cooking, essential oils, oils, recipe, recipes, seed to seal, young living

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

November means it’s time for Peppermint Mocha Lattes and Hallmark Christmas movies (here’s the line up!) and warm socks and holiday baking! Hey, if Starbucks can release their holiday cups, seasonal drinks, and cranberry bliss bars on November 1st, I can certainly add a little peppermint to my life.

One thing I am really passionate about is my Young Living essential oils so when I can combine them with my love of food, it’s a match made in heaven. Young Living has a Vitality dietary essential oils line that I love especially for this. Plus only $10 for a 5ml as a member is a great deal since the oil is 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil. But really, it’s all about the taste and judging by how few peppermint chocolate chip cookies I have left (looking at you Joey!) something must be very right.

My recipe is listed below for but if you have your own favorite recipe, simply follow it and add 3-5 drops of Young Living Vitality peppermint essential oil.

If you want to know more about Young Living, their seed to seal process, and any other questions, check them out here. If you want to become a member, click here and earn your 24% member discount. 

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chemical free, citrus, dr. bronners, essential oils, healthy, seed to seal, thieves, young living

Investing in my health, wealth, and self

So it’s probably pretty clear by now that I am trying to live a more healthy life. I recently added a tagline to my blog, “investing in my health, wealth, and self” and I truly believe in it. Investing in my wealth just means making smart financial decisions, getting great deals, finding awesome DIY projects, and making sure I spend my money wisely and invest in my future. Investing in myself means doing things that better who I am, whether it be taking more classes to further my education (more on that in a future post), reading and learning, and doing things that continue my personal growth. Investing in my health has probably been the most obvious thing lately on here since I post a ton of paleo recipes, my weight loss and workout progress and what foods I try to avoid.

JoeyWaffles has been a real sport about everything, especially since I’ve been trying to go chemical free around the house as much as we can. I completely realize that there is no way to go 100% chemical free because that’s impossible but I do believe in minimizing what I can. What surprised me was how easy this has been with only some minor changes.

The first change I made was easy and has made a huge difference. I simply decided that since we don’t have a dishwasher and I wash ours by hand, I would change out our dish soap. I figured it would be easy and looking at what’s in normal soap, a welcome change. So with a little internet research, I found a great alternative to my usual dishwashing liquid. Joey get’s annoyed because it’s doesn’t bubble up as much as other soaps but I remind him that the bubbling up and lather isn’t always such a good thing lol Anyways, here’s my alternative to store bought dishsoaps.

Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap as dish washing soap-using my Dr. Bronner’s castille soap and my Young Living Essential Oils, I have been able to replace my old dish soaps like Dawn, Oil of Olay, and the like with this homemade recipe. When you consider that we eat off plates and are washing those said plates with chemicals, how can that be a good thing? Also consider this, when we wash our dishes we are not only adding those chemicals to our bodies but into the environment. So mixing the vegan, chemically free, and awesome Dr. Bronner’s soap with a few drops of Young Living Essential Oils (I usually do citrus, lemon, lavender, or peppermint) and some water, I have a great soap that leaves my dishes sparkling and safe. Check out this article on Dr. Bronner’s, it was incredibly interesting and made me happy I support this product.

Recipe: Dilute the Dr. Bronner’s with 1:10 water ratio. Add in a few drops of your favorite citrus essential oil. That’s it. You’re done! I like lemon oil the best but the Citrus is also really nice. You can also use lavendar or a few drops of Thieves.

At the end of the day, I realize I will never be able to go chemically free because it’s all over our enviorment. I can’t control everything and I do have a cell phone, drive a car, still drink out of plastic water bottles on occasion, eat at restaurants, etc. I just think that if I can change the things I do have control over and make those changes, I might be in better shapre in the next 30-40 years. It can’t hurt right? Or do you just think I am a total nut job? Comment away lol!

You can read more about specific essential oils here and see which ones you would use. If you want to sign up you can go here and get a 24% discount on all purchases, sign up here.

avocado, cooking, essential oils, garlic, health, home, kitchen, kitchen aid, oils, young living

Kitchen Staples

So everyone who cooks at home has a few things they always have on hand and use on a regular basis. When you’re a beginner, you start with a few basic spices and accessories and then add as you go along. So now that I would say I am an intermediate home cook, I have definitely figured out what my staples are.

Garlic (fresh and powder)- The rule in our house is that you can never have too much garlic. Plus, if we’re both eating it then it we don’t even notice when we kiss. Garlic taste good in pretty much everything and has so many great health benefits! Adding more flavor to my food and not using any fattening or high calorie sauces is great. We use mostly fresh garlic and I throw it in my ninja and 5 seconds later, fresh chopped garlic. When it’s for eggs I tend to use the garlic salt. Garlic taste great in burgers, cauliflower mashed potatoes, steak, eggs, etc.

Avocado- Considered a major superfood, avocado has so many health benefits and is delicious. You can add it to breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert! We always have a few on hand and it always makes a great addition in health and taste. No, I am not thrilled with avocado shortages (thanks Mexican drug cartels!) but it is worth the high price sometimes to have such a great food on hand. It’s even great in smoothies, so weird but true! Plus just slice it, add some lime juice or garlic salt and it makes a great snack

Kitchen Aid Mixer-Really any mixer will do but there is just something about owning a Kitchen Aid mixer. I got mine about a year and a half ago as a birthday gift and I am obsessed! Joey got mine from Williams-Sonoma in Raspberry Ice. I use it for cookies, pie dough, banna bread, whipped cream, dips, etc. It makes life a million times easier and has so many awesome attachments. I want the meat grinder next but that will wait until we do a meat CSA and get a freezer.

Food Processor- I have the Ninja Pulse and am obsessed! It’s funny because I didn’t use it that much when I first got it and now we use it daily. I use it for chopping garlic to making pesto to making smoothies and even almond butter. With the different attachments it comes with and then the little cup for single serve smoothies/juices, it is a life saver. It is easy to clean, store, and makes prep work a dream. We used to spend forever chopping garlic and doing everything by hand and now it’s all done in a matter of minutes. Averaging about $80, it is a great investment!

Spices-I know I already mentioned garlic but there a few more spices that are great to have in your arsenal. Besides, it usually takes a while to go through this and they last a long time so it’s not much to invest in great flavor. So try to always have: (himalayan) salt, pepper, paprika, oregeno, chilli powder, and onion powder. Depending on what you like, don’t forget basil or rosemary.

Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning- This is my new favorite staple hands down!I know a lot of people are really into FlavorGod seasonings and I will probably check them out but I don’t think they can beat Tony’s amazing spice blend. No MSG, just a delicious mix of spices to adda kick to any meal. I love it on chicken or in my eggs and I have been adding it to my burgers to make a fabulous dish. We started using Tony Chachere’s for the deep fried turkey on Thanksgiving and now I am hooked.

Oils (including Essential Oils)-Keep Olive oil and coconut oil on hand, and even some vegetable oil. I don’t like spray in my pans, why have the extra chemicals when you can use olive oil? As for essential oils, they are great for cooking as well. I love using peppermint for baking or adding a little lemon or rosemary to a dish. Pure and simple and a little goes a long way.

 The great thing about cooking at home is that you can experiment and try new things and not worry about being judged. Unless you’re a home cook on Master Chef, then good luck! I like being able to find healthier alternatives to some of my favorites meals so cooking at home really helps with that!

I know my friends Samantha and Michelle love their immersion blenders and make great soups so that’s on my want list. I also want a new spice rack to hold all the fun spices were acquiring.

So what are your kitchen staples? What are your ‘must have’s’ to cook with?