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October Unprocessed 2016: 31 Days of Real Food – The Results


The Results

This year was my 4th attempt at this October Unprocessed “real food” challenge.  I certainly did not stick to this challenge 100% of the time, but I feel like I did better than my previous 3 attempts at the challenge and I learned more than ever this time around!  I also participated in a few Clean Eating challenges throughout the month, so that helped me to stay on track.  My weight did not change at all as a result of this challenge, but I didn’t expect it to and that wasn’t one of my goals, so that is completely fine with me.

I did find myself feeling exhausted a few weeks into the challenge because I was having to make 2 completely different meals much of the time – one for me and my husband, and then something completely different for the kids.   The last few weeks of the challenge, I just decided to compromise and make something I knew the kids would eat, and then I would make a healthier version for me to eat (for example, when the kids had tacos in taco shells, I just had the taco meat over rice.)  I let go of my need to have everything 100% unprocessed for simplicity (for example, the first time I made our favorite meatball recipe this month, I modified it to use oats instead of breadcrumbs.  As a result, the kids didn’t like it.  I didn’t feel it was worth the effort to make it 100% unprocessed and have the kids not eat it, so the next time I made it, I used the usual breadcrumbs, and I ate it.)

This year, my husband decided to join me in the beginning of the challenge, and that made it so much easier because he wasn’t bringing unhealthy foods into the house.  I think the first step to clean eating begins in the grocery store.  If you don’t buy it and you don’t bring it into the house, then you’re not going to eat it.  If you can get other family members on board, then that is a huge help, but I am not a believer in forcing anyone to take the challenge with me, especially the kids.  I believe they will learn by example and be more open to trying new foods the more they see me eating them.

This year, I’m in no rush to go back to eating junk food.  I actually WANT to continue on with the challenge and continue to find some new, healthy recipes.  Right now, I don’t even crave the Halloween candy that has filled my kitchen, and that is a big deal for me and my sweet tooth.

What Did I Learn?

I found some AMAZING new recipes this month, and I’m so excited to add them into our meal rotation and share those recipes in this post!   Continue reading

Recipe: Chocolate Banana Smoothie

I am in the middle of taking the October Unprocessed Challenge (a challenge to eat only REAL foods for the entire month of October.)  I have been drinking lots of smoothies this month, and I have discovered a new one that I love!  This  smoothie tastes great, and it’s made with ingredients I usually always have on hand.  So, when I have plans to make a different smoothie and discover that I’m out of yogurt or berries, this is usually what I’ve been going to.  It tastes a lot like chocolate milk to me, only without the added white sugar!

Chocolate Banana Smoothie

Prep time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 16 ounces

  • 8 ounces Milk, any type (Cow's milk, Almond, Soy, Coconut...use what you prefer)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey, preferably raw and local
  • 2 Bananas, ripened and frozen
  • 1 Tablespoon Cocoa Powder
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy! 🙂


October Unprocessed Challenge 2016: 8 Days of REAL Food


We are almost halfway through the October Unprocessed Challenge (eating only REAL food for the entire month of October)!  This is my 4th year taking the challenge, and I am still learning so much every day!

My greatest accomplishment so far this year was finding a recipe for taco seasoning that my whole family loves!!  Taco Tuesday is so much better now, and I feel great knowing exactly what is in the seasoning!  If I get nothing else out of this challenge, I will be happy about my new taco night discovery! 🙂

This year has seemed the easiest so far of all the years I’ve attempted the challenge (last year I only lasted a few days, and then I gave up!).  This blog is what is keeping me accountable this year, and knowing that I’m going to post everything I eat is one of the main reasons I haven’t given up.  Although it seems easier than previous years, this challenge is still a LOT of work and takes a lot of planning and prep, since I often have to make 2 meals for dinner since my kids will not eat some of these new foods (although I do make them try everything.)

Below is a list of EVERYTHING I have eaten for the first 8 days, along with links to many of the recipes.  It’s not 100% unprocessed (chocolate chips are my weakness), but I am happy with my progress so far.  I am surprised that I have not really had any cravings for sweets, and I have not felt hungry at all.

For more real-food recipe ideas each day, check out the Journey To Complete Wellness Facebook page.

If you have any favorite real-food recipes, please feel free to share them in the comments on this post or on the Journey to Complete Wellness Facebook page!  I’ll take all the help I can get! 🙂

October Unprocessed 2016

Saturday, October 1

Breakfast: Omelet with Peppers, Onions, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes


Snack:  Grapes ,cashews, raisins
Lunch: Salad (Romaine, tomatoes, cucumbers, raisins) w/balsamic


Dinner: Honey Balsamic Sheet Pan Chicken

This is delicious!  I will be making this again (maybe a few more times this month)! 🙂



Sunday, October 2

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

I love these, and my 12-year old daughter does, too!


Snack:  Celery Stick, Raisins, Grapes, Cashews
Lunch: Leftovers from Dinner and  Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

The soup is so tasty!  My 13-year-old daughter loves it as well!

Dinner:  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

This was good, but my family was not crazy about it.  I had a lot of leftovers that I froze in individual portions to use later in the month.


Monday, October 3

Breakfast:  Chocolate Avocado Smoothie


Snack: Plain Greek Yogurt w/1 T honey & 1T chocolate chips, Popcorn
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner: Mozzarella-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs

This is a favorite in our house!


Tuesday, October 4

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes/Kiwi/Slice of Boar’s Head Deli Turkey
Snack: Fuji Apple, 5.3oz Greek Yogurt, ½ T Honey & 1T chocolate chips
Lunch: Leftover Chili
Dinner:  Taco Meat w/Jasmine Rice, Lettuce, Tomato. Taco Seasoning



Wednesday, October 5

Breakfast: Leftover Banana Pancakes with Grapes
Snack:  Grapes, Chocolate Chips
Lunch: Raspberry Peanut Butter Green Smoothie (I used grape juice)
Dinner:  Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup (w/brown rice noodles)


Thursday, October 6

Breakfast: Scrambled Egg w/Diced Tomatoes;grapes
Snack:  Peanut Butter Cookies, cashews


Lunch: Leftover Chicken Soup
Dinner:  Pate Chinois


Friday, October 7

Breakfast: Leftover banana pancake, PB cookie
Snack: Yogurt w/honey & cc; apple; cucumbers,celery,dip,chips,salsa
Lunch: Leftover Tomato Soup
Dinner: Leftover Pate Chinois


Saturday, October 8

Breakfast: Leftover chicken soup
Snack: Kettle corn; Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Lunch: Strawberry/banana/yogurt/milk smoothie
Dinner: Baked Haddock,rice pilaf, and Roasted Broccoli




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 skinnyms.com 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! 🙂

October Unprocessed: Days 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15

We are just about at the halfway point of October Unprocessed!  I am feeling great, but I am just looking for more of a variety of foods to eat.  I feel like I have been eating the same things over and over again.  To get more variety, it is definitely a lot of work and a lot of planning.  Here are the foods I have eaten over the past 5 days.

Day 11 – Saturday, October 11

For breakfast, I snacked on some celery and some of the pumpkin dip I made yesterday.  I also had some trail mix and a few graham crackers.  I had a slice of Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey.

For lunch, I had some scrambled eggs and an apple.

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For dinner, I had chicken tenders (in a sauce of soy sauce, rosemary, and mustard) celery, and kefir.

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Day 12 – Sunday, October 12

For breakfast, I made a strawberry banana shake.  I blended together 1 frozen banana, 1/4 cup Stonyfield Vanilla Yogurt, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1 Tablespoon honey, and 3 frozen strawberries (that was all that was left in the bag).  It was good, but a little too sweet.  Next time I would either leave out the orange juice or the honey.

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I also had a few pieces of the chicken tenders I made last night.

For the rest of the day, we were at a family gathering.  I decided that I was not going to deprive myself of the traditional family recipes at this gathering, so I allowed myself to cheat a little bit.

For lunch, I had a bowl of my uncle’s Chicken Rice soup.  A family gathering just would not be complete without this soup.  It is certainly a family favorite!  Throughout the day, I also snacked on some of my relative’s homemade fudge, apple pie, and my own “dirt pudding.”  I did pass on the Twizzlers, though. 🙂

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For dinner, we had spaghetti and meatballs and salad.  My aunt makes THE BEST spaghetti sauce! 🙂  I even allowed myself a few slices of bread to go along with it.

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Day 13 – Monday, October 13

For breakfast, I had more of the leftover chicken tenders I had made the other night.  I also had some kefir.  I made pancakes for my daughters, and decided to try mixing pumpkin puree into one of them.  None of my daughters liked it and I didn’t want to throw it away, so I ate it.

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I snacked on a few apples throughout the day.  I was out with my family most of the day, and I didn’t eat anything until I got home around 4:00 in the afternoon.  Then I had the rest of the chicken tenders and some scrambled eggs.

Day 14 – Tuesday, October 14

I started the day with a Raspberry Peanut Butter Green Smoothie.  This is one of my favorite smoothie recipes.  It was delicious!  I also had a slice of turkey, a few chocolate chips, and 1/2 a banana.

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For lunch, I made my girls grilled cheese sandwiches.  I ate the leftover crusts.

I made some “Healthy Cookies” containing 1 1/2 mashed bananas, 2 1/2 Tablespoons applesauce, 1 cup oats, 2 Tablespoons milk, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.  I mixed it all together, scooped out by the tablespoon onto a cookie sheet, and cooked for 15 minutes at 350.  I think they may have been ready before 15 minutes, so next time I will check at 12 minutes.

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I thought they tasted really good!  I was happy to discover the recipe on Facebook.  My girls, however, did not enjoy the texture of the cookies.

For dinner, I had a little bit of tuna and some scrambled eggs.

Day 15 – Wednesday, October 15

I started the day with a spoonful of honey (raw, local honey from our own bees in our backyard…it’s nice to have a husband who is a beekeeper) because I woke up with a little bit of a scratchy throat.  The honey seemed to do the trick, because I was fine the rest of the day.

I had a few more of the “Healthy Cookies” that I made yesterday.

I made a Banana Cashew Green Smoothie for breakfast.  The first few times I made it, I really liked it, but this time I didn’t enjoy it as much.  I did use regular milk and vanilla instead of coconut milk this time since that is all I had on hand.

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I snacked on an apple.

Around 11:00, I was out at the grocery store, and I was starving.  I bought some granola bars for school snacks for my girls, and I opened one of them up and ate it.  Oops 🙂

When I got home, I had some celery with cream cheese and raisins, some cucumbers, and a hard boiled egg.

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I made some chicken cutlets with salt, pepper, and butter, and I had a few pieces of that.

For dinner, I made tacos for my family and I had that along with them, although the meat I used did not have any taco sauce.  The shell was probably not unprocessed, but I’m going to let that go for now.

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Looking ahead to the next 16 days, I’m hoping to find the motivation and the time to try out some new recipes, spend a little more time planning the menu, and hopefully put more variety into my diet.  I’m hoping to discover many delicious new foods and recipes!

October Unprocessed: Days 8, 9, and 10

I was feeling a little bit tired earlier in the week, but I seem to have gained my energy back over the past few days! 🙂

Day 8:  Wednesday, October 8

For breakfast, I had some of of the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie I had made yesterday.

For lunch, I had leftover ground beef/onions and some of the roasted squash I made for dinner yesterday.  To drink, I finished off the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.

For a mid-afternoon snack, I had an apple.  My daughters had ice cream when they got home from school, and normally I would have some with them, but I am not even craving ice cream anymore.  I was perfectly happy with an apple!

For dinner, I was out with my daughter and got her Broccoli and Cheddar soup from Panera Bread.  She couldn’t finish it all, and I couldn’t let it go to waste, so I did have her leftovers.  I also finally finished off the ground beef and squash.

For a snack later, I had a little bit of trail mix containing raisins, dates, cranberries, walnuts, dried apples, and coconut.

Day 9:  Thursday, October 9

For breakfast, I had some scrambled eggs and an orange.

For a mid-morning snack, I made a smoothie with the ingredients I had on hand.  It didn’t turn out to be one of my favorites, so I most likely won’t be making this again.  I juiced 1 empire apple (about 1/3 c.) and added 2/3 cup water and a handful of organic baby spinach.  I blended that until smooth, and then added 1 Tablespoon Peanut butter, 1/2 cup frozen raspberries, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1 banana, and 3 ice cubes.  I think the reason I didn’t like this much is because it wasn’t cold enough.  I usually use frozen banana, but I had run out and needed to use a fresh banana instead.  In my opinion, the colder the better when it comes to green smoothies.  The warmer the drink gets, the more you can taste the greens.

I snacked on some trail mix, a roll of turkey, more smoothie, and I also made some peanut butter balls using dates, oats, chocolate chips, and flax seeds.

For dinner, I had a salad with Grapeseed oil and a sprinkle of Mrs. Dash spice blend without salt.  I made Baked Ziti for the rest of my family, and I did have a little bit of that as well.

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Day 10:  Friday, October 10

For breakfast, I had a roll of turkey when I was making my daughter’s lunch.  I also had a few of the peanut butter balls I made yesterday, and I made some fresh apple juice using 2 empire apples, cinnamon, and a few drops of lemon juice.

For lunch, I had eggs and cheese, apple slices and broccoli.

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After lunch, I chopped up a head of broccoli and roasted it for a snack, and I ate the ENTIRE thing in one sitting.  That I have never done before.  It was really good!  You can find the recipe here.

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I made this Pumpkin Dip from 100 Days of Real Food and served it to my family with celery, apple slices, and graham crackers.  I took the dip to a gathering tonight, and everyone loved it!  At the gathering, I also had some salsa, chips, and celery.

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Overall, I am feeling great and am full of energy, although I do feel a cold coming on.  I have no cravings, and I feel like I don’t need to eat much to feel full.  REAL food is full of nutrients and it fills me up quickly.  Over the weekend, I’m planning to go to a family gathering that will contain many family favorite recipes, many of which are not unprocessed.  I will do my best to eat as healthy as possible, but I will allow myself to cheat a little bit and indulge on some of those family favorites.  Have a Happy Columbus Day Weekend!

October Unprocessed: Days 4, 5, 6 & 7

Day 4:  Saturday, October 4

For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs with roasted broccoli, zucchini & onions that were left over from dinner the other night.

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I had an apple, a peanut butter cookie, and some trail mix of cashews and chocolate chips as snacks throughout the morning.

For lunch, I had a green smoothie containing water, Kefir, spinach, frozen bluberries, and frozen bananas.

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For dinner, I finally finished off the potato salad I had made the other day.  Unprocessed foods go a long way in our house, since I’m the only one who will eat the leftovers.  Next time I will make a smaller batch.

For a snack, I made some energy bites containing 1/2 cup oats, 1/3 cup coconut flakes, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed, 1/4 cup chocolate chips, 2 1/2 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Day 5:  Sunday, October 5

For breakfast, I made Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with pure maple syrup.

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I also had 1/2 a banana and a few chocolate chips.

I had a few of the energy bites I made last night for a mid-morning snack.

For lunch, I had a salad made with lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar cheese, cashews, chopped apples, chopped pears, and a few chocolate chips.

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I also had some of my daughter’s leftover scrambled eggs and another energy bite.

For dinner, I made turkey tenderloin roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper.  I chopped it and put in in a salad with lettuce and cucumbers, and I sprinkled it with lemon juice as the dressing.

Day 6:  Monday, October 6

For breakfast, I made banana oatmeal pancakes again for my daughter.  I had her leftovers along with an apple and some cashews.

For lunch, I browned some grass-fed ground beef with some onions and I also roasted some potatoes in olive oil, salt, and pepper.

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For a mid-day snack, I roasted some of the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkins my daughters carved on Sunday.

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I also made a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (my 7-year-old’s favorite drink!) and I had about 8 oz of that.

I snacked on a few grapes as well.

At dinnertime, I cheated a little.  I made homemade pizza for the kids.  While I was planning to just have a salad, I couldn’t resist the pizza, so I did have a slice.  I used the pizza crust I made, freshly shredded mozzarella, homemade tomato sauce, and I topped it with the ground beef/onion mixture I made at lunch.

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Day 7:  Tuesday, October 7

For breakfast, I had the rest of the pumpkin pie smoothie that was left over from yesterday.

My 10-year-old didn’t touch the toast I made her (that she asked for), so I ended up eating that, too.  I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away.

I had a few grapes for a snack.

For lunch, I had more of the ground beef that I made yesterday and the rest of the roasted potatoes.

For a snack, I had some trail mix containing raisins, cranberries, dates, and walnuts.  When the girls got home, I finished off their grapes from their lunches and I also had the rest of my daughter’s leftover pizza from last night.

For dinner, I made baked haddock, roasted butternut squash, and a salad.  The haddock did have Ritz crackers on top (which I shouldn’t be eating), but that’s the only way the rest of my family will eat fish, so I have to compromise.

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So, I’ve cheated a little every day on some of the small things, but overall I’m feeling pretty good about my progress.  My counter is overflowing with apples and other produce, so I’m going to be looking for some recipes in the next few days to use them up! 🙂

Recipe: Unprocessed Pumpkin Dip

With less than two weeks left until Thanksgiving, the pressure is on to find some terrific new recipes that are both healthy and delicious to serve to my guests.  Today I feel like I hit the jackpot!

I discovered and tried this amazing recipe for “Pumpkin Fluff Dessert Dip” on 100 Days of Real Food.  My entire family loved it, including my picky 9-year-old who won’t even look at anything orange!  All ingredients are real food ingredients, which gives me even more reason to love it!  This recipe certainly makes the cut on my Thanksgiving menu!

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  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix (found in the spice aisle)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • Optional garnish: A few extra sprinkles of pumpkin pie spice (or just plain cinnamon)
  • Optional dippers: Sliced apples and whole-wheat graham crackers
  1. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with a whisk (or use a large mixing bowl and electric beaters), combine the heavy cream, cream cheese, syrup, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Turn the mixer to low and blend until the cream cheese is broken up and no longer in big clumps. Turn the speed up to high and blend until the mixture thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Turn the speed back down to low and carefully blend in the pumpkin puree. Scrape the bowl with a spatula if necessary.
  3. Serve with sliced apples and whole-wheat graham crackers. Store leftover dip in the fridge.