Oil Pulling, it can’t hurt!

It was all over my newsfeed! Oil pulling this and oil pulling that. What on earth is that? I googled it and was intrigued, so I started. I have the huge thing of coconut oil from Costco so I scooped some into a baby food container and put it in my shower. At first I was a bit put off from the texture of the solid coconut oil, but it soon melted and then felt as though I was simply swishing water. Why do I put it in the shower? Because the recommended 20 minutes is a loooooong time to swish and since I’m not a shower singer, it works out best for me!

If you’re interested in doing oil pulling, it is suggested that you do it first thing before you put anything in your mouth. You can either use coconut oil or sesame oil. It supposedly detoxes your body, but I haven’t noticed anything like that. I just like the fact that it can help my oral health! And if your dentist says it’s ridiculous, think about that for a second… if you have a healthy mouth, they have less business. If they have less business, they have less money for their luxuries. Of COURSE they’re gonna say it’s ridiculous! I’m all for anything natural that could possibly improve my health and if it sounds disgusting to you, all I have to say is this: don’t knock it until you try it! And if you do try it, give it a few tries to see if you can get used to it before you throw in the towel!

Avocado Egg Salad

I’m still recovering from my pizza cheese blister on the roof of my mouth. Yesterday I tried to continue eating like I normally do and it was a painful day! Hot coffee, ow! Warm open-faced egg, cheese, avocado & tomato sandwich, ow! Taco, ow! Meringue cookie, ow! Turkey foccacia sandwich, ow! Tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, ow!!!
Today I decided to try again. We had room temperature oatmeal for breakfast, lukewarm coffee, and for lunch I decided that nice soft bread wouldn’t hurt. But what to put on that bread? Peanut butter & jelly? As long as the peanut butter was smooth, I suppose, but a sweet lunch didn’t sound appetizing. Lunch meat with cheese? Sure, but boring! And then I thought of the amazing eggs my mom brought me! She buys eggs on the side of the road from a family that raises organic, free range, bug & weed/grass fed chickens with egg shells and yolks in the most beautiful colors! Egg salad sounded like it’d hit the spot.
I shelled the eggs after they were done cooking & had cooled. I grabbed the pickles, the yellow mustard and then went hunting for the mayo. “Hello? Mayo? Where are you?”, I said. Where in the heck was it? Oh, there, on it’s side in the very back. *phew* But wait! I looked for the expiration date & it had expired two months ago! This keeps happening to me. I don’t think my mom has ever had mayonnaise expire my whole entire life. Of course, I don’t use the name brand she uses so that could be why. But then, why don’t they make smaller jars in every brand?


Now what? Eggs shelled and no mayo. No plain yogurt either. I ran to my computer and Pinterested egg salad and there it was. The most recent egg salad recipe that I had forgotten to save on my Plan To Eat menu planner! Avocado Egg Salad! I was so excited! Avocados were in the fridge and I ran in there to get them.
I followed the recipe, except for the lemon juice because I thought that might alter the flavor and now I remember why that was important! The avocado has started to turn brown. I wonder if my husband will try it anyway? I also didn’t put in the green onion because I’m not a huge fan, plus it was an extra step and I was really hungry. I made two separate sandwiches, one with dill pickle relish and one without. Don’t bother trying the pickle relish… yuck. But the one without was AMAZING! I am so excited to have found this recipe (again) and will add it to my list of fantastic recipes!

Avocado Egg Salad

Yield: Serves 3-4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 5 minutes


2 hard boiled eggs, chopped 2 hard boiled egg whites, chopped 2 small avocados, pitted and peeled 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons chopped green onion 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a medium bowl, combine the hard boiled eggs and egg whites, avocado, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, green onion, and mustard. Mash with a fork. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serving suggestions: Spread between two slices of bread for an Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich. Eat with crackers, cut up veggies, on toast, or in a wrap. This salad is best eaten the day it’s made.


Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls

It’s Meatless Monday again! I’ve had this recipe in my file for so long and have never made it. I almost didn’t make them again because I had something planned on Saturday night which I was excited to make and didn’t because we impromtuly went to Disneyland that day after Eric got off of work, except I remembered I had a meeting and Eric was going to have to feed our daughter dinner, so I thought this was a good one to prep ahead of time and he could just pop it in the oven!


I couldn’t believe how easy these were to make! I think I’ve made lasagna maybe three times in my whole life because it just seems so intimidating (where on earth I came up with that, I have no idea). I just couldn’t believe how simply these came together. Dump it all in a bowl, stir, lay it all on a lasagna noodle, roll & put in the pan. Viola!
I didn’t get to eat this hot ( a) because I didn’t want to heat up the oven to warm it up and b) the roof of my mouth is blistered from the pizza!), and really thought it lacked big flavor (and I am a fan of big flavor!), so I sprinkled it with salt. I wonder how it would be hot? It was just “ok” cold the next day. My husband said it was “good” and decided to inform me he doesn’t like spinach because it tasted like beets… (I think a good term for that is “earthy”) so it wasn’t his favorite. However, our daughter apparently loved it! I made her her own spinachless version since she refuses to eat anything leafy and definitely anything wilted and leafy. I froze the leftovers for a day I’m dreading cooking dinner! I don’t think this is something I’ll make again. Too many recipes, so little time.

Healthy Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Yield: 9 lasagna rolls
Serving Size: 1 roll


  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) container fat free ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasonings
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • (optional) 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 32 oz tomato sauce (I used spaghetti sauce)
  • 9 Tablespoons part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Make sure you drain the spinach well. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, egg, garlic, Italian seasonings, chicken, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pour about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry by patting them with a paper towel. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over a noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.
  3. Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 Tablespoon of mozzarella cheese. Cover baking dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.
  4. To serve, ladle a little sauce on the plate and top with lasagna roll.
Adjust calories and points if you add chicken. Adapted from Skinny Taste


BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños & Shameful Confessions

I’m not a very good pizza maker. I’m not sure if it’s the crust or if I bake it too long, but it is never as good as delivery pizza. (And here is where I admit an utmost amazing (shameful confession #1) find last Halloween: Tombstone cheese pizza! My husband and I were shocked at how good it was! And it’s under $2.00!)  I am a thick bready crust type of girl. I don’t like eating my pizza on a cracker… I’ve yet to find a homemade pizza crust that satisfies my perfect crust. I tried making my own a long time ago and in the recent past I just buy the pre-made dough from Trader Joes. Although, after just complaining to my mom, she said she’s heard of people going to their favorite pizza place ((shameful confession #2) can we say Pizza Hut?!) and just asking for the dough! That might be something to consider if you aren’t hardcore processed food-free.

Photo: Brian Woodcock; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl via Cooking Light

I found this recipe via my Cooking Light magazine and was drawn in by the spice factor. Pickled jalapenos! I LOVE pickled jalapenos! Last year I plowed through three Costco sized jars in under three months, all by myself. I ate them on everything!!! Oh… and my grandma also gave me a regular sized jar for my birthday, which I devoured along with the other three… mmmmmmmmm… anyway, where was I? Oh yes, pickled jalapenos as an ingredient! When I visit, my grandma and I love to top our delivery pizzas with pickled jalapenos, but it had never crossed my mind to order them baked on until I saw this recipe.
I am a veggie pizza sort of girl and if it’s not veggie or some artisan pizza from a restaurant (goat cheese & honey pizza!) I do enjoy myself a BBQ chicken pizza. So here we are, full circle as to why this pizza recipe drew me in.
Aside from the pizza dough, fresh mozzarella & no-salt ketchup (ha! As IF!), I already had everything in the house. I don’t have a pizza stone and have no room for one in our tiny kitchen. And I certainly can’t justify cramming it in somewhere when I hardly ever make pizza, so a cookie sheet had to suffice. Everything was super easy to do, no fancy cooking skills required here! When it came time to make the sauce I wondered how it was going to taste like BBQ sauce. I still wonder how it tasted like BBQ sauce, but whatever. It tasted fine. I followed the baking directions to a “T” and should have followed my eye instead. The cheese melted past it’s happy point and that crust was so crisp it was almost too hard to eat! But, again, I’m biased.
In all, I wanted to love this for so many reasons, but I didn’t. (Nevermind the fact that I blistered the roof of my mouth on the first bite!! Wah!) It was good, but not great. The BBQ sauce didn’t taste BBQ-y to me. My husband said it was “good” and he did eat four pieces cold the next day, but it’s not something I’d make again. Too many recipes out there, too little time to explore them all!

BBQ Chicken Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella and Pickled Jalapeños


3 (4-ounce) chicken breast cutlets 2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Cooking spray
12 ounces refrigerated fresh pizza dough
2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup no-salt-added ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1/4 cup pickled jalapeño slices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450° (keep pizza stone or baking sheet in oven as it preheats).
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with black pepper and salt. Combine brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin in a small bowl, stirring well to combine. Set aside 2 teaspoons spice mixture, and rub the remaining spice mixture evenly over all sides of chicken. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sauté 3 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Let chicken stand 10 minutes, and slice thinly against the grain.
  3. Roll dough into a 14 x 9-inch rectangle (or a 14-inch circle) on a lightly floured surface; pierce dough with a fork. Lightly coat dough with cooking spray. Carefully remove pizza stone from oven. Sprinkle cornmeal over pizza stone; place dough on pizza stone.
  4. Bake at 450° for 9 minutes. Combine reserved 2 teaspoons spice mixture, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Remove partially cooked crust from oven; spread ketchup mixture evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Top with chicken, onion, jalapeños, and cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro. Slice.

Alternatives: If you like arugula, try Chicken, Arugula, and Prosciutto Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, and ground cumin. Combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons thinly vertically sliced fresh garlic in a skillet over medium-low heat; cook 2 minutes or just until fragrant, stirring constantly (do not brown garlic). Brush uncooked pizza dough with garlic-oil mixture; sprinkle dough evenly with 3 ounces shredded fontina cheese (about 3/4 cup) and 1/2 ­teaspoon crushed red pepper, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Carefully remove partially cooked crust from oven; arrange chicken on crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until crust is golden and crisp. Place 1 1/2 cups arugula in a medium bowl; drizzle with 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Toss. Arrange 1 ounce thinly sliced prosciutto evenly over pizza; top with arugula mixture. Slice pizza. Serve immediately. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 307; Fat 12.9g (sat 3.9g); Sodium 624mg
If you like Parmesan, try Three-Cheese Chicken Pizza: Prepare BBQ Chicken Pizza through step 3, omitting spice rub. Combine 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese and 1 tablespoon fat-free milk; spread mixture over uncooked pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with chicken, 2 ounces shredded mozzarella, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450° for 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon basil and 1 tablespoon chopped oregano. Serves 6 (serving size: 1 slice) Calories 270; Fat 7.3g (sat 3g); Sodium 599mg

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchiladas- A Keeper!

A 5 star recipe! It was SO good. It was another crazy Wednesday with me tutoring (did I tell you that I tried to quit this tutoring job and the owner of the company denied me?! Yes, the owner didn’t let me quit… she steamrolled me! But I am going to try again, via email, so she can’t do it again. I hope!) and my daughter having gymnastics. Just a note: this recipe doesn’t have to be meatless if you’d rather not. Taco Bell has that smothered burrito that my husband loves and I think this could be a good substitute! Although there is NO alternative for Taco Bell as far as I’m concerned!


I think this recipe was amazing, but I don’t know if it could be amazing with all the variations out there. First of all, I used flour tortillas. I’m not a huge corn tortilla fan unless they’re 100% fresh, cooked to order, and steamy hot, so I’m not sure if this recipe would be a 5 starer for me if I used corn tortillas. Secondly, I’m not sure if it would be as amazing if I used another salsa. I used Trader Joes Organic Tomatillo salsa, my favorite Trader Joes’ salsa. No spice to it whatsoever (my toddler who thinks yellow mustard is spicy likes it), but the flavor is amaze-balls! I’m definitely going to mix it up next time I make this and I’ll update this post when I do with my results. But in the meantime, I encourage you to make this and then comment below with your results. Use your favorite kind of tortilla and your favorite kind of salsa and let me know if it’s worthy of 5 stars!

Slow Cooker Enchiladas

Adapted from thekitchn.com

1/2 yellow onion, diced small
1/2 bell pepper, diced small (any color)
1 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cheese, shredded and divided
2 16-ounce jars of your favorite salsa
12 6″-8″ tortillas, flour or corn

In a medium bowl, mix together the onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, meat (if using), and just 1/2 cup of the cheese. Pour about a cup of salsa (half a jar) into the bottom of the slow cooker and spread it around evenly.

Scoop about 1/3 cup into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and nestle it into the bottom of the crock pot. Repeat with the half of the remaining filling, rolling tortillas until the entire bottom of the crock pot is filled. Spread another cup of salsa over this layer and sprinkle it with another 1/2 cup of cheese.
Continue with the remaining filling and tortillas to create a second layer. Top with another cup of salsa, but reserve the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese for later. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2-4 hours. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle the leftover cheese over the top and let it melt.

Serve the enchiladas with the remaining salsa. Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator.

Additional Notes from thekitchn.com:
• You can cook the enchiladas for longer (6-8 hours on LOW), but we found that the tortillas in the middle start to get mushy while the ones touching the sides of the cooker get crispy. Still tasty, though!
• To cook these enchiladas in the oven, layer the rolled tortillas in a 9×13 baking pan and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese, and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.
• We haven’t tried it, but we so reason why this recipe couldn’t be doubled if your slow cooker is big enough. Just continue creating layers in the slow cooker and bake as usual.