Infusing with Levo OIL - Review + Recipe
If you've hung out here for awhile, you know I love making my own Holiday gifts AND things that save me time and money. I'm a girl who loves a good deal! We've made a couple fun Holiday crafts on the site (see our Homemade Cookies in a Jar, Thanksgiving Centerpieces + 2-Ingredient Christmas Ornaments), but today we're talking about infusing your own oils at home, how to use them for yourself and friends, and the incredible new machine that helps you do it more easily than ever before. I'm obsessed!
When I first heard about the LEVO Oil machine I was totally intrigued; a machine that allowed you to create any custom infused oil, at home, with all the conveniences of a countertop coffee pod maker - but easier, cleaner, and sleeker than any other model on the market. Now maybe you're thinking "What kind of infusions could I possibly make?" And friends - the list is so, so long. As a yoga instructor I see value in this machine beyond food infusions, as a tool to help me create my own custom massage oils for practice and teaching. As someone with a love for cooking, I see unlimited infusion possibilities. Everything from garlic-infused olive oil and vanilla-infused vodka to cannabis-infused coconut oil and cinnamon-infused maple syrup. If you can cook with it, you can infuse it! The machine uses controlled heat and time are used to transfer the flavor, scent, color, and nutrients from a variety of ingredients into the carrier of your choice. The possibilities are nearly endless!
If you've done your own infusions before, you know that process is often time consuming, messy, and often fills your house with whatever smell you're cooking with for DAYS - which can sometimes be fine (think vanilla) and can sometimes be a problem (think marijuana). The old method often involved using a crock pot to keep a low, constant heat for hours or days until the desired infusion was reached. It took too long and was inconsistent. Plus, you had to have a crock pot! Then you were stuck making large batches just to make all of the work worth it, and you still had to strain the cloves or flowers or herbs from your oil once you were done. With the LEVO, it couldn't be easier! When you pull the machine from the box one of the first things you'll notice is just how sleek and counter-friendly the design of this machine is. It's no bigger than your standard Keurig, with a digital, touch-responsive keypad for adjusting everything from the power and lock buttons to the time and temperature of your infusion. The parts are all easily removed and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, which is always a plus. The machine comes with a a small pod for fitting your infusing item - flower, herb, nut, fruit or root - and a small herb press for packing the herb (what we used) into the pod. Since their release, LEVO has since released a larger, double-sized pod for heavier infusions and a silicon pod press for pressing the last of the oil from your pod post-infusion (both items available on their website).
We've used the LEVO several times now, and the process is incredibly simple. Simply pack the metal mesh pod with your herb of choice - we used marijuana for the infusion in these photos. How much will depend on your personal preference, but for this particular infusion we used 2 grams of Utopia Farms C. Banana Strain Cannabis Flowers infused into 1 cup of Primal Kitchen Extra Virgin Avocado Oil. The flowers contain about 25%-30% THC. This combination means that for every tablespoon of oil, there should be about 36 mg of THC. Good to know if you're dosing! If you're using something like garlic or lavender flowers to infuse, it becomes more about how potent you want the flavor and smell to be and less about dosage.
Figuring out how long and how hot to infuse for can be tricky. Luckily LEVO has an incredible calculator right on their website, so it was easy for me to figure out that our infusion should be set at about 180-200 degrees F for about 2.5 hours. They have clickable options for all kinds of infusion situations, so you should be able to find the setting you need. After that it's easy peasy! Simply pack your pod, place it inside the oil reservoir - its magnetized! - and then pour in your oil or base. Close the lid, and use the keypad to lock the machine and choose the length and temperature of the infusion. Then wait! When the infusion is finished, simply dispense your infusion into a sealable container like a glass jar. Remove the used parts and throw them in the dishwasher. That's it!
LEVO Oil has made the infusion process one of ease, and this chef totally approves. I can see endless possibilities for what we'll make with the LEVO, and have plans for lots of homemade Holiday gifts using the machine. We love the people behind the company, who very much believe in knowing what you're putting into your body and supporting consumers so that they can be self-sufficient and successful. Interested in how you can play with the LEVO Oil? Check out their website for more info + to shop their NEW colors! And don't forget - use code GOODSAINT to get $10 off your LEVO infuser!
Want to learn more about cooking with infused oils? Click the link below to download a simple Thanksgiving recipe that'll have you celebrating Danksgiving, instead! (Don't worry - it's a very small dose. And if you like, you can always just make the most delicious garlic-infused butter or ghee instead.) Happy Thanksgiving!
Top 5 Vegan Finds at the 2017 Cannabis Cup!
Alex and I had the pleasure of attending our very first Southern California Cannabis Cup last weekend at the San Bernardino fairgrounds and had a total blast. We really didn't know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised when, after following respected magazine account High Times on instagram, we saw that tickets were reasonably priced. So we bought them! We arrived in the afternoon (the event went 3 pm to 11 pm) and got checked in pretty easily, barely bag searched, and sent in to get wristbands. Anyone could get in with a ticket, but to get into the sampling + smoking section, you had to have proof of your medical rec on you. After getting into the inner sanctum (and the sampling tents!) we started seeing similarities between this event and something like Expo West. It's basically the same idea - an expo of all the growers, sellers, and products hitting the market in one place, for people who consider themselves connoisseurs. There was everything from flower and bud to smoke, to crumble and shatter to dab, to edibles from every corner of the stoner culinary world - including some really great vegan ones! We scoured the show, taking the occasional dab and sucking down CBD water to stay hydrated, looking for the very best, newest vegan, GF, and better for you edibles at the show and found some really great ones. Scroll down for my list of the best in show - you may find yourself a new must-have treat!
1. Mary Jane Juice Co. Fresh-pressed Juices + Nut Milks
We found the Mary Jane Juice Co. nearly last at the show (pictured above 👆), but we're so glad we did! They had a sampling of at least 6 flavors at the show, but these two were the stand-outs for us; the 100 mg Vanilla Almond Milk and the 200 mg Ancient Healing Tea. They're both low-sugar, vegan, and totally raw, plus each packs a hearty cannabis punch to help sure whatever's ailing ya! The milk, smaller in dosage size, was $10 and the tea was $20, but it would also be more than one serving for most people. These drinks are packed with good-for-you-ingredients so you can reap the pain relief benefits of the drink along with the inherent nutritive value of the drink itself. They're guilt-free, great on the go, and taste great - no weird marijuana aftertaste. Find more info on their Instagram!
2. Cheef Naturals Chews + Super Fruit Bars
Okay guys, all terrible branding and racism aside (the name Cheef and their branding at the show -- white girls dressed as Native Americans -- realllllly needs to be reconsidered) these edibles are really phenomenal. They're one of the only edibles I've seen on the market with a focus on being super, super healthy. I'd tried their super fruit bars before and loved how they tasted like a raw, flax-y granola bar. The high was great too, but it just felt so nice to eat an edible that aligned with how I eat the rest of the time. The coconut caramel chews are a new product, very similar in texture to Cocomels, but infused with marijuana. And packing a hearty THC punch with 5 doses (100 mg) per chew! Find more on their products here.
3. Half Lit 25 mg THC Pops
These pops just get cooler and cooler! Not only do they taste great, pack a solid little punch, and are made with organic ingredients, but when you finish this pop you can recycle the stick by PLANTING it! It contains cannabis seeds, so when planted and watered will turn your trash into a big, beautiful plant. I love this idea! Such a clever way to cut waste and encourage recycling. Just make sure that if you plant the stick, you live in an area where you won't get in trouble if you get caught. Be smart friends. (Here in CA we are allowed to keep plants, but please check your laws before you plant anything! Duh. 😝) We picked up a pineapple and watermelon pop for later, and hope to start seeing these at more of our local dispensaries soon! Find out more about them here.
4. Zendo Infused Peanut Butter
This was one of my favorite product from the show, and maybe the one I'm most excited about for other people to try. It's literally just an infused peanut butter, which each packet 1 oz packet containing a 50 mg serving of THC (hybrid strains). It's the perfect healthy snack, literally containing just all natural raw peanuts and cannabis. With no added sugar or weird ingredients, this edible is perfect for people looking to stick to a specific diet or who have to eat healthfully because they're not well. Plus, it packs a great punch of protein! (If you have to do chemo and can't get a lot of food down, this may be a great option as well.) This same company also makes a similar single serving packet of coconut oil, perfect for eating raw or cooking with. I can't wait to slather this stuff all over my morning toast, add it to my smoothie, and make a soba noodle salad using this for the peanut sauce. It's so versatile! Find more at ZendoEdibles.com.
5. Cali Gold Genetics Cannabis Infused Body Butter
This booth caught our attention as we were walking by because they were one of the few advertising as a VEGAN product - which we loved, and of course stopped to check out. These body butters are made with quality, moisturizing ingredients like cupuacu butter, kokum butter, cannabis infused coconut and olive oils and vanilla infused jojoba oil, and rubs on super thick and emollient, but not greasy. There are 4 different types, all designed to alleviate pain, inflammation and irritation and to protect and nourish your skin. It's amazing stuff! I actually talked to the woman at the booth for awhile about my psoriasis and she explained that she actually started making these salves as an alternative to medicated psoriasis creams for her boyfriend. I've started using it on my psoriasis on my thighs and have been loving the results - super moisturized and no flaking! Find more about their salves other website here.
5 BEST Vegan Medicated Edibles!
About 4 months ago I officially came out of the GREEN CLOSET with my review of Dr. Raw, a Medicated Edibles company that makes a bunch of great, vegan options. This post, like that one, will quickly become one of those 'if you don't know, now you know' posts. For some of you, it'll be more like uhm, duh! If you know me personally, it's probably the latter. Before I totally shock you with my grand exit from the green closet, let me just remind you that this is my choice. You can make yours. I am very pro-choice, and I want to offer these reviews both for people who may medically need the products and would like an honest review before they try 'em, and because medical marijuana is now legal is 28 states and DC and frankly, it seems like everybody's enjoying it. One more quick note - this is very much a safe space for questions and discussion, but no hate. I'm happy to indulge curiosity but never douchebaggery. If you're more comfortable asking me privately, please feel free to email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do whatever I can to help you and/or answer your questions.
Now, if you're new to the edibles game or you're just looking for more information, let me tell you that I've tried 'em all. Well, just about. I have a great relationship with marijuana and use if often for pain relief, so I'm always trying new products to see what the best options are. Lucky for me, I live in Southern California - where there are no shortage of dispensaries to buy what you need in a safe, healthy environment, much like a doctors office. I've narrowed it down to what I consider the 5 BEST Vegan Medicated Edibles on the market right now! They may only be available in Southern California (or another weed-friendly state like Washington or Colorado), but it's always good to know what to keep an eye out for, and it's fun to see the latest stuff on the market! Now - here's where we get real: I'm surely not promoting drug use for people who shouldn't be using, but I'm also not here to judge friends. You do you. That said, a few notes before we move on.
1. KNOW YOUR DOSAGE. Start small. Most people should start with a 5-10 mg dose of THC and see where that takes them. For many, that'll be plenty. I personally have a tolerance that allows me to take something more along the lines of 50-60 mg of THC to feel really "high". Work your way to that point. Weed won't kill you, but a bad trip is a bad trip, man.
2. Know what you're eating! THC and CBD are different types of cannabinoids. THC is the one that'll make you feel 'high' - spacey, munch, maybe a little paranoid. CBD is all about pain relief, and won't actually get you 'high' at all. This is the most common type used in things like balms and lotions, specifically targeted for topical use.
3. Once you start talking THC, there are two main types within that category to be aware of; first, Indica, the strain type that will make you feel sleepier, hungrier, lazier. Great for movie nights, help with sleep, relaxing, looking generally 'stoned' - haha, and by that, I just mean melting into the couch with red eyes. Second is Sativa, most people's daytime go-to and the strain that gives you more of a get up and go feeling after using. Most people who actively smoke or ingest marijuana would probably say this one is the more 'productive' of the two, as it usually gives you energy and motivation - the opposite of indica in that way.
4. Don't be an idiot, follow the law. I mean, I won't tattle but you're also totally on your own if you fuck up, kids.
Okay, I think that's it! For more background on why I use marijuana, you should start with our review of Dr. Raw's Edibles. Otherwise, read on to find my Top 5 Favorite Vegan Marijuana Edibles. Happy eating friends!
1. Dr. Raw Organics Candy Hearts
I knew I was going to love Dr. Raw Organics from the second I saw their booth at the Women Grow convention I went to in LA. It was a small event, and their smiling faces and yummy-looking candies, labeled VEGAN, immediately caught my attention! I'm so glad I found them. They make a range of products, but these cute, simple candy hearts are probably my favorite. They're such a simple, discreet way to get your needed dose, and they taste delicious! Plus, if you smoke or have a cold and get a scratchy throat, they give perfect relief - plus a slight numbing of your sore throat. Their hearts come in two dosage sizes, one a little more CBD focused, which is perfect for starting slow and working up to a bigger dose as needed. They have a range of baked goods, including a few vegan ones, and also have yummy low sugar, raw Date Balls - which is an especially great option if you're health conscious or using marijuana for the health benefits. See all their products and use their product locator here.
Potency: 100 mg THC | 5 mg CBD (LEFT) 50 mg THC | 50 mg CBD (RIGHT)
2. Utopia Farms Medicated Macaroons
Also at the convention, these guys are coming out with more vegan products everyday. I tasted some of their stuff to come at the show - including soft and hard vegan caramels - and was blown away. I haven't seen any of that stuff in my local dispensaries yet but I do keep seeing (and loving!) their macaroons. They have them in at least 2 flavors - vanilla and raspberry - and they both taste great. Most edibles will taste and smell at least reminiscent of marijuana, but these macaroons are really on the low end there. They certainly don't look like what most people think an edible looks like either. These are the perfect dosage size for me - about 50 mg per - but if you're just starting out, I'd recommend trying a half or less to start. Love that these are raw, gluten-free and vegan, the perfect option for health-conscious eaters and people looking to keep their habit as healthy as possible. Also, if you are using marijuana for wellness, chances are you're avoiding extra sugar anyway - these are the best option I've found without going homemade. You can find info about Utopia Farms and check out their product locator here.
Potency: 200 mg THC (50 mg per macaroon)
3. KIVA Tangerine Dark Chocolate Bar
An oldie but a goodie, these bars are one of the first I ever found when I started exploring dispensaries. I actually tried this tangerine-infused chocolate for the first time in San Jose and totally fell in love with how incredibly not like an edible this bar was. The tangerine really helps to mask the marijuana scent and taste in the bar, which makes it easy to eat. Be careful! This is where edibles sneak up on you. It tastes so good you just keep eating and before you know it, you've overdone it! (If that ever DOES happen, drink a big glass of water and go to bed. You'll be fine.) KIVA is a great company, known for their innovative, high-quality products. Their bars are consistent and they offer 5 flavors that are vegan, not including their new mints and chocolate-covered coffee beans. If you're a connoisseur, this bar brings the taste and the solid dose you're looking for to be impressed. Worth picking up if you see one, for sure. The dosage squares are a little large, start small. Find all their product info and locator here.
Potency: 180 mg THC per bar
4. Korova Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar
Korova makes the best TASTING edible for sure. Like a vegan millionaire bar, this bar is three layers of goodness starting with a cookie crust, filled with a crunchy peanut layer and topped with a smooth, fudgy layer of chocolate. It is TOO GOOD. And another one where you can go overboard if you're not careful! Luckily, they keep this bar vegan, gluten-free, AND low sugar, so no guilt if you go a litttttle overboard. Oh, and this edible is totally ORGANIC! Not something most companies seem to strive for, so it's definitely nice to see. I've also had very pleasant, though sleepy, highs with this bar.Also, their logo is so wacky and wonderful - I love it! Find more about their products and where to find them here.
Potency: 300 mg THC | >36 mg CBD per bar
5. 420 Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Bar
This is gourmet dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt - an edible for the adult with a refined palette. Made from 61% cacao, this bar is just the right amount of salty sweet and is broken up into convenient serving-sized squares. It does have a bit more of the marijuana scent and flavor than some of the other edibles, but it's parent company VCC Foods is known for making consistent, high quality edibles and this bar won't disappoint. I took about a third of this bar before a red eye, overnight flight to the East Coast and was happy to fall asleep promptly and sleep soundly until I landed comfortable in Boston. They even make this bar in 3 different flavors, if you like it. For more on their products and where to find them, head here.
Potency: 180mg THC | ≤ 10mg CBD per bar
Dr. Raw Organics - Medicated Edibles Review
Okay, guys. This will quickly become one of those 'if you don't know, now you know' posts for a lot of you. And for some of you, it'll be more like uhm, duh! If you know me personally, it's probably the latter. Before I totally shock you with my grand exit from the green closet, let me just remind you that this is my choice. You can make yours. I am very pro-choice, and I want to offer these reviews both for people who may medically need the products and would like an honest review before they try 'em, and because medical marijuana is now legal is 28 states and DC and frankly, it seems like everybody's enjoying it. One more quick note - this is very much a safe space for questions and discussion, but no hate. I'm happy to indulge curiosity but never douchebaggery.
That said, I live in California, which was well known for it's Emerald Triangle long before last month's election. Weed, mary jane, marijuana cigarettes - whatever you call them, it's very available and widely accepted here. I've had my medical marijuana card for years to help with hunger and essentially help to break my battle with eating disorders. Seriously - it helped me calm down and get hungry enough to stop worrying, which is what I really needed to ultimately overcome my consistent binge/purge/starve cycle. While I will always stuggle with it, it's been a solid 6 years since I 've felt those really awfuly urges in full swing. And that is amazing for me.
If you're still reading, you're probably at least curious about self-healing with and exploration of marijuana. And I'm so glad, because it is such a great, natural alternative to prescritpion medications. (Obviously check wih a doctor before trying anything new!)
Besides increasing my hunger and appetite, marijuana helps me sleep more deeply, deal with aches, pains + PMS, and regulates my stress levels. I'm a big fan, but also understand that for many, including myself, smoking simply isn't the best or easiest option. Luckily, with states legalizing left and right, producers have gotten more creative with how to deliver to medicine to your system. Nope, you no longer have to smoke a joing or take a hit off a germy, passed-around water pipe to feel it, friends. You can eat, sip, suck, swallow and rub it on, instead! That sounded really innapropriate, but seriously - you can medicate just by sucking on a hard candy!
When I attended the Women GROW Conference in LA last month, I was lucky enough to meet (in-person!) several companies that are pioneering healthier, easier to enjoy edibles. Most companies are still making sugar-packed sweets like brownies, gummies, and cookies - so if you're actually very sick or simply are avoiding sugar, gluten or dairy, it can be tricky to find edibles that you know you will enjoy and that would leave you in a sugar crash three hours later. When I first met the folks at the Dr. Raw booth I was immediately interested. I could see right on the packaging that they were offering up some totally vegan, soy-free, gluten-free products -and even some that were sugar-free, too!
Dr. Raw Organics is based in Southern California and makes a range of products - both THC-based (the part of marijuana that makes you feel mentally stimlated - i.e. 'high'), and CBD-based (the part of the plant that is for purely pain relief. You'll get NO high from this.), so they have something for everyone. Their team of herbalists has been handcrafting organic, non-GMO edibles for over a decade, and they always potency test for consistent results you can trust. They make their own tinctures, balms, oils, hard candies and range of baked goods (not ALL are vegan), which you can peruse on their website. At the conference, they were whipping up fresh hard candies, and I immediatey loved how simple and yummy they were. Because they contain both THC + CBD, they offer more a hard-hitting pain relief. I have a pretty high tolerance - I usually ingest about 50 mg~ when I want to get 'high' or feel some serious pain relief. These hard candies start in 10 mg portions, so you can start small and without messing your entire day up. Of course, as with any new medication, prepare to be home the first day so you can see how your body reacts. Better safe than asleep on your desk at work!
I ended up getting a little care package sent to me from them later, since I was so in love with all of their vegan options! We've found some great vegan things at dispensaries before, but usually they're full of crappy ingredients, so I was so so happy to open it and find all of the goodies pictured here. We're tried the candy hearts, in multiple dosages, the 1:1 balm, and the raw bites. The 1:1 balm is a cocoa butter topical analgesic, great for aches and pains. It works much like arnica to help soothe the tender area and provide relief, and I love it for my sore neck, after yoga, and on any place that just feels not good - I slathered it all over my cracked fingers after my trip to Maine and it worked wonders - plus it smelled great!
The raw balls are a great option for more pain or in a case where you can really relax. They contain 50mg of THC per ball, so most people should start with half a ball or less. I can pop a whole one, but it definitely leaves me feeling sleepy and verrrrrry relaxed about 2 hours later. They are made with organic, gluten-free steel-cut oats, infused coconut oil, ground peanuts, cocoa powder, flax-seed, cinnamon and a touch of agave nectar. The small portion size gives you the perfect indulgence you crave, with just the right amount of medicine.
The butterscotch-flavored candy hearts are my favorite. So easy to just pop one in your mouth and very discreetly medicate! They are made using seasonal, certified organic fruit and veggie based flavorings and colorings, plus they come in two dosgae sizes. Each regular Candy Heart contains 10mg THC and 1mg CBD and there are 10 Hearts in a package – so 100mg total. Each 1:1 Candy Heart contains the perfect dose of 5mg CBD and 5mg THC, also containing the 100mg total as well.
Whether you're just getting interested in the medical cannabis industry or you just really love edibles, I highly recommend searching these guys out. They have a convenient product locator on their website and offer free samples to curious consumers. Dr. Raw Organics are offering some of the highest quality, certified tested products out there right now, and we love supporting a company like that. Visit them + get more info at DrRawOrganics.com and on their IG at @Dr.RawOrganics!