Here's how to make your own shower bomb with essential oils for a whole new level of relaxation.
If you enjoy a hot shower or bath to help you relax at the end of a stress-filled day, you'll love these quick DIY shower bombs that allow you to add a soothing essential oil blend to your shower's steam. Essential oils have long been used to aid everything from sleep to energy.
Now Solutions created this recipe to help you get the benefits of essential oils through inhaling the scented steam of your shower—it's like your own home spa treatment. When these scents are diffused through steam, they reach the nerves in the olfactory cavity, which go right to the brain, so you're likely to feel the calming effects right away.
How to make your own shower bomb
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a mini-muffin tin with foil liners. Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of water to form a thick paste. Pour by tablespoon into the mini-muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Top with several drops of essential oils.
For a shower bomb that will help you relax and unwind, Now recommends a blend of one drop of chamomile oil, two drops of lavender oil and two drops of sandalwood blend oil. But you can make your own blend, too. Clove essential oil is also soothing and comforting, as is ylang ylang. Or, if you're looking for a pick-me-up to start your day with, basil essential oil is known to be energizing, and bergamot and lemon are both uplifting scents.
When your shower bomb is ready, place it on your shower floor and enjoy the relaxing vapours.
Want more ways to destress? Check out these eight stress-busting habits.
It's a classic December tale: the extra glass of eggnog, the second serving of dessert "all in the name of the holidays," and then suddenly, without warning, January materializes out of nowhere. Everyone you know and love is on a green juice cleanse, and you're wondering if you should start one, too. But hopping on a detox diet isn't the only solution; instead, why not start smaller by simply substituting the major food culprits behind that post-holiday bloat with their more nutritious counterparts? Swapping out dairy and white, processed flour from your diet can be an easy, lasting way to improve your overall health without compromising on flavour. Below, we've assembled some pantry improvement tips courtesy of one of Canada's pioneers of alternative baking for dietary restrictions and allergies, Joanna Schultz, the owner of British Columbia bakery Pikanik.
Pikanik, based out of South Surrey in BC, recently won Innovator of the Year from the Canadian Bakers Journal. Its products are all gluten free, nut free, soy free and dairy free, but what keeps Schultz's customers coming back is that her goodies all taste fantastic. She had always been a passionate baker, but she conceived of Pikanik when her daughter was diagnosed with dairy and wheat allergies. Frustrated with the limited (and often flavourless) options on the market, Schultz began experimenting with allergen-free baking. Five years later, business is still booming! Here are some tips and tricks from the expert on building a better pantry in the new year, as well as her sugar cookie recipe:
-Commercial sauces and salad dressings are often loaded down with starches, thickeners, and hard-to-identify sources of gluten. Make your own and freeze the leftover sauce for future use. Homemade salad dressings will keep for weeks in the fridge
-Swap out your usual pasta for a gluten-free blend made with quinoa and rice flour, such as GoGo Quinoa's spaghetti. (Gluten-free pasta is now widely available at your local grocery store in the gluten-free section, as well as any health food store!) The flavour and texture is comparable, but now you'll enjoy the benefits of additional protein and fibre.
-Going gluten-free doesn't mean having to give up on pancakes! You can order the Pikanik custom pancake mix from their online store here.
-There are plenty of gluten-free flour blends on the market these days, but they're each composed of different ingredients and ratios, so don't assume that they will all behave the same way when baking. Test out a few brands until you get comfortable with them.
Dairy and egg substitutions
-Your butter alternatives will depend on how the butter is being used in your recipe. If it's being melted, coconut oil works well in its place; if it's being creamed, try a soy-free margarine.
-Milk can be swapped out with rice milk, which has an unobtrusive flavour. In place of cream, try coconut cream instead.
-Egg substitutions also depend on the recipe for context. For a single egg substitution with a chewy texture (usually desired in bread baking), mix together 1 tbsp ground flax with 3 tbsp water and allow to rest for 10 minutes before using. For tender cakes and muffins, swap in a 1/4 cup mixture of fruit puree (applesauce or pureed pumpkin work well) and 1/2 tsp baking powder per egg. Non-dairy yogurt also works well in muffins; just swap in 2 Tbsp of yoghurt per egg.
PIKANIK ORANGE SUGAR COOKIES
Servings: 65 cookies
Hands on time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
For the cookies
2 cups margarine, softened at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 tsp orange extract
1/2 cup applesauce plus 1 tsp baking powder, mixed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 2/3 cups brown rice flour
1 1/3 cups tapioca starch
1 1/3 cups potato starch
3 tsp xanthan gum
zest of one small orange
For the glaze
1 cup icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat softened margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add orange extract and apple sauce/baking powder mixture. Add salt, baking powder, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xantham gum, and mix thoroughly. Let dough rest 20 minutes or refrigerate for later use.
Scoop the dough into 1-oz balls, flattened slightly. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet about 2 to 3 inches apart. (Make-ahead tip: freeze any dough balls you don't want to bake for future use.) Bake in an oven heated to 350F for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.
Whisk together the icing sugar and orange juice together until smooth. Add more icing sugar and/or orange juice until you reach your desired consistency. Drizzle glaze on cooled cookies and let rest until glaze has set up.
Ginger may not be the first spice you think of to incorporate in your snacks, salads and dinners but it's one of the healthiest on the planet! Here's why:
1. It's healthy for your heart.
Research has shown that ginger may lower cholesterol and help prevent blood clotting, which could, in turn, help prevent blood vessel blockages that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.
A recent study out of Pennsylvania State University found that a meal made with a spice blend that included ginger (along with garlic, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric and black pepper) reduced levels of triglycerides by 30 percent when compared to an identical non-spiced meal.
2. It helps your tummy!
Ginger has long been associated with relieving nausea and morning sickness, motion sickness, and even menstrual pain, as it's original use was for pain relief. A 2012 study shored up that wisdom, showing that ginger can reduce nausea after chemotherapy when taken as a supplement.
3. It can help you breathe easy.
Ginger tea is a classic remedy purported to ease cough and cold symptoms. And it turns out, there’s some science to its soothing powers when you’re sick. In 2013, research out of Columbia University found that ginger might help asthma patients breathe more easily.
4. It has anti-inflammatory effects.
Osteoarthritis causes joint pain and stiffness, but the anti-inflammatory effects of ginger can help that. In a trial done by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, participants who took ginger extract had less pain and needed less pain medication than those who didn't.
*Although rare, too much ginger can cause heartburn, diarrhea and irritation of the mouth, according to the University of Maryland. There can also be interactions with medications, such as acetylsalicylic acid.
But most of us can indulge in ginger for its flavour and health benefits. Try it in:
Apple Cran-Curry Salsa
Apricot Almond Energy Bars
Asparagus and Orange Salad With Ginger Dressing
Broiled Tofu With No-Cook Peanut Sauce
This stylish notebook might just be hottest organizing accessory of the year.
Everyone is supposed to have 24 hours in a day but for some us, it feels like there must be a rip in the space-time continuum. How else can you explain being constantly busy but having nothing to show for it? If this sounds familiar, learn how you can make the most of your time with our five fave productivity tips.
1. Write it down
Billed as "the analog solution for a digital age," the Bullet Journal is a diary, to-do list and catch-all for all your random thoughts. Developed by Brooklyn-based designer Ryder Carroll, this trendy organizing method involves writing down quick, memory jogging statements rather than complex entries. Use it to organize your tasks by day and month pages, keep tabs of books you want to read and things you want to buy or create new lists whenever inspiration strikes. An indexing system allows you to quickly find what you're looking for.
2. Plan your time
Sort of like HIIT for your to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique involves working on your tasks for a short, timed cycle of 25 minutes. With no distractions allowed, it’s great way for those with short attention spans to focus. Take a 5-minute break before starting your next 25 minutes of work and, after four of these cycles, you're rewarded with a longer, half-hour break. Sound a bit too structured? Maybe that's why it works—it was voted the most popular productivity technique by the readers of lifehacker.com.
3. Try a tech-savvy solution
The If This Then That app might be the closest you'll ever come to a personal assistant. Got any apps on your phone? Automate their functions by using If This Then That statements, or as IFTTT calls them, “recipes.” For example: get an early morning text when the forecast calls for rain, use it to get coffee going without getting out of bed (using a programmable outlet) or tell the family you're on your way home (with an email triggered by your location app once you've left work).
4. Go KonMari on your clutter
While organizing trendsetter Marie Kondo’s method of minimal living has been criticized for being a bit too twee, an organized, uncluttered home can be key to increased efficiency. "In most cases, things that function well are inherently neat and clean," says Clare Kumar, a professional organizer based in Toronto. It's not hard to see why. Simply owning less makes it easier for you to find what you need and streamlines your decision making (no need to choose between your 6 pairs of jeans, for example), saving you time that can be better spent elsewhere.
5. Let it go
There'll be days you can't get to everything. Your work presentation sits unfinished, the house is a mess and dinner was takeout (again!). Instead of stressing out, try to cut yourself some slack. "Our bodies burn out when stuck in fast-forward," says Carl Honoré, an expert on the topic of slow living. Sometimes the best way to be productive is to take some time out to recharge. So curl up with a good book, take a long bath, or enjoy a glass of wine...guilt free! After all, there's always tomorrow.