Food

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While the calendar does not yet officially say it's summer, it's officially summer break around here. That means a lot of resting, a lot of relaxing, and a lot of fun! Now that my brain has had a few days to shift into summer break mode, I've realized we need to get back to being intentional about some things around here.

Thankfully, I've managed to keep my focus on the big things like Bible reading, prayer, and community, even in the midst of a crazy spring schedule and a book launch. (I'm not saying it was perfect, but those areas remained my focus when life got crazy!)

One area we definitely need to regain focus around here is being intentional with our food. I don't know about you, but when schedules get crazy, we tend to default to quick and easy foods. And if I've learned anything in my food journey, it's that quick and easy food doesn't typically translate into healthy and nutritious.

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.” -La Rochefoucauld | thereisgrace.com #BeIntentional

This post is sponsored by De Nigris USA.

Although I still consider myself a novice when it comes to nutrition, I have learned a lot over the last year. Perhaps the greatest lesson I've learned is that if this girl--who used to live on Diet Pepsi and animal crackers--can make some healthy changes, anyone can!

If you're wanting to make some simple changes for your health, here are 7 quick and easy steps to get you started and help you #BeIntentional with your food:

1.  Read labels. This is the most important thing you can do for your health. Don't stop at skimming the calorie and fat content, either. Pay special attention to the ingredients. Yes, this is tedious and time-consuming, but the only way to know what you're eating is to, well, know what you're eating. Profound, I know.

2. Choose food with the shortest ingredients list. As a general rule, the shortest list will be your best option. And always choose the list with the most ingredients you can recognize and pronounce.

Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. ~Michael Pollan

3. Take baby steps. Don't try to change everything at one time, or you'll end up frustrated. Start with one thing: Cut out sugar (that one will be big enough!). Or commit to avoiding unfamiliar ingredients (that one will save you from a lot of yucky stuff!). Maybe you can start by making your meals at home, from scratch, and choosing simple, whole foods as snacks. Determine your first step. When you're comfortable with that one, move on to the next.

4. Make simple swaps. Here are a few easy ones you can make the next time you go shopping:

  • Swap sugary, flavored yogurt for plain yogurt sweetened with honey and frozen fruit.Swap flavored chips (they have an abundance of additives and preservatives) for simple corn or potato chips seasoned with salt. (Yes, the oil isn't great for you, but one step at a time....see #3).

7 Ways to Be Intentional with Your Food #DeNigris1889

  • Swap salad dressing for some quality olive oil and vinegar, like DeNigris vinegars. Did you know vinegar has many health benefits and medicinal uses? It's great for treating things like sinus infections, sore throats, and even acid reflux! Plus, it's super high in cancer-fighting antioxidants. You can even clean with it! DeNigris has a selection of vinegars and other products, plus great recipes. Be sure to check them out!
  • Swap sweetened applesauce for unsweetened. Do apples really need extra sugar?!
  • Swap soda for sparkling mineral water flavored with a little fruit juice.
  • Swap heavy veggie dips for salsa or guacamole.
  • Swap sugary granola bars for homemade protein bars.

5. Make time for food. Being intentional with your food will take time. It will take time to read labels and find alternatives. It will take time to prepare food (oh, the time you'll spend chopping veggies!). And it will take time to see a difference in the way you feel and look. But your health and your happiness are worth the investment, so don't give up!

Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food. ~Hippocrates

Here's proof that we do still eat out...and that my kids still have the occasional Cheeto! ;)
Here's proof that we do still eat out...and that my kids still have the occasional Cheeto! 😉

6. Choose the best options available. Life isn't perfect. Even with the best intentions, you'll eventually find yourself at a dinner party or a potluck with no idea what's in any given dish. Or you may have no other option for dinner one night than a fast food drive thru. Survey your options and make the best choice you can. Choose real food with the least ingredients (hint: focus on simple meat, veggies, and or fruit.) When in those situations, I try to remember this advice:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. ~Michael Pollan

7. Give yourself grace. So you caved and raided the cookie jar at midnight last night. Don't beat yourself up, and don't throw in the towel. Show  yourself grace and move on. Focus on the things you are doing right and keep moving forward!

For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Luke 12:23

It won't always be easy, but things that are truly worth it are rarely easy--and your health is definitely worth it! I will let you in on a little secret: the more you stick to it, and the more changes you make, the better you'll feel. The better you feel, the less you will desire to go back to your old habits. You are creating  new habits, a new lifestyle, and eventually a whole new you!

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What can you do to #BeIntentional with your food this week? What additional resources do you recommend to someone wanting to #BeIntentional in their eating habits? Share your thoughts in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

 

More Great Reads to Help you #BeIntentional in Food:
What's Wrong With Our Modern Diet?
Jumpstart Your Health with the Whole 30
Begin Your Journey to Whole Food
Understanding Your Food
30 Day Clean Eating Challenge
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
The Omni Diet by Tana Amen
The Bulletproof Diet by Dave Asprey

 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

If you have a child with food allergies, you know the fear that Halloween brings--not fear of the tricks, mind you, but fear of the treats. Any occasion that encourages my allergic child to accumulate a mountain of candy from a variety of sources is enough to strike fear into this Mama's heart.

As a general rule, I tend to reside in the "our children are overly-sugared" camp. Still, I would never dream of depriving a child the ritualistic pleasure of loading up on the goods on Halloween. And that includes my child with food allergies.

I want him to enjoy the gathering, sorting, swapping, and (rationed) consumption of his treasure just as much as his sister does. But since those shiny wrappers also contain a potentially life-threatening reaction, there needs to be an extra "layer" of precaution. No one wants to end Halloween with an Epi injection and a trip to the ER (or worse!).

So, how do you have a happy and safe Halloween with food allergies?

5 Tips for a Successful Halloween with Food Allergies | thereisgrace.com

1. Know the Source
We don't do much door-to-door trick-or-treating. Between events at our church and my husband's workplace, we end up with plenty of candy and most of the porch lights are off by the time we roll back into our neighborhood. Since those establishments only pass out individually-wrapped candy, I know the ingredients can be easily checked and cross-contamination is at a minimum. Stick with houses (or business establishments/organizations) you know and trust.

2. Check the goods
What kid doesn't like to take inventory of their stash as soon as they get home? This is not only fun, it's also necessary for food allergies. My son sorts his candy into three stacks: candy he knows is safe, candy he knows is unsafe, and candy we need to check. If the ingredients are listed on the candy itself (and many are), it makes checking for allergens quick and simple. If they are not listed, a quick visit to the manufacturer's web site will usually do the trick; most list ingredients of their candies there. SnackSafely.com  provides a comprehensive list of peanut- and tree-nut free snacks (and many egg-free snacks). Click here for their special Halloween edition.

3. Make the swap
After the sorting and checking is done,  the swapping can begin. My son's first option is his sister. Since most chocolate is off-limits for him (because most contain soy), this works out well for Sis. 🙂 She's quick to swap him her Skittles and Smarties for his Reese's and Butterfingers. If there are leftovers once bartering is done, he can then swap with me: I keep a supply of "safe" treats on hand that he can swap for his unsafe treats. I recently came across this idea of "buying" Halloween candy from your kids; I'm seriously thinking of using it this year!

4. Think outside the candy wrapper
The Teal Pumpkin Project encourages families to offer alternative, non-food treats as an option for kids with allergies or other dietary needs. Their goal is to raise awareness of food allergies, but I think it's also a great way to provide a little variety. Yes, Halloween becomes mostly about the candy, but it's ultimately about the fun. So, thinking of treats beyond the sugary kind is fair game. If you're worried about competing with those neighbors who offer full-size candy bars, check out this article with a great list of non-food treats that are sure to be a hit!

5. Enjoy!
When you live with food allergies (or have a child who does) any event, holiday, or celebration that includes food prepared by someone else brings with it a level of stress. The key to managing that stress is balance: be informed, be diligent, and be safe. Beyond that, relax and have fun. I want my son to be equipped with the information he needs to be safe. And then I want him to go out there and have some fun!

Looking for more resources for a Safe (allergy-friendly) Halloween?
4 Halloween Strategies for Accommodating Kids with Food Allergies
Tips to Trick-or-Treat Safely
Food Allergy-friendly Candy and Treats
Yes, Your Kids Can Still Trick-or-Treat with a Food Allergy
The Scariest Part of Halloween Can Be Dealing with Food Allergies

It won't be long before Holiday Parties are here. Find out how we navigate those with food allergies, too!

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My love affair with fall flavors is no secret. Each year when the leaves begin to turn and there's a hint of crispness in the air, I get an uncontrollable urge to bake. I don't just stick with tried-and-true recipes, either. I scour Pinterest for the latest concoction of fall delicacies. In fact, I've got an entire Pinterest Board dedicated to it!

I'm not picky, either...if it's got apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, or any combination of them, I'll try it. That usually makes my family nervous...especially my husband whose mantra is, "If it's not broke, don't fix it" (meaning, don't mess with what already works). But I like to branch out and try new things. Most of the time it turns out well. Sometimes it doesn't.

Then there are those moments when you find...perfection. One recipe that becomes a staple each season. One that you look forward to making...and sharing...and eating every year. Like this decadent Apple Spice Cake that has served my family well for more than 10 years.

Sure, you could make this cake anytime with your average, store-bought apples. And it will be good. But it won't be the same as making it in the fall with fresh, locally-grown apples...yum!

A nut-free recipe for Apple Spice Cake with options for egg-free/dairy-free. Perfect for Fall!

That's why I'm sharing the recipe for Foodie Friday over at Missouri Women Bloggers. Hop on over to check it out; you won't be disappointed! (Yes, it's got sugar, and for those who know me...no, I didn't eat any this year!) 😉

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This post contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase The Veggie Book from the link below, I receive a small compensation at no additional charge to you.

Until recently, my veggie repertoire consisted of canned green beans and frozen corn. If I was feeling especially fancy, I'd throw some corn cobs on the grill, or chop up a salad. (Yes, be jealous of my culinary skills.) I knew veggies are good for me and my family, but I didn't know how to select or prepare them so that they were anything but tolerable. Now, I'm happy to say, I've introduced my family to new foods, including veggies, and to my surprise, even my one anti-veggie child has started eating them...he actually asked for salad the other night. I'd say that's a victory!

I didn't do it alone, however. Our recent journey into healthier eating has not only opened my eyes to new foods (and ways to prepare them), it's also led me to many new resources. One of those resources is The Veggie Book. This is more than just a cookbook. It's like having your own personal Veggie Coach (who doesn't need one of those, right?).

the-veggie-book

Here's what I love about this book:

It's simple. I'm still adjusting to this new way of shopping and eating, and it can honestly become overwhelming at times. The Veggie Book is chocked full of veggies I am familiar with...whether it's new ways to prepare old favorites or highlighting veggies I've heard of, but never been brave enough to buy or prepare. No dandelion greens or gai lan here. Chances are you've heard of every single vegetable in this book. You've probably seen them time and again in the produce section of your grocery store. And, if you're like me, you've thought Hmmm, I should get that, but I have no idea what to do with it! That excuse will no longer fly, my friend!

It's thorough. The Veggie Book is a collaboration of three author-moms who tested the 52+ recipes on their own husbands and kids. In addition to the tried-and-true recipes, The Veggie Book gives you information on each vegetable's nutrition (because how many of us really know why we should eat more asparagus?!), how to select good produce (can I hear an "amen"?!) plus tips for washing, storing, and preparing it. They also include tips for making stock, seasoning your dishes, and which veggies are important to purchase organic.

It's affordable. A new adventure in eating healthy is expensive enough...with all the new foods, testing new recipes, and initial moves to whole, healthier foods. I know the payoff is worth it, but I think anyone would agree the first steps can seem overwhelming mentally and financially. Moms, at only $9.95, it's a great deal for a priceless weapon in your culinary arsenal. (Seriously, I made the Buttered Cabbage for dinner last night, and my husband had seconds...seconds on cabbage!)

In case you're still not convinced, the authors of The Veggie Book have offered to give one of you, my dear readers, a copy of their book! See details below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a  free copy of  The Veggie Book for my honest review.
As always, opinions  stated are 100% mine.

Happy Eating!
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I remember how it felt, standing in the grocery aisle reading label after label on the boxes of crackers. Then putting each one back because it contained a potential threat to my son...a food allergy. I exhausted every brand of cracker in that store. That's when it hit me: I have no idea what to feed my child.

This week is Food Allergy Awareness Week, and all the articles and discussions online have reminded me what it was like in the beginning...when we first learned of my son's allergies. The information was overwhelming. At only 2 years old, my son relied completely on me to provide him with food. And I suddenly had no idea what he could eat. That first trip to the grocery store was, in a word, traumatic.

If that's you, overwhelmed mom whose child has just been diagnosed with a food allergy (or additional food allergies), here are a few tips that helped me get through those early days, and continue to help me today:

food-allergies-child

1. Learn to read labels. At first, this can be a daunting task....You want me to read every single label of every single food my child puts in his mouth?! Yes. Always. Even (and especially!) the "allergen statement" listed after the ingredients. This is the "May contain" line after the ingredients that will tell you if there's a potential for cross-contamination. You'll soon learn what brands are safe and which ones contain allergens, but always read labels as ingredients and manufacturing practices can change.

2. Learn to ask questions. Of everyone...restaurant servers, daycare workers, teachers, church nursery volunteers, and other parents. If they will be serving food your child will eat, it is your responsibility to know what is in it. If you're not satisfied with the answer, keep asking. I've actually had young, inexperienced wait staff respond to my allergy questions with, "Oh, he should be fine." Yeah, that's not gonna fly with this mama. I'm going to need to talk to someone who knows something (and maybe has a driver's license). Be kind, but firm...and tenacious if you need to. Your child's health (and possibly her life) depends on it.

3. Start with what you know and go slow. You don't have to chuck everything out of your kitchen and start from scratch. (If it's a serious allergy, you may want to get the allergen completely out of the house, at least for a while.) Start with what you know is safe. Can your child have fruit? Stock up on fresh fruit, frozen fruit, and fruit cups. No dairy allergy? Load the fridge with cheese sticks and yogurt cups. Don't make it too complicated at first. Find a few meal options and snacks you know are safe and stick with those for a while. You'll soon find other options you can add to your rotation.

4. Join a community. Believe it or not, when my son was first diagnosed, it was difficult to find much practical information online. Everything I found was from a medical journal. Oh, how far we've come in four years! If you know another mom who navigates food allergies, pick her brain. I'm sure she's a wealth of information and would love to share what she's learned. There's great value in online community as well. Need some recipe inspiration? Debra at Worth Cooking has some great allergy-friendly recipes, and I've heard Food Allergy Mama's cookbook is very helpful. (I've not read it, but I've heard good things.) And you can find some great, allergy-friendly recipes every Wednesday at The Domestic Diva's Allergy-Free link-up. You can also find some of my favorite recipes here, follow my Food Allergy board on Pinterest, or join the Food Allergy 411 Facebook page.

5. Always, always carry your Epi-pen. Just last week, my son had a reaction to some muffins I made with garbanzo flour....garbanzo flour?!? He has eaten hummus too many times to count, so it never dawned on me that he would react to garbanzo flour (even though he is allergic to peanuts and soy...both legumes). Fortunately, I did not have to use the Epi, but I was glad I had it with me...just in case. The thing about allergic reactions is that each one can be more severe than the last. So, even though we've never had to use our Epi, that doesn't mean we won't. And I'd rather be safe than sorry.

So, take a breath, Mama. It's going to be OK. You can get up off the grocery store aisle floor where you've been in the fetal position for the last 30 minutes. You don't have to answer all your questions today. You don't have to know what you'll serve at your child's graduation party or wedding. You just have to get through today. Tomorrow you'll know more than you do today, and the next day you'll know even more.

And someday, even sooner than you think, when you see another mom in the grocery aisle with 14 boxes of crackers in her arms and that deer-in-the-headlights look, you'll be the one to walk up to her and say, "It's going to be OK. I did this, and you can, too!"

What advice would you give a mom who is just starting the food allergy journey?

If you're looking for more helpful tips on food allergies...
A Crash Course in Food Allergies
Making the Most of Food Allergies
What's the Difference Between a Food Allergy and Food Sensitivity?
Navigating Parties with Food Allergies

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signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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I am a firm believer in learning from our experiences, and if there's one thing that cancer has taught me, it's to slow down and savor life. I am a deeply committed, type-A overachiever. I like to be busy. So it's hard for me to just. stop. doing. When I was forced to do just that last fall and focus entirely on my health and my family, I found a pace that I fell in love with.

I entered 2014 with a resolve to simplify my life. The first thing I noticed is how truly difficult it is to live simply. It soon became clear that if I want my family to eat more simply (and healthy), create wiggle room in our routines, and truly focus on what matters in life, I would need to make some tough choices. It won't just happen; I would have to be intentional about it.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to review Tsh Oxenreider's new book, Notes from a Blue Bike, I planned to decline, proud of myself for drawing some much-needed boundary lines. Then I read the subtitle to the book: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World. Well, given my new lofty goal of simplicity, it would just be irresponsible of me to not review the book, wouldn't it?

So I agreed, and I'm so glad I did!

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Tsh's warm and conversational writing style drew me in instantly. It was less like reading a book and more like chatting with a friend over coffee, hearing about her wild, overseas adventures. I flew through the short chapters easily. Who wants to wade through long and cumbersome chapters in a book about living simply? Tsh nailed it here...short and to the point.

I quickly realized Tsh understood my goals, as well as my dilemmas, in achieving a simpler life. After returning from life overseas, Tsh found herself in the midst of the North American chaos to which most of us have grown accustomed. Realizing her new life competed with her longing for simplicity, Tsh created a list of five areas in which her family would live with intention: food, work, education, travel, and entertainment.

To live with intention means to make little daily choices that resonate deeply in our souls.
~Tsh Oxenreider

The principles Tsh shares for pursuing simplicity, and the wisdom with which she applies those principles in her daily life, are easily worth the read. Yes, living intentionally takes time and energy, and Tsh shows you how to make it completely doable.

Here are some of my takeaways from the areas Tsh addresses:

Woolf

Food
Tsh introduced me to the term "slow food":  contrasting the fast-food culture by growing (or purchasing locally), cooking, and eating good, clean food. I love it! As a cancer-fighter and mother of a child with multiple food allergies, overhauling our family's diet has become a pet project of mine. Plus, she set my all-or-nothing personality at ease with her 80/20 principle: "If 80 percent of my family's food consumption involves whole, seasonal food made with care, then we're doing all right. The 20 percent is the sprinkles on top of the ice cream. Literally."

Jobs

Work
Tsh shares a story in this section of visiting a friend who introduced her to the concept of a "boundary stone" which was simply a tangible reminder to work with intention. Tsh explains it this way, "To give myself the time and freedom to create my best art, and to confidently turn down those roles and opportunities that aren't the best fit." As a chronic people-pleaser, I sure needed that one...anyone else?

Tsh02

Entertainment
Tsh's honest struggle with her family in this area was refreshing...to simply know that we are not alone in the battle is comforting. And to know that she has made intentional choices that fit her family reminds me that, with a little work, it is possible. My favorite line from this section: "When we're intentional about what we watch, it's a lot more interesting to watch it."

Tsh explores two other areas of living intentionally, education and travel. She writes beautifully and compellingly about each, but I'll let you read those for yourself. I don't want to give away all her wisdom!

If you find a longing somewhere inside for a quieter, simpler life, it won't be easy. It will take intentionality and perseverance. But you don't have to go it alone, Tsh has bravely paved the way for us. And if simplicity is a quest you're on, you might want to pick up this handy little guide to help you along the way.

We were made to live slower than our fast-paced Western culture deems normal. But it means paddling upstream through strong currents. ~Tsh Oxenreider

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'Tis the season for Holiday cheer, which often brings countless holiday parties and Christmas goodies. Between school parties, church festivities, and gatherings with family and friends, the holidays can prove to be a potential mine field for a child with food allergies.

You might see a table stacked high with your holiday favorites. But as the parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I see potential danger in every decadent treat. At age 6, my guy is old enough to understand he can't eat what everyone else does. And he's very diligent about asking before he eats something. However, since this is his first year in school full-time (i.e., under the supervision of another adult for most of the day), I am learning to oversee what he eats from a distance. Here are a few things I've discovered to ensure a successful party for all...

holiday-parties-food-allergies

1. Be Informed

As the mom of a child with allergies, I take it upon myself to ask a lot of questions, especially concerning parties at school: When is the party? (I always try to attend if I'm able.) What treats will be available? (If there are options my son cannot have, I will make arrangements to send something for him.) Are there treats he can have? (Often, the teacher or parent responsible for the party is happy to provide options my son can have if I give them some options up front.)

For parties with friends and family, I ask questions according to my comfort level. If it is an acquaintance, I will usually just bring something I know is safe for my child. For close friends and family, I will ask about ingredients and preparation. I do not expect them to go out of their way to accommodate our needs, so I always offer to bring something. Then I know there will be at least one thing my little guy can have.

2. Be Persistent

I realize parents and teachers who have not experienced food allergies firsthand are not used to thinking about them. Even if they are trained to be aware of the dangers of food allergies, they are not used to thinking through options (not like a mama who has done so for the last 5 years!). So, if I don't get the answers I need, I politely ask more questions: Do you know what brand of pretzels you will have? What types of candy will be available? Do you have an ingredients list for the icing you will be using? This is when it comes in handy for me to be at the party as food is often brought in that day and I am able to check labels firsthand.

3. Be Prepared

Even if I know there will be allergy-friendly options, I always, always come prepared....of course with an Epi-pen, but also with additional treats. There's always the chance that something could change at the last minute and I wouldn't want my little guy to be the only one without a cupcake because I wasn't prepared.

I try to keep my freezer well-stocked with allergy-friendly options like Egg-free Christmas Cookies , Allergy-friendly Cupcakes, or Egg, Nut, and Soy-free Butter Cookies that I can grab for just such an occasion. If my freezer is bare, and I don't have time to bake, I pick up some Enjoy Life cookies  to take. (These have saved my hide and my sanity on more than one occasion!)

For a long time, I hesitated asking questions of a host, not wanting to inconvenience them. But in five years I've never had my questions met with resistance or frustration. Whether friend, family, or teacher, I've found their goal is the same as mine: to protect my son and help him have as much fun as everyone else at the party.

Do you have for tips navigating the holidays with food allergies?

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You may remember my love for Mexican food . Well, my passion for a good fiesta has reached a whole new level with this simple, throw-together Tostada Casserole.

It's a great way to use up leftover taco meat. Make it up for a different take on Mexican the following night. Or throw it all together and freeze it for a busy night when dinner sneaks up on you.

It also makes a great hearty meal to give to others. I recently took this dinner to a family from church who had just moved to a new home. The mom later told me her three growing boys gobbled it up!

Tostada Casserole

1 pkg corn torillas
1 lb prepared taco meat (beef, chicken, or turkey cooked with taco seasoning)
1 can beans (I use non-fat refried beans)
1 pkg sharp cheddar cheese
1 large can enchilada sauce
Sour cream (optional)
Guacamole (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish
with non-stick cooking spray.

Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a layer of corn tortillas (5-6 tortillas).
Spread 1/3 of the beans over the tortillas, then spread 1/3 of the meat over the beans.
Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce over the meat and sprinkle a handful of cheese over top.

Tostada Casserole 2 Repeat two more times.

Add one more layer of tortillas on top. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas
and top with the rest of the cheese.

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Garnish with sour cream and guacamole (if desired) and serve
with salad and Mexican rice.

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

14 Comments

There's no snack quite as handy (or as tasty, in my opinion) as the cereal bar. A little bit of fruit, a little bit of oats...what could possibly be wrong with that?

Nothing...until you look at the list of ingredients on the store-bought brands and realize you can't pronounce half of them! I love the convenience, but not all the additives and preservatives. And in our house, we have the extra concern of food allergies, which rules out almost any prepackaged variety of cereal bar.

So I went searching for a homemade replacement, and I found one! These Fruit & Oatmeal Bars make a fabulous grab-and-go breakfast for hectic school mornings or a healthy after-school snack. Plus, they are easy to make, which is nice because they don't stick around very long!

Allergy-friendly Fruit & Oatmeal Bars | thereisgrace.com

Fruit and Oatmeal Bars

2 cups oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
¾  cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup butter (or alternative for diary allergies)
1 cup of your favorite preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with butter.

Mix flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Stir together.

fruit-oatmeal-bars-2

Cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles course meal
and is no longer powdery. Bits of butter will still be visible.

fruit-oatmeal-bars-3

Press ¾ of the mixture into pan and bake until browned (about 13-15 minutes).

Remove from oven and spread preserves over the partially baked oat layer.
(I used strawberry, but blueberry and blackberry are also very good!)

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 Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture over the top.

Bake until topping is slightly browned (about 20 minutes).

Allow to cool.

fruit-oatmeal-bars-5

Bon Apetite!

signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

3 Comments

I can't believe summer is half over! But don't fear, there's still a lot of summer fun to be had. And if your kids are anything like mine, nothing makes them hungrier than summertime fun.

Today I'm over at Serving Joyfully  where I'm sharing 5 Easy {and Healthy!} Summertime Snacks! I'd love for you to pop over and say "hi!"

easy summer snacksIs that not the cutest face you've ever seen?!

Stay cool and refreshed with these summer snacks!

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Like what you’ve read?
Would you like to get new posts delivered directly to your inbox? Enter your e-mail address in the box to the right, and you’ll get new posts e-mailed to you as soon as they’re published. Easy-peasy. Or, follow me on Facebook , Twitter, or Pinterest.

 

signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.