Hot to Set Up Your Kitchen To Eat More Meals at Home

I hope you will all enjoy my guest post today from Jane Blanchard! Getting on and sticking with a healthy eating plan may start with food selection but a lot of it is what you do with those items in the kitchen!  Jane offers some amazing ways to set up and organize a kitchen to help us eat more foods at home! Check it out then swing over to  or follow them on Facebook or Twitter for more great tips, ideas, and inspiration!



How to Set Up Your Kitchen to Eat More Meals at Home
By Jane Blanchard

Eating at home offers many advantages over dining out, the biggest one being the cost savings. Take out and pizza delivery are way too tempting if elements to make a meal are not easily accessible or cannot be accomplished in a reasonable amount of time. One of the best ways to fight that temptation? Set up your kitchen so that it encourages meals at home. Here’s how:

1. Set Up a Snack Station

On a counter that is closest to the door, assemble an assortment of grab-and-go snacks to eat as you travel outside the home. Whether running errands or working, driving past a fast food chain on an empty stomach can tempt even the strongest of wills. Armed with a tasty snack, you are more likely to resist impulsive food stops and hold out for a home-cooked meal.


2. Store Small Appliances Wisely

To avoid spending hours in the kitchen, store appliances and other meal-prep tools near each other. Having the essentials at your fingertips will help produce meals fast, and as a result, you'll be more inclined to eat at home regularly. With multitasking in mind, place your slow cooker, food processor and other appliances near the oven. For quicker accessibility, consider storing them on your countertop. Since counter space is often limited, think about installing an appliance garage to cut down on clutter.


3. Organize Your Pantry

via transFORM | The Art of Custom Storage
A properly stocked and organized pantry sets the stage for a proper meal. If your pantry is a disaster zone, it will take you longer to find what you need, which may cause unnecessary stress and frustration. Avoid this by selecting a pantry design that allows most items to be in full view. Store meal makings on the same shelf or group of shelves. For example, keep pasta and sauces together, and store your flour, sugar and other baking essentials in the same area.


4. Make Recipes Readily Available

With the goal to eat at home more often, you will want to have plenty of recipes on hand. For quick reference, consider a stand or wall-mounted holder for your tablet to access all the yummy Internet recipes you’ve saved. Better yet, choose a dock with attached speakers and play some music to pass the time when cooking. As an alternative, you can go old school with a shelf that beautifully displays your most trusted cookbooks.

Smart placement of appliances, an organized pantry and other easy adjustments will have you ditching restaurants and dining at home in no time.

For more home ideas check out!

Superfoods Your Family Needs to Be Healthy - A Guest Post

I am so honored today to have Cassie Brewer as a Guest Blogger! Cassie is the blogger over at and, In my opinion, one super cool chick!
Please swing over and follow Cassie on twitter HERE! You can read more about Cassie at the end of the post!
Without further delay...Here are the Superfoods Your Family Needs to be Healthy!

You want all the members of your family to grow healthy and strong, and you also want to maintain your well-being, right? Forget fast food and focus on superfoods. Here are important nutrients found in superfoods that should form part of your family’s diet.

Vitamin C
There are surprising benefits of Vitamin C. These include maintaining healthy blood pressure, protecting against cancer and even preventing asthma. You can find Vitamin C in acai and blueberries, which can be added to your children’s cereal or yogurt. Other foods include leafy greens such as kale. One cup of cooked kale contains 1000% more Vitamin C than a cup of cooked spinach!

A surprising Vitamin C-rich vegetable is cauliflower. Just one serving has 77% of your daily Vitamin C requirements! Although kids might turn their noses up at cauliflower, you can use it creatively in meals, such as by grating it onto delicious scrambled eggs.

It’s not just kids who need energy to run around on the playground; parents also need it when they’re leading busy lives. B-vitamins create energy and release it when the body requires it. They also produce red blood cells so oxygen can be carried to all parts of the body. Some good Vitamin B sources include:
  • Eggs. Not just essential for protein, eggs contain all the B-vitamins your body needs. Choose organic eggs for higher nutrient content and less risk of contaminated feed.
  • Steel-cut oats. These oats contain good amounts of B-vitamins, such as B6 for brain development; B1, B2 and B3 to convert carbohydrates into glucose for energy; and folate for the production of red and white blood cells. Folate is especially essential during pregnancy, infancy and the teen years.  Choose steel-cut oats as it undergoes less processing, preserving its nutrient content.
  • Greek yogurt. It has a range of B- vitamins, such as B1, B2 and B12. These sustain energy levels while protecting your cardiac and neurological systems. Add honey or fruit to yogurt to sweeten it for kids.
  • Quinoa. If you or your child suffers from migraines, quinoa can be a natural way to keep them at bay because it contains Vitamin B2 and magnesium. Vitamin B2 also supports cellular functions in the body.

These fatty acids are vital for cognitive development in children. Omega-3s are also good for the heart - studies have found that people who eat two servings of fatty fish such as salmon twice a week have lower heart disease rates. Remember to feed the older members in your family omega-3s too, as these fight inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Other sources of omega-3s include walnuts, flaxseed and chia seeds. A handful of chia seeds contains nine grams of fat, but five of them are omega-3s!


Important Antioxidants
Vitamin E
Vitamin E protects the body and skin from free radical damage, and it can even reduce diabetes complications. Vitamin E coordinates the body’s cells so it’s vital for development, tissue repair and immunity. Some Vitamin E foods include: 
Avocados. Spread them on toast for a tasty treat! Avocados contain monounsaturated fats which help eye and brain health in kids.
  • Sweet potato. These maintain blood sugar levels and are high in fibre.
Amazingly, polyphenols block enzymes that cancers require in order to grow.
  • The polyphenol found in tea called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the one most linked to cancer prevention. Green tea is also good for kids as it contains catechins that protect against flu, but limit caffeinated beverages to one daily serving.
  • This is one superfood kids will love! Cocoa contains polyphenols, one of them being flavonoids which boost your heart and oral health. Choose products with at least 70 percent cocoa to reap their benefits.
  • Coconut and olive oils also contain polyphenols, but use them in small quantities as they’re calorie dense. Purchase virgin coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil for maximum polyphenol content.

Health is the greatest wealth! By choosing nutritious foods for your family, you can make everyone healthier and happier.
About Cassie! Please remember to follow her on TWITTER and visit her blog at
My name is Cassie Brewer and I live in Southern California where I have made a great life for myself doing what I love. My passion is makeup/beauty and writing. I am a pet lover, I have 3 dogs and 2 cats! I attended MUD makeup school and have been working away on short films and small things such as weddings, parties and high fashion runway shows. I believe makeup is an art and I love to express myself through it. Helping others with beauty tips makes me feel good about myself. I enjoy writing about tips that help other girls feel beautiful. I did tons of modeling when i was younger and I think that's what turned me on beauty and makeup because those people made me feel flawless and I figured I could do that to other people. Also, yes my hair color is natural. ;)


Save Money by Making Healthier ORGANIC Sodas with the Soda Stream!

I can not tell you how honestly thrilled my son was to open up a Soda Stream soda maker for Christmas. Maybe it wasn't a traditional gift for an 11 year old boy BUT for my son, it was a step towards incorporating sodas into his everyday life - and he was IN!

(IF YOU HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT ONE...Click HERE and get $10 off all Home Soda Makers with Promo Code: BESTFRIEND!)

As any of the regular follower of this blog know, my family has went on a healthier eating journey and we have been living a mostly organic lifestyle for about 2 years. It wasn't easy at first but is just our everyday life. Nothing complicated - just life. 1 of the things that was hardest to kick was SODA- not just for the kids...but for me too.

We started easily with a juice only rule...That got EXPENSIVE! 5 kids and organic only juice was a drain on the budget. I quickly realized, however, that we could save some money by splitting the juice into halves and adding water. This made each jar of juice last twice as long ---and the kids never noticed! We then made a transition to juice only at meals and WATER in between. Any parent can tell you...that it wasn't an easy task but we made it happen (see 5 ways to get your kids to drink more water HERE) and now...that is simply what they do! I hear their cups being filled all day long from the tap - and I LOVE IT!  They still get soda when we go out to dinner and treat them on family movie nights with an organic soda from the grocery but DARN is that organic soda pricey at almost $1 per can!

I had been seeing a lot about the soda stream and had wondered if they sold organic flavors...I didn't seem any. They do have a "natural" line though...The  soda stream natural mixes are made with real sugar, no artificial sweeteners and NO high fructose corn syrup BUT I WANTED BETTER! I searched high and low for recipes and I saw some but they were very labor intensive or were more like sparkling waters. It was time for trial and error.

I started with juices by simply adding in a few ounces to the sparkling water made by the Soda Stream...they were good but were lacking the sweetness of a soda.  Next step was to add juice and organic agave syrup....closer but still not there. It was time for a trip to the health food store to see what may be available....SUCCESS! I found organic coffee syrups and all natural fruit juice concentrates! So far, I have found the following to work well: vanilla, black cherry, grape, and even caramel. The amounts are going to vary based upon the bottle size and the sweetness that your family likes but know that you can experiment in any way you want. You can even make your own concentrates at home with frozen fruit! Now... I also said we SAVE MONEY with this thing and we do! The 4 pack of organic soda that my hubby used to buy the kids was over $1 per bottle and once it was was gone. The fruit juice concentrates cost around $10 per bottle BUT so far have made TONS of soda!
Some of our finds that worked!

Here is how we do it:
1. Start with the soda stream. Fill with water to the water line and do a solid 4 pumps of carbonation (the instructions say 3..since when do I listen to instructions)

2. Add 7-8 tablespoons of your favorite fruit juice concentrate.

3. Add maybe 4 tablespoons of Organic Agave Syrup. You can use whatever sweetener your family chooses. We like Agave and it is liquid so it is perfect. If you choose to use traditional sugar - melt it in the microwave first with a small amount of water. Liquid sweetener is best!

4. Roll it! DO NOT SHAKE IT but lightly roll the bottle to incorporate the flavor.


I hope you love this simple and easy way to have fun with your kids while making cool and funky sodas!

Have you found great ways to make your kids some healthy sodas with the soda stream If so..share your favorite recipe!

Red Palm Oil- To try it or not to try it....that is the question! husband came home from one of our favorite places the other day with something new in his bag...Red Palm Oil. He had been hearing that he should try it, knew NOTHING else about it, but saw that there were tons of people around the shelves AND the sign said that it was Organic - so he was in.

When cooking around the house, we typically use coconut oil - which I LOVE but since we are hearing such great things about the red palm oil....I thought we would give it a try. The fat content was very similar as were the textures (I guess that is what I would call it) so I was in to. (If you have been looking for ways to add coconut oil into your diet - here are 5 easy ways!)

I do want to note that I had no CLUE that the famous Dr. Oz mentioned that red palm oil could fight and target belly fat...nor do I believe it is smart enough to specifically fight belly fat! If I haven't been able to figure it out...I don't think that this jar of oil is going to! In all seriousness though, he did say some great things about it!

Here is WHY  I said OKAY!

Red Palm oil by far contains more vitamins and nutrients than ANY other dietary oil! It  can help you increase your intake of vitamins and minerals and is a great source of vitamins A, E and K and it is even used in some instances to help treat malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies. Studies show that just 1 teaspoon a day will give your child their entire Daily recommended Vitamin A and this can easily be slipped to your child in baked goods. Breakfast cookies anyone?

The color is a deep orange because it has such a high content of carotenes like beta-carotene and lycopene - actually, it contains more than in carrots and tomatoes!

I did see that Red Palm oil is high in Saturated Fats BUT while we would all think that this is a bad thing...turns out that, in many studies, it was actually shown to help FIGHT heart disease and to assist in removing plaque from arteries, contribute to lower blood pressures, and is even called an "anticancer" food.

I am definitely not a doctor and there is a lot of medical "mumbo-jumbo" in the articles that I was reading  so here is a GREAT link FULL of information about red palm oil that explains a great deal of benefits!

What to look for -

Look specifically for UNFILTERED and Organic. The filtering of the oil actually removes tons of the benefits! Also look for the rich - deep orange color. That is the proof of the carotenes!


Red Palm oil is very similar to coconut oil in the fact that it great at high heats. This oil can be used for just about anything -including frying! When it gets to high heats, it may loose some of its color BUT it will still pack the goodness into fried foods.

It is especially great for baking because the natural saturated fats will help KEEP YOUR BAKED GOODS FRESHER LONGER! Add it to cookies, cakes, breads, etc.  NOW....does this mean replace all of the oil in your dish with red palm oil...I wouldn't. The flavor - to me, is a very savory floral flavor....comes from a plant-tasted like a plant. (That is just in my opinion)! So adding it to your famous toll house cookies could give you an unexpected surprise. Just sub in a teaspoon or so.

Now, the savory flavor does lend itself very well to sautéing veggies - it actually gives them a totally new flavor. Try carrots, mushrooms, onions, eggplants, etc.

DO NOT ADD this into white foods like mashed potatoes - they will turn a funny orange color! Stick to darker foods or just tell your kids they are eating alien foods - they may like it! vote is YES, try it! Just be smart about it! I was told to smear it on toast and go...not sure that was the best way to dive in! The savory flavor scared me off at first but the nutritional verdict was in and I have found ways to use it that don't leave me running for a glass of water!

Will it replace my coconut oil for good...NAH! I love coconut oil and even use it in my beauty routine - see here but this is going to be a staple in my cupboard and taken out daily.

Do you use Red Palm Oil? Share some of your best ways to use it and let me know what your first thoughts were!