May 31, 2011

What Do You Eat?

May 31, 2011

When talking to someone about The Real Food and The Healing Food Diets the most frequent I get is, "what do you eat!?".  The first skill you need to attain when attempting to eat healthy is label reading.  Yes, learn how to read food labels.  Know the ingredients that are in the foods you buy – you will be amazed when you see how many canned, jarred, and packaged foods contain sugar.  When your goal is healthy eating, a better lifestyle and a healthy weight sugar is your enemy!  I blogged about what brought Chris and I to this place of healthy eating last fall.

In an effort to encourage you and show others that this is possible I have put together a brief list of what we eat.  Hopefully, I will be able to go more in depth later.


  • Oatmeal - the real stuff - not the instant kind!  I will share a great recipe in a separate post.  
  • Eggs - we eat a ton of eggs – you can have them just about any way you like, just avoid the cheese.
  • Grapefruit – both Chris and I really like a good grapefruit in the morning.  Of course any fruit would be good, but just do not over due it because fruit contains a ton of natural sugars.
  • Protein Shake - Chris and I love a protein shake after a hard morning workout - just make sure your protein does not have any added sugars (real or artificial).


  • Tuna - we like our tuna with Texas Pete
  • Veggies & Hummus (carrots, bell peppers, etc...)
  • Veggies & Guacamole (we make our own with avocado, Tostitos salsa and a splash of lime and salt)
  • Cabbage Salad
  • Grilled Chicken Wrap – there are a few wraps out there that do not have sugar.  Because we try to minimize the amount of wheat we eat the wrap are kept to a minimum.

A great tip is to have your lunch prepared ahead of time.  Sometimes I will make the cabbage salad or chicken salad on Sunday and then eat on it all week – this prevents from me snacking around on not so healthy items.  Keep some things prepared in your fridge so you can grab and go!


  • Lean Protein & Veggies - for something quick just buy frozen vegetables.  Toss the vegetables in a sauté pan and cook for about 10-15 minutes on med heat.  I usually season them with a rosemary seasoning (no sugar - check your ingredients!) and maybe add a little water.  When eating our veggies we sometimes use a fresh salsa (from Sam's Club) to spice it up a little.  Buy different varieties of veggies to help with getting bored with your food!
  • Vegetables – you can most likely eat any vegetables you just have to try out different methods of preparing them.
  • Rice - I really like rice, but make sure it is a whole grain brown rice.  My favorite is Lundberg Wild Blend.
  • Sweet Potatoes - we eat baked sweet potatoes a lot because they're a big hit with Colton and Claire.  I generally make extra and then make Claire baby food
  • Salad - you can never go wrong with a good salad - just make sure you have a good healthy dressing with NO sugar and NO partially hydrogenated oils.

There are several recipes in the Real Foods Cookbook that we eat almost weekly. We still eat most things that we ate before, but we just had to modify the recipes a tiny bit and ditch some of the side items. For instance we still have hamburgers, but we ditched the bun and we usually have asparagus as a side instead of potatoes.

Think about what you normally have for dinner and just modify.  Toss out the pastas and breads and check your ingredients for sugars.  It is trial and error, but I promise you can get there!


  • Brown Rice Cakes – once again we like the Lundberg brand rice cakes.  We top it with either an all natural peanut butter – my preference is Smuckers.  Please note, that some all natural pb have added sugar!  The Smuckers brand is only peanuts and salt.  We also use almond butter which is a healthier option for you.
  • Lara Bars – I love Lara Bars, but they are made from dates which has a TON of natural sugar and they usually do not do much for curbing my appetite.  If you do eat these hold it to a minimum and try not to eat any for the first 30 days of your diet.
  • Almonds & Pecans – Chris takes almond to work with him everyday and sometimes I love a good handful of fresh pecans – remember raw is always better, but not a necessity.
  • Lentils – I love chickpeas.  I buy them in a can, rinse them off and put them in the fridge and sometimes just grab a handful.  They are also delicious tossed in a salad.  Bean are packed with fiber and a good way to get full fast!  Look at your dinner recipes and figure out how you can add some type of lentils – Black Beans are some of our favorites to add to our Mexican dishes!

What we gave up:

What we gave up was nothing compared to what we have gained, but here are some of the things that we did throw out:

  • Grains – white rice, pastas, bread
  • Soft Drinks – we never drank a lot of soda, but now we have even less.  We do not buy it and bring it into our home, but I will admit that I occasionally have a soda when we eat out.
  • Sports Drinks (i.e. Gatorade) – these drinks have a TON of sugar – even if they are of the diet variety they still have artificial sweeteners which are terrible for you!
  • Milk – Chris will occasionally have almond or coconut milk, but no cows milk.
  • Condiments – Ketchup and Mayonnaise were the two that really went first.  Ketchup has a ton of sugar and Dr. Josh has a great recipe for homemade ketchup if you have to have it.  We lot hot sauce, but only eat it if it has NO sugar and NO hydrogenated oils.  I most frequently use Texas Pete.

Step 1 – clean out your cupboards and fridge of all those nasty foods that will temp you later on.

Step 2 – commit to a time period – 30 days!

Step 3 – GO!!!

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May 26, 2011

Introducing Nana

May 26, 2011

This is Nana!


Nana is multi-talented… not only is she a very partial grandmother to her own grandchildren (can you blame her!? … haha) … she also creates these wonderful works of art:


This was Claire’s birthday gift from her.  The picture really does not do it any justice – it is a beautiful quilt all hand quilted… it has cute little bunnies on it and is super soft!!

Colton’s birthday is coming up and Nana just could not wait to give Colton his gift since she already had it finished!


Colton is really into dinosaurs right now so this quilt could not have come at a better time!  She also made him a pillow case to match!  The back is colorful polka dots and it too is so soft!!

My husbands mom loves to quilt and always has multiple quilts going at once.  I think that we may have close to 18 different quilts/throws that she has created – they are all treasures!

She is not only amazing with a needle and thread, but she has quite the green thumb too… see:


Are these peonies not just gorgeous!?… and this is 5 days after she picked them from her back yard!

Love you Nana!

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May 25, 2011

Our MckMama Photos

May 25, 2011
We finally received out photos from our Jennifer Mckinney (aka MckMama) photo shoot!  I was super excited to get to see all of the photos, especially after seeing the sneak peek!
It is super difficult when doing a family portrait to have everyone looking and smiling at the camera all at the same time.  Well… from the looks of the photos the children did wonderfully and momma looked like a goof!  For some reason I was a complete cheese ball in most of the photos, but managed to take two or three that were okay.  We have a great one of every one looking at the camera smiling, but I look so horrible in it I dare not show it!  I know, vanity vanity…
SummerJo-19  SummerJo-20
The botanical gardens in Knoxville were a beautiful back drop for our photos.  You would think someone who had lived in Knoxville for years and in the surrounding area all her life would have known of this beautiful place, but I had no clue it even existed.  The drive there was not desirable and I would never suggest going out there alone, but the gardens were nice.
The photos above were the first of our shoot.  The sun had just come out and the wind settled down and at the point we were meltdown free.
This is definitely one of my favorites and will most likely end up in a frame somewhere in our home.
Jennifer managed to capture my children’s personalities perfectly.  Colton is so loving and you see that in almost all the photos were he is pictured with Claire.
SummerJo-47  SummerJo-44
The two pictures above are my favorites!  The one on the right may be my most favorite!  Now I just need to find a good wall for it to adorn!
SummerJo-29  SummerJo-33
I love this kid and his cute smile!  He reminds me so much of his daddy!
So yeah, I forgot Colton’s dress socks and as you can see he fell in the mud/grass… oh yeah and not to mention that the hang string (or what ever you call it) is showing in my shirt!!  You would think someone would have seen that and told me!  Oh well… it is what it is :)
SummerJo-61 SummerJo-62
I love all these pictures of Claire – I just wish I would have wiped the slobber from her mouth!  ha ha!  By this time the wind had picked up, the sun hid behind some clouds and it was cold!
I am having a difficult time deciding which of these of her is my favorite.
SummerJo-64  SummerJo-65
Colton and Claire both have the most beautiful blue eyes.  If I were a betting woman (and I am not) I would have put money on the fact that both of them would have had brown eyes!  You just always assume brown is dominant – Chris has deep brown eyes and my eyes are more hazel – nowhere near as blue as Colton and Claire’s.  He is such a handsome little dude if I do say so myself!

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May 24, 2011

Black Beans & Bath Time

May 24, 2011
This little miss loves black beans … absolutely LOVES them… DSC_0037
and she loves to take a bath!


Proof Reading

So if you have been reading here for any length of time you may notice that I am terrible about proof reading.  For some reason I HATE it ... I mean really really hate it!  This is not something that just came along when I started blogging it is a bad habit that I formed many years ago.  It is such a tedious job and I find it extremely difficult to proof my own work.

When I first started blogging I came across an article about how to be a successful blogger and one of the biggest things the author talked about was proofing.  I told myself then that I was going to do a better job, but nope I have failed - ha!  Fortunately, I have a husband who can pretty much find the errors in anything and for the record this is indeed a positive trait (wink wink).  He will often send me a skype message after he has read a few posts making me aware of the errors he has found.  Most often it is a word misused or left out which has probably resulted from my brain moving faster than my fingers.  This along with my inability to concentrate on one task at a time has resulted in elementary errors in writing.  So blog friends I promise I am going to do a much better job of proofing my work!!

Here is a great website for proofreading along with 10 Tips on Proofreading!

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May 23, 2011

Bedtime Fun

May 23, 2011
My mom bought this child size recliner for Colton when he was about Claire’s age now… He has always enjoyed it.  Sitting in it reading books is one of his favorite things to do.
Our bedtime routine always rounds up in Colton’s room where we get the two of them dressed in their pajamas and read bed time stories.
These pictures were taken on Claire’s actual birthday when she was showing us how she could climb up in the recliner…
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She was so proud of herself!
And then she wanted to watch a few cartoons … something I NEVER let Colton do at this age, but it was her birthday after all.


The Party Must go On

This little girl has felt bad for days…. but the party must go on.
She did not feel the best, but she managed to flash a few smiles and take a few steps for the on lookers…
She took her few steps (2) on May 16th while making her way to her daddy, but she had a few steps to take for every one else…
Claire and Colton are fortunate to have three of the best grandma’s … pictured above are Nana (my husbands mother) and Meme (my wonderful momma!) … they love having a little girl to fuss over!
There were smiles Saturday, but there were also lots of frowns… luckily enough there was always a grandparent near by to make her feel better!
Okay momma… I’m ready for some cake….
I loved hearing everyone sing happy birthday to my baby girl… it was a joyous sound… Just to note (because he will be sure to remind us) – Papaw sang happy birthday to her first!
She was not too excited about the cake – which I was totally FINE about!  She did manage to take a few licks of icing and a gobble up some cake.


Flowers For the Birthday Girl

Claire’s Aunt Allison sent her beautiful flowers for her birthday!  It was just the pick me up she needed after feeling so bad …
Thanks Ally!  Muah!  Love you… see you soon!


May 22, 2011

Straw Bales–Week 2

May 22, 2011

We were finally able to transplant out tomatoes and plant some cucumbers last week.  We have 6 tomato plants that were started from seeds by my mother in law (our seedlings did not make it) and we did one bale with nothing but cucumbers!  I told Chris that we will either have no cucumbers or more than we know what to do with!  Were completely new to this process so we really have no clue what were doing and hoping to have some fresh veggies this summer!


Colton loves helping water the straw bales in the afternoons….

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Colton was a watering machine….

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Unfortunately the mosquitos took a liking to his legs and to his nose! 

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May 19, 2011

Happy Birthday

May 19, 2011
I love traditions… in almost any form!  I also like routine, but that is not really important right now (wink wink).  A few years ago I had heard about a mom who always took pictures of her kiddos on the morning of their birthday.  First thing in the morning she would go in as they were waking up, before they had a chance to get out of bed and she would snap a photo.  The daughter said she even did it to them as teenagers – she said it was so much fun to go back and look at the photos!  I thought this was a fun idea and so we started it with Colton on his first birthday.
Claire was up during the night with a fever (I’m pretty sure from cutting teeth) so I wanted to let her sleep in as long as she wanted this morning.  Chris and I perched outside her door listening and peeking in to see if she was awake so we could slip in and get our photo!
She heard the door open and jumped up like she always does…
Then she always plops back down to get her aden + anais muslin blankey!  Her favorite and she wants to bring it with her out of the crib!!
I know I’m partial, I’m suppose to be, I’m her mother – but she is the cutest little thing I have ever laid my eyes on!!
This is her “get me daddy” face and grunt!
Ahhhh Happy Birthday my sweet Anna Claire!

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