Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Recipes for Winter

View from the Elk Mountain Scenic Highway in Asheville, NC

The kids have been off school since Friday afternoon, so we took a little overnight trip to the mountains to celebrate my nephew's first birthday. At the same time it is Girl Scouts Walkabout week here, when the Scouts are supposed to go door to door selling packages of cookies rather than taking orders. Our neighborhood is pretty Scout-saturated, so we decided to do our walkabout in my sister's Scout-less neighborhood. My daughter did really well. We had a train of "helpers" in her brother and cousins and their friends, and I pushed our two cases of cookies in my sister's baby stroller. The day was lovely; the sun was out and it got quite warm. Pushing the stroller up and down the steep streets and running to keep up with overexcited children, I got hot and sweaty. Then, in typical mountain fashion, the weather changed and the air became quite chilly. My sister's Canadian husband keeps their house very cold and, still sweaty from the earlier warmth, I got very chilled. I ended up with a really sore throat and cough. So, I've spent our remaining vacation days lying around and trying to treat myself with Young Living "hot shots": 2 drops oregano oil and 2 drops lemon oil in 2 TBSP water. This mixture stings, but it provides a powerful punch against germs, so throw it down like a shot a couple times a day! I've also been using my homemade linen spray. I make my linen spray with lots of lavender oil. Lavender is a natural anti-bacterial agent, so besides making a wonderful aromatic spray it helps kill germs on surfaces like foam pillows and mattresses that aren't washable. This is a great  spray to keep on hand during cold and flu season, especially.

Relaxing Linen Spray

1/4 cup witch hazel
1/4 cup water
20 drops Young Living lavender essential oil
5 drops Young Living Stress Away oil blend
5 drops Young Living Peace and Calming oil blend

Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to combine. Use on linens and upholstery. Test for color fastness on an inconspicuous spot before using.

As always, you may contact me to learn how to order Young Living products or become a member. Find more recipes and details about Young Living products on my Facebook page: Naturally Amanda.

If you've been keeping up with the Saga of the Family Braces you know we are eating lots of soups and smoothies around here because I and the older children have gotten or are about to get braces. Tonight I made a winner recipe I thought I'd share. It's a tuna casserole, soft enough to eat, and almost paleo (it's easy to make it a true paleo recipe) so it's packed with veggie vitamins. The Ronzoni Garden Delight pasta I used contains a full serving of vegetables per each 4 oz portion and then I used lots of extra veggies besides. This was successful for us, not only because we could all chew it with our braces and spacers, but because I found a way to camouflage the tuna. Our youngest, who will usually eat about anything, suddenly decided last year that he hates tuna fish and isn't eating it. I don't know what prompted this decision, but tonight I proved it's not the flavor but the idea of tuna to which he's objecting. If he can't see it he will eat it! This was basically an accidental discovery, as I puréed the tuna in the recipe just to make it easier for me to chew. I puréed the vegetables for the same reason, but they are also hidden this way, which is useful if you have someone picky about those. This was a nice treat on a winter's evening, a real old-fashioned comfort food casserole.

Almost-Paleo Tuna Casserole
Serves 8-10
1 box Ronzoni Garden Delight penne pasta, cooked, or 4 medium zucchini, sliced into strips
1 1/2 cup whole coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut flour
1-1 1/2 cup seafood or chicken broth
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt
2 (5oz) cans tuna, puréed
2 cups peas
10 oz broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, puréed 
1 cup almond flour
3 TBSP coconut oil
1 tsp Italian seasoning
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 13x9 casserole and layer pasta or zucchini, puréed vegetables, and peas. Grind a bit of salt and pepper and sprinkle some garlic powder over these if desired. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix coconut milk, thyme, salt, and flour until it makes a thick paste. Gradually stir in broth until the mixture is the consistency of pancake batter. Stir in the puréed tuna. Layer the coconut/tuna mixture over the pasta and vegetables. Layer cheddar cheese over this. Melt the coconut oil. Stir in the coconut flour and Italian seasoning until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes or until the casserole is browned and bubbly. To make a true paleo recipe, substitute the zucchini for the pasta and leave off the cheese.

MMM... we killed it, as you can see from the supper remains. One thing that makes this so satisfying and yummy is the coconut/tuna sauce mixture. Baking transforms this sauce into a dough that creates a kind of potpie type crust. It expands to envelop the pasta and vegetables. I don't know if it would work exactly the same way if you use zucchini "pasta", since that has more moisture. You might want to cut the amount of broth if you use the zucchini pasta.

I was happy to be able to make a comforting and still healthful recipe. After the initial shock of the change in my diet, and maybe due to the Young Living Slique and Grapefruit oils I've been adding to my water every day, my body finally stopped holding fat and I've lost almost 10 pounds since I got my braces on January 5th. I'm trying to find the positive side of my cheese and dark chocolate withdrawal pangs and focus on improving my diet so that by the time my braces come off I will have a svelte figure as well as straight teeth!

You can find more about the Young Living weight loss oil regimen on previous posts of this blog or on the Naturally Amanda Facebook page. I will say, I'm impressed with the oils. I ran out of the Slique and Grapefruit oils and my new ones haven't arrived yet. I filled the bottles (which each had about a drop or so left inside) with water and have been using the diluted oil in my water, about 4 drops of each per 8 oz glass of water. Even the diluted oils have been really helpful in controlling my appetite! So, a first-hand testimonial! If you've had a positive experience with any Young Living product I'd love to feature it in this blog and on my Facebook page. Please contact me to tell your story!

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