NatureAmy

caring for creation while caring for family

Tag: food freedom (page 1 of 2)

A Few of My Favorite Things Giveaway: Celebrating 1000 Instagram Followers

I recently rolled over 1000 followers on Instagram, which isn’t much for veteran bloggers, but is a huge achievement for me! I’m totally doing a happy dance over here!

So, in order to celebrate, I am doing a giveaway!  And, since I am incredibly indecisive (don’t even get me started on baby names – yikes!) I am making this giveaway the winner’s choice!

I am offering the winner of this giveaway a choice of ONE of four of my very favorite books!  Each of these books is somehow related to my blog and they are all really good and life changing!  At least they have been life changing for me!

The first two books go together – they are the Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline OR the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook: Eat Up and Slim Down with More Than 350 Healthy Recipes.  I love THM and have been living the THM lifestyle for the last 2.5 years.  You can read about my THM testimony here.  Or how it has helped me (a former sugar addict) give up sugar for good here.

The third book choice goes along with my current minimalism challenge, but it is not really a book about minimalism. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo has really helped me simplify and organize our small home.  It is not necessarily a book about minimalism, however.  It is really about just keeping only the things that bring you joy or have a purpose.  So, if a lot of your stuff brings you joy, truly brings you joy, then you should keep it. (However, most people find that most stuff does not truly bring them joy – but it is a personal process for everyone.) I am not a minimalist in the starkest sense of the word.  I have a colorful house full of pictures and toys and craft projects – things that bring me, or my family, joy!

The final book choice has been really instrumental in my parenting choices. Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Dr. Kim John Payne has really helped my husband and I simplify our lives to be the best parents we can be.  This means less after school activities, less noise toys, less screen time, and less temper-tantrums.  It also means more quality time, more imaginative play, more family time, more secure kids.  It is a must read for today’s parents!

How to enter to win your choice of one of these books?

Simple – you can enter both on my Facebook page or my Instagram account.  Follow the rules outlined in the post on Facebook or on Instagram to enter.  And make sure to give my pages a “like” or “follow” while you’re there!  It’s as simple as that!  The giveaway is only open to US residents – so sorry!  And it closes at 9 pm Pacific Standard Time on Saturday, November 19, 2016.

Good luck!

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THM Pregnancy Update: Hello, Second Trimester

I am happy to say that I have officially made it into the second trimester!  The first trimester is always the toughest part of pregnancy for me (even though I am a bit spoiled that I don’t get very sick).

The first trimester is tough. Even though you don’t look very pregnant yet – and most people don’t know you are pregnant at all if you wait to announce like we do – you are exhausted, hormonal, and nauseous.  But, you pretend like everything is fine, even though all you really want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a week! Read about my first trimester experience here.

The second trimester gets easier for a couple reasons.  The first being that most women are lucky enough to get their energy back and nausea goes away!  The second reason is that by then most people know you are pregnant.  They suddenly open doors, tell you to take a nap, not carry things, or sit down and rest.  The ironic thing is, you probably feel better than you did the first 14 weeks! (Of course I am generalizing here. I do know a few women who were very sick throughout their entire pregnancies. I’m sooo sorry.)

So welcome second trimester!  Welcome baby bump and maternity clothes!  Welcome energy and feeling good! Welcome food cravings and goodbye aversions! Welcome finding out the sex of the baby – oh wait – my hubby REALLY wants to be surprised this time – so…never mind!


a2a9b5b592cc078f836a9bf12380411aSo, a little update on my last two weeks, starting with…

Hormones – from week 12 to 14 I had a terrible onslaught of hormones!  I had so little patience with the kids and everything set me off! This is not like me.  Normally I am pretty level headed and calm, but not so in week 12! My poor kids…

Week 13 was better than week 12, but the excessive hormones were still there.  I also was very tired on week 12, even though I had felt great from 9.5 weeks until then.  And although I know the pregnancy had something to do with the exhaustion, our first full week of homeschool also contributed to it, I’m sure.

Weight gain – the scale has bounced around a bit and is now at six pounds gained. That is in my normal fluctuation range so I am hoping it doesn’t continue to climb too quickly from here.

Cravings and food aversions – thankfully I can eat eggs again!  I can also eat meat and was craving a steak, which I got on our date last week. Yummy! I have been craving salads again, which is a nice change from the carbs and cheese sticks I survived on in my first trimester!  And fresh pesto from the garden. Enough said.

My favorite craving this week has been a quick cooked apple dish that I whipped up.  I will write up my recipe and publish it later, but basically it is just apple pie filling made from fresh apples (tis the season), cinnamon, cloves, and some THM Super Sweet Blend cooked with some water.  Oh my goodness!  It totally fulfilled my baked apple cravings and is completely healthy!  Pregnancy win!  I’ve made it three times this week…

Advanced maternal age – don’t you just love that term!  This is my first pregnancy in the “over 35” age bracket and now I get a bunch more fuss because of it!  Oh joy!  I refused all the extra testing on the baby, but I could not get out of the early test they do for gestational diabetes since I am apparently “at greater risk for it in my advanced age”. Fun!

I asked my OB if I could do an alternative test to the sickly sweet “glucola” drink for the 1-hour glucose test, but he was pretty insistent that the dreaded drink was the best test. I was reluctant to take the test, even though I’d never had trouble passing it in the past, because I had not had processed sugar in over a year.  I wasn’t sure how my body would react.

But honestly, I was actually curious, so I didn’t fight him on taking the test.  I simply informed him that if it made me sick, I was going to refuse it when I had to do it again later in pregnancy.

So I prepared for the test by having a low-carb breakfast of eggs and bacon which I read helps . I drank the glucose drink.  I was right behind a lady who chugged hers in seconds, but when I tried that, I immediately felt gross.  I drank it slowly instead (over about 4 minutes) and waited out my hour.

I waited to feel sick or to get a massive sugar headache, but surprisingly, other than feeling hungry near the end, I felt fine.  They drew my blood and found out I passed with flying colors.  Thank you, Lord!

Some women who have been off sugar for long periods of time have gotten headaches, thrown up, or had terrible sugar cravings after the test.  I wondered if I would experience the same thing, but thankfully, I did not.

Drinking that sickly sweet drink made me realize how thankful I was that I was no longer addicted to sugar.  However, if they had given me a gigantic piece of cake instead, I don’t think I would have found it gross, but I’ve come too far from my days of sugar-addiction to test that theory.


On a sad note, this past week my phone died.  I can’t even blame my kids because I was the one who dropped it.  It hit just right to crack the screen and now the screen is completely black. So, as a result, I don’t have many pictures for this post… Oh, well… C’est la vie!

Hopefully that will be remedied soon and I won’t have to go too long without pictures!

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THM Pregnancy Update: My first trimester

I’m over twelve weeks pregnant with what will be our fourth child.  This is not my first time around – it’s actually my fifth since one pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so I pretty much know what to expect.  I’ve had boy pregnancies and at least one girl pregnancy and I know what is typical for my body for each trimester and for delivery.  So, that being said, I wanted to compare and contrast what I have noticed to be different now that I am a pregnant Trim Healthy Mama. (You can read my THM testimony and why I love it so much here.)


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

My baby bump at 12 weeks – definitely showing earlier this time around.

My first three pregnancies

So, first let me explain what has been normal for me in the first trimester of pregnancy before becoming a THM over two years ago.

Nausea – I am one of the lucky ones who does not have much morning sickness or nausea.  In fact, I can completely avoid being sick if I follow one simple rule – never let my blood sugar drop too low.  So, that equates to eating almost constantly (even though food isn’t too appetizing).  I would snack on things all day long, because even with over an hour between snacks, my blood sugar would drop and I would feel sick.  I even got up in the middle of the night to eat.  If I didn’t, I was guaranteed to wake up feeling sick and I would often throw up.

Weight gain – One of my earliest signs of pregnancy is a 4-5 lb weight gain, seemingly overnight.  This happens before any nausea sets in and before I have to start eating every hour.  I’m okay with this sudden increase, because it doesn’t seem to be due to anything other than extra blood, fluid, growing boobs, etc.  However, about week 7 or 8 I have to start eating constantly to avoid being sick and the real weight gain starts.  By 12 or 14 weeks I am usually up about 15 lbs from my starting weight – not too cool, but it beats being sick, in my opinion.

Headaches – Oh, how I hate headaches during pregnancy.  Something about the hormones in the first trimester would give me frequent headaches.  It seems like Tylenol doesn’t help much to dull the pain, and I really hate taking any medicine during pregnancy.  So with my non-THM pregnancies, I would suffer through headaches several days each week.

Fatigue – got to love the exhaustion that comes with growing a tiny baby.  This is my most prevalent symptom in the first trimester.  I am so tired from about week 6 through 12.  An afternoon nap helps, but the constant fatigue is frustrating, especially when there are little ones running around that must be supervised.  Thank you Netflix for filling in for me when I can’t keep my eyes open any longer!


Is a THM pregnancy easier? Comparing and contrasting my first trimester on Trim Healthy Mama and 3 non-THM pregnancies. - NatureAmy.com

6 weeks of my growing bump. I popped out really early, but have not grown much more recently.

My THM Pregnancy

So, what is different this time around now that I eat a low-glycemic and sugar-free diet? (Not low carb, please note – I still love my carbs.)

Nausea – So, I cannot say that this time around I have not had any nausea.  I still have had nausea if I do not follow the rule of keeping my blood sugar stable.  However, with THM, I have the perfect tools to keep my blood sugar level.  The Trim Healthy Mama Plan: The Easy-Does-It Approach to Vibrant Health and a Slim Waistline (which is a lifestyle, not a diet) is designed to keep blood sugar levels stable.  That is important even for those of us who are not even close to being diabetic.  Not only does stable blood sugar help to keep nausea away, but it also equates to a safer pregnancy, less risk of miscarriage, and numerous other benefits!

In this pregnancy, since I now know how important protein is in stabilizing blood sugar, I make sure to have at least a little with each snack and meal.  This means I can go longer between meals without eating (not more than 2 hours, but that is twice as long for me) and I can even make it overnight without having to get up and eat!  I am eating plenty of good healthy carbohydrates which are important for growing a healthy baby, but I no longer eat processed sugar, which is very helpful in stabilizing my blood sugar.

Protein is still hard for me in the first trimester since I really have an aversion to most meat and eggs.  However, I eat a lot of cheese, yogurt, and cottage cheese and that helps.  I also have been using THM Collagen, which I love, but the smell, usually unnoticeable, is too much for my pregnant super smeller.  But, if I mix it into a THM Trimmie, it does the trick.  I forced myself to eat chicken – about the only meat I could stomach. Thankfully, at 12 weeks, I’m able to eat a larger variety of protein, which my poor family appreciates, I’m sure!

Weight gain – I still gained the initial 4-5 lbs of weight I always gain each pregnancy at about week 4 or 5, but I’m thrilled to say that I have not gained more than that this time!  My weight has fluctuated a bit, but at twelve weeks pregnant, I was just at 4 lbs over starting weight!

Is this because I eat 100% on plan?  I wish I could say I do, but I don’t! Food aversions made eating on plan all the time unrealistic for me. However, I do believe it is mainly due to the fact that I don’t eat processed sugar anymore (something I used to eat a ton of during my previous pregnancies – thank you sugar addiction!)  I eat mainly crossovers – I have not been even trying to separate my fuels (carbs and fat) since I found out I was pregnant.  I have also mainly survived off fruit and cheese sticks. Occasionally, I will eat an off-plan food like chips or whole grain crackers, or plain whole wheat bread (instead of sprouted).  I eat more raw honey and some dried fruit (we were camping a lot this summer and it was easy to get trail mix).  These are all choices that I am personally okay with on occasion and they are foods I feed my skinny family all the time.

Headaches – This has been a dramatic difference this time around.  I have had only two headaches this pregnancy so far and both were due to dehydration after hiking in over 100 degree heat.  Praise God!  The headaches that plagued me for several days each week in previous pregnancies are gone!  The only way I can explain this is my diet changes.

Fatigue – This is something that really didn’t change this time around, except to say that I got over it a little earlier!  I was still exhausted from about week 6 to 10 (but not 12 weeks this time!).  I was camping, hiking, getting ready for homeschooling, chasing toddlers, etc. during that time, so I certainly had enough energy to make it through – and even thrive – this summer.  However, that hammock at camp was really, really wonderful!


Prenatal Vitamins

Since I know I will be asked this question – let me include it here.  I am really happy with the Best Nest Ultra-Gentle Prenatal Vitamins I am taking this time. This is not sponsored – I just really happen to like this company and their products.  I’ve actually been taking them all year and I love that they are all natural, organic, whole food based, and include probiotics and herbs! Often prenatal vitamins will make me feel a bit sick after taking them, but these really are ultra-gentle.  I’ve not felt the least bit sick after taking them. The price is what convinced me, though!  Less than $40 for a 3 month supply – sign me up!  You can get them at my Amazon affiliate link here: BEST Nest Prenatal Vitamins, with Methylfolate (Folic Acid), Once Daily Multivitamin, Contains Whole Food, Organic Blend, and Methylcobalamin (B12), Easy to Swallow, 100% Natural Vitamin, 90 Count


I have really enjoyed my first trimester of pregnancy as a THM. I always enjoy pregnancy – I’m one of those annoying happy pregnant ladies, but by eating THM, everything has been easier so far!  And now that I have my energy back, I am excited to start my second trimester soon!

Have you noticed any differences when you changed your diet in pregnancy?  Are you a pregnant THM, as well?  I’d love to hear from you!  Like my Facebook and Instagram if you haven’t yet, so we can connect!

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This post contains affiliate links – as always, if you buy a product from the links it does not cost you anything extra but it does help to support our family and this blog.  Thank you!

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Celebrating One Year of Freedom from Sugar Addiction

June 10th has never been a significant date in my life.  I love June – it’s my birthday and anniversary month, it’s the start of summer and swimming, but June 10th was always just another day, until 2015.  Last year, June 10th, I made a promise to myself and before God to no longer be controlled by my sugar addiction and it was life changing.  A few days later, I wrote this to my small private Bible study Facebook group while we were going through Beth Moore’s “Believing God” series.

Confession time – I’ve been meaning to post this for a few days, but also dreading doing it, because writing it down makes it real!
So while reading day 4 a couple days ago, I was very convicted by Beth’s personal story of living in a cycle of defeat. At first I thought, “thank goodness I don’t have that in my past” when God brought to mind a very real struggle of mine that I do not want to give up. So, being very honest here, my struggle is my sugar addiction. I have gone on and off cycles of being sugar free for weeks or months at a time for the last 3 years, but I always try to convince myself that I can have “just a little bit”, that I don’t have to give it up completely, etc. But if I have learned anything over these cycles of defeat, it is that I can’t just have a little bit. Whenever I cave for a little bit, it becomes a binge session that lasts for days, if not weeks. I need freedom from this, and have felt that urging to let it go completely for some time now, (pretending I can’t hear you, God) but the thought of what others will think has held me back. Having to explain why I can’t eat something (without a real reason like an allergy) at an event or party invites unwanted attention and ridicule for my choices. But like an alcoholic, I need to rid myself of all large sources of sugar in my life for good and it scares me.
Thankfully, I have been mostly sugar free for the last year on the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle that I do and I have a lot of great stevia sweetened dessert recipes, so I know I won’t suffer. However, the idea of having to push away the special dessert at a dinner party freaks me out, but I know that it will send me in a tailspin – it always does!
So, I have asked God to help me in the journey, to give me freedom from this addiction and I’ve started re-reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, because there are some great verses to add to my memorization list. I want to crave God more than I crave sugar, and as it says in Day 5, “I’m thrilled to know we can binge on God without guilt!” (p. 27 of Believing God Workbook) I am believing that God will help me through this journey out of this addiction and I can experience his freedom from sugar.
Thank you, my friends, for praying for me in this and for being here.
Love you all,
Amy

I was so scared to write that post because writing it down and showing it to my friends meant that I was accountable and if I failed miserably like I always had before, they would know.  Keeping it hidden was so tempting – I was scared to tell anyone that I had given up sugar, but I knew I had to.  And it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Saying “no” to a piece of cake has not been a problem in the past year.  I have not been ridiculed for my decision.  It was much worse in my head than it actually has been in reality.

Celebrating my birthday this last week - the first time I haven't had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on in a long time! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

Celebrating my birthday this last week – the first time I haven’t had a large sugar-filled cake to binge on! My homemade THM sugar-free cupcakes were perfect!

I’ve written about finding freedom from sugar-addiction before (you can read my tips here), but honestly, it was not something I ever thought was possible.  I love sugar, but I have always believed in the mantra “All things in moderation” – in fact, I still do, but not when it comes to addiction, even food addiction.  After years of giving up sugar for periods of time, I would allow myself “just a little” for a special occasion or treat, and I would not be able to stop.  At home, dessert was not safe from me.  I would slowly nibble away at the leftover cake or pie until it was gone.  I had felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit gently encouraging me to give up sugar for good, to treat it like a true addiction and cut it out, but I did not want to hear it.  Finally, I could not ignore it any more. I was sick and tired of living in a cycle of defeat – I wanted freedom!

I often listen to the Dave Ramsey Show on the radio as I am making dinner – we are in Step 2 of his financial baby steps currently and it helps keep me accountable – and he said something the other day that I had to stop and write down.  “You have to have an ‘I’ve had it’ moment to break an addiction,” Dave Ramsey said.  I knew that to be true in my case.  I wanted to give up sugar for years, but not enough. I had to be sick and tired of being controlled by my sugar cravings – so much so that I was willing to make a huge sacrifice to make it happen.  I was not at that place until June 10th, 2015.

But [the Lord] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.               2 Corinthians 12:9

This verse has been posted on my refrigerator door throughout this entire journey and it will stay there as I make it past the one year mark and continue to live in freedom from this addiction.  Because throughout the last year, I have learned to rely more heavily on my Savior.  I have learned that God has not cursed me with this weakness, but He has given me an opportunity to grow in my faith daily.  I have had to lean heavily into Him during this journey, especially during the trying times of holiday parties and grief over my miscarriage and my grandfather dying.  And I have learned that God is faithful.  He asked me to give up sugar,  He equipped me to do it, and He did not (and will not) leave my side throughout this journey.

So, what about you?  Is there something you are struggling with that you know God is asking you to give up? Have you reached your “I’ve had it” moment?

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Camping with Trim Healthy Mama: A week’s worth of “on-plan” camping menu ideas

When I started THM (Trim Healthy Mama) two years ago, we were right at the start of camping season.  Our family camps a lot in the summer and having a newborn doesn’t stop us from getting out. so we dove right into camping and I tried to figure out what foods I could bring to stay “on-plan” while in the great outdoors.  I posted a weekend allergy-friendly menu that I use for feeding a crowd of non-THMs and also how I stay on-plan with that menu (check out that post here).  However, I wanted to post a family size menu that works for feeding your family in the wilderness for a week or so.  Our recent family trip to Yosemite National Park provided the perfect opportunity to test out everything and also gave me the incentive to stay on plan the entire trip.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

My kids and I below Bridal Veil Falls in Yosemite Valley

I am more of a THM Purist than a Drive-thru Sue, but I do own a microwave and I use it every day.  I don’t like to use “Franken-foods” so there were many items that I made ahead of time to bring with me, but a Drive-thru Sue could easily purchase something pre-made at the store – whatever floats your THM boat!  So, without further ado, here’s the menu I use for weeklong camping trips starting with what I prep ahead of time…


Before you go:

  • I made a large batch of Wonder Wraps (p. 205) of the THM Cookbook – these are wonderful for a lunch on the trail and they don’t get soggy like many “bread” options.  This video is fun to watch and shows you how to make them.
  • Mrs. Criddle’s Cowboy Cookies are SOOOO yummy, but they do crumble if they are in a bag.  I took them in a large plastic container and they didn’t get crumbled that way.  But, even if they do crumble, they are still super delicious and full of healthy energy!
  • I make the base to my Famous Taco Chili Recipe and freeze it so that I only have to add canned beans to complete the meal.
  • I add marinade to my chicken breasts and seal them back up to freeze again
  • I make some of my favorite snack recipes from the THM Cookbook – Praline Protein Bars travel well (p. 391) and Berry Crunch Bars (p.392) are a great granola bar replacement.  Trimtastic Chocolate Zucchini Cake (p. 296) also travels really well un-frosted as cupcake/muffins.
  • I bring cut-up veggies for healthy and quick snack options.  It is so easy to skimp on fresh veggies while camping, but this helps with that.

Breakfast ideas:

I like to fire up the griddle while camping with our family and these breakfasts are all quick and easy with minimal prep and cleanup. (Because who really wants to do that while camping?)

  • THM Baking Blend Pancakes and breakfast meat of choice (S) –  this one is super easy.  I generally feed my family whole-wheat pancakes because they don’t have any weight issues, but I make a quick singles serving of low-carb pancakes for myself.
    • 1/4 cup THM baking blend (you can get it at the THM store with my link)
    • 1 whole egg
    • a little almond milk or water to thin it to the right consistency

Surprisingly, this actually makes a pretty good pancake without any baking powder.  The egg gives it the lift that it needs and makes four filling pancakes without any fuss.  Simply cook this with coconut oil or leftover bacon or sausage grease and drizzle with some sugar-free syrup (I bring my own using the THM recipe from the book).

  • Sprouted Grain French Toast with Greek yogurt (E) – this is another simple and quick meal on the griddle.  I use egg whites, a little almond milk, and some sprouted grain bread.  I have a side of Greek yogurt (the individual Oikos 000 work great) for added protein and it’s all good.  For the kids, I use the leftover egg-yolks to make their French Toast and nothing goes to waste.
  • Fried eggs and breakfast meat of choice (S) – quick and easy again
  • Scrambled eggs with veggies (S) – use some that you prepped ahead of time or bring a bag of frozen veggies.  You can always add some cheese or spices to own-it.
  • Oatmeal packets (E) – Make sure to read the ingredients carefully when selecting oatmeal packets.  There are often added ingredients, even in the “plain” varieties.  I like to add a scoop of THM Integral Collagen powder for some good protein.  You could also enjoy it with a Greek yogurt.

These are only 5 breakfast options, but I like to mix and match them for some variety each day.


Lunch ideas:

I am not a brilliant lunch maker.  I was never the kid with the amazing lunch at school and my kids aren’t either.  I like to keep it simple – at home my lunches are generally leftovers or a big pot of soup I eat off of all week.  So, unfortunately, my lunch ideas are not too grand, but they are easy and they pack well if you are heading out for the day.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

My “Wonder Wrap” Wrap – two of these really hit the spot!

  • Wonder Wraps filled with goodies (S, E, or FP depending on your filling choices) – I was pleasantly surprised how well these little wraps held up, even while being stuffed in a backpack for the day!  I filled mine with lunch meat, cheese, avocado, tomato, and lettuce and two were very filling.  I’ve made a similar wrap with a low-carb tortilla on past camping trips, but they always get soggy when you pack them for a hike, but the Wonder Wraps do not!  That makes for a happy camper!
  •  Sprouted grain sandwich (E or CO depending on fillings) – this is my go-to easy packing option.  I can throw together a traditional turkey sandwich (made with lite-Mayo and without the cheese) for a filling E lunch.  Add a piece of fruit and I am set.  Or, if you are wanting even more energy, add some healthy fats (like avocado and cheese) for a CO (crossover) sandwich.  Yummy!
  • Hummus with veggies and Wasa Crackers (FP, S, or CO) – Our family LOVES hummus and we often bring it hiking.  Make sure to read the serving amount or it is easy to crossover, but this is a fun and healthy option.
  • Don’t Forget the Leftovers – leftover dinner can make an easy lunch.  Grilled chicken can easily be made into chicken salad the next day.  My chili is also really good as leftovers.

Snack ideas:

  • Fruit – apples, oranges, and bananas all travel well
  • Nuts – we love pistachios, but whatever you like best will be a great energy boost for a hike
  • Oikos Triple Zero single serve yogurt
  • Wasa Crackers with Laughing Cow Cheese
  • Lite Cheese Sticks with fruit for E or regular cheese sticks for S
  • Mrs. Criddle’s Cowboy Cookies
  • Popcorn
  • Lily’s chocolate
  • Many other make ahead options or bring some on-plan snacks from the store

Dinner ideas:

My not-so well kept camping secret is pre-made salads.  I always pick these up at the store for an easy addition of fresh veggies to our camping meals.  Add one to each of  your dinners, but read the ingredients and nutritional facts carefully.  Sometimes these “healthy” foods are not so healthy.

Marinated chicken breasts (E, S, or FP depending on what you eat it with)

  • Balsamic chicken breasts with Sweet Potato Packets (E)
Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Prepping the sweet potato packets.

At home, I added Balsamic vinegar, a little olive oil, salt, pepper, dried basil, and granulated garlic to a bag of frozen chicken breasts.  I swished it around so that it covered the breasts, resealed the bag, and stuck it back in the freezer.  When it was mostly thawed in the ice chest, about day 2, I tossed it on the campfire grilled along with some Sweet potato packets.  It was really good!  I added a pre-made salad with a light vinaigrette dressing and we had a filling E dinner.

Sweet potato packets – simply cut up some sweet potatoes, add a little coconut oil or butter, and some seasonings (I used store bought Onion Soup mix).  Wrap in heavy-duty foil and put on the grill with the chicken.  Check carefully for done-ness (they are steamy, so be careful not to get burned).  Once they are finished, open up the packets and eat right off the foil or scrape onto your plate.

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Grilling the chicken and potato packets over the fire.

  • Teriyaki Chicken Breast Shish Kebabs (FP or E)

At home, add some soy sauce (or liquid aminos), a doonk or two of Stevia, and a little garlic to the frozen chicken breasts.  Swish around the bag and reseal and put it back in the freezer.  At camp, after a few days, take the thawed chicken out of the bad and cut it into small pieces.  Add some veggies of choice (we like red onion, mushrooms, and bell peppers – pineapple chunks are also good for an E option) and skewer them all and add to the grill.  This is a Fuel-pull meal (unless you use the pineapple).  However, add some instant brown rice for an E option or a large pre-made salad.  Or simply enjoy it as it is!

This is a staple in our camping menu.  It is loaded with hidden veggies and lots of great energy.  I always make the base ahead of time so all I have to do at camp is add the canned beans and corn for a very quick dinner.  On this last trip, we made it after a long day of hiking and it took about 10 minutes to make a hearty, healthy meal for everyone.  Add cheese and sour cream for a crossover and some on-plan tortilla chips.

  • Bratwurst with grilled veggies (S) or rice/sweet potato packets (CO)

We love to cook up some store bought pre-cooked bratwurst over the fire.  The kids get to grill their own, with supervision, of course, and they love it!  Our family favorites are Johnsville Cheddar Sausage and Smoked Brats.  I love to saute up some red-onions and bell peppers to eat with them – yummy!  They are also good with a side of rice or sweet potato packets for a crossover.

  • Tacos with Wonder Wraps (S)

Those handy wonder wraps are useful once again with some easy tacos.  The rest of the family enjoys their tacos with corn tortillas, but I like to use my low-carb option.  I brown some hamburger or turkey meat, add some taco seasoning, and load up the toppings.

  • Hamburgers and/or hotdogs (S)

These are a familiar camping option and still easy to do “on-plan”.  I like to wrap my cheese burger in a  big piece of lettuce and add plenty of yummy toppings.

  • Spaghetti (S)

With a can of sugar-free spaghetti/pizza sauce and some browned meat, this can be a super quick dinner.  Add some Dreamfield’s pasta, or Not- Naughty Noodles, or simply eat with some zucchini “noodles” (my personal favorite).


Dessert ideas:

I rely on items I bring from home for desserts, like some Cowboy cookies or Trimtastic cupcakes.  I love a hot cup of tea or sugar-free cocoa or apple cider while warming up by the campfire.

However, if you are feeling adventurous, I love the idea of trying some THM recipes in the Dutch oven.  I have yet to try this, but since we are going to be camping for about 1/3 of our summer, I will have a chance to try this out!  I will definitely share how it goes!

Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

I love to pick wild blackberries while camping to have as a tasty dessert.

One of my favorite camping desserts is to pick some wild berries and top with whipped cream!  It would be wonderful with a piece of THM cake, as well.  Yummy!


Camping with THM: A week's worth of on-plan menu ideas - perfect for a family camping trip - NatureAmy.com

Be still my heart – she is a daddy’s girl!

I hope these ideas inspire you!  They have worked well for our family – let me know how they work for you!  And if you liked this post, please head on over to my Facebook or Instagram page and give me a “Like” or “Follow”.  I love to connect with my readers!

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Under Grace: Ella’s Trim Healthy Mama Testimony

Diets are made up of laws, a lot of laws. I have been through plenty of diets (Atkins, South Beach, Slow carb, No carb, Medifast, Blood type, Paleo, the walk everywhere because you don’t have a car diet) and have lost weight, for a while. And reading the books, they are clear about this one thing. The laws of the diet have to be your new way of life. Forever. Period. So I would fail eventually. I could never make these extreme diets a way of life. I love carbs, and fats, way too much. And my body needed them. I couldn’t do the diets while pregnant or nursing because there was not enough to sustain myself through those. So I would gain again.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

Ella as a senior in high school

I have never been skinny. When puberty hit I got big. I don’t remember a time in my teenage years that I was less than a size 14. In college I gained my freshman 15 and then my sophomore 10 and then a junior 10 then a senior 5. My year of teacher training and my first year of teaching I was too busy to eat so the weight melted back off of me, but that didn’t last and I never made it below a 14 even then. I was resolved to be a size large.

My weight continued to yo-yo throughout the years as I tried one diet after another. I only had the will power to stay strictly with a plan for about a month. But the laws were too much for me. I would allow myself some leeway, some grace amongst the laws, and that always would sabotage my efforts. Eventually the cheating would overtake the good of the diet and I would just give up.

But then my sister Amy introduced me to a new plan. (You can read Amy’s THM testimony here.) She had success with losing weight with a new diet that sounded interesting. And, being a sucker for a new diet to try, I borrowed her book and started to read Trim Healthy Mama.

I was astounded to learn that I could enjoy my carbs and my fats in the same day and not gain weight! I didn’t have to cut out a food group for a long period of time. I didn’t have to count calories or go hungry. I didn’t have to eliminate desserts or exercise like crazy. I just had to be wise about how I enjoyed all these things. This was a plan I could see implementing for the rest of my life.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

Ella with her husband last Christmas

There are plenty of posts out in cyber space that explain the concepts of this way of eating better then I ever could (or better yet, read the book), so I will let you look those up yourself  if you are interested, but the part of this plan I want to talk about is the Grace.

For we are not under law, but under grace.

The writers of the book are Christians and believe their faith should permeate every area of their lives. They used their study of scripture to realize that the food rules we were living under were not placed there by God. They lay out clearly the food freedom that God intended us to have. The food Grace, He designed our bodies to live under. And it is a food freedom flowing with milk and honey, with bread and wine, with the fat and the lean.

Under Grace: A story of grace, a story of freedom - Ella's Trim Healthy Mama Testimony - NatureAmy.com

At goal size – all dressed up and ready for the ball!

The best part is that your body does a reset every three hours. If I do go off plan, have a cheat or a treat, I am only three hours from going back on. I don’t have to derail an entire day or week or month of hard determination for one moment of bliss. There is grace.

I am under grace, so I can choose to have a meal out every week with my family and eat whatever looks good to me on the menu and still lose weight.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy a holiday weekend away and not worry if there will be food that I can eat available.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy s’mores on a camping trip.

I am under grace, so I can eat a helping of the first cake that my son made completely on his own.

I am under grace, so I can enjoy popcorn at the movies and a corn dog at the fair and still lose weight.

I am under grace, so I can stick with this plan for life, even after reaching my goal weight.

Do you feel the grace tonight? Do you rest in the knowledge that God created you and your body perfectly and to function with grace? Can you have grace towards yourself?

I am excited to report, that under this plan, I am now at a lower weight then I have been at in my entire adult life. I am now wearing a size 10! And I am firmly a medium. These are huge things for this big girl. And you know what? I am not quitting this plan because I have reached my goal weight. I am just adding more crossovers and enjoying the food freedom and allowing my body to find its “happy weight.” I may go down more, I may not. I am not going to stress over it, because I am under grace. And that is exactly where my Father wants me to be.

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An Allergy Friendly Weekend Camping Menu (for a crowd!)

We LOVE camping as a family – and we love taking others camping, as well.  In fact, twice a year, we bring a large number of college students on a weekend camping trip.  This last weekend, we took a group of 30 college students,  plus our family and some extra help, for a grand total of 40 people on a three-day, two-night trip.  This group always includes my husband, who has multiple food allergies, and usually at least one or two students who also have allergies.  So, not only do I have to feed 40 ravenous people, but I also must have a menu that is allergy friendly!  The most common allergies on the trip are dairy, gluten, nuts, and eggs.  Thankfully, I am used to cooking for food allergies (check out my recipe section for my allergy-friendly recipes), so I enjoy the challenge.  It is also a treat for the students with multiple allergies to be able to eat on a school-sponsored trip.  As a wife of someone with multiple food allergies, I know how rare this is!

How we feed 20-40 people camping with an allergy friendly menu. - NatureAmy.com

Checking out the Sulfur Works at Lassen National Park while my hubby lectures in the background.

We visit different locations with our Fall and Spring Semester trips, but the schedule and the food is the same for both.  I have found a menu that works well and I stick to it!  Below is the menu we use, with some variations that I add for those that have food allergies or intolerances.  The healthiness of the food definitely varies, and since I don’t eat sugar or processed flour there are many items I choose not to eat, but since I am feeding 40 people who don’t choose to eat the same way I do, I make sure there are many options available. (Read this post to see what I eat as a Trim Healthy Mama on this trip.)

Another good option if you have a big group is to have an allergy-friendly ice chest with its own cutting board and knife as well as a special table for allergy-friendly food.  I keep gluten/dairy/nut free options away from the potential contaminates in the other food.  The last thing I want in the middle of nowhere is to take an emergency trip to the hospital or have a sick student.  If you have a small group, this may not be necessary depending on the severity of the allergies.


Friday – Day 1

An allergy friendly 3 day camping menu for large groups

Everyone makes their own sandwiches for lunch

Lunch (breakfast is eaten before they come, hopefully…)

Sandwiches with many different bread choices, including whole wheat, sprouted, and gluten-free options

  • Various lunch meat options, we usually have turkey, ham, roast beef, and salami
  • Mayo and mustard
  • Various sliced cheeses
  • Lettuce (already washed and cut into bread-sized pieces)
  • Tomato (washed before and slice when serving)
  • Avocado (cut, scoop, and slice when serving)
  • Peanut butter and/or Sun-butter
  • Jelly

Fruit

  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Grapes

Chips

  • We buy the lunch size variety packs – they actually have some popcorn options that are quite healthy.

For beverages, we make sure everyone brings their own reusable water bottle (read why that is important here) that they can refill often.  We also have 100% juice boxes as an option for those who really want something to drink other than water.

Snack time

The snack options vary greatly in how healthy they are, but it gives choices for everyone.

  • Fruit
  • Several varieties of Trail mix (I have even found a dairy/gluten/peanut-free option at Costco before, but for many allergies, you may need to make your own)
  • Chips and Salsa
  • Cookies

Dinner

I make a HUGE pot of chili (actually, I often need two pots for a really large group) by doubling or tripling my Famous Taco Chili Recipe.  This recipe is allergy friendly and generally a huge hit.  I make the base of it before hand (see the recipe for details) and simply add the canned items at camp and heat.  It makes a homemade camp meal easy-peasy and fills up those hungry tummies with lots of healthy hidden vegetables.   Generally, one recipe of my chili feeds 10-12 hungry adults, so you may need to double (or halve, etc.) the recipe for your group’s needs.

Garnish as desired with shredded cheese, sour cream (Daisy’s squeeze bags are convenient for camping), dairy-free sour cream (my husband loves this special treat), and tortilla chips.

I also serve sliced French or Artisan bread with butter and I bring pre-made salad mixes to toss and serve as well.

I love bringing pre-made salad mixes camping.  I never buy them normally, but when I’m camping, I still want to get my greens, but I don’t want to bother with washing, chopping, slicing, etc.   Read the ingredients carefully – usually there are gluten/nut/dairy/egg-free options.  You may need to mix up a salad in a special bowl excluding an item or two for the allergy group and place it on its separate table.  With a large group, we may have two salad options and mix one bowl especially for the allergy-friendly serving table.

Dessert

S’mores, of course!  We always get a special dairy-free dark chocolate for those who need a dairy-free option,

How we feed 20-40 people camping with an allergy friendly menu. - NatureAmy.com

Roasting marshmallows for s’mores

Also. hot water for hot chocolate, cider, coffee, or tea.


Saturday – Day 2

How we feed 20-40 people camping with an allergy friendly menu. - NatureAmy.com

Breakfast

I like to make breakfasts simple when I’m working with a big group.  So a continental breakfast is the way to go.

As soon as I get up, I put a big pot of water on to boil.  This is used for hot drinks and instant oatmeal packets.

  • Large muffins cut in halves or quarters
  • A large variety of cereal options
  • A large variety of instant oatmeal options (including a gluten free option)
  • Milk (regular, rice, and almond)
  • Fruit
  • Juice
  • Hot drinks
    • Instant coffee (I know, sacrilege, but we’re not coffee drinkers)
    • Tea
    • Hot cocoa packets
    • Apple cider packets
    • Sugar/Stevia/Half-Half

Lunch

In the interest of keeping things simple, day two has the same lunch as day one.  There is so much variety in the type of sandwich each person can make, it gives people the option for something different, if they choose.

Depending on the schedule for the day, we sometimes have the group pack their own lunch right after breakfast.  This has worked very well when we have a long hike.  We also make sure there are plenty of snack items available to pack as well.

Dinner

How we feed 20-40 people camping with an allergy friendly menu. - NatureAmy.com

I love cooking food over the fire while camping, and this dinner does the trick.  I make everyone cook their own sausage (they come precooked, so I don’t have to worry that anyone will under cook them).

  • Pre-cooked sausages, an assortment
    • Costco polish sausages
    • Aidell’s Chicken sausages (these are a great allergy-friendly option)
    • Cheddar-wurst
    • Buns, I like to buy the large hoagie size – Gluten-free simply enjoy this bunless, or they could use some GF bread from lunch
    • Baked beans – I heat these up on the stove
    • Condiments – ketchup, mustard, etc.
    • Premade salads (see the note from Friday night)

Dessert

S’mores and hot drinks again.

And my mother, who often comes along to help me (I am spoiled that way!), makes an amazing peach cobbler in the Dutch oven for an additional treat.  It is made with canned peaches, Bisquick, some sugar, and dairy-free margarine.   She works the magic – and we all enjoy it!

cobbler


Sunday – Day 3

In keeping with the simplicity theme, my second breakfast is the same as the first.  Just like with lunch, there are so many options that there is still much variety for the group.  Sometimes there is even leftover cobbler from the night before and that is especially good for breakfast!

Depending on what we are doing on Sunday, we have packed a lunch for a hike or simply packed up camp for the long trip home.  We stop for lunch (or dinner if we had lunch on a hike before leaving) on the drive home someplace where there are many fast food options.  We also make any leftovers available if people don’t have money for lunch or dinner.

How we feed 20-40 people camping with an allergy friendly menu. - NatureAmy.com

Caving with a group of students at Lava Beds National Monument


 

That is how I feed 20-40 people and keep it allergy friendly and mostly healthy for a weekend.  It’s not amazing, but it has worked for several years and gives a lot of variety while keeping things as simple as possible.

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Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken ~ Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Dye-free

My family loves Chinese food – well pretty much any Asian food actually.  My husband especially loves it because of his many food allergies, especially to dairy and gluten.  It is pretty easy to get Asian food that he can eat.  However, finding Chinese food without a lot of sugar is hard!  So we have not spent a lot of time at his favorite local Chinese restaurant recently.  Sorry, Honey…

Everyone in the family loves the classic Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken recipe – loaded with sugar, red food coloring, breaded and fried, and completely bad for you.  So I was on a mission to make a Sweet and Sour sauce that not only was healthy, but also was lick the pan – can I have more, please – good!  I finally perfected the recipe!  And, not only is it cheap, it also does not have any special ingredients that you cannot find at your local grocery store! Score! (All my recipes have no special ingredient options – check more out here.)

This recipe is an Energizing (E) meal, meaning it is low in fat and higher in healthy carbs, if you follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan (read why I love THM here) when made with chicken breast and eaten with brown rice (I love eating rice with sweet and sour sauce – yummy!)

There is also the option to make this dish a Satisfying (S) meal, meaning it is higher in healthy fat and low in carbs, when made with pork and no rice.  It is easy to make into a Crossover for those skinny kids or husbands in your life (this is my life) or if you are at or near goal-weight or pregnant or nursing.  However, when doing a pork S option, you will need to pull the amount of pineapple to just a small amount and increase the amount of vegetables.   Since pineapple is a high-glycemic fruit, it really can only be a garnish. Therefore, there needs to be no more than two tablespoons of pineapple per serving for an S meal.  So, if you choose to make this an S meal with pork, use 1/4 cup of drained pineapple tidbits instead of the full can of pineapple.   Of course, if you do the E option, no need to worry about the pineapple!

Quick and Easy ingredients to Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds chicken breast (for E), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Mineral salt
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut oil 
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I use my homemade bone broth)
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons THM Super Sweet Blend, or 4 Tablespoons Truvia (about 12 packets), or sweetener of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½-1 teaspoon Glucomannan powder or ½-1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum, to thicken
  • 1 – 20 oz. can of pineapple chunks in juice, drained (see not above if making an S meal)
  • 1 bell pepper – whatever color you want

Makes 6 servings

  1. Cut up the meat into 1 inch cubes, or bite size pieces. Sprinkle with salt.
  2. Cut up the bell pepper (whatever color you want to use) and any other vegetables you may want to add.  We had asparagus on the side with this meal, but it would have been very good cut into bite size pieces and added to the dish!  Open the pineapple and drain it.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the meat.  You may want to do this in batches to better brown the meat.  I like to cook the meat through and then let it turn golden on each side for more of a crunch.
  4. In a small/medium sauce pan, add the broth, vinegar, sweetener, and tomato paste.  Still and heat to simmering.  Add the glucomannan or xanthan gum by sprinkling it in slowly as you whisk the sauce.  This is important or the thickener will get clumpy and won’t thicken properly.  Let the sauce simmer for a minute or two and then turn off the heat and let cool.  It will thicken more as it cools.
  5. Add the vegetables to the meat and cook together for a minute or two.  Add the sauce and let simmer together so that the flavors can marry – this does not take more than a few minutes

    sweetsour_cook

    The cooked meat and veggies ready for the sauce (left). The sauce and other ingredients cook together for a few minutes before serving (right).

Serve over brown rice if you made the E option with chicken breast – the rice is so yummy with the sauce.  Now I just need a THM fortune cookie recipe and my life will be complete.

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Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking on these links and ordering products or services will result in a small commission for me.  It does not cost you anything extra, but helps keep this website going and is much appreciated. Click HERE to use my Trim Healthy Mama Affiliate Link.

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The Final Downton Night: Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Scones ~ THM FP

If you have been a loyal watcher of Downton Abbey for the last six years, you are likely in a mix of emotions today.  Not only are you dying to find out what is going to happen to the Crawley family and the staff downstairs, if you are like me, you are devastated that it is coming to an end. (Of course, if you are reading this from the UK, you already said your goodbyes…) In our house tonight we will be celebrating with a British inspired dinner (Bangers and Mash, anyone? Cauliflower mash for me), and of course, tea and scones for dessert while watching the show.

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Scones - THM FP, Sugar-free, Low Carb, Dairy-free, Gluten Free - NatureAmy.com

In honor of this momentous occasion, I have been working on one last scone recipe (check out my blueberry and cranberry scone recipes).  I love scones with my tea, but since giving up sugar because of my sugar addiction and becoming a Trim Healthy Mama (THM), my old standby recipes are no longer an option.  One of my favorite scones is Lemon Poppyseed – I love that combination – and after some tweaking, I’ve come up with a winner.  This recipe is a Trim Healthy Mama Fuel Pull (meaning it is both low in fat and carbs) when made with THM’s Baking Blend.  I also wrote a no special ingredients option that is a bit higher in fat and would fall into the satisfying “S” meal category.  These scones are a little drier than my other scone recipes because they are not made with fruit.  Scones are usually quite dry and adding butter or clotted cream (yummy!) solves this issue. However, if you want to keep this scone as a Fuel Pull, you may want to add some sugar-free berry jam like I did.  (I used the Slim Belly Jelly recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup THM Baking Blend  (or substitute 2 tablespoons coconut flour, 1 tablespoon flax meal, and 1 tablespoon almond flour, this would be an S, because it is higher in fat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of mineral salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon THM Gentle Sweet (or 4-5 packets Truvia, or use sweetener of choice)
  • zest from half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon poppyseeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 egg white (or 2 tablespoons carton egg whites)
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of almond milk or juice from lemon if you like it very “lemony”

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Scones - THM FP, Sugar-free, Low Carb, Dairy-free, Gluten Free - NatureAmy.com

  1.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix the baking blend (or flours), baking powder, salt, and sweetener together in a bowl. Zest the lemon and add the poppy seeds.
  3. Add the coconut oil and mix together so that it is crumbly and a biscuit-like consistency.
  4. Add the egg white and mix together.  If it seems too dry, add  almond milk or lemon juice until you get to a firm consistency that holds its shape well, but is not too dry.
  5. Place parchment paper on your baking sheet and dump the dough onto it.  Form the dough into a square and then cut it through the center to separate into two beautiful triangles.

    Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Scones - THM FP, Sugar-free, Low Carb, Dairy-free, Gluten Free - NatureAmy.com

    My baby girl ate half my dough before I could get it in the pan, so mine only made one scone. Your recipe should make 2.

  6. Bake in the oven about 15 minutes until just golden. Let cool a bit and enjoy!
The joys of creating recipes with kids - so much fun, but you have to share!

The joys of creating recipes with kids – so much fun, but you have to share!

You can choose to keep this a fuel-pull by eating this as is, or by adding some on-plan sugar-free berry jam.  To enjoy as a satisfying S-meal, go ahead and add some butter or Devonshire Clotted Cream.  And, of course, make sure to steep a cup of black tea (I will be having Tetley British Blend decaf – it is late at night!) with a splash of milk or cream and a bit of stevia.

Healthy Lemon Poppyseed Scones - THM FP, Sugar-free, Low Carb, Dairy-free, Gluten Free - NatureAmy.com

Spread with some sugar-free berry jam, it was oh so good! I managed to get a small piece away from my daughter!

Do you have your hanky ready? Now we are ready for the perfect evening (and last Downton Night – sob!)

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Affiliate Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  Clicking on these links and ordering products or services will result in a small commission for me.  It does not cost you anything extra, but helps keep this website going and is much appreciated. Click HERE to use my Trim Healthy Mama Affiliate Link

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Hawaiian “Huli-Huli” Chicken – THM S, Sugar-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Anybody else want a vacation to Hawaii?  I know I would love it!  Mom and Dad, you wouldn’t mind the kids for a week or two, right?  

Well, since a trip to Hawaii is definitely not on the calendar – or in the budget – how about a yummy chicken recipe that definitely is in the budget!

One of my family’s favorite recipes is a Hawaiian “huli-huli” chicken that is traditionally grilled outdoors and often sold in street carts in Hawaii.  My husband and kids LOVE this recipe, so it was one of the first I had to change to be sugar-free so that we could enjoy it as a family after I gave up sugar.  I also love this recipe because it is cheap!  Bone-in chicken is some of the cheapest meat you can find – I usually pick it up for under $1/pound, so this makes this meal come in at under $1/person – which is very good for our budget.  I love Trim Healthy Mama, and it really is easy to make affordable on-plan recipes!

This chicken can be grilled on the barbecue or done in the oven with the broiler.  In the winter, I usually do it inside with the broiler – I love how it warms up the house! In the summer, I like to keep the heat outdoors and do this on the grill.  The process is the same both places and it tastes great both ways.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 lbs chicken quarters (thighs and drumsticks) or 1 chicken cut up or butterflied
  • mineral salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 inches ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 cup drained pineapple chunks
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or Braggs liquid aminos (make sure to select a gluten-free sauce if you need to)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon THM Super Sweet Blend (or 2 packets Truvia or sweetener of choice)
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

Serves 6

Sauce ingredients

  1. Start coals/barbecue or start heating the broiler to med/high.  I can set the temperature on my broiler, so I always turn it down to about 400 degrees.  I also drop the rack down two places because this chicken gets hot!
  2. Take your chicken and generously sprinkle with mineral salt.  Let rest while you make the sauce.huli_sauce
  3. Place the remaining ingredients in your blender or food processor and puree together.  Add the water as needed. The 1/2 cup pineapple adds 13 grams net carbs, so spread out over 6 servings, it does not add significant carbs to this S-meal.
  4. Put the chicken on the grill or under the broiler with the skin side away from the heat source.  Cook for 5 minutes and turn over.  Do this 4 times for a total of 20 minutes.  Then baste the sauce generously on the chicken and cook 5 more minutes.  Do this 4 times for a total of 20 more minutes.  Your chicken should be cooked  through at this point and the skin should be crispy, sweet, and charred.  Perfect!

    Chicken broiled for 20 minutes without the sauce on left. Chicken broiled with the sauce for the remaining 20 minutes on right.

    Chicken broiled for 20 minutes without the sauce on left. Chicken broiled with the sauce for the remaining 20 minutes on right.

  5. Serve over rice if you want a crossover (my kids and husband need crossovers and they love this with sticky rice).  I like it with a side salad or veggies drizzled in some of the excess sauce collected from the broiler pan. Yummy!
hulikids

The boys could not eat this meal fast enough!

I hope you enjoy your little taste of the islands as much as we do!

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