It’s Not Too Late! Join our 30-Day Real Food Money Saving Challenge!

It’s time for the 30-Day Real Food Money Saving Challenge! It’s FREE. It’s fun. It’ll save you money. It’ll encourage you to eat right. (And by eat right, I mean spread butter on your bread and pour sweet cream on your peaches. This is the good kind of eatin’!)

We’ve got a whole slew of participants, but we still need more! For everyone who is interested in eating real food and saving money too, this is for you!

Take the 30 Day Challenge

Throughout the month of September, I’ll send out quick and easy real food money saving tips to everyone who signs up to take part in the fun. Should you choose to accept each challenge, you’ll be on your way to filling your table with simple real foods while keeping extra money in your wallet.

This 30-Day Challenge is FREE!

Yep. There’s no cost to join. The tips are fun and practical no matter where you live and what your grocery store options are!

This isn’t about couponing. This is simply about making the most of your grocery dollars while putting great, real food on the table.

Ready to join?!

All you have to do is:

Sign up to take the 30-Day Real~Food~Money~Saving Challenge here.


Throughout the month of September, I’ll send out quick and easy real food money saving tips. Should you choose to accept each challenge, you’ll be on your way to filling your table with simple real foods while keeping extra money in your wallet.

Let the 30-Day Real Food Money Saving Challenge begin!

Join here. 

Take the 30 Day Real Food Money Saving Challenge!

Guess what we’re going to do together in September? We’re going to eat sweet, crisp apples and save money. We’re going to sprinkle cinnamon on everything and save money. We’re going to take a leap into the fall season together, and take on simple real food challenges that will help us all save some grocery cash!

Who’s with me?

Take the 30 Day Challenge

It’s simple, actually. Would you expect anything less? 

All you have to do is:

Sign up to take the 30-Day Real~Food~Money~Saving Challenge here.


Throughout the month of September, I’ll send out quick and easy real food money saving tips. Should you choose to accept each challenge, you’ll be on your way to filling your table with simple real foods while keeping extra money in your wallet.

It’s a win-win!

Take the 30 Day Real Food Money Saving Challenge

As we settle into a new school year, I can’t think of a better time to focus on eating real food and saving money.

We’ll share some of the most basic, family friendly ways to save grocery money. And we’ll take the fear out of switching to a real food diet. Not only that, we’ll find out why eating real food actually tastes incredible and hmmm…is it possible that we can do all of this without increasing our grocery budget?

As a mom of four teenage sons who has made the switch from processed to whole foods, I can attest to the fact that eating real food has saved us grocery money. Tip #9 will actually share one simple way we save $1,000 every year by eating real food. True story!

I can’t wait to share all these fun tips and to extend challenges for your family to enjoy with me.

Are you ready?

Sign up to take our 30-Day Real~Food~Money~Saving Challenge!

As a thank you for joining us, we’ll give you a free copy of Heavenly Homemaker’s Top 10 Money Saving Recipes.

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes

 

Let the 30-Day Real~Food~Money~Saving Challenge begin!

Bonus points if you tell your friends about it. Friends don’t let friends pay too much money for groceries (or eat margarine), am I right? :)

One of the Hardest Grocery Budget Questions I’m Ever Asked

A few months ago I shared about my family’s current grocery budget. Some of you felt a mighty relief that you weren’t the only one spending so much each month to feed your family . But others of you fell over with shock. (Sorry ’bout that.)

Before I get too far in to today’s post, allow me to catch you up on some grocery budget posts that will help you understand where I’m coming from here:

Long story short, we are a family of 6. We have four sons ages 19, 17, 15, and 12. Our oldest lives in the college dorm, but comes over from time to time (sometimes with friends). We almost never eat out, we don’t have cable, and we drive old vehicles. Our health care/insurance costs are amazingly low (praise the Lord!). But…we spend a boat load of money every month on groceries. Eeeeek!

groceries Lincoln

Almost every month, we fork out somewhere between $800-$1,100 dollars for food to feed our family. Yep, sounds a little scary to some of you. We used to get away with much less back when all four of our boys could share one apple for a snack and be fine until they ate their tiny little dinner.

Now it’s just not possible. Our four boys are teenagers now. They are tall. They are extremely active. We care about wholesome nutrition. Our grocery bill reflects all of this.

groceries725

One of the most difficult questions I’m asked by people is this one:

If you had to cut back on your grocery budget, what would you cut?

I open my mouth in an effort to answer, and nothing comes out. Of all our groceries, what would I not buy? What do I buy that’s a splurge that I could give up? How could I cut back?

Honestly, I’m not sure I have a good answer. I buy food. My family eats it. We waste almost nothing.

Okay, here’s one. Sometimes I splurge and buy juice. This is fun, but not a necessity. We could give that up, which would save, what? About $8 a month? I buy La Croix sparkling water, and this is a total splurge. It’s a fun drink that I could give up. Again, this offers a savings of just a few dollars every month.

Could I (tearfully) give up on buying a grass fed cow every year? Maybe. But even with that, would I really be saving money? Buying our meat in bulk like this really cuts the cost down.

And speaking of cows, I really can’t skimp on the meat at our house, as far as quantity. I feed my boys plenty of rice, potatoes, and pasta to help fill them. But they never feel satisfied without substantial protein.

groceries 411

How about produce? The thought of cutting back on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables makes me feel sick inside. Our bodies need nourishment from these, and I would hate to cut back. Fruits and veggies are a big part of our meals, and I believe the variety of nutrients they provide helps to keep my boys feeling satisfied, especially when compared to cheap crackers or whatever else I’d offer to fill in the gaps.

Also? I’ve already stopped buying “only organic.” I gave that up several years ago when I realized the cost was keeping us from eating enough fruits and vegetables. I buy organic when the price is reasonable, but otherwise, I trust that God is bigger and we just wash and eat the nourishing conventional produce. (I save a lot of money price-matching our produce, so I’m so thankful our Wal-mart still offers this!)

We already skip the milk. We buy one gallon each week (to use for cooking) from a local farmer, so it is organic and grass fed. But one gallon. For $5.00. It’s more expensive than store-bought, but the $20 I spend on milk each month doesn’t make or break my budget.

So I guess that brings me back to:

My family eats a lot of food.

That, and we feed extra people quite frequently.

Our grocery budget allows for including extras around our table regularly, and for that, I’m extremely thankful. I wouldn’t want to ever give that up, and God continues to provide so I don’t have to.

But truly, if I had to cut back on my grocery budget, I think my kids would be hungry.

Either that or I think they might get sick more frequently. There’s no way to know that for sure, I guess, but after so many years of filling them with nourishing foods, including a lot of fruits and vegetables, I really think their bodies are thriving on the nutrients. To cut back and substitute them with “filler foods” could potentially hurt them and make our doctor bills increase. Worth it? Absolutely not.

This is where I land for my family right now. If our income decreased and we would need to cut budget in order to make it, food would be one of the last things I would/could adjust. And I know, without a doubt, that God would provide for my family’s needs. He is God and we never need to doubt him.

If I had to cut back on my grocery budget

What are your thoughts on this topic? If you had to cut back on grocery spending, what would you/could you cut out?

A Freebie for you!

Here’s something exciting!

Want a recipe eBooklet full of my Top 10 Money Saving Recipes? Join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club, and we’ll send it to you for FREE! (Joining means we’ll also keep you informed of all the latest money saving groceries and homemaking items we come across. A win-win!)

Top 10 Money Saving Recipes

Sign up to join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club here.

Also for Savings Club Members, we just finished a project we started a couple years ago (no time like the present, right?).

Another NEW Freebie for you!

30 Real Food Money Saving Tips
If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might remember that about two years ago (I’m embarrassed that it’s been that long!) I asked all of you to submit your best ways of saving money on real food. I FINALLY compiled these into a fun downloadable resource for you!

This eBooklet is full of 30 Real Food Money Saving Tips. This resource is super practical and easy to read through. I bet you’ll find some ideas you hadn’t thought of before, some that you can work toward now, and some that might benefit you in a different season.

It’s free for all and it’s loaded with tips! Get it here —->

Sign up to join our Heavenly Homemakers Savings Club here.

What are your best ways of saving money on real food?

Simple Salad: How I Cheat and Serve Salad Without Actually Making Salad

You guys. I am a cheater. I am a cheater, cheater, salad eater.

Simple Overnight Beef Roast

I tell you all the time that I “serve a tossed salad” with my meals. I suggest in almost every daily Simple Meal menu to “serve tossed salad.” I just wrote an entire post about how necessary it is to eat salad every day. I even express frequently how ridiculously easy it is to serve salads as a side dish with our meals as a way to get nourishment without going to any trouble.

But several of you are like, “Hey. It isn’t actually easy and it is a lot of trouble. I hate making tossed salads. All the washing, and the chopping, and the tossing…”

Shoot. I guess I haven’t really told you in detail what I actually mean when I say “serve a tossed salad.” You guys, the only thing I actually toss are these bad boys:

groceries feb 173

I get them from the fridge and I toss them at my boys to put onto the table.

That is how I toss a salad.

If I have grape tomatoes, I wash them and toss those onto the table too. Sometimes I toss over those mini sweet peppers that are so deliciously amazing.

simple-beanie-weanies

The Organic Mixed Greens and Spinach I buy are pre-washed so they take zero prep. Maybe we can’t actually call it a “salad” if we’re not mixing anything into the lettuce or greens, but if you ask me, the point of all of this is that we’re eating greens and that is the most valuable player. Any bonus veggies we eat with the greens are fantastic, but everyone at our house is old enough to add those to their plate or bowl by themselves.

As far as salad dressing? We all like ranch at our house so we keep a quart of Homemade Ranch Dressing on hand at all times. I’d toss that over to the table too, but I think we all know it’s best to place a glass jar full of liquid onto the table with care. But hey, if that’s the most difficult part of my salad making experience, I think I’m doing okay.

How about the cost of buying these ready-to-serve Mixed Greens or Spinach? I get an entire pound of each organic variety for just under $6. One pound is A LOT of greens. For $12/week, the five of us still living at home get around 25 salads out of those packages. It’s some of the least expensive, most power-packed nourishment there is!

So I think that you, too, should be a cheater, cheater, salad eater. I mean, when tossing a salad really is as easy as tossing a container onto the table…

I suppose I should mention that when I have company, I do often take thirty seconds to dump some of the greens from the container into a pretty glass bowl. Then I toss in some grape tomatoes. Maybe chop in some cucumber.

Pre-Packaged Mixed Greens and/or Spinach is THE way to go for tossing salad at our house.

How about you? What’s the easiest way you’ve found to toss a salad? How frequently do you eat salad?

Stop Eating Salad to Lose Weight!

As the saying goes, I wish had a dime for every person who said to me, “I’m trying to fit into this dress so I’ve started eating more salads.” Or “Why are you eating a salad? You don’t need to lose weight.”

Actually, skip the dime. Let’s go with a dollar. After all, I have a kid in college and will have from now until 2027. Sometimes there will be two in college at once. I can absolutely use all the dollars I can get. Fives and tens are also welcome. And also some Kleenex because that’s a lot of graduations to get through. (I might have already started crying over the fact that I’ve got another guy graduating next spring.)

Stop eating salad to lose weight!

Stop Eating Salad to Lose Weight

Please notice that this admonition doesn’t end with the word “salad.” I have not said, “Stop eating salad.” I’m telling us all that none of us should eat salad as a way to lose weight. Instead…

All of us should eat salad as a way to gain nourishment.

Salad greens are some of the healthiest foods we can eat, and we should eat them every day if possible. (P.S. If you didn’t already know this – the greener the greens, the better they are. Iceberg lettuce isn’t bad for us necessarily, but it’s also not as packed with nutrients as other varieties of lettuce. The basic rule of thumb to follow is to pick the greenest of the greens because the greener it is, the more packed it is with nutrients we need.)

But no matter how green they are, never eat them in an effort to lose weight. Eat them because you know your body can utilize the nutrients they contain.

Why does it matter?

It matters because if you only eat salad in an effort to lose weight, if/when you fall off your diet wagon, you’re likely to think of salad as “diet food” and stop eating it.

It matters because if you are thin, you might not consider eating salad as a necessary option.

It matters because when it comes right down to it, none of the food choices we make should be based on whether or not we need to lose weight. We need to make food choices based on what will best give our bodies nourishment.

Just eat real food, people. (With the very occasional side of fries, because keeping an intentional balance is best and ultimately healthiest, in my research-based opinion.)

You might find that eating a great salad every day does result in weight loss if that is a need for you. But the bigger celebration should be in knowing that your body is loving all the goodness you’re putting into it. You will feel so much better! You will have more energy!

From now on, no one shall ever talk to me about eating salad to lose weight. Don’t think I won’t start asking for those dimes. Dollars. Kleenex. Whatever.

Are you a salad lover? 

P.S. Check out the cheater way I serve my family salad every day!

The Simple Way to Make Veggies Actually Taste Good

Some of us don’t need to be convinced that veggies actually taste good. We already know. We love and crave many delicious veggies and can’t figure out what’s wrong with all the people who turn up their noses at green, orange, and red food that grows out of the ground.

Fruits and Veggies On the Go 2

For many of us, liking vegetables has come with age as our tastes change. It also helps when we actually try a new vegetable every once in a while. (I’m talking to all of you who say, “I don’t like that” before you’ve even actually tried it. You know who you are.)

Even with changing taste buds and willingness to try new veggies once in a while, I don’t know one person who likes every single vegetable on the planet. I love many different kinds, but I still really struggle with artichokes and beets. You?

But here’s what I’ve found to make a big difference in the world of vegetables. It’s the trick that can make a person turn around and actually like a vegetable he or she may not have liked before. It’s this:

Add a delicious, healthy fat to your veggie.

Not only does fat add flavor to the veggie and bring out its natural goodness, it adds necessary nutrients to fuel our bodies for energy and to feed our brains. I find it to be so very lovely when my brain actually works. You?

My favorite ways to add fat to veggies to create amazing flavor:

1. Butter

When I steam peas, broccoli, or carrots, I love to stir in some butter and sea salt. Oh my happy, happy veggies.

tuna_casserole

2. Bacon Grease

You guys. Cook your bacon, eat your bacon, then keep the grease it created and put it in a jar in your fridge. Stir a couple teaspoons into your steamed green beans along with some sea salt and see if your family doesn’t go back for seconds. Get over thinking that “bacon grease will give you a heart attack.” It’s good, natural fat. Don’t want a heart attack? Stop eating cookies and drinking pop. Love ya.

green-beans

3. Stir Fry them in Olive Oil

Last week we had a few college students over for a meal. I stir fried yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, and broccoli to go with our Hawaiian Chicken and Rice. Upon cleaning her plate, one of the college girls stood up and said, “I’m getting more veggies. Those were really good. Hmm. I’ve never said that before.

It made my day and it proves my point. Add good fat to the veggies. Enjoy them with non-processed sea salt (full of needed minerals).

stir_fry

And what about raw veggies?

Well, eat them plain if you enjoy them that way. But if dipping them in something delicious helps you get them down, go for it with healthy dips like Homemade Ranch Dip or this Easy Veggie Dip.

Easy Veggie Dip 1

Tell me how you cook your veggies! What are your favorite fats to add? Have you found that healthy fats make veggies taste awesome?

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Be on the look-out! Our Simple Meals program is about to launch and you’re going to love it! In the meantime, here are our latest new Simple Recipes that go with the Simple Veggies talked about above:

Want to Eat Healthy? Then Stay Away From This…

Let me guess. You assume I’m going to say something about margarine. Maybe high fructose corn syrup. Crisco, perhaps?

Aww, you know me well. You know I yell about avoiding those harmful ingredients. But that’s not actually what I want to talk about today.

want-to-eat-healthy-stay-away-from-this

Today I’m not going to give you a list of do’s and don’ts about eating. Today’s advice is much simpler. It’s this:

If you want to consistently eat healthy meals and snacks, stay away from complicated recipes.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Every once in a while I meet someone who truly thrives on challenging recipes with multiple steps. But mostly I find that complicated recipes make people frustrated and overwhelmed, then they quickly give up on healthy eating and fall back into patterns of eating out and grabbing cheap, empty, convenience food.

I don’t even blame them. When I see a recipe with a long list of ingredients and a bunch of detailed instructions, my brain explodes. This, from someone who loves to cook.

Here’s a little example of what I’m talking about: Do not tell me to separate my egg whites from their yolks, whip them until they are frothy, then gently fold them into my waffle batter. No. I will not. The people need their waffles! There is life waiting for us just on the other side of breakfast and taking time to froth my egg whites is something I only do at Thanksgiving when there is meringue for a cream pie involved. Instead, I always quickly whisk my waffle ingredients together all at once – whites and yolks and all – and would you believe it? The mixture still turns out amazing waffles.

belgiun_waffles

If the kitchen is intimidating to you, if you have a busy schedule, and if you want to eat consistently healthy, day after day…

Relax and make your meals as simple as possible.

If I hadn’t figured out how to make healthy meals simple, I would have given up long ago. There really is too much to do outside the kitchen. Through the years, I’ve pared down and reshaped my cooking style so that most often our healthy meal is on the table within just 15-20 minutes. But it’s amazing how much variety we get and how nourishing our meals are.

Oven Free Summertime Meal

I credit this to the fact that I’ve restructured most of our meals to look like this:

  1. Simple main dish (often made ahead of time; sometimes quickly thrown into the crock pot earlier in the day)
  2. Tossed salad, straight from the container
  3. A steamed veggie, which at most, took five minutes of  prep work
  4. Fresh fruit, washed and if necessary, sliced

enchilada meal

See how pretty? See how simple? Not to mention all I’ve done is set out the food (still in their pans) and salad fixin’s and everyone fills their own plate. We work together to cook it, we work together to clean it up.

This is what Simple Meals are made of. They are delicious and stress-free. They are balanced. They aren’t messy. They do not require you to froth your egg whites.

If you’re into healthy eating and want to do this consistently, stick with me here. I’m constantly working to simplify my recipes and menus to save all of us time (and money, which is a lovely bonus). Find all of the hundreds of recipes I’ve shared so far here. And…

Introducing Simple Meals!

simple-meals

 

Get all the details about Simple Meals here. You’ll be amazed at how these meal plans with simplify your kitchen life, help you be efficient, and take away stress over what to feed your family each night.

Each week your Simple Meals Planning Packet contains recipes and a grocery list for these categories of Simple Meals:

  • No-Thaw Night Forgot to thaw meat? No problem, this is the meal you can fall back on!
  • No-Trouble Night Limited on time? This one will come together quickly!
  • Crock Pot Night Start this one earlier in the day, then sit down and eat, simple as that!
  • Made-Ahead Night This recipe was simple to make ahead of time, so all you have to do is heat and eat!
  • Build-It-Yourself Night This weekly suggestion will give you a fun idea of how you can put together a quick “buffet” for each person to build a plate or bowl to their liking!
  • Savor-It Night This recipe is for the night you have a little extra time to cook, but don’t worry. The recipe is still as simple as can be!

The seventh night you can plan your family’s favorite, leftovers, or a night off from cooking.

Want to see a sample Simple Meal Plan to be amazed at all it includes each week? Grab a fully week’s sample here!

Breathe New Life into Your Meals!

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Since we launched Simple Meals last October, we’ve loved hearing your feedback about how it’s been helping your families breathe easier.

Allison “I can’t thank you enough for your meal plans! They have literally breathed new life into our meal time!”

Anne “What a brilliant idea. We are so impressed!”

Kim “We love getting your Simple Meals plan every week!”

Knowing that Simple Meals truly is helping people win back family time, spend less time planning and cooking, all while still putting great real food meals on the table is so very encouraging to us!

Family time comes first, and I’m excited to make it even easier for all of us to make this a reality!

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Join Simple Meals here —>

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Why You Should Eat Fat Bombs (and a Recipe!)

A few weeks ago while researching how I could add more fat into my diet, I came across this recipe for Fat Bombs.

fat-bombs-easy-and-delicious

That, my friends, is a Fat Bomb. They look like something terribly naughty. But instead, they are full of so much good nourishment! Your day just took a turn for the better. You have no idea how happy I am to share these with you!

Have you ever even heard of Fat Bombs? I sure hadn’t. But the biggest question is: why would I try to see how I could add more fat to my diet?

Well, I’ve been reading and studying more about regulating my hormones and blood sugar and keeping my adrenals functioning well – you know. Just a little light reading. Everything keeps pointing me back to “eat a lot of protein” and “eat a lot of good fats.” Hey, you don’t have to tell me twice.

Now, protein is an easy one for me. I love and crave meat most of the time. But I have been realizing that getting plenty of fat is a little bit more difficult (beyond what is naturally in the meat I’m being forced to eat). I’ve tried eating spoonfuls of coconut oil, but it’s just weird and I don’t love it.

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See here’s the funny thing: I find that I mostly use butter and coconut oil in baked goods. But I’m no longer eating many baked goods. I can stir some butter into my veggies, but that’s still not very much fat. Cream in my coffee? Sure, but I’m trying to cut back on caffeine too (prayers welcome).

I’d be mad at my hormones and blood sugar and adrenals about all of this, but my quest to find wellness for all of these led me to find out about these Fat Bombs. So ALL IS FORGIVEN.

fat-bombs-rock

Everyone else can have their sugary cakes and cookies and I don’t even care because I get to eat Fat Bombs. They are kind of a cross between a Peanut Butter Cup and a Huge Piece of Fudge. No one feels sorry for me now. Everyone is jealous. But not to worry. I am here to share the recipe so that you, too, can make Fat Bombs.

Now, first, a warning: If you are expecting these to taste super sweet like a piece of Christmas fudge or an actual peanut butter cup, you will be disappointed. But if you appreciate the need to cut back on sugar and you prepare yourself for a lightly sweetened peanut butter chocolate treat, you will bite in and be so happy that you get to eat many bites before it’s gone. Yes, you will be so, so happy.

You will offer them to your family, saying something like, “These are so amazing!!!! You won’t like them, though.

This is how things normally work with my family now. My husband is totally digging my sugarless, stevia-sweetened or otherwise very low sugar treats. Our boys are more skeptical. I’ve cut down the sugar drastically in our household, and they’ve barely noticed and are just fine with muffins, cookies, and cakes with the sugar cut down. But the stevia-only treats? They are not fans.

But as for me, I’m loving the Fat Bombs. So far I’ve only made a Chocolate Peanut Butter variety but a little Pinterest searching told me there are other kinds that I should try. Okay then. If you’re going to twist my arm.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat BombsYum

5.0 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ cup coconut oil (I use expeller pressed so the coconut flavor didn't overpower.)
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • Liquid stevia to taste (I use 1½ droppers full of NuNaturals Brand.) or 2-3 Tablespoons honey
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat and stir together coconut oil, cocoa powder, butter, and peanut butter.
  2. Once melted and mixed, remove from heat and stir in stevia.
  3. Pour into 12 muffin lined muffin tins.
  4. Freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Store in fridge and eat as needed.

chocolate-peanut-butter-fat-bombs

Isn’t it happy irony that these also have protein in them? It’s like I’m getting a two for one on needed nutrients here.

Note: These do not taste as yummy when they are room temp. Keep them cold and eat them directly out of the fridge. Take it from me.

Fun Fat Fact: It’s hard to over-eat these. After two bites I always think that I will finish one and enjoy a second because I’m loving it so much. But by the time I finish the one, I am full and satisfied, ready to stop eating. Then I stay full for a couple of hours, which is great because I typically need to eat little bits all day long.

I love this about good fats. They satisfy. (As opposed to empty carbs or bad fats that tell your body that you need more in order to be satisfied, so we tend to over eat them.)

Why Good Fat is Good

  • It gives us energy. (So don’t eat fat if you prefer to be lethargic.)
  • It builds healthy cells.
  • It helps our bodies use Vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • It helps us have healthy skin, as well as helps our other organs to be protected. (Skin is an organ. I always forget this, but I think it’s so cool.)

So there you go. We all need to be eating good fats. These Fat Bombs make eating good fats extremely fun and happy, and they only take a few minutes to stir together.

Oh how I hope you like the Fat Bombs as much as I do. Best treat ever. (So says the girl who hasn’t had a cookie for a very long time.)

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Simple Meals is where it’s at, my friends! You will love this!!

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The Thing That Makes Me Mad About Food

My grandma was famous for her angel food cakes. Also her coconut cream pies. And her chocolate chip cookies. She wasn’t allowed to show up to community or church potlucks without one of her signature desserts. You want to see the preacher get mad? Let Grandma come to a potluck without the angel food cake. She may as well have worn a pantsuit. Scandalous.

(Hey. There’s nothing wrong with wearing a pantsuit to church. Yeah, tell that to Grandma.)

Holiday round cake

Food during the time I was growing up was just…food. Sure, much of it was made with white flour and Crisco. Maybe my favorite song was the Oscar Mayer B-O-L-O-G-N-A song. Kool-aid was most certainly a regular part of our meals. But food wasn’t a thing like it is now. Now everywhere we turn we can find a person with severe, even life threatening, food allergies.

I am so mad and sad about this.

Food is such a great big issue now. I believe that through the past few decades we’ve destroyed what were once stable sources for food, added too many pesticides, tried too much genetic modification, gotten too used to opening boxes at dinnertime, and bought into lies that margarine and vegetable shortening are better than real butter and real lard. We were told to make bread the biggest part of our food pyramid and urged to drink skim instead of whole. Making money became more important than nourishment, so we began creating ingredients in factories (high fructose corn syrup, anyone?) as a way to cut costs.

Not only that, antibiotics have been given out like candy. Many of us have mercury fillings. The list goes on.

And now? Our guts are a great big mess.

Most of our digestive systems are so wacky, we can’t begin to digest food the way we were designed to, and it’s causing major problems for many of us. Maybe the problem for you and your family isn’t showing up in food allergies. Maybe instead it looks like ADD or other learning struggles. Maybe it looks like eczema. Maybe it looks like arthritis. Maybe it’s migraines. Maybe it’s depression. Maybe your hormones are out of whack. Maybe it’s an autoimmune disease.

Maybe so many things.

Now, before I get too mad and sad and verbal about it, I should resign myself to recognizing that yep, we live in a fallen world. Nothing will be perfect this side of heaven and that’s the truth.

But maybe I’m just sad that we can’t all go to a potluck and eat whatever yummy things we want off the potluck table.

I’ve been feeling all these feelings for years, but going grain free this summer really pushed me over to the sad and mad side of the mess we’ve made of our food. That’s the first I really had to experience depriving myself of some of the basics of life – like bread – and it suddenly made me want my grandma’s angel food cake. (This only makes sense if you can eat neither bread nor cake.)

Never before have I wanted to go back to when food was just food and we all ate and enjoyed and didn’t have to look up recipes on Pinterest that would tell us how to make a muffin without eggs, wheat, milk, bowl, spoon, air, or muffin tin.

So what do we do?

Well, being sad and mad sure hasn’t been helpful. Neither has feeling sorry for myself for not getting to eat a hot biscuit dripping with butter.

Is there anything we can even do? Does it even matter? Is this just life this side of heaven?

what-can-we-do-to-be-well-and-feel-well

Hope for Wellness and Healing

I actually think there are some things we can do to help ourselves heal. I not only think so, I’ve experienced it. Healing can happen! No, it isn’t a fast fix. How can it be when it took us several decades to get here? But there really is hope for healing. After all, we don’t want to simply feel well. We want to be well.

1. Stop feeling guilty.

There are so many things I would like to go back and do differently in how I took care of myself during my younger years. I can’t tell you the emotional strife I’ve felt over my inability to take away my kids’ ailments, particularly when our youngest was suffering from chronic eczema for 7 very long years. During that time, I felt horrendous guilt over the fact that surely his sickness was my fault because of how I’d eaten poorly and taken antibiotics when I’d been pregnant with him. (Those alone are not the reason he had a chronic condition, by the way, but it sure was easy to blame myself while I watched my child suffer.)

I still sometimes feel the guilt when I see my oldest deal with environmental allergies. I feel it when I watch any of my kids struggle with lack of focus. When any of their weak spots rear their ugly heads. The guilt. It can overpower.

You guys, guilt helps nothing and only makes us sicker (more sick, whatever). Lay down any guilt you might feel over your imperfections, let God be God, and choose peace. I believe that’s one of the first steps toward both physical and emotional healing.

2. Stop being mad and sad.

Like guilt, anger and sadness over what can’t be changed helps nothing. Sure, we feel what we feel and we certainly don’t want to stuff our feelings. But taking a nice long soak in a bath of sadness certainly doesn’t find us in a place of being cleansed and whole. Choose to move forward with a positive attitude. Do all of this with prayer.

3. Drink water.

Prayer, water – they are practically on the same level of amazingness.

Just kidding, but not. Every time I’m struggling physically or emotionally my tangible go-to is to drink water. It’s amazing the help it offers, and I believe it’s because our bodies need water so much for good health. So…are ya struggling? Drink some sips of water – all day long. Breathe a prayer for healing while you drink. This simple practice can make a huge difference in our overall health.

4. Eat well.

If we don’t put nourishing foods in our bodies we can not even begin to help ourselves find healing. Don’t eat just to satisfy your hunger. Eat food that will offer your body something to work with – food filled with the nutrients you need so you can thrive. (Bologna doesn’t fit the nourishing criteria. Sorry, Oscar.)

5. Seek answers for overall healing.

I think steps 1-4 come first, because we need to focus on positive emotional health, hydrate ourselves, and give our bodies nourishment. But there’s so much more, beyond the surface, that we absolutely can do to achieve better health.

I’ve been learning so much during the past four years as I’ve been visiting my natural doctor and letting her help me detox my entire body, and as I’ve been researching all I can about wellness. Some of this detox journey hasn’t been fun. I’ve shared with you that I feel crummy sometimes as my body pulls out and flushes heavy metals and bad bacteria.

But do you know what I think? I think these temporary months of discomfort are a small price to pay (along with the kinda steep, albeit reasonable, monetary price) compared to the other more severe or life threatening health issues I might have faced down the road. I shouldn’t be amazed (seeing as God has created everything we need for wellness), but I truly am floored at the healing I’ve encountered through these years. My gut health is much, much better now. My lungs, my nervous system – everything has been showing huge strides of improvement.

So back to my feelings about food…

Well, the truth is that food is just more complicated than it used to be. This is where we are now. Thankfully, we know more than we used to about the dangers of Crisco and sugar. We know to make real food a priority instead. But beyond that, if we really want to be healthy and help our families to be healthy, we’re going to have to make some changes and get to work.

I’ve been living this for the past few years and truly, the work is worth it. I just heard this truth while listening to the Healing Your Gut summit and I love it: “We’re not trying to tell people to refrain from eating good foods. We’re trying to help people heal so that they can eat good food.”

Yes, yes, and so much yes!

We can all find healing and become healthy again so that we can all just eat. Food won’t have to be a thing. Food can just be…food.

Not that we should over-indulge in Grandma’s bread or angel food cake. This is a given.

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea

I think this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble might become one of my favorite and most relied upon go-to meals.

Veggie and Egg Scramble

I used to make something like this years ago, but kind of forgot about it. Weird how that happens.

A few weeks ago, I needed a quick meal before we headed out to a soccer game. I didn’t have time to cook meat, but I did have a fridge full of veggies and a few dozen eggs. I called the boys into the kitchen and started throwing vegetables and knives at them. Hold on. That didn’t come out right. I didn’t throw knives at them. (Peppers maybe, but not knives.) I’m just saying I started handing out jobs and we all worked together to make this quick and nourishing meal.

Everyone started chopping until my big electric skillet looked like this:

Veggies for veggie scramble
All the veggies are good in this Veggie-n-Egg Scramble, but I will suggest that onions are a key player. Onions give this dish such amazing flavor! Sweet peppers are a close second. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach come next. The beauty is that you can use whatever veggies you like and whatever you have on hand.

Saute the veggies in olive oil or butter until tender. Scramble in some eggs with salt. Toss in a little cheese for extra amazingness. So much deliciousness. Very little work. Extra wonderful nourishment.

Veggie-n-Egg Scramble ~ A Great Last Minute Meal Idea
 
Author:
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chopped veggies (onions, sweet peppers, zucchini, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, or any others you like in any combination)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • sea salt to taste
  • shredded cheese to taste
Instructions
  1. Saute vegetables in oil or butter until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, crack eggs into a bowl and whip with milk.
  3. Pour egg mixture over cooked veggies and salt as you like.
  4. Scramble the eggs with the veggies until they are cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle cheese on top to melt.
  6. Serve

I at least double this for my family of 6 big eaters. Plus we serve it with fresh fruit. Buttered toast also helps fill them up. Seriously. We really do eat and keep eating at our house.

TIP: If you happen to have leftover ham or bacon – even chicken or beef – hanging out in your fridge, those would be a wonderful addition to this dish.

This meal has become one of the easiest ways to get my family to eat a big variety of veggies in one meal. It ranks right up there with Easy Noodle Stir-Fry.

Easy Veggie and Egg Scramble

Do you ever make a meal like this at your house? What veggies would you or do you include? 

It’s meals like this that make “teaching our kids about nutrition” quite natural.

P.S. It is worth noting that this dish makes it possible to feed my family very well for about $1.00 per plate. (We won’t talk about how many plates we go through during a meal…)