Category Archives: Healthy Living

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Ok, so the title says that these are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars but what the title doesn’t tell you is the main ingredient is CHICKPEAS!  And that they’re SOOOOOO GOOD!

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  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • ½ cup peanut butter, can substitue 1/2 c peanut butter made from PB2
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cups dark chocolate chips, reserve 1/2 for the top
  • pinch sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Either spray your loaf pan really well with a non stick spray or line it with parchment paper

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In my blender, add the chickpeas, maple syrup, peanut butter, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Blend until the mixture is smooth.  I put the batter in the pan and added 1/2 of the chocolate chips and stirred those in real well.

I sprinkled the remaining chocolate chips on the top.  Bake 1 hour or until a tooth pick comes out clean and the edges are brown and crisp.  Let them cool completely before cutting into squares.

I took this to a meeting with several of my lady friends.  If I hadn’t told them that this was made with chickpeas, they would have never known that this was healthy dessert.  20170314_130720-1

Enjoy!!!!

Avocado Feta Salsa – Oh My….

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This stuff is sinful – as in hold the chips – just give me a spoon!!!  I’ve had it with chips, but love it by itself and even on a salad!  And the coolest part – it’s really easy to make.

  • 1 avocado diced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 4 oz of feta cheese crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon of Parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

This is so easy….it’s literally, slice, dice, chop, mix and ENJOY!

 

 

Baked Oatmeal Muffins

These are a great sure of fiber and energy morning, noon or night….plus they’ll keep you fuller longer!  I put them in the fridge both at home and work for mid afternoon snacks and needless to say they don’t last long.  You can top these with Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Walnuts….even Dark Chocolate Chips.

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  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3 cups of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of your choice:  Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Walnuts, etc

Preheat the oven 350°.  Line the muffin pan with muffin liners.  This is important, or else they’ll stick, crumble and make a mess.

Mix the eggs, oil and brown sugar until smooth.  Add in applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt and   cinnamon.  Whisk until smooth.  Stir in the baking powder and oats.

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Pour the oatmeal mixture in the muffin cups until the cups are about 1/2 full.

Spoon in the berries and be sure to press them down into the mixture.  Bake 30 mins on 350°.

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Let them cool for 5 minutes before eating or putting them into container. These can be stored in the fridge or frozen.

Below is the nutritional value of the muffins with blue berries as I made them.

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Chocolate Mousse ~ Rich and Skinny!

Attention Chocolate Lovers!   Here’s a recipe to try for a rich, smooth, creamy chocolate mousse…..

I’ve gotta confess right from the start…….I tried to slip this in on my boys but it didn’t quite work as planned because I didn’t get the avocados blended as well as I had hoped.  (I was in a hurry trying to hide the evidence!)  If they had any clue that I turned avocados into chocolate mousse, they would have never tried it.  I loved it!  My boys not so much, but they’re not chocolate lovers.

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  • 2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips, preferably dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1- 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (optional)

This really can’t get any simpler….

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave stirring every 30 seconds.  Be careful not to let it burn.

In a blender or food processor, add all of the ingredients,  blend until smooth and thoroughly mixed.

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Refrigerate 5 minutes to 2 hours before serving.  Depending on how firm you want the mousse.  This yields 4 servings.  To reduce the calories leave out the maple syrup and use a lower calorie almond milk than pictured.

Enjoy!

Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!

As I say goodbye to 2016, I say goodbye to a lot of things….Goodbye carbonated drinks!  Goodbye processed foods!  Goodbye 50 lbs!  Goodbye old me!   In saying goodbye to those processed, fried foods and “junk” I also said goodbye to high blood pressure, heartburn and acid re-flux.  I made some pretty big lifestyle changes in 2016 and I plan to make some bigger changes in 2017! Let’s keep this ball rolling…..

In January of 2016 my dietary goals were:

  • Eliminate processed foods
  • Eliminate carbonated drinks
  • Use more real ingredients and preserve more homegrown foods
  • Throw away those blood pressure pills!
  • Lose 60 lbs

I achieved a lot of those goals….

  • Processed foods are no longer a staple in my pantry. Instead of opening a box of macaroni and cheese, or a tin can of peas, potatoes or corn, I go to the basement and bring up a glass jar of home grown peas, potatoes or corn. Macaroni and cheese was once a weekly side dish and I’m proud to say that my boys haven’t had it but twice in 2016 (that I know about).
  • I can count the number of carbonated drinks I’ve consumed this year and still have fingers left over!  I once was a 2 or 3 a day Coke Zero offender, but now my taste buds have changed so much I can hardly stand the taste of one….
  • We canned over 800 jars of food this year, that in itself speaks volumes.  My boys put 5 deer in our freezer between Thanksgiving and Christmas so there will be lots of venison on our 2017 menu!
  • My blood pressure pill(s) have been long gone thanks to the 50 lbs that I lost and my dietary changes.
  • I didn’t quite reach my 60 lb goal and I have bounced a little through the holidays but that’s okay; I’m human and I know how to fix it!  Life happened, I got busy on the Labor of Love project and my Sunday Funday Prepday became a day that I spent doing other things rather than planning.  When I went shopping for jeans this past Black Friday, I was shocked when I tried on jeans.  I walked into the dressing room with 3 pairs and I walked out with the smallest pair – a pair of jeans literally 1/2 of the size of what I wore last year!

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2017 Health GOALS, not Resolutions (who keeps resolutions?!).  Set a GOAL and strive to achieve it!

  • Drink more water
  • Pack our lunches 5 out of 6 days
  • Eat supper at home 5 out of 6 days
  • Throw away less food!
  • Reduce caffeine intake, I LOVE COFFEE!  (Doesn’t mean I have to love the caffeine.)
  • Take more walks
  • Lose those last 10-15 lbs!

Drink more water, it’s not like I’m drinking anything else (except coffee), I just dont drink enough.  I say pack “our” lunches and 5 out of 6 days because I am a Homeschool Mom that works with my husband 6 days a week and we homeschool our boys at our business.  So the 4 of us are together 6 days a week, 9 straight hours!  Our goal is to reduce our eating out to one lunch and one dinner out each week. This is somewhat a multipurpose goal, eat better and save money at the same time. Maybe this will help with our “throwing away food”!  With all good intentions, I like to shop fresh; the problem is, the fresher, organic foods have to be eaten faster than the preserved foods.  I have got to find that happy medium, I hate throwing away any food.  If you know me, you know I LOVE COFFEE as in morning, noon and night.  Those pots after 12pm need to become Half caf, then Decaf.  I’m killing my adrenaline gland!  More walks ~ I need to learn to walk away and walk down the street at least once a day.  With a business right on Main Street – I have no excuse!  If I focus on these goals, the weight will take care of itself.  I strive to keep the 2016 goals rolling, they were truly lifestyle changes that were life changing!  I plan to add the 2017 to the list and keep on kicking.

Watch out 2017 – here I come!

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Spiced Hot Fruit Bake

20161218_080812-1If you like cranberries, this is for you! The tart cranberries added to the sweet fruit and spices leave you wanting more! It took me back several years and reminded me of the rhubarb pies my grandmother used to make – minus all the sugar that she put in them!!  After the first taste, my boys immediately thought it needed more sugar, not me!

  • 2 cups sliced apples
  • 2 cups sliced pears
  • 1 bag or 1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 can of chunk pineapple (save the juice)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup Coconut Sugar (or regular sugar)
  • 1/2 stick melted butter
  • 1/3 cup Walnuts  (if desired)

Preheat the over to 300°.

Slice the apples and pears.  Mix the apples, pears, pineapple and cranberries in a large bowl.  Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the fruit.20161218_083733-1

In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, honey, sugar, spices and half of the saved pineapple juice.  Pour half of that mixture over the fruit and mix.  Pour the balance of the mixture over the top.

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Bake 1 hr on 300°.  I love the way this makes my kitchen smell…. like apple cider.

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This can be eaten for breakfast, brunch, as a side dish or dessert.  Enjoy!

Baked Parmesan Sweet Potatoes

When I  think of sweet potatoes, I think of cinnamon, sugar….butter…. I never thought of garlic or Parmesan cheese mixed with sweet potatoes.  Once I sampled this recipe, my initial thought was I should have made a double batch!  I have one son that hates sweet potatoes and this recipe won him over (if you know my Clint, that speaks volumes)!  The boys can be picky eaters.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

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  • 2 Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 2 T Butter, melted
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1/2 t Mrs Dash
  • 1/2 t Garlic Salt
  • 4 T Parmesan Cheese + some to garnish
  • Parsley

Peel and dice the potatoes.

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Mix the butter, olive oil, minced garlic, Mrs. Dash, garlic salt and parmesan cheese in a Ziploc bag.  Add the diced potatoes and shake!

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Spray a pan very well, layer the potatoes in a single layer and top with parsley flakes and parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes, until tender.

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There’s no way to describe the way these flavors compliment each other.

Black Bean Brownies – Flourless and Delicious!

A dear friend of mine tried these and shared her recipe.  Once I discovered these are only an average of 115 calories each and they’re SUPER easy to make, I had to try them!   You literally dump all the ingredients into a blender, pulse, and bake.  Yes, they’re really – that easy….

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Preheat oven to 350°.

In a blender add the following ingredients:

  • 15 oz can (1 1/2 cups) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 cup Maple syrup or Agave, pure
  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Stevia, Zing or 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla flavoring
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil

Pulse until blended really smooth.  This is important – the better you blend it – the better it will taste!  Once blended, mix in a handful of dark chocolate chips.

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Spray a brownie pan really well with Coconut Oil Spray and pour the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top, if desired. Cook the black bean brownies 15-20 minutes, then let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut.  Makes 9-12 brownies.

 

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TADA!  When I originally posted this picture, a friend pointed out that these were in a “Temptations” dish – how appropriate!

Chocolate Truffles – Guilt Free!

These are insanely delicious!   When I first saw the ingredients I thought,  this should be good, interesting but good….I never imagined they’d be “that” good, plus addictive!

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  • 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate Chips, melted
  • 1 Tablespoon All Natural Almond Butter
  • 1/4 cup Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 20 seconds, stir, 20 seconds, stir, etc until completely melted.  Add in the almond butter.  Fold in the yogurt.

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Refrigate at least 20 minutes until firm. Form 1 tablespoon size balls and roll in the Cocoa.

Once all the truffles are made, refrigate until ready to eat.

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Enjoy!!!!

The difference 250 days makes….

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  This picture comes with a few tears as well; 250, that’s the magic number…September 6th marked the 250th day of the year…8 mths and 6 days….less than an average pregnancy….That’s 250 days that I have documented my food using MyFitnessPal.  Nothing will make you madder than missing just ONE day on Myfitnesspal and realizing that it starts all over at day 1.  Especially when you forget on day 224!  (Just a little side note for future reference.)  So why does this picture bring tears, the outfit on the bottom is what I wore last summer, the outfit on the top is what I wear today.

I’m slowly losing my marbles…and as you can see from my jar on the left, I’m not finished yet!!  Each pound that is lost is represented by a marble on the right.  Each pound that I want to lose is represented by the marble on the left.  I refuse to let myself be defined by “a number” on the scales, this is simply motivation.  I have a more important number to worry about other than the scales, I will explain that one a little later.

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I’m 45 pounds lighter and 45 pounds closer to a healthier ME!!!  It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.   I’ve heard it before, I’ve said it before and before ‘this time’ I’ve felt like I sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher…(you know what I’m talking about).  I’ve done it all, I’ve tried it all….Weight Watchers, Dexatrim, shots, pills, starvation, laxatives, you name it, I’ve tried it.  They all gave satisfaction – in the moment, but nothing long term…This time it’s different, different because I want it – for me, myself, I and my family….my boys.  I don’t starve myself or take weight loss aids. I haven’t done any wraps, fads or weird restrictions.   I keep it simple ~ I stick with what God gave me.  I keep it REAL as in real food!  My main source of nutrition is fruits, vegetables and lean meats.  I do have limited breads, grains, dairy or natural sugars but I’m real selective.  If I have to count it, I want it to be worth it!  I ask myself – did God make it, if the answer is Yes, I eat it.  If the answer if No, I walk away (most of the time – I am human).  I’m still looking for the Doritos tree!  I shop the outside of the grocery store and venture down those center aisles for very few items.  I’ve replaced macaroni and cheese with Quinoa and the full fledged starchy pasta with veggie noodles.  My family used to enjoy macaroni-n-cheese 2-3 times a week, we’re down to once a month now, if we have it that much.  I don’t drink carbonated drinks but I do drink lots of water, unsweetened tea (and coffee!).  I’ve made some changes to my creamers and sweeteners.  Below is a few of my favorites, notice the words – Natural, Pure, Almond, those are key words when picking a good creamer.  Read the ingredients!

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Call me crazy but when I do eat the things that I have steered away from; such as birthday cake and cinnamon toast crunch, I don’t feel well.  Since January, I have not been bloated, overstuffed or miserable after a meal.  The “dessert joke” used to be when the waitress came by to ask, “would you like anything else? dessert?”  The answer would always be “a wheel barrel to get me out of here”….not anymore!  Oftentimes, I split a plate with one of the boys and almost always it’s something light or grilled; fried foods are not my friend in this new lifestyle.  Do I miss certain foods, sure, but I’m convinced it’s all in my head.  Does my body miss them, I’m sure it doesn’t.  My body is thanking me daily for not feeding it food that it doesn’t recognize.  Heartburn and acid reflux are things of my past, Rolaids, who needs a Rolaids, NOT I!  And here’s the cool part – I haven’t needed my blood pressure pill(s) either!!!  On January 4th, I was prescribed my 2nd blood pressure pill to maintain a blood pressure of 135/95.  I told my Dr, that pill wouldn’t last long that I was starting a program the following day as a 39th birthday present to me and my goal was to be off BOTH pills when I returned in August.  She’d heard that before, but this time it was different, I was on a mission and I was DETERMINED!  As the weight started dropping, so did the blood pressure!  I monitor it regularly now and it stays in the 120s/70s on ZERO pills!  (Y*E*A*H!)  That my friends is a number to be defined by, not the numbers on the scales.  When I returned to the Dr in August, my Dr came in with her head down grumbling, “another chart wrong, when are they going to get this weight thing right…”  Then she looked up and her face was priceless.  “WOW!  You really have lost 40+ lbs!!”  I learned later that she thought they’d weighed me incorrectly when I entered the office.  Needless to say, she was tickled that I proved her wrong!

When I started this journey I had 2 goals, #1 set a better example for my children and #2 go off of my blood pressure medicine.  I now have a 5 yr old who will ask me to pack him a salad for lunch – because that’s what he sees me eating.  Monkey see, Monkey do.  And I now have the Dr’s blessing to officially go off of the blood pressure pills that I’ve been on for 7 years.  Yes, 7….I’ve been on at least one pill for the last 7 years.

Before I started this journey my energy level was batting zero.  A year ago there’s no way I could have helped pick 80+ buckets of tomatoes.  No way I could have helped dig a 100 ft ditch and no way I would have torn shingles off of a roof…A year ago, I would have laughed if you told me I would run 5k distances for FUN?!?!?

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If only I had started sooner.  That’s my only regret.  After months on this journey, it’s heart warming to see others in my household joining the same team.

You’ve got this!  If I can do it – You can too!!!

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