Home · Meal Planning · Practical

Z’s One Week Dinner Menu

Hey y’all! As promised, here is my one week dinner menu! This menu is loaded with easy recipes that can be easily thrown together for your weeknight meals.

Some of y’all have asked for menu planning posts, and for examples of what some of my weekly menus look like.

I don’t know about you, but with homeschool, leading music at church, daily house chores, blogging, writing and normal everyday stuff…sometimes I just prefer to have a simple, laid-out plan to what my weeknight dinners are going to look like.

To plan my weekly menu, I always check coupons and sales at my local grocery store, and then I plan my weeks menu based off of what is on sale, and what I have coupons for. I try to stick to my budget, but with inflation going up every week, I have been struggling to stay on budget. I will have to go through my budget again and see what can be cut out.

All that to say, I hope that this menu will be simple, healthy and easy for you this week! Be assured, all these have been tested on my 4 kids, and all have been enjoyed by them.

The recipes can be found on my recipe page here http://zhealthyhousewife.com/recipes , or on my Pinterest page here https://www.pinterest.com/zanetafrancis/pins/.

These recipes are all sugar-free and THM friendly. The PDF format can be printed. Feel free to send me some feedback on how your weeks menu went!

Here you go!

A 5-Day Clean Eating Meal Plan



Faith · Home

The Quiet Season

The season

Are you feeling like your walk with God is at a timid place? Do you feel like you might be in a season with God where you are quiet with Him, and where He is quiet back?

“We are sinking by our struggles when we might float by faith. Oh, for grace to be quiet!” -Charles Spurgeon

I have had quiet season in my life. Some of those seasons and moments have been the most growing and beneficial times in my walk with God. I’ve experienced the quiet peace of knowing that, even though I am not hearing any direct “words from God,” or experiencing the “writing in the sky,” that I am reassured through scripture that He is with me. He is near.

Throughout the Bible we can see God’s promises. We can know without a shadow of a doubt that he is near, and we can have confidence that we can draw near to Him…even if we are in a “quiet season”.

“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength…” (Isaiah 30:15).

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Heb. 13:6)

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:8)


Here’s what the Bible says about confidence…

    “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[fn] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
       “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
The greek word for Confidence is : παρρησία
Transliteration: parrēsia

pär-rā-sē’-ä (Key)

feminine noun

Root Word (Etymology)

From πᾶς (G3956) and a derivative of ῥέω (G4483)
The KJV translates Strong’s G3954 in the following manner: boldness (8x), confidence (6x), openly (4x), plainly (4x), openly (with G1722) (2x), boldly (with G1722) (1x), miscellaneous (6x).
  1. freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech or conduct

    1. openly, frankly, i.e without concealment

    2. without ambiguity or circumlocution

    3. without the use of figures and comparisons

  2. free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance

(courtesy of blueletterbible.org)

A couple things that I noticed with this greek word is that is a feminine noun. Strange huh? But look at some of the highlights that I bolded for you.

  • Open-without consealment
  • Without ambiguity
  • Without the use of figures and comparisons
  • fearless confidence
  • cheerful courage

We do not need to compare our walk with God to someone else. Sometimes we see a person who is at that “loud season” with God. They are being directed plainly by God, and blessed so clearly. Those people are at a great place with their walk. The “loud seasons” are a blessing too, but they are not usually the constant. God works on all seasons of life.

We don’t need to be ashamed of these quiet seasons. Even in these seasons, we can have confidence as we approach our walk with Him. We can have assurance that he is near.

As you ponder which season you may be in today, or even if you are in a “loud season” in your walk with God, I want to leave you with this prayer.

As you settle your mind and close your eyes, let this be your prayer today. Take a listen.

God bless you on this Sunday! Now go spend time with your family! 🙂


Let's talk about SEX! · Lets talk about Sex!

Sex & Body Issues

This post is written for married or soon-to-be married women.


I don’t know about ya’ll, but I struggle with insecurity. Not so much with who I am as a person, but with my body. I think I have always struggled with this since I can even remember. It sucks. It really does.

It’s like I cannot get what my heart knows is the right thinking about my body, to match up with my mind. My mind thinks that I am ugly, that I am not thin enough, that I need to lose weight…etc. This translates into my marriage, and especially how I view my body while being with my husband.

Can I get a witness? Any other women struggle with this?

I think more women than you can even imagine do. Maybe you didn’t raise your hand….great for you, but I think you are the exception.

Almost every woman I’ve ever talked to, has struggled with some form of body issues (insecurity).



Have you noticed that women on magazines and billboards are perfect? I mean seriously perfect. From the flawless skin, to the perfectly voluptuous… (eh hmm) hair…among other things. No flaws whatsoever.

Do you think that is really REAL?

You see, we are trained, since we are young, to equate the perfect female bodies with these kinds of images. I think it is the media’s way of infiltrating our minds. Maybe they mean to, maybe they don’t, but these things stick in your mind and in your perception of what reality is.

Here’s a couple of examples of this…

1. Kate Winslet.

Frazer Harrison / Getty

Kate Winslet’s face has been airbrushed so significantly in this Vogue cover image that she almost doesn’t look human. Her complexion and eyes have totally changed colour, and any sign of a wrinkle has been completely erased.

2. Kourtney Kardashian.

Life and Style magazine
OK! Magazine

Kourtney Kardashian posed for this original photo (left) seven days after giving birth to her son Mason. The image was published in Life and Style magazine.

A short while later, this second image (right) appeared on the cover of OK! magazine, which changed the colour of Kourtney and Mason’s clothing to give the impression of a new photo shoot. They also slimmed Kourtney’s stomach down, making her look as though she’d lost all of her baby weight.

Kourtney responded to the retouching, saying, “They doctored and photoshopped my body to make it look like I have already lost all the weight, which I have not.”

(pics and info courtesy of buzzfeed)

The Way Media Influences

In various degrees, we are all unwittingly a victim of the media and it’s barrage of influence. The images that we subconsciously equate with what a beautiful person is, is not necessarily reality. These perceptions really do affect the way we dress, live, have sex with your husbands, act and think.

However subconscious these thoughts can be, I know it affects me.

I don’t know about you, but when I see a girl on Pinterest that is wearing this super cute outfit or has her hair all nice looking…it makes me want to go lose 10 pounds, and buy that outfit and look just like her! It’s a strange instinct to me. Its one that, for me, I don’t mean to do. I don’t mean to have those thoughts or want to go out and buy that stuff.

So I started thinking, “Why does this happen? Why do I feel the need to “look like her, to dress like her, to be thinner”?


Well crap! It’s the stinkin’ media influencing us! Whether it is Pinterest, movies or whatever…we are INFLUENCED. This influence affects us. It affects me.

Especially if you are married and are naked when you have sex.

Down to the Nitty-Gritty…

It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of these body issues. Yes, I did just use the words NAKED and SEX.

I just set the stage for the reasons why we are so effected in our insecurities by media, so let me now try to pull it all together in the WHY it affects our marriages…

When I first got married, I had a nice little body (not that I thought so when I first got married). Even though I was young, had no stretch marks, very few flaws, no wrinkles and no grey hair, I STILL was insecure! Isn’t that insane? I look back now, and wish I still looked like that!

We learn a lot as we get older and wiser, right?

I have to tell you, these insecurities effected (and still sometimes) affect my marriage. I am sure that if you are honest with yourself, it affects yours too. Am I right?

  • Turning lights off
  • Wearing “modest” lingerie
  • Not being “comfortable in your own skin” while naked
  • Not wanting to be naked

The lists go on! And these are only a few! Some of these things, subconscious or not, are because of our perception of reality.

When we allow our minds to go to what we THINK we are supposed to look like, it can be such a damaging thing. It definitely affects how we are able to enjoy sex with our husbands. Let’s look at scripture…

Song of Solomon

“My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh

that lies between my breasts.

My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
in the vineyards of En-gedi.
Behold, you are beautiful, my love;
behold, you are beautiful;
your eyes are doves.
Behold, you are beautiful, my beloved, truly delightful.
Our couch is green…”

I know, I know…this sounds like a mixture of “steamy” and someone with an A.D.D. problem.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the “poetic” talk of these two makes all sorts of images pop up in my mind (sorry, I have a crazy imagination). But, I love how the Bible is so candid about topics like this. Real life stuff.

If you haven’t gotten it yet…this passage of scripture is TALKING ABOUT SEX! Down home, two naked people, married-SEX. These two are talking about each other and each others bodies! (OMG!)

(Mom, if you just read that, I know you just gasped…but it’s ok…stay with me here).

I love that these two are just madly in love with each other, and with each other’s BODIES! They don’t care about their extra 10 pounds, or the stretch marks, or the stinky breath! They just freaking love each other!

There are so many more excerpts from song of Solomon that I could show you, but this tiny little portion will suffice. I am trying to make a point here.

The thing was, back in the day (long, long time ago), they didn’t have tv’s or smart phones. They had hard work, food to make, house to keep and probably a whole lot of sex (maybe that’s why there are so many people on earth now ;). There wasn’t the opportunity to look at an image and say, “oh boy, I need to look like her”, or, “I need the lights turned off first before we can be naked”.

In my lowly opinion, I think that back then, women had a lot more “self-esteem.”

If you ever get a chance to read the Song of Solomon with your husband, you should do it. It’s a great portion of the Bible that is so poetic and artistic. It also gives you the perspective of how God created sex with your husband to be. It is a picture of our intimacy with God.

Note: If you do not have a relationship with God, feel free to send me an e-mail. I’d love to chat with you!

Back to the topic…


I’m sure you’re thinking, “gosh! this girl’s got to be the most confident girl ever!”…

Nope. I am not. I’m a work in progress. I still struggle with myself and the way I think about my body. I have to point out however, that this struggle is MINE. Not my husbands, but mine.

The problem here is not with our extra weight, or the imperfections that we probably have…cause we are human. The problem is in our minds!

So, how do we have confidence? How do we get over this hurdle in our minds about how we look (especially in bed)?  How do we go into our “bedrooms” with confidence and realize that sex is a beautiful thing; something to be cherished and respected, both by our attitudes and by our bodies?


The Bible tells us that beauty is not about what we look like. It is deeper than that.

“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.   Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.  She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”Unchecked Copy Box Pro 31:10-12

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”Unchecked Copy Box Pro 31:29-30

Beauty is more than skin-deep!

Of course, our bodies are incredible things! If you have had children, then you know what happens after pregnancies! It is not all pretty. The world likes you to think that after babies, your bodies can be exactly how they were when you were 20. But, unless you have thousands upon thousands of dollars, that is just not reality.

The reality of it is, after multiple pregnancies, after babies, and just the effects of age…we all have imperfections. I don’t know about you…but I have stretch marks, wrinkles, grey hair, rolls and many other imperfections.

However, my focus needs to be on the inward beauty, not my imperfections.

 (P.s. This is not me lol. Courtesy of pregnancy health.net)

If we were just able to accept the fact these “imperfections” are normal, and that NORMAL women do not look like the magazine covers or the billboard ladies, I feel like we would have such freedom in how we look! Our husbands want to SEE our bodies. They don’t want us hiding in them.

Physical Beauty

With all that being said, we cannot forget the importance of being physically healthy as well. For some men, this is VERY important thing.

Something that my husband and I have always said since our honeymoon, is that if either of us begin to “let ourselves go”, then we would be open with each other in saying so. Not in a rude or condescending way, but in an encouraging manner. It has been a very important thing for us to try to stay as fit as we can for each other. I know that it is a very important thing for most men, although they would never admit it.

They are sexual beings and they are also VERY visual. I cannot stress the important of this!

IF YOU ARE A FEMALE…PLEASE WATCH THIS…explains it perfectly…

Did you learn anything about males and their visual stimulation? (p.s. be on the lookout for my post about Guys and Visual Stimulation! Coming soon!)

Now, I know that some circumstances don’t allow for us all to be a size 2 (and who says that’s the size to be anyways?), but I do think it is important for us as wives to try to look as attractive to our husbands as we can, especially knowing that they are VISUAL beings!

On another note: My husband has told me so many times that when men have sex with their wives, they don’t even notice those extra pounds, the messy hair and no makeup, or the stretch marks. They just want you to be “engaged” in sex, they want to see you. ALL OF YOU. They want you to be excited, to be “in to it” with them. They also want you to just “service” them from time to time (that’s another topic for another day). Those things for them, is the most attractive thing!

It’s time to take some action ladies!!!


How can we get rid of the idea that the images in our mind we THINK are reality, are NOT reality?

How do we as wives, have confidence with our husband when we have sex?

How do we become comfortable with our naked bodies in front of our husbands?

How do we get over the perception that we “need” to look a certain way to be attractive?


Here are a few ideas to start putting into action what you learned…

  1. Talk to your husband about your insecurities, let him reassure you that it is not how he views your body.
  2. Consciously remind yourself that these thoughts that you struggle with are NOT reality.
  3. Write down scripture about who you are in Christ and leave those scriptures around the house where you can memorize them.
  4. Go through a book about sex with your husband. Learn about each others bodies and don’t be afraid to be naked in front of each other!  (too many resources to list! Just look up books about sex for christians).
  5. Read the Song of Solomon together…and then have lots of sex. 🙂
  6. When your husband is around, try to look your best and be attractive for him. If the kids are not around, wear some lingerie and just walk around. Trust me, you won’t be wearing it long ;).
  7. Start a workout routine to tone up! Not only will you feel great and have more energy, but your husband will notice. I PROMISE.
  8. Last but not least….Leave the lights on next time you have sex, or just do it in broad day light more often. He likes to see…everything! You’re welcome.

Those are just a few ideas. I know that when you have a perception about something in your head, it can be very difficult to get rid of it. So, be patient! Pray and ask God to clear your mind of these perceptions and to give you a heathy perspective of your body, and the importance of letting your husband enjoy your body. He will. He is faithful!

Praying you have a great day! God bless you on your quest to have confidence with your body!




5 New Blog Posts!

I have 5 new blog topics coming soon! Be on the lookout for these new and exciting posts!

Here are the upcoming dates…

  • “Sex and Body-Issues”-Friday the 19th of January

  • Motivational Monday-“One week meal plan”-Monday the 22nd of January

  • Talk Tuesday “Guns & Girls”- Tuesday the 23rd of January

  • A brand new recipe!!! TBA- Wednesday the 24rd of January

  • “Tubal Ligations & Complications”- Thursday the 25th of January


Are you enjoying the recipes and the topics that are discussed here? Be sure to subscribe to my blog and never miss a post!


Thanks so much for the support!


Breakfast · Recipes

Z’s French Toast

Sugar-free, THM-E

My favorite breakfast

This breakfast is the easiest pesiest breakfast ever! Also, a great way to switch it up a little bit and have an E breakfast that is NOT oatmeal!

I have to say, French Toast is hands down my favorite breakfast.

I make a homemade berry sauce (Z’s Very Berry Sauce on my Recipe page) that compliments this dish amazingly! The berry sauce is also sugar-free and falls under the THM-FP status.

When you use my berry sauce, there is no need for syrups (see yesterdays post on The Skinny on Sugar in the Healthy mom page).

French toast

Yummy Sourdough Bread

I use the San Luis Sourdough bread because it has the best texture and ingredients in a store-bought bread. Of course, if you make your own homemade bread from a sourdough starter, then that is going to be AH-mazing! But, for “drive through sues”, this bread does great. You want to make sure that your bread is made from a starter, doesn’t have fat and doesn’t have sugar.

sourdough bread
Some of the Ingredients I use

I also love to buy the unsweetened vanilla almond milk from Costco. It is not full of the fillers and sugar that other almond milks have. I also love the fact that there is a touch of the vanilla flavor in the French toast when you use this.

Of course, to stay in the THM-E territory, you have to stay with egg whites, but when I make this for my kids, I will sometimes whisk in a couple eggs with the yolks, for a yummy crossover. Crossovers are great for growing kids! Also, I think that whole eggs make it taste even better. But, alas, I need to stay in E (THM-Energyzing) territory. 🙂

My family absolutely devoured this breakfast!

French toast

French toast boy

When it is silent during any given meal, then I know I did something right! 😉

Now that you’re hungry….go make it! Enjoy!


Serves 3

Z’s French Toast

2 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

7 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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  • 1/2 carton of egg whites
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices of sourdough bread


  1. heat skillet on medium heat
  2. Whisk all wet ingredients in a bowl until well mixed.
  3. dip bread in egg mixture
  4. cook on heated skillet until browned un both sides
  5. serve with Z's Very Berry Sauce
  6. or desired syrup.
  7. Other topping options are berries and 0% greek yogurt, cottage cheese (2%) or a dollop of whipped cream!
  8. Enjoy!
Cuisine: American | Recipe Type: Breakfast



Z’s Verry Berry sauce

Sugar-free, THM-FP

This is my go-to berry sauce recipe! There are so many variations that you can do with this! I have added maple extract to this and it turns out with a great little twist. You can also add butter to it, and make it a THM-S.

Although I haven’t tried it yet, I am sure you can add collagen too and make it even better for you!

I usually use frozen berries, but you can use fresh as well.

(Note: If you do use fresh, it will cook faster.)

very berry sauce

I love the chunky berries in this, but if you prefer smooth syrup, you can easily blend in the blender and then serve it smooth.

I love these pictures because this beautiful white server that I use for the berry sauce was grandmother Josie’s. It’s actually a gravy server, but I like using it for the sauce. It is very near and dear to me, and I feel that when I use it in my pictures and at my table for serving, that her memory lives on. She was an awesome woman. She served everyone with such grace, and was always so kind to me. I wish I knew her better, but she died when I was young. My favorite aunt gave this gravy server to me, and I will cherish it because it was used by my grandma and my aunt.

Maybe I am getting sentimental in my “old age”, but I actually kind of like old dishes. Especially white ones! I have a love for white dishes of any kind! I think I am starting to appreciate the character in the old ones. Maybe someday I will have some of my grandmas dishes, my moms dishes and some of my own to pass down to my daughter. 🙂

Without further stalling…Here is the recipe…



Z’s Verry Berry sauce
Recipe Image
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  • 6 cups frozen berries
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 tbs sweetener of choice
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp gluccomanon


  1. turn heat to medium high
  2. Put berries and water in medium sauce pan
  3. let sauce until bubbling
  4. continue to mix
  5. add in vanilla and salt
  6. let cook for at least 10-15 minutes and mix intermittently
  7. turn heat down if boiling over
  8. after cooking for at least 15 minutes, turn down heat to medium-low
  9. right before serving, add in gluccomanon and mix thoroughly
  10. turn off heat and let cool a little bit
  11. serve warm over pancakes, waffles, French toast or whatever you fancy!
  12. When put in fridge, it turns into the perfect berry jelly! 🙂

Healthy Mama · Healthy Mom · Home

The Skinny on Natural Sugars vs. Processed Sugars

Welcome to Talk Tuesday! Today we are discussing the difference between natural sugars and processed sugars. A lot of people have been asking me why my family and I eat a mostly sugar-free lifestyle. Here is the discussion!

As always…please feel free to send me some topics you’d like discussed for Talk Tuesday!

Natural Sugars vs. Processed Sugars

What are natural sugars?

Natural sugars are sugars that are found, well naturally. This includes fruits, veggies, and honey.

Glucose – refers to “simple” sugars, found in all foods that have carbohydrates. Glucose can be found in mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, etc. Glucose is vital to life and is in every single living molecule. It is also produced by your body and easily broken down by every cell in your body.

 Fructose – another “simple” sugar, it’s also referred to as fruit sugar, because its main source is fruits (and also honey). Fructose is a bit harder to break down, as only your liver breaks down significant portions of it. -organics.org

Processed sugars:

Processed sugars are natural sugars that are modified, combined and processed by us to make something with regular flavor and texture, such as white sugar.

Sucrose – combines (half) glucose and (half) fructose to become a “complex” sugar. Typically it’s extracted from sugar-beet plans or sugar cane to make your typical “table sugar”.

Other Types – High fructose corn syrup, Sucralose (Splenda) etc…

(expert obtained from organics.org)


The effects of that yucky stuff…

An abundance of added sugar may cause your liver to become resistant to insulin, an important hormone that helps turn sugar in your bloodstream into energy. This means your body isn’t able to control your blood sugar levels as well, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. -webmd.com

Now, I’ve already mentioned that I don’t mind sugar and sweets for my kids or I occasionally. I don’t think there is anything wrong with enjoying sweets every now and again. But, on a daily basis, these processed  and sugary foods can have a detrimental effect on not only your liver and pancreas, but your health. The way you feel is also effected because of that yucky stuff called processed sugar.

Yes, you may get a spike in energy right after you eat something with processed sugar in it, but you are followed very soon after with a “energy crash”. This is because of the spike in glucose levels, and then the hormone levels become “off balance” (dropping back again in a fast manner), causing you to feel tired, and have no energy.

Store-bought syrups

This morning, I made my yummy berry sauce (find Z’s Very Berry Sauce on my recipe page!). I poured it all over my kids French toast (look for my recipe on my Recipe page!). They gobbled it up! They couldn’t even tell that I used erythritol to sweeten it. Berries in and of themselves are very sweet. Especially when you get off processed sugars, so you really don’t need much to sweeten them. This was my yummy berry sauce…

Absolutely delish on French toast, pancakes, waffles and toast!

I’ve always been weary about buying syrups from the store. Don’t get me wrong, I do sometimes (especially when we’re on vacation), but after I read the ingredient labels….oooooo…I shudder.

Did you know that there are more than 35 grams of sugar per serving in traditional store-bought syrups? Holy crap! I don’t know about you, but knowing that I am letting my kids eat a crap-ton of sugar in one sitting makes me feel ridiculously guilty!

Think about it…

The recommended daily sugar intake is 25 grams for us women (heart.org).

If we are having syrup on our pancakes, or letting our kids eat it (God-forbid) with every pancake or waffle breakfast…That’s over DOUBLE of our daily recommended intake, in one sitting!!!

That’s a CRAP-TON of sugar.

Enter Trim Healthy Mama…

Enter the THM lifestyle! We absolutely love eating this way! If you haven’t looked into THM (trim healthy mama), then I highly suggest it! We eat like kings and queens here, and it’s all thanks to THM! No carb counting, no points watching, no stressing about what you can and cannot eat. Just good ole fashion healthy food! I don’t campaign for them or anything, and I am not a sales rep for them (do they even have those?), but when I believe in something…I talk about it!

The reason why we love it is because we try not to eat added sugar! But, THM allows you to eat all kinds of sweets! Don’t get me wrong…everyone consumes sugar. Wether it is fruit or candy, sugar is in a lot of things. The difference between healthy sugars, and processed sugars are astounding though!

Here is a diagram done by Harvard on the differences between the two types of sugars. (Please disregard the diet soda example. We don’t do diet sodas here very often because of the yucky stuff in them. The Sucralose (Splenda) content in those are not healthy on a regular basis.)

See, processed sugars cause a huge spike in blood sugar levels! Eating processed sugars on a daily basis, and in large quantities can cause so many health issues! It’s just not worth it to me. The long term effects are not very friendly.

The reason fruit is so good for you is because of the fiber that is in them. When you consume a piece of fruit, the fiber helps to metabolize it in a way that is not as damaging to your insulin levels. That is one reason why I find it important to drink the pulp of fruit when “juicing”. I just throw the whole dang things in my blender and drink them!

The Debate About Stevia

There has been a lot of talk about wether stevia, erythritol, xylitol etc are good for you. You have to do the research on it for yourself, but I believe that it is way better for your body and insulin levels that cane sugar or processed sugars.

Don’t get me wrong, these types of sugars (stevia etc) can be processed too. There is always a certain “process” that takes place to get the actual sweet stuff out of the plant or grain, etc. The important thing is to find the most healthy options out there. If you quality sweeteners, you won’t have to worry about that.

Truvia, Pure Via, and different forms of stevia blends are more processed, yes, but I would argue that they are far less detrimental to your waist line than standard cane sugars. I use Truvia and I love it. I prefer “blends” rather than pure stevia. Blends are just stevia with usually another sweetener added; for example, eyrthritol. I’m not a fan of the bitter taste that stevia has alone, but a lot of people actually like it. It is all based off of preference. I use Gentle Sweet (I get it here http://trimhealthymama.com) in my coffee every day. It is a quality and very lightly processed sweetener blend, and it tastes just like regular sugar to me. The great thing is, you need far less than traditional sugar for it to be sweet.

Be sure to buy quality sweeteners if you are going to use them on a regular basis.

Here’s the skinny…

So, when you see me posting sugar-free or no-sugar-added recipes, THAT is why. All the reasons I listed above, aren’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health issues involved with eating processed sugars. I only listed a couple reasons why we choose to eat the majority of our food in a sugar-free way. There will always be people who would argue that eating “sugar-free” is not good for you. But, I would say, you have to do whats best for your family. If it works, the “proof is in the pudding”, it will show on your body and in your health. If it doesn’t, maybe try something new.

Ever since my family and I have started this THM lifestyle, we have noticed such a difference in the way we feel and they way we look.

Obesity runs in my family. And it is something that I really have to be conscious of. I gain weight very easily, so I have to really pay attention to what works for my body. When I am “on plan”, I notice that my waist-line stays pretty trim, but when I don’t follow the right way of eating, I notice it right away.

I don’t desire to be extremely skinny or really thin, but I do want to be trim and to be fit. Taking processed sugar out of my diet has helped exponentially in that arena!

Of course, exercise is a great way to help with a lot of health issues too!

natural sugars vs. processed sugars
The family that works out together, stays together!

Ultimately, you have to what works for you. I encourage you to do your research on this subject, and really search out the truth for yourself. I hope that this post helps to “clear the air” a little bit on sugar.

Please let me know if there is any other topics you would like to see discussed! Below is a contact form. Please be sure to fill it out and list what you would like to see talked about, or any comments or tips about this post! Thanks!


Fitnessness · Fitnessness

Give yourself a break!

Welcome to Motivation Monday!

“I have a plan!…P-A-L-N”

Ever seen that movie Sgt. Bilko? Hilarious. It is a goofy military spoof. The Sgt. is a guy who goes against the rules and runs an illegal gaming operation in his auto shop on base. He gets the guys together and tells them that he has a plan to make everything work out for them.  He talks about his strategic plans for his platoon and gaming operation, and spells the word “plan” wrong on the drawing board as he is “rallying the troops”. Funny movie….watch it!

Back to the story…

That’s kind of how my morning went when I thought about the word “plan”…totally wrong.

Ever have a plan to be really “good” on a Monday, and to start back on your exercise after a long weekend of gluttony and laziness? Your plan is to wake up early, do an awesome workout and start your day off right. Right?

That was my plan today (although, I didn’t have a weekend of gluttony, and for the most part, didn’t have a weekend of laziness).

I utterly failed.

You see, I was wide awake last night around bed time. I could not go to sleep! I even took a melatonin! When I did eventually fall asleep, I kept waking up…all night! It was rough night for me, and I have no idea why I kept waking up or why I couldn’t fall asleep in the first place. Weird.

Because of my inconvenient night, I could not, for the life of me, wake up this morning! My alarm went off as usual, at 5:30 am. I pushed snooze as I incoherently could hear my husband stomping around in the kitchen throwing pots and pans around as if no one was sleeping in the house, and being extremely loud (he wakes up before me). (Husband! You’re fired!). I’m sure I am over embellishing because of my half-asleep state. But seriously husband…you’re a “bull in a china shop”!

I eventually just turned off my alarm, instead of “snoozing” it, and rested my eyes again. So, I pretty much just went back to sleep. I couldn’t even keep my eyes open!

I eventually woke up to the sound of children playing in their room. If you have ever been woken up this way…it’s horrible! Especially when you are dreaming that you are sleeping in a hotel room, surrounded my big pillows and no children. 😉

I eventually got up and got coffee and went back to bed as the kids ensued in their revelries. I just sat in bed staring at the wall, wondering how I messed up my morning so bad, and why the crap I was so dang tired. OMG.

Why tell this story of my morning? Because….wait for it…Theres a lesson to be learned here.

Exhausted after a night of sleeplessness.

Give yourself a break!

If you are like me and you had a similar morning…Your whole structure and routine just fell apart! Mine did. At first.

You see, I started “beating myself up” because I, “Didn’t work-out”, I, “didn’t do my regular routine of devotions”, “I wasn’t up and ready before the kids”, “I slept in”….ETC ETC. (WA WA WA)

I just to want to use this short post to encourage you ladies who may be in the same “boat” as me. Who may “utterly fail” some mornings. Wether you are a routine and structure kind of person (like me) that fails at it, or just someone who tries to set goals of exercise and structure and fails at them on any given Monday.  Give yourself a break!

I had to. I started to think about how bad I was messing up my day, how “off” my plans were going to be…but in the scheme of things…IT’S OK!!! The world did not end. The kids are not going to die. The house chores aren’t going to be mad at you…

Give yourself a break!

Stuff happens. Things come up. Nights with no sleep happen.

That homeschool will be there all day, those dishes will be there all day (in abundance), that laundry will still be piled up in that corner, and your kids will be ok with you waking up with them. Take this opportunity to read them a story in your pj’s, or have a day off school, or do a deep-cleaning of the house…. You may have to switch stuff around a little bit…but that is ok!

laundry piled high
Dirty laundry for days!

Try, Try Again

All that to say… Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t start your exercise on the day you intended to, or if you can’t seem to wake up early enough, Etc.

Don’t stay there, of course! Do your best to be active and healthy and to set goals for yourself. But, if you failed today, like I did…TRY AGAIN TOMORROW! Give yourself a break!

Have grace on yourself, and know that failing at your goals is not the end of the world! It’s just one of those things that happens a lot in motherhood. It just does.

My mom always said, “If you fail at something, try, try again!”

Happy Monday! have a blessed day!



Faith · Home

Don’t be discouraged!

Welcome to my Sunday devo time! It is my conviction to take Sunday’s off from my blog, and really focus on the Lord and my family. I write these devotionals during the week, and schedule them for Sundays. I pray that you will be blessed by what I have learned in my personal time with God this week!

The Thoughts that Jumble

What are you reading right now?

I tend to read multiple books at the same time. For some reason, my brain does well with multiple things going on at once. Right now, I am only reading two “leisure” books, but usually I have a few that I am reading, along with my bible study.

Today, as I looked over at my pile of books, I started asking myself, am I studying to be better? Am I learning anything? Am I applying anything?

I know that sometimes we can get discouraged with our chaotic lives. I know that I do. The “thoughts” start taking over… “am I a good enough mom,” “am I a good enough wife”, “am I doing enough ‘God stuff'”, “am I praying enough”…on and on it goes. Those thoughts start to “jumble” your brain, until all you are thinking about are the negative thought processes.

When you start to let those thought processes take over, it is easy to get discouraged. When I started getting down on myself for not learning enough, I let my thoughts take over. I let myself get distracted from the whole point. The point of studying the Bible, or a devotional book is to learn about God, Yes, but it is about quieting your mind and focusing on Jesus. Not yourself and you “not being good enough”.  the Bible tells us to “take every thought captive, to the obedience of Christ…”. That means that we have control over our thought processes.

I sure wasn’t controlling my negative thought processes when I was getting down on myself for not learning enough.

That silly story was just an example of how easy it is for us to lose focus.

The Antitheses

I never had heard the word “antitheses” before I met my husband. You see, my husband is super smart. He is one of those naturally smart people. One of those people that uses “antitheses” on a regular basis. haha. When he first used the word on me, I was like, “anti-tha-what???”

He explained to me that when you break apart the word, you get the first part, which is “anti”, which means….

The rest of what he explained to me just went over my head. So I sat there smiling and nodding at him, and pretending to be all into his super nerdy conversation.
That diagram and my husbands explanation, is a just a fancy version for the definition:
1. a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else.
2. a contrast or opposition between two things.
3. a figure of speech in which an opposition or contrast of ideas is expressed by parallelism of words that are the opposites of, or strongly contrasted with, each other, such as “hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins”.
God gives a command in Joshua that is the antitheses (opposite) of our nature…
Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Be strong-opposite of how we feel most of the time
Be courageous-opposite of how we act most of the time
Do not be afraid-opposite of how we feel most of the time
Do not be discouraged-opposite of how we feel most of the time
But, God calls us to be:
ANTI-down on yourself
God always has a reason for saying and doing the things He does. He says these things to us, so that we will rely on HIS strength. On HIS power. You see, “HE is made strong in our weakness”! HIM! IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM!
 (no old guy was harmed in the making of this devo.)
(now stop laughing and get serious. This is serious y’all!)
(p.s. Im sorry if I offended anyone that looks like this guy,
Im sure he’s nice.)

His promise

The best part of that verse is the fact that he promises to be with us WHEREVER WE GO! Isn’t that awesome? He promises to BE WITH US! His power in us!

Dang! The God of the universe says he will go with me wherever I go! Yea baby!

“…for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go…”

Don’t be discouraged Friend! if you have been struggling with discouragement, I just wanted to share what the Lord encouraged me with this week!

Be encouraged! God bless!


Easy Recipes · Recipes

Z’s Loaded Cajun Soup

THM-FP, Keto, Low fat, Low carb

Cajun seasoning anyone?

The other night I got a hankering for something spicy….

Ever wonder why cajun seasoning is so awesome? Because it is full of yummy spices! I didn’t make a homemade one for this recipe, but I wish I did, now that I know what’s in it, it really is so easy to make.

  • salt
  • garlic powder
  • paprika
  • black pepper
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • red pepper flakes

That’s it! It sure does make some yummy dishes too! Yum!

Question…What comes into your head when you pull out that jar of cajun seasoning? Yesterday, I asked my husband that question, and he said, “I think of something yummy and spicy”. I just laughed and he looked over at me, and said, “whats so funny?”. After I stopped chuckling, I told him, “that is so not what comes to my mind when I think of cajun seasoning!”.

…I picture this guy when I pull out a jar of cajun seasoning…This guy…

I know…my mind. It’s weird.

But that’s just not what cajun seasoning is! AT ALL! It’s not some nasty sweaty cajun dude. It’s just a seasoning with yummy spices. I know not all people have my kind of imagination, but I ALWAYS picture this guy when I go to use cajun seasoning in any of my recipes.

I know…try to get that guys image out of your head.

Picture this instead…

Ok, now that the happy cajun thoughts are back….

“Cajun cooking actually comes from the native French-speaking Acadian decendents inhabiting Louisiana and parts of other Southern states. The “holy trinity” of bell peppers, onion and celery form the base of most dishes. Parsley, bay leaves, and scallions are commonly used, as well as garlic and cayenne pepper.” -thespicehouse.com

Although I didn’t have any bell peppers, I think that they would taste good int his soup. Feel free to experiment!

This ^ turns into this…

A Need for spice

The other night when I made this soup, I looked in my fridge, and it was jam packed. I had bought way too many groceries this week, and my fridge was bursting at the seams! I decided to make up a hearty soup with all the ingredients I had in my fridge, so I started whipping up an idea in my head.

I thought, “what can you make with ground turkey, carrots, shredded cabbage, chicken broth, celery and …[looking over to my spice rack] CAJUN SEASONING!!!!???!!??!?”

“ooooooo, CAJUN SEASONING!!!”, I thought. SO, I started making something. I had the need for spice!

I have been on a Fuel Cycle this week (Trim healthy mama), so I had to make the soup in the fuel pull category. This is A FUEL PULL! Yay for spicy yumminess on your FP days!

It can easily be made a S or an E. If you want it ti be an S, add a bunch of cheese or sour cream, and if you want it to be an E, just add beans or quinoa to it! Easy peasy!

This soup came out SOOOOOO yummy! Full of flavor! It also keeps well in the fridge. I had it for lunch the next day and it was just as yummy!

z's loaded cajun soup
Im hungry again!


The Recipe

So, without further adieu….here it is….

Serves Serves 8

Z’s Loaded Cajun Soup

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 3 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1 whole stalk of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bag finely shredded cabbage (6 cups) or 1 whole cabbage, finely shredded
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs course ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-4 tbs cajun seasoning


  1. In a big pot or dutch oven, saute the butter, minced garlic and onion until soft.
  2. Add in the chopped carrots and celery. Cook until soft, mixing frequently.
  3. In a separate pan, brown the ground turkey and add the salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and cajun seasoning to the cooking meat. I like a lot of salt, but you can salt it to taste too 🙂
  4. After the veggies get soft, add in the chicken broth and water.
  5. Add in the rest of the spices.
  6. When the meat is cooked thoroughly, add the meat to the pot.
  7. Mix everything together let let simmer medium high for 20 minutes.
  8. About 3 minutes before serving, add 3/4 of the cabbage and turn the heat off.
  9. Serve with shredded cabbage on top and or a dollop of low fat sour cream. If you want an S or Keto, add lots of cheese (Colby jack).
  10. Enjoy!
Cuisine: Cajun | Recipe Type: Soup

Enjoy! -Z