Essential Oils & Blends for Every Room

Can’t decide which diffuser blend to use throughout your home on this fine Sunday?

Don’t worry! We have you covered.

Bedroom: Bring a sense of serenity as you prep for bed with Peace & Calming. Dilute it with V-6 Vegetable Oil Complex for a calming back massage before naps or bed.

Bathroom: Get rid of musty, unwanted odors by diffusing Purification for 30 minutes, 3 times a day. It’s the perfect way to cleanse the air.

Office: Give your mind the stimulation it needs to increase productivity by adding Brain Power to your daily office routine. Diffuse up to 1 hour 3 times daily.

Laundry room: Keep the fresh scent of clean clothes in your laundry room by diffusing Young Living favorite Lavender EO or add it to your clothes with Young Living Seedlings Linen Spray. Refresh crib sheets, blankets, car seats, clothing, and more.

Kitchen: Bring the whole family together by diffusing Lushious Lemon in your kitchen, now available as an essential oil blend. Diffuse up to 1 hour 3 times daily for best usage.

Living room: Regardless of the craziness that can occur in your living room, create an environment that is fresh, healthy, and boosts general wellness support with Thieves essential oil blend. Pair it up with Orange essential oil for a tangy, sweet smell.

What is your favorite essential oil to diffuse in each of your rooms?


Do you use Vitality oils in your kitchen?

Christmas means lots of cooking! Instead of running to the store to grab herbs and spices, reach for your Vitality oils. Vitality oils add lots of flavor to your favorite dishes, they have a much longer shelf life than fresh herbs and spices, and they each have unique benefits.

What are your favorite Vitality oils to cook with?

Convinced yet that this is a good investment for you and others in your home? Let’s talk about the best way for you to have your own Young Living account and start stocking up on life-giving products that are safe for the whole house and effective as heck.

You’re going to want your own account – and the best way to do that is with any of our starter bundles. This is the bundle that about 90% of people start with – but there are other options. Become a member today:

Join our team. And then join our online oil community. I’m passionate about sharing HOW, and WHY, and WHEN, and WHERE to use essentials oils. You are not alone.

My fav bites for the Holidays!

I thank the women in my life for passing along the love of baking … it’s my therapy!

Here’s what I’m working on for the holidays this year!


No-Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares

Thank you to Trisha Yearwood and Food Network for making this recipe available (linked below).  We will immensely enjoy this salty, sweet, savory treat today… and maybe tomorrow for Christmas, if any of it is still around.  Clink here for recipe!


Gramma Helen’s Sugar Cookies

Thank you Gramma Helen for making my world even more amazing for passing this recipe along.  It’s the BEST, most amazing, flaky, delightful cookie I’ve ever experienced.  Here’s the family recipe!


Cranberry Sriracha Compote

This is a staple at our festive events!

Cranberry Sriracha Compote
2 cups fresh cranberries
¼ cup orange juice
⅓ cup sugar
2 Tbspn Sriracha (or more if you’d like)
5 drops Orange Vitality essential oil
5 drops Lemon Vitality essential oil

Bring orange juice, cranberries, sugar, and sriracha sauce to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 7 mins, or until all the berries have cooked and are mushy.

Allow to cool and add Lemon and Orange Vitality oils. Stir well and refrigerate for at least two hours before pouring over a softened block of cream cheese. Serve with an assortment of crackers.

This got rave reviews, btw!!!

Simple Bruschetta

And THIS beautiful bruschetta!  My tip?  Buy the bottled pesto and bruschetta at Trader Joe’s.  Then spoon a bit of each on to grilled french bread, sprinkle with parmesan or some feta or fresh basil or balsamic vinegar or all of the above… and BAM!  You can’t go wrong with this savory bite!


Onion Dip on Steroids

Edited to add:  I can’t believe I posted this entry and left THIS recipe out of the mix.  You have to try this at some point in your life – you may as well do it soon.  It’s worth every calorie.  I promise!  Here you go – you can thank me later – here’s the recipe.


I’m also making my Nutty Toffee … in fact, that’s all Gramma asked for this year… a pound of my toffee.  It would be my pleasure!  (Sorry – that’s not a family recipe I share.  Because watch for it in stores one of these days… because #biggoals.)


White Chocolate-covered pretzels

And we’ll also have white chocolate-covered pretzels… it’s a staple around here.  I remember Mom and I making these every holiday… and we just love them!


And for BEFORE dessert?  Shoot – who am I kidding?!  We do dessert first around here.  But for nourishment we’re having a bit of a non-traditional feast tomorrow for Christmas.  We’re doing a baked potato bar, served alongside a honey-glazed ham and salad.  And we might throw in a pot of chili too.  And maybe some rolls (if I want to be brave and make those – ‘cuz I’m not running to the store on Christmas Eve).


What are YOU having for Christmas Eve / Christmas meals?

Happy Mothers Day – Kitchen Memories

My first cookbook was from Gramma Ruth (I think I was 7 years old). My first experience cooking happened in my Mom’s kitchen. My love for hand-writing recipes comes from my Gramma Helen. My family tree of “mothers” shared their love for cooking and baking with me. {And most of my friends would like to simultaneously yell THANK YOU for doing so!} To that end I am writing a tribute this Mother’s Day, 2013.


The women in our family (including my Aunts Sooz and Cheryl) taught me to love food. And not just any food, but “mmm mmm good food”… they taught me to be adventurous in the kitchen, to find the love of baking from scratch, how to be resourceful and find substitutions for missing ingredients, why we follow the rules of baking (aka the importance of using exact measurements), searching out and trying interesting recipes, and gathering in the kitchen at holidays to feed those who have gathered… so many memories with my “mothers“ in a kitchen.


And the images flood my memory… dirty measuring spoons, burnt griddles, flour spilled onto the kitchen cupboard, a sink full of dirty dishes, Gramma Helen’s recipe card box, Mom’s handwriting in her recipe notebook (and side notes in the margins of her recipe books), cookies cooling on cookie racks, drawers bursting with boxes of wax paper/saran wrap/aluminum foil, the large bin of cooking utensils, the butter dish shaped like a hen, and the dish cloth hanging from the peg on the inside of the cupboard door.

And the lessons race through my mind… how to crack an egg without getting pieces of the shell in the batter, how to separate an egg, the importance of washing our hands after touching raw poultry, how to shape a meatball / cut biscuits / make a grilled cheese sandwich / measure dry vs wet ingredients / ways to thicken a sauce / steaming vegetables, how to test if the cake is done, etc…

And the memories race… licking the beaters, making a mess, cleaning up the mess, the fear of burning the cookies, falling in love with the recipe my mom learned in her high school home economics class {for Lemon Deluxe Bars}, seeing people’s smiles when they tasted those Lemon Bars… and then eventually me sharing recipes with my Mom and Grammas.


And that proud moment… when I made my first dinner for our family. I made an Italian dinner of stuffed shells. Think lasagna in a large pasta shell, drenched in red sauce and topped with sliced mozzarella… then placed under the broiler to melt and bubble and get all deliciously appetizing. I was so proud of myself. And it even tasted good!

I would say about our kitchens… everything I needed to know about life I learned in the kitchen. Slow down, there’s no need to rush it. When time permits, do some tidying up. Honor others by being kind and doing nice things for them (take dishes to people who need it, etc). Be resourceful. Be flexible. Be adventurous. Savor the good parts of life. Cherish the memories.


RECIPE: Asian Chicken Salad


one of my favorites.  it’s fresh.  it’s filling.  best of all,  it’s easy.  it’s an Asian Chicken Salad…

Here’s where I start…  by prepping the chicken.  I usually do this step several hours ahead of making the salad.


I boil the chicken, to cook it.  I wait for it to cool and then dice it into bite size pieces.



Here’s my secret flavor weapon for this dish.  Let me start by saying that I’m very sorry if you’re grocer doesn’t carry this brand of dressing/marinade.  Now, print up this picture and take it to your grocer so that they know which one to order.  ; -)  You can thank me later… (wink)



So, I placed the diced chicken into a sealable plastic bag and  poured a good amount of the dressing/marinade into the bag … then it went into the refrigerator to get all nice and happy.  Every now and then I toss the bag so that the marinating chicken gets covered and smothered.


Then I diced up some green onions, cilantro (yes – you read that correctly … the cilantro is another secret flavor weapon for this salad – so refreshing!), half a head of cabbage and a head of romaine lettuce.


Since I usually make up enough for 2 or 3 meals I placed all the cabbage/lettuce into a container for later consumption…


And then I simply threw the green onions/cilantro on top…


And here’s the next secret flavor weapon… toasted almond slices…


I placed them in a warm saute pan (medium heat), and let them brown up SLOWLY.  They brown up fast, so keep a close eye on them.  I tossed them about the pan for about a minute or two, and then they were ready.  I removed them from the hot pan to allow them to cool …


And for an extra treat, IF I can find these… I like to throw a small handful of these soy ginger wonton strips on top of the salad.  They impart such great flavor…


So, here it goes… the assembly begins.  Below are the wonton strips, chow mein noodles, roasted/salted sunflower seeds and the toasted almond slices.



And the building process began…


Lettuce/cabbage and cilantro/green onions… topped with a healthy drizzle of the dressing (straight from the bottle) and a small amount of each of the crunchy toppings and about one chicken breast worth of the marinaded chicken.






Isn’t she pretty?! 


Dinner last night was so yummy!  I’m glad I made enough for more for tonight!

RECIPE: Turkey Chili


Oh Turkey Chili… today would be a perfect day for you!  If only I had pulled out some ground turkey to thaw.  Hmph…

Well, anyway… here’s how you make it.  You’ll need the following items:  ground turkey, kidney beans, chili beans, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, diced green chiles, chicken stock, a yellow onion, garlic, worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, pepper and cumin.  (amounts listed below in actual recipe)

Also, we put a cooling topping that include fat free greek yogurt (Fage), green onions, salt/pepper.  And of course you’ll want some cheese to top it all off… right?


So, let’s do this… first off, let’s cut and saute the onion.  Here’s my tip on cutting onions.  Cut the onion in half and peel the skin off.  Leave the onion attached to the root end (which keeps the slices from sliding all over the board) and cut thin slices of the onion.  It’ll fan out, like below.


Then cut the slices in the opposite direction, and the cuts will all be about the same size.  And you’ve not cut through the root end more than you had to, which is the potent part of the onion (which is typically what makes us cry).  Noting, there are many other things that make us cry… but I”m just talking about the task of cutting onions.

(wink, wink)


See?  The dice is all rather uniform, for the most part.


Heat up some oil in a large sauce pot (i use a homemade garlic-infused olive oil for almost all my cooking), and add the onion, seasoning the onion with a little bit of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  Saute over medium heat until transluscent.


Add the ground turkey and break it up with a large wooden spoon.


While the turkey is cooking, dice up the garlic cloves … I’ve learned over time that adding the garlic in with the onions might result in burned garlic.  Typically I do not add the garlic until there are other items in the pot (which lowers the temps, which prevents the burning of garlic).


Once the meat is just about done, then add the garlic.  The small pieces of garlic will have plenty of time to “cook”…


Then the spices go in… I added about a teaspoon of ground cumin, a tablespoon of chili powder, one to two shakes of cayenne pepper, kosher salt and cracked black pepper.  (Then I realized I wanted some more ground cumin and added another shake or two.)


Once I got the meat seasoned about how I like it then I added the drained kidney beans, the small can of diced green chiles…


And then the chili beans… gotta love those chili beans!  Such great flavor in this sauce!


Time for the tomatoes … one whole can of diced tomatoes.


And then the chicken stock…


And about half of the can of tomato sauce…


Oh yes, my flavor weapon for this dish… W sauce.  (Don’t ask me to verbally name this for you… I can’t do it.)


Adding a touch of the W Sauce gives this the depth of flavor that you’re used to with a red meat chili…



Then stir it all up and let it simmer for at least a half hour.   If you’ve planned it all out in decent form then you can let it set on the stove top for a few hours before rewarming it for dinner.  In my opinion, chili (and most soups for that matter) are typically better after cooling down and reheating again (and an overnight “hang out session” in the refrigerator is even better in most cases).

Right before we heat it back up and enjoy I make a quick topping for the chili… it consists of fat-free greek yogurt, green onions and salt/pepper.  This is our new form of sour cream…


Add a bit of kosher salt/cracked black pepper and stir it into the yogurt with some of the green onions.



Top the chili with the yogurt mix and some cheese… and there ya have it!  The best darn (Turkey) Chili this side of the Rockies… if you don’t mind me saying so myself!


Turkey Chili


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, diced
  • 20 ounces ground turkey
  • 1 can kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 can pinto beans (drained)
  • 1 can chili beans
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 7 ounces diced green chiles
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • pinch of cayenne (or more/to your desired heat level)
  • kosher salt
  • cracked black pepper


Diced onion and saute in large sauce pot.  Once the onions are softened, add the ground turkey and mix until cooked through.  Add garlic and dried spices and stir/cook for a few more minutes.  Add drained kidney beans, UNdrained chili beans, chicken stock, diced green chiles, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce; bring to a slow boil and stir.  Cover pot and reduce heat tolow and allow mix to simmer for at least 30 minutes.

You can serve immediately.  But if you’re  allowing the chili to “cowboy up”, you can let it sit on the stove top (no heat)until it’s time for dinner and then rewarm before serving.

RECIPE: Bruschetta Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve written a food blog post… I can’t even really remember my usual format.  And not that all that matters anymore… life changes.

So, to kick this off in true style… let’s start with Bruschetta Soup!  It’s amazing… and it’s SOUP-er easy!  Seriously.

Here’s what you’ll need… a cooked chicken (my preference is CostCo’s rotisserie chicken), 4 cups of chicken stock, a medium-sized yellow squash, 1 cup egg noodles, 1 cup corn (not pictured here) and the magical ingredient… Trader Joe’s jarred Bruschetta mix.


Cup up the squash, keeping the pieces in similar sizes.



And may I introduce the best prepared bruschetta mix I’ve ever had… thank you, Trader Joe’s!  Using this in a soup adds all the flavor the soup needs.  No need to add any other seasoning… no extra salt needed.  Maybe some pepper, depends on how peppery you like your soup.

Time for everyone to join the party… in a large stock pot (over high heat) add the chicken stock, bruschetta mix, squash, corn and egg noodles.  Bring it to a rolling boil and turn the heat down for a few minutes.




While the soup is warming up I tear up the rotisserie chicken into bite-size pieces and set it aside.



When you’re a few minutes away from dinner, simply add the chicken to the stock pot and bring the heat back up.  Stir the chicken in for a few minutes, until the chicken is warmed up … and serve when ready.


You’re going to LOVE this soup… and you’re going to love how easy it is to make.  And you might even feel like you’re cheating when your loved ones oooooh and aaaaah over it.


So, what now?  Head to Trader Joe’s and pick up a few jars of the prepared bruschetta mix.  You can thank me later…


Bruschetta Soup


1 quart (4 cups) chicken stock

1 cup corn

1 cup egg noodles

1 jar Trader Joe’s bruschetta mix

1 medium sized yellow squash, diced

1 rotisserie chicken, pulled apart into bite size pieces


Into large stock pot over medium high heat, boil the chicken stock, bruschetta mix, squash, corn and egg noodles until noodles are nearly done.  Add pieces of rotisserie chicken.

Enjoy soup with warm bread.

Servings: 4 large bowls

RECIPE: Fish Tacos

Mmmm…. fish tacos!!!  There is no better summer dinner. None…
Here’s where I started… mahi mahi, corn tortillas, a green onion or two, cilantro, cabbage and the amazing Southwest Dressing…
Oh yeah… and you must, must, must use the Liquid Gold aka the garlic-infused olive oil … promise me you’ll keep this on hand in your kitchen.  You won’t regret it!
Here’s the quick run down on how the Lite Southwest Dressing is made… greek yogurt, cayenne pepper, cumin powder and chili pepper.
Several dashes of chili powder, a dash or two of cumin powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper…
And some kosher salt and black pepper…
Mix it together.  Taste to see if it needs anymore kosher salt (it probably does) or black or cayenne pepper.  Just make this to your own tastes.  You can’t go wrong with this… and whatever is left over can simply go in a container in the refrigerator for several weeks (just like the yogurt).
Next attack those greens… cabbage (sliced rather thin), green onions, cilantro…
Line ’em up where they will await their final calling in life…
Next is the fish… add about a tablespoon of garlic-infused olive oil to the skillet and bring it up to HOT!  Then add the salted/peppered fish to the skillet and let it cook through, turning over half-way through.
While the fish is cooking you can throw the tortillas on a griddle to warm up a bit, on medium heat… turning over once they bubble a bit.  Don’t let them get too crispy… they’ll just crack in half when you use them.  And you don’t want that to happen…
Once the fish is done you can remove it to another flat surface cut into strips…
Then the assembly process starts…  line up your warmed tortillas, schmear them with a touch of Southwest dressing, topping them with a couple slices of fish…
Then add the cabbage, green onions and cilantro… and be prepared…
to enjoy a really yummy (and rather healthy) dinner!!!
We typically serve these up with a small side dish:
sharing a can of clam chowder
corn on the cob
black bean soup
there really are so many options…
the only thing that ISN’T an option is making these tacos…
enjoy your time in the kitchen…

Things, they are a-changin’…

he just said WHAT?!
a friend’s husband said something to me one day in passing that really stuck with me. he knows about my food blog (due to consequent love for food) + my desire to lose weight and gain life = two things that have been at war with each other.

this friend’s husband (who, for these purposes, shall remain unnamed. lest said husband wants to get punched by his wife – he knows who he is) said to me “if you spent as much time in the gym as you spend on that food blog i’m sure you’d see some amazing results.”

he was so right. so very right.

i kinda wanted to hit him.

but i’ll be honest with you, i knew that up until that moment in time i wasn’t ready to hear that from ANYONE.

and i thought about it. pondered it. still wanted to hit him. but he was right.

that’s around the time my postings on this food blog slowed down. my attention was drawn in other directions.

friend’s husband will be happy to know that since then i have spent a bit more time in the gym – and lost over 20 pounds to prove it. (granted, up to that point i had been spending about 4 hours/week in the gym – i’m now up to spending about 7 hours/week “working on my fitness”) but i’ve also started counting my calorie consumption. THAT will “do in” any food blog…. RIGHT?!

so i’ve been busy revamping recipes by tearing them apart and tweaking them to a much lower calorie count, if possible. (some of our old food favs have since gone by the wayside, fortunately and unfortunately.) i’ve also been testing healthier food ideas altogether.

all the while i’ve attemped to wrap my head around how this changes the food blog. you see, i have had so much fun with this blog. i’ve met some new people while blogging. i’ve enjoyed taking pictures of food (the food doesn’t complain about how it looks in the photo).

i’ve learned quite a few new things about cooking and baking and writing and blogging.

overall, i’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time at this. in fact, i’ve missed it immensely over the past 2 1/2 months.

so now what?!
so this post is my promise to you that i didn’t go anywhere. but things are going to start looking a little different around here.

the freshness factor will remain.
the yumminess factor will continue.
the step-by-step tips and play-by-play photography isn’t going anywhere.
dare i say, my fruity character will live on…

i will continue to forge forward without advertising on my blog.

but most importantly, i will continue to enjoy this fun adventure in the kitchen.

but it will look (and taste) a bit different around here. thankfully healthy food still tastes good!

come with me as I find new / yummy ways to be healthy???

enjoy your time in the kitchen…