Saturday, April 30, 2011


     I quit!! I've decided I'm no longer on a diet. I've never been one to stick to any specific diet anyway, so eating healthier is my new lifestyle. I must admit that, I do have lapses in judgement when it comes to food or food-like stuff. I usually find out that I don't really care for the same sweet treats I was addicted to just months ago and I'm enjoying healthier options more and more.  I do however, still have a thing for chocolate... I've had way too much Easter candy this past week. Which also explains why I've not lost any weight this past week. (sigh)

   I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I never really enjoyed cooking, until recently. I actually felt inadequate in that department. After all, being a wife and mother, that is the one thing I should do best, right?  Now, I'm looking for the next great recipe and I get so excited when my family enjoys the meals I prepare for them. Brandon even has his coworkers thinking that I'm some fantastic cook. He's been enjoying more veggies and less meat these days and has agreed to only eat meat 2-3 times a week. That means I must find more recipes for fruits, veggies, and healthy grains that are filling enough that he won't try to eat a deep dish pizza from Savastano's again. (That was a painful experience for him.)  I'm also determined to show him that we can eat healthy, organic meals on a reasonable budget.

    I love to read diet and nutrition books. I have so many on my shelves and I tend to pick the best information from each one. Last week I began reading The Maker's Diet by Jordan Rubin. First, I must say his story is nothing short of a miracle.  His book is very informative and includes a listing of many different companies that offer natural and organic products for your health, body, and your home. I haven't finished it yet, so I'm not to the point where he introduces his diet guidelines. I did skim ahead though, and it looks similar to the South Beach Diet with the different phases and the lists of foods to enjoy and avoid. I also purchased Reshaping It All by Candace Cameron Bure, which isn't really a diet book. I haven't begun reading her book yet, but I'm eager to get started, so I'm trying to finish the one I'm currently working on whenever I have a "free moment".(HA!! I crack me up!)

     The past few days we have been at the OCHEC (Oklahoma Christian Home Educators Consociation) convention in Tulsa. This is our third year attending and every year there is one lady that I'm very interested in going to her workshops, Karen Hopkins of Growing Healthy Homes. For the past few years she's been planting the seeds of healthier eating and living in my mind and heart.  A few years ago I was not ready to take the plunge into this new way of living and neither was Brandon. I guess I still believed that food and body care products couldn't possibly be THAT bad for you if they were FDA approved. As if the FDA had our best interest in mind. Riiight!  Last year I began paying a little more attention to what she had to say about body care products specifically.  I was really noticing a decline in my own healthy and began researching some things on my own.  This year, even before the convention, I told my husband that if nothing else, I wanted to purchase her curriculum book, Nutrition 101: Choose Life!  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am to have this in my possession. It's chock full of information on the brain and nervous system, digestive system, respiratory, olfactory, auditory and visual systems, skeletal and muscular systems, cardiovascular and immune systems, endocrine system and emotions,  all laid out in a curriculum that is easy to use with kids of all ages. It also includes many healthy recipes. This is going to be a valuable tool in my endeavors toward healthy living for my family as well as teaching all of my students proper nutrition.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grilled Banana Boats (recipes)

     Last week when my husband grilled fruit for a fruit salad, he grilled bananas.  I had never heard of grilled bananas before, so I decided to Google it and see what would come up. I found multiple recipes for banana boats, also called campfire bananas, and Brandon thought it would be the perfect dessert for Easter.  They were very simple to make and tasted soooooo good!

I cut the stems off of the bananas then slit them down the middles, but not all the way through the other side. I stuffed each one with Ghiradelli chocolate chips and those pastel fruit flavored marshmallows.  Brandon put them on the grill until the peels turned black and the bananas were soft on the inside.  The chocolate chips melted and the marshmallows were perfectly toasted, crispy on the outside, and gooey in the middles. You can eat them with a spoon right from the peel or scoop them out over some vanilla ice cream like we did. YUMMY!!!

Mojito-Rubbed Chicken With Grilled Pineapples (recipes)

     Brandon found this recipe online here and we just had to try this for our Easter dinner this year. I followed this recipe, except that I used melted coconut oil instead of olive oil and I doubled the recipe for the lime/oil mixture. I also used fresh chocolate mint leaves from my garden. Brandon also grilled some fresh yellow squash to serve with it. I really think that a coconut rice would have made this meal PERFECT. We will definitely try this one again.

Mojito-Rubbed Chicken With Grilled Pineapples

  • 4 medium (1 1/2 pounds) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
  • 2  limes
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil 
  • 1 medium (3 1/2 pounds) pineapple, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1/4 cup(s) loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
  •  Salt and pepper

  1. Prepare outdoor grill for direct grilling on medium, or preheat large ridged grill pan on medium.
  2. Meanwhile, with meat mallet, pound chicken (placed between 2 sheets plastic wrap) to an even 1/2-inch thickness.
  3. From 1 lime, grate 1 teaspoon peel and squeeze 2 tablespoons juice. Cut remaining lime into 4 wedges; set aside. In small bowl, combine oil, lime peel, and juice. Lightly brush pineapple on both sides with lime mixture; set aside remaining lime mixture in bowl. Place pineapple slices on hot grill rack and cook 10 minutes or until browned on both sides, turning over once.
  4. Stir mint into remaining lime mixture and pat onto both sides of chicken. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to season both sides. Place chicken on hot grill rack and cook 5 minutes or until chicken is browned on both sides and no longer pink throughout, turning over once. Serve chicken with pineapple and lime wedges.

Read more: Mojito-Rubbed Chicken with Grilled Pineapple Recipe - Good Housekeeping 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

     I hope everyone has had a blessed Easter this year, I know I have. Our kids are 13 and 9, and they know there's no such thing as the Easter Bunny, so I didn't have to play that game this year. My Dad sent them some little baskets, candy, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and gift cards to Incredible Pizza, so we really didn't have to do much else for their baskets. Yesterday, I took the kids to Mardel to let them pick out a new Bible for each of them and had their names engraved on them. I also picked up a few books for myself at Mardel since they were all on sale for 25% off. I plan to blog about them after I read them. Then, last night, I volunteered in the nursery at church for two Easter services. I LOVE working with the babies. B.J. won a very nice Easter basket in the class he was in, and of course he shared with his sister. This morning we went to the last Easter service for the weekend at our church as a family.  Every year, service is AMAZING, I don't expect anything less from COTM. This year there were a total of 858 people who were baptized over the 5 Easter services and 238 elementary students gave their hearts to Jesus. It was truly a blessing to witness this.

     For dinner tonight, Brandon lit up the grill and we made hickory grilled, mojito-rubbed chicken, grilled pineapples and grilled squash, and for dessert... grilled banana boats! And I just had to try roasting a Peep... Dinner was AMAZING.  I think that it would have been very good with a coconut-rice.  It's definitely something we will make again. I plan to post the recipes tomorrow when I have more time.

     I didn't weigh-in or exercise today, I might not do it tomorrow either. I've eaten way too much easter candy/treats today and I'm afraid the scale will show it. I must work it off over the next few days. HA!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grilled BBQ Pulled Chicken Breast and Grilled Fruit Salad (recipes)

     My hubby has been itching to use the grill lately.  He asked me if he could grill hot dogs for lunch.  EWWWW!! NO!! So he decided to look for some recipes that I can actually enjoy and came up with a very nice dinner.

     First, he grilled 4 large chicken breasts and added some BBQ seasoning while it was on the grill. When that was finished,  I pulled the chicken and put it in a large cast iron skillet, added 1/2 cup of shredded carrots and BBQ sauce to taste, and put it back on the grill.

     I cut up all the fruit into chunks and put them on skewers.  (Bananas, Pineapples, Pears, Apples, Strawberries, and Plums)  Brandon grilled each different fruit separately, because they require different amounts of time.  Since this was his first time grilling fruit other than pineapple, we weren't sure what to expect. Some of the fruit did burn, but this was a learning experience.

   While he was busy being "lord of the grill", I mixed up the dressing with 8 oz plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup honey, and a handful of chocolate mint leaves from my garden that I chopped up.

     When everything was ready, I served the grilled fruit on top of organic mixed spring greens and topped with the dressing.  My hubby and kiddos had their grilled BBQ pulled chicken on a bun with lettuce, but I skipped on the bun.  

     I've always loved grilled pineapples, but we have never tried grilling other fruits before.  I think I would prefer them fresh, besides the pineapple, but it was still very good. There's just something about grilled pineapple... The chicken was WONDERFUL!!!  This is definitely something we will have again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Diet update: Week 8

     Once again, I've had a very busy week. I didn't really try any new recipes.  We've eaten pretty simple this week with baked chicken and veggies like green beans, corn, or peas for dinners.  I've noticed that my portion control has gotten a lot better over the past few months. I still eat from the small salad plates, but stop eating when I'm full, which doesn't take much for me these days. I used to feel like I had to finish everything on my plate so I wouldn't be wasteful. I did  make chili again this week, which is a family favorite, and usually is enough for two dinners. I've also decided that no matter what I do, I'll always crave chocolate. So instead of fighting it to the point that I go CRAZY, I just limit myself to a little bit each day.  I really like the Skinny Cow mint ice cream sandwiches, and will have one as a treat after dinner. That's usually enough to stave off my chocolate cravings.

     Saturday we had our 4th annual Easter party and egg hunt.  This year we had 11 kids (ages 6-13), over 200 eggs, and some very creative desserts/snacks, all of which were loaded with sugar. With the exception of the deli tray and fruit. After everyone snacked and visited a bit, I took the kids out to play some games while a few of my friends hid all of the eggs. We had a potato sack race for the kids and then for the adults. I actually won, which I wasn't expecting. I don't think I could have done that a year ago. Before I took the kids back to hunt for eggs, we sat in a circle and went through the story of Easter with my set of Resurrection Eggs. I let each child open an egg and read from the book what the item inside represents. Then it was time for the hunt.  I lined the kids up by age and gave the younger ones a bit of a head start by letting them go in pairs a few seconds before the next group. After all the eggs were found, I passed out some cute goody bags to each child. When I put on a party, I tend to go overboard sometimes, but it's totally worth it to me to see the kids having a good time. I have some pretty amazing friends with great kids, and I truly enjoy their company.

     Saturday evening, I worked in the nursery at church.  I consider it my break from my world. Fussing babies, diapers, and spit up... and I call that a break! Crazy huh? I love it though. I love holding and rocking babies and making them smile, while their parents are in church service hearing the Word of God.  I also love that our church thinks about even the littlest members. We have an AMAZING woman that comes to each nursery and sings Bible songs and plays with the babies. I actually think that's their favorite part of nursery as well, because they usually stop fussing and become captivated by whatever it is that she's doing. It's pretty cute!

Here's a few pics from our Easter party...

The most FUNtastic kids, EVER!
Ready to hop! 

Jody's Kitty Litter Cake... Nasty Right? Well, it sure did taste good!

My "mock" deviled eggs.

Da'Laine's "mock" sushi.

Kim's Dirt and Worms.

My "mock" grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Field Trip to OKC Zoo

     Yesterday we took the students to the Oklahoma City Zoo. On our way we stopped for lunch at a McDonald's. I cannot tell you how long it's been since I've eaten at McDonald's, but it has been a VERY long time. In fact, we rarely eat fast food anymore. I ordered the chipotle chicken snack wrap (grilled chicken), the fruit and walnut salad thingy and a medium root beer. The wrap was DISGUSTING, the fruit and yogurt tasted fine, but the ingredients list was CRAZY! I am not addicted to soda, so it's a rare treat for me, but I really wasn't that impressed. Lately, all I drink is water and tea.  I started feeling woozy by the time we got back in the van to continue on our way. I'm so thankful that by the time we got there I felt better.

     The Oklahoma City Zoo is HUGE! The exhibits are beautiful and there were lots of interesting animals to see. Our absolute favorite was feeding the lorikeets. The new elephant exhibit is AMAZING! The kids also enjoyed the petting zoo. The OKC Zoo puts the Tulsa Zoo to shame. We didn't pay for the tram or train, so I got in a lot of walking yesterday. I could really feel it in my upper thighs. I tried to quickly find an android app to count my steps like a pedometer, but the one I found was terrible. I guess I need to keep my pedometer in my purse so I can actually use it when we are out and about.

    When we returned home we went out to CherryBerry for some frozen yogurt.  I absolutely LOVE CherryBerry! It's our favorite family treat and surprisingly healthy, except that I put a lot of candy toppings on mine. I guess I figured I had already messed up my day with the McDonald's lunch, that I decided I deserved something tasty even if it meant working it off later.

     This morning when I weighed myself, I really expected to have gained some weight, but to my surprise, I actually lost 1.5 lbs. And I was able to wear a pair of pants that I haven't been able to wear in years. Yay!!! I'm thinking that I really need to find a walking buddy and start walking in the mornings. Of course the Zoo is much more fun for walking than just around the block. Too bad we don't live next to the OKC Zoo. I'd go every day!

Here's some of my favorite pics from our trip.... Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A little late... Diet update: Week 7

     I've been quite busy this past week, so this update is a little late.  I'm continuing my weight loss progression very slowly, but hey, at least it's moving in the right direction. I lost another pound since my last update. I actually forgot to take my measurements this past weekend.  I also intended to post a few new recipes, but we actually ended up eating fast food and freezer meals a few times last week. I chose a foot long tuna sandwich from Subway and saved half for the following day for lunch and a salad from Wendy's the next evening. I kind of feel bad, but at least I made the healthiest options. I really wish it wasn't so hard to find good, healthy food everywhere you go. I'm continually amazed at the junk that the FDA passes as food.

     We did a LOT of yard work again.  I planted flowers around the garden beds and Brandon laid patio bricks in the dog run.  I really think we should own stock in Lowe's, we have spent a pretty penny, but it's definitely worth it.  He's already dreaming up more projects to do and so am I. Working in the yard is about all the exercise I have gotten lately. I just can't seem to manage to fit it into my schedule. I think I need a walking/jogging buddy either in the mornings or evenings so that I have someone else to be accountable to.

     We have a lot of things planned this week and if I can figure out how to post blogs from my new android phone, I might actually update more often.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Homemade Chicken Tortilla Soup and Guacamole

     Tonight I made chicken tortilla soup and fresh guacamole for dinner and the whole family enjoyed it, even though my hubby is really in the mood for some steak. He craves red meat like I crave chocolate. What a pair we are. LOL  Anyway, here's the recipes. Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup


1 lb cooked chicken breast, cut or torn into small pieces

1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBS Coconut oil
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 small (6 oz) can tomato paste )
1 (32 oz) carton of Chicken Broth (I used Swanson's 100% Fat Free, No MSG 33% less sodium)
8 oz frozen corn
1 TBS cumin
1 TBS Oregano
Pinch of Mexine's Chili Powder (for a kick)


Combine chopped onion, garlic and coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat and saute, stirring frequently until the onion begins to soften.  Add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken broth, frozen corn and shredded chicken breast, to the pot and stir until thoroughly mixed. Season with cumin, Oregano, and chili powder. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 additional minutes.  Serve with 1 TBS low-fat plain yogurt, sour cream, or shredded cheese and crumbled tortilla chips.



2 avocados
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TBS lemon juice


Cut open avocados and scoop them out, discard the skin and pits. Blend the avocados until smooth using a fork or a mixer. Add minced onions, garlic, and lemon juice to taste.  Serve immediately with low-fat corn tortilla chips.

Diet update: Week 6

     I can't believe it's been 6 weeks already since I started my diet. I've had some cheat days, and days that I've slacked off, days I've gained, and days I've wanted to just quit and eat what everyone else is eating. Even though I haven't lost as much as I'd hoped to, I do feel MUCH MUCH better overall. I finally got below the 160 mark at 159 and holding. I just have 29 more pounds to go, and I'm hoping that I can stay motivated.

     I've had another very busy week fighting allergies, running around with the school kids, planning and planting a garden (there's still so much to do), and entertaining my daughter's best friend for the weekend while her parents spent some quality time together for their 13th Anniversary. I think I managed to work out on the Wii Fit one day this week, but did some crazy lifting, bending, squatting, digging, etc. in the hot sun 3 days this week. So I'd say I got my fair share of exercise.  I'm crazy sore, but I really feel great. How is that possible?

     I have a great menu planned for this week and will share the recipes that get the family approval with all of you as they happen. So keep an eye out.

     And one last thing... I've discovered that coconut oil is actually soothing on a sunburn. I really must find a good sunscreen for my very fair skin.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Organic Gardening 2011

     Last year we started an organic garden.  We had success with a few of our crops and failed miserably with others. Over the past year we have learned much more about growing our own veggies, particularly companion planting.  Apparently certain veggies grow well together, while others don't. Also, certain flowers can be beneficial to specific veggies. We spent the last few days tweaking our garden beds from last year, giving us more growing space, as well as a nice area to walk and get around the beds without getting too muddy. I think Brandon really didn't want to have to mow between the beds anymore either. I love how it turned out.  We have our blueberry and raspberry bushes, grapevine, strawberries, and several herbs left from last year. So far we have planted two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of bell peppers, two kinds of onions, and 3 kinds of potatoes. I still have plenty of space to grow some other veggies and in each of the cinder blocks around the beds, I plan to plant beneficial flowers and herbs to help with pest control. Brandon also left me a nice open area to do something with. I'm thinking a frog pond would be nice or a fountain/birdbath, and definitely a bench to sit and enjoy the garden. I'll post more pictures when we get things finished as well as products we use for organic pest control.  In the meantime... enjoy this picture!