Top 10 Grocery Store Products

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Top 10 Grocery Products:

  1. Coconut milk – So Delcious

My husband and I go through about a gallon of this milk a week. This is a staple for everything from baked goods to smoothies to cereal to cream sauce and everything inbetween. I have been buying this for the past 2-3 years and love it so much. I don’t love everything to taste overly coconuty and I feel this milk does a great job of providing a dairy free alternative without a strong flavor.

BENEFITS:

This coconut milk is organic, non-gmo, dairy free, vegan, and gluten free. It does not contain carrageenan. Much less sugar than a typical cow’s milk. Thirty-percent of your daily Vitamin D. Seventy calories per serving.  

  1. Mini chocolate chips – Enjoy Life

I cannot say enough about these chocolate chips. I’ve made numerous recipes with these chips and many time for others who eat dairy chocolate. I think this is one of the best dairy free brands on the market and I cannot say enough about Enjoy Life. They carry a variety of chocolate chips from chunks to dark chocolate morsels.

BENEFITS:

Dairy-free, nut-free, soy free, certified gluten free, non-gmo, casein free.

  1. Peanut Butter-Teddy’s

This was a hard decision, but I decided to only include one nut butter on this top ten list. I typically have 3 jars at home between my almond, sunflower, or peanut butter. I love trying out new peanut butters but I always return to my good ol’ standby. My favorite peanut butter cookie recipe always turns out THE best when I use this peanut butter.

BENEFITS:

Non-gmo peanut butter. You can buy a variety of peanut butters, salted/unsalted, creamy/crunchy, etc. I typically buy the salted crunchy option peanut butter. Organic options as well!

  1. Apple Cider Vinegar- Braggs

You don’t have to look too far to discover the benefits of apple cider vinegar. I do have to say, I jumped on this bandwagon about 2-3 years ago, when I turned our ordinary table into a wholesome one. I primarily use this for salads but have used in occasionally for baking and cooking.

BENEFITS:

Raw, organic, with the ‘mother’ (naturally connected to strand-like chains of protein enzymes molecules), unfiltered, and contains no preservatives. Made with organic apples. Naturally gluten free.

  1. Rice Cakes-Lundenberg

Although I haven’t tasted many rice cakes in my life, these are the best. Rice cakes that I haven’t been a fan of were too light and tasted like puffed rice cereal in a cake. I find the texture of these rice cakes to be crunchy without being hard…if that makes sense! I typically eat them with almond butter or sunbutter. My favorite way to eat them is cold, I have no clue how I even discovered this but I cover the rice cake with whatever topping and place it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

BENEFITS:

These rice cakes are sold in a variety of flavors. I tend to buy the lightly salted (the pregnancy is making me love salt so I tend to reach for this one). Organic, non-gmo, gluten free, dairy free, and made with brown rice and sea salt.

  1. Almond Flour- Bob’s Red Mill

I use this flour on a weekly basis. Whether I’m making chicken parm or blueberry scones, I love this almond flour. The consistency is great and works beautifully with any recipe that calls for almond flour.

BENEFITS:

High protein! Gluten free, dairy free, and vegan and easy to find in any grocery store these days. I buy it at Sam’s club and get it much cheaper than at a typical grocery store.

  1. Good Soap-Whole Foods

The limitation to this is that it’s only found at Whole Foods (to my knowledge) but it’s worth the trip. You can spend so much money on ‘natural’ soaps, but why bother when you can get this amazing soap. We have been buying this soap for the past year and use it almost exclusively as our body soap.

BENEFITS:

The price is unbeatable, 3 soaps for $6 and change I believe. Good Soap comes in a variety of scents, all smelling so fresh and wonderful. Good Soap has one ingredient-shea butter. Nothing artificial or harmful for the body.

8.Unsweetened Coconut Yogurt -So Delicious

I am very picky when it comes to yogurt. To be honest, I probably won’t enjoy this yogurt on it’s own, but I add a bunch of goodness to it to make it delicious. First-I always add fruit, typically a berry of some kind. Second-cinnamon followed by coconut flakes or mini chocolate chips (Enjoy Life). Sometimes I’ll add my homemade granola as well.

BENEFITS:

Yogurts tend to be filled with sugar. This yogurt is unsweetened so you can monitor your sweet intake. I typically add fruit and cinnamon to sweeten it up a bit. The calcium in this yogurt is 50% of your daily intake. This yogurt is dairy free, gluten free, vegan, and non-gmo…the list goes on but that’s the big ones that make me a big fan.

9.Brown Rice Pasta-Trader Joes

My favorite brown rice pasta is from Trader Joes. Again, this is one of a few top ten that you have to purchase at a specific store, but it’s worth it. No mushy-gluten free pasta here! If you follow my blog often, you know how much I love pasta!

BENEFITS:

Gluten free and made with 100% brown rice. No other ingredients! The price is great and is sold by the pound. I’ve found some brown rice pastas to be sold by 12 ounces or something…which for my family, is annoying and I like to use the whole pound for most meals.

  1. Frozen Organic Mango Chunks -Trader Joes

I’ve tried many types of frozen fruits. I make smoothies multiple times throughout the week and love to try out different varieties. This is by far one of the best frozen fruits to add to my smoothie. The consistency the mangos give the smoothie is so smooth and creamy.

BENEFITS:

Frozen Organic Mango Chunks are 100% organic and are delicious. I don’t have much else I can say because they are just a pure chunk of mango love!

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A Healthy Start…2016

A new year is a blank slate. A new chapter. A new canvas just waiting for what’s next! That’s what we have, Lord willing, with every new year. Since ‘eating healthy’ or ‘loosing weight’ continues to be the top new years resolution, something has to be going all wrong. If this is constantly the top change Americans want to make in their life on a yearly basis, they they must have failed at it before.
Along with the clinking of champagne glasses, promises to stick to a new fad or kick a bad habit start forming. I can guarantee you these promises will fail and you’ll end up in the same cycle of frustration and disappointment come February. The problem with fad dieting or going so extreme you literally kill yourself with false hope, is that the lack of sustainability.
Eating wholesome is not about skipping meals, counting calories, binging/purging, or juicing some strange concoction until you’ve reached some goal weight. It is so much more than that. I hope that whatever part of the wholesome journey you are on, you will find this helpful. I’ve been a firm believer in this way of eating for some time now. I literally want everyone to know how this is the way to becoming the best version of yourself. Not to mention the energy you’ll have!
Eating poorly is a result of habit and comfort. Once you’ve had the education on why you are damaging yourself and you begin to replace the bad with the good, you will only continue this annoying, going-no-where cycle.
I hope that you will get educated and share these recipes with those you love. This information is dead if not shared and I am inspired daily with my wholesome kitchen that provide wholesome recipes to share.

Meal Prep 101

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Meal prep took on a whole new meaning when everything I was eating had to be prepared. When you choose this lifestyle, you give up the convenience of opening up the cupboard and tossing something in the microwave or oven and BAM! have a dinner. Sundays became my saving grace. I tend to do my grocery shopping for the week on Friday or Saturday. I rarely visit the grocery store throughout the week. This means that my one stop has to be well planned to truly make it count. I will post on my grocery shopping experience but for today I want to focus on the process on meal prepping.

  1. Plan out your week. This is as simple as writing out each day and what you feel like eating! I typically plan for chicken or turkey 2-3 times a week, red meat once, and fish or vegetarian once. I also will take into consideration what’s in season. Since it’s my favorite time of year…fall baking time…I tend to cook with squashes, root vegetables, and turkey. And I absolutely love it. I also try to make at least one soup a week because we always have leftovers and soup heats up so nicely.
  2. Setting the mood. I never meal prep if I feel stressed about it. I have enough going on in my life on a day to day basis that this does not have room in my life to add stress. If we have plans on Sunday, I just make sure my meals throughout the week are simple enough. I am currently enjoying soft worship music that allows my focus to be on my two favorite things, my Jesus and my family all while DOING my favorite thing:) It’s wonderful.
  3. Mes in place. This French term “putting in place” is just how it should be when preparing for the week. Before I begin, my kitchen is clean with no dishes in the sink and my counter tops cleared off. This helps with my sanity. I take out the vegetables that will need to be chopped up. This is usually my first step. I will also try to reuse dishes if possible. I try to keep to one cutting board, one knife, one skillet, etc. when possible. I also make sure that I’m always working from left to right. I am a righty so this just make sense to me. A bowl is left out on my counter top for any garbage that is emptied periodically. I usually save all the dishes until the end.
  4. Until it feels right. Every week is different. Some weeks I can spend one hour and feel like I have a good handle on the week’s meals, other weeks I may spend 2-4 hours. It’s honestly just dependent on what works. I try to cut up all the vegetables that I’ll roast that week, prepare the soup, casseroles or side dishes that can be prepared before hand, pesto or salad dressing, and baggy up the vegetables that I’ll use for our lunches that week.
  5. My week. I’ve included an example to give you an idea of what our family will be eating this week. With the exception of salads for the occasional lunches, this will provide enough leftovers for lunches.  What I prepared this week was the entire Shepard’s Pie, cut up all vegetables to be roasted, and Butternut Squash soup.This week, our menu consisted of:
    1. Monday-Sweet Potato Shepard’s Pie
    2. Tuesday-Butternut Squash Soup
    3. Wednesday-Sausage and Peppers with Rice
    4. Thursday-Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries and Brussels Sprouts
    5. Friday-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Roasted Root Vegetables

Coming home and knowing that I have most or all of the meal already prepared is such a wonderful feeling. Plus, it is not full of harmful preservatives…for I know exactly what’s inside and the hands that prepared it.

Brunch with Friends

IMG_0908Sundays were made for two things: Fellowship with others through Christ  and brunch. I had the pleasure of hosting brunch with dear friends that ended up fulfilling both of today’s purposes. To make things easier, I prepared a few things in advance so that I wouldn’t stress the morning of. I have also included a few shortcuts. I always strive to make things homemade and wholesome, but I have found a few tricks to make my life easier when I already have a busy day to begin with.

The day before I made raspberry muffins and cut up vegetables and washed fruit. The day of, I roasted sweet apple potato side, assembled fruit salad, grilled sausage, and scrambled eggs. I’ve added a few tips for brunch that will help you bring your friends together and enjoy something healthy and delicious..

  1. Don’t skimp on the meat! In my experience, meat is the first thing to be eaten. No matter who my company is, this is a reoccurring  factor.  I usually include some kind of pork, uncured bacon or sausage. And a healthier option of chicken sausage or turkey bacon.
  2. Fruit is always a favorite. You can never have enough. I will either cut up fruit and place on a nice platter or do a fruit bowl. The more color the better. I also never add anything else to my fruit bowls because fruit is so delicious why add extra sugar or juice? I will add some fresh lemon juice if I’m serving apples or pears to prevent browning.
  3. Although we don’t eat gluten, I will cook something that is “bread like” which usually ends up tricking the gluten eaters and result in “Is this really gluten free? really?”. This usually means gf bread, muffins, rolls, etc. I am still experimenting in this department so I will be sure to post when I’ve found some worth mentioning.
  4. Brunch without eggs…can you even call it brunch? I have made quiches in the past but I have also sauteed vegetables and made scrambled eggs for people to enjoy plain or with the vegetables. Quiches tend to look better to the eye, but scrambled eggs are an instant crowd favorite.
  5. Starchy potatoes can be done in a variety of ways. My current favorite was inspired by my brother and sister-in-law who are currently transforming their diet to better serve their health needs. I roasted two sweet potatoes, one onion, one apple, and tossed with olive oil and salt. The results were AMAZING! I’ve also done white potatoes seasoned with pepper, garlic powder, and paprika for a more of a homefries side.

I usually have an assortment  of teas and coffee, sometimes juice to enjoy as well. I think coming together over a meal is a precious gift. Serving your guest good, wholesome food…well that’s an even better gift.

Happy hosting:)

Eating out Debacle

At first, eating out was easy, we just didn’t do it! It was far too overwhelming to find something we could eat that wouldn’t make us sick let alone taste good! As we became more familiar with this new lifestyle, we decided not to hibernate and  give someone else control over what we were eating…sort of.
Do your research
Many restaurants are accommodating to people who eat a certain way, gluten or dairy free, vegetarian or vegan, the list goes on and on. Since most restaurants have their menu online, check to see if they have menus for special diets or are able to accommodate.  If all else fails, give the place a call and ask. Don’t be afraid to ask either! A good restaurant will have all the information on the ingredients they are using. If they don’t, then that should be enough of an indicator that it’s probably not a good idea.

Hidden problems
Many dressings, marinades, sauces, and toppings tend to have unwanted additives. Keeping your food as plain as possible is your best bet. If you can sub our dressing for salsa or oil and vinegar, you are usually safer. Most sauces for things like burgers, vegetables, chicken or fish will usually have butter or hydrogenated oils. Be mindful of that and try to get things without. Even gluten free foods may contain dairy and vise versa. So don’t assume.

The answer
Usually meat and a salad are your best bet. I’m also a big fan of Mexican food because it usually consists of beans and rice along with fresh vegetables. Another alternative is to host your own parties instead of going out! Throughout my food journey, I have learned that many people enjoy this lifestyle even if they eat mainstream. Show off those skills!

Hope this was helpful!