Savory Roasted Marinara Sauce From Scratch – with Essential Oils!

cooking with essential oils, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, health, homemade, natural living, recipe

I have always been afraid of making marinara sauce from scratch – like from actual tomatoes!  Scary stuff.  I mean, what if I buy all those tomatoes and screw it up??  I’m Norwegian, not Italian – how could I possibly make a good “gravy”!???

While marinara made with a can of crushed tomatoes is delicious, I felt it was time I face my fear and give the scratch kind a shot.  And, of course, I also wanted to incorporate my beloved essential oils into the recipe.  

The sauce took me a few hours to make, because I took my time (and took photos as I went along), so you will want to plan ahead to make this on a day where you have some free time.  Those of you with small children are thinking, “free time, what the hay-hay is that??”  If you have small children…I am sorry…maybe you should save this recipe for 12 years and then give it a try!  Seriously though, I think you can pull this off if you start cooking right when the kiddos go down for a nap.  I believe in you.

I will spare you the annoyance of reading each step between each photo.  I used to do that, and now understand how annoying that is!!  When I find a recipe on a person’s blog, and they do that, I feel like posting a comment on it just to say: “Just give me the recipe so I don’t have to scroll through your whole stinking blog during the cooking process!!”  But that wouldn’t be very nice,  soo…  

I did post pictures below, in the order of each step of the recipe as a visual reference.  Some people feel better if they can see how it is supposed to look along the way.  So, enjoy the beauty of these colorful fresh ingredients!:

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Garlic cloves before peeling.

Garlic cloves after “quick peel” in a jar.  I’ll explain below.

Blending roasted ingredients with basil & parsley

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I did it!  Delicious!  Roasted marinara sauce with broiled asparagus coated in olive oil, salt, onion powder and garlic powder, and unleavened whole wheat “bread” (see recipe at bottom of page) with a little shredded basil on top.

ROASTED MARINARA SAUCE FROM SCRATCH

Ingredients:

  • 25 Roma tomatoes, cored
  • 2 sweet vidalia onions, quartered
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves peeled (see note in the recipe for “Easy Peeling”)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (preferably Pink Himalayan)
  • 1/4 C sugar or “Date Paste” (See Recipe for “Date Paste” in the Pizza Crust recipe at the bottom of this blog)
  • Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cans tomato paste, for thickening
  • 2 drops Oregano essential oil (therapeutic grade only, with “Supplement Facts” on bottle – message me for the company I use)
  • 4 drops Basil essential oil
  • 2 drops Black Pepper essential oil
  • 1-4 pepperoncinis, for a little heat
  • *Optional:  1/4 cup dry red wine, diced carrots

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F.

Wash and core the tomatoes.  Split them between two 9×13″ baking dishes, or put all of them in a large roasting pan.  The tomatoes can be left whole; they will break down during the roasting process.

“Easy Peeling” of garlic cloves.  Toss a few garlic cloves in an empty, clean, dried jar (any kind of glass condiment jar will do), screw the lid on, and shake vigorously for a minute, or until the peelings become loose.  This makes it much easier to peel!  Don’t overload the jar, only a few cloves at a time.  Cut off the hard ends of the garlic cloves.

Arrange the quartered onions and peeled garlic cloves (and diced carrots, if using) around the baking dish with the tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over all and then use your hands to toss the tomatoes, garlic and onions to coat everything well with the oil.  Season everything generously with salt.

Roast tomatoes in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or so.  The tomatoes and onions will look wrinkled, roasted, and slightly charred.  For a thicker sauce, cook longer and stir occasionally to keep from burning.  

Remove the pan(s) from the oven and set on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes. You can easily remove the tomato peelings if you want, but I left them on. 

Place a large colander inside a large bowl.  Pour the roasted tomato ingredients into the colander.  The bowl underneath the colander will collect all the juice.  You need this juice for later – don’t toss it!

Scoop the roasted tomato ingredients into a blender or food processor.  Add parsley, and most of the basil leaves (save a few to shred and top your final pasta dish as a garnish).  Puree until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do it in separate batches if you have a small food processor.

Put about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or stock pot.  Warm on medium heat, and then toss in the diced shallots.  Cook until they are soft.

Dump the pureed tomatoes, and the reserved juice, into the pot.  Season with additional salt, if needed.  Add the essential oils and any herbs you might want to add to the sauce to flavor it to your liking.  Add the pepperoncinis and cans of tomato paste.  If you are using red wine, add that to the pot as well.  Mix thoroughly.  I had to use a whisk to make sure the thick tomato paste was dispersed throughout the sauce.

Simmer on low, covered, for an hour or longer, so that all the flavors blend well together.  The longer the simmer, the better the flavors will be.  Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.

Serve immediately as pasta sauce, or on homemade pizza (Click here for the pizza crust recipe that I also used as garlic bread with this meal.  For garlic bread, I just rubbed olive oil all over the dough and sprinkled generously with garlic salt and then baked it).  You will also find the “Date Paste” recipe within the pizza recipe. 

Or, you can cool all of it completely and freeze it in containers or Ziploc bags for later use as a quick meal!

Mangia tutti!!

 

Lemon Water Tonic – A Miracle? Seems that way!

antioxidant, cancer, clean, essential oils, healing, health, holistic, immunity, natural living, natural medicine, non-gmo, nutrition, organic, remedy, tonic, Uncategorized, wellness

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Good morning!

I have to start out by telling you flat out that this tonic is pretty darn amazing.  I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because my results after drinking this tonic for about 6 months have been pretty life changing.  In my opinion, it’s a miracle drink – I can say that since I’m not trying to sell it to you. 😉

I’ve had gastric issues for about 6 years now, and nothing ever helped me.  I saw so many doctors and did so many tests to see what was wrong with me – I’ll be paying off those bills for quite a while!  What a waste – the results didn’t tell me anything helpful.

I had a laundry list of symptoms that were unexplained, so I started going to a nutritionist.  I went to her monthly for a couple of years to gently detox my system from heavy metals and other environmental toxins.  She taught me about making healthier food choices, and why whole foods and whole food supplements were important.  I felt somewhat better, but still had many unexplained symptoms.

When I first started making this drink, I only used warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar.  I drank it every morning before my breakfast for a couple of months.  At first, I wasn’t sure if it was helping my gastric issues.  But since I had read so many wonderful things about lemon water, I knew that if I kept drinking it I would benefit from it eventually.  I learned that raw, unfiltered honey has the most health benefits, so I started using that instead of the cheap-o kind I was using (think plastic bottle in the shape of a bear….horrible).  Then, I read that adding baking soda to lemon water has even more health benefits, even cancer prevention, so I started adding that to my drink.

All I can say is WOW!  I sure noticed some changes.  I no longer had excessive gas after every meal.  I wasn’t bloating as often.  I wasn’t burping as much throughout the day (I would literally burp every couple of minutes).  I also noticed that I didn’t have explosive bouts of diarrhea (sorry, TMI?) after eating ice cream or pizza.  My skin is clearer (but I also use Arbonne’s anti-aging skin care, which has something to do with that!), and I haven’t gotten sick in a while.

I also now take digestive enzymes with every meal, to help my stomach break down the food.  And I take very good quality supplements.  I know that everything must play a part in how much better I am feeling today vs. 6 years ago.

I always recommend this lemon tonic to anyone who tells me that they have digestive issues.  I will probably drink this tonic for as long as I live.  Even if you don’t have stomach issues, there are so many other health benefits (listed below) that it doesn’t hurt to try it for yourself.  If you are consistent and drink this tonic every single morning before breakfast, you will notice changes eventually.  Still a skeptic?  Google “lemon honey water” and read on!  There are so many great articles by doctors and health and wellness practitioners praising lemon water.

So, you’re probably wondering, “Why lemon, honey, baking soda and apple cider vinegar?  What makes them so special?”  I have gathered some information and compiled it all here:

Goodness in the Lemon

Lemons are phenomenal little citrus fruits because they are rich in vitamin C, which enhances beauty by rejuvenating the skin from the inside.  It helps in weight loss, and is a very alkaline fruit (once it is in the body – otherwise it is acidic).

Lemons are a great source of polysaccharides, organic acids especially citric acid, lipids, carotenoid, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, bitter limonoids, potassium, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C.  Lemons also include volatile oil (in the peel – where the lemon essential oils come from), limonene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-pinene, citral, coumarins, mucilage, pectins, and bioflavonoids (pith and peel).

Goodness in the Honey

Honey is a great source of good carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids.  Honey contains small amounts of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.  It also contains vitamin C, and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.  The darker the honey, the greater antioxidants.  Honey also contains organic acids such as acetic, butanoic, formic, citric, succinic, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic and gluconic acids, and a number of aromatic acids.

Goodness in the Apple Cider Vinegar

(This will knock your socks off!)  I use Bragg’s organic ACV, which says “With the Mother” on the front of the bottle.  This phrase means that it still contains all of the good stuff, unlike other apple cider vinegars that are void of it.  ACV contains pectin, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and small amounts of minerals like potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron.  It has a wide range of benefits, such as it:  helps stomach troubles, cures hiccups, soothes a sore throat, could lower cholesterol, prevents indigestion, clears a stuffy nose, aids in weight loss, gets rid of dandruff, clears acne, boosts energy, cuts down on nighttime leg cramps, banishes bad breath, whitens teeth, fades bruises, helps control blood sugar.  Amazing – and it’s only about $8 for a large bottle at the grocery store!

Goodness in the Baking Soda

Baking Soda isn’t just for baking cookies!  When consumed, it works by immediately kicking stomach acid in the face, which then helps relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain.  When consumed in a lemon tonic, it gets your digestive juices flowing, and will help your stomach in digestion.  If that wasn’t enough, it is also known to alkalize the body and help with kidney disease, cancer, athletic performance, skin conditions and can be used in homemade deodorants (RECIPE HERE) and toothpaste (RECIPE HERE).

Some Health Benefits of this tonic:

  1. Enhances metabolism.
  2. Aids digestion.
  3. Cleanses the intestines, which improves the absorption of nutrients.
  4. Boosts your immune system.
  5. Cleans your urinary tract.
  6. Balances pH levels.
  7. Clears skin.
  8. Promotes healing.
  9. Freshens breath.
  10. Hydrates your lymph system.
  11. Aids in weight loss.
  12. Boosts energy.

I am sure this isn’t even an exhaustive list.  But it is a very good start!  I feel that everyone should drink this daily, and I hope you will give it a try.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, make sure you at least have water, honey, lemon and ACV.  Those are good enough in themselves for boosting your immune system.

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MY LEMON WATER TONIC RECIPE

  • 8 oz. warm water
  • 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp raw, Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs raw, unfiltered, organic honey (the darker the better)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)

First, heat up the water in either a glass or ceramic mug, for 35-40 seconds in the microwave.  Next, stir in the honey until it is dissolved.  Then you can add in the ACV and baking soda.  (**you can toss in some of your favorite essential oils if you’d like!)

The last part is a little tricky.  Before you add the lemon juice to the mixture, be forewarned!   It can get messy if you don’t slooowly add it in.  The baking soda reacts to the acid in the lemon juice and foams up quick!!  I’ve had mine spill out onto my counter a few times.  If you slowly add the lemon juice, but use a spoon to break up the foam as you continue to pour the lemon juice, you should be alright.  I drink it with a stainless steel straw because the acid from the lemon can eat away at your teeth.  If you don’t have one, just sip it, but rinse your mouth with water from the faucet after you finish your drink.

So, if any of you start doing this daily, and notice some changes in your health, please feel free to tell me about it!  🙂  I love success stories!

Blessings,

Karen

My Hyper-Thyroid Story

crunchy, Graves Disease, health, homeopath, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, nutrition, thyroid, wellness

 

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My goiter from Graves’ Disease (a/k/a Hyperactive thyroid)

Back in 1996, when I was in high school, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, called Grave’s Disease (a/k/a hyperactive thyroid) and was told I also had toxic multinodular goiters growing around my thyroid.  It sounds a lot worse than it is!  The goiter was benign, thank God, but the symptoms of Grave’s Disease were rough on me as an already self-conscious teenager.

The symptoms of this disease caused me to constantly be nervous, shaky, sweaty, lose hair, have large pupils, feel sick if I hadn’t eaten, and look anorexic due to the inability to gain weight.  I also had a lump growing on my lower neck called a goiter – sounds just delightful, doesn’t it?

I couldn’t sleep on my stomach because my pillow would push against my tender goiter, so I started sleeping with a stuffed bear.  I’d put the bear under my chest to lift my neck up from the pillow to relieve the pressure on my goiter.  I could eat an entire pizza myself, every day of the week, or eat 2 pints of Hagen Daaz ice cream in one sitting, and not gain an ounce (that may sound like a good thing, but it wasn’t!  Kids at school asked me if I were anorexic, and it was hurtful).  A friend once approached me in the hallway at school, and asked if I were sick because I had a lump on my neck.  After that day, I always tried covering it up with my hair so that no one would see it.

After a year or so on antithyroid medications, my doctor scheduled me to have the radioactive iodine treatment at the Nuclear Medicine department of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital to fix my problem once and for all.  This treatment is serious business – the doctor dons protective gloves and drops a radioactive iodine pill down your throat, and you aren’t allowed to touch it.  You are then instructed not to sit by anyone who is pregnant for 3 days after treatment (!?!).  You are to also flush your toilet 3 times each time you go, and eat with paper plates and plastic forks and dispose of them each time.  They don’t want any of your bodily fluids touching someone else.  Scary!  If the radioactivity in my body could harm someone else by sitting next to them, what is it doing to my body on the inside!?

The radioiodine treatment is meant to stop the thyroid from overproducing thyroid hormones.  While I shudder to think what the radioactivity may have done to my insides, I am thankful that my thyroid has not given me any trouble since that treatment.  I am basically in remission, but have to get yearly blood tests to make sure my thyroid doesn’t go hypoactive (explained below).

My goiter isn’t as noticeable now, but I still get a tad self-conscious when I wear a short necklace, which accentuates my lumpiness.  Sometimes I feel the necklace is like a blinking arrow on the Vegas strip, pointing your direction right to my lump.  (Said lump is depicted in the photo at the top of this page).


The thyroid is a small gland in the neck just below the Adam’s apple.  Its primary function is to produce hormones that influence most of the metabolic functions of the body.  Three primary problems can occur for a variety of reasons and with a variety of symptoms.

TYPES OF THYROID DISORDERS

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a where the thyroid is not producing sufficient hormones, which may lead to obesity, joint pain, infertility, heart disease, tiredness, depression, lack of concentration, feeling cold, constipation, muscle cramps, weight gain, increased menstrual flow, more frequent periods, itchy skin and thinning hair.  This disorder is most common among women, over 50.  The unbalance in the body from an underactive thyroid can develop slowly and initially be unnoticed but left unattended over time can lead to more serious situations.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

This disease is where the body attacks the tissue of the thyroid.  The resulting inflammation and damage to the tissue results in reduced amounts or cessation of the hormones normally generated by the thyroid.  This is the most common of hypothyroid disorders and occurs primarily in middle aged females but is also seen in men and children.

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid, this can significantly accelerate the body’s metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.  Symptoms can include insomnia, anxiety, irritability, bulging eyes, weakness in arms/legs, shaky hands, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, racing heartbeat, premature grey hair, lighter menstrual flow, less frequent periods.  Various forms of hyperthyroidism include:

Graves’ disease – This is also an autoimmune disorder wherein there is too much production of the thyroid hormone.   It is more prevalent among females and is the most common thyroid disorder among children and adolescents.

Toxic adenomas – Over activity may also come from nodules forming that secrete excess thyroid hormone or an inflammation may occur that causes the gland to “leak” the excess.  Goiters that form may contain several nodules.

Subacute thyroiditis – This is a temporary inflammation of the thyroid that causes excess hormones and is usually temporary lasting a few weeks to a few months.

Goiters/Nodules – Goiters/nodules may be solid or fluid filled lumps that form within the thyroid due to the overproduction of thyroid hormone.  Most nodules are not serious and may even go unnoticed.  Some can be very large.  Small percentages are cancerous and require serious attention.


CONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS

Antithyroid Medications:  These drugs help prevent the thyroid from producing hormones by interfering with the thyroid gland’s ability to produce hormones.  While effective in relieving symptoms within a few weeks, hyperthyroidism may return after the drug is stopped.

Thyroid Removal:  The thyroid may be surgically or chemically removed to correct hyperthyroidism and hormonal balance must be achieved by other means.

Radioactive Iodine (RAI):   Some doctors favor radioactive iodine treatment because antithyroid medications do not always provide a long-term solution to Graves’ disease-related hyperthyroidism.  RAI is given as a capsule and works by destroying thyroid tissue cells, reducing your thyroid hormone levels.

If you notice that you are having any of these symptoms, please make an appointment with an endocrinologist.  They will take the appropriate blood tests to see if you have low or high thyroid hormone levels.

Blessings and good health to you!

Karen