The purely simple way I get my kids to eat {almost} anything

Kids love to snack. I am a snack lover myself. What if breakfast or lunch felt and looked like a snack? I’ve found that my chicks (especially the short one who is never hungry for a meal but want so snack all day long) will devour a meal disguised as a snack. It’s more fun and interesting. I get that. I mean, I am drawn with a magnetic force to a fancy charcuterie board, aren’t you?

On the weekends various versions of the snack tray or ‘grazing tray’ emerges around our house. You can use an egg carton, muffin tin, ice cube tray, little cups on a platter or silicone molds. The flower shaped molds I have are from a previous baby food making venture. I’ve just kept them around.

You could do any variety of food that you choose dependent upon what meal or snack time of the day it is. I wish I’d started this as soon as my kids were eating finger foods, but alas, I was late to the grazing tray game. Hey, no time like the present! And I’ve got to tell you; my almost 8-year-old is just as in to these as my 4.5 years old. Like I said, I am in-to snack trays too so they come by it honestly.

I have a few ideas for future snack trays.

Breakfast ideas:

  • Berries of any kind
  • Greek yogurt
  • No sugar apple sauce
  • Dried fruit
  • Broken or cut-up granola bar
  • Organic and low sugar dry cereal
  • Raisins
  • Cuties
  • Banana slices
  • Fruit leather
  • A mini muffin
  • Apple slices with almond or peanut butter
  • Whole wheat pancake pieces or French toast
  • Turkey bacon pieces
  • Ham roll-up
  • The list could go on!
Gymnastic mat, row of mermaids, and snack trays… who could ask for more?

Lunch ideas:

  • Sandwich triangles
  • Turkey roll-up
  • Whole wheat cheese toast
  • Pretzels
  • Veggie straws
  • Mixed nuts
  • String cheese
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Celery with natural peanut butter
  • Cucumber slices
  • Baby carrots with hummus
  • The list could go on!

Snack ideas:

  • Pretzels
  • Cuties
  • Fruit leather
  • Granola bar pieces
  • Variety of berries
  • Cheese crackers
  • Organic and low sugar dry cereal
  • Enjoy Life chocolate chips (just a few for a treat)
  • Banana slices
  • Grapes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Veggie straws
  • Raisins
  • String cheese

I just use whatever we have that is handy! The point is for this to be very simple while feeding your kids a healthy variety. Teaching kids to eat variety is a healthy trait that (if learned at a young age) will follow them through life. Also, putting the fruit and veggies alongside the cheese crackers and dry cereal encourages healthy portion control with indulgences alongside wholesome choices – neither being excluded and both being enjoyed, with a limit. These are all messages that your kids won’t even know they are receiving and internalizing. Good job, momma!

This this concept that you can use for yourself as well. For me, portion control is an area where I need to improve. I have found that if I prepackage snacks I am satisfied with what I eat. But, if I bring the whole container of {whatever} to work or out on the kitchen counter to snack directly from, I overeat simply because it’s there in front of me (it’s mindless snacking). This and so many other reasons are why I am pursuing pure, every day.

Happy snacking!

patio dinner with a couple of snack trays

Yes, you could put various combinations of these same items on a plate, but it’s just not the same! There is a fun aspect that goes along with receiving food in small compartments.

Hey, whatever it takes to get my kiddos to consume healthy food. The same is true with serving ice water in a fun and silly cup or with a silly straw… the chicks say it tastes better. Ha. Another bonus to snack trays is that you can give tiny portions of a wide variety of food. It teaches them to eat the rainbow.

Seven ways to love… yourself.

No, this post is not at all about Justin Bieber, but he does have a song that talks about loving yourself, so…

Questions –

  • Who are you with 100% of the time?
  • Who do you know inside and out?
  • Who directs all of your thoughts and opinions?
  • Who do you listen to the most?
  • Who have you known the longest?

 

It’s YOU silly. You have got to LOVE that silly person.

As if you didn’t know – February is the month of l.o.v.e. Like it or not. Valentine’s Day is a day of the year totally focused on LOVE and making time for the one you adore the most.  But I think before any of that can have real meaning – we have got to first love ourselves.  It’s not possible to give away something you don’t even have. If you don’t love or even really like yourself, how can you give that to someone else? Yes, you can still ‘care for’ and ‘take care of’ your loved ones – but can you love them well?

When you become a parent you learn all about selfless love. Parenting is wholly sacrificial. You sooth a crying baby in the middle of the night when your body and mind are so tired you can barely function. You drive children anywhere and everywhere they need to go, you pack lunches with sweet notes when your day and brain are already overflowing. It’s natural, unselfish affection and nurturing that you don’t even question. We were built to love our babies in this way. It is instinct at its rawest form.

With romantic love, we learn about give and take. Our hearts desire this romantic love and partnership. Sometimes it feels like a fairytale and sometimes it feels like the fairytale got seized by the villain. We have to navigate the uncomfortable waters of compromise and sacrifice in a totally different way than we do for our children.

There are tried-and-true models, examples, articles, books, and movies about romantic love and parenting… but where oh where are we ever taught how to love ourselves? Self-love is rarely even on most people’s radar. Fortunately, in 2018 are becoming more aware of it.  Do you need to learn more about how to love YOU? We could all do this better.

I have seven points (in no particular order) that I think could help in tackling this SO very important self-love thing.

One: shut yo mouth

Don’t be your own worst enemy. Just stop. What are you telling yourself? Would you talk to anyone else like you do yourself? Would you tell your children that they are lazy, unlovable, not thin, not beautiful, not fit, not smart, not witty, not talented, not focused, not diligent, or good enough? Would you tell your best friend this? NO! And if you would, you are a bad person. No really, you are (j/k). Start talking to yourself like you would to one of your children, your favorite family member, and your very best friend.  Why do you tell yourself terrible things? STOP IT RIGHT NOW!  You don’t deserve that kind of trash talk. You are fearfully and WONDERFULLY made! You are the one and only you! Please, love that about you! We tend to overlook everyone else’s flaws and mess-ups. Why do we criticize ourselves so much?

Two: Stop seeing what’s not there

I try to see the best of what’s in me and I do that for others too. I try not to waste time focusing on what I’m doing wrong. I celebrate my own successes. I celebrate the success of the people around me because when we celebrate others, we get lifted up by default (win-win). Love yourself enough to admire, compliment, celebrate and lift-up those around you with no fear of you being ‘less than.’ It’s not a competition! Don’t spend your time focusing on what you do not like about yourself. You have got to focus on the good stuff. I promise, when you start affirming yourself, you’ll want to share the love with others. It goes against the grain of a negative society. Go ahead, be a rebel! Be weird!

 

Three: Clean up

This is more therapeutic than you would expect. Cleaning out your closet will not only help you declutter, but could positively affect your mind. Getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come into your life (in reality and symbolically). Clearing your mind can sometimes work in the form of letting go of ‘things’ like clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Don’t chase and hang on to what’s already happened; love yourself enough to know that the best version of you is yet to come.

 

Four: What is your happy place?

Where is it totally easy to just be you? For my mom, she says her happy place is with her grandkids. She can play pretend, laugh, focus on them and only them. For my husband, I would say it’s in the woods hunting. He can just BE himself and lean-in to the project at hand. For me, I can be myself and push myself with hot yoga. I don’t need to work at enjoying it, I just do, and I am totally engaged in the moment. Writing is another one for me. I am just flowing and it’s a part of me. There is no obligation to do these things, it’s out of desire and a magnetic draw.

Where can YOU do this? Is it sitting quietly? Reading? Running? Singing? Praying? Playing? Where can you genuinely embrace the here and now? No thinking about what’s due at work, your laundry, or what you need to get at the grocery store. You owe this happy place to yourself. Find yours. What brings you joy? Follow that. Loving yourself is all about connecting with YOU and one of the easiest places to do that is your happy place.

 

Five: Pay attention

Pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. What are you talking about or listening to friends talk about? What kind of music do you listen to? Are there negative or destructive lyrics? Be honest. Do you watch the evening news? Talk about a downer. Geez. Once a negativity has entered your mind – it’s stuck there, taking up space. Don’t open your mind to it! If what you pay attention to, listen to and watch are not positive and uplifting, then don’t expose yourself to it. I am not saying live under a rock. I am saying BE aware of what enters your spirit. YOU are the only one who can control that. Make sure what you pay attention to lifts you up.

 

Six: Take care of your one and only temple

You don’t get a second chance to live this life in the body you were given. Treating your body like its precious will definitely upgrade your level of self-love AND will also boost your energy. Be intentional about what you put into your body and do it because you want to FEEL good (looking good is great, but feeling good is the best). Feeding your body fuel with nutrient-rich whole foods will have you radiating love. It’s incredibly empowering and you can’t help but share the love. We were made to thrive – not just survive!

Seven: Explore your spirit

Faith is the foundation for self-love. Believing in a higher power opens up your soul to believe, trust, faith in the unseen, and peace. It will build your easy confidence and help you make decisions based on a quiet nudge. When you explore your heart and your faith it will also take you on a journey to learning things about yourself like new thoughts, feelings, passions, and raw emotions and will make you appreciate yourself for being exactly who you were made to be.

First and foremost, you have to replace the lies with the truth. God’s word is full of information about your real identity and position as a believer. Let God’s perspective on you soak in a bit. Do you fully realize what it means to be fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), precious to God (Isaiah 43:4), cared about since your conception (Isaiah 46:3), God’s child (John 1:12), a friend of Jesus’ (John 15:15), chosen by Jesus (John 15:16), loved dearly (John 16:27), totally freed from condemnation (Romans 8:1), a dwelling place of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16), and redeemed and forgiven of all your sins (Colossians 1:14)? Do you even KNOW how much you are loved?

 

Take time to soak in the seven tips to loving yourself. You say you don’t have time? Make time! Before helping the passenger next to you with their oxygen mask first put your own mask on. You know why? Because you’re going to pass out if you don’t and then you’re no good to anyone.

So, go ahead, love yourself this Valentine’s Day – and the other 364 days a year.

Keep on pursuing pure, xoxo

Purely Pot Roast – is healthy comfort food a thing?

Every.Single.Sunday. Every.Single.Sunday. Growing up we ate roast on Sundays. I was not a huge fan then but as an adult it’s a comfort food and a treat! I love the tender roast and the veggies that accompany this dish. But mostly I love the ease of any crock-pot meal! I threw this one together at 7:15 this morning, before leaving for work.

Traditional roast, many times, could include ingredients such as canola oil, corn starch, a cream-of-something soup, red wine, red wine vinegar, white flour, onion soup mix, etc. It just depends on the recipe you use.

This particular recipe is squeaky clean and you even get gravy! Bonus.

NOTE: I included white baby potatoes for my family, but I roasted a sweet potato for myself as I try to stay away from starchy potatoes as much as possible.

This was when I threw it all in the crock pot this morning
When I got home and opened the lid… hello yum.
Roast with gravy, carrots, tomatoes and roasted sweet potato

Purely Pot Roast

(Whole 30 – Paleo – Arbonne 30, with omitted potatoes)

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 2.5 lb chuck roast, beef
  • 1 Vidalia onion, cut in to large chunks
  • 1 bag of organic baby carrots
  • Small bag of baby potatoes (optional), cut in half
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of low sodium organic beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbl fresh parsley, chopped

 

Instructions:

  1. First cut all of the potatoes and onions into large chunks. Using large chunks (about 2 inches square) makes sure they don’t turn to mush in the crock pot.
  2. First add the roast to the crock pot, then the potatoes (if used) and onions and carrots. (Note: I used a 5 quart but you can use a smaller crock-pot if you cut the roast into two pieces to fit – you may have to add more liquid to cover it).
  3. Then add the seasonings over top.
  4. Next add the low sodium beef broth. The roast should be covered in liquid so add water until it is covered.
  5. Depending on your crock pot and how fast it cooks will depend on the time. I was at work all day so I turned it on low and it ended up cooking for 9 hours. If you put it on high, you shouldn’t need any more than 5 hours.
  6. You will know it is done when you put a fork in the roast and it just falls apart.
  7. Once it is done remove the roast, potatoes, onions, and carrots from the crock pot and enjoy.
  8. You can use the juice over your roast or you can make a gravy by putting it on the stove and bringing the juice to a boil while whisking in a flour of your choice to the desired texture (I used You could use brown rice flour, almond flour or any flour of your choosing).
  9. Serve garnished with fresh parsley. I paired mine with roasted sweet potatoes. Would be great over cauliflower puree as well!

 

I used this flour for the gravy

Gravy made from the crock pot juice and the flour below

Go ahead, eat that traditional comfort food!

Top 10 NON-candy valentines – you can do today! Free printables too.

Okay momma’s it’s T-minus 2.5 days until Valentine’s Day and you’ve already received the notes from school telling you about the festivities that your kid’s class is going to have  and all the classmates that you need to send a Valentine card to. Yes, you certainly COULD go buy the little package of Valentine’s cards and be done. No shame in that game, I’ve done it. BUT, when I can I like to pull something a little more creative together with the help of Pinterest inspiration.

But y’all, the candy – I can’t even! This is another one of those sugar overdose holidays much like Halloween and Easter. Why oh why? I refuse to add to the candy count and you can avoid it too!

While I was getting my chick’s Valentine’s supplies together (I kept it SO simple) I decided to round-up a top 10 list of non-candy valentine ideas for you too. You can do these TODAY! They all include a FREE printable for the label. All you need is a way to print a few sheets of thicker paper (card stock) and a dollar store and/or a grocery store, depending on which one you choose. For my girls I went with Valentines that include Cuties (preschooler) and mini key chain flashlights (for the second grader). I got the Cuties at grocery store, obvi, and the flashlights on Amazon with free two-day shipping, I ordered them Friday and they came to my door today. SO easy!  Have I mentioned I love easy? They were $0.60 apiece.  Winning at V-day!

Enjoy my top 10 list!

ONE: You’re a Cutie

Here is an adorable Cutie tag!

TWO: You Make the World a Brighter PlaceHere is where I got the free printable for the flashlight tags

THREE: Erase-sistableHow super simple and practical are the eraser cards?   Would be super cute with animal erasers like these.

FOUR: Whoopee
Okay, maybe this is a recipe for disaster – giving a classroom full of kids Whoopie Cushions… but I couldn’t help myself from including these in the top 10. I think they are so funny. 

FIVE: You Make My Heart Glow 
Talk about CHEAP! You can buy glow sticks by the dozens for a couple bucks, Check out the free printable for this one. 

 

SIX: I Hope You Have a BallAgain, another next to free idea and would be great for boys and girls of most ages.

SEVEN: Apples and OrangesYay for edible yet still non-candy treats. And so cute!

 

EIGHT: You’re My Main SqueezeAnother edible treat that my 4.5 year old still loves.

 

NINE: Lucky DuckSweet little ducks like this can be found a pretty much any dollar store.

TEN: Ex-Straw SpecialAnd last, I mean, how simple, inexpensive and cute is this idea? These straw are easily found at most stores.

Now, hop-up and get you kid’s Valentine’s together asap! You can do this! I hope you have a happy love day.

 

 

 

 

It’s day 30! A summary of what I learned and my personal outcomes

I made it! I did it! I crossed the finish line of the 30-day clean eating challenge! Woo hoo! I celebrated with mac n cheese! It is kind of an impostor but I’ll take it!

I really want to recap how this month has gone down. FIRST AND FOREMOST – please know, I’m a normal person. I don’t seek out opportunities to give-up things I enjoy, for giggles. I like carbs and sugar, but I knew that at this point in my life, I needed a change. Like so many of you I was tired, many times sluggish and just feeling generally not great about myself. Enter the Arbonne 30-day clean eating challenge (aka: Arbonne detox, aka: 30-days to healthy living)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve done this system before and was able to genuinely shift my focus and mindset around food and well-being. But, as a human I fall back in to old routines and ruts and I had done that for sure in 2017 – all the while maintaining the knowledge I had gained previously – so, I knew better. Ya know, sometimes ignorance is bliss. Any who…

Back to the 30-day system; there are definitely pros and cons to any eating plan, but after researching a few out there, I found this one to work the best with my lifestyle (because I am a normal person, like I mentioned before). At first it seems hard because it’s restrictive but I felt motivated to get back on track in a BIG way, so I was ready.

I’d like to point out that I’m not a healthy eating professional and this is my experience with the Arbonne detox and should not be considered health advice.

What is the Arbonne 30-day Clean Eating Challenge (aka: detox)?

The Arbonne detox is a 30-day program to eliminate harmful toxins, and promote better health through clean eating. It focuses on eliminating dairy, soy, sugar, gluten, caffeine and alcohol to help you reset your system. By eliminating those things, you are able to eat healthy, whole and wholesome foods, and at the end of the 30-days as you re-introduce those foods back into your diet, you can see if they agree with your body or have in-fact been the issue all along.

There is a package to be ordered and it includes the products to get you through the 30-days. It’s multiple nutrition products (explained here) to help with everything from boosting your protein and fiber intake to using B vitamins to help your energy level when you cut the caffeine.

Included:

What CAN you eat?

  • Lean, organic, unprocessed meats – chicken, turkey, fish, venison and red meat – but red meat only once per week
  • Fruits: Lemons, limes, green apples and all berries (other fruits are higher on the glycemic index and not advised for 30-days to avoid spiked blood sugar)
  • Vegetables: All veggies besides starchy ones (potatoes, corn) Plus, most corn crops are GMO
  • Nuts: All nuts (except peanuts) are allowed in moderation; raw nut butters as well (no peanut butter either)
  • Legumes: All kinds of beans and chickpeas, etc.

How does it work?

Like I said before, you get protein powder (I got both the vanilla and chocolate) and you basically have a protein shake every morning for breakfast. The protein is delicious! I looked forward to it every day believe it or not. I add berries, or almond butter, sometimes cinnamon, and I loved adding pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. There are a ton of recipe ideas when you start the program. The shakes really simplified my day to day and it has been great that I just need to make sure we were well-stocked with coconut and/or almond milk.

For lunch, you can make another shake (which I did most days because it’s so easy and good) or you can have a healthy lunch.

For dinners, I’ve relied on healthy meal planning to get us through. When you start the group you get a ton of recipes and shopping lists that you can follow if you choose to. It makes it a no-brainer (love that). It does take a little prepping on the weekend but it really saves us time during the week and makes for easy weeknight meals. I have shared a few recipes on the blog.

Why even mess with all this?

For me, I knew that I needed a change. I was stuck in an overindulgence rut and I was also eating too much sugar. It made me feel bad but I wasn’t 100% sure how to just stop the madness and get level again.

What are the benefits?

I think the best benefit is that greater understanding of how your body actually works. Do you feel bloated after eating gluten? Do you have a problem with dairy? With the process I’ve never felt less bloated and after two babies, it’s encouraging for my body to feel stronger and leaner. As I have stated before, this is not the number one reason I did the 30-days, but I did lose about 6 pounds in the process as well and several inches. When I am on track like this I am always even more motivated to be more active. It’s a great side effect.

Are there negatives?

It costs money. On the bright side, it covers a lot of your meals (up to 2 meals every day) for the month. You have to think before you eat during the month. Okay, let’s be honest… that’s NOT a negative, just takes a little more brainpower. You may have to look online at a restaurant menu before you go so you’re not caught off gaurd and know what you want to order, before you get there. And last, you may need to do more meal planning, which can also spin as a positive if you ask me.

What does my day 31st day and beyond look like?

I will still eat and feed my family 85% (or more) clean. I will still be doing the shakes in the morning and there will be a big majority of lunches where I will do a shake too because it’s just so helpful during the work day! And I love the taste. I will reintegrate coffee because I love the tastes and routine. I will drink my coffee with almond or coconut milk as the ‘creamer’ and if needed will use coconut sugar for a slight bit of sweetness.  I did purchase an organic coffee and I am in the market to try out some alkaline coffee, as well, to see how I like it. I plan to stay strong with the routine Monday through Friday and then somewhat less restrictive on the weekends (not full out overindulgence, but less restrictive). I have no plans of walking away from how amazing I feel right now. It just keeps getting better.

To sum it up, I am SO glad I went through this process again. Mostly, because I know that I can do it and maybe it’s a ‘prove it to myself’ kind of thing… If this plan it workable for ME, anyone could do this. I have more motivation than ever to stay on course and I LOVE the path that it’s taken my whole family down with our nutrition. We are all feeling the benefits.

Hooray for day 30!

If you are interested in jumping in to the 30-day challenge, or finding out more, let me know! pursuitofpure@gmail.com.

Other start dates in 2018:

  • March 5, 2018
  • April 2, 2018
  • May 7, 2018
  • June 4, 2018
  • July 2, 2018
  • August 6, 2018
  • September 3, 2018
  • October 1, 2018
  • November 5, 2018
  • December 3, 2018

*start dates can be at any time during any month according to personal preference. The above dates are simply the most common start times as they are the first Monday of the month.

In this post, I mentioned the products that I used for my plan and that I am still using, through this 30-day challenge. I am not paid to mention or promote these products. However, if you click on a link for the products and make a purchase there, I may be compensated. I am not promoting this process and these products for that reason. I am passionate about and genuinely love these plant-based vegan (pure and safe) products. That’s why I use them for myself and my family and that’s why I can talk passionately about them. Products of any kind do not make my life (or your life) pure, but rather, they serve to aide and enhance the efforts.  

Super Bowl Sunday! Pure {yet SO delicious} dips

Are you ready for some football?! Yeah, me either, but Justin Timberlake, yes!

I am sitting right smackdab at day 28 of my 30 day challenge and feeling fantastic! Never better, actually. As I think to the evening’s Super Bowl Sunday festivities with friends I can’t help but think about the game day food. I mean, for me, that’s the best part of a football game – the food, fellowship, commercials, and the half-time show of course. Oh, there’s game on too? Neat.

Any who, thank you Whole Foods website for your awesome recipe section, who knew?! I stumbled across this gem when perusing the World Wide Web for some tasty Super Bowl watching game day food. I wanted to find some dips and other scrumptious treats, like that. I came across two great dip recipes that are dairy free, gluten free, vegan, have no added sugar and are wheat free. Yay! Let the dips begin!

 

First up… Onion Dip!

From Scratch Onion Dip 

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Sugar Conscious and Wheat Free

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup soft tofu (what I got was called “silken”)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar ( actually used balsamic vinegar because that’s what I had on hand, it worked great!)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Instructions:

  1. Line a colander with several layers of paper towel. Place tofu in a colander and allow to drain 5 to 10 minutes to remove excess water.
  2. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 3 minutes or until garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat.
  3. Place sauteed onions and garlic in food processor and process until almost smooth. Add drained tofu and process until smooth. Add vinegar (or balsamic), parsley, salt, and pepper and process a few seconds or until just blended. Served cold.

 

** I am going to serve it with falafel chips, cherry tomatoes, slices cucumbers and carrots.

Now, let’s get our eggplant hummus on!

Eggplant-Garbanzo Bean Dip
(this stuff is SO good!) 

Dairy Free, Gluten Free, High Fiber, Low Sodium, Vegan, Vegetarian, and Wheat Free

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large eggplants (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (also called Chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons tahini (this is in the peanut butter section of gorcery)
  • 4 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place eggplants cut-side down on a baking sheet. Prick all over with a fork and bake until soft and collapsed, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  2. When cool enough to handle, scoop eggplant pulp into a food processor; discard skin. Add garbanzo beans/chickpeas, parsley, red peppers, tahini, lemon juice and garlic. Process until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley. Served cold.

** I am going to serve this with black beans chips, sour dough nuggets, and several cut up veggies for dipping.

 

Happy Super Bowl Sunday all!

Focusing more and on fewer things – plus, three ingredient sweet potato flatbread

Less is more! I love simplicity and ease. I know I over complicate my life (all self-inflicted) by over committing or overdoing or over-pressuring myself. But when I get through those whirlwind times I always come back to the realization that LESS really and truly is MORE. More freedom, more sweet moments, more easy laughter and more fun. I want to be able to do less ‘things’ and have a whole lot of focus on those things that I do. Does that makes sense?

I am trying my best to focus on doing one thing at a time, which makes life so much more fun. This IS a work in progress as I pursue pure (everyday).

I also want to apply this concept to recipes that I try, make up, and/or share. I am a HUGE fan of easy when it comes to cooking.  But nourishing and healthy at the same time. So, I’m not talking hamburger helper easy here, people. I am talking pure, healthy and delicious food… But easy. Impossible you say? Nah. Today’s recipe is a PERFECT example of easy peezy lemon squeezy.

I have been off of bread for nearly a month and while I don’t feel deprived, I do still have a hankering for something fluffy and soft to spread something creamy on to… I just do!

I really like flatbread and this one can be thrown together lickety split. I hope this hits the mark with you too!

Three-Ingredient Sweet Potato Flatbread

8-10 flatbreads

Preheat oven to 400

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato (about 1/2 sweet potato)
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free oat flour (could use almond flour too)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, mix well the mashed sweet potato with the egg.
  2. Add your flour, salt and baking powder and mix it all well.
  3. The dough can be a little stick so flour or wet your hands if needed.
  4. Scoop 10 balls and place them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
  5. With the help of a little more flour or water on your hands flatten the dough into thin rounds.
  6. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they appear slightly golden brown.
  7. Serve while warm and enjoy!

Note:

* You can make oat flour by grinding gluten-free rolled oats (aka: oatmeal) into fine flour in a food processor. It’s good to make a batch of it so it’s super easy to use in all kind of gluten-free baking.

*these are great topped with nut butter and sliced fruit, or humus and tomato, or even with a fried egg on top. Use your flatbread loving imagination and enjoy!  Oooh, avocado! That would be great too.

Here’s to one more day of pursuing pure!

 

Day 22 of 30 and Mexican Night!

Wow, is this really the last week of my 30-day challenge? How did that happen? I have to tell you (aside from sinusitis and bronchitis which I finally went to the doctor for today) I have felt amazing. Now that’s saying something. Despite those illness obstacles and potential energy-drainers, I’ve felt really good from a get-up-and-go and fog-free standpoint. My weight has held pretty steadily (only down 3-4 pounds) but I feel different! Like; those jeans I felt totally poured into a month ago feel great and very comfortable now. I can see it and feel it. Nothing drastic or super obvious yet, but positive changes which I was SO ready for after the holidays and ALL of the overindulgence that happened from October until January.

As a recap, I have given up ALL dairy, gluten, soy, vinegar, sugar, most fruits, white potatoes, and coffee for 22 days now. This process really helps you take a looks at how certain highly acidic, allergenic and most of all inflammatory foods are affecting your body. This is not limited to weight. I’m talking, fatigue, mood swings, upset stomach, bloating, cramping, overproduction of mucus, brain-fog and lack of energy. All from food! Wow. I explain more in this post.

I started the Arbonne 30-day clean eating challenge 22 days ago. This was not my first rodeo with the challenge but I keep going back to this one thing year after year for my reset because of how incredibly successful it is for me and so many other people. It’s a reset button and the kickstart that I tend to need to get right back on track with my health.

In celebration of day 22 (I basically made up a reason to eat Mexican food), I decided to make chicken fajitas tonight! This cleaned up version of chicken fajitas cannot go wrong! My entire family loves it and I am 100% in 30-day challenge compliance with this meal. Not to mention, I can go to bed feeling like a champion because I did this thing for one more day and didn’t blink an eye. No sinusitis and bronchitis combo is going to break my stride! Whoop!

Do you want to make a Mexican fiesta for your family too? Here’s what I did:

Gather up: Fajita seasoning (buy it or make your own – recipe below), free-range chicken breast (I used three), I sliced two bell peppers, ½ of a white onion. I sautéed the chicken and veggie together and that’s basically all of the ‘hard work’ that’s involved with this meal.

Fajita Seasoning (recipe below)
Saute chicken with seasoning
Saute pepper and onions

I sliced and diced everything that needed slicing and dicing on Sunday (yesterday) so that I wouldn’t have to do it all right after work. That is SO helpful! If you don’t do a bit of meal planning on the weekend, I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s not only for the super organized (which I am not) – it is for anyone who wants a little more freedom during the week, and that IS me.

Moving on. After I was done sautéing I gathered up spinach, homemade salsa (recipe below), homemade guacamole (recipe below), lime wedges, diced tomatoes and some black bean chips for scooping.

Purely Delicious Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range chicken breasts
  • ½ to 1 medium white onion
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 bell peppers, red, yellow, green or orange
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, for sautéing
  • Fajita seasoning (easy recipe below – or buy a packet at the store)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cut onion into slivers & slice peppers.
  2. Cut chicken into strips and toss with the fajita spice mixture (or store bought fajita packet).
  3. Preheat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high, in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook until just cooked about 3-5 minutes. Set chicken aside and add 1 tablespoon oil to the pan.
  4. Drain onions well and cook 2 minutes. Add in sliced peppers and cook an additional 2 minutes or just until hot. Add chicken back to the pan and stir to combine.
  5. Squeeze/pour lime juice over top and serve as a salad, with gluten-free brown rice tortillas or with black bean chips. Be sure to make the salsa and guacamole (recipes below) too!

 

 

Homemade Fajita Seasoning

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in a jar and mix well. Store it in an airtight container. 2-tablespoons equals 1 store-bought packet. You can use this as a marinade too if you add 2 tablespoons to 1/3 cup olive oil and the juice from a ½ lime (this amount for 1.5 lbs of meat/veggies).

 

Fresh Restaurant Style Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 28-oz can petite diced tomatoes, including juice
  • 1 small white onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped (or buy pre-sliced in a jar)
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (or buy minced garlic)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin or to taste
  • 1 teaspoons sea salt or to taste
  • 1 – 2 handfuls cilantro (I like 2)
  • 1 lime, juiced

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the large pieces, then process until texture is as smooth as you like. I prefer it smooth and more restaurant style.
  2. Taste the salsa and based on personal preference, adjust as necessary.
  3. The best flavor comes when it’s been in an airtight container in the ‘fridge for a day. But you can also enjoy it right away!

  

Best Ever Guacamole:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced (can use pre-minced garlic)
  • 1/4 cup (heaping) purple onion, chopped (equals about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional) – take seeds out unless you want it very spicy
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • * Optional: garlic powder

Instructions:

  1. Mash the avocado with a fork in a medium-size bowl.
  2. Add the chopped cilantro, minced garlic, purple onion, tomato and jalapeno pepper to the mashed avocado. Stir everything together.
  3. Add the fresh lime juice and sea salt. Stir. Taste the guacamole to see if the amount of sea salt is to your liking.

I hope you will enjoy a Mexican night just like we did! Remember from this post – eating at the table with your family is SO important!