Monday, February 24, 2014

WINNER of Naturally-Tinted Balms and Herbal Salve

There were 41 entries to the giveaway for the Bessmess Naturally-Tinted Balms and Herbal Salve! I used a free random number generator to select the winner.  The winner is: Michelle Sopa, Hubertus, WI.

Congratulations, Michelle!  Please send me your e-mail address at no later than February 28th so I can send your contact information to Bessmess. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Naturally-Tinted Balms for Lips and Cheeks Plus an Herbal Salve

On Monday February 24th, I'm giving away some wonderful natural beauty and health products.  Bess Taylor, of bessmess on Etsy, has generously offered to give the winner a choice of 3 tinted balms for cheeks and lips plus a 1-oz herbal salve (containing chamomile, lavender, and calendula).

practical meets pretty, items inspired by nature

In Bess' words, here are descriptions of the tinted balms and herbal salve:
tinted balms [made with calendula-infused sweet almond oil, mango butter, beeswax, alkanet root powder and/or annatto seed (for the tint), vitamin E, lime essential oil, & love]: I choose organic ingredients that will add a beneficial quality to the end product. The beautiful colors come from infusing the oils with a variety of different roots and seeds. This product can be applied with one swipe of your finger for hydration or if you would like a bit more color, scoop a bit out and apply with your finger or a lip brush. I am a very practical person, but I also believe that practical things can be pretty, so I used watercolor to paint the original labels to represent the shade in each tin. As mom on the go, I love a multipurpose product: this product pulls double duty as lip and cheek color. The resin coating makes the tin more lasting, as you can use it to hold small items once your balm is gone.

herbal salve (made with chamomile, lavender, calendula, kokum butter, avocado oil, beeswax, & love): I always have a tin of this go-to salve in my purse: helps with a number of things including dry skin & mild itching to fly away hair and removing mascara smudges. This salve has a soft floral scent derived naturally from the herbs.

I myself have tried Bess' tinted balms, and they work great.  My daughter has very much enjoyed having her own tin of makeup that she wears on occasion, and I love knowing that it is safe and natural for her to use.

about Bess

bessmess started when my papa labeled all of my childhood "work papers" as bessmess. From then on, any craft I was making was known as bessmess to all.

My newest endeavor of tinted balms started with the beauty of a beet & is an accumulation of 5 years of science lab classes, 10+ years of professional makeup artistry, living through a period of severe chemical sensitivity,
a renewed love for painting (my labels), being a Reiki Master (adding love to all of my products), and a mom of an active 3-year-old little boy (multipurpose products that give color in a natural way).

how to enter the giveaway

 There are three ways to enter this giveaway:

  • Leave a comment below including your location and your first and last name. Entries that do not include this information will be excluded from the drawing.*
  • Pin this giveaway on Pinterest and then leave another comment to let me know that you have done so. 
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook, and then leave another comment to let me know that you have done so.  
This giveaway will be closed to more entries on Sunday February 23rd.
I will randomly select 1 winner on Monday February 24th.

*In one of my previous giveaways, multiple people claimed the same entry.  To prevent that from happening again, I am requiring people to include both their first and last name, as well as their location.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Blueberry Muffins Dusted with Cinnamon Sugar (nutrient-dense)

Up bright and early a few Saturdays ago, my husband and some friends spent a few hours doing the hard work of moving a very heavy shed from our old house to our new place.  I made these muffins as a nice treat for when their labors were over.  Everyone loved the muffins, and I've since been requested to make them again.

I used a combination of flours for these muffins: coconut flour, ground crispy nuts, and einkorn. Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat that has never been hybridized; as such it is naturally lower in gluten and higher in protein than modern wheat.  The thing I have found the most surprising about Einkorn is that my daughter can eat it in moderate amounts with no issues (whereas even a small amount of modern wheat will lead her to have behavior problems).  Currently I'm using white Einkorn flour, since we have had some problems digesting whole grains. I think that, when consumed in moderation, white flours can be a healthy part of the diet. (Did you know that, in traditional cultures, much of the bran and germ was actually discarded after the whole grains were ground into flour?)

This recipe is bursting with flavor: moist blueberries, the bright flavor of lemon, and a sweet crispy top from the cinnamon sugar.  The combination of flours results in muffins with a wonderfully crispy yet chewy top.  Even people who aren't real foodies have raved over these muffins. 

Blueberry Muffins Dusted With Cinnamon Sugar
  1. Line a muffin tin with paper cups.  (I prefer If You Care Unbleached Baking Cups because the muffins do not stick to the sides of the cups.)
  2. Combine the einkorn, coconut flour, ground nuts, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Whisk it all together to break up any lumps.  
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Combine the butter, sucanat and sugar in a large bowl (a Kitchen-Aid stand mixer works great for this recipe). Cream together for a couple minutes until the mixture turns slightly lighter in color.
  5. In the meantime, combine the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract in a small bowl. (I find that a Pyrex glass measuring cup works great for this because the pour spout makes it easy to add these ingredients to the mixer while it is running.) Do NOT mix up the eggs at this point.
  6. Once the butter and sucanat/sugar have become well-mixed, mix in the eggs one-at-a-time.  With my stand-mixer, I can just pour in each egg while the mixer is still running.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to get everything incorporated well. (It is okay if the mixture looks a bit curdled during this step.)
  7. Add the sour cream to the wet mixture and mix it in well.
  8. Add the dry ingredients a bit at a time.  Because the Einkorn flour does contain gluten, make sure not to overmix or the muffins will be tough.  The batter will become rather thick, but don't worry about it.
  9. Stir or mix in the blueberries.
  10. Use a 3-Tb scoop or large spoon to scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
  11. In a small bowl, stir together the cinnamon, sucanat, and sugar for the cinnamon-sugar dust. Use a spoon to sprinkle this mixture over the top of the muffins.
  12. Bake the muffins at 350 degrees F for 27-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out dry.
  13. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before serving.
*Except during our local berry season, I find that frozen blueberries have far superior flavor to the fresh ones sold in grocery stores.

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