Tag Archive | Real Food

October Unprocessed 2016


October Unprocessed starts tomorrow!

When I first decided to take the October Unprocessed Challenge 4 years ago, I had no idea what would come of it. I love a challenge (especially if it’s free), so I wanted to try it to see if I could do it (eating only REAL foods for an entire month.) I was also hoping to discover some new foods and recipes along the way so I could add more variety into our diets.  I did those things, but as I look back now, I can see that this challenge had so much more of an impact on my life than I realized at the time… it was actually life-changing for me.

Among other things, I learned that the body, mind, and spirit is much more closely connected than we may realize.  When we decide to honor and respect our bodies by fueling them with the foods nature intended for them, doors automatically open up to help us improve in the other areas of life as well.  It all comes back to self-love!

The first October Unprocessed challenge I took was a catalyst for so many wonderful things in my life. Immediately following that first challenge, I was inspired to start this blog, which has since led to even more amazing things! This will be my 4th year taking the challenge, and I can’t wait to see what comes of it!

If anyone would like to join me in this year’s October Unprocessed Challenge, you can sign up or find out more information about it here! It costs nothing to participate, but be prepared to spend a little extra time in the kitchen. The rewards are worth it, though!

My goal is to try to post on here once a week with updates on my progress and recipe ideas. On the Journey to Complete Wellness Facebook page, I will try to post daily recipe ideas and tips.  This blog is what is going to be keeping me accountable, and I hope you will join me on the journey and take one step closer to loving yourself more and becoming healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

October Unprocessed: Days 22 – 29

It’s hard to believe there are only two more days left of October Unprocessed.  It has gone by fast so far, but I’m definitely not sticking to this challenge like I did last year.  I am allowing myself to cheat a lot more, which in turn causes sugar cravings.  Chocolate chips have always been my weakness.  Once I start eating them, I start to crave more.  Also, I was much more strict last year about not eating pasta and breads.  So with Halloween only two days away, let’s see if I can refrain from the candy!!  Stay tuned for my overall results next week once this challenge is over. 🙂  Here are the foods I ate over the past week:

Day 22:  Wednesday, October 22

For breakfast, I had an English muffin that my daughter didn’t finish.  I also had some orange juice and an apple.

For lunch, I had some leftover chicken noodle soup.

I snacked on a few chocolate chips.

For dinner, I made chicken, broccoli, and fettuccine in a homemade Alfredo Sauce.

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Day 23:  Thursday, October 23

While making my daughter’s lunch, I had a slice of turkey.  I had some orange juice and the leftover English muffin that my daughter didn’t eat.

For breakfast, I made a Pineapple Orange Banana Green Smoothie.

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For lunch, I had some leftover chicken, fettuccine, broccoli alfredo.

For a snack, I had a cheese stick and a little piece of cookie pizza that my daughters had made.

For dinner, I made a frittata with roasted potatoes, eggs, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and spinach.  My family was not a fan.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like it much either, but I ate it anyway.

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I had a little bit of chicken noodle soup as well.

Day 24:  Friday, October 24

For breakfast, I had some red grapes, orange juice, and a slice of the frittata I made last night.

I had a hard-boiled egg for a mid-morning snack.

I had some of the leftover homemade chicken noodle soup for lunch.

I had an apple and another piece of my daughter’s cookie pizza.

For dinner, I had more of the frittata.

I went to a gathering on Friday night and had some tortilla chips, celery, and ranch dip.

Day 25:  Saturday, October 25

For breakfast, I had some yogurt and another slice of the frittata.  Fortunately, I liked it much better left over!

For lunch, I had leftover chicken broccoli fettuccine alfredo.

I made some granola for an afternoon snack.  It contained oats, pecans, almonds, cashews, raisins, vanilla, maple syrup, honey, and brown sugar.  I will be sharing the recipe in an upcoming post, so stay tuned! 🙂


For dinner, my husband got pizza since my daughter had a friend over, so I had a slice of that.

Day 26:  Sunday, October 26

For breakfast, I had orange juice and some of the granola I made yesterday.

For lunch, my husband got Kentucky Fried Chicken for the kids.  Other than a bite of the potatoes, I basically just had some Cole slaw.

For dinner, we went to a 4-H family event where they served pasta with homemade meat sauce, homemade macaroni and cheese, salad, and rolls.  I had a little bit of everything.  I did refrain from getting dessert, but I did eat the leftovers that my kids didn’t eat.

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Day 27:  Monday, October 27

For breakfast, I had some homemade granola with yogurt and some orange juice.

For a mid-morning snack, I had a hard-boiled egg.

For lunch, I had leftover chicken fettuccine alfredo

For dinner, I had rotisserie chicken and a little bit of angel hair pasta that I made for the kids.  I also made some Italian Meatballs.

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Day 28:  Tuesday, October 28

For breakfast, I had an apple and a hard-boiled egg.

I also made a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie for my daughter, and I had some of that as well.

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For lunch, I had some leftover meatballs and angel hair pasta.

I made more granola and had some of that as a snack.

For dinner, I had leftovers.  A few pieces of chicken, a few meatballs, and some pasta.

Day 29:  Wednesday, October 29

For breakfast, I made an omelet with peppers and onions and some orange juice.

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I had some granola for a mid-morning snack.

For lunch, I met my mom at Panera Bread, and I had a Greek Salad.

For dinner, I had baked haddock, mashed potatoes, green beans, and applesauce.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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 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! 🙂

October Unprocessed: Days 2 & 3

Day 2:  Thursday, October 2

For breakfast, I  had a hard-boiled egg and some watermelon.

Mid-morning snack:  I had a few leftover pieces of chicken from last night’s supper, some popcorn, and a banana.

Lunch:  I made a green smoothie containing 1/2 cup water, a handful of spinach, 1/2 cup kefir, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, and 1 1/2 frozen bananas.  This was VERY filling and kept me full for most of the day.October 3, 2014 002

Late-Day snack:  I had a stick of mozzarella cheese when the girls got home from school.

Dinner:  I made a chicken soup from the leftovers of last night’s dinner.  I used butter, celery, onions, carrots, the leftover broth from last night’s chicken, and the cooked, chopped chicken that was leftover as well.  For the kids, I also added some rotini (because that is their favorite part of the soup!)  I tried to avoid eating the rotini, although I may have had a few pieces slip in (I’m not going to worry about that, though.  My goal is not to be perfect, but only to become more aware of WHAT I am eating and WHY.)

I did snack on a few chocolate chips later on.  I have to admit, I wasn’t hungry at all, but they were there and that’s the only reason I ate them.  Overall, not a bad day other than the chocolate chips that I wasn’t hungry for. 🙂

Day 3:  Friday, October 3

I had a slice of Boar’s Head Ovengold Turkey as I was making my daughter’s lunches.  That is the only lunch meat I will allow myself during this challenge, as it claims to have no fillers, preservatives, etc.

I also made a batch of Flourless Peanut butter cookies for my 11-year old’s snack, and I had one of those as well.

For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs mixed with about a tablespoon of Feta cheese and a sundried tomato.  It was really good! 🙂

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Mid-morning snack – again, I had a few chocolate chips although I wasn’t hungry.  I think I just need to stop buying them! 🙂

For lunch, my friend gave me a cup of DELICIOUS carrot soup that she had made!  It contained coconut oil, onion, cinnamon, nutmeg, sweet potatoes, water, chicken broth, carrots, salt & pepper.  It was really good, and the perfect thing to warm me up on this cool, fall day.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture of it.  It was a beautiful shade of orange, and it smelled just as great as it tasted!

Afternoon snack:  I had an apple and another PB cookie.

For dinner, I had the rest of the potato salad I made the other day.

I went to a gathering tonight, and there I had celery and some chips with salsa.

Overall, I’m feeling pretty good about the challenge!  I’m looking forward to see what the weekend will bring.  Have a great weekend!!

October Unprocessed: The Inspiration Behind Journey to Complete Wellness

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One year ago, I took the October Unprocessed Challenge and spent the entire month of October 2013 eating only REAL, unprocessed foods.  It was a huge learning experience for me!  During the challenge, I felt terrific and full of energy all day long.  I discovered some wonderful new foods and recipes, and I connected with a whole world of like-minded people committed to improving their health and supporting each other.  It became a lifestyle change for me and my family.  I found healthy replacements for a lot of the foods we ate.  Overall, I felt great about all the positive changes I made to improve the health and wellness of my family.  Although it certainly was not easy at times, the rewards definitely outweighed the challenges.  To learn about ALL the benefits and challenges I encountered during this experience, check out my blog post here.

Upon completing the challenge on October 31, I was inspired to start this blog, Journey to Complete Wellness.  What a blessing that has been!  I invite you to join me and over 16,000 others in this year’s October Unprocessed Challenge by taking the October Unprocessed 2014 pledge here.  Who knows what it will inspire YOU to do?

If an entire month seems too overwhelming, you can take the pledge for a week, or even a day.  It is not as difficult as it may seem.  You are allowed some “deliberate exceptions” (foods you can’t live without), and you take the challenge on your own terms.  The main goal is to become aware of the foods you are putting into your body.  It was truly an eye-opening experience for me!

Any step toward wellness is a step in the right direction.  You can do it!

I plan to track this year’s progress in this blog, so stay tuned for some new and exciting REAL-food recipes!

Please leave a comment below if you decide to sign up!  Good luck! 🙂

Strawberries: 10 Ways to Eat Them

10 Ways to Eat Strawberries

Nothing says summer like fresh strawberries!  In my previous post 9 Reasons To Pick Your Own Strawberries, I mentioned that I had been on 6 fun-filled strawberry-picking excursions with my daughters last month (and I’ve even been again since that post!)  One would think we would have more strawberries than we know what to do with, but the truth is I’ve been having trouble keeping the strawberries long enough to make anything out of them.  My girls devour them (sometimes even before we get home!)  It wasn’t easy, but I did manage to save some strawberries to make a few things. Here are 10 delicious ways to use those fresh-picked, juice-dripping strawberries!

1.  Eat them just as they are!

Of course, this is the healthiest (and our favorite) way to eat them, and they don’t last long.

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2.  Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries!

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Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and strawberries, right?  And truly, they couldn’t be easier to make! It requires 2 ingredients – Fresh picked strawberries & Baker’s Dipping Chocolate (you can find this in the baking aisle of your local grocery store – next to the chocolate chips.)

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Simply melt the chocolate as instructed, dip your strawberries, place on a tray on waxed paper, and enjoy!  If you prefer the chocolate a little bit harder (as we do), place in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes.

3.  Strawberry Jam

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This was our first attempt at making strawberry jam.  Although this particular recipe didn’t go over well with my family, I’m including it in here anyway since we spent the time making it.  Based on the reviews, it is very popular and it does seem like most people enjoyed it.  We halved the recipe since I didn’t know if we would like it and I wasn’t sure how much it would make.  It ended up filling 4 mason jars (8oz each).  Since I normally try to minimize the amount of sugar I put into recipes (and this time I didn’t), for us it seemed way too sweet.  I think next time I would use much less sugar.  You can find the recipe we used here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-jam/

4.  Strawberry Parfait

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This is one of our favorite choices for breakfast.  Simply use your favorite yogurt, fresh strawberries (chopped) any other desired fruits, and granola.  Layer and enjoy!! 🙂

5.  Strawberry Banana Smoothie

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Nothing beats a refreshing, fruit-filled smoothie on a hot day!  You can use any fruit you have on-hand, but here is one of my favorite combinations:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 frozen banana

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  Enjoy!! 🙂  Note:  Make sure at least one of your ingredients is frozen to make your smoothie cold.  In the absence of frozen fruit, you may want to add some ice to make it cold.  If this doesn’t appeal to you, try my other Strawberry Banana smoothie recipe, my Strawberry Banana Peanut Butter smoothie, or create your own yummy combination!

6.  In a salad

I love strawberries in my salad!  I also like to add blueberries, grapes, pineapple, cashews, and chocolate chips in addition to the lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers! 🙂  The fruit adds a wonderful juiciness that practically eliminates the need for salad dressing.  YUM!!

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7.  In  your cereal

We love adding fresh berries to our cereal.  Yum!!

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8.  Freeze them.

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If you have more strawberries than you know what to do with, you can freeze them for later use.  To freeze, begin by removing the stems.  Lightly rinse them and allow to dry.  Then, place them on a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet in the freezer.  Once frozen, transfer to a ziploc freezer bag.

9.  Topping for cheesecake, ice cream, or pancakes

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My kids absolutely love this stuff!! Here is the recipe we used (next time I’m going to double it!):


  • 2 cups fresh-picked ripe strawberries
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Wash strawberries and remove stems.
  2. Chop strawberries
  3. Combine sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups strawberries in a saucepan. (Set aside remaining 1/2 cup strawberries.) 
  4. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Cook until sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.  In a blender, puree mixture.  Add in the 1/2 cup strawberries you had previously set aside.
  6. Store in refrigerator.

The original recipe can be found here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Supreme-Strawberry-Topping/Detail.aspx

I was also hoping to make strawberry pie and strawberry shortcake with fresh-picked strawberries this year, but unfortunately strawberry season is now over in my area so I’ll have to try those out next year.

10.  Strawberry Pie

Update 7/9/15:  I made Strawberry Pie with my daughters this season, and it was delicious!  The link to the recipe I used may be found on my blog Stacy Loves here.


11. Strawberry Ice Cream

Update 6/16/16

This strawberry ice cream, made with freshly picked strawberries, is the perfect treat on a hot, summer day!  The recipe can be found on Stacy Loves here.

Strawberry ice cream recipe

What is your favorite way to eat strawberries?  Do you have a favorite use for strawberries that is not included here?  Please leave a comment below.

Recipe: Butter Chicken

May 19, 2014 007 crop

Here is a chicken recipe that all 3 of my kids love (and believe me, it’s not easy to get all 3 of them to agree on ANYTHING!)

Before my kids tried it, they were complaining that we were having chicken AGAIN.  After trying it, they were raving about it and even went back for seconds and thirds.  They even gobbled up the cold leftovers the next day!

In an effort to minimize waste and make clean-up easier, I prepared it entirely in the baking dish.  Previously when I would make chicken with egg or crackers, I would use a separate bowl for the egg and a separate bowl for the crackers, and then I would end up with a sink full of dishes after preparation.

Except for the Ritz Crackers, this recipe uses all REAL food ingredients.  I often struggle with finding a good balance between healthy foods and foods my kids will actually eat.  If anyone has any suggestions on a healthier, kid-friendly replacement for the Ritz Crackers, I would love to hear them!


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed

2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  Rinse chicken, then place in a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish.

3.  Pour egg evenly over chicken.

4.  Sprinkle crackers evenly over chicken.

5.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over chicken.

6.  Spread out pieces of garlic and butter throughout the dish.

7.  Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through.

Real Food: Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

March 22, 2014 030I love this pancake recipe because it is simple to make and it is made with just a few ingredients, all of them being REAL food ingredients.  I also love that this recipe contains no white flour or white sugar.

I just finished reading the book Wheat Belly by William Davis, and while it did not fully convince me to go 100% gluten free, it did reinforce my belief that we should strive to minimize our consumption of products made with white flour.

My daughters do prefer traditional pancakes over these, but I do enjoy these and my 9-year old daughter does as well.  Enjoy!


Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

Serves: 2 pancakes

  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • ½ banana, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon butter or coconut oil, for cooking
  • Pure maple syrup, for serving
  1. In a food processor, grind oats until fine. Add eggs, cinnamon, and banana, and grind until smooth.
  2. Heat butter or coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet.
  3. Add half of the batter (about ½ cup) pancake mix to the skillet.
  4. Cook until you are able to slip a spatula underneath the pancake and lift it without the pancake breaking. Flip the pancake.
  5. Cook until lightly brown.
  6. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with pure maple syrup.
This recipe only makes two pancakes. I only have a mini food processor, so it doesn’t hold a lot of batter. You may want to double the recipe for more servings. Also, the pancakes are thinner than traditional pancakes.