Friday, September 12, 2014

Nature Box Review

I few weeks ago I got an offer from a friend to try some Nature box sample snacks.  All I had to pay was shipping and handling.  I think it was like $2.  The snacks came and I was not impressed.  The snacks were things I would have never chosen for myself.  I decided to give them another try and order the subscription box for a month.  This way I got to choose my own snacks...and boy am I glad I did.
Nature Box is a subscription box service.  They offer healthy snacks made with natural ingredients.  You choose 5 snacks each month from their website and they are sent to you for $19.95 a month - or even less if you prepay for multiple months in advance. The thing I like about Nature box is that you get to choose exactly what comes in your box each month.  (You do also have the option of letting them surprise you.)  Plus you can add additional snacks for just $3 and the shipping cost is included in the price. So here's what I ordered and received my first month -


I absolutely love each of these snacks that I chose myself.  The only really complaint I have is that the bags aren't bigger.  I wish there was more in each bag.  When you are sharing with a couple of kids the bags empty really fast.  I was a bit apprehensive with the carrot strawberry fruit chews...especially since the package clearly states carrot on the front.  This would certainly send up a red flag to my son.  However, they are delicious....actually the best fruit gummies I have ever had.  And inside the big package are 6 smaller "unmarked" foil bags... perfect for being sneaky with my 'tween son!
I plan to change my subscription to one of the prepaid options so that I can save a little more each month.  If you would like to try Naturebox  and save $10 on your first order you can use my referral clink and we will both save.  Just click on the handy link below and start your healthy snacking -

Also, I would like to mention that if you have special allergy or dietary concerns you can read the ingredients to ever snack before you even order it!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Clean Eating Finds

We have been doing our clean eating for a few months now.  I knew it would be hard when we started because we live in a small rural area.  There is just one grocery store in our town and it doesn't have a lot of options because the town is so small.  It is a 35 minute drive to a larger town where the shopping options are a little better and the selection of fresh clean food is greater.  So... when I come across a product that has a great shell life and is clean... I get a little excited.  Here's what I found at our little grocery store:

My kids were very excited to see these snacks actually in our house.  Its been a long time since they have had a packaged cookie.  The cookies went right into their lunch pails for today's lunch and a couple were even snuck outta the package as I was packing the lunches.

I also was pleasantly surprised to find some ice cream that had all natural ingredients.  I found both chocolate and vanilla all natural ice cream at Walmart.  It was the store brand too.  Be careful thought because there are a bunch of flavors but only the chocolate and vanilla are all natural.  I got super excited when I saw a caramel candy flavored was a short lived excitement as I read the label and saw it was NOT all natural.  Sorry I didn't take a picture of the tub but it comes in the round containers like Ben & Jerry's but a larger size...and it was quite reasonably priced...under $4.
My Aunt brought up a bushel of tomatoes and we canned spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce.  I have been having a hard time finding any all natural pizza sauce, which seems odd since a tomato based product shouldn't need preservatives.  Anyway... I decided to make my own.  Canning is a lot of work....but it wasn't too horrible.  I am just glad I had some help and the sauce came out very good.  I used some of it the kids lunches to make a healthy version of the pizza lunchables.  We will see what the kids thought when they get home today.

What kind of convenient healthy / clean products have you found hiding on your local grocery store shelves?  Please share them with me!  I am always on the look for convenience food that is healthy and clean.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lori's Clean Sports Trail Mix

This is the best trail mix ever and the best thing about is you don't have to do any cooking.  Just dump the desired amount of each ingredient in an airtight bowl, mix and store.  And it's a pretty clean recipe too for those of you who are eating clean like we are. I make this for my kids to toss in the sports bags for after practice.

Lori's Clean Sports Trail Mix

Cheerios Protein
your favorite Kashi cereal
honey roasted peanuts
Ghiradelli dark Chocolate chips
clean granola (sometimes I omit this if I don't have any laying around)

I usually use equal amounts of everything but then go light with the chocolate chips.  You could add in raisins but my kids hate raisins....raisins are ewwwww!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday's Grumblings

  • I know this is like a sacrilege to even say...But I hate the ice bucket challenge.  I just think its dumb.  Maybe cuz I would never do it....maybe cuz I am sick of seeing people's video...maybe cuz I am just plain old crabby today.
  • Clean eating is hard.  And I don't understand why it so hard.  It just seems like we should have lots of fresh food available and then just grab it and eat it.  But somehow as Americans we have opted to work hard to process all of our food so we can have the convenience and ease of then just grabbing it and go.  This whole concept is making less sense to me.
  • Freshman college food plans confuse me.  You must purchase a minimum of 14 meals a week...even if you don't eat in the dining commons.  Explanation from SVSU food service - its for the freshman students' own good to ensure that they eat healthy.  However, they serve fried, processed food made with very little organic ingredients.  I can however, opt out if I have a note from a doctor saying my student has special dietary needs.  Really...? is eating whole organic foods a special dietary need?  And really...? I need a doctor to tell them this is a good idea! 
  • I am having a big garage sale for my mom next weekend.  After I read an article on facebook about garage sale tricks I have decided not to price many of the items.  The idea is that people like to bargain and you may actually get more than you thought for an item.  But secretly I really just don't want my mom to see I price stuff way less than she does.
  • So a friend comes in today and said her husband said the library called to tell her that her Banana Bitch book is in.....ahhh about know?... the author Janet Evanovich!
  • I need to clean my gutters.  What an absolute horrible job.  I saw a thing on facebook about life hacks. One of them was adding a long curved tube to your leaf blower so you can stand on the ground and blow out your it just me or does this seem like a really bad idea to anyone else?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

TTGood copy
It appears I don't have thoughts on Thursday....they randomly come to me much later in the week.  So here are some thoughts on this Friday.
  • Awhile I posted that I couldn't remember my son's age.  He is the fourth kid ya know...give me a break...I did come up with it after a little thinking.  But it appears the problem has gotten worse...and we will never tell him this story.  But apparently his school sports physical was lost because someone had checked the female box on the physical form.  OOPS!  But also shame on the doctor who didn't notice that they were actually examining a male and shame on the person who put him on the girls' list and actually typed "Gavin" on that list.  It appears that everyone around here is a bit foggy...not just me.
  •  If you don't eat food with preservatives, you live in a rural area and you have issues with could starve to death...just saying! 
  • I am on the look out for Crispin Natural Hard Pear Cider.  A handy internet tool told me that it was available just a mere 225 miles away on tap at a bar.  Ok ... I was kinda thinkin' I would like to drive to a store and buy a 6 pack.
  • This is bad for a librarian to say....but ok kids... quit reading the book before the movie and chatting about the all the differences....shut up and watch the movie!
  • I have never been to PF Changs....never ever.  I am going this weekend.  You better live up to my expectations!
  • Two kids will be off to college next week and two will be left home.  My oldest at home can't drive yet.  This can't be possible... I am back to square one.  No driver in the house again. The horrors that used to plague me are returning. I should be allowed some sort of emergency dispensation waiver so she can get her license and transportation issues can proceed as usual!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Clean eating - Our Adventure

My original plan was to post what we are eating each day.  Haha... That is just not gonna happen.  So below is an overview of some of the stuff I have made. We have also made some basic changes:

  • We use olive oil...and only in small amounts
  • We use coconut oil and also make popcorn only on the stove top in coconut oil
  • We only eat wheat, rye or whole grain bread...bakery fresh when possible
  • We limit sugar, but when we do bake a treat we use organic cane sugar
  • We try to use whole grain or veggie pasta whenever possible but if we use white noodles we buy organic.  and we use lots of quinoa.
  • We eat lots of fresh veggies and fruit
  • We eat pretzels and all natural crackers and bagel chips.
  • We eat only all natural cheese, cottage cheese and sour cream.
  • We use real honey and real maple syrup.
  • We use white unbleached flour and substitute in as much whole wheat flour as possible.
I am still trying to figure out how to make good whole grain bread in my bread machine.  I have not had good luck.  everything comes out like a brick!

1) You gotta have a little fun...pear beer.  The only ingredient is pear juice, that has fermented  2) chocolate chip cookies made with whole wheat flour dark choc. chips and organic cane sugar. 3) Veggie sandwich with fresh mozzarella, avacado, garden veggies on marble rye

1) All natural alfredo sauce from a jar, with shrimp on brown rice and sauteed onions, mushrooms and squash  2) hamburger patty with mushrooms and onions on marble rye and fresh beans from the garden 3) a hotdog with natural casing on a whole wheat bun with cucumber salad and homemade baked olive oil and sea salt fries.

1) grilled chicked breast with romaine lettuce and parmesan cheese,  grill corn on the cob and red skin potatoes with olive oil and seasonings cooked in foil on the grill.

We live in a very rural area and finding fresh ingredients that aren't processed has been hard.  I tend to shop almost every day after work.  Not a big trip ...just a quick stop at the local grocery store to grab fresh ingredients.  Bread has been a real challenge... everything is processed, even the "fresh bread" made in the bakery at the grocery store.  It is really made from packaged dough with preservative ingredients.  We have a small restaurant that makes bakery bread but it is too soft and we don't like it. Hopefully I can figure out the bread machine and get a good healthy recipe.  If you have any whole wheat or multi-grain bread machine recipes please share them with me. I also am constantly stalking Pinterest for clean recipes.  Our other issue has been fresh juice with out added sugar or preservatives.  We have found some but for any type of selection we have to drive to the next larger city which is about 35 minutes away.  We usually make a weekly or bi-weekly trip out of town, but with fresh ingredients and no preservatives there is no stocking up unless you can freeze it. We try to eat organic, food that hasn't been genetically modified, and food without chemical preservatives added.  This is basically a complete change from the way we have been eating and the way most of america eats.  It is really sad, all the junk we used to eat.  We have learned that real food fills you up better, you can eat surprisingly more than you think and still loose weight and that we just feel much better.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eating Clean - Our Adventure Begins

I have kind of fallen off the healthy lifestyle wagon.  Actually the whole family has. Doritos and ice cream have become staple foods. So we have decided to get back to doing what is good for our bodies.  Basically we all feel lousy and lazy.  So it's time. We have done clean eating before and I typically try to always avoid packaged processed foods when shopping.  However, it is quite hard in the United States, to do this...everything everywhere is boxed and processed. One of the things our trip to France taught us was how bad we eat.  We don't take the time to enjoy all the wonderful, natural, unprocessed foods.  You can actually eat more when eat you clean. So I decided to do a day by day blog of just what we are doing and eating.  I am hoping to inspire myself and others to take the extra time to eat clean.
So here is day 1 -
  • Morning coffee with unsweetened almond milk and honey from our hives
  • Home made roasted chick peas with olive oil, sea salt, garlic and parmesan
  • Vanilla Greek Yogurt, with blueberries and honey....darn it I forgot the granola
  • Romaine salad with leftover roast chicken, parmesan and cucumber.  In the jar...that isn't actually caramel sauce... it's red wine vinegar, oil and a little garlic for dressing
I am struggling a bit on day one.  I couldn't find a bread machine to buy locally.  So I had to order one on amazon.  So no bread until it arrives on Wednesday or Thursday.  Then I hope to make whole wheat bread, croutons and pitas.  Also, this takes a lot of time and prep.  Thinking ahead and planning what to eat isn't my strong suit.  I am so not even sure what we will have for dinner tonight.  At the risk of being flogged...I am thinking something like a veggie lasagna with zucchini from my garden.  Maybe the kids won't notice we are having zucchini yet again if I hide it in a lasagna.  Wish me luck.

Dinner and snack for later -

  • Green tea and zucchini  quinoa lasagna.  My kids loved it!
  • Snack - I made a sort of check mix out of a box of Kashi cereal.  I added about 1/3 cup honey and some peanuts and baked in the oven at 350 until it was golden brown.  Then cooled and added pretzels, dark chocolate chips and dried cherries.  This too was a big hit with the kids.  
  • I made mango / blueberry sorbet.  I put 3 mangos, a large handful of blueberries, a dash of almond extract and about 1/8 cup of honey in the Bullet.  then I dumped it in an old ice cream container and froze.  it tasted very good before it was frozen.  Let's hope it is even better when we try it froze.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday Thoughts

TTGood copy

I am linking up with Jenny at Ramblings of a Suburban Mom.

Here are my Thoughts for this Thursday...
P.S.  I could never do this every Thursday....I don't have that many thoughts... or at least that many worth repeating.

  • My Dad just had heart surgery for a second time in 10 months.  He is walking around and had the surgery just two days ago.  How amazing is medical technology and God.  Both have really treated us well. (Insert a big round of applause for God here!)
  • I got a spider in my pants yesterday at work.  He crawled in there when I was in the bathroom at work.  I noticed him as I was pulling up my pants.  I work in a library so I couldn't just scream.  But I did take my pants off and shake them and shake them and shake them...but I never saw him again.  I was a bit disturbed.  If I was at home I would have never put those pants pant on again.  But I was at work...I was horrified but I am pretty certain that if I would have walked out of the bathroom into the  children's area without pants I would have lost my job and ended up on a national registry.
  • I have decided that becoming a minimalist is the only way to go.  Hey if you haven't used something in the last couple of months....get rid of it.  Everything you hoard save becomes your children's problem.
  • I can't wait for Spring.  My Garden is going to rock this year.  I am expanding and putting up permanent fencing and would like to add an arch and an entry way through an old wooden house door.  One problem....ahhh I need an old wooden door.... and unfortunately 3 bazillion other people prolly saw that garden door pinned on Pinterest too.  If you have an old door... I would be happy to take it off your hands.
  • I must admit... I dislike yarn.  I have a sweater on today and the yarn keeps touching me....ugh I can't wait to get home and change.  I am also not fond of yarn afghans...feels creepy. Yarn scarves are the worst...that yarn touching right around my neck...eew! Thank goodness for the invention of soft polar fleece.
  • What's up with Kinder Eggs?  Apparently there was a ban on them in the US but now its lifted.  Although they are still extremely hard to find and very expensive on the internet.  Seriously, couldn't we just sign a waiver before we buy them?  Like... I do solemnly swear not to choke on the small toy or allow my kids to choke on it.  I mean you can buy fireworks if you sign a waiver.  It seems like fireworks are slightly more dangerous.
  • I am not seeing much use for cats right now.  Long story.... but it has been a long cold winter and my heated garage has taken a hard hit.
  • It seems that I had forgotten from last year how laborious the college scholarship process is.  Here's a reason you shouldn't have back to back high school seniors. ( I should have foreseen this problem about 18 years ago.)  I am not even filling out the applications...but the constant questions, stress and whining.... oh I had forgotten all about you!
  • My aunt has never eaten a kiwi.  I find this quite odd.  I would have thought everyone has.  I will likely be force feeding her a kiwi in the very near future.  I will let you know how it goes.