Saturday, October 29, 2011

Success Story: Kelly

Meet my friend Kelly. She's about as sweet as they come... and so is her darling family. She called me a few weeks ago ready to make a change with her diet and looking for some help along the way. She had decided she was ready to change her eating habits, and those of her husband, 2 boys and thought she could use a little direction along the way. So I set up a week long meal plan for her, including breakfasts, lunches, dinner, snacks and desserts. Here's a little snip-it of her journey... I thought you guys might enjoy reading about it. And if you are feeling like you relate with Kelly and want a change in your diet, or you are looking for a meal plan or a change up from the normal, than check out the meal  plan at the bottom of her story. 

1. What made you want to change the way you eat?
I enjoy eating healthy and trying new foods, but my husband is picky and does not like very many vegetables. Also, I am not the most experienced cook. :) My mom, who is truly the most fantastic mom, did not teach me how to cook. She did very little cooking when I was growing up; she just did not like to cook. This combination of not having a lot of experience and having a picky eating husband discouraged me from trying new recipes. When I tried to cook healthy, the meals were boring, simple meals. Then we had kids and life was even more crazy and trying to cook new foods was far off my reality radar. Truly, I wanted to learn some better options for my family and I love trying new foods, but it seemed like too big of a mountain to climb with 3 little kids ages three years old and younger. Then a few weeks ago I was reading an article about processed sugar and how it is broken down in the body. That same week my husband and I had a conversation with some of our close friends about a food documentary they had watched about American diets. This further confirmed in my mind it was time to make a change. A light went on inside me and I decided I wanted to cut out a lot of the process foods we were eating, but I needed help. I needed a mentor. I consulted one of my dearest friends, Andrea the author of this blog, and we got started on our healthy eating week long boot camp...cutting out the processed foods and sugars. Andrea made me a one-week meal plan complete with breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and dessert.  She also met me at the store and we picked out good snacks and also foods that we could take on the go so that if we were stuck in the car during a meal time we would have options until we made it home. 

2. What was the hardest part about changing?
Since the kitchen often overwhelms me and I did not have many other ideas besides what I was already doing, I needed a plan. I needed to know what I could snack on and cook if I was not going to be able to eat my normal snacks and foods. Now, it was not like we were eating fast food or mac and cheese every night, but we did have our share of cookies and crackers in the pantry. So I needed replacements, but I did not know where to start. I already fed my family fruits and (some) vegetables, but what about more interesting ideas. I had none. I also needed to get my husband on board. He totally stepped up and supported me. Love him!  

3. What was the best thing about your new meal plan?
The best part was that it was complete and stress free because I did not have to come up with the foods we were going to was all mapped out. The meals were chosen at a cooking level in which I felt comfortable. I also had Andrea who I could call and ask questions if I needed help with the cooking. :)  

4. Did you feel different?
I did feel different. My body processed the food a lot more, uh-hem, efficiently. :) Mentally, it was awesome to know that I had not put junk in my body all day and that my family was eating healthy. It also was a victory to actually eat a whole week cutting out the processed junk and still really enjoy what I was eating. 

5. And do you think you will continue? why or why not.
Yes we will continue. It is going to be slowly. I am slowly going to build up more foods that we all like that fit into this new category of healthy and tasty meals. My husband was really impressed with the fact that the food was healthy and flavorful. I am excited to keep going on this journey. I do admit though that I will sometimes break my own cream sometimes sneaks its way into our freezer. :)

Kelly*s New Meal Plan!








B: Rice Cakes/
Apples w/ PB
(or granola w/

B: Smoothies
 & Eggs

B: Oatmeal &
    Fresh Fruit

B: Smoothies
 & Rice Cakes (or apples) w/PB

B: Oatmeal &
   Fresh Fruit

B: Smoothies
 & Eggs

B: Breakfast

L : Grilled Cheese, Tuna or PB & Honey Sandwiches w/ carrots, bells & cucumbers dipped in hummus

L: Hummus Sandwiches in Pitas with cucumbers, sprouts, bells, basil, etc. with nuts and fruit

L: Leftover
   Taco Salad

Left over Pesto Pasta w/ apple & baby carrots

L: Leftover
  Greek Salad
Stuffed Pitas

L: Leftover
   Mexican Lasagna & Baby

L: Leftover Santa Fe Salad

D: BBQ chicken, Sweet Potato Fries & Salad or Corn on the Cob

D: Taco Salad

D: Pesto Pasta or Spaghetti w/ broccoli, squash or asparagus

D: Greek Salad Stuffed Pitas

D: Mexican
& Green Salad

D: Santa Fe        Salad

(Chipolte or Coconut Joe’s)
* Fruit/Veggies
* Mango Ice    Cream
* Apples & PB
* Dried Apricots & Choc. Chips
* Lara Bar
* popcorn
Snacks/ Dessert:
* pistachios
* Banana Whips
* Trail Mix
* Popcorn
* Rice Crackers
* Banana whips
* Granola Bars
*TREAT!    IceCream

Friday, October 28, 2011

And the WINNER is...

The Winner of the Sippy Cup Cleaner Giveaway is....

    The Ryska Family! 

Congrats!! Keep your eye for it in the mail!
   Thanks to all who participated!!!

*Winner was chosen by using*

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Did you HEAR???

Just incase you live near a Trader Joe's and you are moderately to majorly obsessed... here's a heads up....they now carry KALE AND GLUTEN FREE BREAD!!!! Can you believe it?? Check it out, it's even printed in their Fearless Flyer... TWO GREAT NEW additions in one MONTH!!! I can hardly stand it!

** If you are wondering what to do with kale, you can add it to a salad, it can be sauteed, it can be hidden in apple sauce, it can be made into chips, added to soups or smoothies and it's packed with nutrients that will make your body happy!

** And I think their Brown Rice Gluten Free Bread comes in two options: 1. Whole Grain Brown Rice Bread 2. Multigrain Brown Rice Bread.... it's dense and heavy, but it's great toasted if you are trying to avoid gluten!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Homemade Pesto Pizza

This cooler weather calls for a toasted pizza bursting with flavor!
Try branching out, letting go of the traditional marinara pizza sauce, or maybe even the BBQ pizza... it's time to meet Pesto Pizza.

Pizza Dough Rolled out with Pesto Sauce, Sauteed Onions & Green Peppers
 Add the tomato, chicken, and cheese
 Bake at 450 and you are done!

Ingredients: (this will make 2 pizza's)
2 rounds of pizza dough ( I used Trader Joe's pre-made whole wheat dough)
mozzarella cheese, shredded
cooked chicken, cubed (see below)
1 tomato, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
pesto pizza sauce (see recipe below)

Pesto Pizza Sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil
3 cloves garlic

Cooked Chicken:
This recipe is great if you have left over chicken from another dish, if not, here's what I did. I baked a package of chicken that was seasoned with sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a Pyrex dish, then cubed it. I used half for the pizza, and saved half for the next night's salad. Two meals in one :)

If you are using a premade pizza dough, see directions, but the TJ's one will tell you to take your dough out 20 minutes before to let it rise. In a Vitamix or food processor, make your pesto pizza sauce. Then,  on a floured cookie sheet, roll out your pizza dough and spoon on your pesto sauce. You can either add your onions & green peppers raw or saute them for 2 minutes in a drizzle of Grape Seed oil ( I prefer them sauteed with a little s & p!). So, next add your sauteed green peppers, your onion, and your fresh chopped tomato. Sprinkle with Mozzarella Cheese and bake for 12 minutes on 450 until cheese is melted and bubbly, golden brown! YUM! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sippy Cup SAVER!

I am slowing down on my posts, my babes are keeping me busy and to be honest,  I have been enjoying fine tuning some old favorite recipes (stay tuned for some "tweaked" posts when I share about changes I have made to "Old Faithful" Recipes) but for now, I have a surprise in store for you!

 Are you ready for the ULTIMATE SIPPY CUP CLEANING TOOL EVER??? This is it... Meet OXO's Sippy Cup Cleaner Kit... ain't she cute???

So, I stumbled upon these at one of my excursions to Home Goods. How cool are these!? They are great for the sippy cup that goes unnoticed under the couch for a few days {gulp... weeks} and has things growing on the inside, these fine, narrow little brushes get in all the right places, even the holes in the top!!!!

But my personal favorite use, is.... SMOOTHIE CLEANING! Do the inside of your sippy cup straws ever get plastered with dried smoothie, making it virtually impossible to get it clean?? Or do you ever get seeds stuck in the tiny holes in the top??  NO LONGER my friends, this tool will save your ... sippy cups LIFE- guaranteed!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time Saving Tip #4

I recently starting making "Smoothie Pouches" mostly because I am trying to be effiecient in the kitchen and trying to cut down on time spent doing the same things over and over- effieciency is part of eating well. If it's too hard, too time consuming, or too strenuous, most likely we won't stick with it. So here's my latest idea.
Time Saving Tip #4: Smoothie Pouches

I package up my smoothie ingredients once a week into 5 bags (Quart Sized Ziplock). I make sure I have ripe bananans for all the bags and then I add my allotted frozen fruit and veggies. Here's where a big time saving tip comes in. I have started freezing my veggies in ice cube trays to make 'veggie cubes" that can be tossed into smoothies. Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE having fresh veggies in my smoothie (versus frozen because you loose a little food value when you freeze) but, on days when I don't have any "smoothie friendly" veggies left on hand these Kale Cubes in handy!

 Here's how to make kale cubes:
Add one peeled orange and an entire bunch of rinsed and de-stemmed kale to your Vitamix and blend until smooth. Scoop out with a spoon into ice cube trays and freeze. Then add 2 -3 cubes to your smoothie pouches.

So in each veggie pouch you would find something like this: 1 banana, frozen blueberries (1/2 cup), frozen pineapple (1/2 cup) frozen peaches, and 2 kale cubes. That means when I go to make my smoothie first thing in the morning, I just dump in the pouch and add my coconut milk, water, flax seed, and any other fresh veggies, like a few tomatoes or a chunk of red cabbage and away we go!

This makes making smoothies every morning not so daunting- it's also great to prep if you have a husband who's a little shy on the Smoothie Making Task- this is error proof!

Here's some proof that your kids will gobble them up!

Side note: If you juice, I use to do this with my veggies for juicing. I would wash & cut my carrots, celery, etc. at the beginning of the week and store it with a papertowel in a ziplock. Then they would be ready to juice every morning!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Time Saving Tip #3

Time Saving Tip #3: Meal Planning
Meal planning. Honestly, that is my saving grace. Meal planning is the ticket... it saves you time, it saves you money and it saves you stress as well as probably some inches too! Here's why!

If you meal plan you are less likely to waste ingredients or have ingredients go bad before you get to them. You are also less likely to binge on something not so healthy or resort to eating out or calling in pizza which could save you some inches on your bod too! It also means that planning ahead will also save you money because you won't be buying things you don't need and you won't be throwing things out! It means that once the week starts I go into "autopilot" and just make what's on the list, which means a whole lot less thinking, pondering, or frustrating searching through the fridge trying frantically to come up with what to feed my family!

Here's some tips that I have found to be helpful. I subscribe to "Abundant Harvest Organics" which is a veggie drop box once a week that arrives on Saturdays. So, I take inventory of that and then sit down on Saturday or Sunday to look through my recipes collection (this blog!! ha!) and I pick through things that incorporate our veggies from our box. Then I write up a list of meals Monday- Friday on one side of a paper and a list of ingredients on the other side. Then, when I head off to the store, I only buy what is on my "list side" of the sheet, rarely does something make it into the cart that's not needed or recorded on the list (except for the dark chocolate something that is always welcome to take a gander in my grocery basket!). When I get home from the store, I put paper with the meal list up on the fridge to navigate my week! Simple as that. Give it a whirl, I am sure you will find it helpful- and easy too once you get into a groove! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time Saving Tip #2

I am always a fan of getting the most "bang for you buck" so this Time Saving Tip is at the top of my charts! I started doing it when Baby #2 was on his way, I would double up my soups- eat one for dinner and freeze the other for a different night down the road when I was to tired to cook!

Time Saving Tip #2: Multiplying Meals
Photo borrowed from

Whenever you are making a stew, soup, chili, or different dish that freezes well, get out a second pot and double it. You will thank yourself the following week when you have a home cooked meal with no effort at all! And, it works great when you buy a bag of carrots or a large stalk of celery or an extra large onion- because you end up using all your ingredients between the two pots and nothing is wasted or goes bad! It's perfect for this time of year... welcome Fall!

What about you... do you have any time saving tips you use to make your kitchen time as efficient as possible??? Share with us!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Time Saving Tip #1

I know it's been a while since I posted, I do have a few recipes to share, there are just a lot of other things on my.... plate :) .... but I will try to get around to it! For now, let me share a few tips that make my time in the kitchen a little more efficient!

Time Saving Tip #1: Planning Lunch Ahead
For dinner lots of nights, we have a big salad as the side dish if not a main dish with some meat, beans or lentils on top. So, as I am making the big salad for dinner, I take out 2 extra containers (one for me & one for my husband or daughter- or whoever is in need of lunch the next day) and I make all 3 salads at once. Then I snap on the lids (without dressing it) and into the fridge it goes for lunch the next day! It's a great way to ensure you a healthy, filling, nutritious meal for you and the ones you love the next day without the headache or frustration of digging through the fridge come lunch time!