What’s left to eat? (Pt. 2)

After reviewing yesterday’s post (and all the lists, notes, and articles I’ve been using to figure this thing out), I realized I had a compulsive need to organize and consolidate all of the information I’ve immersed myself in over the last week. It might have something to do with reducing the overwhelm of trying to figure out how to move forward with meal planning and shopping. It might be a deeper need to have SOMETHING organized in my life. Whatever the reason, I spent five hours, at the Resident Services Community Center for the housing project I live at using one of their PCs.


Initialy, I attempted to use the files I’d previously created with the Open Office apps and saved to my Google Drive. However, when I got to the center and opened up the files from the browser, none of the edits I made seemed to stick, despite the “autosaved successfully” messages. I was incredibly irritated. Thankfully, my previous life as an office drone served me well. I opened up EXCEL 2010 and got to work. I now have fully formatted and organized documents for my Comprehensive, Modified, Seasonal Whole30 plan! One is a spreadsheet that I can update and modify as things change and the other is a .pdf, which I’m willing to share with those who are interested. Here are sample images:

See? Isn’t it pretty?

If you want to access the actual document, follow this link: Comprehensive Modified Seasonal Whole30

You’re welcome.

Now, I go grocery shopping.

When a Simple Recipe goes wrong

A short time ago, I posted a Simple Recipe of a Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie.

I thought it was great, but just a bit too sweet and too low in protein. In more than one reply to comments I indicated that I would use Greek Yogurt instead.

On my most recent grocery shopping endeavor, I decided to do just that. I picked up a 32 oz container of the less expensive store brand of Greek Style Yogurt, plain and non-fat. It had a whopping 23 grams of protein on the label.

Based on previous label reading, I trusted that the milk listed is . . . well, milk. Then I read this:


Umm, excuse me? Redefine milk to include non-nutritive sweeteners such as Aspertame and Sucralose so that they do not have to be labelled in an effort to fight childhood obesity, because kids would refuse to drink less sugary versions of milk? Wow.

Then my inner skeptic, otherwise known as critical thinking and common sense kicked in.

Is this true? Is there documentation provided? Let’s read the article and find out:


Several links are provided in the article. Let’s see where this one goes, shall we?


Well now!



On top of everything else, now I need to start wondering whether the things I trust to give Luna healthy nutrition and help me achieve health goals are actually healthy at all. Nice.

I guess it proves the adage to ” trust, but verify.”

Go read for yourself, do your research, then let the FDA know that the only definition of milk should be the kind of animal it came from and the word milk and that only a single ingredient is the complete and exact aspect of the definition. Any and all additives and processes utilized to “process and manufacture” FDA Approved milk and milk-based products should be clearly labelled.

Back to the smoothie:

I modified the ingredient list, some intentional – some not. Also, it’s important to note that I actually had allowed my body to go so hungry and thirsty that by the time I actually decided to do the smoothie, I was in severe distress. Thankfully, LaLa and one of the many positive, compassionate, and enlightened people I’ve encountered recently, were here and they took over. I had all the ingredients out on the counter, ready to go when I nearly collapsed. LaLa asked what to do.

1 cup of everything on the counter into the pitcher and blend.

• Fresh blueberries
• Frozen Mixed Fruit, Dole, Strawberries/Pineapple/Mango/Peach
• Greek yogurt, plain
• Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Soy Protein Tea

I had forgotten to purchase bananas and I opted to leave out the Ovaltine. Actually, keeping it real here folks, I forgot about the Ovaltine as well. However, that was actually a good thing.

Ovaltine gave the other smoothie good nutrition and flavor, however the texture of the leftover, refrigerated smoothie was unpleasant for me and LaLa’s feedback was that it was kind of chalky.

So how was the final product? Sorry, no pics. It was significantly less sweet, utilizing plain yogurt. Leaving out the Ovaltine and the banana probably factored into reducing the sweetness. As a matter of fact, the primary flavor was the yogurt. It overpowered the fruit flavors a little bit. Initially, it had a drinkable, pourable texture.

Unfortunately, that was likely due to the type of yogurt I purchased. It quickly reverted to a gel-like state, becoming somewhat solidified. I’m afraid that could mean I missed identifying additives to the yogurt in assuming all brands are equal and opting for the lower cost store brand.

More tweaking to be done. Definitely remember the banana, add some raw honey possibly, decrease yogurt by half a cup and increase liquid base by half a cup, and return to frozen berries.

It’s a learning process.

Reblog: Crockpot Italian Chicken

I realized that Sundays have turned into simple recipe days around here. However, the combination of not having my computer and that I’ve been dealing with pretty severe lower back pain and sciatica, I didn’t think ahead enough to take notes and pics for the one new dish I prepared last week. So, in keeping with my plan to reblog and highlight others, I turned to my blogging pal, Pam, from Pa-Blam.

Each Monday she posts a Menu Plan for the week and includes links to her recipe blog, Omnomalicious. I looked up last Monday’s menu and saw this crockpot recipe and knew it was the one for today. I’m looking forward to trying it for myself.



I came across this recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything on Pinterest the other day.  It sounded super easy and super delicious.  So, I knew I had to try it, and it did not disappoint.

I added some peas because I’m always trying to figure out how to add vegetables to things.  My daughter won’t eat plain vegetables, but she’ll gobble them up if they’re incorporated into a recipe.

She says you can serve this over pasta or rice.  I chose to use some Wacky Mac.  It’s fun and made from vegetables.  So, it’s a win-win in my book.

Crock Pot Italian Chicken from Om Nomalicious

Crock Pot Italian Chicken

1 lb Boneless Chicken Breast
8oz Fat Free Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Cans Cream of Chicken Soup (I used Cream Of Anything Soup.)
1 Packet Dry Italian Dressing Mix
2 Cups Frozen Peas

Put the chicken in the crock pot and season with Italian seasoning.

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Simple Recipe: Baked Chicken and Rice

About 18 – 20 years ago, when I was a young, single mom without a clue as to how to actually do more in the kitchen than read directions on a box, I had the opportunity to have someone visit my home on a weekly basis to show me how to cook and help me learn to do it on a budget. I still have a binder with many of the recipe handout sheets, which I found again last week during an initial de-cluttering purge. Of course I kept the binder, however, until the purging and reorganizing is complete, it is buried with my few remaining books in a stack of crates.

Beginning the purge process was something I haven’t been able to face on my own, for a lot of reasons – many of them physical and logistical. However, when I thought we might be preparing to move, I decided I needed to do a serious purging and contacted a group of local and distant friends in my online community for prayer, encouragement and practical assistance. One lady specifically volunteered to come over and help me clear the clutter and get organized.

It took a couple of weeks for our lives and schedules to connect, but we finally got together for our first face-to-face meeting. The synergy between us was incredible and energizing to me. She’s got some very exciting opportunities coming up where I can use my passions strengths and skills to work with another singer who is going to be launching her music ministry career. I love this idea of exchange of services.

As we were working through the various crates and boxes, consisting mostly of books and papers, there were a large number of Christian living and education kinds of books. There were also a few non-Christian spiritual self-help and exploration books. Probably half to two-thirds of them were books I’d gotten with the intention of becoming a better Christian and more spiritually connected person. Many of those were process or practice oriented and included workbook or response sections. If I had ever begun them, I had seldom, if ever actually made it all the way through.

As I was deciding what to keep and what to let go of, one of the themes was me wondering if I should go back and make the effort to go through some of these books as part of my current healing and recovery journey. At one point she looked at the book in question, then looked back at me and said something along the lines of, “I don’t know how to say this, but it seems like this is about figuring out where to start and …”

“And I’m beyond that point now?”


I think I’ve spent a lot of the last 27 years believing I didn’t know where to start on improving, fixing, growing and healing in my life: as a mom, a friend, a contributing member of society, a Christian, a spouse, and any other role I’ve played. This is partly because I am one of those people who focus on how much further I need to go and how much more needs to get done instead of recognizing, acknowledging, accepting and celebrating how far I’ve come.

I have come a long way, baby.

I cooked this chicken and rice dish without a recipe or a plan. I looked in the freezer thinking I had a bag of skinless, boneless chicken breasts. It turns out they were skin-on thighs. The cupboard held a bag of long grain brown rice and a container of organic chicken broth, as well as various spices, Italian spice infused olive oil, and olive-oil based non-stick spray.


1 C Brown Rice
2 C Chicken Broth
2 Frozen Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 – 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasonings: Italian herb blend, garlic powder, onion powder.

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F
2. Spray glass casserole baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
3. Spread rice evenly on the bottom of the dish
4. Season with Italian seasoning, seasoning salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper.
5. Add two cups organic chicken broth
6. Place frozen chicken on top if rice mixture
7. Drizzle with olive oil
8. Add herbs and seasonings to taste (rosemary, thyme, poultry seasonings, etc.)
9. Cover with foil
10. Place in oven
11. Bake for two hours
11b. If skin on, remove foil and bake uncovered for additional 15 min
12. Serve with steamed veggies



Simple Recipe: Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Salad

In an effort to give myself incentive to get both Luna and I up, dressed, and interacting with people on the weekends, when we actually made it to a church service during Keith’s home time a few weeks ago, I signed up to bring fruit, hot chocolate packets, green tea bags, and honey to the potluck today. Somehow I managed to miss the reason for the potluck being the Annual Business Meeting.

I have been really struggling with insomnia, evening fatigue, stiffness, and pain. So, reasonable and appropriate bedtime routines and sleep times (by society’s expectations and standards) do not happen for Miss Luna and me. Therefore, being up and out the door to attend 9:00 am service across the street is more often a miss than a hit. I figured if I signed up to contribute something, I would make extra effort to ensure we would be there, regardless of whatever else was going on.

One of the ladies from the church and I actually discussed it and she agreed to take me to the store, yesterday, so I would have extra motivation to follow through. She called to confirm a few days ago and we set the time. We were low on food and the kitchen needed to be cleaned in order to actually cook anything, but it was a high fatigue day yesterday and I managed to neglect Luna’s and my nutritional needs because I thought we were going to get to go to the store about two hours earlier than we actually did, because the lovely lady who gave us a ride to the store had to work later than I remember her telling me she did. Consequently, Luna was irritable and crabby, while I was developing a hunger migraine and hypoglycemic shakiness. Note to self: Establish a regular feeding schedule for both our sakes.

We wound up at Fred Meyer. It has recently been remodeled and was very bright and beautiful inside, looking fresh, open, and inviting. I truly enjoy the fact they have Playland, on-site, free, childcare so parents can shop while kids get to play and socialize. Win/Win. Luna loves it too and was excited to be there. Our first stop though, was the deli where I got her some popcorn chicken and myself a piece of Hawaiian chicken with a little bit of rice, so I wasn’t shopping on an empty stomach with a headache and so Luna would be less likely to be anti-social with any other children who may be present.

Then it was time to do the shopping. Fruit for the potluck. I had it in my head that I would maybe spend $10 for a pre-cut fruit tray. Um, yeah, THAT didn’t happen. Apparently, in order to finance the remodel the pre-cut fruit trays and mixed fruit bowls now range from almost $12 – nearly $20 and they aren’t monitored and changed out enough to ensure the cut fruit actually stays fresh. *sigh*

So, produce shopping it was: Bananas, Blueberries, Raspberries, Red Seedless Grapes and Strawberries. I wound up with more fruit than I planned and probably spent close to $20 – $25 on the fruit itself. However, I figured there would be plenty left over for Luna to feast on during this next week. I decided I would combine the fruit into a salad instead of doing a fruit tray. I still had some of the easy peel Clementine Oranges and the Yoplait Simplait Strawberry yogurt at home. I think I spent about 20 minutes this morning slicing strawberries and bananas, rinsing and draining blueberries and grapes, and peeling and separating orange segments. Then I stirred it all together with a 6 oz container of the yogurt.


3/4 c. Fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained

2 c. Fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, and sliced

1 c. Red seedless grapes, rinsed and drained

2 Medium Bananas, sliced

1/2 c. Fresh raspberries, rinsed and drained

3 Clementine oranges, peeled and segmented

1 6 oz container Strawberry yogurt

Directions: Combine all fruit into large bowl, stir in yogurt until all fruit is evenly coated


Since the meeting happened before the potluck and Luna is as inquisitive, creative, verbal, and social as my other two were when they were little, having her and her other little friends play “quietly” during the meeting was unsuccessful and I wound up bringing her home before we could eat with the rest of the church community. I had plenty of fruit leftover, so I made another salad, minus the strawberries and we ate that. Rather, I ate it. Luna likes yogurt and the fruit, but prefers to eat them separately instead of mixed together. She’s such a picky eater.