Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Curry Chicken Salad

New recipe for me and absolutely delicious.  This new recipe is a combination of my chicken salad recipe and Julie's.  I bought organic boneless chicken breasts at Costco and I think how I cooked the chicken added a lot to the delicious taste.   


~ 2 cups cooked, shredded organic chicken (2 half boneless breasts)
1 1/2 cups organic red grapes (halved)
1 cup chopped organic celery
1/2 cup silvered almonds

1/4 cup melted butter (I used my homemade butter)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used Hain's Safflower Mayonnaise)
2 - 3 Tbl fresh parsley, de-stemmed and chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sea salt

Place the chicken breasts on a hot BBQ grill and blackened  but don't worry about cooking them thoroughly on the grill (or they will get dried out).  After they are sufficiently blackened, place the chicken in a glass baking dish, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 °F.  Remove from oven and allow to cool, then shred.  Place in a large bowl.  Cut the grapes in half and chop the celery.  Mix together grapes, celery, shredded chicken and almond silvers in a bowl. 

In a separate small bowl, combine the melted butter, mayonnaise, parsley, garlic, curry powder and sea salt.  Combine sauce well and then pour onto chicken mixture.  Stir until evenly distributed.  Chill until ready to serve.

I served it on a bed of lettuce with crackers on the side.  It was absolutely delicious!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 31 (July 30, 2013)

Try a new recipe or dish.

This week's challenge is simple - try a new recipe.  There are many, many recipes listed under the recipe box tab that you can try which use only healthy real food ingredients.  Have you tried one yet?
If you have not been cooking and baking from scratch without using any of the items on the 'foods to avoid' list, I recommend that you try one of the recipes here.  Typically the recipes you will find elsewhere will require some modification, such as replacing and reducing the sugar amount, substituting a better fat, using a whole grain or eliminating a canned soup, etc.  I will be sharing lots of tips on how to modify recipes with you in the coming weeks, but this week just try making something new from scratch that will be easy and successful.
Remember to buy quality ingredients and pick a new recipe that you think you (and your family) will enjoy.  If you don't have much experience cooking from scratch, this may sound like a difficult task, but all it takes is a bit of practice.  So this week, I want you to practice. 
I have not always known how to cook and bake.  If fact, when I first met my husband, he had me over for dinner.  He fixed a very nice dinner with a meat, two sides and a dessert.  I was very impressed and thought that I should probably have him over for dinner next.  This presented a dilemma for me though.  My 'cooking' dinner at this point in my life consisted of air popping some popcorn and dishing a bowl of ice cream.  Making a sandwich was too involved for me at this time.  I had never made a dinner by myself ever before in my life and had never had anyone 'over for dinner'.  
I had purchased a small house a year after graduating from college and had lived there for about a year at this point.  In the year I had lived in my house, I had used the stove top a few times but I had NEVER used the oven in my new house.  It had never been turned on!  I decided I would fix something really special for this new special guy in my life - I would make nachos from scratch.  I put refried beans from a can, salsa and grated cheese on corn tortilla chips and baked them in the oven.  Wow - I was SO impressed with myself. 
Fred came to my house, we enjoyed the nachos, and then after talking for a bit, Fred politely asked, "Those nachos were a great appetizer, what is for dinner?"  I'm sure my mouth dropped open wide and I was ready to crawl under the table when I explained that the nachos WERE dinner.  Fred graciously then told me how delicious the nachos had been and asked if he might take me out to enjoy a 'second' dinner that evening.  He must have been impressed with the fact that I had tried because he did marry me and looking back we laugh about my 'first dinner' I prepared for him.
I hope you can see from my background that anyone is capable of learning to cook from scratch, efficiently planning and preparing their meals, going 100%, and eating a diet of real food made by God!  If I could do it; I know you can do it!
Perhaps because of my background,  focusing on a career and not spending anytime in the kitchen preparing meals,  I still look for easy, simple things to make.  When cooking three meals a day from scratch, and doing lots of other things in life, I need to have simple, yet delicious recipes and dishes.  Check out those I've already posted and I have many, many more that I will be sharing with you.
Recipes ideas are everywhere.  You can look in cookbooks or in a magazine or on-line for new recipe ideas.  Julie is always finding great new recipes and sharing them with me.  I love trying new recipes.  However, most recipes need modification to eliminate processed ingredients.  Thus I suggest you start with a new recipe that will require no modification until you are comfort regularly following a recipe and making dishes from scratch.
I tried (and modified a bit) two new recipes from Julie yesterday, a chicken salad and chocolate cupcakes, shown in the photo above.  I love to modify recipes and try new things.  The chicken salad shown in the front of the photo above turned out fabulous.  I will share the recipe with you tomorrow.
Besides gaining experience in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, it is a great motivator to try another and another, when you create a wonderful, new tasty creation.  Remember it does not have to be complex, especially if you are just starting out.  Besides the two new recipes I tried yesterday, I also made a fresh fruit salad.  This is one of our staples in the summer, incredibly delicious and refreshing, and easy.  I like to start with watermelon and cantaloupe, filling the bowl about half way with watermelon.  I then add half a large cantaloupe, and other fruits that I have found in season at the store.  The fresh fruit salad that I made yesterday contained watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and green grapes.  While I buy local watermelon and cantaloupe that is not organic, I only purchase organic berries and grapes.  Be sure to consult the list of produce to buy organic and don't eat the dirty dozen items unless organic.
Have fun, have fun, have fun.  Delight in your food and be joyful and grateful.  That is the key to success!  God bless you in your efforts.
"The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands."  Deuteronomy 28:12

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Homemade Ice Cream

As I have mentioned, I do not eat a restricted diet but enjoy all the variety of foods and ingredients that God has made for us.  Ice cream is one of my favorites!!!  Summer is the time to enjoy ice cream and there is nothing better than homemade ice cream.  What a delicious splurge

Jon is our ice cream maker and his current favorite flavor to make for us is mint chocolate chip.  As you know from all the flavors available in the store, there are lots of different things you can add to ice cream to create a delicious treat.  It is so much fun to experiment and a great family activity to get input from your family members and let them help.

**Please do not make this ice cream with eggs purchased from the store.  I only recommend eating raw eggs when you know the source.  We use eggs from our chickens, which we know are fresh and which contain the protective coating that protects them from harmful bacteria.  I will give you more details in another post on this topic.  In the meantime, find a local farmer that you trust who sells their eggs. 

As you can see from the photo, mint chocolate chip ice cream made from scratch using God's real food ingredients is not green!  Remember to make a conscious effort to think about every bite of food that goes in your mouth.  As I taught my children at a young age, "If it looks fake, it probably is."  Don't eat artificially colored or flavored foods.  It is important to your health and well-being.

I shared my experience with corn; I hope it gives you insight and hope.  The accumulation of man-made and man-altered foods in our bodies builds to a point where our systems are overloaded and chronic diseases or killing diseases, such as cancer, develop.  You do have control though.  Your current state of health will determine how much you can 'cheat'.  Our bodies are wonderfully made by God and if given the right fuel from our foods have incredible healing ability. 

Ingredients (Mint Chocolate Chip Recipe):

2 eggs (don't use store bought eggs!!!**)
1/4 cup raw unfiltered honey (or maple syrup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract
~ 1/2 cup chocolate chunk bits (about 6 quartered or smaller)
1 cup cream (I use fresh raw cream skimmed off of my milk)
3/4 cup milk (I use fresh raw milk)

In food processor, place eggs, honey (or maple syrup), vanilla, peppermint extract, and chocolate chunks. 

Process until frothy. 

Place cream in mixer and whip until you have a soft whipped cream. 

Add milk and egg mixture into whipped cream and gently fold together.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and process until frozen.

Ingredients (Basic Recipe):

2 eggs (don't use store bought eggs!!!**)
1/4 cup raw unfiltered honey (or maple syrup)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh cream
3/4 cup milk

This recipe makes the correct quantity for an ice cream maker in which the tub is placed in the freezer, as shown in the photo below.  If you have an old-fashioned ice cream maker that uses salt, you can triple or quadruple the recipe.  We like our little ice cream maker which limits the amount we can eat.  It is so delicious that it would be tempting to eat a huge bowl if we made more!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Started to make some fresh salsa this morning, and realized that I forgot an essential ingredient when typing in the recipe yesterday - the jalapenos!  And while making blackberry bars yesterday morning for breakfast, I realized that I had omitted typing in the sea salt in the ingredient list. 

Hopefully I do not have other mistakes in the recipes, but if something seems odd (like no jalapenos in fresh salsa!) please post me a comment and help me correct any errors. 

I hate trying a recipe that doesn't turn out and I don't want that to happen to you because I have typed one incorrectly.  So sorry!


Avoid Genetically Modified Foods (GMO)

First let me say, that next week I will be 53 and I have no problem at all with arthritis or joint inflammation or pain in my hands.  I do get cuts and scrapes from working out in the yard; and red, dry skin from doing dishes; but no joint pains or inflammation.  But I could quickly and easily have problems again, with very little effort.  Let me explain. 

I starting having problems about five years ago with arthritis type symptoms in my fingers.  A couple finger joints started to ache and became noticeably swollen and red.  Then several joints on several fingers on both hands developed the same aches and inflammation.  At first, I thought I was developing arthritis since my mother had severe, painful arthritis in her fingers by the age of fifty.  I thought I was destined to develop arthritis too so resigned myself to learn to live with it.  Fortunately, God had other plans in mind and graciously showed me that I was not destined to crippling arthritis at such a young age.
The arthritis type symptoms would come and go and then I started to realize that when I was at home, they were much worse than when I was traveling on our homeschool trips around the country.  I assumed it was due to a different climate (everywhere was good except at home...) and was just grateful to have a reprieve from the aching occasionally.
After dealing with this, on and off, for about two years, I happened to mention my finger inflammation and pain to a mom of one of my son's friends.  She mentioned that studies were showing a relationship between finger joint inflammation and GMO foods.  I was amazed and started to evaluate the difference in my diet when at home versus on our trips.
At home we were going every week or two to a local Mexican restaurant.  I thought that it was o.k. since I was getting the fajitas and eating lots of fresh grilled vegetables with them.  They also had a wonderful homemade salsa.  I would enjoy the salsa with chips while waiting for our dinner.  Whereas on the trips, we seldom ate out and when we did, we ate at natural local food restaurants and cafes. 
I did know that most corn in the USA was GMO and most corn products that were not certified organic would probably contain GMO corn, but I did not think my once every week or two consumption would be a problem.  Especially since the rest of my meals were home cooked using excellent quality ingredients.
However, I was wrong.  I think this was the beginning of my understanding that going 100% does not allow consumption of man-made  or man-altered foods/ingredients every week.  I was getting a bit desperate for a solution (as the symptoms got worse, I decided that I did not want to live with this problem and have painful, badly disfigured, bent fingers like my mom) so I tried an experiment.  No more eating corn tortilla chips at restaurants.  Bingo.  Within weeks my fingers were doing much better. 

Of course, this was hard to do at first because we thought we loved eating out at this restaurant and this meant I did not get a break one night a week from cooking.  It was not hard for long though.  The benefit of not having a chronic health problem far outweighed these things and I realized that we had become a bit addicted to this restaurant food (I wonder what other ingredients were in the food that were drawing us back...). 

Unfortunately, or perhaps I should say fortunately, this was only a temporary fix, which opened my eyes to a bigger problem with today's food supply and the importance of being aware and listening to your body's clues rather than taking some medication to attempt to 'get' rid of the symptom, which is your clue.  Though I was no longer eating the chips at restaurants (or even eating out regularly anymore), I was still buying organic tortilla corn chips and eating them on a weekly basis.  My fingers would get better and then the problem would start up again, though with much milder symptoms. 
At this point, I came to realize that even many of the organic brands of corn chips were causing my finger inflammation and pain.  So I started experimenting with different brands of organic corn chips until I finally found one brand that did not cause problems for me.
I concluded that what I had been reading about the cross-contamination of corn was indeed true.  And my body seems to now be sensitive enough to this problem to see it.  The one brand I found that I could eat without having problems was made in Canada.  For now, it seems to be using a fairly pure source of organic corn.  Perhaps one day soon, I will no longer eat any corn.  I have already almost entirely cut it out of my diet.  I eat one brand of corn tortilla chips and occasionally eat something that has a little organic cornmeal or other corn ingredient in it.  I now suffer with no arthritis type symptoms of any kind - to think I could be developing severe crippling arthritis now!  And if I had gone with the problem to a doctor, I would probably be on some man-made medication that would be causing the development of other chronic problems and side effects.

I said that I could easily and quickly have problems again.  I know this is true because once or twice I have thought perhaps I was mistaken about the cause and eaten some corn chips or other corn products when not at home. The next morning, I will often wake with a 'funny' swollen feeling in my fingers.  This is my 'wake-up call' and I don't let it get any further.  We really have no idea what is in our foods when we eat out.  Thus I then immediately eliminate eating anything out unless I know who prepared it.  There are many GMO foods now, not just corn.  So I am very, very careful about my food choices, eating at home and buying the best quality ingredients, just in case, not eating anything away from home for at least a few weeks to let the problem abate.  My fingers are so happy that I do this!
I share this with you to encourage you to take very seriously buying the best quality food and ingredients that you can afford and finding local foods that are not conventionally raised or grown.  Man-made foods, man-altered foods will make you sick.  You may never develop arthritis problems.  Instead, you may be prone to develop heart disease, digestive problems, diabetes, dementia, or maybe a nervous system problem such as MS.  You may get away with eating poorly for a long time if you started out with a strong constitution but it is not possible to maintain optimum health on a diet of man-made foods.  Genetic modification of cells (which if you don't know about you should investigate - a virus is used to inject the DNA change into the cell) is just one of the newest ways that man is creating unhealthy foods.  Unfortunately, a GMO food can 'look' completely normal so you must educate yourself about the foods/ingredients you are buying.   

Going 100% to me means cutting out man-made foods and ingredients.  It does not mean eliminating specific foods from my diet - I eat all of the many, many different foods and ingredients that God has given us.  I enjoy a huge assortment of delicious foods and feel quite blessed doing so.  Do not think you must live with chronic health issues or that you can't enjoy great foods.  It can be very frustrating to correlate, but your diet plays a huge role in your health.  Figure out what your 100% approach looks like and then begin to implement it.  I thank God that I did. 
"The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." Psalm 28:7    

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fresh Salsa

Enjoy wonderful fresh salsa with some organic corn tortilla chips.  Simple to make and delicious - the type of recipe I love best!  Since I have a garden, I splurge on amazing snacks and meals like this frequently in the summer.
I know I am very blessed with a garden.  I was recently made aware of this blessing when a friend commented at a Bible Study, "Wow, look at those tomatoes.  They are so red, they almost look fake.  The tomatoes I buy at the store are not red like that."  I am so grateful for her comment because I had started to take my tomatoes for granted.  It made my heart sing praises of thankfulness to our God for such a wonderful blessing of fresh produce He has provided to me right outside in my yard.
Nothing tastes better than produce just harvested from a garden.  If you don't have a garden, find a source for locally grown produce; summer is the time to visit one of the many farmer's markets that are in almost every community.   
Since most corn grown in the USA is genetically modified (GMO), I only eat foods made with organic, non GMO corn.  Splurge on good quality organic corn tortilla chips - it does make a difference to your health.  Read about my 'corn' experience.
2 Tbl yellow onion, diced fine
2 green onions, chopped
~ 2 cups fresh tomatoes, diced (I used red and yellow pear tomatoes)
2 - 6 fresh jalapenos (quantity will determine how hot it is)
~ 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp raw, unfiltered honey
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground cumin
a pinch of freshly ground pepper
Chop up vegetables and place in a bowl.  Mix oil, honey and seasonings together in a separate small bowl.  Pour over chopped vegetables and stir until coated evenly.  Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 30 (July 23, 2013)


God splurges our world with sunrises each morning.  This week I want you to splurge with God's foods.  You have learned so much and hopefully have been working hard this year changing your diet.  (If this is your first visit to the weekly challenges, you might consider starting at the beginning and working your way up to this point.) 

I hope this has not been drudgery and that you are learning to enjoy the wonderful array of flavors that are available, eating foods that are in season, and eliminating all the man-made junk that doesn't really taste good (which is why it is loaded with artificial ingredients and flavors and addictive chemicals).
So how to splurge this week....enjoy something you love!
1.  Buy a special treat that you normally would not buy.  My special treats are things like organic sweet cherries or organic peaches (so yummy, yet so expensive!).
2.  If you are into meat, buy a 100% grass fed steak.  My favorite cut is a filet mignon.
3.  Check out the prepared meals at Whole Foods (be sure to check the ingredient label) and find something extravagant that looks delicious but which does not contain the man-made whites (white sugar, white flour, white rice).
4.  Enjoy a pint of Coconut Bliss ice cream or make buy an ice cream maker and make your own (use honey or maple syrup to sweet it).  I will post our basic recipe soon.
5.  If bread is your thing, make yourself a loaf of whole-grain bread or some potato rolls or something fun like garlic bread or focaccia or soft pretzels.  If you don't have time to bake something, check out the whole grain breads in the bakery at Whole Foods.
6.  If you haven't already, make a delicious raw sweet such as the peanut butter cups or chocolate pudding.
7.  Your thing might be a salty treat.  Buy some non-GMO organic chips and an organic salsa.  I like Que Pasa chips and Muir Glen's organic Chipotle Salsa.  Better yet, make yourself some fresh organic salsa.
Your challenge is to find something new and extravagant that you normally would not buy or make.  This week's challenge is to learn to appreciate and to learn to 'crave' delicious foods that are good for you and don't contain any of the bad stuff (foods/ingredients altered by man) that wrecks your health and weight.
"For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light."  Psalm 36:9

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Coffee Cake

This is one of our special sweet treats.  It uses a bit of maple syrup granules (dried maple syrup) which is very sweet and thus I use it sparingly.  It is a good substitute when you need a dry sugar to make a cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I like to have this coffee cake for breakfast on special days with some breakfast sausage.  This year, I plan to have it for my birthday breakfast.


2 cups soft white wheat berries, grind to pastry (or 2 1/2 cups pastry flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp sea salt
1 stick sweet cream butter (cold)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or homemade kefir
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbl maple syrup granules

Mix together the pastry flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt.  Remove cold butter from refrigerator and cut into dry mixture.  You can do this in your food processor, but I do it by hand with my pastry tool.  Cut in butter until evenly dispersed and you have a uniform crumbly mixture.


Take out ½ cup of the crumbly mix and place in a separate small bowl.  Place 1 Tbl. of ground maple syrup granules in your flax coffee grinder and process.  Add to the 1/2 cup of crumbly mix and stir in well.  Reserve to sprinkle on top before baking.

In a separate bowl, mix together the homemade kefir (or buttermilk), baking soda and maple syrup.  Make a well in the center of the dry mixture (not the reserved crumbs for topping), and pour in liquid mixture.  Gently incorporate dry crumbs into liquid and stir to mix.  Do not over stir or you will make the batter tough.

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Grease and flour an 8" x 8" glass pan with butter, and pour batter into pan.  The batter will be thick.  Sprinkle reserved crumbs on top and bake at 350 °F for 45 minutes or until center set.  Cool and enjoy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Homemade Diced Tomatoes or Tomato Sauce

After years of painstaking tomato sauce preparation (blanching, peeling off skin, running through tomato sieve, etc.), we came up with a quick, easy tomato sauce method.  I am all for the quick and easy, yet delicious, recipes.  This tastes great and I use it to make spaghetti and tortilla soup, burritos, and any other recipe which calls for diced tomatoes.  Puree it finer initially if you want more of a tomato sauce texture.

Each year something does spectacular in the garden and with our cool summer, this year it is tomatoes.  After two late freezes and losing half my tomato plants, the five plants that survived are doing great.  With all the extra tomatoes, we have made a few pots of tomato sauce.  I photographed the last batch so I could share our method with you.  I included large red tomatoes, medium blush-colored tomatoes, and small yellow pear tomatoes in this batch of sauce.


A large batch of garden fresh tomatoes, any kind
~ 2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
~ 1/2 yellow onion, diced
~ 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tsp honey (essential)
1 - 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dry basil (or you can add fresh at the end)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano


Cut out tops of fresh tomatoes and then cut into chunks.  Don't worry about removing the skin or seeds.  If you don't have your own tomatoes, look from some at a farmer's market.  Toss chunks in small batches into your food processor.  I fill it about half way, as shown.  If I put too much in at once, it leaks out all over the place.  Then process as shown above (I like it to be a chunky sauce).

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot (I use my glass pot that I make broth in).  Add diced onion and garlic (and any other fresh veggies you might want to include) and sauté.  Reduce heat to low and add your processed tomatoes, batch by batch.  Add spices and honey.  Something sweet is needed to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, which is why tomato sauce you buy lists sugar as an ingredient on the label.  I don't keep any sugar in my house, so I use a bit of honey instead.  Simmer, uncovered, on low until sauce thickens (this big pot simmered for about 12 hours).  This batch just barely fit in my pot!  I watched it closely at first to make sure it didn't boil over.

I stir it occasionally and slow cook it down until it is about half the original volume.  Next I cool it on the stove and then place it in a glass bowl in the refrigerator.  Once it is refrigerator temperature, I dish it into plastic Tupperware type containers and store it in the freezer until I'm ready to use it.  (Do not place hot foods directly into plastic containers.)

This is such an easy, quick method.  You can also make spaghetti sauce by adding more ingredients such as basil, peppers, mushrooms or any ingredients you or your family enjoy. 

Tomatoes are easy to grow, and also do well in containers on a patio if you don't have yard space for a garden.  If you don't have homegrown tomatoes this year, you might consider starting a plant or two next spring. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 29 (July 16, 2013)

Make a conscious effort to think about every food choice you make this week.

How is your 100% approach coming this week?  Did you spend time last week thinking about the challenge to find your 100% approach?  Let's work on implementing it this week!
It is so important to your success that you don't mindlessly eat or eat for the wrong reasons.  Sometimes, it helps to break old, unhealthy habits by just being more aware of what you are doing.  So stop before you fix anything or eat anything and evaluate your choice. 
Julie and I are having a wonderful time at our Bible study brunches with our friends this summer.  We always serve a 100% FoodsbyGod lunch to give ourselves and our friends good choices of foods to eat.  Since we plan in advance what we will serve, we do not need to worry about our food choices.  But you must find your approach that is fun for you, and not a drudgery list of to-do's.
Here are some tips to help you this week:
1.  If you are a journal person, set a notebook by your place at the table.  Think about jotting down what you eat.  If you begin by writing down what is on your plate before you begin eating, you will begin to think about your food choice before you mindlessly eat something.  Seeing the journal at the table will help you remember.
2.  Start a note page on your phone or take a small notebook with you, and do the same when you eat out.  Try to think about what you are going to eat before you are out and starving and ready to grab the first fast food option that you see.  You might even find that this helps you to remember to bring along a snack that you can eat while out.  If you work, think about bringing your lunch and snacks with you from home.
3.  Make a meal planner.  I like to use a weekly one; use one that works for you.  Then purchase the foods you need for the meals you have planned so that you have good options at home. 
4.  If a meal planner approach is too structured for you, then be sure you get rid of all man-made processed foods from you home and replace them with good quality foods and ingredients.  Then you will only have good choices available when you decide what to fix to eat.  I hope you have or are working on cleaning out and restocking your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer.
5.  Try Joanna's approach and praise God with joy and thanksgiving before eating anything.  Not only will this help you be aware of your food choices, I know that God will strengthen you and bless you in your effort.
6.  Involve a friend and share with each other your food choices.  Sharing a project with a friend is an excellent way to encourage you and help you remember when you get busy.
If you slip up and knowingly or unknowingly indulge in some junk food that you didn't really want to eat, DON'T beat yourself up and get depressed about it.  This will not help.  Instead try to learn from the experience and evaluate what happened.  Then plan for the next time you are in this situation so you can do better.  You cannot change the past, only the future. 
For example, if you have been doing great at home and go away on a trip and completely fall off track with your diet, remember this before your next trip.  Then make some plans in advance to help you do better.  I've outlined several things we do concerning food when we travel
Enjoy the abundance of great foods that God has given us.  There are really so few restrictions, so don't listen to Satan's lies that you must give us the good foods to eat healthy.  You only must give up man-made processed foods, which are so addictive and not really foods anyway (or they would not destroy our health).  AMAZING results are possible when one simply goes back to eating real food!

"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus."  Romans 8:1

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sloppy Joes

Julie shared this recipe with me.  My guys loved it!  Very simple to make - definitely a quick meal.  When buying your beef, read the label carefully.  It must say '100 %' grass fed, not just 'grass fed'.  All cows start out on pasture before being moved to a feed lot to be fattened up.  Thaw your ground beef a day ahead in the refrigerator.  Also find a better quality ketchup.  There are a number of good brands of organic ketchup.  Read the label.  Most contain some sugar, which is o.k.; make sure yours does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  I buy organic ketchup. 

1 pound '100% grass fed' ground beef
1/2 yellow onion, diced fine
1/3 cup organic ketchup
1/4 cup strained tomatoes (Bionatura brand)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
1 large tomato, diced fine
4 whole grain hamburger buns

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet (I use my cast iron; don't use a skillet with a non-stick coating).  Pour out grease.  Add onions and continue cooking until translucent (a couple more minutes).  Add the remaining ingredients and cook until tomatoes are softened, about 5 more minutes.  Serve immediately on a hamburger bun.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Refreshing Mint Iced Tea

Another great recipe from my friend, Lynn.  This is so simple to make and so refreshing in the hot summer.  This is a great drink to serve to large groups.  Mint is extremely easy to grow.  In fact, I always grow mine in a pot because it will take over everywhere when planted in the ground.  It spreads by runner and is very difficult to contain or eradicate which is why growing it in a pot works so well. 
In the photo, I am making a quart of the tea concentrate.  This will make about 3 - 4 gallons of tea.
1 clean quart size glass jar 
a large handful of fresh mint leaves (stems and all)
1 large white tea bag (or tea bag type of your choosing)
filtered water
Bring to almost a boil one quart of water on stove top.  I know everyone today boils their water in the microwave, but studies have shown that water boiled in the microwave is 'dead'.  I don't have a microwave in my kitchen, and recommend you not using it for heating or cooking you food.
Pick and rinse clean one handful of mint leaves.  Place in glass jar with one large tea bag.  Pour (almost boiling) water into the jar.  Let sit for several hours.  Remove mint leaves and tea bags and store in refrigerator until ready to use.  This is your tea concentrate.
When ready to make the tea, I like to use my one gallon glass sun tea jar.  I fill the jar about half full with ice, then pour in about 1 - 1 1/2 cups of tea concentrate, and fill the jar to the top with filtered water.
Mint smells great but also has many health benefits including being a digestive aid.  It also has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer and to be beneficial for asthmatics.  Enjoy a great drink that is very inexpensive, refreshing and good for you. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Does What You Eat Make a Difference? Peggy's Story

I met Peggy (far left) and her daughter this spring at a FoodbyGod class.  Jennifer shared Peggy's recent results from her doctor's appointment on the FoodsbyGod Facebook page.  Oh, my, I was so happy, for Peggy and for her sharing her story of the amazing results that can be had eating a diet of God's foods!!!  After seeing what Jenn wrote, I asked Peggy if she could write up a post for us too.  Don't forget how important it is to include healthy fat in your diet.  Here is what she wrote (thanks, Peggy and congratulations - awesome results):

I have been using coconut oil for over 2 years.  I knew it was good for us, but didn't realize how radically good it was until recently.  My family has a history of heart disease.  My father suffered horribly from its effects.  I have kept an eye on my own health and was diagnosed with a 30% blockage at the top of my heart 4 years ago.  30% - that is almost 1/3! I tried not to worry too much but it was a burden to carry.

On Monday (7-1-13) I had a shooting pain through my shoulder blade into my chest.  It stopped me dead in my tracks.  Although it didn't last long, I was concerned.  So I chewed and swallowed an aspirin and tried to remember the signs of heart attack.  Should I call an ambulance or not?  Should I?  When I began to get dizzy and light headed, I called.

The cardiologist at the hospital said it definitely was not my heart, but scheduled me for a stress test the next day.  It turned out well, but he went further and scheduled an angiogram since I had told them my history.  The results of the angiogram were miraculous to me!  NO blockage at all. A normal healthy heart.  Wow!

As I digested all this, I remembered the results of my bone scan earlier this year. It returned better than the one of 4 years ago.  Without medication (which caused severe pain in my thigh bone). My doctor said that "rarely happens"!

God created our diet to nourish and repair our bodies.  Mankind, in his own wisdom, has altered all that is good and true to the point that our entire nation suffers.  Learn how to eat foods raised and processed by your own hand or by those you trust.  Not only will your health thank you but so will your taste buds!

Psalm 103:1-5 ...satisfies my mouth with good things so my strength is renewed like the eagle's.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Joanna's Approach to 'Going 100%'

Joanna and I went on a grocery shopping trip a few months ago, but having good quality foods in her house was only a temporary fix.  She sent me an email of her thoughts a few days ago that I want to share with you.  I added a bit more that she sent me yesterday morning on how to succeed.  She wrote this part on how to succeed while I was writing yesterday's challenge post.  I praise God that He was telling us the same thing without the other knowing it.  I hope God is speaking to you also - go to Him and He will.
Thank you, Joanna, for letting me share this email you sent to me with everyone.  I hope you find Joanna's words an encouragement and that you see the vastly different approach she needs to use compared to me.  You are probably somewhere in between and I pray that you find what works best for you!  Remember as you read Joanna's post, that man-made foods are MADE to make you crave them, making your struggle to eliminate them from your diet even harder.

The email I received from Joanna: 

P.S.  I'm going to  begin with a P.S.!  This may seem like a blur of words!  SORRY, as I finished it, I almost deleted it.  It was so cool today thinking of all this....but now...well ...I might should spare you!  But maybe there is a little something below that could be helpful. 
I wrote:
Dear Mary, Julie, Phyllis, and Camary, and....whoever is seeking "100 %" with their eating on the FoodsByGod blog,
The question:  what is 100%?  what does it look like, what do you mean!!!????
Today I was sharing with Camary on the phone, and I told her all that Phyllis and I have been giving to God and praying for PLUS what Mary and Julie were discussing before God on Friday and it was really great how it was all working together beautifully.
I think the victory of 100% will be found in unique ways for each of us because that is the way God will be most glorified.  This area of food for me certainly comes from a wounded past and from an eating disorder, so it is not easy to be free in this area. 
As we walk up and look over 100%, it will play out differently for every single person.
There just is not going to be some magical list of '1,2,3, yay', or we would not need God.
Nothing wrong with the list of 1,2,3....the problem is I don't have the strength to follow that list!  Even though the list is 100% logical and wise and healthy and even yummy. 
We (Julie and I) had asked Mary last Friday to write a post to explain what 100% means on her FoodsByGod blog.  But I really already see what has brought her into such 100% victory with her weight and health.  She follows the lists!!!!   1,2,3 and it works but  the reason it works so well for her is because of God who has given her a gift of a very analytical, mathematical, scientific mind.  (Why would ANYONE not follow these lists, she must think!)
God gets the glory in her amazing strength and victory!!!!  Analyzing labels and all this research motivates her and gives her exact guidelines so she shines in that line of thinking/living. I have never seen anyone so amazing in the kitchen as her.  I appreciate it greatly, it glorifies God and His amazing invention of food, ....
.....but honestly every time I try to pick up her victory, I begin to suffocate;  it quickly turns to my friend said concerning how she saw the blog, "It looks like legalism".  It is not legalism for Mary and perhaps for many others, it is freeeeedom and joy!  I admire that and I love that mind and the logic of it all.
God gifted Mary to create these lists for His glory and for the blessing of His people. The blog is not legalism, it offers critical information...but for defeated people it is a chasm to cross!
I HATE lists!!!  I hate routine and boxes.   I am wildly creative, but put me in a box and I will quickly wilt.  I suffocate under analysis and mathematical logic.  (Ask my friend that I teach with!!!!  I LIVE outside the proverbial "box".) 
I am all words, words, words, relationships, that realm, I begin to float up to the clouds and there in my happy place and in that place I could care a less about overeating or junk food!  I want nothing but healthy simple foods.  In Africa, I ate only healthy foods, craved only healthy, freshly grown foods.  WHY can I not crave that here!!!  What has been missing?????   Perhaps it has been all the to-do lists I'm living under in MISD, so I found a
Camary and Phyllis and I have been trying to figure out our missing link, the root of our indulgent spirit in eating, we have stayed in Romans 6-7, "I do what I don't want to do, I know what to do but I cannot carry it out..."
We were discussing the whole matter before the LORD today, here is our verse that directed our thinking process:
Haggai 1:3-6
"Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while my temple remains in ruins?"  (Our bodies are the temple of God, mine is in ruins because I have created a paneled house of pleasure for myself, eating for pleasure.)  "Now this is what the LORD Almighty says, "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified," 
I haven't given "careful thought to my ways"!!!!  (Mindless eating.) 
He said, "go to the mountains"....  ("I will look to the hills, where does my help come from, my help comes from the Maker of Heaven and Earth."  Psalm 121)
He said, "His pleasure and His glory!"  That has not been in my little self-made paneled house where I'm focused on my pleasure!
We decided to invite the LORD into our "paneled houses".  When I sit down at the table, I will dine with Him, with my Bible and notepad and fellowship with Him for His pleasure and for His glory (yes, while I enjoy healthy foods). 
When I call Phyllis or Camary, I will NOT tell them how I did this week by saying, "I ate well, or I overate, or I ate junk!!!!!"  I will not discuss how bad the junk is nor how great the foods by God are, BUT HOW GREAT GOD IS!!!
So far, there has been no victory even though I have made many changes to my eating...I bet my cholesterol levels have dropped more points too!  Still no victory.
The food is a burden and a dreary list of things to-do. The focus has been on how I did, not on God's pleasure and glory. This is the way to 100% and weight loss and victory. 
I will share with others ONLY words that tell about my time with Him, His pleasure and His glory. 
For example, "Oh, while I was eating, God showed me this verse, or wow, I saw a connection of how I am a living temple being nourished "not by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD". 
Camary reminded me that gratitude and praise brings victory and joy. 
My personality can't follow a list, so I will praise God and bring Him into fellowship while eating.
I am so curious to see how this plan works this week!  I am so curious to see what Julie's 100% looks like filtered through her unique personality, gifting, processing.  Thanks for praying for "victory of 100%" for ALL of us...and our families!
If you are already enjoying 100% in eating, then I pray for 100% freedom for you in clutter-free living, in letting go of control, in WHATEVER is your personal defeat.  Don't let that area be a paneled house, invite Him in for His pleasure and His glory. 
Continued from second email...
So how do I get to 100%? 
I love escaping to my self-indulging paneled house, I've run into these walls for so long that they are fortified and tall.  I've tried quoting verses at this didn't fall.  I tried yelling at the didn't fall.  I've confessed to others, I've tried yelling at myself!  Why doesn't it fall?  WHY am I STILL not free? 
Well, let's look at an impossible wall called...Jericho.   How did the walls of Jericho fall? 
Every archaeological site around the ancient times in the Middle East shows walls that fell inward...except one, the walls of Jericho.  The walls of Jericho were the ONLY walls ever found that fell outward.  Why is that important?
According to , the walls of Jericho clearly fell outward, thus creating a flat surface because God was helping His weak, disobedient people to besiege a city that was impossible to fall, remember they were all like giants to them.    

"Jericho is a wonderful spiritual lesson for God’s people today. There are times when we find ourselves facing enormous “walls” that are impossible to break down by human strength. If we put our faith in God and follow His commandments, He will perform “great and mighty things” (Jeremiah 33:3) and give us the victory."
It was all about faith in God, after the people had marched around them for seven days, it was “by faith the walls of Jericho fell down” (Hebrews 11:30).
So to bring down our paneled houses, our personal impossible walls that cannot be broken down on our own, it is God alone, "I will go before you and will level the mountains." (Isaiah 45:2)
Invite God into our paneled house and fellowship with Him, simple.  No battles.  No rebuking Satan.  No lists.  Matt 11:28-29 says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
WAIT, you mean the weary can level walls by resting!!!!!!!!  Yes, resting in Him who is great and mighty.
I've been practicing this now for 4 days, doing nothing but inviting God into my old paneled house to fellowship with Him, while I enjoy good, healthy foods (okay, foods off the lists, Mary!), and it is gone.  Walls are down, flat, fallen outward as His great big presence certainly didn't fit into my self-created paneled house!  He came in and the walls came tumbling down.
How long will my victory last?  As long as when I enter my temptation zone and consider excluding God and rebuilding a little privacy wall from God's eye that I instead, stop and I invite Him in and fellowship with Him and enjoy His presence, seek His "pleasure and His glory."   (Haggai 1:8)
Almost every single verse I see today, fits this victory plan!    "The fruit of righteousness will be PEACE; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest...and the city is leveled completely, how blessed you will be..." Isaiah 32:17-20      
Read Psalm 84.
Just sharing all these thoughts....
Amy Carmichael said, "When you have decisions to make, don't look around to others to see what they would do, look UP, and light will come to show what our LORD and Master would have you do."      (A Chance to Die, p 345)