5 Tips for a Better Breakfast (and surprising breakfast trends)

Barbara’s, maker of cereals and snacks made from wholesome ingredients,  released findings from its 2017 Breakfast Survey exposing surprising trends about the school morning breakfast habits of families across the nation. The survey, which was conducted with more than 1,000 parents nationwide, found that one in every five children go without breakfast at least once per week, with 38 percent of parents saying this is due to lack of time and hectic mornings. The number of kids who skip breakfast at least once per week surges to 50 percent for those who typically eat on-the-go or in the car, demonstrating a direct correlation between eating breakfast on-the-go and poor nutrition in the morning. Continue reading “5 Tips for a Better Breakfast (and surprising breakfast trends)”

Meal Planning 101

What's your Dinnertime Dilemma

header

Meal Planning Made Easy!
Make Ahead – Make Fresh – Make Fast

Take your pick of dinner dilemmas … no time, food allergies, culinary challenged, picky eaters, empty fridge … maybe all of the above! There is no end to the challenges that come with feeding your family good, nutritious meals Monday through Sunday. That’s where we come in. Think of Wildtree as your “Menu Helper” – providing plenty of meal solutions so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time around the table!

MAKE AHEAD

Whether you’re cooking up a storm on the weekend for the upcoming week, or need ready-to-go frozen meals that are on the table in no time, Wildtree has your solution. At our Workshop, you can enjoy good company and conversation, and go home with 10 freezer meals your family will love. Or, cook a big batch on Sunday using Wildtree products and recipes – and have peace of mind knowing that your family is eating good, clean food. You’ll never have to read labels again!

MAKE FRESH

With Wildtree, your weekly trip to the supermarket or Farmer’s Market can actually be a pleasant experience. Choose your favorites from our recipe database– many under 30 minutes to prepare – or opt for one of our Make Fresh Dinners bundle of products and recipes, and put a fresh meal on the table any day of the week.

MAKE FAST

You’re driving home from work. You have a 10-minute window before your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” You need a plan – and you need it fast. Wildtree’s got you covered with “staple” products that turn the pasta in your pantry – or the ground beef in your fridge – into a meal in a flash. No recipe card needed!

Contact me for details on scheduling your own Workshop, for Make Fresh recipes, and for suggestions on which Wildtree staples to add to your kitchen pantry!

 

Wildtree to the Meal Prep Rescue!

I’m excited to announce that I’ve decided to turn my meal prep obsession into a business! Many of you can relate to spending too much money by eating out too often (and not as healthy as you’d like) or spending too much time cooking instead of with the people that matter most. Wildtree is both the perfect meal solution for our family and a great business fit for me. I’m excited to share details with you, but I also promise not to flood your newsfeed! I’ve created a group where I can help you meal plan fast, fresh, and affordably. Join me over at https://www.facebook.com/valleyandassociates/ for recipes, workshop dates and specials. Continue reading “Wildtree to the Meal Prep Rescue!”

Highlights from Granada, Nicaragua — Day 2

dinner at Bocodillos

Day 2 in Granada started with a delicious breakfast buffet at Hotel Plaza Colon. Maya ate breakfast non-stop for an hour. Literally. She ate mangos, watermelon, eggs, gallo pinto (rice and beans), bacon and more. She made friends with one of the cooks, Alejandra. After breakfast, we walked several blocks to the Choco Museo. It was already so hot, by the time we arrived at the museum, we needed to sit down and rest. Luckily, I hadn’t bought our tickets yet for the chocolate making class because Maya started feeling sick at her stomach. Not surprised. After we determined that Maya was not up for the 2 hour class, we slugged back to the hotel to regroup. breakfast buffet at Hotel Plaza Colon Continue reading “Highlights from Granada, Nicaragua — Day 2”

Unplanned Breakfast Guests

breakfast party

I had unplanned breakfast guests this morning. But let me back up and tell you the back story first….

Earlier this week, I got a call from Stephen, the youth pastor at my church, asking if I could provide breakfast for the three summer interns’ weekend retreat. I said sure — thinking that I’d drop off a carton of OJ and a giant box of donuts. So fast forward to this morning. I woke up around 6:30 and notice that Anthony is also just waking. I sleepily asked him if he thought donuts and juice are sufficient for the three interns and Stephen, and that I was going to drop it off at the church on my way to run errands this morning. Anthony said, “Stacey, they are coming here!” Wait…what?

So now it was around 6:40 a.m., I was still in bed, and just realized that I have four people coming to my house expecting a home-cooked breakfast in just over an hour. (I may have said a few choice words as I rushed to shower and get dressed.) I plotted out my menu in the shower.

Luckily I had everything that I needed except OJ and coffee creamer. I had two baked sweet potatoes in the frig — that became sweet potato muffins. I always have eggs, cheese and some sort of meat on hand — that became a ham and Swiss cheese quiche with a pepperoni crust. I had a bowl of fruit that was nearing it’s end of life — that became fruit salad. And finally I sliced up some Italian sausage and cooked it up in a hot skillet. Anthony ran to the grocery store for the orange juice and creamer.

breakfast

Success! Most all the food was eaten, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. My kids even helped load the dishwasher afterwards — bonus!

 

breakfast party

breakfast party

I feel like Superwoman right now. Guess I’ll tackle errands and laundry next.

Favorite Keto Meals from the Past Month

Jimmy John's Unwich

I’m almost two months into following a ketogenic lifestyle. It’s been so fun experimenting with new recipes and branching out trying new foods. I even hosted our monthly supper club and served an entirely keto menu.

Here are links to some of my favorite recipes recently:

keto cheesecakeCheesy Biscuits keto biscuits

Bacon Ranch Cheesy Chicken

Vanilla Cheesecake

Gingered Zucchini Soup

 

I’ve also found a few go-to restaurants for a fast, buy information pills keto-friendly lunch…

Jimmy John's UnwichJimmy John’s Unwich Five Guys bunless burger

Five Guys Bacon Cheeseburger sans Bun (any burger place really)

 

 

For snacks, I love pork rinds — even took them with me to a Mexican restaurant to eat with cheese dip. My other favorite snack is Parmesan Crisps with spinach dip.

I still struggle saying no to cookies and such, but it’s getting easier with each day.

Please share your favorite keto recipes with me. Thank you!

 

Keto — Month One

Keto recipe

2016 has been a hard year on me. First my dog of over 16 years died in mid-February and it went down hill from there. Most of that was self-inflicted like binging on election news, physician but still, click I suffered mentally, order emotionally and physically this year. About a month ago, I decided to pull myself out of the mire. I started yoga. I turned off CNN. A friend introduced me to the ketogenic diet (aka keto) which is high fat/low carb.

As a former researcher (just left my FDA job last week), I had heard of this diet and it’s benefits. National Institutes of Health (NIH) is going lots of interesting and positive studies regarding the keto diet and obesity, Alzheimer’s, cancer and more. (Just Google “ketogenic and NIH study” to read for yourself.) But personally, I have never succeeded on any diet. I am not disciplined. But my friend assured me that this one is sustainable because the high fat content is very filling.

My start was rocky. I have had a long-time addiction to sugar in particular. For me, walking into Community Bakery is like an alcoholic walking into the liquor store. It’s so hard. But slowly over the past few weeks, I’ve already kicked my sugar habit. I didn’t think it was possible. No longer does a cookie or piece of buttered bread tempt me like a druggie needing a fix. Sure, I want it, but I have the power to say no. The keto diet is really working for me.

I won’t get into the details of the keto plan — there are many more knowledgeable folks on the web for that. But I can share some of my favorite recipes here. Because y’all know I love to cook, and on the keto plan I get to cook with bacon, fatty cuts of meat (which are usually cheaper than other cuts of meat), avocado, coconut oil, low-carb veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, and cheese.

Instant Pot Crack Chicken (modified a bit)

Almond Flour Pound Cake

Peanut Butter Cup Fat Bombs

Low Carb Zuppa Toscana Soup (I use my electric pressure cooker to make in a jif) — My whole family LOVES this soup.

Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs (I bake in oven instead of on grill — increase cooking time to 25 min)

Fat Bomb Hamburger Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup in a Pressure Cooker (weekly recipe — my kids LOVE it too)

White Chocolate Latte Rocket Fuel (my morning “breakfast” — holds me over til lunch!)

I have lots of other recipes on my Low Carb Life Pinterest board — haven’t even tried the majority, so I’ll let you know which ones I like best as this progresses.

I feel so much better over the past few weeks — plus I’ve dropped about 8 pounds without feeling deprived. I look forward to what 2017 has in store for me as I continue this keto journey.

If you have any great keto recipes, please share in comments section. Thank you!

Adventure Season is Back! | Paleo Meals To Go

Last Minute Christmas Gifts (and giveaway!)

Pop Pop Shoppe

This post is sponsored by Pop Pop Shoppe, sildenafil but all opinions here are my own.teacher cookie printable

Without fail, advice every December I wait until the last minute to buy Christmas gifts for everyone besides my kids. (They always get clothes because KIDS GROW.) I did however remember teacher gifts in advance this year (hallelujah!). Since I have three kids at home now with 12 teachers between them, order I went the cheap-but-yummy route with four homemade cookies per teacher wrapped in clear little bags and a “teachery” printable I found on Pinterest.

But alas, Christmas is just around the corner, and there are people that I want to give a little something-something without spending a fortune  — like the postman who braves the crazy Arkansas weather six days a week to bring us the mail or my sweet friend down the street who will come over in her jammies for a glass of wine just to hear me moan about life or catch up on our busy days. Luckily a new shop recently opened in Midtown Little Rock called the Pop Pop Shoppe.

Pop Pop Shoppe

Pop Pop Shoppe is located in the Park Avenue Plaza next to Target. The owners started with a store in Texarkana, TX, and just opened this Little Rock location back in October. They offer fresh, high-quality gourmet popcorn along with specialty foods like fudge and cinnamon-sugar almonds. But their assortment of popcorn is what makes this store so much fun! I mean, who doesn’t want to sample more than 25 flavors of popcorn ranging from plain butter to “cornferno”?!?!

Pop Pop Shoppe

Pop Pop Shoppe

Pop Pop Shoppe

 

Right now they have gourmet popcorn gift baskets already made up, so all you have to do is stop by and buy a few. Their prices are super reasonable too.

Pop Pop Shoppe

 

They also have specialty tins if you have a sports fan or just want a jumbo tin of popcorn. They can fill it with any of the flavors. Pop Pop Shoppe

 

If you’re out Christmas shopping (or really anytime you are near University and Markham in Little Rock), you should stop by and get a bag of “Hot n Yummy” Chicago-style popcorn (a combo of the cheddar and caramel popcorn). IT IS SO GOOD.Pop Pop Shoppe

 

Another cool thing that they do is fundraisers for schools and non-profits— and they make it really fun and easy. For more info on their fundraisers, check out their website or give them a call.

 

Now for the exciting GIVEAWAY part — enter here Dec 17-19.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner MUST be able to pick up the prize from the Little Rock Pop Pop Shoppe location (address below). Prize can not be shipped to the winner, so I recommend that only folks in Central Arkansas participate. Winner will be selected by random drawing and announced on December 20. Good luck!

 

Pop Pop Shoppe
416 S. University Ave, Suite 130
Little Rock, AR 72205

Hours: M-Th 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; F-Sa 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Su 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 501-904-5765

Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs

bacon cheeseburger bombs, keto

Having a hard time keeping your resolutions? Find everything you need to eat healthier and get fit with PaleoPlan.com.

December is the WORST time for me to try to start any new eating plan. I am a sucker for all the holiday cakes, side effects cookies, booze…(don’t judge). But alas, here I am starting the Ketogenic Diet this month. I’ve done okay — fallen off the wagon a few times, but I have lost a few pounds… in DECEMBER no less. It’s really the easiest diet plan for me to follow because I don’t get hungry and the sugar cravings are decreasing. (Sugar is my drug of choice.)

The basic premise of the Ketogenic Diet is turn your body into a fat-burning machine instead of a sugar-burning machine. The diet is high fat, moderate protein and really low carb. I’ll let those more knowledgeable about the the science share with you that part though. I want to share some of my new go-to recipes because Keto food is DELICIOUS!

My friend Rachel over at Unbalanced Balance shared this recipe with me for Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs. She said her family eats it almost weekly, and now I know why. It’s fun to make, tastes great and reheats like a champ.

I added one ingredient to Rachel’s recipe: a package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix to my hamburger meat. Then I followed her recipe until the cooking part — I did mine in the oven on 400 degrees for 25 minutes instead of on the grill because it’s cold and I’m not cooking outside. Here is a photo step by step:

bacon cheeseburger bombs, keto

bacon cheeseburger bombs, keto

bacon cheeseburger bombs, keto

bacon cheeseburger bombs, keto

You can get the full recipe over on Rachel’s website.

I’ve started a Pinterest board called Low Carb Life where I’m compiling all the Keto recipes that I like. Please follow me and comment below if you have any Keto recipes for me to try. I’m going full-force on this thing come January 1. Who’s with me???