WATERMELON + LIME POPSICLES

Watermelon Popsickles

July is National Watermelon Month and I have been wanting to make these for a while, so this is an opportune time for a nice, juicy popsicle! I had a sweet, ripe watermelon and wanted to add a little zing to it, so I added a fresh lime. You could also add a couple drops of lime essential oil to really bring out the lime flavor!

Watermelon doesn’t just taste good, it also has some great health benefits! This delicious fruit contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant. It’s about 92 percent water, so it is a great way to stay hydrated. Watermelon also contains Vitamins A, B6 and C, magnesium and potassium. The lime helps digestion, blood sugar levels, constipation and even heart disease!

This was an easy treat to make so you shouldn’t spend too much time in the kitchen. And it’s kid-approved so it makes a great healthful treat.

Ingredients:

4 cups of ripe watermelon

1 lime

Dash of sea salt

2 drops of lime essential oil (optional)

Preparation:

Add all of the ingredients into a blender and puree. Pour into the popsicle containers and freeze overnight. Enjoy this cool, refreshing treat the next day!

 

SATURDAY FRITTATA

fritatta

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! Our family went up to Georgia to spend time with family and get some much needed rest. Then we returned and got hit really hard with a nasty bug! We are on the mend now and looking forward to getting back to our daily routines.

So I finally found the picture that goes with this recipe, so now I can share it with you! I love making a big breakfast for my family on the weekends. I love to let my husband sleep in and wake up to the smell of bacon, fresh brewed coffee and whatever recipe I am creating in the kitchen. My husband works really hard during the week, so one of my “love-languages” is “acts of service”, so cooking is a way I like to express my love for him. I recently made this delicious, yet Candida-friendly, vegetable frittata for breakfast. If you aren’t on any food restrictions, it would go nicely with some whole-grain or gluten-free toast!

If you have a cast-iron pan, well drag it out of your cabinet or drawer and let’s get cooking! I don’t know about you, but cast-iron pans weigh a ton, so I literally drag mine out every time I use it! I chose asparagus for something different in my morning eggs and I was quite impressed with the benefits of these little green trees. They contain antioxidants, vitamin B12, high in amino acids, and are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, fiber and folate. How good is that?

Here is what I threw together to make this yummy frittata:

5 eggs, scrambled

10 asparagus spears, chopped into 1 inch pieces

1/2 red pepper, diced

4 green onions, diced

1/3 cup of goat cheese

Salt + Pepper to taste

1 Tbs Ghee (can find in health food stores)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat up a medium-sized cast iron pan (or any pan that can go into the oven), on medium-high.

Add the ghee and then the asparagus and the red pepper. Saute for about 2 minutes.

Then add the green onions and cook for about a minute.

Next, add the scrambled eggs, salt and pepper to taste, and evenly spread the goat cheese over the mixture. I picked a firmer goat cheese, so it was easy to break apart.

Let the pan sit on the stove for a few minutes to cook the bottom part of the frittata.

Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook it. Eggs keep cooking once you take them off of the heat.

Enjoy!!

TUNA SALAD WITH A KICK

Tuna Salad PostThe weather is still quite scorching down here in Florida. Anyone else still sweating profusely as you walk outside? So I like to keep our meals a little light. Lunch is always a challenge for me to get creative, so I resorted to an old fashioned recipe with a little twist. Tuna fish salad isn’t something I eat often, but do get a craving for once in a while. I tweaked this recipe from my godmother’s famous tuna salad. It is hands-down, one of the best I’ve ever had. Her secret to an upscale, mouth-watering tuna salad is nutmeg and horseradish! It gives it a nice kick with a smidgeon (as my godmother would say) of these two ingredients. Who knew! I added celery seed and lime essential oil to give the flavor more depth. This really took it to a new level of flavor!

I made this for my husband and he loves to eat it with crackers. I like to hollow out cucumbers and make little tuna fish “boats”. No pun untended here folks! You can even garnish them with a little tomato.

Ingredients:

3 cans Wild Planet tuna (our local Costco carries it)

1/2 sweet onion, diced

2 celery stalks with leaves, chopped

5 Tbs mayonnaise (I use Just Mayo)

1 1/2 tsp horseradish

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp celery seed

3 drops pure lime essential oil

Salt + Pepper to taste

Preparation:

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. It seems to taste better when you let the salad sit, so the flavors can marry. If you are famished, then just enjoy immediately. 🙂

Enjoy!

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP-COCONUT OATMEAL BARS

Chocolate Chip + Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I love making healthful yet fun snacks for my little guy. Anything to get him to eat clean-eating recipes. I don’t keep a lot of packaged snacks in our home, so I try to make some snacks to break the monotony of fruits and veggies.

I haven’t made oatmeal bars in a looooong time, so I had fun making these chocolate chip coconut bars. I added some really hearty ingredients to boost the fiber content and sweetened them with natural sweeteners like raw honey and raisins. These bars are quite filling, so you can even serve them at breakfast.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic rolled oats

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Pascha Organic brand)

1 cup organic raisins

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups organic plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup coconut oil (+ 1 tsp for baking pan)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you are not using a stone baking pan, grease the cookie sheet with 2 tsp of coconut oil. I use the Pampered Chef large bar pan. It measures 10″ x 15 1/5″ x 1″.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through the cinnamon) and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients (yogurt through vanilla extract) and mix well.

Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix well. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it up with your hands! I use a little coconut or olive oil to coat my hands to prevent the mixture from sticking. Plus your hands are really soft after you wash them off!

Press the mixture into the bar pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Oven times vary with different stoves. After they cool off, cut into little squares. I yielded about 32 bars!

Store them in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.

 

 

SAVORY GUACAMOLE – GONE IN 5 MINUTES!

Guacamole Post

This guacamole is probably one of my best snack recipes. So with Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, I thought I would share it with you! I made this dip last week for our marriage ministry and I kid you not, it was gone within five minutes! The balance of the sweet onion, minced fresh garlic, the hint of lime with a dash of cayenne… it was spot on with our Mexican fiesta. Ole! (I swear I just heard a Guitarrón in my head! 🙂

I wanted to keep this recipe clean and authentic, so this is quick and easy for you to create in your kitchen. I used my food processor, but you can totally do this without one. The texture will just be “chunkier”. I added pure doTERRA lime essential oil, at the end of the mixing, to add depth to the flavor. It really brings out that bite of lime that totally compliments this recipe. You can purchase the oil here.

Note: This recipe fed over 20 people (as a garnish/dip). Please use organic ingredients when available.

Ingredients:

3 Haas avocados, quartered

1/2 medium sweet onion, quartered

1 medium ripe tomato, quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 lime, juiced

handful of fresh cilantro

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 drop pure lime essential oil

Preparation:

Add ingredients to the food processor in order listed (except for lime essential oil).

Pulse mixture until you reach the desired consistency.

Place in a glass bowl and add the essential oil. Stir with a wooden or stainless steel spoon. The essential oil can leach toxins from plastic containers or utensils and I avoid metal, so the avocado doesn’t brown.

Enjoy with a clean-eating salad or tortillas!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

 

 

 

 

SLOW COOKER MEXICAN CHICKEN + RICE

 

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken + Rice

One of my goals this year is to create a staple of quick and easy, clean-eating recipes. So, the best appliance for me to use is my slow cooker! A friend of mine shared a recipe she uses and so this is my rendition of her slow cooker chicken and rice. I wanted to add some depth to the flavor of the rice, so I added cilantro and lime essential oil! This meal literally only took 10 minutes total to prepare! Let the mommas rejoice!!

I hope this recipe helps other moms in their crazy, busy schedules. I was inspired to create this dish from a conversation I had with a group of my close friends. We all homeschool, have many commitments and often feel pulled in too many directions. Our desires are to have a healthy balance in our home life and still be good moms and wives. (That statement in itself could be a great post topic!) Do you ever feel like that some days?

Okay, here is the recipe to make you feel like supermom for a day!

Ingredients:

1 jar of salsa (I used Muir Glen from Whole Foods)

1 can of organic black beans, not rinsed (I used Whole Foods brand since they now carry BPA-Free cans!)

1 1/2 – 2 pounds organic chicken breast

3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced (I used a garlic press)

1 cup of organic vegetable broth

2 cups organic brown rice

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro (divided)

1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1 drop lime essential oil

Salt + pepper to taste

Preparation:

Add the salsa, black beans, garlic, chicken, and vegetable broth, in that order, into your handy dandy slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to high, cover and walk away! Let cook for about 5 hours.

About 1 hour before it’s ready, cook your rice and shred the chicken in the slow cooker. This infuses the meat with more seasoning!

Once your rice is done, mix the lime juice, lime essential oil and half of the cilantro together and then gently stir into the rice. 🙂

Stir in the other half of the cilantro to the chicken mixture.

Spoon out 1/4 cup of rice and pour 1/2 cup of chicken mixture over it. If you want to really keep the carb count down, pour chicken mixture over a bed of greens. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

I’M NOT DIETING … 5 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR

Not Dieting This New Year

Every December, most people indulge in treats and large holiday meals. By the end of the month, the thoughts of eating clean, starting over, losing weight and detoxing come to mind. Losing weight is usually the top thing on New Year’s Resolution lists. I never liked the word diet. Who does? It’s associated with thoughts of restrictions, deprivation, bland foods, boring, sacrifice and just plain torture. How can that keep anyone motivated or excited to be committed and successful?

Instead of being on a diet, how about having a DIET PLAN?

A way of eating ALL OF THE TIME. Not just for three days or three weeks. Habits you cultivate over time, not overnight. Have you ever tried starting fresh? You know what I’m talking about. Throwing all of the bad food out, going to the store and stocking your fridge with healthy foods and then wondering, what the heck do I make now? Do I even have all of the ingredients to actually make something I like? Been there and done that. And how many of you have started a diet and quit? Or after the diet, you gained all of the weight back and sometimes even more than when you first started? You can feel more defeated than when you first started. It can be very discouraging and depressing for some people when they fail. I know how it feels.

We didn’t get out of shape overnight, so why should we expect to get healthy overnight?

Having this mind shift that it’s going to take time, effort and commitment, is truly the first step in having a successful diet plan. There really is no quick-fix in transforming your health for the rest of your life.Transforming your diet, not just a diet fad, takes time. So by now, you’re probably thinking, “I know why you are not dieting, but how do I accomplish this?”

Here is my how. Practice these simple and affordable steps to start your journey.

#1 PLAN!

I can’t emphasize this enough. This is where I know I am hurting if my week feels stressed, I’m not eating properly and making poor food choices.

Plan out your menu for the week.

Include all three meals and snacks. Are you eating Paleo style? Vegan? Whole30? Gluten-free? It doesn’t matter which style of eating you choose. If you don’t plan out your meals, it’s not gonna happen. Period. Whip out those cookbooks and recipes you have always wanted to try. And add at least one or two into your weekly menu. You don’t have to try all of them at once. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Remember, baby steps.

Steer clear of processed foods (pretty much anything boxed or packaged). If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. I put a bowl of fruit in the center of our table. Unsalted nuts without any added oils, dried fruits without added sugar, and Lara bars are all go-to snacks for our family. Try my granola recipe. Sugar is evil. Use raw honey, dates or other natural sweeteners. Gluten, especially non-organic, creates inflammation in our bodies. If you can’t break free from bread, try Ezekiel or almond bread. Sprouted grains are way better for you than the processed junk. If you have digestive issues, you really should consider a gluten-free style of eating.

#2 PREPARE!

Shop on certain days and prepare your food for the week.

I shop on a day I can shop and organize my food when I come home. This takes some time, but once it is done, I’m a happy, less-stressed camper for the week. It’s actually very liberating.

I buy a ton of produce. So when I come home with the groceries, I take them all out and wash the produce. I literally line my counters with hand towels to air dry my produce. Then I bag them in Debbie Meyer bags and put them away. I also take this time to make about 6 bottles of fresh juice for the week. It’s time consuming cleaning my juicer and chopping everything, so I only do it once. I use airtight bottles, recycled from a juice bar 🙂 This also saves a lot of room in my fridge from all of the produce that goes into my juices.

I am currently trying new recipes in the Fixate cookbook by Autumn Calabrese. She eats very clean. The cookbook set came with these cute little color coordinated containers for my food. I don’t like to count calories and measure, so these containers make it a breeze to see how much of what I am really eating during the day. I didn’t realize that I was eating too much of even healthy foods, until I started using these containers. You can learn more about or order the cookbook and containers here*. 

#3  JOURNAL!

Journaling gives you insight into how you are truly eating, and even how it affects your body and mood.

I’m going out today to buy the prettiest journal to track my food, feelings and faith-filled moments throughout the year. This year, I want to track how I am really living my life, to be more intentional. The journal can be anything you want it to be. I’m just getting one with lines in it and create my own format to journal. I’m sure over the year, it will evolve into something I call my own.

I will track my food and exercise daily, weight and measurements every month (Do not let the scale define how you are doing. This is a topic for an entire post!), and my feelings and faith-filled moments whenever I feel impressed to do so. I don’t want to forget any God-winks, and I want to focus on moments of gratitude and revelations in my life.  It can also help you realize if you are substituting eating for emotional struggles. Journaling can be exciting and liberating. I can’t wait to look back a year from now and see answered prayers,  how I have grown spiritually and hopefully shrunk physically 🙂

#4 PRAY!

I start my day off with prayer and meditation.

The Bible says in Psalm 5:3, “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” and another favorite verse of mine is Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I know I can’t always get it right. I know I’m far from perfect. I seem to have the most breakthroughs when I put my trust and hope in Christ. When I mess up my eating habits, choose not to workout or just have a bad attitude; its then God reminds me I can always have a fresh, new start.

#5 PARTNER UP!

Statistics show that your success rate increases significantly when you have an accountability partner.

And it’s a lot more fun to have someone to encourage you on days when you don’t feel like making good food choices or working out. And when you hit those goals, you have someone to celebrate your victories.

So how are you starting off your New Year? Are you planning any resolutions? Do you have a diet and workout plan? Would you like to be in an accountability group? I am starting up a group on January 11th. You can connect with me through my Facebook page for this group.

Let me know how you plan to achieve those goals. I pray that your coming year is blessed, amazing, filled with joy, health and prosperity. Thank you for sharing this small piece of your world with me. I am grateful for you! Happy New Year!!!

Love In Christ,

Sonya

(*I receive a small commission for any purchase through this affiliate link.)

CHICKEN + BEAN COMFORT SOUP

Chicken and Bean Soup

I believe women love the holidays, but dread the caloric increase that comes with it. Do you find it hard to make healthful food choices this time of year? Does the stress and hustle and bustle of running around to get everything done, just make you want to order in for pizza when you finally get home? Well that is how I usually get during the holidays. And then my poor eating choices make me even more lethargic and exercising is usually the farthest from my mind! Are you relating here, ladies?

I am breaking that tradition starting this year! I am determined to eat healthful this holiday season. And I am having fun creating different comfort foods to satisfy my palate and tummy! I even got a personal fitness coach to help recommend exercise programs I can do from home that meet my personal needs and she keeps me accountable! Even coaches need coaches!

The temperature finally dropped the other day, with a cold front finally hitting the south. Now we can decorate and feel like Christmastime is here. I always find it so hard to feel the magic of the holidays when it’s like 84 degrees out and humid. So what better way to end the day than with some warm soup! Ahhhh….

I added kale and kombu to ramp up the nutrition. Kale contains protein (yes, protein), fiber, vitamins A, C + K, folate, potassium, calcium and zinc. Kombu is a nutritional powerhouse for soups! It’s a type of sea vegetable and contains fucoidan (protects from radiation), calcium potassium, iodine, and even magnesium. These glorious green foods, truly make this a nourishing meal.

Ingredients:

1 pd. cooked organic chicken breast, chopped

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed + drained

2 medium leeks, washed and sliced thin (white + light green parts only)

4 cups organic vegetable broth

4 garlic cloves, minced

5-7 kale leaves, chopped

1 kombu strip

1/4 tsp. ground sage

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 sprig of fresh rosemary (about 5 inches long)

3 tsp. grape seed oil

Preparation:

Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add leeks and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add garlic, sage, black pepper and beans, stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add broth, chicken, kale and rosemary. Mix together and let it cook until bubbly.

Reduce heat and cook for about 20 more minutes to let the flavors marry.

TURKEY NOT-SO TORTILLA SOUP

Turkey Not So Tortilla Soup

Okay, who is tired of their Thanksgiving leftovers? Every year, I love to create a healthful, appetizing recipe with our leftover turkey. Turkey can be very boring, so what better way to spice it up than to go Mexican! The weather was a little cool on the day I created this, so it really hit the spot for our family. Both my husband and son wanted seconds, so this will definitely be a new staple in our recipe box.

This dish was really simple and quick. So if you have a busy day, you can whip this up in a jiff! You probably already have most of these ingredients in your kitchen. You can garnish this dish with avocado or add brown rice, to make it a heartier meal. Or even add a little tortillas for some crunch. I wanted to keep it clean, so for me, I nixed the tortillas. Please use organic ingredients, when possible.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds shredded turkey meat

1 medium onion, chopped

1 poblano pepper, seeded and chopped

2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped

1 cup Pomi brand strained tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded carrots

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 cups organic vegetable broth

1 10 oz package of frozen corn

1 Tbs. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

1/2 Tbs. grape seed oil

Preparation:

Heat up a large pot on medium-high. Add 1/2 tablespoon of grape seed oil to the pot, then wait a minute and add onions and poblano pepper.

Saute a few minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes and garlic.

Let the mixture cook for a few more minutes then add the turkey, carrots and spices. Next, add the strained tomatoes and vegetable broth and mix well. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes, then turn down the heat to medium.

Add the package of frozen corn, and cilantro. Let the soup simmer for at least 20 more minutes. This is where the flavors start to marry. By now, your kitchen is smelling, oh so good!!! Mmmmmm….

Serve with avocado or brown rice. For an extra treat, crumble some tortillas on top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VEGGIE + HUMMUS WRAP

Veggie Wrap B Logo

 

I was shopping at Bedner’s, my favorite green market store, the other day and got inspired to create a veggie sandwich I had on my honeymoon in Costa Rica. The sandwich was loaded with sweet, roasted veggies and topped off with melted cheese on fresh focaccia bread. This sandwich was so delicious, we stopped at Al Bacio on the way to the airport to enjoy it one last time.

As much as I would have loved to recreate the exact recipe; I had to find a healthier alternative for the bread and cheese. So, what better way to replace bread than with a green leafy veggie. I needed something to really bring the sandwich together, so I added my homemade hummus.

This sandwich was a labor of love. I roasted a large batch of veggies and whipped up a big bowl of hummus, so my husband and I can enjoy this sandwich several times this week! I didn’t have mushrooms at the time, but they were part of the recipe I wanted to create, so I included them in the ingredient list. I will have to make this again next week, just to savor the mushrooms. Let me know how much you enjoy this recipe too!

Ingredients:

2 red peppers, sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 ear of corn
2 large portabella mushrooms, sliced
6 carrots, halved and sliced
3 Tbs. Coconut oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Hummus (find recipe here)
Collard greens (6 large leaves), washed

Balsamic vinegar

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease two shallow baking pans with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

Toss veggies (even the ear of corn) in a large bowl with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and salt and pepper to taste. (You may need to add a little more oil.)

Divide them between the two shallow baking pans. (If the pan is too deep, it will steam your veggies!!)

Roast veggies for 30 to 40 minutes. Check every ten minutes and stir the veggies around so they roast evenly.

Remove from oven and let cool. Cut corn off of the cob and mix in with veggies.

Place one collard leaf flat, with stem part of the leaf pointing away from you. Spread about 3 tablespoons of hummus on the center of the leaf. (Picture shown is the opposite way to place leaf down. I realized this after rolling my first wrap 🙂

Veggie wrap logo

Add a generous amount of veggies on top of the hummus. It comes to about a 1/3 cup of veggies. Then lightly drizzle balsamic vinegar over the veggies.

Fold up the bottom of collard leaf and roll up to form a wrap.

Veggie wrap c logo

Enjoy your totally guilt-free, nutrient-packed meal!!!