Cilantro Lime Yogurt Sauce

The other day I asked my husband what he wanted for dinner. Now what this really means is: pick a side and a starch. In our house we hardly ever have a traditional salad. I found that with my boys they eat tons of vegetables if I just chop them up in toddler sized pieces, put them on a plate, and serve it with Ranch dressing. Anyho, so I asked Nathan what he wanted for dinner. He asked for grilled chicken and my cilantro-lime rice.

While I am making dinner, I remember that a few weeks ago when I made this dish we really wanted a sauce to go with it. Actually, it was when I was making the cilantro lime rice with some grilled fish. I remembered that the dish was good, but almost begging for a sauce … A nice cool and creamy element to the dish. Obviously, I had a lot of cilantro and lime on hand so I pulled out the food processor and got to work. I came up with a cilantro and lime yogurt sauce. This sauce is ridiculous. I wanted to eat it by the spoonful. Ok, I did once. Are you ready for the recipe? I actually measured this time so I could out the recipe. It’s quick and easy too! I made it while my chicken and rice were cooking, and still had time to chop up all our veggies before it got done.

cilantrolimesauce

Ingredients:
• 1 cup plain yogurt
• ¼ cup roughly chopped cilantro
• 1-2 cloves of garlic
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ½ teaspoon salt
• Zest of one lime

Directions:
1. Place all the ingredients in the food processor.
2. Pulse until the cilantro is well blended in the sauce.
3. Pour into a bowl and serve over chicken, fish, or protein of your choice.
4. Stop licking the spoon and go eat your dinner!

Notes:
• The yogurt I used was just plain (full fat, baby) yogurt. If you use Greek yogurt, you may need to thin it out with a splash of milk if the sauce isn’t the consistency you want.
• When I made this I used 2 cloves of garlic and it was just a tad strong for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the sauce, but the garlic lingered long after dinner. So, if you like a light garlic taste then just start with 1 clove.
• I normally skip a dressing with my veggies, but I ended up using this not just on my chicken, but as my dressing for the vegetables too!

What other ways can you see yourself using this sauce? Any other variations you want to try?

Chocolate (Avocado) Fruit Dip

So I only had a couple of hours left before my essential oil party. What on earth am I going to make for the party? I still have to go to the store when Nathan comes home… and the bank to cash my check first… Crap! I’m running out of time. This is what I was thinking as Nathan walked in the door. I frantically left to get to the bank before it closed, leaving Nathan behind with our rowdy noise, I mean boys. And dinner. And a messy kitchen. (Sorry, sweetie!)

While I’m at the store, all the fruit looked amazing, so I decided on a chocolate avocado fruit dip that is absolutely delicious and gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free. I had made it a couple of times before at different events and it’s always a big hit. Sounds a little too good to be true, right? Well, it’s not! Read on.

I gathered all the ingredients and only slightly sped home. I was able to make the fruit dip, chop up the fruit, and put it all on a tray in 15 minutes. So, not only is this dip healthy, but it’s fast and easy. It’s just plain awesome.

fruitdip

Now, I should say I did not originally come up with this recipe, it was given to me by my friend, Amy (who probably found it somewhere on Pinterest), and I adapted it a little bit. If anyone knows where it originated from, please let me know and I’ll update this post to give them credit and a million thanks for this awesomeness. Here ya go!

Ingredients:
• 2 ripe avocados
• ¼ cup cocoa powder
• ½ cup agave nectar (or honey)
• 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons soy milk
• 2-5 drops of a citrus essential oil of your choosing (I like Tangerine!)
• Dash of salt

Directions:
1. Combine all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl using an electric mixer, except the essential oil. Mix very well and try to get out as much avocado lumps as humanly possible.
2. Add one drop of essential oil at a time, adjusting to taste.
3. Serve alongside a plate of fruit or simply sneak a spoonful here and there when you want a treat.

Notes:
• The original recipe calls for coconut milk. I don’t usually have coconut milk handy unless I’m making my curry chicken, but that wasn’t on the menu this week. So, you can substitute any milk here: soy, almond, cow’s milk, or I have even replaced it with yogurt.
• You want to mix the avocados really well or else you will have green lumps here and there.
• You can make this dip without essential oils and it still tastes great, but I love it because citrus oils are known to be a mood uplifter.  For more information on the only brand I trust to use internally, email ingo@amandagerber.com.

What other essential oils do you think would go well in this dip? Let me know what ya think!

Cold Oatmeal: Sounds gross, Tastes good!

Cold oatmeal: It sounds gross, doesn’t it? When I first read about cold oatmeal it did not sound appealing. I think it’s because I think of the cold oatmeal I am usually eating: you know, the oatmeal that gets left at the bottom of the pot after my kids are all done eating… That kinda cold oatmeal. BUT this is not just someone’s lifeless leftover oatmeal. It’s a whole new way to eat oatmeal and it tastes so stinkin’ good. The best part is that you make it the night before so when you’re ready to eat breakfast the next morning, it’s all done! Did I mention you can totally make this dairy free if you wish? I got a recipe from theyummylife.com and just catered it to my preferences. So, here’s my first cold oatmeal recipe that I tried and adore! Let’s get started.

oatmeal

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup old fashion oats (stay away from instant, it’s way processed)
• ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
• ¼ cup milk
• ¼ cup berries
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Dash of nutmeg

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a glass 8 oz. jar with a lid.
2. Secure tightly with a lid and place in the refrigerator to let it sit overnight.
3. In the morning, top with fresh berries and one more dash of cinnamon. (Optional).
4. Eat and enjoy your healthy, ready-to-go breakfast. Share with your toddlers, which really means you should triple the recipe because everyone loves it!

Notes:
• To make this dairy free, simply substitute the milk and yogurt for a quality soy, almond, or coconut option. I used organic soy milk and it turned out great.
• You can use whatever yogurt you have on hand. If you want to avoid the added sugars of the vanilla yogurt, just use plain yogurt and you can add a splash of vanilla extract and honey to taste.
• When you mix all the ingredients together, it will be a thinner mixture and thicken overnight.
• This recipe makes one serving, so if you’re wanting to make it for your family just double or triple the recipe and place in separate jars so there’s no fighting over it in the morning.
• Get creative with the flavors and add-ins: try it with chia seeds or sliced almonds, bananas or peaches would be yummy too!

Have you tried cold oatmeal before?  What are your favorite add-ins?

Mother’s Day Brownies

As promised, I am going to give you another post related to Mother’s Day. Today my post is going to be in the form of recipe (not for mom to make, but for you to make for her!). Can you guess what my recipe will contain? My two favorite ingredients: chocolate and essential oils. Yummm…

So, these are actually gluten free brownies that are moist and yummy and full of fiber! Fiber in brownies?!? How is that even possible? Two words for you: Black. Beans. Now, don’t you crinkle your nose at me. I just made this and tried it out on unsuspecting guests with great results. My husband actually liked it, but admitted he would like it a little sweeter (an easy fix!). Honestly I did not expect to like these brownies, but I love them. I am going to give you the original recipe that I followed from doterrablog.com and feel free to tweak it according to your taste buds.

DSC_0533

Photo credit: doterrablog.com

Ingredients
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained, and rinsed (Trust me, just do it!)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2/3 cup honey (I actually used half honey and half agave)
1/3 cup coconut oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 drops Peppermint essential oil
¾ cup chocolate chips, divided

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place all ingredients, except for chocolate chips, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
3. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips.
4. Pour into greased 8×8 inch pan and top with the remaining chocolate chips (don’t skip this step, this is what made the brownies perfect).
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine took 40 minutes). Let cool (or not! We dug right in when it was still warm and it didn’t make a huge mess, just a little one.) and cut into pieces. Store in the fridge if you haven’t devoured the entire pan.

Notes
– Y’all, this is my new favorite dessert. I love it and I don’t have to feel guilty about having two three brownies. This would be a dessert a mom on a diet could actually eat. It’s awesome.
– At first bite I thought it could be a tad sweeter, but once I took another bite I realized it was just the right amount of sweet for me. From my personal reviews everyone liked the brownies, but a couple of people could use a touch more sweetness.
– This is a very versatile recipe: you can use the peppermint essential oil, or cinnamon, or clove, or simply leave the oil out of the dish. Play around and have some fun with it!

What do you think about black beans in brownies? Try the recipe and comment below how it goes!

Gerber’s Go To Green Smoothie

So, before I had children I always (wrongly) assumed that children who didn’t enjoy eating vegetables were picky because their parents didn’t expose them to a variety of vegetables on a regular basis. How quickly I realized that this just isn’t the case. No matter how much colorful vegetables I put on my boys’ plates, there are some that they just won’t eat. I will be the first to admit that getting them to eat their daily amount of vegetables can be a real challenge. I have however found one way to ensure they get dark leafy greens (full of iron and calcium!) in every day: green smoothies!

Today I am going to share our go-to green smoothie recipe that we make fairly often. Of course, this can be catered to your family’s own tastes and whatever you have on hand. Also, just a warning: I do not measure, so these are rough estimates. When I say “handful” keep in mind I am talking about my hands which are kind of petite, and when I say “spoonful” I am referring to the bigger spoon that usually comes in a cutlery set. Lastly, this recipe yields enough for two adults and two toddlers (usually two 16 oz. cups and two 6 oz. cups). Here we go!

Ingredients
– 3 generous handfuls of greens
– 1 banana
– 3 spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, your choice (we usually use either plain or vanilla)
– 2 spoonfuls of flax or chia seed
– 3 handfuls of frozen fruit (we use mixture of strawberries, pineapples, mangoes and peaches)
– Enough juice to make your desired consistency (we use half orange and half apple juice)

Directions
1.) Place ingredients in your blender in the order listed.
2.) Let your toddler lick the yogurt spoon.
3.) Be sure your have enough juice to get your blender going, adding more if needed.
4.) Serve the green goodness and enjoy!

Now, you are sure to enjoy this recipe as it is, but again feel free to experiment however you wish! Some days we are just in a strawberry-banana mood, so we leave all the other fruits out and it is still yummy. Also, if you wish for the smoothie to be dairy-free, by all means leave the yogurt out or replace it with coconut milk yogurt. If you don’t usually keep flax or chia seed in your house it is not necessary, I just try to look for ways to get some in my system ever since I developed gallstones my second pregnancy.

I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as mine does!

Do you have other creative ways to get your children eating their veggies? If so, please share!

Cooking with Essential Oils: Cilantro Lime Rice

I love cooking with essential oils. Yes, you can use (most) essential oils internally! On that note, I only recommend one brand to take internally because I know they do third party testing on every single batch of their oils. Keep in mind there are a few oils not recommend to take internally (like wintergreen), so do your research. If you are not comfortable taking essential oils internally, no problem! You can still enjoy this recipe just using the herbs and zest.

I was in a coastal-cuisine type of mood, so I decided to make grilled chicken topped with mango pico de gallo, but I needed a side. I thought of rice, but I wanted to jazz it up a bit while playing off of the flavors in the pico de gallo. So, I googled cilantro lime rice to see what I could find. Of course, I was not the first person to think of this (because there really is nothing new under the sun) so then I adapted a recipe I found on mynaturalfamily.com. I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did!

Ingredients:
1 cup of rice
1 ½- 2 cups chicken broth (this depends on your type of rice)
1 Tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 drops lime essential oil
1 drop cilantro essential oil

Directions:
– Boil your chicken broth (or water if you don’t have broth) and butter. Again, use as much water as recommended for your type of rice. Once boiling, add the rice, cover and reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, or as directed for your rice.
– Once rice is cooked, add the lime zest and juice. Give it a stir and combine the essential oils. You probably want to start with one drop and taste before adding more.
– Add the fresh cilantro right before serving.

My family loved this side dish and I loved that they were getting the benefits of the essential oils. Lime essential oil helps support the body’s immune system as well as promote emotional balance. Cilantro essential oil is filled with antioxidants and can be used to internally help support the body with cleansing and detoxifying. For more information on essential oils, you can email me at info@amandagerber.com.

Now for the fun part… a GIVEAWAY!

I have a bottle of cilantro essential oil to giveaway for a lucky winner. Again, this oil goes great in the rice, homemade guacamole or any type of salsa! Not to mention it has some great benefits for your health!

To be entered in this giveaway, comment below on how you use essential oils or what you would like to learn about essential oils. This contest will close by the midnight on April 29, 2015. Good luck!

DISCLAIMER: This information is not regulated by the FDA and is not intended to cure or treat disease. It is for informational purposes only. I am just a mom, not a doctor, sharing my experience with essential oils and how they’ve helped my family.

Gerber’s Go-To Green Juice

This past Christmas my husband and I received a juicer that we absolutely love. We probably juice at least 4 days a week in our house, and I wanted to share our “go-to” juice recipe. It’s delicious!

1 apple
5 kale leaves (not the baby kale, I’m talking the big sturdy kale)
1 cucumber
1-2 stalks celery (I had to start with one stalk, now I can handle two)
1 lime
About ½ an inch of ginger
1/3 of a pineapple

This is the order I put it all in the juicer, but I don’t know if that makes a big difference because when it’s all done I like to mix it with a spoon. It makes a beautiful green color. This makes about 32 ounces, which we split between my hubby and I and Timothy. Noah is not a big juice fan, but he’s never liked any sort of juice, but he DOES drink smoothies!

We kind of use this as our “base” recipe and add or replace things here and there. When I can get to the farmer’s market early enough I’ll snag some beets to add to our juice, which turns it a gorgeous deep purple color. Sometimes we replace celery with carrots, or add broccoli to the party. A friend from church gave us some oranges from her tree and the juice was so refreshing with an orange in the mix! You can play around with it and find out what your taste buds enjoy. Happy juicing!

Post below with your favorite juice recipes and I’ll give them a try!