Saturday, November 11, 2017

Young Living Essential Oils

My Cousin April has been using Young Living for years and while I listened to her tell me about them I never really considered using them myself until last year, when I got a cold with a cough that just wouldn't go away.  It was bad, so bad that I could barely get a sentence out without having to stop and cough and try and catch my breath.  Not good considering I spend more than half my time at work on the phone with people.  Not good either that I'm one of the 33 million American's without health insurance.  I tried everything over the counter that I could and when it wasn't enough I asked my cousin what I needed to do.

Theives oil she told me, it will help.  She's got five boys, if anyone knows about how to get rid of one and to keep germs out of the house it's this girl.  She and her kids rarely, if ever, get sick.  So I mixed a few drops into some unscented body lotion and rubbed it into my feet and onto my chest.  I did this every night for about three days and I finally started to feel better from this cough that literally plagued me for weeks.  I started diffusing it in my office after that to keep the germs at bay since we work with high school students and there's always someone coming in with some kind of cold and if I can keep the air clean in my office it's honestly better for everyone.

And then spring came and I didn't think much about the oils.

Until I started having stomach issues from everything I was eating.  I found out I was lactose intolerant and everything I loved to eat was making me absolutely miserable, even coffee.  I switched out to coconut milk and finally settled on almond milk for my coffee and morning smoothie but I still wasn't 100% after that, until I realized there was lactose in the mix I use... but I wasn't really happy with any of the alternatives so I just dealt with the constant audible gurgling and popping that was going on in my stomach all day long on a daily basis and taking a lactose pill or two every morning with my smoothie and whenever I felt I was eating something that was going to give me grief of some sort and taking more pills for gas pains multiple times a day.

Try DiGize she told me, it tastes awful, but take two drops with a carrier oil in a gelatin capsule... I didn't have any the day I got my DiGize, so I put two drops in a small glass of water and downed it in one shot. Oh God it was awful.. but, I didn't have any rumblings in my stomach all day.  Not one audible gurgle or pop, I wasn't bloated or uncomfortable.. I was just ...  fine.  All day. For the first time in months.  That night I stopped and got myself some gelatin capsules at the Vitamin Shoppe on my way home from the office though because I'm no dummy, lol.  The next morning I put three drops of DiGize in a gelatin capsule and filled the rest with coconut oil, put the cap on and downed it with the first sip of my morning smoothie and expected to feel something weird.

I felt nothing but comfortable... normal even.  I went about my morning and I was fine, I had my coffee, ate my lunch and afternoon snack, had dinner and I was still fine.  That right there made me a believer.  I was spending a ton of money on pills for lactose intolerance that were barely working and still taking more pills for the gas pains and it was exhausting.  I was stressed every time I ate anything I didn't make myself.  One capsule of an essential oil and a carrier and it kept me free of any issues all day, and has kept me from issues ever since.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still have to stay away from dairy, this hasn’t cured my lactose intolerance, not by a long shot. Milk and cheese still make me miserable. But by taking three drops of this oil in a capsule with coconut oil has helped me tremendously from the daily gas and bloating I was suffering from.

It took me months of misery to finally become a believer and finally take some sound advice from someone I really trusted who really knew what she was talking about.

If you're interested in learning more about what Young Living is all about click here.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Slow cooker French Onion Soup.. Better for you recipe

As I mentioned in my last post I've been working on a better me.  Working on being healthier and cooking healthier not just for myself but my family.

I had a request for French onion soup for dinner for a Sunday night and I went about searching for a recipe that wasn't so full of fat and calories and in the end wound up tweaking a recipe to make it healthier (because honestly, there's no need for 2 Tbs oil and 2 Tbs unsalted butter).  Time and Patience, yes.. all that extra fat, no way.

I have this pan I love, like, I absolutely Adore it and use it for just about anything I can.
It's only a 2Qt, but I love that nothing sticks to it, and if I do get some sticking a little soak in hot water and scrub a bit with baking soda and it's good as new.  I've had this for over a year and a half and It still looks good as new inside.

I was making my soup in the crock pot, but to get the onions properly caramelized was either going to take me 12 hours in the crock pot, or just about an hour on the stove top.  I don't like leaving the crock on overnight (especially with four legged critters in the house). The recipe that I based mine off used 3 pounds of yellow onions, plus oil and butter.  Since becoming lactose intolerant butter isn't really my friend and all that fat is really unnecessary in this recipe (as well as 12 hours for the onions in the crock pot, that's not happening).  

I started out with three pounds of yellow onions plus one big vidalia onion, cut into quarter moon slices, one tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 Tsp Sea Salt and set it over medium-low heat.   I knew this was going to take a while, so I had a project I was working on while this was going.

                                                                     15 minutes in...

45 minutes in

60 minutes in...
an hour and 15 minutes in...

                                             90 minutes and they're ready for the crockpot

This was the most time consuming part of this whole recipe, but really, it's so worth it because the end result is absolutely delicious.  I started this at 9am on a Sunday morning, my son was sleeping, my BF was at work so I had the time and while I was doing this I was working on a needlepoint project so I only got up every so often to give it a stir, plus this is a nice heavy bottomed pan that doesn't burn as long as you've got he heat set nice and low.

I don't have soup crocks, so in the end I ended up toasting the bread and cheese in the oven and topping the bowls of soup with it like that, it was amazing either way.

So now, without fail, here is my recipe, adapted from the Kitchn's recipe.


3 pounds yellow or Vidalia onions, peeled, sliced, and cut into quarter-moons
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper
10 cups reduced-sodium beef broth 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 to 6 toasted baguette slices per bowl
1/3 cup grated Swiss cheese per bowl (1 1/3 to 2 cups total)


Since I started my recipe on the stove top as stated above, these are my directions:

Cut the onions into quarter moon slices and place in a heavy bottomed pan with 1 Tbs oil and 1 tsp Kosher salt.  Sweat the onions over low heat and continue to cook over low heat, stirring occasionally until caramelized.  Mine took just about an hour and a half to be right where I wanted them.

Add to Crock pot along with the broth and vinegar. 

Cover and continue cooking on low for 6 to 8 hours. Longer cooking will only intensify the flavors and add richness to the soup. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Portion the soup into oven-safe bowls. Arrange a rack in the upper third of the oven and heat to 350°f and place the bowls on a rimmed baking sheet.

Top each bowl with a slice of toast and about 1/3 cup of shredded cheese.

Bake until the cheese is completely melted, 20 to 30 minutes and then broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the oven to broil. Broil until the cheese is bubbling and browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve with chopped fresh shallot or onion if desired.

This makes a lot of soup and it was enough for dinner sized portions for the three of us, plus seconds for my kid and lunch for myself the next day

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sometimes life just gets in the way...

No, I have not disappeared, I haven't fallen ill or anything like that.

I've just been... So. Damn. Busy!

I know, I know you're probably going "Really Ashley, it's been over a year since you've posted Anything at all!" While that may be true that nothing has been posted here, the Facebook page stays fairly active when I have a minute to post something there.  It's not any help right now that Blogger hasn't updated it's App so it'll work with my iPhone or iPad either.

I still cook, pretty much every night, although I've had to change some things around since becoming lactose intolerant recently. (Seriously it's like I'm being punished for something, I had a klondike bar a few weeks ago and thought I was going to need a visit to the ER the stomach cramps were so bad).  It all started when my morning smoothie started not really agreeing with me so I cut down the milk and I was still getting "the gurgles" so I just cut it out completely replacing it with water (yuck) and finally turning to coconut milk and then finally unsweetened almond milk as a suitable replacement.  Not having milk in my coffee was not an easy change for me, but since I'm officially addicted to Stök coffee (Black, unsweetened, OMG it's the best coffee) I've been okay with just a little Soy or almond creamer and no sugar.

I started to cut sugar out of my diet in March when I decided I was almost 40 and it was time to change the way I ate for good.  It started with cutting out sour candy (I was addicted, I'm talking a bag a day, and not the little bags you find in the checkout either, the bigger bags you find hanging in the candy aisle O.o).  I started using MyFitnessPal and logging everything I ate, and it wasn't easy in the beginning but I lost 8# in the first few months just by managing what I ate and trying to squeeze in walking workouts on the weekends (I absolutely love Leslie Sansone walking workouts as well as Tracy Campoli and Jessica Smith workouts on youtube).

I feel better, I fit into my clothes better and I look better.

I am way more conscious about not just what I eat, but what we buy when grocery shopping and what I’m feeding my family. I may never break my Bf of his diet soda habit but I can’t say I haven’t tried🤷🏻‍♀️

Moving forward the blog will feature recipes that my family loves and that I’ve worked to make healthier for everyone.

Hope to see you all back here soon and the first recipes to be shared will be some great ones that I’ve made this weekend 😁

Friday, May 13, 2016

PinPix Decorative 30x20 inch Bulletin Board, Framed in Satin Black, Handmade in the USA

*This post contains affiliate links*

Of all the things I love about my new office is the cleanliness of everything. As much as I once loved my old job, the place was in a constant state of disarray, and no matter how hard some of the ladies tried to keep it neat, it was just never was.

This office is the complete opposite in so many, many ways (first and foremost I do not have any annoying co workers who chat incessantly on their phones or to themselves all day long). My office is clean, bright and I love what I do.

When I was offered the opportunity to purchase this lovely bulletin board at a discounted price I jumped since having these few things pinned to the wall beside me wasn't the most appealing option. When it finally arrived I was in love. It's pretty big, so I was glad I have all this open space on the wall to get creative with. The color is gorgeous and a nice contrast to the pale green walls here and it's big enough to hang all the things I want to without it looking cluttered thanks to it's generous 30" x 20" size

This Gorgeous bulletin board came with all the hardware I needed to hang it anywhere I wanted, which was great because you never want to have something to hang and then be frustrated and have to go running to the hardware store to grab the hardware you need, I ended up using some command picture hangers we had here in the office instead of hammering the walls in the middle of the day.