Category Archives: Veggies

My Journey to Health – Day 2

This day was a really great day! I felt good, we exercised in the morning, and my headache was gone. I’m really starting to feel the effects of this healthy eating and healthy lifestyle.

My breakfast this morning was scrambled eggs with a little bit of Parmesan cheese, half a tomato, and a little bit of fresh basil from my garden. It’s really fulfilling to go out into your yard, pull something out of the ground, put it over your food, and eat it. How satisfying! Not to mention tasty.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

My first snack was one cup of red grapes. How much easier can that get?!

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Then, lunch. Oh, beautiful lunch! The salad was so delicious. I had cooked the ground turkey the day before, and it was ready and waiting to be put into this beautiful salad. Super healthy, packed full of flavor, and really delicious.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
My second snack was a hard boiled egg cut open with a splash of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar gave it a needed kick that made me feel like I was eating something more than an egg.

My Journey to Health - Day 2
Dinner was chicken in foil with red skinned potatoes, peppers, onions, and some herbs. I think this is my favorite meal so far. It was easy, well-rounded, and very good.

My Journey to Health - Day 2

And there you have it, Day 2… done. In the morning I exercised to T25 with my husband. I am so proud of his effort to do this with me. It’s way easier with somebody going along with you and helping you stick to it. And he has been a champ with lots of unhealthy temptations out there.

Looking forward to the days ahead…



My Journey To Health – Day 1

A friend of mine who is a Beachbody coach (visit her page here!), invited me to join a challenge that she was doing. It started yesterday. It’s a five day challenge to eat clean every day. 1200 to 1300 cal per day, three meals, two snacks. No processed foods, no pop, and very little sugar, exercise at least 30 minutes per day. Yesterday I started my journey towards health. My reasons for wanting to get healthy are my children. I want to be around for them for a long time. I have also found out recently that I have a condition called joint hypermobility syndrome or JHS. With that comes pain in my joints because they easily rotate past normal range of movement, and that causes inflammation and sometimes scar tissue. In the past, exercising has been tough for me because I get injured easily and then take weeks to heal. I also suffer from anxiety and insomnia that I believe is partly due to JHS, and fibromyalgia goes along with it. I often feel very fatigued, and that’s frustrating. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that I become healthy, not just for me but for my family. I’m going to take you guys along with me on this journey as I learn how to eat healthily and exercise every day.

Yesterday was my first day, and I suffered a terrible headache due to my body having withdrawals from caffeine and possibly sugar. For my exercise I rode my bike for about 20 minutes (not very long due to headache). And this is what I had to eat…

This was the first omelette I’ve ever made! It’s a broccoli and feta cheese omelette. It was really tasty, but next time I would put some tomatoes in it ’cause it was also a little dry. I paired it with a side of half a piece of Ezekiel bread.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then for my morning snack I had some yogurt with a little bit of honey. The recipe called for grapefruit peel, but I’m not a fan of peel unless they are organic, and I didn’t have any organic citrus peels. So I left those out and squeezed a little bit of lemon into it, and it was delicious!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Lunch was a spinach and chicken salad. I boiled the chicken in water with curry powder for little extra boost of flavor. I had cooked the chicken ahead of time because I knew it would be hard for me, as a mom of two, to have the time to cook chicken for lunch. So it was already in the refrigerator when it was time for lunch. Super easy!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Then, the hardest part was waiting for this PM snack. These turkey rollup’s are delicious! I had two. You just take two slices of turkey lunch meat, and spread a soft cheese on it, I used Laughing Cow cream cheese. The recipe also called for avocado slices, but mine aren’t ripe! A nice goat cheese would be really great on this.

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

My headache was killing me by dinner time. I had been drinking lots of water hoping that I could steer it off. But that didn’t really work because it was from a lack of caffeine and a lack of sleep. But I did manage to make dinner; these fish tacos were really, really good. I used my Mahi-Mahi and replaced the avocado with sour cream. Darn unripe avocados! These have a tasty, spicy cabbage slaw to bulk them up. They were really filling though, and super tasty!

My Journey To Health - Day 1 :: Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

So with all my cooking and eating done, I went to sleep early to try to get rid of my headache. Thankfully today it’s gone. I’ve already done my workout today, and made breakfast, two snacks, and lunch to send with my hubby to work! I got my T25 in the mail yesterday, and did my first workout today, and it was AWESOME. I’ll tell y’all about today’s success in my post tomorrow! Be healthy!


3 Bean Salad


Author: Cassie Stevens

I am somewhat new to a three bean salad. I have never made one before, although I have had them in restaurants and I liked it. I decided to give it a go. I really, really liked what I made. I can’t stop eating it!

It is delicious really, really delicious! Making a three bean salad is fast and simple. It is great for a side dish for dinner.  I used:

half and onion

3 stalks celery

1 green pepper

1 can of whole kernel corn

1 can red kidney beans

2 cans black beans

1 can garbanzo beans

1 Tbsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried rosemary

1/8 cup white vinegar

1/8 cup lemon juice

3 Tbsp Olive oil

1 Tbsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

a couple splashes of balsamic vinegar

Chop and dice all the veggies to the size you like and place in a large bowl.  I like a little chunk here and there so I rough chopped them.  Drain and rinse all the beans and add them to the veggies.  Next in a separate bowl add the rest of the ingredients and mix well them pour over the beans and veggies. I then put all the bean mixture in a zip-lock baggie and let it sit on the counter for about thirty minutes, to let all the flavor meld together and give the dried herbs a chance to absorb some of the liquids. Viola!! I love it! I literally can’t get enough! Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

My Sunday Dinner

Author: Veronica Hilliard

If you’ve never oven roasted a vegetable, you’re missing the sweet, caramelizing, roasty-toasty goodness that graces my table on a near-daily basis. Roasting highlights the natural flavors of veggies so well. Some of my favorite veggies to roast are asparagus, broccoli, kale, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, any type of squash, beets, onions and peppers, brussels sprouts, and of course… cauliflower.

My Sunday Dinner :: Roasted Cauliflower ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Roasting veggies is just about the easiest of all kitchen preparations. All you need is a vegetable you already love, or even one you sort of tolerate. Add a little salt, some oil, and any number of added flavors (if you wish) and you have something really special to put on your table.

My husband spent a two-year mission in Northern Japan and then he took me there on our honeymoon so Asian flavors are usually our choice. But be playful with it and I’m sure you’ll always be impressed with what you end up with.

Roasted Cauliflower with Asian Flair


1 Head cauliflower

2 Tblsp soy sauce

1 tsp ground ginger

A few drops of sesame oil

Drizzle olive oil

Pull cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a bowl, toss to coat with the other ingredients. Place on preheated baking sheet in 350 degree F oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, depending on your caramelization preferences, turning once or twice.


My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

I’m always surprised when I talk to people who don’t know what to do with an artichoke. When I was a kid my mom would make artichokes like this for a special treat. Artichokes taste like home to me. They bring memories of sitting around the table for hours sharing space and life over food – something my family is very fond of.

So here is how I make steamed artichokes.

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Cut off the bottom and shave off the tough leaves and the outer, more fibrous layer of the stem. Then cut it in half lengthwise.

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Artichokes are just really big, edible thistles. When you cut it open, you can see a glimpse of it’s cousin. The hairy, innermost part, the “choke,” is inedible. I used to remove it with a spoon. You can do this but I found that I removed the soft purple leaves as well and that’s good food wasted! So I just cook it as-is and remove the thistle-y  fibers when I get to them as I eat. Some people also cut off the tips of the leaves because sometimes they can have a really poky spine or thorn at the tip. Mine wasn’t so bad so I skipped this step. But I have seen some gnarly artichokes that would leave you feeling like you just fought a velociraptor (or a toddler with un-cut fingernails!) Keep it in mind and make your choice wisely. Some people also cook them whole. But I think they cook a bit faster when cut in half and then they’re the perfect size to share (if you can handle sharing).

My Sunday Dinner :: Steamed Artichoke  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals

Steam in whatever set-up you have for steaming. Mine is a pot with a steamer basket and a lid. Boil these for about 25 – 45 minutes. They are ready to eat when one of the outermost leaves pulls off easily and tastes done; tender, but not so soft it’s mushy.

To eat, just remove one leaf at a time. Scrape each leaf along your bottom teeth to remove the soft flesh on the inside curve of the leaf. You can dip them in all sorts of stuff, from garlic butter to aioli, but I like mine plain… sometimes with a sprinkle of sea salt.

My Sunday Dinner  ~ Pen Pals and Cookin' Gals Blog

This is what we had for dinner tonight. My heart on a plate!

Counterclockwise: Delicious, steamed artichoke; sweet and savory roasted, Asian-style cauliflower; beautiful, nutty, black forbidden rice; and teriyaki-flavored pheasant and grouse breast that my husband shot last year here in Montana.

My Mont-Asian meal was a real hit here with all my peeps. What did you have for dinner?