Spicy Peanut Stir Fry

I have been blogging a really long time. And I have read a lot of blogs too with cute anecdotes accompanying every recipe from cupcakes to liverwurst...no joke, read it here.  I am okay enough with myself to admit that I do not have a cute story to go along with every recipe I make. Most of the time, I just make something great by accident and want to record it for posterity. This is one of those recipes. I hope others will enjoy it as much as I do.

This stir fry took less than 30 min from start to finish and had amazing textures and was very satisfying. 

Spicy Peanut Stir Fry

1 chicken breast, sliced
2 cups of chopped veggies of choice. 
(Broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, squash, and onion are my favorites)
2 T sesame oil, divided
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 T natural peanut butter
1 tsp molasses
1 squirt siracha..to taste
1/4 cup peanuts
1 handful chopped cilantro
salt, pepper, garlic and ginger powder to taste

Add 1 T of sesame oil to a hot pan or wok. Once it is hot, add the chicken and cook over high to sear it to golden perfection. Turn the heat to medium hight and throw in the veggies. Stir as you fry until they are crisp tender, or 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining sesame oil, the soy sauce, molasses, peanut butter and siracha. Pour over the meat and veggies and stir to combine. Lastly, add the peanuts and the cilantro.

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Thanks for reading,

This post was shared at Full Plate Thursday, Creative Princess


Grain Free/Sugar Free Menu Plan

I got on the scale this morning and did not like what I saw. Seriously! The last time I had this weight on me, I was about to give birth. Ugh. We moved across the country last month and I am not going to lie, it has been stressful. Apparently I calm stress with sugar. But who doesn't? I would love to use other methods, like Tai Chi or meditation or long walks. But a cookie is so much easier!

Well, it is time to get back on the wagon again. Sugar may calm my stress temporarily, but it also feeds cancer and causes inflammation and for me, obvious weight gain.

I called out to my dear friend Laura and extended a challenge to both of us. Stop with the sugar already...and grains...ugh. For every unauthorized deliciously addictive serving of bread, pasta or sugary dessert, we gotta shell out 10 bucks. Effective? I think so. And, at the end of 6 weeks, the one of us who has lost the greatest percentage of body weight gets 50 smackers!! I don't have money to spare and Laura hates spending the stuff, so great motivation for both of us.

Some psychologist out there would probably frown upon this and say we are doing it for the wrong reasons, but oh well, It is time to get ready for swim suits and jogging shorts....well swim suits anyhow.

I always do best if I have a menu to follow, so here goes. I hope many will follow along.  I will plan to post each week on Monday so there is time to get groceries before Wed morning.
***Go here for a list of key items to have on hand this week: (this list is not all inclusive)

Menu plan: 

Breakfast: Chocolate PB Smoothie
Lunch: Lettuce wraps
Dinner: Sweet Potato Beef Stew

Breakfast: Grain free Chocolate muffins
Lunch: Strawberry Spinach Salad with Quinoa 
Dinner: Chicken Strips and Sweet potato fries (baked or fried in coconut oil)

Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll Smoothie
Lunch: Chicken Avocado Burritos serve ingredients over a salad with salsa instead of in tortillas.
Dinner: Grain Free Spaghetti

Breakfast: Cottage Cheese Pancakes Top with Berry Syrup
Lunch: "Bunless" Hoagie sandwiches...Roll all the toppings in the meat. Serve with Sweet potato chips.
Dinner: Cheat meal...anything that sounds great...Pizza?? Hamburger?? Go for it!

Breakfast: Refrigerator Oatmeal
Lunch: Mason Jar Salad
Dinner: Chicken Cordon Bleu and Garlic roasted cauliflower and carrots

Breakfast: Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
Lunch: Sweet potato Fajitas with beef
Dinner: White Chicken chili (I adapt this recipe to my taste)

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with avocado, cheese and salsa
Lunch: Mason Jar Salad
Dinner:  "Bunless" Hamburgers...make as usual and wrap in lettuce leaves

Cheese cubes
Snap peas
Celery in natural PB
Fresh or Dried fruit (1 serving per day)
Cottage Berry Whip
Unsweetened Applesauce (my recipe)
Protein bites (only a few... sugar)

Warm Winter Chai
Sugar Free Hot Chocolate
Cinnamon Kool-Ade

Need more ideas?  Go here: Trim Healthy Mama Board

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This post was shared at Lou Lou Girl's fabulous party, Tuesdays with a twist, Your Whims Wed, Wow us Wed, Full Plate Thursday, Creative Princess


Make Your Own Scented Pine Cone Ornaments

We have a family member who is allergic to real pine trees. It is sad, but sooo true. We learned the hard way as we brought home a real pine wreath and set it on the kitchen table. In minutes, he was awake and wheezing. I pulled out my favorite essential oils blend with eucalyptus and cardamom and he inhaled and it eased his breathing amazingly. But out the wreath went....for good.

Luckily for all of us, he does not react the same way to White fir essential oil, so we can still have the beautiful scent for the season. One way is to diffuse it. My favorite blend is called Tannembaum Forrest and is:

3 Drops White Fir
2 drops Grapefruit
1 drop Frankincense

Add water to the fill line of the diffuser, add the oils and turn it on. 

I am in love!!

Another fun way is to scent your own pine cones. You can buy cinnamon pine cones in the store, but I love getting unscented so I can change it up. At times I put white fir, or can do cinnamon or a Christmas blend of all my favorites. 

Just add your oil of choice to the pine cones, a drop or two to each will do you. Place them in a basket like this:

Or tie on strings and make ornaments for the tree:

What is your favorite scent of Christmas?

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Warm Winter Chai

I love comforting warm drinks in the winter.  Especially ones that warm from the inside out. Those that when you sip it, it is like being wrapped in a warm blanket. This warm drink does just that!  Chai is a mix of Indian spices that soothe the tummy and support digestion. Several of them open the sinuses too, so you have a "win win" in the middle of "win winter."  And let me tell you, this stuff makes your tummy smile while it goes down. Feel free to omit any of the oils if they turn you off. You could add black tea as well, for more traditional, but I prefer it with just milk or almond milk. Oh and a splash of cream never hurt anyone! Neither does an extra drop of cinnamon!

***Note, this recipe makes a very strong drink. You can dip a toothpick in the bottle and swirl it in your milk for a milder taste, or follow recipe number 2.

Recipe #1

To make this super simple, make your own chai blend to drink or diffuse.

Recipe #2

Not all Essential oils are created equally. Use only certified pure oils when taking internally. Email me if you need suggestions. 

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Holiday Diffuser Recipies

Fall is here and I am seriously loving the smell! I have another idea for a great holiday gift for you or for a friend. It is so inexpensive, so happy and so simple. Just mix essential oils in a spray bottle and spray furniture and surfaces, or use as an air purifier or linen spray. It can even be used as a or body spray.

I got these recipes from the "eotools" 12 sprays of Christmas class. I love the way the essential oil world is so generous with their recipes. So I want to share their beautiful work with my readers as well. Because they are not my recipes, I will share the oils, but not their exact measurements. You can find those on their website.  My favorite is Peppermint Stick.

Add the drops to a 2 oz spray bottle, add 1 T of rubbing alcohol and fill the rest of the way with water.

Alternately, add the drops called for to a diffuser and enjoy intermittent smell all day.

Here are 12 wonderful smells of Christmas: 

  • Gifts of the Magi - Frankincense and Myrrh
  • Dashing through the Pines - White Fir, Cypress and Cedarwood
  • Peppermint Stick - Holiday Blend and Peppermint
  • Merry & Bright - Protective Blend and Cardamom
  • Warm Winter Chai - Ginger, Clove, Cardamom, Black Pepper and Cinnamon
  • Carols by the Fire - Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Myrrh and Cypress
  • Gingerbread Cookies - Ginger, Clove and Cinnamon
  • Tannenbaum Forest -White Fir, Grapefruit and Frankincense
  • Christmas Potpourri - Cinnamon, White Fir, Clove Rosemary and Wild Orange
  • Spiced Hot Cider -  Cinnamon, Wild Orange and Clove
  • Holy Nativity -  Holiday Blend and Cassia
  • Vanilla Spice - Invigorating Blend and Cinnamon
**Some of these recipes call for blends. Each essential oils producer has their own trademarked blend names. Here is a key to identifying the correct one:
Protective blend will have some of the following: clove, cinnamon, orange, lemon, eucalyptus or rosemary 
Invigorating blend is a blend of citrus and vanilla
Holiday blend could include clove, cinnamon, orange, nutmeg, and a fir type of tree

More than just a wonderful smell! Here are some emotions addressed by aromatic use of these oils:

Cinnamon helps you to be more receptive.
Cassia helps you feel bold...my kind of liquid courage!
Frankincense is uplifting in general and sometimes, I can't get enough of it. It help you feel unified as well.
Myrrh helps you feel nurtured.
Citrus oils help you feel abundant and happy.
Clove brings the feeling that you are supported.
Use White Fir if you feel blocked. 
Use Cypress when you feel stalled. 

To get emotional benefits of these oils, spray pillow, body, or air or use in a diffuser and inhale with positive affirmations. Do as often as needed to feel better. My favorite way to use essential oils! 

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Bath Salt Ornaments

When I was a kid, the smell of Christmas was buttery pound cake with cherry frosting, peanut clusters, and of course browned butter toffee. Makes my mouth water just thinking of it! Funny how as an adult, I do not make any of those things. But I still love scents. Essential oils are my new scents of Christmas as I make gift after gift with them. Giving is better than stuffing your face with sugar anyway, don't you think...maybe?

Here is a super simple gift idea that is easy to make and soooo cheap! I mean cheap cheap cheap. So if you have 5 kids in 3 different schools with 20 teachers total, no one gets left out. In fact, you can give one to everyone you know...that is how cheap this is! But what counts here is the love, right?

Of course you can use any container you want for this. I like the idea of the ornament because well, Ornament= Christmas....you get it.

I made this batch with Lavender because I had some dried flowers to add which is a pretty addition. Not necessary however. You could also color it if you wish, but I like things in a more natural state myself. 

Lavender- Vanilla Bath Salts

1 cup Epsom salt
5 drops lavender essential oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional) 
1 t dried lavender buds (optional)

Add them to a bowl and mix well. Pour into the ornaments. I used ones from Oriental Trading company. 

***These smell lovely, but made all the lovelier by a pure, therapeutic essential oil. True lavender can calm nerves, promote healthy sleep and help you speak your truth. I can recommend the best. Email me for my suggestions and how to get them. 

Other ideas:
Citrus oil with orange or lemon zest added. 
Peppermint with crushed peppermint leaves
Best idea: Orange mixed with peppermint!!!
Frankincense and myrrh
Cinnamon with chopped cinnamon sticks
White fir with pine needles

Merry Christmas. May your season be aromatic and bright!

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Very Veggie Hamburger Soup

I know, veggies are good for us right? But seriously, how many salads can a person be expected to eat in a week. I like one about once every other week, and prefer my veggies in liquid form. Raw, in smoothies or cozy and comforting and warm in a soup. But spinach soup? Oh, gag! Asparagus soup? Just wrong! Pea soup....no thanks. Quite a quandary left when the thought of any veggies aside from roots or select squash make me queasy. Never fear, Blendfresh is here! I love how I can veggie up my soup and drink my hamburgers.  I love this easy recipe that has everything I love on or with my sandwich, even the ranch, but hold the pickles.

Hamburger Soup

1/2 lb ground beef
1 carton 32 oz  beef broth
1 8 oz can  tomato sauce
1 4 oz can  tomato paste
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 T ranch dressing mix
To really veggie it up, add 1 scoop each of Blendfresh Red, Orange, and Green Fruits and Veggies

Brown the beef, onion and garlic in a large heavy pot or pressure cooker. Once the meat is browned, add the remaining veggies, broth, and tomato sauce and paste. Finally add 36 more fruits and veggies with one scoop each of Red, Orange, and Green Fruits and vegetables.

Put a lid on the pot and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 min until the potatoes are tender. If you are using a pressure cooker, bring the pressure up and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with a salad, or if you are like me, you have enough veggies in the soup, thank you very much. So add a roll slathered with butter.

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