Books, Clean Eating, Menu Planning

Life Choices and Healthy Eating

It is summer break and with that comes easier meals for me and NO more school lunches to pack! We get to enjoy the outdoors, lots of time at the pool, and of course books in hand.   I am really am liking The Rhythm of Life -Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose by Matthew Kelly. It is a great easy read. If you haven’t read this book, I strongly urge you do! IMG_0552

When I look at the life I have, I realize I have been given life. The Lord has given me the ability to make choices in my life with the hopes of course that I will choose to follow him. I have lived in the past of negative thinking – why did this happen, why am I not where I want to be, if I only had this I would be happy, the list can go on and on. Over the last year or so I have been doing a lot of reflections on life. How I live each day, really is MY CHOICE. I can choose to be happy, or choose to be sad. I can choose to exercise, or choose not to. I can choose to eat healthy, or eat junk. I can choose to manage my money or let my money manage me. I can choose to love myself, or tear myself apart. I can choose to pray and go to church, or choose to stay home (or go to an event) etc.

Lets take eating healthy for an example. When talking with other people in my life, one thing I hear about is I want to make better food choices. Then next comes the long list of excuses as to why it is so hard or why they can’t do it. Really when it comes down to it, it is YOUR CHOICE to CHANGE! Only you can decide to take the steps in the choices you make. So okay you know you want to eat healthier. Now how are you going to get there? What goals and steps are you going to take to get to making better food choices? What resources are available to help you get to where you want to be?

I personally am a dive on in kind of gal, but not everyone is like that. Also every situation I may not be able to just dive all in and need to take steps. So create small goals to accomplish your one big goal of eating healthier. Maybe first is clean out your fridge and pantry of the unhealthy foods. Next you commit to only buying healthy foods when going grocery shopping. Start with buying more fruits and veggies and less processed food.  Maybe you start researching healthier meals to make and make a list of meals you would like to try. Another option is take meals you like already and substitute in healthier alternatives. For instance, instead of pasta noodles, you make zucchini noodles. Then  maybe you start to meal plan. You can start with just a couple of meals a week and then build up to a weeks worth of meals. Some people discuss the cost factor of eating healthier. This could then turn into a goal of setting a budget for weekly meals. Maybe limit the amount of times you go out to eat and instead bring your meals with you. I can always make adjustments in my budget, but when it comes down to it the cost really isn’t that huge. This is just a thought process to get you started. This same concept applies for all aspects in your life. I can tell you that you will hit barriers (ups and downs) along the way. Again, it is your choice to continue through, pick yourself back up and continue forward on this journey called life!  Keep in mind though, you never have to do it alone!

My goal here is to share pieces of my life in hope to inspire others or give them the encouragement they need to keep going on whatever journey they are on. So with that, comes in summertime meal planning. I still continue to meal plan, but it isn’t necessarily as strict as it is during the school year. I have a master snack list that I list on my board my kiddos can choose from twice a day instead of me planning them out each day. The snacks that need to be prepared I will meal prep so they are ready to go when they choose to have them during the week.

Week to week the snack list really does not change. Maybe one or two things I may switch out. This is my master snack plan for this week:

  • Banana Muffins
  • Rice Rolls with Sunbutter
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Raw Veggies
  • Apples with sunbutter and toppings (mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, Shredded coconut, chopped nuts)
  • Ants on a log
  • Lemon Coconut Protein Balls -Link out to the recipe here.
  • Plantain Chips and Guac
  • Sunbutter Balls
  • Banana chips
  • Larabars
  • Trail Mix (raw nuts with dried fruit)


Breakfast for the week still stays the same as it does during the school year.

  • Fluffy Paleo Pancakes – find recipe here. Seriously the best pancakes hands down!
  • Daily morning breakfast -Sausage/Eggs/Potatoes. I blogged about it here.


Lunches during the week are leftovers from our dinner the night before. Making it easy peasy!

Dinners: I plan 5-6 main dinners and then will have at least 1 leftover night to clean out the fridge before the next round of meals. This ensure we are eating up what we brought and reduces the amount of food waste. You will always know when it is grocery time in my house because my fridge is almost bare. Each dinner will have salad available. Here is my meals I planned for the coming week:

  • Tuna cakes and Sweet Potatoes
  • Ginger Lime Meatballs and cauliflower rice. I use turkey instead of pork for the meatballs. You can find the recipe here.
  • Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats with raw veggies. Recipe coming this week so check back!
  • Grilled chicken and grilled veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots)
  • Taco Night
  • Asian Zoodle Bowls

Now to update my grocery list in Wunderlist, and off to the store I go.


Clean Eating

Cast Iron Chicken Dinner

Having a cast iron is a must in my house. I have three 12inch cast iron skillets and two 6.5inch cast iron skillets. I have cooked several dishes in them, baked desserts, and even take them camping with us! Bonus, they are super easy to clean with just hot water.

Tonight it’s Chicken Dinner. Quick and easy meal to throw together and make. I used bone-in chicken thighs and coated them with Kerrygold Butter, mustard, salt/pepper, and sage seasoning. Make sure you get under the skin too. You can certainly season them however you like. Couple of ways I have done them are: avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Butter, salt, pepper, and garlic. Be creative!

Place chicken thighs in cast iron skillet, and cook in oven. I used 2 cast irons and made 8 chicken thighs. Cook at 425 degrees until chicken temps at 165 degrees (approx 45-50 minutes). I also cooked my cauliflower pop at the same time. Set those aside to rest.

Next I microwaved my sweet potatoes and russet potatoes in my Pampered Chef round cover baker for approx. 6 minutes. Remember to poke your potatoes before cooking. I miss my double oven because I would have otherwise cooked my potatoes in the oven at the same time as well.IMG_0263

While the chicken was cooking in the oven, fired up the grill and made grilled veggies and chicken wings since I was already meal prepping for the week. Otherwise you could do this whole meal on the grill too!

I lightly drizzle avocado oil on top of the raw zucchini, carrot, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in grill veggie rack. Grill up until zucchini is done. About 3 minutes and stir. Then cook for about 2 more minutes. I like my veggies a little crunch still, if you don’t then cook them a little longer.IMG_7979

You can easily warm up leftovers in the cast iron on the stove or oven the next day.

Enjoy this delicious wholesome dish.

Clean Eating, Menu Planning, snacks

Weekly Menu for May 21-27

It is that time again to plan for weekly meals and grocery shop. Right now my meal plans are running Saturday thru Friday with the following Saturday being my grocery shopping day and meal prep. It worked out perfect for me this week!

I have been dedicating myself to a new goal of waking up early (5am) and getting my workout in and daily prayer. So far it has been a great goal for me. I am enjoying my workouts with the hubby as well as some time to spend in prayer before the day gets busy. I love the feeling of accomplishment and the ability to dive into my day. It has helped with my sleep quality too. The weekends are no different. I was up and ready to go. I did my menu planning the day before so I just had to plug in my groceries into my Wunderlist App and away I went. If you haven’t check out this app yet you really should!

I took one of my older daughters with me this morning. She was a great helper. I really enjoy getting my kiddos involved in planning, shopping, preparing of our food. We rocked it; 3 stores in 2 1/2 hours! Really shorter than that since Trader Joes is at about 30 minutes in just driving one way. Van full of great clean, wholesome food! Oh and plus couldn’t forget the Traeger pellets so we can smoke the brisket we picked up.  IMG_0456

We unloaded the van when we got home, grabbed a quick snack and got to work. Here is our menu for the week.Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 11.17.31 PM

My older girls were in charge of preparing and making all snacks. This menu that included Mini Banana Muffins, Jello (Against All Grain), Sunbutter Balls, and Chocolate Avocado Pudding (Delighted Momma). I included the links for the recipes I use.

There you have it, happy menu planning or feel free to use mine! I am ready to get this week start. Remember keep it simple…Keep it clean.

Clean Eating

Quick Lunch

I always like to keep salads on hand because it is an easy meal for myself to put together when my days get busy. Usually cut up romaine lettuce and throw in a bag of Trader Joe’s organic broccoli slaw.  Costco also carries a kale salad mix that I love. I toss the dressing and keep the seeds/cranberries for my boy.  I top the kale salad mix with raw nuts/pepitas and my favorite Tessemae’s salad dressing.  I can then add leftover meat or sliced ham to complete my meal.IMG_0356

I prep the salad in a large airtight container so that way it is ready to go during the week. We tend to eat a lot of salad in our house. A great way to get in some extra greens!IMG_0357

Today’s lunch for me was just that. Mixed kale salad! I topped it with pecans, pepitas, and a little bit of goat gouda cheese. I added in sliced ham and cracked pepper dressing. Served it with my favorite Kombucha! IMG_0355

Simply refreshing and delicious. It doesn’t take a whole lot of work to throw together either.

Make purposeful choices…for your every day living…on this journey called life

Menu Planning

Meals for the Week-UGH

My wonderful world of menu planning for the week to come has approached. I have tIMG_0346otally been unmotivated to write up my menu. Even the thoughts about shopping and cooking, and I just want to tap out!  Seriously, I would love to have someone come plan my menu, shop, and do all my cooking this week. Now that seems like a dream come true to me! Since that is not going to happen, I guess it is to the board I go to plan out my next six days of meals.  The only way I keep my sanity, plus I am picky!

With a crazy week in store, I am making it easy on myself. Really there is nothing wrong with having the same breakfast every morning. I planned out to do breakfast casserole Saturday and Sunday, but I plan to just stay with hash casserole. With my fridge already maxed out, it will be easier to make as I go instead of trying to find more room for leftovers at this point. Breakfast these next six days will be eggs and potatoes. I will add in either ham, kolbassa sausage, or bacon to the morning mix. Also since going shopping today, I switched my granola to Larabars instead. Kind of bummed out that Trader Joe’s changed their cashews to being made in facility with wheat, eggs, soy, etc. So now those are out of the question. The importance of reading labels even when you pretty much get the same things over and over. Without further ado here is what my next six days will look like…IMG_0347

With two kids in tow, off to the three stores I went. Since Trader Joe’s is the furthest away I start with that one. I pack a cooler so I can keep things cold as we go; especially in the hotter months. Next stop I hit was Costco. Costco is where I get the majority of my meats/protein. Today it was Kolbassa sausage, organic ground turkey, organic chicken breast, pork belly, and eggs. Final stop was Sprouts for just a few odds and ins, like mini enjoy life chocolate chips.  I already had a few veggies at home including our salad so I didn’t have to buy those this time around. Also Nick Sicks we typically have on hand, although our stash is in need of a restock!  We buy our Nick Sticks online here. They are 100% grass-fed beef and free-range turkey. Simply made with real ingredients.  I buy organic when it’s available and also when my budget allows. For the most part I can get what I need!  So after $288.42 later here is what I walked away with.IMG_0348

Clean Eating, School Lunches, snacks

Mastering Hard Boiled Eggs

I enjoy a great hard boiled egg. They are great on salads, in lunches, stuffed with tuna, topped with hot sauce, or even with just himalayan salt. I have tried over the years to make an ideal hard boiled egg. I think I have tried it all, including baking them. I remember when I was in my younger years, if the hard boiled egg wasn’t completely cooked (almost green yolk) I wouldn’t touch it. Wow has my food adventures grown!

Here is my favorite way to cook my Hard Boiled Eggs:

Add a single layer of eggs to a sauce pan. Fill the pan with water until it is about an inch over the eggs.IMG_0277

Bring water to a boil and boil for only 1 minute.IMG_0276

Remove from heat and cover with lid. Set a timer for 9 minutes. Get a bowl and fill with some ice and cold water and set aside.IMG_0275

When the 9 minutes is up transfer the eggs immediately to the cold water ice bath.IMG_0274

Let them cool down. Peel and serve, or store in refrigerator.IMG_0273


Menu Planning

Saturday Hike and Menu Planning

One thing I absolutely enjoy about where I live is hiking. Seriously could hike for hours.  Saturday mornings, when time permits, I enjoy going on an early morning hike. It is even better when my friend(s) can join me. Love the fresh air, beautiful views, and great conversations! So this morning I was able to enjoy almost 5 miles of hiking with a great friend. So beautiful watching the sunrise over the mountains.


Today also calls for some menu planning and food prep for the week. As you can see my fridge is pretty much bare. I finished up the eggs and veggies and made oIMG_0271melets this morning for breakfast. So typically this is what my fridge looks like before I menu prep. One great thing about menu planning is you go through all the food you bought. My freezer is usually empty because most of my groceries I buy are fresh. I do keep frozen organic green beans for emergency veggies. I also buy my almond flour in bulk and freeze them until I need them. The rest is just ice packs. I am looking forward to the day when I can go buy myself a nice large double door refrigerator with the freezer on the bottom because this refrigerator isn’t large enough and gets crammed full after I meal prep for the week.


So my menu is prepared in my excel document and listed up on my menu board in the kitchen. The list is put into Wunderlist for me (or should I say Rob) to go grocery shopping!  Now to clean up the kitchen from lunch and get to preparing meals for the week. My older girls will be in charge of preparing what is needed for snacks this week along with giving instructions to their brother on where he can help them out. Love getting them all involved, plus it helps me speed along the process. So my music will be jamming and we will be dancing as we make our way around the kitchen!Screen Shot 2016-04-23 at 12.47.18 PM

Keep it simple…Keep it clean. Enjoy the food you eat!

Clean Eating

Makings of Taco night

We love tacos and they make great leftovers also. The nice things about tacos if you can play with it how you see fit. We like to do tacos almost once a week. It is an easy meal to throw together. Some of our favorites are chicken tacos, turkey tacos, pork tacos, or even beef tacos. They can be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You can serve them on lettuce, in paleo friendly tortilla, plantain chips, or even on sweet potatoes.

If grass-fed beef is not on sale, then I will pick up organic ground turkey at my Costco which goes for about $4.99/lb here. Otherwise we will get a pork shoulder/butt and make shredded pork and can use some of that meat during the week for pork tacos. From time to time we will do chicken tacos, but not often. Just not something my kiddos are huge fans of. They would rather have grilled chicken or chicken and bone broth gravy.

For the beef and turkey tacos we season them the same. Try making your own seasoning, it is simple and better than buying the packets.


  1. 2 lbs of meat
  2. 1 tsp oregano
  3. 1 tsp thyme
  4. sea salt or Himalayan salt
  5. ground cracked pepper
  6. 2 tbsp cumin
  7. 2 tbsp chili powder
  8. cayenne pepper – dash
  9. paprika – couple dashes
  10. onion – optional

Heat pan add a little avocado oil or coconut oil and chopped onion if using. While I brown the meat I had 1 tsp oregano and 1 tsp thyme and cracked pepper. Once the meat is cooked I leave the juices in the pan and add in the remaining ingredients and bring it to a slight simmer for a few minutes to allow seasoning to mix in. If you don’t have enough meat juices then you can add in a little bit of water.

Now incorporate how you want to serve it.

Toppings are endless, but here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Salsa
  2. Guacamole
  3. Mango
  4. Romain lettuce with broccoli slaw
  5. Sweet Potato
  6. Plantain chips – nacho style
  7. Tortilla using Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour (Review coming soon)
  8. Tessemae’s Southwestern Ranch for dressing instead of using a taco sauce.

Keep it simple…Keep it clean and wholesome!

From our taco style to yours…Cheers

Clean Eating, Menu Planning, School Lunches, snacks

My menu 

Busy weekend doing some testing on a new recipe that I haven’t had since I went paleo. Super excited to be sharing it with you all soon. Just have a few more finishing tweaks! So with the restricted amount of time I just put together a quick 5 day meal plan (M-F). Here is what we are having.


  1. Quiona-kiddos & egg and sausage.
  2. Paleo waffle sandwiches
  3. Egg & sausage hash
  4. Egg & sausage hash
  5. Paleo Pancakes and Eggs

Kiddos Snacks:

  1. Yogurt & banana chips
  2. Paleo pumpkin muffins & celery sticks (Sunbutter, coconut flakes)
  3. Apples with Sunbutter balls- recipe here.
  4. Paleo pumpkin muffins & fruit
  5. Crunchy rice rolls with Sunbutter ball & yogurt

School Lunch: * Rob and I usually have a fresh salad or previous nights leftovers.

  1. Hard boiled eggs, tuna cakes, salad, pickles, and fruit
  2. Monday night leftovers
  3. Chicken, veggies, & fruit
  4. Paleo coconut flour pancakes sandwiches, fruit, and veggies
  5. Thursday night leftovers

After school snack:

  1. Paleo Sio Pao & fruit
  2. Exploding Apples (Sunbutter, raisins, & shredded coconut flakes)
  3. Paleo zucchini muffins & smoothie
  4. Candied walnuts & celery
  5. Paleo zucchini muffins & smoothies


  1. Baked potato bar – Mexican style
  2. Cauliflower “fried rice” with chicken
  3. Tex-Mex – sweet potato style
  4. Buffalo chicken & sweet potatoes
  5. Leftover night!

That is it for me this week. Should be an easy meal prep, allows me to be able to prep during the week too!

Enjoy the journey & Keep it simple!

Clean Eating, School Lunches

Ham Rolls

I like to keep the ingredients for ham rolls on hand in my house. They are easy to put together and great for so many different meal plans. Great to pack for school lunches and on the run. I like to also take them to the park, when we go camping, out to the pool, to soccer games. So easy to prepare when you are out and about. Also one of my favorite recipes to share for those that are making changes in foods that they eat. Because it is simple and healthy.

First off you want to be sure you always get uncured, no added nitrates/nitrites  lunch meat, and organic if possible.  Nitrate/nitrite are food preservatives that are added to processed meat. Most manufactures add in a synthetic form which then can be linked to cancer and heart disease.  It can also be a trigger to migraines.  Make sure you always read the ingredients in what you are buying. One of my favorite brands to get is Applegate. The don’t add nitrates/nitrites, no added fillers, no artificial ingredients, and they are Non-GMO. You are read more about Applegate here.

My family likes ham the best, but I will do turkey also. Sometimes I may add ham and turkey together along with all the other toppings in a wrap. Speaking of toppings, they can be endless. I choose a meat and add guacamole or mashed avocado.  Then I add in some cheese. Could be goat, goat gouda, Applegate sliced cheese, or non at all. Next toppings. I like to added slivered carrots, trader joe’s broccoli slaw, spinach, or even a pickle. Then I roll it up. Can me eaten like that or in a slice or romain lettuce as a lettuce boat.

Easy peasy! I may not always make them before hand, but will bring all the ingredients with me.  Then I can make them wherever we are at, like if we are on the soccer fields all day for games. Kiddos also enjoy these in their lunches too!


A quick and easy throw together meal. Real food…Real ingredients.  Remember keep it simple…Keep it clean. Enjoy!