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coconut oil

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps9 Comments

Growing up, I could always count on having cookies around Christmas. Even now, cookies are a must in the season. Naturally, I've made a few batches this season, and of course I had to share a cookie recipe. The best part is that I'm not only sharing these delicious peanut butter coconut cookies, but a bunch of other yummies as part of a virtual cookie swap. How fun is that?! You'll find those creative and delicious recipe links at the bottom of this post.

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookes (vegan) |

Of course, gingerbread is a natural choice for the Christmas season, but a friend inspired the combination of peanut butter and coconut and not long after, I found these scrumptious yummies coming out of my oven. I was slightly hesitant at first, but they have quickly become an official favourite in our house.

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan) |
Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan) |
Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan) |

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies
Makes: About 2 Dozen

1) Cream together the sugar, coconut oil and peanut butter.
2) Stir in applesauce and vanilla.
3) Mix dry ingredients separately and add. slowly to wet ingredients until all are mixed.
4) Chill dough 30 - 60 minutes.
5) While preheating the oven to 375 degrees F, roll dough into balls, and flatten gently with a fork.
6) Bake 10-12 minutes, until slightly brown.
7) Remove from oven and cool completely
8) Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil using double boiler.
9) Dip cookies into the chocolate and sprinkle with shredded coconut.

1/2 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons organic shredded coconut (unsweetened) 

3/4 cup dairy free dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon coconut oil
shredded coconut for sprinkling

What are your favourite cookies during the holiday season? Try these and the recipes from the cookie swap below! Let me know if you've tried these with the hashtag #MapleAlps

Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan) |
Peanut Butter Coconut Cookies (vegan) |

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps11 Comments

It finally happened. I ran out of my precious Body Shop body butter. Let me tell you about this butter: I've been using it for YEARS, and since my favourite flavour is blueberry, I would wait till it came out every year, and then buy enough to last me a year. And that is all I would use. Because lotion never cut it for me. Plus, who can resist those blueberry fumes?! Not this girl.

Well, that is until I found cocoa butter, smelled it, and figured out it was WAY cheaper to make my own amazing body butter - plus I didn't have to wait a year to find my favourite flavours!

This post contains affiliate links.

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Butter Body Butter

It amazes me how far I've come in my quest for homemade and natural alternatives for every-day essentials. I've always been a fan of being more on the natural side, but never in my wildest dreams would I have seen myself making my own products to save money and save myself from the chemicals that are lurking in many toiletries on grocery store shelves - the ones I've been using for a long time! 

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter |

I vowed that once my blueberry body butter ran out, I would make the switch to homemade, and let me tell you: I've not yet looked back!

This body butter is so smooth, soft, luxurious feeling and SMELLS AMAZING. It also feels so great and does not feel greasy at all. It's also super easy to make, and easy on my wallet.

I'm confident it will be a perfect moisturizer as Winter makes it's way here. 

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter |

1/2 C Cocoa Butter (I used this one)
1/2 C Shea Butter
1/2 C Coconut Oil
1/2 C Sweet Almond Oil

1) Using double boiler, melt everything together.
2) Add to mixing bowl and place in the fridge until solid, but still soft (about 50-60 minutes).
3) Using electric hand mixer, whip mixture until light and fluffy.
4) Transfer to glass jar and store in cool place. 

Note: mixture will hold texture perfectly fine at 75 degrees F (about 24 degrees C) and below.

Needing a new body butter to prepare for Winter? Ever tried making your own?

Luxurious Whipped Cocoa Body Butter |

Easy DIY Moisturizing Face Cream

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps39 Comments

A few months ago, I became increasingly dissatisfied with the face cream I had purchased. Though claiming to be moisturizing, my skin always seemed dry just moments after its use. To top that off, I didn't particularly like the smell of it. I kept on using it though - there was no way that an $11 face cream couldn't "work" properly. The only thing it had going for it was the sweet jar it came in. It was blush pink. I like blush pink.

I finally decided to pull the plug as I became more and more frustrated and more and more aware of the harmful ingredients being put into face creams (and many other personal care items in our bathrooms!). Remember, our skin is our largest organ, so if something is toxic to eat, I'm not really excited to slather it on my body either.

Today, I share with you how I "made" my own face cream and my experiences.

This post contains affiliate links.

Easy and Moisturizing DIY Face Cream! Make in one day!

Making this face cream was so much easier than I thought! I scoured the internet looking for inspiration and everyone seemed to be using the same ingredients - the same ones you'll see over and over in my natural living posts - coconut oil and organic raw shea butter being a few. Of course, sweet almond oil was involved, as were essential oils! I love essential oils :)

Speaking of essential oils, when I first tried this out, I used lavender. My husband hates the smell of lavender though (something about moths...), so for my next batch I chose something else. Check out this post from Body Unburdened (and seriously, the rest of her website - Nadia has a wealth of information!) for a list of top essentials oils for skincare and more. Fun fact: I've used 7/10 on this list (but not all at once).

Easy and Effective Moisturizing Face Cream

At first I thought my concoction might be greasy, and though it does feel greasy as you take it on your fingers, once it's rubbed in, it isn't at all! I really appreciated that. Nothing worse than walking around with a shiny face all day...

I've been using this face lotion for several months now, and I have to say that it's one of the best I've used for my skin (I have really dry skin). I was impressed from the first time I smeared it on my face! It made the winter a bit more forgivable, and the cream (and drinking plenty of water) helped my skin stay hydrated.

I fully intend to try out a different lotion recipe, but for now, this is what I use. Never again will I spend $11 on face cream.

Quick and Easy DIY Moisturizing Face Cream!

1 TBSP Shea Butter
1 TBSP Coconut Oil
1/2 tsp Sweet Almond Oil (I've also tried with Vitamin E Oil)
2 tsp Beeswax Pellets
5-10 Drops Essential Oils

1) Melt shea butter, beeswax, and coconut oil using the double boiler effect (small bowl or jar in a pot with water) on low heat.
2) Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the sweet almond oil. 
3) Add essential oils and allow to solidify (I let it sit for 24 hours).

**Note: Once set, if you stir it with a popsicle stick, you will get a more "lotion-like" texture!

Easy and Moisturizing DIY Face Cream. So easy and with essential oils!

There you have it! A super easy and natural face cream! That wasn't hard at all, was it? Next week, I'll be back with another DIY I've been testing out to share with you! I've had several on my shelf that I'm excited to write about! 

Now it's your turn. What do you think? Would you try this easy face cream? Why or why not? Comment below!


I Quit Toothpaste for Two Months. Here's What Happened.

Natural LivingAmanda Walter | Maple Alps52 Comments

To me, toothpaste is one of those things that proves your adulthood. I have always said that one wasn't a true grown-up until they had to buy their own toilet paper and toothpaste. I rarely did either until last year - I would ask for a few tubes from home while packing my suitcases (I only needed 2 for a school year), and if you've read my post about saving money in school, you'll know that I used public toilets as much as possible. What I did know about toothpaste, however, was that my mom always bought the kind in smaller tubes with less ingredients and the higher price (funny how that works...). There are many unnecessary and even harmful ingredients found in stores today, so I always followed suit and bought the four or five dollar tubes. 

This particular endeavour all started the day we ran out of Tom's. Running out wasn't the problem. The problem was that I didn't really want to go and buy any more. It did create opportunity, however: I had been talking about making my own toothpaste - just to try it out. Now I had the perfect excuse to go through with it.


Today, I get to share with you how I did with the first two months of this experiment.

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DIY Toothpaste could be for you! Eliminate extra toxins from your home.

First off: Why bother? Well, I mentioned the harmful and unnecessary ingredients in many toothpastes on the shelf. Here are a few:

Triclosan, which is a pesticide and disrupts hormones.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which actually can cause canker sores! 

Fluoride, which can be toxic, and is not necessary in toothpaste

Artificial Colourings to make it blue or green - unnecessary!

Titanium Dioxide makes toothpaste white, but that's about it. 

Glycerin which makes the toothpaste pasty, but strips your mouth of the natural protective mucous and coats your teeth, which prevents them from remineralizing (think: cavity fighting gone wrong). Also, glycerin is found in soap, so that's weird...

Other abrasive ingredients that harm your  teeth!

After some research of ingredients and recipes, I decided to go ahead and proceed with a simple concoction of coconut oil, baking soda and peppermint essential oil. Why?

Coconut Oil can naturally prevent candida in the mouth and allegedly beats bacteria and bad breath

Baking Soda helps maintain a good pH in our mouths - we're constantly sabotaging it with acidic foods - and protects our enamel from resulting decay.

Essential Oils help fight plaque and gingivitis (paired with brushing and flossing, of course).

DIY Toothpaste

Day one was a pleasant surprise - for me anyway... I at least knew to expect certain things, like the saltiness of the SODIUM Bicarbonate (I just didn't get it on my tongue until I absolutely had to) and the no suds. My husband, on the other hand, was a little disappointed about the whole thing. He didn't feel it would give him good breath since it wasn't stinging (his words, not mine). I find Tom's peppermint a bit strong anyway, so I was more than content. The next morning, he refused to brush his teeth with it because he didn't want to risk morning breath - which I understand, seeing as how he needs to talk to people all day. I had no morning breath left when I was done, in case you were wondering... :)

In all honesty, it's not going to taste like the toothpaste you're used to. Once you embrace the fact that it's something completely different, it will be easier to wrap your head around. 

DIY Toothpaste

After a few weeks of this toothpaste, I realized several things:

  • It was hard to travel with (kind of heavy and inconvenient in the jar) [Update: acrylic containers work really well for it]

  • My husband did not like the taste (understatement of the century, perhaps?)

  • I felt like my teeth were cleaner (probably all in my head, but still!)

  • Garlic/onion breath was way easier to conquer (a giant plus, since I LOVE garlic)

I decided to try an accommodate my husband by adding xylitol, which after some research I found, is a natural sweetener that has been proven to fight cavities (I'm still a bit weary of it, but you can read more about it here. I modified the recipe to accommodate it. I read that adding too much might make you start craving sweets, so I was very modest with it.

DIY Toothpaste

After adding xylitol, I decided that I preferred it without. Adding the sweet confused my tastebuds since the baking soda taste was still evident.

I have yet to find my perfect DIY toothpaste, though what I'm using now, I quite like! I'm going to the dentist this week, and not to sound overly excited or anything, but I bet they're going to be impressed with how squeaky clean my teeth are :)

And on that note, I have had a dentist tell me baking soda was good to clean your teeth with. So I guess that’s good?

DIY Toothpaste

Want to make your own? Here's a recipe:

What you need:

  • 3 TBSP Coconut Oil

  • 1-2 TBSP Baking Soda

  • 10-15 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

  • (optional) 1 TBSP Xylitol (ground in food processor till fine for easier dissolving)

  • Toothbrush (I love using a bamboo toothbrush!)

What to do:

1) Melt coconut oil (I use double boiler effect: small bowl or jar in a pot with water) on low heat.

2) Once heated, remove from heat stir in baking soda. 

3) Add xylitol (optional - try this one from Amazon) and mix well.

4) Put in essential oils and allow to solidify.

5) Once solidified, you'll want to stir it up a but to create a smoother texture, and to better mix it, as the baking soda may have settled to the bottom.


I know that there are plenty of natural toothpastes out there, but if I can make an equally good one for a fraction of the price with [non toxic] items I have at home already, I would prefer that! I'm going to keep trying different toothpastes until I find one I absolutely love. You know I'll be back to share it then.

What about you? What do you think about making your own toothpaste? Want to try this one out? Do you already make toothpaste? Have any tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Update: I have since found a recipe I like even better!! Find out more about it here