Gluten Free Berry Granola

GranolaWe have been incorporating Greek yogurt into our diets, and it has been a great healthy snack option.  Many people who are lactose intolerant (that includes me) steer clear of yogurt because the lactose component usually causes many digestive issues.  I am pleased to say that I don’t have that issue with Greek yogurt, because the yogurt is heavily strained to remove liquid whey and lactose.  However, I noticed that many of the “fruit” flavored yogurts included a high amount of sugar, so I began to look for alternatives to add flavor to plain Greek yogurt.

My husband began adding gluten free granola to his yogurt, and loved the added crunch and flavor.  Even though the granola was a tasty solution, it is……well………very expensive.  Naturally, I welcomed the challenge to create my own gluten-free granola recipe.  You can add whatever you want when you create your own granola, so I added healthy options such as pumpkin seeds, chai seeds, nuts and dried berries.  Stick to the original recipe or have fun creating your own variation of this recipe.

Gluten Free Berry Granola

2 cups gluten free whole rolled oats
1/2 cup raw almonds, sliced
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened dried berries, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp. Young Living Blue Agave
2 tbsp. virgin coconut oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pinch fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. chai seeds

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.  Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until very lightly toasted.  Cool before serving or storing.

*This is a gluten-free recipe

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Chipotle Mayonnaise

Chipotle MayoAs much as I absolutely love nature, the beauty of trees, the lush green grass, and brilliant flowers blooming, they occasionally do a number on my allergies.  Chipotle peppers open up your respiratory system and get you breathing again.  So I created this spread for some turkey burgers that I made.  This recipe would also work well as a dip for vegetables.  I came across a recipe for baked zucchini spears, which sound delicious (I will have to try this soon). This recipe is very versatile and would even work well as a dip with meatball appetizers.

The benefits of chipotle peppers go beyond respiratory relief.  Chipotle peppers contain components that may prevent certain types of cancer, aid in weight loss and keep your digestive track healthy.  They also contain capsaicin, which is a wonderful nutrient to get your circulation working. Grab a few of these smoky flavored jalapenos and get creative in the kitchen!

Chipotle Mayo

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tsp. adobo sauce
1 spoon swirl lime essential oil
1 clove garlic, chopped

Blend together in a food processor or blender.

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Lemon Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted ChickpeasNot only do I think Chickpeas have a fun name (also called garbanzo beans), but these little guys can be made into a crunchy, healthy snack.  I am always on the lookout for delicious and creative protein packed snacks.  The roasted chickpeas can easily be made while you are doing other things around the house, and I’m always looking for ways to multi-task to get a lot accomplished.  The flavor of the lemon essential oil adds a nice zip.

Chickpeas belong to the legume family, and aside from a great protein and fiber source, they carry manganese, a mineral that produces energy.  Lemon essential oil also promotes energy so the two together provide a great pick me up snack.  They are also heart healthy, due to the folate and magnesium, and help stabilize blood sugar levels. When something this good for you, and super easy to make come together, it is sure to turn up again at our home.

Lemon Parmesan Roasted Chickpeas

2 cups canned Chickpeas, drained
1 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 drop lemon essential oil
1/8 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Dash of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Drain the chickpeas and pat dry.  Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until crunchy.  Combine all other ingredients into a bowl, and toss the roasted chickpeas together as soon as they come out of the oven.

*This recipe is gluten-free and South Beach diet friendly

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Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Grilled AsparagusAsparagus is by far one of my favorite vegetables. Asparagus is packed with health benefits, and being high in cancer fighting antioxidants, it touts the ability to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Also a great source of fiber and natural diuretic, these little “vegetable spears” provide a great combination to help eliminate toxins from the body. Black pepper essential oil also aids in digestion, so it works in tandem with helping the asparagus remove toxins from the body.

Asparagus provides a good dose of vitamins A, C, and E and K. Chromium, a trace mineral, is found in asparagus as well. Chromium is documented to help transport glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, which would assist in stabilizing insulin levels (good news for diabetics).

Any way you cook them, they are tasty, nutritious and worth every crunchy bite!

Grilled Asparagus with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

1 bunch asparagus
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 spoon swirl black pepper essential oil
Sea salt to taste

1. Wash the asparagus, cut the ends off and place them in a large bowl. Preheat the grill.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over the asparagus and toss until well-coated.

3. Lay the asparagus spears on the grill crosswise over a medium flame. Grill for about 5 minutes, turning often to prevent them from burning. Grilling times will depend somewhat on the size of the asparagus.

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Zucchini Pepper Pancakes {Gluten-Free}

Zucchini Pepper PancakesThese zucchini pepper pancakes make a great side dish, and could be quartered and served as an appetizer.  Zucchinis are rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and calcium/magnesium which help to prevent high blood pressure and other heart related issues.  You can make these pancakes with regular flour, but since one of my family members suffers from Celiac Disease, I am always on the lookout for gluten-free options.  Rule of thumb, if you have a recipe where flour is not the main ingredient, it is easy to switch over to a gluten-free flour.  Baking is a different story, but that’s for another day.

I only used a spoon swirl of black pepper essential oil, since I didn’t want to overpower the other delicious ingredients.  Black pepper essential oil is known to support digestive health, increase energy and aid in healing respiratory problems. Since I had parmesan cheese on hand, it worked well with this dish, but I may try it again using Feta or Romano cheese.  Topping with sour cream is optional, but adds a mellow taste to the pancakes.  You could add a snip of fresh herb to the sour cream as well.

Zucchini Pepper Pancakes {Gluten-Free}

5 medium zucchini
3/4 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
4 eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. green onion, finely chopped
1 spoon swirl black pepper essential oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Trim and grate the zucchini. Squeeze the excess liquid from the zucchini and pat with a paper towel.  It is important to remove as much excess liquid as possible.

2. Beat the eggs and garlic together.  Stir in the flour, cheese, onions and black pepper essential oil.

3. Pour a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a griddle or skillet until it thinly coats the bottom of the skillet.

4. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes on each side, or until the pancake is golden brown.  Serve with sour cream (optional)

*This recipe is gluten-free friendly

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Ginger Snap Smoothie

Ginger Snap Smoothie
Ginger Snap Smoothie

Juicing has amazing benefits for your health.  The process of juicing and essential oils do have something in common. They both use concentrated forms of nutrients to provide the ultimate healing benefit.  I like to think of them together as the Healing Power Twins.  I created this recipe to specifically target inflammation in the body.  When your body is at a proper PH level, your natural defenses will have the ability to fight against inflammation, diseases and viral infections.  For example, diseases such as cancer and arthritis thrive in an overly acidic body chemistry.  

The majority of fruits and vegetables are alkalizing forms of food, and can be an effective way to raise your PH level.  That is why juicing is so important to incorporate into your diet.  Sweet potatoes,  pineapple, and papayas are a potent combination to help fight inflammation.  Ginger essential oil not only tastes great with this fruit/vegetable medley, but ginger essential oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  If you would like, add a dash of cinnamon to this drink.

Ginger Snap Smoothie

2 cups pineapple
1/2 papaya
1 pear
1/2 cup sweet potato
1 drop ginger essential oil

Combine ingredients into a juice blending machine.

*This recipe is a gluten-free, dairy free recipe

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Mediterranean Chicken {Slow Cooker}

Chicken and Chick PeasAnother slow cooker comfort food graced our table last week.  This dish is packed full of nutrients, protein and flavor!  I have been trying to include one slow cooker recipe a week, since it only takes about 10 minutes in the morning to put together.  It’s great coming home from work to a delicious meal already prepared.  Add some steamed broccoli, and brown rice (I like Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice – takes 3 minutes to make), and you have dinner ready in a few minutes.  More time to relax in the evening!

The black pepper essential oil adds a warm depth to this recipe, and assists with digestive issues (heartburn) as well as provides anti-inflammatory properties to help with ailments such as arthritis.

Mediterranean Chicken {Slow Cooker}

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
45 oz. canned tomatoes and juice (Italian Style)
16 oz. chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. capers
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 drop black pepper essential oil
Dash of salt
Feta cheese
Brown rice or mashed potatoes

Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot (minus the feta cheese and brown rice/potatoes), and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.  Serve over brown rice or mashed potatoes.  Garnish with feta cheese.

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Tangerine Buttermilk Pancakes

PancakesIt was great to have some time off over the holidays, and I love making a big breakfast on either Christmas or New Year’s Day.  These fluffy pancakes are delicious, and can be made gluten free.  I added tangerine essential oil to the butter mixture.  The health benefits of tangerine essential oil are numerous.  It has been used for reducing anxiety, irritability and fluid retention.  The aroma of tangerine oil promotes happiness and helps reduce depression.  Tangerine oil may also help dissolve cellulite.  That is a great little side effect after a lot of people have just finished eating not so healthy during the holidays.

If you are on a fitness program, adding tangerine essential oil to your water would aid in dissolving fatty deposits and make you happy while you are working out.  What a deal!

Tangerine Buttermilk Pancakes

2 Tbls. butter
3 drops tangerine essential oil
3/4 tsp. orange juice
1 1/2 cups flour or GF pancake flour
2 Tbls. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup orange or tangerine juice
1 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 large egg white

  1. Combine first 3 ingredients.
  2. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Combine buttermilk, orange juice, oil and 1 egg in a small bowl and whisk together.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until moist.  Let stand 15 minutes.
  4. Whisk egg white until medium peaks forms.  Fold egg whites into the batter.
  5. Preheat griddle to medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Spoon 1/4 cup batter per pancake into griddle.  Cook for 3 minutes or until edges begin to bubble and bottom is browned.  Turn pancakes over and cook for 3 minutes or until done.  Serve with tangerine butter and syrup.  Top with fresh berries (optional).
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Peppermint Bark

Peppermint BarkPeppermint Bark

2 Ghirardelli milk chocolate baking bars
3 Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
5 Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bars
10 peppermint candy canes

1. Unwrap the candy canes and place them in a food processor. Pulse on/off several times for 5-10 seconds each, until the canes have been crushed into small pieces. If you don’t have a food processor, use a rolling pin to roll/smash the candy canes in a ziplock bag, until they are the size you desire.

2. Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with wax or parchment paper.

3. Break the dark chocolate and milk chocolate bars into small pieces and place in a saucepan.  Stir until melted over low heat. Add a spoon swirl of peppermint essential oil to the chocolate mixture.  Pour the chocolate onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Use a spatula to spread it to an even thickness. Place the tray in the refrigerator to firm up (approx. 30 minutes).

4. Break the white chocolate bars into small pieces and place in a saucepan.  Stir until melted over low heat. Stir in most of the candy cane bits, reserving about a quarter of the mixture to put on top.

5. Remove the tray of dark chocolate from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate in an even layer over the dark chocolate.

6. Sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces over the entire surface evenly. Press down slightly to ensure they stick. Place the tray back in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes. Once the peppermint bark is completely set, break into small, uneven pieces by hand.


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Glazed Yams

YamsThese glazed yams make a great side dish to compliment a holiday dinner, or anytime.  The benefits of yams are quite impressive.  Yams contain a good amount of vitamin B6 and potassium, which assist in the prevention of heart disease, and regulate blood pressure.  They also cover approximately 20% of the daily fiber intake requirements. 

I added cinnamon and lemon essential oil to the yam dish.  Cinnamon oil also assists in controlling blood sugar levels, and lemon essential oil provides anti-viral properties – good news for this cold and flu season.  Lemon essential oil also helps remove toxins from your body, and contains vitamins and minerals since it is extracted from the rind of lemons.  Using a small amount of butter in dishes is actually beneficial for you.  Butter acts as a “good oil” in your body, the same as if you added fresh oil into your car.  It keeps things running smoothly.  Butter also contains vitamins and minerals, and omega 3 and omega 6 fats.  Avoid margarine though, since margarine is high in trans fatty acids.

Glazed Yams

2 Tbls. butter
1 large can cooked yams, drained**
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
dash of salt
1 drop lemon essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil

Add all ingredients (except the yams) into a sauce pan and stir together.  Add yams and coat with glaze.  Cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes, or until hot.

**If you would prefer, you can cook fresh yams for this recipe.  Here are the steps:

1. Peel the yams
2. Cut the yams into medium sized cubes.  Place the yams into a saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the saucepan and boil for 12-15 minutes, or until the cubes are tender on the outside, but are slightly firm in the center when pierced with a knife.

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