Friday, January 23, 2015

Mashed Cauliflower with Cheddar Cheese


I am such a potato lover! That's been another tough part about doing a low carb diet. I have a hard time coming up with side dishes that aren't noodles or potatoes. I've seen several recipes for mashed cauliflower, and I've even eaten it before, but I had never made it myself. 

First, I removed all the leaves and as many stems as I could from the cauliflower. I cooked it in 4 cups of water with 4 chicken bullion cubes. 


Bring to a boil, and cook for 8 minutes or until tender. Drain. At this point, I transferred the cauliflower to another bowl to blend it, because I used my immersion blender (my very favorite kitchen tool), and I didn't want to scratch my nonstick pot. You could also use a blender or a food processor. Blend the cauliflower into a silky smooth purée. 


I returned it to the pot and added some milk, butter, seasonings to taste (I used garlic powder, salt, and pepper), and a handful of shredded cheese. Combine until the cheese and butter have melted. 


Technically, you could be done at this point... Or you could add bacon bits and sour cream, put it in a casserole dish, top it with cheese, and broil it until the cheese makes a nice golden top :) 


My husband didn't really care for the dish, but my brother, my sweet P, and I all loved it, each of us having seconds. I was thrilled that P loved it. It's such a healthy dish, and she doesn't like many vegetables. It looks like I'll be making this often in the future!

I have an idea in mind for the leftovers, so keep an eye out for that!

Enjoy!
 







Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Baked Cheese with Sour cream and onion dip


So one of my students had a birthday today. We made brownies and served chips and dip. The brownies weren't such a temptation- they contained nuts, which I hate. However, having to pour out potato chips and dollop chip dip onto plates nearly killed me. Salty snacks are my biggest weakness. 

That's why when I came home, I had some of my own- a low carb version, that is. 


All I did was cut three slices of Colby jack cheese made with 2% in half and placed them spread apart on parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 (longer bake = crispier chip). 


Allow to cool on the pan, then transfer to a paper towel to blot the oil. 

For the dip, I mixed a tablespoon of mayo with a tablespoon of sour cream. Add onion powder and salt to taste. 

Remember- each "chip" is really a slice of cheese, so you don't want to eat a whole bunch of them. Luckily, they are pretty rich, so I was satisfied after six. They really hit the spot and gave me the flavor and crunch I was looking for without blowing my carb count for the day. 





Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Spinach, bacon, and feta stuffed mushrooms


I made these tonight to accompany zucchini "spaghetti" that my friend made. Note to self: get a SPIRALIZER!! Anyway, these were amazing! My husband, who hates mushrooms, still loved the filling. It would be good rolled in a chicken breast as well, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's stick with one recipe at a time :)

Ingredients
20 mushrooms, stems removed
2 large handfuls of spinach
1/4 c bacon bits
1/2 c feta cheese crumbles
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Salt and pepper
Nutmeg

Directions
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon bits and spinach. Sprinkle with garlic powder. 


Heat until spinach has wilted. 


Pour into a bowl and add feta cheese, salt, pepper, and just a dash of nutmeg. Stir together. 


Spoon into mushroom caps. 


Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. 


Amazing!!






Thursday, January 15, 2015

Baked Zucchini Parmesan Rounds

Oh my word, y'all. 

Let me just say that this recipe happened completely by accident, as many of my best dishes do. I started out trying to make a Pinterest recipe, but about two steps in, I changed it. I just can't leave well-enough alone. And that can be a good thing. 

I started by grating 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (probably about 3/4 cup). 


To the zucchini, I added a cup and a half of fresh graded Parmesan, some salt and garlic powder, and maybe about an ounce or two of shredded mozzarella cheese (I had about an inch left in a two cup bag, so I just dumped it in). I added an egg and mixed it together by hand. 


Scoop out small amount of the zucchini mixture, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and flatten. 


Bake at 375 for 13 minutes. Switch to broil for two more minutes. 


Allow to cool on the pan for two minutes. They have a wonderful crisp on the outside with a warm, soft middle. These would be perfect to use as crackers for a dip or even as the crust for tiny, bite-sized pizzas... 

The real test was presenting one to my husband, who is not going low-carb with me. I gave him one to eat and watched as he took a rather tentative bite. 

His brow furrowed for a moment, and then his eyes got big. "This is amazing! What is this?"

"Zucchini, honey. It's zucchini."






Buffalo Chicken with Parmesan Roasted Zucchini Fries



Sticking to my low-carb diet has been not nearly as much of a struggle as I thought it would be.  That is partly due to delicious recipes like this one!

Buffalo Chicken

Ingredients:
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts- pounded to about 1/2" thick
Wing sauce (carb free)
Colby jack cheese slices (one for each piece of chicken)
Salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder (I never measure these; just add a good sprinkling)
Olive oil

Directions:
Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Season both sides of the chicken with seasonings.  Place chicken in skillet and cover with about 1 tbsp of wing sauce. Turn chicken to coat both sides.  Cook for a few minutes on each side until chicken is cooked through. Place one slice of colby jack cheese on the chicken and cover the skillet until the cheese melts.

Parmesan Roasted Zucchini Fries

Ingredients:
One long zucchini (each zucchini makes sixteen fries)
Olive oil
Salt
Garlic powder
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Cut zucchini into long quarters.  Cut each quarter in half going down the length of the zucchini. Cut each long piece in half across the middle.  Place the zucchini wedges on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, garlic powder, and Parmesan.  Bake for 20 minutes.

I also made a dipping sauce that tasted amazing with both the zucchini and the chicken.  I used mayo for my base (carb free!), and I mixed in ranch-flavored seasoning (also carb free!). The ranch seasoning is actually a popcorn seasoning by Kernel Seasons.  It satisfied my need for a ranch fix without all the guilt!





Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Inspiration for Decorating a Hallway: Guest Post from Jane Blanchard with Modernize.com

My husband and I have been working hard trying to transform our 60s house into a home that reflects our style.  One of the biggest eyesores is our hallway.  It is super narrow and filled with closets and doorways.  The switch for the attic fan, two light switches, and the thermostat take up what little wall space is actually available.  That's why I was so excited when Modernize.com contacted me. They have some fantastic ideas for sprucing up forgotten spaces.    

Inspiration for Decorating a Hallway
By Jane Blanchard

Hallways are difficult spaces to decorate. Most of them are narrow, and it's often a nightmare to coordinate them with the rest of the house. However, there are some lesser known ways hallways can become inspiration for design in the home. Changing the hallway from boring to fantastic simply relies on the limits of your personality. The small space can be changed with seemingly minor touch-up pieces.

Use symmetry to your advantage





The symmetrical lines from door trim and baseboard molding can be an advantage when creating depth. Contrasting trim and wall colors brighten up a room. Use opposing colors for wall pictures as well to create visual interest. Consider using natural plants and natural elements throughout to help balance out the symmetry to give it a softer feel.

Change up the lighting




Via Houzz

Hallways typically rely on overhead lighting and a small amount of natural light for illumination. Changing out the overhead lighting can be a dramatic change to an otherwise boring and narrow room. Traditional hallway lights are usually plain and cast light in a small area. Installing a flush mount chandelier or a series of small semi-flush lights can add the illusion of grandeur in the space. Can lights work well in wider hallways to give the space the feel of a separate room.

Showcase your personality using simple wall elements



 


Step outside the norm and replace those common walls of picture frames with more unique pieces of art. Narrow floating shelves can hold small trinkets in medium width hallways without becoming too obtrusive. Floating shelves can usually be made of many materials with a standard French cleat hanging system or track.

Wallpaper is another feature that has come a long way. Prepasted paper comes in a variety of colors and patterns that's fairly easy to remove down the road without damaging the wall. You can also consider sites that can copy your own design into a wall mural or decal design for an even quicker wall pattern.

Give it function





Although hallways have an inherent function of directing traffic from one end of the house to another, there are additional untapped functions available. Attaching built-ins to the wall or various hooks can make the hallway a gateway between the entrance and another part of the home. Wider hallways should include built-ins that are continuous with the baseboard molding. For example, a built in bookshelf can be a great way to store artwork as well as highlight the collection of books in the home as guests enter.


Check out Modernize for more home design inspiration and ideas.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A response to that seizure-inducing article attacking Essential Oils


I know everyone has seen the article talking about how EOS cause seizures in kids. I recently recieved some samples from a Young Living Essential Oil distributor, friend, and fellow mommy. 

Then I saw the article. Knowing she would never do anything to put her child in danger, I immediately messaged her with questions about it. This is what she sent me:

Here is the response from my up-line. It's super long, but very informative. ��

There is an article circulating the Internet regarding essential oils causing seizures and supposed inappropriate use of EOs in children that was written by a naturopath. (Please don't Google this article as that boosts her article and further supports her agenda.)

These types of articles are nothing new as there have been others like them in the past 8+ years I have been in YL, and I am sure there will be others. 

I have responded several times over the years to things like this, and after Jessica Gianelloni messaged me about this article, I shared my response to her. 

Jessica is a PHENOMENAL researcher and writer and wrote her own post refuting the article. 

So I am passing along her post that includes some of what I sent her at the end. 

Thank you, Jessica, for being so thorough... a researcher after my own heart! ��


Jessica writes:

"In Regards to Article Circulatating the Internet.....

It’s unfortunate that I (Jessica Gianelloni) have to take the time to refute such an unfortunate article that is circulating the internet. But misinformation will always circulate, and it’s important that we be equipped with knowledge and truth. While there is so much to say on the absolute safety and purity of Young Living's THERAPEUTIC GRADE ESSENTIAL OILS, I'm going to focus on pointing out why articles like this cannot be trusted. And how they are based on hidden agendas and unnecessary scare tactics.

The title of the article: When to NOT use essential oils (Essential oils can cause seizures in kids)

The author of the article states: 
“There have been several documented cases of seizures in children (and a few in adults) who have taken essential oils inappropriately”

The article then links to 4 published studies. Remember this ENTIRE article (starting with the title) is based on these 4 published studies. That’s it.

So let’s break down these 4 studies:

Study #1: 2 cases of seizures reported after accidental exposure to sage oil. Both patients experienced good outcomes. Both children were epileptic. No brand was specified.

Study #2: An epileptic seizure was reported in a 38-year-old woman, known to bean epileptic patient after “eating number of cakes containing an unknown quantity of fennel essential oil”. No brand was specified.

Study #3: One case was reported in a patient with well-controlled epilepsy who experienced a breakthrough seizures. The age of the patient or the type of oil was not confirmed. No brand was specified.

Study #4: Two adults and one child suffered from an isolated seizure. The article did not share exactly what oils caused the seizure, but listed some oils that “literature” shows to be convulsants. However the literature was not provided in the study. No brand was specified.

So in the end, there are published studies on ONLY 3 children having seizures. 2 of the children were accidentally exposed to sage oil (not told how or why), but definitely did not “take the oils inappropriately” as the article suggested. Both of these children were epileptic and susceptible to seizures in the first place. The 3rd child did not specify as to what oil or how.

The 4 adults were also all epileptic.

Also, there is a huge difference in "accidental exposure" which is what took place in the case of the infant and the authors claims that cases of seizures in children who have "taken essential oils inappropriately"
So all of her "cases" she reports are in people who are already epileptic. The essential oils did not cause these people to become epileptic.

After the author shared these 4 studies, she then stated: 
“The bottom line is:essential oils can be neurotoxic to children”

Really, that’s the bottom line gathered from those 4 studies? Hmmmm…..

At this point, this author has lost all credibility in my opinion. 7 cases of epileptics (3 children) having seizures after using eo’s (brand not mentioned) and somehow this translates to “essential oils can be neurotoxic to children”.

She then goes on with 6 guidelines for using essential oils in kids. They were not guidelines. They were misinformed scare tactics. NONE of which provided any research or studies to back up the scare tactics. NONE. And at this point she has lost ALL credibility in her "claims".

Here are some facts:
-There are no clinical studies that prove that therapeutic essential oils CAUSE seizures in people who are NOT epileptic.
-There are no published studies on essential oil-induced asthma attacks.
-Respiratory issues CAN definitely be caused by synthetics. Most EOs are NOT pure, authentic essential oils. So I would expect some of her guidelines to be true for those types ofEO’s.
-Young Living essential oils cannot cause allergic reactions.

This author clearly has an agenda. In blogging world there is something called SEO =search engine optimization. This is how bloggers drive traffic to their site with this carefully selected topic. Title an article such as she did, then drive traffic to your site and then scare people about things like using clove oil to numb the gums for teething, and then link to something to purchase on amazon, that she is making money from: Lemon Balm - Lemon Flavor No AlcoholGlycerite Eclectic Institute 2 oz Liquid. Imagine how many people went and bought her Lemon Balm today. Genius.

*****Young Living Essential Oils have been safely used on pregnant women, babies, children, and adults for many, many years. There are over 13,000 published studies on essential oils.

A great resource to have on hand regarding this topic: “Gentle Babies: Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Childbirth, Infants and Young Children”

Combining two decades of professional knowledge with tried-and-true techniques and first-hand testimonials, author Debra Raybern has compiled this insightful and easy to follow guide, which is great for both experienced and first-time mothers. In addition, the book contains an introduction to Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oils and applications and provides safety information and a section on discerning the quality of essential oils. Every family taking proactive steps to better health should have this resource in their home library.

“This is the first and only book we recommend specifically for mothers and expectant women. Every family needs this book.” – Dr. David and Lee Stewart, authors of Safe Alternatives in Childbirth, Five Standards for Safe Childbearing, Healing Oils of the Bible and The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple.

Debra Raybern is a Naturopath through the Herbal Healer Academy with a Master Herbalist degree from TheSchool of Natural Healing, an Internationally Certified Aromatherapist,certified by the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, and a Certified NutritionalCounselor with the American Association of Nutritional Counselors. She writes,lectures and teaches on the safe and effective use of herbs, herbal preparation methods and therapeutic essential oils, as well as a variety of natural health topics.

If someone tells you to contact an Aromatherapist to understand oil safety for children, The Gentle Babies book (written by a Master Herbalist and Internationally Certified Aromatherapist) is a great place to start!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION THAT I WANT TO ADD ON THE CONCERN of oils for CHILDREN, specifically FOR CAMPHOR (GIVEN BY OUR UPLINE LEADER, CROWN DIAMON, SERA JOHNSON)

As far as the concern for camphor, ISOLATED camphor at 10% is used in Vicks Vapor rub which is used on millions of people including children in America (I am getting this info from Dr. David Stewart's book "The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple"). If camphor itself even caused seizures, then there would be a lot of reports of seizures after Vicks Vapor Rub use... especially with an isolated compound. And Rosemary has between 1-15% Camphor... but that's not all, because of the way that Young Living's Rosemary is distilled, it doesn't JUST have camphor in it, it has hundreds of other constituents in it as God designed in the plants. Many of these constituents balance one another so as to be safe to use.
A lot of the information out there on aromatherapy is based on British schooled aromatherapists who are used to essential oils of a quality that were originally produced for the perfume industry and then adopted into the world of aromatherapy. So these oils were NOT studied for their therapeutic uses and researched as they were grown, harvested and distilled for their optimal therapeutic uses. Yes, those essential oils for the perfume industry might have a few health benefits, but because their constituents may be off in percentages (not to mention that they may be cut with synthetics such as linolool), they WOULD have to be highly diluted and used in a VERY cautious way. So the British schooled aromatherapists such as Robert Tisserand (who has written a lot of info out there on aromatherapy) DO have reason to be so ultra cautious about the type of essential oils that they use, BUT they are not experts on the quality of essential oils such as our Young Living essential oils.

We ARE dealing with different essential oils, so I wouldn't hang my hat on his or other British aromatherapists concerns and cautions. I would, however, use common sense with using our Young Living essential oils and also do more accurate research based on research with our YLEOs. Dr. David Stewart's book "The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple" is a great book to learn any details of how the YLEOs work and what is in them. There is a great section in Chapter 10 on Ketones. He says, "British schooled aromatherapists are way of oils containing ketones and have many warnings and precautions about them based on studies of ISOLATED (emphasis mine) ketones administered in high doses to animals. While there may be some validity to their concern, for the most part their reluctance to use ketone-containing oils is unwarranted by actual experiences of people. Extreme dosages of any oil can be harmful. Extreme doses of any substance can be harmful, even lethal. Common sense appears to provide a sufficient degree of protection from any toxic reactions to therapeutic grade oils, even those with ketones..." and he goes on to talk about camphor and thujone. Plus, he mentions that the quality of oils in "studies" that people such as Tisserand talk about are not listed as either therapeutic or flavor grade (a lesser quality)... not to mention that many animal studies use uncommon amounts of oils which would translate into us drinking or using hundreds of ml of essential oil all at once, which none of us would ever even think of doing... let alone have the money to afford enough oil to use that much at once.

Epileptics take medications to suppress seizures. Would it be possible for an essential oil to bring something out in the epileptic as the bodies way of trying to fix something? Yes.

So common sense and general precautions can be adhered to especially in situations where a person fits the concern. For example, if a person is epileptic, then he or she may choose to adhere to those precautions listed in the EODR OR he/she may choose to just use a drop or two here and there to see how they personally do."

I advise everyone to do his or her own research when it comes to anything having to do with the health of a child. I have not ordered the essential oils yet, but when I do, I will "okay" everything with my sweet P's pediatrician. Safety is always number one, and the Young Living Company is working hard to be open and honest with everything concerning the safety of its product. That's one of the biggest reasons I am so drawn to them. And the fact that they just smell so good!

*This post is in NO WAY sponsored by the Young Living Essential Oils Company or its affiliates. It is simply one mom passing along researched information to another. Please talk to your own physician to find out what is best for you and your child.*