Category Archives: Healthy Living

Sun-Dried Tomatoes – In the Oven

If you’ve ever purchased sun-dried tomatoes, you know how expensive they can be.  I made a recipe not long ago that called for them and I almost left them out of the recipe once I saw the price ($5.79 a jar)!  After doing some research I decided to try my own hand at making some; they’re super easy and well worth the effort!


I sliced Tommy Toe tomatoes in halves and laid them on a baking sheet.


I sprinkled them with Pink Himalayan sea salt, course ground pepper, oregano and olive oil.


Turn the oven on the lowest setting.

Bake for 10-12 hours until they look like this.


I put mine in a quart size freezer ziploc bag, used a straw to remove all of the air and froze them.  Frozen they will last 1 year.


If you prefer, you can pack them in a jar, cover with olive oil and refrigerate 2-3 weeks.

Raw Local Honey vs Pasturized Store Bought Honey

Let me start by saying I am no bee/honey expert,  by no means.  Some of you reading this know a lot more about it than I do  ~ I won’t call your by name. Growing up, my grandfather had honey bees and my Daddy has them today.  I’ve been around them my whole life, and as you can see from some of the picture I’ve taken, bees don’t bother me.  With that being said….What I do know is there’s some pretty awesome health benefits to the real stuff….the sweet liquid gold that you get locally – NOT store bought.  Store bought isn’t much more than a sweet tasting honey like syrup that might help your cough.  I will admit, I have grabbed a honey bear or two before, due to poor planning on my part, but not anymore!


Did you know there’s tons of health benefits hidden in that extra sweetness of your local raw honey?!  “Local” and “Raw” are the key words.  Bees use pollen from anything that blooms to make the honey.  They spend 1000s of hours collecting pollen from nearly 2 million flowers to make 1 lb of honey.  The pollen used in making the honey allows it to help you build antibodies to counter act pollen allergies.  Honey contains natural antioxidants, enzymes and minerals; such as, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B6.  When you buy “honey bears” or honey from the store, you lose all these health benefits.  Honey purchased in chain stores is so highly processed that the high temperatures destroy the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals.  There’s no trace of pollen and the #1 ingredient is High Fructose Corn Syrup “aka” the devil….that stuff is BAD!  Even my children will tell you it’s bad stuff.


Did you know 1 tablespoon of honey contains 17 carbs and 64 calories but will not spike your blood sugar like white sugar?  It is the most nutrient dense food known to man. It helps lower blood pressure and blood sugar.  It boosts the immune system and helps the digestive system.  It boosts energy and memory,  promotes weight loss,  and helps prevent cancer and heart disease. It’s GOOD stuff!  Not to mention it’s been around  forever!  Warned about in the Bible (Proverbs 25:16) and discovered in ancient pyramids.  The honey found in the pyramids is still good today, good because it doesn’t spoil!  Bacteria doesn’t grow in acidic foods or super saturated sugar and honey is both!


When used in cooking it is a healthy alternative to sugar and doesn’t require as much.  If the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, reduce it to 2/3 – 3/4 cup of honey and reduce the cooking temperature by 25 degrees.

When working bees, it’s best to wear protective clothing.  Clothing types vary. Shanny wears a bee keeper’s hat with a veil and a jacket, her father wears a complete suit and my Dad wears just the hat and veil.  They all vary and each is simply a preference.

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Here’s pictures of Daddy working his bees.  Checking the hives to see if any are ready for harvesting.

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Some are just getting started and some are REALLY close to harvesting!

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The rack below is one of ten in the box called a “Super”.  It weighs approximately 3 lbs and is as fresh as it gets.  This pictured is spring honey.  Think about that just a second, 3 lbs….and it takes those bees nearly 2 million flowers to make just 1 lb – wow – that’s alot of flowers!


Honey trimmed off of an edge.  Delicious!!!!  It literally melts in your mouth as you chew that sweetness.


This is the “Super”, see all those edges, my kids will stand in line for this!!!  An average Super should produce roughly 5 gallons of honey.


Dad’s bee hives.


This swarm out grew their home, it happens when it’s full of honey!!!  That’s where Dad grabbed the “Super” of honey.


Honey that my father collected from one of his hives.


Finished product!!!  It’s delicious and one of the few things Dad never sells….with four girls, we leave little to spare….

Sunday Fun-day Prep-day

Sunday afternoons are spent in one of my favorite rooms – the kitchen!  The few hours it takes to prep food for the week truly makes healthy eating Monday thru Saturday a breeze.  And since I work 6 days, I prep for 6 days…

Here’s step for step how my afternoon flows:

I start a pot of water boiling to boil 6-12 eggs, 6 if I plan to have one for snack/lunch and 12 if I plan to have 2 for breakfast.  Did you know if you put your cold eggs in boiling water that the shells will literally peel right off when you’re peeling them?  Try it – I promise it’s SO MUCH EASIER!

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While that water is boiling, I turn the oven on 350° to bake 3-4 sweet potatoes.  Once baked, I refrigerate for the week; these make great side dishes for dinner. As soon as those are in, I start the Mandarin Orange Angel Food Cake  (that recipe can be found under Family Favorite Recipes).


Next, on to the pint size lunch salads, 4-5 grape tomatoes in the bottom of a pint wide mouth mason jar.  Then I pack them full of spinach, sprinkle with feta cheese and top with 4-5 more grape tomatoes.

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Then we move to the Crustless Mini Quiche, our breakfast for the week, (the recipe can be found under Family Favorite Recipes.).


While the quiche are baking, I pack my carrots/hummus for the week.


Then, I slice/dice/chop vegetables, such as; broccoli, cauliflower, squash and zucchini.  We like to roast, grill or saute a lot of vegetables so this makes for quick and easy dinners!

Last but not least, I make sure I have a weeks worth of apples and grapefruit on hand. I wait and slice my apples and cut my grapefruit the morning I plan to eat them.


Finally….I sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee….meals for the week are prepped and ready to go…..

Take Pictures People

Take pictures people!  Don’t hide behind the camera like I did!  Remember me saying I had dodged the camera for years, but then when all four sisters got together for the 1st time in 14 yrs pictures were taken?  Here are just a few….it was a very special time in our lives, but who’s the girl on the far left…..that’s me…..the Malinda that I didn’t recognize.

October 2015, all four of us girls with our Mother, then our Father……

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Christmas 2015, the four of us together again.  All four of us have the same mom and dad, we all look alike, we’re all from the same gene pool and we’ve all had babies.  So what happened to me?!  I know what happened – I got comfortable and I lived by the “Grab-n-Go” lifestyle.


And this is me today, 147 days later.  Journal, journal, journal – is my new bff!  If it goes in my mouth, it goes on (ok – except for my daily coffee and creamer – that’s the ONLY thing I don’t count and don’t journal – a girl has to have something – right?!)

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I didn’t get serious about the weight loss challenge until Jan 5th and to date I’ve lost nearly 40 lbs.  I’m having to guess here, since my trainer friend, not calling any names, but some of you know her…..she won’t let me see that number on the scales!!  Why? Because it’s just a number and I refuse to let THAT number define me!  I am so much more!  I want to be strong, confident and healthy!

It takes 4 weeks for you to notice a difference, 8 weeks for your friends and family to notice and 12 weeks for the world to notice.  Don’t give up!  I make bad choices, but I refuse to give up!!!  “Just because you drop your cell phone doesn’t mean that you leave it laying – you pick it up, brush it off and keep on going!”  Yes, my friend, I have been listening!  And for the record – I’m not losing weight – I’m getting rid of it because I have NO intentions of finding it again!!!

The story behind “Preserving the Good Life”….

People are asking – What made us want to do a Blog and Facebook page and why did we name it “Preserving the Good Life”?  Preserving – Canning – Good Life is a pretty good summary of who we are – or at least a start!  Preserving / Canning is one of our many hobbies and it’s something that John and I enjoy doing together.  He’s the idea man, the one that says – “we’re canning strawberry rhubarb pie filling tonight” and I’m the one that puts the legs to it, the one that writes down the recipes, takes pictures and tries to explain it to where anyone can follow it.  Side by side, elbow to elbow we’re in this together.  We’ve canned for years and we love it!  Something you won’t see on here much is my hand written recipes.  I hand write every recipe in hopes my children will appreciate them one day as much as I appreciate the hand written recipes that I have had handed down to me.

We’ve had friends to ask us to teach canning classes; especially since it is a dying art.  We’ve even had friends show up on our door step with beans and jars in hand asking if we’d help get them started.  And that’s what we’re here for – to help and love each other, right?

As for the “Good Life” part, we truly do try to live a good life and that’s something that we want to hand down to our children.  A dear friend told me once, teach your children to love the Lord and the rest will come naturally.  I took those words to heart….now let’s try to teach them the lost art of canning, how to live better and make wiser decisions.  We’ll be sharing canning recipes as we can and we’ll be sharing family favorite recipes along the way.  If you’ve ever had the opportunity to eat any of John’s cooking – you’re in for a treat, he’s finally agreed to share some recipes!

“Good Life” covers many areas….I made a huge lifestyle change the 1st of the year.  And it’s paying off!  I have people ask me weekly – “How are you doing it?”, “What changes have you made?”, “What’s your secret?”.  I tell them all the same – there’s no secrets, no gimmicks or magic potions.  Simply eat what God gave you!  Natural not processed, water not sodas, limited dairy and limited sugar..  Know what you’re eating!  So to me the two go hand in hand, if I’m canning and preserving my own food – I know what’s going into it.  I know what sodium, preservatives and additives are in it.  I know the hands that’s prepared it and the cleanliness of the kitchen.  And most importantly I know what my family is eating!  It’s been a journey for sure, but if just one person can learn something from this, it’s well worth the effort!

So when it came to a name, I picked several brains, looking for the perfect name to describe the combination of ideas I wanted to share.  One friend came back almost immediately “Preserving the Good Life”….I hope you all love it as much as we do!

Calories – What do calories really look like…

Calories – the dreaded word for anyone trying to cut back, do “good”, or eat better.  Why do we dread that word?  For me, it’s something I have to watch, something associated with things I loved….like cake and chocolate….It wasn’t until I understood the true definition of a calorie that the dread and fear went away.  Did you know that the definition of “calorie” is a unit of energy?  In the past few months, I have found there’s a HUGE difference in calories; good vs bad.  I pack my breakfast, morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack everyday.  My boys tease me and say that I eat all the time – and I really do!  There’s a lot of talk about healthier options at fast food restaurants, and there might be, BUT all that stuff is loaded with preservatives.  Try buying a happy meal and let it sit for a week, funny how it doesn’t change.  My apples change color before noon, their packs don’t change in a week – and I’ve been feeding that to my kids?!?!?  So that got my wheels to turning, unit for unit, calorie for calorie, what do my breakfast, lunch and snacks look like compared to McDonald’s healthier options…..are you ready for this?

Here’s what I eat most days before 5 pm, which is approximately 560 calories.

  • Breakfast:  2 boiled eggs
  • Am Snack:  Apple
  • Lunch:  Tuna pack, Salad and Carrots with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Pm Snack:  Grapefruit with 1 pk of Stevia in the Raw


My salads consist of grape tomatoes, sprinkle of feta cheese and loads of spinach.  I make them on Sunday afternoons for the week ahead (I will cover weekly food prepping in another post).


I mentioned Grapefruit with Stevia in the Raw, let me tell you – that grapefruit knife is a time saver.  I love it!


Ok, so that’s what I eat on a regular basis – now to cover what I was eating.

When I would run by McDs for breakfast, I would grab the Egg White Delight.  That’s healthy right?  Well maybe….sort of….not really.  There’s a big difference in the sodium and carbs when compared to my 2 boiled eggs.  Those 2 boiled eggs are 140 Calories, 12 g Protein, 10 g Fat, 0 Carbs, 142 g of sodium.

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No morning snack….then I’d run out to lunch…..When grabbing lunch I would always go for the chicken sandwich, regular fry and a large unsweetened tea with 4 Splendas.  Being realistic here, we all know we’re tempted with the up-size, but I’d try to be good and only get the regular fries.  The sandwich and fries alone – 700 calories!  That’s more than I’m getting in breakfast, lunch and two snacks!

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McDs breakfast and lunch, without any snacks is 960 calories. Let that sink in a minute….2 meals – 960 calories verses eating every 3 hours, 2 meals and 2 snacks – 560 calories.  Since I got larger than planned by my love for eating, I think I’ll stick with the eating every 3 hours.

If you’re ever curious about calories in fast food, you can find it listed on most fast food chain websites.  This information came from




How my life changed on January 5, 2016

My life changed forever on my 39th birthday, (January 5th, 2016).  I made a commitment to God, myself and my family that I was going to eat better, eat more of what God gave me and less processed foods.  The 2015 year was both eye opening and exciting for me and my family.  Things happened that forced me in front of a camera, something that I had dodged for many years.  One sister came home after 14 yrs and another sister got married.  When four sisters get together for the 1st time in 14 yrs you can bet there are cameras close by!  Both were very happy times for our family, the sad part was I didn’t recognize myself in the pictures!  What happened to the girl that I used to be?  Where did I go???  Fast and convenient had became my way of life.  I stayed on the go and my eating habits reflected my “grab-n-go” lifestyle.  It took the shock of seeing myself in those pictures to realize I had to make a change.  So, Jan 5th I joined the local gym and a new program called the Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge.  At first I felt like I had joined some sort of Food Anonymous program.  Those trainers wanted to know everything I put in my mouth each and every day!  I felt like I was going to confession every week, until I discovered I wasn’t the only one.  We discussed things that worked, things that didn’t.  We discovered that good nutrition is the key to weight loss.  It all boils down to – eat what God gave us:  fruit, vegetables, chicken, seafood, lean meats and limited dairy.  There’s no magic or gimmicks behind it, just lots of planning and prepping!  I log everything that I consume on and my goal is to maintain roughly 1,200 calories per day.  I plan/prep my meals for the upcoming week on Sunday afternoons and I set small goals.  Do I workout?  Yes, but not everyday. My changes are working and I remind myself daily – Slow and Steady Wins the Race!  I average losing 2 lbs per week and I’m closer to my goal than I was 4 months ago, last month or even last week.  I’ve lost nearly 40 lbs so far!  “So far” – key words!  This journey isn’t over yet!  Stay tuned, I’ll have several pointers, recipes and prepping food plan ideas to share.

Me Before After


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