Savory Roasted Marinara Sauce From Scratch – with Essential Oils!

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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!

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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.  (UPDATE:  It’s now 2 years later, and I can’t even remember the last time I got sick.  It’s built up my immune system a ton.)

I also now take digestive enzymes with every meal, to help my stomach break down the food.  And I take very good quality supplements from a company I represent.  I know that everything I’ve said have played their own part in my current wellness 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 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.  Seriously…you must use Bragg’s – it is the best.  All others I’ve tasted are disgusting.

“With the Mother” 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).

In Summary, here’s a list of 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

Homemade Ooh La La Lip Balm!-

crunchy, diy, do-it-yourself, gluten-free, homemade, lip salve, natural living, non-gmo, organic, salve, smooth lips

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Hello!

So, I was running out of lip balm, and wanted to start making my own.  So, while I was making a batch of whipped body butter, I put together the PERFECT luxurious recipe (in my honest opinion), but there is one caveat…you have to make my Whipped Body Butter recipe first, and take some of the melted ingredients from that to make your lip balm at the same time.

But, it’s okay because BOOM! – You get TWO great products for the price/time of ONE!  (Sorry, I don’t know how much of each ingredient you would use if you made the lip balm by itself.  I would guess you could just take a teaspoonful or less of each oil/butter and 1/2 tsp of beeswax and melt them together, but I haven’t tested that yet.)

SOOTHING LIP BALM RECIPE:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup 100% organic African shea butter (find HERE)

1/2 cup 100% pure mango butter (find on Amazon)

1/2 cup organic or cold-pressed coconut oil (find at grocery store health food store)

1/2 cup organic almond oil (find HERE), organic jojoba oil (find HERE), organic shea oil (find HERE) or organic calendula oil (find HERE)

1Tablespoon of all natural-pure beeswax pellets (find on Amazon)

Essential Oils of your choice (lavender, frankincense, peppermint, spearmint, helichrysum, chamomile, etc.)

STEP 1:

Open my Whipped Body Butter Recipe HERE, and follow the first few steps so that your butters/oils are melting together in a double boiler.   Then come back here to finish this.

STEP 2:

Once all of the butters/oils have melted in your double boiler, use a ladle to scoop out about 2 Tbs of the melted mixture and place it in a small glass bowl, over a pot of water on LOW heat (or you can use a 2nd double boiler, if you have one.  I just use a glass batter bowl over a large pot of water).

STEP 3:

Add in just under a Tablespoon of pure/natural beeswax pellets and stir.

STEP 4:

Once all pellets have melted into the mixture, take the bowl out of the pot of water and let it cool in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

Add a few drops of any essential oils of your choice (I used peppermint and a drop of Roman Chamomile, but lavender, helichrysum, frankincense or spearmint would also be good).  Stir the essential oils in well, and scoop it all into a tight-closed, small container.  (I had little containers on hand, but you can always purchase empty lip balm tubes from www.aromatools.com if you prefer a chapstick.  You get 12 for $3.00.

STEP 5:

Place in the fridge to harden up again and VOILA!! You are done!!!

DON’T FORGET!! to go back to the Whipped Body Butter recipe and finish it off so that you have some soothing body butter in addition to your soothing lip balm!

Also, if you are looking for 100% pure essential oils that are therapeutic-grade, please contact me at karekorn@gmail.com

Enjoy!!

UPDATE! DIY Natural Baby Shampoo – Forget J&J’s!

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UPDATE!  It has been about 2 years since I bought a bottle of the Botanic Gold (mentioned in this blog).  It still has not run out.   We’ve used it consistently for everything from foaming hand soap, to cleaning up cat puke, to all-purpose cleaner and more.   It has saved my family some pretty good coin over the past 2 years!  Just wanted to share because this stuff is freaking awesome!!! (6 /7/17)

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Recently on Facebook, I came across an article stating that Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo contained formaldehyde, an ingredient that is not necessary in any of our personal care products.  J&J has since changed their ways, but I am still not convinced that using even their “Naturals Baby Shampooline is the best thing.  The ingredient list is posted below.  Pay particular attention to the bolded ingredient at the bottom:

Water, Decyl Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel, Corn), Cocoglycerides (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Sodium Coco-Sulfate (Source: Coconut, Palm), Coco-Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Glyceryl Oleate (Source: Sunflower), Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Glycerin (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Xanthan Gum (Source: Soy, Corn), Sodium Benzoate (Source: *), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose (Source: Plant, Mineral), Citric Acid (Source: *), Sodium Hydroxide (Source: *), Parfum (Source: Plant), * The remaining ingredients are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness.

First, what are “the remaining ingredients that are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness,” as is stated in the last sentence?  I would sure like to know – I mean, if they are natural, why not include them on the label?

Second, why does a “natural” shampoo need all of those extra ingredients?  There are cleansers that are all natural, and don’t have a bunch of stuff added to them.  I understand many of their ingredients act as emollients, and help soften/moisturize skin, but they are not necessary.  All-natural oils, such as sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil, are a better substitute for retaining moisture in the skin, and can be added to a homemade shampoo for it’s added benefits.

The main reason I posted that listing is the bolded ingredient Sodium Hydroxide.  Why is Sodium Hydroxide concerning?  Because the New Jersey Department of Health has a “Hazardous Substance Facts Sheet” for this chemical, which is posted in industrial facilities so that workers know how dangerous it is:

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Sure this fact sheet is for factory workers who are dealing with the concentrated chemical in it’s purest form, but even a tiny amount of a toxic chemical has no place in a baby shampoo.  In my honest opinion.

Here is another clip from that same Fact Sheet:

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Billion dollar product companies like J&J claim that the actual amount of an otherwise toxic chemical is not actually toxic when a minimal amount is used in personal care products.  This may be true, but the question begging to be asked is – why is it used at all when there are more natural options out there?

Why do we blindly accept everything at the grocery store as safe, or even good, for us?   Does a product with pretty packaging, and the word “Natural” printed on it makes it actually good?  Not necessarily.

We are living in a time where we cannot trust multi-billions dollar corporations to have our children’s best interests at heart.  We are their advocates, nurturers, caretakers, etc., and need to be aware of these things.

By no means am I a vigilant “crunchy” person in all aspects of life, but I do try and cut out unnecessary toxins from my personal care, medication and cleaning products.  Every product that I make has a natural base (i.e., apple cider vinegar, or sweet almond oil, etc.) and then I add essential oils to it for its potent health benefits or cleansing properties.

Here is my proposition:  If you have the ability to make your own all-natural personal care and cleaning products for you and your family, then do it.  You will not regret it.

I don’t know about you, but when I make something in my own home, from all-natural ingredients that I choose, I know that my family is getting the best of the best.  Making your own personal products is not complicated, nor does it take up much of your time.  And it saves you money in the long run.

So, back to the lil ones.  Below is a super easy homemade baby shampoo recipe, that can also be used on their hair and body, and on yours too!  The base soap is an all natural botanical soap called Botanic Gold, that can be used for just about everything:  skin care, brushing teeth, household cleaner, baby care, fruit/veggie washing, cleaning your toilet (!) and so much more.  (I love this stuff so much that I should get paid for how much I talk about it online!)

There are actually over 200 uses for this Botanic Gold all-natural soap.  I pick mine up at Amazon.  It is super concentrated, so it will last a very long time.  While it may be $99 for a gallon, one part soap mixed with 10 parts water usually can replace all of your cleaning and skin care products…for possibly a year or more.  (No, I am not paid by Botanic Gold to say this – this soap just excites me that much).  (UPDATE:  I’m still on my first bottle and it’s 2 years later!)

It looks like this:

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The ingredients in this soap are:

Purified water, fatty acids, folic acid, organic alcohol (derived from sugarcane), minerals and enzymes derived from edible and seed bearing plants.

THAT’S IT!  Muuuuch better than the J&J, right?  I love how safe it is, and how much money it will save me.


Homemade Baby Shampoo Recipe:

– Plastic shampoo bottle
– Small amount Botanic Gold soap (see bottle for measurements)
1 Tbs of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil
– (see below for amounts) 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils per ounce of soap mixture

Combine ingredients together in a plastic shampoo bottle, shake and you’re done.

Essential Oil Options:

Babies 3+ months (2-3 drops oil per ounce soap):  lavender, roman chamomile, frankincense

Babies 6+ months. (3-5 drops oil per ounce soap): tea tree, bergamot, tangerine, sandalwood, geranium, helichrysum, cypress, cedarwood

Children 2+ years (not more than 20 drops per ounce soap):  basil, clary sage, ginger, juniper berry, lemongrass, lime, myrrh, parchouli, ylang ylang.

Essential oils are not only added for their scent, but a slew of health benefits.  While certain oils would be added for their cleansing properties, others can aid in relaxation/sleep, calming, skin irritations, etc.

Not all essential oils are created equal, and some brands are so impure that you cannot even be put it on your skin! What is the point of that?!  The oils I use are highly-regarded in the essential oils world, and I trust them completely due to their rigorous testing, 3rd party testing for purity.

Please comment below for more info on the specific essential oils that I use in all of my recipes or with questions. 

Blessings!
Karen

DIY Foaming Hand Soap

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I wanted to share with you a quick recipe for a foaming hand soap that I love.  I ran out of foaming hand soap over the weekend.  Rather than buying more, I decided to make my own with ingredients that I had on-hand.  It smells delicious (think amaretto – if you buy the almond Dr. Bronner’s castile soap), and is so soft and silky.  It’s free from any synthetic toxins, and can be made for a fraction of the cost of some foaming soap brands at the store.

FOAMING HAND SOAP:

2 Tbs liquid castille soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Almond – find here)

** UPDATE – I now use the Botanic Gold soap base, instead of the Dr. Bronner’s, which I mentioned in my baby shampoo blog HERE.  It is so concentrated – all you need is to pour a little in your soap bottle, then fill the rest with water.  Botanic Gold is AWESOME!

1 Tbs organic shea oil, organic jojoba oil OR organic almond oil

10-15 drops essential oils per 8 oz. (orange oil works well)

Water

Foaming soap bottle

Directions:

Pour the castile soap into the soap bottle.  Add in shea, jojoba or almond oil.  Add essential oils.

Fill up the rest of the way with water.  Make sure you leave room for the pump to fit in.  You may need to give the bottle a quick shake every time you use this soap, because the ingredients tend to separate. 

*Essential oil options:  lavender, melaleuca, lemon, grapefruit, peppermint, or your favorites.  That’s it!  Super easy and super cheap!

For more information, or to find out which oils I use (therapeutic-grade), e-mail me here:  karekorn@gmail.com.

Blessings,

Karen