Index of Thoughts

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vegetable Broth Recipe

The other day I realized that I had a lot of veggies that were starting to look a little tired for eating but weren't quite ready to be thrown out.  That's when I like to throw them all in a big pot to make vegetable broth.  I prefer to use vegetable broth over chicken broth in almost all of my recipes.  To me, it feels like it adds more flavor - a more complex & interesting flavor to dishes.  Every time I make mine it is completely different depending on what I have in the fridge.

Then, I strain out all the goodies and freeze the broth in ice cube trays.  That way I can pop them out for later uses.

Vegetable Broth

bell pepper
bay leaf
*plus any other herbs or veggies that you have on hand

I roughly cut up the vegetables and leave the peel and stems on because I will end up straining it all out and throwing it away.  I fill the pot of veggies with water and bring to a boil.  Then I turn it down to medium heat and cook it for several hours.  The broth will start to concentrate and get a darker brown.  Right at the end I like to add a little tamari for salt and flavor.  Then strain out the veggies.  Fill ice cube trays to freeze.  The next day pop the ice cubes into a zip loc bag for later use.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What is your Body Trying to Tell You

I find it very interesting to learn what your body is trying to tell you about your spirit with certain illnesses.  This study is called the metaphysical cause of illnesses.  Do you have recurring illnesses?  Or how about you develop a disease that seems so random?  Of course, sometimes you just get sick with a cold or something but usually when you do it's because you are stressed, run down or haven't been taking good care of yourself.  So, really it is still a metaphysical cause.

When I get sick or someone I know does, I always like to look up the emotional cause of the sickness.  It is really telling.  I also like to look it from several different sights.

Here are some that I really like to use:

Louise Hay List of Common Illnesses and Metaphysical Causes

Vital Affirmations - Healing - Metaphysical Causes

The Mind-Body Connection Glossary: Index of Ailments

For instance, when I was a teenager and in college I used to get bronchitis and sinus infections at least once a year.

The metaphysical meaning is .....

From "Your enthusiasm for life has become depressed because you have devoted your time and energy to someone or something outside of yourself. This drains your life force energy because you are not doing something you really want to do that makes you feel passionate and vital. You need to start devoting your energy to inspires you and uplifts your heart."

From vital  "Inflamed family environment."

From  "The ability to take in life. Depression. Grief. Not feeling worthy of living life fully."

During that time my parents were going through a divorce that wasn't expected.  I fell in love with Andy and he was my everything.  I was away at college and life was so different.  I can look back and see why I kept getting the same illness.  As of today, I haven't had these sicknesses since then.  It really is eye opening to see what is your "work".

Here are some other common ones:

Kidney - "A relationship issue has come to the surface to be resolved however, you feel angry about this so you are holding on to this feeling in order to feel powerful. You need to release your anger and focus your energy on what you truly want for this relationship."

Migrane - "When your mind will not allow an outlet for your frustrations, you create an blockage of energy in and around the head. You need to relinquish control of your emotions by allowing yourself to express how you feel in a constructive way."

Fatigue - "We become tired when our body, mind and souls are not equally engaged in what we are doing in life. When we do not feel a sense of purpose in what we are doing or when the mind rules over our hearts or bodies, we become imbalanced because some part of us has to compensate by disengaging whilst another forces or pushes us to keep going. It is this imbalance that causes us to feel tired and drained."

What is your illness and what does is body trying to tell you?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Healthy Shrimp Scampi - low carb & paleo

Last night I experimented with dinner and it was definitely a winner winner!  I wanted to have shrimp scampi but without the pasta noodles and I wanted to have it in one dish to put in the oven.  Sometimes my experiments are a flop but this one turned out amazing even the kids gobbled it up.  We didn't have any leftovers at all!

Shrimp Scampi Bake - low carb & paleo

2 lbs shrimp (you could also do half scallops too)
2 zucchini cut into ribbons on mandela then into strips/noodles
7 large leaves of swiss chard cut into long strips
1 stick butter
5 chopped garlic cloves
2 lemons
1 T Greek Seasoning
salt & pepper

After washing and cutting up my chard and zucchini, I placed it in my casserole dish and topped it with my peeled and detailed raw shrimp.  Then I added my greek seasoning on top of the shrimp, then the garlic.  I squeezed the lemons on top and then chopped a little bit up of a half and put on top of the shrimp.  Add your butter - I cut it up into sections to place around the top.  Then add salt and pepper.  Bake at 375 F for about 30 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

More Big News

Well, we have more big news to share.  This year has been full of surprises some good and some not good.  Life is about to get hectic once again.  Some friends guessed I might be pregnant.  Unfortunately, I am not but we're still on the fence about having another one.  Some people thought that I might start catering again.  I loved that time in my life but I don't have the kitchen or really the time to devote to that job esp. with homeschooling.  Catering was a lot of work with very long hours.

So, what is the Big News?

We are moving AGAIN!

Yep, that's right.  But, it's just 4 miles down the road.  The owners of our cabin in the woods wants to move back in.  Boohoo!  So we started looking for a new place about a month ago.  I initially had a lot of anxiety about having to move again.  I hadn't even unpacked from this move.  But gifts come in all kinds of packages.  I had been affirming to myself about living in the cabin in the woods and it happened.  Well, another thing that I haven't shared with you all is that I adore spanish style houses.  I used to draw house plans for fun when I was young and sometimes even now.  At one point I thought that I wanted to be an architect.  One style house that I love to draw is the Spanish style square house that has a central courtyard.  It's funny because Andy also loved to draw house plans growing up and he too loves that house style.  So, we both always said that when we were older that we would build a house like that - a Spanish/Moroccan hacienda with a central garden courtyard.

We found a house in Sawpit across from Fall Creek Rd.  It is a Spanish style house that is well built with 6 in walls and completely original from being built in 1979.  It doesn't have the central courtyard but it is so super cool.  It has a split level design so it is awesome for entertaining.  The girls have a secret passageway loft that connects their rooms.  It sits on 2 acres which includes river frontage across the Hwy and a beautiful canyon to explore in behind the house.  It has a playhouse for the girls too.  It is a house that is also a dream come true.  It has 4 br and 2 1/2 ba and a heated detached garage for Andy's workshop.  I am not looking forward to the move but I am looking forward to getting settled into a house that feels like our home.  The owners live in Oregon and have even offered to do owner financing.  Now, that is something to even get more excited about.  How many people get to test drive their house?

Do you want to see more?  Click the photo below to see the rest of the photos of our new Hacienda in the woods.

Monday, July 7, 2014

13 Summer Freezer Meals - Yummy & Low Carb

Since we are now living in the mountains and away from the conveniences of town, I am lacking on those last minute quick meals that are healthy.  I have never been a big fan of the freezer.  I am much more in the European mindset of going to the market every day and only having a little tiny fridge under the counter.  Unfortunately, my romantic notion of groceries isn't realistic here.  I have been forced to be like the squirrel which reminds me of a White Stripe's song.  I have decided to buckle down and make some freezer meals to have on hand for those days that I would have ordered a pizza or chinese.

The only problem I keep finding is that the freezer meal ideas that I keep coming across are not low carb or they don't sound appetizing to me.  After much searching in my own recipe box and on the internet, I created a list of some pretty good and healthy ideas.  Today, I am going to get all my ingredients and tomorrow it will be a freezer cooking party.  Anyone is welcome to come join me!

  1. Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas - I'm going to do roasted chiles, use corn tortillas and add spinach.  I love pickled red onions so I will just have a jar of them handy but they are easy to make and pretty fast to do at the last minute.
  2. Shrimp Scampi - I will will cut panko in half and also use some almond flour for topping.
  3. Spanakopita Meatballs - I will make the Ziki Sauce the day of and serve this with a big Greek salad.
  4. Beef Ragout and Cauliflower Mash - You can do beef or lamb.  To Freeze, I will put the mash down in a freezer dish and then the ragout on top.  Then Bake it at 350 F for 1 hr if frozen.
  5. JalapeƱos Popper Chicken - These will be great to freeze on a cookie sheet then throw into a freezer bag.  I think these would be so good with some collard greens.
  6. Stuffed Salmon
  7. Cuban Sandwich Pie - I will add the pickle and fresh tomato after cooking with mojo sour cream.
  8. Chicken Cordon Bleu - I'm going to add almond flour with the pork rind dust and some kale inside the chicken. 
  9. White Turkey Chili 
  10. Greek Chicken Pie - I am going to use a phyllo top for the crust with no bottom crust.
  11. Summer Veggie Strudel
  12. No Noodles Garden Lasagna - I'll make my own tomato sauce and also add some homemade pesto.  You can add whatever veggies that you would like.
  13. Breakfast Burritos - These are great.  You can add any filling.  I will make some with regular tortillas and a few with low carb tortillas for me.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Homemade Mayo

Now that we live up in the mountains it isn't quite as easy to run to the grocery store when you need something.  We ran out of mayo last night and were making Fried Cod Sandwiches.  So, I couldn't have mayo on it or make any tartar sauce for it.  I have been thinking a lot about making mayo for us anyways.  The good stuff in the store that is not GMO is so expensive and even the GMO stuff is expensive too!  So, I decided to make my own.  The first try turned out runny but I kept at it until I had that "ah ha" moment (the one when you say 'I got this').

And Happy 4th of July everyone!  It doesn't get much more American than Mayo.  We live on this stuff!

Homemade Mayo

1-2 egg yolk depending on the size
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1- 1.5 cups of oil in any combination. Grapeseed Oil, sunflower oil, olive oil and coconut oil are good 
salt to taste

Make sure your food processor has a place where you can drip in an oil. Otherwise you can do this by hand in a bowl with a whisk. I recommend using the whisk for the first attempt that way you can see the emulsifying happen. In your food processor or bowl put the egg yolk. Process a few times until the egg becomes blended. Add the mustard and process a few more times. Slowly add the lemon juice, vinegar and salt. Then while the processor is running very, very slowly start pouring in your oil.  This is why I recommend using the whisk.  If you add too much before it mixes in then it will be runny and not thick and creamy.  Keep going until you notice the mayo will suddenly lighten up in color and get thicker (if you are using olive oil, it may not lighten too much and may even have a greenish/dark yellow tint, this is okay.) When you can make peaks out of the mayo with your tasting spoon you are done. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  It only takes a few minutes to make and the flavor is amazing!

*If it does get runny, don't worry.  Get out a new clean container and whisk up an egg yolk.  Then very slowly pour in your runny mix until it mixes all up.  You can keep doing this if you keep getting it runny.  The key is too add a tad until it gets thick and add a little bit more and so on.  When you hand whisk it, you see what I am talking about with the emulsifying.

*Also, since this has a lot of oil in it you want to choose one or a combo of oils that gives you the desired flavor.  If you olive oil then it will have a very strong olive oil flavor which could be desirable depending on the use of your mayo.

*I have read about adding a probiotic to your mayo for health benefits but also because it acts as a natural preservative.  Just add 1 Tbsp of liquid whey (liquid that separates in yogurt) from plain yogurt when you are adding the vinegar and lemon juice.

*Now that you have it you can add all kinds of flavorings to your mayo.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A tribute to Claudia

My mother-in-law passed away this past Thursday after a short battle with an aggressive cancer.  It doesn't even seem real that this really happened.  Claudia Heaney Montalvo was a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter and wonderful friend.  I became a part of the Montalvo clan right after my 17th birthday.  I was instantly part of the family.  I could always talk to Claudia.  She was my confidant.  I could tell her things that I couldn't tell my mom or a friend.  She was such a big part of our lives and she is going to be so missed my us all.

I made two lists about Claudia that I read at her service.  One is of all the funny things that she loved and the other is all the things that we will miss about her.  At her memorial service we even came up with two new Claudia words that I know she would have gotten a kick out of. 

1. Claudia-isms  
2. Claudia time

Things Claudia loved:
beach sands from around the world
diet coke in a can
smelly lotions
Hawaiian shirts
Irish butter
little hotel shampoos, conditioners & soaps
refrigerator magnets from around the world
Caribbean & Hawaiian music
Passoa Liquor & 43 Liquor with milk
reading glasses with beaded lanyards
her family & friends

Things we will miss:
"Oh Geez"
30 minute goodbyes
Puerto Rican rice & beans
"Come on Joe"
"Geez Joe"
sitting on outlet mall benches for hours
Correcting Joe's grammar
Repeating yourself to her because she can't hear
freaking her out on mountain roads
hugs to say hello & goodbye
always available
good listener
a dependable DD
how hilarious she was after only one drink
loved to go on vacation or plan a vacation
the prettiest blue eyes
the most beautiful, abnormally strong legs
family dinners
the way she would look at you like something was on your face
always happy
always smiling
trying to get 3 dz ears of corn, 2 dz peaches, corn chips, tortillas, jerky, etc... into an already packed suitcase
getting 15 pairs of socks for Christmas because they were a good deal
parenting & marriage advice
she was the glue who pulled all the extended family together
miss all the love and memories esp. with the new addition of a grandchild

This is the best poem that I have seen that helps with losing a loved one.  

We love you Claudia.  We will all miss you terribly!


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