Spring Cleaning Time–Get Organized! Free grocery list & meal planner download!

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Get organized collage

Hey friends!  I know it has been awhile but I have been in major “spring cleaning” mode for the past couple of weeks! And when your mind is set in getting a job done, I hate to distract from it, right?  Sorry it took me so long but nothing feel better than knowing that junk in the corner is gone!  Time for a garage sale!  I have decided to get rid of all those things that I think I might use or I might end up reusing in a craft.  I have come to the realization that if it has been siting here unused for 5 years, yeah,  I don’t think I will end up doing anything with it anyway, so just get rid of it!  Ahh, closets cleaned, kids toys in order, spring and summer kids’ clothes in closets, drawers organized, storage room looking so much better and so much more!  There is still work to do but it is definitely a great start!  Whenever I go through a little spurt of super cleaning/organizing mode I feel amazing afterwards and I always want to get back on the healthy-eating bandwagon, too! How about you?

Anyways, I absolutely love making charts and graphs to help me get and stay organized.  My husband always laughs at me but I always tell him, shush, it keeps me going! So why not get organized with your weekly meal planning? Believe me, you will feel so much better once you make your plan!  And, that dreaded question of “What’s for Dinner?” can be stress-free with this simple chart, ahhhh!  There are so many other benefits into putting in time to plan for the week.  If you make a plan, you probably will spend less at the grocery store and keep your pantry, frig, and freezer in order by buying what is necessary instead of buying all those impulse items. Another great benefit, you will end up eating better!  When you have no idea what is for dinner that is what I call a “danger zone!’  BEWARE!  This is the time when you are so overwhelmed with dinner time that you end up going for less healthy options such as take out.   “Awe, shucks, I don’t know what we have to eat here let’s order out!”  (I am sure you use those exact word, huh?  Lol!) Okay, I think I have made my point clear and a little planning can sure make a difference, so why not try it! 


Weekly Menu Meal Chart + Shopping List

In my chart, I have included a specific line for VEGETABLES at every meal.  Even it is just fresh veggies and dip, I include that information so I know to buy enough fresh vegetables for the week.  Seems like we can get a little boring here at my house but the kids are usually pretty good about eating their fresh veggies on their plate accompanied with dip! Go with what works!  *TIP: Remember that in order to absorb all those vital nutrients in many vegetables, a little fat is necessary  for absorption!

I also have a section for the Health Food Department.  If you do not buy items from the department or just shop the health food section I also have another download with out this listed on the grocery list. Click here. Weekly Menu Meal Chart + Shopping List.

How To Get Started!

1) Grab the store ads: One of my favorite times in the morning each week is sitting down with a cup of coffee, windows open, grocery store ads and shopping list on hand.  Smell that fresh air, love spring! 

2) Circle items you would like to purchase: First thing is first, I love getting in on those weekly deals.  I go through all the ads and circle the sale items and from there I add them to my list.

3) Make your meal plan: Now using those items that are on sale, what would you like to make during the week?  By the way, some stores already have this step done for you!  Yep, they have a suggested meal plan using those items on sale!  Plug for my good ole’ Hy-Vee and their weekly Weekly Menus.

4) Make your shopping list: With the items on your meal plan, make sure to include all items necessary on the grocery list.  Somehow I always forget something, grrrrr, that drives me crazy! 

Weekly grocery chart

Well, enjoy this simple meal planner and grocery list!  Happy Spring Cleaning!

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My Top Food Fools! Tricks to make your food a bit better for you!

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Happy April Fool’s Day!  Have you done any good jokes today? Well, I am just too tired and the creativity is running on low here.  I guess I could always pull the “I am pregnant” but not sure how funny that would be, haha! However, a couple years ago it was always a fun day at work!  One of my co-workers and I would always fool our other co-workers with some crazy food combinations, it was hilarious!  One year we cut pieces of cardboard and covered them in chocolate and had our co-workers try our new recipe for chocolate covered graham crackers! And guess what, we even fooled them the year after with vanilla ice cream and caramel topping, except the caramel topping was actually chicken gravy!  Many of them spit it out but one co-worker actually enjoyed the sweet and salty combo.  We had way too much fun!!  Anyway, today I would like to bring back some of my favorite tricks in making my recipes a tad healthier, except they do actually taste good! So here we go!

1) Halloween Cupcakes & Icing:  So much fun and I just love the color of the icing!  My trick here is using an avocado in the icing and in the cupcake instead of using butter or oil! Plus the avocado gives the icing an awesome looking natural green color, no food coloring necessary!



2) Mushrooms & ground beef – Ah, yes, chop up some mushroom and add it to ground beef.  Lean up the beef and save money!  I love it! 


3) My Favorite Party Dip

My trusty party dip that sure does look like a decadent nacho dip but instead I use only three wholesome ingredients: hummus, salsa and beans!


4) Super Simple Fruit Pizza

Skip the fat in the cookie crust and add in some nonfat Greek yogurt!  Only 2 ingredients for the crust and rest is icing and fresh fruit!  This treat will definitely satisfy any age group!


5) Buffalo Chicken Dip

Forget all the fat, throw this dip together in minutes and enjoy! A stress-free dip made with better ingredients including, nonfat Greek yogurt!  So darn good, I eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner!


6) How to make the tastiest protein smoothie!  Hooray for this one, finally a protein smoothie that I really enjoy and love the fact it is so good for you!  Including a ton of leafy greens and I finally figured out how to disguise those greens using my secret ingredient! Check it out!


7) Chocolate Pudding! Yes, finally enjoy pudding with some added healthful ingredients! A dose of healthy fat (monounsaturated fats & omega-3 fatty acids) and great source of fiber! 


8) Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge In a Jar! No guilt here, enjoy a jar of fudge, yes I said a jar!  Oh my gossshh! Let those powerful chia seeds do their work at magically turning this recipe into fudge!  Not only are chia seeds magical but they are a super food!


9) No-Bake Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Cookies! Sorry for all the exclamation points but this recipe is probably my ALL-TIME favorite recipe I have ever written, well, it is at least in the top three!  These little cookies are packed full of nutrients from beneficial ingredients such as flaxseed, sweet potatoes, oat, cocoa and so many more!  Plus they are sooooo good, yes, excuse my French, dam (I spelled it that way on purpose) delicious! Plus let’s not forget they are super duper simple to make!  Make a bunch and leave in the freezer for an anytime-snack!


10) Chocolate Surprise Ice Cream!  Yum, “real ice cream” using only two ingredients: Nutella & frozen bananas!  I made this recipe in 2012 and I just saw this made on the Rachel Ray show with Sunny Anderson a couple months ago, cool!  I guess they are super smart for loving this recipe, too! I love those two gals!


11) Watermelon Slushy:  Yep, super simple to make using, yes, that is right watermelon! I love this trick of freezing the juice of a watermelon and putting it in a blender with some stevia and lemon juice! How many times do you dump out the juice of a watermelon in your container?  Well, no waste here, make a slushy!  As the weather gets warmer I am excited to add some booze to this recipe, too!  Come on over neighbors! 


Enjoy these fun tricks, friends and Happy April 1st!  Wow, it’s April, already! 


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Cereal 101–Tips To Pick The Best Cereal!

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Hey, hey, hey! In honor of National Nutrition (yeah, March is National Nutrition Month) I would like to help you shop in the grocery store!  Let me take you down the aisle and let’s talk!  Oh how, I miss helping people shop for groceries, it was definitely one of my favorite parts of working as a supermarket dietitian.   First, let’s walk down that looong cereal.  There are so many cereals to choose from that it may seem a little overwhelming.  However,  at my house my kids usually pick from the same 5 cereals (not listed below) according to their taste buds, maybe your family is the same.  So, I went through my pantry and here are the ones that I could find to give you some examples as we take a look at the labels.


Today many cereals follow pretty good standard for nutrition, meaning, many of them are made with whole grains and fortified with a number of minerals and vitamins.  However, as my personal opinion I feel that cereal is about 10 steps away from its original grain (through all the processing) and therefore I prefer oatmeal (steel cut oats) over cereal, but not my kids! Cereal does make a great breakfast, snack or I-don’t-want-to-make-any-food-tonight-let’s-have-cereal-for-dinner! It’s a meal you really can’t beat, it tastes great! Cereal is definitely a staple in my children’s diets.  So how do you know if you are buying the right cereal?  Or maybe you need to step up your cereal and find one a bit better? Here are some steps to follow:


Usually most cereals are less than the 20% recommended Daily Value but I wanted to make sure you check the sodium, too!  Sodium can sure add up especially if you are following a low-sodium (1500 mg) diet. By the way, have you ever checked out the sodium in bread!? More than you would have thought, I bet.   Anyway, back to cereal, you may think 10 grams of sugar might seem high but follow me on this one . . . I and usually I try to find cereals for my kids between 6-8 grams but I also buy one cereal that is 10 grams per serving, check out my guideline below.*

Kashi cereals always do an outstanding job with their ingredient lists and that is why I picked their label as my example for step number 5!   Make sure the product contains whole grains . . .and most of them do these days! Make sure the first or second ingredient is a WHOLE grain.

whole grains2

Here are some example of easy to find nutrition facts on the front of the box!  I use this all time, especially when looking for how much sugar is in products.


Sorry for the poor box but even private labels are getting on board with having easy to find nutrition facts on the front of the package, too!



Wow, nutrition key icons are everywhere!  I was surprised to see them even on the lid!


More helpful icons!  When you see this whole grain stamp from the Whole Grain Council that is a good sign! This product is made with whole grains.  Plus, if you are diabetic and are counting carbohydrates, the exchanges are listed right on the box.


My kids like Kix cereal, it is probably the lowest sugared cereal that is on their favorite cereal list.  *I usually buy three boxes of cereal each week and follow my guideline of two cereals containing 6-8 grams of sugar per serving and one box of cereal containing 10 grams of sugar per serving. I am not always on the sugar police patrol but I am a huge believer in balance!  Finding moderate sugared cereals help balance out our weekly donut outing, hehehe!


Hope this helps!   Cheerio! Smile   Happy Friday!


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Better-For-You Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Cookies

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Who doesn’t love cookies, right?  I always make cookies just a little bit better-for-you so my kids and I can enjoy them even more!  Meaning we can even have them for breakfast!  Perfect for on-the-go snack and easy to pack!

Here are some ingredient benefits I have included in this recipe.




Coconut oil

Contains medium chain triglycerides, MCT, which has been shown  to increase the good HDL cholesterol in the blood.   Other studies have found coconut oil to be beneficial in weight loss, skin care, anti-aging, boost thyroid function and even stabilizing blood sugar.

Instead of using butter or margarine, coconut oil contains more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that is easier for the body to break down.

Coconut palm sugar Helps stabilize blood sugar and contain a number of beneficial nutrients such as, potassium, zinc, magnesium and iron! Instead of using white refined sugar, coconut palm sugar actually contains beneficial nutrients!
Ground flaxseed Great source of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids plus a great source of soluble fiber. Think of soluble fiber like a sponge that soaks up cholesterol in the arteries! Substitute some beneficial ground flaxseed for some flour.  Get a fiber boost when added to baked goods!


Better-For-You Chocolate Chip & Oatmeal Cookies  (36 servings (2tbsp per cookie))


1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)

1 banana

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup oat or whole wheat flour

1 cup quick oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chocolate chips


In a mixer, cream coconut oil, peanut butter and banana .  Add coconut sugar until well-combined. Beat in eggs and stir in vanilla. Stir together flour, oats,  flaxseed, baking soda and salt.  Add to creamed mixture. Finally add  chocolate chips and combine. Drop from spoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes.   *I like to make a good-sized cookie ~ 2 tablespoon per cookie.

Nutrition facts: 92 calories; 11 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 5 g fat; 3 g protein, 38 mg sodium, 4 g sugar


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10 Reasons To Include Chili In Your Diet!

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Okay, I know this post title sounds a little weird but that I hope by now to have your attention, eh?  I am currently writing a simple meal plan post that will be coming soon and as I was writing it I realized I LOVE CHILI!  Not only do I love chili because it tastes awesome but because of so many other reasons that I will share with you today!   We may be out of soup season but let’s face it, soup is an awesome staple in any diet! Let’s begin!



1) Benefits Weight Loss:  That is right! There are many studies showing that if you consume soup before a meal, you can decrease your calorie intake by 200 calories! 

2) Full of Nutrients: The nutrition profile is fantastic as chili is full of beneficial nutrients including iron, vitamin C, magnesium and many others including the next two on the list: protein and fiber! If you see my recipe below I add even more nutrients by using a secret ingredient  that I will talk about in reason #7 Make it Skinny.

3) Good Source of Protein: Yay for protein, one of the other reasons why chili may help shave off the weight. Protein-rich foods will help you feeling fuller longer and therefore keep you from nibbling on all the junk! In my recipe I use real, 100% beef because it is also a great source of iron.  You don’t have use ground chicken or turkey, in fact, I would recommend not using ground chicken or turkey because it does not contain near as much iron as beef!  Beef is one of the best sources of iron.  Check out Beef’s Big 10. Iron is a crucial nutrient that does many important processes for our bodies including providing oxygen to our blood cells.  There are times when I get a little tired and think about my diet and realize, wow my protein/iron consumption is a little low let’s have a good steak or some hamburger!  Okay, maybe only a dietitian would say this but you get the point and by the way I end up feeling better after a dose of some iron-rich foods! So don’t fret and go for the beef in this recipe.  Psst . . .plus those beans in the recipe are also a good source of iron, too!

4) Good Source of Fiber:  This is something that many of us are lacking! The majority of American only consume about 10 to 12 grams of fiber a day, that is about half (or less) of the recommended amount of 25 to 30 grams of fiber!  Pile on those chili beans, right?  Plus, legumes are loaded with many other beneficial nutrients!

5) Make it Skinny! Here’s my little secret in making this recipe even more nutrient-dense – add chopped mushrooms to your ground beef!  Cost-effective and  bumps up the nutrition profile! Don’t worry, your family won’t even realize they are eating mushrooms in their beef because you don’t even see the mushrooms or taste them!  Mushrooms are good sources of riboflavin, niacin, selenium, vitamin D and many other nutrients. Some studies have even found mushroom to even decrease tumors! Check out my pictures below! Can you tell the difference? 


6) Easy To Make: Open up some cans and/or a container, brown some ground beef and viola you are done!  So super simple!  Make this meal ahead for weeks to come . . .including my next point!

7) Freezes Awesome! Make this recipe ahead and you will be set for a month!  I always find myself going for the bag of chips or something not-so-good-for-you when I have not planned or prepared a wholesome healthy meal.  A little planning and prepping will deter any junk food craving! Defrost some chili or heat some up out of the frig and satisfy any 911 emergency hunger pang!  TIP:  Freeze chili in single-serve freezer bags and defrost each week! 

8) Versatile: Add any leftover chili to your favorites, baked potato or homemade fries.  This may seem naughty but in the right proportions it can be a hearty and healthy meal! 

9) Abides to Any Dietary Guidelines: My chili recipe can follow any special dietary considerations including reduced sodium, diabetic-friendly and if you buy the right ingredients gluten-free. Make sure each ingredients follows your dietary needs.

10) Cheater-Friendly! I know chili may not sound like the healthiest meal but if you make it with the right ingredients you have a winner, enjoy your savory heart-warming chili!

My Simple Skinny Chili  (Serving size: 6)


1/2 lb 90% lean ground beef

8-oz mushroom, chopped

3 cup tomato juice (may use low-sodium version)

1 (15-oz) can diced tomatoes (may use chili-ready or one of my favorite olive oil & garlic)

1 (15-oz) can chili beans

1 – 2 tbsp. chili powder


In a skillet pan, brown ground beef.  Place mushrooms in a food processor and chop to the size similar of rice.  Add the ground mushrooms to the browned beef.  In a pot, add juice, tomatoes, beans and ground beef/mushroom mixture.  Add desired amount of seasoning.  Simmer for at least 25 minutes.

Nutrition Facts (using NO low-sodium products): 181 calories, 16g carbohydrates; 5 g fat, 15 g protein, 566mg sodium; 6 g sugar

IF YOU USE LOW SODIUM JUICE: Nutrition Facts: 181 calories; 16 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat; 15 g protein; 314mg sodium; 6 g sugar             

Try finding a canned or boxed soup with the awesome nutrition profile like from above!  Can’t beat this recipe!

BTW:  My kiddos eat this chili up!  Hooray for this kid-friendly recipe at my house!


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Ways To Motivate By Using Your Phone! Apps & Podcasts

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Hey! Like everyone else in the world, when my phone doesn’t work for awhile I am lost!  What do I do?  How I keep up with social media?  How do I let me my friends and family know the latest funny things my kids have done? How do I know what is going on in the world?  How do I know what the weather is going to be like?  How do I follow up on email? How do I take a picture of my kids?  How do I know the latest Groupon?  How do I find my coupons? And do I get in shape? 

So many questions all solved by my simple little phone, ahhh, I love you phone!  Well, I found some great motivational programs to use and I even love my phone 10x more! 


So my first program that I love on my phone is using the

My Fitness Pal app! Super easy to use and I love that you can scan the barcode of any product and the program will find the product and automatically download the nutrition facts.

The other part of the program that I just started using is finding friends on my My Fitness Pal.  You can see their progress daily and I will have to say, it is kind of motivating!  If you want you  may also share your daily meal plan and exercise regimen with your friends!  But don’t worry, you can keep this all private, too!

This program is wonderful for figuring out the exact nutrition profile of your own homemade recipes!  Even it is as simple as a smoothie recipes that you use daily.  Instead of typing in 10 ingredients just set up your own nutrition profile in “My Recipes.”   I just love this part about the program!



My second fun favorite fitness app is the 7 Minute Workout! I always tell myself, “Really? Come on just do it, it is only SEVEN minutes!”  And yet I still don’t do it as often as a I should, ha!


The first time I was introduced to this app I came downstairs as my husband and kids were sitting on the wall (in some pain, might I add) and then rushing to go do some sit-ups as I heard this voice on his phone telling them what to do, it was hilarious and cute to see them doing it together! This program gives a new exercise every 30 seconds and counts down the last five seconds to each set, which I love this because then you really don’t have to look at your phone for an entire 7 minutes.  I usually just try to focus on the TV as I listen to my phone instruct new exercises.  Now, they do recommend doing the 7 minute routine three times but I say 7 minutes is good too!

I will have to admit that before I had this phone I really had no idea what a podcast was and now I can’t get enough of them!  My podcasts are my go-to-girlfriends that I go to weekly, I wish they were daily! Anyway, I will play them while doing dishes or even in the van, ahhh, just a little wholesome “me” time! My fitness favorites are Spark People Radio and The Jillian Michaels Show.


The Spark People’s podcast host has changed to Bettina Bush who might I add was the voice of Rainbow Bright, (huge Rainbow Bright fan) I loved her the second I heard that, plus she is the voice about a bajillion other characters too.  This podcast will talk to many of Spark Peoples professionals including the founder, Chris Downie, and others including their personal trainer and dietitian! They always give such great and practical advice for just about anyone.

My other favorite podcast, well, I will be honest this is my number one health and wellness podcast, the Jillian Michaels Show!  I just love listening to this podcast and might I add this podcast is the reason why I bought tickets to the Maximize Your Life Tour!  This podcast will visit many health and wellness topics along with a number of personal improvement topics.  I just love hearing about Jillian’s real life experiences with her kids and how she balances her work and home life.  My absolute favorite story from Jillian is how she dealt with her 3-year-old who was testing her boundaries with her parents, hilarious! Ahh, so good to hear a famous person struggle (and want to rip their hair out!) with parenting at times, like me, heheehee!

I do have a couple more podcasts that I enjoy including, Meal Makeover Moms. However, their podcasts are available through itunes and since I do not have an iphone I have to listen via website which does not work as well on my phone, therefore, I do not listen to this podcast as often.  Meal Makeover Moms is led by two registered dietitians giving tips and nutritional advice on the latest health topics.  I am a fan of their site and recipes, too!

Well, there you have it folks, my favorite motivational programs and apps that I just love on my phone!  If you have a favorite let me know and I would love to try it out! 


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Celebrate National Registered Dietitian Day!

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Hey friends!  Today is the seventh annual Registered Dietitian Day so if you forgot to put it on your calendar, that’s okay, this celebration is still fairly new.  My goal in writing this blog today is educate the public on “what is a dietitian” and the difference between a nutritionist and dietitian.  My friend posted this ecard on her Facebook page today and I thought it really sums up everything.


Many people do not know the difference between a registered dietitian and commonly used term, nutritionist. So I thought I would help clear this mystery!

How is an RD different than a nutritionist?

The “RD” credential is a legally protected title that can only be used by practitioners who are authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the American Dietetic Association.

Some RDs may call themselves “nutritionists,” but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The definition and requirements for the term “nutritionist” vary. Some states have licensure laws that define the range of practice for someone using the designation “nutritionist,” but in other states, virtually anyone can call him- or herself a “nutritionist” regardless of education or training including a professor that hold PhD in nutrition or an individual that completed an online training program.

Individuals with the RD credential have fulfilled specific requirements, including having earned at least a bachelor’s degree (about half of RDs hold advanced degrees), completed a supervised practice program and passed a registration examination — in addition to maintaining continuing education requirements for recertification.

Here are some questions that I get asked pretty frequently.

What are the qualifications of a registered dietitian?

A registered dietitian is a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements including:

  • Earned a bachelor’s degree with course work approved by ADA’s Commission on Accreditation for Dietetics Education. Coursework typically includes food and nutrition sciences, foodservice systems management, business, economics, computer science, sociology, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology and chemistry.
  • Completed an accredited, supervised practice program at a health-care facility, community agency or foodservice corporation.
  • Passed a national examination administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration.
  • Completes continuing professional educational requirements to maintain registration.

Approximately 50 percent of RDs hold advanced degrees. Some RDs also hold additional certifications in specialized areas of practice, such as pediatric or renal nutrition, nutrition support and diabetes education.

Registered dietitians who are members of the American Dietetic Association are not only food and nutrition experts—they are leaders in the field of dietetics. Every one of ADA’s wide array of member benefits is designed to advance their knowledge and skills and enhance their networking opportunities.

What services do RDs provide?

The majority of registered dietitians work in the treatment and prevention of disease (administering medical nutrition therapy, as part of medical teams), often in hospitals, HMOs, private practice or other health care facilities. In addition, a large number of registered dietitians work in community and public health settings and academia and research. A growing number of registered dietitians work with food and nutrition industry and business, journalism, sports nutrition, corporate wellness programs and other non-traditional work settings.

For more information regarding RD’s and National Nutrition Month (yes, this March!) go to www.eatright.org

Happy Dietitian Day to all my RD friends!

Happy RD Day

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STEP UP YOUR SALAD! Simple steps to make the perfect salad!

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Hey you!  As I am getting blown away today from the extreme winds I definitely miss yesterday’s weather!  Yesterday was so much fun to sit outside and talk with neighbors as the kids played!  And I was super excited to get the grill out for the first time this year! I love a grilled hamburger, mauaaaa, yum!  We opened up the windows and smelled the fresh air, finally, aaahhh!  Pure bliss!  Well, aside from the weather, today I would like to share my tips in making the best, most perfect, delicious, super simple, just-like-a-restaurant, awesome, out-of-this-world salad! I may be just a little excited about this post but I finally figured out how to crave a salad by using this method/recipe!  I hope you enjoy (hugs)!


I am using a glass baby food jar but you can use any jar you would like!  Right now I have a larger Mason jar in my frig because I really enjoy this recipe. With just FOUR ingredients, you can make an AMAZING homemade dressing that is low in sugar, low in sodium and made with real ingredients! Plus it is super cheap to make! I just pour this dressing over my salad and keep in the frig for next time. Plus this recipe is very versatile and you can use any type of vinegar.  You may also add a variety of seasoning as well, just like in my  previous posts: Asian Sesame Ginger Salad or Strawberry Spinach Salad.

Homemade Salad Dressing in a Jar   (Serving Size: 3)


4 tbsps canola/olive oil blend

2 tbsps (balsamic) vinegar

2 tsps stone ground mustard

2 packets raw stevia


Using a small jar like a baby food jar or even chopped garlic jar; add oil, vinegar, mustard, and stevia in a jar with a lid and shake well. 

Here is another great way to have salads already prepped and perfect to grab in the morning and throw in your lunch bag (ok, may not want to throw a glass jar but you know what I mean)!  I save old spaghetti sauce jars and use them for make-ahead-salads!  There is a method to this wonderful method as I have listed below. 


I like to add chunky vegetables such as mushrooms, chopped cauliflower or even onions to form a nice barrier from the dressing and the leafy greens.  Next, I add whatever I feel like, which could be chopped apples, strawberries, shredded chicken or my favorite some feta cheese!  Last step is to pile in the greens!  Stuff as much as you can in there, fill it up!  And sometimes I even sprinkle sunflower seeds on the very top for extra crunch. Lunch is ready!  I love this method because you save time by making salads in bulk instead of bringing out all the ingredients every day.  I will be honest, what usually happens when I do not prep a pretty salad like this one below,  I don’t eat a pretty salad for lunch.  I end up grabbing some chips and a sandwich.  I need something quick and ready to go!  So here is the solution to my busy-day madness.  And by the way, my salads will last a good 3 to 4 days in a jar!

Check out a previous post How to Make the Perfect Salad + Taco Salad in a Jar! This is my top pinner on pinterest, woohoo!


Happy Tuesday and have a wonderful day!

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Awesome Kid’s Treat–Chocolate Covered Frozen Banana Sticks!

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Hi there!  If you are like me you raid the frig, freezer and pantry looking for something healthy to feed you kids before they climb the shelves and reach for the hidden cookies or candies you have in the back of the pantry shelves, eh?  Well, here is an inexpensive, easy and fun little treat that your kids will love, big or small! Plus, this is perfect for saving any banana that is about to go bad.  And why not get your kids involved in making this fun treat by using a table knife? Get their little chefs hats on to make this little creation!


After my last post How to Make the Tastiest Smoothie,  I am still boasting about frozen bananas! Sometimes I feel kind of sorry for the good ole’ banana.  Oh banana, you are still loved by many but sometimes bananas can get a bad rap for having too many carbohydrates.  Well, I say . . . at least they are coming from a natural source instead of a processed item.  Plus bananas are full of good-for-you nutrients including vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and fiber.  All of these nutrients which are essential for heart health as well as cancer prevention. Plus, bananas contain resistant starch, which is a a type of fiber that many studies have shown to help with weight loss, boosting metabolism and keeping the appetite at bay!  Hooray for that, huh!  TIP:  Bananas that are a light green contain more resistant starch than a ripe bananas.  So, maybe you want to freeze bananas very soon after purchase if you are looking for that super-hero, weight-loss champion, aka, resistant starch! Check out this link, Wikipedia Resistant Starch, bananas are the highest source of resistant starch!

Here is how I make my banana sticks. First, slice a bananas in half, length-wise.


Then slice into strips and cut into preferred lengths.


Store in a container and freeze!  Simple as that!  They are a nice little treat and my biggest fan for these little sticks is my little 20-month-old.  They are perfect for her little hand to hold as she devours all the sticks at once so I have to be ready and make more! 


Now my older kiddos and I love the variety of dipping the sticks in chocolate!  Yum!


Have a wonderful weekend! 

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STEP IT UP! How To Make The Tastiest Protein Smoothie!

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Are you board with your protein smoothie?  Do you have to choke down your smoothie and the only reason why you make this smoothie is because you are a healthy kick this week?  You know you should drink your protein smoothie but would rather go for a real ice cream shake after the gym instead?  Do you sometimes think, “What is all the hype about protein smoothies/shake, anyway?”

So after my big winning of a high-powered Blendtec ® from attending Green Smoothie Girl’s class, I have been testing many smoothies and really trying to find one that I can stand to drink everyday, maybe even twice a day!  For me drinking green smoothies is not always easy, I will be honest, but I have found a couple of tricks that really help make the smoothie dee-liciuos!

I love the concept of green protein smoothies because they are easy and I don’t have to eat chalk-fuls of leafy greens plain or in a salad that I might get sick of later.  On the days I do make this smoothie I feel wonderful and extremely satisfied!  Plus, this is the perfect on-the-go item for me to have each day.  If you are like me, I am running around getting kids ready for school, dropping them off, running errands, cleaning the house, and what  else not that I find myself not eating too much during the first part of the day and then after school hits and I am a ravenous wild animal wanting food!  Kids, don’t talk to me, MOM needs to eat!  Believe me (and my kids, oh and my husband), I am not a happy camper when I have not eaten in a while.  We have many stories we can laugh at now!   So . . .protein smoothies are the perfect solution to any busy lifestyle that wants to eat super healthy!

So let me share my secrets, I think you will be surprised at my secret ingredient!

I start off filling my blender with handfuls of any type of leafy greens.  In this case I used spinach but use whatever you like best.


To the leafy greens I added about a 1  1/2 cups of water, or you could even use unsweetened almond milk but not necessary.


Don’t be scared of the green, really you won’t even notice it!  Seriously! Next I add a number of ingredients: vanilla whey protein . . .


Ground flaxseeds or you may use ground chia seeds . . . .


Brewers yeast or nutritional yeast (great amount of B vitamins, aka energy vitamins and protein!).  Just be careful and do not put too much of this in or it will not make the smoothie taste very good.  I only use 1 to 2 teaspoons!


One cup frozen berries!  I have 1/2 cup blueberries and a 1/2 cup raspberries.


And now my secret ingredient . . .FROZEN BANANAS!  Yes, super simple, huh?  Whenever I add leafy greens I think it is a must to have a banana in the mix to hinder the smell and even the taste of the leafy greens.  But I found out with trial and error (or I just didn’t have any fresh bananas on-hand, just frozen) that frozen bananas make the smoothie taste awesome as well as having stellar consistency like a creamy milk shake!  After I figured this out, I thought, “Duh!”  Frozen bananas blended are awesome just like ice cream! Just like in my Surprise Chocolate Ice Cream!


Just remember to remove the peels before you freeze the bananas and place in a plastic bag and they are smoothie-ready! Plus, bananas are full of good-for-you nutrients including vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin C and fiber. And let’s not forget about that weight-loss champion, resistant starch, which is a a type of fiber that many studies have shown to help with weight loss, boosting metabolism and keeping the appetite at bay!   TIP:  Bananas that are a light green contain more resistant starch than a ripe bananas.  

I store pretty much everything in the freezer including my protein powder, flaxseeds, ground flaxseeds and nutritional yeast.  That way they just last longer.


This little wild-haired sweetie loves this recipe and always asks for more. She hears the blender and says, “Wants some?”  As for my older kids . . . well . . . let’s just say they are not that innocent anymore, boo!  But I am always working on them! However, whenever my older two kids help make the smoothie then they actually drink it!


I love this container that I took from my hubby.  It holds a ton of smoothie and fits in a the van’s cup holder, awesome! 


My Super Protein Smoothie (Serves 1)


1 1/2 –2 cups leafy greens

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup frozen berries

1/2 frozen bananas

1 scoop protein powder

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds

1 tsp brewers yeast


In a blender, combine greens and water and blend well. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for at least 30 seconds. Enjoy!


Well, I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you are a newbie to the smoothies I hope this has inspired to want (or give) it a try!

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