Surviving The Cookouts : Appetizers

Surviving The Cookouts : Appetizers

Now that you’ve gotten a few drink recipes to try, let’s move on to some appetizers. This is my favorite category. I could honestly just sit around and eat a variety of appetizers as my dinner. Ha! Could you?

This first one is a favorite for the kids. We use Cinnamon Bark Vitality in this recipe but you could try others to find which one speaks your language - Orange or Lemon Vitality would be two I would try first! 


Berry Honey Yogurt Dip

  • 2 cups plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ c honey (decrease to ¼ if using vanilla yogurt)
  • 1 drop Cinnamon Bark Vitality

In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, and Cinnamon Bark Vitality essential oil. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve with assorted fresh fruit. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. 

Did you know? Cinnamon Bark Vitality can help support healthy digestive and immune systems. It’s also one of the oils in the well-known Thieves blend. 


This next one is a hit with the adults but some kids may enjoy it too! Put your garden to good use and go grab a few ingredients to share with some friends.


Caprese Salad with Lemon-Basil Vinaigrette 

  • Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ c olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 drops Basil Vitality
  • 3 drops Lemon Vitality

Place tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves in a bowl and set aside. Add red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, Basil Vitality, and Lemon Vitality to a blender or food processor and mix until combined. Pour vinaigrette over tomatoes, mozzarella, and fresh basil and stir gently. Serve immediately. 

Did you know? Basil Vitality can support the nervous system and digestive system. Lemon Vitality is an immune system powerhouse and helps to flush the body of toxins.


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Have any other favorite summertime apps you’d like to share? I love a good fresh salsa recipe with oils! 

Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

The reason matcha green tea is trending right now is because of how good for you it is. Not only do you get all the same health benefits as regular green tea from the tea leaves, but this powdered version is often higher in nutritional content, therefore you have even more health benefits.


It is Loaded with Antioxidants

There is a very high concentration of antioxidants in matcha green tea, even more than you will get with regular green tea or other types of tea. The antioxidants closely resemble what you get when you are consuming dark chocolate or spinach. With antioxidants, you are helping to avoid bacteria and various strains of illness, and you can even reduce certain types of cancer. 

You Can Boost Your Energy Levels

Matcha green tea does have a small amount of caffeine, but that isn’t necessarily the only thing you get your energy from. First, the caffeine in green tea is known as a ‘natural source’ of caffeine. This combined with the other nutrients in matcha, including L-theanine, really give you that extra boost of energy. What’s more, the energy turns into lasting endurance, so you can get through your day or enjoy this tea shortly before your workout.

Matcha is Good for Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight, matcha green tea is highly recommended. This type of tea has nutrients that can help boost your metabolism, which means you are burning more fat throughout the day than if you weren’t drinking it. Matcha green tea also helps you to burn more calories when you drink it regularly enough, along with having the extra boost of energy needed for workouts.

You Can Detox Your Body

Looking for a good and natural way to detox your body? If so, you will be glad you found matcha tea. There are high levels of chlorophyll in matcha tea that provides you with a healthy and natural detox, to help get rid of the toxins in your body that is built up from unhealthy food and drinks.

Your Cardiovascular Health is Improved

Matcha green tea is also great for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. It helps to lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol, while also lowering your blood pressure. If your doctor is concerned about your heart, it can be worthwhile to add this green tea to your healthy diet.

The Benefits of Meal Planning

The Benefits of Meal Planning

Meal planning makes a big difference in the quality and freshness of your diet and can be a big factor in finding healthy choices at chow time. When creating the plan, the whole household can get involved, which is great for kids too. If you want to save time and money, eat nutritious food and cut down on the amount of waste going to the landfill, then meal planning is the key. 


Meal planning is a great way to save time, as you’ll only be running off to the grocery store once or twice a week, instead of having to go regularly after work in a panic. Sitting down to do the planning will only take about a half hour, but you will make up that time by not frantically searching the fridge and cupboards trying to find something to eat. You are also saving time by not having to wait in line at the drive thru.

Cook large meals and make a specific plan for leftovers. This stops leftovers from going in the garbage or rotting. It also gives you a break from having to cook every day. Cooking your proteins in large batches can be a timesaver; for example, fry a lot of ground beef for tacos one night and then save the extra for spaghetti the next evening.

Everybody knows the feeling of guilt after discovering a bag of rotten vegetables in the crisper. It’s common to get excited about cooking vegetables while in the produce section of the grocery store since the veggies all look so colorful and delicious. But if you are not meal planning, so many of those veggies will be forgotten. It’s not just the vegetables we waste, sometimes it is expensive cuts of meat that get freezer burned or dairy products that went sour. When using a meal planner, it’s easier to keep track of expiration dates. Meal planning cuts down on the food bill because it’s a lot less likely that food will go to waste. You buy only what you will need. Fewer purchases will get shoved to the back of the fridge or freezer and left to go bad.

Every health and fitness expert will agree that meal planning will improve the overall wellness of any household. Sitting down to plan out meals affords you the time to examine what you will be eating. It is much more likely that you will eat at home, which cuts down drastically on the number of calories you consume. Knowing that you have a house full of food will make you a lot less likely to hit the drive thru on the way home. Taking a list to the grocery store reduces impulse purchases. Meal planning gives you the chance to examine the amounts of real, whole foods you are eating instead of relying on pre-packaged foods. 

Decision fatigue is a state of mind you fall into at the end of a long day. You have been fighting to do the right thing and make healthy choices all day long. Your willpower has been drained. When decision fatigue sets in it’s more likely that you will reach for any food available. Having healthy ingredients in the house ahead of time makes it more likely that you will choose those nutritious foods, even when exhausted.

Gathering all the members of the household together to meal plan gives everybody their say, making it much more likely everybody will pitch in to do some cooking, and hopefully the dishes too.


Getting input from children on what they would like for meals is an excellent practice. It gives children some power over what they see on the table and gives you the opportunity to discuss nutrition with them. This ability to choose teaches them an awareness of what they are consuming that will last a lifetime. This especially helps with kids who are picky about their food.

You will also have a better variety of foods when you meal plan. With the calendar in front of you, you will see when you have repeats and decide to spice things up with some new recipes. You can also plan to buy produce that is available seasonally, which will increase the taste and freshness of your food.

Meal planning for lunches will cut down on the cost of eating out at lunch. Homemade “brown bag” lunches tend to have way fewer calories than restaurant lunches. Brown bag lunches are much better for kids than eating school food, particularly in North American schools.

Meal planning only takes about a half hour each week to do, but the benefits to your physical health, finances, time and general quality of life are more than worth it. It is a good thing to do if you are single or a whole family. It’s an important tool for teaching children about nutrition and cooking. There are many helpful meal planning apps and websites available to help you get started today.