23 April 2014

Lemondrop cupcakes with coconut flour (gluten-free)

Thanks to Brianna (iluvjesse444) for sharing the recipe from thenourishinghome, I made my very first cupcakes! I had just gotten some coconut flour on iherb.com, and was wondering what my first coconut flour recipe was going to be. It was also a coincidence that we got a lot of lemons recently (for lemon water detox), so it was fate that I had to make these lemon goodness!

I've not had a lot of experience with baking - my first bake was a few years ago in Japan, where I made a chocolate sheet cake in a microwave oven. Growing up, we never had an oven in the house and my mum isn't a baking person. I enjoy both cooking and baking, though the latter is always much preferred because... sweet treats!

These lemondrop cupcakes were easy peasy, although I did get a little nervous since I've never made cupcakes and I've never baked with coconut flour. I had no point of reference of how the batter should feel like though the instructions in the recipe did say 'smooth and fluffy'. I made them in regular size since my MIL only have these old school-looking pans, and skipped the frosting (didn't have heavy cream nor cream cheese lying around). I did add a pinch of brown sugar and coconut flakes for topping.

They had to be baked for half an hour instead of 15 minutes as indicated. It came out beautifully and the whole house smelt like what else, lemon and coconuts! The cupcakes were moist, soft, and not too sweet. They were slightly mealy in the centre, but for a first try, I think I did great.

What are some coconut flour recipes that you have tried?

18 April 2014

Plump & quench thirsty skin with Olie Biologique 005 Huile Radicale

I first learnt about Olie Biologique on Twitter (@OlieOrganicOils). The brand is very active in connecting via tweets and they also share skin care tips and tricks frequently. Believing in minimal packaging and maximum benefits, Olie Biologique offers a small but impressive range of facial oils concocted from 100% certified organic ingredients.

Having survived a long winter (which paid a re-visit 2 days ago with light snow in New England), my skin has been through a lot of ups and downs. You must be tired of me saying this over and over again, but before my move here I've never had dehydrated and/or flaky skin. Never. And I thought combination skin was a pain. While trying out different combinations of products from my skin care arsenal, I thought I had solved the thirsty skin problem, until I met 005 Huile Radicale*

Nature’s plumper and parched skin quencher. A MUST for dry, dull and damaged and aging skin begging for its radiant glow. Intensive radiance-boosting and rejuvenating, this blend of 8 organic plant seed oils and floral extracts provides all-natural skin quenching properties with lightweight, healing potency. Anti-oxidants, fatty acids and naturally occurring retinoic acid preserve elasticity, plump facial lines and improve firmness while reducing brown spots. Absorbs completely to leave a silky, non-greasy finish. (Skin Type: Normal to Very Dry)
What I like about Olie is that their ingredients list is short and sweet (just like my blog), in line with their philosophy of 'less is more'. Having undergone a recent re-formulation, 005 Huile Radicale is described as an intense treatment for super dry skin, making it the most moisturizing oil in the Olie line-up. Admittedly, I wasn't sure if my skin is going to like 005, reason being I wouldn't consider my skin type as dry since my T-zone does get a little shiny despite the rest of my face feeling parched.

The 005 Huile Radicale is yellow-tinged with medium consistency. On my first use, sandalwood was the most pronounced scent since my nose is most sensitive to it. After subsequent uses then did I detect the rose and geranium oils. I started off with using just 1 pump for the whole face, (equivalent to 1 dropperful) as I wasn't sure if it will be overly moisturizing for my skin. The oil spreads and absorbs into the skin easily, and the scent lingers subtlety if I don't wear makeup over it. After a few days of using 005 in the mornings, my skin felt and looked less dehydrated, and pesky dry patches gradually disappeared. I also tried it as a night oil and the next day I was indeed greeted with plumper, smoother looking skin!

I have to say I'm quite impressed by this oil - I've used camellia oil in my hair when I was in Japan, I never knew it could make such a great conditioner for the skin, thanks to its naturally occurring collagen. Evening primrose oil provides gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) which further stimulates collagen production. Rosehip oil contains natural vitamin A and C which is indispensable for anti-aging, and the blackcurrant seed, rose geranium, and rose flower oil are all anti-inflammatory and help rejuvenate the skin. The 005 Huile Radicale would be perfect for those who face harsh weather conditions, or if you find your skin suffering from dehydration thanks to seasonal changes. I know what my skin will need next winter.

Ingredients: Organic Camellia Oil, Organic Rosehip Oil, Organic Blackcurrant Seed Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Natural Vitamin E, Grapefruit Oil, Sandalwood, Rose Geranium Oil, Rose Damascena (rose) flower oil.

And now the treat for everyone: from now till August 31st 2014, use code: 'OlieBB05' to receive 20% off the purchase of a full size bottle of 005 Huile Radicale! If you prefer to sample Olie Biologique's oils first before committing, they also offer box sets which includes trial sizes of various facial oils.

*indicates PR sample