Warm Weather Eats & A Summertime Recipe

Happy Hump Day!

Whereas last week seemed to drag by, this week seems to be flying by. No complaints here! I know as the school year draws to a close, I’ll be begging for things to slow down so I’ll have time to get all my loose ends tied up, but for now, I’m happy for things to keep on speeding by!

Speaking of the school year ending and summer approaching, do y’all have those certain foods that just scream warm weather to you?

For me it’s always fresh fruits and veggies. But, there are also a few other foods and drinks that just radiate summertime to me.

1. Watermelon

2. Corn on the Cob – mmm!

3. anything on the grill

4. Strawberry Shortcake

5. Peaches

6. Popsicles – yep, I’m still a kid

There’s actually a place in my hometown called Steel City Pops that sells all kinds of unique popsicle flavors. It reminds me of the cupcake or froyo craze, only in popsicle form. You should definitely check them out if you’re every in the Birmingham, Alabama area. They have a few locations throughout town.

7. Lemonade

8. Cold pasta salad

Speaking of pasta salad, I recently shared a picture with you of a new recipe I tried. I know, I know… it wasn’t very nice of me to tease you like that. Today is your lucky day though, a new summertime recipe is commin’ atcha!

Balsamic Chicken, Tomato, Basil, and Pasta Salad

How’s that for a long name?! Don’t be alarmed though, the name may be complicated, but I assure you, the recipe is simple and delicious!

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

– 1 bag Refrigerated Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips

*** OR, if you’re not lazy like I am, 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast – cooked***

– 1 1/2 C. cherry tomatoes, diced

– 2 C. baby spinach, chopped

– 4 tbsp. basil, finely chopped

– 1/2 C. red bell pepper, diced

– 1 Tbsp. olive oil

– 1/2 C. balsamic vinaigrette

– 1-2 Tbsp. dijon mustard

– salt and pepper to taste

– 8 oz. dried pasta (I recommend rotini or farfalle)

Directions

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, and drain.

2. While pasta cooks, chop tomatoes, spinach, and basil.

3. Dice bell pepper and sauté in the olive oil for 2-4 minutes, or until tender

4. Dice chicken breasts into strips.

5. Stir together pasta, prepared vegetables, and chicken.

6. Combine balsamic vinaigrette, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to make a sauce/dressing to pour over pasta.

7. Stir dressing into pasta mix until dressing coats all pasta, vegetables, and chicken and all ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately, or chill an hour+  for flavors to really set in.

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This was absolutely delicious and is most definitely one of my new “go-to” summertime recipes! I served mine alongside a pretty awesome salad topped with feta and crushed almonds.

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Doesn’t get much more “summery” than a meal full of fresh fruits and veggies, served chilled on a warm Alabama night.

Let me know if you give the recipe a try. You’re gonna want to, I promise!

Linking up with Jenn at Peas and Crayons today for WIAW. Go check out all the goodness!

Let’s Chat…

1. What foods scream summer or warm weather to you?

2. What’s a new recipe you’ve tried recently?

3. Best thing you ate last week? For me…DEFINITELY that pasta!

 

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A MUST Around My Household

I don’t know about you, but there are certain grocery items that are a “must” around my household. For instance, if my husband is out of mayo, it ain’t a pretty sight around these parts, ya feel me?

In all seriousness though, he doesn’t put it on everything, but when he wants his mayo, he needs that mayo. Winking smile

The same can be said of me when I’m out of oats, or greens, or some type fresh produce. So, in order to keep things happy around here, when I make my weekly grocery trip there are a handful of items that I make sure to purchase, or at least make sure we’ve got enough on hand to last us through the week.

I’ve seen a few of these types of posts recently, and I enjoyed seeing and reading about the different items others keep on hand, so I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring and share, too.

A big thanks to Jenn for hosting yet another delicious WIAW party – you should definitely go check out the goodness!

I’m going to divide items into a few different categories: things I always have “just to be safe” (I don’t necessarily use these items every week, but always have them just in case I want to whip up a batch of cookies..or somethin’ Smile), items I typically always have in the pantry, in the fridge, and in the freezer.

Sooo…let’s hop to it!

“Just to be Safe” items I always make sure to have:

  • flour
  • sugar/brown sugar
  • baking soda/powder
  • butter
  • eggs

Photo Apr 29, 5 35 32 PM

Eggs from my mom’s hens. How pretty is that blue egg?!

  • bananas – because, honestly, who doesn’t eat a banana everyday (or every other day)?
  • condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayo, ranch, etc.
  • spices: ALL.THE.SPICES – y’all, our spice cabinet is out of control – so much so that they are now taking over a drawer too! But, what better way to add some variety to a meal than with a little seasonings?!

Items I typically always have in the PANTRY:

  • oatmeal
  • peanut butter (although, sometimes I like to put it in the fridge)
  • whole wheat bagels
  • sweet potatoes
  • dried pasta
  • rice/brown rice/quinoa
  • canned beans
  • canned tomatoes – diced/sauce/paste
  • olive oil
  • almonds/ trail mix
  • coffee
  • dark chocolate for me/ Reece’s Cups or some type of bite size goodies for John

Photo Apr 29, 5 39 49 PM Photo Apr 29, 5 34 49 PMPhoto Apr 29, 5 33 27 PM

In the REFRIGERATOR:

  • milk/almond milk
  • tomatoes/cherry tomatoes
  • spinach
  • whatever other produce is in season or on sale – peppers, asparagus, broccoli, snap peas, etc.
  • lettuce
  • deli turkey
  • hummus – because it goes on or with pretty much everything, ya know?
  • Mtn. Dew for the husband (I have my coffee, he has his Dew)
  • strawberries – or whatever is in season, love my fresh fruits!
  • cheese – parmesan, cheddar, mozzarella

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In the FREEZER:

  • meat that was on sale – I try to keep some type of frozen meat in the freezer to pull out if we’re in a pinch for dinner.
  • overripe bananas – what do you do with your overripe bananas? I usually toss ‘em in the freezer to use later on for smoothies or banana bread…mmm!
  • bread that was on sale – if there’s a sale on bread, pitas, etc. I usually buy it up and toss it in the freezer until I need it.
  • leftovers that will be great to grab and reheat on a night when we need something quick – I typically try to keep at least 1 “freezer meal” in the freezer for those inevitable nights when you really haven’t had half a second to put a thought toward dinner and you and your husband/family are staaaarrvvinng. We’ve all had those nights, right? Please tell me it isn’t just me!
  • baked fries for an easy side item when I’m uncreative or in a hurry

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I know that if I have most of these items in the house, I can usually whip up some type of a meal that will be pretty quick and relatively healthy. There’s nothing worse than having a busy day, eating crap for dinner, and going to bed feeling completely exhausted and icky! Plus, I want to keep my little family healthy – which of course, means a balance of greens, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and treats!

I think that about covers it, which means I probably left something out. Winking smile

Let’s chat…

1. I’m interested to know…what do you usually always have in your pantry? fridge? freezer?

2. What do I need to add to my list of “staples?”

3. What’s your favorite, easiest dinner to whip up with ingredients you have at home and time is short?

WYAW–What YOU Ate Wednesday

Hi friends! Have I mentioned recently how thankful I am for all of you? I love interacting with you on a daily basis. Y’all are amazing!

So, as I’ve mentioned, I tend to eat the same foods for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and even dinners. So, being as I’m short on time today, AND the fact that I need some food inspiration, instead of a normal WIAW post, I want to know what YOU ate. So, perhaps I should call this a WYAW (What YOU ate Wednesday) post. <—Thanks for hosting the party again this week, Jen!

Below are the foods I normally seem to eat day in and day out. So, please, help a sister out and give me suggestions – what did YOU eat for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner? What are some of YOUR favorite foods? I know I can count on you to give me some suggestions for changing things up. Smile

Breakfasts – usually oats, PB, and berries.

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Lunches – whole wheat bagel, hummus, turkey, lettuce, tomato, served with triscuits and a cookie

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Snacks: Typically a Luna bar for an afternoon snack and a heaping handful of trail mix for a nighttime snack.

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Dinner – Guacamole chicken salad pitas served with roasted sweet potatoes (I can’t seem to get enough of this! Mmmm!) This is definitely one of my favorite meals in my tiny  rather small dinner meal rotation.

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Alright…suggestions, please?! Ready, go! Open-mouthed smile

Let’s chat…

1. Obviously – Give me suggestions for changing things up!

2. What is one food/meal that you seem to eat over and over?

3. What was the best thing you ate this past week? For me, it’s definitely my guacamole chicken salad!

Some Old, Some New–WIAW {4/16/14}

I don’t know about you, but I’m super glad today is Wednesday! I swear, all day yesterday I kept thinking today was going to be Thursday.

Hopefully you all got your taxes mailed off before yesterday! I literally had to run to the post office on Monday while my class was at PE to mail off one last form that John needed mailed. He started his own corporation this past summer, and needed to send off some paperwork dealing with that. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?!

Anyway, since today really is Wednesday, it’s time to share some eats from this past week in another edition of WIAW. If you’re unsure what What I Ate Wednesday is all about, check it out here. Jenn started this weekly get together so we can share recipes, meal ideas, and snacks. It is NOT meant as a way to compare your eats to others.

Breakfast

Breakfasts have remained the same. I cook up some oats, top them with a tablespoon or 2 of peanut butter, and stir in a freaking ton a hefty dose of sliced strawberries. Of course, there’s always coffee too, but that goes without saying. Winking smile

Photo Apr 08, 7 50 55 AM

Recycled photo – but I promise, it looked the same.

Lunch

Nothing much changed in the lunch department this week either – same ole thang.

I know I said I was going to challenge myself more in this area, but you guys, I’ve been so.tired recently, that I’m just doing what’s quick and easy. Since I can make this lunch on autopilot, I’ve just been going with it: whole wheat bagel, topped with hummus, deli turkey, lettuce, and tomatoes, eaten with triscuits, and a dark chocolate chip cookie. Simple. Delicious. A win in my book!

Photo Apr 12, 11 40 49 AM

Snack

I changed it up a bit this week. Instead of my beloved Luna Bar, I went with a chocolate brownie Clif Bar. So good! I knew I needed to add in a more calories to my day. I had this bar on hand and know it’s a little more calorie dense than the Luna bar, so I decided to give it a go. Pretty darn delicious!

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Dinner

I had an epic dinner fail due to some poor planning on my part. But, I rebounded pretty well, if I do say so myself!

I’d planned on making a new-to-me recipe, Courtney’s Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers. Well, I neglected to realize that they needed to cook on HIGH in the crockpot for 5-6 hours. Seeing as I don’t ever get home from work before 4pm, and would rather NOT eat dinner at 9 or 10pm (I’d actually like to be in bed then!), I had to improvise.

While I was bummed about not having the stuffed peppers, I decided to see if I could replicate the taste and texture on the stove top. Instead of stuffing the peppers with diced onions, diced tomatoes, and ground turkey, I cooked all the “insides” of the stuffed peppers in a skillet on the stove. I then diced up the peppers and tossed them in the skillet along with the other ingredients.

Photo Apr 15, 7 41 53 PM  Photo Apr 15, 7 59 39 PM

I served the mixture on top of rice, instead of having the rice inside of the peppers, along with the other ingredients. I must say, while it wasn’t a stuffed pepper, I was delightfully pleased with the outcome!

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I also had a salad topped with slivered almonds, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Snack

For a few extra needed calories, I had a snack before bed of a handful (or 3) of trail mix.

And that, friends was my day of eats. A few new items mixed with some of my favorite go-to’s.

Let’s Chat…

1. What’s something NEW you’ve tried this week?

2. What are some of your go-to meals and snacks?

Accountability and an Extra Delicious Dinner

It’s another wonderful Wednesday around here! I like Wednesdays since it means we’re now on the “downside” of the week, coasting into the weekend. Smile

Yesterday was another pretty normal day of eats. I tend to get repetitive with my meals and snacks – especially on weekdays when things are more hectic. On one hand, it’s great because on those crazy days when I don’t have any brain power left, I don’t have to think about what to pack for lunches or snacks. I just pack what I have on hand, and what I  normally take.

However, on the other hand, I think it can be harmful for me. Since I have a history of disordered eating, and in fact still definitely consider myself in recovery, eating repetitive meals and snacks lets me stay in my “safe zone”. It allows me to remain comfortable, and doesn’t challenge various “food fears” that I may have.

That said, I DO plan to begin to challenge myself more – especially with lunches and snacks. However, today’s WIAW doesn’t showcase any challenges. Soon enough though, and I need you guys to keep me accountable!

Enough talking, let’s hop to it. I’m featuring my eats from Tuesday – a pretty normal day overall, with an extra delicious dinner!

Breakfast7:45am

This week I have morning duty at school, meaning I have to be in my designated position at 7am in order to supervise kids before they’re allowed in their classrooms at 7:45. Yes, some kids really do get there at 7am. Crazy, right?! Since I was busy “supervising” I didn’t have a chance to eat my pre-made breakfast until a little later. Needless to say, after being awake since 5am, I was about to eat my arm off! I learned my lesson. I will be grabbing something to nibble, pre-breakfast, from here on out.

Photo Apr 08, 7 50 55 AM

Lunch – 12:11 (yes, that’s correct, 12:11)

Oh the joys of school lunch. 22 minutes, and not a minute longer… Needless to say, I’m good at shoving my lunch down quickly. Since I couldn’t really whip out my camera at the lunch table with my kiddos, you’ll have to use your imagination and this recycled photo. It was pretty much exactly the same. But in Tupperware and plastic baggies.

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Snack – 4pm

Obviously I was too hungry to take a picture pre-snack. Winking smile Scarfed down my favorite Luna Bar to tide me over, and because I needed a few extra calories.

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Dinner – 7:30

Oh my, it was a delicious one! I’ve made this chicken salad a handful of times recently and I cannot get enough. It is so delicious! I served the chicken salad in a whole wheat pita alongside some roasted sweet potatoes that I seasoned with season-all, cumin, and chili powder (don’t knock it until you try it!).

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I’m not a mayo lover, and never have been. And that’s one reason that I love this chicken salad. It’s also so fresh, which is exactly what I always seem to crave this time of the year. Since I’ve been loving this chicken salad so much, I thought I’d share the recipe with you!

Healthy Guacamole Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 cups shredded chicken

– 2 roma tomatoes (or about 1- 1 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes)

– 1 6 oz. container of plain greek yogurt

– 3 tablespoons guacamole

– garlic powder to taste

1. Shred your chicken and set aside.

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2. Dice up 2 of these bad boys.

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3. Add in greek yogurt yogurt, guacamole, and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

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4. Let it sit in the refrigerator until chilled. Serve up and enjoy!

I think this would also be delicious on toasted bread, as a sandwich, or served atop a bed of romaine or spinach.

Snack – 9pm

I ended my day with a little bedtime snack of trail mix, which consisted of a mix of almonds, cashews, and craisins.

It was certainly a great day of eats! Smile

Let’s Chat…

1. Do you have any “fear foods”?

2. What’s the most recent, delicious thing you’ve made?

Spring Break WIAW

Good morning friends! It is a beautiful day here today, just cold. Boo! I can’t believe it’s the last week in March and we had freezing temps last night. I know lots of you up north even got snow. I am SO ready for warmer weather to be here to stay!

Since today is Wednesday, that means it’s time for What I ate Wednesday Tuesday. (Thanks Jenn for hosting!) Y’all, let me be honest for a second, I’m horrible at remembering to take pictures of my meals. I have good intentions, but I must just get too excited about digging in and chowing down. Ah well…maybe one of these days… Winking smile

Breakfast – 8:15am

Breakfast was a bowl of oats, topped with peanut butter and strawberries. Boring, maybe. Delicious, definitely!

After my food settled, I did this workout from Danica. It’s a good one!

Full Body At-Home Bodyweight Workout - in less than 25 minutes - quick & effective..jpg

I also completed a 35 minute pilates and cardio workout via fitnessblender.com. Fitness Blender is a GREAT resource for at-home workouts. Most of them require little to no equipment. Perfect for someone like me who doesn’t have a gym membership and relies on home workouts.

Lunch 12:40 pm

Lunch was an open faced whole wheat bagel. I topped it with regular hummus, turkey, lettuce, and tomato slices – with lots of salt and peppa! I served it with mini triscuits (why are bite sized foods so much better? ) and a dark chocolate and oatmeal cookie for dessert.

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Following lunch, I had the itch to get out of the house. I didn’t really have any intention of buying anything, but just wanted to get out and walk around. One of my favorite places to browse is TJ Maxx. Well, wouldn’t ya know I found some things I just couldn’t live without (catch my sarcasm there?).

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I fell in LOVE with these throw pillows for our couch. I’ve had my eye out for some new pillows for a while now, and when I saw these, I knew I couldn’t pass them up! I love how they turned out!

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Please excuse the lighting. I also purchased 2 more (of the same ) pillows for the loveseat.

Snack 4:05 pm

Aint nothing changed here! Still loving my chocolate dipped coconut Luna Bar (unpictured).

Following my snack, I had the itch to do some baking. My go-to when I want to bake, but don’t want to make a huge mess in the kitchen? Homemade chocolate chip cookies. So simple, yet so delicious. They’re John’s absolute favorite and the guys at his office love them too, so I knew I’d have no problem finding something to do with them. The 2 of us have a hard time polishing off 4 dozen cookies. Winking smile

Dinner 7:45 pm

I tried a new recipe last night for dinner. How delicious does this sound…Pizza-esque Tomato Basil Quinoa Casserole?! Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I didn’t take any pictures. However, I will hook you up with some pictures from feastie.com’s website. This dish was seriously delicious.

source

While I didn’t snap a picture of the finished dish, I DID get a picture of these ridiculously huge grape tomatoes. Have you ever seen such?!

I also had a side salad topped with feta cheese, crushed almonds, and Newman’s Own balsamic vinaigrette.

Snack 9:20 pm

I had a handful of Publix’s Cranberry Nut Organic trail mix for a snack. Delicious!

On today’s agenda…

My mom and sister are driving down for the day. We’re going to re-do and makeover a china cabinet/hutch that my mom found for super cheap. I’m SO excited! I found a few pictures on pinterest that I like! I’m hoping ours will turn out something like these.

hutch by croskelley, via Flickr    painted china cabinet images - Google Search  Modern Cottage Painted China Cabinet. $775.00, via Etsy.

I’ll keep you updated as to how it turns out! On that note, I’d better get going!

Let’s Chat…

1. What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

2. Have you ever refinished a piece of furniture?

What’s in my Fridge and Pantry {WIAW 3/19/14}

Happy Hump Day!

Today, I’m going to put a little twist on WIAW. Since my meals – especially breakfast, lunch, and snacks – are relatively the same on weekdays, I didn’t want to bore you. So, today is going to be “What’s in My Fridge and Pantry Wednesday.” Smile

Please excuse the messiness you’re about to witness. But come on, who’s refrigerator is neat 100% of the time? Definitely not mine!

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First up… lots of strawberries (can you say sale?), the husbands gatorade, and all his left over salsas from when he picked up Moe’s the other night. Think he went a little overboard?! Ha!

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Next up, some eggs…side note – my mom gave me that cute egg holder and I LOVE it! I like that I can see how many eggs I have left. We’ve also got some defrosted chicken tenderloins and the husband’s breakfast that the can grab, heat up, and go in the mornings (egg and bacon biscuits).

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So, my husband drinks soft drinks. It looks like he drinks them all the time. In reality, he probably does have 1 a day. BUT, you know what, we all have our “unhealthy” habits. Coffee all.the.time. anyone?

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In the veggie drawer… lettuce, tomatoes, miniature sweet bell peppers, hummus, and feta cheese.

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In the door we’ve got some milk, lots of condiments, and my Crystal Light mix. I love drinking this stuff! Like I said, we all have our habits that aren’t the healthiest.

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Another shelf in the door…my husband loves his sauces and condiments. It’s actually quite humorous! (Are you seeing a common theme in my fridge? Winking smile)

Moving onto the Pantry…

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Here’s the good stuff…oats, sweet potatoes, whole wheat bagels, trail mix, peanut butter, and a box of Luna bars hiding in the back.

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We’ve also got some whole wheat pasta, grits, and store brand Bisquick.

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And finally, some canned goods such as chicken broth, soup that the husband bought one day and has never eaten (gotta love lugging him to the grocery store!), some break crumbs hiding back there, and my favorite Kashi dark chocolate and oats cookies.

While it’s always fun to peek inside the lives of others (or is that just me? Winking smile), my purpose for sharing what’s in my fridge and pantry is to show that we’re not all perfect. I don’t eat 100% clean 100% of the time, nor do I claim to. I do what I can, budget, and time allowing.

There are some days when no matter how well I plan or how much I try, a home-cooked meal prepared with fresh, local veggies and organic meat just isn’t going to happen because I’m tired, something else came up, etc. There are also budgetary constraints. Let’s be real…it can be expensive to eat “healthy.” And by healthy I mean, generally eating lots of fruits, veggies, whole wheat breads, and those types of things. It’s much cheaper to buy the foods full of preservatives and other manufactured ingredients. While I TRY to stay away from these things most of the time, sometimes my budget just doesn’t allow wiggle room. So, at times, I do go with, for example, the pre-packaged frozen meats. And you know what, that’s ok. Boy, I’d hate to look back at some of the things I ate growing up! I survived then, and I think I’ll be fine now too. 

And you know what? Sometimes, dad-gum-it, a can of soup (FULL preservatives, sodium, and all that good stuff) and a piece of buttered WHITE toast is totally where it’s at and what my taste buds want. And, there’s nothing wrong with that! As with everything, it’s all about moderation! I do what I can for my health and the health of my husband, and don’t “sweat the small stuff.”

Let’s Chat…

1. What are some things currently in your fridge or pantry?

2. What’s your view on buying organic, local, etc.? Like I said, I try to buy those things if budget allows and they’re available, but if it no, no biggie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ion.