Friday, October 7, 2016

Be the CHANGE



I am a true believer in the fact that if you want change for the next generation you must BE THE CHANGE. You can't just sit around and complain. You must DO. You must ACT. You must step out of your comfort zone. After a week or so into school my son was bringing home crap candy filled with dyes, sugar, and God knows what else as a reward for good behavior (and they were coming often) that other parents donated.

I could have just said no, "you aren't getting to eat that" and give him cleaner options, BUT that isn't fair to him or to all the other kids if I am truly going to pay it forward, teach what I preach. Instead I told him he can have this first sucker (and boy was it nasty looking to me) this one time and I will contact your teacher to get a plan in place moving forward. He was fine with that.

His teacher is new this year to the school and she was very welcoming to my concerns and ideas. Praise the Lord!

I purchased some organic candy and cheap toys to add to the box that my son and friends could pick from. I also suggested some other ideas I was willing to help with and she was already thinking on the same track. One in which was a dance party for kids that received enough "stars" to attend at the end of the month. And so the collection of stars began.

I am more than excited to announce we are having our first Dance Party next week. We will have party lights, we will have glow sticks, we will have super rad dancing, and we will have a healthy snack too! This not only will be great exercise for the kiddos (and me), but this will empower them (and hopefully by hearing about this it will impact those that didn't get to go this month) to be better, to do better, to want better for themselves. And yes, even in 2nd grade!

We also have a new principal this year which I really like. She is full of zest and enthusiasm. I am excited to hear that after the teacher contacted her about what will be happening (we were kinda nervous) she asked to come and be involved. Please say a prayer that this can be a change for our elementary school system. The kids are very excited for this event and who am I kidding, I am SUPER excited too!

Also, I met a new mom friend this week that works for Eat Smart, Move More of York County (and is running for school board this year) and she wants to attend too.

I feel truly blessed to be alive and well and making a positive impact on the children in my county.






Saturday, January 9, 2016

Eating Out

Aussie Cheese Fries


Back in college I worked at Outback. I used to be obsessed with the Aussie Cheese Fries. I would always feel physically ill about 30 minutes after eating them. So much so I haven't visited an Outback in about 10 years. I gave that place up way beforing cleaning up my diet. I can't find anywhere the ingredients of what's in the fries, but it can't be good!

Outback is so NOT a healthy choice when eating out. I'm not saying you can't go there and get a healthy meal, but you will have to ask for a lot of things to be removed and ask a lot of questions. Many people aren't willing to do that. And, let's face it..you won't be eating Aussie Cheese Fries, Bloomin' Onion or 3 loaves of bread....that is unless you plan to split it 8 ways.

Outback has even reduced the fat since they first came out. Can you imagine it being even worse???

One of the best things you can do for your health is to give up eating out at chain restaurants (that goes for Fast Food too!) on a regular basis. It's a sure fire way for you to gain weight and feel the bloat. If you have any diseases, the sodium is off the charges and it's causing loads and loads of inflammation. None of us want or need added inflammation-it's painful!

A few others I won't bother going to and wasting money on are: Applebee's, Chli's, and Ruby Tuesday's. Many of these chain restaurants just reheat frozen food. If you want that, just go to the grocery store and make it yourself and save money AND read the ingredients. Most have their food in the grocery store because it's that easy to produce for the masses!

When I eat out I usually order what I want and don't stress over getting something "light". That's because I don't eat out that often normally. With that being said, after moving South I tried many local places and ate way more than I normally would out. Hello fried foods! Of course, my body can't lie about that ! I am more bloated, I am probably heavier, and I know my waist is bigger. But, I am not fretting! I know it will all go back to where it was 6-12 months ago because I stay the course. This is a LIFESTYLE for me. I only eat healthy whole foods at home. Listen to your body! It doesn't lie. If you are in pain, make changes. If you are feeling bloated, make changes. If you are feeling fatique, make changes. If you need to lose weight, make changes.

You are in control of YOUR life. Only you can decide where to drive your car to dine. Plan ahead. Make your own cheese fries at home with potoates, high quality cheese and local bacon. You can then control the salt and fat! I find it interesting Sodium isn't listed on Outback's chart. I bet it's off the charts! You should also eat foods rich in natural fiber, almost zero in the fries (yes, I know it's junk food but just noting it)

I don't count calories (I have in the past and it never worked long term). I will never count calories again. Period.

Well, let's just say it and get it overwith....Outback Aussie Cheesefries has 121.85 grams of FAT! Holy SMOKES! That is beyond terrible for you. And nearly 55g of Saturated Fat.

Can you really eat them now after knowing that? If the answer is yes, it's time to dig deep as to why you are willing to eat them. Figure out why you choose to overeat on a regular basis and damage you body. You are worth more than that. If this is your "hobby" (eating out), find a new one. Walk with a friend. Volunteer your time somewhere to stay active.

From www.heart.org:


What's my daily limit for foods with saturated fats?

The American Heart Association recommends aiming for a dietary pattern that achieves 5% to 6% of calories from saturated fat. That means, for example, if you need about 2,000 calories a day, no more than 120 of them should come from saturated fats. That’s about 13 grams of saturated fats a day.

TIP: Find LOCALLY owned and operated restaurants. They stand behind their food and it's usually their passion to present a beautiful delicious plate to you. Many source local ingredients as well. Ask questions, I can't stress this enough. Ask what is made from scratch at the restaurant. Most times they will be delighted to brag about what is made fresh daily. Order those items over others. It's your money. It's your body. ASK!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Green Bean Casserole

Green bean casserole is a favorite of my husband and now is one of mine since making it more from scratch and adding in mushrooms, onions, etc.  I have made the recipe from 100 Days of Real Food and it was good, but I like to save on time when I can. Especially when I am making the whole feast! So this year I am using Onion Strings from Trader Joe's.


Grean Bean Casserole
(prepped and ready to bake)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Organic EVOO
  • 1 Tbps Grass-fed Butter
  • 1 small container of button mushrooms (or a type of your choosing)
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion diced (or shallot)
  • minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
  • 1 Tpsp Soy Sauce or Tamari Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 carton of Pacific Condensed Mushroom or Trader Joe's Brand 
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4-6 cups of Organic frozen or fresh green beans
  • Trader Joe's Fried Onion Pieces or you can make your own. (Find out how here: French Fried Onions )
  • 1 Tbsp Thyme -optional
Directions:

1) Add EVOO to pan and saute garlic, mushrooms and onions under tender over medium heat.
2)  Add soy sauce, water, condensed mushroom and butter and reduce heat. Stir until butter has melted.
3) In a casserole dish add the green beans (Mine were long so I had to break in half), add the mixture and stir well.
4) Add onion pieces to the top right before baking.
5) Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes until green beans are tender. (It make take longer)

NOTE: I am not precooking my greens beans like many recipes say to do. I will report back, but I am confident they will be fine cooking at a lower temp for a longer time. 
You can also raise the temp for the last 5 minutes to help get the onion pieces nice and crispy.

Salt and Pepper to taste.

Enjoy!





Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pecan Pie Granola Cereal



Have you seen the price tag on clean granola cereal? It's not cheap and you can't control how it's sweetened. 

However, the good news is, you can make your own at home for a fraction of the cost! This recipe is so simple a child can make it! My daughter helped me make our first batch but she will be making it on her own next time.



Pecan Pie Granola Cereal

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbps Coconut Sugar
  • 3/4-1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup raw pecans (no oils added), chopped
  • 1/3 cup honey (local is best choice) or use Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1-2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil, melted


Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees 

1) Add the top 5 ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
2) Add honey, vanilla and coconut oil to a small bowl and mix well.
3) Add the wet to the dry and mix (we used our hands) until evenly coated.
4) Spread evenly on a baking pan. Bake for about 20-30 min, stirring every 10 min. 

NOTE: It will harden as it cools. Eat it dry or pour some UNSWEETENED coconut milk or almond milk on it. It's delicious!

Enjoy. 


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

2014 {a year in review} : Take a Risk.



Happy New Year!

Every year I make time to sit down and write a year in review.  A lot can change in 12 months!  I'll bet when I read this in January 2016 a lot more has changed in my life. I suggest you do the same and reflect back each year.

I have always heard this saying (below) and I bet you have too!



But, did I ever truly take the risks I felt I should be taking? Four years ago I went all into EATING CLEAN and the rewards were GREAT, so GREAT! I am still living, breathing and experiencing those rewards. But, there was one thing I always wanted to do that I never did (never ever did): move to warmer weather and leave Indiana. I let fear, the unknown and the "what ifs" keep me on the "shore" (or should I say, in the "cornfields"). Not to mention all the "work" to relocate. 

 I have ALWAYS hated the Indiana winters. The seasonal depression. The limitations Indiana winters bring. The mood and funk it puts me in. The complaining and crankiness it brings out in people around you. The shoveling snow. The painfully cold temps. The lack of sunshine.

Well, after a record snowfall for the season 2013-2014 (Dec-Jan-Feb) of 51.6" of SNOW, we had enough. I think a part of me died that winter. Seriously. 

We, as a family, decided (in July) it was time to risk it all. Select a place to live we hoped to be happier living in with more sunshine! Closer to a beach, closer to mountains and let's get to the important things...close to a Costco and Super Target! With that decision came loads and loads of research. After we landed on an area (near Charlotte), my husband began the (what seemed impossible) job search. 

I did have hope, it was dim at times, but I had it. I had faith in God that he would lead me to where we should be if it was his will. Without my faith in God, I wouldn't be where I am today. We experienced so many emotions to get where I am today: Lake Wylie, SC. , but it was worth it.  It's currently 30 degrees warmer than Indiana. Enough said. 


I have had that breakthrough at almost 40 years of age. It's NEVER too late to take a risk to be happier.

I challenge you to look at your life and evaluate your happiness level. You deserve to be happy. Risk something. Risk people judging you for your new wacky food choices....risk your family being upset with you that you will no longer be nearby....risk going into a new challenge without knowing how it will change you....risk letting go of the comfortable ....risk moving away from your rock, your best friend....simply risk something!, because without doing so you may not experience some of the greatest rewards life has to offer.


Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
~Paulo Coelho

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.
~John F. Kennedy

If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories.
~Richard M. Nixon

A ship is always safe at the shore - but that is NOT what it is built for.
~ Albert Einstein



If you ever wondered it weather impacts your mood, it does. I am so much happier here. My kids are happier. They love their new school. They have met new friends. I have met new friends. I hear birds chirping in January! We have been enjoying the sunshine (and even the rain compared to snow). I will blog more down the road on the differences I have experienced moving from IN to SC. 

As I reflect back on my 2014 I am grateful for my health. My husband and my kid's health too. I am grateful I am alive and well. I am grateful our families stayed positive during this HUGE decision to relocate. This is a big change for them as well and even though they would prefer us closer, they want us happy! We all take different paths in life and they don't always lead us to the same physical destination.

I am STILL grateful for making the change in 2010 to completely overhaul my life and my family's life. I have told you many times I think I was living in a processed food "fog" for years. Eating Clean gives me clarity and perhaps more courage. 




Taking a risk in your life may just be what you need, read Why Taking Risks Comes Great Rewards 

Don't let a world of processed food weigh you down from being the best you that you can be. Eat clean. You deserve to feel awesome.

Have a splendid 2015. I'm going to try to!

I look forward to sharing all my new adventures with you all! xo Angie






Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Grandma

One of our guest Pastors for the summer gave a sermon on treating everyone as if they are God's masterpieces. Everyone. Don't push people to the sidelines just because you aren't like them. Get to know them. Hear their story and how they got to "today". Don't judge them on what you see in the here and now.  We all have a story. Some stories are more like fairy tales and some aren't so easy to hear.

(that's me on the left)

I spent a great deal of time getting to know my 83 year old grandma this weekend on a personal level...talking...looking at pictures...and more talking as we stayed two nights with her in her tiny 2 bedroom home out in the country.  She literally only had a good 18" x 24" space to prep food. Even with that lack of space she made me delicious vegetable soup. She doesn't use a cutting board, she cuts it all by hand without even touching the countertops. Impressive. And she gives her rinds and scraps to the raccoons that visit her property at night.

She would tell me stories of how her and the kids had very little money for food and some times they even ate just plain macaroni pasta because they couldn't afford anything else.  I am beyond grateful I can provide my children with real whole food and a rather endless supply of it! For many years they didn't have plumbing in the house, which I'm guessing that anyone reading this has plumbing. Be grateful.

I won't say it was easy to live in a VERY little kitchen for around 48 hours. BUT I learned a lot.  I must get a lot of my frugal traits from my gram (and dad). I don't like to waste!  I am grateful always for money to go into ANY grocery store and purchase food for my family. Lots of food.

I can't stress enough how important it is to grasp the fact that many of you reading this have more than most. Way more. You have access to read this message. You probably have electricity to cook a good meal. You probably have a working stove and fridge. If you do, be grateful and don't let these luxuries go to waste. Cook meals for your family or yourself. Eating real food is a blessing. Stop spending money on restaurants that don't have your best interest at heart.  Don't let food go to waste. Be frugal!

Don't settle for crappy food if you don't have to! Drive a cheaper car if you have to. Buy cheaper clothes. Live in a smaller house. Do whatever you have to do because one day you could wake up with a load of regrets as your health starts to decline rapidly. I am so grateful for my health I have today. I pray that I have great health for many years to come, but it's not guaranteed.  I just want to look back and know I tried my best.

Do your best. Learn often. Eat clean. 

xo
Angie






Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I've got some good news and some great news for ya. The good news... I have a dip for you that is so delicious. The GREAT news... it's dairy free! And I don't even miss the dairy. True Story.

Give this a try. Even if you "hate" cashews.


Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
  • approx. 5 oz Organic Spinach (rough chopped, more so if you don't plan to throw it in the blender)
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped, I use my Vitamix)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbps Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbps lemon juice (approx one lemon)
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (approx 12-15oz), chopped.
  • 1-1 1/2 cup of cashew cream*
Directions:

1) Saute the spinach, onions, garlic and EVOO in a pan until spinach has wilted nicely.
2) Add in the sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Stir.
3) Add in the cashew cream and stir until combined.
4) Eat cold or bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I love it warm straight from the oven. 

NOTE:  I use my Vitamix to make this. After I have made the cashew cream I add in all the stuff from the oven pan (which I don't bother chopping my spinach much or the artichoke hearts because the Vitamix will do that) I coarsely chop on #4 until it's the consistency I like. Then I pour directly into oven dish. So simple!

*Cashew Cream:

Soak 3/4-1 cup of cashew in enough filtered water to cover them for AT LEAST 2 hours or overnight (especially if you don't have high speed blender they will need to soak longer).

Drain and rinse and add to blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water. Blend on high until it's smooth and creamy. You can add more if you need to to get it to the creamy consistency. 

ENJOY!