Luxurious Natural Lip Balm DIY

Maybe it’s the because we’re FINALLY starting to feel the warmth of spring, but I’ve really been loving citrus lately. Citrus oils smell fantastic when diffused (happy, happy happy!), they are perfect for making balms and lotions, they taste so great in recipes and they are some of my kid’s favourites as well. My citrus oils are arguably the most versatile in my entire arsenal.

As a self-professed lip balm addict, I say with complete authority that this lip balm is fantastic and well worth your time to make if purity and natural ingredients are important to you. It’s not too soft to be messy or goopy, and not too hard that you really have to dig to get a good amount on your finger. It works when poured into a pot as I’ve done, but would also be a perfect texture to add into tubes. It feels light to wear, tastes great, your lips will be soft and it adds a nice shine. Best of all, it’s 100% natural! These would make awesome gifts, party favours or even an activity for older kids to try on the weekend with mom or dad.

The sky is the limit here. Switch orange out for whatever other oils you like and customize it to your own taste. If you have the Young Living Premium Starter Kit, some good options could be lemon or peppermint! The only thing I don’t recommend is changing the ingredient proportions. This could result in a balm that’s either too hard or too soft. Trust me, I’ve made a few bad batches!

Lip Balm DIY

Luxurious Natural Lip Balm

– 1 part beeswax pellets or grated beeswax (available at many health food stores)

– 1 part shea butter

– 1 part avocado or coconut oil

– Young Living Orange Essential Oil (or another oil of your choice)

– Vitamin E oil (optional)

In a double boiler (or a small pot inside a big one with boiling water) add your grated beeswax, shea butter, avocado oil and a couple of drops of Vitamin E oil and whisk until melted. Remove from heat and let cool for 4 or 5 minutes. Whisk in essential oil (you will need to experiment with the amount you like) and pour into your containers of choice. Rather than pouring directly from the pot, I used a plastic dropper found in the soap making supplies section of Michaels. If you have a steady hand you could probably just spoon it in!

Natural Lip Balm Young Living Essential Oils Ottawa

Interested in getting your hands on some of the most amazing, beautiful, high-quality essential oils on the planet? You can read more about them and why I love them here. Ready to sign up for your own Young Living Premium Starter kit and follow along this oily journey with me? Here you go! I promise, you won’t regret a thing :)


How to Make Water Kefir – Step by Step Tutorial

Shortly after discovering how much I loved making Kombucha, I also discovered another probiotic home brewed beverage, water kefir. What I loved about the idea of water kefir was that it seemed so much less involved than making kombucha, but still had the carbonation that we love, as well as the great flavour. Some other great things about it: the brew time was shorter, the supplies needed were fewer and less expensive and the cost per batch was significantly less because there is no tea required to make it. I still love kombucha, but these days you’ll find me drinking and making water kefir far more often.

Water Kefir is made using ‘kefir grains’. The word ‘grain’ is actually a bit misleading though because it’s not, nor does it contain any actual grains. Kefir grains are basically gelatinous blobs of beneficial bacterial culture. The fermentation happens when you make a sugar water mixture and place the grains inside of it. Much the same way as a SCOBY survives off of the sugar when making Kombucha, these kefir grains eat the sugar in the sugar water mixture. The leftover liquid is a beverage is filled with all sorts of wonderful probiotics. The taste is slightly yeasty and oh-so-good for your gut.

Here are my step by step instructions to making water kefir. I’ve been making this regularly for nearly a year now with awesome success. If you have anything to add that I may have missed or if you have any questions, please ask in the comments section!

Water Kefir Tutorial Step by Step recipe

Step 1: Acquire Kefir Grains

I acquired my initial batch of water kefir grains for free from a lady who was giving them away on a local buy and sell site. Since these grains do multiply over time, anyone who makes water kefir should have some to share eventually. If you aren’t able to find anyone locally, some can be ordered from here on the Cultures for Health website.

Water Kefir Grains

Step 2: Collect your materials and ingredients

You will need:

– Water kefir grains (approx. 3-4 tbsp worth)

– One large glass Mason jar (I’m using a 1.9L size and it’s perfect)

– 4 or 5 flip-top bottles (I like Grolsch beer bottles – they’ve stood up well to TONS of use)

– A plastic or nylon mesh strainer (grains are not supposed to come into contact with metal)

– A wooden or plastic spoon

– A plastic funnel

– A large plastic or melamine mixing bowl

– 6 cups of water

– 1/4 cup white sugar

– 10-15 raisins, a pitted date or dried fig

– Apple juice or another pure fruit juice of your choice

– 1-2 tbsp lemon juice (optional)

– 1-2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)

Step 3: Prepare your mixture

Begin by placing your water kefir grains into the bottom of your clean jar. Place 1 cup of water into a pot and begin bringing to a boil. Just before it reaches a boil, place your 1/4 cup of white sugar in the water, stirring with your wooden spoon to dissolve. Once fully dissolved, turn heat off. Place your remaining 5 cups of room temperature water into your mixing bowl. Slowly stir your hot sugar water mixture into that. Once all is combined, pour the contents of your bowl into the jar containing your grains.

Because kefir grains love minerals, feel free to switch up their food source. I often use raisins simply because they are inexpensive and we always have some. You could, however, also use pitted dates, dried figs, clean egg shell or any combination of these. I also add in a bit of lemon juice and pure maple syrup at this point as well.

Step 4: Let the magic happen!

Screw the cap on your jar lightly and place water kefir in a place where it can remain undisturbed for 48 hours (your kitchen counter is fine). During the 48 hour fermentation time, a few things might happen. You may notice that your liquid becomes a little yellowish in colour and the fruit and/or grains may move around and/or float due to the natural carbonation that’s occurring. It’s all totally normal. Just enjoy the show!

making water kefir

Step 5: Separating your liquid and bottling

Once your 48 hours are up, you are ready to bottle! Place your strainer over your mixing bowl and begin pouring your liquid through it. The strainer should be catching all of the grains as well as your raisins/fruit/egg shell. Using your plastic or wooden spoon, carefully remove your dried fruit/egg shell from the grains and discard. Place grains back into the jar. You can then follow steps 1 through 4 to complete your next batch!

Water Kefir Tutorial


Water Kefir grains close up

For bottling, be sure your bottles are clean. I like to give mine a rinse with hot water and vinegar just before using them. Then using your plastic funnel, fill bottles about 1/4 of the way with the fruit juice of your choice. We find apple juice to be the best flavour for this but you could use any. Then using a funnel, fill the remainder of the bottle with your kefir. At this point I always add in 2 or 3 raisins. I once read that this helps to keep your beverage carbonated. I have no idea how true it is but I do it anyway!

water kefir bottles

Seal your bottles and store at room temperature until ready to drink. I recommend not waiting longer then 48 hours though since a) You’ll have a new batch to bottle in another 48 hours and b) The carbonation builds quite quickly and you could end up with a broken bottle and/or an explosion! Speaking of which, to open bottles for drinking I recommend doing so in a sink with a plastic bag over the lid. You’ll thank me for this tip later! ;)

Making Water Kefir easy recipe

probiotic healthy pop recipe

Water Kefir Drink Recipe Ottawa


That’s it! That’s how you make this healthy, delicious natural soda! Enjoy! :)


Yummy Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad

This is the third and final post in this collaboration with my friend Julie, the uber talented chef behind The Magic Fridge. Her first recipe for delicious lamb shanks can be found here. The second recipe for a yummy vegan squash soup can be found here. All three recipes are definitely worth a try! And who knows…we may do this again some day as I know she has a wealth of delicious recipes worth sharing.

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad

– 1/2 a red onion, very thinly sliced (optional)

– 2 tsp olive oil 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced

– 1 apple

– 1 pear

– 1 cup roasted or steamed butternut squash cubes (optional – but highly recommended by me!)


1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp honey

3 tbsp Dijon mustard, or more if desired

1/2 tsp each onion and garlic powders 1

1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste

Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously. Set aside. Place sliced onions in a large mixing bowl.

Put oil in pan and heat on medium-high. Sauté sprouts until they are bright green and slightly tender but still crunchy. Pour them into the bowl, too. Thinly slice the apple and pear and add them to the bowl along with the squash, if using. Toss with the dressing about an hour before serving.

Vegan brussels sprouts salad

Brussels Sprouts

Vegan Brussels Sprouts Salad recipe