Around the same time that I decided to go vegan in 2007, I began to also make some of my own homemade personal beauty products. I did this for several reasons. First, I had had a book in my personal library for several years called Natural Beauty at Home by Janice Cox, which is filled with recipes for making all kinds of beauty products at home. Using great recipes in this book, I now make my own facial cleanser, shampoo, conditioner, body cream, & mouthwash. I’ve experimented with several different recipes & found the ones that work best for me. The author also has 2 other books on the same subject.
Another reason I decided to do this was to save money. And finally the biggest reason was because I wanted to know exactly what was in the products I was using. I began researching ingredients in books at the library, like A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives both by Ruth Winter. And I didn’t like what I was finding. A lot of the ingredients were animal-derived as well so that was yet another reason.
I use herbs from my garden, fresh in the summer or dried in the winter, to make a lot of the recipes (body cream, shampoo, conditioner for example) and I like knowing exactly what I’m putting on my body.
On Valentine’s Day, I took some vegan chocolate chip cookies to share with my co-workers leaving the rest at home, much to my husband’s delight. One Facebook friend wanted the recipe, so here it is, from La Dolce Vegan:
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 C sugar
3/4 C vegan margarine (at room temperature)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 C soft or silken tofu
3/4 C vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, & salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl with a mixer or food processor, blend together the sugar, margarine, vanilla extract, & tofu until smooth. Add the tofu mixture & chocolate chips to the flour mixture & stir together well. I had to blend it a little with my fingers to get it to stay together. The recipe goes on to say to drop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet (I put parchment paper on mine so the bottoms don’t burn) but I just formed little balls by hand, then flattened them slightly on the cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. The recipe says it makes 24 cookies but I made mine smaller & got 48!
Today was also a potluck at the library for a retiring librarian so I made a Rice & Bean Salad from How It All Vegan. The most amazing thing about this recipe is that there is absolutely no oil in the dressing!
1 C cooked rice (I used 2)
1 red onion (I used 1/2 of a white onion)
2 or more medium tomatoes, diced (I hate winter tomatoes so I left them out)
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 C corn
2 C cooked or canned black beans or kidney beans (or a mix; I just used 1 15-16oz can)
1 avocado, diced
6-10 sprigs cilantro, chopped (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
juice of one lemon
dash of Tabasco (I used 2 dashes!)
Combine all in a bowl, stir & chill before serving.