Z's Opinions

It’s not about the Bunnies!

Happy Resurrection weekend! I pray that you have a blessed weekend, full of family and memories! I just wanted to present some research on the origins of Easter and how the traditions came about.

Have you ever wondered where the Easter Bunny came from? What about the eggs? Here is a very brief explanation of where some of our easter traditions came from, and WHAT we actually have to celebrate in this awesome season! Hope this short read blesses you!

The Origins of Easter

“According to various sources, the name Easter has its origin with a goddess of the Anglo-Saxons named Eostre (also Estre, Estara, Eastre, Ostara, and similar spellings in various sources). It is believed that she is the goddess of the dawn and was worshipped in the spring by pagans in Northern Europe and the British Isles. In The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop claimed Eostre is actually a name derived from the Babylonian goddess Astarte. Hislop extended this connection to include goddesses from around the world: Ishtar, Ashtoreth, Venus, and others. In fact, Hislop argued that all of the systems of gods and goddesses find their origin with Nimrod and his wife Semiramis at the Tower of Babel. Thus,

every primary god is a figure of Nimrod, and every primary goddess is a figure of Semiramis.” https://answersingenesis.org/holidays/easter/is-the-name-easter-of-pagan-origin/

Although Easter has become a very important holiday for christians and non-christians alike, I think it is important to understand the origins of the holidays that we celebrate. We can still have family traditions and especially celebrate the amazing resurrection of Jesus, but it’s always good to know the WHY behind traditions.

When we know the origins of holidays, we can then teach our kids the meaning of what they celebrate, or maybe even why we may not celebrate them.

The History behind the Bunnies

Have you ever wondered where the bunnies come from? Where the heck do you get a bunny that lays eggs, as part of a traditional christian celebration? Let’s look at what the History Channel (a very secular and liberal station) says about the easter bunny…

“The Bible makes no mention of a long-eared, short-tailed creature who delivers decorated eggs to well-behaved children on Easter Sunday; nevertheless, the Easter bunny has become a prominent symbol of Christianity’s most important holiday. The exact origins of this mythical mammal are unclear, but rabbits, known to be prolific procreators, are an ancient symbol of fertility and new life. According to some sources, the Easter bunny first arrived in America in the 1700s with German immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania and transported their tradition of an egg-laying hare called “Osterhase” or “Oschter Haws.” Their children made nests in which this creature could lay its colored eggs. Eventually, the custom spread across the U.S. and the fabled rabbit’s Easter morning deliveries expanded to include chocolate and other types of candy and gifts, while decorated baskets replaced nests. Additionally, children often left out carrots for the bunny in case he got hungry from all his

hopping.”https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/easter-symbols

Although I complete disagree that the easter bunny has become a “prominent symbol of christianity’s most important holiday”, I think it is interesting to read secular perspective on what historical traditions are.

Secular historians do not see that for christians, the most important celebration is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Our celebration lies in the defeat of death itself! Jesus, raising from the grave to fulfill the prophesies and delivering us from an eternity separated from God. THAT is our celebration! 

Sure, the kids have fun with the egg hunts, the candy and the bbq’s…but that is merely tradition. The easter bunny is NOT what we celebrate.

Celebrate!

“And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door,and sat on it.
 His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
 And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.
 ‘He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.'” –Matthew 28:2-6

You see, we DO have something to celebrate! Jesus conquered death! He died for our sins, He rose from the grave, AND He is coming back again!

What is not to celebrate???

We do not have to celebrate a little bunny bouncing around, laying eggs and delivering sugar to our children…But we can celebrate the King of Kings raising from the dead! We can celebrate our Jesus conquering death and sin!

I’d like to start a tradition of calling our celebration “Resurrection Sunday”. We are, in fact, celebrating His resurrection, right?

So, this Sunday, as ya’ll are spending time with your families and celebrating…remember WHY we celebrate!

JESUS IS ALIVE! Let me leave you with this awesome song/story…

God Bless and HAPPY RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

-Z

 

Soups and Chili

Z’s White Chicken Chili

Low-Carb, THM-S Helper

More Comfort Food

I have been posting a lot of “comfort type food” lately. I know it is officially spring now, so I wanted to get all my “comfort type” soups and chili’s out of my system. Chili is one of my favorite meals. I have always loved chili. What’s not to love about the cheesy and creamy texture, chunky meat, beans and green chili’s?

You see, before I got married and was a “happy go-lucky” single girl, I used to eat chili a lot. Especially after I moved to the mountains and experienced the cold weather. There was just something about a hot bowl of mildly spicy and hearty yumminess. Here’s the clincher….I ate chili from a CAN! I look back now and say “EW. What was I thinking?”. Sometimes I would even add processed and diced ham to it and think that I was eating “gourmet food”. It didn’t take much back then for me to be happy with what I ate (hence the canned chili). I obviously have more understanding now about how important food is.

I haven’t always liked to cook either, and I especially was not always very good at it. You can ask my husband. Lol. But, now that I have learned the “secret” of a good chili and soup base, the possibilities are endless!

Finding a Good Base

Through many failed attempts (and burned garlic), I have found that you can literally make anything with a base of butter, onion and minced garlic. I call these three ingredients the Essential Triangle. Soups and Chilis are no exception. These ingredients MAKE a good soup or chili.

Once you have sautéed the “Essential Triangle” ingredients, then you can add your meat and cook with the butter, onion and garlic. All the wonderfully amazing flavors just soak in to the meat, and there you have the magic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have a good base for your soup and chili, then you can add endless possibilities of flavors!

For this chili, I use canned goods and my favorite way to make broth. Better Than Boullion is such a staple around my home. I use it for so many recipes. It’s easy to use, and keeps well in the fridge for a long time.

Chili Everywhere!

I still love to eat chili a lot. In fact, I would eat it all the time if I could (I wouldn’t do that to my family though). I think that is why I like to create all different kinds of chili. White, red, a mix…you name it! I would love to create as many chili recipes as I can, and I look forward posting many more!

chilichili

With all the story behind it, I would like to present my white chicken chili to you! I hope that you will enjoy it as much as we have!

God Bless!

-Z

Z’s White Chicken Chili

Low-carb. THM-S Helper. A creamy, cheesy and hearty chili!

10 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

40 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 heaping Tbs minced garlic
  • 3 lbs diced chicken
  • 1 15 oz. can of pinto beans
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans
  • 1 7 oz. can of diced green chili
  • 1 15 oz. can of corn (optional)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 8 0z. block of cream cheese
  • 8 cups of chicken broth
  • 2-3 Tbs green chili powder (I use Pueblo green chili powder from my favorite Auntie in Colorado)
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 2 tsp course ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 Tbs xantham gum

Instructions

  1. In a large stock pot or dutch oven on medium high heat:
  2. Saute the butter, onion and garlic until soft.
  3. Add in chicken and cook until pink goes away.
  4. Immediately add the broth, canned goods and seasonings.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes
  6. After ingredients have simmered, take out about 4 cups of the broth. Add the broth, cream cheese, xantham gum and sour cream in a blender. Blend for 40 seconds until thick. Add back into pot.
  7. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with cheese, cilantro and more sour cream.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. -Z
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/29/zs-white-chicken-chili/

 

 

Soups and Chili

Z’s Hearty Chicken Soup

THM-E, Low Fat

Good Ole Fashioned Chicken Soup

On a cold winter night there is just nothing better than a hot bowl of chicken soup! A good ole fashioned chicken soup is a basic necessity to know how to cook. The reason why, is because soup is so hard to mess up.

This recipe came as another one of my “throw it all together and hope for the best” kinds of recipes. It really did come out great! The savory chicken broth and veggies with big chunks of chicken, make it the perfect bowl of “comfort”.

I think the best flavor this soup has is the garlic salt. It gives it just the right amount of saltiness, but with a hint of garlic.

I serve this soup with my Spelt Rolls (https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/14/zs-spelt-rolls/).

Soup and homemade rolls…what’s not to love?

So, we’ll keep it short and sweet today, and get right to the recipe! Enjoy!

God Bless! -Z

Z’s Hearty Chicken Soup

THM-E, Low-fat. A delicious and hearty traditional soup!

10 minPrep Time

25 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs diced chicken breast
  • 1 onion
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 6 celery stalks
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 red potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp course ground pepper
  • 2 tbs garlic salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  1. In large stock pot or dutch oven:
  2. Sauté butter and onions until soft.
  3. Add in carrots and celery. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in broth and seasonings. Cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add in diced uncooked chicken (it will boil and cook in the broth).
  6. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot.
  8. Enjoy!
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/27/zs-hearty-chicken-soup/

Fitnessness

Diastasis Recti

Hey y’all! Happy Monday! Here is some Monday Motivation for you…

This week I will be doing a plank challenge! I am super excited to do this, and hope you will join me! I have done one before and got up to 4 min and 33 seconds!

Although the plank challenge was to get up to 5 minutes, I went as far as I could go at that time, and I was proud of myself! Maybe this time I will get to 5 minutes.

The way to start this plank challenge is really easy, It starts at 20 seconds and then you build up from there. It can be done by anyone!

You don’t have to have 6-pack abs!

But…There is something you might not know about…

Planks=Core Strength

Planks are great for building your core muscles. Now, I am not talking about ABS. Yes, we all want those…but as mama’s, its really hard to get them back after babies. Especially if you have Diastasis Recti. 

You might be saying, “what the heck is that? It sounds like a disease!”. No…Diastasis Recti is not a disease, but 2 (pregnant) women out of 3 usually have it and don’t even know about it! Let me just explain a little bit about it…

What Is Diastasis Recti?

In short, it’s a gap in between your right and left abdominal wall muscles that can result in a rounded, protruding belly “pooch.”

Why Does it Happen?

Chalk it up to hormones and your ever-expanding uterus, says Kevin Brenner, M.D., F.A.C.S., a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon based in Beverly Hills. “During the gestational period of pregnancy, connective tissue called the linea alba thins out in response to a mother’s change in hormone levels in order to accommodate the enlarging uterus. This is one important way that a mother’s body changes to allow a baby to grow in utero,” he says.

 Once you’ve delivered your baby, and your hormone levels return to their pre-pregnancy levels, that thinning generally improves. But in many cases, Dr. Brenner says, the tissues get so stretched out during pregnancy that they lose their elasticity and, therefore, the ability to retract back into position — kind of like an overstretched rubber band. https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/postpartum/diastasis-recti-the-postpartum-body-problem-no-one-talks-about/

Diastasis recti

If you are like me, and have had that annoying little “mama pooch”…it’s probably because of Diastasis Recti. I learned about this whole deal after I had my third baby! I had never heard of it before, and then when I started researching it, I was blown away by the things I learned!
Most of the time, this condition can be healed by core strengthening (planks and core work), but in severe cases, surgery is required. I always want to start with healthy and preventative measures, so why not start with fitness?!?

How to check

 

Back to the Plank Challenge

Now that we know about this condition, and especially if you think you might have it…It’s important to have a plan.

It’s also smart to have an exercise plan.

A plank challenge is a great way to start. I always tell the girls I help, that having a strong core is the most important aspect of exercise. It really is. Having a strong core allows you to not only have a tighter abdomen, but also to ward off back problems. Having a strong core is the foundation to getting AB definition. you cannot have abs if you do not have a strong core.

So, this challenge is prefect for people who might not want to exercise, but want to start somewhere in achieving a strong core.

Here is the plan…

You can choose a 5 minute challenge, or a 3 minute challenge.

Here are the printable versions if you would like to print them:

5 minute plank:

Untitled design-4

3 minute plank:

Untitled design-3

I am super excited to do this plank challenge with you! Let’s get a stronger core together this month! Let me know how it is going!

God Bless!

-Z

Sweets and Treats

Z’s Chocolate Oat Bars

Sugar-free, THM-E, Low fat

A delicious little cake with a big protein punch! The best part is that they are soooooooo easy to make!

“Store-bought, Shmore-bought”

Lately I have been very frustrated with store-bought protein bars, cookies and cakes. There are so many choices available for protein bars and things, that you could literally spend an hour in a Sprouts or health food store, deciding which ones to buy! Although there are a plethora of choices for protein treats, almost all of them have ingredients that I don’t prefer, or that don’t fall into the THM way of life.

Even if they say “vegan”, or “non-gmo”, or “plant-based”, almost always they have loads of sugar in them or no healthy carbs, or the sweetener they use is yucky. There really is a host of problems that I find with protein bars, cookies and cakes.

There are a couple of yummy protein bars or cookies that work, and that I actually do keep on hand for quick grab snacks or on-the-go must haves, but there literally are only a couple of brands that I would buy.

Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but most of the protein bars, cookies and cakes that I have tried TASTE LIKE CRAP! I mean…EW! Also…I just can’t bring myself to pay almost $3 (sometimes more) for something that tastes like chalk! No thanks!

Look at that beautiful fluffy thang!

And, that is where I end up being frustrated and saying to myself, “store-bought, shmore-bought…I’ll make my own…and they’ll taste so much better!”

The thing I love about these awesome little cakes/bars is that they are so fluffy! They really do have the consistency of a cake, but the impact of a protein bar.

They are easy to wrap up and stick in fridge for easy grabbing.  I made them a couple of weeks ago for my husband to take to work, and he loved having what felt like a treat, but also knowing that it was good for him and energy giving!

These little bars are made with oat flour and lots of protein, so they are perfect for those needed afternoon “pick-me-ups”.

 

 Do It Yourself

I am one of those “weirdo” kinds of people who likes to try everything on my own. If I don’t like something, I make my own. If I can’t get someone to do something, I do it myself. I guess it just “flows through my veins”. I am a natural-born DIY’r.

I think that is why I finally decided to try making my own variations of protein bars, cookies and cakes. I just wasn’t satisfied with spending that much money on something that really wasn’t that great. It also makes me cringe to eat something that is so processed (on a daily basis).

Wanna know the amazing thing about making these awesome little cakes??? I made them in the blender!!! THE BLENDER! They take a whole of 10 minutes to whip together! So easy to make!

These guys just come out of the oven so fluffy and ready to eat! I really did score with this recipe, and am very happy with how they came out!

I hope that you can enjoy them as much as we did!

God Bless!

-Z

Z’s Chocolate Oat Bars

Sugar-Free, THM-E, Low fat, EASY TO MAKE!

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 cup gentle sweet
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 scoops collagen
  • 1 scoop (1/4 cup) vanilla whey protein powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a high powered blender:
  3. First, grind oats into flour (the finer the better)
  4. then add the dry ingredients and blend together until well mixed
  5. Add in wet ingredients
  6. Blend for 30-60 seconds or until the mixture resembles a cake batter
  7. Pour into greased (I used Baking Pam) pan (I used bar shaped pans)
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
  9. Enjoy!
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/24/zs-chocolate-oat-bars/

Home · Sweets and Treats

Triple Berry Cheesecake

Sugar-Free, THM-S, Keto

Dessert for Breakfast

I have to admit that I have had this delicious amazingness for breakfast a time or two!

I mean, come on! Who WOULDN’T eat this for breakfast? The amazing part is, it is sugar-free, chock full of berries and actually has flax meal in the crust…so yea…healthy cheesecake for the win!

There are no carbs in this sucker (hence, the THM-S and Keto label), so you know that when you eat this beautiful dessert, you are only burning one fuel (fat). And, because of the lack of processed sugar, your insulin levels will not be spiked. Perfect for diabetics!

Hello breakfast, lunch or dinner!

It really is almost too pretty to eat! ALMOST.

My husband actually treats this dessert like gold! He will savor it for a couple days (which is a long time for him to keep his favorite foods without eating them), hiding it away from the kids, and sneaking a slice whenever he can. I think my cheesecakes are one of his favorite things I make.

Berries Everywhere!

Did you know that berries are actually really good for you? Heck yea! Here are stat on some of my favorite berries:

Strawberries
One cup of strawberries (about 8 berries) has 50 calories, 3 grams of fiber and more vitamin Cthan a medium orange. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, folate and potassium. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition ranked strawberries third out of more than 1,000 antioxidant-rich foods. Strawberries also contain anthocyanins, which may help protect the nervous system and blood vessels.
Studies have shown that strawberries can help protect against several types of cancer, including breast, colon and leukemia. Research has also found that strawberries help decrease inflammation and control type 2 diabetes. In addition, one study found that eating 8 strawberries a day for 8 weeks helped lower homocysteine levels, a leading risk factor for heart disease.
Blueberries
One cup of these fruits has 84 calories and close to 4 grams of fiber. Blueberries are a rich source of antioxidant vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. Research has found that blueberries may help prevent prostate cancer and protect against heart disease. Animal research has also found that blueberry extract may help improve memory, balance and coordination—potentially promising for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Raspberries
One cup of raspberries has 70 calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C. The serving is also a good source of fiber, phosphorus and selenium. Raspberries contain anthocyanins (mentioned above) and another phytochemical called quercetin, found to help slow cancer growth.
As with the other berries, studies have shown that raspberries may be useful in preventing esophageal and liver cancer. Raspberries have also been shown to help control blood sugar in diabetics and help prevent liver damage.
Blackberries
One cup of blackberries has 62 calories, 8 grams of fiber and is an excellent source of vitamins C and K and manganese. Blackberries have been found to have the highest amount of antioxidants – higher than the other 3 berries mentioned above! They’re also bursting with all types of phytochemicals, which have been shown to help fight or prevent cancers like liver, colon, lung and esophogeal. Blackberries also contain quercetin, an antioxidant that may help decrease the risk of heart disease.https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/healthy-tips/2013/07/the-health-benefits-of-berries

The Recipe

Neeedless to say..this cheesecake is not only nutritious for you, but it is absolutely delicious! It is a favorite around here, and I would love to share the “love” with y’all!

So, pull up a chair and a good napkin, and let me share this beauty with you! Hope you enjoy it as much as my husband does! 😉

God Bless!

-Z

Triple Berry Cheesecake

Sugar-Free, THM-S, Keto

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Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1/8 cup flax meal seed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup gentle sweet (or favorite sugar-free sweetener)
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar substitute (or 1 tsp molasses)
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 8 oz. blocks of cream cheese (softened)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup gentle sweet
  • 1 tbs super sweet
  • For the Berry Topping:
  • 3 cups frozen berries (I use blackberries, blueberries and raspberries)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 gentle sweet
  • 2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. place all the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix together until crumbly
  3. put all crust ingredients into a greased springform pan
  4. flatten down to make the crust firm
  5. bake for 10 minutes or until edges are golden
  6. let cool completely
  7. ----Filling-----
  8. Whip the heavy cream in a stand mixer
  9. Add vanilla
  10. Once cream is thick, add in the softened cream cheese and sweeteners
  11. Mix until creamy
  12. Add to the cooled crust and use spatula to smooth
  13. place in freezer for at least an hour
  14. ---Berry Topping----
  15. About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the cheesecake, place the berries and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium high
  16. Allow berries to simmer in the water
  17. Add in the vanilla, pinch of salt and gentle sweet
  18. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring regularly
  19. once the sauce is dark and sweet, turn the heat to low and add in the xantham gum.
  20. Stir until resolved
  21. Let berry sauce cool
  22. Add to cheesecake
  23. Serve with whipped cream or alone
  24. Enjoy!
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/22/triple-berry-cheesecake/

Hands-on Housewife · Healthy Mom

Hobbies

Finding Your Identity Pt. 2

I recently wrote a post “Finding your Identity-When all you know is home, husband and kids”. It was well received, and although I know a lot of women can identify with my story and how I struggled with my identity while going through mom-hood and marriage, I think that there are many women who don’t admit that they too struggle with it.

Our identities are so influenced by what we do. And when all you do is take care of people (namely, your family), that work becomes you. It becomes who you are. Not YOU, but the work.

That is why I would like to share a few of my hobbies with you, and give you a glimpse into what makes me WHO I am.

My Happy Place

I think having a hobby that you enjoy thoroughly is so important, and can remedy some of those “identity issues” that you may or may not have. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think you should just go out and get a paint-by-numbers set, just for the heck of “having a hobby”. But, I do think it is important to find something that brings you joy.

“Hobbies provide physical and mental health benefits by giving a person an alternative place to spend time and mental energy and therefore become reinvigorated for the rest of life…”https://bestmedicinenews.org/wellbeing/7-reasons-why-hobbies-are-good-for-your-health/

My hobbies are truly my “happy place”.

Don’t get me wrong again…My husband, my kids and my home are definitely some of the most rewarding things I have put my time and energy into! They truly are my blessings, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But, there are many seasons of life where I get really overwhelmed. I need a “place” to escape. A place that is “away” from the dishes, the diapers and the busy days.

And get this…They even have a whole entire store for these amazing things called “hobbies”…HOBBY LOBBY! Heck ya! (OMG…I could spend an entire day in that dang store! Don’t even get me started!)

So, without further adieu, here are some of my hobbies:

  1. Acrylic painting and drawing 

 

This is one of my latest full landscapes (on the left). I used to paint a lot, but over the years, have lost the technique and time for it. This is my latest hobby, and I love it! It has allowed me to “escape” into another world, where anything is possible. Beautiful colors, the potential to create and just the plain beauty that inspires me. I hope to spend more time in this medium of art, especially now that my youngest is almost out of diapers. I also enjoy drawing.

 

     2. Creating Recipes

 

fork full

Creating recipes from scratch and making them yummy has become one of my favorite things to do! I know you see all the recipes I post, so you know how I love to create delicious food from random ingredients. I love this hobby because it provides yummy and healthy food for all of my family. I know that this is my families favorite hobby of mine, for sure! 😉

     3. Food photography and Portraits

Jesse and the muffinsbreakfastFrench toast boy

These are literally just a few of the thousands of pictures that I have. I love pictures! I have always had a love for photography, even before I had any clue how to take pictures. I have thousands and thousands of family memories and pictures of food (can you tell I love my babies and my food?). I really hope to learn as much as I can about legit photography, but for now…I am happy to capture as many happy memories and beautiful things as I can.

     4. Home Decor and Decorating

I admit that I have an eclectic style, but I absolutely love making our house a cozy home. I thoroughly enjoy moving furniture around and designing spaces, painting, redecorating (probably way too often), and making things cozy and comfortable. It’s all about atmosphere for me. The lighting, the colors, the smells and the aesthetics. I have always been that way, and I find joy in making our home as beautiful as I can (on a budget of course;). I also love to decorate for weddings and events, and use my gifts to help other people make their event beautiful.

     5. Reading

reading

Reading is another way for me to “escape”. I enter a completely different “reality”. Stories that bring me into the scene with characters and twisting plots. I am someone who has one of those “vivid imaginations”, so reading brings amazing stories to life for me! From christian fiction, to biographies, to non-fiction and historical fiction…you name it! I love it! I always feel so much “smarter” when I read, as apposed to watching a movie or a show. I try to find time to read when the kids are asleep, or when I am alone (which is rare), or right before I fall asleep. Reading a good book is truly one of my favorite things to do!

     6. Auto Mechanics

bronco

No…I did not say that I like “auto mechanics”. Lol. I like to work on auto mechanical things! Believe it or not, I went to college to become an Auto Technician. Yes, before babies and domesticated bliss. But truly, working on my trucks and tinkering around, figuring out how things work and run, are one of my favorite things to do! I admit that in the past 9 years (since I started having babies), that I haven’t spent very much time on my beautiful truck (yes, he is beautiful!), but I greatly hope to be able to get back into it. My plan is to start on the engine rebuild portion of my 1971 Ford Bronco this upcoming summer! I believe that everyone should know how to work on basic car stuff, and I hope to teach my kids everything I know!

 

 7. Working Out

bicep

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really believe that working out is such a stress reliever! I think that is why I enjoy it so much. Also, it gives me time alone in the mornings. I usually workout 3-4 times a week (in this season of life), in the mornings right after I do my devotion time. It not only allows me to have quiet time, where I focus on being healthy and fit, but it allows me get endorphins moving and thus allowing me to be “less stressed” throughout the day. I would say that this wonderfully fulfilling task is considered one of my hobbies.

     8. Adventures

Hiking Castle Rock
Hiking in the snow
Running early in the Summer Mornings

Exploring Snowbird, Utah

 

Exploring Steamboat Springs, Co

 

Me at The Silos, Tx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say…One of my favorite things ever is exploring and having adventures! I used to be so adventurous and fearless (before marriage and babies), and I absolutely LOVE traveling, exploring and making memories! I don’t think I lost this desire after I got married, but I truly have “put it on hold” as God revealed to me my calling of being a wife and mama.

My goal is to do more of these adventures soon. I know that this is my “season” to raise kids, but someday again, I would love to get to travel and explore. Not only alone, but with my husband (aka best friend)!

I am planning a “pilgrimage” soon. It will be a week or so trip where I just take off and explore all by myself, and just have an adventure! The trip will be for fun, but also for writing. I enjoy writing as well (did I mention that’s one of my new hobbies?).

The Importance of being Alone

I have stressed many times that I feel the #1 most important thing you can do as a stay-at-home-mom or wife is to make a designated quiet time of devotions every morning. Just you and Jesus.  And, I have also stressed that the #2  important thing is to have alone time with your husband. Aside from God, your husband is the most important person in your life. He deserves your time and attention. THEN, # 3 there are your kids. Your kids are the “inheritance” that God gave you! If you are in the season of raising babies…that is your season…embrace it (trust me…that is my biggest struggle).

BUT…with all that being said…It is important to do things alone. Being alone is very important for yourself, your mind and especially your heart.

Note: If you are a “social butterfly”, find a close girlfriend that will keep you accountable and do fun things with you. Someone who will have those “adventures” or do those hobbies, right along side of you.

Anyways…there are a few of my hobbies. I hope that I have either encouraged or inspired you to get up, get going and get a hobby! It’s healing for the soul!

God Bless!

-Z

BE SURE TO STAY TUNED FOR MY TRIPLE BERRY CHEESECAKE RECIPE! COMING ON THURSDAY 3/22/18!!!

Sweets and Treats

Z’s St. Patty’s Day Cookies

Sugar-Free, THM-S, Keto

I wanted to add this recipe today so that if you were looking for healthy alternatives for tomorrow, this recipe would be available. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

The Color Green

So…This morning, as I started thinking about what to put in my cookies, I thought to myself, “well, they obviously need to be green right?”

So, I grabbed my proposed ingredients (I was inventing the recipe on the fly), and grabbed the box of green food coloring. I proceeded to read the ingredients… and…..WOW!

I have one word…”EW”.

I mean really, have you ever read what is inside of store-bought food coloring?!?!?!? EW!

 

 

Here are the ingredients in regular old green food coloring…

  • proplene glycol (they use that in anti-freeze!)
  • fd&c yellow 5
  • fd&c blue1
  • propylparaban (a preservative)

EW!

So… as I stood there saying “ew, ew, ew…”, over and over in my head…I decided that I would go with whatever green thing that was in my fridge. It just happens that I had some fresh baby spinach.

Yes, you guess it…SPINACH MAKES THESE COOKIES GREEN!

NOW you’re probably going “EW!”-But don’t say that until you’ve tried these YUMMY cookies!

Kid-Approved

My boys had their little friend over today, and they were all coloring together. I asked them if they would be my cookie testers, and of course with the mention of cookies, they were on board!!!

So, I put a plate of the yummy green cookies in front of them, and they basically disappeared instantaneously!

There is a plate under all those hands!
The last little crumb!
Green Mouth Boy!
Gobbling it up!
All gone!

Little did they know that they just ate cookies with spinach in them! HAHA!!! GOTCHA!

But they absolutely loved them, and begged for more…even AFTER they found out about the leafy greens int them!

The great thing about spinach, is that it really is easy to mask the “spinach” flavor. It has such a light flavor to it anyways, and I guess that’s why I like to add it to my recipes.

Needless to say, these are kid approved!

They store really well in the fridge and actually get an even better “cookie texture” after being in the fridge for an hour!

Little Irish “poops”…

Haha…even writing that makes me laugh. Lol. It’s not what you think though. I wanted to share a trick that finally (after lots of failed attempts) worked for me. My poor kitchen was so messy when I made these, and I am still finding green gooey smudges all over everything!

But, I found that if you make the cookie dough into what looks like little “poopy piles”, they bake perfectly round! Hence, the pastry bag! It makes it easier…trust me. Yay me!

little piles of poop. lol.

So, although they look funny before you bake them, they really do turn out perfect after!

Anyways…I hope you have as much fun making these guys as I did! It really does feel great to serve healthy cookies to my kids, instead of the sugar laden ones that will be all over the place this week. Hope you enjoy these healthy bad boy cookies!

Happy St. Patricks Day!

God Bless!

-Z

Z’s St. Patty’s Day Cookies
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Ingredients

  • 2 stick butter (1 cup)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup gentle sweet
  • 1 tbs super sweet
  • 3 hefty handfuls of spinach
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oat fiber
  • 1 tsp Xantham gum
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pastry bag with plain round tip

Instructions

  1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In blender, add eggs and Xantham Gum. Blend for 40 seconds or until creamy
  3. Then add spinach, vanilla and heavy whipping cream.
  4. Blend until smooth and creamy green.
  5. Then, In stand mixer:
  6. Cream softened butter and sweeteners.
  7. Add in green blender mix
  8. Once all blended and creamy, add in dry ingredients. Mix until well blended (scraping sides occasionally).
  9. Texture should be a little more "gooey" than normal cookies.
  10. Use pastry bag to make little "piles" on the uncreased cookie sheets. (or just use spoonfuls, but they won't be as pretty;).
  11. Bake in oven for 10 minutes (or until edges are golden)
  12. Let cool completely before serving.
  13. Enjoy!
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/16/zs-st-pattys-day-cookies/

Sweets and Treats

Z’s Vanilla Protein Cake

Sugar-free, THM-E, EASY!

I love easy recipes, and this one cannot be any easier! I use my Vitamix: Explorian E310 Blender, and it is an absolute breeze!!! If you have ever thought about buying a serious blender, use my links to get a discount  > Ascent Series Blenders.

Now to talk about protein…

Protein, Protein, Protein!

I don’t know if you have noticed, but I love to incorporate protein into most things that I bake! I love the stuff! It’s such a great thing for building muscles! And, yes, I love muscles!

So why not add it into all things sweet and yummy?

Not all protein supplements are created equal though.

WHEY CONCENTRATE

Whey concentrate is one of the most basic forms of protein that is found in many protein tubs on the shelves of supplement stores. People who are looking for an inexpensive protein source will find tubs of strictly whey protein concentrate with a lower price tag.

This is a great starting point for beginners and those looking to add protein to their diet without making your wallet lighter. Some people will find though that they have a hard time digesting the concentrates and will end up feeling a little gassy and bloated.

Whey concentrate can be used both pre and post workout and can also be used as a snack in between meals. This is not a preferred source of protein to be used at night.

CASEIN PROTEIN

If you are looking for a protein that will slowly breakdown over the course of several hours that you can use as a meal, or better yet right before you go to bed then casein protein is definitely the way to go. Before bed if you take in casein protein you will stay anabolic throughout the night and will be able to utilize the protein in your body.

Casein takes anywhere from 5-7 hours to fully breakdown which keeps your body absorbing and utilizing the nutrients even while you sleep. People also use casein during the day to help stay full and to keep a constant supply of protein in your body to supply the muscles with proper nutrition for hours after drinking the shake.

Another positive to this source of protein is its high glutamine content. Glutamine helps boost the immune system and speed up recovery. This is the preferred source of protein to use at night before bed.

WHEY ISOLATES

Isolates are one of the quickest absorbing proteins (but not the quickest-we will get to that soon enough). People will find this source of protein to be a bit on the expensive side (more-so than whey concentrates), but not near as expensive as the protein we will be touching on next.

These proteins are perfect for those with low carb diets. Many of the protein tubs on the market these days that are strictly whey isolates have very low if any carbs/sugars. Isolates are great pre and post workout as they are absorbed quickly and can supply the muscle the nutrients needed to help recover and grow.

HYDROLYSATE PROTEIN

Hydrolysate protein is the most expensive source of protein you will find on the markets these days and is the highest quality of protein available. They provide highly absorbable peptides that can have a great anabolic effect (highest absorption rate of the proteins available).

Hydrolysate protein is also much better on the digestive system compared to whey concentrates. This protein can be used both pre and post workout.

SOY PROTEIN

Soy protein (even though not a huge seller for bodybuilders) is a good source of protein for those looking for a vegetarian source of protein. This is a useful source of protein and comes with many benefits to its user. It is loaded with glutamine (to help with recovery), arginine (help dilate blood vessels to allow nutrition to get into the muscles quicker), and BCAA’s (help with recovery).

Soy supports a healthy cholesterol profile due to the isoflavones found in the product. It has also been found to boost thyroid hormone output. By doing so, it speeds up the metabolism which aids in fat loss. This type of protein can be used both pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day if needed to get in a meal/snack containing protein. This source is not preferred to use at night.

MILK PROTEIN ISOLATE

Milk protein isolates contain both casein and whey proteins. This source is full of amino acids (similar to soy protein). This type of protein is mostly used in a blended protein source where multiple types of protein are used. Milk protein isolates are not a preferred choice if looking for a protein but can be used anytime during the day, but is not a preferred source to use at night.

EGG ALBUMIN

Now we are going back old school-to a place where protein powder was nonexistent. Egg whites (whether separated from the yoke or found in a container) are an excellent source of egg albumin. The amino acid profile on these are great and has been used since back in the day to help build lean muscle mass.

Egg albumin is not commonly bought in the powder form, but rather bought in a carton or container and cooked. Many blended protein sources as well as meal replacements will have egg albumin in them. This source of protein can be used anytime throughout the day, but is not a preferred source to use at night. https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/protein-types-best-for-you.htm

So Many Protein Choices

As you can see, there really are so many different kinds of supplements out there. I prefer whey (as does Trim Healthy Mama-from what I know) because it is cheaper to buy and has health benefits.

When you are exercising ( especially if you are using weights as part of your regime), you want to make sure that you are getting enough protein.

“Multiply your weight by 0.36 for the recommended daily amount of protein (in grams) that you should be consuming. Then double that number. That’s about 110 grams of protein per day for a 150-pound person or slightly more if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, super-active, or elderly.” –https://www.womenshealthmag.com/…/should-you-double-up-on-protein-to-lose-weight

With so many protein choices, it should be easy for you to find one that suites you’re needs.

Dessert for Pre and Post Workouts

Yes, you can eat this cake pre or post workout! Isn’t that great?

Come one…who doesn’t want to eat cake as your protein intake or just to eat it for a snack?

This cake is delish! It really does have a yummy vanilla flavor to it! Want to know my new favorite thing to bake with?

This stuff right here! Vanilla Creme! Yes please! It gives your baked goods a delicious vanilla-y flavor! Just click on the link above to buy some! Trust me, you’re gonna love it! And the best part is that you don’t taste a nasty bitter aftertaste. I am not a fan of bitter stevia (which some can be).

Anyways, there are great things about this cake that you will only find out if you make it yourself (unless you happen by my front porch someday).

Hope you enjoy it!

-Z

Z’s Vanilla Protein Cake

Sugar-Free, THM-E, EASY A Very Vanilla Cake that is full of protein! Super duper easy to make!

5 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

35 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup apple sauce
  • 2/3 cottage cheese
  • 1 cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla creme stevia drops (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 2 scoops collagen
  • 1/3 cup oat fiber
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup erythritol (or sweetener)
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate chips for topping

Instructions

  1. In high powered blender:
  2. blend together all what ingredients for 40 seconds or until smooth
  3. Add in dry ingredients and blend for another 40-60 seconds (occasionally scraping the sides if needed)
  4. Pour into greased cake pan of choice (I use pam baking spray)
  5. Add chocolate chips to the top
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until edges are golden and center is cooked through
  7. Note: You can also use a muffin tin to make muffins-just bake for 20 minutes instead
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https://zhealthyhousewife.com/2018/03/15/zs-vanilla-protein-cake/

 

 

Breads

Z’s Spelt Rolls

Sugar-Free, THM-E, Low fat

That Crazy Bread Lover!

If you were to set a bowl of ice cream and a fresh loaf of homemade bread in front of me, at any given time… I’d choose the bread every time! Yes, I am one of those crazy bread lovers! I love bread!!!!

It truly is hard for me to resist a good fluffy bread. Bread-sticks, pizza crust, toast, cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls….you name it! I can hardly resist! Bread is seriously my favorite!

I mean, seriously…who wouldn’t want a warm fluffy roll, straight out of the oven?

These rolls are made with sprouted spelt flour, so the flavor is amazingly nutty, and oh so delicious!

I make mine in a muffin tin, so they are pretty easy to throw together :). Win, win!

 

The Goodness of Sprouted Flours

I love using sprouted flours because of how nutritious they can be. Although they are often more expensive, and harder to find in regular stores, they have many health benefits that regular flours just  do not have.

Health Benefits of Sprouted Whole Grains. Sprouting grains increases many of the grains‘ key nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C, folate, fiber, and essential amino acids often lacking in grains, such as lysine. Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic to those with grain protein sensitivities. –https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/…grain…grain/sprouted-whole-grains

“You’ve heard about whole grains, which are simply seeds that have not germinated yet, covered in the protective layer called the husk. When they are intact, grains contain a series of compounds that inhibit growth (for practical purposes a seed wouldn’t want to start growing until the proper time). But when environmental conditions are right, the seed begins to germinate, the husk cracks open, and the growth inhibitors are deactivated.

 Sprouted grains have partially started this growth process. The deactivation of anti-growth enzymes leads to a greater availability of vitamin C, folate, and minerals like iron. The sprouting process also results in a reduction in carbohydrates along with an increase in protein. Finally, they also have lower levels of gluten and up to three times the amount of soluble fiber found in non-sprouted grains.” –https://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/ask-diet-doctor-benefits-sprouted-grains

The Art of Making Bread

I would love to say that bread is super easy to make, but it honestly took me over 6 years to perfect it! I had to learn the art of making bread.

There are a lot of tricks that I learned while learning to make bread well. I had a lot of failures and a lot of flops. There is an actual art to the right texture, just the right amount of rising, the perfect temperature of the water when you add the yeast, and the “wetness” of the dough. All those things you learn about making bread just come with time.

I do think, however, that this bread is easy to make. If you have a stand mixer, it will be a lot easier than doing all the kneading by hand. It usually takes me about 10 minutes to whip this together, and about 30 minutes to rise (if you let them rise on the top of your pre-heating oven).

There is Just Something Homemade Bread…

I think my daughter Addie got my love for bread!

I like to make bread for my kids. Not only are they ALWAYS hungry, but they just can’t eat the way that my husband and I do. They are growing kids of course! We eat “on plan”, which is the THM way, but for growing kids, they need to have a healthy balance of healthy fats and carbs. Their growing little bodies need to have “crossovers” (eating carbs and fats together).

Luckily, my kids love all the stuff I make. But, they especially love any kinds of breads that I make.

If I had written down all of the dozens of bread recipes that I have created over the years, I would have a TON of bread recipes on this site for you, but alas, I never did write them down (I know, husband! lol).

So, now, I am having to re-create a lot of the bread recipes that I have learned to make through the years. It’s ok though…I am learning to adapt them for our style of eating (THM), which is a good thing!

Look at that little face! She loved this bread!

These spelt rolls are so yummy, and can be paired with most THM-E meals. They are also great for the kids when you have a THM-S meal and need them to have a “crossover”. I especially love them fresh out of the oven with some of my homemade sugar-free Berry Jam as a yummy E snack.

I hope you get to enjoy these as much as my family and I do!

God Bless!

-Z

 

Yields 24 rolls

Z’s Spelt Rolls

Sugar-Free, THM-E, Low Fat, Sprouted Grains A fluffy and deliciously healthy sprouted spelt roll. Perfect with any meal!

50 minPrep Time

17 minCook Time

1 hr, 7 Total Time

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups lukewarm water (not too hot)
  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Honey (to activate yeast)
  • 3 cups sprouted spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs butter (melted)
  • 2 2/3 cups whole wheat flour (sprouted is best) (also, more if needed)
  • 2 tbs super sweet blend

Instructions

  1. Put the lukewarm water, honey and yeast in stand mixer bowl.
  2. Whisk together until blended well.
  3. Let sit for 10 minutes or until little froth begins to form on top of water
  4. Attach bowl to stand mixer
  5. Add in the flours, salt and butter
  6. With dough hook attached, turn on low and just let mix for 5 minutes.
  7. If more flour is needed, add in whole wheat flour.
  8. Once the dough begins to "come away" from the sides of the bowl, and is not sticky to touch, it's ready
  9. Place on floured surface and roll into a long roll (about 3 feet long)
  10. Cut into equal portions (about 24)
  11. Place in greased (I used Pam Baking Spray) muffin tin
  12. Place on top of warm stove (while preheating the oven)
  13. Let rise for at least a half hour (or until almost double the size)
  14. Bake at 350 for 17 minutes.
  15. Enjoy!
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