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A Lesson On Why You Should Buy Organic Corn & A Corn Chowder Recipe|| Dairy-Free, Organic Corn, Non-GMO

We have a restaurant here in town that has really great corn chowder. It is velvety & has just a little kick from the spice. My husband gets it every time we go to dinner there. Years ago, in an attempt to recreate it, I came up with the original recipe for corn & potato chowder. It was very good. Creamy. Velvety. Sweet. A little spicy. All the things it should have been…but I used conventional creamed corn & dairy. 

Dairy Free Corn & Potato Chowder || Honey Flavored Lemonade

Why is conventional (non-organic) corn so bad? Conventional corn is one of the biggest GMO crops there is. A company named, Monsanto, has made it so that the corn most people eat isn’t actually food but a chemical concoction of what corn used to be. Here’s a little further GMO eduction for you…did you know that you can not paten food? You can not put a paten on something from nature, something that grows in nature (a plant, animal, etc). If you didn’t create it, you can’t paten it. BUT Monsanto has patented their corn crop/seeds. They have made it illegal for farmers to save seeds & replant the next year claiming paten infringement, meaning farmers have to purchase seeds every single growing season. So what makes this alien crop so different from the corn the good Lord created? RoundUp! Yes, RoundUp! That round up you use to kill weeds in your garden or weeds popping up along your walkway. This company has genetically engineered (GMO- genetically modified organism) the round up chemical into their corn to make their corn pest resistant. If you are looking for a first step into buying organic, buy the organic options for the major GMO crops/products (Non-GMO Project has great information to help). Oddly enough…when I did a search for the list of the GMO crops…Monosanto was the #1 result in the search bar. Hmmmmm! Please don’t fall for their propaganda or their commerical on tv, they are not what they appear to be. Ok….rant over…now onto the recipe. 

**If you would like more information on GMO crops & why they are so bad check out the Food Babe- Vani Hari. She has a ton of information on not just GMO but what is hiding in our food. I do caution you though to start slow, it can be incredibly overwhelming to begin looking into food & food production. If you want a better idea on where to start & just want to get your toes wet…watch Food, Inc. That is where I started. 

Ok….rant over…now onto the recipe. 

Organic Dairy Free Corn & Potato Chowder || Honey Flavored Lemonade

This recipe uses just a few ingredients (corn, potatoes, olive oil, & vegetable broth) & a couple of spices (salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, dill) & that is it. It is super simple. Only one pot & a food processor or blender get dirty. Perfect for a cool winter or fall night or that perfect rainy summer night that you just want something comforting. It is creamy, velvety, smooth, & super filling. I absolutely love this recipe. 

Dairy Free Corn & Potato Chowder
A creamy, velvety, & dairy free versiion of a southern favorite.
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  1. 2 tble olive oil
  2. 1/2 onion, diced
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp pepper
  5. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  6. 20 oz frozen, organic corn
  7. 1 cup vegetable broth
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  9. 1/2 tsp salt
  10. 1/2 tsp pepper
  11. 1/4 tsp dill
  12. 1 can new potatoes, drained & diced
  13. 2 tsp honey
  1. Add olive oil to a large pot, followed by onion, salt, & pepper.
  2. Sauté for a few minutes until onion just starts to turn translucent (about 3-5 minutes). Add in garlic & stir.
  3. As soon as you can smell the garlic (about a minute), add corn & stir to combine. (Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, if the garlic starts to brown, add corn & immediately turn down the heat. Stirring continuously for a few minutes.
  4. Sauté for about 5 minutes to allow corn to unthaw, add remaining ingredients & allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes. Stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.
  5. Remove from heat & add about 1/2 of the mixture to a food processor or blender & blend** until smooth. This is what creates the creaminess of the chowder.
  6. Add blended mixture back to pot & stir to combine.
  7. Serve hot.
  1. **hot liquids expand & steam can cause the lid to shoot out of the blender or processor. Make sure to hold the lid of the processor/blender on with a kitchen towel covering your hand. Very slowly pulse the mixture as the steam releases. After 5-10 pulses, the mixture should be cool enough to blend.
Honey Flavored Lemonade
 I would love to hear your review on the chowder. Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or just leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. 



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Losing The Baby Weight With Real Food & No Exercise || Healthy Living

I want to take you through my weight/health journey over the past few years. Before I do, I want to preface with this soapbox moment: 

it is not all about the numbers!!!!!!!!!! 

Don’t ever let the number on a scale or even the size of your jeans dictate your worth, health, beauty, or anything else about yourself. You are MUCH more than those numbers will ever be. God did not create you or me or anyone else in the image of a number. He created you, me, & everyone else in HIS image & that makes us all a beautiful & wonderful creation of God. Hallelujah! 

heart stings

sidebar: I am an incredibly candid person. I don’t mind sharing details -like my actual weight- with people. It has never bothered me because I realize that those numbers have more to do with body composition than “fat”. Muscle, bones, liquids, fat, etc all has a weight associated with it, so the amount of each determines your scale numbers. I am putting my story out there because I believe that in order to do what I do, write about what I do, & teach about what I do, I have to live what I do & I have to be completely honest about my own life & habits. 

I have wanted to share this story for a while & I will get to why, but first….my weight loss/gain/loss/gain story & a few pictures to prove it. 

I have always weighed a little more than most woman I knew that where my size, but I was also a lot more muscular than most woman I knew. Working through college as a personal trainer & fitness instructor tends to do that to a woman. I was always pretty comfortable with myself. Of course I had my days, but I was okay with weighing a little more. That was until I started working full-time during the day, going to school full-time at night, & having a photography business on the side, my weight started to creep up a bit. Over the course of two years of doing that I gained 23 pounds landing me at 173 pounds (I tried to find a picture from around that time but didn’t). I remember that weight so specifically because it was how much I weighed at my first OB appointment after finding out I was pregnant with my son. The picture below was one of the first “belly” pictures I took at 20 weeks (so half way through). 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise


I didn’t go crazy during my pregnancy, but I realize now I did develop some really bad habits. After two years of working & going to school full-time while having a business on the side, we where eating out a lot more than we should have. For years, I didn’t drink coke or eat french fries, but for some reason when I was pregnant those where my two cravings. I had them multiple times a week. I also had a desk job. Those factors did not help my weight gain. By the time I had my son, I weighed 235+ pounds. I gained 62 pounds that I knew of  [I stopped looking at the scale at the dr’s office after I gained 40 pounds, but accidentally caught a glimpse during one of my last 4 appointments]. 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(235+ pounds. The morning I had my son)


Like most moms, my focus wasn’t on myself but on my son. So I didn’t really pay too much attention to my weight or anything like that until we had our first family pictures done when my son was 9 months old. 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(9 months after giving birth- around 190 pounds)

It was within the next 6 months that our lives began to change when our son was diagnosed with food allergies. I was learning so much about food & our food system that it changed me from the inside out. Without even trying (I’m not kidding I did not workout…I didn’t have time & when I did have the time, I didn’t have the energy to workout. I may have snuck in a workout here & there but it was nothing more than 20-30 minutes & probably only a few times a month). By the time the next spring rolled around, I was down a size to a 12 & weighed around 170-175 pounds- back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(sorry, this is a phone picture from Facebook on Mother’s Day)


I changed my diet to closely mimic my son’s & it was around this time that I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. By this point my diet had changed completely. I was mostly organic & had seriously cut down on processed food & eating out.  I had cut out almost all dairy (I kept milk for cereal & lattes) & almost all bread because my son couldn’t have wheat & I didn’t care for the alternatives. I started making a lot of stuff at home instead of buying it or buying pre-made (boxed cookies, cakes, etc). I was also adding in a ton of fruits, vegetables, ancient grains, dairy alternatives like almond milk, & cutting back on meat. 

By the time my first OB appointment rolled around, I was down to about 165 pounds & just starting to show. 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(11 weeks along with pregnancy #2- about 165 pounds)


My weight gain during this pregnancy was totally different from my first & I felt so much better, which was good because I was chasing around a toddler the whole time- which was the majority of my exercise. I did exercise a little bit more consistently during this pregnancy, maybe once or twice a week, but it was to slow down the weight gain & try to keep the aches & pains at bay. I gained much slower this time & by the time birth day had rolled around I had only gained 35 pounds as opposed to 62+. 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(200 pounds- The morning I had my daughter)


Trying to go with the theme of pictures, I am going to fast forward through the next year. My diet continued to evolve & I had continued to cut out more processed foods, add in more organic ones, switch to different kinds of grains, cut out fast food, & cut out soda & Starbucks (an ongoing struggle for me). By the time my daughter’s first birthday rolled around I was down to 145 pounds. I was 145 pounds the day I got married. 

Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(Baby girl’s 1st birthday- 145 pounds)


Lossing the Baby Weight with Real Food & No Exercise

(Since the last picture wasn’t a great representation, I wanted to include one where you could see me a little better. These were taken just a few weeks apart)


In March, I challenged myself (& therefore my family) to eat out as little as possible; we where eating out maybe once or twice a week. I wanted to see how big of an effect it would have on our budget, but it ended up having a huge effect on my weight. I lost another 10ish pounds & weigh less today than I did when I was 19 & teaching 9 aerobics classes a week. I also started doing about 20 minutes of yoga in the mornings a few times a week & drinking a lot more water. 

My purpose of this post is very cut & dry. I want you to see what a major effect food & the source & quality of your food has on your weight. Rather than just giving you my numbers, I wanted to walk you through my journey because, yes, two babies did make me gain weight, but it was my change to real food, whole food that allowed me to lose the weight. 

Back when I was training/instructing, I would tell people, the way you look is 20% what you do & 80% what you eat. I can honestly say I didn’t believe until I started to look back on my journey over the last few years. I will admit this was in no way easy. For us, it was more about preserving our son’s health than anything, but it became a way to preserve & increase the quality of life for all four of us. Be on the lookout for posts to help you start this journey to whole food. My greatest desire is to help people & the number one question people have is how to start. 

Stay tuned, but chew on this….

Our neighbor has a sign in his garage that I think applies perfectly to weightless/healthy living…

“you can choose 2 of 3 options: Good, Quick, or Cheap: if it is good & quick, it won’t be cheap. If it is good & cheap, it won’t be quick. If it is cheap & quick, it won’t be good”. Remember that when you think about fad diets or quick weightloss, if it is cheap or quick it probably won’t last. 


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Weekly Round Up- Toddler Meals || Whole Food, Real Food

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I have posted before as to why I don’t get around to taking too many toddler meal pictures. Simple fact is…I don’t get to plate them; the meal is usually just thrown on the high chair tray. As of lately, it is thrown on the tray while my fingers are crossed that she will eat it. Miss A is becoming quite the finicky eater…errggh toddlers. These meals are actually pretty normal meals for her & well-rounded at that.

Our challenge with meals outside of the finickiness is that Miss A is in this stage of one meal she wants to feed herself & the next wants you to feed her. She also likes to eat what I am eating. Those have made it challenging to get her to eat but also to find things that she can eat herself. I haven’t been able to get her to eat yogurt, applesauce, or anything that requires me to feed her most of the time; so to say the beginnings of toddler life are a difficult time period for eating is probably a good blanket statement for most families. 

Toddler Meals

Clementines & Organic Grilled Chicken- I can’t give her citrus or acidic food very often because she gets diaper rash very quickly. I think this is about half of a clementine & then about a quarter of a chicken breast that I cut into small pieces & then smashed, between my fingers, as I gave it to her.

Toddler Meals 4

Black Beans & Organic Corn, Organic Mexican Chicken, & Avocados- This meal was a hit. She loves avocados & chicken (really she likes any meat; I have yet to see a meat that she hasn’t devoured). The beans & corn are flavored with a little cumin & cilantro & I think where used in burritos for my husband & I. 

Toddler Meals 3

Organic American Cheese, Organic Strawberries, & Avocados- I try to give A mostly plant-based meals. I like to know that she is getting the majority of her nutrition from plants (fruits, nuts, vegetables, seeds) & then I try to accompany it with organic meat & dairy about once a day. I am not of the mind-set at all that my kids need meat at every meal, as long as they have some source of protein, carbohydrates, & fiber…I am happy. 

Weekly Round Up || Toddler Meals || Honey Flavored Lemonade

Vegetable Beef Soup- She LOVED this soup. I personally think that variety of tastes & textures what a big hit with her. This has organic beef, green beans, new potatoes (I use canned potatoes because I can’t touch raw potatoes. Unfortuately, I have yet to find organic ones), organic crushed tomatoes, onions, organic green peas, garlic, & organic corn. This is a good recipe because most of it comes from canned vegetables or frozen vegetables. Good pantry staple meal.

Toddler meals around our house are much different from kid meals because A isn’t allergic to anything that we know of; so where her brother is wheat-free, egg-free, cow’s milk-free, soy-free, & peanut-free, A doesn’t have any restrictions other than having only a few teeth. However, I am very picky about what she eats. I try to avoid the Top 8 allergens based solely on our family history of allergies, but when she does eat them, they are from trustworthy, organic sources. She eats mostly plant-based & may or may not get a meat everyday. Although, I have learned this girl loves cheese; cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk…it doesn’t matter. If it is cheese she will eat it. I try hard to give her whole grains & lot of fruits & veggies. As the moment, she is going through a stage where she only wants milk (her version of milk is plain almond milk just like brother). I am going to try smoothies with her when I replace the blender that broke. 

Have a question or comment or want to share your toddler meals? Connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You can also leave a little comment love below!


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A fun Giveaway || Honest Company

Honest Disclaimer 

First of all, please excuse my absence last week. One of the hard parts about working from home is that everything stops when one of the kids is down. I took a break on Monday, fully anticipating picking back up on Wednesday; unfortunately, I had no clue the 3-year-old would wake up that morning & get sick all over our bed…he didn’t make it to school. But he wasn’t sick enough for me to sneak in a post. Thursday we were out of the house all day & friday, I needed to catch up from the week. LOL! That’s really the life of a parent huh? The whole world stops & everything gets pushed aside when one of the littles gets sick. Anyway, I am back to working/writing this week & I have a super fun announcement for you.

Over the weekend, The Honest Company  sent me one of their sample  Essentials Bundle  & rather than keep it for myself, I am giving it away. I want to pass on why I LOVE these products so much. There are a ton of reasons why I like the Honest Co, but the fact that they are baby/child friendly, super gentle, & don’t aggervate my kids skin or respiratory systems are at the top of my list. I have had so many positive expereiences with them, that I have to pass it on to all of you. 

Honest Giveaway || Honey Flavored Lemonade

This particular home essentials bundle has some of my absolute favorite products. Every person I know that has a baby is gifted with the Healing Balm- you can use it for anything…diaper rash, cuts/scrapes, chapped lips or cheeks, skin issues, etc. I exclusively use the Shampoo/Body Wash combo & Lotion on my kids (I even wrote about any experience with the lotion here), I even use the body wash to take my makeup off, it is that gentle & smells so good. 

To enter the giveaway is simple:

1. Follow me on Instagram & “like” the giveaway post

2. Comment below the post, telling me what Honest Co product you would love to try. 

3. For extra entries you can tag a friend; for another entry repost & then go back to the original post & tell me you reposted 

***make sure all your entry comments or tags are done separately so that they each count. The giveaway closes on Friday & I will announce the winner Friday evening. 

Honest Giveaway

Take a minute & check out the The Honest Companythen head over to Instagram to enter the giveaway. 



***winner must repond within 24 hours of announcment or another winner will be chosen. Winner will be asked to email shipping information within 24 hours. No shipping charges will be applicable. Winner must live in United States. 

Keisha HillApril 1, 2015 - 9:26 pm

I’ve never tried anything by The Honest Company, but I’d love to try out their hand santizer! 3 of the 5 of us are allergic to traditional hand sanitizers, which is unfortunate. Sometimes you just need it! A good lotion would be wonderful too!

Keisha HillApril 1, 2015 - 9:27 pm

I shared your giveaway on my fb page :)

marissa.dodgen@yahoo.comApril 6, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Thank you Keisha!

marissa.dodgen@yahoo.comApril 6, 2015 - 4:33 pm

Keisha it is wonderful & smells so good & clean. Doesn’t have that alcohol smell the others do. They also have two choices for sanitizes: there is a spray- which is great for shopping carts, handles, door knobs, & just overall gross places- & there is a tranditional rub-on sanitizer.

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Weekly Round Up- My Meals || Whole Food, Real Food

One of my favorite things about bloggers, is when they post things about their day-to-day life. I love that personal perspective (which is probably why I LOVE Instagram so much). With the Weekly Round Up, I like to give a glimpse into meals from our day-to-day life. So far it has just been my son’s meals, but I realize that would get boring. So today’s Weekly Round Up is my meals.

Now before we proceed, I couldn’t believe how many times I forgot to take a picture of what I ate before I ate it, lol. So please excuse the not so great picture quality this week, when I remembered I just took a picture with whatever was close, which usually my phone. I did remember to take a few pictures before devouring my food a few times though. This, also, is not from the same day. It has literally taken all week to get all my meals & snacks in pictures, but it is still a good glimpse of how I eat. 
Weekly Round Up- my meals starbucks breakfast

I could have easily left out the not-so-great parts of my diet, but you develop trust in honesty, so I’m showing you one of my vices & KIR… keeping it real! Starbucks. I have tried to kick this habit so many times, I can’t even count, but I just can’t. I am fully aware that it is all kinds of bad for me. I know that it is not in any way shape or form a whole food drink. But it is one of the very few areas in my life, I have not been able to make over. We all have them, so just KIR. This was Monday morning. I grabbed my drink after dropping off my son at school & came home to write. I come home, lay the baby down for her nap, & jump right on my computer & start working. Usually, I don’t eat breakfast, I eat brunch. I don’t normally carve out time in the morning to eat unless I am starving. 

a proper, but light breakfast for the Weekly Round Up

Starving was the case this morning. My stomach was growling when a certain 3-year-old climbed into my bed at 5:30am (I’m guessing! I refused to look at the clock). I am not a big breakfast person. I don’t like to eat heavy in the morning, so when I do eat first thing it is usually a bowl of cereal, fruit, or a smoothie when my blender isn’t broken. Since my kids eat bananas like monkeys in a zoo, they are always around. I ate the banana while scrolling through Instagram & finished it off with one of my favorite morning drinks (FYI: I usually only get Starbucks when I run out of this). Califia Farms makes some amazing cold-brew, almond milk coffee. So yummy & so much better for you. The ingredient list is super short & it is a non-GMO product which I really like. This morning I was drinking the Mocha one. 

Weekly Round Up || My Meals|| Honey Flavored Lemonade

While we are on the subject of breakfast, one thing I have been trying to do lately at the urging of a friend, was to start drinking warm lemon water (I haven’t brought myself to add cayenne pepper yet). I drink this first thing in the morning after waking up. I do it before yoga & my bible study. I warm the water up in the microwave (yes…I own a microwave {{{gasp}}}) & then add a little honey & a slice of lemon. I just kind of down this & go on with my day. I can’t say that I enjoy it, but I do like knowing that there are all kinds of benefits to drinking water first thing in the morning & lemon too. My friend over at Thrive To Live wrote a good article about it a few weeks ago, check it out here.

Weekly Round Up || My Meals || Whole Food

Because I actually ate breakfast this morning, I was already hungry come mid-morning [eating breakfast first thing in the morning breaks the fast your body has been on through out the night. If you are trying to lose or maintain weight, start with breakfast. It gives your metabolism a boost & it burns calories better through out the rest of the day, which is why it is said to be the most important meal of the day]. In the food world, especially the whole food world, there has been a ton of talk lately about avocado toast. So this morning, I decided to give it a try since we had half an avocado in the fridge. We don’t own a toaster, so I stuck my sprouted honey-wheat bread under the broiler for about 30 seconds on one side & then flipped it over for another 30 seconds. I spread half of the half of avocado over the toast, added a little freshly cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes & a squeeze of lime juice & put it back under the broiler for about 30-40 seconds. I actually sat there with the oven cracked open & watched it so it didn’t burn. The result: I am in love. I see why people like it so much…yum! It is yummy & buttery & feels kinda of decadent, but isn’t at all. 


Weekly Round Up || My Meals || Real Food, Whole Food

This was a brunch/lunch meal while I waited for an Amy’s Broccoli & Cheddar bowl to cook (I ate the entire thing before I remembered to take a pic…whoops!). This is an everything salad (meaning I just put everything I can think of in it) from dinner the night before with organic, balsamic vinaigrette on the top. This was another meal eaten at my desk. Looking at the picture makes me want another one too! 


Weekly Round Up || My Meals|| Real Food, Whole Food

Weekly Round Up || My Meals || Real Food, Whole Food

These are both dinners from earlier this week. If you follow me on Instagram, you will recognize one of these from earlier this week. I am firm believer (although my belief is a converted one) that dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. The first picture is two grilled cheese sandwiches (sprouted wheat bread with Earth Balance spread & organic american cheese, cooked on the George Foreman grill) & steamed asparagus. My husband had a Panini with turkey & bacon that night in case you where wondering. The second picture is Wednesday night’s meal. A roasted chicken breast with roasted broccoli & asparagus. That whole meal didn’t even take 30 minutes to prepare & it is all done in the oven. So easy & quick. 

So that’s it for this week. Maybe next time, I will be able to get it all done in one day, lol! Did you like this post? Let me know here or over on Instagram. I post my meals more frequently over there. If you like this, check out these “What I Ate” posts from Thrive To Live, Detoxinista, & Against All Grain





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