“Your health is what you make of it. Everything you do and think either adds to the vitality, energy and spirit you possess or takes away from it.”
― Ann Wigmore
I am so proud of myself right now! I have been consistently meal planning for several weeks now and I am definitely seeing the fruit of my labors! I have several weeks of meals either printed or written down, saved and tried & tested! I am now able to rotate those meals, adding a new one every few weeks or so to keep it fresh and not as repetitive. PLUS, my stress level is way down and my budget is reasonable. We are eating healthy, whole foods that are also gluten free and grain free (most of the time). **I also credit this to doing the bulk of my shopping at Costco, if you don't have a membership and you have one near you, I highly suggest you get one! It is a money and time saver!
I can find so many healthy, organic, gluten free and whole food options there and with my large family it is saving me money and many things are lasting us 2 weeks! #bonus I make a short trip to a smaller grocery store for some incidentals that I can't find at Costco, but they have about 95% of what I need.
So, what are we having this week? I'm glad you asked!
#TacoFries You just roast some potatoes in the oven to get them a little brown and crispy *(If you have an air fryer, then use it and save even more time and have less mess!) While the potatoes are cooking, I cook my ground beef, or chicken, and season it. Vegetarian or Vegan? No problem, sub some yummy black beans with all the seasonings! You can use regular potatoes OR sweet potatoes. If I roast some sweet potatoes, then I season them with salt, pepper and some child spice blend! #YUM Once my potatoes are done, the toppings go on! The meat, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, avocado, cheese, sour cream, cilantro! You could do black beans, corn and salsa! So delicious!
Sloppy Joe Hash & Kale Salad Roast those sweet potatoes and while they are cooking, make some Sloppy Joe mix with your ground beef instead of taco seasonings. Top the roasted sweet potatoes with it and a little cheddar cheese. Serve with some slaw or a kale salad! Your tastebuds will love you! and so will your body! Sweet potatoes are so good for you! We are actually having this, this week too! I like simple, but healthy meals!
I'm in a mood for soups! My family LOVES Potato Soup so I'm making some this week. The best part is the Instant Pot does the hard part once I'm done adding all of my ingredients! It's so good and so filling! To make sure we get some veggies I serve with a side salad. I keep it simple: Romaine, Arugula, Tomato, Hard Boiled egg for some protein and a vinaigrette dressing of olive oil, lemon vitality essential oil, some ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar), salt and pepper. So good! **I've also been known to put some kale and/or spinach in my food processor and get it really find, then add to my soups. Extra nutrition and the fam doesn't even notice!**
I add the following to my large 8 quart IP:
Potatoes to just below the max fill line. I like to use Yukon Gold potatoes. They give the best flavor and texture.
It needs some liquid so I add some canned coconut milk, organic chicken broth (or bone broth if I have some on hand) and some organic cream. Usually equal parts of these three things and you need enough to mostly cover the potatoes.
I chop up a medium yellow onion and add it in as well.
My seasonings are: Salt, Pepper to taste. Garlic, about 2 TBSP, Oregano, Thyme and Basil Vitality oils.. approximately 2 drops each. This just MAKES the soup POP! Those flavors go so well with the potatoes!
While my soup cooks, I have some bacon in my oven for topping it off! You can also have things like sour cream, chives and cheese to add to your bowl! So good! My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
I'm also making a Taco Soup for next Tuesday (or maybe on Sunday because FOOTBALL STARTS and my husband and one of my sons are serious Pittsburgh Steelers fans and this would make a great meal for that night!) I'll serve this with some rice and Cauli-Rice, but tortilla chips are also an option if you are not grain free but want to remain gluten free.
Anyway, this one is going in the large crock pot I have. Here's what you need:
2 lbs Ground beef, grassfed is best!
Brown it in a skillet, just add a little salt and pepper while cooking it. Drain and add to your crock pot. **You could also do shredded chicken or chorizo!
Then add the rest of the ingredients:
1 large can of Tomato Sauce
1 container of organic Beef Broth
One medium onion, diced
Salt & Pepper to taste
3 TBSP Smoked Paprika
Several heaping spoonfuls of Green Chilies, I get them at Costco and they are so good! **(Picture below!)
3, or more, TBSP of Garlic! It's so good in this!
2 TBSP of Cumin
Cream Cheese... this is what MAKES the soup! Rich, creamy and delicious!
Dump all of the above in the crock pot, along with the cooked meat and set on Low for 4 hours on on High for 2 hours.
Garnish with some diced bell peppers, cilantro and cheddar cheese!
Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers are on the plan this week! I cut mine in half to make it easier to eat. Bell Peppers are on sale this week at Fresh Thyme market so I can get plenty for this meal, plus my Taco Soup and Taco Fries!
This is another super easy meal! Brown your favorite sausage then add add onion, mushroom, Cauli-Rice and chopped kale. I add these at the end so they don't get mushy in the oven after I stuff my pepper halves. I stir in a just a bit of heavy whipping cream. I don't want it runny, so maybe 1/3 cup or less. I want a thick mixture. Once it's done I spoon this onto the pepper halves that are waiting on a baking tray (I love these stainless steel ones from Amazon!) After they are all filled, I top with some Parmesan cheese and bake until done. So yummy!
That's it for this week as we have a dinner out one night--Yay for a night off! We will have some leftovers from all of this as well. (I hope! Hahaha!)
Happy, healthy eating!
If you haven't read the first part of this series, you might be a little lost if you start with this one. Read my first blog post about my family's journey to wellness here.
I left off in my last blog entry talking a little about my third child's diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, some food experimentation, changing out diet, the results and seeking more natural ways to keep my family healthy.
During the same time all of this was going on, I experienced a miscarriage and had 2 more children. My 4th living child was diagnosed with Asthma at 6 months of age, while all of this stuff was going on with his older brother. To say that added to my stress is an understatement. I still don't know quite how I made it through those years. Something else just took over. There is no other explanation other than God sent me the Holy Spirit as my helper because I did not have a physical person there to help me through those days. Lonely, would also be an understatement as a description of those days, weeks and years of my life. I know there are moms out there who can relate to feeling isolated and lonely when your kids are young and very needy; They need naps, lots of attention, guidance, instruction and supervisions. That is true for every child. When you add in challenging behaviors that go along with ASD and then medical issues that you can't seem to get doctors to understand PLUS another child who has a medical issue needing daily attention and medications so he can breathe effectively PLUS just all the regular mom stuff----I was STRESSED, anxious and tired. I didn't sleep well and I certainly didn't take care of myself. It wasn't even a thing I thought about. I just performed. (**Stress LEVELS of moms of kids on the Autism Spectrum are equal to that a soldier in combat. See here for the evidence. We also experience traumatic events more frequently and become hyper-vigilant. Read more here.)
I stayed home most days. I didn't have the money, let alone the energy for outings. It was too much work, too much effort and outings were stressful for a young child on the Autism Spectrum--it wasn't worth the issues I'd have to deal with and getting out of the house presented it's own challenge. We lived in poverty at the time and used some public assistance to make ends meet. Gas money was for therapy appointments, doctor's appointments, grocery store trips and attending church. Period. Looking back, I wish I'd had the presence of mind to consider what all of this was doing to my other kids, but I didn't. It wasn't that I was only thinking of myself but I was blinded to how this was all effecting my son's siblings. I can see it now. I know they also struggled, suffered and felt lonely too. Relationships didn't get much attention and feelings were never discussed. I'm trying to change that now, but it's been a lot like trying to get a toddler to try a bite of broccoli---almost impossible. But, I'm stubborn and don't give up easily.
***If I could get one piece of advice across to moms in a similar situation or any mom--TALK about your feelings with someone you trust. Find a therapist to go see once in a while. Don't stuff them down and don't hide from them. The feelings aren't bad or wrong---they can't be. But they will have side effects if you don't deal with them in a healthy way. My avoidance of them led to a lot of anger, resentment, bitterness, victim mindset, taking frustration out on others, unhealthy eating habits/weight gain, headaches, anxiety and sleeplessness. Those feelings will have physical manifestations, it's not if, it's WHEN. The chronic stress is not goof for the body or the mind. ***
Staying home became a way of life, for the most part. My "social life" was nonexistent mostly by necessity. Even if I'd had the funds to go to a movie with friends or lunch--- I didn't have the energy or the mental/emotional capacity to do it---I also didn't have friends so therefore no invitations to attend much of anything. There were occasional wedding or shower invites, etc.. but with no money and 5 kids--- that wasn't happening.
At some point during everything that was happening in my life I was told that my attitude, lack of a smile and overall demeanor drove people away (paraphrased). At the time, that drove a sadness, grief and sense of despair through my heart. I don't know if the person that said those words to me thought it would jar me into behaving differently or what--but it had the opposite effect. I walked away feeling so discouraged and rejected. Ashamed. And shame can do a number on a person. It's that feeling that you are unworthy of love and acceptance, that you don't belong unless you act or are a certain way. I definitely felt unworthy and unloved. I also wondered where did I belong??? Did I belong at all? I was in such a bad place emotionally that I needed some love and understanding. It would be a very long time before I would find it.
I guess I sort of just put my head down and did what needed to be done. There is certainly some advantage to that, but the detriment was that I didn't see or notice a lot of other things that needed my attention. My vision was somewhat single minded: Keep my family healthy and help my son be the best he could be. That tunnel vision also blinded me to the pain my other kids felt because of their brother's diagnosis and the distance that created between them and him and all of us. I didn't see that until many years later.
While emotional healing would be a long time coming, our physical health was improving rapidly. Behaviors, sleep, focus, learning and general health all improved for my son on the spectrum. His younger brother needed the inhaler and nebulizer less and less. I lost some weight. I had a bit more energy. I could definitely see improvements from changing what we ate and adding in supplements like Vitamin C, Zinc, D3 and a multi-vitamin to support our health. I had purchased a few homeopathic remedies and some herbal products to support our health during times of illness which was far less frequent by the end of 2013.
I wasn't quite satisfied though. One of the remaining issue that my son had was allergies. For about 9 months out of the year he was miserable and so were the rest of us. Allergies for him didn't just mean a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and maybe a slight cough. It meant a DRASTIC change in his behavior. And sleep. He became more argumentative and he would fixate on certain things, becoming very OCD-like and he would be up until the wee hours of the morning, mostly checking baseball, football or basketball scores depending on the season. He would become extremely uncooperative, belligerent and defiant. My normally kind, cooperative, quiet, helpful boy would change almost overnight. The only time he had relief from this was during the coldest months of the year when everything was dead.
It was so bad that, at times, I considered hospitalizing him because of his very agitated state and his somewhat aggressive physical behavior. I would occasionally be afraid of what he might do to himself or others. Thankfully, it never came to that. However, it was still very stressful 9 months out of the year. I had gone back and tried pharmaceuticals, I added in some natural histamine blockers and supplements to help his body deal with the allergens. Some relief was seen but it wasn't enough.
Answers were coming soon, though. I would find out just how important the food my son was eating is to his well-being and health. I'd also find some answers I seekded in one of God's creations: Plants.
Watch for my next blog post in this series: Seeking Health
Fall starts in 22 days. This usually also has people rushing to the stores to get fall candles or to get there leftover ones out of storage and light them up. I get wanting to have my home smell good, to enjoy those warm and welcoming scents--plus the cozy glow of a candle, but there are health risks that we aren't told about.
In this study, they surveyed some "selected scented consumer goods" found that they emitted over 100 VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds). Many are classified as toxic and harmful to humans. They tested products that were labeled as "natural" or "organic" and found some of those same harmful chemicals!
Over 25 different types of products were tested, many of them popular, top selling brands. Everything from laundry detergents to air fresheners, dryer sheets, lotions, shampoos, and more. All of these contain an ingredient called "fragrance". However this is NOT a single additive like we would think and are led to believe. Fragrance is made up of a mixture of many chemical compounds in order to re-create a specific scent. The companies call it proprietary so they don't have to list each of the individual components, which can be as high as 350 separate chemical products.
These products emit hazardous and even cancer causing chemicals into the air that we breathe every time we use them and candles are no exception.
Candles that are made with 100% pure beeswax, or another natural wax like coconut, hemp or soy are much safer, but most are made with paraffin wax, which is toxic. Scented candles, which are made with paraffin wax, give off dangerous vapors like benzene and toluene. The wicks can contain heavy metals that become airborne and are easily inhaled when burned. In addition, the scents and dyes used to make scented candles release harmful chemicals that can cause a variety of health issues like hormonal, behavioral and general health related issues.
Other scented products like air freshener sprays, plugs ins, etc. also post similar risks.
Several studies have confirmed that residual chemicals from plug ins can accumulate in the human body over a period of time. As these chemicals accumulate the amount stored in the body increases. This has health consequences. A plug in type product relies on something called heat induction technology and special heat-activated gels. This is what causes the scent to be released. There is an enormous number of toxic compounds in these gels. Plug ins contain the same chemicals as aerosol sprays (shown below), and in addition, they contain Naphthalene. This one has been found to cause cancer in the lungs and tissue damage in lab studies which leads experts believe it likely has the same effect in humans.
Scientific studies have shown that one-quarter of common household air fresheners contain chemicals that are potentially harmful. Our lungs have been designed to filter out toxins, but we are exposed to an enormous amount of chemicals on a daily basis just by walking outside! There are so many things we breath in that we don't know about and definitely can't see. We can't control what's out there, but we can be the gatekeepers for our homes and take steps to reduce the exposure.
People who have existing lung conditions like asthma, COPD and young children who are still developing are at the most susceptible to the effects of these chemicals, but really no one is immune to the dangers of these synthetically scented products. In this article from The Lung Association, they outline the risks to our respiratory health.
Here is a brief list of the chemicals that may be present in aerosol sprays:
(In addition, cleaning products have cancer causing and lung damaging ingredients. Read more here.)
Diffusing essential oils is a much better, healthier and safer way to cleanse the air, make your home smell fresh and maintain wellness too! An essential oil diffuser enhances the environment by spreading the aroma of herbal, woodsy or citrus essential oils throughout the air. The small molecule of the essential oils permeate the air in your home. Diffusers have therapeutic and aesthetic purpose and help provide many health and wellness benefits for those who use them daily.
I'm going to share some of the ways having and using essential oils in your home can be useful and helpful, while also enhancing your health and well-being. They are definitely much safer and better for you than candles, plug ins, gels or sprays!
I'd love to help YOU get started living a healthier, more chemical free lifestyle! It's easy to get started with Young Living and become a part of my oily family, Essential Living Community. I have a private, members only, group on Facebook and send out a monthly email newsletter plus other goodies!
If you're ready to fill your home with the amazing benefits of essential oils, go here to get started! I'll send you a welcome letter and gift!
Meal time is usually one of those times of day that most of us dread, and here's why--- We fail to plan, so therefore we plan to fail. We know it's coming but we just keep ignoring it. #guilty
I go in and out of seasons of hardcore meal planning and then letting it slide for a while. I'm older and wiser now, and as much as I hate to admit it, I don't always follow my own advice (anyone else relate?)
So, I'm making it a point to hold myself accountable and do consistent meal planning! The day goes better when I know that I've got a plan and can pull from a list of meal that I know I have the ingredients for and can make quickly!
There is less stress in my life when I do this---and stress can lead to other issues in my life, so whatever I can do to lessen it is good for me and everyone around me.
Here is my plan for the next 6 days. There is always a day in there for leftovers so I just plan 6 meals.
Meal #1 Grilled burgers and toppings. I've got organic colby jack cheese slices, tomato, pickles, onion, lettuce, etc.. plus a big bag of Kettle Chips with Himalayan Salt and some raw veggies too.
Meal #2 Ranch Marinated Grilled Chicken w/ roasted red potatoes and broccoli Here's the recipe for the chicken.
Meal #3 Grilled Cheeseburger Salad (using leftover grilled burgers from Meal #1) This is a family fave! Iceberg lettuce is best for this meal, but use whatever you prefer! I have all the toppings and then we break up the grilled burgers after they are warmed in the oven and put on the salad. I'm making this burger sauce for the dressing.
Meal #4 Guacamole Chicken Melt I can't wait to try this one! This will be on our regular "Taco Tuesday" night. My family is skeptical about it but I really think they will like it! I'm bless that they will try anything! I'm using this recipe with one change, I'm cutting the chicken into strips before cooking them. Then laying them on a bed of Cauli-Rice and topping as the recipe calls for---I am looking forward to this meal!
Meal #5 Cauliflower Hamburger Helper
This brings back memories---but I know now that Hamburger Helper is NOT good for me or my family....
So, when I found this on The Low Carb Life site, I was intrigued and decided to give it a try!
Meal #6 Hamburger (or Chicken) Bowl
This is one we have had before and really enjoy! It's so versatile! Here's the inspiration for it!
This led me to try other combos--they seem to be endless! I love the crunch of the cabbage, it makes a really good base for this meal. It's also so easy and quick
I hope this helps you with your meal planning and/or gives you some inspiration! Having it all planned out means less on your mind, better food on your plate and faster trips to the store!
There are a lot of delicious looking recipes on the two websites I found these on, let me know if you find something else to try!
I think a large majority of people are seeking better health, wouldn’t you agree? Are you one of those people? I know I was—and still am to some degree. What is health? How do you define it?
I think of it as having energy, feeling good, having a good quality of life which means I can do the things I need to do and want to do with ease. It also means having healthy relationships, having a good home environment and culture, personal relationship with God, close friends, doing things I find fun or interesting, learning, being emotionally healthy and having ways to deal with the stress, mental chaos and negative energy that I might encounter. I think it also means having financial stability as well. Basically, I look to improve some key areas of my life: Spirituality, Relationships, Home Environment/Culture, Social Life, Emotional Health, Career/Work Environment, Finances, Education, Health/Food Choices/Cooking and Exercise.
I didn’t always think this way. Years ago, as a young mom of three children, I subconsciously accepted the fact that kids were sick a lot. I cannot pinpoint a place in my life where that became a belief of mine—it just was what it was. I had 1 girl and 2 boys at the time, all under age 10. My oldest had somewhat “grown out of”** some of the things she often dealt with as a very young child, but with three kids under 10, there was a lot of sick days.
**Why do we use the term “grown out of” when it comes to things like frequent illnesses???? Shouldn’t that just be reserved for clothes and shoes? Illness means the immune system is fighting something, right??? I think we should be looking at that and why kids are so sick so often nowadays.**
My youngest child at the time was ill a LOT. We were in the doctor’s office probably 3-5 times a month. It was ridiculous when I look back at it now. I didn’t think much of it at the time. Hindsight is always 2/020, right? Constant ear infections, upper respiratory infections, fevers with no known cause, mysterious rashes, stomach pain, vomiting, difficulty falling asleep, and the list goes on. His chart from his doctor is thicker than most adults! I think it’s thicker than mine and I’ve had six kids—you know there’s a ton of paperwork that goes along with pregnancy and delivery!
To say our quality of life, HIS quality of life was lacking is an understatement. Those days are somewhat of a blur because I was constantly in survival mode. (Too bad I had not yet found that I love espresso—maybe that would’ve helped me stay awake????) Looking back, I’m really not sure how I survived—-but I certainly did not thrive. Those years were hard and lonely.
When you have a child who is sick so often, you miss out on life. It was about to get worse too.
As my son developed, we noticed that he wasn’t talking, he was clumsy (lots of falls, bumps, bruises and even head wounds requiring stitches). He lost coordination and stopped babbling so much. We noticed he stopped displaying some skills that he once had and he didn’t respond to his name like he used to. He seemed to not even notice we were there and was off in his own world. Taking him out anywhere was nothing short of a nightmare. He couldn’t handle Wal-Mart and from a young age he HATED his car seat. So, outings were few and far between. I had to start grocery shopping alone, at night. I had always taken my first two babies with me, proudly, to the grocery store. This child was having NONE of it. It didn’t make sense to torture him, or myself by taking him with me. I hated shopping at night,though. I’d be so tired, literally exhausted by the time I got there that I just threw stuff in the cart without paying much attention to it. It was just sort of automatic. Nutrition was definitely NOT on my mind.
Eventually, my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I don’t know that I ever grieved that time in my life, or his. It was such a time of transition and changes. There were a lot of adjustments that had to be made whether I wanted to or not. I just did what needed to be done and never thought much about myself—-or what my other kids might be going through. Therapy, doctor’s appointments, a developmental pre-school and lots and lots of research. Late into the night I’d be on the computer looking up ways to help him learn, feel better (he just looked miserable most of the time and like he didn’t feel well—-if you’re a mom, you know that look your child has when they don’t feel good, right?), overcome challenges, sleep better, fall asleep, wake up (he was and still is VERY difficult to wake up) and how to “treat” him. What were all the options? What new therapy was being used? Where were the best therapists in town? Who is the best doctor? What can I do at home? and on and on and on….. This went on for years. Not kidding. From the time he was three years old when we first suspected he was autistic until he was age 13 or so, I spent hours and hours each day researching. Over a decade of my life and his looking for something to help him function the way God intended for him to function. But primarily, I wanted him to feel better. No one functions well when they don’t feel good and the once bright eyed boy that I had now had a dullness to his eyes that I didn’t like and I think I only noticed. You can see it in pictures. His eyes lost the brightness and spark, his skin became dull, he had dark circles under his eyes (I came to know that this meant he was dealing with a lot of allergies) his expression was droopy. Basically, he looked how we all look when we are sick, only this was every day for years. It didn't go away for a very long time.
Like I said, those years are somewhat of a blur. Lots of therapy and doctor’s appointments so a lot of driving. The days were long, stressful and I mostly couldn’t wait until they were over. I was on automatic pilot mode. When he started developmental pre-school, it was early mornings which were like WWIII. I can only imagine what my stress levels were back then because I paid NO attention to my own health and had very little time to nurture my other children. We tried pharmaceutical medicine—many times, many different kinds. None of them worked long term, many never did anything and several caused side effects that were scary and/or possibly permanent. What I would soon discover, is that meds were never the answer. They don’t address the root of the problem which to be fair, at the time I didn’t know what the root was, but neither did all the doctors I took him too. They were treating symptoms and came from the mindset that his issues were ONLY neurological. Their explanation didn’t tell me why he was constantly ill, why his bowels didn’t move like they should, why he had so much trouble falling asleep, where the rashes came from and they certainly never tested him for food or environmental allergens. Most of the time, bringing up his physical symptoms was attributed to him somehow causing them because of what they said was his neurological issues—basically, he was either faking or somehow causing his physical symptoms. (Make sense to you???? It never did to me. If my older son could have a physical illness that a doctor might say warranted treatment or testing, then so could his younger brother. Having a neurological issue doesn’t prevent you from having physical issues/ailments.)
I’m not sure I could adequately describe my frustration level at this point. By this time in my journey, he was about 7 years old and something had to give. As he got older, his challenges and needs were taking over and having a huge impact on our family. Everyone’s stress level was high. There were monumental meltdowns, a short period of self abuse (he would hit himself or hit a part of his body on something—thankfully, this didn’t last long), the struggle to get him to sleep was nothing short of what it must be like to wrestle an alligator. The physical, mental and emotional exhaustion was real and it was intense and it didn’t let up. I’m sure my son was dealing with a lot of the same but he was, and still is to some degree, unable to tell me what he feels or how things effect him in an emotional sense. There is a lot about him I don’t know, that I have to guess, or observe from his behavior and obvious changes.
He was around seven when I heard that removing gluten and casein from his diet might be helpful. I talked to a lot of other moms who had done it, asked questions and did a lot of research. (Doctors weren’t educated on this and were less than encouraging.) After a few months, I decided to give it a try. We removed all gluten and casein from his diet (and ours) for two weeks. I won’t say this was easy, but it was also not as difficult as I had anticipated. I made a lot of the same type of meals we had always eaten, I just chose to remove the gluten or casein containing foods or opt for a replacement. When the two weeks was up, I bought my son his favorite food; A cheese pizza all to himself. That’s a lot of gluten and casein in one meal. I wanted to test and see if it made any difference for him.
**I had noticed during the two week trial of being GFCF that there were some sleep improvements, positive behavioral changes and some increased focus in my son.
He scarfed down that pizza quickly! We all enjoyed some pizza that night! About 30 minutes later is when I noticed something and so did my husband. My son became very uncoordinated, his speech changed and he was lacking the focus I’d seen the two weeks prior AND he was acting very silly—-almost “drunk-like”, as if he’d been given some alcohol. I think shocked would be an understatement in describing my reaction to seeing him like this, honestly. I didn’t think changing what he ate would make a difference. I had just never equated food as having any effect on the body other than satisfying hunger. That was the last time my son ever ate gluten. For a long time he didn’t have dairy of any kind.
I began looking really deep into foods, nutrition, how it effects the body, how to deal with it, the pros and cons of food allergy testing, rotation diets, elimination diets and what was IN our food available at the super market. I became passionate about changing the way I ate and what I fed my family. Food mattered more than I knew. I learned how it might effect the body and the mind, what was in processed food products and how they were made, plus the difference between an allergy, sensitivity and intolerance to foods. (I seriously wish they taught this in schools. It is SO important!)
I also started looking at ways to support our health naturally, instead of just waiting until we were sick to go to the doctor’s office. That clearly wasn’t working! A lot of changes were made over the next few years: We ate more whole foods (fruits, veggies, meats, eggs, nuts, etc… ) and I used supplements and some herbals to keep us healthy. Our trips to the doctor’s office started to drop as I was learning what the body needed to stay healthy and ways I could support the body during illness at home. We went from making 3-5 trips to the doctor a month to just 1 or 2, then NONE. The main reason for that was we DID NOT get sick like we used to. Changes to what we ate and supporting the body resulted in less illness and ear infections stopped occurring as well. We just simply did not NEED to go to the doctor and now, I can say that the last time anyone in my family needed attention from a doctor for an illness has been over FIVE years ago. We stay well and IF we do get ill, it’s much milder and short lived now. Our body’s are stronger and more able to fight off the germs that cause sickness. The resources the body needed in order to do this were always available, I just did not know about them.
I found out, that what I didn't know was far more important to our health and well being than I could have ever imagined. I was no longer blindly following the masses. I was empowering myself to keep my family well.
This is part one of a series on our family's Wellness Journey. I hope you check back for the rest of the story in the coming weeks.
Hey! It's me again! I hope these weekly plans are helping you to eat healthier, feel less stressed and take control of your budget! If you're like me, you might be struggling to find meals that taste good but don't take up a lot of time in the kitchen. Who wants to spend gobs of time in the kitchen??? NOT me! But I do want to eat better and give nutrition to my cells---that's what helps my body RUN!
I purposely look for meals that are quick, healthy and YUMMY! I figure other moms are in the same boat, so why not share what I've found that my family loves???? #winwin
I also like to use my Instant Pot as much as possible. It is fast, it doesn't heat up the house and I can #setitandforgetit #anotherwin
*These recipes serve 4, unless otherwise indicated. If you have a large family like mine, just double the amounts or you can do that and have #lunch the next day!
We tried and really liked IP "Crack" Chicken. Here's the recipe I used. I served it with roasted broccoli. My eleven year old daughter was cracking up at the name of this meal and when I got done adding all of my spices and powders... I had white powder all over my shirt. That resulted in a lot of laughing and jokes! I set my IP and walked away while it cooked to do other things until time to put the broccoli in the oven. I roast mine at 400 degrees with a little oil, salt and pepper. Since this meal had a LOT of flavor with the seasoning for the chicken, I just did something more neutral for the broccoli. You can always change it up, but roasted broccoli is yummy and easy!
Goulash is a family fave and is also pretty easy to make and comes together quickly, even on the stove. Since we are gluten free and I also strive to be grain free, it's been harder to make but I've come up with a solution: Zucchini. I can either cut it up in chunks, or my family's preference is to make it into "zoodles" with a spiralizer. Whichever you do, that's probably the hardest part of this whole dish!
Cook 1 lb of grassfed ground beef
Season it with 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Salt (can add more to taste when serving)
1 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Smoke Paprika
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
Add 1 Yellow onion, chopped once the meat is almost done, just to soften the onion a bit.
Drain and add the Zucchini
Plus 2 large cans of Diced tomatoes
If you prefer smaller chunks, then give them a quick pulse in a food processor before adding
Let simmer until the Zucchini is soft. You are ready to serve. Oh, remove the bay leaf before serving! haha!
We also love Mexican spices and dishes! I'm always looking for ways to add those flavors to my weekly meal plan. Now, they are not authentic Mexican meals---If I could go and learn from someone, I'd totally do it! I want the real deal but I often have to settle! So this week, I'm trying a recipe for a Burrito Bowl. I didn't find one that I just LOVED, so I'm making up my own!
You'll need to cook 1 lb of Grassfed Ground Beef (I get mine from Costco) and season it with
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2 tsp Cumin
1 TBS Chili Spice blend
Once cooked, add 1 small chopped onion, cook until slightly soft. Drain and set aside
You will need 3 Cups of cooked rice or Cauli-Rice as well. (You can find my fool proof method for cooking rice in an Instant Pot here.)
For toppings, I like some diced yellow pepper, quartered grape tomatoes, avocado chunks, romain lettuce (finely chopped), some cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro! You could do corn and black beans too! If you want this as a meatless meal, omit the ground beef and use 2 cans of black beans, just cook and season the same)
Here's the special treat! An Avocado Cilantro Sauce for the finishing touch!
1/2 Half of a ripe Avocado
2 TBS Yogurt or Sour Cream
1/2 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Honey or Agave
A handful of chopped Cilantro
Water (to desired consistency)
1-2 tsp of Lime Juice (or you can use Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 drops of Lime Vitality Oil from Young Living)
MIx well in a food processor or Ninja Blender and pour over your Burrito bowls!!!
We put our rice, or Cauli-Rice in the bottom of our bowls, add the meat and other toppings then pour the sauce on! YUM!!
Cheeseburger Salad is on the plan this week! I know it sounds weird, but don't knock it until you try it! This is one my family's FAVORITE meals--hands down! And I make a burger sauce to use as dressing. Here's the recipe. You can do this with just cooked ground beef, but grilling the burgers first is next level goodness!
Next, I've got a treat for you this week! My eleven year old daughter is a whiz at baking and makes us some yummy treats from time to time. These Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies were AMAZING! Here's the recipe:
Preheat oven to 350
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (We use Costco's Organic Creamy P.B.)
1/2 C Sugar
1/2 C Brown Sugar or Coconut Sugar
1 room temp egg
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 TBS Almond Milk
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
Mix all the ingredients together except the chocolate chips. Once everything is thoroughly blended, use a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips. Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place a cookie sheet. Cook at 350 for 8-10 minutes. You want the edges to be slightly brown but the middle a lighter color. Let cool on pan for 2 minutes then move to a plate. Enjoy! These are so good!
We are having a Pizza Night this week as one of our meals. I do this from time to time just to give me a bit of a break. I found some good Cauliflower crust pizzas at Costco and plenty of choices for my non gluten free family members as well. Those are in the oven now!
Happy, Healthy Eating! xoxo Lori
Words spoken to us can hurt; Words can also feel good and lift our spirits and evoke good feelings about ourselves, our situation or circumstances. They can inspire us and encourage us to take a next step or step out in faith. Words are truly powerful. Which is what brought me to share my thoughts on my blog.
As a Health Coach, I've become very aware of just how many aspects of our life effect our health. I began with a focus almost entirely on what we eat, but have come to learn it is so much more than what we consume to satisfy our hunger. Our overall health is not just about our physical wellness or ability. Our health is effected by the status of our Spirituality, Creativity, Finances, Career, Education, Physical Activity, Home Environment, Relationships, Social Life, Work Life, Work Environment and our society's overall culture too. It's a lot! Each of these things has an impact on our physical health along with what we actually eat. IN fact, all of those things can influence WHAT we eat!
Today's blog post is about words though. Every day we speak to other people: Our co-workers, friends, spouses, children, clerks at grocery stores, through phone calls, email, text and private messages.
*How often do we really think about the message we are sending to these people?
*How often are we polite, courteous and kind to the stranger at the store ringing up our purchase but we are the opposite to those at home?
*Do we take some time to send something positive?
*Do we choose the better word or do we just generalize and assume they will get what we mean?
*Do we remind ourselves that the person on the receiving end our words is a human being just like us?
I'm a Christian by choice, that's the word I'd use to describe my religious affiliation. However, that doesn't describe my walk with Christ or what I personally believe about how I should conduct myself in this world. BUT, a LOT of assumptions are made when I tell some people that I am a Christian. I used to think that their assumptions were their problem, but I've had a change of heart on that. I started paying attention and listening. The details of some of their stories were different, but they had some common themes: They had been hurt by "Christians" who were not walking in love and who had failed to LISTEN and understand that a person's experience is valid and has weight. Instead of showing them how to walk out of it victorious, they shamed, blamed and chastised. They criticized and were harsh. These people who were hurt by others who call themselves Christians have justifiable reasons to be hurt. Harsh words had been used against them when they were already hurting due to some extreme circumstances going on in their lives.
Which brings me to this question: As Christians, do words REALLY matter? Or is it only the exhortations, encouragement and compliments that people should listen to and not the insults, negative words, harsh, critical words of cruelty and judgement? Is it not hypocritical to preach "Don't be offended so easily" while not minding our own words to others? and I include other Christians in this as well, we should definitely watch how we speak to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we not to speak to everyone in love? (Sometimes love can be firm while still being kind. Love doesn't mean being a pushover and "sweet").
I've heard the double speak myself. People can be so rude, insensitive, sarcastic and even cruel in one breath, tell the person not to be "so sensitive" (which is really gas-lighting) and then in the next tell them how wonderful they are for something else!?! Confused????? You'd have every right to be. It IS confusing. Which words matter more????? The compliments or the criticism that was spoken harshly and without love???? I don't think it's fair, right or Christ-like to tell someone to ignore some words but not others. ALL words matter according to the Bible.
The Bible warns about our words. Many times. Jesus spoke this about our words in Matthew 12: 35-37:
"The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
*Underscore added by me
That sends a pretty strong message, in my opinion. It puts a whole new spin on using jokes, teasing, sarcasm and the like, don't you think???? Wouldn't those be "careless words"????
Is it loving, kind or Christ-like to use sarcasm against another person? Are Christians trying to justify their words by telling the other person to not "be so sensitive" and "don't be so easily offended"??? Are they just chalking it up to the other person's own hurt???? But don't we often speak out of our hurt? So aren't your words coming from your hurt? You can't have it both ways.
The Bible has more to say on the topic of words and how we use them. I like this scripture out of Proverbs 18:19:
"A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city, and arguments separate people like the barred gates of a palace. "
Hmmmm, a "brother who has been insulted"--- but we teach "Don't live life by your feelings" and that "You choose how you feel about what is said to you". I am not a Bible scholar by any means, but I do have a better understanding of God's heart than I used to, so I take this to mean that we can't just reduce what we say to meaningless, mindless ramblings and think we will get away with it. If the positive words we speak matter then so do the negative ones and we ARE responsible for what we say it is not just on the other person to not be offended. We are also NOT to cause another to stumble. I think if Christians focused MORE on not causing others to stumble, they'd walk more in love and less in self-righteousness. This scripture tells ME, that it is possible to insult someone and it be my fault and my responsibility to repair the relationship and it's not just about the other person choosing to not be offended or hurt. If our compliments can give life, then our insults can steal it.
"What you say can mean life or death. Those who speak with care will be rewarded." (Prov. 18:21)
Maybe if we , as individuals and Christians, decided to be more cautious about what we say v. putting all the responsibility on the other person to just be OK with it, we'd be better off?? And we'd be walking in love and paying attention to scriptures??? How is it ok to be so cavalier with our own words (when the Bible clearly says that we should not be) and expect no one to ever be hurt, insulted or offended???
"People will be rewarded for what they say; they will be rewarded for how they speak." (Prov. 18:20)
Are your words worthy of a reward? Or are you careless and thoughtless with them, choosing to generalize, speak condescendingly, insult through sarcasm, talk over, interrupt, be rude or harsh? Do you dismiss the experiences of others? Do you listen to react, respond or learn? As a Christian, it is our responsibility to pay attention to how we interact with others, not focus on their responses and reactions, then call them out for it because we chose to be a jerk.
"Our words to others WILL evoke an emotional response and the only thing we accomplish when we preach AT others, fellow Christians included, that we should not "live by our feelings" and "you're too sensitive" or "don't be so easily offended" is that we come off sounding like a hypocrite and a very cold, apathetic, insensitive, self righteous, religious person who talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk. It is LITERALLY your example and how you treat others that either draws them to Christ or turns them away. You can't be the salt of the earth and the light unto all men if you're too busy treating them like they are the ones who need to behave better and your behavior doesn't matter. Aren't YOU the saved one, the transformed one, the one who is to be different and set apart from the world?????
I'm here to tell you---YOUR words can literally defeat someone. Even if you are saved, you can be used to steal another piece of someone's purpose and self-worth. LIFE and DEATH is in the word. So, you can grump around all you want, harumph and mumble till the cows come home, BUT either the Bible is TRUE--or it isn't. You can't pick and choose what parts are meaningful and then skip others. You can't pick and choose which words are powerful and which aren't; They all carry weight. Why else would scripture tell us that words can be life or death even exist???? Why are we told to SPEAK LIFE over others?
"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person."
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;" (It seems many want to skip the first two and just focus on the "slow to anger" part especially when THEY are the ones that are the target of anger because they were slow to hear and quick to speak!!!)
"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it." (So, here's the thing, BE CAREFUL the words you send out because if you speak death to someone, that is the PURPOSE it will achieve)
James 1:26 "
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." (Yeah, so all of those sarcastic remarks, etc.. that's an unbridled tongue, bro!)
So, before anyone calls me out---I'm not here to act like I've got it all figured out and nary a harsh word is ever spoken by me--that would not be the truth. However, I'm more aware of the weight my words carry and I do try to be more careful and selective of the words I use. There are some individuals who will be hell-bent on misunderstanding, mis-interpreting, making assumptions, drawing their own conclusions and taking things the wrong way. Those are people who are hurting though and need to do some deep inner work on themselves. The thing is, this is what I'm learning: IF I slow down and LISTEN to them, then when I respond I can measure my words accordingly and respond in a way that is helpful and life-giving. Isn't that what we should be doing??? Yes, I still mess up and my frustration will get the better of me but it happens less often. I will never attain perfection--neither will you. But we can do better and awareness is half the battle to improve ourselves, walk in love and work towards spiritual and emotional maturity. Put the expectation of better and more right behavior on YOURSELF, where it belongs, not on the other person.
This week I'm adding in a couple of family favorites but presenting them in a different, fun way! I've also got a new recipe I can't wait to try! I find that taking something my fam loves and "dressing" it up or changing up the presentation makes it feel new and special--plus it's usually a meal I can almost make blindfolded! LOL
I'm making a Layered Southwest Salad (which is really just a fancy word for Taco Salad but it will sound exciting to the family!) You can do chicken or beef, just beans, and any other toppings you want; Pick your favorites! We like tomato, sour cream, avocado, bell pepper, cilantro and cheese on top of ours. I have used Romaine lettuce but Iceberg gives it such a refreshing CRUNCH!
Layer it in a large clear glass bowl so it makes a nice presentation (for my family, I'll make two large bowls!) Then dig in!
Layered Southwest Salad:
Ingredients: (4 servings)
1 lb cooked, Grassfed ground beef 1 C Cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and Pepper to taste 2 Avocados, sliced
1 1/2 TBSP Chili powder 2 Bell peppers, diced (I usually use yellow
1 tsp Onion Powder for the sweetness and pop of color)
1 tsp Garlic 1 bunch Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 tsp Cumin Cheddar Cheese or Queso Fresco
2 heads, Romaine lettuce or Iceberg, chopped
*Refried beans, black beans or corn can also be added if you like.
Cook the ground beef and season with the spices above, then layer it up! Olé!
*Having guests? Layer the ingredients in large glass Mason jars! They can eat standing up, in the living room or around the table! The glass jars make it portable and provide for portion control too.
**Kids need more veggies? Taco meat is a great way to hide some nutritious veggies. If you have a food processor you can use it to chop up kale, spinach, chard or some other veggie that your kids turn their nose up at and hide it in the taco mea (works for spaghetti sauce too). It's chopped so fine that it just looks like dried herbs.
Pork & Veggie "Lo Mein", Serves 4
I love pasta but I'm gluten and grain free so having my favorite pasta dishes are a thing of the past. While I miss it, my health is far more important! So, one of my favorite substitutes is Zoodles--or Zucchini noodles. You need a spiralizer to make them or an attachment for a Kitchen Aid Mixer. You can also do ribbons by using a carrot peeler. They are delicious and easily absorb the flavor of the seasonings you use. Since one of my favorites is Asian inspired dishes that use noodles, I am making some Zoodles this week for "Lo Mein". YUM!
Here's what you'll need:
1 pound Ground pork, cooked 1/2 tsp Ginger
2 medium Zucchini, spiralized or ribboned Salt & Pepper to taste
1 medium yellow onion, or you can use green onions Coconut Aminos (Soy sauce is fine
1 large, Red bell pepper if you prefer, but we are Soy free)
1 Cup Frozen peas 2 tsp Garlic
1/2 TBSP Xanthum Gum or other thickener Sesame Oil
Cook the ground pork with the ginger, salt, pepper and garlic
Once done, add the Xanthum Gum or other thickener. Stir to combine.
Add Coconut aminos and a "dash" of Sesame oil to make a sauce. Stir to combine.
Add the Zoodles, turn off the heat, cover to let the Zoodles steam cook. Takes 3-5 minutes, approximately. Once the Zoodles are done, stir to mix it all together and serve! You can add more coconut aminos if needed. Another way to thin out the sauce, if needed, is to ad some water or chicken broth. I usually have bone broth on hand for dishes like this as well.
Kids love meatballs (Let's be honest, adults do too!) I'm making some this week and serving over rice (Cauli-Rice for me) along with some green beans. Meatballs are super easy now that I can make them in my Instant Pot! They cook fast and are so flavorful!
Here's what you need for the meatballs:
Salsa Chicken is on the plan this week as well! This is so easy and fast! I use my two Instant Pots to make this meal and I can set it and forget it! You can find the recipe I use here I do add onion, garlic, a bit of salt and pepper to the Salsa and chicken. We serve with Rice (Cauli-Rice for me) and top with Avocado, Sour Cream and Queso Fresco! SO good!
I'm trying a new recipe with the fam-bam this week; Chicken Adobo and I'm using this recipe found here We love to try new flavors and combinations of spices so I'm anxious to see if they like this one! I do plan on using Chicken Breasts but also some chicken legs for my younger kids who love them. It is shown served with white rice, but I may do Cauli-Rice for the whole family on this one.
I hope this is helpful and inspirational for you! Happy, healthy eating! xoxo Lori
Ok, I'm sure that sounds weird and if you're reading this you might be making a confused face, kind of like this one:
But do me a favor and bare with me for a minute...or two.
I see a lot of people walking away from church, but not necessarily walking away from God. It would be super easy for me, or anyone, to just chalk it up to "church hurt" and therefore the problem of the person leaving, I don't think it's that simple. We should never just dismiss someone's experience without first hearing their side. (Proverbs 18:13) I think everyone deserves to be heard. I think most people want to know they matter and nowadays the world does a great job at giving people the impression that they don't, which is contrary to what the Bible teaches because we ALL matter to God. (1 Peter 2:9, Jer. 29:11) God has plans for the lives of each and every one of us but all to often, what trips us up is other people. Now, before you start thinking "But we aren't supposed to look to others for approval and all that." Yes, I get that--really I do. But I'm dealing in facts and reality right now for the purpose of this blog post. The Bible also tells us that we aren't to cause another to stumble (Romans 14:13-23). I think we are so busy telling others not to be offended, not to let others define them, etc.. that we are ourselves forgetting that we aren't to provoke one another and we are to educate with complete patience and teaching (Gal. 5:26. , Phil. 2:3, 2 Tim. 4:2) If we are true Believers and followers of Christ then it is our duty and our call to teach others with patience and understanding.
So, what do I mean by church branding? Your brand is what people say about your congregation when they attend a service or other event at your location. It's what people say about how they feel after interacting with you and your congregation, the leaders, the greeters and so on. It's the feeling they leave with and carry home. (and before anyone blasts me for talking about feelings--again, this about reality, not what we WISH people would be like. They don't come in all nicely wrapped up in a neat little package ready to be all spiritual and Christ-like--- WE are supposed to TEACH them those ways--don't forget that.)
They need to connect with the PEOPLE before they can connect to the cross.
What words do you want your members and visitors to associate with your church?????
What lifestyle are you promoting and modeling for members and visitors?
Is the rhetoric that you speak bigger than the life that you live?
You can't expect visitors, or even new members, to come in "renewed of mind and spirit", ready to add something to your organization; That's not why they came or why they stay.
Even an already born again Believer, coming from another church or having moved to the area, is looking for something they didn't find elsewhere. The question is, does your church have it?
Your role is to develop them into their purpose by helping them grow relationship with Christ and to do that, they need teaching, instruction, help, examples and encouragement. People are messy and they are coming to church with their messes hoping to find a community that will help them figure out their mess and get their life on track. I don't think they expect us to do it for them, they want someone to show them the way. That's our calling and responsibility.
These people aren't walking in the door "ready to lead".
This goes for non-Believers as well, probably even more so! They KNOW that you will be talking about God--it's expected! That's no surprise! They are going to STAY because of how they are received, treated and how being in YOUR presence makes them feel. They are searching for something different from what they are currently experiencing in the world and if they don't SEE or FEEL that difference, they will walk away--and that's on us. WE are Christ's representation on earth and in the church. If you want them to stay, YOU have to BE the difference they are looking for.
Jesus lived His TRUTH.
He knew the cross was enough for salvation but He also knew that He had to demonstrate the difference to the people.
Jesus had 12 disciples that He sought out. They didn't come to Him. They were His closest helpers and companions. Andrew, Peter, James and John were all fishermen. Thomas, Nathaniel and Philip may have also worked as fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. Simon was known as the Zealot. And as a Canaanite. Judas was thief (and Jesus knew he'd betray Him later on and called him anyway). There is no information on the professions of Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Thaddaeus or James. Paul, who became an Apostle after the death of Jesus was a Pharisee. Folks, these aren't the cream of the crop or the pick of the litter. They are plain folk, some with questionable back grounds or professions in those times. But Jesus took these men and turned them into teachers, preachers, and doers of The Word. They needed instruction, guidance, teaching and an example they could see.
If you want people to stay, then you have to give them a reason to do so and stop being the reason they leave. You can't keep excusing your behavior while people are hurting, looking for answers and you have them but want them to "get themselves right" before you will treat them with the love you are commanded to do so by Jesus. If you want to turn them into Hearers of the word, doing the word, then YOU show them how.
Hey, it's meal plan sharing time! So, it's HOT again---as if summer were supposed to be anything else, right? But that has me NOT wanting to do a lot of actual cooking as it heats up the house--and ME! 🤣🤣🤣🤣
So, I've planned a lot of Salads for this upcoming week! Don't worry, there is a variety of ingredients to keep it from being boring and repetitive! I've also planned them BIG for my family so we have some leftovers all week! Yay! Less cooking means less work, less clean up and less time! I've adjusted the amounts for smaller families, most of these will get you 4-6 servings. They also double as lunches for school or work too.
First up, I've got a Rainbow Chopped Salad with with Grilled (or cubed chicken) This recipe will make approximately 4 servings
You will need the following:
4 Cups Purple Cabbage, chopped
2 Yellow bell peppers, chopped
2 Cups Matchstick Carrots
1 1/2 Cups Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
1 Cup, Cucumber, medium sliced, then quartered
4-6 Chicken Breasts, depending on size, Grilled, pan fried or oven baked
2/3 C Tahini
2 1/2 Lemons, juiced
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
2 TBS Water
Mix together, adding water to get a creamy consistency. Pour over and enjoy! This is super yummy and filling!
***TIP: Make Salad Jars for work, school lunch or to grab quickly during the day for a healthy lunch at home. After making the dressing, distribute between 4 glass jars. You want the dressing on the bottom first. Then add the chicken, then the cabbage and veggies mix. When you're ready to eat, just shake the jar to get dressing all over each bite! Leave room at the top of jar for shaking!
(Greek Style Chicken Salad is on the menu too! I love the seasonings in this one! YUM!
This recipe will serve 4 and takes about 45 minutes to make!! How's that for fast, easy and yummy!
You can purchase already blended Greek seasoning or use the following and make up your own:
Salt, Garlic Powder, Basil, Greek Oregano, Cinnamon, Black Pepper, Parsley, Rosemary, Dill Weed, Marjoram, Thyme and Nutmeg. You need 2 TBSP of a Greek seasoning mix for your chicken. (I use my Young Living Vitality oils when I make this up and it is so dang good! Like serious FLAVOR!!)
Add your Greek seasoning to 1/3 Cup olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Whisk to combine it all then cover the chicken in this mixture for at least 30 minutes, but I really like to do overnight so that the flavors really permeate the meat. You can use a shallow dish, a bowl or a plastic storage type bag.
While your chicken marinates for 30 minutes, or the next day if you marinate overnight, you can cut up the veggies you need for the salad. You need the following:
1 large Cucumber, largely diced (medium, bite size chunks)
1/4 Cup chopped Red Onion
3 Cups Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olive (we omit these for those who don't like them) I'm not normally a fan of olives but I chop these up pretty fine and don't notice them much. They do add a nice flavor that I think really gives it that Greek feeling!
Combine all your veggies in a large bowl, add salt and pepper to taste along with 3 TBSP of Balsamic Vinegar and 1/3 Cup Olive Oil. Using a rubber spatula, mix to coat the veggies in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Let that sit so all the flavors can "marry" and cook your chicken!
You can grill your chicken outside or cook it in a very hot, cast iron skillet to get some amazing flavor and a little "char" on your meat! Once it's done, slice and serve with your veggies! So easy and delicious!
Black Bean, Ground Beef and Tomato Salad w/ a Creamy Cilantro Dressing is coming up as well! This takes about 30 minutes to put together, if you prefer, leave out the ground beef and you've got a meal in about 15 minutes! You will get about 4 servings. If you want no carbs, then omit the beans. You could add some yellow bell pepper to this instead.
You will need 2 heads of chopped Romaine lettuce in a large bowl. Once you have that, set it aside.
You will also need:
1 can of Black beans
1 Cup Cherry tomatoes
2 Avocado (diced small)
1 lb of Ground beef, grass fed preferably, cooked and drained (I season lightly with salt, pepper, and some child spice blend)
For the dressing, you need to add the following to a blender to mix together thoroughly
1/3 C Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 Stalk Green onion, roughly chopped
1 Clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp Maple Syrup (or you can use an alternative sweetener for those desiring fewer carbs)
1 Lime, squeeze to add juice to mixture
Blend until smooth. You can add water to get the consistency you want and also add more salt or lime juice as needed.
Once your meat is done and you've made the dressing and assembled all the ingredients you are ready to eat! Layer Romain lettuce on a plate, or in a bowl, top with a row of avocado, black beans, tomato and group beef---then drizzle some of that delicious dressing over it! Time to dig in! This is a great alternative to Tacos on Tuesday or just anytime you want to throw something together fast! I will sometimes keep some cooked ground beef in the fridge just for this salad. It makes assembly a snap! Perfect for a busy night's dinner or fast lunch!
You will love this next one! It is hearty and filling! Roasted Potato Egg and Bacon Salad!
I love potato salad and this is a way to "dress it up" and make it a meal! When I make potato salad, I have found that I prefer to roast my potatoes and get them a bit crispy. It add so much flavor and texture to an old favorite. You can totally change up the flavors every time you make it too! For this recipe. I'm going to use small red potatoes or small golden potatoes, you can also cut up russets into bite size chunks. You will need to lightly coat them with some avocado oil and season with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven at 400 until slightly brown and crispy on the outside; Once done, set aside to cool. You need about 2-3 pounds of potatoes and you'll easily get 6 servings from this but potato salad tastes even better as leftovers!
While your potatoes are roasting, cook your bacon too! Saves time and mess! We like lots of bacon, so I cook 2 packages of it!
So, while you have both of those in the oven you can get the rest ready and it's super easy! You need:
3 boiled eggs, separate your cooked egg whites and cooked yolk when done and cooled. Chop your egg whites
2 stalks green onion, green part only, chopped
3/4 Cup chopped Parsley
For your dressing combine the following in a blender or use an immersion blender
1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
2 tsp Mustard
3 cooked egg yolks
3/4 tsp Sea Salt
Whisk it all together and set aside.
Once the potatoes and bacon are done and cooled you are ready to assemble!
Combine those two in a large bowl along with the chopped egg whites, parsley and green onion. Pour your dressing over and stir gently to combine. Taste to see if it needs more salt and add some pepper if you like. You are ready to serve!
I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy these recipes!