Apple Oat Raisin Energy Balls

Apple Oat Raisin Energy Balls 

    After 18 years as a School Nurse, I am fairly new to the Head Start program where I recently took a job as a  home based lead health specialist.   In my travels visiting with families and children,  I have noticed good nutrition and healthy meals take a backseat with busy families.   Parents often feed their children processed foods that are high in saturated fat and full of preservatives. Fast-food establishments and convenience stores  are popping up on every street conner, and are tempting with he dollar menu . We have a misconception that eating healthy is expensive but it really isn’t when you buy in season foods and watch the weekly adds.                                     Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other illnesses are on the rise. I have read articles stating  today's children will have shorter average life spans than their parents ,and if they do live longer, they will be in poorer health.  I have had a passion for nutrition for many years and want to promote children’s health by blogging healthy recipes using whole foods, five and less ingredients, process free , and most of all easy for parents to prep.  


2  Apples. I used honey crisp.
1-2  Tablespoon Maple Syrup. 
1 1/2  old fashion oats.
1/2  cup peanut or almond butter. 
1/2 up Raisins. 


Cook apples in the maple Syrup until soft. I used my dutch oven.
 Add peanut butter, raisins, and apples to a food processor and pulse.
 In a medium bowl combine apple mixture and oats.  
Form into balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes. 
I make these on the weekends and it makes a great snack during the work or school week. 



Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a city girl and photographer who just moved to a small Kansas town . Living in a small town has gave me the opportunity to slow down and to pursue my dream of writing and photographing a cookbook.  Today happens to be a snowy day,  I could not think of a better day to create a new recipe.  


Main Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar plus 3 tsp.

1/2 cup granulated sugar.

1 large egg.

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp brewed espresso cooled.

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder

1 to 1 1/2 up semi sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

2. Cream the butter with the sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in the egg, pure vanilla extract , and brewed espresso for another minute.

3. In a mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients and beat slowly into the butter mixture at a low speed for 30 seconds. Mix in the expresso powder and chocolate chips.

4. Drop 2 tablespoon cookie dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. press cookies with the back of a spoon to make about a 2 inch circle. Bake around 20 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.


New Year Resolutions

I hope the first day of the New Year finds you happy, relaxed , and refreshed.   I love The New Year.  Every year I find myself making new resolutions. This year I have three.  


  1. Reducing my debt is my first. This year I have changed jobs, reduced my salary, moved, and got married.  I look forward to a year of no changes and focusing for the future. 


2.  Reducing clutter is my second resolution.  


3.  Writing and photographing a cookbook is my third.  Moving to a small town I need a project and the challenge.  Blogging will be a part of this goal.  



I know that most of us have challenges in keeping our resolutions, this year, I have some new tools this year to help.   I took a new position at my company as a nurse but for the past four months, I have been working as a family advocate and assist families in setting family partnership goals. I have learned to start small and build over time.  Hopefully this will help me with my resolutions. 


What are your resolutions for 2018? 



Holiday Baking and our New Puppy.

Happy Tuesday, I have not been good about posting or taking pictures in the past few months.  Life has been busy. I have moved to a small town,  started a new job, got married, and lastly have adopted a Pyrador .  He is sweet but a handful.  


Moving is never an easy adjustment but, when you throw in major life changes in the picture, it has been a bit stressful.   I have been terribly homesick for Arizona.  I am missing my kids, my friends and  my school nurse job.  Long story short, I need to get out of my rut, and a project might be the answer. In  2018 I will be working on a cookbook , hopefully blogging  more and most of all taking pictures.


 I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas and Holiday season.  I hope 2018 is a wonderful year and that you do something you love. 



Fall Time.

My first Fall session in the Midwest.  It is not always easy  to relocate after seventeen years in a place I loved. With that being said, I am ready for a Midwest Fall and had so much fun with this session. 


How did I do with my Vegan Challenge?

My Vegan challenge came to an end and I would like to say I was successful but I was not. My boyfriend came into town at the end of February and we ate out while on road trips. For me I like to experience too many new foods and cultures, however I found a new love for vegetables and blogging. I will continue to eat healthy and blogging. 




I will keep this post short and sweet. It was a beautiful weekend in the Valley of The Sun and I spent today downtown.   I am finding my challenge and veganism easier by the day.  I am finding great alternatives even when eating out. Today I attended the Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival to take pictures.  Now this I thought would be a challenge. I love Chinese Food . It is my favorite.  The truth is I thought about cheating but I am proud to say I did not. I found a wonderful Vegan choice there. Island Noodles was the name of this wonderful place and I will be eating there again.  I had Wok Fired Soba Noodles with vegetables.  This dish is Vegan but you can add chicken to the noodles which my son did.  I will be including link and pictures.


Happy hump day! I hope the week is treating you good.    I do not have any pictures to share except for a couple of cell phone pics,  but thought I would touch base.  I am on day eleven and have to admit I cheated. I haven’t consumed meat but did a pastry. I could not help myself. I love bake goods.   I also have had some criticism about my challenge from friends and family.  I was not surprised and I am not an expert, but I have taken numerous nutrition courses, I research a lot, and I am a nurse. I love the study of nutrition so much that I drive my friends and family nuts preaching about the benefits of a process free  diet. I assured them I was doing this as safely as possible to make sure I am meeting my dietary needs.     Before I started my challenge, I have lead a pretty healthy lifestyle and cook with whole foods and very little process.  I will be including the link to 100 days of Real Food.  That site sums up my belief on nutrition and cooking with whole and full fat foods.  I do not see myself practicing Veganism after my challenge but I will be cutting down on my meat consumption. I have found some fantastic recipes.  This week I have made Veggie Enchiladas, Lentil Sloppy Joes, smoothies, Lettuce Wraps, and tons of fruits and veggies. I eat lots of avocados and I love trail mix. I also have tried a few process foods like cashew ice cream and soy ice-cream sandwiches after all a girl needs a treat here and there.

Day 7 Vegan Challenge Even Stevens



Happy Saturday! It is beautiful here in Phoenix!  It is a sunny perfect 75 degrees.    I had to get out and enjoy this amazing day with a friend in Tempe for shopping and lunch. Even Stevens had commented on one of my post in Instagram, so I wanted to check it out their sandwich shop and try the Hummaazing Vegan Sandwich.  Not only was the sandwich yummy and fresh, it was perfect for my 30 day Vegan challenge. Even Stevens is charming and fun.   I loved the 70s decor and oh and that fun wallpaper was like walking into my childhood home. Not only was I impressed with this fun shop,   I always appreciate a good cause.  For every Sandwich Even Stevens sales, they donate a sandwich for a local non-profit. I am including their website so you can see how it works. I am a school nurse and I love the idea that I found a place that serves healthy food and is helping our community. You can’t get any better than that.   I highly recommend you check out the fun Retro Blast from the Past themed Sandwich shop. Even Stevens is located at 1015 South Rural Rd, Tempe AZ


     I was not going to blog today due to needing to get galleries out to clients but my day three experience on this journey was a good one.   I have a friend celebrating a birthday and I was a bummed that I was not going to be able to eat ice-cream, cake, or even lunch.  Now my boyfriend mentioned that part of a challenge is that it is actually a challenge. It is not always going to be easy.  I can still participate in birthday celebrations but I will be bringing my own lunch and ice cream.


    Moving Forward to dinner,  I made creamy cauliflower soup and an avocado and spouts sandwich. Yum!   I love soups so finding this recipe was fantastic.  I am sharing the recipe from my favorite blog. I did use the veggie broth.   I hope everyone is having a wonderful Tuesday.  I did not take pics today but I am adding the link and one of my images from my still life gallery. 


Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Servings: 4 servings • Size: 1 1/2 cups • Points +: 2 pts • Smart Points: 2 

Calories: 80 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 11 g • Fiber: 4.0 g  • Protein: 4 g • Sugar: 0

Sodium: 494 mg (without salt) will vary by brand of broth 




        1 tbsp butter

        1 tbsp unbleached flour (all purpose is fine too)

        1 medium head cauliflower – chopped

        1/2 cup chopped onions

        4 cups fat free chicken broth (vegetarians can use vegetable broth)

        salt and pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, make a roux by melting the butter on low heat. Add the flour and stir about 2 minutes. 




Add the chicken broth, onions and cauliflower and set heat to medium. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender (about 20 minutes.) Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.










When this crazy vegan challenge popped in my head, I did not realize how much time and work goes into a lifestyle change.  I have been fighting a cold and sore throat the last couple of days so I am behind on food prepping and have had a decreased appetite. Thank goodness I did have a refrigerator and pantry full of food to make it a smoother transition.  I also knew after working all day there would be nights that I might have little desire to cook.  Tonight was one of them. I bought a wonderful squash noodle mix at Whole Foods and heated up some marinara. It was perfect to end this day with a healthy and simple meal.  That is it for now. I am going to cuddle up with a blanket and movie and hope that tomorrow brings me better health. 

Vegan Challenge - Day One

 I hope everyone is having a beautiful and peaceful Sunday. I spent yesterday prepping for my the first week of my vegan challenge, and have decided to start my challenge today.  I can tell it is going to be a challenge.  I made my way to Whole Foods yesterday and my experience there was incredible. They were friendly and informative.  I had to spend a couple of hours reading labels making sure I am sticking to the rules of my challenge.  They answered all my questions and they were open to me taking some photos as well. Today I wanted to meal prep and did manage to get one meal done but I have been under the weather.  I purged all my meat, dairy, and eggs today and made room for produce and staples I will be using for this weeks meals. I made One Pot Farmers Market Pasta with my own spin on it from the website   The beauty of this meal is that You can use your favorite vegetables.  I even added Bok Choy to mine.  I did leave the cheese out of mine of course.  I also worked around my house getting rid of clutter. Simple is my word of the month.  We will see what this week brings on my journey.  I hope everyone has a wonderful week. 


    •    12 oz spaghetti 

    •    1 medium red onion, peeled, halved, and sliced

    •    1 small Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced

    •    several stalks asparagus, cut in 2 inch pieces

    •    a handful of broccoli florets, cut in half  

    •    2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

    •    1 colorful bell pepper, chopped

    •    2 cloves garlic peeled and minced

    •    2 handfuls baby greens, I used baby kale and wild arugula

    •    1 - 1-1/2 tsp salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper

    •    1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

    •    2 Tbsp olive oil

    •    1 cup dry white wine

    •    3 1/2 cups water

    •    1 Tbsp white wine or sherry vinegar

    •    halved cherry tomatoes

    •    1/2 cups finely shredded basil leaves




 1.    Put everything into a large pot. Add the wine and water (measure exactly since you will not drain the pasta) to the pot and bring up to a boil. If your pasta doesn't fit completely into the pot, nudge it down into the water as it softens. Cover the pot while it comes to a boil then uncover and boil for about 7-9 minutes, until the pasta is just al dente. Babysit the pan a little bit to ensure that the pasta doesn't stick. Don't over cook the pasta, there will still be some water left in the pan.

   2.    Toss the pasta and serve with the extra tomatoes and lots of fresh basil.


30 Day Vegan Challenge

Did I say Vegan Challenge? Yes I am going on a 30 day Vegan Challenge.   I do not have a profound reason for this other than I want to see how I feel at the end of 30 days, to improve health, and to see if my digestive issues improve.  I had a friend that recommended some documentaries, Food Choices and Minimalism and the idea of a 30-day challenge popped up in my crazy over thinking mind. So during this 30-day challenge I will also be purging unneeded items and organizing my environment.  I have some challenges with this commitment.   The jury is still out on the use of tofu. I want to do this challenge as process free as possible and well I love clothes and shoes.  I want to blog about my journey with photography, recipes, and my experience.   This comes at the perfect time with the weight loss challenge that I am participating in with our office staff at work. I am excited for this journey to begin and to see if veganism has an impact on my mental and physical health. I will be starting this challenge on Monday January 30th, 2017.  I wish I could commit to blogging daily but with my schedule, I cannot promise that but I will do the best I can.  I hope you will follow me on this journey.