Whole Foods

Modern Day Healthy Helper

Modern Day Healthy Helper

Were you a 80s and 90s kid?  Do you remember Hamburger Helper, it was a classic in my home growing up.  And it was one of my favorites.  Since then I have learned a ton about food, nutrition and being healthy.  Experimenting with old classics and turning them into a healthy meal has become so fun for me and I love to share what I find.  So this is my newest update on an old Classic Modern Day Healthy Helper. 

Basic Everyday Seasoning

Basic Everyday Seasoning

There are all kinds of seasoning mixes in the store.  And all different ways to season our food.  I have found that many of the seasonings I love are made by companies that don’t use organic spices which for me is important.  So I started glancing on the back of the spice mixtures and coming up with similar combinations of my own.  One of which is this Basic Everyday Seasoning. 

Organic vs Local vs Conventional: The Great Debate

Organic vs Local vs Conventional: The Great Debate

Food and Nutrition are a huge debate around the world and Conventional vs Organic doesn’t fall far behind either.  Many say there is no added benefit to organic foods and others clearly see a higher nutrient level in organic foods.  Bottom line…who is right and who is wrong?   Well, no one has to be right or wrong because it is simply a matter of opinion.

5 Natural Sweeteners: Regular Sugar Alternatives

  Refined white sugar is processed and really not the best for our bodies.  Lucky for us there are a few alternative options that taste just as good!  Here are a few I use in the Kitchen...

5 Natural Sweeteners


Honey is my favorite of all.  I use this in my tea and also to make tasty cinnamon dishes.  Honey also has some powerful healing benefits.  It can help with Coughing, Sore throat, Immune Support, and Allergies.  When looking for honey it is important to find a local organic brand.  There are many farm stores that sell honey.  If local honey is not an option I recommend this honey...YS Organic Bee Farms Certified Organic Raw Honey

Something to Note

  • ½ to ¾ cup of honey for every 1 cup of white sugar in recipe
  • When baking with Honey you should lower oven Temperature about 25 degrees

Coconut Sugar

We use this a ton in our Kitchen.  Don’t get discouraged by its dark color, this can be used to replace white or brown sugar.  It has a strong smell and keeps the taste of foods the same.  This is a simple swap out for Refined White Sugar.  Using Coconut Sugar allows you to equally substitute recommendations in recipe, in other words 1 cup of sugar = 1 cup of Coconut Sugar.

Xylitol (Birch Sugar)

Why is this better the refined white sugar?  It has two-thirds the caloric value as regular sugar and Xylitol is also said to have dental benefits.  This would be an equal replacement for regular sugar.

Something to Note

  • Does not do well in Bread making or hard candies
  • High doses can cause Digestive side effects
  • Toxic to dogs

Maple Syrup

Who would have thought, Maple Syrup good for you!  That is great news, at least I thought so.  Now I do not mean the “Maple syrup” many of us put on pancakes as a child.  I mean real Pure Organic Maple Syrup , like…  Pure Maple Syrup is high in Manganese and Zinc.  Use ¾ cup Pure Maple Syrup to 1 cup regular Sugar.


This natural sweetener is commonly heard of.  It comes from the Stevia rebaudiana Plant and is said to have positive health effects.  May lower blood Pressure (no effect on normal blood pressure) and may lower blood sugar levels in diabetics (Check here for further information of these effects).  That is pretty profound.  Substitute 1 tsp Stevia to 1 cup regular sugar.  This may be the best natural sweetener option so experiment with Stevia and give it a chance, it may have to grow on you.  The benefits are worth it though.

While these are healthy alternatives, you still want to use any form of “sugar” in moderation.  Our bodies are not meant to process high amounts of Sugar.  I encourage you to test out these alternatives and find which ones work best in your kitchen.  Remember it is your Body, your Health and your Life…

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What's all the Hype about...Quinoa?

What' the Hype about Quinoa

I hear about quinoa all the time now and I absolutely love it!  It can be used in several dishes and is packed with nutrients.  Quinoa actually has the highest nutritional profile of all and grains.  And big plus, it cooks pretty fast, faster than rice.

Quinoa is native to the Andes Mountains in South America.  It has been growing there for several thousands of years.  Quinoa was consumed by the Incas!  Cool, right?

Quinoa is such a powerful grain and high energy.  Its powerful attributes consist of…

  • High protein content about
  • All eight Amino Acids
  • Gluten free and easy for your body to digest
  • Great for endurance
  • High in Iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin B, Calcium, Zinc, and Potassium

Wow, sounds healthy packed to me!  An awesome food for the heart, lungs and kidneys too.  Really overall a great add on to any meal.  And it can also be used to substitute meat.

Fun Fact:

  1. Quinoa is actually a seed. Works as grain, protein substitution, and add on.
  2. There are over 120 different types of Quinoa and only 3 are cultivated and sold in most stores. Black, red, and yellow/ivory…usually there is a mixed package as well. (a mix looks like the picture above)

Generally to cook quinoa you take 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a small pot/saucepan.  Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes….Or follow instructions on the container.  Directions usually work nicely  :-)

Always remember!!  Rinse quinoa before cooking.  This removes quinoa’s bitter coating Saponin.  Although usually rinsed before packaging, it is good to rinse at home.  Rinse may produce a soapy like water. A Grain Strainer may come in handy as well.

Store in a cool, dark, dry place.

Use for...

So what is the Hype about Quinoa?  High energy, great for the body, easily digestible, extremely versatile in the Kitchen…I think it is time to get Quinoa in your Kitchen!!

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Get Protein Minus the Meat

There is a big myth that to get protein, you must eat meat.  I am here to bust the myth and tell you that it is untrue.  Meat is just one source of protein. I have come across many other options. I met someone last night and we began to talk about diets and protein.  She seemed a bit upset that she was going have to add meat back into her diet because of a need for protein.  And so as we talked some more I decided to do a little research, get some facts and write a post for all of you.  Here are 8 ways to get protein minus the meat factor.


Nuts and Seeds

Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, Hemp Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds all good protein sources.  All Ranging from 6 grams of protein (Almonds) to 10 Grams!  That’s right Hemp Seeds have 10 grams of Protein in 3 tablespoons.  Sunflower Seed Kernels have 7.3 grams!  I know some of you are thinking I don’t like seeds or nuts and that is okay.  The good thing about Nuts and Seeds is you can throw them or blend them into almost anything.  Make a smoothie throw some in, make a trail mix with a bit of chocolate, Blend them into a sauce or pesto.  Be Creative!

Nut Butters

Peanut, Almond, Sunflower…these butters have about 5 or 6 grams of protein.  Throw some on an apple, toast, celery.  Add it into a snack.  Every little bit counts.


I feel like Beans get a bad name sometimes, they are actually pretty tasty.  And they go with a ton of meals.  There a many different kinds too.  Navy beans, Black Beans, White Beans, Pinto Beans, Kidney Beans and list continues.  Kidney Beans have about 26 grams of protein per two cups, that’s half of what is needed daily.  This does not mean you have to eat rice and beans all day.  Make soup and add beans, Make quinoa Chili (Recipe coming soon), throw them in spaghetti, blend them into a dip, make bean and Avocado Tacos…Again Get Creative!


Quinoa, Quinoa, Quinoa I cannot say enough about you!  I love this stuff. You can add it to anything!  This has 8 grams of Protein per cooked cup.  And Quinoa is Gluten-Free.  I just threw some in a veggie lasagna (Recipe Coming), base for chili or a base for any meal,  make a quinoa oatmeal with honey and cinnamon.  Experiment, Quinoa is awesome!

Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

Make some Hummus!  It has about 7 grams per half a cup.  You can turn Hummus into whatever flavor you are craving.  I have to admit I was not sure at first and I am so glad I tried it because it is delicious!  Get some Chickpeas and herbs and have some fun!


You can get a ton of protein from tofu and/or tempeh, about 15-20 grams per half cup.  Soy milk is also a good option.  Tofu can replace meat in any meal, same seasonings and all!

Dairy Products

Dairy is an Option, however not a good option for everyone.  Decide what is best for you personally when it comes to dairy.  Yogurt has 15-20 grams per 6 ounces.  That is a good amount in one yogurt serving.  Eggs also have protein about 6 grams per egg.  If you are not a dairy person, that is okay...you have many other options


Yes last and certainly not least!  Greens are so great for your body, not only are they packed with nutrient rich vitamins and minerals they also have protein.  Broccoli in particular has about 5 grams a stalk, 17 grams a bunch.  Now Green Peas have 8 grams of protein and you can throw them in anywhere.  Eat Veggies! Eat them with Every Meal!


These are all great options to get protein into your body, so now it is time…I challenge you to get your protein without meat!  Be Creative!  Get Messy! Experiment!  And Please I want to hear all about the Fun You Have (Post on Our Facebook your Story)!

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