Recipe: Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup-In a Jar!

Last month I went to my mom’s house and helped her fix a bunch of meals in jars. Using shelf stable Thrive ingredients to create some meals put together in advance, are just the thing to make life a little easier. It’s incredibly lovely to have a yummy, healthy dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.

TEH-MIJvarietyWe did Zuppa Toscana, Chicken Noodle Soup, Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup, Lasagna Soup, Penne with Chicken & Asparagus, and Beef Stroganoff. Now she has 12 meals on the shelf in the pantry that she can get on the table in a jiffy.

I LOVE THRIVE!!!

Not only are these quick and easy, but Thrive freeze dried ingredients also make them healthy and delicious.

Simply add your ingredients to your jar, usually with all powdered ingredients on the bottom and larger pieces on top…I will usually tap the jar gently on a towel to help settle the ingredients and make sure everything fits in.

 

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Then you can seal it with the jar lid and ring, or you can use a Food Saver to remove all the oxygen from the jar and seal it. These will last several weeks in your pantry with no loss of quality or nutrients, but are not meant for long term storage.

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Today I’m sharing my Southwestern Chicken & Rice Soup in a Jar recipe with you. This recipe originally was one I made with my canned food storage and called it 6 Can Chicken Soup. And it was pretty good. But after tweaking it and adding good stuff like Thrive Instant Brown Rice, and Thrive Veloute Sauce and Classic Tomato Sauce, it’s evolved into a whole new set of deliciousness.

TEH-MIJ-southwesterningredients

TEH-MIJsouthwesternRecHeadPRINTABLE RECIPE CARD

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
Add to quart sized mason jar, in order:

  • 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Brown Rice
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Sweet Corn
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Black Beans
  • 1/2 cup Thrive Tomato Dices
  • 3/4 cup Thrive Seasoned Chicken Slices
  • 1/4 cup Thrive Green Chili Peppers

In a plastic zip-top bag, place:

  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Chicken Bouillon
  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Veloute Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Thrive Classic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tsp Thrive Cilantro
  • 1/3 cup Thrive Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Directions:

  1. Heat soup pot to medium high heat. Add jar contents except for sauce mix. Toast in pot, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.
  2.  Add two quarts water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Add Sauce mix and simmer another 10 minutes.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired.

This is a delicious, quick, easy meal that you can have on the table in 20 minutes. One you can feel good about. I’d love to know if you make it!

Have a happy Halloween this weekend. Can you believe Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner!??!!?

 

Recipe: Magnificent Stuffed Peppers

Magnificent and delicious stuffed peppers at theEssentialHomemaker.com

 

I love not shopping….like, LOVE. It’s so nice to have a Home Store, where I buy and store stuff in advance to have on hand when I need it, thereby eliminating most emergency trips to the store. Such a stress reducer!

This morning I went out into my garden and found eight beautifully ripe green bell peppers, so naturally, my first thought was “I MUST make some stuffed peppers!” Thanks to my Home Store, I already have every thing I need, right at my fingertips.

I love this recipe….I tweaked it to include all kinds of veggies and swapped out the rice for quinoa, which makes for a lighter dish, and the method I use for cooking the quinoa adds a nutty, irresistible flavor.

YUM!

TEH-MSPrecipeheadPrintable recipe card

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare cheese if using freeze dried and cook quinoa.
  2. Put ground beef, sausage, and onion in pan on medium heat. Stir frequently to toast, 3-4 minutes. (If using fresh beef, sausage, and onion, brown and drain).
  3. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring frequently.
  4. Add spinach, zucchini/squash, tomatoes, quinoa, tomato powder, Classic Tomato Sauce, and 2 1/2 cups water. Simmer 7-10 minutes and adjust seasonings to taste, and liquid as desired. Add basil.
  5. Pour chicken broth into a 9×13 pan. Place pepper halves cut side up into the broth.
  6. Fill pepper halves with meat/quinoa/veggie mixture.
  7. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes.
  8. Uncover, sprinkle with cheeses, and bake 15 more minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

*Tip for making practically perfect fluffy quinoa: rinse quinoa well under cold water and drain at least 20 minutes (if using Thrive Quinoa, you can skip this step and the draining). Add to hot pan and toast until fragrant. Remove to bowl. Use a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid. Bring liquid (water, beef or chicken broth or bouillon) to a rapid boil. Add toasted quinoa and cover with lid, leaving a slight vent.  Reduce to med-low heat and maintain a strong simmer. Cook 16 minutes or until water is gone. Remove from heat, remove lid. Let rest 10 minutes; fluff with a fork.

**Tip for reconstituting freeze dried cheese: put cheese in a bowl. Very slowly add water, while constantly stirring. Once you notice water beginning to collect on the bottom of the bowl, STOP. You have enough water. Put in a zip top bag and flatten. Place in refrigerator a minimum of one hour. This method produces an amazing reconstituted cheese that tastes great and melts wonderfully.

Give these yummy stuffed peppers a try…sneak a veggie or two into those bellies! Let me know if you make them!

Growing a garden and utilizing my Home Store are two ways that I make PEACE and PREPAREDNESS a part of my EVERY DAY LIFE.

See you soon!

 P.S. If you want to know how YOU can have YOUR own Home Store, you can check out this link, or contact me by clicking HERE or the little envelope icon in the right hand side bar. I’d LOVE to share with you all the great things about THRIVE and how it’s changed my life. If you’d like to earn FREE and half off product, or even earn a paycheck, be in touch! I can help you!

DIY Skin-Loving Deodorant

 

Ya’ll know I love a good DIY, and I’m kinda a crunchy granola mamma, too. Early this year I decided that I wanted to try making my own deodorant. The aluminum and other ingredients in commercial antiperspirants are controversial and since my grandmother died recently from advanced Alzheimers, let’s just say if I could find an acceptable stink-stopping replacement that is natural and sans chemicals and heavy metals, I’m all over it.DIY Deoderant

So early this year I tried a recipe I found online. And it was ok. Occasionally I’d have to reapply during the day, which wasn’t too big a deal.

But you know me….I have to tweak….I’m hardwired to mess with something and try to make it better than it was before, so the next time I made it, I added a little bit of Vitamin E oil…no bueno. It made the deodorant not hold up very well in the heat, and the heat from my hands (during application) would make it a slimy mess…so I knew more tweaking was needed.

TEH-bentoniteclayThen I heard about (or rather was reintroduced, actually) to bentonite clay. A friend had given me some YEARS ago to help with a skin issue one of my kids was having. Bentonite clay is DA BOMB! It can be used in all kinds of skin products and even toothpaste!

Commence with the tweaking! So I made up a batch of deodorant with bentonite clay and…..deodorant NIRVANA! This recipe creates a VELVETY SMOOTH, slightly citrus smelling concoction that not only keeps my pits stink-free, but makes my skin feel amazing! Additionally, the discoloration under my arms was gone after using this deodorant for a few days….there’s some detoxifying going on there!

Oh, and it is less expensive than buying commercial deodorant, which is an added bonus!

A couple of tips to remember:

*Bentonite clay is a detoxifying product which is AWESOME, but also means that you want to avoid storing it in metal, using metal bowls or spoons, as it lessens the effectiveness of the clay. I did use metal bands and lids on top of my jars because I was out of these awesome plastic lids, but since it doesn’t come in contact with the deodorant, it’s not an issue. I bought my Redmond Clay at my local health food store, because it was on sale, but it can also be purchase through Amazon. 

*Shea butter doesn’t like high heat. Melt your oils on LOW heat to avoid the grainy texture that is created by using too high a temperature when melting.

*Beeswax comes in bars or in pastilles (little bit pieces). The pastilles are more expensive, but may save you a knuckle or two as grating the bars is hard work.

*You can use any one of a number of essential oils, or combinations of essential oils. The trick is to use oils that have properties that enhance the objective (kill bacteria-which causes pit stink, condition skin, smell lovely) and cause no harm (sometimes citrus oils and others can cause photo-sensitivity, so if your pits spend any time in the sun, you may need to exercise caution).

*Dedicated equipment….I actually went to my local thrift store and purchased some things like a sauce pan, glass bowl, cheese grater (for grating beeswax), etc that are dedicated to DIY projects here at home. This saves the sometimes horrendous cleanup of beeswax on your nice pots and pans, and bowls….yes, I do speak from experience.

*You CAN actually recycle your old deodorant containers if you don’t like using your fingers. I did this a few times, but dislike trying to clean out the old containers and found that I don’t mind using my fingers to apply at all, especially with the velvety texture, and the absence of residue after washing.

*The deodorant has a slightly gray appearance from the clay, however, I have not had a problem with my clothing being stained…certainly less than with the commercial deodorant. You can always use a stain spray on your whites/lights if you’re concerned.

Now let us commence with the recipe!

TEH-diydeodRhead

 

 

 

Printable Recipe Card
Makes 2 4-ounce mason jars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons beeswax, grated, or pastilles
  • 2 Tablespoons shea butter
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons bentonite clay
  • Essential oils

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil and beeswax in a saucepan over LOW heat, stirring frequently until beeswax is completely melted.
  2. Remove from heat and add shea butter and stir until melted.
  3. In a small glass or plastic bowl, mix arrowroot, baking soda, and bentonite clay. Add essential oils and mix to combine with a plastic or wooden spoon.
  4. Add oil mixture and mix quickly, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Pour into jars. Tap jars against counter top to release any air bubbles. Let cool, covered with a paper towel, until completely cooled. Seal with a lid. Let cure about 24 hours before using.
  6. Apply a small amount with clean fingers to underarm area, once a day as needed.

ESSENTIAL OIL Combinations:

  • 15 drops Tea Tree Oil & 7 drops Lemongrass
  • 10 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil
  • 10 drops Peppermint Oil, 10 drops Tangerine Oil (use care with citris oils as they can cause photo-sensitivity)
  • 5 drops Tea Tree Oil, 5 drops Lavendar Oil, 5 drops Rosemary Oil, & 5 drops Peppermint Oil

 

Making your own deodorant really takes almost no time (10 minutes, maybe?) and creates a great, effective, and natural product that is perfect for all you crunchy families out there. You can even come up with oil combinations that will make your man happy.

Making deodorant is one more way I’ve found to make peace and preparedness a part of EVERY DAY LIFE.

Have you ever made your own deodorant? Do you have trouble with or concerns about commercial deodorants, that would make trying this DIY Deodorant a great idea? I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment!

DIY Food: Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

Don’t you love convenience? I really love convenience….

There is a certain canned soup company that was part of my cooking repertoire almost daily until a couple of years ago. Their condensed soups made cooking quick and easy. But once you start reading labels, there’s no going back, and I now make my cream of soup mix and use it anytime I need Cream of Mushroom, or Cream of Chicken soup.TEH_creamofsoup3

I didn’t have a convenient substitute for the  condensed tomato soup, until recently, so we stopped eating all the recipes we used to have that used it.  I never loved the condensed tomato soup….it was too sweet and wimpy in flavor, so I am THRILLED that Thrive’s Tomato Sauce Mix is bursting with flavor, doesn’t have the “sweet” taste and is in my Home Store…yep, keep it in my pantry.sauces-tomato_1Sometimes, you don’t want (or have the time) to spend hours slaving over the hot stove. You’ve got a million different directions you’re running and need dinner on the table ASAP. This is a great “kid approved” dinner you can have on the table in 20 minutes or less (I say less, because if you don’t have 8 people in your house, it’ll probably take you a lot less time that it does in our house).


TEH-tomatobasilsoup1

teh-tomatobasilrecH

 

 

Serves 4-6
Printable Recipe Card

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup Thrive Tomato Sauce Mix (NOT Tomato Powder)
  • 1 1/2-2 cups whole milk, Half & Half, or cream (I prefer a mix of whole milk and Half & Half)
  • 1 tablespoon Thrive Freeze Dried Basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring water to a boil in sauce pan. In the meantime, combine Tomato Sauce Mix, basil, and garlic powder in a bowl.
  2. When water reaches a boil, whisk sauce mixture into the boiling water.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer and whisk 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add cream, Half & Half, or whole milk, and salt and pepper to taste, and heat through. Add more milk as needed to reach desired consistency.

*To make a more hearty soup, add a tablespoon or two of any or all of the following: Thrive Sausage Crumbles, Thrive Chopped Spinach, Thrive Freeze Dried Chopped Onions, or Thrive Zucchini.

**If you’re making this 100% from your Home Store, you can substitute 1/2 cup Thrive Instant Milk Powder, 2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon Thrive Butter Powder for the whole milk/cream/Half & Half

Serve with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or a handful of saltine crackers for a delicious and easy meal.


What is YOUR favorite quick and easy “kid approved” meal? Have you had to make any changes to it, in order to make it healthier?

Thanks for stopping by, and as always, I look forward to your comments!

Recipe: Homemade Pizza Sauce & Seasoning Mix

TEH-pizzasauce

This couldn’t be simpler….really. Mix a little of this, add it to a little of that, and you have yummy pizza sauce. Give it a try, and make some delicious homemade pizza with the great stuffed crust pizza recipe posted this week. This recipe uses Thrive Tomato Powder. I LOVE this product, in fact, so much that I’ve stopped buying cans of tomato sauce altogether. No more bulging cans, or BPA leaching into my tomato sauce. And it’s in my pantry whenever I need it…I can use what I want and not waste any. You can also substitute 2 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce for the Tomato Powder and water.

TEH-pizzasauceheader

 

Makes 2 cups sauce, enough for 3-4 pizzas
printable recipe card
Ingredients:

Mix:
1/2 cup dry oregano
1/4 cup dry marjoram
1/4 cup basil
1/4 cup garlic salt

1/2 cup Thrive Tomato Powder
2 cups water

Directions:

1. Mix oregano, marjoram, basil and garlic salt and store in an airtight container.

To Make Sauce:
1. Mix Tomato Powder with 2 cups water. Blend well with a wire whisk.
2. Add 2 1/2 teaspoons of the seasoning mix to the tomato powder/water mixture. Let sit 30-60 minutes before using.

My next post will list some of our favorite pizza topping combinations, and even better….ones you can do 100% from your HomeStore!

Have YOU tried the Homemade Stuffed Crust Pizza dough recipe yet?

Recipe: Homemade Stuffed Crust Pizza

Wanna Save $$$ and Be on Santa’s Nice List???

Well, at least on your FAMILY’s nice list.

TEH-pizza1

This great pizza recipe will keep you from going out when the weather outside is frightful, and it tastes…well,  utterly delightful.
Even better, you’ll know every single thing that goes into it, and will be happy to provide your family with good food without all the scary words, additives, and fake colors.
And as if that wasn’t enough, this is something  you can make 100% from your HomeStore….oh yeah.

Over the next three posts, I’ll share my tips for making a top notch homemade pizza, right there in your home, in less than an hour. So in case you didn’t realize just how cool this is….you can have homemade pizza on the table in less time than it usually takes to do delivery or take out. You can thank me later.

The first part of a great pizza is the crust. This crust is so versatile and delicious that you can do almost anything with it!
This recipe will make 4 medium pizzas, 3 large pizzas, or what we sometimes do is make two large pizzas, and save some dough in the fridge for cinnamon sticks or individual pizzas for lunch the next day. See, versatile already.

Let’s get cookin’!

When making your stuffed crust pizza, shape each piece onto an oil covered cookie tray or pizza pan. If making a stuffed crust, push the crust up the sides of the pan. If not, you can just push to the edge.

 

TEH-pizza2 Put cheese sticks, either purchased, or cut, around the edges of the pan and fold the crust over the top, pinching/pressing to seal. OPTIONAL: at this point you CAN let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. I never do.

 

TEH-pizza4

Get some butter and melt it, add some garlic salt, and maybe some italian seasoning to taste…you can just go crazy here….or not.

TEH-pizza5

Brush crust, especially edges, with butter seasoned to taste with garlic salt.

TEH-pizza3

Bake in a 450ºF oven for 7-8 minutes. Pull out of oven and top with sauce and favorite toppings. The pan is hot so be careful not to burn yourself. Brush the edges again with the butter/garlic salt mixture and return to oven until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 7-8 more minutes.

Folks, it really is that easy. And all this time, BIG PIZZA had you thinking that you had to get good pizza from THEM. Here’s the recipe and printable recipe card for the Stuffed Crust Homemade Pizza.

TEH_pizzaheader

 

 

Makes 4 medium pizzas
printable recipe card

Ingredients:

10-12 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 scant tablespoons instant dry yeast
4 cups warm water
1/3 cup oil

Directions:

1. Put 7 cups flour, milk powder, salt, sugar, and dry yeast in a mixing bowl. Add water and mix one minute.
2. Let stand about 2 minutes. Add oil and remaning flour, until mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
3. Knead 5-10 minutes (5 in a kitchenaid type mixer, 10 by hand). Divide into four pieces. (If you don’t want to make 4 pizzas, you can make breadsticks/cinnamon sticks, you can cook up the extra dough on your pizza pan and then freeze, or you can freeze the uncooked dough.)
4. Shape each piece onto an oil covered cookie tray or pizza pan. If making a stuffed crust, push the crust up the sides of the pan. If not, you can just push to the edge.
5. Put cheese sticks, either purchased, or cut, around the edges of the pan and fold the crust over the top, pinching/pressing to seal. OPTIONAL: at this point you CAN let the dough rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
6. Brush crust, especially edges, with butter seasoned to taste with garlic salt.
7. Bake in a 450ºF oven for 7-8 minutes.
8. Pull out of oven and top with sauce and favorite toppings. The pan is hot so be careful not to burn yourself. Brush the edges again with the butter/garlic salt mixture and return to oven until cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, about 7-8 more minutes.
*The possibilities with this really are endless. You can mix in 1 tablespoon of Italian Seasoning into the dough, in step one, or you can mix in 1 teaspoon garlic powder.

 

In my next post, I’ll be posting the yummy sauce that we use on our pizza!
Have YOU tried making pizza? What are your favorite things to put on it?

Cyber Monday & Free Gift

Hello!
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with family and friends, good food and good memories! We had a great time, and I even had some opportunities to experiment with Thrive foods, that I’m excited to tell you about in the coming weeks.

The sale is winding down…there are only 14 hours left…the sale ends at midnight tonight MST.
Here are a few of my favorite picks….some for the pantry, and some for gift giving….you really can’t go wrong with a gift of preparedness.

Items I use in my kitchen almost every day:
Tomato Powder: I no longer purchase cans of tomato sauce or tomato paste, for a couple of different reasons. First, the cans are lined with BPA which interacts with the acidity in the tomatoes. No bueno. Second, here at my altitude, cans of tomato sauce can bulge within a couple of months simply because of the high altitude, but not necessarily because they’re bad….but it’s not a chance I can take, and used to throw away lots of tomato sauce. Now, I don’t have that problem, or the problem of only needing a tablespoon or two of tomato paste from a 6 ounce can. I can mix up what I need, when I need it. Definitely one of my favorites.

Sausage Crumbles: Already cooked, and drained, these little firecrackers of flavor are at the top of my favs list. I throw them in soup, in our omelets, in bolognese sauce….there’s a whole lot of flavor, so a little packs a punch.

Chopped Onions, freeze dried: no more crying, no more chopping, no more nicked fingers. These are such a time saver (and an eye saver) in my kitchen. Plus, I love that I can assign one of my younger kids to cook and they can do it without using a knife.

Raspberries: Thrive fruits have so many uses in my kitchen. I like to throw some in a jar with lemon balm from the garden and let it sit in the sun for a few hours, for a delicious and refreshing sun tea. I used them in my Raspberry Sauce for my Buttermilk Pie on Thanksgiving, AND I used them to make a great, healthy jello dessert. I am not a fan of jello…the red food coloring and artificial flavors…yuck. So I experimented for Thanksgiving (I know…a no-no) and made a jello using ground and whole berries, knox gelatin and apple juice…it was a home run…everybody loved it. I’ll be sharing that recipe with you in the coming weeks.

Instant Brown Rice
Instant Pinto Beans
Greek Yogurt Bites
Instant Milk Powder

A gift of preparedness is a gift of peace of mind. Here are some great ideas for those you love:
Thrive Life Auto Emergency Kit
Sawyer Mini Water Filtration System Single AND 4 PACK
Heavy Duty 5-gallon Water Container
Camp Chef Portable Outdoor Stove
(which according to the extension service can also be used INDOORS with a window cracked for ventilation)
Crank Can Opener
Solar Crank Lantern

 

You can order any of the above mentioned by going to my website: http://jenncamargo.thrivelife.com/home, OR by calling or texting 801-367-1607, OR by emailing me at

jenn@theEssentialHomemaker.com

There are also a few unadvertised specials you may be interested in. These aren’t available on the website and can be purchased only by ordering through me.

UAS

 

And now, news about your free gift! All subscribers to the Essential Homemaker newsletter will be receiving in their inbox a free gift, perfect for gift giving and for having on hand this time of year. If you are a subscriber, watch for it…it’s on it’s way! If you’re not yet a subscriber, go HERE to be added to the list, and I’ll be sending out your gift in the next day or so.

giftsneakpeek

Thanks so much for all your support, through Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and today, Cyber Monday. I hope you enjoy your holiday season, and may you feel the blessings of making peace and preparedness a part of everyday life.

 

Jenn Camargo (801)367-1607

 

Recipe: ChocoCoco PB Crunch Bars

TEH_chcopbcrba

 

Delicious, no bake, healthy stuff…you name it, this one’s got it. I love to make this every few weeks to give my kids a treat after school.

Don’t you LOVE (sarcasm doesn’t have the same impact in print that it does in speech) when your kids come home from school and the first thing out of their mouths is………………..”what can I eat?”
No, “Hi Mom, how was your day” or anything else…just” FEED ME!”

At least when I pull these out, I’m a rockstar in their eyes. They have good stuff…

TEH Oats Choco Coco

oats,crispy rice, dark chocolate, & coconut,

TEH PB Honey Coco Oil

 coconut oil, honey, & natural peanut butter.

The ultimate in no-bake cookies. And I highly recommend toasting your coconut…yes, it is an added step, but it adds a whole new dimension of YUM to these bars.

TEH Toasted Coconut

If you’ve never toasted coconut, you can check out my tutorial on toasting coconut.

TEH-chocococopbcrba

Printable Recipe Card
Adapted from I Hear Exercise Will Kill You

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 c. ROLLED oats
  • 1 c. toasted coconut
  • 1 1/4 c. dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 c. crispy rice cereal
  • 1 t. vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Toast coconut.
  2. Put oats, coconut, chocolate chips, and crispy rice cereal in a large bowl.
  3. Melt peanut butter, honey and coconut oil over med-low heat, stirring frequently as melts.
  4. When melted, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
  5. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  6. Pour into a parchment paper lined 9×13 pan.
  7. Refrigerate 3-4 hours to harden.
  8. Store in the fridge.
  9. Eat in moderation (insert wink)

These little yummy bars are a great afternoon snack.
What are YOUR favorite afternoon snacks? Have you ever made no-bake cookies? Do you have any fun and unusual ingredients you’ve used?
Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Have a fabulous no-bake day!

Have the Desire, Be Mindful, Be Determined, and Endure

….this is my mantra.

Friend,…..can I call you friend? Let me tell you a little about my journey.

Putting it out there makes me feel terribly vulnerable, so please be kind, if just for a moment. But maybe there’s someone out there like me who needs a little push, a few ideas. If so, this for you.

I’ve been overweight my entire life (well, since the age of 9 probably). It bugged me, but it didn’t stop me from living my life. A couple of years ago, I went through something very traumatic, and didn’t feel like eating…ever. This was a first for me. But it put me in a place where suddenly things clicked in my head and I started to lose weight. And exercise was a release and I started to enjoy doing it, and I started to lose weight.  I lost a lot of weight. 115 lbs, to be exact. And I loved it. I have never felt better in my body than I did then. And the “weight-height” indicators would tell you that I was still 70-90 lbs overweight, but I felt awesome. I felt free. I felt unstoppable.

And then life ramped up in the super stressful department. Planning and executing a wedding by myself (and with the help of a couple of amazing friends and family), all the “should-be-doing’s” and the list of never-ending needs and expectations, and so much more. Not to mention beginning a lifestyle of very little processed food, and a blog that required an increased amount of time in the kitchen, cooking and testing and cooking some more. And some off-handed and surely well meaning comments by someone I adore that cut to the core and made everything I had accomplished feel like “not good enough.” I fell right off the back of the wagon, and I’ve been dragged under it for about a year. I’ve gone through periods of not wanting to leave the house, of having no confidence, of feeling so much worse than I ever did before, because now I know how great I CAN feel. It’s been rough.

I am so ready to get back on. But your head has to be just right for things to stick, ya? Anybody with me?

I’ve given a lot of thought to how to get going again and make things work and here is the formula I’ve come up with:

TEH-mantra As far as I can see, that’s the only way to accomplish what I want. Let me break it down…

Have the Desire: you have to want it more than you want anything else. More than the m&m’s, or french bread, or potato chips, or whatever else it is that sets you off. If you don’t want it, then it won’t happen. Pray for the righteous desires of your heart. You’re not the only one invested in your success.

Be Mindful:

  • Have you ever been cooking and taken a little taste here and a little taste there, to check flavor balance, or texture, or whether something is done or not. Me, too. But it adds up and fast. One of the tricks that I’ve found works for me is to eat carrots and celery before I start cooking, drink a big glass of water, and chew gum. It keeps my mouth busy.
  • Here’s another one….have you ever been super duper stressed and before you know it you’ve eaten a whole bowl of chips or bag of crackers or something else? Crunching down on something reduces stress for me.There, I’ve said it. Part of being mindful for me is making sure that I’m either crunching on something that I’m not going to be tempted to overeat/forget I’m eating, or to chew gum.
  • Or how about trying to understand why you eat the way you do, like with my sudden understanding that crunching relieves stress. Are you an emotional eater, a bored eater, a stress eater, etc. Understanding why is the beginning of making changes to help it work for you instead of against you.
  • Make menus and snack ideas so you’re not rifling through the cabinets and refrigerator at the point that you’re starving and will grab whatever you can find first.
  • And a big part of being mindful for me is remembering to pray and ask for help. ‘Cause I can’t do it alone.

Be Determined: You’re going to have to start over five, ten or two dozen times. Maybe more. That’s just the way it is. Being determined means that you’re able to start again, any time you’ve messed up, and not assume that a mess up means failure. You might have to start again every single day for a while, but determination keeps you starting. Oh, and prayer again…I have to pray for strength to keep wanting to effect change. To not give up and sink into a pile of pathetic self pity.

Endure: It’s gonna be a lifetime of change. It’s not a temporary thing. You may be going along fine, and then one day find yourself in the middle of a huge setback. Pick yourself up, be determined and go on. And then do it again the next time. Pray for the ability to endure, and do it well.

The epiphany continues….these steps aren’t only for my physical health. They apply to almost any thing I can think of.

  • Acquiring a skill
  • Personal growth
  • Spiritual growth
  • Parenting
  • Relationships

…..Pretty much anything positive and worth doing that you can think of, you can apply these four principles to, and achieve success. YOU can change YOUR world. And I can change MINE. Are you with me? Wanna give it a try?

Leave me a comment, telling me you’re with me. Here’s a little free printable for you to print out. Hang it on your bathroom mirror or kitchen cupboard and look at it every day…maybe all day.  Look at it until you get to a place where you have the desire, are mindful, are determined and are enduring. I know I will.

MantraTEH14printable link (right click and save to your computer)

P.S. I might have to add a new one….my finger is hovering over the “publish” button and I’m scared to death to put this out there. I might need to add “fearless” to my mantra…..anyway……here goes……