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I told you that this was coming. It's one of those things that you can work on forever and never get to the end. So I choose to stop now and give it to you as is. I will revise as I go but this is a great place to begin. 

It's also one of those things that if you search the internet you can find hundreds of options. BUT - I took my list to the store, no not Whole Foods, just plain old Kroger, and if I had anything on the list that they did not offer I got rid of it. 

You should be able to get ANY of these items at your local store - keeping it simple girls!

So if you have been wondering what to get rid of and what to replace it with then here you go. You can download the list by clicking here. I will also add it to my website on the Free Stuff Page

Happy shopping and Happy Labor Day. 

Jen

 
 
I spent my whole day today in classes on Sugar Addiction and whew, I'm exhausted I have to admit. 

But more than exhausted I'm scared for the health of my children, my clients, and my friends and family, all of whom I love. 

I found this great 6 minute video from Dr. Oz that I think is a great place to start with dealing with sugar addiction. Please take the time to watch it. 

http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/break-your-sugar-addiction

By the way, this is the progression I took as I removed most sugar from my diet. My morning decaf coffee (if I actually have one) is now almond milk instead of creamers, raw honey instead of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I'm not tooting my own horn, what I want to tell you is that it took me 8 months to ween myself to that combo. 

Take your time but do something TODAY to get a little sugar out of your daily life. 

You're sweet enough just like you are! ;)
Love, 
Jen

 
 
Well I told you that I'd keep you updated on my CSA and I have failed. But you haven't missed much. Don't get me wrong, I'm still loving my CSA and I'm really glad we did it (the veggie CSA anyway - didn't love the meat CSA as much). But here is the reason you haven't seen any updates. These pics are three different pick-ups. 
Yes, it's starting to feel like a scene out of Forest Gump around here....we've got squash soup, sauteed squash, boiled squash, squash casserole, squash kabobs....you get the picture. Oh and if we get tired of squash there is always zucchini soup, sauteed zucchini, boiled zucchini, zucchini casserole and zucchini kabobs.  

Lately we have had an abundance of peppers of all sorts so tomorrow is salsa making day and I intend to have salsa for the rest of the season. Will share that recipe after I give it a try. I have already made enough pickles to last through winter. 

Funny thing about the CSA is every now and then this happens...
Someone PLEASE tell me what the heck I am supposed to do with SEVEN OKRA? We are rationing okra here in the Mulford house...everyone gets 1 and 2/3 pieces of okra. 

All joking aside, I have to say I have loved being part of a CSA for my veggies. It's made us get creative and try new things and it's been fun.  

Our farm has worked tirelessly through this awful summer heat to bring us some wonderful, organic, locally grown goodies and for that I am very thankful. Each week before we receive our box we get an email telling us what will be in the box, recipes to try and what's been going on around the farm. This has been a hard year to keep crops alive. 

One of the side effects of being a part of a CSA has been experiencing a connectedness to provision. A 'daily bread' sort of thing if you're following me.

I am so used to just stopping by the supermarket and picking up anything I want, any time I want - in season or out, drought or no drought, food shipped in from other lands and climates - and it's not until I spend a summer waiting with the farmers for God to send rain that I realize how disconnected I am. Yes, the veggies have been delicious, healthy and sparked my creativity but there is something deeper.  There is something we are missing when we pass up the food available right here in our back yard. Food is living and it's the stuff that feeds our cells so that we continue to live - it matters where it comes from, it matters how its been treated, it matters how the people working the fields are treated, it matters when I know that the food we are praying over each night at our table was prayed over at the farm - not just by the owners but by a growing number of people involved in my CSA who were called into action through prayer to ask God to send rain - and He did. 

Whew - I've really had my spiritual mojo flowing this week! I just wanted to catch you up on my CSA and went all Jesus on you. :) 

It happens, what can I say. 

Hope you have a wonderful rest of the day - I think I'll go make me 7 okra for lunch!

;) Jen


 
 
One of my favorite soups has become Miso Soup. Maybe because of my need to use all of the kale from my CSA. Whew...if you want to make sure you get all of your daily greens, join a CSA!

So this one is too easy to do any other way but in pictures. 
This is my favorite Miso Paste so far (I get mine at Whole Foods) and I use the recipe conveniently located right on top of the container. I just tweak it a bit to fit what's in my fridge. 

It's a very flexible recipe. It even list options for veggies. What it does not mention is the greens I usually add near the end of the cooking process. Just a personal preference. And I don't always add the tofu...just depends on how I'm feeling and if adding the tofu means an unwelcome trip to the store. 

This is a quick easy soup and great when you're feeling under the weather and it's gluten free.

You want simple? It doesn't get much easier than that. 

Try something new this week.
Enjoy! 
Jen
 
 
When asked about my tips on packing a simple lunch the first thing that always comes to mind is leftovers

I urge clients to intentionally make a little more than they need for dinner to make lunch easier. Cook an extra piece of chicken, enough brown rice or quinoa for a week instead of what you're making just for dinner, etc... Use your time wisely, think ahead and save yourself time. This also lowers your risk of eating something convenient instead of what you need to fuel your body properly and keep you from craving. Making a little intentional leftover could be the key to you keeping your hand out of the 2:00 in the afternoon cookie jar (or if you're like me the chocolate bar).

Here are my top 4 uses of last nights dinner...

1. Just warm it up! If you enjoyed it for dinner why reinvent the wheel?

2. Soup Starter. Use your meat from the night before, some veggies (you should have made those with dinner too), a little chicken broth or veggie broth and voila...lunch.

3. Salad Topper. A staple in your healthy kitchen should be organic greens (I like Organic Girl). Grab a handful of greens, whatever additional salad toppings you have, some good quality dressing and you're golden. Watch the ingredients on those salad dressings!

4. Put a wrap on it. Tired of salad, wrap it all up in a flavored wrap to spice things up a bit. 

Why do we eat lunch?

Something I think we need to remember about lunch is why we eat...for fuel. What does my body need for me to perform at my best for this day and this life? Lunch is not a mid-day emotional eating escape. Which opens up a whole new can of worms. 

If life at work or home is stressful, frustrating, or boring we often will search for an escape. Lunch becomes that mid-day escape; I know from personal experience. We can give that place in us that is feeling unfulfilled a little food filling. Much of our problems with food is not the food...food is really our secondary nourishment. We place so much emphasis on food when what affects our health most are our primary foods; relationships, spirituality, career, finances, etc...

We have to shift our thinking. We must first deal with the primary foods (relationships, spirituality, career, finances, etc) and then we'll find it much simpler to demolish our secondary food issues (craving, bingeing, yo-yo dieting etc...). I have to add that it takes so much more courage to sit with someone and start to dive into some of these primary foods than it does to just start one more diet alone that you know you will not be on a year from now. That's why I am always so very proud of my clients. They have stepped it up a notch, they sought out accountability, they have decided that they will dive beyond the surface - they are ready to stop changing band-aids and start curing the underlying "disease". I am so proud of all of them! And that is why I love my job so much. Thank you all for your courage!

Before I end this post I would also like to add this...some days make lunch super fun just for the heck of it! Don't hear me say lunch should always be yesterdays leftovers and if you want more than that you have emotional eating issues. Not the case and I wouldn't want you to think that. I'm just saying to check in with yourself every now and then and ask yourself why. Why do I want _________ food at ________ time. It's a great way to dig up a problem at the root and throw it out for good.

Sorry for that little bunny trail, I was just giving you lunch advice. But as I like to say; Everything affects our health and our health affects everything. When speaking of lunch...still true. 

Jen
 
 

Popular Questions Continued...

I've been asked to post a few of my favorite soup recipes. So I'm going to do that. But as I have stated before, I'm a simple girl so there is no real "recipe" for these. They change from time to time based on what is in my fridge. So I'm not trying to be vague with my recipes I'm trying to leave you room to make it your own. Get creative, add what you like and take away what you don't. Have fun cooking!

If you're thinking it's too stinking hot for soup I would agree with you wholeheartedly. But the beautiful reality is that soon, very soon PLEASE, fall will roll in and cool us off a bit and we'll be looking for our favorite fall flavors. This is us staying ahead of the game. 

I've been making this one for a few years because it's so easy and so good. The original recipe was a Paula Dean I altered a bit and removed the diabetes. (That was bad I know) Oh, and for my Gluten Free friends this is for you too!

Simple Chicken Tortilla Soup (See the Super Simple Short Cut below if you don't like boiling and pulling the chicken)

1 Whole Chicken (Insides and whatnot removed)
2 14oz. Can's of beans (I use white sometimes and black sometimes - check your labels)
1 140z. Can of diced tomatoes (check your label you dont want to ruin your healthy recipe with High Fructose Corn Syrup)
1 jar of your favorite salsa - the fresher the better and this is where you add your heat so remember - hot, medium or mild
1 tsp. Cumin
1 bunch of chopped Cilantro

1. Cover the chicken with water and boil the whole chicken in water for an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

2. Remove chicken from water, which is now your broth. Strain the broth to remove tiny bits of Chicken stuff, then return broth to your soup pot. 

3. Remove the chicken from the bone and put pulled chicken into the broth. Bring broth and chicken to a simmer. 

4. Add beans, tomatoes, salsa, cumin and about a handful of cilantro. 

5. Let it all simmer for about 20 minutes. Serve with a little crunched tortillas and cilantro on top (my kids like a little cheese) or cool to freeze for lunch (or both). 

Super Simple Short Cut:

Don't want to boil and pull your chicken then just bake 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast at 350 for 30 minutes. You'll have to add your liquid since this method will not leave you with broth. So I usually use 1- 32oz. box of low sodium chicken broth and then fill the same box with water and add that too. Once your chicken is cooked use 2 forks to pull it apart into small bite size pieces (or drop it in your food processor and just pulse a couple times-don't overdo it) and put the chicken into your broth/water mixture, bring to a simmer, and do all the rest starting at #4 above.

If you try it out let us know (especially if you find a fun new way to do it - that is healthy of course).


For a great freezer space saving, soup stashing tip see this post.



Keep it simple!
Jen


 
 
I've been asked to post a few of my favorite soup recipes. So I'm going to do that. But as I have stated before, I'm a simple girl so there is no real "recipe" for these and they are...surprise - SIMPLE. No fancy here! They change from time to time based on what is in my fridge. So I'm not trying to be vague with my recipes I'm trying to leave you room to make it your own. Get creative and add what you like and take away what you don't. Have fun cooking!

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup:
(I personally prefer this without the noodles but for my kids the noodles are their favorite part so I add them.)

1 Whole Chicken (insides removed of course - yuck)
Your choice of veggies (carrots, onion, celery, kale, etc...)
GF Noodles of choice

1. Cover the chicken with water and boil the whole chicken in water for an hour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 

2. Remove chicken from water, which is now your broth. Strain the broth to remove tiny bits of Chicken stuff, then return broth to your soup pot. 

3. Remove the chicken from the bone and put pulled chicken into the broth. 

4. Add your firm veggies and boil until veggies are almost cooked. I like to add carrots, onion, celery.

5. Add greens if you wish. I like to add my kale or greens close to the end so I dont overcook the greens. 

6. Season as you wish. I just use Sea Salt and Pepper.

It's that easy. It takes a while to boil the chicken so as I mentioned in the last post I will cook several soups at a time and then store them in the freezer with my freezer-space saving tips in this post

If you do this you'll have a quick lunch to grab and go without all of the metabolism slowing preservatives. Good stuff! 

I will post more soups over the next few weeks. I only post what I have tried and loved so I hope you do too!

 
 
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One of my usual "go to" breakfast items is what I call a Clean Out the Refrigerator Scramble. It's exactly what it sounds like.

Today's scramble got a little adventurous. 

My last CSA box showed up just a couple days before we left for vacation for a week. So when I returned home I had to do something quick with my veggies or I was going to lose them all. I wanted to eat them soon, just not all in one day. So I roasted some yellow squash and zucchini to get a few more days out of them. I also roasted some beets - that was a first for me. 

So as I was pulling my ingredients for my scramble this morning I had yummy roasted veggies and beets. Guess what you get when you put beets in your eggs. Pink eggs! How cool is that? And the beets were great in my eggs. I really was a little worried that I was ruining my breakfast but I wasn't, it was great. 

This could be a cool mom trick for those of you with girls who love anything pink. It's worth a try anyway. 

I love when trying something new is so delish. A lot of my friends with CSA's this summer are trying lots of new things. Way to go girls!

Jen

Ok, so I realize that the picture doesn't do it justice but I was in a pickle. Get a steamy, not so clear, picture or eat 

 
 
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If you have a great mom like me you've heard the words, "Don't play with your food!" more than once. In fact as time has marched on I've become the one reciting those famous words. 

I remember my mom trying her best to get me to at least watch her cook. She probably knew there was no hope of getting me to slow down long enough to actually cook, but I remember as I was approaching the end of high school her telling me that I would need to know how to cook. My response was, "I'm good, Publix has a frozen food section." With of course the teenage eye roll.

And to be honest the frozen food section at the supermarket did come in handy for a long time. Once I got married I graduated from frozen foods to packaged foods. Nope, no more frozen pizza for us we are moving up to Hamburger Helper. Nothing says home cooking like a box of Hamburger Helper Beef Stroganoff. :)  

And let's be honest, it doesn't take much to impress toddlers. My kids thought anything with "cheese sauce" on it was delicious. A box of mac and cheese makes me a kitchen god around these parts. 

Several years ago though I started moving toward a Clean Eating diet. Not so much diet and it was a new way of eating. I know they are supposed to be the same thing but really they are not. Diet just sounds negative. It immediately makes me wonder what I'll have to give up. But Clean Eating or eating real foods is really quite the opposite. I eat all the time. I have a snack on me at all times. And my body is loving me back because of it. It's happy and I'm happy. 

In addition to loving the food, I cannot express to you how much I love to cook now. Cooking with ingredients that come in little pouches is not exactly adventurous. However, cooking with real, fresh, sometimes stuff I've grown myself, is a blast. It brings in all of your senses. I love to chop up all the onion, garlic, basil, you name it and have the aroma hit my nose. In fact, I rome my kitchen smelling things constantly. Add a little music that reminds me of the beach, a glass of wine and this cook is happy! I love being in my kitchen. 

So I'm trying to make two points. 

1. If this simple girl can go from Frozen Food Queen to Fresh Food Fanatic anyone can. 

2. It takes time. I did not learn to love cooking overnight. It took time. You will have to learn new things but look at it as part of the adventure of life. Not only is it great for the body it works wonders for your brain. Your senses will be taken on a little trip every time you cook and your brain will get some exercise learning something new. 

I still love a night out. In fact I had something planned for dinner last night but when baseball practice ran until 7:35 I knew I was not cooking. Plan B was kicked into action. In fact plan BWW (Buffalo Wild Wings) was kicked into action. It was yummy. And I can't believe I am saying this but I really am beginning to like eating my own cooking over most restaurants. It's taken years but I'm getting better, healthier and the other day when someone told my husband how great he was looking (and he is) he told them it was my new cooking. He likes it...he really likes it! :)

So, your mission should you choose to accept it is to PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD! Have fun with it. Learn something new. 

Your family, heart, waistline and brain will thank you.

Have a great week!
Jen




Visit Jen Mulford Wellness for a free Integrative Nutrition book.







 
 
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Of the mound of things I've learned at nutrition school so far, quite possibly, the most important is this...EAT MORE GREENS! And if you saw this you know that advice came just in time because last week I received an abundance of greens in my CSA share. 

Here is some encouraging info from David Wolfe, a leader in the raw food movement (not sure I'm ready to jump on board there but still wonderful information). "Green leaves are the best source for alkaline minerals, contains the best fiber, have many calming, anti-stress properties and are the best source of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a blood-builder and one of nature's great healers." 

Did someone say calming and anti-stress? Sign me up!

You know what I read there? Greens keep me sane and out of the doctor's office and that is all I need to know. 

I am determined to eat all of the greens in my CSA box from last week. Hopefully getting a little of them in my family too as we go. So my challenge to myself is to eat something green at EVERY meal this week. 

To start the week I had a Clean Out the Fridge Scramble: 2 egg whites, 1 whole egg, eggplant, red pepper, green onion and greens. What kind you ask? I do not know and it really doesn't matter. I'm eating it as I type and it's yummy. 

One thing I notice is that the more greens I eat the more I crave them. Oh, if only I can trade a potato chip craving for a arugula craving...that is progress! 

Well, I'll let you know how this goes. I have to say as for this Simple Girl I am loving having the foods in my fridge picked our for me by nature. The local, in season ingredients are there, I just have to get creative and use what I've got. 

3 meals a day. 3 greens a day. 1 week. It's on!
Jen