I am a Mormon stay-at-home-mom of six. Yeah, I know, "that's a lot of kids"! Sometimes it truly is A LOT. Most of the time it's not. It's simply put...our normal. On my page you'll find spiritual thoughts, tales of trials, happy moments, recipes, funny stories, and more. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

In a land of healthy foods

I've been thinking a lot about food lately.  Good foods.  Bad foods. And the differing opinions on what is and is not healthy. While one person might say that Goldfish crackers are a great healthy snack for your child, another might say that they are high in carbs and therefore will create a high and then a low in your child.  A better snack would be a fresh fruit or veggie.

Don't get me wrong.  Long long ago, in a land far away, I was the mom who gave my children hot dogs, chicken nuggets, fries, and mac and cheese for lunches.  They ate plenty of yummy fruit snacks, goldfish crackers, ritz crackers and pretzels.  Packaged items who aplenty in my home.  And then the fairy tale crumbled. I began learning about Autism.  A good friend, who had been dropping hints for years about healthy eating, began educating me on foods that can cause a negative effect on human beings.  I learned about high fructose corn syrup, msg, hydrogenated oils, etc.  I began recreating our world and the foods we consume.

Now, don't think that it happened in a snap....with sparks of light and twinkling my cabinets were filled with healthy foods.  NOT! That would have been amazing!  But it took time.  Lots of time.  Loads of time.  And hours and hours of research.  My computer became my friend.  And "junk" in food became my enemy.

We still have General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios in the house because we are not perfect and we eat starches and carbs still.  But we have reduced them significantly.  Please note that I have looked at generic honey nut cheerios and they are NOT the same.  The ingredients are SO much better in the General Mills brand.  It's not perfect, but MUCH better!

Ingredients:Whole grain oats, sugar, oat bran, modified corn starch, honey, brown sugar syrup, salt, tripotassium phosphate, canola and/or rice bran oil, natural almond flavor and vitamin E (to preserve freshness).

A few things that I still cringe about...sugar is the second ingredient.  NOT the best way to start your day...especially if you have ADHD or Autism.  But there is no BHT.  They use vitamin E to preserve freshness.  That is a nice little fact.  Modified corn starch...well if it says modified that means they did something to it, so it sends off warning bells in my head.

Use good judgement.  Decide what ingredients you want to consume.  At first we only removed certain items from our approved food list and gradually the list got a whole heck of a lot longer.  We try to stay away from prepacked foods most often.  It's not 100% of the time or I would go insane.  But it is happening most of the time.

We started having eggs with ham, cheese and fruit for breakfast. Each child chose to do it a little differently.  Some liked scrambled eggs with cheese in them that were rolled up inside the ham.  Others wanted them all separately.  Whichever way you choose to serve it, make it fun.  It's not a death sentence to eat healthy. It's a lifestyle change that can extend your life.

A couple of my children are always fighting me on eating healthy.  They don't like it.  I hope that eventually they will see the good in eating healthy...not the "healthy" that the school and outside world tells them but the REAL healthy way...and choose to live that way on their own.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Panting like a dog...

How many of you really thought this post was about a dog?  Although our little chihuahua/jack russell terrier is sweet and cute and the best dog ever...she is not what I was thinking of at the moment.

Thinking of getting healthy...it would be crazy for me not to mention making sure that you are exercising.  You can lose weight by changing how and what you eat, but if you want to get fit and make your body stronger you need to exercise.  There's no way around it.  And once a person hits their 30's, 40's and 50's it gets harder and harder to lose those pounds a person has been meaning to lose all those years ago.  Why not start now?  Why not make the effort for a better you? You deserve it!

Today I did a workout that I haven't done in a while.  I thought I would breeze through it because I have flown through a lot of my old workouts lately.  I am stronger than I have ever been. But, alas, I was SO very wrong.  After about 30 seconds into the DVD I was panting like a dog.  I kept reminding myself to breathe, and to regulate those breaths.  I kept telling myself I could push through this.  And at one point I almost quit.  I let the negative thinking slip in  and I almost gave in to it.  When I don't finish something I started it's very frustrating to me.  I want to finish and finish well.  So, I pushed aside those thoughts and started reminding myself I only had 10 more minutes to go.  I told myself I could do it.  I pushed harder. I breathed deeply between exercises.  I willed the cramp in my side to disappear and refocused on breathing deeply.  And I finished!  I made it through; while panting insanely and sweating profusely.  I am soaked and gross, but I am feeling triumphant!  And now I have energy.  Energy to face my day.  Energy to focus on my kids.  Energy to make good food choices.  Energy to do a plank....just because I want to.  And energy to feel happy and positive.  THIS feeling is what I do these workouts for.  I do it for all those endorphins that are now flying.  I do it to prove to myself that I can.  It's like going to my very own pep rally.  I'm pumped!

I fight an internal battle every single day.  A battle that wages my lazy side and the side of me that desires desperately to be fit and healthy.  It's not easy, but I find that the more I push forward and exercise and eat right the more I WANT to do it.

This week, eat a fruit or vegetable you've never had before.  When cooking vegetables use REAL butter or olive oil.  Some people even use coconut oil; it's extremely healthy for you.  Use salt, pepper and spices for flavor, if you desire.  Saute, bake or grill it.  Yum. Now my mouth is watering.  :)

On Sunday someone shared a box full of fresh veggies from their garden and I grabbed a very large patty pan squash. I didn't even know the name of it.  It's quite large and I guess when they are smaller they can be sliced and eaten similarly to a yellow summer squash or zucchini.  We are going to try it out.

Now is a great time to do grilled foil dinners.  Cut some potatoes into cubes.  Cut bell peppers, onions, summer squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots and any other veggies you like.  We even use frozen veggies. Use large pieces of aluminum foil that are about 12-15 inches in length.  Spray with canola or olive oil.  Place potatoes and vegetables onto the center of the foil. Add seasonings, salt and pepper and a square of  butter.  Grill until potatoes are cooked through.

Steer clear of prepacked seasoning mixes.  They will inevitably contain artificial preservatives, tons of extra salt, and MSG.  Find recipes for spice mixes online.  Get creative.  Make your food taste delicious while staying healthy. Your body will thank you!

Monday, August 5, 2013


We are back from our family vacation in Texas and it's a rude awakening to have to go back to eating right again.  We were a bit lenient...or maybe I should say A LOT... while we were at our family reunion because it was simply too hard to expect all the meals to be as all natural as I like them to be.  That didn't mean that I did any less cringing when I read a label that contained MSG or other JUNK.  Deep breathing....

While I was there I thought of plenty of things to write about but with the chaos and fun we had I only remembered one so far.

When you are buying canned foods don't assume they are full of good healthy ingredients.  Some of the ways they use to "preserve" these items is to add artificial ingredients/preservatives.  Also, many pre-made/pre-packaged items contain MSG as well.

One of the meals we had at our reunion was called Tamale Pie. Essentially it is this: canned chili mixed with canned corn, and some sauteed onions and peppers thrown in for flavor. This is all placed in a 9 x 13 baking pan.  On top was spread corn bread..  It is tasty!  Bake it until bubbly and corn bread is done in the center.

When changing to an all natural way of eating, the problem lies in the canned chili...mostly.

The chili: If I were at home I would make black bean chili for dinner one night, making sure to make extra for the next day or for a few days later to make this dish.

Black Bean Chili
*Note* I am NOT the best at making chili yet, so any suggestions would be welcomed.  This is the best one I have so far.  ;) Don't forget to check your canned goods to make sure there is nothing "unknown" added.  Vegetables, water and salt is the way to go!

12 oz. ground beef or turkey
onion powder
garlic powder
14 1/2 oz. diced tomatoes
15oz. black beans
8 oz. tomato sauce
3 tsp. chili powder
2-3 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. crushed oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. pepper
salt to taste
1 Tbsp. soy sauce (check your labels.  Kikkoman brand has one this is pretty good and doesn't have MSG.)
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown meat in pan.  Add remaining ingredients.  Let simmer.  Serve.

The corn: Some people won't eat anything out of a can.  Sometimes that simply isn't affordable for a large family.  Each family needs to do what is best for them.  I prefer fresh or frozen corn.

The biscuits: Put DOWN the box mix...Step Away from the premade stuff.  Haha!  Corn Bread is SUPER easy to make and delicious too.  Most premade/pre-packaged items will inevitably have ingredients that are not necessary and they are most expensive to keep on hand.

Here is the Corn Bread recipe we use:

Corn Bread
1 ¼ c. flour
¾ c. corn meal
½ c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. milk
¼ c. oil
1 egg beaten

Grease  8 or 9 inch pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  In separate bowl combine milk, oil and egg.  Mix well.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture.  Stir just until moistened.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake @ 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. (Dark pan heat oven to 375 degrees)

Makes 12 muffins: line muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes

Now GO and make something delicious that you can feel good about feeding to your family!