Category Archives: homemade gifts

Monday, December 28, 2015

Happy New Year + Spiced Cashews

Spiced cashews

This Holiday I made several batches of spiced cashews as gifts for family and friends.  To round out the goodie bag, I added a homemade candle and some chocolate bars.  So fun and easy.  I happen to adore receiving homemade gifts – I actually prefer it to store bought items.  I wanted to share my simple spiced cashew recipe with you today.  The combination of spices are endless really, but I like the combo of sweet and spicy.   Continue reading

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Labels: homemade gifts, Paleo, snacks.


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Monday, December 7, 2015

Easy Homemade Candles


Hello Friends.  The Holiday season is upon us…are you feeling the stress yet (ha ha).  Personally, the process of purchasing gifts totally stresses me out.  So to simplify life and decrease that pesky stress, I like to do homemade gifts for family and friends.  Hands down, it’s always so appreciated and well received.  I start by making a list of family, friends, and “other” (school teachers, co-workers, piano teacher, childcare, etc) and then decide on what I am going to make.  This year I am doing a gift bag with a homemade candle, jar of homemade spiced nuts, tea, mandarins, and small jar of honey.  I might also add my favorite Raw Pepperminty Nutty-Roons  – we will see how motivated I feel.  The last two years I made my popular homemade granola which you should definitely try.  It’s soooo good!!  This year I making something new…candles!  I have wanted to make candles for years.  Last year I bought a bunch of supplies but never got around to testing them out.  And you know what, it’s ridiculously easy.  I have both beeswax and soy and started with the soy (it’s so pretty and white).  The process is easy as well as fun and not to mention fast.  I’m super excited about adding a sweet little homemade candle to my gift bags this year.  Yay!  xo, -Amber Continue reading

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Labels: holidays, homemade gifts, how to.


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Monday, December 16, 2013

Festive Coconut Ginger Granola

I posted this granola recipe two years ago and thought it was worth revisiting this year.  At the time I included it with a homemade raw persimmon pudding as parfaits, but feel like this granola needs its own post.  I LOVE making homemade gifts and granola is such an easy (and always well received) gift.  So if you’re feeling a little stuck on what to make for your child’s teacher or searching for something to take to a gift exchange, this is a great option.  
Happy Holidays.  
Festive Coconut Ginger Granola 

(click on links for where to buy)

-2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
-1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
-1/2 cup raw organic almonds
-1/2 cup raw organic walnuts
-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
-2 tablespoons hemp seeds
-1 tablespoon chia seeds
-1/4 cup coconut sugar
-Pinch of salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ground ginger 

-1/2 cup local honey (vegans use maple syrup or coconut nectar) 
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
-3 tablespoons melted coconut oil here or here

How To
Preheat oven to 350
1.  Combine oats and shredded coconut in a large bowl.  
2.  Add the almonds to a food processor (with S-blade), and chop up until they are in little bits, then add almonds to the oats and shredded coconut.
3.  Add the walnuts and pumpkin seeds to a food processor and chop until they are in small bits, add to mixture.  
4.  Then to the bowl add the hemp, chia, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
5.  In separate bowl add honey, coconut oil and vanilla.  Mix well with spatchula (I use a silicone). 
6.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix (with hands preferably) until the entire mixture is well incorporated and moist.  Now allow this mixture to rest for about 10 minutes.  
7.  Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet.  Spread the granola out on the parchment paper.  Please note that when you spread out the granola, it needs to be in a very thin layer with small holes of parchment paper showing through.  This allows the heat to cook all around the granola and latch it together.  
8.  Bake for 10 minutes exactly (not a second longer).  Transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack.  The granola will be soft out of the oven, but become hard once cooled.  

This granola tastes great with my vegan 
persimmon coconut pudding in sweet little parfaits 

{affiliate links in post}
This recipe was shared on: Wellness Weekend 

Posted by Amber at

Labels: breakfast, homemade gifts, snacks.


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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

All Natural Homemade Facial Toner Recipes

Facial toner may not be a part of your beauty regimen.  But I have to say, it’s an important part of mine.  I use facial toner at night before bed and after my morning shower.  I use different toner recipes for different skin issues.  For example, my Tea Tree Tingle comes in really handy for those monthly breakouts.  The Witch Hazel with Rose Oil is great for chapped and lightly burned skin, an excellent anti-inflammatory, and also used to reduce the appearance of pores.  The Apple Cinder Vinegar toner is excellent for returning an even pH balance to the skin (also great for breakouts).  The tea-based recipes shared below are great for everyday and all skin types.  I don’t have complicated skinit’s pretty average – if anything it runs slightly dry which is why I include vegetable glycerine in all my facial toners.  It’s such a great moisturizer, and I usually don’t need to apply additional moisturizer after I use toner with the added glycerine (but I do always add moisturizer under and around my eyes).  I’ve been using my latest lotion as facial moisturizer for wrinkle prone areas and it has markedly reduced fine lines on my face.  I’m feeling pretty great about my facial routine these days.  I wanted to share these all-natural recipes that are so easy to make at home!  Remember that healthy living is not only about what you put on the inside, but also what you put on the outside.  Make it a safe, natural choice
All Natural Homemade Facial Toners 

Tea Tree Tingle Facial Toner 
-1/2 cup filtered water
-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine 
-15 drops pure tea tree oil

Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Rose Oil
-1/4 cup alcohol free witch hazel 
-1/4 cup filtered water 
-10 drop pure rose oil

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) Toner with Sweet Orange Oil 
-1/4 cup unfiltered apple cider vinegar 
-1/3 cup filtered water 
-8 drops orange oil (or oil of choice, the oil is optional and used mostly for scent)

Tea-Based Facial Toner Recipes 
(from The Tasty Alternative) 

Green Tea Facial Toner
-6 ounces fresh brewed room temperature green tea 
(2 T loose green tea leaves + 6 oz water, steep & strain)
-2 tablespoons alcohol free witch hazel 
-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine

Chamomile Lemon Facial Toner
-6 ounces fresh brewed room temperature chamomile tea
(2 T loose dried chamomile flowers + 6 oz boiling water, steep & strain) 
-2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice 
-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine 

Fresh Mint Facial Toner 
-6 ounces fresh brewed room temperature mint tea
(2 T loose dried or fresh mint leaves + 6 oz water, steep & strain)
-2 tablespoons alcohol free witch hazel 
-2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine 

*Benefits of: Tea Tree, Witch Hazel, Vegetable Glycerin, ACV
*Always shake toner before using.
*Personally, I would refrigerate the tea-based toners and use within 4 to 5 days.
*The other toners can be left at room temperature for weeks (a bottle lasts me 10 days to 2 weeks).
*If you have very sensitive skin, decrease acid based recipes to 1 tablespoon of lemon and dilute the ACV to a 1:3 ratio. 

Here are my other favorite homemade recipes:



Shared on: Wellness Weekend, Whole Food Fridays, Healthy Vegan Fridays
Posted by Amber at

Labels: homemade gifts, homemade remedies.


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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother’s Day (2013)

Happy Mother’s Day to all the loving women who care for, not only children, but for so many other people and creatures in their lives.  To the nurturers, the providers, the bearers.  To everyone who loves a mother and to everyone who has felt the love of a mother.  
Thoughtful Homemade Gifts For Mom:

Homemade Coconut Milk 
Shampoo and Body Wash 
From:  Delicious Obsessions  

Rose Water
From: Roost 

Natural Chapstick 
From: Rambly Blog 

Homemade Body Spray with
Essential Oils
From: The Tasty Alternative 

Cocoa and Shea Body Butter

From: The Tasty Alternative 
Nourishing Homemade Sugar Scrub 
From: Whole New Mom
Mint Julep Masque
From: My Plastic Free Life 
From: The Tasty Alternative 

Cocoa Shea Body Butter
From: The Tasty Alternative 

Soothing Gel Mask
From: Empowered Sustenance 

Comfrey, Calendula, Chamomile, & Nettle Salve 
From: A Handmade Life

Two-Ingredient Organic Eye Make-Up Remover
From: New Nostalgia 

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Labels: homemade gifts.


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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Homemade Photo Cards: An Inexpensive Way to Create a Thoughtful Homemade Gift Using Your Favorite Pictures

I’m no photographer, but I have a decent camera and take some really nice picturesoften by accident.  But card-worthy pictures nonetheless.  I love making homemade gifts and last year I started using my favorite pictures to make bunches of “greeting” cards (sans the greeting), so I guess they would be called photo cards.  Here’s why I love this idea: (1) it’s super inexpensive, (2) it’s personal, (3) it highlights where you’ve been and what you’ve done throughout the year or in the recent past (for example I have many pictures of beautiful Tahoe, Napa Valley, other beautiful parts of Northern California, even some photos of our trip to the East Coast), and (4) it’s functional (your gift can actually be used).

I find the card stock at Michaels Craft store.  I get the large cards with envelopes (25 in a pack for $4.99), which comes out to about $0.20 per card.  And I use Costco to print the pictures (prints are $0.13 here).  So total cost for each card is around $0.33.    

I made a pack of 10 cards for Sky’s teacher this year.  I’m also making her a batch of these chocolate macaroons from The Urban Poser.  Sky will make a homemade card to top off the gift.  I’m really happy with the combination of a sweet, healthy treat and functional gift.  Last year I made Sky’s teacher a gift of tea (that included local raw honey, a cute honey spoon, an organic lemon, organic loose left tea, and tea dipper/infuser, along with pumpkin pie bites). 

And last year for my family, delicious homemade coconut ginger granola.  

Here are some easy homemade beauty gift ideas: homemade lotion, body spray, coconut oil bars, soap, sugar scrub, homemade natural chapstick.  

I hope this post inspires you to make a homemade gift this year!

Photo Cards
Glue the back of each picture 
Fit securely on the folded card 
Make sure to personalize each card 
Place envelopes on the bottom and cards on top.
Finish by wrapping with pretty hemp twine 
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Labels: homemade gifts.


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