Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Are you a fan of peanut butter?  If so, check out this recipe!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

It is one of my new favorite recipes.  These peanut butter oatmeal cookies are a great way to indulge in some peanut butter without accidentally gorging and eating several spoonfuls at a time (not that I’ve EVER been known to do that!)  Even better, these don’t pack a lot of calories!

Ingredients

3/4 cups white flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy…your choice!)

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups oats (not the instant kind)

1/2 cup raisins

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped

Method

Mix up the first 4 ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon)

Mix the peanut butter, butter, and sugars in a separate bowl with an electric mixer.  Mix until fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla to the butter mixture.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined

Stir in  the oats, raisins and apples

Drop the dough onto an ungreased pan.  Here’s a shot of my cookies before they went into the oven.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies - unbaked

I made these into little balls and I got about 40 cookies in total.  Bake them at 325 F for 12-15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

I am so happy to have stumbled upon this recipe. I hope you’ll give these a try sometime.  Enjoy!

This post is part of the GiG Spotlight #4: Come Bake With Me.  Thanks to Angela of The Charmed Cupcake and Jessica of Jessiker Bakes for hosting this wonderful event.  Are you wondering what GiG is?  It’s the Girls Inspired Group.  Click on the image below to check out their blog and join!

gigspotlight1

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Berry Good Baked Goods

I’m heading into the last few weeks of my pregnancy.  I’ve loved every moment of being pregnant, but I’m also looking forward to meeting the little one!  And I’m finally done with work, so I have some time to myself at the moment!

Keeping Busy

I’m not one to sit around with my feet up, so I’ve embarked on a baking extravaganza, all in preparation for baby’s arrival and my anticipated lack of time.  My goal has been to bake something every few days and then toss it in the freezer. My baking has largely been limited to berry-based recipes due to the 72 baggies of berries that I had in my freezer until quite recently.  I’ve also been trying to choose healthier ingredients where I can so that I have somewhat healthy midnight snacks.  To do that, I’ve used oatmeal as a partial substitute for flour, apple sauce and yogurt to moisten the muffins and, for the non-berry recipes, I’ve used veggies.  In all of my experiments, I’ve used coconut oil which worked out really well in all of them.

Here’s how it has turned out so far:

Berry Good Baked Goods

Lemon-Blueberry Loaf

This was the first lemon loaf I ever made.  I liked it so much that I made a second batch the next day.  It incorporates yogurt in the recipe which really kept the loaf moist.  It froze well and I’d definitely make it again!

Lemon Blueberry Loaf with Yogurt

Lemon Blueberry Loaf with Yogurt

Blueberry Muffins

I tried a couple of different recipes for my blueberry recipes.  Ultimately, this one was my favorite.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Not only do I have lots of blueberries to use up, I also have strawberries!  I loved this recipe for strawberry and lemon muffins, two of my favorite flavours.  These were a cinch to make and they taste great!

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Strawberry Lemon Muffins

Non-Berry Based Baking

I also dabbled in some non-berry baking, mainly because I couldn’t resist the temptation.   It’s been squash and pumpkin season and here’s what I made with those:

Butternut Squash Muffins

I was inspired to make these after reading Heidi’s post about them on her blog Lightly Crunchy.  I used homemade squash puree, homemade apple sauce and I even made my own pumpkin spice for this recipe.  Heidi’s recipe and tips both worked great. I only tasted one of these before putting the rest in the freezer.  I really enjoyed that muffin!

Butternut Squash Muffins

Butternut Squash Muffins

Apple Zucchini Muffins

I also tried some apple zucchini muffins.  Unfortunately, these didn’t turn out so great.  Maybe I got the proportions wrong, but they came out tasting pretty bland and a wee bit tough.  They won’t go to waste, but I don’t think these are up to standard for serving to others!

Carrot Scones
Carrot Scones

Carrot Scones

I was lucky enough to receive a bag full of fresh carrots from a friend’s garden.  The carrots were so sweet!  I used a few of them to try out a carrot scone recipe I found on Pinterest.  If you check out the recipe, you’ll see that two of the key ingredients are carrots and cheese.  How could you go wrong?  Truly, they turned out well!

More Baking to Come?

To date, I’ve made 3 loaves of bread and 12 batches of muffins (that includes a couple batches of scones).  My freezer doesn’t have any more room than before. Rather, I’ve just replaced the bags of berries with baked goods.  I have no doubt that we’ll go through them quickly and soon enough, there will be room in the freezer for other goodies.

If you’re interested in any one of these recipes, just about all of them are pinned on one of my Pinterest boards called Yummy Food and Treats.


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Make Your Own Face Mask

Over the summer months, I’ve been spending my Sundays treating myself to different face masks.  Some of them exfoliate and others moisturize.  I even  managed to concoct some that did both!

As much as possible, I tried to use ingredients that I had on hand in my kitchen or in my personal supply of skin care ingredients.

Clay masks

The first masks I ever made were ones that used clay.  Clays are great for helping to remove impurities from the skin, without irritating your skin.

Red and White Clay Mask

My first mask was a combination of red and white clays as well as crushed rose petals.  I mixed that with Manuka honey and some aloe vera gel.  The mask was pretty thin on my skin.  The rose petals helped to exfoliate my skin a little bit as I massaged it into my face. It washed off fairly easily and I followed it with my Day and Night Oil.

Making a Thicker Clay Mask

I personally like a thicker clay mask.  An easy way to make that is to combine some clay (say, 0.5 teaspoon) with 1 Tablespoon of aloe vera gel.  I found this to make a thicker consistency and have had great results with it.  In this particular case, I made the mask with 0.5 teaspoons of green clay and aloe vera gel.

Face Masks from the Kitchen

I have learned how to make a few different masks using kitchen ingredients only.  It’s been lots of fun experimenting with different fruits and combinations.

Avocado Mask

To make this mask, I blended one half avocado with 1 Tablespoon of Manuka honey and 1 tsp of coconut oil.  I spread it all over face and neck and left it on for 15 minutes.  It was very creamy.  I could feel it dry a bit on my skin.  This was super moisturizing and it took a while to rinse it all off my face!  My skin felt very soft afterwards.

I’ve also tried this mask with some oatmeal added to it.  It served as an exfoliant as I massaged the mask into my skin.

Berry Delight Mask

I first mixed one crushed strawberry with two or three crushed raspberries. I then stirred in some Manuka Honey.

This mask was fairly thin. I thought it might also be scratchy with the mashed up berries, but it was actually very smooth.  I left it on for about 10 minutes and felt it tighten on my skin right away.  It also washed off easily.  My skin felt noticeably soft and moisturized afterwards!

Bananas and Honey Mask

For this mask, I mashed a quarter of a banana and mixed it with Manuka honey.  I massaged it into skin and left it on for 15 minutes.  Even though it was runny when I applied it, I felt the mixture tighten on my skin.  My skin felt soft afterwards, but not quite as supple as it felt after the Berry Delight Mask. strawberry/raspberry mask.

Chocolatey Goodness Mask

I was inspired to try this mask after seeing Kristina post about it on her blog Homemade Wellbeing.  I mixed 2 tsp of cocoa powder, 1 tsp of Manuka honey, 2 tsp of coconut milk and 2 tsp of ground oatmeal.

I massaged this into my face for a bit of exfoliation.  I left it on for about 20 minutes and my skin felt very soft at the end.  Between the smell and having soft skin at the end of the mask, this was definitely one of my favorites.

I liked this one so much that I tried again with a slight variation.  On the second try, I mixed cocoa powder, five mashed blueberries, Manuka honey and coconut milk.   Once again, it was divine!

Do you have a favorite face mask?

Do you have a favorite mask that you use?  Even better, have you ever experimented with kitchen ingredients for your skin care?  If you have, please leave me a comment to tell me all about it!