Category Archives: Vegan

Love At First Bite – Sweetness Sundays

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Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Cookie Varieties

As a newly born vegan for 2013, I can tell you that the transition to vegan cooking has been a purely pleasurable experience for me. I love getting in the kitchen and being creative. Making hot cereal masterpieces with whole grains and fruits, delicious cold grain salads for lunch with decadent avocados and black beans, discovering a million ways to use my newly stocked spice rack while making slow cooker creations for dinner. It takes me back to all the things that landed me in Culinary School at college, that one year of knowledge has never left me, although I did move on to Nursing, my true passion.

Almond Crescents, Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

The only thing I have yet to attempt is vegan baking. Not because I don’t like baking, or because I lack the equipment. Although I must admit that the top of my wish list is a KitchenAid Stand Mixer and a new Cuisinart, as I have neither. What has stopped me is all the ingredients you need to stock up on, many not found in any regular grocery store, in order to make something that is comparable to other home baked fare. I have stocked up on things like Molasses, Organic Cane Sugar, Flax Seeds, Dates, Dried Fruits and Nuts, and Organic All Purpose Flour. I have hunted down Almond Flour, Brown Rice Flour, and Agave Syrup. I have the Maple Syrup and Vegan Margarine in my fridge. I even got the Egg Replacement Mix and a spice grinder in order to make some of the more tricky ingredients. But for the life of me, I have yet to find a recipe to which I can say, “yes, I have all the ingredients I need, let’s bake this baby up!”

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

My brother, being super thoughtful, came for dinner a few weeks back and came in with a few groceries I had needed, surprised me with a box of vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were in a shelf stable box, looked pretty decent on the package, I read the label just to be sure they were vegan, and dove in to try one. Well, they were pretty good, not great, not like my mother’s baking, which is legend – wait for it – dary. But they were certainly the most treat-like thing I had had since going vegan. The problem, the box contained exactly 12 cookies, no bigger than a dollar Loonie coin, and it cost more than six dollars, with tax included. Twelve tiny cookies, average at best, at that price? It seemed insane to me, I knew that I either needed to find a new source of baked goods, or I had better make them myself.

A Platter of Delicious Cookies from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

So as I have been collecting up vegan cookbooks, and looking at the list of ingredients I need to have on hand, I have also been spending a lot of time searching the web for a recipe to start out with.  I have been grabbing up the ingredients I find when I shop, and have got a good number of things in the pantry now, but not everything, not yet.

Boxed Love from Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Now, many of you know I spend way more time on Etsy than is healthy for my pocketbook. I am always on the lookout fabulous items that I then must have in my life. After all, what would Foraging For Fab be without Etsy and all the other handmade sellers of wonderful. So every now and again I have a look for vegan goods, particularly from close locations, and when it comes to edibles, Canadian sellers are a must.  So there I was, searching out vegan sources of yummy, and up popped a new seller. The pictures looked A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to me, and gosh, they were from Montreal, Quebec; right here in Canada. And so I discovered Pinaloves Organic Bakery.

Sunflower Oats British Biscuits – Organic, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

These cookies, or little bites of heaven, as I now refer to them come in a variety of amazing flavors and types, and are made to suit many dietary restrictions or needs, not just vegan.  Pina also bakes up batches of Sugar Free, Gluten Free, and Dairy Free treats, in addition to her Vegan offerings.  The cookies are just like the classic home-made versions you love at Holiday Parties or Special Events, but they are something you can enjoy any day of the week with a cup of coffee or a herbal tea.

Vegan – Fruit & Spice Cookie Collection, $42.00 USD on Etsy.

I ordered up a mixed box of cookies, Vegan Fruit and Spice Mix, which held at least 75 biscuits, and a smaller package of 12 Chocolate Pistachio Squares. I quickly got a message back from Pina saying they would be baked up first thing the next morning and then sent out as soon as possible that day.  I have never ordered bakery products through the mail before, so I promptly forgot when to expect them, and went on with my day.

Irish Coffee Whiskey Sandwich Cookie – Vegan, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

When the package arrived before lunch time, just 3 days after my order was placed, I was doing a little happy dance in my apartment. They looked absolutely lovely, just as they were pictured in the Etsy Listings. There was even a little surprise inside the box, a new sandwich cookie recipe a Vegan Irish Coffee Whiskey delight, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. It was all so perfectly packaged, I even took some pictures with my phone to show my friends and family, or make them drool, either way I was too happy to notice.

Vegan – Chocolate Pistachio Squares, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I decided to try one of the Chocolate Pistachio Squares right away. I am not very good at delaying gratification when it comes to cookies, or most other things to be honest. I was hooked from the very first bite. These cookies are special, they have that perfectly home made love baked in feel to them. They taste delicious, they look so pretty yet in-perfect, the way homemade cookies do, and they just hit the right spot with all that I was looking for in a vegan treat. I had to read the label again to be sure it was in fact a vegan product, it was just too much like a crumbly buttery chocolate refrigerator cookie from my pre-vegan days.

Love Lemon – Gluten Free Sandwich Cookies, $11.00 USD on Etsy.

I quickly headed to my office so that I could leave feedback for Pinaloves Organic Bakery on Etsy, just too happy to wait a minute longer to tell everyone how very special these cookies are. I also checked out the Pinaloves Organic Bakery Website and Shop, where I got even more thrilled to learn about all the other wonderful things going on at Pinaloves, and got a lot of great information from the shop’s FAQ page. There is very specific information about the ingredients and the different dietary specialty cookies that they bake, among other yummy looking cakes and pastries. There are different package sizes, box combinations, and varieties available to suit any need.

Gluten Free – Chocolate and Floral Cookie Collection, $32.00 USD on Etsy.

I then caught a ride over to the shop’s Etsy Page, and left a little thank-you note with Pina and company, just so appreciative of the speed and professionalism ascribed to my order, and the joy these cookies brought me.

Cholesterol Free, Low Fat Vegan Chocolate Loaves with Chocolate Ganache

I think the best thing about these cookies and treats is that they cater to some very specific dietary needs, but they are so delicious that everyone will love them, and no one has to feel left out. The Diabetic can have their Biscotti with morning coffee. The individuals with  wheat allergies or Celiac Disease, can have their pick of amazing cookies and treats. Those who are Lactose Intolerant or have milk allergies can indulge without fear. The Vegan can have her cookies and love every single cruelty-free and nutritious bite!

Spelt Hazelnut Almond Cookies – Gluten Free, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Now, before you get all suspicious about the excessive compliments I am sending the Pinaloves people, I will balance things out a little by saying that these cookies are not free, they are priced in my mind accordingly for the quality of the ingredients, and the time and love put into every one.  They are likely not the thing you will be able to have on hand just for nibbling on any old day of the week. They would make perfect hostess gifts, and would be an impressive thing to put out at parties. The smaller packages of a dozen or so cookies are more likely to an indulgent weekday treat for you and a friend or two, the boxes are a brilliant luxury for special occasions. If you happen to live in Montreal and can get access to these cookies without having them delivered, I think you will find yourself making frequent trips to get your cookie fix.

Sugar Free Biscotti by Pinaloves, $14.00 USD on Etsy.

The only other issue is that these cookies are just to good to last for long in your home. While my large order of goodies lasted about a week, shared with company and my sweet-tooth aside,  they are hard to resist or put away, they are just too delicious, and my sweet starved inner vegan-child pretty much dictated how many of these delicious bites I dove into at a sitting. It is best I not mention that, it’s embarrassing how little self-control I have most days.

Gluten Free – Pistachio Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

Don’t let that stop you from ordering them though, and don’t delay in checking out Pinaloves Organic Bakery’s Website, Etsy Shop, or Facebook page to catch even more pictures of the delicious offerings available freshly baked and directly to your home. I can assure you they will be baked and shipped with all the love and care you could hope for, and they will become fast favorites of anyone who is lucky enough to sample them.

Vegan Rosemary Raisin Sables, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

You can either buy through Etsy, or shop the online store, whichever mode you happen to prefer.  I have every reason to believe that the service and kind customer care that you will receive, even if it is just asking a question, will surpass your expectations. If you have a local vegan or specialty bakery, by all means give them a visit, the point is to support the small bakeries that are working very hard to establish themselves and serve quality goods made with care, conscious, and attention to detail, and stop buying shelf stable and overpriced goods where possible. Going local isn’t just about produce at the farmer’s market, it means buying things that are made close to home to avoid all the damage that can be done to the environment by shipping boxes of boxes from country to country over land and sea.

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Cookies, $9.00 USD on Etsy.

I am now going to resist temptation and skip ordering another batch of Pinaloves goodies, at least for today, no promises about tomorrow though. Maybe one day, when I have been making my own vegan baked-goods, I can hope to be as good as the crew at Pinaloves Organic Bakery. If not, well, I am going to get very friendly with the mail-person bringing me boxes full of love on a regular basis. Hope you enjoyed your own Sweet Sunday!

Pinaloves Organic Bakery, Logo & Website Address.
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A Rainbow In A Box – Wacky & Wonderful Wednesdays

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ECO Kids Handmade ll Natural SOY CRAYONS – Love Hearts by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.

Think back to when you were a child, do you remember the first time someone placed a chubby wax stick into your little fist and gave you a scrap of paper. Do you remember someone taking your hand, and placing that waxy stick down against the paper, moving your wee arm so that suddenly, like magic, there were marks on that paper, and they seemed to come from the end of that wax stick. Maybe it was red, perhaps blue, or even green. but a crayon was likely the first writing instrument you held in your hand and put to paper. It is a powerful moment, whether you remember it or not, the moment you discover that you can create scribbles and dashes of colour with your own hand.

ECO SOY CRAYONS Farmer’s Market – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 8) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
ECO SOY CRAYONS People Skin Color – Handmade, All Natural, Biodegradable, Scent Free (Set of 4) by Earth Grown Crayons on Etsy.
Recycled Rainbow Crayons – Jumbo Heart Rainbow Crayons (Set of 3) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.

Some of us had this experience at home with a family member, maybe it was mom or dad, or an older sibling… perhaps your aunt or uncle, a grandparent. Sometimes, we were given our first wax crayon by a nanny, daycare worker, or teacher.  Whoever gave it to you, gave you a gift, the gift of learning that you could create something that was ‘art’, something that could be hung on the front of the fridge, or framed, or tucked into an album or scrapbook and kept for years to come.  Our crayon creations were the cleanest and fastest way of not only being entertained, but of learning fine motor control and hand eye coordination.

FORTUNE COOKIE CRAYONS – Set of Six with Gift Box by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Handmade Colorful Autumn Crayons by Central Treehouse Studios on Etsy.
Pastel Hello Kitty Mix – MuckyPup Recycled Crayons, Favors, Eco Friendly by MuckyPup Crayons on Etsy.

Do you remember the joy of getting a new box of crayons? I do, I loved that smell, that clean waxy odor, and the sharp tips ready to go. Not a broken or unwrapped crayon in the box, and they were all mine.  Sure we had plenty of crayons in my house. There were four of us kids born within five years, and all those crayons literally required a plastic dish basin to hold all the broken bits and pieces, the peeled paper bits.   At some point along the way, companies like Crayola introduced toddler sized crayons, larger diameter sticks made for smaller hands.  There was also that mega-box that I adored, it had something like 64 colours in it, and a sharpener built right into the back of the box.  That was joy in a box.

24 Cupcake Crayons (12 Sets) with Personalized Labels and Coloring Sheet or Ribbon Cello Bags or Easter Eggs by Lil Creative Creations on Etsy.
1 KIDS Bling Crayon Ring – ONE Ring – Size 4 by Oh My Lucky Star on Etsy.
LEGO Men Style Crayons Party Favor, Party Bag Filler, 20 Sets of 5 by Ashgate Crafts on Etsy.

Since it is Wacky & Wonderful day, a day for all those geeky fun and fabulous things, the collectables and the vintage childhood fun, I decided to dedicate today’s post to the humble and hardworking crayon, an item I still adore, by the way.  I love sitting with my nieces or nephew and revisiting the fun of colouring books full of cartoon characters or games,  I still colour the same way that I did as an older child, I do a dark line of the colour inside the shape I am about to colour, then I gently shade in the whole area with the same colour. Habits are hard to break.The smell of that wax always brings me right back to being a kid.

Ponytail Holder, Orange with Green Crayons Ends by Fancy Things and Such on Etsy.
Crayon Colors Loopy Hair Bow – Back To School – Primary Colors by Hair Bows by Marsha on Etsy.
7 Embroidered Crayons – Craft Felt Embellishments For Scrapbooking, Hair Bows, Etc. by Lovmy3grlz on Etsy.

I love teaching kids my favorite crayon magic tricks. The one where you fill an entire sheet of paper with random color scribbles, edge to edge, then cover the entire sheet again with thick black crayon.  A random coin in hand, and you can then scratch out a picture, removing the black wax from the page with the coin to produce a really magical effect. Yes I know they sell something similar, and that it is much less labor intensive.

CRAYON BOX RECYCLED NOTEBOOK/Upcycled Journal – Eco Friendly by Ivy Lane Designs on Etsy.
Recycled Crayons – Rainbow Crayon Travel Tube (1 Recycled Crayon Travel Tube) by Art 2 The Extreme on Etsy.
Altered Colors Art Crayons – 100% Non-Toxic Recycled Wax by 6Blue6 on Etsy.

What really is wonderful about crayons these days, is that they are very much the same deal as they always were, they are still the first writing instrument many of us use, they still come in tons of amazing colours, you can still create amazing ‘art’ with them, and they are a cheap anytime activity that is fun for anyone at any age. What is even better about crayons lately, is just how different they can be.

Crayon Art by Clarissa Webb on Etsy.
Monogram Crayon Art – Great Teacher Gift by Handmade by Leah on Etsy.
Vertical Rainbow, 16″ x 20″ by JK Create – Melted Crayon Art on Etsy.

If you are browsing Etsy, you will see just how amazing crayons can be. There are handmade crayons, recycled crayons, crayon art, crayon caddies, crayons in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, and more.  This entire post is full of these lovely rainbow hued items, and there is just so much to love about them.  Even just a photograph of crayons or the image of that old familiar yellow and green box makes for happy memories. Why not grab yourself a box, or bag, or frame full of wonderful rainbow memories today. Share a little time scribbling, you might be surprised how much you have missed it.

Mini Me Owls in Pink – 8 Crayola Crayons Included – Great Gift by Kate Williams Designs on Etsy.
Whispered Dreams – Crayon Apron [Holds 32 Crayons – Included] by Childish Thoughts on Etsy.
Hand-Made Crayon Roll for 24 Crayons with 24 Crayons by Mrs. Dressup on Etsy.

Note: All Images and Products In This Post are the Intellectual Property and Copyright of their respective creators and the Etsy shop in question. No Infringement is intended.  Please follow the links beneath the image for more information, including price, availability, and custom orders if available.

Wooden Crayon Train – Crayon Holder [Holds 38 Crayons] by Grampa’s Workshop on Etsy.
A Digital Photograph of Crayons in All of The Colors of the Rainbow – 5×7 by Tara, A Pocketful Of Photos on Etsy.
Crayon Box Handplied Bulky Yarn by Jennifer, Otter Moon Patterns on Etsy.

Sweet Treats From The Backyard – Sweetness Sundays

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Colourful Carrot Mix Organic Seeds at Cubits on Etsy.

 The message is out there, but are we listening? When you hear the term “buy local” in reference to your food, how local are you thinking? Would you say local is your country? Maybe it is your state or province, or even your town. All better options than buying something shipped in from afar, something sprayed in wax, grown with preservatives, and hauled in from overseas or across borders.  In most places in the world, there are limited local options, but in others, where we have seasonal weather and a variety of soil conditions, we can think about growing much much closer to home. As in at home, as in “our own backyard” or a small planter on our balcony or patio.  Today’s sweet post is about the sweet treats and sweet pleasures of growing your own.

Organic Watermelon Radish Seeds at Cubits on Etsy.
Organic Easter Egg Blend Radishes Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

I love vegetables, I always have, and if it was up to me, I would be happy to eat salads and baked squash and grilled zucchini and eggplant all day long. For various reasons, that is a dangerous proposition for me, but my love of vegetables, the fresher the better is a reality.  Where did it start? Well, I honestly think this one goes back to my childhood and a lovely cottage in Muskoka, Ontario. I was a very lucky kid to grow up with a place to go to every weekend and all summer long, there were very few rules, lots of things to do, and we had a huge property, even by today’s standards.

Organic Alibi Hybrid Pickling Cucumber 30 Seeds at Black Ridge Trading Post and Gardens on Etsy.
Radicchio Rouge De Verona Organic Seeds – Red Italian Chicory at Florentine Garden Seeds of Quality on Etsy.

While we spent winters buzzing about on our snowmobiles, building giant snow forts and sculptures, and ice skating on that frozen solid lake, summers were another story entirely.  Very early on, my parents squared off two very large garden plots, perhaps 12’x12′ each. Maybe larger, it is hard to remember. My mother planted and tended to cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkins, sugar snap peas, and other wonderful vegetables.  As kids, we would think we were very sneaky indeed, yanking small sweet carrots from the garden, running for the lake and washing them off, and eating them as we sat on the dock, dangling our feet in the water. If you have never had a carrot fresh from the garden, you are missing out on nature’s candy.

2011 Tomatoes – White Currant Seeds, Naturally Grown, Organic Seeds at Frog Pond Gardens Organic Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Peacevine Cherry Tomato Seeds at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

My mother would carefully collect all those small cucumbers and heaps of green tomatoes, and she would pickle them in huge batches. We would have garlicky dill pickles and green tomatoes, bread and butter pickles in jars by the dozen all set out in the ‘cellar’, a small room in the basement. My mother actually had to find ways to use the tomatoes, there were just too many for one family. Everyone got gifted, and she even tried some very odd culinary experiments. I remember a Green Tomato Pie, sweet, not savory, that she assured us tasted just like apple pie. In retrospect, it is more likely true than not, since Tomatoes are actually a fruit.

Organic Seeds – 3 Packs of Your Choice at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.
Vegetable Garden Organic Seed Pack at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.

At the end of the season, we would decorate the exterior of the house with the pumpkins and squash we had grown. My mother had a great sense of humor, and always kept aside any vegetables that looked ‘odd’, often resembling faces or other body parts.  I remember a huge carrot that looked like a woman’s legs crossed at the knees, it sat on the ledge above the kitchen sink.

Organic Garden Seeds, 6 Organic Heirloom Seed Packs Of Your Choice at Hollis Plus Hunter on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Purple of Sicily Cauliflower Seeds RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

If you have access to a backyard, hopefully you have a compost container out there, if you do, you are likely brewing up some of the best natural fertilizer than can be had.  If you have a small patch of land, even just a few square feet, you can create a little patch of heaven in your own backyard. Some neighborhoods offer community gardens, places where you can sign up for a plot of land, often at no cost, to grow some fresh food for your family. 

Organic Heirloom Broccoli Romanesco Seed RARE Gourmet at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Blue Pumpkin Jarrahdale Seeds RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

My point is, there is no reason to buy heaps of ‘long distance’ semi-fresh foods when you can grown at least a few of them in your own backyard.  Have a picky eater in your house, a child that claims to ‘hate’ vegetables? School programs that have children participating in a vegetable garden project often find that kids are far more likely to try foods they have grown themselves.  The faster you can get a food from garden to table, the higher it is in nutrients, and the better the flavor. Refrigeration is death to the flavor of the tomato, mushrooms that are washed are tragically ruined, and carrots are meant to be heavy and juicy, not dry looking and frail.

Organic Heirloom Onion Red of Florence Seed RARE at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom Sugar Snap Pea Seeds at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

So let’s see, you can save money, grow without pesticides and herbicides, you can have vegetables and herbs literally at your fingertips, your kids are more likely to eat the veggies you grow yourselves, and you can reduce the carbon footprint caused by the long-distance shipping of perishable goods. WIN – WIN! Not  only that, but you can grow the things you like best, the varieties you treasure, and you can go organic in the true sense of the term. There are a handful of Etsy sellers that have the most magical and lovely Organic Seeds for stunning varieties of veggies available for purchase, and now is the time to start thinking about your spring garden.

Organic Heirloom Eggplant Diamond Seed at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.
Organic Heirloom 3 Beet Variety Seed Blend – BEST SELLER at Kenyon Organics Heirloom Seeds on Etsy.

First things first, know your zone.  Find out what will grow in your area of the country, and what is less likely to thrive. Second, plan your garden size, and where you will put it, then watch to determine the sun exposure vs. shade in the average day.  Find a local garden supply store that supports home gardeners.  Plan for the supplies and tools you will need for your garden. Don’t think you have to buy everything, up-cycle is the key to making this a great project.  Use an old cake sever as a trowel,  if you need to grow some seedlings before directly planting in the garden, find  a series of small cups or glasses that can be used, or even use a cardboard egg crate as a perfect seed starter. Reclaimed boards or wood scraps can make great stakes for your plants or can make the perfect box frame for your garden, helping keep weeds out without chemicals.

Organic Parsnips Harris Model Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Victoria Rhubarb Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

After you determine how much space you have and what you are planning to grow, get the best seeds you can find. Order yourself some of these non-biologically engineered hearty organic seeds, all found on Etsy.  These pictures are positively mouth watering, and I just can’t wait for spring so I can set up a planter and grow some carrots on my balcony.  I am not good with flowers, but something tells me a few chives and carrots will look great in a long trough planter on my balcony. 

Organic Spring Lettuce Mix Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Carrot Cosmic Purple Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

Some of these seed types are rare heirloom seeds, and they are only available in small amounts, but they will give you an idea of what is out there.  It is truly remarkable to see the sheer range of colours and shapes in a single vegetable family, and each colour had it’s own unique nutritional benefits.  Some seeds cannot be shipped by mail across certain borders, so make sure you can get the product you want shipped to you before you make the purchase. The friendly vendors at Etsy are almost universally thrilled to answer any questions you may have, and when it comes to those who sell seeds, they have often grown the varieties they sell personally, so they are the best people to ask.  Bet you can’t get that at the local Walmart

Organic White Pumpkin Seeds Casper White Pumpkins at Cubits on Etsy.
Organic Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.

Even if it is just something you jot down on your ‘something to do someday‘ list, having a look at these pictures will help to inspire you to try your hand at home gardening.  If you are a seasoned gardener, or ready to give it a good shot, then it won’t be long before spring arrives and you will have a chance to tastes these sweet treats from your garden, and savor the flavor that can only come with knowing you grew something with a little elbow grease, a lot of love, a the sun, soil, and seeds that are the recipe for fabulous garden fun.

Organic Round Zucchini Squash Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
Organic Jalapeno Pepper Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.


Note: All images in this post and products mentioned are copyright/intellectual property of the respective Etsy vendor indicated under the image. Please contact vendors for more information about specific products and prices.  No infringement is intended.

Organic Perfection Savoy Cabbage Heirloom Vegetable Seeds at Nimble NiteCap Seed Co. on Etsy.
LiMa beAn Heirloom Seeds From Our Organic Garden at Pailanita on Etsy.

Sweetness That Lingers On Your Fingers – Sweetness Sundays

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Vanilla Mint Mousse All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

  Today’s sweet post is achingly tempting to look at, these images look good enough to eat. If I told you I had a big thick bar of wonderful handmade chocolate – you’d be drooling – if I added the word “soap“, you would look at me as if I was insane. Maybe I am a little insane, but luckily that is not the topic of this blog post, today it all about the amazingly beautiful art of handmade soap.  Often made with the most pure and natural of ingredients and scented in any number of combination, these stunning blocks of bliss are all about getting hands on. 

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by SV Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Vanilla Soap Vegan Cold Processed Butter Blend Handmade Olive Oil Shea Butter Romantic Cottage Style by A Breath Of French Air on Etsy.
Gardenia and Fresh Honey Handmade Soap UK by Soap Dragon on Etsy.
1 Bar of All Natural Blushing Jasmine Handmade Vegan Artisan Soap by Ocracoke Soap Company on Etsy.
Anise (Licorice) Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Maple Pecan Streusel Soap – Sweet Vanilla, Warm Syrup, Southern Pecan by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.

We live in a suddenly germ phobic society. We have managed to add “antibacterial” ingredients to just about every home product, from dish soap to all purpose cleaners. Do you actually know what constitutes that “antibacterial” property? You guessed it, it a bunch of harsh chemicals kids! As a nurse, I actually had to study how to properly and safely wash my hands, and I can tell you, the most important part of hand washing is not the chemicals in the soap, it is the length of time you spend lathering and the friction of rubbing the bacteria and dirt from your hands.

Lemongrass Mint Essential Oil Soap / Cold Process Handmade Soap Bar / Chunky by barebare all natural on Etsy.
Sweet Red Clover Soap – Cold Process Soap by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Sweet Grapefruit Vegan Soap by Gold Creek Soap on Etsy.
Japanese Peppermint Soap – Handmade Shea Butter Vegan – Perfectly Pink for Valentine’s Day by Kreated by Karina on Etsy.
Sweet Summer Rose Soap Bar – 5 oz. by Gourmet Soaps on Etsy.
Handmade Soap – Brown Sugar & Fig – Wild Figs, Maple Sugar, Musk (Cold Process Soap) by Petals Bath Boutique on Etsy.

It doesn’t matter how much antibacterial soap you use, if you have handled the taps and and door knobs with dirty hands, and you don’t spend enough time scrubbing your hands, drying them, and touch only ‘clean’ surfaces after washing, you are just wasting your money and throwing a pile of chemicals down the pipes into our water system.

Green Apple Handmade Soap by Pink Parchment Soaps on Etsy.
GINGER SOUFFLE Scented, Natural Vegan and Handmade Glycerine Soap with ALOE Vera by Olivia Morgana on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap, Sweet Almond Cookie, 5 oz. Scrub Bar with Rolled Oats and Almond Oil, Handmade Herbal Soap by Hammer and Coil on Etsy.
Sweet Oranges and Cinnamon Spice Handmade Cold Process Soap by Dogwood Rose Studio on Etsy.
Pomegranate Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Groovy Garden Cold Process Soap – Palmarosa, Patchouli, & Sweet Orange Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.

I don’t use antibacterials in my home, it is a conscious decision. I am not interested in adding any more chemicals to my life or the ecosystem.  Not only that, but I have done my own research into the issue, and even the FDA has acknowledged that the use of antibacterial soap and hand sanitizers has not been linked to any sign of a decline in infection rates among it’s users, not any statistically significant shift in all the years since it’s proliferation. Not one bit of evidence suggests that using an antibacterial soap will make you any less likely to become ill or shorten an illness period. In fact, many anecdotal studies suggest that the perceived benefits of antibacterials and hand sanitizers actual has led to less effective hand washing.

Sticky Sweet Caramel Soap – Caramel Apple Scent by AJSweetSoap on Etsy.
Sweet Orange and Vanilla Soap by Annie and Elmo on Etsy.
Apple Cider Soap – Eden’s Allure Handmade Soap – Juicy Apples and Sweet Spices Scented Soap by Body Language Soaps on Etsy.
Lime and Herb Handmade Soap with Shea Butter by Hidden Blessings on Etsy.
Satsuma – Japanese Mandarin Handmade Goat’s Milk And Shea Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Rhiannon, Handmade Soap – Lavender, Bergamot, & Lemon – Cold Process, Essential Oil Bar (Natural, Vegan) by Sacred Suds on Etsy.

If you wash your hands before meals and as needed, and you do it properly, you will have an edge over any anti-bacterial or anti-microbial soap sold in the grocery store.  We are more likely to pass on infections if we put our faith in a bottle of soap as opposed to the common sense that says to slow down, do the job right and well the first time. Our grandparents used the most basic of soaps, many times simple glycerin soaps, and they were often much healthier than we are. We seem a society intent on creating super-bugs, germs that can foil our most basic cleansers and bacteria that make antibiotics useless for those who desperately need them to work.

Soap – Sweet Orange Salt Bar Circle Bar – All Natural Glycerin Soap by Sunbasilgarden Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Indulgence Soap – Made With Shea Butter and Sweet Natural Chocolate Valentines Day Gift by Symbolic Imports on Etsy.
Cranberry Orange – Handmade Goat Milk and Cocoa Butter Soap by Soothing Suds on Etsy.
Sweet Lemon Cream Soap Handmade Cold Process, Vegan Friendly by Blushie on Etsy.
Sea Salt Caramels Handmade Cold Process Soap – Soap Bar by Lippincott Soap Co. on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Soap Handmade Soap by Comfort and Joy Soap Co. on Etsy.

So back to these beautiful bars of soap, and a simple question, why buy the bottled soaps that all contain chemicals for fragrance, bacteria reduction, and color, when you can  buy a gorgeous bar of Eco-friendly soap in a color or fragrance that is naturally lovely, and does the job just as well, if not better.  Washing your hands becomes a pleasurable experience when you slow down, roll the bar in your hands, develop a bit of a lather and that lovely scent begins to build.

Sweet Orange Patchouli Soap by Body Luminosity on Etsy.
Green Tea Citrus – Handmade Soap by Dirty Deeds Soaps on Etsy.
Chocolate Dream Handmade Soap with Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, and Goats Milk by EcoSations on Etsy.
Fresh Orange and Papaya Clear Glycerine Soap, Luxury, Delicate Feminine Fruity Sweet Fresh – Yellow Perfect Gift by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
All Natural And Vegan Sweet Orange Clove Soap, Two 5oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.

Whether it is the lightest of vanillas, or a rich patchouli, a citrus twist or a floral bouquet, you can find a handcrafted bar of soap to match your personal tastes. Perfume does go “off”, the alcohol it it turns, and you may be wasting your money by spending a fortune on a scent you rarely wear. Using a naturally scented soap will leave a lovely scent on your skin or body, and it will linger in that gentle way that good fragrance should. People that get close may notice it, they may wonder what smells so wonderful and can’t pin it down, and they may begin to associate that scent with you and you alone. Not a scent lover? There are also plenty of unscented all natural bars available too.

Almond Marzipan Poppy Seeds Goats Milk Glycerin Soap, Scrub Peeling Moisture – For Him or Her by Cat’s Little Corner on Etsy.
Creamy Pear Handmade Vegan Soap Large Bar by Crown of Rue on Etsy.
Goat’s Milk Oatmeal and Honey Cold Process Soap with Shea Butter – Sale Benefits the SweetBea Fund by Lake House Soapworks on Etsy.
100& Natural Orange Honey Blossom Soap Bar – 5oz. Organic & Fair Trade by ZABANA ESSENTIALS on Etsy.
Sweet Honeysuckle – Shea Butter Handmade Soap by Loves Lather on Etsy.
Hot Process Apple Sauce Soap – Old Fashioned Sweet Apple Cinnamon Hot Process Soap Super Sudsy by Soap For Your Soul on Etsy.

If you have been scrolling through these amazingly gorgeous photos of some of the most appetizingly sweet bars of soap, you might like to know that not only are these soaps gentle to the environment, but gentle to your body. Some are organic, others are vegan friendly, but whatever your reasons for buying handmade soap might be, never allow the perceived cost to hold you back. Most of these bars are priced around the $5 USD per/bar range, depending on the ingredients and the size of the bar.  It works out to about $1 per oz. of handcrafted soap, there are few artisan goods that are this affordable in price. You can sometimes get bars for much less if you purchase a sampler or multiple bars at a time.  Find a vendor that is located close to you, in the geographic sense, and you will not only save on shipping, but also leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Sandalwood Vanilla Soap – Handmade Cold Process by Inner Earth Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Papaya Handmade Shampoo Bar, Vegan by Sweets N Things on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Goats Milk Soap by Country Soaps By Marlene on Etsy.
Lavender Oat Face & Body Bar (100% Organic Oils.Butters) by StoLat Organics on Etsy
Coffee Soap – Kitchen Soap – Exfoliation Soap – Cold Process by Joan’s Gardens on Etsy.
Canela & Vanilla Cream – Cinnamon – Goat’s Milk Soap by Five Sisters Soap Company on Etsy.

These soaps would make the most welcome of home-warming gifts, and there is nothing better to give a new parent who has their hands on the delicate skin of a new baby all day and night, or to a friend who is under the weather.  These soaps are great gifts for teachers, friends, and the people you love. Everybody needs to wash their hands, this is not just a ‘girl’ thing, men deserve fresh smelling natural soaps too.

Mango Shea Butter Soap by So Stinking Sweet on Etsy.
Orange Cream Cold Press Soap – Warm & Sweet – 100% Natural by Get Clean on Etsy.
Honey Almond (EO) Handmade Soap 4oz. Bar by FB Essentials on Etsy.
Peach – Handmade Cold Process Soap by DECA Candle and Bath on Etsy.
Sweet Lemongrass Scented Organic Cold Process All Natural Soap by Rustico Natural on Etsy.

If you have a fragrance free workplace, and can’t wear perfume, it can be hard to find unscented soaps and shampoo. Many of these artisans offer unscented natural bars that are lovely to look at and use, but so very gentle to the skin with only the scent of the body friendly ingredients left behind. If you knit, sew, or crochet, thing of how often your hands touch those delicate wools and fabrics, wouldn’t you rather have a mild and natural scent on your fingers when you work on something so precious for someone equally precious?

Grapefruit & Marzipan Handmade Soap (One Bar) by Chemical Teatime on Etsy.
Goat Milk Soap “Monkey Bars” Handmade Cold Process (Banana, Strawberry, Kiwi, & More!) by Moeggenborg Sugar Bush on Etsy.
Sugared Almond Exfoliating Handmade Soap by Silver Maple Soaps on Etsy.
Miss Maple – Organic Maple Syrup / Soft Golden Sugar Soap Handmade, Natural – Plus Beautiful Postcard by Soapstar Canada on Etsy.

Sweet Cherry Almond Oatmeal Handmade Soap by Pegasus Soaps on Etsy.

 Treat yourself to a bar of handmade soap today, there is no reason to wait. Pick one that is appealing to the eye as well as the nose, and don’t be afraid to give up the “anti-bacterial” chemical soap.  The only people who need to use harsh chemicals to clean their hands are surgeons and other healthcare workers when they are AT WORK.  Even this nurse will tell you that once I walk into my home after work, the last thing I want to see is yet another bottle of harsh soap.  Give me a bar of gentle soft butter smooth soap that makes me remember I am a person whose hands do more than perform various procedures, give me a scent that makes me smile with pleasure, the simple pleasure that we all deserve to enjoy. Grab yourself a bar or two of lovely handmade soap and be sweet to yourself, your family, and mother earth.

NY Black and White Snickerdoodle All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.

All-Natural Sweet Tea And Honey Soap, Two 5 oz. Bars by Bellissima Minerals on Etsy.
Spice Cake – Clove, Cassia & Sweet Orange Cold Process Soap – Handmade Vegan Soap Bar – Spice Soap by Pigeon River Soaps on Etsy.
Sweet Pea Cold Process Soap – One 4-5 Ounce Body Bar by Long Leaf Soaps on Etsy.
Yellow Mandarin, Sweet Orange Peel and White Peach – All Natural Handmade Soap by Milk And Honey Naturals on Etsy.