I officially have a hobby!

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I now have a real hobby for the first time in my whole life! I’m so happy and excited about it!

I’ve been wanting to include this hobby in my life for several years and decided this year I was going to pull the trigger and do it!

Here I am – my first time in my kayak.

Kayaks

The fun and benefits of kayaking for me is:

  • Being in nature                         (aka: Forest Bathing – sorta…)
  • Being on the water                    (aka: Lowers Stress – very calming to me)
  • Getting some sun                      (aka: Vitamin D)
  • Great upper body workout         (aka: Strong arms)

I love kayaking

I hope that all of you are making time to have some fun too!

Pressures and Expectations

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I’ve touched on this subject little in a previous post called “My Thoughts on Feminism”, but after listening to JJ Virgin speak with Sean Croxton on one of his podcasts (which I highly recommend) it got me thinking again about women and myself and what pressures and expectations we perceive to be.

I also wrote a post called “Your Power, Your Control, Your Responsibility”. The intersections of what I wrote in these two posts and the pressure and expectations we perceive is where I believe the magic can happen.

 

I think that a lot of women if not most women or all women perceive pressure and expectations are put upon us….from society, parents, spouses, children, bosses, ourselves….etc. There is pressure to do it all and do it all well.

BUT, the beauty is we don’t have to! Let me say that again….we (YOU) don’t HAVE to!

In my opinion, this concept is real feminism.

YOU ARE NOT WORTH LESS because you can’t or don’t want to do it all and do it all well! YOU ARE NOT WORTH LESS because you don’t want to conform to others expectations nor succumb to outside pressures.

You DO NOT have to do it all and do it all well!

You do what you can do the best you can do it and the rest will be there tomorrow. Ask for help where you need it to get things accomplished. The unrealistic expectation of doing it all yourself it not only ridiculous but is tearing women down….physically, mentally, and emotionally.

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It is your choice to accept the pressure and expectations of other people outside of yourself. It is your choice to set your own expectations, your own rules, your own thoughts and feelings. You do not have to accept what others want to impose on you. If you do, that is your choice too.

BUT, if you don’t like what others want you to do, want you to be, want you to say, want you to look like…..then you can choose to politely decline and then go do, be, say, and look whatever and however you choose and want. (caveat: provided none of it causes harm to anyone else around you)

Side thought: You also do not have to explain yourself to anyone you don’t want to. You can simply say no. You have the right to say no; do not feel guilty about that.

 

Stop giving your power away. Take control of yourself. Be you. Be happy being you.

While I’ve made tremendous strides in the right direction, I still struggle with all this on the regular.  I tell myself exactly what I’m telling you, which turns it around for me. Then I move forward one day at a time, one mistake at a time, one thought at a time. It is in my control. It is in my power. It is my responsibility. It is my choice. To be me. To be happy being me. To live my life how I chose to live my life. Not doing it all!

Release Expectations

Here are a few short videos clips by Girls Gone Strong that are so great!

  1. Kelly Coffey – Part 1 The Manifestation of Shame and Blame
  2. Kelly Coffey – Part 2 The Manifestation of Shame and Blame
  3. Neghar Fonooni – Rewrite Your Reality

I pray that each woman reading this post receives this message to change their perspective and take action to elevate any pressure or expectations that they don’t want.

Knowledge is Power

Recipe: All-In-One-Meal – Roasted Salmon with Crab Meat Topping and Asparagus

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Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Knife
  • Paper Towels
  • Parchment Paper or Silpat
  • Large Zip Lock Bag or Large Bowl
  • Pan (Short Lip)
  • Small Bowl
  • Spoon

Ingredients:

Stuff You Need

Directions:

Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 375 degrees. Cover a short-lip pan in parchment paper or silpat.

Rinse the fish in cold water and lay on paper towels and then use additional paper towels to dry the fish on the top side. Place dried fish on the lined pan bottom side up and season with salt, garlic powder, and seasoning blend of choice. Flip over (top side up) and repeat seasoning. Set fish aside.

Salmon

Cut the ends off the asparagus, place in zip lock bag, add avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon pepper, and garlic powder (optional) and seal the bag. Shake and rub the mixture into the asparagus. Set aside to marinate.

Asparagus

In the small bowl, mix together the crab meat, mayonnaise, chives, lemon pepper (to taste), garlic powder (to taste), and salt (to taste). Place the crab meat mixture on top of the salmon.

Place the asparagus around the salmon and add small amounts of butter over the top.

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Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Broil for an additional 2-5 minutes at 450 – 500 degrees.

Salmon and Asparagus

Done. Eat. Enjoy

I highly encourage you to Sign-up for Thrive Market.

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only to you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

The second best part, aside from saving money, is that all your favorite pantry items will be delivered to your door and you don’t have to go to stores which also saves you time and energy. And who can’t use more money, time, energy?!?!

 

Body Types

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Your body is your body. My body is my body.

No two bodies are exactly the same.

There are three primary body types and then blends between the three.

  1. Ectomorph – “lack of much fat or muscle tissue”
  2. Mesomorph – “ well-developed musculature”
  3. Endomorph – “preponderance of body fat”

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I typically do not suggest people use Bodybuilding.com as an authority or resource for nutrition, but for some things their resources work great. I’m using their page on the three body types as my resource for this information. They also provide a quick and easy test for you to take to determine where you fit into this spectrum and they provide some suggestions for food and exercise. I personally fall as an Endo (38%) Meso (63%) [Ecto 0%].

Gauge Girl Training (Christine is a mesomorph) has a YouTube channel with very helpful videos on this subject. I’ve linked to my favorites below.

She also has individual videos for each body type you can check out if you like.

I also am a big fan of Jen Heward (who I think is also is a mesomorph). Below are a couple of her YouTube videos.

Rant

One of my biggest peeves as of late is ectomorph fitness/nutrition gurus. For example, Heidi Powell (who I actually think is great and she is so sweet and funny) posts “before and after” pictures on Instagram and talks about her perspective and journey, which she has the right and space to do. If you have seen the Powell’s work and client transformations, they have worked with a lot of people and helped them regain their health and fitness.

While I do realize that thin people (aka: ectomorphs) can have body dysmorphia and struggle to keep weight on (oh poor babies), I personally find it quite difficult to take fitness and nutrition advice from someone who has no idea what it is like to live in a body that holds on to body fat.

She talks about how she is 20lbs heavier (all muscle) than she has every been in her life and how great and strong she feels; and goes on to say that we shouldn’t allow the scale to determine our self worth. I agree with that, we shouldn’t allow our weight to determine our self worth and value in the world. I say good for her! Truly! I think that she does look a lot better now than before. I tend to really like muscular looks on women.

But…I wonder if she would still feel the same way and still say all the same things, if her weight gain were 20lbs of body fat and not muscle? For me…it is a hard pill to swallow for an ectomorph to tell me “You are perfect….just the WEIGH you are”.

My Thoughts – Be the Best Body YOUR Body Can Be

  • Body comparison is the death of self-esteem. Stop comparing your body to someone else’s body. Yours is yours and theirs is theirs.
  • You cannot change your body type. It is what it is. Stop trying to change your body type to look like something it will never be able to look like.

Here is a fantastic article by Coconuts and Kettlebells called “Why I Don’t Want Six-Pack Abs“.

Jordan Syatt has videos I like too – here are a few:

I hope you enjoy the resources and videos I’ve linked to and they help you to realize that your body is your body and there is nothing wrong with your body because it doesn’t look like what you see on Instagram, Facebook, movies, or TV.

You should look like you, not like someone else. Love and Hugs

Recipe: Side Dish – Roasted Cabbage

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This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. It is easy and delicious!

Tools:

  • Chopping Board
  • Large Knife
  • Short-rimmed baking sheet

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Pull the first couple of layers of cabbage leaves off and discard. Slice cabbage head in ½ inch slices or as thin or thick as you like them; the thicker they are the longer it will take to cook. Also cut out the core on each middle slice and discard, as it doesn’t cook down well enough to eat.

Spray the bottom half of the cabbage slices with avocado oil and season with salt, lemon pepper, garlic powder, and herbs of choice. Place the slices on the baking sheet bottom side down, then squeeze the juice of 2 -3 lemons all over the topside, spray with avocado oil, season, and top with a pad of butter.

Roast in the oven for approximately 40 minutes. Cabbage should be soft all the way through and browned on top and around the edges.

Side Notes: Temperature of ovens vary, you may have to cook longer or increase the temperature to 400 degrees. If you have convection setting, turn it on for the last 10 – 15 minutes to get a nice browning on top.

Done. Eat. Enjoy.

This dish is something I usually make at dinner time, but eat it at every meal until it is gone!

Adrenals & Cordyceps

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I believe that our bodies are created to heal themselves provided the right inputs. I believe that whole unprocessed foods, low sugar, good sleep, stress management, connecting with nature, frequent movement, having some fun with the people you love, and target supplementation will yield a healthy and vibrant body. I talk in more detail about all this in my post: “The Trifecta”.

A piece of my story….

A few years ago, I suffered an adrenal crash (aka: severe HPA Axis Dysregulation), unfortunately at the time it was thought it was just my thyroid. I was given a T3/T4 combination medication called Nature-Throid. Initially it made my symptoms worse (once some time passed the thyroid medicine started to help me). This caused me to start researching about other causes for my debilitating fatigue. This is when I learned about the adrenals. During my research I learned that my hypothyroidism was secondary hypothyroidism caused by my adrenals, as they are in the endocrine system that is tightly knitted together.

After a year of living with severe debilitating fatigue and doing everything I could think of, I finally got tested and learned that my cortisol output was really low, see my results below.

Cortisol Test Results

If you are really suffering, like I was, and you want to do some testing there are 4 point cortisol saliva test as well as 24 hour urine tests that can be done to test your adrenal function levels. Here is an interesting podcast on adrenal testing.

What is an adrenal?

The adrenals are two small glands located just above each kidney. The adrenals are responsible for the production of DHEA, sex hormones, corticosteroids, aldosterone, adrenaline, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Dr. Alan Christianson is one of my go-to adrenal experts.

adrenal-glands

Over the past few years I’ve worked incredibly hard at healing my body and I’m still working on it! Something that I recently found that has been a needle mover for me is called Cordyceps. “Cordyceps is an adaptogen, not a stimulant, so it helps you produce and maintain steady energy levels. Cordyceps helps your body produce its own energy.”

What I’ve done and am doing….

I found Four Sigmantic through Ben Greenfield (who is a BOSS); here is the podcast. I had nothing to lose by trying out their products. Initially, I was afraid of cordyceps because I didn’t know enough about them yet to determine if they were something that I should take considering my adrenal history.

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I started with drinking their 5 Mushroom Blend which has benefits of antioxidants, adaptogenic property, liver support, glycemic balance, and immune system support. I found that this one was better for me to use later in the afternoon early evening time to ready me for bed.

10 Mushroom Blend

Then I switched to their 10 Mushroom Blend because it had cordyceps in it along with 9 other super medicinal mushrooms. It has changed my life!

Four Sigmatic

I recently drank straight Cordyceps because they come in easy to carry packets. I used ½ a packet each morning.

What have cordyceps done for me?

My energy levels have been better and more consistent throughout the day. If I don’t take it, I can feel the difference. I’ve been taking ½ tsp daily for a couple of months; I think I can safely increase to the full recommended amount of 1 tsp. However, you can drink it more than one time per day if you need to.

More fantastic resources for you….

According to Dr. Jockers.com, the five benefits of cordyceps are improved kidney and adrenal health, positive effect on sex hormone production, helps with blood sugar control, and better brain health due to the anti-inflammatory properties.

Cordyceps (a genus of ascomycete fungi)

I could go on and on with various resources that discuss similar finds on how healthy cordyceps are for us….but I won’t. If you want to check out what others have to say about it, check out Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Lam, as well as the previously mentioned Dr. Alan Christianson. There is also a very helpful YouTube channel called: Adrenal Fatigue Society.

Here is a podcast that I recently listened to that went into how and why not all cordycep supplements are created equal. I personally am only taking Four Sigmatic’s brand. Here is another podcast with Four Sigmatic’s Tero Isokauppila.

Where to go from here….

I think everyone is under some form or multiple forms of stress these days. It certainly will not hurt you to try cordyceps, since they are adaptogenic they will increase if you need increase or decrease if you need decrease; they adapt to your body’s needs.

If you have any questions please feel free to ask in the ‘comments’ of this post.

My Very First Hater

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Logically I know that I shouldn’t engage with haters, because it is a fruitless effort……but since this is my very first one….I figured I’d publicly respond in hopes to avoid this type of thing later.

Below is a comment that I received in response to my “Get to Know Your Coffee” post.

Hater

In Response

Hi MinaMac,

Thank you for taking an interest in my blog site. Each blogger has a specific audience, perhaps you are not mine and found yourself on my page by mistake? Feel free to not come to my page and read nor comment. My page is my outlet to disseminate information that I find important and helpful to those who want it. If you do not find my information valuable, again feel free not to come and read my page.

You wrongly assumed that I am not or have not ever been financially distressed. You are also assuming that I do not shop at regular stores for my food, which you are wrong again.

We each do the best that we can when and while we are able. When people find themselves in financially trying times, my advice is to make the appropriate trade-offs within their budgets that still allow them to put their health as a top priority.

If that means that people cannot afford coffee that has not been sprayed with pesticides that poison their body, then perhaps they should not buy coffee or trade it for something that is more in line with their budget. For example, you can buy lots of lemons and raw honey and drink warm lemon honey water every morning instead of coffee. Just because someone doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t give them an excuse to not prioritize their health, particularly if they are single parents.

An example of a trade-off I’m currently making: I have chosen to not purchase manicures and pedicures nor get my hair done in 8 months because I am choosing to reallocate my funds to my food and supplements that promote my health.

There are plenty of whole food health bloggers out on the web that focus on budget friendly options that still prioritize health. You do not have to have a lot of money to choose health.

Side Note: It’s not a practice of mine to get online and hate on others. While my blog site is public, if you feel the need to post negative comments that you wouldn’t otherwise say in-person, think twice; it demonstrates a tremendous amount about who you are and what your character is.

Proverbs 23 7

Get to Know Your Coffee

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Between 50% – 60% of Americans drink coffee. These coffee drinking Americans drink on average between 2 – 3 cups of coffee per day. (all stats provided by Googling articles) Folks….that is a massive amount of coffee being consumed every year in this country.

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According to Healthy Organic Woman, “250 pounds of chemical fertilizers are sprayed per acre on non-organic coffee beans”. Coffee Review says that if someone is concerned about unwanted chemicals in our coffee (which I am), we should buy coffee that is “free of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and other potentially harmful chemicals”, buy coffee from “Yemen, Ethiopia, and Sumatra Mandheling”, and look for the word “sustainable” on the label.

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Coffee Questions to Ask and Consider:

  • Is it Certified Organic?
  • Is the process being monitored by an independent agency?
  • Where is it grown?
  • Is it grown in the shade?
  • What altitude is it grown at?
  • Is it from a single origin?
  • Is it sustainably grown?
  • Is it Fair Trade?

There is a lot of back and forth on the web about whether mycotoxins in coffee is something we should worry about. It seems unlikely this is a major issue, but I think…better safe than sorry….so buy the best quality possible.

Side Note: Please think about not using coffee pods. Do you really want to be drinking coffee made through heated plastic? Do you want to fill-up our earth with used coffee pods? Purchasing coffee beans and grinding them yourself produces a very fresh yummy cup of coffee.

I challenge you to spend to little time on the web researching coffee brands and how their beans are grown and processed. This action can yield for you peace of mind and better long-term health. I hope you choose to spend the time to get to know your coffee.

As you may have noticed there are themes throughout my blog posts….quality matters…even/particularly with your coffee, vote with your dollar, and knowledge is power!

 

 My morning coffee…

Right now we are drinking coffee made from Certified Organic Fair Trade beans from Peru that we purchase at Sprouts. We grind our beans fresh every day and set a timer on the coffee pot so we have fresh yummy coffee every morning.

Coffee Cup

I LOVE coffee, however I choose to drink only one 8oz cup per day in the morning.

 

My Coffee Additions

 

 

 

Book Review: Well Fed Weeknights by: Melissa Joulwan

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I’m totally in love with this cookbook! It is so fun! It is food you want to cook and eat!

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The book boasts “complete paleo meals in 45 minutes or less” – and it delivers.

Here’s the breakdown….

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After the Table of Contents, Melissa J. (aka: M.J.) then goes through a few pages about Paleo, yes/no foods, her story, and other cookbooks (which I own).

About This Book (p11) – this section talks about it not being a diet book and doesn’t have nutritional breakdowns, it is whole-food healthy recipes folks – don’t freak-out! A bit on “how-to use this book” and about the “mini cook-up”.

The Recipe Pages (ps13-15) – these pages discuss how the recipes are broken down, about food quality, and cooking tips – her humor is great.

Sample Menus (ps16–17) – She provides Weeks 1 – 4 of menus with the name and page number of suggested recipes. Then 8 weeks of menus with unique themes (super-fun sporty suppers, 2 weeks of distinctive dinner salads, balls & bowls, a break from red meat, international taste buds tour, comfort food, all the time, and seven of her favorite recipes).

Cooking & Storage Tips (ps18-20)

Mindful Eating practice (p21) and Dining Out guide (pgs23–27)

Essential Kitchen Tools (ps30-31)

Your Paleo Pantry (ps32-33) – She discusses her suggested pantry items, why, and how to use them.

Herbs and Spices (ps34-35) – She discusses the ones used in her recipes, about it, and it’s qualities – this page is super helpful for learning how to put flavors together.

Mini Cook-up (ps39-40) – M.J. provides a 9-step “Mini Cook-up” that allows you to do some minimal meal prepping for the week that helps to make your dinner cooking sessions each night “45 minutes of less”.

Beef Recipes (ps71-105)

Pork & Lamb Recipes (ps109-151)

Chicken Recipes (ps155-195)

Egg Recipes (ps199-217)

Fish & Seafood (ps221-244)

Resources (p249), Shopping Lists & AIP Modifications (p250), International Conversions (p252)

Why It’s Unlike Any Other Cookbook!

My absolute favorite part of this book is what M.J. calls “Super-fun Sporty Suppers” (p17).

Meat & Potatoes (p43) – M.J. walks you through how to pre-cook the potatoes so that you have that part already done, which cuts down dinner cooking time tremendously. She provides 12 M&P variations.

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Velvet Stir-Fry (p57) – M.J. walks you through a preparation process that is super easy and fast that applies to all the stir-fry variations. She provides 8 stir-fry variations.

My favorite is No.2 – Cashew Chicken

Cashew Chicken Stirfry

The Ultimate Salad Bar (p61) – M.J. walks you through the steps on how to build the perfectly dress salad in 10 quick steps. I was super-duper surprised about some of her tips in this section that I didn’t know!

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In this section she provides lists of all the types of salad fixings (ps62-63). Then on (ps66-67) she provides 25 “super salad combos” variations for easy-breezy-no-thinking salads to build.

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On (p65) she provides 6 salad dressings and on (p66) a list of 14 more salad dressing recipes throughout the book.

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Burger Night (p79) – M.J. walks you through the 5 steps to create/build a great burger! She provides 8 burger variations, some of which I would have never thought of…..

What you eat with your burger is up to you, however using some of those pre-cooked potatoes you did is a quick and easy side dish….or….while your burger is cooking pulling out some of your pre-cut veggies and building one of her scrumptious salads is easy too.

Taco Night (p93) – M.J. walks you through 6 steps to achieve your best taco ever! I personally skip step No3 – you’ll have to see for yourself.

I like to vary my taco base…. I use gluten-free tortillas (p94), lettuce wraps, taco bowls over cilantro lime rice (add butter, fresh chopped cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice to a pot of rice) or cauliflower rice (p.203), over a Mexican style salad (p.66) the Cumin-Lime Dressing (p46) or eat all the goodies on plantain chips or gluten-free non-GMO corn tortilla chips cooked in avocado oil or coconut oil.

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Hot Dog Night (p141) – M.J. walks you through 5 steps for this quick dinner night! She provides 8 recipes varieties that are new to the palate. I tend to get in a rut and go with spicy brown mustard and raw sauerkraut….but her recipes are FAR more exciting than that!

Hot Dog Night

Side Note: Please make sure you are purchasing Organic Grass-fed 100% Beef or Pork hot dogs. You can find them in dang-near every grocery store these days. They are completely worth the little bit of extra costs to avoid the hormones, antibiotics, soy, and bad fats associated with conventionally raised cows.

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Tuna Salad Platters (p229) – M.J. walks you through 5 steps for yummy varieties of tuna salads. She provides 8 recipe varieties that will wake-up your taste buds! She also gives a recipe to make your own mayo (p229). I personally am not one to make my own mayo, despite how easy folks say it is….I use Sir Kensington’s Organic Mayonnaise.

If you only use the recipes from these 7 sections of the book, you will have 76 recipe variations to choose from. 76! If you cook dinner 7 nights per week, that is 10+ weeks of dinner recipes without ever repeating a recipe variation. Mind blown!!

What I like to do is sit down with the cookbook, a small piece paper, and pen for a few minutes (10-15) toward the end of each week (usually Saturday AM sometime) and assign a theme to each night of the week (which I typically do not deviate far from, from week to week). Then each week pick a recipe from that area of the book and make a grocery list. Now I have a plan for each night and I know exactly what I need from the store to make it happen. Easy-peasy!

My Weekly Sample:

Monday: Stir-fry Night (p57) – cause it is so fast and easy.

Tuesday: Taco Night (p93) – cause it’s a thing.

Wednesday: Hot Dog Night (p414) – do this theme on a night you know is either super busy or you know you’re going to be tired. Then you can put your significant other in charge of “Hot Dog Night” – since it is so easy.

Thursday: Burger Night (p79)

Friday: Fish & Seafood Night (ps221-244) – Fast protein cook, cause I’m quite tired on Friday evenings.

Saturday: Meat & Tater Night (p43)

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Another wonderful and easy recipe is the Chicken Paillard (p167) that can be served with 1 of 7 toppings (citrus-mango relish; Greek olive tapenade; pesto; cucumber-pineapple salsa; onion-pepita relish; mushroom & pancetta jam; or tomato, bacon, & avocado relish) for variety.

If and or when you find yourself in need of a little comfort, M.J. lists out her 50 Comforting Things (p205).

What is terrific about this book is that you can easily meal plan for each week aaaannd have variety at the same time. This book is all about variety without having to think too hard about it, which as a full-time working wife I completely appreciate.

To Buy or Not to Buy….That is the question……I say YES!

A Few of My New Favorite Things….

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Long-Perishable Food Items

Chile PicanteInka Plantain Chips, Chile Picante (2-pack)

PlainThe plain ones are tasty too; I usually order both.

Black Sesame Brown Rice SnapsEdward & Sons, Black Sesame Brown Rice Snaps

Beauty Product

Mineral Fusion, Graphite Lengthening Mascara

Thrive Market

I highly encourage you to Sign-up for Thrive Market.

Thrive Market allows you to shop for all the healthy food items you know and love at discount prices, because they cut out the middle man, and it gets delivered to your door so it also saves you time. Not only to you save money, but for every paid membership Thrive Gives a membership to a family in need.

The second best part, aside from saving money, is that it all gets delivered to my door and I don’t have to go to stores thus also saving me time and energy.