Category Archives: Food

A Happy Family

If you follow Color Transformed Family on Instagram (which if you don’t you totally should because I post there almost daily) then you know that for the past three months my family has been following the GAPS diet.

I shared some about it in this post…


Our family started a new diet (way of eating) last week. It’s called the GAPS (gut and psychology syndrome) Diet. We are still in the intro stages and for the past six days we have eaten homemade soup for nearly every meal. Today we got to start eating eggs and avocado and tonight we are celebrating with omelettes sans cheese. Let’s just say we’ve all been looking forward to this. So why the diet? Mainly in hopes that improving Judah’s gut health will help his brain to function better. There’s lots out there on the gut and brain being connected. Check it out. It’s not just for him though. This diet may help with anxiety and ADD. Our children have not been diagnosed with ADD but I do have one that struggles with focus and calming down and a husband that has ADD. So needless to say we feel like the whole family might benefit from this diet. #gapsdiet #cleaneating #food #omlette

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and this post.

It’s been three months since we started the GAPS diet. How are things going? Well if you know anything about the GAPS diet you might know that sweet potatoes are not allowed. But if you know anything about feeding a family of five you know that it’s not cheap. So after two months of our grocery bill practically doubling because of the abundance of meat, fruit, and veggies in our diet this month everyone except Judah added sweet potatoes and corn back to the diet. This gives me the freedom for some extra low-cost side options. When I’m cooking I try to stick to the diet guidelines as much as possible but some times we bend the rules a little and just cover it in prayer. For instance, I am not buying organic “everything”! No telling what that would do to the budget. I am buying good quality meat and washing my fruits and veggies with my Thieves Soak. We are currently in the process of really upping Judah’s (and our) fermented food intake. For the most part that consists of pickles, saurkraut, and homemade kefer. Judah (and me) are drinking homemade bone broth to help restore the gut wall to it’s intended glory. He loves it! Which is kind of funny because he’s never cared for milk or juice. I’m trying to figure out a way to sneak that in the girls’ diet. The girls. I’ll just have to share all about them and their view of the diet in another post because I could go on and on. So are we seeing results with Judah? Honestly, we will never know because we don’t know what his progress would have been like without the diet. What I do know is that he is continuing to learn and make progress in his therapy goals. I know he grins and has much more facial expression that he did a few months ago. I know that eating well won’t hurt him. Judah has so many good things helping him. He is prayed for and loved, is eating a healthy diet, has a regimen of essential oils, vitamins, and probiotics, and is blessed with amazing therapists and teachers. And most of all I know he has an amazing God who is using all of this for His glory! #gapsdiet #overcomingobstacles #learningwithjudah #cleaneating #food #health #yleo

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What I haven’t really talked about yet is how Noah and Esther are handling it. The two siblings who have given up a whole host of foods for no other reason in their mind except to support their brother on this health journey.

So hows it going?

They Love It

These girls are champs and have completely overhauled their diet with very minimal complaining.  One of the biggest helps for them is that I bought a GAPS diet cookbook that is filled with recipes for delicious meals and treats. They enjoy flipping through it and planning when we should try new recipes out and deciding what treats we should have for special occasions. Noah even claims that she never wants the diet to end because the food is so good.

Neither of my girls have ever been extremely picky but we feel like they have become even less picky while on the diet.  I think part of is that they know they either eat what is in front of them or don’t eat at all.  And it’s not like we are forcing them to eat food they dislike nine times out of ten they end up liking whatever they were skeptical about.  Except for butternut squash and chicken broth.  They both agree that they do not like either one of those.

Stronger Than Us

Michael Luke and I are always telling people that the girls are stronger on this diet than we are.  They have turned down so much that is not allowed on the GAPS diet.  From birthday cake to fried chicken to fruit punch these girls have held strong.

So much so that when ML and I went to a wedding last month we felt guilty for even thinking about cheating on a piece of wedding cake.  We just couldn’t when our girls had gone without so much with hardly a complaint.

We try not to make it to hard on them.  Our go to treat when we are out and about around others is a Larabar.  With many of their bars containing six ingredients or less but tasting like sweet indulgence like Key Lime Pie or Apple Pie it really hits the sweet spot.

Our other favorite treat we use to compensate missing out on sweets is Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I use the recipe on the back of Bob’s Red Mills Almond Flour sack and substitute the molasses for honey to cut down on costs.  I use Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips which are sweetened with stevia instead of sugar. Not sure if that is completely legal but it’s close enough.   These cookies are so good.  On mother’s day my entire extended family was raving about them… especially after I added a few drops of Young Living Orange Essential Oil.

Counting Down

The biggest motivation for the girls is that they know this diet is only temporary.  They totally have the mindset of “I can do anything for little while.”  We have a pretty big family vacation planned in October and I have promised the girls that during the vacation the diet is off.  Every time they turn down something they do it  knowing that come October they may get another opportunity to eat it.  Donuts, ice cream, pasta, and dim sum we are coming for you!

What We’ve Learned

Before the diet I was most nervous about giving up sugar.  Mainly because I wasn’t sure what would be left to eat after removing sugar and grains from our diets.  I have a sweet tooth and while I knew sugar was affecting my kids behavior and immune systems I still struggled with completely giving it up.

We’ve learned is that we really don’t miss it and life does indeed go on when you pass up a slice of birthday cake.  So after we return from vacation in October everyone except Judah will start to add foods back into the diet but sugar is one thing we don’t plan to add back.  There will be exception like birthdays where we splurge and enjoy one of our favorite Chloe Coscarelli cakes but sugar will no longer be a permanent staple in our diet.

We’ve also learned that this diet isn’t nearly as hard or scary as we initially thought it would be. We’ve all found our groove now and still have favorite recipes and things like Taco Tuesday that we get to enjoy.

Our family has and always be a family that enjoys food and this diet enables us to discover lots of new ways to enjoy foods… and that makes us happy.

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How I Lost 15 Pounds

One year ago I got fed up. I had had enough.  After nearly five years of “trying” to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight i was at my heaviest weight since bringing Noah into this world.  I was not satisfied with the look of my body but I honestly didn’t know what to do.  The more I “tried” the more it seemed like I gained weight.  I always thought it would be easier to maintain my weight once I became a stay at home mom.  No more sitting in a desk eight hours a day.  But all the running around after toddlers doesn’t erase all the snacks you find yourself eating with them and the secret pieces of chocolate you sneak into your mouth during nap times. Moms, you know what I’m talking about.  I knew that my next step needed to be serious.  I knew that this was a journey that I couldn’t do on my own because I can talk myself into eating any fun size candy bar, scoop of ice cream, or buttered biscuit.

The next step that I chose lead me to losing fifteen pounds over the past year!  I will be the first to admit to you that I was not overweight but keep in mind that I was not satisfied with the state of my body.  But when you are 4′-11″… (one inch shy of needing a booster seat) fifteen pounds is a LOT of weight and requires diligent effort.  Here’s how I did it.

Weight Watchers!

Yep, twelve months and a success story later and I have no shame in telling you that I followed in the steps of Oprah and joined Weight Watchers.  The only difference is that my success story doesn’t include personal trainers and chefs helping me on my journey.  My story is simply my life lived out normally while feeding and caring for my family of five. I’ve eaten out, vacationed, and occasionally splurged all while getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight and continually working towards my final goal.


So how did Weight Watchers help me?

It opened my eyes to that while I wasn’t eating a ton of food I was eating more than my body needed.  Unfortunately, my small little frame just doesn’t need a lot of food.  That fact is still a little sad because I LOVE food.  But I’ve learned to just enjoy a few bites of everything instead of feeling the need to consume everything offered me.  I have the Weight Watchers app and use it to calculate and budget my points for each day and week.  I get a certain amount of Smart Points each week that I can use whenever I want.  Generally, I save those for a special dessert sometime during the week. If I know that a party or big meal is coming up I’ll try to get some extra steps logged on my FitBit because it syncs with my Weight Watchers app and earns me extra Fit Points that can be used like Smart Points.

The beauty of the system is that I honestly don’t feel like I have been denied anything.  I’ve eaten mys share of sweets over the past year… they’ve just been balanced out with loads of fruits and veggies (0 Smart Points) and healthy cooked main meals.  Weight Watchers publishes a magazine and cookbooks throughout the year.

Most of the recipes that I have tried from these have been a huge success with my family with the girls begging me to cook some of them over and over again.

I haven’t attended a single Weight Watchers meeting, instead I chose the online membership route.  The catalyst that really got me motivated and opened my eyes to yummy treats like Halo Top Ice Cream is their social media platform Connect that is integrated into the Weight Watchers app.  Connect is filled with encouraging people, success stories, and endless motivation.

I’ve purposely taken time off from Weight Watchers while we were in China and during our Disney Cruise but it didn’t mean I wasn’t mindful of the food choices that I made.  My go to meals for dining out are grilled fish and vegetables.  I generally skip the salads and rolls because the dressing and wheat does nothing but eat up points that I would much rather use on something fun like dessert or an extra cup of coffee with creamer.

I’m the final five pounds away from my weight loss goal and I’m here to tell you that these five will be the hardest I have to lose.  Sometimes it’s not easy staying focused… especially now that I’m feeling confident in my body and loving how my clothes fit. I’m not giving up though and I don’t plan to stop using Weight Watchers once I hit my goal.  Budgeting my food is the way to go for me.  For years I have managed our grocery, clothing, and various other budgets for our household.  I understand and love the concept of using only what you have enough for and saving for something special.  Basically Weight Watchers speaks a language that I understand.  It may not be for everyone but I love it!

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Kneading More Bread

4-tips-for-baking-breadThe other week I posted a picture of fresh sourdough bread that I had made. My friend asked for some tips and recipes so I thought it would make a good topic for a blog post.

It all started with biscuits early this summer.  I’m not sure what prompted me to make biscuits one morning but knowing me we were probably low on everything else that would have been acceptable to eat at breakfast time and after flipping through a cookbook I realized I had enough ingredients to make some biscuits… from scratch.


The recipe said Fast… which is totally not true the first time around but after almost three months of cooking biscuits for breakfast it has definitely turned into a fast recipe.  The Baking Powder Biscuits from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook Bridal Edition require about 10 minutes of prep and 12 minutes baking.  I make it even quicker because I add more milk to my batter which allows me to skip the rolling and biscuit cutting step. I just spoon the batter onto the baking sheet for easy drop biscuits.

One batch yields 12 biscuits lasting us three days.  Each morning I fry eggs to go with the biscuit and make an extra egg to place in the refrigerator for ML to eat the next morning. He leaves too early for me to fix him fresh eggs each morning so this is as close as he gets.

When I blogged about my summer reading a couple months ago I mentioned falling head over heals in love with Lauraine Snelling‘s books.  Seventeen books in and I am almost through with the Red River Books  These books are set in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s on the Dakota Plains.   A time when farming was the way of life and baking fresh bread every day was the norm.  Well, I fell so in love with the characters and got so wrapped up in their way of doing things that I decided to try my hand at making Traditional White Bread from the same Betty Crocker Cookbook.  I don’t consider myself an expert at bread making by any  means but I do have a few tips to share.


Kneading is key.

To avoid super thick and hard to chew bread KNEAD.  Knead that bread like you are mad at.  Knead the entire time the recipe recommends. It really is a good workout!  I put so much force into kneading my bread that my Fitbit actually counts it as steps and I don’t mind at all because it really is an arm workout.

My first loaf of bread wasn’t as soft as I was expecting but after a few tries I learned that the secret to soft bread is in the hands.

Start your bread early in the morning.

There’s a reason why in Lauraine Snelling’s books the women start the bread first thing in the morning… it’s because it takes a good portion of the morning to prepare and bake the bread.  This isn’t some toss it in a bowl and forget about it recipe.  While there are definitely times the bread is just “sitting” there you will discover much of your morning is spent working on the bread.  For me I find time for all that kneading between teaching different subjects in school to the girls.

Give it more than one try.

If your first loaf could easily place in a #pinterestfail competition don’t give up.  Don’t.  Give it another try. Reevaluate and take note of where you could improve. Maybe it needs less flour, more kneading, or longer to bake. Think of it as a science experiment and you are the scientist.

Store Tight

This isn’t your store bought bread that’s made to sit on a shelf for weeks at time.  This is fresh, simple ingredient bread so don’t expect it to last more than a week.  Store your bread tightly wrapped in cellophane in a cool, dark place.

My girls have fallen head over heels in love with fresh bread.  They love a slice for lunch with a little fruit and cheese on the side, a slice for breakfast with a banana, and a slice for supper to help sop up the leftover spaghetti sauce.

bread-02Esther claims that its the best bread.  I enjoy it too but most of all I enjoy the smell of it baking in our home and the feeling of accomplishment when I take the loaves out of the oven.

Much of the food we buy in the stores these days contains chemical after chemical and I just don’t have the time to research it all. Thankfully, there are sites like Positive Health Wellness who provide a variety of resources for people who are enthusiastic and passionate about being positive and healthy. Michael Luke and I believe there is a strong correlation between diet and health.  We believe it because we have seen radical changes in our own lives and in the lives of our children by gradually changing our diet over time.  I don’t know much but I do know that for centuries people have baked fresh bread from simple ingredients.  For a short while in the span of history bread has been mass-produced and traditional recipes have been altered to keep production easy and efficient and prices low.  During this time we have also seen a huge increase in gluten intolerance and a host of other gut issues.  I can’t fix everything from scratch for my family but I can at least bake them fresh bread.

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