Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Using my new resources

I hope some of you were able to take advantage of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. I am thoroughly enjoying my new resources. This bundle was definitely one way to make your money stretch—a super sale on numerous resources to help you learn and grow.

When I first got my bundle and started reading through all the resources I'd just received, it was a little overwhelming. There is A LOT in there! I'm sure some of you may have felt the same, so today I wanted to share a bit on how I am using those resources effectively.

As I skimmed through the list of resources, I quickly noted the ones that jumped out to me right away. These were primarily resources for meal prep/managing time in the kitchen and cookbooks. I also have been wanting to get back into daily yoga and/or pilates, so the free 4-month yoga membership also was a starting place for me.  

I need some fresh ideas for better managing my time in the kitchen. I am definitely a free-spirit by nature and love to cook by inspiration. Often I'll have one meal planned, but when I go to prepare dinner, I am suddenly inspired to cook something entirely different. While that works just fine some of the time, other times it means I end up spending much more time in the kitchen than I really should have. What I've been hoping to do is add some strategic kitchen prep time in my week—so that most dinners are streamlined—but still leave some room for one or two fun, inspired meals.

I do not like to cook the same meal twice. I know, it's weird. But I have no notebook of our family's favorite recipes. We use different recipes and we eat different meals all the time—and we truly love most of them. Pinning us down to a few favorites is really hard! It's just who we are and how we run. It used to frustrate me, but I've learned that it doesn't matter and to not worry about it. Over time I have developed some simple, basic standards that I repeat—like one quick dinner for us is potatoes & eggs, another is pasta in a light cream sauce with whatever veggies I have on hand, and every summer we eat our favorite fig salad. But my husband and I just love to try new recipes. Thus I'm always skimming through cookbooks and am always looking for new, interesting recipes. Now there were a lot of cookbooks in the bundle, so I simply chose the first few that looked interesting to me, and I'm saving the rest for later.

So, basically, from that whole bundle, I've narrowed it down to just a few resources that I'm currently looking at and utilizing. And that's okay! That bundle isn't going anywhere. It's mine. And if I'm frantically trying to read and use everything just for the sake of using it, I'm not going to learn from or enjoy much of it at all.

I'm using the resources that are meeting my current needs. In a few months, I will hopefully have better kitchen strategies in place and will likely be diving into the essential oils course from Vintage Remedies, my next goal. Over this year, I'll work my way through the bundle, based on what will serve and benefit me and my family. I may not get through everything, but with what I've mentioned, I've definitely already gained more than that $30 price tag.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Lucky You!

* Update: This sale is now over. 

So you have lucked out! Yes, you. The one who was sitting on the fence yesterday and decided NOT to purchase the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle. Yes, the bundle I've been posting and posting about, not just because I'm an affiliate, but because I'm super excited about what $30 can get you and where it can take you in your journey toward greater health and natural living!
Because of the overwhelming demand for this well-stocked healthy living package, the site crashed yesterday. For 3 hours. In the middle of a deluge of purchases. (Maybe you were one of those people who was trying to buy the bundle and couldn't.)

Since the site was down for a few hours, not only did they revamp it, but the powers that be decided late last night to extend the sale for just a few more hours today. So, you—yes, YOU, the one who almost bought the collection yesterday but didn't—have one last chance to buy it. You've got until 12 noon PST today to purchase it.

Lucky you!

Wait a minute! You didn't click over to buy? 
You're still reading. I haven't convinced you yet, have I?

Well, let me tell you I'm lovin' this healthy living collection...and benefiting from it...and I'm so glad I have it!
-I just started 4 free months of online yoga classes.
-I've got a new sourdough culture to experiment with sitting in my fridge.
-I've got eCookbooks lined up for use as I plan our meals every two weeks.
-I'm experimenting with some freezer cooking because it's gonna save me time in the kitchen.
-I'm starting a self-paced essential oils course so I can learn better how to use them medicinally for my family.

And that's only the beginning. 

Still not convinced? May I ask YOU a question?

What help do you need to move forward in your journey toward healthier living? 

I bet there's a book or course for that in this bundle. In fact, I dare you. Go look and see. Seriously, go ahead. You can view all the eBooks here. And you can view the eCourses here.

I mean, really. You spend 30 bucks. You get WAY more books, courses and resources than you could ever find anywhere for $30. I talk so much about being frugal on this blog and taking advantage of good deals when you come across them. This is one heck of a good deal! 

Oh! And there's a MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. So, you see? You really have nothing to lose.

You only stand to gain.

Come along for the ride and join the healthy living party!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Meal planning and grocery shopping

* Update: This sale is now over. 

I know meal planning and grocery shopping is something you're concerned about. You want to cook the healthiest meals that you can...and that still taste good, right? Ha ha! (Healthy food CAN taste good!) And I know that trying to make the most of your money at the grocery store is important too. Food can be so expensive!!

And I'm sure some of you feel like you're failing right now. (You probably aren't truly failing, but even if you are failing, please don't be discouraged. You're likely not doing as bad as you think, and you probably are doing AWESOME in other areas of your life!)

I've spent years attempting to balance all of this, and many days I've felt like a failure too.

Make sure I stick to my food budget. Check.
Try to find the best deals so I can buy high quality whole foods. Check.
Search for YUMMY recipes my whole family loves that are also HEALTHY but also don't use too many expensive ingredients. Check. Oops. Oops.
Find time efficient ways to cook three times a day. Check.
Attempt to keep track of and efficiently use all my fresh produce and meat in the freezer and dry goods in the pantry. Oops. Oops.

There may be affiliate links in this post.

I'd be lying if I told you I've perfectly balanced this and have figured it all out. I've definitely grown in these areas and manage them far better than I did ten years ago. But there are still times where one area gets out of balance. I've run out of time to cook dinner (or spent too much time cooking). I've overspent at the grocery store, farmer's market or co-op. I've pulled veggies out of the fridge only to discover they're spoiled. I've also made some disappointing meals that were just ...well, honestly, they were pretty gross!

I'd also be lying if I told you that I've figured this all out by myself. My goodness, no! I've read blogs and books and looked at all kinds of resources, and tried all sorts of systems. I've followed some advice and had it not work for me at all, so I've pitched it. I've tried systems that worked for me for a season, but then a change in life brought the need for a new system.

I've pulled tidbits of wisdom from here and there and woven them together to create the systems that work for me today. 

Some of my best ideas have come from others' best ideas. Something they said triggered a new thought for me which lead to a workable strategy or new technique.

We all need fresh inspiration from time to time! A new system of planning meals. A new method of prepping dinners for the week. A new healthy recipe—sometimes simple, sometimes innovative, sometimes easy to prepare, sometimes allergy-free...and sometimes those amazing hard-to-find recipes that are actually all of the above!

In the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle, inspiration abounds! Here are the titles of eBooks dedicated solely to meal prep and planning:

Not only that, but there are also 31 cookbooks included. Talk about some fresh inspiration!

If you plan meals every two weeks, and open one new eCookbook each time, then it will take you over a year to work your way through all the cookbooks in this bundle.

That's over a year's worth of FRESH menu planning inspiration! Gone are the "I don't know what to cook for dinner" days.

While I'm not going to list them all here (you can read the full list here), I would like to hi-light several of the cookbooks included in this bundle.

And I can't forget those of you with allergies, food sensitivities, or those exploring alternative diets. Below is just a sampling of the allergy-free/alternative diet cookbooks included in this bundle. 

Take a look at the authors, take a look at all the books, take a look at the online courses. I really think you will benefit from this bundle. I already have! I've been checking out cookbooks and marking recipes. I'm exercising, enjoying my free 4-month subscription to online yoga classes. I'm excited about taking the FREE (normally $95) essential oils online class so that I can learn how to better care for my family safely and naturally.

THIS IS THE LAST DAY for you to take advantage of this incredible offer. At 95% off and only $29.97, what are you waiting for?

Sunday, September 14, 2014


So here are the winners, yay! :)

Julie, commenter #6 - you won the free Ultimate Healthy Living bundle!

Jill Remer, commenter #10 - you won the free conference!

Mrs Conroy, commenter #26 - you won the $5 off coupon for purchasing the Ultimate Healthy Living bundle!

Please email me to verify you've seen this, and I will be in touch with you sometime today with your prizes.

Congratulations to all 3 of you, and I hope you benefit from what you've won!


An Essential Oils Course

* Update: This sale is now over. 

Essential oils are all the rage these days, are they not? People sell them via companies, people argue over purity of their oils or others' oils. People are claiming healing from all sorts of ailments by using essential oils.

The truth is that essential oils truly are remarkable! They are an outstanding tool to use in your natural medicine arsenal. Not the ONLY one, mind you, but definitely a GOOD tool.

Feeding your body whole, nutrient-dense foods helps strengthen and nourish your body over time, generally keeping it healthier and stronger. Incorporating herbs and spices into your diet can improve your body's overall health and well-being and help with various ailments. In some cases, turning to gentler, natural remedies first (before automatically turning to medicine) can enhance your body's healing process and actually keep your body healthier (think: avoiding overuse of antibiotics).

Affiliate links are included in this post.

Essential oils are the oils taken from herbs in order to obtain a condensed, intense oil that harnesses the amazing healing power of the herbs. 

My greatest concern with essential oils is the free and rampant use I've seen. Just because something is natural doesn't mean it's safe. After all, hemlock is natural and it'll kill you! Poison ivy is an irritant and it will bother you. Even water—something we need to LIVE—can kill you if too much is consumed too fast.

Essential oils are an extremely condensed and potent form of the herb. That's why in most cases only a drop or two is required. They're powerful!

My sister Jessica has been studying herbs and essential oils through two different schools, and I have continually gone back to her for counsel regarding the use of essential oils, ESPECIALLY when I've been pregnant and when using them on my children.

Children and babies react differently than adults to many, many things because their bodies are immature and still growing. We really need to be careful about what we expose our children to on a regular basis or when they're sick—whether it's natural or not. We need to be well-taught, informed and knowledgeable.

Many natural things are good for us in moderation, but in excess they can end up harming us. (Remember what I just said about water?) Most essential oils, if used on occasion, will not have any negative effects. Babies and young children are an exception to that rule. Eucalyptus and any of the mints can actually hurt more than help. Pregnant women are also an exception to that rule. There are quite a few essential oils you should absolutely avoid during pregnancy, some of which can trigger miscarriage or early labor. All of us should use caution with daily use of essential oils, which can build up a heavy load in the body, taxing it much like toxins do.

So what are we to do?

Well, if you are interested in using essential oils I highly recommend you read up—read A LOT of resources and read varying opinions so you can weigh their value against each other and come to your own informed conclusions.

Also, consider taking a course on essential oils from a reputable institution. In fact—and I bet you knew I was headed here!—in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle there is a FREE course offered (valued at $95) from Vintage Remedies on essential oils. You will learn about 12 different oils and how to use them safely and knowledgeably to help you stay healthy and to help you heal.

You don't have time right now to take a course? Well, the free coupon code you will receive for the course is valid until September 2015. The course is also self-paced. I bet with some planning you could fit this informative and valuable course into your life at some point over the next year.

I'm sure going to give it a shot, and I hope you join me! 

* Also included in the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle are more alternative health resources!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Simple, Tasty Lentil Salads

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we've moved in with my parents. My mom has been kind enough to do all the cooking while I recovered from the cold I caught while moving and worked on getting us unpacked and settled.

One of the delicious side salads she has been making to accompany our dinners are these simple lentil salads.

Affiliate links are included in this post. 

My mom has been making use of whatever vegetables she has on hand, but the salads all have the same base—lentils, fresh garlic, onion, olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper. The type of onion has varied, as has the addition of other vegetables or herbs.

The lentil salad can be served room temperature or cold, and it stands alone as a side dish quite nicely. If you want to make it into a full meal, try layering the lentil salad with other items to create a dinner salad.

Simple, Tasty Lentil Salad

8 cups cooked lentils (the regular brown lentils work best)
1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic (or less if you prefer)
olive oil
unrefined salt & freshly cracked black pepper
Any assortment of any of the following: green onions, white onions, sweet onions, tomatoes, peppers, celery or fresh parsley

Place lentils in a large serving bowl. Add the juice from the lemon. Mince the garlic and add to the lentils. Drizzle in olive oil to your preference. (I suggest starting with a generous swig or 1-2 tablespoons.) Dice the vegetables and add to the bowl. Finely chop the parsley, if using. Add a generous pinch or two of salt along with some pepper. Toss the salad gently and taste. Adjust olive oil, salt and pepper if needed.

Tip: With lentils, you generally need more salt than you think!

Friday, September 12, 2014

This is YOUR CHANCE to win a FREE Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle!

* Update: This giveaway and sale are now over. 

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is in the middle of its sale right now. Just a few more days left and then it's gone forever. You don't want to miss out!

Today I'd like to help three of you readers on your healthy journey! 

I'm hosting a giveaway that will last for only the rest of TODAY and TOMORROW.

This giveaway will close at 11:59pm EST, September 13, 2014. 

There are THREE chances to win:

1. Win a FREE Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle of over $1000 of eBooks, products and courses to help you become a healthier you.

2. Win FREE access to a 12-session healthy living conference called Coffee Table Conversations.

3. Win $5.00 off the purchase of the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle.

There is only one of each giveaway, and only one person will win each giveaway. 

Here's how to enter to win:

1. Share this post on social media: facebook, pinterest, twitter, g+

2. Comment on THIS post, telling me where you shared the post, and INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS.

3. If you shared on multiple social media sites, leave separate comments for each place you shared so that you get multiple entries to your name. (Include your email address!)

4. For another entry, you can also comment on this post to tell me why you'd like the bundle. (Include your email address!)

Winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Participants will be assigned a number(s) based on their comment number(s) with #1 being the first comment's number. Only one giveaway can be awarded to any one person. In other words, once you've won one giveaway, you won't receive another. If your number is drawn again, a new number will be drawn in its place. If the winner does not contact me within 24 hours of my posting the winners' names, then new winners will be chosen. The $5 off coupon will be emailed as quickly as possible to the winner, so that the winner has opportunity to purchase the bundle, of which the sale ends Monday, September 15 at 11:59pmEST. Please note that bundles are for sale only until 30,000 are sold. I am not responsible for the bundles being sold out prior to the winner being able to redeem coupon and purchase a bundle if that does occur.

Remember, this giveaway will close at 11:59pm EST, September 13, 2014. 

I will announce the three winners Sunday morning. So check back! 

In the meantime, take a look at the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle so you can see what YOU just might win!!