Sunday, 21 August 2011

Snack Taxi Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations Diane!  Look for an email shortly!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Kale Chips for One and All!

Oh my heart, I am in LOVE!  I have found a new favourite healthy snack.  This tasty treat is homemade with 3-5 ingredients and takes a total of 10 minutes to make, from prep to mouth.  I perused many recipes on the internet and came up with a version of my own.  Below is a photo documentary of how these delicious, tasty treats came to be.  I hope you try it at home and enjoy them as much as I did!

The Journey to a Perfect Kale Chip

Kale is a green leafy vegetable that is high in calcium, manganese, potassium, folate, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A.  Pretty much, it is a WONDERFUL veggie to have in your life.  While some of us may love to work the greens into our meals, some of us have to fight to sneak them into our own diet, or that of our families.  Kale chips are an excellent way to introduce your palate to kale and also an excellent snack to substitute for popcorn, potato chips, or other salty snacks you crave while watching your favourite sitcom.

For kale chips, you want to try and use the "curly", "wavy" like variety shown above.  I purchased this bundle at my local farmers market.  For a large serving for 2-4 people, I would use the whole head of kale (probably approximately 10 leaves)

Remove the stalk of the kale and discard (COMPOST!!!) it.

Remove the centre "vein" from the each leaf.

Cut the kale leaf into bite sized pieces.  Something to note about kale chips is that they are very delicate, so once you bite them they will shatter.  This is why you want to cut them into a size that you can comfortably fit into your mouth in one tasty, tasty, bite.

Wash the bite sized pieces in a salad spinner and spin dry so there is no excess water hanging about.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

I added simply one tablespoon of olive oil to my bowl full of dried bite sized pieces, and mixed with a spoon until I could see that all the leaves were coated lightly and evenly with the olive oil.

Every recipe you see for kale chips will season with something different.  I found mine to be extremely tasty by seasoning with garlic powder, a touch of salt, and a Cajun spice mix.  Be careful when seasoning to not add so much that it coats the kale.  You want to accomplish a nice dusting of flavour without it overwhelming the natural flavour of the leaf! 

Lay the kale on a cookie pan covered in parchment paper without overlapping the leaves.  Don't worry if they curl over and won't lay flat.  Pop them in the oven and STAY NEARBYI baked my first batch for approximately 6 min, but depending on the oven it could be faster or slower.  What you want to achieve is for the kale to be green with the slightest tinge of browning on the curled edges.  If you let them get any more browned than this, they will taste burnt. 

Remove them from the oven.

Enjoy this tasty, amazingly delicious, inexpensive and healthy treat!

Let me know if you try this out, and if you feel as passionate about this snack as I do!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Snack Taxi Reusable Bag Giveaway! **CLOSED**

In the United States, over 20 million plastic sandwich/lunch bags make it to the landfill EVERYDAY.  Such a huge amount of waste is created by something so small, which is why Erin Kelly-Dill started SnackTaxi in 2003.  With 3 kids of her own, Erin wanted to decrease the amount of lunch waste her family created each day by making reusable sandwich and snack bags.

All the materials used in SnackTaxi products are lead, phthalate and BPA free, and can be hand washed or machine washed and then air dried.  All SnackTaxi products are made by local sewers, in Massachusetts, USA.

At $6.95 (USD) for a snack sack and $8.95 for a sandwich sack , these cute, fun, reusable bags are a total steal!

SnackTaxi was kind enough to send me a sandwich sack, and a snack sack to try out!

These SUPER cute prints had all my coworkers talking, and even my husband asking if there were more "manly" prints available.  The bags are made out of 100% cotton (they will be releasing organic cotton versions shortly) with the inner being made of polyurethane lined nylon.  The inside of these sacks are spill and stain resistant (I am a mustard ADDICT and generally have mustard spilling out the sides of my sandwich) which means any stains or spills, etc. stay contained, and clean up easily!  I  hand washed my sacks with my after dinner dishes (no dishwasher but me in this house!) and found they easily air dried by the next morning for next use.

The long strips of Velcro create many options for pocket size, which ensures a good fit no matter what size of sandwich or snack you put in the sack.  With the food tucked securely away in the sacks, I was able to pop the reusable bags into my lunchbag and head to work.

SnackTaxi is offering one lucky reader a snack sack and sandwich sack duo!

*Please read the rules and regulations of this site’s giveaway policies here before entering!*

This giveaway is open from July 25 to August 8, 2011.

This giveaway is open to THE USA & CANADA only.

PLEASE ensure you have a valid email address entered on EACH comment.

To enter:

MANDATORY ENTRY:  visit and mention one product or fabric you like.

Extra entries

 -“Like” Wholesome Abode on Facebook

-“Like" SnackTAXI on Facebook

-Follow @wholesomeabode on Twitter

-Become a GFC follower of this blog

-Tweet this contest and tag @wholesomeabode (max. 1 tweet per day). Leave the permalink in the comments section. (1 entry each tweet) You can use the following tweet:

Win a set of reusable sandwich/snack bags by SnackTAXI from @WholesomeAbode (ends 8/Aug) #eco #green #giveaway

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Wordless Wednesday! Well, not so wordless....

Hello my friends, so sorry for the long silence!  Summer has finally fallen in my northern land, and up here we get pretty crazy about spending as much time away from TV, computers, etc. during these long summer nights.  Hopefully you are all experiencing a wonderful summer thus far as well.

For the photo portion of "Wordless Wednesday" I thought I would tell you a little tale.

While driving through this:

We came across:
(momma bear AND 2 cubs--harder to see)

I arrived home to work in the garden, and to my dismay, discovered that this is what happens when you neglect your garden and it rains more than ususal....
(by the way, what type of weed IS is EVERYWHERE, I cannot pull it fast enough!)

But not all hope is lost, there are still some jewels hidden among the wild growth:

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Raw Gaia Winner

The winner of the Raw Gaia Green Clay Face Mask is:

Congratulations Kristin!  Look for an email shortly, and enjoy!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Sprouting: Let Them Eat Sprouts!

Think of how many nutrients an expectant mother needs to be growing that little bundle inside of her.  Plant seeds are similar in that when they germinate, they have a different nutritional makeup compared to when they are an inert seed, and also different from when they are a full fledged plant.  It is for this nutrition that people have embraced sprouting.  Eating sprouted seeds has a LIST of great health benefits varying from having increased antioxidants (which help bind up free radicals in your body), increased vitamin content (the amount can increase up to 20 times the amount before being sprouted), all in a format that is easier for the body to utilize because it is in a living format.  This site is such an AMAZING source of information about sprouts, I was fascinated!

What is sprouting?  It's taking seeds and causing them to germinate.  This can take anywhere from 3-6 days depending on the type of seed, and you would be AMAZED to see how many different types of seeds can be sprouted and enjoyed.  Sprouting is GREAT for anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, raw, or just anyone who wants to include more nutrient packed greens into their diet.  Did I mention you can do it at home for pennies a "crop"?  Read on!

I was wandering up and down the aisles of my local eco-focused store (Earth's General Store, for all those in the Edmonton Area) when I came upon a section devoted to sprouting.  I passed by it quickly and moved on, but the seed of interest had been planted.  As I continued around the store I found myself being more and more intrigued about sprouting, and what it was all about, so I ventured back to the sprouting section.  Here,  my new experiment was born.

The bag of sprout seeds I purchased (Spicy Lentil Crunch) contained seeds of: lentils, red clover, alfalfa, radish, non-GMO canola, and mustard.  Quite a tasty sounding mix!  I also purchased the green sieve lid to help with the rinsing.  The jar, you can see, is an old pickle jar I rinsed out.  Total cost?  Around $8 for all the goods.

The process of sprouting is quite simple:

1.  Take 2 tbsp of seeds (this amount varies depending on the type of seed you are using) and soak in   about 1 cup of water for 2-6 hours, and then drain.

2.  Leave the jar in a bowl at a 45 degree angle with the lid facing down to continue to drain the seeds.

3.  Every day, fill the jar (about halfway) with water, swirl, and then drain.  Do this 2-3 times, always inverting the jar at 45 degrees afterwards.

4.  Watch your seeds germinate and sprout!  Depending on the seed, you may or may not need to subject them to sun.  Personally I just left the jar on my kitchen counter, and 4 days later, I had myself a jar full of sprouts!

5.  Once your sprouts are a good size, remove them from the jar and give them a good pat down with a cloth or paper towel to remove and residual moisture.  You can then use them immediately, or store them in the fridge!  Just keep your eyes peeled for any sliminess or rot, because then it's time to toss them in your compost and start again!

So far in 1 week I've had 2 "crops" of sprouts which have made their way into salad, sandwiches, and once I just took a bag on a walk with me to munch on.  I am in LOVE!  I hope this opens your eyes to the world of sprouting, and I REALLY hope you give it a try, I would LOVE to hear from you below!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Compost Standstill: What to do?

I am a student of compost.  A student who last week was failing the class.  It didn't matter that I LOVED this class, I was just missing something.

As I previously wrote about here, I love to compost.  However, last week my compost was at a standstill.  From the information I have read, and class I attended, compost should be a nice, moist, warm pile of action.  When I opened my composter, however, all that greeted me was a dried up pile...picture, if you will, a mouth full of soda crackers.  THAT dry.  If you are having a similar problem with your compost, let's break down what the issues could be:

1) Your compost is too dry causing microorganism activity to halt.
-Add water to your compost (without soaking) and mix your pile to help the water permeate the layers.
- Your compost may be in too much sunlight, causing it to dry out too quickly.  Move it into the a slightly more shady area 
-Soak your browns (carbons) before adding them to your pile to increase the moisture content
-Cover ventilation holes to decrease excessive airflow

2) You are adding to many browns (carbons)
-it's easy to add to many browns because at certain times of the year (Autumn) they are most readily available.  Just remember that when you add browns, you need to be adding approximately the same amount of greens.  So to counteract too many browns...add more greens!  Grab some grass clippings, apple peels, or past due veggies, and toss 'em on in!

These are just a couple of ideas on changes to try to get your compost moving again.  Since I started writing this post last week and trying some of these options, my compost has made quite a recovery!  If you have any questions on trouble with your compost, post 'em below and we'll try brainstorm some ideas for you! 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Raw Gaia Skin Care Giveaway **CLOSED**

Raw Gaia is an exciting, inspiring company.  Hailing from the UK, Raw Gaia is the world’s  first  line of cold-pressed, living, 100% organic, vegan, cruelty and chemical-free skin care products.   This sounds like a mouthful, and really, breaks down into Raw Gaia being a company you need to look into.  Let’s break down what they’re all about.

Raw Gaia uses cold-pressed, raw, living ingredients.  What this means is that their products are created using a process that avoids surpassing temperatures of 40⁰C; antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, minerals etc. are influenced at high temperatures and lose many of the benefits that they provide, which is why Raw Gaia’s production is key to the benefits of their products.   

Raw Gaia’s products do not include any petrochemicals, artificial fragrances, colours, glycols, laurel sulphates, parabens, preservatives, bulking agents, or synthetic additives.  Essentially, what you read on the ingredients is what you get in the product.  And because the products are made fresh without preservatives, everything is marked with a unique expiry date for that product.  

Raw Gaia’s products are certified by the Vegan Society and the British Union Against Vivisection (BUAV).  The company prides itself on using “organic and/or wildcrafted ingredients” and attempts as often as possible to utilize fairtrade to accrue their raw materials.  

Something I really love about Raw Gaia is their new policy on “ethical marketing”.  This is their attempt to make a stand against the “false standards of beauty that make women feel inadequate and unsure of their bodies, and in particular, about ageing skin”.  With this new policy, Raw Gaia refuses to mention features like de-aging, wrinkle reducing, rejuvenating, etc. on their product descriptions, and instead have a section on their website dedicated to achieving healthy skin through proper diet, positive mental attitude, and natural skin care.  It is this positive, healthy, respectable way that Raw Gaia creates, sells, and markets their products that makes them such a desirable company to work with, purchase from, and use products from.

Raw Gaia generously sent me their "Acne Combination" skin care pack consisting of cold pressed Borage oil, Tea Tree Floral Water and Green Clay Facepack.

At first, I was confused why they would recommend borage oil to put on already oily, problem skin, until I read a little more about borage oil.  It turns out that borage oil is rich in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which helps to regenerate and stimulate cell activity while being absorbed deeply into the skin.  Borage oil is also known to help sunburn and eczema.

When I first used the borage oil on my skin, it felt quite oily, but started to soak in quickly, leaving my skin feeling hydrated without the normal "slick" feeling I get from my usual face cream.  I also noticed that throughout the day my face seemed more balanced.  Usually in the afternoon I find my skin to be excessively oily, but when I used the borage oil it helped keep a balanced hydration all day, which was LOVELY!  Raw Gaia also supplied me with the Tea tree Floral Water, which is a fragrant water that, when used over top of the borage oil, helps the oil to soak in faster, as well as providing all the benefits of tea tree oil without drying out the skin.  The Tea tree Floral Water has the antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial benefits of Tea tree oil, which help to clean and purify the skin, targeting acne to help clear the skin.  In the mornings I would use the borage oil after showering, top with a spritz of tea trea floral water, and then continue with putting on makeup etc.  I found that this combination made my skin moist (without being oily), and also helped decrease the amount of acne on my face.  I also found that on warm days, spritzing with the floral water helped to refresh my face and make it feel less oily without having to wash my face and reapply my makeup!

Raw Gaia also sent me the Sun-dried Green Clay face pack which is a detoxifying face mask.  It is said to be able to "gently draw out toxins and environmental pollutants that may be lying under the skin, in order to heal and clean while giving your face a nice lift and glow" and is said to be especially helpful in "relieving skin congestion, spots, inflammation, fatty deposits and dry skin".  This sounds like a miracle worker!  I was very excited to try the mask, and enjoyed the results every time I used it!  By mixing a little of the clay with water or floral water, you are able to create a thick paste that you apply to the face for 5-10 min.

After this, you rinse and then enjoy the feeling of radiant skin.  Literally, every time I used this mask I felt like my skin was rejuvenated.  It didn't exfoliate like other masks I had tried, yet truly left my face feeling refreshed with an even tone and glowing, healthy radiance.  I love this mask.

Raw Gaia has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader the Sun-dried Green Clay Face Pack!

Please read the rules and regulations of this site’s giveaway policies here and then start entering!
This giveaway is open from June 9, 2011 to June 23, 2011.
This giveaway is open to residents WORLDWIDE


To enter:
MANDATORY ENTRY: -Visit and mention one product you are interested in

Extra entries
-Follow @rawgaia on Twitter
-“Like Raw Gaia on Facebook
-Follow @wholesomeabode on Twitter
-“Like” Wholesome Abode on Facebook

-Become a Google Friend Connect follower of this blog 

-Tweet this contest and tag @wholesomeabode (max. 1 tweet per day). Leave the permalink in the comments section. (1 entry each tweet) You can use the following tweet:

Win a raw, organic, vegan Green Clay Face Mask @WholesomeAbode (ends 6/23) #raw #eco #green #giveaway

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Compost Junkie

I'm addicted. I'm addicted to composting.

I read about it, I go to classes about it, I talk about it with friends. I sit around the lunch table at work cringing as people throw away their cores, peels, crusts and think... "Maybe I could take those home to my bin?". Once I even asked, and then passed it off as a joke as my coworkers stared at me like I was insane. The fact of the matter is, I LOVE the idea of taking something that is garbage, and turning it into something useful,and full of potential--that earthy smelling black gold.

For beginners, compost waste is classified as two main groups "browns" (carbons: shredded paper, dead plants, brown leaves/grass, wood chips etc.) and "greens" (nitrogens: fruit peels/cores, veggie scraps, plants, tea leaves, coffee grounds etc.). Of course there are many more nutrients and elements making up your compostables, but this is the main way that these wastes (let's call them "building blocks") are separated into groups. The key to a good, healthy compost is to have the correct balance of browns, greens, moisture and air, otherwise your compost heap can turn into a stinky, slimy mess.

Microorganisms are the most important ingredient to the compost pile and are the starting force of decomposition.  Actinomycetes, fungi, and eventually worms and more complex organisms move in later and help to keep the decomposition rolling.  Where do all these organisms come from you ask?  Well, you are creating a lovely home for them full of food, heat, and moisture, so they will start to move in in a hurry if you provide this type of atmosphere.  Sometimes when starting a BRAND new compost, you need to an an "activator" to introduce some of these organisms, and to provide a rich nitrogen based environment for them to live in.  Chicken manure is said to be an EXCELLENT activator (unfortunately, I don't know anyone with chickens, so this option was out).  I did have the next best thing though...a husband willing to pee on my pile.  That's right!  It took a little bribing, and perhaps a bit of begging, but eventually he succumbed to my pleas.  Urine is an excellent compost activator because it is full of a variety of nutrients within its' yellow streams, and generally carries some bacteria as well.   All in all, a perfect activator for my backyard compost pile.

At the risk of blathering on, I will end this post here, but this is only scratching the surface of composting. I would LOVE to talk about it some more with you, so if you have any questions or comments, let's chat below!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Perfect Baked Jerk Chicken

Sorry I've been on hiatus lately!  Summer is a BUSY time full of long nights of friends, gardening, family, and little time for the computer.  Hopefully I can find some time to write when the sun goes down!  Unfortunately for me, that's usually after 1030 pm in these parts--I can't complain though, I love these long summer nights.

I just wanted to share with you one our household's current favourite recipes!  It was given to me by my sister for a Christmas present in a recipe box full of wholesome, delicious recipes!  I hope you enjoy!

Perfect Baked Jerk Chicken
serves 3-4
1 tsp allspice powder
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cayenne  (if you like kick, you can up this to 1/2 or even 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4-6 pieces of chicken (bone in, I usually use thighs) with skin on

As an aside:
This may seem like a daunting list of ingredients, and believe me, I spent about $30 to accumulate all the spices, but you will put them to GOOD use because you will LOVE this recipe.

The good thing about this recipe is that you can also customize it to your liking depending on your taste.  I usually up the amounts of pepper, cayenne, and garlic.

Back to the recipe:
1. Combine ALL ingredients in a Ziploc bag.  Squash is, shake it, smear it all around until the chicken is coated evenly.  Marinate the chicken in the fridge for 2-4 hours.  (I actually usually leave it for about 20 min....who has 2-4 hours to marinate meat with???)

2. Preheat over to 350°F.  Put the chicken on a broiler pan skin side up.

3. Bake until the chicken is cooked to 170-180°F near the bone (or about 1 hour-1 hour 20 min)

4. Broil the chicken for ~5 minutes at the end to crisp up the skin

5. Serve with something delicious and nutritious like salad and Mexican Quinoa Bean Medley

I urge you to try this will not be disappointed!  Comment below if you try it, have any changes to propose, or if you just want to chat!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Limoncello Update

If you read my previous post about making homemade Limoncello , I am here to give you an update.  After 23 days of resting in a cool place, out of the sun, my husband and I did a taste test of the vibrantly yellow, clear liquid.  Since you need only 1-2 oz. to taste, we have PLENTY left over for apres dinner sipping on hot summer nights.

The taste test results:

The limoncello remained very clear, with a nice strong yellow colour.  Upon opening the bottle, a lovely, refreshing citrus (yet very alcohol smelling) scent wafted out.  At first taste, it a had a very smooth flavour which was thoroughly infused with the lemon without being overwhelmingly citrus.  However, it is upon swallowing you really get the full flavour of the liqueur.  There is a lovely warming sensation that follows the taste, as well as a residual essence of lemon left in your mouth (when I talk of the lemon taste, its more of a spiced, mellow lemon flavour which is really lovely, rather than a pucker-worthy citrus taste).  While the liqueur is essentially pure vodka, it has an over all sweet flavour which, I am told, gets sweeter the longer you leave it "curing". 

All in all, I am VERY happy with the way the Limoncello worked out; I would DEFINITELY recommend that you try making this at home, as the taste is DEFINITELY worth the work, and the wait!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Rescue!

In our hometown we have a store called the "Architectural Clearing House" which is a compilation of reclaimed building parts from houses and buildings that have been demolished.  There are rows upon rows of old doors, plumbing pieces, handles, old porcelain toilets, windows, the list goes on and on.  In an attempt to get people to reuse these items that would have normally gone to the dump, they are offered at very low a whole window for $15.

My husband and I bought a house that was built in 1968, and thus, had the interior of a house built in 1968.  The previous owners (an older couple) left it in its original format, in all its' retro glory.  When my husband and I moved in, we gave the house an overhaul, but parts of the old form still remain, waiting patiently for their turn to be updated.

Having an eclectic style and a knack for DIY projects, my husband decided that this weekend it was time to tackle the dreaded diamond divider.

While a nice piece in its day, it no longer fits into our plans for the house as WE see it; this is where the Architectural Clearing House comes in.  In our meandering up and down the aisles of this junk wonderland, we happened across a rustic old window painted a fascinating green on one side, and a demure brown on the other:

My husband, being the handy guy he is, cleaned the window with vinegar (worked like a CHARM!), removed the dreaded diamonds, and worked some sort of system to suspend this window in their place.  The result was a fun new look for our divider!  The green is an accent colour in other aspects of the house, so it adds a nice punch of colour to the area. 

All in all it was a simple, successful update to our dated divider, and we were able to rescue an old window from its landfill demise! 

What do you think of the update?  Have you done any upcycling DIY projects in your house?  Share below!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday! --Wind Edition

In honour of the windy day outside my window, a picture of our trip to Scotland and how they use the wind to their advantage!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Radiance Mineral Cosmetics Giveaway **CLOSED**

Radiance Mineral Cosmetics was created by Leigh Polidoro in Beaumont, Alberta, Canada.  As an aesthetician and makeup artist, Leigh had always had an interest in the health and beauty industry, but never pursued any of her ideas until she experienced trouble with rosacea and adult acne in her late 20’s.  Leigh began experimenting with different brands of mineral makeup and loved it, but found she was still experiencing breakouts and irritation.  When she started to research mineral makeup, she discovered all the hidden chemicals, preservatives, and cheap fillers that many companies use.  Deciding she could create her own affordable, 100% pure mineral makeup, Radiance Mineral Cosmetics was formed in the fall of 2007.  Originally experimenting with eye shadows, Leigh created her first (and most popular) shade, “Fairy Dust”; the line has since grown into 9 foundations, 4 blushes, 25 eye shadows, 6 lip glazes, and more.

Radiance Mineral Cosmetics are made with all natural 100% pure minerals.   The products are free of all parabens, synthetic fragrances, filler, and chemical dyes, all of which are all irritants, and things that you should avoid putting on or in your body.  Since minerals are inert, microorganisms are unable to grow in these cosmetics, which means reduced cross contamination of powders.  All Radiance Mineral Cosmetics are oil free as well, which means they don’t clog pores.  This is GREAT for acne prone, oily skin like mine.

Leigh has ensured that Radiance Mineral Cosmetics are free of fillers like talc, cornstarch, and Bismuth Oxychloride.  All of these fillers can clog pores, and Bismuth Oxychloride, which is a by-product of copper and lead refining, can irritate and cause itchiness to the skin and thus should be avoided.  The three main ingredients in these cosmetics are: Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide and Mica.  Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide are both natural sun protectors and provide the makeup with approximately SPF 15-20.  These two minerals also have natural anti-inflammatory properties, making this makeup ideal for people who have acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea.

As I learned when testing this makeup, Radiance Mineral Cosmetics can be used wet or dry to achieve a variety of looks.  The powdered minerals can also function as liners, or added to clear lip gloss or nail polish to find that perfect colour.  Since it can be mixed with water, or other gels and fluids, Leigh even suggested mixing the powdered foundation with a medicated acne cream as a quick blemish concealer.  It is very very versatile stuff!

It’s Radiance Mineral Cosmetics' goal to provide their products (foundations, concealers, blushes, bronzers, primers, veils, eye shadows, lip glazes, and facial spritz) at a price everyone can afford.

As someone who has used the SAME liquid foundation her entire life, and has never really 1) thought it worked well or 2) been good at applying it, Leigh’s suggestion that I try her mineral makeup came as a new adventure.  As I said before, I have struggled with oily, acne prone skin my whole life, which makes wearing makeup vital at times. 

Leigh hooked me up with a very generous starter package including: a Radiance Mineral Cosmetics Exfoliating Cloth, foundation, blush, 2 eye shadows, and facial spritz.  

As soon as I applied the makeup, I could feel the difference between this and my old liquid foundation.  The mineral makeup felt light and breezy on my skin, and it was very easy to brush on using a large makeup brush.  The foundation covered REALLY well, and blended in really nice into the skin on my face and neck.  I also used a damp Q-tip to apply some of the powder directly on blemishes which pretty much made them disappear instantly!  (I seriously cannot stress how exciting this was, for someone who has had so much trouble with acne!).  After laying down the foundation, I gave myself a quick brush over with some of the blush which was a gorgeous rosy colour, but I learned that less is more, as you don’t need much to cover the apples of your cheeks!  At this point I gave my face a spritz with the facial spritz to help set the mineral makeup, and then I put on some of the gorgeous "Brown Sugar" eyeshadow for a perfectly put together look that I felt SO comfortable in.  I also experimented with mixing the "Brown Sugar" and "Cafe Latte" eye shadows I received to create different varieties of colours.  The mineral eye shadows have such a gorgeous sheen to them that they reflect many different colours at once, which is REALLY beautiful.  I think I'm in love.  After experimenting with eyeshadow I dabbed on some of the mineral lip gloss which was SO shiny and rich on my lips, and I was ready to head out for anything!  As I wore the makeup throughout the day, I also noticed that it didn’t start to slide around on my face like my old makeup.  After a week of wearing it, I noticed that it did not clog my pores, or have any poor results on my skin, which means that this is the makeup I plan to keep using from here on out! 

Radiance Minerals Cosmetics and Skin FX have been kind enough to offer the same makeup set to one lucky reader (2 eyeshadow, 1 foundation, 1 blush, 1 lip glaze, 1 facial spritz, and 1 exfoliating cloth ($117.00 value))

We also have a promotional code for you to use at if you would like to purchase some products for yourself at a 10% discount.  The promo code is:

Please read the rules and regulations of this site’s giveaway policies here and then start entering!
This giveaway is open from May 9 to May 26, 2011.
This giveaway is open to THE USA & CANADA only.
PLEASE ensure you have a valid email address entered on EACH comment.

To enter
MANDATORY ENTRY:  -“Like” Wholesome Abode on Facebook and visit and pick one product or product colour you like and mention it in a comment below.

Extra entries
-Follow @skinfxinc on Twitter
-“Like" Skinfx on Facebook
-Purchase something on using the promo code WHOLESOMEABODE (5 entries)
-Follow @wholesomeabode on Twitter
-Become a GFC follower of this blog

-Tweet this contest and tag @wholesomeabode (max. 1 tweet per day). Leave the permalink in the comments section. (1 entry each tweet) You can use the following tweet:

Win a set of 100% pure mineral makeup valued at $117 from @WholesomeAbode (ends 5/26) #makeup #eco #green #giveaway

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Success! Maybe?

This is what I awoke to today.

Now, as this is my first year of gardening, I can't tell if this is actually sprouting from my seeds (this seems to have happened much faster than I would have expected) or if it's some sort of weed that was in the soil already that has now decided to grow. 

Regardless, I am very excited that ANYTHING is growing, and hopefully it truly IS my lettuce!

Anyone have experience with lettuce?  Would it be starting to grow after only 5 days?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A Word Addition to Wordless Wednesday...

By special request for Stacey, here is the recipe for the Cranberry Lemon loaf seen in the picture.  As the recipe seems to change every time I make it, I hope it works for you!

Cranberry Lemon Loaf 
This will make 2 loaves.  This recipe can be halved if you only want to make one loaf.

Butter/margarine      1/2 cup
Sugar                          2 cup
Eggs                            2
Lemon juice                 ~1 cup plus some extra splashes

Flour                           4 cups

Baking powder           3 tsp
Baking Soda               1 tsp
Salt                             1 tsp
Fresh or frozen whole cranberries  3 cups (about 1 bag)

Combine butter, sugar, eggs and beat until smooth, add lemon juice and stir until homogeneous.

In other bowl measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Stir in cranberries and then add this mixture to wet mixture and stir until JUST moistened.  (sometimes, depending on the "extra splashes" of lemon juice, this seems to be a drier, chunky mixture, but the end result is still tasty)

Scrape into greased pan or parchment paper coated pans.  Bake at 350 degrees F for ~1 hour (I usually add about 6 minutes but generally just keep it baking until it gets the desired texture/brown-ness on top)

Sorry for the unprecise-ness of this recipe, as I say, it changes every time I make it, but always find it delicious!  This is a lovely tart loaf that goes nice with a cup of tea, or for breakfast on the go.  Use freshly squeezed lemons for a REALLY lovely taste.

A Tasty Wordless Wednesday!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Shorten your shower, get your groove on!

If you're anything like me, you might find it hard to keep track of time once you get into that glorious shower.  Limiting your time in the shower can greatly decrease the amount of water that you use though, and so it should be a goal of each of us to try and keep our water use down.  Without a water-saver shower head, up to 159L (42 gallons) of water can be used in one 10 minute shower!  This is an INSANE amount of water waste.

Because of this, there are a few simple steps to take to ensure you still get your bathe-on, without wasting ridiculous amounts of water.  Consider the following:

Get yourself a low-flow shower head.  This can decrease up to HALF the amount of water used (depending on the model).

Another easy way to decrease your water use is to simply decrease your shower time.  Aim to take a 5 min or less shower to IMMEDIATELY halve your water usage.  Sometimes it's hard to keep track of how long you've been in the shower, so help yourself out...set a timer!  Or better yet, I pick my favourite song, start is as I'm about to get into the shower, groove to the tunes while showering, and then get out when the song is over.  I have found this to be the most effective way to limit my shower time.  Plus a good beat helps speed you up on those early mornings.

This is my favourite choice for a morning shower song; clocking in at 4:41, it's the PERFECT length!

Hope you found these easy tips useful, and I hope it helps you cut back on your water consumption!  What do you do to limit your shower time?  Got a favourite tune?  Comment below!