Simple Feel-Good Homemade Nutella Recipe (Vegan + GF)

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If you are a chocolate lover and/or if you have lived or been to Europe, chances are you have tried Nutella® before and you are probably totally addicted to it. Now if you are like me and you grew up in France, where eating Nutella® for breakfast or a snack is a national sport, chances are you still have to have your Nutella® fix once in a while, but are not so keen on some of the ingredients that are present in its recipe (palm oil, soy lecithin…). Don’t take me wrong, the recipe used to be worse (hydrogenated palm oil was listed for a while) but the brand has worked on improving its formula, and even though it still contains some saturated fat and sugar, the delicious spread also supplies a good amount of key vitamins and minerals. I just don’t like the fact that it is using palm oil, which the production has an extremely harmful impact on the planet. It contributes to deforestation of the rainforest, therefore a loss of animal habitat for endangered species. In the past 16 years, the quest for palm oil has led to the death of an estimated 100,000 orangutans… Other animals, such as rhinos and elephants are also supposed to be at risk. As a concerned world citizen and animal and planet lover, my conscience just doesn’t allow me to buy products that use palm oil (or other non-sustainable products). Nutella® is one of them, I have decided to make my own by coming up with a recipe that would not use the controversial oil, and use less sugar by the same token.

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The chocolate spread recipe below only uses 4 ingredients and does not use any added sugar. It is extremely simple and quick to make, nutritious, and does not contain any yucky ingredients. It will, for sure, satisfy your craving for the delicious spread.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of roasted unsalted hazelnuts
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of canola oil
  • 2/3 cup of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp of maple syrup or liquid sweetener of your choice (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC)

Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool off. Once the hazelnuts are safe to the touch, place in a kitchen towel and roll the hazelnuts with your hands to remove as much skin as you can (if the hazelnuts are already skinless, skip this step). Don’t sweat it if you can’t remove some of the skin, it will be fine anyway.

Add the skinned hazelnut to a high-speed blender or food processor, and blend on low until a hazelnut butter is formed. It should take about 10 minutes depending on your blender.

Heat the chocolate in a double boiler, or in the microwave, making sure it does not burn.

Add the vanilla and the oil and blend again to mix all the ingredients. Add the chocolate little by little until it is well blended in the hazelnut butter. If you decide to sweeten your hazelnut spread, add the maple syrup or sweetener now and blend again.

Et voila! Your feel-good chocolate hazelnut spread is ready for consumption! Transfer to a glass jar or a covered bowl and keep for 2-3 weeks (do not put in the fridge or it will harden and lose some of its flavors…)

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This chocolate-hazelnut spread will be amazing on a freshly baked baguette (see my amazingly easy recipe here), pancakes, crêpes, waffles, any kind of toasted bread, cut up banana, apples, honey wheat pretzel sticks, and/or just out of the jar with a tablespoon… Yep!

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Holiday Sangria Recipe! Ole!

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Sangria for the Holidays? Really? you may ask?  Yep but not quite your traditional sangria.  This one will bring some festive vibes to your party.  In addition to the usual fruit suspects (apples and oranges), pomegranate and cinnamon steal the show in this amazing (and super easy) recipe.  Try it and print out a few copies of it because your guests will ask for it!

For about 6 people.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
2 oranges sliced (keep the skin on)
2 apples sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bottle of red wine (mild is better.  I use a red Zinfandel)
3 cups of sparkling water

Place the pomegranate seeds in a pitcher and crush with a fork or a spoon

Add the oranges, the apples, and the cinnamon

Pour the bottle of wine and mix well

Cover with a plastic wrap and put in the fridge overnight

Serve in martini glasses for a vavavoom effect and don’t forget the sparkling water! Can also be served with the turkey, I swear they go really well together!

Non-alcoholic and kids friendly version: skip the wine and add a mix of apple juice and pomegranate juice instead!


Makeup Remover DIY (Because You Deserve to Know What You Put on Your Face)

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I wanted to share this makeup remover DIY with you for quite a while but I kept forgetting to post it. I ran out of it last night so I needed to make another (small) batch today and it reminded me to finally write this post on how to make it. It is extremely easy to make and the ingredients are, of course, natural, and in my case, organic.
There are many reasons why I ended up making my own makeup remover instead of buying it, and these reasons might (hopefully) make you decide to do the same:

When we make our own beauty products, we help the environment by using and throwing away less packaging. We also (usually) buy organic and local ingredients, and in bulk, which ultimately helps boost the local economy and reduce carbon footprint.

We know exactly what we put on our skin and/or on our eyes and we don’t need a Ph.D. in chemistry to understand what the ingredients are. Did you know that on average a woman puts 500 chemical products on her body daily?… 😱 (Source: Canadian Health Food Association). Hmm… should we do the math and find out how much women actually put on themselves over a lifetime? 🤔 Maybe another time huh? In the meantime, mixing simple, organic ingredients and making our products ourselves without the yucky stuff we can’t even pronounce, sounds much better…

We save money! The cost might be a little high at the beginning because we buy in bulk, but in the end, spending less than $5.00 per 100 ml (3.5 oz) sounds like a good plan, especially for all-natural and organic products!

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So here is the recipe for my very own makeup remover:

• Jojoba oil (1 part)
• Vitamin E oil (3 drops)
• Witch hazel hydrolat (1/2 part)
• Rose water (1 part)

💡 Tips: I use an eye dropper to place the ingredients in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle.

Mix well and store for up to 2 weeks.