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Non-GMO Eating

In an effort to eat healthier, I’ve attempted to extract GMO’s (genetically modified organisms) from my girls’ and my diet. I went through my pantry and moved all food with GMO’s to the top shelf (there are a lot!), which I’ve deemed off limits for us. If I find this change to be a positive one, I’ll give theses away and stick to our organic food I purchased from the grocery store. There are a few reasons I’ve switched over and gone on this major health kick.

The first and most pressing reason is to try to get rid of Brooklyn’s tummy issues she has had chronically since around 15 months old. I have talked to doctors about it, tried different foods or taken foods out of her diet (it’s not an intolerance to dairy as I first thought) and so I figured, why not try non-GMO food and see how it goes? After the first couple of days, I can already tell a positive change. Maybe this is what she has needed all along. If so, I feel bad for it taking me so long to figure it out!

Also, it’s better for us. All of us, as a family. If you watch this video, you just might be inspired to change your eating habits drastically as well! I’ve already scouted out the Organic shops near our next duty station and am excited for Adam to come home and start this new change with us!

Have any of you gone non-GMO? Are you interested in learning more? Check out this website here to learn about all food that contains GMO’s and how to shop for the right non-GMO products at your grocery store. I’d love to hear your stories!

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Cleansing

So, yeah. I’ve let twelve days go by without a post.

Oops. I apologize.

It’s been pretty busy here with us gearing up for our 3rd (and a half) deployment here in Japan. While we don’t want to say good-bye to Adam, it’s getting to that point where I almost just want the deployment to begin solely for the fact that it means he’ll be home sooner. Does that make sense? Probably only to other fellow military spouses.

Anyway… a couple days ago I decided I was consuming too many sweets and not enough fruits and veggies. After Scarlett’s birthday party we had a lot of sweets and non-healthy foods sitting around. I hate for anything to go to waste, so I pulled my own weight in helping finish off the food before it went bad.

Well, after a couple days of this, I finally decided enough was enough. So, yesterday I went on a bit of a cleanse. It consisted of lemon water (um… I’m addicted now. Seriously.), and raw fruits and veggies.

The outcome?

A happier, more energetic me. I never really sat back and realized just how badly non-healthy foods can make me feel. Now, I don’t eat fried foods. I don’t drink carbonated beverages. But I do enjoy my sweets and snack-y foods. (I’ll admit. I’m a snacker. I’m one of those people who eats 5 small meals a day instead of 3 large meals.) In cutting them out yesterday, I just felt a lot better.

Today I decided to do the same. I allow myself a small slip-up here or there, but overall it’s mainly fruits and veggies. And lemon water. I still love it. My goal is to continue this as long as I can. There are only positive benefits from it, so why not?

Side note: you should look up all the benefits of drinking lemon water. The one that stood out the most to me is it helps prevent the forming of kidney stones. As a person who has had three, I will continue to drink this from here on out!

So, in the next few days, I challenge YOU to try the cleanse. Eat those fruits and veggies, drink that water. See how much better you feel. I’d love to hear from you if you do it!

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Beef and Cheese Wrap

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While looking at my meal plan this morning, I had this sudden desire to go with something new and adventurous today. Now, I am usually one for following recipes and not venturing off too far. Eye balling a teaspoon of butter is as dangerous as I go. I knew I had a pound of beef in my fridge waiting to be used {see Dad? I do feed my family beef sometimes}, so I used that as inspiration and went from there.

So, besides my family who just finished this meal, you are the next people to see this newly finished invention I made. Don’t worry, it’s really simple and easy. Even my toddler ate it up which is a pretty big feat these days!

Beef and Cheese Wraps 

1 lb. ground beef (I used 93% lean)

1 pkg. ranch dressing mix/seasoning

1/2 cup cheddar cheese (approx.)

1 tube of crescent rolls

Ketchup for dipping

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Brown the ground beef. Stir in the ranch dressing mix.

Lay out the eight crescent rolls on the pan. Spoon the beef mixture onto the crescent rolls. {I had some beef left over that didn’t fit on the crescent rolls. I’ll use it on taco shells tomorrow probably.} Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top.

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Carefully wrap them up.

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Bake for about 10-15 minutes until the crescent rolls are lightly brown and cooked through.

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Let cool for a couple minutes before enjoying. I paired it with a salad and a potato side.

I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did!

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Something Old, Something New

It was a long week over here last week {talked about here, briefly}. I’m thankful it’s over with, and ready to move on.

Recently, I decided to take the plunge and create my own domain name. Hence, the new blog name {how do you like it?} and the new website. I’m still working out the kinks of transferring my old blog posts over and creating a new design, so I thank you for your patience. I’d love to hear your thoughts and any changes you might like to see with this blog. As always, I’m open to hearing what you have to say. Any new posts you want to see? Any old posts you really liked and want more of? Send your ideas on over!

Now, onto an old personal favorite.

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So you know how I mentioned that I was giving up sweets for Lent?  Well, let’s just say I may have only made it one day before very-grumpy-Sarah came out. Sorry, AdamI know you didn’t deserve my wrath when all I wanted was a piece of Dove chocolate!

Needless to say, Adam gave me the okay to break our pact and allowed me to consume sweets again. We had eaten down most sugary foods at our place so while I was walking through the commissary today, I came up with the brilliant idea of making Scotcheroos. I haven’t had these in a really long time and since I happened to be walking by all the necessary ingredients, I purchased them and now the bars are cooling by the stove. 🙂

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I made this recipe so if you want to head on over to the website, feel free. Otherwise, I thought I’d post the recipe below for you.

Chocolate Scotcheroos

Ingredients

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

6 cups crispy rice cereal

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

Directions: 

In a larger pan, melt the corn syrup and sugar together until it’s boiling and the sugar has dissolved.

Remove from heat and add the peanut butter.

Once mixed well, add the cereal. {I added it gradually.}

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Press into a greased 9×13 pan.

In a medium pan, melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together. 

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Make sure you keep a close eye on them! I tried to multi-task by melting the chips the same time I was mixing together the first ingredients and the chips became a burnt mess. {I don’t even have my girls to blame the distraction, either!}

Once the chips are melted, pour them onto the pressed bars. Next time, I am going to double the chips {so two cups of each}, as I found this was hardly enough to cover the bars. 

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Now for the hardest part… wait 45 minutes for the bars to cool before eating.

Enjoy!!

Now I need to start running again to burn off these added calories. Being forced to take these last 8 days off from running has been pretty tough for me, especially seeing as I have another half marathon just 2.5 weeks away!

 

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Juicing

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This weekend, Adam and I officially began juicing.

You know, with fruits and vegetables.

{This was not what Adam thought at first when I mentioned I wanted to start juicing. Sorry, performance enhancing drugs aren’t really my thing…}

Anyway…

It’s something I’ve been looking into the past month or so. We saw this juicer in the store and after talking it over, decided to go ahead with the purchase. So far, we love it! We tried out a few different recipes and have yet to be disappointed. I honestly never thought I would say I enjoy juice with cucumbers in it, but they have all been delicious. And completely healthy.

As of right now, we’re just planning on juicing in the morning and maybe before dinner at night. This won’t replace our vegetables and fruits we already eat, but will add to our intake. I recently heard the average American gets only 5% of their daily fruits and vegetables they need. Five percent!!! That makes me really sad and I am now striving to get my family to eat more of them.

Here are the different juices we’ve tried so far:

~3 oranges (peeled), 1 cucumber, and a handful of grapes

~1 cup blueberries, 1 cup raspberries, and 2 oranges (our favorite thus far)

~1 orange, 1/2 cucumber, 1 apple, and a large handful of grapes

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Our reasons to juice

1. I like eating healthy and I want to set a good example for our girls.

2. Helps aide digestion, gives energy, boosts your immune system… all great things!

3. It’s quick and easy.

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Our initial thoughts:

1. The juice is really smooth – no pulp whatsoever.

2. Tastes better than something you might get at Orange Julius and so much healthier!

3. We are excited to try so many different recipes!

I’ll update more in a few weeks on our juicing adventures. Since I’ve only been doing this for a couple days, I have a limited knowledge on all the juicing ideas there are out there. But for now, we are very happy with our purchase!

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Clean Eating

I’m on a quest for something. I feel most people are this time of year or shortly after the holidays. I decided to start our family on eating healthier. Seeing as I’m the sole person in our family who cooks, buys, or prepares the food we eat, this quest will fall mostly on me.

For our daughters, it won’t be that hard. Brooklyn, our two-year-old, eats mostly organic, whole wheat, or whole fruits and veggies {with the occasional fruit snack or homemade muffin here or there}. Scarlett, our 7-month-old, gets her main nutrition from me {exclusively gets breast milk} and organic baby food. I had the wonderful idea of making her own baby food but, well, life gets busy with two kiddos and to be honest, I just got lazy. But, I figure organic baby food is a good alternative, right?

So, that leaves me and the hubby. I’m a self-motivated person. And, I have pretty good self control when I need it. I’ve done countless years of giving up sweets for Lent — hard for this huge sweet tooth I have, but it was do-able. I know I can do this if I put my mind to it. Convincing Adam might be the hardest part. Ha.

Now, this is where you, my readers come in. While I have scoured the internet for great ways to eat healthier, I would love personal testimonies or great recipes that you love and want to share with me. I’m not looking at going vegan or anything dramatic, just a shift of eating less artificial foods and more whole/natural.

Oh, I should mention I don’t eat a lot of beef or red meat. But, that doesn’t stop me from cooking it for Adam from time to time. We mainly like chicken dishes, though.

Anyone else on a quest for eating healthier?

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Operation: Monthly Meal Plan

With Adam coming back soon(ish), I decided to create a monthly meal plan to help make dinners easier. Because, as most “single” moms with deployed husbands know, we consider a bowl of easy mac a successful meal these days. Well, that doesn’t cut it when my husband is back home. I figured I would take some time now to prepare a meal plan, so we can enjoy being with him instead of using all that time thinking about what to make and then preparing meals.

I thought I would share my ideas with you. It’s my first time doing this, so don’t critique too much, okay?

1. Hit up the internet and browse cook books. First, I needed to come up with what we are going to eat. I decided on compiling 20 recipes for the monthly meal plan, because there are always those nights we eat leftovers, go out to eat, or get take- out pizza. And, with it being the holidays soon, I thought 20 would suffice. I went to the trusty, infamous Pinterest to get most of my ideas and filled in the rest with our favorites.

2. Create a word document. When I found a recipe I liked, I would put it directly into a word document. I opened up each recipe that looked good and checked the ingredients because while it may look scrumptious, I know I will only make the quick, easy recipes. So, I would suggest going to the actual website and checking out the recipe first before putting it into your word document. I wrote each title of the recipe followed by the website link directly to that particular recipe. This will make it very easy to open up the document when the time comes to make it and I will be led directly to where I want to be. Quick and easy!

3. Plan. I look at my calendar. I note which days we already have blocked off for date night, squadron functions, or holiday parties. Obviously, I will not be cooking on those nights. I drew up a quick calendar on paper and wrote in what I was going to make and what night. I will keep this and hang it on the fridge for that month so I know (and Adam) what we will be having each night. This also helps for those crockpot meals that you need to prepare before hand or if meat needs to be taken out early to thaw.

4. Grocery shop. You can decide how often you want to grocery shop. Due to our smaller fridge and freezer space, I go shopping once a week. I put together a grocery list of those meals for the week and see once what I need and what I already have.

5. Enjoy!! My goal with this monthly meal plan is to save time, first of all. It will also save money because there’s nothing better than going to the grocery store having written down exactly what you will need for the following week. It helps cut down on last minute impulse buys that I am guilty of.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Due to many requests for this recipe, I wanted to post it here and share it with you!

It only involves THREE ingredients.
I don’t think you could get much simpler than that.
(Plus, it doesn’t involve eggs so you can eat the batter guilt-free! haha)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
30 oz. Pumpkin pie mix
2 boxes – yellow cake mix
semi-sweetened chocolate chips
Pour the pumpkin pie mix (make sure it’s not the real pumpkin puree) into a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the 2 boxes of yellow cake mix.
Mix well.
Add chocolate chips.
(I didn’t measure the amount, just kept pouring until I felt it was enough)
The mixture looks like this once you have it all mixed and have put them in a muffin tin.
Bake according to your cake mix box.
 I cooked mine for 18 minutes.
I made mine pretty large, and it yielded 35 muffins,
so be prepared to share or bring this to a get-together or something.
Or keep them all for yourself. Whatever works.
may have burnt my mouth on this muffin because I ate it too soon after it came out of the oven.
It. was. delicious.
Enjoy!!