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Thanks for stopping by! I'm young, I'm in love with my man, and I'm a mommy. We're busy, but happy. I'll share with you how to eat natural, healthy, whole foods while balancing family life! Learn to love your food, it will love you back!
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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Battle of the Dinner Table

I wrote a flash fiction piece, called Battle of the Dinner Table. It is some thoughts of the constant battle parents go through getting their kids to eat...let alone eat those blasted green veggies! Enjoy!

The smell of perfectly seasoned, perfectly roasted chicken waft through the kitchen. I breathe deeply pulling it from the oven and expertly navigate myself to the counter, avoiding the scattered “Thomas and Friends” set seeking to take me down. I fill plastic Ikea plates for each of my three adoring children with the perfect chicken and heaping (toddler sized) mounds of, steamed to perfection, green vegetables!

Joining my perfect family at the table, I put each plate in front of my children. My husband sits next to me. I see from the corner of my eye that he has pulled out the newest addition of “Popular Mechanics”. I feel slightly affronted, but he can sense the coming disaster; something I have not foreseen. I look into my children’s faces and then I know. My fork slips in my sweaty hand, instinctively I tense my shoulders preparing for what is to come.
                Across the table, my sassy 6 year old, stubborn 3 year old and mischievous 1 year old are preparing also; preparing for the battle of the dinner table!

Seconds later the 3 year old hits the floor; wailing and gnashing of teeth ensue as I hear the cries of “yucky food” on his plate and he begs me not to make him eat it! “Well played, little one. Well played,” I thought as I watched him rolling on the floor. I moved my attentions to the sly baby; he thought he could win me over with that adorable manipulative smile of his, but I won’t be deceived.

                “No, No, stop right now!” I shout as he slowly lifts his plate towards the salivating lips of our barreling, black Labrador. I elbow my husband, who responds without looking up from the magazine.

                “Stop that J, put it down.” I breathe out in frustration, how did this man know what was happening without even looking up. Did this happen often? Did I block each nightly meal from my memory?

                Ah, another battle lost. The insatiable belly laugh, that could melt any mother’s heart, came from that small, yet intelligent baby’s throat. It fills our boisterous dining room as if to symbolize his victory. The dog was bent down lapping up all the perfect, delicious food. I feel a wave of resolve rush over me, “I WILL NOT CLAIM DEFEAT!” I tell myself.

                I whip my head towards my unfortunate daughter. Her brother’s may have escaped, but this child, oh this one; she was not leaving the table without eating those green vegetables! That was the important part, right? She glares back at me, arms folded across her chest. I shrink slightly, wondering what could be running through her Kindergarten brain.

                “Look, sweetie,” I say kindly, hoping the patient mother fa├žade would encourage her to do my will, “It’s a tree, isn’t that fun? It’s a tiny little tree!” She just stares at me.

                “Its broccoli, mom.”  Blast! She’s too smart for her own good. I decide to take it a step further and not let on that she had me cornered.

                “Yes, but don’t you know broccoli is a special tree for fairies! They let us eat some every once and awhile! If we eat it we can become magic like the fairies!” For a moment she wavered, glancing back and forth between her food and myself. Then that smug ‘I know mom’s fibbing to get what she wants’ smile spread across her face. I could feel the heat rushing to my face, it was going to blow right here and now, and even my husband had looked up from his magazine…waiting…wondering what I was going to do next. The 3 year old, 1 year old and even the dog looked at me, a mixture of fear and wonder filled their eyes.

                “YOU WILL EAT ONE BITE OF BROCCOLI RIGHT NOW!” She looked calmly into my fiery eyes waiting for the other half of my rant, she had heard it before, “after you do that you can have a big chocolate chip cookie!” There, I showed her. I smiled, watching her lift the broccoli, fairy tree to her lips. Scrunching her nose she took the smallest bite she could get away with!

                And in that moment I knew that I had become the foremost expert on child hood nutrition. If I could coin a phrase for the proper way to win the battle of the dinner table it would be: “Nailed it!”

What do you think? Can you relate or do you "Nail it" too each night!!! Happy New Year! (2 days late)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lemon Garlic Quinoa

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Well this whole food week has gone pretty good. I have really tried to put a lot of thought into my meals. I usually start the day with  a shake, then I have a lunch with a lot of fruits and veggies and maybe like a string cheese or something.
I ended up making some awesome steamed asparagus and baked chicken with a lemon, garlic quinoa!  I just kind of played around with some ingredients a I had so we didn't just have plain quinoa, it turned out really great! Super easy and an awesome healthy side for an awesome dinner.
Whole food living can be difficult, especially when you work or are chasing kiddos everywhere. I'm a big fan of pre planning and even pre- packaging your's easy and all ready for you. The number one tip to remember is to stay as close to nature as possible and you'll be golden!

Lemon Garlic Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups of water
Add quinoa and water to a medium sized sauce pan. Cover and bring to a boil. Add 1/2 lemon and garlic clove. Reduce to a simmer for another 10-15 minutes until water is all absorbed. Serve warm~ Enjoy
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The truth about what it feels like to be healthy!

So now that we're half way done with the second month of this new year, it has caused me to reflect on resolutions, everyone's drive to become a healthier, happier person.
Lately I have noticed a large amount articles passing around Facebook about health. The articles that I see shared the most are articles that actually seem to tear down those who try and live healthier lives. It seems strange to me, the articles make good points about how obsessed people can get about the perfect weight, getting rid of those baby pounds, they get obsessed about what the human body should look like. I agree with that in many ways. However, I do not agree with the defensiveness that just abounded during the month of January, almost degrading those who post a before and after picture, against those who may post their excitement about how they are improving their health and lives.
I have made my own set of resolutions, I'm not saying it's right or anything, but I've come to this conclusion based on my own experiences.
I have gone through weight loss, I have gone through weight gain. It has been a great amount as in I gained 60+ pounds and I have also lost 60+ pounds. After my third little was born I made the decision though, that I personally am not striving for a set weight. To be honest I rarely step onto a scale. I am judging my health by how I feel! I'm judging my weight by my clothing sizes...I have goal sizes. not weight. I figured if my energy is up, if I'm feeling toned and fitting into my old pre-baby pants without a pair of spanks...I'm on the right track.
I want to talk about the feeling of being healthy and why you shouldn't get defensive or just settle for a non-effort towards health. Being healthy can be pretty much the hardest thing to do I feel like personally because when we surround ourselves with processed sugar it programs our brains to want more, our bodies actually can become addicted to junk.
If you feel the difference between fatigue caused by diet, or being sluggish, headaches, muscle aches and stomach pains...and to just not having any of these symptoms you may become a little more patient towards people who seem to constantly be talking about health.
I agree some people are annoying...some people that's all they seem to talk about and there is just no room for error or having a junk day...I get that.
So....I have been on both ends I have felt the difference, I also understand having cravings for junk, I myself continue to have a Dr. Pepper problem. I have several each week....guess what? I live with it. I work at my diet each day. I do promise though that cravings become less and less as you clean up your diet.
I do not agree with becoming dangerously obsessive with meeting your certain weight. I recommend cutting out processed food. I myself am going to be starting a month of whole food after valentines day! I just figured that was a good time to start! I'll be honest...I probably will continue to have a few Dr. Peppers throughout the month, I am going to cut processed cereal, crackers, boxed food etc.
This new year don't get defensive about about health. Do your own work for don't need to be perfect but you will feel so much better....I promise if you work towards living a healthier life!
I'll be posting meals throughout the month of my whole food experience...comment if you'd like to
join in!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chicken Veggie Skillet

Ok- This may be a short post, but I had to post this! This was DELICIOUS! I love when made up dinners turn out AWESOME! So My husband said he would buy this dinner....I enjoyed that compliment! It is quick and very low fat. It technically isn't considered clean since I used 1/4 of a ranch dressing packet and Italian dressing packed...but it really made an awesome I'm sticking with it! -Here is my lesson for this post...did you know that you don't need to use butter when cooking meet or oils? Use broth! First of all it prevents sticking and it also makes the meat juicy which is the goal right? There you go...use broth...ditch the oils and butter.

Chicken Veggie Skillet

1 lb chicken, cubed
1 medium zucchini
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup frozen corn
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
1/2 cup veggie or chicken stock (low sodium)
1/4 ranch dressing packet
1/4 Italian dressing packet
1/2 tsp. chili powder
pepper to taste

Add broth to a skillet. Add cubed chicken and chili powder. Cook over med-high heat.  When chicken is browning on all sides add red pepper and onion. Saute with the chicken until the vegetables begin to be tender. Add remaining vegetables. Add in seasonings from both dressing packets. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 5-10 minutes until the broth and seasoning form a thicker sauce. Serve over rice or Quinoa! 

*you can add any vegetables you would like it all would be amazing!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

Squash is a frustrating vegetable for me to prepare...does anyone else feel the same? Spaghetti Squash is one of my favorites however, because I truly feel apart from a different texture there isn't much taste difference between the squash and a noodle. I have really wanted to try a good recipe that involves spaghetti squash, but honestly sometimes I'm lazy and don't want to deal with the hassle of cooking the squash. Well no more...this was easy and hardly any work on my part! My 5 year old and 2 year old just ate it like it was plain ol' spaghetti (which is the 5 year old's favorite dinner) Also my husband...let me move over to his reaction...I can always easily tell when my husband doesn't like something I make...he simple eats it. No compliments usually just a "Thanks for dinner!" If however, he likes something he usually will say "This is pretty good, Thanks for dinner!" IF he LOVES something he repeats that multiple times and also adds "This is a keeper!" Oh how predictable we are sometimes to each other!

Anyways, during dinner this spaghetti got an "It's a keeper!" line! It is healthy, its filling and it's delightfully simple! Enjoy

Forgive me for no pictures of the process or finished product, my computer is quite sick and it is not uploading photos well at all (this explains my lack of blogging lately)

Crock Pot Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti

1 medium spaghetti squash
1 lb ground lean turkey (optional)
1 can crushed tomatoes
*2 C low sodium vegetable stock 
1 T basil
1 T oregano
1/2 T minced garlic
1/2 T parsley

Cut spaghetti squash in half so it has the top and the bottom, not so there are two long pieces. Add tomatoes, broth, cooked turkey and seasonings to a crock pot. Place the two pieces of squash cut side down into the sauce. Cover with lid and cook on low for 5-6 hours. The last hour take a fork and carefully shred the squash out of the shell. Continue cooking for remaining time! Serve with green salad and you're going to have a healthy, yummy spaghetti dinner! Enjoy

* If you'd like a thicker sauce or like the flavors of canned sauces in place of broth add 1 jar of store bought sauce!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa

This may sound like the most random meal...however if you are strapped for cash this holiday (I feel ya) and looking for a fast, healthy, meal that your kiddos even husband will eat...then look no further! This meal came from looking in the fridge for inspiration to come to our plates within 30 minutes! It was very tasty.

After I explained to my husband my idea for dinner...he gave me the nose wrinkle! Yuck! Well I am happy to say that after the first bite (because he's a trooper) He said..."This is really good!" My husband can be like a kid and if he doesn't like something he'll push it around his plate and he won't finish the meal...this was gone with no leftovers! This equals a happy mom!

Cheesy Cauliflower Quinoa

1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 c uncooked quinoa
2 c vegetable broth
1/2 c cheese of any kind, I prefer white cheeses (you can add more if you'd like it really cheesy)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp italian seasoning
dash of parsley 

Add cauliflower and Quinoa to a large pot*. Add broth with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover with lid until liquid is absorbed. Add, shredded cheese to pot, mix until melted. Mix in seasonings and top with parsley! Serve immediately. Enjoy!

* if you like more firm cauliflower, add it after you bring it to a boil and reduce to a simmer

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Left Over Round-Up

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal! I love mashed potatoes and gravy...oh it is my #1 comfort food! I love it all, the veggies, the turkey, the pie! Yes, one day a  year I indulge in it all. I do however have a rule to keep myself in check, I keep it to a holiday season of 1/2! I have a serving of just about everything, but I half it. I don't have full piece of pie, I cut a piece in half.

The next best thing about Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Are you like me though...I can only eat so many Turkey Sandwiches! I like variety and I love to use my mashed potatoes again :)

I wanted to share with you two
of my favorite Post Thanksgiving leftover recipes the greatest part about these recipes is they all Freeze! There is no rule that you have to indulge in all your leftovers in the same week! That could do some damage if you are trying to reach some health goals especially weight loss. My opinion on the actual dinner it is OK to keep it and use it in these my opinion on the pies...I personally don't keep them I love them for the Thanksgiving day and that is all for me. That is up to you if you keep the desserts in your house. I cannot eat that much dessert and stay on's just not how my metabolism works unfortunately.

So the first leftover recipe incorporates ALL the Thanksgiving goodness except the potatoes. The veggies are the ones that I had for my personal dinner, if you had something else I really think just about any veggie would be wonderful, this is probably the easiest casserole ever because everything is cooked and right there ready to be thrown in.

1) Thanksgiving Casserole
2 cups chopped Turkey
1 c leftover stuffing (or whatever you have)
1/2 c chopped green beans
1/2 c chopped carrots
1/2 c leftover gravy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a layer of vegetables on the bottom of dish, add layer of turkey, add a layer of stuffing then cover stuffing with a layer of gravy. Repeat until all is used. Cover with foil and bake 25-30 minutes until gravy is bubbly. Enjoy

My next favorite use of that leftover turkey, is turkey chowder. Traditionally I've done a Turkey Noodle soup, but lately I've been loving the chowder and this is no exception. It is a light chowder that really is a great way to use up that cooked turkey. If you don't want it right away throw it in a container or bag and freeze it for another day! 

2) Healthy Turkey Chowder

1 1/2 c chopped turkey
1/2 onion chopped
1 baking potato cubed
1 c frozen corn
1 c frozen peas and carrots 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 T basil
thyme and rosemary to taste
4 c vegetable or chicken stock
2 c skim milk

Add all ingredients except milk to pot. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Add milk and simmer another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Great with leftover dinner rolls and salad!