Anti-Anxiety Perfume Oil

anti-anxiety perfume oil

Most of the time when I make perfume oils it’s all about the scent. This is different though, this one is all about the emotional benefits with my essential oil picks based solely on their traditionally recognized benefits for reducing anxiety and stress. I chose sunflower oil for the base because it hardly has any scent of its own so it carries the e.o. scents quite well. The essential oils I’m using are Neroli, known to decrease nervous tension and apprehension, so much so that Neroli blossoms used to frequently be placed in wedding bouquets, Clary Sage which is a happy scent, sometimes even described as euphoric and elation-promoting, and Lavender which is a relaxing scent. To make the blend, simply add the base oil (I use a funnel to reduce spillage) to the clean, empty bottle of choice. In the picture I have a clear, 1/3 oz. bottle, but I actually ended up using a dark amber bottle instead because dark-colored glass helps the essential oils stay fresh longer. In a 1/3 oz bottle I’d add about 12 drops of essential oils total, and in a 1/2 oz bottle size I’d add 15-18 drops total. For this blend none of the oils are exceptionally strong so I decided to add equal amounts to the base oil, so 4 drops of each oil went into the bottle. Always cap your blends right away and shake them, or better yet, roll them in your hands to mix the ingredients together. The blend is then ready to use but it will deepen and change a bit over a month’s time. Keep it out of direct light and heat for best results, and then use on pulse points to reduce nervousness and stress. Always remember to shake the bottle before using to make sure the essential oils are well mixed. This is so easy that even the most stressed out person can manage to do this without so much as a toddler sized tantrum or clenched jaw. Don’t forget to write down your personal blend formula for future reference, and also to label the bottle accordingly. I labeled mine ‘breathe’ so I remember to check on the quality of my breathing when I’m reaching for a stress-reducing scent. A mantra I learned a long time ago comes in handy at those moments: Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. The sweet spot is in-between the breath in and breath out which can only be recognized as the present. Let me know what your favorite stress-reducing techniques are. I’d love to hear them!

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Sharing a Blog post about St. John’s Wort (with commentary of course)

This is timely considering we are enduring the longest winter ever here in the Pacific Northwest. I often take St. John’s Wort to ward of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) but for some reason I didn’t this year and right about now, I’m regretting it. The rain is dreary and we are all weary. The only good thing is that when it does start to dry up and warm up it’s going to be fantastic. And when it does, those taking St. John’s Wort should be aware that it can make one more photosensitive, therefore be sure to be a bit more diligent with wearing sunscreen or however you protect your skin. I love the whole cycle of that though~ Vitamin D is connected to SAD, we get Vitamin D from exposure to the sun, St. John’s Wort ups our ability to receive from the sun, St. John’s Wort is known as an effective antidepressant. I’ve written a bit about this same increased photo-sensitivity affect before concerning antidepressant citrus essential oils. Herbs are magical. Here’s some scientific proof:

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum, Hypericaceae) St. John’s wort (SJW; Hypericum perforatum, Hypericaceae) aerial parts are a popular treatment for depression, and many countries in Europe prescribe SJW for that purpose. According to the authors, SJW has been well researched; however, the results are conflicting. The last large published meta-analysis was conducted in 2008, and […]

via Meta-analysis Finds Standardized St. John’s Wort Extracts as Effective as Conventional Antidepressants — Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

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Gluten-Free in Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin was a surprisingly easy place to accommodate food intoleraces and allergies. We found the food there to be fresh, healthy, and enlightened, as in menus marked with gluten information or restaurants having Paleo picks (not that we eat Paleo but it is generally gluten-free) and one even celebrating a month of the Paleo diet by offering an entire menu devoted to it. This restaurant, Saba, was right around the corner from our hotel and I could have ordered many things off their menu without having to worry about gluten. When we ate there we ordered rice with our pick which is decidedly un-caveman-ish, so we weren’t beholden to the Paleo diet thankfully, and got an excellent meal out of it.

Another place right around the corner from our hotel was our favorite restaurant of all, a healthy little breakfast, lunch, brunch place called Cocu. There are three locations and it looks like they are even open for dinner at one of two of those places so there are plenty of options for checking it out. Their menus are simple although a little hard to describe so I encourage you to look at them yourself and be inspired. Maybe so inspired that you open up your own version of their tagline “A Healthy Obsession”, and if so, please let it be within 15 minutes of Redmond, Washington because we truly were obsessed and it’s one of the first things I missed when we got back home. Basically, the main lunch items are these bowls where you choose your meat or vegetarian main which is cooked with certain spices/sauces/veggies to complement it, then add two sides such as mixed greens or rice or sweet potatoes or something else, then add a topping such as seeds, nuts, or herbs. It’s all in a big bowl together and works every time, no matter the combination. They also have soups, wraps (not gluten-free), and hot pots which is something like red lentil curry over rice and you add tofu or chicken which was my favorite dish there. Anyway, I could go on because I haven’t even started on the coffee bar area, breakfast items, or side pastries which included many gluten-free items, but unless you are in Dublin right now and can check it out yourself, there’s no point in sharing any more of the obsession.

It’d be a shame to go to Ireland and not get fish n’ chips, and luckily Beshoff Brothers has us gluten-free gourmands covered. This is not a fancy place, just as a proper fish n’ chips place should not be, but it was clean and bright and their gluten-free menu had onion rings on it which I can’t recall seeing anywhere ever before this place. This wasn’t our healthiest meal but it actually wasn’t overly greasy and we both were quite satisfied with our meals, (not gf for my husband, gf for me).

You can even have your sandwich cravings easily satisfied at O’Briens Sandwich cafes. They can make you a sandwich on gluten-free bread which also happens to be egg free, dairy free, and soy free. (Yay!) They use a brand called BFree which isn’t carried in my neck of the woods (yet) but I hope it’s coming soon because they have pita bread which is so hard to find. Do be aware that if you want your sandwich toasted though, it is toasted in the same oven as the traditional breads. I did have mine toasted and felt perfectly fine for the record, but you have to judge for yourself your own level of sensitivity. There are plenty of O’Briens around Ireland so you aren’t ever too far from a sandwich which is a nice change of pace.

Another restaurant that my husband and I found ourselves returning to the very next day after a fantastic dinner and ordering the exact same meals as the night before is Balfes.  They have plenty of gluten-free options and the food is fresh and delicious. I had a salad with chicken on it that used guacamole instead of dressing and oh my gosh, why haven’t I done that before?! It was brilliantly executed and my husband loved his meal also. We even thought about going there for a third night in a row but ended up just being too lazy.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has plenty of gluten free options in their ‘food hall’. They do have a section of gluten-free items such as pastas, cakes, breads, granola, etc, but I only bought the granola because their baked goods all have egg in them. They have a lot more to offer though in their prepared foods sections which seemed to make up about the entire store. I’ve never seen so many individually wrapped meals in my life~ Trader Joe’s has been way outdone. My husband and I got breakfast from there several times and take-away dinner at least once. He was especially fond of the place and kept saying things like, “Look at that lettuce! It’s practically standing up it’s so fresh! It’s like it’s trying to get our attention by waving it’s arms and saying ‘pick me!'”. The fresh produce there did seem exceptionally vibrant considering it was January and I wasn’t aware that Ireland had a robust winter farming industry. I still don’t know what the deal is with their produce~ if it’s grown in greenhouses or imported from somewhere else on some wicked fast plane or what, but they have a good thing going though however they are managing it. Also, I should say that before going I had the impression M&S would be extremely expensive but we found their prices to be quite affordable which was a definite plus.

There are health food stores called Nourish around Dublin that have gluten-free options such as crackers, cookies, etc. The one I went into on Grafton Street didn’t have a huge selection but I did buy some crackers and chocolates from there which were tasty. But here’s a warning to take to heart~ if you rely on melatonin to help reset your body clock and beat jet lag, bring your own because we were told at Nourish that it is illegal to sell it in all of Ireland.  Fortunately I did bring some along but we were hoping to get more there and were sorely out of luck. What does Ireland have against melatonin? Another mystery to solve I guess.

Before going to Dublin I found a lovely listing of restaurants that are gluten-free friendly. I was so thrilled with finding it but in all honesty I didn’t have to go back to it often because it seemed everywhere I checked out had gf options. I made it a habit to look at every menu that I passed just to see how gf friendly it was and I found Dublin as a whole to be extremely aware and accommodating on that front as well as on all fronts really. It was a friendly, polite, energetic, and open place that I hope to return to soon and maybe get a chance to see the countryside a bit. If you are wondering where to take your next big vacation and gluten matters feel like a confinement, rest assured that Dublin will embrace you and your gluten issues with open arms and fantastic food.

One last thing to mention, before going I made sure to request gluten-free foods for our Delta airlines flights. They actually did a great job with the meals and I always got mine before they delivered the other passengers’ meals so I never had to wonder if they’d remember or not. I actually couldn’t even eat all the food they brought me which always included fresh fruit and/or salad which is so nice to have on a long flight. I was impressed.

To see more pics, check out my instagram feed at https://www.instagram.com/dragonlilyherbs/ and please comment below on any experiences you have had in traveling through Ireland~ I’d love to hear it!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in celiac disease, food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, gf bread, gf foods, gluten free, gluten free bread, Gluten free eating, gluten free food, gluten free foods, gluten free lifestyle, gluten free travel, gluten intolerance, gluten intolerant, health, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Creamy Cauliflower Soup without the Cream

I wrote this recipe up for Basmati.com but it belongs here as well. Their site is full of good recipes, Ayurvedic advice, and inspiration for a cleaner, greener new year. Check it out! Here’s to January with its emphasis on self improvement, newness, and hope for a better future!

Cheers! XOXO

Posted in food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, recipe, Soup, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies

Happy Holidays! No matter what you celebrate, one thing we can all agree upon is holidays call for fresh baked cookies. I wanted to make something besides gingerbread men this year because those fellas are just so darn high-maintenance with rolling them out and reworking the dough into a big enough piece to cut in to and such, so this year I went the opposite direction and made the easiest cookies ever (with the exception of sugar cookies I suppose.) I even cheated and just used Hershey’s Kisses for the filling on most of them, although for my dairy-free friends I used raspberry jam. Unfortunately I gave all those away (and maybe ate a couple myself) before taking pics, but both versions turned out to be a hit. My husband even likes them and usually if I offer him gluten-free food he looks about as enthusiastic as though I’m offering him a mud pie. He’s my own personal “Mikey likes it!” barometer and these pass with flying colors.

Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies

5 Cups Gluten-free flour mix such as Pamela’s baking and pancakes flour

1/2 Cup melted coconut oil

1/2 Cup Maple syrup

1 cup Coconut milk (I used unsweetened vanilla) or any milk you like best

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Hershey’s kisses (about 20 or so) or whatever filling you choose.

Mix all the ingredients besides the filling/kisses and then roll each cookie in your hands to make them round as  you set them on parchment papered cookie sheets.

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Go ahead and make a thumbprint in the cookies before baking but you’ll have to deepen them when they come out of the oven too.

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If you are using jam, add the jam before baking. There should be about 20 cookies or so. Bake for about 14 minutes or slightly less, depending on your oven. When they come out, deepen the thumbprints and add the Hershey kisses right away so the bottom gets to melt a tad into the cookie.

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Cool on a cooling rack for a good couple of hours before trying to bag up these babies, otherwise the chocolate will melt.

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These are not super sweet, so you can sprinkle them with sugar or a cinnamon/sugar mix if you want, although personally I like the fact they taste almost like a shortbread biscuit rather than a cookie. I mean considering these are made with coconut oil and cinnamon, and are lacking in refined sugar, they are practically a superfood, right? Well, maybe not quite but I like to think that they are on the healthy side for a cookie.

And now it seems only appropriate to say, “Merry Kissmas!” XOXOX

 

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Updated Easy Gluten-Free Peasant Bread

The most visited post on my site is the Easiest Gluten-Free Peasant Bread Ever post which is understandable, because it truly is easy and it’s different than anything you can buy. I’ve worked with this recipe so many times now that I finally feel I can update the recipe which is not only gluten-free, but also dairy and egg-free, and now, xanthan gum free too. Of course, feel free to use butter instead of olive oil, and if xanthan gum doesn’t bother you, go ahead and add it if you wish. I’m using ground psyllium husks instead which helps with the smoothness because I’m just not convinced xanthan gum is a good choice for our family with multiple food intolerances. Also, I make up a big batch of the flour and store it in my pantry for ease of use, and I make up extra once-risen dough to store in my fridge for a week or two. If you find you can’t digest oat flour well, or don’t have access to certified gluten-free oat flour like Bob’s Red Mill, then replace it with Teff or Millet, or a combination of both. Here’s the recipe:

Flour:

3 1/4 C Oat flour

2 C Brown Rice flour

2 C Millet Flour

2  C Sorghum Flour

1 3/4 C Tapioca flour

1 1/4 Potato Starch

1/4 C Ground Psyllium Husks

Mix all together for your flour blend.

Dough:

4 T Flax Meal + 3/4 C warm water

6 1/4 C Flour blend (This is half of the flour blend from above.)

1 T yeast

1/2 T kosher salt

2 T sugar

Put the flax meal and water in a large measuring cup b/c you’ll be adding more water to it, but first let it sit for about 10 minutes. Mix the dry ingredients together. Add enough warm water to the flax mixture to get to 3 3/4 Cups liquid. I use a glass 2 cup measuring vessel in which the flax and water set for 10 minutes, then add water up to the 2 C line which I pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients, then add another 1 3/4 C of water to the mixture. If you have a 4 C measuring cup then it is even easier. Blend all together and let it rise for about 2 hours. I do this in the oven~ warm the oven up for a minute on high, then turn it off and let the dough rise with a damp towel over it. Once it has risen, it can be stored in the fridge for a week or two. This is enough dough for 3 loaves of the peasant bread baked in the pyrex glass bowls though you could also use this basic dough in another recipe if you wanted.

To bake the Peasant Bread

First oil or butter a pyrex bowl, or spray with a non-stick spray like Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray. However you choose to do this, make sure it is good and thick because the dough is sticky and I’ve ruined many loaves’ crusts by not making a good enough non-stick barrier. In other words, grease it well, then grease it again. I actually find the cooking spray works best. Take about 1/3 of the dough and plop it in the glass bowl to rise another hour or so. I do this in the oven again, which means I have to take it out of the oven when it is time to preheat.

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Stick a shallow pan of water on the bottom of the oven for steam. Bake the bread for 10 minutes before turning the heat down to 375 degrees F for about 22-25 minutes. Take the bread out of the bowl and if you like a crustier loaf as I do, put the bread sans bowl back in the over for another 5 minutes.

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Let it cool before cutting.

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Posted in dairy free, food, Food allergies, food allergy blogs, food sensitivities, gf bread, gf foods, gluten free, gluten free bread, Gluten free eating, gluten free food, gluten free foods, recipe | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comfort Food

Today….there is not enough chocolate.

The sun still rose, but it shone on a country that has disappointed me to the core.

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I am not a political person, and I don’t care to write a political blog, but I am a person with a big heart for humans, animals, and the earth, and that heart is very, very broken today.

Tonight, I’m breaking out the boxed mac n cheese. The deluxe version. deluxe-rice-pasta-extra-cheesy-cheddar-sauce

I actually add more (jovial) noodles to Annie’s boxes b/c the cheese is more than enough for the eager mouths here. I’m roasting broccoli and serving smoked salmon too, just because comfort doesn’t have to mean lack of healthy options. We can have balance. We can have balance. And wine of course.

And dessert all around, because I swear, just like in Harry Potter books, chocolate really does make one feel better.

 

Posted in children, ecology, Education, food, Food allergies, gf foods, gluten free, Gluten free eating, gluten free food, gluten free foods, gluten intolerant, health, kids, modern life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment