Eating Clean in 2016!

As a foodie, I’m always on the hunt for new, exciting dishes to prepare. After cooking day in day out, 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, the recipe roundup can get banal. To keep that from happening I challenge myself to make at least 2 new recipes per month. Even if it’s a familiar staple like carrots, I love learning new ways to prepare them. In my house we typically go a month without eating the same thing twice for dinner. That just works for me as to not get bored or discouraged with my commitment to eating clean. By no means am I suggesting you eat something different every night of the week, I’m simply stating keep it fun and tasty.


Some of the new recipe ideas go over well and are incorporated in our rotation. Others are scrapped not to be tried again; and those are usually not because of taste but because they are just too FUSSY or time consuming to prepare.


As a busy mom of 5, I like making dishes that tantalize the taste buds yet are accessible and give a good return on investment for the time and cost to prepare.


With that said, at the end of last year I began cooking through two new exciting Vegan cookbooks. While I do not ascribe to a particular dietary title (you can read more on that HERE), we do eat 85% plant-based foods in my home.


You ever pick up a cookbook whose cover is oh so inviting? Then you flip the glossy pages and the dishes cause you salivate? You proceed to bring the book home with lofty ideas of cooking ALL the dishes only to find that they are too fussy, too complicated, or require eccentric out of reach ingredients?


Well my friend that is NOT the case AT ALL with these two books.


If you’ve committed to starting your New Year focusing on your health, these plant-based recipes will not disappoint. They will delight your taste buds while nourishing and honoring your temple.


Here’s some of the fun I had cooking my way through Nom Yourself by Mary Mattern & Happy Healthy Vegan Kitchen by Kathy Patalsky


Nom Yourself


Nom Yourself


I started following Mary on Instagram a few months ago because her pictures were so inviting. With every picture I thought, “I would eat that”. So I had to go pick up the book and give the recipes a try. The #1 new dish in my home for 2015 came from this book, Sesame Tofu Tacos.


Sesame Tofu Tacos

Sesame Tofu Tacos

Her Jambalaya, Tortilla Soup and Buffalo Cauliflower Mmm, mmm, good.


Happy Healthy Vegan Kitchen


Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen


1st of all, the burger on the cover just draws you in. My 11 year old exclaimed, “Mommy we HAVE to make that!”


I’ve been following Kathy for a few years now via her blog. Check it out HERE. Tons of great recipes. So as soon as the cookbook came out I knew I had to get my hands on it. I feel like Kathy is my cooking twin. The flavor profiles she conjures together are so similar to mine. I think our shared love for warm/cold salads is what virtually bonded me to her forever. I’m so proud of the work she’s doing in sharing her love of eating clean while keep in delectable and exciting.


From Spicy Peanut Soba Noodles (yay I keep most of these ingredients on hand daily) to Kale Salad to Gingerbread Bundt Cake this book is chock full of yum to help you maintain your clean eating goals in an exciting, tantalizing way. Oh and what I most wanted to make, the Peanut, Tofu, Kale Black Rice Bowl.  How I’d been waiting for a reason to cook this black rice that was just sitting in my pantry. No boring tasteless steamed broccoli here.


[bctt tweet=”So what are your plans to ensure you’re eating clean in 2016?”] Do tell. I’d love to hear it.


As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

Eating Clean On Vacation

Last week I took a 9 hour road trip and I’ve got another coming up soon. Highway rest stop are a bane to the clean eating lifestyle, so what is one to do?


Proper Preparation Prevents Pitfalls


For the road trip and during my vacation I commit to not falling off the wagon. I do grant myself a cheat meal while on vacation but I try to limit that to one day. Vacationing is not a reason to scrap all the hard work and discipline I’ve invested. In fact, it’s all the more reason to continue honoring my temple through proper nourishment, rest and exercise. With the relaxed schedule of vacation and away from the pull of regular home commitments, I certainly have the time to devote to honoring my temple.


Tobin Bridge

On The Road

When on the road my mission is to get to my destination as quickly as possible. Minimizing stops allow me to do that and that also keeps me clear of the dozens of fast food joints along the way. Here’s what I pack for the road:


~Watermelon Juice (which I freeze as it starts to melt it gets slushy and is quite refreshing)

~Green Smoothie (made w/ coconut water to hydrate)


~Carrot Sticks


~Raw Revolution Bar


Watermelon juice



During My Stay

When on vacation, I nearly always select a property that has a kitchen. Most vacations I’m travelling with my children and this just makes it easier, healthier and more cost effective to feed this family of 7. Before we leave, I follow my usual practice of creating a meal plan and grocery list. Again, just because we are on vacation doesn’t mean we succumb to the trap of eating poorly. We do give the children at least one night of eating out otherwise it’s home cooking. And while that may be contrary to me “vacationing” and possibly getting away from kitchen duty, it’s a job I don’t mind carrying out. But it can be a little challenging, as I’m not in my own kitchen with FULL use of my kitchen tools, gadgets, spices and pantry. Again, this is where proper planning helps. When planning the menu, I streamline the offerings, selecting meals that are uncomplicated and require fewer ingredients. I stick to my smoothie or fruit & granola for breakfast, salads for lunch then a light dinner of soup and salad or salad and baked sweet potato. I even cook before I go and freeze meal then store them in thermal travel bags. Here’s what I pack ahead of time:

~Spices (Virtuous Living are the best because the blends truly season a whole dish. No need for bringing many spices)

~Himalayan Salt


~Garlic Powder


~Maple Syrup

~Olive Oil

~Homemade Granola

~Homemade Salad Dressing

~Freezer Meals (Chipotle At Home, Baked Pasta Dish)

~My Ninja (Ok this may be taking it too far but I normally use it everyday. There are times when I feel like it’s cumbersome and I worry about it getting broken and bumping around in the car. But it’s truly a member of the family so it has to come)

~Evolution Juices (When I don’t bring the Ninja)



Also check out my post HEALTHY EATING ON THE GO


Following these tips will ensure you’re eating clean on vacation.


As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!

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How to Get Them to Eat Right

He’s a picky eater.

Oh she’ll never eat that.

He doesn’t eat anything green.


I’ve heard parents say it all regarding their children’s food habits. I am persuaded that children can and will eat healthy foods. The onus is on the parent to know the way, show the way then go the way.


The home is a ministry center for nourishing the spirit, mind and the body. Just as we train them up to respect authority, to do well in school, to try their best in their extracurricular activities and the like, we have to train them to care for their health by consuming foods that nourish the body. It is our responsibility to point to way that leads them to eat right.


Train up a child in the way he should go,

And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6


We can actually begin that training in utero. Flavors are actually transmitted through amniotic fluid. Flavors are also present in breast milk. So early on we can introduce our children to a wide variety of flavors. We can acclimate them to the tastes from different cultures and different cooking methods i.e. eating cooked foods and raw.

Joaquin green smoothie

2014-10-10 10.19.06

This Little guy is always snagging my green smoothies


Everything you present isn’t always going to be adopted right away. One of my children never liked oatmeal. But every time we had oatmeal she took 2 courtesy bites. Guess who loves oatmeal now? But she didn’t enjoy it until she was 9. And this morning we had oatmeal and she was the first one happily lapping it up. Studies suggest it takes 8-10 tries of something that one claims they do not like before it’s adopted.  And then some things, yes, they just won’t like.  And I’m ok with that.  I don’t eat potato salad and I don’t eat Okra.  But I try a bite every now and again…just in case my tastes have changed.


Oh how my heart is wrenched when I see parents who’ve adopted new eating habits yet let their children continue to consume unhealthy foods on a consistent basis. I believe the parents may be thinking the children just won’t eat healthy, they’ll never try it, I want peace, I don’t want to fight with them and similar lines of thinking. I know it’s hard Mom and Dad but we’ve got to be creative, diligent, persistent and insistent on helping our children eat right.


The way I eat now isn’t the way I was raised as a young child either. My favorite meal as a kid was Kraft macaroni and cheese with fried chicken wings and canned corn. My mother, bless her heart did the best she could with what she had. Besides she was the baby girl in her family and never learned to cook. But when we know better, God holds us accountable to do better.


For those that now desire a better way, God can redeem the time and restore the years that have already passed. Do you desire change but don’t know how to get your family on board? How to get them to eat right? Try these tips.


Invite them in the kitchen when you are preparing meals

 kids blend Ninja



kids eat collards

Let them help create the menu

Tofu Lettuce Wraps


Stock the fridge and pantry with nourishing foods


fridge full produce

Well, when these are your options, you eat what’s here or go hungry


Let them choose one new item each week from the grocery store.


Take them to places that are rich in new food experiences

Dc Veg Fest


Kids Food Fest


Make healthier versions of stuff they like


granola bars

Serve food in the “make your own plate” style. This works well for Taco Bar, Baked Potato Bar, Tapas

chipotle at home

Teach them what a serving size looks like


Teach them to read food labels

Following are 2 examples of doing this with my children. A McDonald’s coupon booklet came in the mail and my daughter wanted the fries. I told her to look up the ingredients. Once she saw the list she said never mind. Another time she got a rice crispy treat from a school party. I told her to read the list of ingredients. She came across a few items that she couldn’t pronounce, including tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ). This additive found in many packaged foods is a preservative and in high doses is a carcinogenic. In addition to food, it is used industrially as stabilizer to inhibit corrosion and is added to varnishes and lacquers. Needless to say we got a good laugh out of that one and she went on to eat the treat but hasn’t eaten one ever again. TBHQ and High Fructose Corn Syrup are now running jokes over here. Even my 6 year old reads the labels and if she sees sugar listed in the 1st 5 ingedients she’ll tell her siblings, “That’s not healthy!”


I know change is possible. The children of one of my friends would only eat pancakes for breakfast and chicken nuggets for dinner. That was their norm for several years. As God began to reveal a better plan to my friend, she slowly adopted new habits and it became a family affair.


Now I’m no health food Gestapo. My children do like pizza and ice cream. And I do let them indulge occasionally. Besides, they get enough junk from well meaning teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, and even the dry cleaner that they don’t need it at home too.  So as a baseline, we eat our food close to the way it looked when it grew.


At ages 10 & 9, my oldest children have gotten to the age where they are making many of their own food choices. At home, they are presented with healthy foods (with the occasional chips and cookies Daddy brings home. I love the guys but I swear sometimes I feel like he’s playing on the other team. Mommy’s offering raspberries and here comes Cookie Man, the hero to save the day). When at a friends house, church event, or family function, I simply remind them to choose well. I may also suggest to them to think about what they’ve already consumed that day and to choose well based on what nutrients or junk they’ve already put in.


Studies predict that for the first time in history, the next generation will have a shorter life span than their parents. And what makes that even more tragic is that the decline in life expectancy is primarily due to obesity related diseases that are largely preventable. Just as we desire to be in health and prosper even as our souls prosper, don’t we have that same desire for our children? If so, what are we doing today to make that a reality for our children?


I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. Deuteronomy 30:19


Being a parent is tough and requires us to make tough decisions. But as a parent you make the tough decisions out of the love you have for your children. We cannot be too passive, tired, weary, or frustrated when it comes to parenting and helping them choose well in honoring the temple is included in that.


Oh how much easier it would be for me to cook a boxed starch already seasoned, take a protein and douse it in a ready made sauce, heat some frozen veggies and call everyone to the table for dinner? How much easier it would be for me to go through the drive through on the nights we have Boy Scouts because after dropping 3 of the 5 to school, taking another to pre-school then taking the baby with me to grocery shop at 2 different stores come home put groceries away, wash, dry, fold and put away 3 loads of laundry, clean a bathroom, make ministry phone calls, take back overdue library books, pick up dry cleaning, go back to the school for afternoon pickups, take the 30 minute drive back home to change clothes and quickly eat dinner before we take that same 30 minute drive back out to the Boy Scouts meeting….whew the drive thru would have been real convenient. And in a rare pinch I may have to make a run to Chipotle but that’s rare. True nourishment comes from the love I infuse into the fresh fruits, vegetable, legumes and whole grains my family noshes on.


The food I offer them each day is making an impression not only on their taste buds in the moment but is being coded in their brains. They are developing a preference for salt, fat and sugar. It is my prayer that they would desire foods that nourish and honor their bodies.


The Lord gave me a major revelation as related to the health of my children and their children to come. I was filling out some initial new patient forms, one of which was the family history. I went down the line checking off ailment after ailment that my mother, grandmother and other immediate family members have had. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, glaucoma, migraines, autoimmune disorders and more…CHECK. In that moment the Lord said, “The choices you make today will break the curse”. In the church we talk about breaking generational curses and the Lord was telling me how I could have a direct impact on breaking some of the health curses over my family. He said, “Choose well and your children won’t have to check some of these boxes and then their children will check even fewer.” Can we say PRAISE HIM for revelation!


So out of my love for them, even if they don’t like me for it now, I’m training them to choose well when it comes to food. Sure, they’d probably like some McDonald’s fries on a Friday night but when I think about the 17 ingredients in there…I just can’t. My goodness, shouldn’t it just be potatoes, salt and oil? And sure I feel for them when they are ostracized at school for having “weird” food but I just have to remind them and myself that we are set apart, a chosen generation, and a royal priesthood. We are a peculiar people and I pray that in taking this small stance with being proud of what’s in their lunchboxes, that it will lay the foundation for when they come up against even greater persecution.


I am confident that you are nurturing your children’s mental, spiritual, social and emotional well being. So what can you do today to ensure that you are positively contributing to their physical well-being as related to the food they consume?

Eli loves veggies

I know…the big knife’s a danger to the little guy.  He just loves raw veggies and is always reaching in to grab some.


{This was a hard post for me to write, as I wanted to be sensitive to each family’s background, preferences, dynamics, finances, beliefs about food, etc. There is so much that plays into our relationship with food. Out of obedience to God, I’ve written it exactly as He’s given it to me so I pray hearts are open and receptive as I share only from a place of love and concern.}


As always, it is my prayer that you’ve been Inspired To Live Fully!


Buckwheat Granola

Raw Buckwheat Granola (Raw, Gluten Free, Vegan)


I love granola but it is expensive and depending on the brand, can be unnecessarily high in fat and sugar. To increase the nutritional value and cut the fat and sugar, make this good for you granola. This granola is also gluten-free. High in fiber, manganese and magnesium, this granola does a body good.



1½ cups dry raw buckwheat (not toasted which is Kasha)

½ cup almonds, chopped

½ cup sunflower seeds

½ cup pumpkin seeds

¼ cup shredded coconut

1 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp maple syrup

¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)



Soak the buckwheat for one whole day changing the water at least twice. After one day drain the buckwheat. Preheat oven 200 degrees. Place buckwheat on baking sheet and dry (bake) for 30 minutes. Take buckwheat out and combine with remaining ingredients and dry for an additional 20 minutes.

granola and fruit


Lentil Millet Loaf

Lentil Millet Loaf (GF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

Having a vegetarian or vegan over for Thanksgiving?   Make this classic vegan friendly dish.


Thinking of lentil loaf immediately brings to mind two things: a classic vegetarian dish and my sweet friend Kimberly to whom I was bonded forever when I made this for her during a time of bereavement. Kimberly this updated version is especially for you.


2 cups cooked lentils

1 cup cooked millet

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1 rib celery diced

2 medium carrots peeled and diced

10 fresh sage leaves chiffonade

¼ tsp thyme

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tbsp ground chia seeds

3 tbsp water

1/3 cup raw cashews

Lentil loaf mix

Preheat oven 350. Toast over low heat in a dry pan the cashew until lightly brown. Let cool. Grind in a coffee grinder and set aside. Take ground chia, add water and whisk until thick. Set aside. In the same pan heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic, celery and carrots for about 7 minutes until softened. In a large bowl combine lentils, millet, sautéed veggies, chia mixture, cashews and remaining seasonings and mix well. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

lentil loaf 2


Broccoli in Garlic Sauce

Save your money and eat at home tonight. Everyone in my house loves Chinese Food. And what’s not to love about it? The flavors tantalize the palette with the perfect balance of salty, sweet, and acidic. Here is an easy healthy recipe that’s in regular rotation in my home. The bonus is the dressing has multiple uses i.e. add Sriracha and have Szechuan String beans, use as a marinade, add peanut butter and make Sesame Noodles. The options are almost endless.

Broccoli in Garlic Sauce
1 lb broccoli
2 large carrots
4 sprigs scallion sliced on bias
4 large cloves garlic peeled and minced
1 tbsp ginger grated
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp sesame oil
¼ cup soy sauce (or a little less, to taste)
¼ cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp honey (optional)

Bring a pot of water to boil. Trim broccoli into florets. Peel and cut on bias into ¼ in slices. Blanch broccoli and carrots by placing into boiling water for 2-3 minutes. While the broccoli is cooking, prepare the liquid for the sauce. In a bowl combine soy sauce, water, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Whisk to combine. In a separate small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 2 tbsp water. Remove broccoli from pot and place in an ice bath (large bowl filled with ice water). This will preserve the bright green color and stop the cooking. Drain and set aside. In a wok heat the olive oil over medium. Add broccoli/carrot and sauté for 3 minutes. Pour soy dressing in wok. Toss. Add cornstarch mixture. Sauce will begin to thicken. Add scallion and cook additional minute. Serve with brown rice. Enjoy!IMG_7459.JPG


Amaranth and Apples


Amaranth is an ancient grain rich in fiber, iron, protein and calcium. It can be prepared many ways but my favorite is for breakfast.

1 cup Amaranth

3 cups water

1 tsp Cinnamon

2 Medium Apples, peeled, cored and diced

¼ cup Pecans or Walnuts

Drizzle Maple Syrup

In a pot, combine seeds, water and ½ tsp cinnamon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until grains are fluffy and water is absorbed. While the seeds are cooking, prepare the apples. Saute apples in a pan with a splash of water. Add last ½ tsp cinnamon and cook until just fork tender. Add amaranth to bowl. Top with apples and nuts and drizzle on maple syrup.