Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oregano Oil: The Powerful Healing Herb

In the fall and winter of 2010-11, I would constantly came down with colds, coughs, the flu--once I even threw up at work, making a mess in front of everyone, and was sent home for two days. Sometimes I  simply got run down and couldn't accomplish my daily goals. I couldn't understand why I kept getting sick so often. I ate healthy, I took vitamins, I got enough sleep, I exercised 3-4 times a week. Fed up, I was willing to try anything, other than living in a bubble.

My mom suggested adding oil of oregano to my diet. At first I thought that she wanted me to eat more Italian food to make sure I got enough oregano. She was actually suggesting that I take supplements of oregano oil in capsule form; simply adding it to my daily vitamin regimen is all it would take. My mom told me a story about my aunt who got really sick with a horrible cough and began taking oregano oil, several capsules a day. My cousin, her son, would tease her for smelling like minestrone soup. Fairly quickly my aunt recovered from her illness. In the meantime an acquaintance of hers got sick with the same illness. Assuming that it was just the common cold, she didn't do many healing procedures. My aunt's acquaintance kept getting worse and sadly, she soon passed away. My aunt continues to tell this story and is thankful that she found oregano oil when she did. She swears by it, and never caught colds from her students at the school where she taught. I, too, have come to believe in the healing powers and benefits that oregano oil has to offer.
Oregano Plant(Image)

I have been taking a daily supplement of oregano oil for more than a year, and I have not gotten sick once since I started. My diet, activity level, and environment have not changed, so I can only attribute my improved health to the oregano oil. If I am around anyone who is sick or I feel something coming on, I take a couple extra oregano oil capsules for a few days and it seems to fight off whatever was beginning to infect me.  It was such a relief to not get sick this past winter. I have been able to accomplish more througout this year, which is worth the world to me. After researching oregano, I found that  it offers a large span of health benefits. It has anti-bacterial properties, it acts as a pain-killer, anti-inflamatory, anti-allergen, anti-fungal, and  helps to prevent the common flu, eczema, and is packed with antioxidants and fiber. I guess that the Italians were smart to use this tiny herb in so many of their dishes; it is mighty powerful.

Next time you feel a cold coming on try some oregano oil supplements to help fight it off. You might be surprised. Besides, what do you have to lose?

To read more on oregano oil's health benefits click here  here, and, here. I buy my oregano oil at an affordable price on; it is worth every penny!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mom's Easter Breakfast Honoring My Ireland Trip: Oatmeal With Cream, Honey, and Jameson

To celebrate Easter Sunday Paul and I made the two-hour drive to my parents' house in Wisconsin. If you don't already know this by now, my family are food fanatics! Since Paul and I recently returned from Ireland my mom decided to make us a feast for breakfast. It was in memory of her favorite breakfast that she experienced during her visit in Ireland in 2008. Our hotels that we stayed in while in Ireland featured a smorgasbord of mouth watering sausages, bacon, fruits, and oatmeal with Irish cream, Irish honey, and a dash of Jameson Irish whiskey for a kick. Now, if you have never tried Jameson whiskey before, go to the store and splurge; treat yourself! Enjoy the smooth taste, and the amazing creamy texture. You may be thinking that my family are a bunch of raging alcoholics, but I promise you that you only need a dash of whiskey in your oatmeal to get the flavor of it. The honey and cream add a perfect balance of sweetness and smooth texture. You've never tasted oatmeal like this before. I do suggest that you have something meaty to accompany your meal to balance out the alcohol-- we don't want anybody getting sloshed early in the morning because of this post! :)

Our Irish-Inspired Easter Breakfast included:
Irish Oatmeal with Jameson, Cream, and Honey

A dash of heavy cream
A dash of Jameson Whiskey
Irish Oatmeal With Honey, Cream, and Jameson

1)Cook oatmeal according to directions on box
2) Serve oatmeal in a bowl with the Jameson, cream, and honey on the side. Let the guest add a dash of cream, a smidgen of Jameson, and the desired amount of honey to his bowl.
3) Eat immediately, yet slowly to savor each bite.

Our second course was my cousin Catherine's sausage rolls. Hearty, delicious, easy.  Click here to view this recipe.
Catherine's Sausage Rolls

Our side dish was a beautiful bright bowl of juicy kiwis and strawberries. My mom sure pulled together a wonderful Easter brunch. The oatmeal was a treat. What did you have to share with your family this Easter?
Some Lovely Fresh-Picked Tulips

Juicy Kiwis and Strawberries

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Baked Zucchini With Cheese

This recipe is simple, and savory. It can be made for a snack, a side dish or even a meal. It is a good way to introduce kids to zucchini because they will love the creaminess of the melted cheese. This dish is also from my Irish cookbook, which I love because they tell you what the Irish terminology is for food, like "courgettes"-- aka zucchini.

Baked Zucchini With Cheese
Adapted from the cookbook, Irish Food & Cooking

4 zucchinis
2 tbsp grated hard farmhouse cheese (I used Parmesan)
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
2) Cut the zucchinis in half, lengthwise.
3) Place them in a greased shallow baking dish cut side up.
4) Sprinkle the cheese over the zucchini. Salt and pepper to taste and place a few pats of butter on top of the cheese.
5) Bake for 20 minutes or until the zucchinis are tender and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy right away!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pure Irish Luck, Pure Irish Food

I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a week in Ireland with Paul's family. Paul's dad is teaching for a semester through the same study abroad program that I participated in when I was in college. When I was invited to join I was very excited to return to the country that became my home. I had missed the friendly people, and the earthy, historic, magical country; I am happy to report that not much has changed in the four years since I have been there.We were fortunate to arrive in Dublin on St. Paddie's day. Despite our jetlag we celebrated by watching the very unique and artistic parade. My favorite thing I saw during the parade was a giant rhinoceros rolling by in a wheel chair. Only the Irish would be able to come up with that and make it cool. All in all it was a wonderful week filled with adventurous, gorgeous hikes, historic bus tours, lovely people, hearty food, and of course some pints of beer. I am very thankful that I was able to visit Ireland with Paul's family. I was tempted to "accidently" lose my passport so that I could be stuck in Ireland.
A Gorgeous View from Our Hike in Bray

These Flowers Had a Lovely Coconut Scent

Wicklow Mountains

Glendalough Tower

To kick-start my first blog since my return, of course I had to make an Irish meal. In Dublin there are a variety of exotic, artistic ethnic foods to chose from that are delicious. But if we are talking about true Irish food it is fresh, earthy, satisfying, meaty, hearty, and warms you to the core. I am a fanatic for their creamy butter and cheeses, their fresh, grainy breads, and their beefy Irish stews. But I decided to make something unexpected. Fresh fish and seafood are very popular in the many fishing towns along the coasts of Ireland. I made Salmon, Asparagus, and New Potatoes with Light Hollandaise Sauce.

Salmon, Asparagus, and New Potatoes with Light Hollandaise Sauce
Adapted from a cookbook called Irish Food & Cooking

Serves 4

1 Bunch of asparagus, trimmed
4-5 medium new potatoes
4 salmon fillets or steaks
1 tbsp olive oil
fresh lemon juice, 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

For the hollandaise sauce:
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup butter (1/4 lb.), softened
1/2 tsp. salt ( if using unsalted butter)

1. Process the new potatoes in the Marinade Express for 10 minutes, using the veggie prep MX seasoning.
This is a really nice trick to clean the potatoes and kill the bacteria so you can leave the skins on the potatoes, and not lose any of the nutrients and flavor.

Note: I have found that after processing potatoes in the Marinade Express I want to use any extras within a week or two, rather than expecting to store them longer, as they will soften. Although there are huge benefits to processing potatoes in the Marinade Express, keep that in mind to help you determine when you will process the potatoes in the Marinade Express and when you will be cooking them.

2. Process the salmon fillets in the Marinade Express for 10 minutes using the unflavored MX seasoning.

3. Cut the potatoes into wedges. Cook in a pan with butter until tender. Season with salt and pepper..

4. Prepare the asparagus: Boil water in a tall pan. Break off the woody part of the end of the asparagus stems. Stand the asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute, or until tender. Remove the asparagus and quickly shock in an ice bath to prevent further cooking. Drain. Slowly reheat the asparagus just before serving.

5. Heat a griddle or grill for the salmon. I used our George Foreman; it turned out beautifully. Brush the salmon with olive oil, sprinkle with the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Cook the fish for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. The salmon should be flaky and moist inside.

6. I used a blender to make the easy variation of hollandaise sauce. Put 3 egg yolks in a blender with 2 tbsp of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Blend for a few seconds. Heat 1/2 cup of butter in the microwave until very hot. Run the blender at high speed and add the butter gradually. Blend for 30 seconds or until thick.

Note: If the hollandaise sauce doesn't get thick, heat it over hot water.

7. Plate the salmon, asparagus, and potatoes. Drizzle the hollandaise sauce over the asparagus and potatoes. Serve immediately and enjoy.

This dish was fresh and satisfying. Be expecting more Irish recipes soon since my obsession with Ireland has been rekindled.