WB Meal Plan - Healthy from the Pantry

This week is my "squeaky-week"... meaning pay day is Friday and I want to stretch our dollars and use what we already have. This can be very tricky when trying to eat healthy but with a little strategy it isn't always easy it can be done... let's hope!


Baked Potato Bar ~ options: vegan butter, broccoli florets, chives and salsa.

Honey glazed Baby Carrots

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ courtesy of Clean Eating book.


Healthy Parmesan Cheese ~ Chicken breasts trimmed of fat and marinated in light Italian dressing and then grilled. Using whole wheat spaghetti and no bread crumbs. I have 100% all natural spaghetti sauce... no saturated fat and no high fructose corn syrup.

Pineapple Cottage Cheese

Mango Coconut Smoothies


Grilled Turkey Burgers with Homemade Whole Wheat Buns ~ with bibb lettuce, red onion, pickles.

Basil Vegetable Medley

Orange Slices


Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad

Steamed and sauteed Brussel Sprouts ~ using olive oil and garlic.

Baked Apples


No cooking tonight ~ dinner out with family.

What's on your clean menu for this week... do share!


Unhealthy Fear

I'm a thinker. I think of what I need to do for the day. Think about things I didn't do yesterday. Think about how my weeds need pulled... how my basement needs reorganized... what should I blog about next. Just normal thoughts.

Then my brain will shift to a particular person. Maybe I'm suppose to pray for them. So I do. Then about my past or present with that person. Maybe I was hurt or neglected a bit by them. What did I do wrong? See where this going?

Anxiety. Hurt. Fear. Anger. Pain. Wounds.... a quick downward spiral.

Are you with me?

For me, I know those dark thoughts come from my lack of faith in God... plain and simple. It is fear. Not in God, but in things... myself... others.

Max Lucado says,

Fear, it seems, has taken a hundred-year lease on the building next-door and set up shop. Oversize and rude, fear is unwilling to share the heart with happiness. Happiness complies. Do you ever see the two together?... No. Fear is the big bully in the high school hallway: brash, loud and unproductive.

Fear never wrote a symphony or poem, negotiated a peace treaty, or cured a disease. Fear never pulled a family out of poverty or a country out of bigotry. Fear never saved a marriage or a business. Faith did that. People who refused to consult or cower to their timidities did that. But fear itself? Fear herds us into a prison and slams the doors.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit dwells within me... so thankful! I am graciously reminded of this powerful verse written by Paul...

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

What do these adjectives really mean?

true: exact; accurate.

honorable: creditable; upright.

right: in accordance with what is right; correct in judgement and action.

pure: free from tainting or polluting matter.

lovely: delightful; highly pleasing.

admirable: excellent; first-rate.

I have to have a plan to avoid these troubling thoughts that arise... daily. Are they accurate? Are they pleasing and excellent? Am I making a correct judgement of these thoughts?

Jesus is questioning me in my storms, and asks, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" (Matt. 8:26)

I will cling to this verse for now...

Take courage. I am here!

Matthew 14:27 (NLT)

Are you fearful too? What things are blinding you to a greater faith in God? What is your plan to have more fear in God and less fear in life?


WB Meal Plan - #1 Momma Picks

Its been a little while since I've posted a meal plan. Sometimes as a blogger you can easily judge a post by the comments received or not. But I have found just because you receive little comments on a particular post doesn't always parallel the reader's interest. So for now, I will bring back the weekly meal plan. I personally like doing them for my own accountability and organization of the week's meals.

Confession... I arranged meals this week strictly from a selfish standpoint... they are all my favorite meals ~ #1 Momma picks! Hope you like too.

Monday: {Picnic}

BBQ Chicken {skinless} Thighs ~ with homemade bbq recipe

Capellini Caprese ~ using whole wheat spaghetti and omitting mozzarella and replacing with 2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Roasted Chickpeas

Iced Tea with orange slices

Tuesday: {Low Fat}

Individual Tex-Mex Turkey Meatloaves ~ using panko instead of white bread and no sour cream either. Will shape into 8 miniature loaves on a greased pan ~ 350 oven for 45 minutes.

Roasted Mini Yukon Potatoes ~ olive oil, sea salt, pepper and dill. Boil in water until semi-soft. Bake in oven (350) until golden and tender.

Spring Salad ~ young spring organic mix, cucumbers, shredded carrots, tomatoes with citrus vinaigrette.

Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls

Wednesday: {Fish}

Salmon Cakes (I am officially not saying "patties" anymore! These tasty cakes deserve such a more prestigious identification.) I must say, I heart, heart this recipe. I have made salmon "cakes" for years now and this is truly the best.

Brown rice & green beans ~ compliments of Trader Joe's

Thursday: {Meatless}

Lentil Tacos ~ These are quite amazing. My husband raves about these and he is not a bean lover.

Fruit salad

Friday: {Gluten-Free}

Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

Alabama Peach & Blackberry Cobbler


20 Ways I Feel the Love at Aldi

There's a lot to be said about a place that's cheap and offers wholesome things. It does take a little studying and a keen eye amidst all the carefully stacked cardboard boxes, artificially colored puff balls and gummy-worm surprise as you enter this discounted German-based supermarket, but it can happen. Yes, Aldi is a place you can double your pleasure... cheap and healthy.

Here's a little bitabout Aldi... they only stock frequently purchased items so they turn over their inventory much quicker than other supermarkets making their items up to 40% less than other stores.

So at the request of one of my dearest friends (who is an amazing cook and makes some killer bean soup or as those from the south say, "soup beans") here is a list of my 20 favorite, healthy items I love at Aldi.

1. The LARGE "its all about saving green" resuable bag ($.99)

2. Veggie Chips

3. Trail Mix/Nuts/Dried Fruit

4. Extra Virgin Olive oil and Olive Oil spray

5. String cheese

6. Balsamic Vinegar

7. Brown Rice

8. Romaine lettuce/Spinach

9. Turkey Bacon

10. Wild caught canned/frozen salmon

11. Whole wheat pastas

12. 100% fruit juices

13. Corn tortillas

14. Hummus (scored very high on this very selective, "hummus-snobby" family)

15. Whole wheat (Triscuit-like) crackers

16. Frozen bag of Mixed Berries (for smoothies)

17. All Natural Fruit Strips (ahhh-mazing!)

18. Frozen Ground Turkey

19. 100% Whole Wheat Bread

20. Gelato & Italian Ice

I would add all the produce too, but I like ending on even numbers...

I know there are many more wholesome things at Aldi... tell me what you love?


My Journey to Health... Finale

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Very quickly my son started showing signs of great improvements from cleaning our home of environmental toxins, specifically harmful chemicals. But I also took special care to dust better, clean out vents, get a better vacuum, ventilate our home frequently and change our sheets weekly. I wanted to make sure his room was extremely clean so we purchased an air purifier too.
The next step we took after much reading about children with allergies dealt with the food that we were consuming. This is the spot in our journey where we began fine-tuning and getting "nit picky." It didn't happen overnight... I didn't want to traumatize my kids (or husband for that matter) so the changes were quite slow and subtle. One thing at a time.
I do remember the first thing I got rid of were frozen chicken nuggets... not sure how I remember that, but I do. I found out that only 44% of those frozen tan chunks are actually chicken and the rest is a list of 38 added ingredients and preservatives... not what I want my kids eating and trust me, they were living on those "things."
We started to remove sugary foods like marshmallow-y cereals, Kool-aid, packaged cookies and crackers. I began to read labels more closely to avoid foods with high fructose corn syrup, bleached flour and color additives. Avoiding cow's milk was popping up in almost every book I read on children's allergies too. BIG FACTOR! Again, one by one we began to eliminate those foods.
This part of the journey was not easy. This was by far one of the biggest challenges I had faced because not only was I reading tons of material, I also had to plan meals and find recipes, be more creative in the grocery store, and basically put on a chef's hat that was never there before. Did I want to eliminate all these easy, convenient foods? No way. And was I even sure doing all this would even make a difference? But at the same time, did I want to face a future with a possible "problem child"... being labeled... heartaches... disappointments... making excuses? No way!!
During this time, we were ever clinging to God and conversing daily with him on this journey. We believed our son could be healed. We wanted to do our part in helping him, but we strongly relied on God to hear our prayers as well.
As the homeschooling year approached, nerves ran through my body at the thought of teaching him. We had many ups and downs during those first few months, but we slowly began to see glimpses of our son before the difficulties began.
Through time spent with a friend who had a son with autism, I learned of a book, Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma and Allergies. Through it I connected so many dots of an array of other symptoms he also had that I never knew were connected to allergies... odd ones you wouldn't know of.
In the book, the author recommended children suffering from those new epidemics be on supplements. My dear friend opened her cabinet door and showed me all the ones her son was on and how she felt were aiding in some of his improvement. The next day I was ordering them for him too. I felt his immune system was compromised from trying to fight off all the allergens in his body and using up many nutrients (although not many from our junky diet!) just to keep him functioning. Some of the main supplements I would say we targeted were fish oil, a probiotic, vitamin C, D, E, and zinc.
Little by little, we began to see more smiles from him. Less belligerence. More kindness and patience. Less erratic behaviors. It seemed like a bad dream that was finally over and all of a sudden it was a new day and things were shining again.
Fast forward to today (5 years later)... I can say we hurdled many, many obstacles. Weathered some storms, but overall, we were committed to seeing him healed... and he is, by God's amazing grace. Today I love to cook. I love to plan meals for my family that will enhance their minds and bodies. I am so passionate for other families to experience health and wellness and I believe it can happen. That's why I blog here.
So as I conclude I want to thank you for reading and following me on this journey. It isn't always easy to eat and live perfectly, I know that. But those little changes you make will begin to pay off and you will see and feel the differences they make for the better.
Thanks for reading... continue to follow and share your bits along the way!