Recipe: Slow-Cooker Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs

Slow-Cooker Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

I’ve tried many meatball recipes over the years, but this one is by far our family favorite.

Recipe: Cheese-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 16 meatballs

  • Cheddar cheese, cut into 16 cubes, approximately ½-inch in size. (My kids like the yellow cheddar, but you can use white cheddar or another type of cheese if you prefer)
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (I usually toast two pieces of bread and then grind them in my Nutribullet)
  • 2 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 28-oz jar spaghetti sauce (Make sure it is only made with real-food ingredients and no added sugar. I like Victoria brand, but use your favorite)
  1. Mix together salt, parsley, egg, garlic powder, black pepper, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and milk.
  2. Add ground beef and mix well.
  3. Roll into 16 meatballs.
  4. Place one piece of cheese inside each meatball and roll until cheese is completely covered.
  5. Add meatballs to the crock pot.
  6. Pour sauce over the meatballs.
  7. Cook on high for 4-5 hours.

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Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

roasted pumpkin seeds ingredients

October in New England means running through corn mazes, picking apples, gathering up fallen leaves & jumping in them, and of course, carving pumpkins.  Pumpkin carving is one of our favorite autumn traditions.  One of the things my daughters love most about carving pumpkins is roasting the seeds afterwards for a tasty autumn treat!

Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious, they are packed with nutrients and provide many health benefits as well:

  • They are a good source of essential minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
  • They are also a great source of Fiber, Protein, and Vitamin E.
  • They help to reduce levels of LDL Cholesterol
  • They help to reduce inflammation
  • and many more…

Here is the recipe we use in our family for roasted pumpkin seeds.  You may experiment with different spices and season to your liking.


  • Seeds from one or more pumpkins
  • Olive oil
  • Salt or other seasonings (to taste)


  1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin.
  2. Rinse seeds and separate from flesh.  Lay seeds in a single layer on a paper towel and pat dry.
  3. Spread seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil over seeds
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt evenly over seeds
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Season as desired.
  8. Enjoy!

Strawberries: 9 Reasons to Pick Your Own

strawberries 9 reasons to pyo

Nothing says summer like fresh strawberries!  Pick-Your-Own Strawberries is just beginning in our area of Massachusetts this week, and we couldn’t be more excited!  Yesterday, my daughters and I just went on our first berry-picking excursion of the season at our favorite local berry farm.  I’m sure it will be the first of many because strawberries don’t stay around for long in our house before my girls devour them!

Here are 9 reasons why we love to pick our own strawberries:

June 22, 2014 051

1.  It’s fun! 

Strawberry picking signals the beginning of summer for me, and it is like a little scavenger hunt finding the perfect strawberries to feed my family.

2.  It costs less.

A quart of strawberries at our local farm stands cost about $6.50, but if you pick your own and bring your own containers, you can get considerably more strawberries for the same price.  You may be able to get them “on sale” at the grocery store for much less, but the quality is nowhere near that of the strawberries you pick for yourself.

3.  They are fresher.

June 29, 2014 007

Can’t get any fresher than picked right off the plant!

4.  They taste better.

Picked at the peak of ripeness, my girls think strawberries taste better than candy! (I LOVE that!) 🙂

5.  Great pictures.

I LOVE taking pictures, and strawberry fields are a wonderful location to get some great shots!

6.  Support local farmers.

Keeping your money in the community and helping other local families is always a good thing!

7.  Healthier – fewer chemicals.

Even if your local farm isn’t “certified” organic, many of them do not spray pesticides directly onto the fruit, especially if they are allowing you to pick your own.  Talk to your farmers to find out their exact procedures, but generally in talking with my local farmers I have found that their practices are much safer than that of commercially grown produce.   Just being able to talk to the farmer is a benefit in itself.  Although strawberries are part of the “dirty dozen” and it is recommended to always buy organic, I would buy local strawberries that are not organic over organic strawberries in the supermarket any day!

8.  It’s better for the environment.

Buying local reduces your carbon footprint.  Make sure to bring your own containers to save money and eliminate the need for packaging.

9.  You get to choose the strawberries you like best! 

There’s nothing worse than paying a premium price for strawberries in the grocery store, only to have to throw away half the container because the strawberries are rotten or not suitable for eating.  Picking your own ensures that you are only paying for the BEST strawberries.

If you’re wondering what to do with all of the delicious strawberries you have picked, be sure to check out my blog post Strawberries: 9 Ways to Eat Them.

10 Tips to Begin Eating Healthier

10 tips to begin eating healthier2

If eating healthier is one of your goals but you don’t know where to begin, I will share some tips that have helped me along in my journey to eating more REAL foods and minimizing the amount of processed foods in my diet.

What IS a REAL Food?

Any food that comes from nature and can be purchased without a label is a REAL food (fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, seeds, etc.)  REAL foods will help to fuel your body with the nutrients it needs.  Ideally, you want to strive to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible.  Foods that have been packaged usually have been processed in some way, so you want to choose REAL foods without packaging whenever possible.  Many REAL foods are also labeled as SUPERFOODS.  I have discovered this excellent resource that lists 50 Superfoods and their benefits.  It also suggests healthy recipes to help you integrate these SUPERFOODS into your everyday diet.  I always find it helpful to focus on the foods I should be eating rather than those I should not be eating, so I highly recommend checking out that list from and printing it for future reference.  Once you know which foods are ideal to eat, here are some tips to help you incorporate those foods and to minimize the amount of highly processed foods in your diet.

1.  Learn to Read Ingredient Labels.  If you’re striving to eat healthier, this is the first step I would recommend.   If you prefer more variety in your diet than just foods without a label, it is very important to learn to read the ingredient labels on your foods.  The nutritional information label can sometimes be helpful, but I think it is much more important to look at the ingredients.  If there is anything on a label that you cannot pronounce or you don’t know what it is or where it comes from, you most likely do not want this food to be a part of your regular diet.  The same thing goes for foods with a long list of ingredients.  When comparing processed foods, you generally want to choose the product with the fewest number of ingredients.  A few ingredients you particularly want to avoid include corn syrups, artificial colors and flavors, and hydrogenated oils.  Also, be weary of any foods that make health claims on their packaging.  For example, I always choose the full fat versions of foods rather than those with the “Fat Free” label.  “Fat Free” foods are often a poor choice because additional ingredients generally need to be added to the product to make the food taste good once the fat is removed.  Here is an excellent video from 100 Days of Real Food to help you learn to read ingredient labels.

2.  Clean out your kitchen/pantry.  If your goal is to eat healthier, it would be a good idea to remove all the unhealthy foods from your home.  Otherwise, you will be tempted each time you open the pantry.  Take everything off your shelves.  Discard anything that is expired.  Donate anything that you don’t plan to use before the expiration date, and donate all highly processed foods (those with a long list of ingredients or a lot of unpronounceable ingredients.)  Oftentimes, we eat food just because it is there.  If a food is not in your house, it will be that much more difficult for you to eat it.  If you get a strong craving for something, you will have to go out of your way to get it.

3.  Don’t buy processed foods.  It all starts in the supermarket.  Don’t buy the junk foods.  Again, if you don’t bring it into your house, you can’t eat it. You may have heard these food shopping tips before, but they are worth repeating:  don’t shop when you are hungry, go prepared with a shopping list and DO NOT stray from the list, and stay on the outer perimeter of the supermarket.  The inside aisles mostly contain the processed foods.  If at all possible, go shopping without the kids.  Mine certainly have a way of getting me to buy unnecessary (and often unhealthy) items that are not on my list.  Also, keep in mind that when you buy a food item, you are voting with your dollar.  Vote to support REAL, healthy foods!

4.  Find Healthy Replacements.  Find healthier replacements for foods you commonly eat.  For example, use REAL butter instead of margarine, use coconut oil instead of canola oil, make your own popcorn instead of buying bagged microwave popcorn, make your own salad dressing instead of the store-bought dressings loaded with high fructose corn syrups, or even start by making your own cookies instead of buying store-bought cookies loaded with trans-fats.

5.  Become accountable.  Find a buddy who is also interested in eating healthier, or join a support group on social media for people who share a common goal with you.  Share recipes and support each other,   For example, the 100 Days of Real Food Mini Pledge Program group on Facebook will help you cut out processed foods in 14 weeks.  Members share recipes and tips, and they encourage and support each other with their struggles throughout the challenge. I am also a member of the October Unprocessed community, which is also wonderful and supportive.  October Unprocessed is a challenge I participated in for the past two years, and the goal is to go through the entire month of October without eating any processed foods.  The challenge was a very inspiring, eye-opening, and educational experience for me.  In fact, that is what inspired me to begin this blog! 🙂  I would encourage everyone to participate in October Unprocessed 2015, but don’t wait until then to begin eating healthy.  You can start taking small steps today!

6.  Track your progress with a blog or journal, or track your nutrition through an app such as MyFitnessPal.  For more ideas on how to track your progress, check out my previous post 5 Tools to Track your health and Fitness Goals.

7.  Get into the habit of making a smoothie for breakfast every day.  A smoothie (or green smoothie if you’re a little more adventurous) is a nutritious way to start the day and to help you get more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and it will keep you full until lunch.  Not sure how?  Here’s one of my favorite recipes.  Adapt it to your liking with your favorite fruits and vegetables.  There are so many different combinations you can try!  Visit Simple Green Smoothies for more smoothie recipes and tips.

My daily smoothie is something I look forward to, and I am so happy I have implemented it into my daily routine and made it a habit.  Give it a try, and you may even find that it is an easy way to get more fruits and vegetables into your kid’s diets!

8.  Don’t completely deprive yourself of the foods you love.  Start slow.  Try to find healthier replacements to satisfy your cravings.  If you love chocolate, maybe you could opt for a handful of Ghirardelli chocolate chips instead of a full candy bar.  Just be careful.  It is still sugar, and sugar is HIGHLY addictive. Once you start eating it, you will want more.

9.  Become educated.  Learn WHAT you are eating and WHERE it is coming from.  There are some excellent books and food documentaries on this topic.  Click the links for my reviews on the food documentaries Food, Inc, What’s on Your Plate?, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and Fed Up.  If you’re interested in learning about the source of your food, some excellent books I have found on this topic include The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.  Animal Vegetable Miracle also contains some wonderful recipes, and it will teach you how to eat seasonally and how to preserve your food so you can eat from your garden or local farm stand year-round.  I have found all of these books and movies to be inspirational, and some of them were even life-changing for me!

10.  Find REAL food recipes.  Visit my Recipe page for my favorite REAL food recipes, or check out the extensive list of REAL food recipes on 100 Days of Real Food.

Please keep in mind that this journey to a lifestyle of eating REAL foods is a process.  Everyone does it at their own pace.  I feel like I’ve learned so much and I’ve come a long way from the way I used to eat, but I have still have SO far to go.  I still eat plenty of junk food (as you might see from some of my favorite recipes on my blog Stacy Loves), but when I do, I try my best to choose the healthiest options and make it myself when I can.  As with everything in life, I believe balance in all areas is the key to optimal health.  Good luck! 🙂

Movie Review: Food, Inc.

Food, Inc.

Food Inc cover

My Rating **** 4 out of 5 stars

Why Did I Watch?

I find food documentaries fascinating.  Since I started becoming more health conscious, I have taken an interest in knowing exactly WHAT it is I am eating and WHERE my food is coming from.  This is a perfect movie to watch if you want to discover the truth about food in America.  I recently saw it available streaming on Netflix, so I decided to watch it again.


Have you ever wondered where supermarket food really comes from?  If so, Food, Inc. is a must see!  The movie takes a close look inside America’s supermarkets, slaughterhouses, chicken houses, and more to reveal the truth about our nation’s food industry.  Here are a few highlights I took away from the movie:

  • The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating…because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.
  • Our food is coming from enormous assembly lines where the animals and the workers are being abused.  And the food has become much more dangerous in ways that are being deliberately hidden from us.
  • The modern American supermarket has on average 47,000 products.  It may seem like a large variety of choices, but in reality, there are only a few companies involved and only a few crops involved.  Michael Pollan followed that food back to its source, and he always ended up in the same place…a cornfield in Iowa.  Most of the processed items in the supermarket can be traced back to corn or soy in one form or another.
  • There are only a handful of companies controlling our food system.  The top 4 beef packers control 80% of the beef market.
  • Processed foods are cheaper than produce, leading consumers to purchase the unhealthy foods.
  • Foods are being engineered to lengthen shelf life.
  • There is an overabundance of corn in the US.  Animals, and even fish, are being fed corn even though it is not their natural diet.
  • Research indicates that feeding cattle a high corn diet results in E.coli that are acid resistant.  These are the more harmful E.coli.
  • Regulatory agencies are being controlled by the very companies they are supposed to be scrutinizing.
  • In the 1970’s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses in the US.  Today, there are only 13 that process the majority of beef that is sold in the US.
  • Meat packing is one of the most dangerous jobs in America.  Many of the workers are illegal immigrants.  The government is arresting the workers, but nothing is happening to the company for hiring them.
  • Processed foods contribute to obesity and health issues.
  • It is against the law to criticize the food industry’s foods.
  • Monsanto created and patented a Genetically Modified soybean seed.  By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the US contained this patented gene.
  • There are virtually no public seeds anymore.  Monsanto sues farmers for saving seeds.

What Did I Think? / My Recommendation

I found this documentary to be extremely eye-opening.  In my opinion, anyone who eats food in America should watch this.  While it did not turn me into a vegetarian, it did steer me away from buying the products of the big name companies mentioned in the movie.  I first watched this movie about 2 years ago, and I have not knowingly purchased one product by those companies since.  Every time we buy an item of food, we are voting.  I have chosen to vote with my dollar, and I encourage others to do the same.

I was surprised to learn that our government is more concerned about protecting the food industry than it is about protecting our health.  That is very concerning to me, and just reinforces to me that we need to be the ones to take the initiative to educate ourselves and pay attention to WHAT we are eating by closely reading ingredient labels.  The best way to know where your food is coming from is to buy local and seasonal whenever possible.  Or better yet, grow your own garden!

Overall, I applaud everyone who had a hand in the making of this movie because the truth about America’s food industry needs to be known.  I am going to do my part by continuing to spread the word and vote with my dollar.  If everyone does the same, we can make a difference!

As an additional note, if you want to go more in depth on any of the topics mentioned in the movie, I would highly recommend reading the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.  The book is not an easy read as it is EXTREMELY thorough, but if you are looking for more details on any of these topics, I feel the book is a perfect companion to the movie.

For more information about the movie, additional reviews, and information about where to find the movie, check it out on IMDb here.

Fun with Food: Healthy Game-Day Snacks

healthy game-day snacks variety

Before I became a mom, I used to be a huge fan of football.  Since my daughters were born, football has slid way down on my priority list, but this past Sunday I finally got excited about it again because both the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots (my two favorite teams) were playing in in the NFC and AFC Championship games.  I was hoping they would both win and play each other in the Superbowl, but that didn’t work out this year.  Maybe next year! 🙂  To prepare for watching the big games, I wanted to create some fun, HEALTHY, football-themed snacks to serve my family.  The image above shows what I came up with, with a little bit (ok, a lot) of inspiration from Pinterest. 🙂

Watermelon Football Helmet

healthy game day snack

My favorite snack item was the Watermelon Football Helmet filled with fresh fruit.  I had a lot of fun making this.  I found a tutorial on You-Tube, and it was super easy to make.  I used a mini watermelon because that is all I could find at the stores since watermelons are not in season right now here in New England.  It turned out to be the perfect size for my family of 5.  If you are preparing this for a large gathering, you may want to use the larger size watermelon if you can find one.  I used a large platter that we use for Thanksgiving to display it, and I arranged fruit around the helmet to improve the appearance.  Since my two favorite teams were playing, I printed out a logo for each one, and I taped one to each side of the helmet.  You can customize it to your liking by printing out and attaching the logo of your favorite team.  The You-Tube Tutorial is below.  If you cannot see it, click here:

Healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip

Healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip

My Healthier Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe is made with all REAL-food ingredients.  I like to serve it with celery, carrots, and organic corn chips.  You can find the recipe on my blog here.

Football Cheese and Cracker Platter

football cheese and cracker platter

This snack is not 100% real food and is probably the least healthy of the 3, but I’m including it because my daughters had a blast assembling the Football Cheese and Cracker Platter shown above.  While browsing Pinterest, I came upon this image which inspired the cheese and cracker platter.  I printed out the picture and gave it to my daughters along with a box of Town House Crackers, a block of yellow Sharp Cheddar Cheese, a block of White Sharp Cheddar Cheese, a knife, and some pepperoni.  They had so much fun making it, and they were so proud of their creation!  That’s really what this is all about…having fun and making memories! 🙂

What are YOUR favorite Healthy Game-Day snacks?  Share them in the comments below! 🙂

Movie Review: Fed Up

I just watched the Food Documentary “Fed Up” last night, and I thought it was REALLY good!

Fed Up Movie Cover

My Rating ***** 5/5 stars

Why Did I Watch This Movie?

I watched this movie because I really enjoy food documentaries.  I find them inspiring, and they motivate me to want to eat healthier.  My friend told me her 7th grade son saw the movie in school, and it really had an impact on him.  So, I decided to check it out at my local library, and I’m glad I did! 🙂


Fed Up is a 2014 food documentary film.  It focuses on the causes of obesity in America.  Evidence is presented to show how sugar and processed foods contribute to obesity.  The main message of the movie is to encourage people to minimize processed foods and sugar, and instead eat REAL FOOD.

Check out the movie trailer now: 

What Did I Think?

I LOVED this movie!  I enjoy watching food documentaries anyway because I feel inspired by them.  I think it is important to know WHAT we are eating and WHERE it is coming from.  It is scary to think that many people have no idea what is in their “foods” and where it comes from.  Many Americans are overweight and malnourished because they are filling up on “foods” that provide no nutrition and really are not foods at all.  This is very dangerous because it contributes to many health issues that could easily be prevented.

I think everyone should watch this movie, including children.  I think is is important to educate as many people as possible to get them to understand that their bodies need REAL food.  We all need to be better educated on the impact processed foods and sugar have on our bodies and overall health.  If we don’t get educated, it could have dangerous consequences.

I think one of the most important steps to eating more REAL foods and cutting out processed foods and sugar is to learn how to read ingredient labels.  There is a wonderful video to teach you how to read ingredient labels on the blog 100 Days of Real Food.   100 Days of Real Food is also a wonderful resource for finding REAL food recipes.

Check out the Fed Up movie official website here to find out more about the movie or to take the FED UP 10 Day Challenge.

REAL Food Recipe: Green Bean Casserole

gb casserole final

In my family, Green Bean Casserole is a must at any holiday meal.  In the past, I have made the “traditional” green bean casserole with the canned soup and processed onions, but in my opinion, this very simple recipe with all real food ingredients is much better!  The onions and peppers caramelize, and it is SO good!  I make it for every holiday and the adults love it!  (My kids don’t like anything that is made with onions, but hopefully that will eventually change.)


gb casserole ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Butter the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  3. Wash green beans, remove ends, and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 inch)
  4. Place 1 cup green beans into the baking dish.
  5. Top with 1 cup onions and 1 cup green peppers.
  6. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cut 1 Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes.  Place one cube in each corner on top of the casserole
  8. Add one cup of green beans, then the remaining onions and the remaining green pepper.
  9. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  10. Cut 1 Tablespoon remaining butter into 4 cubes.  Place cubes over this layer, spaced casserole2
  11. Add the remaining green beans.
  12. Cut remaining Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes.  Place on top of this layer, spaced casserole3
  13. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  14. Bake until green beans are tender (about 1 – 1 1/2 hours).gb casserole time

This is what it will look like when it is finished cooking.  Enjoy!! 🙂

gb casserole cooked

Green Bean Casserole

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

  • 1 pound fresh green beans, cut (about 3 cups)
  • 1 large (or 2 small) onions, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Butter the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
  3. Wash green beans, remove ends, and cut into bite sized pieces (about 1 inch)
  4. Place 1 cup green beans into the baking dish.
  5. Top with 1 cup onions and 1 cup green peppers.
  6. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. Cut 1 Tablespoon butter into 4 cubes. Place one cube in each corner on top of the vegetables.
  8. Add one cup of green beans, then the remaining onions and the remaining green pepper.
  9. Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper.
  10. Cut 1 Tablespoon remaining butter into 4 cubes. Place cubes over this layer, spaced evenly.
  11. Add the remaining green beans.
  12. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  13. Bake until green beans are tender (about 1 - 1½ hours)


Recipe: Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola

As promised in yesterday’s post, here is my recipe for homemade granola.  This post can also be found in my blog, Stacy Loves…

I made granola for the first time last week.  I had never realized before how easy it is to make.  After trying some that my friend had made, I had to have her recipe.  I modified it to my liking and according to the ingredients I had on hand at the time.  That is one of the great things about granola…you can use whichever nuts, seeds, and extras you personally prefer or have on-hand.

Homemade granola can be made at a fraction of the cost of store-bought granola, and it is really easy to make!  It is packed with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and nutrition.  According to this article on WebMD, oats are one of the top ‘Superfoods’ that everyone needs.  Granola is an easy way to get lots of nutrients and superfoods into my kids’ diets.  I love to eat this plain, but it is also delicious mixed in yogurt or eaten as a cereal with milk.

The recipe I use is below, but feel free to modify the ingredients to your own liking.  Just try to keep the measured amounts the same.


  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or nuts/seeds of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup cashews (or nuts/seeds of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (or nuts/seeds of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cups dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)
  • (Optional) Extras:  Shredded coconut, chocolate chips, etc.


  1. Spread oats in an even layer on a baking sheet.  Bake at 325° for 7-10 minutes.
  2. Transfer oats to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Chop nuts/seeds in food processor until chopped but still coarse.
  4. Mix nuts/seeds into mixing bowl with oats.  Set aside.
  5. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  7. Pour mixture into nut/seed/oats mixture and mix until combined.
  8. Add dried fruit.
  9. Bake at 325° for approximately 15 minutes.
  10. Add chocolate chips or other extras (if using).
  11. Let cool and transfer to an airtight container.
  12. ENJOY!!! 🙂

October Unprocessed Update: Days 16-21

I haven’t been updating this as often as I had hoped I would, but I can’t believe we are already 22 days into October Unprocessed!  I feel like I’m doing ok with this challenge.  I don’t feel like I am as into it or as strict with myself as I was last year.  This year doesn’t seem to be as challenging for me because last year everything was new to me.  As I got comfortable reading ingredient labels, I continued to learn more throughout the year and eliminate unhealthy foods from our diet and make it a part of our lifestyle.

The one thing I am struggling with now is finding the motivation to take the time to make these healthy foods just for me (even if it’s just a salad).  If the rest of my family would eat the same things, I feel like I would be more willing to take the time.  I do feel like I am constantly eating the same foods over and over and I am looking for more variety.

Here are the foods I have eaten over the past 6 days:

Day 16:  Thursday, October 16

For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs sprinkled with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.  It tasted like french toast without the bread.  Yum!!  To drink, I had freshly squeezed orange juice from my juicer.

October 20, 2014 004 crop

For a mid-morning snack, I had 2 of the leftover “Healthy cookies” I made on day 14 with applesauce and bananas.

For lunch, I had quinoa with brown rice.  I diced some tomatoes and chopped up some of the chicken from last night’s dinner and added that in with the rice.

October 17, 2014 002 crop

For a snack, I had some pumpkin seeds and then I made some popcorn with butter and cinnamon.

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For dinner, I had the leftover quinoa/brown rice and I added a little grass-fed ground beef to it.  On the side, I had a salad and some cucumbers and unsweetened applesauce.

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For a snack after dinner, I made some little mini apple crisps with my daughters and I had one of those.  They weren’t a huge fan of the topping, so we probably won’t be making them again.

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Thursday night, I went to a Locavore meeting (people who strive to eat local-grown food as much as possible), and there I had some Polenta with Kale & Beans.  Something I had never had before, but it was delicious!  There I also had a small slice of Apple Walnut Spice Cake made with all local and organic ingredients.

Day 17:  Friday, October 17

For breakfast, I had a slice of Boar’s Head Ovengold turkey (while I was making my daughter’s lunch), I had one of the leftover mini apple crisps we made last night, a hard-boiled egg, and freshly made apple juice from 2 Empire apples.

I snacked on a few chocolate chips and cashews mid-morning.

For lunch, I finished off the quinoa, brown rice, and ground beef.

I made Peanut Butter Cookies for an after-school snack for my kids, and I had one of those.  This time, I used maple syrup instead of honey, and we liked them even better!  I did not use chocolate chips.October 17, 2014 031 crop2

For dinner, I had a salad with leftover chopped chicken and diced tomatoes from the garden.

October 17, 2014 046 crop

I made homemade pizza for my family with homemade dough, homemade tomato sauce, and freshly grated mozzarella cheese, and I had a slice of that as well.

I went to a gathering Friday night and had a few tortilla chips and salsa.

Day 18: Saturday, October 18

I started my day with an apple, a peanut butter cookie that I had made yesterday, a slice of the pizza I made last night, a few chocolate chips, and a Pineapple-Orange-Banana Green Smoothie (which was DELICIOUS…even the kids loved it!!)

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Saturday afternoon, my daughters went to a 4-H baking club meeting where they each made cookie pizzas loaded with frosting.  While helping them, I must admit I scraped a little too much of the remaining frosting from the bowl and ate it.  I also had more of this super-sweet dessert than I should have.  I wasn’t feeling well after I ate it. 🙁

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For dinner, I had an apple and a salad with cashews and chocolate chips.

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Day 19:  Sunday, October 19

For breakfast, I had another piece of that cookie pizza (not a very healthy start to the day).  Then I had scrambled eggs with honey and cinnamon again.

For lunch, I had a salad and an apple.

For dinner, I took my oldest daughter on a date to Panera Bread.  I got a Greek Salad there.  Normally, I would have chosen the Broccoli Cheese soup with a sandwich, but I have to admit, the salad was delicious and I’m glad I chose that.  I’m not sure how unprocessed the dressing was, but I’m not going to worry about it.

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Day 20:  Monday, October 20

I began the day with another Pineapple-Orange-Banana Smoothie, a hard-boiled egg, and a peanut butter cookie that was left over.

For lunch, I had a salad.

For dinner, I made a roasted chicken and I had a salad to go along with it.  My husband made pasta to go with it, so I had a few of those noodles as well.

Day 21:  Tuesday, October 21

I started the day with a slice of turkey, a hard-boiled egg, and fresh apple juice.

I snacked on some chocolate chips and another slice of turkey.

When my daughters got home from school, we snacked on apples, grapes, and bananas dipped in Baker’s Chocolate.

For dinner, I made Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup with carrots, celery, onions, chicken and broth left over from the roasted chicken last night, parsley, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and the leftover noodles from last night as well.

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All in all, I am feeling great and the challenge has gone by fast so far…I can’t believe I am already 22 days into it!  Stay tuned to see how the next 10 days go! 🙂