Eat Clean, Halloween!

Halloween is one of the most food challenging holidays because the entire holiday revolves around candy, treats, and sugar.

According to the Wall Street Journal, American’s spend about $2.6 billion on Halloween candy per year. Say What? That’s scary! If you were to average the amount of candy eaten among all Americans, it would come out to almost 4 pounds of candy per person during the Halloween season. That’s spooky!

So here are a few tricks I’m using to stay away from the treats while still enjoying the holiday!

1. Donate your candy to a local food bank or church. Call your local food bank or church and ask if they accept candy – most will as long as it is individually wrapped. While you’re in the spirit of donating, pick up a few canned goods and nonperishable items to include in your delivery.

2. Participate in the teal pumpkin project. The teal pumpkin project was created to raise awareness about childhood food allergies and encourage people to hand out non-food items. I think this is a great idea for children with or without food allergies!
Kids love trinkets too, so feel free to include non-food and allergy friendly options in your trick-r-treating baskets this year. Great ideas are bubbles, crayons, erasers, stickers, markers, or squeaky toys (all can be found at your local dollar store).


3. If you’re having people over, make healthy treats and snacks for the kids (adults will enjoy them too!). I saw this treat at a recent Halloween party, and absolutely loved how cute it turned it!

Halloween Ghosts and Tangerine Pumpkins:

For the ghosts, you will need a bananas and mini chocolate chips. Peel and slice the bananas in half. Add mini chocolate chips for the ghost eyes and mouth.
For the tangerine pumpkins, you will need tangerines and celery. Peel the tangerines. Cut celery lengthwise, three times. Then cut across into small pieces (about 1 inch). Stick cut celery pieces in the center of the tangerine for the stalk.


Halloween Deviled Eggs:

You’ll need 6 eggs, mustard, 1 small avocado (ripe), salt and pepper, paprika, green onion tops. Boil eggs until cooked (approximately 15 minutes). Allow to cool before pealing. Slice eggs in half, and scoop the yolk out. In a bowl, mix yolk, 1 tbsp mustard, 1 avocado and salt and pepper to taste. Scoop the mixture back into the cut egg. Garnish with paprika and green onion top for “pumpkins” or


4. Allow yourself a treat, then move on! At the end of the day, it’s a holiday, and you want to enjoy it. If you find yourself eating all the candy, move on as quickly as possible, and start over with healthier options the next day. The easiest way to do that is to remove the temptation!

Happy Halloween!

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Just Be Kind


I’m taking a break from my usual recipe sharing and sugar bashing, to make a response in regards to a growing amount of “fat shaming” taking place in our society. Yesterday, I read an appalling story about a woman who willingly gained 50 pounds to prove to all the “fat people” that they caused this themselves and that losing the weight is easy if they’d stop being lazy.


My opinion:
Wellness is a body, mind and spirit journey. Although someone may have the desire to lose weight and get healthier, I’ve noticed (in my own opinion) that people struggle most with weight loss when they can’t make the connection between body, mind and spirit.

First (the body):
Overweight does not equal not lazy.
I know some really hard-working overweight people. In fact, many of the hardworking people I know are overweight. Why is that? Generally, these people tend to take care of everyone else first, and have very little time or energy for themselves.

It’s not just about food.
Calories in, calories out; is completely outdated science when it comes to weight loss. For years, people were told expend more calories than they ate to lose weight. Hundreds of diets and weight loss companies were created around this idea. While that seems to make sense and in a perfect world it could work, there are several other factors to take into account including quality of calories ingested, hormones (major player), underlying health conditions and lifestyle.

Second (the mind):
Ditch skinny.
Get rid of the idea of skinny. Not everyone was intended was intended to have a size 26 waist or fit into a size 0, and that’s okay. Focus on what’s comfortable and healthy for you instead of trying to be something you think you should be.

The mind is an incredibly powerful thing – especially when it comes to wellness. What we believe about ourselves, we become. If an overweight person, is constantly told or shown images through media that depict overweight people as “less than” because of a stupid number on a stupid scale, at least on some subconscious level that person will begin to believe it about themselves.

Third (the spirit):
Be thankful for the gift of wellness, and handle it with care.
I believe that each and every person that reads this is called to a life of purpose. You have purpose and you are on this earth at this exact time for a reason. When we start to believe in that purpose, it becomes so much easier to put value on our life. Realize the value and blessing of having breath in your lungs, a heart that beats, the ability to move and walk, and be thankful for the gift of wellness. If you’re not well, find out what you can do now to improve your situation – whether it’s walking more or making better food choices. We were never intended to be enslaved to our situation.

On a personal note, I apologize if any of my posts have ever seemed like self-righteous, fat shaming. I hope to leave any person that reads my posts feeling encouraged and motivated. Everyone can do something to improve their wellness, even if it’s just a baby step. Make that first baby with an attitude of thankfulness knowing that you CAN live a life of wellness.

*To the person that gained 50 pounds to prove a really nasty point, maybe next time, just be kind and use your skill and expertise to encourage.

Questions and comments, email

{My favorite things}

Let’s be real, sometimes you can’t get around buying prepackaged food. Life is busy, and I understand (and know) the need for a quick food fix. In a perfect world, we’d all live off the land, but it’s 2014, and most of us are grocery shopping.

If Oprah can have a list of favorites, I guess I can share my favorite “go to” items in a pinch. So while I’d love to slave over the stove for hours making the perfect pasta sauce (NOT!), sometimes the jar sauce is just fine. And although grinding almonds in a blender to make homemade nut butter seems fun, I think I’ll take a shortcut and get mind from the jar. Don’t get me wrong, I do love making things at home, but sometimes (as in most of the time) a girl just needs a quick fix.

*Disclaimer – I’ve read lots and lots of labels to come up with this list, but I urge you to do your own homework too.

These are a few of my favorite things:

(cue The Sound of Music):

Breakfast Meats:

I have eggs every morning for breakfast, and once in a while, I like to add a little extra protein in the form of a meat or (very) occasionally a scoop of Greek yogurt.

Brand: Oscar Meyer Nitrate/Nitrite free bacon
Pros: Available at Wal-Mart and most local grocers.
Cons: Are there any cons with bacon? I think not, I just don’t eat it everyday. It’s possible that the pigs may have been treated with antibiotics to control diseases or to speed up growth.


Brand: Applegate (look for the low-sodium brand)
Pros: Available at Whole Foods and some local grocers. Applegate does not administer antibiotics to any of its livestock.
Cons: More expensive than Oscar Meyer, limited stores carry the products.


Greek Yogurt:

Brand: Fage 2% Fat Plain
Pros: You can find a container at almost any grocery store. The yogurt is so creamy!
Cons: A medium-sized container will cost you about $4. If you buy flavored yogurt, there will be added sugar. Stick to the “plain” variety, and add your own toppings.

Deli Meats:

Brand: Applegate
Pros: The meat is nitrate and nitrite free. There are no added sugars, and there are several ham and turkey options available.  Overall, I think this is the best quality deli meat. Also, the meat is not slimy like other deli meats.
Cons: Based on volume, it may be more expensive that other deli meat, and not every store carries the brand.


Pasta Sauce:

Pasta sauce is great to keep on hand for quick meals.

Brand: Sal & Judy’s Original Sauce
Pros: You can find it at Wal-Mart. It’s generally less than $5 per jar. There are only 2 grams of sugar, and there is no added sugar.
Cons: You may not be able to find it a grocery stores outside of southeast United States.


Chicken and Beef Broth (look for the low sodium version)

I use chicken and beef broth in a lot of my cooking, but I don’t always have time to make my own. This is a great substitute.

Brand: The Fresh Market (store brand)
Pros: Cost, it’s usually around $2.99 for one quart container.
Cons: Fresh Market locations are generally limited to larger cities.



Brand: Amish Country Roll butter
Pros: I just found this butter a few weeks ago. It’s more flavorful that regular butter. Not confirmed, but I have read that the butter comes from grass-fed cows. Also, the roll is huge, and could probably last you a few months depending on how much butter you use for cooking.
Cons: Some associated grocer type stores will carry this item, but I’ve never seen it in a “big box” store.


Nut Butter:

Brand: Justin’s Nut Butter
Pros: There are several flavor varieties available – I like the classic almond butter flavor best. It’s also available in big box retailers like Wal-Mart.
Cons: The nut butter can cost upwards of $6; however; depending on how much you eat, it may last a week or 2.



Snack on the go:

Brand: Lara Bar (I like the Peanut Butter Cookie and the Blueberry Muffin flavors).
Pros: Non-gmo ingredients. No sugar added. Great grab and go snack if you don’t have a piece of fruit or veggies available.
Cons: The bars still have a high sugar content even though there is no added sugar.

To check out LaraBars visit

Kid Snack on the go:

Brand: Brother’s All Natural Freeze Dried Fruit Crisps
Pros: There is no added sugar, no preservatives, no colorings and no flavor enhancements. They are also allergy friendly since it’s made with just fruit. Yay!
Con: The fruit is not certified organic.


Protein Shakes:

I use protein shakes for snacks (occasionally), or when I’m in a rush in the morning.

Brand: Plexus 96
Pro: It comes in a travel packet, so you can take it with you, and fix it when you’re ready. There are only 96 calories in the shake (if mixed with water). There is no added sugar, and it’s sweetened with stevia.
Cons: If you have a dairy intolerance, there is whey isolate and concentrate in the drink.

You can easily order the protein by visiting this link


Brand: Now Egg White Protein Powder
Pro: The protein is sweetened with stevia. The main ingredient is egg white powder, so it’s great for people with milk allergies or intolerance.
Con: Not many stores carry it, but you can easily order online by visiting this link


I am very picky about sweeteners. While agave and honey are popular options, they are still converted to glucose in the body (sugar is sugar, right?). I prefer to use Stevia (which has actually been shown to stabilize blood glucose levels in some studies.)

Brand: Trader Joe’s Liquid or Powdered Stevia
Pros: $6.99 gets you 400+ servings.
Cons: you may not have a Trader Joe’s store in your area.


If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s in your area, the NOW brand is just as good, and you can order it online here

Keep in mind that a little stevia goes a long way, proceed with caution.


When the dog bites, and the bee stings, and I’m too busy to remember what to do on the never ending “to do” list… I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel  so bad!

(end Sound of Music)


I’d love to hear about your favorite food hacks that make life easier. Feel free to message me at

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