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Ella’s Everyday Stretch Mark Cream : Pure Cocoa Butter from Eli’s Body Shop



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Hello my friends! 

As you may know by now… I am at the moment very preggo! 
I was hoping to write more about my pregnancy, as in health tips, recipes, symptoms, feelings, emotions all that crazy good stuff we mamas have to endure during the nine months… but somehow time was just too quick for me plus we started a few renovations around the house before the baby would come, and between that, work, a first grader, cooking, cleaning, blogging and prepping for the baby ~ here I am at 37 weeks and kind of in denial I’m even pregnant! ;) lol

So although I wanted to write more about my pregnancy, and I started a few posts – which now I think will end up as a good eBook perhaps ;) This is my second babe and I think I know a thing or two by now ;) I think I will be more confident once this little babe gets here all safe and sound – then I can relax and share more about those special last 9 months – deal? ;)

There is however a very important post I want to share with you all… and that is my Everyday Stretch Mark Cream! It is amazing! It is pure and natural! And I love it and have to share about how I care for my big-belly skin! Because as you can see, I have the biggest belly! That skin is stretched so much – but I’m not worried about stretch marks…. because this Pure Cocoa Butter from Eli’s Body Shop is purely amazing!!! ;)


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 I don’t think there’s a pregnant woman who does not worry (a little) about her belly and the stretch marks that may appear…. Yes, pregnancy is a beautiful experience. Right from the first moment you know there’s a life in you… and feeling little butterfly kicks to bigger stronger kicks as the baby and belly grows and grows… It’s a beautiful thing. 

But nurturing and caring for yourself during pregnancy is so important – it’s not only you now and your body – you are preparing a little human being to come to the big world! Every decision you make from what you do and eat and put on your body somehow affects the fetus and has a direct connection with your baby.


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It’s important to keep stress levels down, relax as much as you can, keep physical activity a continuation of your lifestyle that is still safe for the baby, and eat only the healthiest of foods : organic should be a top priority, and only natural foods without any artificial colouring, flavour, preservatives or other ‘approved safe’ toxins out there that are lurking in our food. 

Of course our skin also goes through so much changing. But it’s amazing what our bodies are capable of! My skin for example, has stretched so much that I don’t think it can keep going these last few weeks…. but I love my belly!
There isn’t a day however I don’t *love* it! I shower with only natural skin care products and then massage my belly carefully a few times a day even to help my skin stay supple and stretch more easily. Having been pregnant before, I knew what was on the market for stretch marks and I knew exactly what to stay away from.

There are so many products that contain toxins and still appear natural. Skin care companies can smack on the “natural” label just like food labels! There’s no guidelines and if you don’t look carefully, do your research, you might just be putting some heavy chemicals on your skin, which go straight to your blood stream and even to your baby.

That’s why I’ve been happy to find Eli’s Body Shop’s Pure Cocoa Butter – this is really a wonderful pure product with just a few ingredients : 100% Ghana Cocoa Butter, Olive Oil, Castor Oil and Shea Oil! Wow! Beautiful, natural and *pure* ~ just how I like it! And I feel great knowing that good quality ingredients are on my skin that make me feel beautiful and help to prevent stretch marks ;)



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To compare with other products on the market : Palmer’s Cocoa Butter is a popular Cocoa Butter Formula that’s out there and I have to be honest and mention that in my research a lot of women complain about rashes and itchiness… so I wondered why?

Turns out that Palmer’s is a very toxic line of skin care – even the selection targeted for pregnancy and stretch marks. For example their Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter has these ingredients in it : Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Extract, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, Collagen, Elastin, Dimethicone, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Carotene (CI 40800)

Although there are a few natural ingredients in their creme, there are also fillers and emulsifiers that are not natural, Yuck! I don’t like the Mineral Oil, Microcrystalline Wax, Elastin, Dimethiocone, Fragrance Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol and Carotene there! These are additives that ‘improve’ product texture and add fragrance and a longer shelf life – all things I do not want on my body especially when I’m pregnant!

If you’re new to discovering that there’s a lot of toxic products out there that are marketed as ‘safe’ and ‘natural’ – you need to be aware!

I made a conscious switch to natural products, no hair-dye, no nail polish 7 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. Somehow, even though not as much information was out there, or great organic products, I made a quick connection that it all enters our body and can be harmful for me and the baby… I ditched everything back then and had a hard time finding the ‘good’ stuff! Now it’s easier to find great products – and if you haven’t discovered Eli’s Body Shop with all-natural pure products yet, you will love them!!! ;)

Dreading stretch marks? Here are 4 Tips for Preventing Stretch Marks During Pregnancy!!

 



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Now…. it’s just a waiting game to see when this little new bundle of love will make its’ appearance to this big world! Like I said earlier, I am 37 weeks ~ and guess what? My daughter was born at 37 weeks! I have a feeling this could be any day! Oh boy! (or girl)!!! We can’t wait to meet you little ‘dumpling’ ;)

Do you have some advice for me or other mamas-to-be?
Are you a mom….? What is the most special memory you have of your pregnancy or being a new mom?

See a review of other skin care products from Eli’s Body Shop here : Ella’s Morning Beauty Routine.
For more information about Eli’s Body Shop, please visit their website and facebook and please do support a wonderful natural family business and products I believe in. Thank you.

Pure Ella 

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Mother’s Day Gift Guide



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Mother’s Day Gift Guide :

1. Happy Mother’s Day Card from Stationary Bakery on Etsy

2. Vegan and Gluten Free/ Nut Free Cookie Dough from Sweets from the Earth (available in Canadian Specialty Retail Stores – check with your local store for availability or check with SFTE)

3. Organic Cotton Floursack Tea Towel : Stay Hungry Stay Foolish from Tasty Yummies on Etsy

4. Wooden Bowl from Wind and Willow Home on Etsy

5. Canadian Organic Wild Rice and Flour from Naosap Harvest (ordering available online)

6. HG Porcelain Juicer from Herriott Grace 

7. Original Wooden Pie Box from Mighty Nest

 

Hello my friends!

It’s that time of the year when we think about our Mother’s! Yes? 
Wrong! Of course we should always think about our moms and do nice things for those beautiful women in our lives who have sacrificed so much for us…. we don’t need a holiday to remind us to treat mom nice! No matter how busy, how tired, you should always have time for mom…. even a little phone call or even text message or a little impromptu tea invitation for a little chat! Anytime, anywhere – not just on May 11th!

That said, no matter how much my mom means to me…. and how much I value the role of motherhood now that I have a child and another one on the way (and do think about another round of sleepless nights and sacrifices I will have to make). I know it’s all worth the love…. all worth the hugs and kisses I will get, all worth the first I love yous’…. again) It’s also nice to be treated a little extra special once a while! And I think Mother’s Day is a very special day for all moms, moms-to-be, grandmas, aunts or any other women in your life who have made a difference and been there for you when you needed a hug or a ‘time-out’! ;)

To celebrate our mom’s ~ here is a delicious roundup of gifts that I love for my mom (and also for me)…. (although I don’t think my 6 1/2 year old reads my blog to know what to get me ~ but hint hint, daddy does! ;))
Gifts that I like are practical, eco-friendly, natural, pure, and always edible! ;) xo ella

Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead! And Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas!!! 
Are you a mama? What would you really like to get for Mother’s Day?

Pure Ella 

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10 Minute Falafel Cakes with Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing : vegan and gluten free



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For a ‘foodie’ there’s nothing I love more than turning around a quick delicious dinner in no time!

This recipe for Falafel Cakes really is a recipe for 10 Minute Falafel Cakes! You throw a few things together, no soaking or other prep work required – Bam! Dinner’s done!!

And it’s healthy, real food that’s big on taste and small on cooking time ;)


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10 Minute Falafel Cakes with Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing : vegan and gluten free

Prep and cook time : under 10 minutes  |  Serves 3-4

Ingredients : do use organic as much as possible

1 can of chickpeas (BPA free)
1/4 medium onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of potato starch
1/2 cup of leftover rice or quinoa (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon of cumin powder
bunch of fresh parsley
grape seed oil for cooking

Directions :

Add all ingredients into a food processor and process until all combined. The texture should be even small crumbs that stick together when pressed. Do not overmix though or the mixture will become too sticky.

Heat a large cast iron pan with grape seed oil. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of mixture onto your hands, shape into a ball and press down a little to make cakes. Cook on the pan for about 2-3 minutes per side.

Alternatively you can bake them but the cooking time alone will be about 25-30 minutes. Simply place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (not wax paper) and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, flipping over half way through.


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Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing : dairy free/ egg free/ vegan

Ingredients :

1 tablespoon of vegan mayo
1 tablespoon of tahini
about 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon
1 tablespoon or more of non-dairy creamer or non-dairy unsweetened milk
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions : 

Whisk first 4 ingredients together, then slowly pour in the EVOO while vigorously mixing the dressing to emulsify the consistency. Add in seasoning. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.


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Serve the Falafel Cakes with Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing on a bed of baby arugula salad with avocado wedges and thinly sliced red onion. Enjoy!


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These gluten-free and vegan Falafel Cakes are so seriously good! They’re so versatile too… you can serve them with just a salad for lunch or make them part of a bigger meal with a side of brown rice and veggies. 

I also liked adding a little leftover rice in there – you can do that too if you have some grains on hand, if not you can completely skip that.

Of course the best thing about them is that they are so quick to make! There’s really no excuses to stop by a drive through and feed your family pick up or delivery food.


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There’s just something about the connection we get from the full experience of cooking from scratch that gives us pure pleasure and heightens our taste buds so all our senses are alerted… from the smell of each ingredient as we peel it, chop it and experience it’s aroma in the air to the mixing with our bare hands and experiencing the texture and freshness of our food. The sizzling pan activating more of our senses and allowing the scents to fill our kitchen… anyone who walks in the door now is automatically hypnotized with pure delicious food…. enjoy my friends! Everyone has 10 minutes, no?

Pure Ella 

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Carrot Cake Brownies with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : healthy, gluten-free, grain-free and vegan



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Hello my friends!

I think the Easter Holiday always brings in a little craving for something with carrots! Does it not? I guess we have to thank all the bunnies for this inspiration…. and I don’t mind at all, neither does my family ;)

This year I knew I had to make something with carrots for our Easter dessert table – but everyone wanted brownies in my family…. so a new idea was born that I could make everything with the flavour of a Carrot Cake but with the richness and moistness of Brownies! So this is the result of what I ended up making – Carrot Cake Brownies – the biggest highlight of our dinner! I had no idea they would be so popular with my family but everyone cleaned off the serving dish in no time. (No leftovers even! You know it’s good stuff when there’s not a crumb left in sight…. maybe it was the Easter bunny?? ;)


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Carrot Cake Brownies : healthy, gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free

Ingredients :

1 1/2 cups organic sweet potato puree
1 1/2 cups medjool dates (about 15 dates)
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cups buckwheat flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup grated organic carrots
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped fine
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

Directions :

First clean and peel about 2 large sweet potatoes, dice them into chunks and boil until fully cooked. Strain and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking pan, about 8″x 8″ with parchment paper.

Meanwhile, peel and grate about 2 medium carrots and set aside. 

In a food processor, process the pitted dates until a smooth paste forms. If your food processor does better with a little liquid, process them with the maple syrup until completely incorporated and smooth. 

You can continue mixing in all the ingredients (except the last 4) in the food processor or you can move the date paste into a mixing bowl and continue mixing all the ingredients with a wooden spoon in the bowl. (I only processed the dates and then had my daughter combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl – this was so much fun!)

Combine all the ingredients and mix throughly. Scoop into the baking pan and even out the top with the back of the spoon.

Bake at 350F for about 45-50 minutes. Once baked, move onto a cooking rack and allow to fully cool  before topping with the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting. (great to bake it one day beforehand)

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting : dairy and egg free/ vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients :

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup organic coconut margarine
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1/3 cup powdered stevia
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions :

First, soak the raw cashews for at least two hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator if overnight. Rinse and strain them well before working with them.

In a food processor, process the raw cashews until fine crumbs form, about 5 minutes. Add in all the rest of the ingredients and continue mixing until a very smooth paste forms, another 5 more minutes. Be sure to turn off the machine and scrape down the sides to incorporate all the ingredients into the smooth paste.

Scoop the Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting on the already cooled Carrot Cake Brownies. Serve and enjoy! 

This cake stays fresh for up to 3 days (if it lasts this long). Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



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Carrots are such a gem when you think about it! Ok, I know that carrots aren’t up there in the superfood category – but why not? They are loaded with so much goodness – Vitamin A and C and beta carotene – a real ‘beauty’ food too as all these nutrients are great for the skin! And there are the Sweet Potatoes – which are also loaded with beta carotene, are low glycemic and are very healthy.

Seriously, can these ingredients not get any better? I think not! The this really tastes amazing! You would have to try it to believe it ;) My family who are not on any special diets or restrictions enjoyed this cake so much! They could not believe these delicious Carrot Cake Brownies were so healthy, gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free and dairy-free!



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I hope you enjoy these Carrot Cake Brownies very soon! It was so great to see non-vegan and non-gluten-free folks enjoy these so much! 
That’s what I love about vegan and gluten-free baking, everyone enjoys the goodies and they all feel good about what they eat! Everyone’s happy at the end ;)

 

Pure Ella 

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Pure Parenting : teaching kids to respect the earth



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Happy Earth Day my friends!!!

I love this photo of my daughter from a few years ago when we planted a tree together. Throughout the years I try to teach my daughter that we only have one planet that we live on and we have to respect it at all times…. that means being good to plants, animals, creatures that we meet on our paths and people, including ourselves too.

What I’ve noticed is that over the last few years of her young life (she is 6 1/2 now) she has made amazing choices and said some wise things which made me smile… and showed understanding about how our relationship with mother nature has a big influence over us and most importantly how our actions affect this beautiful planet.

For example, when we go on walks or ride our bikes on a path, she keeps a lookout for snails that could be too close to ‘danger’ of the moving bikes and people’s footsteps. Whenever she would spot a snail, she would stop or get off her bike and picks up the little snail and moves him into the grass – away from the path. She’s been doing this ever since she was 2 years old I think…. kind of a cute thing to watch and appreciate. I love it that she knows these are little living creatures too and even though they are helpless in where they go, we humans can always reach out and help our little living creatures, after all we do share this planet with them.

Recently, we were picking up some sushi for dinner and the woman was packing some chopsticks, soy sauce dishes etc. and I told her that we don’t need them as we’re going home and have chopsticks and sauce dishes at home…. the woman was pleased with that that we are being eco friendly and offered us a free bottle of water as a thank you for saving them money, I suppose. But then, my daughter spoke out that we don’t drink from plastic bottles! Ha! She was so cool, and I was so proud. She of course got a little shy after she said it too so I filled in the reasons why we also don’t want the free bottle of water. I explained that we use reusable bottles that are stainless steel or glass and fill them up at home with filtered water. I lightly threw in the fact that there are toxins in plastic too that leach into the water and then we drink these toxins and how plastic is so bad for the environment…. The lady was a little weirded out at all this ‘information’ coming at her! My daughter was so on board with me! My girl!! ;)

 

So of course I’m proud of my girl and enjoy teaching her more about our planet and the changes we make that should only affect it in a positive way.

We actively recycle, reuse bags and packaging for food and snacks, and try to make natural eco crafts from paper or other natural fibres to create something fun. (there are so many kids crafts that just reuse items but end up still being unfriendly to the earth.) I often say no to certain crafts because I don’t want her incorporating plastic or other crap just to make something that kids enjoy for 20 minutes. By now she understands that not all materials are created the same. And she’s used to choosing materials that don’t end up being garbage in the end. We still have fun and get creative – without harming the earth in the process.

Maybe these are small things…. but they do add up and they do shape the way a child thinks and makes decisions for themselves later on in life. As a parent, I do my best to set a good example also so she learns from actions not just words.

 

Here are a few posts from around the blog about Earth Day!

Sweet Seedlings with Chocolate ‘Dirt’ (a dessert recipe)

How do you make our planet more green?

Green Spring Cleaning tips!

Why I’m totally against bottled water!

Earth Day Quotes

Be Kind to Our Earth (ads and posters)

 

I hope you enjoy a beautiful day and do practice a few good ways to be good to our beautiful planet.
Do Tell : How do you live an earth-friendly life and how do you teach kids to respect the earth?

 

Pure Ella 

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