Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Cluttered Home: Cluttered Mind: Cluttered Soul

Picture this… a mom, who is trying her best to keep her kids fed and thriving and learning and not fighting and the house clean and the dishes clean and the toys put away and the kids entertained and the clothes put away and the dog fed and the bathrooms wiped down and the kitchen sanitized and the carpet looking as best it can and her husband de-stressed at home and the car vacuumed and the flowers alive

Tired yet?

Yeah, me too.  Sometimes in my day I can’t seem to keep my head above water, or above the clutter.  Some days I have to literally walk around with my head looking up so as not to be burdened by all the stuff collecting in my home.  Please say you can relate!

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my closet, before

I truly believe whether you are a stay a home mom, a working mom, a single mom, or not a mom at all, we all have the struggle with STUFF.  And I believe that the society that we live in has made us obsessed with having more.  Doing more. Being more.  So when my days get heavy with the hard stuff and my house can’t even be a calming, peaceful retreat, I cannot seem to get a grasp on any one thing. 

I am so excited to share this book with you! The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing a.k.a The KonMari Method.

It was recommended by a friend, so I read it as quickly as I could.  Along the way, I shared some ideas with my husband.  He was so quickly on board that he wanted to get started even before I finished reading the book! Ha!

So what did we do?  Called up my parents and asked if they could watch our kids so that we could…CLEAN!  I know.  We are some wild and crazy kids! 

I was drowning so deep in my things that

Once we began, the KonMari rules started to make sense.  For example, the book recommends starting with categories of items instead of rooms. The author suggests touching each piece to truly part with it. We asked ourselves if different items sparked joy in our life, among other rules outlined in the book.  Initially, we mocked the rules, but as we worked through the process, we began to praise them. 

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my closet, mostly done!

 

To be honest, it has been a spiritual experience for me.  The Lord asks the rich ruler to give all of his posessions away — could I do that?  The Lord calls me to be a good steward of what I have been given, and honestly, if I can’t even be joyful in my home, am I being a good steward in it?  Can I serve my kids, husband, friends, and family well?  My problem was that I was drowning so deep in my things that I couldn’t be a good mom or wife or daughter of the King.  I wasn’t a good version of myself. 

I am learning through my imperfections that the Lord wants me as I am.  But I have to make room in my life to hear Him.   I must make room in my life and in my home to learn and worship Him in all areas. This means willingly giving up things that are currently taking up space to make room for more of God.  

Over the next several weeks, maybe even months — because truly this is a process — Creating a Great Day will:

  • Weekly have a “KonMari Spiritual Adventures” thread on Facebook as a way to encourage each other on this journey.  Post what you feel comfortable with.  This is not about embarrassing anyone but truly freeing ourselves from physical stuff so that spiritually we can be ready for any adventure God takes us on.  
  • Every few weeks encourage you to tackle a new area of your house with a Blog post.  Of course, we will be following the KonMari method so we will go in her order but detail it out for you, just in case you don’t know it, sharing our funny stories and our spiritual lessons.
Will you join us on the KonMari Adventure with a Spiritual Twist of freeing ourselves up physically and spiritually to do God’s will?  

Don’t have a copy of the book?  No problem!  Enter to win a copy.

“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Book Giveway

This is not a sponsored post.  Creating a Great Day is providing the book for this giveaway because we have found this to be helpful to us.

Although the book itself isn’t spiritual in nature, it does provide a lot of springboard applications that can be used to tidy up our hearts as well as our homes.

Attacking the Closet! {KonMari Spiritual Adventures}

KonMari home, mind, and soul

Healthy Holiday Habits

Healthy Holiday Habits

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

Latest posts by Julie W (see all)

I am such a huge fan of all things fall and the holiday season!  What I am not such a fan of are all the years I spent feeling guilty for days after the holidays because of all the so-called bad food I let myself go crazy with.

I have since learned some simple healthy habits that keep me feeling totally satisfied with my entire holiday experience. I have determined to rid myself of the food-guilt relationship once and for all.

These tips also come in handy for that very purpose.

1. Focus on having a super-healthy couple of days prior to the BIG day.

Have a few meat-free days, load up on fresh produce, and try to reduce your sugar intake for several days, which will curb your desire for sweets a bit before you are bombarded with tons of desserts and treats.

2. Focus more on the gathering and the people present than on the food itself.

Yes, eating is a huge part of our American tradition, but take the time to really be present with your guests. Set a beautiful table and engage your friends in conversation and laughter, prolonging the eating experience. Statistically speaking, we do the most calorie damage in the first few minutes of eating. We power through the meal, and before we know it we have overeaten to the point of discomfort. Take time to savor the flavors and the simple joy of eating together. In a nutshell…slow down.

3. Keep some healthy go-to dishes on hand and even offer to bring a dish or two if you are the guest and not the cook.

Survey the table and fill your plate with the healthier options, filling up on those first. Then with the bit of room you’ve saved, go ahead and have the treats you look forward to every year. This strategy works wonders! You still enjoy the things you love, but you have nourished your body with some good choices first, which allows you to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here are a couple of my must-haves.

For me, the sweet tooth queen of the world, if I have these two backups on hand I am a happy camper and not totally at the mercy of the dessert buffet!

Click here for the recipe printable  – Healthy Holiday Habits

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My Favorite Apple Cider

In a slow cooker combine:

  • 64 oz pure apple cider
  • 2 cinnamon sticks,
  • 1 split vanilla bean
  • 6 chai tea bags
  • Cook on low for 4 hours.

Remove all the bags, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bean and add ¼ cup lemon juice, stir, and serve.

Pumpkin bread that will rock your healthy world

In a large bowl combine:

  • 5 cups pure pumpkin
  • 2 cups coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¾ cup safflower oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Thoroughly mix with a large spoon until combined. In another large bowl, combine:

  • 4 cups spelt flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (I use grain-sweetened chips such as Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts or macadamia nuts.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and thoroughly mix until well combined. Note: if you want to hold back a little bit of the chips and nuts you can sprinkle them on the top before baking.

Bake in three greased loaf pans (I like to use coconut oil on a paper towel to grease the pans) at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Let the loaves cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn them out onto a baking rack to cool completely.  ENJOY!

Happy holidays! Share love and Jesus with everyone who comes into your presence!

 

 

 

 

Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Sweep, Clean, and Fill It Up: The Principle of Crowding Out

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

Latest posts by Julie W (see all)

Crowding Out

In Health Coaching School, I learned an interesting concept called crowding out. In terms of nutrition, it means to stop focusing on the laundry list of foods that you can’t or shouldn’t eat. Instead, one should focus on the single goal of just adding more good things in. It’s not necessarily beginning by removing the bad things, but simply trying to fit in all the healthy foods you need every day.

Here is where it gets interesting. After a few months of applying this technique there seems to be a unanimous “Aha!” moment when people say:

You know what? I was so busy trying to get all the good stuff in. I just didn’t have the time, or frankly, the room in my tummy for the bad stuff.

There you have it!  This secret applies not only to weight management but almost every aspect of our lives.

A Biblical Concept as well as a Practical One

This concept is a very biblical one. Its principles are not so new where the word of God is concerned. In Luke 11 Jesus is driving out many demons and having some rather harsh discussions. (This parable often confused me until I learned the principles of crowding out.) In verse twenty-four, an impure spirit is cast out of a person. The spirit goes on a journey seeking a new residence, but it cannot find a place to rest. The spirit then decides it will return to its former home. When it arrives, it finds the place swept clean and put in order. The spirit then finds seven other demons more evil than itself to move in also. And the person is in much worse shape than before.

Just before telling this particular parable, Jesus says:

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.

Jesus is talking in verbs here–action words–and this passage of scripture is a call to action!

Jesus calls us to a positive response, and this requires movement on our part. It is not enough for us to rid ourselves of the dust, clutter, and garbage. We must replace and fill in those gaping holes with the good. This principle applies whether it be food, vices, negative selftalk, anger, etc.

Christ is calling us to the principle of crowding out.

 

 

Don't (1)Don’t sweep the house clean and leave it vacant. Too much empty space leaves us wide open for an attack from the enemy. Fill the house with every good and perfect thing you can get your hands on, whether that’s Christian music in your car, a scripture on your bathroom mirror, your daily devotional time, walks outside in prayer, etc.  Don’t get so bogged down in trying to change the so-called “bad” behavior/habits, which revolves around negativity.  Once we have let go of that particular struggle or sin we are left with an emotional sinkhole.

Let’s fill our minds, bodies, hearts, marriages, relationships, and work spaces with such overflowing good that after a while we all have a unanimous “Aha!” moment and say:

You know, I focused so much on filling up on God’s word, God’s love, and sharing that with the other people in my life. Before I knew what happened, I no longer had space for all the negative, destructive thoughts or behaviors. The good stuff filled me to the brim. Not only is my house swept clean, but it is bursting with life and vitality only the Lord can provide. 

What area(s) of life is Christ calling you to crowd out, sweep clean, and fill up with God?

 

We at Creating a Great Day want to hear what you have to say. In order to maintain a safe and encouraging environment, we ask that all comments be respectful.  

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The Bully in my Brain

The Bully in my Brain

Julie W

I am a certified fitness instructor and have been teaching group fitness classes for over 22 years. I am also a board certified holistic health counselor with a degree from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. I am 48 years old with a 25 year old daughter and a 23 year old son. My husband Chris and I have been married for 28 years. I have been a member of the Church of Christ my entire life as well as my mother, father and both sets of grandparents. I am the owner of a local food service based business and currently teach conditioning classes here in the Edmond area. I have been a strict vegetarian for many years but I will walk 10 miles barefoot in the snow for a good piece of chocolate! ;)
Julie W

Latest posts by Julie W (see all)

The Voice in Our Heads

We go out of our way to be kind to total strangers. We watch our tone with our children. When the conversation is important, we measure our words carefully. And yet for a lot of us, none of these rules apply to the voice that speaks the loudest in our own minds. I wonder why?

We not only say hurtful and belittling things to ourselves, but that voice also has a tone. It is not sweet or kind; it sounds critical, judgmental, and harsh.  In my health counseling practice I have spoken with so many women who repeat the same demeaning mantra over and over as if on a recording device.  Things like:

  • “You’re so stupid.”
  • “You are so lazy. Why can’t you get your act together?”
  • “You will always be fat so stop trying to be something you’re not.”
  • “You’re weak…you don’t matter…you aren’t capable…”

And the list goes on and on.

We would NEVER speak to another person with those words or that accusing tone but we have no qualms about being our own worst nightmare.  We would never put up with another person treating us in such a way. But if it’s coming from our own voice, in our own head, not only is it fine but we believe it to be true.

The Need for Self-Compassion

Two words have been cropping up over the past several years in counseling offices, in therapy books, and TED talks alike.  Those two words are SELF COMPASSION.  Most of us know how to be compassionate to others but are at a loss how to offer that same love to ourselves.  In the words of one of my favorite Natalie Grant songs, she says, “You can’t be free if you don’t reach for help and you can’t love, if you don’t love yourself,” and it is so very true.

Frequently, I am asked questions about:

  • Techniques for weight loss
  • How to stop overeating
  • Ways to have more energy
  • How to feel more confident in my own skin.

As a fitness trainer, I know the scientific solutions to these questions but without self-compassion, self-love and self-care, none of it works.Remember the 2 greatest commandments-

Remember that the two greatest commands are to love God and to love others.  Matthew 22 goes on to say that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Self-love and compassion is a commandment of God’s word. I think a lot of us have missed the mark on this one.

The body is the single most proficient machine ever created.  It is beyond the measure of intelligence and efficiency and comes with all the signs, signals, and tools we need to be fully alive and functional.  The problem is we have stopped listening.  So many louder voices speak over us that we are no longer in tune with our bodies’ demands, wants, and needs.

Getting Rid of the Brain Bully

What if we made a pact with ourselves to remove that harsh, critical voice in our heads, and to honor our bodies by listening to its messages?

The answers to all of those health and weight loss questions lie in this formula.

When my body says:

  • Rest–I will rest.
  • Eat–I will honor it with healthy, life-giving nutrition and I will stop eating when I am satisfied.
  • I am hurt–I will deal with the issue immediately whether physical or emotional.
  • I feel like crying–Cry.
  • I need a friend–Call one.

How opposite is this compared to the way most of us operate?  We tell ourselves we don’t have time to:

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Rest.
  • Deal with that hurt right now.
  • Connect with others.

We push and push and push and completely ignore the things our bodies are literally begging us for.

Some of us:

  • Make our bodies wait hours for nutrition.
  • Sleep as little as 3-4 hours a night.
  • Give so much to work that we miss out on the very things that make our lives meaningful.

We all struggle with these issues. However, we must find balance in order to avoid the consequences of an overworked, over-stressed, and physically exhausted lifestyle.

The body-spirit-mind connection is so strong.

The three are inseparable, so to honor one is to honor all.  If we take this challenge we will fall in line with God’s design for us both physically as well as emotionally.  We will kick the brain bully to the curb. We will treat ourselves with the same love and kindness we extend to those around us.

We are worth it and some of us have spent far too long believing otherwise!  Since God’s own son died for one and all, HE certainly believed you were worth it!

Are you ready to start kicking the brain bully to the curb?  

What changes will you start making today to live in line with God’s design for us?

Warm Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Salad

Warm Spaghetti Squash and Spinach Salad

Lindsay W

Hi! Born in the great state of Texas and raised in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, this Daughter of the Alamo/Georgia Peach is still adjusting to life in Razorback Nation! My husband and I live just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas with our two toddlers and two crazy pups. I’m a small business owner, chocolate aficionado, and travel lover with a 2pm coffee hour no matter what time zone I’m in!
Lindsay W

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What to do with leftovers?

Do you ever feel a bit like a catfish when it comes to leftovers in your house? Not so much that you’re a bottom dweller, but that the task of consuming leftovers falls mostly on you?

Being a work from home mama, I can feel this way a lot. Especially since I’m incredibly grocery budget conscious and hate to throw leftover food into the trash.

When I plan our weekly dinners, whether or not they will portion out enough for leftovers to make lunch the following day for me or my toddler is a consideration. Especially if it’s a meal that requires me to buy an ingredient solely specific to that meal.

Spaghetti squash is a prime example.

I’m not a big pasta eater, but pasta and meat sauce is easy and fast. It can be made super healthy if you buy the right kind of pasta. And I can even sneak extra vegetables and fiber into my toddler’s diet without so much as one thrown rotini noodle. So, we have it for dinner at least every other week.

But instead of pasta, I serve a generous portion of cooked spaghetti squash onto my plate. The tummy is much happier!

Since I’m the only one who eats spaghetti squash, I’m left with a decent amount left over for the following day, even if the squash was a small one.  If there’s any leftover meat sauce and pasta, my toddler gets that for lunch.

So, what to do with all this spaghetti squash?

On my grocery budget? Without buying some extra ingredient just for one or maybe two lunches?

I feel a little bit like the contestants on Food Network’s show Chopped staring down at my basket of ingredients.

Thankfully, spaghetti squash is pretty versatile. While I’ve thrown together some leftover lunches using spaghetti squash and whatever random things I found in my fridge, what I’m about to share with you is my favorite leftover lunch combination. The basic recipe leaves a lot of room for foodies who have more time to construct a lunch than I do most days to elevate it to something really fancy. (Let’s face it–if I have to cut up more than one thing and use anything other than the microwave or toaster oven to prepare lunch, it’s a NO GO.)

I call it Warm Spaghetti Squash & Spinach Salad.

BASIC* Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash

1 can of garbanzo beans

5-6 cherry tomatoes or 1 Roma tomato

1 heaping cup of raw baby spinach (a good handful for you non-measuring people like me)

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

Parmesan cheese (for garnish)

Red pepper flakes or freshly cracked black peppercorns (to taste)

*See farther down for elevated ingredient ideas.

Directions to Cook the Spaghetti Squash:

Remember, this is a leftover, so for lunch I’m just pulling it out of the fridge already cooked and shredded. But, if you want to cook one just for this recipe, here’s how I cook mine.

Fill your stock pot halfway with water and bring to a boil.

Use your biggest, sharpest knife (a chef’s knife will do the trick) to cut your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.

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Once your water is boiling, very carefully place each half into the stock pot.

Boil for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big your spaghetti squash is. You should be able to pierce it without resistance with a fork.

Once it’s cooked, I very carefully pour everything out of the stock pot into a colander which I’ve placed in the sink.

Once the halves have cooled down enough for you to handle them, use a fork (or two) to remove one of the halves from the colander and place it on a plate on your counter. Use a fork to scoop the seeds out of the squash.

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After boiling, but with seeds still intact.

You’ll pull some of the squash with it too, and it will feel a lot like cleaning out a pumpkin at Halloween, only hotter. Discard the seeds.

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After scooping the seeds out.

Now you’re ready to shred your spaghetti squash. Just use two forks and scrape the top of the flesh. It will scrape off like little “spaghetti noodles.”

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Transfer your “noodles” to a bowl (preferably glass or ceramic since they’re going to be hot). Repeat with the second half.

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The finished “noodles.”

Directions to prepare the salad:

If you’re building your salad straight from here, ladle out at least a cup’s worth of spaghetti squash into a microwave-safe bowl. Next, drain and rinse your garbanzo beans. Add 1/3 cup to your spaghetti squash.

Next, quarter your cherry tomatoes lengthwise, or dice up a roma tomato and add it to the squash.

Add a heaping cup of baby spinach (or a generous handful) on top of the tomatoes.

Finally, squirt your lemon juice, drizzle your EVOO, and splash your red wine vinegar on top.

Pop your bowl in the microwave for one minute on high. This will soften your spinach and tomatoes and reheat your spaghetti squash if you started with cold leftover squash.)

Carefully remove from the microwave and adorn with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes or freshly cracked black pepper.

Voila! Lunch is served!

Now, this was the basic version using things you probably already have in your pantry or fridge.

Here are some ingredients you could add to elevate this dish. (Do I sound like a Chopped judge or what?!)

Elevated Ingredients:

Toasted pine nuts

Goat cheese or feta cheese (instead of parmesan cheese)

Finely chopped red onion

Greek vinaigrette (instead of lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and EVOO)

My favorite thing about this lunch is how easy yet healthy and economical it is. As work from home or stay at home mamas, we don’t have to always eat what our kids eat or adopt a catfish mindset when it comes to our lunches. With a little creativity, you can feel like you’re eating something prepared at a bistro! If you can tune out the Daniel Tiger songs that may be playing in the background, that is.

Do you have a dinner time leftover ingredient that you transform during the following day’s lunch? I’d love to know what it is and how you use it in the comments section!

<3 Lindsay

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Find some delicious recipes in these posts as well!

Favorite Homemade Soups Quick and Easy Recipes Frugal Meal Planning Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

It’s Hot and I’m Tired: Summer Frittata Recipe

It’s Hot and I’m Tired: Summer Frittata Recipe

Toni D

Toni was born and raised in a small town in Oklahoma.She graduated from East Central University with a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics.After college, she returned to her hometown to marry her best friend, Charles.Toni is a stay at home mom to their three teens, two boys and a girl, whom God led them to homeschool.Her goal is to raise her children to love and serve the Lord.They live on a farm where they grow produce to sell at several farmers markets.She also plays the piano at church and teaches piano.
Toni D

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Well, it’s late at night and I’m up against my deadline to submit my blog post.  This summer has been crazy and hectic.  Just today I spent the day at the doctor’s office and emergency room with my husband.  I had ideas for writing and I actually have one that is almost finished.  But, it’s hot out and I’m too tired!  I don’t have anything left in me…nothing inspirational, nothing profound, nothing!

I’m not the only one who feels this way from time to time (please tell me I’m not).  As moms, we can get overwhelmed by all of our responsibilities.  We care for our children, work (I’m self-employed), and have numerous outside responsibilities.

God is there!

He is always there.  No matter how tired and overwhelmed we feel.  He tells us in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” KJV

Healthy Tip #8

Rest!  I know that is easier said than done, but if we do not take care of ourselves, then how can we take care of others?  Remember, God rested on the seventh day, the Sabbath, as an example to us.  So REST!

Now, if your family is like mine, they like hot meals.  But who wants to cook a hot meal during the heat of summer?  As I said earlier, “It’s hot, and I’m tired.”  Here is a great, easy recipe that is hot but takes only a few minutes to prepare.  It’s perfect for using so many of the fresh veggies that are available this time of year.

Recipe

Summer Frittata

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I took this frittata to church one night. Everyone loved it!

6 eggs

1/4 c. milk

Salt and pepper to taste

10 okra pods, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 onions, diced

1 small potato, diced

1/2 c. shredded cheese  (I use cheddar but you can use your favorite.)

Mix eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Set aside.  Heat a broiler-safe skillet (I prefer cast iron).  Add a small amount of oil and and the veggies.  Cook about 5-7 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.  Add the egg mixture.  Stir just enough to incorporate the veggies but not enough to scramble the eggs.  Top with cheese, and then place in the broiler until the egg is set.  Serve in wedges with a salad and some fresh cantaloupe or watermelon.

"Okra!

 

Looking for more Real Food Recipes and Health Tips?

Check out these posts. 

Healthy Eating Real Food Stressed Grief

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