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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Black Bean Soup with Bacon {Slow Cooker}

Bacon Black Bean SoupI hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and got a chance to spend quality time with friends, family, and of course eating delicious food!  I’m not even going to venture to say how many calories the average person consumes on Thanksgiving, but more reason to get back to healthy eating.  Since it is cold outside, and I’m still slightly in “comfort food” mode, I thought I would make a slow cooker soup.  I love making soup, and the fall/winter season lends itself to a warm bowl of hearty soup, with maybe some biscuits or cornbread.  This black bean soup was pretty easy to put together (so it makes my “A” list of favorites), and you can make it vegetarian style if you would like.

Black beans are a great source of protein and soluble fiber, and are rich in antioxidants, folate and minerals.  Soluble fiber is necessary to keep blood sugar regulated, and contains anti-inflammatory benefits to help combat against cardiovascular disease.  The high folate and iron in black beans help all you mommies-to-be out there, by assisting in the proper development of your baby’s  brain, nervous system, and spinal cord.  A drop of lime essential oil added a zesty flavor to the blend.

Black Bean Soup with Bacon {Slow Cooker}

2, 15 oz. cans of black beans
4 strips thick cut bacon (optional)
1 red pepper, chopped finely
1/2 onion, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground oregano
1 chipotle in adobo, chopped finely
1 drop lime essential oil
3 Tbls. diced jalapenos
5 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 Tbls. dry sherry

Combine all ingredients into a slow cooker, and cook for 6-8 hours on the low setting.  Serve warm and top with sour cream.

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

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Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Pumpkin PiePumpkin pie is one of my all-time favorite pies, and it seems we only eat it at the Holidays.  My Mom was usually “in charge” of making the pumpkin pie for our family Thanksgiving get together, and she had the best recipe.  The creamy, rich texture of this pumpkin pie melts in my mouth.  Pumpkins are also a great source of vitamins and minerals, and are loaded with fiber.

Piles of fluffy, whipped cream top this pie (maybe that’s why it is one of my favorites), and I thought I would add some cinnamon essential oil to compliment the spices in the pie.  It turned out wonderful.  A mellow blend of sweet cream, vanilla and hint of cinnamon essential oil created the perfect complement to this pie.  The whipped cream would also go well with apple pie, hot chocolate and even added to the top of a latte.

Cinnamon Whipped Cream

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 Tbls. sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 spoon swirl cinnamon essential oil

In a large bowl, combine ingredients together and mix with a blender on high speed until stiff  peaks are just about to form.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch deep –dish pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups (15-ounce can) pure pumpkin (I use Libbys)
1 1/4 cup Half and Half

Combine:

Sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in a small bowl.  Beat the eggs in a large bowl.  Stir in the pumpkin and add to spice mixture.  Stir in Half and Half.  Pour into uncooked pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes, or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.  Serve immediately or chill.  Serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream.

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Beef and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Stew

Beef StewThis stew was an interesting combination of ingredients, so I was pleasantly surprised (as was my family) that it turned out so delicious. Sweet potatoes lend themselves to a hearty and nutrient packed vegetable to use in stews, especially crock pot stews, since they hold their texture during hours of cooking. They are a good source of Vitamin C, and not only does that support our immune systems, but helps build collagen in our skin. When fall weather turns cold, we can use all of the skin support and anti-aging ingredients we can get.

Some people suffer with SAD disorder (seasonal affective disorder) once winter starts its course. Vitamin C and Vitamin D, which sweet potatoes contain, helps boost mood and energy levels.

The cinnamon essential oil and apricots added a great boost of rich, warm flavor.

Beef and Cinnamon Sweet Potato Stew

1 1/2 pound organic lean stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 cups peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
2-3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Dash ground allspice
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
10 dried apricots, cut in half
Fresh parsley, chopped

Combine all ingredients into a crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until beef is tender. Top with fresh parsley.

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