Mexican Casserole

This is one of my favorite go to recipes. I make it every week and it is a great way to use meal extenders to make the dish go farther. I adapted this recipe from Michael Mathers, The Shredded Chef cookbook. My version isn’t quite as “shredded” but is still a low calorie meal.

Mexican Casserole

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey
  • 1 can 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn, canned or frozen
  • 1 cup mild chunky salsa
  • 2 tsp Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle Seasoning or 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup quick oats or bread crumbs
  • 3 egg whites or 1/2 cup liquid egg white substitute
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup cheese, shredded

Notes

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix all the ingredients together except for enchilada sauce and cheese in a large bowl.  Place mixture in an oven proof pan.  Pour enchilada sauce on top of mixture and then the cheese.  Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips.
Keyword Easy

Here is the ovenproof fry pan I use.


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.

Meal Extender: Oats

What are meal extenders? A meal extender is an ingredient you can add to a recipe to reduce the overall cost but increase the number of servings.

Today, let’s talk about oats. Whether you are fond of old-fashioned or quick oats, adding them to dishes is yummy! Oats are nutrient-dense little powerhouses. They are loaded with protein and fiber, and healthy carbs. I use quick oats instead of breadcrumbs in recipes, as you can then make a dish gluten-free. However, I use old-fashioned oats in my Savory Oat Cake because I like the chewy texture it brings to the recipe.

Here are some ways to use oats as a meal extender in recipes.

  • Add to ground meat.
  • As a thickener for stews.
  • An addition to smoothies.
  • A topping for yogurt and desserts.

What are some ways you use oats to extend a meal?


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.

Sugar-Free Strawberry Sauce

More and more these days, I am moving away from processed foods. That means I am doing more from-scratch cooking. Since creating my Flax Waffle recipe, I have wanted to top it with some wholesome goodness, so I came up with this sugar-free strawberry sauce. I hope you like it.

I use monk fruit sweetener because it has zero carbs and zero calories.

Sugar-Free Strawberry Sauce

Servings 1
Calories 50 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 tbsp monk fruit sweetner
  • 1/4 cup water

Notes

Place all ingredients into a sauce pan.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Using an immersion blender puree strawberries to a smooth consistency.

Resources:

Here is the immersion blender that I use.

Here is the monk fruit sweetener I use.


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here

Penny-Wise Tip: Making Your Own Sausage

There is something very satisfying about preparing your food from scratch. You know everything that goes into what you make.

My husband loves breakfast sausage, and I wasn’t feeling good about the Walmart brand we bought for him. Those sausages had ingredients you can’t even pronounce. So we decided to experiment with making our own. We had found The Sausage-Making Cookbook at a garage sale for 25 cents. The recipes are simple, with only natural ingredients.

I had found large pork loins at Walmart for $1.94 lb. I chose the pork loin as they were boneless and were easy to cut into small pieces to put through our meat grinder. It was worth the $.10 extra cents a pound for ease of processing. I was surprised that these large pork loins were so inexpensive, considering how the price of meat has skyrocketed these days.

We tried two different recipes out of the book. An American and Irish recipe each. We were surprised at just how yummy they both turned out! What we loved about the Irish recipe was that it incorporated bread crumbs (we used quick oats instead) into the ground pork mix. That added ingredient stretched the ground meat further than it would have otherwise. Also, making our sausage costs half as much as buying it at the store would. We so love being frugal!

What surprised me when cooking up the sausage was how lean it was. No fat had to be drained out of the pan. The sausage pairs nicely along side my Flax Waffle. This experiment ended up being well worth the time and effort.

Buying a meat grinder and sausage stuffer may seem too expensive of an investment for your family. But, we know we will use these tools regularly for years to come.

Resources:

AICOK Electric Meat Grinder 2500w (We originally got this on Amazon but it currently is not available through them.)

Sausage Stuffer


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here

Wellness Hack: Zoodles

I am not sure who first thought of spiralizing a zucchini in noodle shapes, but she was a genius. Of course, you can see I am assuming it was a woman. It’s such a simple pleasure, the noodle. But unfortunately, those luscious, carb and calorie-laden pieces of yummy goodness are dangerous to most of us. Too many carbs can make my blood sugars wonky. So, when I took refined carbs out of my diet, I had to devise a plan. Enter the zucchini.

This simple, phallic-looking summer squash has a neutral flavor that easily complements any sauce you pour over it.

I get out my little spiralizing machine, and within about a minute, I have a beautiful plate of zoodles. I put them in the microwave for about a minute and then top them with whatever I please. They are low carb and low calorie—the perfect wellness hack for a healthy lifestyle.

I would love to hear how you top your zoodles. Please leave me a message in the comments below.

Here is the zoodle maker I use.


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here

I Did Intermittent Fasting for 30 Days and Here Is What Happened

I’ve been drawn to the concept of intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating for a long time now. Many years ago, I read a book by Deepak Chopra called Perfect Weight. He talked about weight loss principles, one of which is time-restricted eating. In the book, he suggested not eating food after 7 p.m. I followed this protocol for years, easily fasting for 12 hours per night.

Over the years, I tried to fast for more extended periods and just was unable to with any success. I believe it was because I did not have my blood sugar under control at the time. However, now that my blood sugars are balanced, I have been easily fasting for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window.

My Results:

When I began this journey 30 days ago, I had no idea what to expect. I went into it thinking this would be an experiment, and when it was over, I would know whether or not it was right for me.

I immediately noticed more energy, better skin, and, my favorite result, better sleep. The other thing I noticed was food freedom. For most of my adult life, I have been obsessed with diet and food. I have tried every diet you can imagine, and none of them were quite right for me. In full transparency, I eat relatively low carb. I do not count fat, carbs or calories anymore though I am mindful of how much fruit and grains I eat. If I overeat, my blood sugars can get out of balance.

I have also recently begun eating, what I call, the As Close To Nature As Possible (ACTNAP for short!) diet. This way of eating is simply eating whole foods with no natural or artificial ingredients. If you have ever tried this, you know how hard this is. In these modern times, most foods have added ingredients such as flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. I do a lot of from-scratch meal prep as a result.

Because I am creating my meals from scratch, I am no longer eating processed foods. It makes meal time pretty simple around my house. I eat meat, veggies, fruits, and clean fats like butter, olive oil, and a few whole grains.

I feel more balanced and know that intermittent fasting is the central part of that balance. Therefore, I will continue with it as it is perfect for me. In future posts, I will discuss why I use a 16:8 protocol instead of a longer or shorter fast.

Have you tried intermittent fasting? If so, how did it work for you? Leave a comment below.

Resources on Intermittent Fasting

The Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung

The Complete Guide To Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung

Intermittent Fasting Made Easy by Thomas DeLauer


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here

Is There A Difference Between Soul & Spirit?

While in conversation with my guides, I asked if there was a difference between Soul and spirit. The following is the message that came through.

You are not only a soul; you are spirit incarnate. Spirit and Soul are all part of the Infinite Oneness. To live in the experience of this dimension, you had to believe you were separate from your Soul. Spirit is what animates your body. Prana (Spirit) breathes life into your being. The more Spirit or Prana, the more life force, i.e., energy you have access to.

Spirit = Prana = Life Force

Ways to Experience More Life Force:

  • If your battery (physical body) has a low charge, you will feel fatigued. The best way to charge your battery is through the breath (prana). So when you are tired, breathe.
  • Another way to charge your battery is water. Water conducts energy. Drink lots of water! Bathe in it, swim in it, meditate by a body of water. It will recharge you.
  • Appreciation. When you are in a state of appreciation, your whole being is energized. Connect with Nature, and finding things to be grateful for will renew you.
  • Be present. Nothing drains your body as fast as dwelling in the past or the future. 

So then, what is the Soul? Find out the answer in part 2 of this conversation.


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here

Flax Waffle Recipe

I have recently gone off grains and was missing having my Saturday morning waffle. I came up with this little beauty and have been enjoying them just as much as I would an ordinary grain based waffle.

Flax Waffle

Course Breakfast
Servings 1

Equipment

  • 1 waffle maker

Ingredients
  

  • 4 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp monk fruit sweetener
  • 1 egg
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 dash nutmeg
  • 1 dash salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Mix all ingredients and then let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
  • Heat waffle maker.
  • Once your waffle maker is hot spray it with cooking oil spray.
  • Place the mixture inside and cook on medium heat until done.

Notes

Topping:
1/2 cup strawberries
Walden Farms Strawberry Syrup
Keyword keto, Low Calorie, low carb, low oxalate

Resources:

Here is the Waffle Maker I use.

Bob’s Red Ground Flax

Walden Farm’s Strawberry Syrup

Our Wild Nature

I’ve been contemplating the reality of Nature lately. The reason is that we recently had three dogs come into our yard and attack our chickens. We live on a road with one other house on it, and they have no dogs. So this was a completely random event. My husband and I had never seen these dogs before. At first, he thought it was a coyote because we often see those on our land. But then the other two dogs took chase as well.

Image by Sergio Vega

I was in the bathroom at the time, so I missed the chaos and the yelling from my husband. However, when I arrived on the scene, I saw feathers scattered all over the yard. My first thought was that all of our chickies had been destroyed. I immediately burst into tears at this thought and bawled for several minutes before pulling myself together.

I had been emotionally prepared for the day when we would lose a chicken to a coyote or a hawk. Ever since I started raising chickens two years ago, we would lose a chickie or two to these two predators. But, I was not ready for this random act of violence from a pack of domesticated dogs. Unfortunately, this is the reality of Nature. Just as it is beautiful, it is also tragic.

For many years Nature has been where I have taken my solace. It is where I go to be nurtured and made whole. Yet Nature is more than the trees and the flowers that I love so much. Nature is also death and destruction.

This experience had me questioning my belief system. I grew up Catholic and was taught there is only one god, and He was up in the sky somewhere judging my every thought and deed. When I entered Alcoholics Anonymous over 30 years ago, I was encouraged to choose a god of my understanding, and I chose Her. So, I immersed myself in the Goddess. I became a Wiccan. The natural world became my church, but only the pretty parts.

I knew the angry, terrible, and destructive part of Her nature existed, but I wouldn’t let it touch me because I did not want to see it. I wanted only the light instead of the dark. I had had enough darkness for one life.

Yet we cannot exist in the light without embracing the darkness. This encounter with the dogs brought this home to me unexpectedly. You could say it was my come to Jesus, or in this case, Goddess moment.

This experience has deepened my understanding of Nature. At first, I was angry that a domesticated animal would ravage our flock in this way. But once I remembered that today’s domestic dog originated from wolves, I remembered. These dogs were doing what came naturally to them. Not because they were bad dogs but because they remembered their wild nature.

I, too, have a wild nature. She lays hidden within the confines of my own domestication. She wants to bust her chains and howl at the moon. Every day those chains weaken. The saddest part of this story is the chains are of my own design. I crafted them very carefully to navigate the world we live in and to feel safe. What is safety anyways, if not an illusion?

I no longer claim to be a Wiccan, as my spirituality is more Universal these days. But Nature is still my solace. So I will honor the dark side of Her and the darkness within myself, for She and I are one. To deny that part of myself would be to deny Her.


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.

scenic view of mountains during dawn

Divine Nourishment

scenic view of mountains during dawn
Photo by Simon Berger

Are you feeling nourished from the Divine? What does that even mean? 

Nourish

to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth.

to cherish, foster, keep alive, etc.

to strengthen, build up, or promote.

dictionary.com

Many of us feel depleted these days as the effects of the last two years and current events continue to take their toll. We seek comfort, and those around us don’t have anything to give. So we look to other means for sustenance.  

Some of us seek nourishment outside ourselves. But unfortunately, drugs, sex, alcohol, shopping, technology, and other addictions take the place of Divine Connection, which separates us more than we were before.  

What if Divine Nourishment were as simple as watching the sunrise or the sun set? Maybe it is a long deep breath into the lungs. Or the laugh of a loved one. I am suggesting that the Divine is all around us all of the time. It’s up to us to pay attention. But, if it is that simple, why don’t we connect all of the time? That is where the true epidemic lies, outside of the present moment. We get caught up in our daily lives and forget that the Divine is within us, right here, right now.

How do we change that? I believe this is where a spiritual practice comes in. Like in meditation, we bring our awareness back to the present moment. For example, while washing the dishes, bring your attention to the feel of the water on your hands. While petting your cat, notice the texture of its fur against your skin. When eating an apple notice the sweetness on the tongue. The present moment is where we experience Divine Nourishment. Bring yourself back again and again. That is where the practice part comes in.

What nourishes you in these challenging times?


Della offers weekly zoom yoga classes, workshops, intuitive readings, and wellness coaching. You can find out more about her services here.