What’s all this about “IF”?

 

 

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I have been curious about Intermittent Fasting (“IF” for short) for awhile now.  Several of my friends are doing it and have raved about how they feel great, have more energy, and just generally feel better physically and emotionally!!  Who doesn’t want that?  So, I’ve done some research and was planning to write a blog article about it until I got this AWESOME email from The Daniel Plan today!  I could not possibly add anything better to this so here it is, sharing from their website!  Check out the entire post here.

What are some health benefits of IF?

(SOURCE: this is straight from the blog post from The Daniel Plan linked above)

1. Lowers cancer risk.

Multiple studies have shown a link between intermittent fasting and a reduced risk of breast cancer.

2. Enhances heart health.

Intermittent fasting is thought to lower heart disease risk due to its ability to lower triglycerides and blood pressure and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol.

3. Improves autoimmune conditions.

A fasting-mimicking diet under 1,000 calories a day for three-day cycles has been shown to improve symptoms associated with autoimmune conditions like multiple sclerosis as well as lupus.

4. Improves blood sugar.

When it comes to managing blood sugar, intermittent fasting takes center stage. With its proven ability to lower insulin resistance and increase metabolism, it’s one of my favorite tools to recommend to patients with blood sugar problems.

5. Encourages weight loss.

Weight-loss resistance can often be due to an underlying hormone imbalance. Leptin resistance occurs when your brain stops recognizing leptin’s signals to use your body’s fat stores for energy. This causes your body to continually store fat instead of using it. Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve chronic inflammation that can dull the brain’s leptin receptor sites.

6. Curbs cravings.

If you’re worried you’ll be starving while fasting, you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Intermittent fasting decreases your hunger hormone ghrelin, which in turn can increase dopamine levels in the brain. (Just another example of the gut-brain axis at work.) Fasting can also help free people from emotional eating and kill cravings by transitioning your metabolism from unstable sugar-burning to steady fat-burning.

7. Increases cognitive function.

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can improve degenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

8. Improves lung health.

One study showed intermittent fasting’s ability to decrease asthma symptoms as well as reduce oxidative stress.

9. Helps heal the gut 

Lowering inflammation in the gut with intermittent fasting improves inflammatory gut problems such as IBS, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.

While the idea of fasting can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t done it before, intermittent fasting can actually be a lot easier than many other types of eating plans. Since you are fasting for a good chunk of the day, you’ll be eating less food, which eliminates a lot of the stress around having to meal prep. When you are eating, you’ll still want to focus mainly on healthy fats, clean protein, and carbohydrates from whole food sources—but this isn’t an excuse to hit the drive-thru and load up on sugar the rest of the time!

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I trust The Daniel Plan to give us the best info possible and not lead us astray!  There is a ton more info over at their Blog, so hop on over there to find out how IF works, some great recipe suggestions, and more!

If you are one of those that is doing IF, drop me a comment below and tell us what you think about it and how it makes you feel!  I’d love to hear from all the IF-ers out there!

Until next time…

Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

 

How to Brew Kombucha at Home

Brewing Kombucha at Home

Makes approx. 1 gallon

You will need…

  • 3 1/2 quarts water
  • 1 cup of sugar (regular white “table” sugar is fine)
  • 8 bags black tea (or 2 tablespoons loose tea)
  • 2 cups of starter tea from last batch of kombucha or from a friend
  • 1 SCOBY for each jar (a SCOBY is NOT a must – the starter tea IS!)
  • Stovetop pot to make the tea
  • 1-gallon glass jar (I use old 1 gallon pickle jars…wash them well and let them air out for about a week before)
  • Tightly woven cloth (like clean cloth napkins or towels), coffee filters, or paper towels to cover the jar (I use a rubber band to keep my coffee filters/paper towels in place)
  • Bottles for the “booch” when it is done brewing – I use wide mouth Mason Jars (for everything!) I normally use (3) one-quart jars (you’ll need to save 2 cups for the next batch)
  • Small funnel (optional, good is you use smaller neck bottles)
  • Large stainless steel strainer (optional – I strain my kombucha when I bottle it and when I pour a glass!)

 

Instructions

*** Avoid contact between #allthingsmetal and your kombucha during and after brewing. It could affect the flavor of your kombucha.


How to make the tea…     

 **(if you are a southerner, you already know how to do this!)

Bring the water to a boil. Take the water off the heat and add the sugar, stir until it dissolves. Drop in the tea (bags or loose) and allow it to steep until the water cools. When the tea has cooled off, remove the tea bags or strain the loose tea from the pot, pour the sweet tea in your gallon jar, and then stir in the starter tea – be sure to use a wooden spoon (plastic will work but I prefer wooden when stirring Kombucha😉 )

booch1Adding the SCOBY: Pick up the SCOBY (use CLEAN hands to avoid any bad bacteria getting in your tea – yeah…it’s slimy too so don’t drop it!) and gently slide it into the jar. Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of tightly-woven cloth, coffee filters, or paper towels and secure it with a rubber band. I have found that coffee filters work best – especially when I write the start date of the brew on the filter!

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Fermentation time!

Keep the jar at room temperature (in the winter time you can buy flat heat strips or use a small string of non-LED clear lights – it needs to stay between 70-80 degrees), out of direct sunlight, and where it won’t get bumped.  Let it ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking the taste daily starting about day 6 (you can lift the “lid” and sneak a straw under the SCOBY and pull out a little “booch” in the straw to taste it)

 

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It’s not unusual for the SCOBY to float at the top, bottom, or even sideways during fermentation. A new transparent looking layer of SCOBY should start forming on the surface of the Kombucha in a few days. It usually attaches itself to the old SCOBY, but if it doesn’t it’s ok!!! You may also see brown stringy “tentacles” floating under the SCOBY, or some collecting at the bottom of your jar, and bubbles collecting around the SCOBY. These are all signs that the fermentation is happening and it’s perfectly normal.

 

Bottling Time!

Wash your hands thoroughly and then lift the SCOBY out of the kombucha and put it on a clean plate. If it is getting too thick, you can pull the bottom layer (or two) off.

 

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Using a glass measuring cup, pour 2 cups of kombucha into glass bowl or Mason Jar to save for your next batch.  The rest of the “booch” you can strain (you don’t have to if you don’t mind the “sediment”) into glass bottles or jars for storage (again, I use wide mouth mason jars).  **Note:  never use plastic bottles to brew or store your Kombucha!

 

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Putting your Kombucha in the fridge at this point stops any more fermentation.  You should have a little bit of fizz from this 1st fermentation and if you are going to flavor and do a second fermentation, do not refrigerate! Your bottled and refrigerated Kombucha is good for about a month or so in the fridge.

With your reserved starter tea, start the process all over again to you’re your next batch of Kombucha Tea!!!!

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And there you have it…Home Brewed Kombucha!  Enjoy !!!

 

Until next time…

Blessings,

~ Heather

 

 

 

 

Let’s Make Elderberry Syrup!

 

 

We have a regular wellness routine – especially in the winter!  We use our arsenal of essential oils to maintain our immune system naturally and this year we have been learning all kinds of other home remedies that we hear are foolproof!!!!

Elderberry Syrup is one of them! According to Edible Wild Food,  Elderberries are “sometimes propagated as an ornamental shrub, the elderberry bush is a member of the honeysuckle family. It attracts birds and butterflies and can be pruned back every few years to keep it looking good in a landscaped garden. This deciduous shrub produces a fruit that, in recent years has become very popular. The white flowers transform into dark purple fruit late summer. Although the flowers and berries are edible all other parts of this bush are poisonous containing toxic calcium oxalate crystals. Sambucus canadensis is a very close cousin of Sambucus nigra (European Elderberry).”

WebMD says:

“Elderberry is used for “the flu” (influenza), H1N1 “swine” flu, HIV/AIDS, and boosting the immune system. It is also used for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) .

Some people use elderberry for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating.”

As mentioned above, this syrup can be used to help ward off the flu and colds and also is great on ice cream, pancakes or anything that needs great tasting syrup added!

The recipe is really easy peasy…dried elderberries, a couple of herbs, and honey – preferably local honey – make a yummy syrup to boost your immunity, ease allergies, can help to lower blood sugar levels, and has been looked at for its cancer fighting abilities.

Here is what you will need…

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Here’s what you do…

Put the water, elderberries, cinnamon, ginger root, and clove in a 3 quart saucepan – don’t add that honey just yet though!!!!

Let all of this come to a boil and let it simmer for at least 30-45 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to about half of the starting amount.

 

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Remove it from the heat and when it’s cool enough to work with, pour the liquid through a strainer into a glass bowl or directly into a quart size Ball Canning Jar. Then squeeze the berries that are still in the strainer to get out all the remaining juice– I use a spoon to squeeze them in the strainer but you can use cheesecloth instead if you want.

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Toss the elderberries and let the liquid cool off to a little warmer than room temperature and add the cup of honey and stir well until the honey is melted. Pour into a jar if you used a bowl to mix it.

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You are done! Wasn’t that easy?  And fun!  Elderberry syrup needs to live in your fridge, and you can take some each day!  The normal adult does is ½ – 1 Tbsp for adults and       ½ -1 tsp for kids – use your judgement according to age.

 

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If you do get the flu – take the normal dose every few hours until you start feeling better, but let’s pray that you don’t!

Love and Blessings ~

Heather

 

 

What’s for Dinner?

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Since my husband started a new job and is working some evenings, I am on my own for dinner!  What you don’t know (if you don’t know me in “real life”) is that I don’t cook anything but breakfast foods…I will cook eggs, etc. for dinner, but all I cook is “breakfast”.  Ever.  Period.

So I found myself alone the first evening shift and had to come up with something to eat! I remembered seeing a yummy looking recipe on Facebook…something with smoked sausage and cabbage.  I finally found something similar online, but I knew I wasn’t gonna be firing up the grill – the recipe I found was foil packets on the grill!  So, I thought to myself…I am 56 years old, I can do this !

And I did !!!  Let me tell ya, this is the best darn stuff !  This is how it went down…

First I cut up the Hillshire Farms Smoked Sausage in cute little sideways cut pieces and just browned them a little to give them that “grilled” look and to get some juicy flavor in the skillet.  When it was well heated, I took it out and put it in a bowl for later.

Then I put a little oil in my Rachel Ray Oval Dutch Oven from QVC, cut up a few potatoes (I don’t measure anything y’all…I’m sorry!) and one good sized onion and tossed the potatoes in the pan and pan fried (I’m guessing that’s a good term to use) them until they were about 1/2 way done.  I tossed the onions in and stirred it all up and let it cook until the onions were no longer white and crunchy.

Next, I put a head of cabbage (I cut it up in good sized chunks while the potatoes were cooking) in the pan with the potatoes and onions and added about a cup of water to the hot skillet, covered it and let the cabbage cook until tender (or however you prefer it).

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Finally, the sausage got tossed back in on top of everything and stirred up well, then I let it simmer for a few more minutes, covered.

 

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Voilà!  It’s done!  Boy, was it good !

Our Oily Homestead Chicken Enchiladas

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My awesome hubby, David, is the cook at our place – I LOVE to cook breakfast, but that’s it!  He is very creative in the kitchen and makes the BEST everything 😉  This was an awesome recipe so I had to share his creation with you !  No, it’s not extremely healthy, but ya just gotta enjoy eating now and then! We try to keep it healthy most of the time, but there are exceptions now and then – and this was one of them.

Here is the recipe as he remembers it:

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp bacon drippings (optional – may substitute with additional tbsp of butter)

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced

½ of sweet pepper (red, orange, or yellow), finely chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

2 tbsp chili powder

2 tsp cumin

4 thin Organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and coarsely chopped or shredded

1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles (10 oz)

1 can of diced green chiles (4 oz)

1 – 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (from our herb garden!)

Salt to taste

7 oz bag of  shredded Mexican blend cheese

8 – 10 flour tortillas (fajita size)

4 oz shredded sharp cheddar

Directions:

In a large skillet, heat butter and bacon drippings on medium-high. Add onion, garlic, and sweet pepper. Sauté until tender. Add half of the oregano, chili powder, and cumin. Stir until spices are well mixed.  Add chicken, tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, and salt. Stir and let heat for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining oregano, chili powder, and cumin,  and stir well. Continue heating for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat. Let stand for five minutes.

In the meantime, get a large plate, tortillas, and a 13 x 9 baking dish ready (we LOVE our Pampered Chef 13×9 baking dish – our is not the pretty enamel one though!).  Add a little more than half of the Mexican blend cheese to the chicken mixture and mix well.

Carefully drain as much of the liquid from the chicken mixture into the 13 x 9 baking dish (enough to lightly cover the bottom of the dish. This will help to prevent the tortillas from sticking).

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Place one flour tortilla on the plate. With a large slotted spoon, take enough chicken mixture from skillet and spread out across the middle of the tortilla in an even line*. Bring the bottom of the tortilla up toward the middle and carefully roll it up. Place enchilada seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat for all tortillas or until chicken mixture has all been used.

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Pour any excess liquid remaining in the skillet from chicken mixture over the enchiladas.   If any chicken mixture is left over (not enough for a whole enchilada), then spread it over the enchiladas as well.  Cover enchiladas with remaining Mexican blend cheese, followed by the sharp cheddar.

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Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and liquid is bubbling hot. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes.

*when scooping chicken mixture, drain excess liquid, reserve in skillet.

And there you have it…the recipe for deliciousness!  I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!  If you try it, let us know what you think!

Fizzy Refreshment!

I have to give it to Hubby this time! This was his idea…club soda with Grapefruit Essential Oil – what a treat! Amazingly I have never had club soda and this was just what I need to help support my weight management journey! I quit drinking diet soda a long time ago but I have had a couple in the last few months, looking for that flavored fizz!

Grapefruit EO has so many benefits! Here are just a few:

  • Support your weight-management program by taking Grapefruit Vitality as a dietary supplement. Just add 1–2 drops to a vegetarian gel capsule and take it daily or as often as needed.
  • If you love infused water but are too busy to make it the night before, simply add 2–3 drops of Grapefruit Vitality and other citrus Vitality oils to cold water to make a refreshing drink and stay hydrated.
  • Add it to culinary recipes to add a distinct, citrus flavor. Grapefruit Vitality tastes great in desserts, marinades, and salad dressings.

Find out more about how to get yours here!

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

I went to a Kombucha Class!

As we get deeper into our health and wellness journey, we are finding more ways to incorporate new things into our bodies! Kombucha is known for its health benefits, mainly for digestive support, but it has many different health benefits.

I spent the afternoon with two of my friends, both of whom embrace the wellness lifestyle like we do! Sheri, from Oily Organic Mama, showed me and our friend Kathy how to “grow” Kombucha! It definitely is an acquired taste…which I know I will learn to love!  She sent us both home with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), so I am now in the process of brewing my own batch!

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