Our New Skincare Obsession!

Posted by Smita Kishore on

It's organic. It's eco-friendly. It's gentle on the skin. And, it's easy to make and use! That's why we are completely hooked to our adzuki bean face scrub! 

So What Exactly Are These Beans?!

These small red beans are native to East Asia and the Himalayas. The name adzuki is derived from "azuki" in the Japanese language and is known as red mung bean in English. Powdered adzuki beans have been used in Japan for centuries to gently exfoliate the skin, giving it a natural glow. Adzuki beans naturally contain saponin, a foaming agent which cleanses the pores by removing dead skin cells and drawing out excess oils and impurities. It also gently softens the skin and promotes circulation.

As someone with skin sensitivities, this is the first exfoliating scrub I've made that doesn't irritate my skin. It's also a great scrub for acne-prone skin as it unclogs pores and absorbs excess oils. I use this scrub 2-3 times a week but it's gentle enough for daily use for those who need it. 



How To Make It 

  • Instructions
    • Grind adzuki beans in a coffee grinder until you achieve a fine powder
    • Use a sieve to remove any large pieces, if necessary, so they don't cut your skin
    • Store in an airtight glass jar
    • To Use: Take a teaspoon of powder in your palm and add a couple drops of water to form an exfoliating paste. Wet your face and gently rub in a circular motion, avoiding the area around your eyes. Rinse with warm water and pat face dry. If you have dry skin like me, I recommend following with 3-4 drops of organic camelia or organic jojoba oil to lock in moisture. 
    • Tip: This also works great as a mask! Simply take 2 tbsp of adzuki powder and add water or organic aloe vera gel to create a paste. Apply to face (avoiding the eyes) and rinse with warm water after 5-10 minutes. 
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DIY Hummus by the Radical Larder!

Posted by Smita Kishore on

Hummus now has its own aisle at the grocery store. There’s dessert hummus and plenty of brands and flavors to choose from. While the grocery store purchase is a quick grab and go snack, it's so easy to make hummus at home at a fraction of the cost, while also maximizing flavor and tailoring it to your liking.
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DIY Bug-Repellent Oil

Posted by Smita Kishore on

The only downside to the start of summer is the increase of mosquitoes! But lucky for you, I have a super easy bug repellent recipe that you can make in less than 5 minutes, with ingredients found at any natural foods store :)


  • Ingredients
    • 4oz Organic Jojoba Oil
    • 10 drops Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil (replace with organic Citronella essential oil for children under 10)
    • 10 drops Organic Rosemary Essential Oil (replace with organic Geranium essential oil for children under 10)
    • 5 drops Organic Lavender Essential Oil
    • NOTE: Essential oils are highly concentrated and the recommended safe dilution is 1%-2%. This recipe is for a 1% essential oil dilution, as I believe less is more. However, if you need something stronger, you may increase the dilution to 2% by doubling the number of drops of essential oils above. 
  • Instructions
    • Add jojoba oil into a 4oz dark amber glass bottle.
    • Add in the essential oils and shake well to incorporate.
    • Shake before use and apply liberally as needed. 
    • NOTE: Always perform a patch test before using. People can still be allergic to organic things! Discontinue use if irritation occurs. 


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    Plant-Based Dishes to Usher in the Summer by The Radical Larder

    Posted by Smita Kishore on

    Are you trying to think of light and colorful plant-based dishes to usher in summer? Well, look no further! This dish is so changeable, you can pair it with the produce of the season, or whatever you may have lying around by keeping a few staple ingredients on hand. My soba noodle salad uses 100% soba noodles (think high protein, gluten-free), hazelnut dressing and "forbidden" hazelnut clusters.

    Hazelnuts and hazelnut oil contain monounsaturated fats that promote good cholesterol and also boast a slew of antioxidants that promote clear skin. My most recent iteration involves watermelon, black olives, and pickled cumquats. In the past, I have used satsuma tangerines and shaved asparagus. I will also be serving a version of this at the Logan Square Farmer's Market this outdoor season. Check out this recipe that may quickly become your summer staple! 

    Soba Noodle Salad

    • Ingredients
      • 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles (or other soba noodles of choice), cooked and refrigerated
      • Pickled Cumquats with Red Hot Pepper (recipe below)
      • “Devine flavor” Watermelon or Watermelon of choice (season’s coming)
      • Hazelnut Dressing (recipe below)
      • Forbidden Hazelnut Crispy Clusters (recipe below)
      • Black Olives
      • Fresh Basil
      • Pinch of Salt
    • Instructions
      • In a mixing bowl, add about a cup of cooked soba noodles, a few chunks of watermelon, several slices of pickled cumquats, plus a drizzle of pickling liquid, about a teaspoon or so of hazelnut dressing, and 2-4 black olives, pitted and cut.
      • Add a pinch of salt and toss these ingredients until well coated with dressing.
      • Use a fork to spiral the noodles and lay them on your serving plate or in a bowl.
      • Scatter the other toppings on top of the noodles.
      • Add some leaves of fresh basil and a few forbidden hazelnut clusters.
      • Yields: One salad. Enjoy!!

    Tip: I generally find that soba noodles take about half the time it says on the package for cooking time. Bring an adequate amount of water to a boil in a sizable pot. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt. Add soba noodles and stir a bit with a fork to separate. Allow to boil for 4 minutes and test for doneness (cook until done, but do not overcook). Strain through a colander and dip into an ice bath or run under cold water until noodles are cool. Set aside. 

    Hazelnut Dressing

    • Ingredients
      • 1 to 1.5 cups of Hazelnut Oil, depending on your preference
      • 1/4 cup Vinegar of choice (I like sherry)
      • 1-2 tbsp Agave Nectar  
      • 1 generous tbsp of Dijon Mustard
      • A pinch of Salt and Pepper
    • Instructions
      • Put ingredients other than oil in your blender and turn on to medium.
      • Stream the oil into the blender and turn up to high until emulsified (about 7-8 seconds).
      • Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. 

    Forbidden Hazelnut Clusters

    • Ingredients: For 8+ salads
      • 1/2 cup Raw Hazelnuts, lightly toasted and chopped
      • 1/2 cup Forbidden Rice
      • 2 cup High Heat Oil of choice
      • Coriander, Cinnamon, Fennel, Salt, Pepper, and Cayenne to taste 
      • 1/3 cup Sugar 
      • Instructions
        • In a small, high rim pot, bring the oil nearly to smoking point.
        • Add the rice quickly. Once it has all puffed, quickly strain through a metal bowl strainer or chinois, being careful not to burn yourself!
        • Spread onto a paper towel on a baking sheet to cool.
        • In a saucepan, add the sugar and some water. Caramelize, then add the rice and toasted chopped hazelnuts.
        • Once clusters develop, spread onto parchment paper. Sprinkle immediately with spices and salt and let cool.
      Tip: If you prefer no oil/frying, try puffing amaranth in a hot, dry pan with a lid and/or chopped toasted hazelnuts to add that crunch ;) 

      Pickled Cumquats with Red Chili Pepper

      • Ingredients
        • A handful of cumquats or however many you would like to pickle.
        • For a handful of cumquats:
          • 1 Red Chili sliced
          • 1/3 cup Vinegar
          • 1/3 cup Water
          • A wedge of leftover Onion
          • 4 tbsp Sugar (possibly more, depending on taste)
          • Whole Spices of choice
          • Salt to taste (start with 2 tsp)
      • Instructions
        • Thinly slice cumquats and put slices in a heat-resistant container along with the sliced red chili.
        • In a small saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
        • Taste for flavor. You want it to be sweet and slightly saltier than is enjoyable at this hot temperature.
        • Immediately pour the boiling liquid over the cumquats and let sit until mixture cools to room temperature.
        • Cover and refrigerate. 

      Tip: These are great to add some zazz to many dishes and they last in the refrigerator for months!  

      The Radical Larder's chef, Meagan Lombaer in Chicago,  recently turned plant-based due to environmental impact and growing dependence on animal products. She creates hearty dishes that center around whole foods and wholesome nutritional properties while avoiding highly processed toxic foods. She most enjoys pairing her food with movement and helping you integrate your diet with the movement you do in your life. Follow her on Facebook or Instagram @radlarder or come out to the Logan Square  Farmer's Market every other Sunday starting June 3! For private events, cooking classes and other catering opportunities email


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      DIY: Seasonal Allergy Relief

      Posted by Smita Kishore on

      With the beginning of Spring upon us, seasonal allergies are starting to kick in. While the best way to treat allergies is to avoid known allergens, this can be tough to control 100% of the time. Here are two of my go-to DIY recipes to provide seasonal allergy relief. 

      Peppermint Face Steam 

      Facial steams are my favorite remedy for allergies, sinus congestion, and pressure headaches. Not only is the steam relaxing and great for your skin, but peppermint also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and works well as a natural decongestant.  

      • Ingredients
      • Instructions
        • Bring water to a boil and remove from heat.
        • Place pot on top of a towel and add 4-5 drops of organic peppermint essential oil.
        • Sit in a chair with your face over the pot and place a bath towel over your head to keep the steam in. Inhale deeply through your nose with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to get too close to the pot as the steam can be quite hot initially! Tip: This will break up any congestion so be sure to keep a box of tissues beside you to blow your nose as needed.
        • I recommend repeating 2-3 times a day. 

      Peppermint Tea

      I find following the steam with a cup of hot peppermint tea provides long-lasting relief. 

      • Ingredients
        • 2 tbsp. organic peppermint leaves (dried or fresh)
        • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger 
        • 2 cups boiling water
      • Instructions
        • Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. 
        • Add the ginger and peppermint and steep for 5-6 minutes. 
        • Strain and drink. 
        • Tip: Add a teaspoon of local, organic, raw honey for an extra allergy-fighting boost ;) 

      Love + Light, 

      ~Smita :) 

      Do you have a favorite home remedy for allergies? Share your tips in the comments below!

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