Friday, September 30, 2011

Family Update!

Well we have a lot of exciting things happening in our house, amidst the trials! Some can not be disclosed yet. We'll wait to see what the future holds!
The freezer is emptying out and we are two meals away from being meatless. Matter of fact, next weeks menu only has one meat dinner. You know what that means...lot's of new recipes to try! I am excited to be going meatless. We have also cut out eggs and milk. Next will be cheese. The kids are thinking, *oh no! We're going to starve!* I'll let you all know how it goes. As far as Roque and I are concerned, we've already seen that we don't miss it. I've noticed that the two little ones are trying (and eating) a wider variety of food then they had in the past.
Other great news is that I have lost a total of 57 lbs. to date! Just 23 more to go. I am still losing a steady amount each week (4.6 lbs. this week alone!). I am REALLY enjoying running. I look forward to my 5 evenings a week when I can hit the "track". Roque has gone with me a few times. I have really enjoyed that!
Roque is 3 weeks into his journey. He is starting how I did, with the Nutrilite Weight Management program. Between that and my good cooking (oh yea, and his exercise and determination :-P) he's lost 11 lbs!!

 Somebody's been paying attention! He's got his own routine
going. And NO, we don't exercise in our chonies. It's his
personal preference!

The other great news is that Roque"s blood sugar levels
keep dropping. Thanks to healthy eating, exercise and
these great all natural supplements from Nutrilite!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Bars

These oatmeal bars are a favorite in my house. I usually make one and a half batches and bake it in a 11x16 sided cookie pan. There is sugar in this recipe, but no oil or eggs. I usually keep my hands off and leave this snack to the kids.

This is the recipe for one batch...but you may want to make more!

    2 cups rolled oats
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup of wheat germ
    1 cup wheat flour
    3/4 cup raisins (or chocolate chips, or.....)
    3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup light agave nectar
    1 cup of no sugar added applesauce
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 baking pan or use parchment paper.

In large mixing bowl  (or mixer) combine all dry ingredients (even the raisins). Add wet ingredients and continue mixing until well blended. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake 30-35 minutes until it begins to turn golden on the edges..don't over cook. Cool for five minutes then cut the squares while still warm. Store in an air tight container.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Banana Black Bean Brownies

I got this recipe from Lindsay Nixon's, The Happy Herbivore. She calls them Black Bean Brownies. I really don't taste so much brownie as I do banana. They are super moist! But slightly too sweet. I will definitely be making this again, but will tweak the recipe a bit. Maybe omit the agave nectar or reduce the amount of banana. Even thought the main ingredient is black beans, you wouldn't guess it! while this didn't pass the kid test(looks like a brownie but doesn't taste like one), It did pass mine. I think there is potential with this easy recipe.
These are 112 calories each, 0.9 grams of fat and 3.5 grams of protein. Recipe yields 9 squares.

This recipe was so breezy to make in the food processor. I'm in love! I need one. I borrowed my mom's (dad's) while they are out of town ;-). This recipe can be made in a blender....but SOOOO easy in a processor.

    1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    2 spotted bananas
    1/3 cup agave nectar
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 cup instant oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. grease standard 9 in square pan.
3. Combine all ingredients except oats in food processor and blend until smooth, stopping and scraping the sides as needed.
4. Stir in the oats and bake for about 30 minutes until toothpick inserted int he middle comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chocolate(er..vegan) Chip Cookies

I ordered a cookbook the other day and it came in the mail two days ago. It's called The Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon. Happy indeed! These recipes are low or no fat, super easy and look super yummy! I had to try the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe today. I didn't have chocolate chips on hand, but I did have some carob chips. I also found out that Ghiradelli chocolate in naturally vegan. I will have to check that out! These cookies passed the kid test and we have to watch for one sneaky little 3 year-old cookie monster!

I did double this recipe. Doubled, it yields about 36 cookies.

    2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
    1 cup light brown sugar
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 cup non-dairy milk
    2 cups whole wheat flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 tbsp cornstarch (I found some at Sprouts that is made from GMO FREE corn!)
    a few dashes of cinnamon
    1 cup of vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper
Combine wet ingredients in mixing bowl.
In small bowl whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch and cinnamon.
Mix in dry ingredients with wet in three batches.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop spoonfuls ( I use a cookie scooper) on cookie sheet. Bake 7- 10 minutes

61 calories per cookie, 0.7 g of Fat, 6.2 g of sugar, 1 g of protein

Friday, September 23, 2011

You Can Have Your Baby and Pizza Too

When I was pregnant with Elijah, I remember the OB GYN nurse telling me that one food that I must absolutely not eat was pizza. I never understood why, but she was pretty adamant about it.
Pizza does not have to be an un-healthy forbidden endeavor. Actually it can be quite wholesome AND yummy.

 Start with a homemade whole wheat crust. This is the Betty Crocker
pizza dough recipe. I used all whole wheat flour and coconut oil instead of
olive oil. Sprinkle pizza dough with a little garlic salt  after it is rolled and on the pan.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Then add your ingredients.

Add your tomato paste/sauce to the pizza.
Add your favorite ingredients. Most vegetables should be pre-
sauteed in water (and garlic if you like) until they are tender crisp.
This is a vegetarian/vegan pizza. I knew my hubby wanted cheese.
I wanted to try it without and do without the added fat.
Bake for another 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. 
Well, I wanted to indulge in my vegan pizza without
worrying about all the carbs I was consuming. So I took my
Nutrilite Carb Blocker 2. This supplement uses fermented soy and
white kidney bean abstracts to block the absorption of both sugars
and starches without blocking vital minerals and nutrients. It will block
up to 500 carbohydrate calories! Click on the photo to learn more about
this all natural product. Item #100193

Making Your Own Tomato Sauce

Making your own tomato sauces can be relatively simple and usually cheaper. The other benefit is that you control what goes in your sauce. For me that means no sugars or milk products. If you've never done this before, here's a simple series of steps to follow.
    1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
    2. With a knife, cut a small x into the bottom of each tomato.
    3. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 30 seconds.
    4. Remove from water (some then immediately put tomatoes in ice water, to stop the cooking process. I skip this step because I will be cooking the tomatoes anyway).
    5. From the x peel the tomatoes completely.
    6. Cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds and juice.
    7. Blend remaining tomato halves in blender until smooth liquid.
    8. Cook in large sauce pan adding your favorite ingredients. Boil covered for 5 minutes. Then lower 
        heat and simmer-boil for about 30 minutes.

 My sauce with lightly sauteed garlic, salt and Italian seasonings.

 Boil-simmering out some of the liquid

 Making a thicker paste is easy. Use a coffee filter and drain extra liquid.

This tomato paste will be perfect on tonight's pizza!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wholesome Pancakes

My kids eat a lot of pancakes. It's pretty much the "go to" breakfast in our house. I admit that before I started my journey to better health, my "go to" mix was Krusteez. Just add water and mix! But now that we are on a path to better health, I whip up a batch of these. Whatever doesn't get eaten goes into the freezer. Makes many easy mornings. Just reheat in the microwave.

    2 2/3 cup of whole wheat flour
    1 1/2 cup rolled oats
    6 Tbsp flax seed meal
    2 tsp cinnamon
    2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp baking soda
    2 eggs, beaten
    2 1/2 cups almond milk (or your milk choice)
    2 cups of water

Mix dry ingredients together and mix in wet ingredients. Cook like you would pancakes.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Early Mornings

You know what makes a great early morning? Breakfast that makes itself and kids sleeping in! Well, I can help you with the breakfast..but you're on your own with the kiddos! God was showing me grace this morning when both of these lined up (yes, on the same morning!!)! Yes, it was a blessed morning. I enjoyed some time with my hubby before he was off to work and I had some time, just God and I.

Steel-cut Oats with Almonds

Steel-cut oats have become increasingly popular. Just in case you haven't heard of them, they are the inner part of the whole grain groats which have then been cut with a steel blade. They don't look anything like your rolled oatmeal and it takes longer to cook. It is also much heartier and filling. If you are a diabetic, these are definitely a better choice as it will take your body longer to digest and slow down the rate at which your body turns it into sugar.

I don't know about you, but the words "takes longer to cook" does not sound all!! Especially in the morning! Until, that is, I found out I could cook them in the crock pot! OVERNIGHT!!! I have made this twice in the last week....LOVE it! My kids don't care for this variety of oats, yet. But that doesn't bother me. That means leftovers and this reheats nicely in the microwave for another quick breakfast.

 So this is how I do it. Wad a piece of foil and put it
on the bottom of the pot. This just puts a space between
the pot and the baking dish.

You'll need a baking dish that will fit in your pot with the
lid on.

This a great recipe to play with and add your favorite ingredients to. This is the way my hubby, Roque and I like it.
    1 cup of steel-cut oats
    2 cups almond milk
    2 cups water
    1 Tbsp Cinnamon
    1 teaspoon all spice
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Put all ingredients in your crock pot safe dish. Put the dish in your pot on top of foil. Put water in the CROCK POT, around your dish. Fill to about the same level as the ingredients in your dish. Set your crock pot on low for 8 hours. In the morning, stir well cover for about 5 minutes and serve. Add your favorite toppings!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tortilla Soup...Great for Fire breathing Dragons!

Tortilla Soup garnished with cilantro, pinch of cheese and crispy corn tortilla strips.

These were easy to make. Just slice the tortillas very thin (with pizza cutter) and cook in a frying pan (no oil needed) over medium high heat. continue to turn until crisp.

This was a spicy soup. Even though I tried to cool it off by going with a mild sauce. It was still spicy! family loved it!! Even my three year old, Elijah, had two servings. He told me that if he was going to be a fire breathing dragon, he needed to eat spicy food.
We will definitely be having this again. Especially during the cool winter months.

This recipe is enough to feed a family of 8-9 people. If it's too much for you, half the ingredients.

    2 cans (16 oz) mild red enchilada sauce
    2 cans black beans
    2 cups of frozen corn
    5 cups water
    4 tbsp vegetable bouillon
    1 lb. ground turkey (optional)
    1 cup tomato sauce
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    2 cloves garlic
    chopped cilantro
Mix enchilada sauce, water, tomato sauce, vegetable bouillon, chili powder and cumin in pot over medium-high heat. Heat skillet to high. Add 1/4 cup of water (I've learned to use water instead of oil), ground turkey and garlic until browned. Add corn and beans (drained and rinsed) to turkey until heated. Then add to soup. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes and then simmer on low for another 20.
Serve and garnish with tortillas and cilantro.

Quinoa and Black Beans

Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a very easy and yummy recipe that I found on I made one change. I added a pound of ground turkey. The next time I make this, it will be a vegetarian/vegan dish.

1 lb ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro(optional)

1.Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat (for extra health, omit this step). Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

2.Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Brown ground turkey, if you are adding it.

4.Stir frozen corn and turkey into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crispy Eggplant bake

This recipe was actually inspired by a friend of mine. Julie Shue had a great recipe for an eggplant bake (I'll have to ask her if I can share it on here someday!). Breading and baking the eggplant was the first step. I discovered that these crispy seasoned treats were quite yummy just like this!

       1 eggplant thinly sliced
       2 eggs, beaten or egg substitute
       3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs or panko crumbs ( I make my own bread, slice and dice and season with garlic salt, italitian seasoning and parmesean cheese)

Heat oven to 350. Dredge eggplant slices through eggs and bread crumbs, coating both sides. Place on cookie sheet. Cook for 10 minutes on each side. Enjoy as a snack or as a dinner side de' lish.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yummy Turkey Sweet Potato Tacos

I found this yummy recipe on I did modify it a bit to fit the needs of our family and what we had on hand. This was super simple to put together and was a winner with the whole family (even the teens!).

       3/4 pound of ground turkey ( I used a super lean 99/1)
       1 large yam
       0-4 jalapeno peppers (I omitted because of my little ones)
       1/2 onion, chopped
       1-2 cloves of garlic minced
       1 tbsp of chili powder
       1 tsp of ground cumin
       1/2 tsp salt
       3/4 cup of fresh salsa (I used mild and avoided sugars and preservatives)
       whole grain tortillas (the corn ones I bought were just 60 calories each)

Peel the sweet potato and dice into small squares. Cook in a microwave safe bowl for 10 minutes. In a skillet brown turkey (add oil if you need to..I have been omitting it.) add chopped onions and garlic, cook for about 7 minutes over medium heat. Add spices then add sweet potatos and salsa mix well and simmer over low heat for about 4 minutes. Heat tortillas. Garnish tacos with cilantro and salsa (and what ever else your heart or diet allows).

Friday, September 16, 2011

Is There a Name For Me???

As you know, I've been really changing my lifestyle in the last 5 months. I no longer "live to eat". Instead I have been educating myself and learning how to "eat to live". What a journey it has been!

I have gone from a full on omnivore (more meat and carbs than plants) to a semi-vegetarian/ wanna-be-veagan. Hence the question. What should I call myself? I'm in transition...and for many reasons.

*I have a family of six (our oldest moved home yesterday). It would be nice to make this switch without hearing the groans of agony as they dig their heels in. So we move slowly.

*The freezer is still full of meat. Yes, it is just chicken, turkey and fish but lets be real, in these hard economic times, food is food and it needs to be eaten (oh well that we may be killing cells, clogging arteries and raising blood sugars).

And just a little disclaimer: I AM NOT AN ANIMAL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

I mean to say, I believe that God gave us dominion over the animals. But I still shed a tear over the death of my favorite childhood pet, Max. That was over 20 years ago!

This is purely a health decision.

So my blog is switching directions. I wanted to blog about this journey that I am embarking on. The adventures and misadventures of going from a meat eating family to going in the complete opposite direction. Will we make it? I hope so!

So come along on the journey!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Yes, It's Been a While

To be honest with you, I was ready to just leave this blogging world. I "thought" I was done...until my husband "hacked" my blog. He told me he was hacking it. I didn't even look at it for a couple of days...but when I did, I thought, "this doesn't even sound like me." He kinda egged me on a little! LOL

So here I am again. I actually had to read a few posts back to remember where I was in my life. I see I left some loose ends. So read on, I'm sure I will tie them all up.

We have been through some major changes since last spring and on through the summer. The biggest and most important change has been with my husband, Roque. It's been a challenge as well as a blessing to watch him allow God to grab a hold of him and transform his life. It seems that just when Roque was ready to surrender to God's will for his life, God puts a new dream in it! Roque and I have started an online business. It has been a slow go, but we are committed to stay the course. Both Roque and I are involved in our church. Roque teaches a couple Saturdays a month at a Men's Bible study breakfast. He has also started teaching the middle school youth during Wednesday night service. I volunteer as the children's ministry director.

Another change for us is that we went from a family size of 7 to 5, over the summer. Both Jared and Justin went to live with their mom this summer. This has been a bit of an adjustment. Especially for Roque (His babies have left the nest) and for the siblings left behind.

Cody is still struggling in school. The only difference now is that he has the (in school) support to succeed if he is willing to. Cody did get an IEP and he now has access to extra tutors during classes as well as a period in which to get even more support to complete homework that is due in his classes. While we did not get the school to recognize NLD as a specified learning disorder, the school psycologist did recognize that all of his test scores lined up with that diagnoses. That was good enough for me and it is getting him some help in the school setting. There is some small improvements at home as well, though it can get pretty rocky still. We try to keep it as real as we can and still hold him accountable for his actions. The greatest change that I have seen is that he is truly seeking God right now for direction. Day by day!!

Andan and Elijah both started school today. Yes, we are still homeschooling. Last year was awesome and I am looking forward to this year as well. Elijah will start on a modified preschool curriculum. He still has a full 2 years before he can start kindergarten. So we are not an any type of hurry. We'll take it at his pace. Andan had a very successful year and got straight A's in first grade. He is a little anxious this year over cursive writing, but is excited none the less. Second grade, here we come.

I have also have made some changes this year. The biggest being my health. I have never been very successful at dieting. Sure, I'll loose a few pounds. But more likely than not, they seem to find me and bring extras with them. When Roque and I started our business, I had the opportunity to take a DNA test through Inherent health. I found out that I am predisposed to diabetes. It struck a cord with me. My husband is diabetic and my Grandma passed away last year from numerous health issues stemming from diabetes. This isn't a road I am willing to walk down. I will fight it. I started on a Carb reducer weight management plan through my business. With a combination of supplements and learning about portions and healthy eating, I begin to lose weight. That was in April. I started to educate myself more on health issues, vitamins, supplementation and healthy eating! I've learned a lot! Watching documentaries like Food Matters, I've learned more than I ever knew that there was to learn. It has changed my view of food (Which is a topic for a different post!) My kids are eating better than ever. Even Roque is getting on board and being very supportive. I have lost a total of 47 lbs. My goal was to lose 80 lbs. That would be the high end of the healthy weigh range. But this IS a lifestyle change, it is no longer a "diet".
Well , THAT'S my story ;-)

Disclaimer on Sept 3rd post!

If you know me at all, you know that I did not write the post on September 3rd. I guest my wonderful hubby thought it had been too long since my last that was a special, once only, guest appearance from the one and only Roque Camacho Jr.

Now back to the regular scheduled program.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

We'll it has been awhile since I last posted. Allot of changes since my last post. Are children continue to grow with many adventure's in life. Elijah is now three going on five. He is quite a character. With him there is no such thing as a "terrible three," but a curious three old who thinks he is five.

Andan is now seven and moving on to the second grade being home schooled. Baseball this year for him was a challenge, because it was his first year playing in CAPS! In the midst of all his challenges Andan made it through. He and his team ended the season with 26 wins and 3 losses. They did a fabulous job winning third place during the championship round. Go Lemon Grove Padres!

Cody is now fifteen and has moved on to the tenth grade at Helix Charter School. Cody played a little basketball with the varsity team and did great after being away from the sport for awhile. He went camping to Chico State for a week and had a blast. He tried looking for a job but is not of age yet to start working. November here we come!!!!!

Justin is now seventeen and a senior at Horizon Christian Academy. He is much more involved with the church youth group. He and a few other kids led worship and the kid can sing. We encourage him to join the Worship Team.

Jared is now eighteen and is now attending Devry University. He is majoring in Business Technology. He has learned to play the Eukele on his own and even led worship. We wanted him to play the guitar but the extra string may have been a bit much. LOL

I no longer work. Yeah!!!!! I still home school Andan and Elijah and just about ready to start the new year already. I now volunteer as a Children's Director at City Heights Assembly Church. I have lost over 45 pounds and feeling great. So many changes so far this year........

Roque and I started a business late March of this year and in about five years, dream to be financially independent and debt free. Visit our website at

Roque still works for SDG&E and is trying to move up.......finally! LOL I love him so much and must say that he has been a changed man. Well that is it for now until next time. I will post pictures when I get the chance. God Blesss!!!!!