Archives for posts with tag: fair trade coffee

“Ooof! There is no time left, yet I still need a meaningful gift!”

No problem.  All you need is a couple jars, 2 or 3 commonly found ingredients and 5 minutes.

Ready, set, go!

Caffeinated Sugar Scrub

Caffeine is a very popular ingredient in cosmetics at the moment. Amongst it’s many attributes, it is said to increase circulation and thereby decrease the occurrence of cellulite.   Sugar is a popular exfoliant.  Oil helps to nourish the skin.  Put the three together, add some scented ingredients, if you wish, and you have a great scrub for arms and legs.

Ingredients:  1/4 cup fresh fair-trade organic coffee grounds, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup oil (sunflower, grapeseed and olive oil are a few ideas)  And what can be used to compliment this rather robust scrub?  I think 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp of cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp dried ginger goes well with the coffee and sugar.

Salt, Bay Leaf and Pink Pepper

All you need is rock sea salt, bay leaf and pink peppercorns. This can be used to season vegetables and meats such as fish and chicken.

Lavender Bath Salts

Ingredients: equal parts epsom salts and baking soda, *organic lavender essential oil.

Use 20 – 30 drops of organic lavender essential oil per cup of the epsom salts and baking soda mix.  Typically people recommend adding a 1/2 cup to the bath.

* Yes, organic lavender oil.  Lavender essential oils are some of the most adulterated essential oils on the market.  You want great quality, especially if you expect a therapeutic effect.

vanilla and spices to be covered with sugar

Vanilla and Spice Sugar

Ingredients: vanilla bean, sugar, optional spice including cinnamon stick and cardamom pods

For those who put sugar in their coffee, a special gift could be a little jar of sugar with a whole vanilla bean in it.  You could also add a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods or whatever spice you wish.  This vanilla and spice sugar can be used for coffee, tea and even in baking.  Be sure to let the recipient of this gift know that they can refill the jar with sugar many times and the vanilla will continue to imbue the sugar with a vanilla essence.

You are not going to believe this… Compost!

Last week I received an exciting gift from my friends, Julie and Mer.  It was a box of vermicompost.  My friends compost fruit and vegetable scraps by feeding these scraps to a worm farm in their basement.  Julie and Mer found that they were rich in compost this year, so they packaged it up and gave it away.  Don’t worry, they did not send over the whole worm farm, just the compost.  I love this gift because I have a couple houseplants and it feels good to feed these little plants some “local” homegrown vermicompost from friends.

Happy Holidays from Tammy Schmidt in Montreal.


Christmas flyer?

As I sit here, hypnotized by pleasant photos and cheery colours and persuaded by promise, I have to hand it to him; he really knows how to get a gal excited about the holidays!  Galen Weston, I have no idea why I am under the influence of his spell, other than having just flipped through the President’s Choice ‘Insider’s Report’ for this Christmas.  And I am all aglow.  The odds were against us.  It must be purely magic that keeps us together.  Aside from the box of baby greens, none of his advertised products are organic.  The special coffee shop in the flyer does not feature any fair-trade coffee.  I officially do not eat sweets.  I feel better when I avoid dairy and gluten.  And I dislike too many processed foods in my diet.  But when I read through ‘Insider’s Report’ I want to try one of everything.  Just reading it restores my confidence, Christmas will be okay.  Yes, I have already started making wonderful homespun creations for the celebration.  I am not trying to brag about it, a person has to pace herself when dealing with this holiday!  And I have a plan for a nutrient dense, delightful Christmas. Seeing all of the products in this book, however, makes me want to add a few items to the plan.  Mr. Weston states that it’s all for a good cause.  Me.  Getting me out of the kitchen, making it easy for me to entertain and saving me money!  It’s the President’s Choice!  Let’s see, let’s see.  The wild pacific salmon wellingtons would be a hit at parties and the artichoke and asiago puffs look good.  The 100% sparkling fruit juice would be handy.  And, ooh, the red velvet cheesecake is so elegant, the merry mini cheesecakes look so cute and anything dulce de leche is delicious.  Okay, all of the desserts look good.  And what’s this on page 26?  Holiday blooms of orchids, amaryllis and pointsettias; wouldn’t that be lovely for my décor?  The wildly colourful chocolate fruit fancies make me want to have children.

Anyhoo, I am sharing all of this with you because I know I am not the only one who feels this way.  And I have to say, there is something here that keeps me coming back for more, but only unofficially… I am an herbalist after all.

Now that's more like it! Enjoying one of our favourites, homemade tourtière with a side of greens.


Friends, do not throw out my flyer!

This confession was made by Tammy Schmidt, Montreal!

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