Eating Clean on a Choo-Choo Train

Sorry, cheezy rhyme, but I couldn’t resist. I’m a Mom of four with two preschoolers πŸ˜‰

Anyways, we headed out for the day and started it off like we have everyday: packing the cooler. Yes, this may seem like a pain, bringing a cooler, but #1 it saves us a lot of money bringing our own food and #2 it’s healthier. The cooler sits in the car all day (with a several cold packs…) and whenever we’re hungry, we just pop open the back of the car and chow down.

Here’s some of our snacks we packed for the day:

(Sorry for the picture quality…)

  • dried fruit and nuts
  • baby carrots
  • LOTS of fruit! πŸ™‚
  • Larabars
  • My trusty vegan protein powder
  • fruit strips
  • applesauce
  • gluten-free bread

We try to eat as much from our cooler but do go out for one meal. When we started planning our trip to Colorado, Shawn, who is from here, said we hadΒ to go to the famous BeauJo’s Pizza. It would be our “cheat” meal for the week. So we decided to go for lunch. Well, as luck would have it, they had an ENTIRE gluten-free menu!

Whoohoo! They even had an option for Daiya for cheese (which is dairy and soy free). We decided to go with the dairy cheese this time, but try out the gluten-free crust. YUM!! πŸ™‚

Honestly, I am very surprised how accommodating Colorado has been to alternative eating. TONS of fresh options, and lots of gluten-free options at restaurants and grocery stores.

Julia enjoying some gluten-free pizza

Train time up into the beautiful Rocky Mountains!



Not Everything is Perfect

This is something that I seem to say often lately.

Hannah and Julia start fighting “That’s not fair! blah, blah….”

My response: “Life isn’t fair and not everything it perfect in life. Sorry.”

Maybe it’s not the right response, but it’s what comes to my mind first.

Anyways, lately, I’ve made lots of baking mistakes. What better place to admit it than on a blog, right? I guess that’s what happens when you play around with ingredients and the mixture gets slightly off. It can be the difference between soggy brownies and fluffy brownies. Well, that’s what happened the other day…..*sigh* not everything is perfect….

I really wanted to try to adjust the quinoa brownies I posted the other day. They had butter, eggs, and sugar in them, which is usually a quick and easy adjustment, BUT I had never baked with quinoa before. So, theΒ  result: Not so good. The taste was amazing and I could see potential, but they were…um, soupy to say the least.

Potential, maybe. Anyways, back to the drawing board. When I figure it out I’ll be posting for sure!


What’s for lunch?: Work Day!

Simple. Clean meals.

I don’t have time for a complicated mess, nor do I settle for packaged, processed foods. Fresh ingredients doesn’t mean that is takes long to prepare.

Here is an example of one of our snack/lunch-type meals. Hannah, age 8, made this quick lunch for Daddy, who was working in the office. (I helped her slice the peach and cucumber…)

  • Cucumber, carrots, and celery with hummus dip
  • Homemade granola with almond milk and a fresh peach chopped over the top

Here is Hannah stirring the glaze for the homemade granola. I will share this recipe soon. I really thought it was ready for sharing, but got discouraged today after I burned a batch. UGH! I guess one burnt granola out of the many batches I’ve made, isn’t too bad. Oh well! More to come on that granola!

New Recipe: COMING SOON!

I am so excited to be able to share my very first recipe! I’m sure there will be many more, but this is my first!

Anyways, I will be sharing the recipe for Nutbutter Bars on Wednesday, July 25th! They are sugar-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and grain-free….and SUPER TASTY! Be sure to check back to be the first to grab my new recipe! πŸ™‚


What’s in my pantry?

Many people have asked “well, what DO you eat then?” I guess when you remove processed and boxed foods, the list of “acceptable foods” seems small, but actually it has opened up a huge world for us that is full of endless possibilities. Remember: “Think outside the box!” (sorry, I keep quoting this but I have no other way of saying my point.)

Here is a picture of one shelf in my pantry, to give you an idea of what I store for snacks and meals. (Yes, my children have learned to eat all this stuff too!) I figured you wouldn’t be too interested in my ziplock bags or parchment paper shelf, but that’s in the pantry too.


Here is the list of contents of my pantry shelf (note not all are in the picture, but are a regular staple item in our house.):

  • Brown rice
  • Lentils
  • Raw almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Cinnamon almonds
  • Jasmine rice
  • Flaxseed
  • Quinoa
  • Pecans
  • Trail mix
  • Dried black beans
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Vegan Protein powder
  • Gluten-free oatmeal
  • Almond butter
  • Raisins
  • Archer Farms real fruit strips
  • Natural no sugar applesauce
  • Canned beans (no salt added)

I try to buy most of these items in bulk from Sprouts or the local grocery store. They are not expensive items. At the beginning of our food change, it took us about 3 months to clean out what we already had. Every time I went to the store, I’d come home with some new find. I try to vary the snacks in the containers. Today, we have raisins. Sometimes, I buy other kinds of dried fruit, like apples. I check the labels because frequently dried fruit, for example, has added sugar….which I cannot understand since fruit is sweet by itself.
Anyways, that’s my pantry! (Baking Edition, coming soon!)


The Perfect Packaged Cookie

Yesterday at Sprout’s, the list was long, the kids were tired of being there, and were “starving to death.” So a little bribery came in handy to keep their behavior in my favor. Usually the “prize” at Sprouts is a lollipop from the check out lane. But today, since they were all starving, a cookie did the trick.

I’m not really known for handing my kids cookies, or sweets for that matter, but today was just that kind of day! A quick grab of Nana’s No Wheat cookies and we were finally done with our shopping trip.

It wasn’t until I got out to the car and one child handed me his trash, that I turned the package over to check out the ingredients. I was very surprised what I found. Usually this kind of stuff is loaded with something, but honestly, I was pleasantly surprised by my impulse grab. Here is the ingredient list:

  • Organic Oat Flour
  • Barley Flour
  • Fruit Juice (used for the sweetener)
  • Rice Dextrins
  • Non-GMO Canola Oil
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Soy Lecithin
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Natural Flavors
  • Sea Salt

Sure it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn close and better than most check-out lane grabs! We all agreed homemade cookies were better, but this was pretty tasty!

Anyways, just had to share my find. πŸ™‚


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free Chewy Granola Bars

Oh yum…..

My kids LOVE these! For my four kiddos, I usually double the batch and put it in a 9×13 pan. The recipe is super easy and I just pour everything in my handy-dandy-mixer and then bake.

They don’t last long around my house! I make them with raisins and chocolate chips, but some sort of nut, like walnuts, would be awesome in them! (We avoid nuts due to allergies.)

Thank you to Gluten-Free Easily for sharing them.