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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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What Makes Food Allergies So Difficult? || Food Allergies

When I think about food allergies, I think about a lot; the way life changes, the constant observation, and questions that come with every little spot on our son’s face or belly, or it could be the frustration & anxiety that food brings. Through all of that & more, 3 words pop into my head each time… tough, confusing, & expensive. That’s exactly what a food allergy is, especially multiple food allergies. Tough. Confusing. Expensive.


Why tough? Tough because dealing with food allergies (in our case with a preschooler) is an ongoing battle to find clean foods he can eat that eliminate all his allergens, & in some cases, potential allergens. It’s tough because food is such a big part of our lives. Parties, birthdays, anniversaries, & holidays all revolve around, or in some part involve, food. Our son has only gone to a handful of birthday parties & a few holiday parties at school & every time we have to take special food for him. At 3 years old, he doesn’t quite understand that the colorful cake everyone else is eating will make him very sick. So rather than risk him having a reaction, many times we don’t let him go. It’s a hard choice, a tough choice, but another in a series of many.

allergy postallergy post 2


Have you ever read a food label? Do you know there are multiple names for milk or eggs? If so, you know exactly why those labels are so confusing. I sure didn’t know all that when I was handed a stack of papers cataloging all the names I needed to look out for after his diagnosis. Here’s an example of some of the names that are used: 
Milk: also known as casein, caseinates, ghee, hydrolysates, whey, lactalbumin, lactose, lactolose, renent….& that’s the short list.
Eggs: albumin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovovitellin, sillici, albuminate, vitelin.
Soy: miso, natto, okara, tamari, tempeh, tofu, yuba,
Wheat: bran, bulgar, couscous, durum, flour, germ, graham, malt, matzo, triticum, semolina, spelt, tabbouleh, vital gluten.
Peanuts: arachic oil, beer nuts, earth nuts, goober peas, ground nuts, hypogaeic acid, monkey nuts.
Tree Nuts: almond, brazil, cashew, coconut, hazelnut, hickory, macadamia, pecan, pine nut. 

Confused yet? And these are just the allergies our family deals with. 

allergy post 5

Thankfully, in 2006, companies who process food became required to label the potential allergen in clear, bold type; but that’s food producers. Restaurants, bakeries, farmers, etc don’t fall under this same jurisdiction. That also doesn’t account for the many food recalls that happen everyday. Just this week there have already been two national level food recalls; one for soy & one for peanuts. Both of which were allergen contamination. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you realize foods you don’t expect to have allergens in them in fact do. I’ll never forget the day I turned over the dried onion powder & realized it had milk in it. What?!

What Makes Food Allergies So Difficult? A break down of expenses, recalls, & cross-contaminationExpensive.

Whew this one is a doozy. It is wonderful to find companies like Vans & Enjoy Life that make allergy eating easier, but $5 for a box of 12 cookies is a small kick in the gut. Yes, you can make the cookies on your own. Yes, you could eliminate cookies all together. But….do you want to? To find clean foods that haven’t been made with the offenders or cross-contaminated is not easy & it is not cheap. The alternative is meat, fruit, & vegetables which get expensive in their own right.

About a year ago, a friend of mine commented on how expensive gluten-free bread was. I let out a laugh & told her “you are talking to the wrong girl about expensive food”. My definition of expensive is much different from it used to be. Now I actually buy a $8 loaf of bread (that is double the price of regular bread for those of you that live in a more expensive area)  because if I want my son to have bread, I don’t have much of a choice.

In addition to the food is the health care. An allergy doctor is considered a specialist; specialists usually come with a higher co-pay, plus I see my son’s allergist a lot more than his primary care doctor. Those co-pays really begin to add up. Let’s not even begin to dig into medications to deal with the ailments that often accompany food allergies. 

What Makes Food Allergies So Difficult? A break down of expenses, recalls, & cross-contamination

It is really difficult for someone who doesn’t have to deal with food allergies or sensitivities to understand what those of us who go through this daily have to deal with. It can be hard to share a meal with us, much less go to a restaurant with us. I get it! But just remember the next time your friend is stressed out about grocery shopping or making dinner, there is much more involved than filling a belly. BUT, I would love to know your thoughts on food allergies, people with food allergies, or any questions you may have. Please comment below or find me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you!!!!

thx & love,



**the alternative names for the allergies were found on Kids With Food Allergies

LaurenMarch 18, 2015 - 4:57 pm

I looked 3 times and didn’t see milk in the dried onion powder. Is tapioca syrup considered a milk product?

marissa.dodgen@yahoo.comMarch 20, 2015 - 10:19 am

Lauren. No it isn’t. I haven’t seen it in any other product since that one time. But also since then I have started using higher quality, organic spices. I don’t know if it was a fluke thing, but I thought it was so werid. Milk (powdered in this case) is often used to decrease clumping.

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Taco Chili || One Pot Meal, 30 Minutes or Less

I first had this a few years ago as a taco soup that my sister-in-law made one christmas. It was such a hit that I had to start making it myself. Over the years however, the recipe has changed considerably to a quicker, easier, real food recipe, & has gone from a soup to a chili & from a slow cooker to a 30 minutes or less meal, all stove top. So to say this recipe is a skeleton of its former self would be a dramatic understatement. Taco Chili || One Pot Meal, 30 Minutes or less

This recipe is great for those night when you forgot about dinner because even if the meat isn’t defrosted, you can still brown & crumble it, but it will add a few minutes on to your time. If you can remember to defrost the meat beforehand it can easily be done in 30 minutes or less. The most tedious part is the prep, but to make it easier cut, drain, & rinse veggies while the meat is in its browning stage, then you basically dump everything in the pot, cover, & wait for 20 minutes. 

Looking at the recipe can be a little daunting because it seems like it is a TON of ingredients, but really it a few cans, some beef, broth, & a handful of spices. Anytime you add spices to the mix, all the sudden the ingredient list can become overwhelming, but if you have a well stocked kitchen, you should have a lot of these ingredients on hand already. 

Taco Chili || One Pot Meal, 30 Minutes or Less

I love this chili on cold nights because it is just one of those warm, comforting meals that fills your belly with food & warmth; but it is also great for the warmer months because you don’t have to stand over it while it cooks & the one pot doesn’t heat up your kitchen too much. Ah, it is just a fantastic & versatile meal. One of my favorites for sure. It is definitely a family pleasing meal also & makes a ton of food for you to have leftovers the next day. My family of 4 (mom & dad, a 3 year old, & a 1 year old) ate this for 3 nights & 2 lunches. I know that every time I make this, it will ALL be eaten. It even transfers well to school with my son

Taco Chili || One Pot Meal, 30 Minutes or Less

I like to top this with raw, organic, cheddar cheese & scoop with tortilla chips. But I also discovered that a little bit of diced avocado is glorious on top. You could even add a little organic, plain greek yogurt if you really want to make it decadent. This is a family favorite for us & I am sure it will be in your house too. 

Making this chili tonight? I’d love for you to share it with me on Instagram or Facebook, don’t forget to add #honeyflavoredlemonade. 


thx & love, 


Taco Chili
One Pot Meal in less than 30 minutes.
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
25 min
  1. 1 lbs organic or grass-fed ground beef (can also use ground turkey or chicken breast)
  2. 1/2 tsp salt
  3. 1/4 tsp coriander
  4. 1/2 tsp oregano
  5. 1/2 tsp chili powder
  6. 1 small onion, diced
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. 1/2 tsp of pepper
  10. 28 oz diced tomatoes (no salt added), do not drain out juice
  11. 1 can kidney beans (drained & rinsed)
  12. 1 can black beans (drained & rinsed)
  13. 1 cup of frozen corn
  14. 1.5 cups low sodium, organic beef broth
  15. 1 tsp oregano
  16. 1 tsp fresh, chopped parsley
  17. 1/4 c organic masa (corn flour)
  18. 1/2 c water
  1. Add ground beef to a large dutch oven/cast iron pot (a large pot will work too if you don’t have a dutch oven) over high heat.
  2. Break up the meat & add salt, pepper, coriander, oregano, & chili powder. Continue to cook until most of the pink is gone.
  3. Push meat to the sides of the pot & add onion & garlic to the middle. Stir frequently, to keep garlic from burning. Add remaining salt & pepper. Cook until onion is translucent- about 5 minutes.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, except masa & water.
  5. Combine masa & water in a small bowl & stir together to combine. Add to the pot & stir to incorporate.
  6. Turn heat down to medium-low (about a level 3 or 4 depending on your stove)
  7. Cover & allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve hot with non-GMO tortilla chips, organic cheddar cheese, or avocado.
  1. **Vegan option: Substitute beef for garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed) or another preferred bean or mushrooms. If using mushrooms, do not salt the mushrooms. Cook mushrooms & add all the salt after adding onions & garlic. Substitute beef broth for vegetable broth.
  2. **if using chicken instead of ground meat, add 2 tble of olive oil before adding chicken to the pot.
Honey Flavored Lemonade


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Fellow Dreamers || Bethany Smith Yoga

I met Bethany a few years ago at church. Over the years we have kept in contact through facebook, but have reconnected in the past few years from a shared love of yoga. I have been doing yoga for many years, but it has only ever been a hobby, an exercise I enjoyed. My gymnastics background made it a pretty natural fit for me. I love the way yoga stretches you to your limits, while at the same time requiring your muscles to work overtime to hold a position/pose. It really does resemble life, just when you think you can’t hold it together any longer, you find a breath to breath in & out & hold on for just a little bit longer. 

One of my favorite things about Bethany’s yoga story is that yoga has taught her & stretched her & helped her get in better physical shape, but it has been a vehicle to teach her to rely on God to over come some major issues she struggled with throughout her life. I have been fortunate enough to be a yoga student of her’s & I was so proud of my friend when I found out she was launching her very own yoga school. But before we get to the school specifics let get a little more background on Bethany.

Bethany Smith Yoga on HFL

Bethany Smith Yoga on HFL 

HLF: How long have you been practicing yoga?

BSY: I’ve been practicing yoga for 7 years and teaching for 5. I took a few classes here & there while I was pregnant with my second child. After she was born, I bought The Biggest Loser Weight Loss Yoga dvd & lost 30 pounds in 3 months. I was so impressed with the way my body was responding that I started to take it a little more seriously. I knew rather quickly I wanted to share this gift with others.

Bethany Smith Yoga on HFL

HFL: What changes have you noticed physically/mentally since starting yoga?

BSY: You might want to ask my husband that! {{{lol}}} Jesus has taken me on such an incredible journey & He is using yoga as the vehicle to do it. He gave me this beautiful practice at just the right time. Prior to yoga, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, depression, & anxiety. I went from taking 4 medications at the beginning to zero medications now! Yoga gave me an oppurtunity. An opportunity to move my body in ways that would strengthen me & open me up, not just on a physical level but on a mental & emotional level, so healing could begin. It started with an awareness of the way I was. I believed it was everyone else’s fault or they at least exacerbated it. It was my child, my husband or whoever else made me “lose it”.

Through yoga, I began to see clearly that I had a problem & that’s the first step. Once you are aware of something you can change it & it’s your responsibility to do so. I started taking all the tools that I had been learning in class off the mat and into daily life. That is where the benefits of practice really show up. I started to tune into my thoughts off the mat & when you start tuning into your thought process, you can really start to make some changes. I noticed I was calmer because I would start my Ujjayi breath when I felt like spitting fire. My days went smoother because I was taking time in the morning to meditate & have my quiet time. I could go on & on about the benefits of yoga. Physically, yes I am stronger. Yes, I can do some pretty cool poses; but at the end of the day, if I am awful to those around me then does it really matter? 

[Whoa! How amazing is that? The things that God can use in our lives when we just open up, look up & let Him lead…amazing]

Bethany Smith Yoga on HFL


HFL: You recently opened up a yoga school to train others in the practice of teaching yoga. Why did you decided to open a school instead of open up a studio to teach classes?

BSY: Two reason. One, I saw a need. Two, my ultimate goal is to travel the world teaching so I didn’t want anything permanent in place.

HFL: Tell me about becoming a yoga teacher.

BSY: The transition from student to teacher is challenging because it is only through an accomplished physical practice & deep reflection can you begin to live the gift of yoga. When you live yoga there’s a clarity of thought & action that you can share with others. Students will learn yoga asana, intelligent sequecing, hands on adjustments, clear verbal cues, anaotmy & kinesthetics, history & philosphy, ayurveda, ethics of teachings, & the business side of yoga. 

 Bethany Smith Yoga on HFLBethany Smith Yoga on HFL

Bethany Smith Yoga will be starting it’s first teacher training session beginning the spring of 2015. If you have ever considered becoming a yoga teacher, this would be a wonderful oppurtunity to find a local, small school to start your training. If you would rather start off with classes, Bethany teaches around multiple places in the CSRA. You can contact Bethany on her website or and don’t forget to check out Bethany on Instagram.

Bethany Smith Yoga on HFL

As always, don’t forget to leave a comment below or on Instagram & while you are there don’t foget to leave Bethany a little love too. 

Love & thx,



Also…a HUGE thank you to Betsy Pittard Designs for the amazing jewlery in this shoot. Please take a few minutes to check out her shop on etsy & stop by & check her out on Instagram too. 

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Weekly Round Up- Meal Ideas || Kid Meals, School Lunches, Quick Kid Friendly Lunches

Today’s Weekly Round Up is meal ideas for kids. This is a glimpse into my son’s last week of meals, either school lunches for Mother’s Day Out or lunches at home. Hopefully, these round ups are an easy way to give you tired mammas & daddies out there some ideas to add a little life into your or your child’s diet.

I know for me, even being the food fanatic that I am, the daily task of putting together meals that my kids will eat is monotonous & ever challenging. One week he can’t get enough bananas & the next he doesn’t want anything to do with them [the latter would be this week]. How in the world are we supposed to keep up with the demands of a preschoolers palate? Goodness.

 This was actually my son’s lunch today; being wheat-free, sandwiches are not an easy or cheap option for him, but he loves waffles, so I used a Van’s Gluten & Egg Free waffle as his bread for a sunflower butter & jelly sandwich. I also gave him 1 clementine (the bright spot of winter fruits & veggies), red pepper sticks, & So Delicious dairy-free coconut yogurt. Kid Food 6


This was a Thursday afternoon’s lunch, something quick to avoid a meltdown: Earth Fare brand organic all beef hotdogs, Coconut yogurt, Kettle brand potato chips (I like these chips because they are non-GMO which is super important if it is not organic), & organic ketchup that is free from high fructose corn syrup. 
Kid Food 5


Another school lunch. I think this was Friday’s lunch: Applegate Farms organic Ham, Kettle potato chips, coconut yogurt, & that dreaded banana lol. 

Kid Food 4


This lunch was a hit. It was a hit for dinner too. The recipe is finally complete & will be posted soon. This is my Taco Chili with Garden of Eating non-GMO tortilla chips (if you are not eating organic corn or corn products, please please get certified non-GMO corn products) & a banana. Kid Food 3


This was the meal that resulted from the Cooking With Kids post last week. Our son was super excited to eat what he helped make & he at it all. Chicken Strips, Cascadian Farm’s Spud Puppies & BBQ Sauce. Weekly Round Up- Kid Meals

So that is this week’s round up. Liked what you saw? Want to share your own ideas or get more ideas? Follow me on Instagram for more daily inspiration. Use the hashtag #hflmealroundup to share your inspiration & as always, please don’t forget to share some comment love below….

Thx & love, 


[…] I love this chili on cold nights because it is just one of those warm, comforting meals that fills your belly with food & warmth. Ah, it is just fantastic. One of my favorites for sure. It is definitely a family pleasing meal also & makes a ton of food for you to have leftovers the next day. My family of 4 (mom & dad, a 3 year old, & a 1 year old) ate this for 3 nights & 2 lunches. I know that every time I make this, it will ALL be eaten. It even transfers well to school with my son.  […]

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