May 5, 2013

Peeling ingredients, all from the kitchen!

Here is the list of the different peeling ingredients I may or may not have mentioned on the blog.
The great thing about it, you probably already have them in your kitchen.

Face peeling

- thin salt in a little bit of oil (olive for example)
That's what I use, once a week :)

- wheat bran. You can mix it with yoghurt but I guess it's just as fine in olive oil.
I would especially recommend this for sensitive skins as it's extremely soft (a bit too soft for my taste though).
I bought the wrong type of flour so that was a good way to use the bran after sifting the flour.

- coffee grounds. Slightly more abrasive than thin salt but still ok

Body peeling

- sugar! and honey and olive oil --> See honey sugar scrub here.

- coffee grounds


Yes, hair, or more precisely, scalp scrub. From what I read, it helps you get rid of dead skin cell and stimulates circulation and hair growth. You can choose any of the ingredients above depending on how sensitive you are. I have psoriasis so I am: I went for coffee grounds mixed with creme fraiche, once every three weeks.

May 2, 2013

Homemade yoghurt, easy and cheap!

Yoghurt is another of the dishes I started to make to reduce my own waste.
As I like to have dessert after a meal, I was actually collecting more than enough yoghurt pots to make homemade soap ;) (if you don't understand this joke, see "how to make soap" articles).

Making yoghurt is quite simple and cheap.
You don't even need a yoghurt-machine, you can use an oven.
Regarding the ingredients, just milk, and a yoghurt that will ferment the milk and transform it into yoghurt.
And also anything else to flavor it (honey and jam for example).

Quality is important here, both for the milk and the yoghurt.


Choose full-cream milk.
It doesn't need to be cow milk; it can be any other animal milk.
Vegetal milk too. I tried with soya milk (Go green, I haven't tried with Alpro) and it works, but I hear that with other vegetal milk you need thickeners.

Yoghurt as a "starter"

First you will need to buy a yoghurt, and then you can reuse one of yours.
A cow-milk yoghurt can be reused about 6 times before the ferments stop working.
A soya-milk yoghurt can be reused up to 15 times.
The thicker a start yoghurt is, the thicker yours will be as well.
A solution to get a thicker yoghurt is to filter it: use a cloth in a strainer and most of the water will go away.

I've had good results with Greek yoghurt, as well as Yoplait and Tine yoghurts (but not as firm as what I'm used to in France though).

Regarding soya yoghurt, I failed several times.
It never worked with alpro yoghurt, and it worked once out of twice with Soyesse (found at Coop Obs).
It actually worked with the plain version, and not with the strawberry-flavored yoghurt.
It could be the list of ingredients is different. It could also be something else failed in the process.

A good way to check a soya yoghurt is usable as a starter is to make two batches at the same time, one with a cow-milk yoghurt, especially one you have used before and you know works.
Yes, cause you can mix soya milk and cow-milk yoghurt. I got a pretty good result with Greek yoghurt.


Now, enough with the introduction, here comes the recipe and the modus operandi :)

You need about 100 grams yoghurt for 1 Liter milk.
Then it's all about temperature.

Heat the milk. It has to be at a temperature of about 50° C, not more.
If you don't have a thermometer, here is a tips: boil half of the milk and then mix it with the other - cold - half.
If it's the right temperature you should be able to dip your little finger for about ten seconds.
If so, take it off the stove and pour the yoghurt.

Another tips: with a thin layer of water in the pan will prevent the milk from sticking to it.

Mix well and pour in glass jars. I think it works as well if you just put the same quantity in small jars same size and then pour the milk.

Put the jars in a large dish and cover almost completely with water (3/4).
Then put in the oven which has to be at maximum 100° C.
Turn it off and don't open it for at least 6 hours. The whole night is perfect.

I usually make yoghurt after I have used the oven to cook something else. I then use the residual heat and let the oven cool down by itself. I told you, it's cheap!

I've also read about another method that uses even less heat:
Wrap the jars in a blanket and leave it by the radiator for 24hours, or even outside during summer. Well, not in Tromsø ;) It works with a temperature of 20 °C.

Bon appétit !

Apr 22, 2013

Organic honey in Tromsø

As you may have noticed, I use honey in some of my cosmetics, for example the honey sugar scrub.
I also use it more and more for hair mask (future article).

Liquid honey is easier to work with and wheter it's to eat or to use on the skin, always prefer organic.
Good news, they sell organic acacia honey at Coop Jekta (Tromso) and it's even cheaper than the non-organic honey (139 ver 144 kr per kilo)!

Thought I would just share the info :)

Mar 27, 2013

Stop using plastic bags!

Just because I don't post anything doesn't mean I don't do environmental stuff.
Most of the time I must say I'm just lazy: I have an article to write about homemade yogurt for example and I know this one will take time to write...

So today I decided to write about small, easy, random (and short to write about) tricks I do all the time.

Trick n°1: use reusable shopping bags

France is terribly ahead of Norway in that matter. 10 years ago you could also get (free) plastic bags at the supermarkets. Non biodegradable bags were forbidden in 2005, but I discover now that only the law was voted in 2005, and the deadline was fixed in 2010. Free plastic bags actually disappeared from the great majority of supermarkets as early as 2006 it seems. Instead you could buy very solid plastic bags for 0,50 cts (right one on the picture). From then on people got used to carry their own bags when going shopping. But I remember a friend who kept forgetting in the beginning and who had to buy one of these super solid bags every time.

In Norway, plastics bags are not free, but so cheap that it's the same. Most people use them as waste bags, but do you really need that many? Try reusable bags just the time you empty this kitchen drawer full of bags ;)

It requires a bit of planning as you have to remember take the bag(s) or backpack with you.
In Tromsø it's easy, I almost always have a backpack, especially in the winter (important for the balance when it's slippery ;)). It's also easier to carry groceries this way, think about it!

I always carry a textile bag (middle one on the picture) around for unplanned grocery shopping: doesn't take any space in whatever bag I have that day. 

You can either reuse one of the plastic bags you have at home, buy one on Grønnhverdag's website (link in the right side menu) or make your own from an old t-shirt for example:

- Marilyn Monroe T-shirt bag, with a stapler
- Another T-shirt bag, this one is with a sewing machine

Plastic bags harm us, by polluting the environment, and killing animals as well as aquatic life. Read more about it here.

Turns out I wrote more than I expected :) Another random trick in the next article!

Mar 17, 2013

Homemade garlic croûtons

Lately I decided to stop buying one of the three things I eat most often and make them myself.
The idea was to reduce the amount of waste.

One of them is garlic croûton. I like to eat "light" in the evening, especially when I have to get up early (eating beaf doesn't help falling asleep for exemple). I often have a corn and cumcumber salad which I like to eat with croûtons, otherwise it's boring :)

But as I eat this dish quite often, I used to buy a lot of croûtons. I had to choose between croûtons emported from the US and overpacked european croûtons, which were, on the top of that, not particularly tasty.

Now I make them myself, every two or three weeks. That's very easy, that's cheap, and they're delicious :)

The first recipe I tried requested half a baguette, 6 garlic cloves, herbs and 50 cl olive oil, which is waaaaaay too much.
The idea was to squeeze the garlic to bring out the taste as much as possible and mix it with oil. Quite a lot of work the first time BUT... I didn't want to throw what was left of the garlic afterwards so I put everything back in the bottle of oil, with the oil I didn't use.

So my first advice is to simply, very easily macerate garlic (and herbs) in olive oil (cut in small pieces, pour into a bottle of oil, wait, that's it). I gave you the first recipe so you have an idea of the proportions but I poured new oil in my bottle yesterday and the taste is already/still here. Basically you can make a lot of croûtons with the same cloves. You can of course use the garlic oil for other purpose, it tastes delicious!

It is very cheap to make because you can use old bread, you know, the very hard one you were not going to eat anyway. So stop throwing it and save it for when you want to bake croûtons.

My recipe
- half a loaf, more or less
- 10-13 cl of garlic/olive oil

Cut the bread in small squares.

Pour the oil, mix with a spoon.

Pour the oil, mix with a spoon. I recommend to wait here, and to mix regularly. You may have the impression that you didn't use enough oil but give it the time to soak the bread.

About 15 mn at 180 ° C and it's ready!
10 cl is just enough, you don't need to soak the extra oil afterwards, I put slightly more on this picture.

Mar 3, 2013

Organic food delivered at home in Tromsø!

There is a great system that exists in France: you can have a basket of local and organic fruits and veg delivered every week at home. Who says "local" says "seasonal", which also means your basket changes every week, how fun!

When I first got here I found out there was no such system in Tromsø but things are changing!
Økomat Innherred is considering starting a new delivery service here. I'm not too sure about the local side of it but at least it's organic food (not that easy to get in Tromso).
They need 30-40 registrations to start it up. You can decide the frequency, the size of the boxes and you can choose between veg & fruits, vegetables, fruits, bread, low carb, local/Norwegian.
Sadly, I won't be able to sign up. I had a look at the size of the boxes, even the smallest (5 kg) is way too much for me. But it sounds great for a family though. The Norwegian basket sounds pretty interesting to me.
 More info here:

Feb 24, 2013

Body peeling: honey sugar scrub

Ever since I got a job, I don't make as many cosmetic products as before.
But this one is very simple to make and so pleasant to use. Smells delicious and you'll understand why.

It's a body peeling with only kitchen-ingredients.

- 4 table spoons sugar
- 2 table spoons honey
- 2 table spoons oil

Mix everything's ready!

--> The more liquid the honey, the better. Mine is slightly hard but is just mix everything with the finger before use.

--> Use preferably organic ingredients

--> Use any oil, but if you don't have antioxydant, don't use a fragile oil. I chose olive and apricot oil.

It leaves the skin really soft but I think sugar would be a bit harsh for a facial peeling.

Recipe found on