Living Dairy Free & The Bread That Saved My Life

Monday, October 27, 2014

Dairy free

Last Spring I tweaked my workout and typical 80/20 whole food diet by increasing protein and doing some different strength workouts. I started adding whey protein to my morning smoothies and it DID NOT sit well with me.  Over the course of a few weeks I started having digestion problems, bloating, and weight gain. ARGH!! This is the exact opposite of what I was hoping to achieve! I quickly stopped the whey protein, but it did little to resolve the bloating, digestive issues, or weight gain.  About that time I did the Spring Challenge through Barre 3.  It was an intense month of diet and exercise and it did help resolve a few issues, but over that month and into the Summer I just couldn’t get back to where I was.  Through that experience I got hooked up with a very experienced and very popular nutritionist at Replenish PDX.  

Fast forward to this fall and I have finally just had my first appointment!   This whole time - spring, summer, and early fall I haven’t been able to lose the weight I gained.  It’s been super frustrating. I also truthfully have been in a bit of denial. As a homeschool shut in, my afternoon Nespresso latte is seriously something I really really REALLY look forward to.  I have been white knuckle clinging to dairy for over a year now.  PLEASE DON’T TAKE MY DAIRY!  I didn’t want to think or believe that I had any allergy issues.  

I’m tough.

I’m not sensitive to things.

I’m fine.  

Yeah… well, I think you can figure out how this is gonna go.  


One of the first things we decided to do what eliminate dairy from my diet for at least 3 weeks.  No milk, no half & half, no cheese, NO BUTTER, no ice cream- you get it.  

Well…. what happened?  Has it been worth it?  Are there any good alternatives?


I have had IMMEDIATE results, such that it has been completely worth it.  This former dairy addict has seen the light.  

The stomach bloat went away.

My digestive issues are gone.

I have lost weight.

My skin has been breakout free.

 I’m still very much in the honeymoon phase.  I won’t wrap up my 3 week trial until next week so the final results aren’t in yet.  I didn’t realize that it actually takes up to 2-3 weeks for dairy to completely leave your system.  I have tried to be perfect, but you never know for sure if you are getting butter in your food at a restaurant or even sneaky dairy protein in packaged foods.

If you are thinking about going dairy free be ready for it.  Don’t start it with a half assed attempt. You probably won’t see results. I’ve done this in varying degrees many times before.  Find alternatives that you can live with- full fat sugar free coconut milk, homemade almond milk, etc.  These things work for me.

I’ve also mixed up some of the supplements I’m taking along with drinking less coffee and much more water.  I do believe the success is a combination of all.of.these.things.

And, this bread recipe has helped.  It really has nothing to do with dairy, but DANG it’s nice to have a crunchy piece of bread.  I’ve not gone officially gluten free but I do try really hard to avoid packaged foods and I try not to eat bread on a regular basis either.  I LOVE it. Believe me in a dream world I would live on bread & cheese and be teeny tiny skinny. 

My nutrionist gave me this recipe and it’s totally satisfying when you just need that piece of toast or crunchy bread along side a meal.

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Basic Chickpea Socca


2 Tbsp coconut oil, ghee, or olive oil

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
1⁄2 tsp sea salt


Heat oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is preheating put a cast iron pan in the oven.  Meanwhile, whisk together the chickpea flour water and salt. Once the oven has reached 425 and the cast iron is hot put the 2 Tbsp of oil in the pan. Once the pan and oil are heated, remove the pan from the oven and pour the batter into the pan. Bake the socca for 25 to 30 minutes. Socca is best enjoyed right from the oven but you can reheat it in the toaster or toaster oven. This also makes a great pizza crust!

You can also add a bit more water for a thinner batter and cook it in a skillet like a crepe or pancake. 


If you’ve never seen chickpea flour before don’t worry it’s out there and it’s relatively inexpensive compared to say almond flour! Bob’s Red Mill is a common brand and it’s available at Whole Foods, New Seasons, and Natural Grocers.

1260C164 GarbanzoBeanFlour f 750


Homemade Laundry Detergent

Saturday, August 23, 2014

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I had the luxury of a washing machine at Wallowa Lake this year.  I can not explain how exciting it was to not bring home bags and bags of dirty clothes.  The house we rented had a supply of TIDE capsules and although I brought my own homemade laundry detergent I couldn’t resist the TIDE fresh scent.  I admit that I miss the intoxicating chemically indomitable “fresh laundry scent”.  Anyway, I digress. At first, I was really impressed with the TIDE.  It completely removed berry juice from a load of my grandpa’s clothes.  I continued using it during vacation because well… I was beginning to wonder why I was making my own.  It wasn’t until I got home and was putting laundry away that I noticed a BIG difference.  The above photo has not been edited. The shirt on the left was washed with TIDE maybe two times.  The shirt on the right was left home and has never been washed with anything but our homemade laundry detergent and the  H20 At Home laundry ball.  Not only is the shirt on the left completely faded it’s also still stained.  In person they don’t even look like the same shirt anymore! These aren’t new shirts either.  The boys have had them for well over a year and they have been washed many times before. So, I guess I’m sold on my own laundry detergent. It’s cheaper. It clearly is less damaging on clothes. It has fewer harmful chemicals.

I’m about out of the batch I made in January- it’s lasted almost 9 months, pretty incredible for a family of six.  

Homemade “Naturalish” Laundry Detergent 

One Box Borax

One Box Washing Soda

Two Cups Baking Soda (Buy it in bulk @ Winco)

Three Bars Fels Naptha- Grated

One Box of Biz

Two Containers of All Natural Oxygen Powder (or Oxyclean)

Optional- Essential Oil

Optional- H20 Laundry Ball


I highly recommend mixing all the ingredients OUTSIDE or wearing a mask.

Break up the Fels Naptha bars into large chunks and use a food processor with the “S” blade to grind up them up. It helps to add some Borax too as it keeps it going around and not getting stuck in one large clump.

Combine the grated soap and all the other ingredients in a large tub. Be careful not to breath it in as the powder does fly around.  I highly recommend doing this outside in a well ventilated area.

After everything has been mixed together you can add 20-30 drops of essential oil if you want a pretty fragrance.

Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.  If you have the H20 ball you can use 1/2 TBSP.

It works in HE and non HE machines.

Spring Challenge Week 3 Update

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Just a little morning pushups


3 weeks into the Spring Challenge and I’ve fallen silent on the blog front.  Hardly a surprise since blogging isn’t happening much on here anyway.  I've literally been working my butt off (at least I'm hoping so!)  Why is working out so time consuming?  It’s only an hour a day, but it literally feels like the other 23 hours in the day revolves around that 1 hour! Part of it is balancing the end of the school year (ready to be over it) and single parenting thanks to B’s business travel.

In addition to all the exercising I’ve pretty much revamped my entire way of eating.  I can’t believe I’ve actually done it, but for the most part I cut out or drastically reduced things that I usually really really enjoy eating/drinking.  Like my afternoon latte.  Or my evening glass of wine. Or that piece or two of chocolate.  Things we hold onto because they make us happy.  Sometimes that afternoon latte is what I really look forward to, after 5 hours of homeschooling, and not leaving the house for days at a time. I thank God for the Nespresso machine!! 

Not that there is anything wrong with enjoying these things, but it’s good to go through the process of removing the crutch. 

And, in removing the crutch I think I’ve seen results that I wouldn’t of had I allowed myself to make excuse of including them in the challenge. Now, don’t get me wrong I haven’t been 100% or even 80% perfect but on a DAILY basis things have looked much different. 

So where does this leave me?  I’ve survived almost 3 weeks- one of those weeks as a single parent.  There is 1 week left in the official challenge.  Realistically, I’m not gonna hit my personal goals by the end of next week.  Should I keep going until I hit my goal?  I’ve done the hard work and I’m in the “zone” so maybe I should just keep at it and see where it takes me.  

I’ll finish up the Spring Challenge with a blog update because honestly when you put something out there it keeps you accountable. If I make a silent goal to myself I probably will make a silent excuse to get out of it!



7 Days & 7 Nights of Fruits & Vegetables (No Meat, Dairy, Grain, or Sugar)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Happy New Year!  We are the cliche of New Years Resolutions around here.  But, really is that a bad thing?!

After 6 months of construction, the holidays, and generally just falling off the bandwagon it’s time to realign the ship.

To start things off with a bang we did a 7 days fruit & vegetable anti-inflammation diet.  Let me tell you, it was worth it. I will admit I even cheated once or twice and it was still worth it.  Your belly will be flatter.  Your pants will fit better.  It’s only 7 days! And, let me tell you adding in protein actually feels indulgent! Ha.

I think there is a misconception that Paleo people only eat meat or at least that we eat a lot of meat.  Actually, we eat way more fruits & vegetables than we do meat.  I have come to find some of the most wonderful tasty recipes from raw and vegan blogs.  You probably wouldn’t guess it, but the Paleo way of life has a lot in common with these two- at least in my life. Anyway, here are some of the very hearty and delicious meals I made during our 7 days of veggies & fruits.  The recipes here are the sole work of the blog owners and credit is given! Not my pretty pictures or recipes, but I am happy to link to them and use them again in the future.


Veggie Chow Mein


Veggie Chow Mein from the Detoxinista



“Cheesy” Broccoli & Quinoa Casserole from the Detoxinista

I used the leftovers and made this into patties that I cooked in the oven.  Red Cabbage makes an excellent “taco shell”. The quinoa patties along with sliced avocado and cilantro made a super yummy taco leftovers lunch.


Pompegranate 3


Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad With Tahini Dressing by Dishing Up The Dirt




Raw Bolognese Over Zucchini Noodles by Pure Mamas


Magical White Bean Soup by Shauna Niequist (No Prosciutto)


One of my favorite lunches is seaweed, sliced avocado, and kimchi- yum!


Make Chipotle bowls- beans, lettuce, avacado, red peppers, cilantro, salsa, etc.


Need a sweet treat?  Try  Chocolate Bites or Barre3 Bars

Homemade Laundry Detergent (Revisited)- 3 to 6 Months Supply

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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A year ago, in hopes of becoming more “green” and all natural, I started making my own laundry detergent- the liquid version.  It’s still a great recipe.  I stand by it, but I kinda got tired or making it all.the.time.  4 kids = a lot of laundry.  So, I went back to the drawing board and after a few tweaks I’ve got a powdered version I really like. The best part it lasts anywhere from 3 to 6 months in our house.  In your house it could last way longer!


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Homemade “Naturalish” Laundry Detergent (3 to 6 Months Supply)

One Box Borax

One Box Washing Soda

Two Cups Baking Soda (Buy it in bulk @ Winco)

Three Bars Fels Naptha- Grated

One Box of Biz

Two Containers of All Natural Oxygen Powder (or Oxyclean)

Optional- Essential Oil

Optional- H20 Laundry Ball



I highly recommend mixing all the ingredients OUTSIDE!  

Break up the Fels Naptha bars into large chunks and use a food processor with the “S” blade to grind up them up. It helps to add some Borax too as it keeps it going around and not getting stuck in one large clump.

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Combine the grated soap and all the other ingredients in a large tub. Be careful not to breath it in as the powder does fly around.  I highly recommend doing this outside in a well ventilated area.

After everything has been mixed together you can add 20-30 drops of essential oil if you want a pretty fragrance.

This jar only held about 1/2 of the detergent!

Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.  It works in HE and non HE machines.

In the last few months I have also being using the H20 laundry ball.  It further reduces the amount of detergent needed- they say by 75%!  If you want more information on the ball check it out here.  With the H20 ball I only need 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon per load.  It can be used with any laundry detergent, you don’t have to make your own. I just had an H20 party and if you’re interested  in ordering, shoot me an email!

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My Favorite Summer Iced Coffee

Sunday, July 21, 2013

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This Summer coffee recipe was first developed by my hard working sister.  She is going to school and working at Black Rock in her spare time.  You gotta know that we hit up Black Rock to see Auntie every chance we can.  Having similar health convictions, my sister came up with a coffee that has far less sugar & dairy than my previous "go to" at Starbucks- iced or extra hot vanilla latte. These days, I am no longer drinking lattes.  I have almost eliminated milk from my diet! Yay!! I am also using 1/2 to 3/4 less syrup than I used to. Maybe, some day I will make it to no sugar or at least find a totally natural syrup. I am sure there is one out there.  

Thankfully, in the mean time I can also make this at home when she's not working!  You can find the syrups for cheap at Cash & Carry. 


For one serving. These are estimates not actual amounts. 

3/4 Cold Black Coffee (I keep the remainder of the pot from the morning in a glass bottle in the refrigerator)

Smallest hint of Maple Flavoring Syrup and Salted Caramel Syrup. 

Tiny bit of Organic Half & Half to top it off


I also add a shot from my Nespresso coffee machine. This is totally not necessary.  If you find regular black coffee isn't strong enough, try brewing an extra strong pot and keeping it in your refrigerator for iced coffees. 

Try it and see!


"Urgent Grace"

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Life is Urgent

Somehow the Summer- the season that is suppose to be laid back, lazy, and restful has become uncomfortably stressful and busy. We have a lot of things going on here at the house. Construction. New jobs. Old jobs. Many unknowns.   A lot of it leaves me feeling ragged.  The scales have been piling up and I am reaching the tipping point. Today, as I read a devotional from Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts I was sobered and quieted.  

"Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry.

But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing… Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away".  


Am I throwing away my time with my children because we a rushing around to get to the NEXT thing? Am I so caught up in doing all the right things I don't have time for peace and rest?

"Hurry always empties a soul".

"It's only the amateurs- and this I have been, and it's been ugly- who think slow and urgent are contradictory, opposite poles. Is this the secret that all the life experts know? That in Christ, urgent means slow. That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence. That in Christ, time is not running out. This day is not a sieve, losing time. In Christ, we fill- gaining time."

"….just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven or wild to get it all done."

I don't want to throw away time.  I don't want to empty my children's souls or mine (!) by rush, rush, rushing, and hurrying along to get it all done. 

Our focus is so easily diverted.  I don't want to have "ADD of the soul". 

Lord help me find time in you- "a slow and steady reverence" to the gifts you have given me.

If you would like to download this art print (created by me!) you can find it here:

All quotation marks are words by Ann Voskamp. I highly recommend One Thousand Gifts. 

Barre 3

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Happy Mother's Day!

I have two free workouts for you!

I started Barre 3 back in January when I did their 28 day challenge coupled with my own "7" challenge. The 28 day challenge from Barre 3 is well.. a 28 day challenge to workout 6 days a week along with clean eating. Some of the recipes I posted back in January actually came from Barre 3 (my favorite bar and the chocolate bites) and I am still making them on a weekly basis.

I have seen such great results doing Barre 3 that I have continued to workout 4-5 days a week since. I've done some training in the past even running multiple times a week and never seen results like Barre 3 and believe me, having twins has reeked some havoc!!

I am sure there are more hardcore workouts out there. What I like about Barre 3 is that it's doable and it actually gets harder the more you do it.  I also have never suffered any injury or setback.

The online workouts are awesome, because I can get a 10 to 60 minute workout in anytime of day. I don't have to pack up the kids to go to the gym. I don't need a babysitter. I turn on the computer pick a workout and get it done. It only cost $15 a month too, which fits in the budget.  I also love that it's based right here in Portland, Oregon.

There are so many different workouts available that I have never gotten bored of doing the same thing over and over again. Raise your hand if you've worked out to a dvd and could do it with your eyes closed and say the instructors words verbatim. For me, that gets old fast.

So here are two free 30 minute Barre 3 workouts for you to try. Let me know what you think!

Barre 3  30 minute Mother's Day workout.
Barre 3 30 minute Standing Slim (above)

Earth Day (Year) & A New Recipe: DIY Laundry Detergent Version 2

Thursday, April 25, 2013

After the whole "7" experience earlier this year, I thought I would give you an update on how we are doing.  It hasn't just been a fad.  We have really done our part to reduce how much we are using.

Year to date we have gotten rid of:

Paper plates

Disposable cups

Paper towels (Haven't bought one since before Christmas)

Dryer sheets 

We are even using metal straws instead of paper or plastic ones

We are making our own versions of:

Laundry Detergent

Dryer sheets

Cleaning products

Make up remover. This might sound trivial but I used to use the remoistened wipes which is a lot of $ and waste.

We continue to buy very little pre-packaged foods. 

The kids even have to color on the back of paper that was already printed. After they finish their coloring it hopefully goes into recycling and not the garbage can.  We are still working on that and I am the most guilty!

When our current dishwashing detergent runs out I am going to try and make a greener DIY version too.  Now that we have gone paperless our dishwasher has been putting in a lot of overtime! 

Just to be clear, we are still using disposable diapers and wipes.  I just can't make the leap to cloth when they are almost ready to potty train (maybe?) However, we have managed to stay with the smallest garbage can our waste management company will allow.  That's pretty good for a family of 6 with two in diapers. 


Here are a few of my favorite green items that have made this all possible. 


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Reusable paper towels. They are the consistency of a thick cloth-like paper towel, but one that can be washed and reused 20 times.  Let me say, they work great. I use these primarily to clean up the boys, wash windows, clean up yucky messes - all the things you would normally do with a paper towel. They don't look pretty after they are washed and dried, but that's ok. After they have been washed I keep them folded and in the same drawer as the other kitchen cloths/towels.  I found them at Williams & Sonoma for $9.99.

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I also use these non paper towels, made by my friend.  They are a staple in our post paper towel household. I try not to cross contaminate the dish cloth by using it on the kids or messes requiring cleaners.

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Mason jars as drinking glasses.  A dozen 12 oz quilted jars are $9.99 at BiMart.  I found the metal straws at New Seasons.  The jars are sturdy, I don't worry about the kids breaking them.  We don't have to have kids cups and adult cups anymore.  Even the boys carry them around sometimes.  I had the daisy lids from a small set of jar I bought at New Seasons.  I love my Mason Bar Company topper too. I wish I had more and the adorable cozy's to go over the mason jars!

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Speaking of mason jars, I am using them for more than just drinking glasses.  They work great for storing dry goods in the pantry.  My favorite lid comes from the coconut oil jars at Trader Joes.  We have a nice collection thanks to our recycling efforts.  I am also bottling Komucha now in you got it… mason jars.

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I have been impressed with the liquid version of DIY laundry detergent, so I took the leap and made a powdered version that is suppose to last a year.  I doubt it will last us 6 months, but that's longer than the liquid.  I really like the liquid version, but I find myself having to make a batch every couple of weeks. The dry version is almost identical in ingredients to the liquid, except you use "powdered" soap. I sweetened mine by using Dr. Bronner's castile scented soap.  I let my girls pick out the smell and they went with almond and lavender.  I also cut out any kind of synthetic ingredients, like fabric softeners which the original recipe called for.

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The coffee cup is suppose to give perspective on how HUGE this container is.  I am not sure it's actually helping…. anyway, I bought the biggest one in the store!  

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Recipe For Natural DIY Laundry Detergent

1 Box of Borax

1 Box of Washing Soda

2 Cups of Baking Soda

2 Containers of Oxy Clean (I used 7th Generation All Natural Oxy Stain Remover)

3 Bars of Castile Soap (I used two bars of Dr. Bronner's and one of Fels Naptha. I would have used all Dr. Bronner's , but it was a lot more expensive)


Use a food processor to grind up the three bars of soap. I basically tried to cut/shave/break off pieces of the bars and then added them one bar at a time to the food processor with a little bit of the Oxy cleaner to keep it going. 

Once your soap is the consistency of granulated powder get a BIG and I mean BIG bucket to mix up all the other powdered ingredients.  I found out the hard way that the powder residue goes everywhere.  I recommend doing this outside.  You might even wear a mask. Once everything is mixed together you are good to go.  I transferred my batch to a nice glass container.

Use one tablespoon per load.

I test drove it on clothes that had blood, mud, and other stains and I am happy to report it all came out!

Total cost for a years worth of detergent is around $30.00.  Not including glass container.


For Mother's Day I asked for this reusable dryer sheet scent. I have been eyeing it for awhile and I am curious to try it!  I do love a bit of scent to some loads of laundry like sheets, towels, pajamas, etc. I have been using essential oil on an old cloth or even on a pair of rolled up socks that are tossed in the load, but it hasn't really given the same affect as a standard dryer sheet.  I hope this doesn't disappoint!

Etsy dryer sheet




Paleo Dinner- Lemon Artichoke Chicken With Roasted Green Beans & Tomatoes

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Chicken artichoke blog

Image from Practical Paleo


  • 4 tablespoons grass fed butter
  • 1 onion sliced thinly
  • 1 bag of frozen artichoke hearts or buy canned it doesn't really matter. 
  • 1/4 cup of capers drained
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs (I get mine in a bag from Trader Joes). Really use any chicken you have it's fine.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a a large, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, melt  2 Tablespoons of butter. Add the onion and saute’ until translucent. Add the artichoke hearts, capers and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Place the chicken in the skillet and top each with some of the lemon-mix that is already in the skillet and a little pat of butter on each piece of chicken (using the remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter). Place the entire skillet in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or when the chicken reaches 165 degrees internal temperature.

I served this chicken with roasted green beans (organic frozen from Costco) and tomatoes.  Cooked in the oven at the same time as the chicken.  

Delicious and easy dinner!

Adapted from Practical Paleo

Mix It Up!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Smoothie one

Here is another smoothie/juice "recipe" we have been really enjoying lately. It's nutrient dense and it's taste great! 

Basic Smoothie

Apple or Pears- I have apples already cut up in ziplocs in my freezer. This makes prep easier and I don't have to add ice which waters down the juice and keeps it from storing well.  

Frozen Berries

Greens- I've been adding handfuls of the 7 Superfoods salad mix from Costco. It contains broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, and chicory. 

Coconut Water

Add Ins- I do ALL of these

2 Medjool Dates (They provide just the right sweetness)

Ground Flax Seed

Chia Seeds

Aloe Vera Juice

Dark Cherry Juice

Smoothie refrig

This smoothie/juice stores very well in the refrigerator making it a great snack option.  I always hope to make extra, but there never seems to be very much leftover!

28 Days- Week 4: It's Over Or Is It?

Monday, February 04, 2013


Content post


The month of January is over.  I survived.  I conquered. NOW WHAT?!!! I think another 28 days…. at least in part. 

To recap, this is what the month of January looked like for me and where I am going from here:

Working out (Barre 3) six days a week.  I never missed a workout.  I can hardly believe it myself.  For at least the next 28 days, I am going to do it all again. This time I am going to back off, but just a little- 5 days a week. I am on a good roll. I am used to it. I am going to keep it up! 

No personal expenditures and limited spending on kids. For the month of January, all of the purchases made were: necessities, food that we needed to eat, birthday gifts, and some clothes/one toy for the kids. I did it. Now what? I don't want to jump right back into the ring of buy, buy, buy, but I am human- I like to buy things.  So…. here's where I am not sure what to do.  I am still formulating a plan. Maybe I should even pray about it!!  DING. DING. DING. I have a friend who so wisely said "I want to be so consumed by helping others that I don't even think of these things anymore".  Wow! Wouldn't that be awesome. I still have work to do.

Clean eating.  We have concentrated our eating around the Paleo diet- eating organic foods and pasture raised animals. We ate limited to no sugar, dairy, gluten, or processed foods. It's been beautiful. I love it.  I've lost some lbs. I rarely get tired in the afternoons.  This is definitely staying.

Focus on less consuming.  I gave up paper plates.  This doesn't sound like THAT big of a deal. I know.  But, I have spent HOURS doing dishes this last month. Our dishwasher runs multiple times a day. I have a guilty conscience about how much waste we have in our family.  I am sticking to the no paper plate rule. Next level- cutting out paper towels.  I just don't know if I can do it.

Loving your neighbor as yourself. Although ALOT of this challenge was about myself, ironically the point was to look beyond myself.  In denying my selfish ME driven desires, I had hoped to be awakened to ways of serving and giving to others.  The "7" experiment gave me some new opportunities to do so.  I pray that I continue to live this way. I want to be prepped and ready to give.

And so, I wrapped up this series and go back to posting recipes, updates on the kids, and inspiration as it hits.  Keep following it will be a great year!

Chocolate Bites

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

These little sweet treats have gotten me through some major sugar cravings the past couple of weeks. Somedays, I just want a sweet ending to a meal or a little pick me up in the afternoon.  These babies have done the trick!




Makes approximately one dozen, six servings.

1-1/2 cups raw almonds (slivered or sliced almonds are fine to use if you happen to have some, like I did)
5 tablespoons raw cacao or carob powder
1/2 cup pitted dates, soaked in water if hard, then drained
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Finely shredded coconut for rolling


1. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until desired consistency is obtained. Go for a cookie-dough like texture with not a lot of large chunks.

2. Scoop out rounded spoonfuls with something like a mini ice cream scoop or a melon-baller. If it's not sticking together, add in a tablespoon or two of water.

3. Roll the dough between your palms to make a sphere. 

4. Optional: Roll that ball in the finely shredded coconut.

5. Place finished balls on a plate, cookie sheet, or glass storage container.

6. Let sit in freezer for an hour or so before eating.

7. Store in freezer or fridge.

Recipe courtesy of Barre 3

28 Days- Week 3 And A Recipe

Monday, January 28, 2013

Week three is in the books.  I think I can accurately say, week three has been my most successful and thus favorite week so far! I am in a good groove.  That's not to say there haven't been challenging moments, especially on the not spending front.  Here are a random list of things, that given any other month I wouldn't of hesitated too much to buy- lest you think this has been a cake walk.

  • Flowers for the urns by front door 
  • Cute polka dot shirt at Old Navy
  • Cute strip shirt at Old Navy
  • Cute… you get the idea
  • Lotion for my chicken skin arms. I am out
  • Waxing. Don't ask, but it's probably not what you're thinking!
  • Foundation
  • Book on Susanna Wesley

You get the dea.  This was just ONE week!  I don't have a spending problem. I have a buying problem. Ouch. That hurts to write. I like to buy things and I like to buy things in quantities of 2 or more!! I don't think buying a cute shirt is wrong (I can't wait for February), but the impulse to buy, buy, buy, is probably not Christ centered.  The purpose of my fast has been to open my eyes beyond myself and my immediate family/friends.

“People who are obsessed with God are known as givers, not takers.  Obsessed people genuinely think that others matter as much as they do, and they are particularly aware of those who are poor around the world. (James 2:14-26).” - Francis Chan.

“A person who is obsessed with Jesus is more concerned with his or her character than comfort.  Obsessed people know that true joy doesn’t depend on circumstances or environment; it is a gift that must be chosen and cultivated, a gift that ultimately comes from God (James 1:2-4).”- Francis Chan

Francis Chan has decided to take Jesus' command to "love your neighbor as yourself" literally.  He gives away 50 percent of all he takes in (at his church).  WOW! I am not there yet.  But, I can't get it out of my head.

There isn't a good transition from this! So here I go.  

PALEO.  I am not hardcore, but I really like it.  And, it's NOT that hard.  Seriously.  Paleo is just about eating the highest quality, closest to nature foods, you can find and saying "No" to processed. 

Here is an example of a super yummy recipe from the book Practical Paleo by Siane Sanfilippo


Avo-Ziki Sauce (Use as a salad dressing on a Greek salad or as a dip with fresh veggies)

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c grated cucumber
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove grated garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 t fresh dill, finely chopped (I left this out as I didn’t have any on hand)

Combine all ingredients by hand or with a small food processor or hand blender.

Week 4 is ramping up and the theme is "Taking It To The Next Level".  Yikes.  Maybe, the next level for me is doing this for another 28 days (minus the spending freeze part!)  We shall see…..




My Favorite Bar

Monday, January 21, 2013

I definetly have times in my day when I really, really, really, want something other than meat and vegetables!  Thank goodness for easy and clean recipes like this one.  This came to me via Barre 3.  

Barre3 energy bar2

Barre3 bar
These bars are so easy to make you can whip them up within minutes. They don’t need to bake and all you need is a glass dish and a food processor. Feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your needs. I personally don't add any dried fruit or chocolate.  I think they are tasty enough without them. Sample before pressing into the dish and adapt anything to taste.

6 dates, pitted

2 TB coconut oil

1⁄4 cup sunflower butter or almond butter
1⁄4 cup goji berries (raisins work too) or omit all together
1⁄4 cup shredded coconut flakes
1⁄4 cup ground flax
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Couple pinches of sea salt (unless sunflower or almond butter is salted)
1 cup almonds (I used sliced almonds)

Handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips (Can be omitted)

1 . Place the pitted dates and coconut oil in the base of your food processor. Add the seed or nut butter. Whirl these three ingredients until blended.

2. Add the goji berries or raisins, the coconut flakes, the ground flax, the cinnamon and the sea salt and whirl in the food processor again, until the mixture is well incorporated. It’s OK if its a bit more chunky at this point.

3. Add the almonds and the cacao nibs or chocolate chips and pulse your food processor until you have a chunky mass that looks like cookie dough.

4. Scoop dough-like mixture into a 8×8 glass container and press the mixture down with the back of a spoon.5. Store in the fridge for at least one hour to harden. Cut into bars to grab-and-go and store extras in the refrigerator.



28 Days- Week 2

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Half way done!  Woo Hoo!

I was so thankful for this quote today from here. It was a grounding reminder about the "why" of my spending fast, reduction in consumption, and our attempts at clean eating.  

Honestly, the not spending part has been fairly easy.  I sorta feel like I am cheating, when I have buy things for the kids. It would probably hurt more if I had cut that this month, too.  As a mom, it is always fun to buy things for your children.  But, do my kids really NEED anything?  Certainly not this month- aside from the birthday celebration. So, the next couple of weeks I am going to try and cut that too.  I want to feel a bit of "pain", because in that "pain" I will have opportunity to pray and hear God's voice. 

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I have been thinking about how this fast can have an impact greater than me just not getting more stuff, and I have decided that at least some of the money I have saved by not spending, should be given to someone else.  I want my eyes to be directed away from my wants and opened more to others.  I don't know the how, who, or when, but I pray God will reveal the perfect situation/person.


So, we have two more weeks to exercise 6 out of every 7 days; to spend money only on things that can be taken into our bodies or are household necessities; and to eat real food- cutting out all processed junk. I know I will have at least one challenging time this week when I get to go out with a friend.  I have a birthday gift card for a spa service.  I hope this isn't cheating?! I won't be able to spend money on anything else, so that will require some self discipline. A whole afternoon in some super tempting places (Hello! Container Store, Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel). Yikes, I am already feeling the "pain" and I haven't even walked into a store. 

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I hope you are enjoying this journey.  The next two weeks could be interesting!





No Sugar Chocolate Sauce

Friday, January 18, 2013

Chocolate sauce

One of my favorite afternoon treats is a Vanilla Latte.  I can almost curb my other sugar cravings, if I get a sweetened coffee a day.  That being said, it would be nice to drop the sugar part.  I saw a recipe on Pinterest and I tweaked it to make a chocolate sauce that is all natural and sugar free! I am hoping this will work in place of my normal vanilla syrup. 

No Sugar Chocolate or Carob Syrup

1 Cup of Organic Unsweetened Cocoa or Carob Powder.  Some people don't like Carob. I kinda like it- my kids aren't a huge fan.

1 Cup of Water 

2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

1/4 teaspoon of Salt

Sweetner Options: Organic Grade B Maple Syrup, Raw Honey, Liquid Stevia, Powdered Stevia. 

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a sauce pan and then add in the sweetener.  Start with 1/4 cup of the maple syrup or honey. If using liquid Stevia a few drops goes a loooong way (5 drops). Taste and tweak it to your liking. I first made mine with Stevia and it's just ok.  It's not my favorite sweetener, but I was trying to be extra good- I ended up adding maple syrup. This might be something that takes a few tries to find out how you like it. Next time, I am skipping the Stevia.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Bring to a boil and cook for a few minutes, until it is thickened.

Remove from heat and let cool.

The original recipe says it will last a couple of weeks in the fridge!


Recipe adapted from here. 

Green Juice

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Green juice

I have become increasingly concerned about the lack of green veggies in my toddlers' diets.  As babies they gobbled up all sorts of weird pureed concoctions, but as they are becoming self feeders anything green has basically been refused.   So much of what is easy (fast) to feed a toddler is processed- sugar, wheat, corn, and chemicals.   My goal this year is to get more fresh green vegetables into my kids diets and less processed crap.

Here is one way we have been doing it.  Let me say, they LOVE it.  I have no problems getting them to drink this juice.  It tastes like limeade. Yum!

I don't have a Vitamix, but I do have an off brand high powered blender.  One of the keys to this juice is leaving the peel on, including the limes.  I am not sure if a regular blender could handle that, but it's worth trying! If necessary, just juice the limes or cut off the peels.

Green juice ingredients

Green Juice

1-2 Organic Limes quartered

1-2 Organic Apples quartered

2-3 Organic Celery Stalks cut into pieces

Handful of Organic Kale

1 Whole Avocado

1 Cup of Water, Coconut Water, or Juice

2 Cups of Ice

Blend all the above ingredients in the blender.  Add more coconut water if necessary to get the consistency you want.  I pour into glasses and then add a tablespoon of Chia seeds.  I am sure they could be blended in as well. 

If you really want to explore how these foods help detox the body check out this video.




Monday, January 14, 2013

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I think my inbox is trying to sabotage me.

28 Days- Week 1

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Week 1

Barre3 tiff

Exercise- 6 out of 7 days. Check.  Yes- arms are sore. Legs are sore. I did it. 3 More weeks. 

Food- We are eating Paleoesque.  That's not a word. I know.  For those that don't know what the heck I am talking about- a Paleolithic diet or Paleo diet is one made up of unprocessed foods primarily: REAL meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, fruit, nuts & seeds.  We are eating nutrient dense, quality, organic, hormone free food. We are avoiding sugars, dairy, and grains.

I went 10 days without gluten and it wasn't that hard! This coming from a person that LOVES bread. I can happily say I really haven't missed it nor have I really missed sugar*.  I don't see myself giving up an afternoon latte, but have switched to coconut milk in my morning coffee.  And, confession there was some cheating in the last 24 hours.  Hey 80/20, right?

Things to improve on this week: drinking water, detoxing (juicing), and possibly weaning out a latte or two a week, or getting rid of the vanilla* (which has sugar in it).  Is it possible to go 7 days without eating any sugar?! 

If you think I am crazy then I suggest you watch the following documentaries- Hungry for Change & Food Inc.  They might give you some insight into my recent posts!

I am convinced that it is time to rid my children's diet of so much processed or "food like" products.  

Consumption-  I have been taking inventory.  We have ALOT of stuff. It's harder to keep organized when there is just SO much of it. For instance, 5 sets of sheets for my bed. Who needs 5 different sets of sheets?  So, I am cleaning out and I am praying I don't just replace it all.  At least the things we aren't using can be given to others who do need them and will use them. Can the cycle of consume, consume, consume, be broken?

Things to improve on this week: getting those "things" to real people that need them.  Not Goodwill.

We also gave up paper plates.  We were using far too many of them.  Now the dishwasher runs twice a day some days.  It's not that bad.

Spending-  Aside from groceries and household needs, I am holding strong.  The only spending done was for my daughter's birthday, a sewing activity for one daughter, and a toy for one of the twins (so we have two).  I've been to Target twice and looked at every cute thing in the store, but haven't' made a purchase. It can be done.

Things to improve on this week: Stay out of Target.    

Again, if you think I am a little nuts read "7 An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess".

Bible Reading & Journaling- This went really well this week. We are reading in Proverbs and there are always great pieces of wisdom to be gleaned.  The tone helped carry over into homeschooling and the order of our day.  We had a long, but great week. I might say even better than expected.



Finally, if you need a little kick in the butt to declutter your home, I encourage you to watch a cute video from this sweet lady. Her words have stuck with me.

This upcoming week is going to be challenging. We have birthday parties and meetings that require us to be away from home.  It's not going to be easy to eat right, exercise, and follow a routine.  I pray for patience with myself and the kids.  Next week's post could be interesting!


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