Black bean and corn salad with cilantro lime dressing

This has quickly become one of our favorite salads and it's super easy to make. Here's the catch though - I use doTERRA essential oils in the dressing. I do NOT recommend you use any other brand of essential oils as most advise against consuming since they can't vouch for the purity. I rarely have fresh limes or cilantro on hand so I use the essential oils in their place and it works great. As a bonus, when you eat this salad, you won't get bits of green cilantro leaves stuck in your teeth.

Black bean and corn salad by Julie @ Build, Sew, Reap

While I think I have the dressing pretty well figured out, the salad ingredients list here is merely a guideline. I tend to just open the fridge and start chopping and dumping stuff in. I add whatever I have on hand but the black beans and corn are always the foundation.

Black bean and corn salad - serves 6

1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup frozen corn (no need to cook this, it'll actually make the whole salad nice and cold)
1/4 cup chopped carrots or shredded carrots
6 bunching onions sliced thin
1 cucumber cut into bite-sized pieces
10 grape tomatoes cut in half
1 orange, yellow, or red bell pepper diced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
5 drops doTERRA cilantro essential oil
5 drops doTERRA lime essential oil
1/4 tsp sea salt

Combine all the non-dressing ingredients in a bowl. Mix the dressing in a measuring cup or separate bowl then pour over and mix well. It's important that you pre-mix the dressing as the essential oils should be allowed to blend together with the olive oil so there aren't any super concentrated drops of essential oils on your vegetables. The flavor won't be as nice if you don't pre-blend.

Serve cold. I try to wait until the corn is thawed which is usually the case once I have everything else chopped up.

Thank you for reading,

Life Interview Series Gift

My dad just celebrated a major birthday a couple of weeks ago. To celebrate, we flew back 'home' to spend 4 fabulous days with him (and my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and nieces). I wanted to get him something super special for this big birthday and really racked my brain trying to combine many ideas I had knocking around. As I was wandering around a local bookstore, an idea hit me ... not at all once but it sort of seeped into my brain in pieces and the idea of the Life Interview Series was born.
Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap
What I ended up doing was purchasing a basic printable note card kit, a pretty box, and a pack of pens from the office supply store. I eagerly took my purchases home and scoured the internet for a jumping off point to create a list of questions I wanted to ask my dad about his life. Things like:

Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap
  • What's the best thing about being a parent? A grandparent?
  • What have been the three biggest news events during your lifetime and why?
  • Do you have any hobbies or special interests?
  • Do you enjoy any particular sports?
  • If you could go back to any age, what age would it be and why?
But also some questions prying into his childhood:

Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap
  • What were you like as a child? What did you like to eat? What did you do for fun? What were your favorite toys or games? Did you ever have a secret place or favorite hiding spot?
  • When were you born? What day of the week was it? Where were you born? Did your parents tell you anything about that day? Why were you given the first and middle names that you have?
  • How did your family earn money? What kinds of things did your family spend money on?
  • How many brothers and sisters do you have? When were they born? What memories do you have of each of them from when you were growing up?
Naturally, I know the answers to some of these but many of the cards dive into his hopes and dreams as well as earliest memories of his childhood. My kids haven't heard these stories and as time goes on, I get more and more worried they won't be passed on and they'll be lost. I got most of my inspiration for the questions from a pdf I found online through Legacy Project. I worded the questions in a way that would bring out answers my 4 and 7 year old boys would love to read so I skipped many of the ones I thought would be over their heads. 

Along with these note cards, I printed up 40 envelopes with my children's names and our address as well as my dad's return address then each envelope received a stamp. I created dividers for the lovely box I purchased and I packed it all up nicely in the box with a set of pens.

Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

Life Interview Boxed Set by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

My hope is that when my dad has some free time here and there, he'll reach into his treasure box to grab a question. He can take as much or as little time as he has to answer then drop the card into the envelope and send it off to our house where his grandsons will be eagerly waiting by the mailbox to read all about their PawPaw.

Have you done anything like this for someone in your life? I'd love it if you'd link up a blog post if you have.

Thank you for reading,


I like crispy chickpeas and I like chocolate. It seemed obvious I should try to combine the two but I've had two problems with the recipes I've found so far and that's that they either take too long or the chocolate burns. I combined several recipes that have worked to form one perfect recipe for crispy chocolate chickpeas. These don't really save well so just plan on making as much as you'll eat right away.

Choco-chickpeas by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap 


  • 1 can (or 1 1/2 cups) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Cooking spray (I like avocado oil spray as it has no flavor)
  • 2 T Cocoa powder
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425 F

Dry the chickpeas as well as you can. Many people use paper towels but I've found that a clean lint-free dish towel works just as well. This is key to getting them crisp. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the chickpeas in a single layer, spray lightly with cooking oil, roll around a bit and spritz again. A light coating on all sides is what you're going for. 

Bake on 425 for 10 minutes. Remove the pan, shake the chickpeas around a bit then put the pan back in for another 10 minutes.

While those are cooking for the second 10 minutes, mix together the other 5 ingredients in a bowl. After the 10 minutes are up, pour the hot chickpeas into this mixture and mix to coat. Pour them back on the covered baking pan and bake for another 7-10 minutes.

Remove from the oven, transfer the parchment paper to a cooling rack. The chickpeas will crisp as they cool. They should be ready to eat in 5-10 minutes but feel free to test one every minute or so. 

Thank you for reading,

Guest Post: Calming Lotion Bars

My friend and fellow DoTerra essential oil lover, Dani, made these wonderful calming lotion bars. She wanted to share her process and since she doesn't (yet) have a blog of her own, she asked if she could share over here on Build, Sew, Reap. Of course I said yes! So here's Dani:

Calming Lotion Bars

When an email went out to a group of us at my church asking for something to give away to families after the Epiphany service, my mind immediately went to the new bottle of frankincense oil making its way to my house in the post.  Never mind the fact that I was leaving in a few days for a vacation in another country – we were driving after all so I could just take my supplies with me and make it abroad!

Epiphany is the service where we celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men who brought Frankincense, Myrrh, and Gold as offerings. I searched online for ideas of what could be made with frankincense and stumbled upon a recipe for calming lotion bars. In the end, I ended up deviating several times from the recipe so I decided to write up my version of the recipe for others.

The first issue I encountered with the first recipe is that it called for Sweet Almond Oil. Having a brother with a million and one food allergies, I was reticent to use a recipe that called for a nut oil. After doing some online research, I found several bloggers who explained the properties of various oils and thus gave a good explanation for what were acceptable replacements based on their properties.  In this case, Avocado Oil is the top replacement for Sweet Almond Oil.  Grapeseed Oil is also an acceptable replacement.  I recommend Soap Queen’s website if you’d like to look at other replacement oils.

For the amounts used in the recipe, I’m not actually sure how much or little I deviated from the original recipe.  Upon closer examination when standing in the Canadian kitchen of our rental house in Victoria, I realized the recipe wasn’t clear on whether beeswax and oil measurements given were for fluid ounces or weight ounces.  I then realized that the very modestly furnished kitchen had neither a fluid ounces measuring cup nor a kitchen scale so I didn’t actually have a way of measuring properly either way.

Luckily, one of my family members is a pharmacist and good with chemical measurements. He helped me estimate in tablespoons what it seemed like the recipe was driving at and we ended up with a very successful recipe.

One other note on the ingredients before I launch into the actual process – the quantity that these items come in means you will be able to make A LOT of lotion bars.  Like, 500 of them.  Obviously there are other uses for these items (I’m excited to be crafty and make other stuff too) but I wanted to clarify.

They aren’t necessarily cheap items but the price makes sense in comparison to the volume you are going to be able to produce.

  • 5 tablespoons Beeswax Pastilles (Amazon affiliate link)
  • 2 tablespoons Shea Butter (Amazon affiliate link) 
  • 4 tablespoons Coconut Oil (Amazon affiliate link)
  • 2 tablespoons Avocado Oil – didn’t really see a good one on Amazon, I bought at Costco
  • 10 drops doTerra Lavender Essential Oil
  • 7 drops doTerra Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 3 drops doTerra Clary Sage Essential Oil

Calming Lotion Bars

Equipment Required:
  • Double boiler – if you do not own one (like me) you can make one at home.  All you need is a metal mixing bowl or an oven-safe glass bowl and a pot.  The mixing bowl/glass bowl should fit nicely into the pot so that there’s room for water to boil underneath it.

Calming Lotion Bars
Calming Lotion Bars

  • Instrument for stirring that you are ready to part ways with OR the handle of a spatula wrapped in aluminum foil works quite nicely; the wax tends to leave a film remaining on things so I improvised option 2 and it worked out quite nicely for me.

Calming Lotion Bars 


1. Put water in the bottom of your double boiler (homemade or professional) and bring to a boil on high heat.  Once it’s at a good boil, reduce heat to medium so that you have a soft boil going.

2. Add 5 tablespoons of beeswax pastilles to the top of your double boiler and melt.  You can help the process along by stirring BUT you only want to implement this when the wax is at least 75% melted. I discovered that sticking your stirring element in too early in the process results in a lovely beeswax mace (aka clump of beeswax on the end of the stirrer).

Calming Lotion Bars

3. While the beeswax is melting, measure out the 2 tablespoons of shea butter, 4 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 2 tablespoons of avocado oil in a separate bowl.  You don’t have to mix them or anything – it’s just easiest to be able to quickly add them all at once when it’s time.

Calming Lotion Bars

4. Once the beeswax is 100% melted, add your shea butter, coconut oil, and avocado oil and melt them.  Again, you can help this process by stirring but don’t stir until 75% is already melted.

5. When the mixture is completely liquid, add the essential oils.  For this recipe, I used Lavender, Clary Sage, and Frankincense but I’m excited to try other mixtures as well in the future.  The amount of the oils is another key moment where I deviated from the original recipe.  It called for 5 drops of clary sage but the group consensus was that the first batch was overwhelmingly one dimensional in the scent department.  I tweaked the amounts for the second batch and we were quite happy with batch two onward.

6. Stir a few times to evenly mix in the essential oils.

7. Prep your silicone mold – make sure it’s completely dry.  Another fun discovery during the early batches was that even the tiniest drop of water will mess up your shape.  The good news is that you can toss the bad ones back into the bowl if you’re making multiple batches to be melted down and poured out again.

8. Carefully remove the upper bowl (it’s really hot!) and pour the mixture into the mold.  It’s really easy to over-pour so go slowly. One batch fills about 2 candy molds.  If you only have 1 mold (like me), you can return the bowl to the stove on the lowest heat level possible.

Full Mold

9. Put the mold into the fridge to set up.  It takes about 10-15 minutes to set.

10. After the lotion bars have setup, remove them from the mold.  They should slip out easily.  Pour out the remainder of your mixture from the stove if you are using 1 mold and refrigerate again.

11. YAY!  Now you have wonderful smelling lotion bars!  You can store them in a small tin in your purse, give them out to friends, etc.

Calming Lotion Stars by Julie at Build, Sew, Reap

Overall, this ended up being a relatively easy recipe for such an awesome reward (I’ve bought many high quality, organic lotions bars over the years and they ain’t cheap).  In the beginning, I struggled mightily and almost gave up but I’m glad I stuck with it.  The first batch took about an hour from beginning to end – about thirty minutes of that being just figuring out how much of each ingredient was needed and scraping together supplies in a Canadian rental house kitchen (took us about 10 minutes to work through what to use to stir so that we didn’t ruin any of the owner’s utensils and behold the aluminum coated handle of a spatula was born).  All subsequent batches took about 10-15 active minutes and 10-15 additional minutes in the fridge.

Calming Lotion Bars by Julie @ build, sew, reap 

Happy crafting everyone!

Thank you for reading,

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...