Belly Fat Zapping Menu- More Ideas

Belly Fat Foods - Fruits

As I continue to try to zap my belly fat, I am working on creating a healthy daily menu plan. I am not good at piecing a whole week together and then sticking to it, so I’d rather share ideas as I actually use them myself. My goal is to eat nutritious food that also contains fiber, protein and the right kind of fats. Continue reading

Food Labels – What they Don’t Show!

I am constantly learning more about making good choices with food and reading food labels. As my regular readers know, I have been exploring labels for organic foods and looking carefully at what is in the food I buy for my family. I discovered an App for my iPhone that has blown me away…or rather the information I have discovered has!
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Lunch Ideas

Image Via 123RF

I am getting very bored with my usual lunches. Ham and turkey sandwiches on whole grain bread just ‘aint cutting it anymore! I work full-time and the teacher’s lounge only provides a very unreliable microwave for cooking. I don’t have time to prepare amazing menus for myself and, quite frankly, I am too gosh darn tired anyway.
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Is My Food Organic?

Many of you who have read this blog from the start know my son, Button, is a cancer survivor. The fact that I tried my best to be organic, clean with as many green products as possible, and avoid obvious harmful situations such as living next to a gas station did not change the painful news I received about my then five-year old son. I cannot beat myself up about it, however. That would serve no purpose at all. Instead, I can put even more effort into living the non-toxic life. Continue reading

Delicious Dish Tuesday: Chicken Soup

Before the cold weather leaves us, I wanted to share my recipe for chicken soup. As with most of my recipes, I make most of it up as I go, depending on the ingredients I have in the fridge. This combination has proven to be extremely popular…I have been asked to share with friends and I cold live off it all week. I have never had the chance to freeze it, which makes me think my culinary dabblings are working on this one! Continue reading

The Vitamin Debate

In an ideal world, our children would be getting their vitamins directly from the diet they eat. It is possible to provide a balanced diet so rich in essential vitamins and minerals that no supplement is required. However, there are not many children who would actually eat everything you needed them to in order to get all the nutrition they need.

As a working mom, I regrettably fall foul to the pressures of too much to do and head for the instant Mac n’ Cheese or frozen chicken nuggets. While it goes against every bone in my body, I know I have to cut myself some slack and feel good that at least I read the labels and bought the healthiest instant food I could find…organic if possible…and I let it go: I need to stay sane! Continue reading

HopeFULL Cooking Fun

This is not a paid review, merely the observations of a mom trying out a new idea in her kitchen.  I am a blogging friend of the HopeFULL Company girls, but all opinions and comments are Buttons or my own.  

Many of you will be aware of the new BellyFULL whole food pops that are the brainchild of two wonderful sisters, Jessica and Stephanie.    The initial idea behind this ingenious, foodalicious fun was to provide people who are going through chemotherapy or other treatments/illnesses with easy to eat, nutrition-packed meals in the form of ice-pops.  Having experienced the difficulties of getting a six-year-old with an ulcerated gastrointestinal tract to eat, I can vouch for the relief such a meal can bring to a parent watching their child waste away to nothing.

The BellyFULL packs are a move into helping parents cope with picky eaters.   They are not just for cancer patients, but for children who turn their noses up at nutritious fruit and veggies but love treats such as ice-pops.  Button, being several months off treatment, has no need for the pops to help his GI tract; instead he needs to rebuild his body, ravaged by chemo, and consume as much ‘goodness’ as possible.  His brother, Peanut, is less picky, but the price of vitamins, not to mention the added sugar they always seem to come with, would drive anyone to think of a better way to get the much needed nutrients into a growing ten year old!

So our BellyFULL pack arrived and Button was immediately determined to don the chef’s hat and get started.  We began with a special trip to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for Button’s chosen recipe: Apricot Rocket. We pottered around Mrs. Greens gathering a very small supply of food (admittedly I already had everything except the apricots but wanted Button to experience the whole enchilada!  Three ingredients, the obvious star being the apricots, and we were done…easy, organic and cheep!

The packs come with a wonderful ring-bound menu list.  Most of the pops are three key ingredients, and the page also includes very easy to follow directions and some fun ideas for kids to do while helping.  We could guess how many apricot halves were in the jar, or discuss how the apricots felt as we rinsed them.  Button said that was for younger kids as he, being a big seven year old, preferred to be in charge of reading and  following the directions.  Apart from chopping, I really wasn’t needed.


Mix Thoroughly

Adding More Ingredients

Chef Button Mixing

Pouring Mixture into Silicone Mold

Add Wooden Spoons

Kid Sloppy But Yummy!

Into the Freezer

Freeze for Three Hours

The wait was almost too much for Button.  He had loved every minute of being in charge of the kitchen.  Finally the waiting was over:

Apricot Rocket Pops


The First Try


What a great success!  Button immediately announced the pop was delicious and ate the whole thing in  a matter of minutes.  I enjoyed one also and have to admit, it tasted great.  Button was eating ingredients he usually balked at.  I also saw the immense sense of gratification he had in creating something himself.

I feel the pops are especially wonderful for the warmer days…I was cold when I tucked into mine, having just come in from an errand.  I really wanted hot tea, but the pop was so delicious and satisfying I ended up forgetting about the tea.  I  held a mini-interview with Button to see what he thought:

Me: What was your favorite part of the activity?

Button: Making it myself and getting to eat it as soon as I wanted to.  You said I could eat these whenever I feel like and that’s awesome!

Me: What do you think about your Apricot Rocket?

Button: I think it’s really good.  I didn’t know what to expect and it is much better than it looked in the mixer!

Me: Would you have liked this when you were in the hospital?

Button:  Oh yes!  But it wouldn’t have been so much fun because I wouldn’t have made them myself.  

Slight pause….But I would have loved them because they are cold and that would have helped the pain in my throat and mouth.  

Okay, so at this point I was ready to cry, I admit…but I left Button to enjoy his treat and wanted to share with you a little something I created with the leftover mixture:

Mommy's Version


I added ice to the pre-frozen mixture and made a smoothie.  It was delicious.  I’m thinking of adding the same pre-frozen mixture (when I make more) to sauces…perhaps sans the dairy component.  It will be a great way to sneak in more fruit and veggies to foods we already eat!

Protein Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! I’m a firm believer, having seen the effects having no breakfast has on my students.  But I also see  the effects of different types of breakfasts too.  Not being an expert on the subject, I was delighted to find this post which helped me understand more about how powerful food is in terms of fueling our bodies the right way.

The Following is taken from ADDitude, an online magazine/blog for people with ADD and ADHD

Research suggests that a good breakfast helps a child do better in school. A 1998 study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, showed that children who ate breakfast regularly had higher reading and math scores, lower levels ofdepression, anxiety, and hyperactivity, better school attendance, improved attention spans, and fewer behavior problems.

For children with ADHD, the menu matters, too. In a 1983 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, researchers at George Washington University tested three breakfast types (high-carbohydrate, high-protein, and no breakfast at all) on 39 children with ADHD and 44 kids without the condition.

For the hyperactive children, performance on several tests, including a test for attention, was significantly worse with the high-carbohydrate breakfast, as compared with the scores of the children who ate the high-protein breakfast.

Maryanne discussed Steve’s breakfast problems with her doctor, and they developed some strategies. He suggested that Maryanne and Steve get up 15 minutes earlier, to give her more time to prepare breakfast, and advised that Steve take his medication with his meal rather than just after waking up, to delay the appetite suppression.

Finally, they discussed how to get more high-protein foods into her son’s diet. Their list included lean meats and poultry, eggs, unprocessed nuts and seeds, and low-fat milk or milk products, as well as complex carbohydrates, such as whole-grain cereals and bread and fresh fruits.

Here are some easy breakfasts that Maryanne put on Steve’s menu. Most can be eaten in the car on the way to school.

  • Natural peanut butter on whole-grain bread, with a dab of all-fruit jam.
  • Eggs; glass of orange juice. To save time, make hard-boiled or deviled eggs the night before.
  • Slice of whole-grain bread with a little whipped butter or margarine and a dab of all-fruit jam; low-fat milk.
  • Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk; lean meat from last night’s dinner (pork chop, chicken); orange sections.
  • Plain yogurt with fresh fruit.
  • Grilled-cheese sandwich made with whole-grain bread and two-percent cheese; glass of orange juice.
  • Homemade instant breakfast shake or sausage patties (see recipes, left sidebar).
  • Mixed nuts; fruit; glass of low-fat milk.
I do not have children with ADHD.  Yet I do try to provide protein as much as possible.  The school mornings are difficult as we already get up at 5:30 in order to commute to school on time.  Cereal is easy and the kids can get it themselves.  Thankfully there are healthier cereal choices that let me feel a little less guilty as I count all the good things the kids are getting through the milk and grains with some fruit added, when I remind the kids to do so.  (They don’t leap to include fruit by choice at breakfast, but thankfully eat plenty of it through the day.)
Weekends are much more relaxed and this working mom can enjoy a family breakfast packed with protein and a sense of smugness!  Today we enjoyed eggs.  My kids love eggs, but are fussy about how they are presented.  Scrambled is the choice du jour and I got ‘cracking’ on a fun favorite.  (Pun intended – sorry folks.)

My eggs:  Please note, I don’t measure anything so I can’t give you specifics.

6 Organic eggs

Organic 2% milk

Coconut oil

Organic ham (Nature’s Promise from Stop and Shop)

Green onions

Organic kale or baby spinach (just a little kale as the kids hate it, but I can get away with more spinach)

Whole wheat toast with butter

I pre-chopped the ham, onions and kale or baby spinach.  I often steam the kale/spinach a little before hand so my kids don’t go all “icky on me”.  Cooking eggs is one of the few times I use my non-stick pan. I add a little coconut oil to the pan.  I beat the eggs and milk together, add to the pan and cook on low, stirring carefully and evenly.    Adding all the chopped ingredients before the eggs ‘scramble’ helps them integrate into the mix better.  Serve with whole wheat toast and butter.

Hubby also cooks eggs and he has his own version…variety is the spice of life.  We then sit down together to eat, serving orange juice or water and my much needed coffee.  The whole breakfast takes about ten minutes to make, is delicious, and nutritious and brings us together for some quality family time.  Perfect!

Family Dinner Time!

As part of my project to create A Better Me I have made it a goal to eat the same healthy way I feed my children.  All to often you would find me concocting a smorgasbord of nutritionally sound, organic meals for the boys, then collapsing with a bowl of cereal or reheated pizza later on in the evening.  Not good!

So…despite Button and myself running fevers (apparently there is a virus doing the rounds), I set to work on a family dinner.  Spaghetti and Meat-sauce made the organic and nutritional way (for the most part.  Better yet, it was easy and I took healthy shortcuts to save my sanity, as I was not feeling so great.  Here is my attempt at giving you the lowdown on how I made the meal:

First of all, I believe in organic foods as much as possible (some fruits and veggies are non-negotiable).  My main products are:

  • Organic beef (the leanest I can find)
  • Organic, whole wheat spaghetti which I am trying to mix with Ezekiel Pasta to wean the boys into the more healthy sprouted grain pasta

  • Coconut oil  – the nutritionist at my son’s hospital recommended this oil above all others for its power to provide some amazing punch:  there are so many benefits I won’t even try to claim expertise on this, just refer you here for the lowdown. 
  • Wine which I store in my trusty Pellegrino bottle…I never manage to finish a bottle so I save the leftovers once they are less drinkable and use it for cooking!
  • Organic vegetables such as mushrooms, onion, yellow or red peppers, and garlic
  • Oregano
  • Kombu seaweed which naturally salts the water while providing a nutrient-rich punch which helps maintain a good digestive system (do not use daily for more than 2 weeks at a time as it contains a large amount of iodine and can imbalance the thyroid system)  

I begin with melting the coconut oil in a large skillet and browning the meat usually adding a sprinkle (I don’t measure anything) of oregano.

The vegetables are very roughly chopped for two reasons.  I believe it saves time (lazy but happy) and so my fussy family can pick things out more easily while getting the goodness of having them cooking in the sauce. (I will let you into a little secret later).

I then add the veggies and cook lightly…the less cooked the better for retaining nutrients.

My favorite flavoring is, of course, the wine that I add to the sauce.  The wine is actually added during the meat browning, after the veggies are in, and I have poured the sauce over the top!  Delicious!


I cheat completely with the sauce on a workday (especially when I am running a fever) and use a delicious pre-made variety that is organic and contains less sodium than other brands.

Now for the big secret:  I actually finely chop some of the veggies as they are cooking so that they become hidden in the sauce.  Kiddies see big chunks of veggies and pull them out, but they don’t think to look hard at the little tiny pieces on their plate 🙂  They are also being provided the opportunity to have a go at the veggies if they so wish…eventually they will.

Once the sauce is simmering on low, I prepare the pasta.  As I’m trying to include an as yet unknown pasta in the mix, I stick with regular Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (yes, it’s organic but not always), and in goes the Kombu.  Once boiling, I cook for as many minutes as I think I need to (my goodness this woman doesn’t follow the rules) and serve al-dente without butter.  (You can add butter to taste as desired).

In order to please everyone, I serve Peanut with the sauce on the side, Hubby and I have the plate full of pasta and sauce and poor Button had to have crackers as he was still suffering with the stomach bug…but he did join us at the table because, as he declared, “I LOVE having meals together and I don’t want to miss it!”  Aww!

And that is how I throw together a healthy and tasty meal in a really short time for my boys…and now I am joining in too!  Oh, and Peanut and I had leftovers for dinner tonight which tasted even better!  Button has graduated to plain pancakes and Hubby was out.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring…I’m thawing out chicken as I type 🙂