Easy Breezy Non-Greasy Whipped Body Butter

aromatherapy, body butter, clean, cream, creamy, diy, diy lotion, do-it-yourself, essential oils, healing, health, holistic, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, natural living, naturopath, popular oils, pure, recipe, remedy, restoration, restore, soothing, Uncategorized, wellness

 

The other day I posted a luxurious body cream recipe containing water-based ingredients.  It’s a little more involved that your typical body cream.  Who has time for that!  So, in the alternative, I wanted to give you another recipe that is simple, contains very few ingredients, and effective – AND NON-GREASY. 

The other day I had to formulate a tummy tightening/stretch mark blend for one of my Aromatherapy course case studies, and I ended up loving the end product.  I don’t yet know if it will tighten saggy skin, or lighten stretch marks (because there isn’t much out there that can do that!) – but it is super hydrating and velvety and will make the perfect every day moisturizer.

If you’re into DIY personal products, you’ve most likely seen a bazillion recipes for whipped body butters containing coconut oil.  I’m sorry guys, but I’m soooo over that stuff… Really, it was a great discovery for me over 5 years ago, but I’ve moved on to something more sophisticated (i.e. LESS GREASY!!!!) – Babassu Oil.  Yes, I do have a Silky Whipped Body Butter recipe that contains coconut oil, which is very good, but only before bedtime…under socks and pajamas.  For years I brought that stuff to every “Make & Take” essential oils class that I taught.  From this point forward, I’m using this newer, snazzier, simpler body butter recipe.  And you may want to as well!

This recipe does not contain any water-based ingredients, such as aloe vera, hydrosols or distilled water.  This means that no preservatives are needed!  Raw oils and butters do not need preservatives and so your end product should last you a much longer time (12 months or more) if stored in a dark, cool area (Antarctica has nothing on my house!  I just keep it on my nightstand).  And if you add essential oils with antibacterial properties to it, it couldn’t hurt!

While water-based body creams soak in to your skin a tad quicker, I usually make up every excuse in the book NOT to make them because of the possibility of bacteria and all the stress of sanitizing everything with alcohol first.  I also hate having to use up an expensive bottle of natural preservative before it expires. Ironically, natural preservatives don’t stay preserved very long…go figure.

This body butter has a light, fluffy, almost whipped cream-like texture.  It soaks in pretty quickly, but is thick enough to create a great moisture barrier – keeping moisture inside where it belongs. It leaves my skin moisturized all day and incredibly velvety.

How is this possible?  The Babassu Oil.

If you hadn’t read about Babassu Oil on my other blog, here are some of the benefits:

  • It is light weight
  • It doesn’t clog pores
  • It soaks in faster than coconut oil
  • It is less greasy/messy than coconut oil
  • It has a very mild scent
  • It mixes better with essential oils
  • It helps heal damaged skin
  • It reduces redness & inflammation
  • It cools on contact
  • It repairs, softens & shines hair
  • It nourishes your scalp
  • It promotes healthy nails & cuticles
  • It locks in moisture
  • It helps prevent body odor
  • If you have the food grade, it’s a healthy alternative to other cooking oils
  • It improves pet health
  • It rejuvenates wooden surfaces

Read more about this oil’s benefits HERE

Just look at these photos.  Doesn’t it look scrumptious?  Like a white buttercream frosting?

20180828_2028231092163799183386086.jpg

 

So, let’s crack on already!  (Sorry, I’ve been binge watching “Being British: Joel & Lia” YouTube videos lately, and am starting to use their slang!)

Easy Breezy, Non-Greasy Body Butter

(Makes just over 4 oz body butter)

2 Tbs (1 oz) sweet almond oil (substitutes w/ jojoba or apricot kernel oil)
6 Tbs (3 oz) raw mango butter (substitutes w/ raw shea or cocoa butter)
1 Tbs (1/2 oz) babassu oil  (I found mine here)
120-180 drops of your favorite essential oils (it mays seem like a lot, but for body oils and butters, it’s the recommended amount)

Before you start, you will want to liquify the babassu oil.  It’s a solid in cooler temps, but melts when you put the bottle in a hot water bath. So, fill a large bowl with hot water, and let your bottle of babassu sit inside it for a bit until you can get it to melt a bit.

In a double boiler (or a pot full of water, with a smaller pot sitting on top of the water), melt the raw butter and the babassu oils together. Add sweet almond oil and stir until fully melted together. Let sit to cool in the pot, or pour into a clean mixing bowl, until it’s thickened and no longer clear. You can refrigerate it, but make sure it’s cooled down first, so that it doesn’t create condensation on the lid.

If you refrigerated your mixture, let it sit out on the counter for about 30 minutes to soften it before mixing.

Add your essential oils to the cooled mixture. Beat the mixture for a few minutes with an electric mixer until white and fluffy.

SUGGESTIONS FOR USE:
(body only):

  • Hands, feet & elbows before bed (add Frankincense, Lavender & Tangerine)
  • Moisturizer after shower (add Lavender, Jasmine & Bergamot)
  • Hand cream at work or your kitchen/bathroom sink (add eucalyptus & orange)
  • Hydrate aging/crepey skin (wrinkly) (add Cypress, Frankincense & Helichrysum)
  • Massage a dab onto dry/split ends hair before bed.  Wash out next day (add Lavender)

My favorite EO aroma combos:

Frankincense & Lavender
Tangerine & Bergamot
Clary Sage & Lavender
Clary Sage & Rose
Jasmine and Lavender
Cypress and Lavender
Hawaiian Sandalwood
Rosemary & Peppermint
Litsea, Eucalyptus & Orange
Rosemary and Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus & Orange
Lemon & Lime
Patchouli & Lavender
Vetiver & Lavender

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Body Cream Perfection!

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This lotion/cream recipe is literally perfect!  (Too bad I can’t take credit for the original recipe, as it was created by well-known herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar, but I’ve done some tweaking to make it my own).  I hope you love it as much as I do!  Difficulty level is a little higher, but your skin will thank you for the efforts! (I’m going to post an easier version shortly).

When my Aromatherapy instructor shared this recipe with us, I was thinking we were sort of special – but apparently there are many variations of it all over the Interwebs…  This cream has probably been made a bazillion times by people all over the world.  So, while we weren’t especially special, this recipe is truly special!

What I love most about this recipe is that you can change it up with different base oils and/or hydrosols, to suit your needs and it always turns out perfect (but make sure you don’t replace a liquid oil with a solid-type oil, or the results won’t be so perfect!).  It yields approximately 16 oz. of cream, so make sure to have the appropriate containers.

Let’s get started!

FIRST!  Let’s extend the shelf life of our cream by disinfecting all utensils, bowls, spoons, blender, etc. with 70% rubbing alcohol.  Put the rubbing alcohol in a clean spray bottle and spray all items to disinfect them.  Lay them on clean paper towels to dry, or hand dry them.  Bacteria from the tap water could cause nasties to grow in your luxurious cream (this is another reason why we use distilled water or aromatic hydrosols versus tap water).

Preservatives are a must with any type of cream with a water-based ingredient, such as aloe vera gel and hydrosols.  There is a longer shelf life for body butters made with oils and butters only.  This recipe contains aloe vera gel and a hydrosol, so it will grow funky stuff within weeks if not preserved!  I’ve found some natural preservatives on the market to help increase the shelf life of our cream.

Leucidal SF or Leucidal Complete are nice, broad-range and more natural preservatives used mostly in creams and lotions.  Leucidal also provides extra silkiness to your cream.  Who doesn’t want silky skin!?  I sure do…especially since I recently hit 40!

One of the main base oils I chose to use instead of cocoa butter (and am currently obsessed with) is the incredible, but somewhat pricey, Babassu oil.  It is like coconut oil in that it is a solid and melts when warmed in your hand, but it seems to get a bit harder when cooled.

Babassu oil comes from the nuts of the babassu tree in Brazil.  It has so many benefits.  Here are a few to persuade you into loving it:

It is light weight
It doesn’t clog pores
It soaks in faster than coconut oil
It is less greasy/messy than coconut oil
It has a very mild scent
It mixes better with essential oils
It helps heal damaged skin
It reduces redness & inflammation
It cools on contact
It repairs, softens & shines hair
It nourishes your scalp
It promotes healthy nails & cuticles
It locks in moisture
It helps prevent body odor (this would be great in my Deodorant recipe!)
If you have the food grade, it’s a healthy alternative to other cooking oils
It improves pet health
It rejuvenates wooden surfaces

…just to name a few. 

You can read more about Babassu oil HERE.  I may replace coconut oil in all of my recipes with babassu from this point forward – if I can find a good quality, lower-priced supplier.

Below are photos taken step-by-step as I moved through the process. The actual recipe is at the bottom:

Gather all ingredients, sterilize and dry. Ignore the shea butter. I ended up changing the recipe and replaced it with a more liquid oil.

Measure all aqueous ingregients into a sterilized measuring cup.

If using babassu oil, you may need to liquify it by placing in a bowl of hot tap water.

Melt all oils (babassu oil, almond oil, beeswax), minus essential oils, in a double boiler until completely combined.

Fully melted!

Pour hot oils into sterilized blender and cool until room temp. Blend on high and slowly pour in water ingredients through the hole on blender lid. When fully combined, scrape into a sterilized, glass bowl.

Fold in your essential oils with a sterilized spoon until combined. It is a tad blue because I added a few drops of skin-nourishing Blue Tansy essential oil to my cream.

Pour into glass cosmetic jars if you prefer, but make sure your hands are clean when you scoop some out.

Or pipe into lotion containers. It’s much more sterile this way, since your hands never touch the inside.

I had on hand three 4oz lotion squeeze bottles, and one 2 oz round cosmetic container.  I filled all containers the top, and there was enough remaining for me to apply to my super dry arms and legs.

This recipe is velvety, silky and luxurious, and I slather it on after the shower (make sure to have clean & dry hands before putting them into your jar, or use a utensil to scoop it out)

ROSEMARY GLADSTAR’S “PERFECT CREAM” (my personal variation)

Group 1 (Waters)
2/3 cup white rose water/hydrosol (or you can used distilled water)
1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel (no junk from a drugstore – the real stuff)
48 drops of essential oils of your choice (or less)
1/2 oz. Leucidal Liquid SF (natural preservative/antimicrobial)

Group 2 (Oils)
3/4 cup apricot kernel or sweet almond oil
1/3 cup Babassu oil (or shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter)
1/2-1 oz grated beeswax
1/2 tsp. Vitamin E oil

FIRST, see my note above about cleaning everything with rubbing alcohol and drying with/on paper towels.

  • Combine your hydrosol, aloe vera gel and preservative in the glass measuring cup and set aside (cover with saran wrap if you have cats in the home – their fur gets into everything!)
  • Measure the babassu/mango/shea butter (whichever you chose), and beeswax into a double boiler and heat on low until melted completely.  Transfer the melted liquid to your blender, cover with a paper towel, and allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to help cool it down.
  • When oils have reached room temperature, secure lid and turn blender on high. Add the water/aloe mixture through the hole at the top of the blender in a slow and steady stream.  (Adding slowly is KEY to getting the waters and oils to emulsify well).  When 3/4 of the water has been added, monitor the cream in the blender. At a certain point, it will thicken and pull above the blades, no longer accepting more liquid.  If okay, add the rest of the liquid.
  • Scrape as much out of the blender as you can, into an alcohol disinfected bowl, and gently fold in your essential oils with to make sure all oils and water are incorporated evenly.
  • Transfer to disinfected storage jars.  The cream will thicken as it sets.
  • Label your jars with all of the ingredients used and store in cool location (the fridge is best!).  Use within 3 months, or until you see mold!  If you added preservatives, it should last 6 months to a year in the fridge.

Enjoy!

How I Ditched My Acid Reflux Medication

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About 5 years ago, my insides felt like they were coming undone. I had horrible heartburn, nausea, pain under my rib and sometimes food that I’d just eaten kept coming back up over, and over again. After a quick visit to the gastroenerologist, I was diagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) and was prescribed a Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI) drug called Omeprazole. I was overjoyed to find a solution to my problem and so I began eating whatever I wanted and life was good.

Heartburn is one thing, but GERD is a whole ‘nother ballgame. It makes you afraid to eat because of the wrath you feel on your innards. I enjoy pasta, pizza, Mexican food, cheese, whole milk, heavy cream, cheesecake, you name it – I eat all of that stuff and there was no way I was giving it up while I’m still young.

You may have GERD if you have at least 4-5 of the symptoms below (but not always):

Common symptoms include:

Frequent heartburn
Trouble sleeping from heartburn
“Vomit burps”
Sore/scratchy throat
Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
Feeling like there’s a lump in your throat
Damaged teeth from stomach acid
Chest pain
Bad breath
Nausea
Vomiting

During the years I was taking Omeprazole, it gave me my life back, at least that’s what I thought. My doctor gave me a prescription with unlimited refills. So, month after month, year after year, I continued to refill my prescription. I can’t remember the last time I was actually in to see the doctor. Out of the 4-5 years of taking Omeprazole, I believe I only saw him 3 times. Once for our initial consultation and diagnosis, and then for 2 colonoscopies (oh yeah… aren’t you jeally?).

Not long ago, a friend from my oils company, who also happens to be a Nurse Practitioner, posted an article on Facebook about the dangers of Omeprazole. And that natural means could be used to ease symptoms. I’d never heard of there being any issues with acid blockers, but I read the article anyway and then shrugged it off. There was no way I was ever going to discontinue Omeprazole. Picture Gollum from the Lord of the Rings holding a prescription Omeprazole bottle – that would be me. It would take an elephant tranquilizer dart to the neck to pry “My Precious” Omeprazole from me.

Fast forward a few years, and I’m making my usual errands, stopping at Walgreens to refill my Omeprazole prescription. There was a problem. The pharmacy assistant said that they have to contact my doctor to refill the prescription. What? That’s weird, I thought. I forgot about it until a week later when I get a message on my doctor’s online medical portal stating that he’s no longer going to refill my prescription because PPIs aren’t recommended for long term use. Okay then, why did you allow me to refill it for 4-ish years!?!? Also, the doctor recommended using over-the-counter omeprazole, as needed. My initial thoughts were, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!” Now what do I do?

I’m a foodie, food junkie, gorger of goodies, cookie chomper, butter slurper, cheese muncher, pizza hoarder – you name it! Also, I eat out ALL the time – it’s one of the things my husband and I really enjoy doing together on our date nights. I’m a Yelp ‘Elite’ member, meaning I write Yelp reviews and get invited to all of Yelp’s free food tasting parties at various restaurants throughout the year. It’s my thing, and I love it. There is no way I could give that all up.

Within the days following my prescription cancellation, I ate food and got acid reflux all over again. I had bloating, gas, vomit coming up to my throat and excessive burping. I was not happy.

I began doing my research and I came to discover that there are a bunch of natural means to help with acid reflux. Apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, licorice root, digestive enzymes, just to name a few. I’d already been using digestive enzymes, which helped my bloating greatly. I was seeing a glimmer of hope. Why hadn’t I done this in the first place!?

After more research, I discovered that I might have leaky gut. That’s a whole other issue to work on, and maybe I’ll do another blog on that some day. Leaky gut can be a cause of GERD, and needs to be taken care of.

I also recently learned that having LOW stomach acid can mimic the high stomach acid symptoms. Great…as if we needed more confusion. Oftentimes, people are diagnosed with GERD because of heartburn and acid reflux, and given a PPI prescription. This causes unnecessary harm to your body if you have low stomach acid because PPIs decrease stomach acid. What someone with low stomach acid should be taking is Betaine HCL with Pepsin (which is betaine hydrochloride with digestive enzymes). Betaine HCL with Pepsin helps aid your body in creating it’s own stomach acid. If you’re experiencing GERD symptoms, it wouldn’t hurt to test for low stomach acid before going to see a gastroenterologist. It’s a simple test, in which I’ll explain below:

TEST FOR LOW STOMACH ACID: When you first wake up in the morning, before eating or drinking anything, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of baking in 4-6 oz. of water and drink it down. After you drink it, check the clock. If you do not belch within 5 minutes, you have low stomach acid. If you belch within 2-3 minutes, you don’t have low stomach acid. If you belch a lot, then you have high stomach acid. Don’t mistake small burps for belching. We swallow air when we drink, and little burps might be caused by that. Do this for 3 mornings in a row so that you get a good average reading.

If you have low stomach acid, you would benefit by taking the Betaine HCL with Pepsin that I mentioned above. It must have Pepsin in it.A more reliable test would to be to do the test below. This also helps you figure out your personal dosage:

A more reliable test would to be to do the test below. This also helps you figure out your personal dosage:

Take 1 Betaine HCL with Pepsin pill with your largest meat meal. HCL helps break down proteins. If you don’t feel a burning sensation in your stomach, then take 2 pills the next time. Keep adding another pill on to the regimen until you feel a burning sensation in your stomach. Once you do, then you can decrease your dose by one pill and continue that dose for as long as you need to manage the symptoms. Once you feel the burn again, you will decrease by another pill, and so on, until you don’t need to take them anymore.

Obviously, if you have other worrisome symptoms, please make an appointment with a doctor. And before taking any new supplements, be sure to contact your doctor to be sure that there are no interactions with any medications you might be taking already.

My routine now consists of taking 1-2 Aloe Vera Gels by NOW Foods (I got mine HERE), along with 2 digestive enzymes from my company, before each meal – and BAM! – no acid reflux. Just like that. No vomit burps. No nausea. No bloat. It’s amazing. Aloe has such wonderful health benefits already, I’d never dreamed that it would help my stomach issues! You have to make sure to get the good stuff, making sure it does not contain any part of the plant that contains latex. I also take a good probiotic daily. With the American diet, I believe everyone should be on probiotics. They are necessary for maintaining a healthy gut. And last, I take Betaine HCL with Pepsin with each large protein meal.

I am literally overjoyed that I can finally use more natural means to ease my digestive discomforts. Omeprazole is a thing of the past for me – it’s one less prescription that I need to pick up at Walgreens. I seriously don’t even miss it! In fact, I wish I’d known this sooner so that I didn’t have to cause my body any more damage than it already has.

I should note that, as always, changing your eating habits and exercising regularly help greatly. I am in the process of finding a lot more GERD-friendly recipes to add into our family’s mix of meals, so that I’m not purposely provoking my gut. Eating smaller portions will help, and eating foods that are low fat, low acid, and avoiding caffeine, red meat, chocolate, alcohol, fried foods, processed foods, tomatoes, onions, garlic and citrus fruits. Basically everything I like and eat on a regular basis…

For those interested, you can read about Omeprazole’s harmful effects in this article. You will find plenty of information online by Googling: “dangers of Omeprazole” or “dangers of PPIs.” The stuff is pure garbage – plain and simple. If you’re currently on a PPI prescription for major digestive illnesses or ulcers – please stay on your medication and talk to your doctor about using natural means to manage symptoms. If you have acid reflux for other reasons, or occasional heartburn, you might just want to try this regimen. I swear by it.

Have you used any other natural means for GERD, leaky gut, or other disgestive issues? I’d love to hear your regimen.

Homemade Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

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Here in Chicago, most of us don’t call it “deep dish pizza,” we call it “stuffed pizza.” Why? Who cares!?  It’s delicious!

What makes stuffed pizza so delicious and special to the hearts of us midwesterners is the unique buttery, flaky crust, gobs of mozzarella cheese and a thick, zesty sauce.  I grew up on it, and in my opinion it is the best stuff on the planet…besides ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s “Peanut Butter World,” to be exact).

Before you go and try to make this pizza with a regular pizza dough, do yourself a favor…don’t do it.  Stuffed pizza has a lighter, flakier crust due in part to the cornmeal and also in part by “laminating” the pizza dough with butter (I’ll explain later).

I have to be honest and admit that when I first tried making stuffed pizza, I bought pre-made regular pizza dough from Caputos.  Regular pizza dough bakes tougher and when it’s used for stuffed pizza, it makes for a hard time cutting each bite of your slice.  You end up scraping all the gooey cheese out of it to eat by itself.  And then you either eat the crust separate, or you end up tossing the entire crust.  While it tasted pretty good with the regular dough, nothing tops actual stuffed pizza crust!!  So, I highly, HIGHLY, recommend using this recipe.

All of the “oohs” and “aahs” that I’ve gotten from this pizza is enough to make it a staple comfort food in our house.   My sister even said it was probably the best stuffed pizza she’s ever had.  Did you hear that, Giordano’s??  In yo’ face!  (Just kidding – I love you.)  It is quickly becoming a family tradition to make these stuffed pizzas for game night with the family.

TIP:  You will first want to read these instructions all the way through, at least a day ahead, so you can make time for preparation and purchase the correct ingredients. 

YOU WILL NEED:  either 2 cast iron skillets (10″ or 12″), or 2 springform pans.  I prefer cast iron all the way!  I must warn you though, it is hard to cut the cooked pizza in a cast iron skillet since you can’t take it out of the pan.  A springform pan easily comes off and you can cut it easily.  You don’t want to use a rolling pizza cutter because it will crush the crust and not look pretty.

NOTE:  This is a very LONG recipe, but simple enough.  Hang in there with me. You will be glad you did because this is what you will get (yours won’t be as yellow as the one in my photo – I tried using a filter and failed miserably):

CHICAGO STUFFED PIZZA

INGREDIENTS:
Crust (makes 2)

  • 3 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 & 1/4 tsps salt
  • 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 standard packet of yeast (not instant)
  • 1 & 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened or room temp)
  • olive oil for coating

Sauce:

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1-2 drops oregano essential oil)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano (THE BEST), if possible)
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • Optional:  1-2 drops basil essential oil

Toppings:

  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (buy a block and shred it yourself, rather than buying pre-shredded – you will thank me!)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Topping Options:  approx. 20 pepperoni slices, 4 slices cooked/crumbled bacon (2 per pizza), cooked and crumbled mild Italian sausage, thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms.

Crust Directions:

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, or food processor with dough attachment.

If you do not have any mixer, you will have to do it by hand.  Use a large bowl. Give the ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon.

Add the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter.  The water should be warm – not hot, or it will kill the yeast.  Also, make sure the butter isn’t super hot.

On low speed, mix the ingredients until everything is moistened.  Continuing on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a dough mat), mix the dough until it is soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook (about 4-5 mins).  If the dough is too hard, mix in a teaspoon of warm water.  On the other hand, it feels too soft, mix in a Tablespoon of flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball.  Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated in oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

TIP:  If your house isn’t warm, preheat your oven to 250F degrees.  Once it’s 250F degrees, turn it off.  Place the bowl of dough inside and close the door.  The heat will help your dough rise quickly like magic!

When the dough is ready, lightly flour a large work surface.  Remove dough from the bowl, set the bowl and aluminum foil aside to use later.  “Punch down” the dough to remove any air bubbles and roll the dough into a large 15×12″ rectangle.

Slather 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough, covering every inch.  This is the “laminating” part.

Roll the dough up lengthwise like a roll-cake or Litttle Debbie “ho-ho”.  Cut the dough log in half.  Form the two pieces of dough into balls and put them back into your greased bowl.  Cover again with aluminum foil and allow it to rise in the fridge this time for 1 hour until the dough balls are fluffy.  Make the sauce during this time.

Sauce Directions:

Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat to melt.  Add grated onion, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Once the onion has browned a bit, after about 5 minutes, add garlic, tomatoes, and sugar.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick – about 30 mins.  If it isn’t think, keep cooking until the moisture reduces a bit.  Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used.  (You can store the sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days, or freeze up to 2 months.)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Assembling the pizzas:

After the dough balls have risen and are fluffy, take out only one ball to start.  Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 13-inch circle (if your pan is 12″) to about 1/4″ thickness.

Pick up the circle of dough and place over your skillet or springform pan so that the dough is hanging slightly off the sides.

Using your fingers, gently press the dough down a little, leaving some dough hanging off the sides – try not to tear it.  Then add your cheese – 2 cups of cheese per pizza. Next add your meat/veggie toppings – except your pepperoni – you will use that towards the last step.

Then, use a knife to cut off the extra dough hanging off the sides of the pan and save. We will use it to make the top layer – just like the famous Giordano’s stuffed pizza. It’s their secret step, and what I believe makes their pizzas so awesome. (Giordano’s seals up the pie with a super thin layer of dough before topping it off with the sauce and parmesan.)

Roll a bit of that extra dough into a circle as thin as possible.  Place it over your filled-up pizza, and pinch it together with the dough on the sides to seal the pie.

Place pepperoni on top of this dough layer, then top your pie with half of the sauce. Finish by topping it off with half of the grated parmesan cheese.  Add more, if desired.

Here is a photo before it went into the oven:

Repeat steps with the 2nd dough ball in a 2nd pan.

If using springform pans, place them on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything that might spill over.  Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

YUM!!:

Place any leftover pizza in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days (yeah right, as if there will be any leftovers!!!)

Reheat leftovers in a 300F oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot.   Enjoy!!!

Pleeeeeease tell me if you made this pizza, and if you have any suggestions or comments!

Blessings

Savory Roasted Marinara Sauce From Scratch

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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 make it from scratch.  And, of course, I also wanted to incorporate my beloved therapeutic-grade essential oils into the recipe to see how it  enhanced the flavor.

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 another 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!!

Feel free to browse the photos below, which are in the order of each step of the recipe.  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

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 – comment below for my favorite brand)
  • 4 drops Basil essential oil
  • 2 drops Black Pepper essential oil
  • 4-6 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, glass jar, screw the lid on, and shake vigorously for a minute.  The peelings should become loose so that you can just peel it off of the clove.  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!!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Easy Homemade Guacamole & Chips With Lime & Cilantro Oils

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For a healthy,  quick snack, try some homemade guacamole and homemade tortilla chips!  They are fresher and taste a whole lot better than store bought chips!

First, gather your ingredients.  You will need the following:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 1/8 cup diced red onion
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 drops Lime essential oil (See note in red below)
  • Less than 1/2 drop Cilantro essential oil, (use a toothpick, serioulsy) (See note in red below)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 drop Black Pepper essential oil (See note in red below) or 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 4 soft yellow or white corn tortillas (I prefer El Milagro – they don’t use preservatives)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or a healthier cooking spray oil than PAM!)

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Thoroughly wash and chop your tomatoes, onion and avocado.

Put your avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until your desired consistency.  I like mine a little chunky. Once mashed, toss in your onion and tomato and stir.

Then, you can add the spices and/or essential oils.  Where it says to use 1/2 drop of essential oil, here’s the trick on how to do that.  Since you can’t really measure a half drop, I usually put one drop on a spoon and then lightly shake some off into the sink.   Then I can stir the remainder of the oil that is on the spoon into the guacamole.  It seems to be just enough.  These oils are super potent, and a little goes a very long way!

If you aren’t going to eat the guacamole right away, put the avocado pits into the storage container along with the guacamole and refrigerate.  The pits will keep the avocado from turning brown!

For the homemade tortilla chips:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Put 4 tortillas (or more) on a cookie sheet (you’ll need a couple of cookie sheets).  Very lightly rub both sides of each tortilla with a very small amount of olive oil (If you use too much oil, the chips will be chewy, not crisp – and ruin the whole experience).  If you have a cooking spray (which I don’t like using due to the propellant in the can), it would work best in this instance.  Lightly spray both sides of each tortilla instead of using olive oil.  Stack the tortillas on top of each other, and with a large knife, cut through all of them so that each tortilla makes 8 chips.  Using 4 tortillas will make 32 chips.

Spread each chip out evenly out over 2 cookie sheets.  Sprinkle salt over all of the tortillas.  And if you’re feeling crazy, put some salt in a bowl, add a drop of lime essential oil to the salt and mix it up.  Then sprinkle the salt all over your chips.  Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

Once the chips are cooled, you are ready to eat!

Enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


No-Cheese Pizza – Healthy & Delicious!

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Pizza Photo

Yes, that’s pizza…without cheese, and it is delicious.  Gasp!!

So, my husband and I had been in a bit of a funk lately.  We were getting so lazy that we’d eat out at restaurants, or fast food places 2-4 times per week.  We were both gaining weight, feeling sluggish, brain fogged and just plain fatigued almost all the time.  We knew we had to do something about it.

We are both Christians, and were feeling God laying on our hearts that we needed to learn the discipline of self-control – something we both never really had much of!  When you allow the Lord to give you strength in one area of indulgence, it is easier to exercise self-control in other areas!  Self-control was never something I cared to practice when it came to food.  I love food!!!  Food is great when eaten in moderation, but it can become a vice and detrimental to your health if you eat the way I have for most of my life.

Due to events over the past year where a lack of self-control caused mine and my husband’s lives to spiral out of control, we finally admitted that it was time for us to learn self-control in all areas of life.

A friend of mine told me about The Daniel Fast that she was doing.  Here is a link to the official website:  The Daniel Fast Website

If you’ve never heard of The Daniel Fast, it’s a 21-day fast where you only eat veggies, fruits, legumes, beans, whole grains, olive oil, etc.  Basically no meats, alcohol, sugar, dairy, processed foods.  Some people say you can eat unleavened bread (with whole wheat flour), but others claim you should not.

The fast is based off of the book of Daniel in the Bible, where Daniel refused to eat the King’s food because it usually contained meat sacrificed to false gods.  He told the King’s men that if they would only give him and his friends vegetables to eat and water to drink, for 21 days, they would find that he and his friends were much healthier, leaner, etc.  Here’s a link to the story:  Daniel’s Story

So, since I already drink only water, and have been drinking fruit smoothies every morning for about 2 years, I figured this wouldn’t be so hard.  I’d buy a ton of produce, nuts, rice and beans each week and I’d be all set.  Little did I know that you should really have some recipes planned out for The Daniel Fast if you are going to stick to it and not become malnourished.  After some Googling (by the way, I heard Webster’s just added “Googling” as a verb in the dictionary….seriously), I found some great recipes!  But the Daniel Fast shouldn’t be done as a diet.  Fasts are about growing closer to the Lord, not weight loss, but it just happens to be a great byproduct of a fast like this!

If you are considering the Daniel Fast, I’d recommend doing it with someone else.  It really helps to have someone who can encourage and support you so that you don’t give up.  My husband and I are loving how it is growing us closer together in our marriage, as we cheer each other on in this fast.  We are enjoying cooking dinner together every evening, versus driving to a fast food place.  It’s like a date night – every night!

So, at the beginning of this fast, I’d have a smoothie for breakfast (loaded with goodies), a fruit and a sweet potato for lunch, and sometimes potatoes and leeks for dinner, or beans and rice.  We were pretty fatigued, and needed a little more substance.  I found a bunch of great tofu recipes (try to eat only organic tofu – the non-organic has been linked to breast cancer – or so I’ve heard).

I also found a good recipe for an unleavened bread (more like a thick cracker) that contains 100% whole wheat flour, olive oil, honey and water – that’s it!  We’ve used it as a garlic bread with our potato leek soup, as garlic bread with our pasta and now as a pizza crust.  Who would have thought only 4 ingredients would make such a great crust!

This pizza turned out delicious, even without cheese, and I know we will be making it again – even when the fast is over.  You can sub some of the herbs with essential oils in the pizza sauce!  Basil essential oil gives the sauce a punch!

So far I’m on Day 18 of The Daniel Fast, and loving it!!  My quiet time/Bible reading in the morning has become more fulfilling, my faith in God stronger, my body healthier, my brain un-fogged, and my *ahem* colon *ahem* cleansed.  Sorry if TMI.  I hate to brag – but I now poop like a champ. 😉

If you aren’t used to eating fresh produce, then you might want to pass on this fast.  But if you’re used to cooking fresh, not frozen, this should be easy for you!  Also if you’re a coffee and/or soda drinker, this will not be easy!!

The pizza recipe I will post below is sort of mix of a few different recipes I have found, but tweaked to my liking.  If you make the pizza and love it, let me know in a comment below.  Or if you used different ingredients and loved it, please let me know so that I can try it too!


PIZZA – THE DANIEL FAST WAY

For the dough:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup & 1 Tbs quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, separated
1 Tablespoon “date paste” (a lower glycemic food than honey) (recipe below)
3/4 water
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500 F.  Mix all ingredients, except the garlic salt, in a bowl until combined.  Use a rolling pin on a flour-dusted surface or a pastry mat.  Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet, preferably a metal pizza sheet with holes, or a good baking stone, but a cookie sheet will work.  Bake for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Leave the oven at 500 F so you can bake it again with the pizza ingredients this time.

For the Sauce:

1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti blend)
2-4 pressed garlic cloves, or more to taste
3-4 drops of Basil essential oil (see comment below in red)
1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan salt
2 drops of Black Pepper Essential Oil (or 1/4 dried black pepper)
1 Tbs of Date Paste (see recipe below – prepare ahead) or sub with honey

Put all ingredients in a small pot and heat on low until all ingredients are combined.  Approx. 20 minutes.  You may need a lid so tomato sauce doesn’t bubble and spray everywhere.

Date Paste:

1 cup pitted medjool dates
1 cup of very hot water

Put the dates in the hot water in a bowl and let sit overnight, or even an hour.  You can massage them a little to soften them.  Then dump the water and the dates into a food processor and blend until it becomes a creamy paste.  This is the basic date paste to use in recipes in lieu of honey or sugar.  Satisfies the sweet tooth!!  (If you are going to use it as a topping for a dessert or sweet potato (tastes just like brown sugar on a sweet potato! YUM!), you may want to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the paste).  It keeps well in the fridge in a tight container for about a week.

The Toppings:

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, washed & shredded
1 red onion, sliced very thin
1 small zucchini, sliced very thin
1 tomato, sliced very thin
1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast (Optional) (give a cheesy flavor to the pizza)

Assembling and Baking the Pizza:

Now that your crust is baked, and cooled a bit, rub 1 Tbs of olive oil all over the crust and generously sprinkle garlic salt all over it.  (FYI – We bake the crust first without any ingredients on top, because if you try to put sauce on a wet slab of dough, it won’t cook through and you’ll have doughy pizza.) 

Spread all of the pizza sauce over the baked crust.  Sprinkle the fresh basil on top of the sauce.  Then put all of your veggies on top.  And last,  sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top of everything.  Bake for approx. 12-14 minutes or until veggies look cooked.

Remove, cut into squares and enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oil company I purchase from gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.  They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.  If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.