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Potato Coconut Curry

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So I’ve been busier than expected with this whole preggerlicious deal.  Obviously being preggo is awesome, but I’ve gotten get busy in the birthing class we’re attending, picking out baby things for our registry, helping my mom put together my baby shower coming up, and trying to adjust to the fact that I get up three times in the night and can’t seem to sleep in any other position other than my left side with lots of supportive pillows.  Ya.  Making a baby here ppl!  Harder then it looks!

So this week I was looking for some good comfort foods to just help me relax and take it easy in the evenings.  (Not to mention the fact I needed a quick dinner fix sense we had to rush to our birthing class last night!)  As I contemplated my options, potatoes just kept popping up in my head as the perfect comfort food.  Earlier in the week my husband lamented of the loss of our favorite Indian restaurant and it hit me; It’s a curry-kind-of-night!

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Confession:  Now potatoes and rice tend to make for a very high-carb meal so I decided to add extra peas and throw in some leftover ground turkey from the night before to help lower the glycemic load.  You can totally keep this vegan though if you prefer and if you need a little extra protein, I’ve tried this with fried tofu and it’s just as delicious!

I also loved this recipe because it made enough to feed my husband and I, my aunt, her husband, and their three kids PLUS enough for my husband to take leftovers to work for lunch the next day.  So if you don’t have a lot of mouths to feed, or are anti-leftovers (which just sounds crazy to me), then you might want to experiment with skimming this down.  Otherwise, bon appetite!

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 red potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 in piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced (I heated mine up in the microwave until soft enough for mincing)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz)
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 oz)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews, optional

Instructions

1. Put the potatoes in a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to keep at a simmer and cook until just tender–about 15 minutes. Drain them and let them steam dry for a bit.

2. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the cumin, cayenne pepper, curry powder, ginger, and salt. Cook for 2 minutes more. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, peas, and potatoes. Add the coconut milk, dried fruit, and cashews (if using) and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes. Serve on top of rice and with some naan if you can find it in your grocery store.

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Zesty 30 min Shrimp Scampi

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Confession time: I have a thing for zucchini.  Especially when you pair it with yummy shrimp!   If you’ve ever played around with a spiruli you’ll understand.  Those spirulis are the coolest kitchen gadgets for zucchini I’ve ever found.  Within seconds you can take your favorite vegetable and turn it into noodles.  Talk about having a healthy low-carb dinner!  this dish is one of my husband and my favorite dishes!  It’s so quick and easy that i wish we could do it all the time!  Not to mention, zucchini and shrimp are incredibly filling.  Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 lemon freshly squeezed
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Place a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and heat it for 1 minute. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook them for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook them, stirring as needed, until they are cooked throughout and pink on all sides, about 3 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and then using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl, leaving any liquid in the pan.
  3. Increase the heat to medium. Add the lemon juice to the pan. Using a wooden spoon, scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, cooking for 2 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, garish with parsley and serve immediately.
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Healthy Preggie Tip #2 – Selfless Service

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The husby giving my youngest sister a big hug.

Before you roll your eyes and click away, hear me out.  This method works even if you’re NOT pregnant!  Whether your worrying about the future outcome of your unborn children’s lives, or your simply stressed about midterm exams, engaging your heart in simple acts of selfless service is the remedy to clearing your mind and calming the soul.  Trust me; you’re going to have a lot less time to worry about what you’er baby is going to be, and who they’ll turn into someday when you’re actively engaged in selfless service.  I know what you’re thinking, “Giant belly, swollen kankles, bathroom runs every 5-10 min and you want ME to work HARDER?!”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder”?  I’m very academically minded (comes from years of college and becoming a school teacher,) so for me, that’s been my motto for a long time.  Well as I was felling swollen with stress and emotions (I’m sure caused by preggo hormones), I realized I’d been doing this whole pregnancy thing wrong.  My husband got up for work early in the morning, was gone most of the day, and then wasn’t home till a little after dinner time.  What was I doing in all that time?  Besides working diligently on getting my paperwork done for my teaching license, nothing!  I was totally self centered!  I woke up, made breakfast for myself, cleaned up after myself, exercised by myself, worked on the computer (paperwork) by myself (FOR my own benefit), and tried not to let those emotional hormones freak me out about being a mother.  I had to take a step back, take a deep breath, and let go of those things that were (at least for the present moment) out of my control.  As I pondered this, I thought about what I could do to take my mind off of myself and quit being so self-centered.  Immediately my dear husband came to mind.

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Helping me make doughnuts for a dinner auction.

You may notice that this post is filled with pictures of the hubby.  Well that’s because he is the greatest example to me of being selfless.  Ever sense we got married he has never ceased to serve me unconditionally.  From doing the dishes, to insisting on cleaning the bathroom once a week by himself just to ensure that me and the little mini-Peterson won’t accidentally be exposed to harmful chemicals, he’s outdone every expectation I’ve ever had of married life.  No wonder my husband wasn’t worried about our baby!  He’d been too busy serving ME!

“Work smarter not harder” echoed in my mind.  I had been so wrapped up in myself, working on myself, my health, my education, that I would reach the day exhausted and frustrated.  If I wanted to have the energy I needed to complete my tasks, I needed to work smarter.  I needed to spend less time worrying about myself, and more time helping those around me.  I started to brainstorm ways I could help in around the house, help him relax after a long day, and just try to make his life easier!  The more I thought of ways to serve him, the more I wanted to serve others and the less I found myself stressing about the future responsibilities of being a mother.  I found that I had more energy to work on my paperwork, I was more invigorated after a work out, and I was more excited about doing everything that needed to be done.

Even if you feel too tired, too stressed, too… whatever!  Just give it a try.  I’m not perfect, and I’ve got a long way to go, but my new resolution is to engage myself in more acts of service.  Who knows, maybe some of that will rub off on our future children!  ;)

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Husby playing a game with my cousin.

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Top 5 Tips for Reducing Asthma attacks Naturally

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Sunset picture taken from our front door. Beautiful weather, just bad for asthma!

With summer here and the blooming of flowers, warm weather, and lots of wind, our allergies have been on the fritz, and with that comes asthma attacks.

I recently read a study that took babies born in different months and charted which diseases or health afflictions were most common with each baby in that month.  October babies were charted as having the highest rates of Asthma.  Which struck my husband and I as an interesting coincidence because we’re both October babies with allergy and sports-induced asthma.  We also found it a little frightening that the most common ailment for November babies was ADHD… our baby is due in November so we’ve got five months to practice patience until then!  ;)

With both my husband and I having asthma, we’re constantly toting around our little inhaler everywhere we go.  Recently however, we lost it in the move and my husband woke up at 4am having an attack.  Without an inhaler, I quickly jumped into action with all my oils and natural solutions to help his lungs relax.  Within a matter of minutes he was breathing better and falling back into a restful sleep. As I laid awake relieved that we didn’t end up in urgent care, I realized there may be a plethora of you out there that would appreciate natural remedies for asthma attacks so I’ve compiled some steps and tips for you to try if you ever find yourself without an inhaler.  Although these are practices I usually use in addition to our inhaler.

  1. Slow down your breathing.  This may seem like a hard thing to do when your lungs are closing up, but it’s absolutely crucial to keeping your conscious!  Once when I was suffering from an asthma attack, I started to hyperventilate and I passed out.  (this is a side effect of being afraid of needles, and as they were currently poking my arm and drawing blood in the ER, I totally panicked.)  However if you happen to be alone, passing out is not a good option.  So calm down and slow down the breathing!
  2. Take deep breaths through your nose, and slow deep exhales out your mouth.  This is a technique I actually learned in “Asthma Class” in Elementary school.  Ya.  I was that kind of nerdy.  This technique has been the hands-down most helpful trick for my husband and I for calming down our asthma attacks, with or without the inhaler.  Lay on your back, put your hands on your stomach, and feel your chest move up and down as you slowly breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth.
  3. Diffuse Eucalyptus and Lavender.  If you have an essential oil diffuser, drop 5-8 drops of these oils and take deep breaths of it if you are in the middle of an attack.  Otherwise, you can diffuse it right before you go to bed, or several times throughout the day in your room/office.  This oil really helps open up your airways and has really good calming properties.
  4. Rub respiratory oils on chest and back.  Any respiratory blend is good to use for this as well as, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, Peppermint and Rosemary.  I usually use a mixture of Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon and Lemon because they seem to be the most effective with my husband and I but any of these should help.
  5. Swish and Swallow.  Recently we learned this little trick from our Aunt.  Put 2 drops of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in a cup of water and do just that.  Swish and swallow.  As my husband puts it, “It’s the nastiest thing I’ve done in a long time, but on the upside, I have impeccable breath!”  Which is totally true!

Hopefully you find these tips helpful.  What do you do to calm asthma attacks?  Is there anything you think I should have included?

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Crispy Vegan Chickpea Cakes w/ Asian Cabbage

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This was a fun experiment to try this summer while I had a little extra time in between research papers!  I’m currently working towards completing my Teaching License which requires extensive amounts of time with several different research papers and classes.  It’s exhausting and I’m trying vigorously to get it all done before little Peterson Jr. arrives!  

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So today I decided to take a little break and experiment with some yummy chickpea patties and leftover shredded cabbage I needed to use up before tomorrow.  It was a shocking success, although I would say you need to make sure to make the patties a little extra thick.  That’s what helps bind and keep them all together.  I tried making some thinner patties, but they just crumbled before I could get them out of the pan!

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I doubled the recipe for the chickpea cakes because I wanted enough to use for the bountiful amounts of cabbage salad I had.  I also decided to pair this dish with some grilled chicken straight off the grill cause… why not!?  It’s grilling season isn’t it!?  Who says you can’t mix a little American Grilling with some Asian flair?!

Cabbage Salad:
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Chickpea Cakes:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus more for sautéing
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 115oz can cooked chickpeas rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

Toss all the ingredients for the cabbage salad in a large bowl. Mix to combine and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Put all the ingredients into your food processor and beat until smooth. Once pan is heated, use a large serving spoon to scoop batter onto pan.  Form into 2 inch cakes and let sit until bottom edges are browned and the batter has firmed up enough to flip over with a spatula.  Cook evenly on both sides and serve hot on top of your delicious Asian cabbage salad!

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Peppermint : Your best EO friend!

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Let me introduce you to my lifesaver!  This little Essential Oil (EO) has been a HUGE lifesaver to our family for years!  Peppermint goes way back, farther than you may think.   The Egyptians and Romans were known to use it for it’s healing properties and passed it down through generations.  It grows in Australia, Europe, and North America and is commonly used in foods, candies, gums, dental products, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.  You can use it in cleaning products as a disinfectant, or just rub it around your neck and head to relieve stress and increase focus.  I know some people who swear by it for a muscle relaxant.

These are all great reasons to have this little bottle of Essential Oil on hand, but the main use of peppermint I want to talk about today is with digestion.  One way we’ve used Peppermint is to help with nausea, or just overall indigestion.  We either like to diffuse it in the air (if we’re all feeling a bit quesy,) or rub it directly on our tummies and back.  We’ve developed a high tolerance to peppermint, so we tend to use it without a carrier oil.  This is highly discouraged if you’re a first time EO user, or are planning on using it on small children.  Start with diluting the EO with a carrier oil such as coconut oil and work your way up from there.

We use it most aggressively in times of flu, morning sickness, and acid reflex.  We also use it very religiously during allergy season rubbed all over the bottom of our feet.  However Peppermint is one that you need to be cautious with.  It is an extremely strong oil and may have a burning sensation with people who have sensitive skin.  It is very important to wash your hand thoroughly after using Peppermint oil because if you forget it’s on your hands and go to rub your face or eyes, you will experience a strong burning sensation and your vision will be blurred due to all the tears that will suddenly be flowing from your eyes!  We learned this the hard way… :/

This is the one oil that we always have two or three bottles of laying around.  I’ve only listed a few great ways to use this oil in your home, but as with anything, it’s always best to consult with your physician before trying anything that seems a little more risky!

Have you ever used Peppermint?  What did you use it for?  What’s your favorite use of it?  Do you have a different EO you feel works better?
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Taco Soup

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Ever have those weeks where the rain just doesn’t seem to let up at all?!  It’s the middle of summer and all week we’ve only seen rain!  I’m ready for BBQ’s, hot dogs, roasted smores and campfires, but we’ve been trapped inside watching the rain pour.  So I decided, “Why fight it?”  I’m just gonna roll with it and make some yummy rainy day soup!

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