Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Week 31

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 I've provided.  Typically the recipes you will find elsewhere will require some modification, such as replacing the sugar, substituting a better fat, using a whole grain or eliminating a canned soup, etc.  

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 that 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 used 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,  when I was 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 still 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.  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 comfortable regularly following a recipe and making dishes from scratch.

I tried (and modified a bit) two new recipes from Julie , 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.  

Besides gaining experience in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, it is a great motivator to try another and another, after you have created a wonderful, new tasty creation.  Remember it does not have to be complex, especially if you are just starting out.  Besides the chicken salad and cupcakes, 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 shown in the photo contained watermelon, cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and green grapes.  While I buy local watermelon and cantaloupe that are 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

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Week 30


God splurged and blessed our world with sunrises and sunsets.  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 anyway (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 buy an ice cream maker and make your own ice cream (use honey or maple syrup to sweet it). 

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 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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zucchini Bread, Sweet

This sweet zucchini bread recipe is made with 100% whole wheat flour and no sugar like all of my recipes (I use only natural sweeteners).  The spice combination gives it a wonderful flavor.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (1 3/4 cups soft white wheat berries)*
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

1 stick softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup pure honey
1 Tbl pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups finely shredded, peeled zucchini (I use the medium size slots on my grater)
1/4 cup organic raisins
1/2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 °F.  Combine the pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt and spices.  Fork beat the eggs.  Stir together soft butter with honey and maple syrup.  Add eggs and lemon juice.  Stir with spatula (or combine with mixer) until well combined.  Stir in the zucchini.  Finally stir in the raisins and nuts.

Butter and flour a bread pan.  Pour batter into pan (it should be the consistency of banana bread dough or a cake mix) and bake at 325 °F** for 70 minutes on until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

*You may need to add a little bit more flour depending on the moisture content of the zucchini.  Freshly picked zucchini from the garden has a lot of moisture.  
** I set my oven to 330 °F for best results.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Week 29

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. 

One of the hardest times to stay with your 100% approach is for parties and celebrations.  I now always serve 100% FoodsbyGod meals to give ourselves and our friends good choices of foods to eat - whether at home or if taking foods/meals to share.  Since I plan in advance what I will serve, we do not need to worry about our food choices.

I used to think when having people over (about 15 - 20 years ago) that I would not spend the extra money on better quality foods since the person(s) would not appreciate it anyway.  However, God showed me one day that I needed an attitude adjustment when I made a meal for a single-mom neighbor and her little kids after her surgery.  I bought chicken from Super 1 Foods, our local grocery store, and I was nauseated by the smell cooking it.  Into the dish I also added a can of 'chemical-laden' Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.  I finished the dish and told Fred that I could not take it to her - especially knowing that she was sick and needed good nutrients to heal her body.  Fred reminded me that I had told her I was bringing dinner and I only had 15 minutes left.  So with a very heavy heart, I delivered the meal to her that I would not feed to my own family.  That was a life changing moment for me. God showed me that I was not living out Luke 6:31, "Do to others as you would have them do to you."  The amazing thing is that after this point of realization and subsequent obedience, God began to use me in the area of food and diet to help heal people of their chronic health issues.  What a honor and what a humbling experience.  It is very important that you ask God to help you define your 100% approach.

The above photo is from Jon's birthday party last fall.  We had a small party for him and I fixed all good quality foods, including my brownies for his 'birthday cake' which were a big hit.  It took many years but I have stopped the cycle and no longer need to break my sugar cravings after a party binge because I don't use processed sugar in anything I make anymore (I use raw honey, pure maple syrup, and dried fruits for sweeteners).  

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 choices 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 foods to prepare.  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 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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Zucchini Sandwich Bread

I have two zucchini bread recipes, so I am calling this one the sandwich bread because the other is a sweet bread.  I have been making this since Tom was a year old!  It turns out great if you have a fresh from the garden zucchini thus I only make it in the summer.  It is amazing the difference in moisture content between a garden fresh zucchini and one purchased in the grocery store.  I have only tried once to make the bread with a store zucchini and it turns out terrible.  However this is a fabulous bread with a fresh zucchini. 

Zucchini is incredibly easy to grow in the North Dallas area and will grow between April and Oct; you could still put in a couple seeds to grow zucchini this summer.  In fact, you can seed a new plant every two weeks or so all summer long.  Place the seed directly in the soil about 1 inch deep.

We usually eat slices of this bread covered with fresh homemade butter and raw honey.


1/2 cup milk (scald if using raw milk or your yeast won't rise)
1 1/2 tsp baking yeast
2 Tbl unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
1 large egg
1 Tbl pure honey
1 1/2 cups, medium shredded fresh zucchini (peeled first)
1 1/2 tsp baking sea salt
2 tsp ground coriander
3 - 4 cups whole wheat bread flour (or about 3 - 3 1/2 cups wheat berries*)

Sprinkle yeast on slightly warm milk (about 85 - 90 °F).  In a large bowl, mix together the softened butter and honey.  Let egg come to room temperature and beat with fork.  Add to butter mixture.  Stir in yeast mixture and add salt and coriander.  Finally stir in the shredded zucchini.  Then start adding the flour one cup at a time until you can no longer stir with a spatula.  Then slow add more flour and begin to knead the bread.  Complete kneading (adding flour until the right consistency and no longer overly sticky), and then oil bowl and cover with a wet cloth.  Let rise at 85 - 95 °F until double in size or about 1 1/2 hours.  Punch down and let rise another 45 minutes.  Form into loaf shape and place in a buttered/floured bread pan.  Let rise another 20 to 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 400 °F.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 °F and bake for 35 - 40 minutes.

*  I use a combination of hard white (or red) wheat berries ground to bread flour consistency and soft white wheat berries ground to pastry consistency.  About 2 cups of hard wheat berries and 1 cup soft wheat berries.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week 28

Find your 100% approach (or if you need to go 100%).

This photo is three or four years old - both boys are taller than me now - but what great memories.  It was SO much fun snowshoeing at Crater Lake (I'm on the left).  If I did not eat God's foods, I know I would not have the health to enjoy the fun things like this in life.  

The bottom line is this:  do you have good health, vitality, and proper weight?  If you answer no to any of these, then you probably need to make changes to your diet.  But you need to find the approach that is going to work for you.  It is the only way you will succeed.  Your approach may be very different from mine.  Remember that I have slowly learned all the things that I am sharing with you over many years.  I hope you can find an approach in which you do not feel overwhelmed.

I have given you a lot of information this year and I hope that you have read through it, especially the basics and the weekly challenges.  Education is very important because it is not intuitive in today's world to know what is real food anymore.  It is very difficult to keep up with all the destructive changes that are being made to our food sources because real food ingredients, such as beef, wheat, fish, eggs, produce - are all being tainted by man.  They still look like God's foods but unless you find good quality sources of these foods, they are going to wreck havoc with your health, weight and vitality.  Thus you have no way of knowing what is processed foods anymore just by 'looking' at the food.  You must educate yourself on how the foods you eat are raised and processed.

It is important as you find your 100% approach (you can read about Joanna's, Jennifer's, or my approach) and that you find good sources to buy your foods/ingredients from.  For some of you, it may involve going to several stores and finding the fun deals, as I love to do.  For others, it may be going to just one or two non-conventional grocery stores or joining a food co-op.  For still others, it may involve researching the brands and fresh foods at your local standard grocery store and buying the least processed/best quality that they have.

Seek the Lord as you contemplate what going 100% means to you (or even if you do need to go 100%).  God wants to help you.  He does not want this to be a burden.  He wants you to succeed.  If you are still struggling, ask God to show you the approach you need to follow.  Stop struggling, go to God and find rest for your soul.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  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.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11: 28 - 30

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Week 27

Find three deals on different organic/local fruits or vegetables.

Find and buy at least three different organic/local fruits or vegetables that are in season.  Then enjoy them!  So easy, so delicious.  This is the time of year when there is an abundance of excellent produce, and nothing tastes better than produce that has been ripened in season on the vine, rather than picked too early and shipped half way around the world.

Remember that what is in season will typically:

1.  Be on sale and a great price
2.  Displayed on the end cap
3.  Look and smell really good

The photos in this post are from last year when I first wrote up this post.  This year I have found the same great deals!  Hard to believe, isn't it.  Last week at Costco, I bought 6 two-pound tubs of organic strawberries because they were only $4.49 each.  Costco also had organic red grapes at a great price plus organic blackberries and blueberries and raspberries recently.  I bought organic peaches, plums and nectarines at Sprouts, all were $1.99 per pound.  I found nice local cantaloupe (Market Street) and watermelon (Kroger), as I wait for the ones growing in my garden to ripen.  My refrigerators are brimming with delicious fresh produce right now!

The bar code number on organic fruit always starts with a '9'.  If you are not sure what to buy organic, refer back to the post, "to buy organic produce or not".  With so much excellent quality produce available, look carefully at the store to see what they have.  Try not to shop just off your grocery list, especially for your fruit and veggies because you don't know what they will have when you make up your list.  For example,  if you have grapes on your list, you might grab the conventional grapes (grapes and berries are two of the fruits that you never want to buy conventional because they are loaded with pesticides and are on the dirty dozen list.)  Instead, look for deals of the week and be flexible.

My guideline for buying organic produce has not changed from last year.  I look for items that are $1.99 or less a pound.  Or I watch prices and buy when expensive things like the organic blackberries or strawberries are at a greatly reduced price from normal.


I wrote the post last year (and took the photos) after going on my shopping loop trip.  I have almost the exact same things (but more) that I bought last week on my once every week or two grocery shopping trip.  I have been going to the store less this year with all the great produce I have been getting from my garden.  If you don't have a 'shopping loop' yet, I've listed some of the stores I frequent in this post, Using 100% Real Food Ingredients.  

The stores that I go to on my 'shopping loop' trip depend on which direction I am heading from my house.  I am fortunate to have to many great options available.  For example if I am going west from my house, I will stop at Kroger, Market Street and Sprouts.  If I am heading south, I will stop at Market Street, Costco and Whole Foods.  About once a month, I go further down into the city and add Natural Grocer onto the trip to stock up on essential items that I can only find at Natural Grocer. 

We eat lots of fresh produce and I will plan my meals around the great deals I found when shopping.  We will enjoy a mango-banana lassi, strawberry lemonadepuffed pancake and a large fruit salad to name just a few of the special treats for the week. 

I have not been purchasing many veggies this year from the stores because I have had so much coming from my garden - currently wonderful tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), cucumbers, onions, potatoes and zucchini.  I did buy organic kale and chard at Sprouts this weekend to make udon noodle soup and I have standard veggies on my grocery list that I don't grow but always keep on hand.  These include organic lettuce, organic spinach, and avocados from Costco plus organic celery, organic green onions, and organic carrots from Sprouts or Market Street.

Be a smart shopper and enjoy the abundant, luscious summer produce.  It is not hard to find great deals this time of the year.  Be sure to buy what is in season.  The grapefruit and apples that were so abundant and delicious a few months ago are no longer in season.  Instead the berries, melons, grapes, peaches, etc are now in season.  Have fun shopping and enjoy what you find!

"He (God) makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth:  Psalm 104:14

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Udon Noodle Soup

My boys and I love Japanese food, and thus I have tried to create some of our own dishes at home over the years.  

Udon noodle soup was one of my favorite dishes when traveling in Japan many years ago so when the boys were little we worked on making a version at home.  This soup was inspired by my memories of my Japan travels, a similar soup that was served at Whole Foods, and my looking through Japanese cookbooks.  

I have not fixed this soup in years because it is hard to find fresh udon noodles but I found some fresh organic udon noodles* at Costco last week.  We do not eat many things made with white flour; this special treat is one exception.

This soup is delicious and so easy to make.


6 cups dashi or homemade chicken broth
fresh organic greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc)
green onions
grilled chicken
fresh udon noodles*
sea salt and pepper to taste

Prepare dashi or warm chicken broth on stovetop.  Wash and tear organic greens and dice green onions (including tops).  Grill chicken and tear into bite size pieces.

While preparing the above ingredients, heat a large pot of water on the stove.  Once boiling, place udon noodles (one package if using the Annie Chun noodles) in a metal strainer and immerse into the boiling water for about 2 minutes.  Place cooked noodles in an individual soup bowl and then briefly cook the greens.  (I place one serving's worth of greens - about 1 to 1 1/2 cups - into the metal strainer and put them into the boiling water I used to cook the noodles for about 2 minutes.)  Once cooked, place the greens and green onions on the cooked noodles.  Add one serving worth of the chicken and fill the bowl with broth or dashi.  Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.  Eat immediately.

* this package of noodles from Costco contains 6 individual serving packs.