along with the gelatin} and looked up a few recipes to get me started.

as usual, i like to keep things as simple as possible. some recipes call for honey or a sweetener, but i like to avoid added sugar where i can {so i can guiltlessly enjoy a candy bar from time-to-time}.

so – here is my very simple {2-ingredient!} homemade gummy fruit snack recipe – which yields about 200 gummies and the ratio can be adjusted accordingly :

  • 1 cup fruit juice {i usually opt for concord grape}
  • 3 tablespoons gelatin powder

you could add in some honey or agave for sweetness, but i find the concord grape juice to be sweet enough on its own.

sometimes i’ll add in some elderberry syrup for additional health benefits during the cold-season months. Continue reading

{foodie/foto/flashback friday – spring/garden fever}

9 Mar

seriously, though… is it time to garden, yet?! i am so eager to get out and play in the dirt!

i definitely want to grow some {organic} cabbage again this year!

here’s a little flashback friday for ya : to that ONE i grew last year and turned into delicious sauerkraut!


hope you have a great weekend!

{homemade soap}

24 Jan

i made soap for christmas gifts last year. it’s so fun to make! the soap block, which i got from michaels, was made with mango and shea butter – super moisturizing! these soaps create a nice, rich lather. they would also be perfect for a bubble bath!

i made a few different kinds :

  • fragrance-free oatmeal 
  • orange cinammon w/ rose petal flakes
  • lavender oatmeal
  • lavender rose 
  • orange peppermint

people go nuts over the soap whenever i give it as a gift. 🙂


have you ever made your own soap?!

 

{homemade relish with my homegrown cucumbers!}

11 Jul

so, as i mentioned in my last blog – i have harvested well over 200 cucumbers this year from my garden! i wish i would’ve been weighing my harvests, to get more of an idea of yields. however, looking back through the fotos i snapped every time i harvest – it’s safe to say that number is pretty accurate. crazy, right?

anyway, on top of sharing my harvests with neighbors, and consuming a cucumber a day, i also enjoy making pickles and relish with my cucumbers! that’s why i specifically grow the pickling cucumbers. that, and i just think they taste better.

i will share my pickle recipe soon, but for now i want to share this super yummy relish recipe that a good friend of mine passed along to me last year. i love it because it’s very simple and does not have added sugar. the only sweetener is honey and i think it is so well-balanced in flavour. i love add my relish to egg salad or tuna salad. it’s also just good right out of the jar!

homemade pickle relish recipe : 

  • 1.5 pounds {pickling} cucumbers, finely diced {mine was homegrown}
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1.5 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill {mine was homegrown! 🙂}
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp kosher salt {i used himalayan pink salt}
  • 1 tsp celery ceeds
  • 1.5 cornstarch

directions : 

  • in large saucepan, combine all ingredients except cornstarch. simmer over medium-high head until vegetables are tender – about 8-10 minutes.
  • in small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking liquid until smooth. add to pan and let cook another 3-5 minutes. cool.
  • use canning method to preserve, or store in airtight container, chilled, up to 1 month. also freezes well.

i made a lot more than what is pictured – this jar i gave to my neighbours. 🙂

i also tasted mine before adding the cornstarch. if i needed to increase any of the ingredients, i did. i think i added a little extra honey and vinegar to mine because i had a little more than 1.5 pounds of cucumbers. the key is to start with small amounts… you can always add more. i love the colour it turns out – that’s largely due to the turmeric.

i hope you enjoy this recipe and please do let me know if you ever try it out!

thanks for reading! 🙂

 

{what goes great with oktoberfest beer?? — homemade sauerkraut!!}

23 Oct

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ownin’ my german roots! 😉

i love love looooove making my own food. i especially love making things that are expensive to buy, but cheap to make. case and point : sauerkraut.

sauerkraut is one of my favourite things ever. it’s so good for you, and it’s been around for centuries… it’s one of those ancestral foods like homemade bone broth that has proven to be a staple for health in many ancient cultures for ages.

sauerkraut is FULL of healthy probiotics, which are essential for maintaining a healthy gut.

and it’s so super easy to make.

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start by chopping up your cabbage, as thin as you want/can get it… i find it helps to quarter the cabbage first, then cut into strips. you want about 1.5 pounds per 1 tablespoon of salt. once that is complete, add it to a large bowl and begin “squishing” the cabbage and salt together using your hands.

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this is another reason i love making sauerkraut – you get to play with your food! 😉 Continue reading

{pickled gherkins}

30 Oct

when i say, “gherkins” – what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

for me, it’s the movie dirty dancing.  weird, right?!  there’s the scene where neil is asking baby if she is hungry, and he’s looking in the fridge… “leftover cabbage roll, fruit salad…?  sweet gherkins?!”  😛

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anyway… i don’t really like sweet pickles. but i do love dill pickles. and when i found these *adorable* baby gherkins, i literally squealed in excitement! apparently, they are also known as “cucamelons.” {teehehee}

they are slightly sour, and very juicy!  which, i admit, was a little surprising.  i also read that they are very easy to grow… which makes me totally want to try to include some in the garden next year!

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they look like little watermelons!!  eep!  so cute. Continue reading

{homemade sauerkraut}

13 Oct

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i’ve been wanting to try to make my own sauerkraut for a while now… as i’ve mentioned in the past, i’ll get on these kicks where i’m all like, “i can make that!” and i think that i can make TIME multiply and have more of it so i can actually MAKE all the stuff i say i can make… silly me.

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anyway, luckily this whole sauerkraut making process is super easy and not nearly as time consuming as one may think.  well, the actual “making” of it takes a little while, but preparing it does not.  it’s quite fun, too. you get your hands involved and you get to “play” with your food, which i always enjoy. 😉  plus, it’s oktoberfest!! and i’m part german, so it’s high time i learn how to make this amazing stuff so every october i can eat it. just kidding, that’s not my only motive.  sauerkraut is one of the oldest fermented foods out there.  and it’s one of those things that is actually pretty inexpensive to make on your own, but for whatever reason, can be kind of expensive to buy. this small batch didn’t cost me much. i had the salt at home, and this head of organic cabbage was $2. it’s loaded with probiotics and because it’s cabbage, it naturally contains a prebiotic as well. it’s just really awesome stuff. we should all eat more sauerkraut… in my humble opinion.

i digress.

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as i said, the process is very simple.  and so are the ingredients :

– one medium head of cabbage {organic, if possible}

– 1 1/2 tbsp salt {i chose himalayan pink salt}

– large glass container or fermenting crock {as clean as you can get it}

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begin by quartering cabbage and then chopping into “ribbons.”  add salt and begin to work in the salt using your hands.  this is the fun part.  you can literally {with clean hands, of course} squish and squeeze the cabbage all around. this will eventually cause the cabbage to wilt from working the salt in.

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it’s quite amazing how it works, and it’s just oh-so-fun. Continue reading

{“i can make that!” – coconut flax granola}

17 Jul

i get on these kicks where i think i have all the free time in the world to constantly be making my own food… particularly, easy snacks.  i’m such a label-reader, that i’ll look at the ingredients and be like, “i can make that!” 😛

this time, it was granola.

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i had a gigantic container of organic rolled oats sitting around, waiting to be turned into breakfast vitamix cookies, but i kept forgetting to buy jelly!  so as i was grocery shopping the other day, it came to me.  “dude, audrey – you should totally make your own granola!” what inspired this was my other new favourite obsession right now – yoghurt.  i know it’s nothing new to a lot of you, but i never much cared for yoghurt and suddenly – just like sauerkraut, and eggs – i can’t seem to get enough yoghurt. so – i was completely stoked when i saw my favourite brand, noosa had introduced a coconut flavour!!! holy smokes dude.  AHH–MAZING! and i love noosa because they use milk from pasture-based cows.  LOVE THAT!

anyway, to bring it all full circle, i was like, “self, you should just buy some coconut flakes {super cheap} and use some pantry items to create your own granola to compliment this amazing yoghurt discovery!” {sometimes i do talk to myself like that} and so i did it – i bought some organic coconut flakes for about $2.00 and had the rest of the ingredients at home.  as per usual, i didn’t exactly measure – so i don’t have an actual recipe for you, but if i can wing it, you can wing it! 😉

ORGANIC HOMEMADE COCONUT FLAX GRANOLA :

– rolled oats

– maple syrup

– vanilla extract

– coconut oil

– flax seeds 

– coconut flakes Continue reading

{thirsty thursday – homemade pickles and oktoberfest for days!}

24 Oct

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i have always been a HUGE fan of pickles. they are easily one of my favourite snacks. once i started making my own, i was hooked!  i have even been known to travel across the country with them… no joke.

as usual, i KISS with these.  simple ingredients :

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super easy refrigerator dill pickles :

  • 5-6 cups cucumbers, chopped
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 head fresh dill
  • 2-3 cloves garlic {optional}

Continue reading

{whatever wednesday – dehydrated kale chips}

16 Oct

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so, i bought a dehydrator... it’s amazing and it’s already changing my life.

i know that may sound drastic, but at this stage in the game – pretty much everything in my life is drastically changing…. so – this is no exception. owning  a dehydrator has totally changed the way i shop, too.  if i have an over-ripe fruit or veggie, but i’m not sure i’ll eat it right away – I CAN DEHYDRATE IT!  if there is a one-day sale on fresh fruit and i want to stock up but it won’t fit in my freezer – I CAN DEHYDRATE IT!  i can make my own fruit-rollups, trailmix, and even dehydrate herbs like sage or rosemary.

my favourite thing to make lately is kale chips.  i wish i would’ve had this thing in the summer – totally could’ve kept the house cooler than making kale chips in the oven! Continue reading

{my first tomato ever!}

7 Sep

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this is terrance, my tomato plant.

i haven’t written about him much because i actually thought maybe he was dying… i only got this ONE tomato from the plant and i believe critters got to the rest of the fruit before i could…  i hadn’t seen any new life in almost 2 weeks so i was concerned… but then recently, i started seeing new growth!  i have 10 little tomatoes growing at the moment, woohoo!!

i’m not sure why it seems my terrance is a late-bloomer… most of my friends that have plants are harvesting TONS of fruit right now.  it’s just funny, it seems like everything i own takes on my energy… i’ve always said i’m a late-bloomer… 😉

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this was my very first homegrown tomato – an early girl 🙂

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i picked her at the beginning of august…

stay tuned for the recipe i used this yummy fruit in!

{natural insomnia aid : audrey michelle’s tart cherry tonic}

10 Jun

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a little secret about me : i have battled with insomnia for about half my life.

i’ve gone back and forth in my head — “claiming it” by owning it and being honest {as i’ve done here}, invoking the law of attraction by saying “i sleep great!” – both seem to have the same effect… i’ve tried melatonin, valerian root and other random herbs, about 5 different kinds of mattresses, yoga, prayer, meditation, sleepy tea, alcohol, and a variety of other remedies to help in my battle.  i even tried some feng shui to encourage the right energy during bedtime… i tried one or two prescription drugs but absolutely hated the side-effects and the dopey feeling the next day… one of them even gave me wacky lucid dreams, almost nightmares… i once tried to “donate my body to science” by participating in an insomnia-related study, but i didn’t qualify because i hadn’t tried enough prescription drugs… over-the-counter remedies help in the short-term, but that stuff is so bad for your liver and i also worried about dependency… i have to board up my windows and sleep with a mask usually, and that is in part due to my late work hours… i know i’m reasonably young but i’m not getting any younger and i’m at that age where this kind of crap is super important to me now.  i don’t need to get 8-10 hours every night, but what i do need is to STAY asleep during the night.

enter the title of this blog… Continue reading

{homemade applesauce – vitamix style!}

12 Apr

as we know, i’m all about DIY in the kitchen.

between skyrocketing food prices and the need for healthy, organic, fresh food – i have to find a balance so that i can still continue eating well, but also still afford to pay rent 😉 – and honestly, owning a vitamix has helped tremendously in that arena.  even though it was a steep investment initially – it’s actually helping me save money by making a lot of things at home!

for example, this homemade applesauce.  i did make some once a while back with my potato latkes.  but i hadn’t tried it with the vitamix, yet.

applesauce isn’t something i just go out and buy.  in fact, i’m not actually much of a fan of apples. i love the flavour and i love apple juice, but i just have never been one to eat handheld fruits.  i’m more apt to eat grapes, mangos, berries, and bite-size typed fruits.  it’s just one of those idiosyncrasies of mine… i’ll eat apple slices with some nut butter, that’s more my style 😉 oorrrrr, this delicious applesauce…

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and whoa – was it easy to make!

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step 1.  buy some apples.

i opted for honeycrisp because they were on sale and approaching the end of their season… plus, these were super cute and smaller than most.  have you noticed how BIG apples are getting lately?!  it’s just not natural… i’m like “i can’t eat that in one sitting!” haha.  these honeycrisps were perfectly-sized and came in a 3-pound bag. Continue reading

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