Curing Colds/Flues the Alkaline/Lower Carb Way

Without fail our family has been hit with the crud just days before the new year. It has been thus since my son was 8 months old. I guess this is how life is when you have children but seriously it is getting old. We have yet been able to start a new year with everyone healthy, at least one or two of us comes down with either a cold or flu, and in a couple of weeks someone else has it. For the entire month of January we are cooped up in the house keeping Walmart, Krogers, and Walgreens in the black with our numerous trips to replenish the cold medicines and Clorox wipes. I’m determined this year to change that!

Granted our two boys(oldest nephew and my son) are sick, but I’m trying my darndest to get at least G–Man better by New Year’s Day. He woke up Saturday at 3am complaining of his throat hurting, he could barely talk, it hurt to swallow, and he had a slight fever. Fearing strep I spent Saturday morning/afternoon looking up ways to treat it naturally. I am not a huge fan of antibiotics and if I can help it I like to utilize the God-given herbs, nutrients, and natural remedies that are tried and true.

That’s when I came across a cinnamon honey mixture, the most awesome thing yet. G–Man isn’t too crazy about it seeing that he’s not a honey fan, but I’ve reminded him he’s had worse before. He’s had his three doses today and so far he is acting more like himself and seems to be doing better. Whereas before he was mopey, hardly moved, barely ate or drank anything and this afternoon he has been raiding the pantry of crackers, jello, and even managed to eat half a mug of my homemade turkey vegetable soup.

I enjoy seeing images like the one above on Facebook. No doubt many of you have seen this one as many others for turmeric, apple cider vinegar, ginger, cinnamon, honey, etc. These are great pictures and we should all share them like crazy, awareness is important after all, but if you’re like me you want to know more than just the benefits. You want to know dosages and how often, sure with a little extra web searching you’ll find it and that’s exactly what I did. After a friend mentioned that this is what she does I decided to try it out on G–Man.

I ran across a a great article called Honey & Cinnamon–a mixture for cures. Scrolled through and found a section for colds:

COLDS

  1. One tablespoon of luke warm honey
  2. 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  3. Mix and drink daily for 3 days

This process will cure most chronic cough, cold and clear the sinuses.

Thankfully we keep organic raw honey in the house and my Mom is a huge fan of Cassia cinnamon. After mixing it together he mentioned it smelled like a cinnamon roll 🙂 But after the second dose he was no longer a fan, pinched his nose and took the third dose for the day. I doubt I’m going to be able to get him to take it every day for life but for now his options are to take this over seeing a doctor. He’s cooperating so far 🙂

So on top of poking natural remedies into him, he’s also been drinking alkaline lemonade on top of it all. You’ve all heard me say it before, colds and flues cannot thrive in an alkaline environment. The body has to be more acidic in order for bacteria and viruses to thrive. This is why going a little more alkaline is key to getting better…faster! I’m one of the first to get sick after initial exposure to a sick person but I haven’t had the first symptom of coming down with anything. There is definitely something to all this alkaline eating and way of life!

Now, I’ve rambled on enough here, bet y’all are wanting a have some more alkaline/low carb friendly recipes that will help boost your overall health, right? Of course!!

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A ladle of turkey vegetable soup

Amanda Gayle’s Turkey Vegetable Soup

3 pounds ground turkey

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

3 carrots, sliced

4 celery stalks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

half a bag of red radishes, peeled and quartered

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

dried parsley for color

Brown ground turkey, there’s little to no fat in turkey so you might want to add some good fat to this. A tablespoon of expeller pressed coconut oil (it’s flavorless) or a really good olive oil. Try to stay away from canola and other vegetable oils. Stir in chopped vegetables and garlic. Cover and cook until everything is tender. Add in water and seasonings. If you like it hotter you can certainly add more ginger and cayenne pepper. Let this simmer for 10 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be frozen.

True this soup will make a lot! It filled up our dutch oven pot up to the bolts where the handles are. Instead of water you can use a homemade vegetable broth, the key to successfully making a dish more alkaline is to keep the bad fat down to a minimum. I’m a huge fan of chicken stock and love making it but it has upset my stomach one too many times recently. This is why I opt for water or vegetable broth, but feel free to use whatever you like! Some might be wondering at the radishes…trust me you won’t be able to tell they are radishes once they have cooked and taken on the flavors of the soup. G–Man ate it thinking it was chopped bits of potato 🙂 You could add rutabagas, turnips or parsnips which are all great substitutes to potatoes. Fennel is great for curing colds as well and would be be a yummy addition to this soup.

It’s a soothing soup, hits the spot and is truly better for you than a can of chicken noodle soup.

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Not all of the soup fit into this 8–qt container, I had about four 1–quart bags of leftovers (about two scoops in each bag) to keep in the freezer. It’s a rather meaty soup, you could use leftover Christmas turkey meat. Just shred or chop it before adding to the soup. If you’re able to handle the carbs you can certainly add any alkaline vegetable then. To make it easy on yourself add a frozen bag of California veggie mix or an Asian Stir Fry vegetable mix. Drizzle in some soy sauce for an added Chinese flavor.

Another favorite alkaline/lower carb favorite is sauteed kale with chopped turkey/chicken. It becomes a meal once you add some meat to it, and of course season it with turmeric and ginger powder. I’ve added other vegetables to it, just depends on what I have on hand.

simple sauteed kale

You start out with sauteing your onion, garlic and other vegetables in butter and coconut oil. Add the kale and chopped meat once the onions are translucent. Pour in 1/4–1/2 cup water, add seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, turmeric, ground ginger) and let it cook covered till the kale is cooked through and the stem bits are tender. Serve with a side of organic cucumber, raw broccoli, or other high alkaline vegetables or fruits. For a punch of color add beets or cranberries. Play with the flavors, add your favorite broth or stock to turn it into a quick soup.  

Have fun cooking!

kale salad w/blood oranges and feta

2013 is almost gone…

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Have mercy this year is nearly gone. Anyone else feel like they got hit by the holiday mack truck?

Even with all the planning, prepping, and list making we still didn’t get everything done that we had planned. I think this is the first year, from my memory, that we didn’t get certain things done. Oh well, life goes on and now we can work on getting back to normal life.

Along with that will come more alkaline foods…every year, without fail, this family gets sick. We spend a good portion of January coughing, sneezing, and fevers running amuck. I’m determined this year to NOT get sick or to have anyone else get sick either. This is why going more alkaline is key! This weekend I plan to stock up on kale, chicken, zucchini, cucumber, and other low -ose veggies and fruit. Stir fries can also be made low carb/alkaline simply by picking the right vegetables (and yes soy sauce it an alkaline forming food). Turmeric is a great spice to prevent and end a cold. It can break up congestion, thins out the mucus, and improves overall health. Buying it in bulk (<—click there to buy bulk turmeric) is a great idea during this season! Below are some yummy recipes that calls for turmeric.

Moroccan Chicken — This can be made more low carb by leaving out high carb vegetables and beans. 

Deep Fried Pork Steak — Swap all purpose flour with almond flour for a gluten–free/low carb option.

Turmeric Smoothie — This is great after a workout, enjoy it with some celery sticks and almond butter for a light snack.

Turmeric Egg Salad Doesn’t get any easier than this: egg salad with turmeric. BOOM!

Turmeric Chicken Cut carbs by using a natural sweetener instead of sugar.

Tandoori — Spiced Turkey Skewers Use any low carb fruit or vegetable instead of mangoes. And replace yogurt with sour cream. 

Of course there are other simpler recipes to add turmeric to:

  • Burgers
  • Soups
  • Greens
  • Baked Potato
  • Veggie Dips
  • Marinades
  • Baked/Sauteed/Roasted Veggies
  • etc…

I like to couple it with ground ginger to aid with digestion. So let this season end on a good note and start the new year healthier than ever before! Here’s to a blessed New Year full of good health and great choices!!

 

Christmas Eve Special

Wishing everyone a very blessed Christmas Eve!

Last night G–Man and I attempted cut out sugar cookies for the first time. I have a faint memory doing that with my own Mom and it wasn’t memorable. So, a while back G–Man asked if we could make and decorate cookies for Christmas. Everything inside me cringed, I’m not one to have kids in the kitchen and dealing with extra messes. Pushing all that aside, I agreed to make them with him.

After weeks of trying to find the right recipe, learning about the best way to color the icing, and catching an episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown was making cut out cookies with “Santa” I felt confident enough to attempt this with my son.

Saturday we went shopping for our last minute Christmas meal items, gel colors included (yeah not a smart move on my part). I couldn’t find any and everything was picked over. So, I grabbed a ready made cookie icing and knew it would have to do.

With everything in place I decided to place freezer paper down on our work place to try an contain the mess as much as possible.

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Here G–Man set up his own cookie assembling line where you was really getting into his cookie decorating 🙂

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He wanted me to make a video of him talking about how he was decorating this tree cookie. It was cute how he explained how to outline the cookie, zig–zag the icing and add icing for the ornaments. He’s quite a character 😉

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For it being our first time I’d say we did a decent job! It wouldn’t win any cookie contest but I loved sitting there watching him create and just have fun! It’s what we both needed after everything we’ve gone through over the last few weeks. It certainly is a great way to start Christmas!!

Merry Christmas to all!!

Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits

There are some mornings where you know you’re supposed to stick with your lifestyle food. Honestly, doing that for weeks on end has shown results (nearly 8 pounds of weight loss…yay me) but it does get old. Which is why I allowed myself this one morning of “I don’t care that it’s not low carb, alkaline, sugar-free, gluten free, soy free, GMO free, dairy free…” Will I pay for in the end? Quite possibly, after all I just have to look at food and instantly gain a pound or two. So what made me want to throw caution to the wind and indulge?

Boredom, the fact that we weren’t being rushed to get to a school day, not wanting to make scrambled eggs yet again, and a commercial for gooey cinnamon rolls 😉 Ok, that last part might have had the most impact! Can’t blame me, I don’t know anyone who can turn down a warm cinnamon roll that is dripping with cream cheese.

***Note to Self***

Have Mom make those ASAP!!!

After the fourth or fifth time of having my son ask me what’s for breakfast, from the top of my head I said cinnamon sugar biscuits. His eyes lit up at the mere mention of cinnamon anything, along with turkey sausage patties. Boy he was on board. In my head I had a rough idea how to make them, and here’s what I did. About halfway through the process I decided it might be best to have pictures and that’s when I called on my trusty young photographer G–Man 🙂

*I know that some of the pictures are blurry and not of great quality. G–Man is learning and is excited at the idea of one day becoming a photographer :)*

Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits

8 frozen biscuits, thawed, or 8 homemade or canned

1/2 stick butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (Saigon or other preferred)

If using frozen biscuits, thaw them out almost completely. I nuked them for about two minutes in the microwave on HIGH. Take note: this will vary with every microwave.

Melt butter in a paper bowl.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in another paper bowl.

 

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Set up a simple assembling line and with gloves on (or not if you like) dip each biscuit into the melted butter on both sides. Gently put the buttery biscuit into the cinnamon sugar mix and coat completely.

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Place onto a foil lined baking sheet (I used a 12–inch pizza pan). Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mix over the biscuits and pour the rest of the butter as well over the top.

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Cooling cinnamon sugar biscuits

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes and serve with favorite breakfast meat, syrup or as G–Man prefers, yellow mustard. SMH.

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(Loved these two pictures with the different lighting)

These were tasty, a nice treat and definitely hits the spot for those morning sweet tooth cravings. G–Man absolutely loved it, he got the sweet and savory all mixed together and politely informed me that I was to make those again 🙂 It warms my innards to hear that from him. You could definitely top these off with a cream cheese frosting or glaze, or keep that on the side for those you prefer to dip! If you’re making these from scratch consider adding golden raisins to the biscuit dough and the proceed with dipping and coating. In a way I guess you could say these would be a poor man’s version of a cinnamon roll.

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We sincerely hope you will try these and let us know what you think.

Merry Christmas

All-in-One Spaghetti Recipe and Review

Goodness, I would have thought that being out of school would have allowed me more time to blog and create more content for you guys and gals. In way it has and hasn’t, plus it hasn’t helped that I haven’t had the camera since our trip to FL. It has been found and I am ready to review a yummy one pot spaghetti dish, it’s crazy good and so easy I’m kicking myself for not having thought of doing it sooner! You’ll find the recipe at MyRecipes.

All–in–One Spaghetti

1 pound ground beef 
1 large onion, chopped 
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
3 cups tomato juice
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar 
2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Dash of pepper
1 (7-ounce) package spaghetti, uncooked 
Grated Parmesan cheese
Garnish: fresh Italian parsley sprigs

Cook first 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven, stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain well. Return beef mixture to pan. Stir in tomato sauce and next 8 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 30 minutes.
Add pasta; cover and simmer, stirring often, 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with cheese, and garnish, if desired.

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Original photo from Night Owl Kitchen Blog

I think this is going to be the only way I fix spaghetti from now on! Everything fit into a dutch oven pot, I increased the beef by another pound and added some basil. It was tres yummay! The sauce was flavorful and thick, very unexpected notes of chili powder coming through and yet it wasn’t overpowering. It took about an hour from start to finish and the noodles were perfectly done! I told my Mom all that is missing are her homemade meatballs 🙂 You could stick with the original recipe and cut the beef back by half and fill in with an Italian sausage. Garnish with your favorite cheese (I chose parmesan), Romano would be tasty as well.

I will definitely be making this again, will even add some chopped mushrooms next time too. You can add your favorite alfredo sauce on top and serve it up with garlic bread and salad. This is definitely a keeper!

Holiday Challenge Giveaway Winner

The winner of the Holiday Challenge Giveaway was announced on the Night Owl Kitchen Facebook page, be sure to check it out and congratulate the winner. A big thanks to everyone who follows, shares, likes and comments on the Night Owl Kitchen’s content! Y’all are amazing and I can never thank you enough for the support 🙂

Hope you all have a blessed Wednesday and a very Merry Christmas!

PCOS and the Holiday Season

 

Jane was dreading her husband’s holiday office party. Everything in her closet wasn’t suitable for the wife of a CEO, she was a Kindergarten teacher and all of her clothes had to be comfortable and loose. Most everything she had was either black, gray, or navy blue, no reds, greens or even an ugly Christmas sweater to speak of. “Face it Jane,” she told herself, “you just aren’t a wife of a CEO”. Pulling out the only decent dress she had, a simple black dress she had worn to her aunt’s funeral three months ago, Jane laid the dress down on the bed wondering what she could do punch it up. As she went to her dresser she stopped in front of a full length mirror, disgust etched all over her face as she took in the sight of her own figure. Bumps, rolls, dimples on her thighs, and great another pimple was beginning to make itself known right on her chin. Just what she didn’t need!

Opening the top drawer she pulled out an Italian red scarf that a friend had brought back from a recent trip.  Quickly she rummaged through her jewelry box looking for her Nana’s brooch that had been given to her years ago, something her Nana wore every year for Christmas. A bell with two semi precious stones that symbolized her Nana and Pop-pop’s anniversary. Oh how she missed them. Checking her watch she knew she didn’t have much time to waste, she had to make as much effort as she could in looking great for her husband.

Squeezing into her spanx, her mind reeled with the what if’s: What IF someone noticed the pimple on her chin? What IF someone stares at her while she nibbles on some food? Oh no, the food! What if there’s nothing safe to eat there?! Her stomach twisted and knotted into a bundle of raging nerves. She couldn’t do this, there was no way she could go tonight and not worry about something. The beginning of depression settled in as she slipped on her black dress not even noticing that it was looser than when she last wore it. Nothing was going to set her free from her self pitying and loathing.

Taking a seat at her dressing table, she brushed her fine blonde tresses annoyed that her hair was still coming out…would this never end?! She didn’t dare clip her hair up, that wouldn’t do. No, she needed to look like she cared just a little bit. Opening a draw in her dressing table she pulled out a scrunchie, hair pins, and a carefully curled hair piece that her mother had helped her pick out for her wedding. Carefully she tease her hair to add some height, pinning her hair up and making a simple bun in the back. Positioning the hairpiece over her growing bald spot on top, Jane pinned it into place making sure it wouldn’t move at all.

“Make up, make up…great, where’s my green correction stick?!” She grumbled, taking everything out her old kaboodle box, finally finding the one piece that would make her look somewhat normal at the very bottom. Gently she applied her makeup, making sure not to pop anything or aggravate it further. Her splotchy red skin annoyed her to no end, her cheeks always looked like they were wind chapped. Careful to keep it looking as natural as possible she kept her eye makeup simple yet appropriate for the evening. Red for lips with just enough gloss, she sat back she took in her work. “Not a model but hopefully no one will notice.”

As she made her way down the stairs to get her winter coat and evening bag her husband was in awe of his wife. He always knew she was beautiful but tonight she was radiant! He helped her with her coat and with her car door. Jane’s stomach clenched and unclenched, her nerves were working overtime. Only eat fruits and veggies, she thought to herself, stay away from the desserts and carb laden foods. Keep your stomach sucked in as much as possible and don’t lose your cool when someone starts complaining about their kids. It was difficult for Jane to hold her tongue when people would complain about the very thing she couldn’t have herself…a child. Her PCOS was so bad she hadn’t been able to conceive in the seven years of her marriage. A wave of heartache was coming over her, mingling with her depression and growing self hatred of her body. Why was she even bothering?!

“You look gorgeous honey.” He said as he kissed her hand, “My belle of the ball.” His smile melted away all her loathing emotions and replaced it with the only one that mattered the most.

I don’t know about you all, but I can certainly relate with Jane. Though I can put up a good front at times, there are moments where I begin to second guess how I look, if others are going to start critiquing my appearance, is someone going to make a comment about what I’m eating…stick with fruits and veggies Amanda! I’ve had years of practice when it comes to eating around people who make me feel uncomfortable. You learn quickly that if you don’t want to become the conversation, take smaller portions, eat more fruits and veggies, skip the desserts, and only drink water. That way they will have very little to talk about and the rest is then speculation 😉

I’ve learned to be more vocal, which is difficult for me after years of being bullied as a child and enduring abuse from a narcissist. Finding my voice to set the record straight has been liberating and has opened the door for many folks to learn about something that they didn’t even know existed. Now when I go out to a Christmas party or other gatherings I make and take my own food, I wear clothes that are comfortable and surround myself with those who love and accept me. It’s taken me years to finally reach a point where I don’t care what others think or what they might say. People are going to talk, they are always going to find something to gossip about…and I say let them!

Cysters, you have the choice to whether or not you’re going to enjoy this holiday season in a positive way. Are you going to let other peoples murmurings spoil this time you have with friends and family? Or will you take a stand and let it go? We’re all beautiful, we don’t have to be size zero in order to achieve that beauty. We’re all fearfully and wonderfully made! Our flaws are just the spice in our cupboard, we all have them and some are more unique than others 😉 

As you step out this season remember that you are a woman of teal, PCOS doesn’t own you, and what others think of you is just their opinion not the truth. Enjoy this time with your loved ones!

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Challenge Give Away Reminder

Holiday Challenge Giveaway 2013

Just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that tomorrow night a winner is going to be chosen. If you have joined recently you have today and up until 8pmCST tomorrow night to enter! Comment below if you would like to enter into the giveaway, you can follow the Night Owl Kitchen on Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook for extra entries if you like.

All entries will be totaled and winner chosen through Random.org. So if you would like a chance to win,today is the day to share, like, comment and/or follow the Night Owl Kitchen Blog. This is exciting and can’t wait to see who wins!! Best of luck to all 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Kitchen Sink Sliders

I’m not a huge football fan and neither am I a tailgating person or football party food maker. We never did that in our house. But since Saturday was a special for my Dad I decided to make some sandwiches for him and the family. After looking around at several different recipes I decided I wanted to make something small yet with flavors that I knew the family would enjoy. We’re a garlic and cream cheese group 🙂 Here’s what I came up with…and yes, you may want to eat these over the kitchen sink or keep your elbows up, they are juicy! Don’t let the list of ingredients fool you, these are uber easy to put together!!

 

Kitchen Sink Sliders 3

Kitchen Sink Sliders

1 package (12 rolls) Hawaiian bread rolls

12 slices turkey pastrami

12 slices provolone cheese

1 medium onion, thinly sliced or chopped

2 medium green bell peppers, thinly sliced or chopped

1–8 ounce brick cream cheese, softened

1/2 Tblsp dried minced onion

2 tsp garlic powder

1 Tblsp dried chives

1 pinch of salt

Topping:

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried minced onion

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice or chop onion and peppers, saute in butter with a little salt and pepper if desired. Cook till fork tender. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl combine cream cheese, dried minced onion, garlic powder, dried chives, and salt. Set aside.

Cut up the rolls, placing the bottoms into a 9×13 inch pan. Fold each slice of turkey pastrami and place onto each bottom bread half, top with slice of cheese, onions and peppers. For each top half of the bread rolls: spread a generous amount of the cream cheese spread and return the tops to complete the sandwiches.

After melting the butter, stir in parmesan cheese, garlic powder and dried minced onion. Brush on top of each sandwich and pour remaining over the tops. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil for the remaining 3 minutes of baking time and remove. Let cool for a couple of minutes and dish up.

Yields: 12 sliders

Kitchen Sink Sliders 1

Totally digging that cream cheese top and buttery peppers and onions!

Kitchen Sink Sliders 2

The bottoms of each roll had a wonderful crispness to them, adding an amazing contrast to the soft chewy top half.These were a major hit and a great addition to the FSU/Duke game. Coupled it with chips n dip, and if you have a sweet tooth…finish it off with homemade brownies! These are definitely going on our Christmas Eve menu 😀 Feel free to use any meat and cheese you prefer, leave off the veggies if your kiddos don’t like them. It’s a versatile sandwich recipe and there won’t be any leftovers! Enjoy!!

Elfster Gift #2

After returning home I opened the second Elfster gift I received. Such a cute little gift and easy to make for any tea or coffee drinkers!

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A chalkboard mug with my favorite tea, earl grey! I wrote my thank you on the cup and shared the picture with her 🙂

Anyone else making gifts this year?

If you need some inspiration or ideas, go check out my Gift Ideas board on Pinterest. Any chance I get I’m adding all kinds of things from inexpensive to last minute gifts. Have a blessed day 🙂