Orecchiette ai Broccoletti

This is a super easy, super yummy recipe I originally tried through a Hello Fresh delivery. So few ingredients and really quick and simple to make. It’s a great weeknight recipe!

We are not typically big fans of sausage but in this dish it’s perfectly flavored and pairs so perfectly with the pesto and pasta.

Here is the link to the recipe:

Sausage and Broccolini Orecchiette

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Here Goes Gluten… Follow My Gluten Free Experience

Have you noticed how “Gluten” has become kind of a dirty word these days?? So many people are having to go gluten free due to an intolerance we never heard much of before the millennial generation.

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Doctors have been advising me to follow a gluten free diet for many years, and as many times as I’ve THOUGHT about doing it and even done some research, my will power fell short and the convenience of eating the foods I’ve always eaten have won. Let’s face it, I freakin’ love bread… a warm roll with rich Irish butter… *drool*

However, my symptoms of gluten intolerance have become overwhelmingly obvious (also painful and irritating) and I can no longer use the “lazy” excuse. It’s time I jump on the Gluten Free train.

I know there are many people in the same position as me; trying to understand what gluten even is and how the heck do you start this journey?! What does gluten free mean? How do I know what to eat? What NOT to eat? Do I have to gut my kitchen and start over from scratch? My brain hurts…

So I am going to share my journey with you in hopes that my notes, methods, what I learn can help others get started in this confusing lifestyle.

WHY AM I GOING GLUTEN FREE?

We’re about to get REALLY up close and personal…

For many, many years I have suffered from chronic headaches and some serious abdominal and digestive pains and, well, uncomfortable and inconvenient side effects of that. I’ve been through just about every test you can think of… X-rays, CT scans, blood tests, MRI’s, EKG’s, even deep vein ultrasounds. Nothing has ever shown up which is why doctors concluded that I need to avoid gluten and dairy.

Years have passed and the symptoms have just kept mounting…

  • Abdominal bloating, gas
  • Upset tummy especially immediately after eating
  • Fatigue (I suffer from adrenal fatigue)
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Migraine/chronic headaches
  • Red, blotchy skin & blemishes
  • Inflammation, pain and swelling in joints, hands, feet
  • Moodiness & anxiety

WHAT IS GLUTEN ANYWAY!?

We hear it constantly… but what the heck is GLUTEN!?

Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. Mostly found in the BIG 3: Wheat, Barley, Rye.

Most commonly found in breads, baked goods (argh!), cereals, pasta, soups, beer… basically alllllll the comfort foods lol!

HOW I AM GOING TO START

Something a lifelong friend who has done the gluten free diet suggested to me is that you start by looking at what you eat during a regular week; what foods in your CURRENT diet contain gluten? Rather than trying to learn everything all at once, start small. Start by learning what you eat that is hurting you and begin to cut those things out – or replace them with alternatives or gluten free versions.

After you’ve discovered what foods have been causing you pain, discomfort, etc. you can start looking at what foods you can begin to incorporate into your diet.

I will be starting a food journal and posting my notes, changes I make, etc. on my blog!

So here goes nothing… join me on my journey, maybe you’ll learn something, maybe you can teach me something (please!).

Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

This is not a recipe of my own, but one that is a definite favorite in our house!

I typically serve it with a Greek salad, or some broiled zucchini and squash, some pita and some tabouli. So so good. My husband gobbles it up and then takes leftovers for lunch the next day. Even me, who does not eat leftovers, will have this the next day.

Here is the recipe, but what I typically do is half the fresh lemon in the sauce and use my Young Living Lemon Vitality Essential Oil.

Here is the link to the recipe for both the chicken and the sauce:

Greek Lemon Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki Sauce

Why I stopped burning toxic candles and started using Essential Oils…

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We’ve all been there… that whiff of vanilla or ocean breeze… the scent caught your attention and made you feel all warm and fuzzy… yup, I loved a good scented candle! In fact, I LOVE candles. I’m not gonna lie. Their soft glow, the romantic feeling they invoke… I used to have candles burning constantly! That was until I found out exactly I was exposing myself, and my family to… those candles were filling my room with chemicals hidden behind those delicious birthday cake and pumpkin spice scents!

Now, not ALL candles are toxic. There are many ways to enjoy candles without exposing yourself and your loved ones to scary things like carcinogens or lead. I still have candles in my house but mostly turn to natural aromatic options like my beloved diffusers, but more on that later! 

The scary stuff…

Did you know that according to the FTC & the CPSC, there are absolutely no regulations or standards pertaining to candle manufacturing, and candle makers are accountable to no one, including the consumer?? Much alike Essential Oils, when there is nothing regulating what these companies are putting in their products, there is nothing stopping them from exposing your family to toxins, chemicals and who knows what else! KNOW your products folks!

LEAD – Lead can cause a whole host of negative health effects. Exposure to lead can cause an increase in blood pressure, an increased chance of having a heart attack or stroke, decrease in brain function, a decrease in kidney function (making it hard to get rid of toxic waste products through your urine!), it can harm the physical and mental development of your baby before it’s born and increase chances of having a miscarriage They took lead out of paint, now why is it still in our candles?

“According to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 40 percent of candles on the market contain lead wires inside their wicks. Most often, the candles with lead wicks are scented candles. Fragrance oils soften the wax, so the manufacturers use lead to make the wicks firmer. A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems.”

PARAFFIN – Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct. Think, industrial waste. When it is heated it gives off a carcinogenic soot into the air. This soot is very irritating to our respiratory system and can aggravate a whole host of lung issues. If you or your kids have asthma, you do not want to be burning candles that contain paraffin! The soot can also accumulate in your house, appliances, and duct work!

In addition to lead and paraffin, candles can also cause low dose, long term exposures to the following:

  • Acetone: Known human respiratory irritant toxicant
  • Benzene: Human development toxicant, human reproductive toxicant (candles off-gas Benzene without even being lit!)
  • 2-Butanone: Known human respiratory toxicant
  • Cresol: Human skin toxicant or allergen
  • Chlorobenzene: Human Sensitizer toxicant or allergen
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Cyclopentene
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Mercury
  • Phenol: This one is really toxic, click the link to read about it
  • Styrene: This one is also really toxic, click link to read about it
  • Tetrachloroethene
  • Toluene: Persistent or bioaccumulative and moderate to high toxicity concern in humans
  • Trichloroethene
  • Trichloorfluromethane
  • Xylene: Click link to read about it

 

“Fragrance intensity has been proven to have an enormous influence at point-of-sale for consumers, as a result candle manufacturers are dumping increasing amounts of fragranced oils into their wax mixtures – some of these oils are not even suitable for combustion. Candle manufacturers are not compelled to list or disclose hazardous, toxic or carcinogenic compounds used as ingredients in their products and even more astounding – some will claim they don’t know what compounds are in their product.   A spokeswoman for the Federal Trade Commission said there are no restrictions or regulations governing the makers of aromatic candles.”

So what candles should you buy and what candles should you avoid? Glad you asked!

Avoid:

  • Really inexpensive candles, like the kind you would find at the dollar store. Also avoid brands like Febreeze and Glade. (note: apparently IKEA’s candles are all lead free)
  • Imported candles (anything “Made in China”)
  • Artificially scented candles and gel candles
  • Candles with a metal core wick

Okay To Use: 

Soy Candles: While I do not eat soy, it is okay in candles because it burns clean, with no harmful fumes. However, I am not a supporter of the GMO business, so I try to avoid anything soy….even candles. But, if it’s the choice between soy or paraffin, I’ll take the soy!

Beeswax Candles: Though beeswax can be high on the price point, they are totally worth the extra cash. Beeswax is just that: the wax from bees. Directly from the hive. No fillers. No chemicals. That’s IF you buy the right kind! Sadly, many of the “beeswax candles” found in stores are only part beeswax, and the rest is paraffin and other junk. So check your labels. You can buy beeswax online and make your own candles. HERE is my favorite way to buy it. Then you melt it down, add some essential oils and a cotton wick and you are set! Read more here: Benefits of Beeswax

Now, if you know me you already know this… my FAVORITE BY FAR and pretty much the way I incorporate aroma into my home is with my DIFFUSER using Essential Oils. The funny thing is now, when I smell artificial scents they almost immediately trigger a headache! My body went through a detox period where I had to get used to oils because I was SO used to artificial fragrances… now my body detoxed and can spot fake from a mile away! 

  • I can change the scent at any time I like! 
  • I can change the scent based on my mood and even achieve therapeutic benefits from the different oils
  • Speaking of the therapeutic benefits!! You don’t find ANY of those from candles or wax burners! I use oils in my diffuser for everything from headaches, to colds & flu, to deodorizing… the list goes on and on! 
  • When diffusing oils, you are also adding humidity to the air because they are diffused in water vapor. So it’s great to have the diffuser running in the cold winter months when the air is dry. Mine runs from morning til night all winter long!
  • They are completely safe for kids. No flame, means no fire hazard! If the diffuser gets knocked over, it turns off. When the water runs out, it automatically shuts off.

Young Living Home Diffuser

I only trust and use Young Living Essential Oils. They are the only company with a Seed to Seal guarantee that gives me the peace of mind that what is on the bottle, is in the bottle; nothing more nothing less. I KNOW what I’m getting every time. I have been using Young Living products for over three years now and have only grown to love them and their wellness benefits more and more. 

If you’d like to learn more about Essential Oils and how they can work for you and your loved ones, click on the link above under Essential Oils, click here or contact me any time! I would LOVE to share more of my story with you ♥

Maureen Dietz – Young Living Distributor/Member #2582537

 

 

*Information in this article was referenced from RealFoodRN 

Slow Cooker Sirloin Beef Tips

Alllll those yummy recipes we see on Facebook but never end up making… how many have you seen, shared, saved? Haha I’m guilty! I’m pretty sure I have about 100 links saved.

I decided a week ago I’m going to actually start making them! The broccoli cheddar stuffed chicken I made last week was great… but these Beef Tips… amazing!

Super easy and they turned out tender, full of flavor and were a definite winner with my husband. He told me to make sure I keep this recipe!

I used Top Sirloin cuts of meat, 2 steak cuts weighing about 2.25 lbs. Slightly less than the recipe called for, so I slightly adjusted the rest of the ingredients.

Here is the link I saved from Facebook:

Slow Cooker Sirloin Beef Tips

Young Living Vitality Oil Infused Caramelized Apple Banana Bread

Every time I have some bananas that have browned I say I’ll make some banana bread… and I always forget, because life. lol.

But tonight I had a craving for some. Then remembered I also had some NY McIntosh Apples that needed to be used, so I made up my own recipe based off of bits and pieces of recipes I’ve made in the past and voila!

I’ve also really enjoyed incorporating Young Living Vitality oils into my cooking and baking more and more and thought this would be a perfect opportunity!

Please keep in mind that it’s important you use only the best, therapeutic and FDA approved essential oils safe for consumption. I only trust Young Living’s Vitality line. If you’d like to try infusing your meals and goodies with essential oils give me a shout and I’ll help you get your hands on some!

For the Apples:

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

3 Tbsp packed Dark Brown Sugar

2 Medium Apples, peeled and diced

1 Drop of Cinnamon Bark EO

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla

For the Banana Bread:

1-3/4 Cups Flour

3/4 Tsp Baking Soda

1/4 Tsp Salt

1 Tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup White Sugar

1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 Eggs

1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

1/3 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

3 Tbsp Milk

1 Tsp Vanilla

2 Large Bananas (mashed)

1 Drop of Cinnamon Bark Vitality EO

2 Drops of Nutmeg Vitality EO

2 Drops of Clove Vitality EO

To Make the Apples:

Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling.

Add the apples and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the vanilla and Cinnamon Bark Vitality EO. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

To Make the Banana Bread:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a loaf pan and set aside.

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and sugars.

In another bowl, combine eggs, oil, applesauce, milk, vanilla and essential oils.

Stir in banana and apple mixture until just combined. Do not over mix.

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick test comes out clean.

New Year, New Goals…

New Year, New Goals… Daily meditation and yoga 🧘🏼‍♀️ with Mastrante diffusing in the room.

Mastrante is a grounding and calming oil that promotes relaxation 💖 Bonus – It’s also great for your skin!

Meditation is HUGE for your physical and mental health wellness. Did you know that meditation can help lower stress, reverse the aging process, focus, process emotions, help memory, promote creativity, lower anxiety and so much more!

See my link to Essential Oils to get hooked up with some amazing oils to start your wellness journey with me and my team! #oilymamamo

Holiday Gift Ideas For Her Under $75

If you know me, you know I LOVE Christmas. Like borderline obsessed… ok, ok, full on obsessed!! The lights, the music, the way everyone becomes a little more gentle, a little more caring… My favorite time of the year!!

Not everyone can afford big, extravagant holidays. We are lucky that all our near 3 year old wants for Christmas is a $16 PJ Masks Cat Car, talk about easy kid!! Because I understand the value of a good budget, especially around the holidays, I decided to put together a little For Her Under $75 Gift Guide! Here are some great ideas for your Mum, your sister, your best friend…

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Tranquil Essential Oil Roll-On

This little roller is heavenly!  Tranquil provides stress relief and relaxation in a convenient roll-on application. With a blend of Lavender, Cedarwood and Roman Chamomile this baby would be a great gift for someone who struggles with stress or trouble sleeping! Pair this roller with a warm throw blanket or cute sleep mask ❤

Wholesale: $28.75 US from Young Living

 

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Christmas Car Appetizer Plates

How cute are these?! Do you know someone who switches up their dishes for the holidays? I do it! lol. And these little plates are a perfect addition to a holiday place setting and at a price you honestly can’t beat! Pair them with some cute napkins, holiday mugs (see below for those!) and these are a fun little gift everyone will love.

$16 for a Set of 4, ON SALE NOW at Pottery Barn

 

Holiday Mugs for a good cause!

These mugs shout with old fashioned Christmas charm. I want them all! Pottery Barn donates 50% of the purchase price of each of these mugs to the Give a Little Hope Campaign which benefits organizations that provide temporary and long-term housing for youth and families. These pair perfectly with the Christmas Car Plates above!

$9.50 US each for the Cheeky Deer or Snowman Mugs

$38.00 US for a Set of 4 Santa Shot Figural Mugs 

 

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Lavender Essential Oil, 15ml

The Swiss Army Knife of essential oils. This amazing oil is a great beginner oil and can be used for relaxation, calming, sleep support, bath salts and sooooooo much more. Gift this with a fuzzy pair of socks or some cute pajamas and let your loved one experience just how amazing essential oils can be!

Wholesale: $23.50 US from Young Living 

 

macM.A.C. Snow Ball Mini Lipsticks

A limited edition kit from the MAC Holiday Collection filled with tiny lipsticks with a silver sequined statement bag. The perfect gift for the makeup lover in your life! These colors happen to be my favorite (hint hint lol)  but they also come in a more vibrant warm reds and pinks!

$29.50 US at Nordstrom

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Vitality Tea Gift Set

Have any tea lovers in your life? This is such a great out of the box gift idea for them! This set includes a double-wall travel tumbler with the Young Living Logo, Cinnamon Bark Vitality Oil 5ml, Clove Vitality Oil 5ml, Lemon Vitality 5ml and a recipe card.

Wholesale: $45.50 US from Young Living

 

NARS PowerMatte Lip Pigment Duo Love Trianglenars

Exclusive limited edition  PowerMatte Lip Pigment with two shades in a ready-to-gift package! It comes in London Calling/Get It On Lilac Pink & Tan Rose and also Rock With You/Under My Thumb Deep Mulberry & Burgundy… don’t you love those names? A little call out to music classics – maybe that’s why I love these so much!

$22.00 at Sephora

 

desert.pngYoung Living’s Desert Mist Diffuser

Possibly my favorite item on the list. I ADORE my Desert Mist Diffuser. I use it every. single. day. With its super stylish design, its 8-10 hour run time on intermittent setting to it’s 10 color changing ability (including a candle flicker!) this thing is just amazing. I want more. In fact, I may ask Santa for another one!!

$63.75 US from Young Living

Small Batch Strawberry Jam (No Pectin)


Strawberry picking season is upon us and if you’re like me, you’ve already been 😆🍓

There are SO many amazing strawberry based recipes out there and I want to try them all!! But one thing I definitely wanted to do was make my own strawberry jam. But I didn’t have any pectin on hand and I’m super impatient. 

This is a perfect little small batch recipe that made me one perfect 1/2 pint size jar of jam. You could use smaller mason jars and get more out of it too. It makes about 1-3/4 cups of jam. Seeing as though there is only 3 of us in the house and this jam is meant to be either frozen or used up in a few weeks time, it works out perfectly. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 16 oz strawberries, hulled and chopped*
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tbs lemon juice

* If you don’t like chunky jam (I don’t) you can put the strawberries in a food processor or blender before adding to pot

DIRECTIONS

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, mix strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice.

Stir over med-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase heat to med-high and bring mixture to a rolling boil.

Stir frequently mashing the strawberries as you stir, continuing to boil, until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover the surface of the jam, about 10 minutes.

Transfer jam to a jar and let cool to room temperature.

Seal jars and store in refrigerator for about 2-3 weeks (or freeze)

RC Chest Rub


My son and I got hit with a cold this weekend, the first time he’s been “sick” in over a year… so I immediately began diffusing thieves and Purification in the house, rubbed some thieves on his feet and made this awesomely easy RC chest rub…

RC Chest Rub

  • 2 Tbsp Solid Coconut Oil
  • 6 Drops of RC Essential Oil
  • 6 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil
  • 4 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil 
  • 1 Glass Jar (2 oz)

Mix the above together and store in glass jar. Rub on chest as needed, especially before bed.