Okay…so I’m on a coconut water kick. Sparkling coconut water that is! I was recently on the east coast visiting my family in New Jersey. My sister, Amy, knows that I love sparkling water and asked me if I’ve ever tried Sanavi. She handed me a glass, I took a sip, and I was in heaven.
It’s bubbly with a refreshing coconut flavor. Sanavi is organic and unsweetened….nothing artificial is added. Best of all, it is zero calories. It’s not available in stores where I live in California, so I found that I can order it through Amazon. Yahoo!!! Each bottle is 17 fluid ounces and comes in a case of twelve for $17.99. If you’re an Amazon Prime member you’re in luck since it ships Prime.
A bit of trivia…..The name SANAVI is derived from the Latin words for health and life. Thank you Amy for turning me on to this delicious, sparkling coconut drink!
Don’t ask me how or why, but some how I came home from Whole Foods with farro. What is this grain and what am I going to do with it? Well from the package front it says that farro is a good source of fiber. Okay…that’s good.
More research…I found out that farro is an ancient grain (in the wheat family) that has been around for quite some time. Thousands of years it seems. It almost resembles a wheat berry and when cooked has a soft, chewy texture. It is also loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Alright, let’s give this farro a shot. Now to find a recipe. I found a recipe on foodnetwork.com, but as always adapted it to make it my own. Winner winner chicken dinner! My family loved it. I hope you do to!
Farro with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups Farro
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 -2 cups cherry tomatoes, seeded and cut in half (amount depends on preference)
1 sweet onion chopped and sauteed
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1-2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the water and farro in a medium saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the farro is tender, about 25-30 minutes. Drain well, and then transfer to a large bowl to cool.
Add the tomatoes, sauteed onion, and fresh basil to the farro, and toss to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Add the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to coat.
The salad can be refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Today is August 6th and it won’t be long until my kiddos come back to school. For those who know me, you know that I teach 7th grade English and History. It’s so important to me to remain healthy as well as my students throughout the school year and to create a calm, comforting classroom.
This year my go-to essential oils in the classroom will be doTerra’s On Guard and Balance blends.
The On Guard blend consists of the oils: wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary. It supports the immune system by giving it a boost killing germs and airborne pathogens. This is a definite must in my classroom throughout the year for both me and my students.
The Balance blend consists of the oils: Spruce, Ho Wood, Frankincense, Blue tansy, and Blue Chamomile. It has a warm, woody aroma which creates a sense of calm and well being. It helps with attention deficit and hyperactivity among others. It’s a wonderful grounding blend and I use it often.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of these or any of the doTerra oils, feel free to send me a message or check out my site at www.mydoterra.com/wendykernmurphy
I love granola! Whenever I have yogurt for breakfast I sprinkle it with fresh blueberries and granola. Sometimes I munch on it for a crunchy snack. I have been buying organic granola for a while now and I thought it was about time to try and make my own. It is so easy and really doesn’t take that long at all. Plus it’s less expensive to make your own.
For this recipe I used cranberries and raisins, but you can add whatever dried fruit you like. Seeds are also a welcome addition.
4 cups rolled oats (I use organic certified gluten-free oats for gluten-free granola)
1 ½ cup raw nuts and/or seeds (I used sliced almonds)
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt (if you’re using standard table salt, scale back to ¾ teaspoon)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup organic dried fruit, chopped if large (1 used 1/3 cup cranberries and 1/3 cup raisins)
2/3 cup organic coconut flakes
Totally optional additional mix-ins: 3/4 cup chocolate chips ( I make a separate batch for this and omit the dried fruit.)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, salt and cinnamon. Stir to blend.
Pour in the coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Mix well, until every oat and nut is lightly coated. Pour the granola onto your prepared pan and use a large spoon to spread it in an even layer. Bake until golden, about 21 to 23 minutes, stirring halfway. The granola will further crisp up as it cools.
Let the granola cool completely, undisturbed, before breaking it into pieces and stirring in the dried fruit (and totally optional chocolate chips).
After it is cooled completely, I transfer it to a bowl, break it into pieces and add my dried fruit and/or chocolate chips. Here is the finished product! Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks, or in a sealed freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This is one of my absolute favorite summer time salads. It’s really quite easy to make and your family will love it. It’s perfect for a hot summer night or taking to a BBQ. I try to make this when the ingredients are in season for the best possible flavors.
Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad with Honey Lime Dressing:
1 pint organic grape tomatoes sliced in half
1 ripe organic avocado cut into bite size chunks (not too ripe though)
2 ears of fresh sweet corn cooked to your liking: steamed, grilled etc. and cut off the cob (use frozen if corn is not in season)
2 tbsp fresh organic cilantro, chopped
diced red onion (optional)
Combine the sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and corn and honey lime dressing and mix gently so everything is evenly coated. Be careful not to mash the avocados. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes to let flavors infuse. It’s even better the next day. Enjoy.
Honey Lime Dressing:
Juice of 1 organic lime
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp organic honey
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 clove organic garlic, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
**Note that corn and tomatoes can be irritating if you suffer from inflammation.
Nothing is more satisfying than the smell of homemade muffins wafting through the house. Today I just needed that homey smell. Yes! These are gluten-free. Although I don’t have a diagnosed sensitivity to gluten, I definitely notice that I become sluggish and I feel like my brain is foggy when I eat too much gluten. I’ve opted to go gluten free whenever possible.
So let me tell you about these muffins. I tend to use more fruit in my muffins which is why they appear flatter than normal. ( the fruit weighs the batter down) It’s just my personal preference. I always use fresh blueberries in my muffins. Frozen blueberries tend to make the batter runny making the muffins too moist and crumbly. When adding banana, make sure it isn’t too ripe. You want to be able to eat nice chunks of banana in your muffin!
I like to use organic ingredients in all of my baking and cooking. Sometimes that isn’t possible, and it’s okay! The gluten-free flour I use is King Arthur’s. It’s a rice based flour. I’ve tried different brands and this has proven to be the best, however it’s not organic. I always use organic blueberries; that way I know they are free of pesticides.
Gluten-Free Blueberry Banana Muffins
2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 organic, cage free eggs
1 cup organic milk
1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract
2 cups organic blueberries ( use less or more based on your preference)
1 large, firm banana cut into chunks
With a blender, mix the butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla until well blended.
Add your flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, and salt. Mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
Using a spatula or spoon, add your blueberries and banana into the batter.
Line your muffin tin with muffin wrappers and fill about 3/4 full with the batter.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
The ingredients for these muffins is a basic recipe that I always use. You can actually add any fruit you like. Experiment with your own personal tastes.
A couple of years ago a friend casually mentioned that she had been using essential oils for the past 20 years. Naturally the first thing that came to mind was the pleasant smelling aromas of a day spa. Along with the aromatic component, most essential oils can be used topically and internally.
I decided to take the plunge and invest in a diffuser and two oils, lemon and lavender. I diffused them both separately and also together. I was hooked, I wanted to know more. Thank you Lisa Rogers! This is what I learned:
“In nature, essential oils are found in the roots, stems, leaves, resins, flowers, and rinds of the plant. …When the plant’s aromatic compounds are distilled for purity, potency and efficacy, they become a powerful tool for maintaining a family’s health.” ( doTerra.com)
Each essential oil has its own properties and benefits. You can use single essential oils and/or essential oil blends. Most important, you need to make sure that the oils you choose are pure, therapeutic grade oils. Some oils labeled as “essential” are strictly for fragrance benefits and are not safe topically or internally. Please refer to Why doTerra for a detailed description on the distillation process.
Okay…back to Lemon and Lavender essential oils. Listed below are just a few of the uses and benefits of these oils.
Lemon Essential Oil Uses and Benefits
Use as a safe cleaner throughout your home
Add a drop to your water for a refreshing boost throughout the day.
Use in your main dishes and desserts to enhance flavor.
When diffused, Lemon is uplifting, energizing and has been shown to promote a positive mood.
Lavender Essential Oil and Benefits
Helps to ease muscle tension
Apply to scars to reduce scar tissue.
Add a few drops to pillows, bedding, pr bottoms of feet at bedtime.
When diffused, Lavender creates a calm, soothing environment.
I hope this information was helpful. Essential oils are so much more than nice smelling aromas in a day spa! If I can help or answer any questions you have regarding essential oils please leave me a message or go to my site at www.mydoterra.com/wendykernmurphy
We do love our strawberries don’t we? I know I do along with most berries, especially blueberries and blackberries. Did you look at the infographic I posted above? Astonishing right?
I rely a lot on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) when it comes to any questions I have about produce/food or products I might buy. EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. They’re goal is to provide information to protect your health and environment. You should check out their website with the link I provided above.
Back to strawberries!
According to the EWG, “Strawberries tested by scientists at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture in 2014 & 2015 contained 7.7 different pesticides per sample compared to 2.3 pesticides per sample for all other produce”
Pesticides = cheap, year round strawberries.
Yay! Hmmm not so much😔. In fact, 😡. This is why I buy organic berries. If berries are labeled as USDA Certified Organic, you can be assured that pesticides were not used in the growing of the berries. There is a rigid checklist of standards that must be met before any product can be labeled as “organic”. Do yourself, your body a favor and buy organic when it comes to berries.
Yes, you can wash your berries, but that does not eliminate the pesticides used. Be mindful about those strawberries you love to eat!
There is a huge difference between gluten and gluten-free cookies (in my opinion), so don’t be fooled into thinking when you take that first bite that the two will be synonymous. There are key differences in appearance, texture, and flavor of gluten free cookies.
Appearance – When I bake gluten-free cookies they tend to come out thicker and round instead of spreading out like a gluten flour cookie. They also don’t brown as evenly like a gluten cookie does.
Texture – Gluten free cookies tend to be much more dense than a gluten cookie.
Flavor – This depends on the type of flour you use. I use King Arthur gluten-free flour which is a rice based flour. There is also Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour which is bean based. Almond flour is also an option for baking
If gluten is not for you for whatever reason, give gluten free cookies a try. It’s a great alternative. I have included a cookie recipe for you today. This recipe comes from King Arthur Flour.
OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.
Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Add the egg and vanilla, beating to combine.
Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl.
Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scoop the dough by the teaspoonful onto the prepared baking sheets; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Leave about 1 1/2″ between cookies.
Bake the cookies for 13 to 14 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.
Yield: about 56 small (2″) cookies.
Note: You can always make larger sized cookies. That’s what I do!