Wait…What about your blog?

Yeah, the title kind of sums it up. I stink at updating. Trust me, I am totally still keeping up my nutrition pursuits. I’ve just become a little distracted with other outlets of expression, namely my youtube channel. And I’m pregnant with baby #2. I’ll probably do a video post on my pregnancy, but until then, here is my latest video. It was my daughter’s first birthday party and I made Dr. Fuhrman’s fudgy black bean brownies. Not everyone liked them. A few of my plant-eater friends enjoyed them (women mostly), Matt tolerated them, and I loved them! Apparently Lacey did too, and that’s all that matters. I see a lot of REALLY cute pinterest-worthy birthday party pics all over social media of mommies celebrating their little one’s first birthday with a processed sugary dessert, bidding their baby to make a big mess for a gorgeous picture. And I’m here to say that I have absolutely no problem with that. Not one. I don’t know what it’s like having multiple children in the home who “expect” normal cake and ice cream for a birthday celebration. And I’m not promising that my children will never have a processed sugary dessert for their birthday ever in their lives. But since every day is a clean slate, and Lacey doesn’t really have an opinion about what she has for her birthday cake, and I didn’t have a huge budget for a cake boss to design a themed cake, I thought I’d keep it simple and healthy. Sure, some of my siblings and friends whose taste buds are dominated by SAD (standard american diet) foods didn’t like the dessert too much. Correction: they didn’t like the brownies. They were totally fine with the yonanas ice cream that I didn’t get on film. But my feelings weren’t hurt. They will never be over honesty about my cooking, especially since everybody gave it a fair shot. I don’t expect someone who isn’t used to eating this way to love everything they try for the first time. I’m just grateful that my taste buds are changing and that I can enjoy a dessert and have seconds and thirds without worrying about what it’s gonna do to me. It’s a priceless benefit that I don’t want to give up.

Here is the recipe for the black bean brownies.

Now on Youtube!

How-diddly-doodle-doo? 😉 I’m Ned-Flanderizing this because I’m so excited about our new VLOG on YOUTUBE!! For those of you who are interested in being weirded out entertained by our tips, recipes, and motivational cinema, please subscribe to the Youtube channel “Packard Family Health.” We would love to see y’all there!!

Quick and easy lentil soup


Man! Since coming home from Utah late Sunday night and then diving headlong into teaching school early Monday morning, I had absolutely no time to shop and cook. Rather than going out to eat, I would rather make something quick and nutritious. This recipe is just that. It took me 20 minutes from start to finish on the prep time. Of course I had to let it simmer for 40 minutes after the prep. Here’s the low down:

Chop 1 cup onion, 1/2 cup carrot, 1/2 cup celery. Cook in a good pot with 2 Tlbs olive oil. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the veggies are nice and soft.

Add 2 quarts veggie broth, 1 pound rinsed lentils, 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes, 1/2 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. roasted coriander, 1/2 tsp. ground grains of paradise.

Bring to a boil then immediately turn down heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Spaghetti squash with marinara and vegan Parmesan cheese


You need to buy:
1 spaghetti squash
Or-1 pkg whole wheat noodles
1 onion
1 8 oz pkg mushrooms
coconut oil
italian seasoning (or basil, rosemary and oregano)
32 oz canned tomatoes (whole)
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 Tlbs nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

First you need to cut the spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds (it takes a bit of muscle to cut it in half, but stick with it….it’s worth it)

Then put it in the oven at 350, face down. Let it cook while you prepare the sauce and Parmesan “cheese.”

Chop up one onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and 1 8oz pkg mushrooms

Then begin cooking the onions in a very hot pan. We like to use our wok. (But you can use any pot) You can cook them with coconut oil, or veggie broth, or even just water. Make sure you get them nice and soft (this is important).

Once the onions are soft, add the garlic and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms yield their juices and get soft. Stir it while you are doing this. Add 2 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning. I buy a big jar of this at Sams.

You could use 2 tsp basil, 2tsp Rosemary, 2 tsp oregano instead.

Use one quart (32 ounces) canned tomatoes. I think you can buy a 28 oz can and a 14 oz can to equal 32. Put the tomatoes in a blender. And add to the onions, mushroom mix.

If you don’t have a blender, just smash them good with a fork. If using a blender, pulse this about 3 times.
Add 1 small can tomato paste also and cook and stir until it thickened and smooth. I forgot to tell you, I salt the onions and mushrooms while I’m cooking them. Just shake shake shake 🙂
Let this simmer while you make the “cheese”

For the cheese, put 1/2 cup raw cashews, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, 2 Tlbs nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt….put all of these into a food processor and process until fine and almost powdery.

This is what it looks like

Daddy and Samuel thought it was brown sugar. Haha!!

So you can then boil some whole wheat noodles. When they are soft, drain them and cook with the sauce. It absorbs into the noodles and Samuel and daddy like that.

Or you can save some sauce (or all of it) and put it over the spaghetti squash. Sprinkle parm “cheese” on top and voila! Sooooo super yummy!!

Before you put the sauce on, scrape the squash with a fork. It comes off in strings just like spaghetti! Once you’ve scraped it, leave it in the shell (it makes a bowl!) and put marinara and cheese on top.

The Checklist Approach

I’ve written a little about food and guilt, which is useless and basically self-defeating. This post prescribes a remedy to food related guilt.

Most everybody knows, but for those of you who don’t, my husband and I are expecting our first baby the first week of February! We are so excited. 🙂



My approach to nutrition during this pregnancy, or lack thereof, has largely been affected by the drastic changes in our lives over the past several months–pretty much since we found out I was expecting. That being said, we moved cross-country twice in 4 months, and we were camping for several months after that with no furniture/cookware (besides folding chairs, a folding table, a futon mattress, and my Blendtec). I won’t bore you with the details, so long story short, my husband and I are back in Utah and we are settled into an adorable little apartment south of Salt Lake.

Fortunately, I was able to manage drinking a green smoothie pretty much every day of this pregnancy, and I ate as many fruits and vegetables as I possibly could. I also ate some junk. Traveling, moving, and lots of eating out for lack of cookware really got the best of me! I survived, and since things have become more settled, I have taken some time to decide on the best nutrition method for our family.

Life is unpredictable, and curve balls often times tend to lurk around every corner. The Checklist Approach works great in almost any scenario. There is something about limiting yourself from indulging in cravings, particularly when eating healthfully is woefully inconvenient, that really does make a rebel out of some of us, doesn’t it?

On any given day, my list will be slightly different. Today my list looks like this:


When I first got started, my list included one or two things. As I got better, I added things to the list. The idea is to crowd out the bad stuff with the good stuff (when you’re ready.) Try to push yourself, but don’t overdo it. Only put things on there that you know you will eat. I try to plan my meals to include my list throughout the day, and hopefully I won’t be hungry anymore by the time I’ve eaten what I told myself I would.

Produce rarely goes bad in my refrigerator, and my plates are more colorful with nutritious foods. If I want to eat a leftover cupcake from a birthday party, and I have eaten what I planned on already, I might eat it, and I definitely won’t beat myself up over it. Most of the time I’m not hungry by the time I finish my meal and my craving almost always disappears anyway.

I am careful not to put too much food on my list to stay flexible for varying levels of hunger…particularly through pregnancy. 🙂 I’ll often include other healthy foods not on my list as part of my meal to accompany the items on the checklist. This was my hummus plate today:



This method would be great for anyone trying to overcome food related cravings, or anyone who just might want to feel better physically. It provides a safe, gradual kick-start into nutritarian eating without all the pressure.

What are some foods that you try to eat every day?

Pinto Beans!!

I’m so excited about this simple and easy vegan dish. It’s sooooo yummy too! We made it the other day when we went to Houston for a temple trip and it was just perfect when we came home all hungry.

So last night I measured out one pound of dry pinto beans. You should sort through them quickly for rocks. Then put them in a bigger container and fill full with water. The water should be a good 3 inches above the beans (or more). They will swell as they absorb the water.

Then last night I chopped up 1 onion, three carrots, 3 celery stalks and 3 garlic cloves and put them in a ziploc bag in the fridge.

I even had some left over to put into snack sized ziploc baggies for lunches.

Then I went to bed! In the wee hours of the morning (around 5:00AM) I rinsed off the beans, put them in the crockpot along with the veggies I prepared, 2 quarts (8 cups) of water, 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes and 2 Tablespoons of salt. I put the setting on low and set it for 14 hours. It won’t need that much time, but that might be how long I am gone from home.

It smells so good already!! I can’t wait. I am going to make some brown rice when I get home and have a nice salad. Dinner will be all ready!
I am going to buy you a thermos right now. Something like this (or taco soup) could be heated up in the morning and put in the thermos and you would have it for lunch for a few days.





Samuel’s Salmon Dinner

I bought salmon on Saturday thinking we would have it for Sunday dinner by that didn’t happen. We ended up going to an organ concert and just eating leftovers. So I decided to make salmon tonight (Monday). First I made a rice pilaf from the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.
3/4 cups long grain rice toasted in 1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped celery
Sautéed in 1 Tablespoon butter
Add the toasted rice along with:
1 1/2 teaspoon bouillon granules
Dash of pepper
1 1/2 cups water
Bring to a boil and then lower the temperature to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Crumble up 2 pieces of well cooked bacon and stir into the rice.

Then I made some salmon using Amber friend Holland’s recipe.
Salmon with Garlic, Lemon, and Dill
Serves 4
1 lb. salmon filet
2 T. olive oil
Garlic, minced, to taste
Sea salt and freshly-cracked pepper, to taste
Fresh dill, chopped, to taste
Lemon slices
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil then coat it with cooking spray.
Combine the olive oil and garlic and spread evenly over the top of the fish. Season with sea salt, pepper
and dill. Layer with lemon slices. Place skin side down on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Remove from the oven and serve with
additional lemon slices if desired. Serve immediately.
Recipe from For the Love of Cooking.
Holland’s notes
The original recipe calls for 2 t. butter and 1 t. olive oil instead of 2 T. olive oil. Using all olive oil instead
worked just great. I used 2 T. because 3 t. wasn’t enough.
The original recipe calls for 1 t. garlic, minced, but I definitely used way more than that. I’d say at least 4 t.
We used packaged salmon filets from Costco. They were great!

And then I steam some broccoli. Here are the pictures!


Vegan Bean Salad

WOW!!!  This is my creative masterpiece from yesterday.  I had planned on attending a church potluck dinner that began 30 minutes away from my home at 5:45.  Because of my poor time management, I didn’t have time for the delicious … Continue reading

Minestrone Soup

This is always a good recipe!  It’s great reheated for lunch too.  I got this recipe from a website called The World’s Healthiest Foods, and modified it a bit to our liking. 1 large onion, chopped 6 cloves garlic, minced … Continue reading