Sweet Potato Fries with Avocado Coriander Dip

If you’re looking for an upscale appetizer or snack, here’s a recipe for you! These sweet potato fries have a spicy-sweet kick on their own. Combing them with avocado coriander dip elevates their flavor to a whole new level. You’re sure to love this tasty and healthy duo!

Sweet Potato Fries

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • cumin essential oil
  • cassia essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Peel the sweet potato, and cut in half lengthwise. Slice it into 1/4-inch matchsticks.
  2. Place sliced potatoes into a bowl of cold water, and leave them to soak.
  3. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, chili powder, and paprika. Set aside.
  4. Remove potatoes from the water, rinse, and blot dry with a towel.
  5. Dip separate toothpicks into each essential oil, and stir them into the vegetable oil. Drizzle oil over potatoes. Toss potatoes with your hands to ensure that they are completely covered with oil.
  6. Sprinkle powder mixture over potatoes, tossing again to coat evenly.
  7. Spread potatoes out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Bake at 435° for 30–35 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the potatoes.
  9. Once the fries are evenly crispy, remove from the oven, and sprinkle with salt.
  10. Dip the warm fries into avocado coriander dip (recipe below).

Avocado Coriander Dip

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 drop coriander essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately with sweet potato fries.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Thyme

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris CT Thymol) essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the plant. The oil contains antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, and antiseptic health properties.

Anciently, thyme was used by the Egyptians for embalming and by the Greeks for fighting infectious diseases. It was also used to help with respiratory problems and digestive complaints.

Today, this essential oil is used primarily to help with asthma, bacterial infections, bites/stings, blood clots, brain (aging), bronchitis, colds (common), croup, dermatitis, eczema, fatigue, fungal infections, hair (greasy/oily), hair (fragile), hair (loss), mold, MRSA, parasites, pleurisy, pneumonia, prostatitis, psoriasis, radiation wounds, sciatica, and tuberculosis.

Thyme may be used as a general tonic for the nerves and stomach. It may also help with circulation, depression, digestion, dysmenorrhea, physical weakness after illness, flu, headaches, insomnia, and wounds.

Application and Safety Data

Topical: Thyme essential oil should be diluted 1:4 (1 drop essential oil to at least 4 drops carrier oil) when used topically. Use a greater dilution for children and for those with sensitive skin. Apply directly to the area of concern or to reflex points.

Aromatic: Diffuse or inhale the aroma directly. Aromatically, this essential oil helps energize in times of physical weakness and stress. It is also thought to aid concentration. Thyme is uplifting and eases symptoms of depression.

Internal: Thyme is recognized as safe for human consumption by the FDA. Dilute 1 drop oil in 2 tsp. (10 ml) honey or in 1 c. (250 ml) of beverage. Greater dilution may be necessary because of this oil’s potential for irritating mucous membranes.

Safety Data: This oil should not be taken internally by children under 6 years old. It should be used with caution and in greater dilution for children 6 years and older. This type of thyme oil may be somewhat irritating to the mucous membranes and skin. Avoid this oil during pregnancy. Use with caution for people with high blood pressure.

Ways to Use Thyme Essential Oil

Cooking: Thyme is used in many recipes, and the essential oil is a great alternative to the fresh or dried herb. Start by dipping a toothpick in the oil and running that through the food mixture, adding a bit more strength as desired. Here are a few of our favorite recipes with thyme essential oil!

Shingles: Blend 3 drops lavender, 3 drops melaleuca, and 3 drops thyme with 1 tsp. (5 ml) fractionated coconut oil. Apply on feet and on affected areas.

Hair Care: Thyme is great for oily hair, fragile hair, and even hair loss. We’ve written a post about how to make custom shampoo and conditioner to perfectly match your hair type and current condition. Check out the post to start making your own hair care products today!

Diffuser Blends: Because thyme is energizing and uplifting, it makes a great addition to diffuser blends. Here are a few combinations to get you going!

Colds: Blend 5 drops lemon and 5 drops thyme in 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) jojoba oil. Apply a small amount of the mixture to the throat, forehead, chest, and back of neck 2–3 times a day.

Source: Modern Essentials®: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 10th Edition, pp. 124–125.

Essential Oils ​for Heart Health & Cardiovascular Support

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, we’re not finished talking about our hearts! Cardiovascular health is one of the most important things to maintain for overall well-being. The cardiovascular, or circulatory, system transports blood to the various tissues throughout the body. It is comprised of the heart and blood vessels—arteries, veins, and capillaries.

The cardiovascular system distributes necessary oxygen and nutrients to body tissues while simultaneously transporting carbon dioxide and waste materials to the lungs and excretory organs. The cardiovascular system also supports the immune system, allowing immune cells to travel in the bloodstream to cells to where they are needed in the body. Fluid balance and thermoregulation—the body’s ability to keep a constant temperature—are two other important functions supported by the cardiovascular system.

In short, keeping your heart healthy plays a big role in keeping the rest of your body healthy. Here are some tips on how you can use essential oils to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Oils that are great for general cardiovascular support include orange, cypress, cinnamon, sandalwood, and thyme.

Circulation

Increasing your circulation allows blood and oxygen to flow better throughout your body. This process is vital in order to sustain life. If you struggle with circulatory problems, the following oils may be helpful: cypress, copaiba, thyme, peppermint, clary sage, wintergreen, rosemary. For a complete list, along with usage instructions, see Modern Essentials,10th Edition, p. 267.

Here is a simple massage blend to help increase circulation and get you feeling better.

Circulation Massage Blend
5 drops eucalyptus
5 drops rosemary
5 drops cypress
5 drops black pepper
5 drops ginger
(30 ml) carrier oil

Combine the essential oils with your favorite carrier oil, and then gently massage the mixture onto your arms, legs, and chest every day.

Heart

Essential oils that are great for the heart itself include ylang ylang, marjoram, geranium, cypress, ginger, lavender, and rosemary. These oils should be applied to the carotid arteries, over heart, on feet, under the left ring finger, above elbow, behind left ring toe, and to reflex points on the bottoms of feet. Refer to Modern Essentials, 10th Edition, for dilution recommendations and other uses.

Blood Pressure

Blood is circulated in the body through various blood vessels. Proper and healthy circulation and blood function is critical for health and for sustaining life. High or low blood pressure makes it difficult for blood to get where it is needed and can be very dangerous. Oils that are good for regulating blood pressure are lemon and lime.

Depending on whether you have high blood pressure or low blood pressure will change which oils you need to apply. Essential oils for high blood pressure include ylang ylang, marjoram, eucalyptus, lavender, clove, clary sage, lemon, and wintergreen. If you have high blood pressure, you should avoid rosemary, thyme and, possibly, peppermint. Essential oils for low blood pressure include rosemary and blue tansy. You can learn more about how to use these oils on page 257 of Modern Essentials 10th Edition.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an important lipid that comprises part of cell membranes and the myelin sheath, playing a role in nerve cell function. Cholesterol is created by the body and is found in many foods we eat. An imbalance of certain types of cholesterol in the blood has been theorized to play a role in the formation of plaque in the arteries, called atherosclerosis. Oils that are good for cholesterol regulation include lemongrass, clary sage, helichrysum, dill, lavender, and juniper berry.

To help balance your cholesterol levels, combine 5 drops lemongrass and 5 drops dill with 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil in a small dropper bottle. Massage oil over stomach area and bottoms of feet daily. Add a small amount of this blend to a capsule, and swallow.

These are just a few examples of conditions that can damage your cardiovascular health. To learn more, consult your physician or Modern Essentials,10th Edition.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake

You’ll love this lemon blueberry cake as a breakfast, snack, or dessert for the whole family. Lemon essential oil adds a nice tangy touch.

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Cake

  • Servings: 6–8
  • Difficulty: Easy
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 c. flour, divided
  • 2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. coarse sugar (or to taste) for topping
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk*
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cream the butter and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon essential oil. Mix until well combined, and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1/4 c. of the flour. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine the remaining 1 3/4 c. flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add half of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, and stir to combine.
  6. Stir in the buttermilk. Then add remaining dry mixture, and combine.
  7. Fold the blueberries into the batter, leaving the excess flour behind. (Batter will be very thick.)
  8. Spread the batter into a greased 8- or 9-inch square baking dish, and sprinkle the top with coarse sugar as desired.
  9. Bake at 350° for 35–45 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Allow the cake to cool for 10–15 minutes before serving.
*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can add 2 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice to a 1/2 c. measure, and then fill the remainder with milk. Let sit for 5 minutes before adding to the other ingredients.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Birch

Birch (Betula lenta) essential oil is steam distilled from the wood of the birch tree. This oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, disinfectant, diuretic, stimulant (bone, liver), and warming health properties.

Primarily, birch is used to help with cartilage injury, muscle aches, muscle development, muscle tone, and whiplash. This oil can also be helpful in treating the following conditions: acne, bladder infection, eczema, fever, gout, infection, kidney stones, obesity, skin diseases, ulcers, and urinary tract disorders.

Birch is also known to help alleviate bone pain. It has cortisone-like action due to the high content of methyl salicylate.

Application and Safety Data

Topical: Birch can be applied neat (undiluted) or diluted 1:1 (1 drop essential oil to 1 drop carrier oil) for children and for those with sensitive skin. Apply to reflex points and/or directly on the area of concern. Use neat only in small amounts and over a small area. Dilute with fractionated coconut oil for application on larger areas.

Aromatic: Diffuse, or inhale aroma directly. Aromatically, birch opens, elevates, influences, and increases awareness in the sensory system.

Internal: Not for internal use.

Safety Data: Avoid using birch oil during pregnancy. Not for use by people with epilepsy. Some people are very allergic to methyl salicylate. Test a small area of the skin before continuing use.

Ways to Use Birch Essential Oil

Diffuser Blends: Diffusing your favorite oils is a great way to take in their wonderful aromas. Birch oil has many aromatic benefits that can be emotionally and physically supportive. Here are a couple of stimulating blends to get started.

Arthritis: Because of strong effects for bones and muscles, birch can be helpful in relieving arthritic pain. In a 1/3 oz. (10 ml) roll-on vial, combine 5 drops eucalyptus, 5 drops birch, 3 drops peppermint, 10 drops lavender, and 5 drops rosemary. Fill the remaining volume with your favorite carrier oil. Apply to areas of pain as needed, and gently massage the oils into your skin.

Headaches: Birch can play a powerful part in pain relief, especially when it comes to headaches. In a 1/3 oz. (10 ml) roll-on vial, combine 30 drops peppermint, 30 drops lavender, 10 drops frankincense, 10 drops wintergreen, and 10 drops birch. Top off the remaining volume with fractionated coconut oil. Apply to the temples, forehead, and back of neck.

Sore Feet: If you spend a lot of time on your feet, birch will prove highly beneficial for you. Simply rub a few drops onto the soles of your feet after running or standing for extended periods. For maximum benefit, cover your feet with socks after rubbing in the essential oil to allow it to soak in further.

Source: Modern Essentials®: The Complete Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils, 10th Edition, p. 42.

Wild Rice and Thyme Soup

Cold weather puts everyone in the mood for a nice, hearty soup. This one is sure to keep you warm and satisfied! Essential oils add subtle seasoning and health benefits.

Wild Rice and Thyme Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 large chicken breast, raw*
  • 5 carrots, chopped
  • 5 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. uncooked wild rice
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 c. chicken broth* or chicken bone broth*
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • Thyme essential oil
  • Rosemary essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken breast, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, wild rice, mushrooms, broth, and salt in your Instant Pot.** Seal the lid and set the controls to 45 minutes on manual, high pressure.
  2. When the time is up, slowly release the pressure, making sure that soup doesn’t start spraying through the valve.
  3. While the pressure is releasing, melt the butter in a small saucepan on the stove.
  4. Whisk the flour in with the butter, and cook on low heat for 1–2 minutes.
  5. Slowly whisk the milk into the saucepan, stirring until the mixture begins to thicken and forms a thick, creamy white sauce.
  6. Dip a toothpick into a bottle of thyme essential oil and another toothpick into rosemary essential oil. Stir the oils throughout the white sauce with the toothpicks.
  7. Pull the chicken breast out of the Instant Pot, shred it, and return the pieces to the soup.
  8. Stir the white sauce into the Instant Pot mixture, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the warm soup with fresh bread for wintertime comfort.

*For a vegetarian version, omit the chicken breast and substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

**If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can also cook this soup in a slow cooker for 6–7 hours on low, following the same instructions.

Essential Oils and Weight Loss

At one time or another, most of us have attempted to shed a few pounds. Essential oils can be very helpful if you’re trying to lose weight, but keep in mind that essential oils themselves won’t innately make the fat fall off. However, oils can support the overall process by helping to boost metabolism, curb appetite, balance hormones, regulate blood sugar, improve digestion, and promote detoxification.

When it comes to losing weight, there will never be a perfect diet, exercise regimen, or magic pill that works for everyone. It’s important that you understand your own body and what is causing the weight gain. If you have a hormone imbalance, simply trying to boost your metabolism won’t do a lot of good. That being said, here are some tips to deal with various health problems that often contribute to weight gain.

Boosting Metabolism

Speeding up your metabolic rate is one of the best things you can do to lose weight. This allows your body to burn calories faster and to convert nutrients from food into energy. It can also help you burn fat better during a workout. In order to increase your metabolism, add 1–2 drops spearmint essential oil to a glass of water, and drink it before you exercise or eat. For variety, adding some strawberries, raspberries, or other fruits along with the spearmint makes a naturally delicious flavored water.

Curbing Appetite

We have all experienced cravings and the sensation of being hungry all the time! Essential oils can help ease cravings and curb frequent hunger. If overeating is a problem for you, diffusing grapefruit and peppermint can help calm your cravings.

Balancing Hormones

Many people don’t realize that imbalanced hormones can cause unhealthy weight gain. But hormones regulate metabolism, blood pressure, appetite, and many other body functions. By balancing your hormones, you increase your ability to lose weight through exercise and healthy eating. Oils that can help balance hormones include rosemary and cinnamon. We encourage you to read more in Modern Essentials® to better understand hormones and the endocrine system.

Regulating Blood Sugar

Blood sugar imbalance can be caused by several factors, including stress. If you are overly stressed, your body will produce excess cortisol hormone, which produces elevated glucose levels, which can inhibit weight loss. First, you’ll want to find ways to de-stress and relax, and then use essential oils to help manage your blood sugar. Depending on whether you have high or low blood sugar—or episodes of both—you may need different essential oils. You can read more about these topics in Modern Essentials®. However, oils that are generally good for both extremes include cinnamon and On Guard®.

Improving Digestion

Inefficient digestion stems largely from what we’re eating. However, many factors play into efficient digestion since this process involves several organs. If you have a specific digestive problem, consult Modern Essentials®. In general, the following oils support the digestive system: peppermint, ginger, lemongrass, DigestZen®, fennel, and turmeric, among others.

Promoting Detoxification

Sometimes all your body needs is a little cleansing and detoxing to resume full functioning. Clearing toxins out of your body can take several days of consistently applying oils. Essential oils that aid detoxification are helichrysum, rosemary, juniper berry, and coriander. Dilute the oils as recommended, and apply over the liver area, intestines, and reflex points on the feet.

Keep in mind that every body is unique: what works for one person may not work for another. Weight loss may only come through trial and error to find the perfect balance for your body. And once you’ve found what works, you’ll need to be consistent in order to see the desired results. We recommend that you combine our essential oil tips with daily exercise and a balanced diet for the best results. If you’re not sure which area of weight loss advice to emphasize, consult your doctor for further direction.

Source: Modern Essentials®, 10th edition.

Essential Oil Spotlight: Pink Pepper

Pink pepper (Schinus molle) essential oil is steam distilled from the fruit of the plant. It belongs to the Anacardiaceae—commonly known as sumac or cashew—botanical family. The aroma is warm, spicy, and fruity, with a slightly woody undertone. Pink pepper properties: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiviral, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, stimulant (digestive), and wound healing.

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Green Mandarin

Green Mandarin (Citrus nobilis) essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of green, unripened mandarin fruit. Distilling before ripening gives the oil a brighter, fresher aroma. The citrus aroma is sweet with herbal undertones. Green mandarin properties: anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antispasmodic, antitumor, antiviral, expectorant, laxative, and sedative.

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Essential Oil Spotlight: Magnolia

Magnolia (Michelia alba, or Magnolia alba) essential oil is steam distilled from the flower of the plant. The sweet aroma is a subtle blend of floral, fruity, and herbaceous tones. Magnolia properties: analgesic, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitumor, sedative.

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