War on Average

encouraging each other not to be satisfied with mediocre

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Mango, Mango


Have you heard that Shaklee180 has some new flavors? Some White Chocolate Cinnamon Meal Bars, Cherry Almond and Chocolate Coconut Snack bars. And the new seasonal smoothie mix is Mango. I was leery of the Mango smoothie mix myself because I prefer the savory flavor of the chocolate with some peanut butter. After some experimenting, I discovered that I LOVE the new Mango!

Here is my recipe I’ve been using (with options)
8 oz almond milk (or your milk of choice)
1 TB coconut milk or coconut oil (optional)
5-6 chunks of pineapple
¾ cup frozen blueberries or strawberries
A hunk of kale
1/3 c frozen spinach (flavorless so why not)
1 hunk of raw broccoli (optional)
3-4 ice cubes

Blend well and YUM!! So delicious and refreshing!

Click here to try some Mango Smoothie for yourself!

Want to learn more about Shaklee180? Watch this video or contact me!

What’s your favorite Mango Smoothie Recipe?

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Veggie and Protein Smoothies


Everyone always seems to be looking for ways to get extra veggies and protein into their diets and especially into the diets of their kids. Smooties are a great and delicious way to do that. Veggie or Protein smoothies are great for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I usually give my kids their smooties after naps.

And get the kids involved! Let them help make the smoothies and then it’s their creation 🙂

A key ingredient in any smoothie is a quality protein that you can be confident is made well and doesn’t contain artificial ingredients or fillers. I use Shaklee proteins for my family because of the Shaklee Difference. For my kids I most often use the Shaklee Meal Shakes or sometimes the Energizing Soy Protein. I stick with vanilla because I often make shakes for a before bed snack when we’ve had an early dinner so I avoid the chocolate. For myself, I use Shaklee180 smoothie mix (which is safe for the kids too, if you choose to use that one). These are also all great to make Peanut Butter Bites.

All of my smoothies contain almond milk as a base. How much almond milk (or milk or water) you use it mostly dependent on the consistency that you want the shake. My kids do much better with a more liquidy drink. I often add coconut milk to my children’s smoothies (full fat) to add fat and the health benefits of coconut milk. When I don’t have that available, I add straight up coconut oil and just blend really well.

Almost all my smoothies have banana in them as well. This is for flavor and consistency more than health benefits but bananas have great nutrients too. I usually do about 1/3 of a banana per person.

Veggie Smoothie:
A veggie smoothie can be made with whatever veggies you have in the house, which is great. And the great thing is that often RAW veggies and the hardest for kids (especially little ones who are not great at chewing yet) to get and have the most health benefits. Just blend them up—even if it’s a small amount:
Carrots: These add a sweet flavor and a good color. Just make sure to blend well to avoid chunks.
Broccoli: Start with a very small bunch. Not an extremely strong flavor but evident.
Spinach: No flavor change! Just turns the drink green. Put in as much as you want (frozen works too).
Kale: Start with a very small amount. The bitterness can be offset by other flavors but experiment carefully.
Zucchini: Adds a creamy texture without a lot of flavor change
Avocado: A great addition for thickness (especially for those who use water)

One of my favorite smoothie sayings is, “Peanut butter covers a multitude of vegetables.” I often add peanut butter to the shakes. I can add raw broccoli, kale and such and they still mostly just taste the peanut butter. This also works by adding frozen berries.

Protein Milk Shake:
There are times when my kids just need a totally delicious yummy shake and they really only need protein and the other nutrients found in the protein mixes. Examples are when they have had a meal with too many carbs and need to balance it out with protein or when I really just need to get some vitamins in them (see below).

With those I just mix the milk, banana, peanut butter and protein mix.  Or, today I did frozen berries, milk, banana, and protein mix.  These are incredibly delicious and very nutritious. If you are trying to move your child away from an all-grains breakfast, I would start with a shake like this.

Other Additions:
Protein shakes are a great way to get other vitamins into your kids if they do not want them mixed in something like applesauce. Some that I crush for my kids in shakes include:
Nutriferon: A very powerful immune booster for sick seasons and situations
Alfalfa: A great natural decongestant and anti-inflammatory
Defend and Resist: For when a cold or sickness is just beginning
Vitamin D:  To boost the immune system and improve mood and energy

I also mix these chewables in for my littlest one when needed:
Incredivites Multivitamin Multimineral
Chewable Vitamin C

Sometimes I also add in Chia Seeds.

If the color of a green smoothie bothers your kids (I have one that it does), mask the drink in a non-see-through cup.
The kids drink up and get so many good things in those little growing bodies!
Hope this helps get you started with making protein or veggies smoothies for your family! Is there anything else you add that you can share with us?

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Phoebe’s Turkey Burger with Avocado Slaw and Sweet Potato Hash

My sister Phoebe is a very creative and healthy cook. I love to get recipes from her! Here is one she just posted recently that I am excited to try. Check it out:


phoebe recipie 

For the hash:
Use your food processor to shred two large sweet potatoes.
Chop 1/2 of a large onion finely.
Place a tab of grass-fed butter (I use Kerrygold) in a pan on medium/high heat and sautee the onions.
When the onions become clear add the potatoes and salt to taste.  You can mix them to cook, or, if you like them crispier, you can make potato pancakes and cook each separately.  Cook until crispy on the outsides.

For the slaw:
Place two avocados into a food processor with 1 tbsp olive oil a little cumin (or a lot if you like spicy) a little salt and a squeeze of lemon juice and lime juice.  Pulse until smooth.  Fold into half a bag of cole slaw or shredded cabbage (I can’t find shredded cabbage on its own).

For the burger:
Mix ground turkey with a pinch of cumin, a small amount of paprika, a little shredded cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.  Then form burgers with it and cook in a pan on mediumhigh heat until each side is browned.  I like each side to be a little crispy.

To finish:
Put some potatoes on your plate, top them with the slaw, and finally place the burger on top.  Yum!


Thanks, Phoebe!

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Six Vegetables a Day? How do you do that?

You have likely seen me reference eating six vegetables per day minimum in a lot of my posts. You may struggle to get one in each day. That’s okay. We all have to start somewhere. Let’s talk about a few ways to get more vegetables into your diet and your children’s diets.

And remember—this IS hard—it does take forethought, but you CAN do it:

Add vegetables to your eggs. This day we added chopped zucchini, steamed broccoli from the night before and frozen spinach. The muffin also has carrots in it.

Leftovers from dinner are an easy way to make sure you have all your veggies (if you had veggies for dinner). Roasted vegetables, broccoli soup, a salad, or a special broccoli salad are great ways to add vegetables to other lunch items.

Easy and great snacks include raw carrots dipped in sunflower butter with raisins; celery in peanut butter; sugar snap peas; green smoothies; raw broccoli or cauliflower dipped in a healthy dressing. Those are just a few ideas. Picnic broccoli makes a great snack too!


Salads, roasted vegetables, and soups are great ways to get many vegetables in at once. In this picture I made two roasted vegetable dishes (five vegetables) and cauliflower coconut “mashed potatoes”. We used all these items for lunch the next day.

Now these are just a few ideas to get you started. I hope to post additional ideas in the future. Hope this way helpful to give you some easy ideas to add to your routine!


Five Ways to Offset the Sugar Overload


So, of course, last week was Halloween and we let our child partake in the trick-or-treating and the festivities. So not only did we get a house full of candy from her two costumed gathering excursions, and have the leftovers from our own house—but we also hosted a baby shower on Saturday.

And even though Halloween is over, we are only just entering the sugar overload season. Thanksgiving and Christmas and all the parties and gatherings and activities are full of high sugar sweets and high carb foods.

Now if you know me personally, you know that we are not the kind of “healthy” people who give out pencils at Halloween and have children that can’t identify a Reeses. We let our children learn moderation, as we hopefully show by example and let them enjoy the same festivities and special treats that we do.

All that to say, the REALITY is that SUGAR EFFECTS US. I plan to write more extensively on this topic, but you can read many resources to prove that “Consuming too much sugar suppresses immune system cells responsible for attacking bacteria. Even consuming just 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about the same as in two 12-ounce sodas) reduces the ability of white blood cells to overpower and destroy bacteria.” (WebMD)  Quotes aside, I clearly see the effects of sugar in my daughter’s behavior and her health. So what do we do?

Here are five ideas to help offset the sugar overload in your children (or you)

1.  Planning and Moderation: Consider all the opportunities over the week where sugar will be consumed. Plan and set expectations beforehand so everyone is prepared. Limit the sugar and look at the whole picture of the week or weekend.

2. Protein Balance: Before they have all the sugar—make sure to give them healthy proteins so help combat the effects of the sugar. Protein shakes, eggs, meats, and nuts are great ways.

3. Vegetable Balance: Don’t forget to give your children the nutrients they need to keep their bodies healthy. Their bodies have the power to fight illness but need the fuel to do so. Giving them plenty of vegetables will help keep them healthy so they can have a few treats over the holidays.

4. Probiotics: Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut. And since 80% of your immune system is in your gut and 40% of your brain receptors are in your gut—it’s health is quite important and that’s why these sugar clearly effect behavior and health. You can help heal the gut and revive the good bacteria with a quality probiotic.

5. The Vitamin Milkshake: We like to make the Vitamin Milkshake for our kids which includes: almond milk, peanut butter, banana, frozen spinach, protein, Vitamin D, Nutriferon (half), and alfalfa. Paired with the above it helps boost their immunity when the sugar brings it down.

What else do you do to offset the sugar overload?


35 Minute Broccoli Soup (updated)

This soup is yummy and fairly healthy. It’s a 35 minute start to finish soup. It has a simple process to get it done in 35 minutes. My little ones love it and so do I! Add meat to it or as a side if you desire.


You will need:
A big pot
A hand blender
1 sweet onion
1-2 carrots
1-2 stalks celery
5 medium red potatoes
32 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup water
5-6 big heads of broccoli
1 cup of cashews
Salt (at your discretion)

Now the great part about a soup like this is it’s flexible. Only have half an onion? Just use that. Want yours to have be more heavy on the potatoes? Add more. Don’t have as much broccoli as you thought? Oh well. Only have a half a container of broth left? Just add water with a little salt and it works out just fine. I love recipes like that!

What to do:
Soak cashews in water
Cut the onion into chunks (don’t worry, you blend it later)
Chop carrots and celery
Sauté in the butter
After onions are translucent, add broth and water and bring to a boil
While that’s sautéing and the broth is boiling: Eye and chop the potatoes into even-ish pieces
Add potatoes and cover for 8-10 min
During that time: chop broccoli into florets
Add to pot and boil for 5-7 min
Strain cashews, put in blender with just enough water to blend until creamy
Blend with hand blender till at desired consistency
Add cashew cream and you are done*


Did you add anything to improve this simple recipe? I added bacon recently and it was amazing.


Food Prep Day(s)

My food prep days for this post were the worst possible days to do it…or the best…depending on how you look at it.

The first thing to do is to plan well, but not rigidly.

First, set aside a chunk of time to prioritize food prep. And prioritize is the key word. I have decided that eating healthy is important to our family, but I don’t want to spend all my days chopping vegetables. I plan it this way so my children may scream at my ankles for an afternoon, but on most days, dinner takes a few minutes to throw together. I want healthy food quickly accessible and so I make a choice to work hard to make that happen. I also am on a tight grocery budget and planning well is key to making the most out of your groceries.

Second, plan your meals. Plan it, Don’t Panic was a great book for me to read to give me some guidance on this. I personally have a month overview going always, with known meals or dinner guests already written in. Then my week’s plan is plotted generally (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) but is fluid. I have to be ready to flex for change of plans, last minute dinner guests, and children whose food intake varies greatly from day to day. Even having a basic overview of what you’re going to have helps you know what to make and how long it’s going to last.

Third, plan what you’re going to make. Make a list of the items and prepare. This is important if you have to factor in your grill-man. I personally have no idea how to grill, so when I want grilled chicken for the week, I have to plan this around when my amazing, wonderful, much-better-cook-than-me is available. So Sunday night (of this food prep week) he grilled about eight chicken breasts for us that I had marinated earlier that day.


But when you have two small children, a business you run from home, and ministry responsibilities at church, things may not go as planned. Today was just such a day. First, over the weekend, I did not have time to go to all three grocery stores, I frequent. So, not everything I planned to make was even in the house. Also, I prefer to use a morning for food prep because the kids are in better moods and there is more time and less pressure with dinner coming too. This particular afternoon the kids were crabby and I had not had time to clean the kitchen in preparation for the food prep based on some other things that had to be done. So I flexed. I re-worked my strategy and changed the plan. I moved the prep into two or three days and just re-worked the meal plans for the week.


With all the factors I had to strategize. I had originally planned to have roasted vegetables with dinner this night. But I didn’t have the red peppers or broccoli. So I had to prioritize getting the salad veggies ready because that’s what my husband and I would have for dinner with the grilled chicken. Then I was able to make a list of what I would have to do the second day.


I started with carrots. I had already steamed some over the weekend for the little one, but I needed to prepare various carrots. Knowing this I could save time by peeling and chopping them all at once. I sliced up some for snacks for my husband to take to work, some very small for my daughter’s afternoon snacks (with sunflower butter and raisins), chopped some in a bag for the roasted vegetables I’ll make later in the week, and then grated some in the VitaMix for salads and Ryan’s Tuna. (I only recently discovered that I did not have to do all this grating by hand). Then I did the same with the Brussel sprouts—2/3 chopped (the smaller ones) for roasting and 1/3 grated for salads. Then added celery for snacking. I also saved all the ends of the carrots and celery thanks to a recent frugal meal planning tip.

Then I was able to throw salads and dinners together quickly.


After dinner, and after the baby was in bed, my three-year-old and I made Sunflower Muffins together. She loves to bake with me and she knew she would get one when they were done. I had also thrown some hard boiled eggs on the stove before I started on the veggies, so those got chopped and prepped for snacks for my husband and baby.

When I had time I baked a huge sweet potato, that I used for dinner that night (after the girls finished their veggies) and then had it for the rest of the week. I also steamed broccoli. I used this for the baby for a main vegetable, but I also chop this up and add it, along with frozen spinach—to our scrambled eggs in the morning*


So this is what I prepped on Monday:
Carrots and celery sticks for husband’s snacks (enough for the week)
Thinly sliced carrots for toddler’s snack (enough for the week)
Grated carrots for Ryan’s Tuna which I will prepare Wednesday
Grated carrots and Brussels sprouts to add to salads for lunches and dinners during the week
Chopped carrots and Brussel sprouts to prepare for roasting
Hard boiled eggs cut and seasons for husband’s lunches
Hard boiled eggs chopped for baby’s snacks
Sunflower muffins for breakfasts (2/3 muffins were frozen for future weeks)
Bag of “ends” to freeze and make chicken stock
This is what I prepped on day Tuesday:
Baked Sweet potato
Steamed broccoli

One of my other favorite food prep items is to create Convenient, Easy, and Healthy Baby Finger Foods.
After that the meals just came together—was half-ready for roasted veggies later in the week and prepared with a lot of food to feed my family healthy foods on busy days. I hope this was helpful to all who asked. Every time is different. I don’t always do this, but when I do, we eat healthier, save money, and have less stressful pre-meal hours.


Do you have additional questions? Was this helpful?


*One of my husband’s many brilliant ideas saves me LOTS of time. I make scrambled eggs three times a week and re-heat them in a sauce pan on the other mornings. This is great because I don’t have to make the big breakfast on days we head out early or on Sunday mornings while we are trying to prepare for church.


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Quentil (Quinoa and Lentil)

A simple, high-protein side dish that I have now coined as “quentil” is something I created from a few other recipes and a need to use some lentils in the pantry, as well as wanting to make some additional high protein, meat-less dishes for my family. (This was one of the great recommendations for frugal and healthy meal planning).

I made this with roasted vegetables for dinner and then used the leftovers along with some chicken on another day.

What you need:
14 oz chicken or vegetable broth
1 c. quinoa
1 c. lentils
3/4 c. frozen peas
2 TB Parmesan cheese or a dairy-free replacement
1 tsp butter or alternative


What to do:

Preheat the oven to 350
Mix everything together in an oven-safe dish with cover


Add foil over the dish and cover



Cook for 40 minutes and then let sit for 10+ minutes.

When you open it, it will look ugly, so mix it around and serve

IMG_9782 IMG_9783


Tastes great with roasted veggies



And even the little ones love it!



But you will need to vacuum after you let a one-year-old feed it to herself 🙂



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Ryan’s Tuna Salad

Being fully aware of the increased risks of canned foods and large fish, we don’t eat tuna all the time. But, it is a great and healthy lunch to make–especially on a Monday when I have no leftovers left and need to put something together. This is my husband Ryan’s fun twist on tuna adding some all-important veggies. We think the benefits out weigh the risks when eaten a few times a month.


1 can tuna
Kale (I use fresh if we have, but frozen works great and is always in the freezer)
Shredded carrots
Trader Joe’s Wasabi Mayo
Red salt (or regular salt)
1/4 to 1/2 avocado

Mix together.



Five Frugal and Nutritious Meal Planning Tips

I am so excited to have my second guest blogger sharing some great ideas with us! I hope you find this as helpful as I did. Alysa Seeland is a long-time , dear friend and an amazing writer, mom, and wife. Enjoy!



Meal planning on a tight budget is hard, but doing so with nutrition in mind can seem like a lost cause – NOT SO! I want to share with you five ways my family saves money every week allowing us to eat well AND stay within our means.

1. Save The Veggies!
So you’re chopping carrots and what’s the first thing you do? Slice off the tip and the end and toss them in the garbage. Instead of throwing them away, toss them into a freezer bag to make stock at your convenience. We do this with onions, celery, carrots, asparagus, even the occasional green and red pepper so that we can use them to make stock – chicken, veggie and sometimes beef stock. Every time I fill a gallon freezer bag with these veggie discards I yield a 10C batch of stock. Your average store bought broth clocks in at $3.50 that comes to $0.10 and oz that you’re saving, or $8.75 for a 10C batch. I freeze whatever stock I’m not using that day in 1qt portions to use later.

2. Mind Your Meat
I LOVE me a red juicy steak, ESPECIALLY in the morning with an over easy egg, homefries and watermelon (and, this girl’s supposed to be healthy?!) but that doesn’t mean I need a full 8oz strip at every meal. We shave at least $12 a week off of our budget by cooking meatless 2-3 out of the seven nights and by “peppering” our other meals with meat leaving the veggies to be the main dish. I’ll give you an example:

For our chicken kabob salad I only prepare 1 lg chicken breast (3 tenders, 2 thighs) for every 2 people. To ensure the hubs doesn’t go hungry, we make a large batch of hummus (good source of protein) and pile the veggies high. Its much cheaper to buy three bags of carrots than 2 lbs of meat!

If you find you are CRAVING meat on a meatless night, fry up some turkey bacon and crumble it on top of your entree (it’s surprisingly versatile). We’ve done this quite often and it definitely works.

3. Portion Police
A big way that I save time is by making one to two larger meals a week BUT I have found that if I do not siphon off portions for the other meals I need this stew to last for – we end up eating whatever I leave in the pot. Although it might seem too good to be true, putting out ONLY what we need to eat on the table keeps us from overeating and helps our meals to last longer. Sometimes, especially at first, family members might still be hungry when they reach the bottom of the bowl, make sure you have fresh seasonal fruit and veggies on the table can help finish off their appetite.

4. Scrumptiously Seasonal
I cannot stress this point enough, especially in the fall – buy seasonal! Even if you don’t love the item, it’s seasonal flavor might surprise you. I can only stand cantaloupe and peaches in season and there’s good reason for that – it’s naturally their time to shine!

Loading up on the seasonal fruit is also great way to stretch your nutritional dollar by replacing dessert. A bowl of fresh berries, a fresh-fruit smoothie, an unsweetened sorbet (mango is absolutely delicious) is not only better for you but is surprisingly competitive if not cheaper price-wise when bought in season. Great options for fall are pumpkin, squashes and “stuffed” soups and stews with hearty greens like kale.

5. One Big Batch
Although I can’t quite devote a whole day to food-prep, I do find ways to minimize my daily time-spend on food by making one big dish that lasts 3 meals for the week. This is also a great meal to stuff full of veggies especially ones that are harder to stand like radish leaves, kale, chard and beets. Kale stew, summer squash stew, white bean stew (seeing a pattern here?) chili, and chicken soup are some of my favorites. If we get tired of the meal or I have more than I planned on, I freeze 1 meals worth to use in a pinch.

By: Alysa Seeland