Monthly Archives: July 2013

Manic Monday

It was one of those days.  We had a criz-azy weekend, and had a child with a fever.  Aye carumba.  So, today was the perfect test of my little experiment.  Breakfast- homemade yogurt (epic fail with my attempt at coconut milk yogurt last night).  Lunch- homemade chicken and veggie soup for Ebro and me.  OMG good and no crud.  I had no idea that boullion cubes had so much junk in them.  Most have massive amounts of sodium, MSG and other preservatives and added ingredients.  It was so easy- I just sauteed, in butter, onion, celery, zucchini, tomatoes and kale.  I had some left over drippings and chicken from a roasted chicken last week that I threw in there, and some store bought, all natural, chicken stock.  I added some Pampered Garlic and Peppercorn.  Holy moly.  Best chicken soup ever.  Easton hasn’t really eaten much in three days and he drank it up.

Dinner can be seen on my Facebook page-  Or at least I think it can be seen.  I uploaded it, but didn’t see it a little while ago.  I am still playing with my new Kindle Fire, and haven’t worked out the kinks.  For the kids, I found grass fed beef at Sprouts for $4.99/pound and each package was as much as Kroger beef.  Jeff and I had ahi tuna steak that I coated in a coffee rub and seared on both sides.  It was wild caught and $6.99/pound.  Our steak was about $4.50, and we split it.  We had wild rice, organic zucchini and either the burger or tuna.  Everyone ate every bite, and the kids asked for us to get tuna for them, next time.  I didn’t make any sauces and served the burgers just as patties.

I’ve been consistently jogging or walking.  I am not enjoying the jogging as much as I first did, but hoping I enjoy it or that it gets easier soon!  I enjoy walking, but I want to see some serious results.  I am tired of having a post-baby belly.  I’m seeing some results, but would love to love to run.  I am thankful that I’ve been able to make myself get out and do it, but am hoping to be able to push myself one more street, one more mile, one more song. 

What are you doing?  How do you exercise and keep motivated?  How do you push yourself?  How do you know when you have too much going on and what to cut out and what to push further? 


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Friday Night Special

Sorry for skipping Wednesday, right after committing to writing Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  I was a little depressed about having to go back to work after being off for two weeks.  Two glorious weeks.  It’s not my job, it was leaving my wonderful children.  I loved being with them, doing fun projects, trying new recipes, and just slowing down and hanging out. 

But that isn’t the only downer.  My job is very stressful.  I like my job, I like the people I work with, but I don’t like the stress.  It made my last pregnancy tough.  It wrecks havoc on my body.  How can I change this?  One thing I started while I was on vacation was walking and jogging.  I need some hard core endorphins!  Another thing I’m doing is changing my diet.  I am cutting out sugar, fast food (with some exceptions, I am human and have limitations), and processed foods.  I am on a quest to eat only real food.  When I eat fast food, it will be real food.  I need to research further, but no burgers for me, and more salads and occasionally Taco Bueno. 

I am reading tons of happiness books, too.  I am able to leave my stress at work, and when I’m home, I’m home.  I am practicing mindfulness and being fully in the moment.  When Q is in the bath, I’m not multitasking, I am enjoying my last baby.

One thing I read about constantly is EFT- Emotional Freedom Technique.  I have been too lazy and slightly doubtful to try.  I am going to watch the EFT videos on and check out the app.  There is something to it, and I can use all of the tools possible.  Stay tuned for my results!

What do you do to stay stress free?  What makes you happy?  How do you keep your cool?  I play with my kids, hang out with my Jeffro, have a glass (or two) of wine, cook, read, play games with kiddos, and hang out with the ladies.  Sometimes I do so much, in the pursuit of utmost happiness, that it adds to my stress.  But, we only live once, I’ll only have this energy once, and who knows what will come of it? 

Yogurt Recipe:

4 Cups Milk (1 quart)

2 TBL yogurt or yogurt starter

Bring milk to a rolling boil, but stir occasionally

Let milk cool to lukewarm temperature

Take 1/2 cup of lukewarm milk and mix in 2 tbl of yogurt (from commercial yogurt or from a previous batch) mix well

Add yogurt starter/milk mixture into the rest of the lukewarm milk.  Pour well mixed milk/yogurt into glass container and let sit 6-8 hours in a warm (not hot) place until thickened up.  Save a small bit for your next batch.  Refrigerate and serve cold.  You have yogurt!  It was so easy.  I used some peach flavored milk.  Too much sugar for me, but something to experiment with.  And DELISH!

That is my recipe for today, courtesy of my neighbor, Liz.  What do you have for the hungry for change happiness project diet?  We’d love to hear from ya!

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Count Down to the Real World

Welp, Thursday will be here before I know it and it will be back to the grind. Three jobs, parenting, blogging, cooking, jogging, oh my. So, to keep it manageable and to make myself accountable to my little project, here, I am committing to writing Monday, Wednesday, Friday and maybe some Saturdays. That’s doable.

So today, I did a little vendor event for Pampered Chef. I am working on some fundraisers, one for American Heart Association and an upcoming one for melanoma research. You can contact me or check out my Facebook page,, if you want to check out our fundraisers. We have at least one a month, or we’re doing something for S.T.A.G.E. (a local actors’ resource center in Dallas). I spent half of the day with Syd. Man, she was a huge help getting me organized.

I am trying to follow Dr. Mercola’s recommendation of intermittent fasting and not eating until lunch. My goal is to keep a small window of eating time so my body has time to “fast”. Check out and “google” fasting for the “why”. It makes sense, but I will not do it justice if I try to explain the technicalities. I do know that when I do this, I am less hungry and eat less and better. GOAL! So no breakfast, had plain coffee from Starbucks with some half and half. Shared some tacos al pastor with Syd (and chips, salsa, bean dip and queso), but we shared. Again, corn chips are my weakness and not sure how I’ll do it. I can and have given up bread and pasta, and wheat in general, but man- living in the land of Tex-Mex, how do I give up the corn chip? Maybe I don’t.

So, I’ve been walking with the neighborhood ladies at least a couple nights a week for the last month. The last two nights I’ve jogged, alone. Tonight I jogged 1.5 miles in eighteen minutes. Not bad for an out of shape mom of three. I enjoy the company of the walkers, but I’ve never felt better than running and listening to music. Let me tell you that Pantera is a better running partner than Owl City. Sydney and I share an iTunes account and I haven’t set up play lists on my new phone. So, I get a lovely mix of tween tunes and thirty-two year old mom music. The Cranberries aren’t a very good motivational group to run to, either. But, ah the memories.

For dinner, Jeff made bun-less cheeseburgers with watermelon, pickle, red onion and tomato slices. Organic veggies, no clue about the pickle, and conventional Kroger brand meat and cheese. Small steps, right? My kombucha has been bottled and is sitting in a closet building carbonation. My second batch should be about ready to be bottled. I am so excited! I think even Jeff will enjoy our bacterial-yeasty goodness. My SCOBY is getting HUGE, while my belly is shrinking- finally!

Eating well and exercise really helps with the stress. When I stay away from sugar, man I feel good. I am really hoping to keep this up when I go back to work to keep the stress down. In about two weeks of being off work, I think I am finally getting my stress levels in check. I think that is my biggest problem. I have a very high stress job in which I wear many hats and don’t know how to prioritize all of the many tasks I have. Then, I have my home based bakery. And then my new Pampered Chef adventure, that I love, and am working daily on building. Plus, my exercising and mom’s group and book club. I can not tell you how busy I have been just Making Whoopie, doing Pampered Chef, and playing house the last two weeks. And, I’ve had a family emergency that I’ve been dealing with in the midst of all of this. Not emergency, conflict, something that has wrecked havoc on my stress levels and really forced me to take some much needed time off. An expensive blessing in disguise. How’s that for a positive spin?

I’ve been organizing, trying to set up daily routines, and systems to make juggling easier. I want all of us in a good auto pilot mode when I go back to work. Jeff is an amazing partner, but a creature of habit. He is such a good sport, and does make changes, but it is not easy and I have to really get a new habit up and running before he fully embraces it. I guess we’ll see how well we’ve done, come Thursday.

So, what are your routines? How do you eat healthy? We have a wonderful veggie co-op in which we pick up a box of veggies twice a month (, but I need something like that for meat. I have the dairy down the street, but will I really drive over there for it? We’ll see! I really want to hear what you do! Will you introduce me to my next “kombucha”? My aunt introduced it to me a couple of months ago, and now I’m addicted. LOVE it. What else is out there that I’m missing? I’ve got to know!

Talk to you on Wednesday, my last night of sweet freedom. I guess I need to spin some more positive energy- my last night before going back to a new and fresh office opportunity. Go team.

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Set backs, or new beginnings

Today was Jeff’s, Sydney’s and my mother-in-law, Rita’s, birthday party.  So, there was cake and other no-nos.  But, Jeff did recognize what we’re eliminating, and told everyone about our project, so is that really a set back?  I think that is a great accomplishment.

We finally tasted our kombucha, and OMG- it is so delish.  I am excited about our new family beverage and the opportunity to brew it myself, instead of spending $3.50 a bottle. 

Well, that is all I have today, but am trying to set good habits for when I go back to work and life is crazy, again.  It is crazy enough without work, so I can only imagine how busy I’ll be once work starts up again, ugh.  I have enjoyed not working and being with my children more than I expected.  It has been so much fun!  I could easily do this full time and LOVE it.  I am so happy for families that are able to have the mom stay home with their babies.  Such a great opportunity for everyone.

Until tomorrow!  Please share with me how you’re living a natural lifestyle.  What are you eating and doing? 

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Uh oh- I need some help.

I had a set back. I got a bad headache Thursday evening and neither walked nor went to the social function which I had planned on attending. I even ate a chocolate frozen banana, but think I still stayed under 15 grams of sugar, if that chocolate banana had 4 grams or less.

Today Easton had a film shoot and the boys were up at 4:30. So was my light sleeper, Q. And so was I. She never went back to sleep except for the fifteen minute drive to Sydney’s well visit appointment. Of course, but what I wouldn’t have given for fifteen minutes of sleep!

Somehow I managed to get her down for a nap when we returned home, around noon. I took the opportunity to sleep too, and didn’t wake up until four. Holy moly. I had been doing well about waking up early, despite my staycation. I completely wasted today, but didn’t want to get run down, so I listened to my body and chilled.

During my snooze-fest good, sweet Jeffro went to the grocery store. Guess what he bought? Everything we’re not supposed to eat. So sweet of him to get the kids out of the house so I could sleep. But, how do we get away from cereal and everything else when I am the one driving this, and the rest of the fam is half-way on board? What are we going to do when I am back at work full time and Jeff is doing the shopping most of the time?

I really need a plan. I need help with easy breakfasts. I am not home when the children and Jeff eat breakfast, so I need something easy for them to eat. The kids could eat yogurt. But what about Jeff? And I don’t know if Ebro will go for yogurt. And, I don’t want to burn them out. I guess we can start there. And what about easy snacks?

So since I was a little under the weather, I ate nachos that Jeff made. It was grass fed beef, but again, refreid beans from a can- the dreaded can- and corn chips. I need an alternative for us. We could give up bread, but corn chips are going to be hard. I was overwhelmed at Whole Foods in the snack section. That can get expensive. My whole goal is to stay affordable, and for this to be easy. Maybe not easy today, but eventually. I need this to be so easy that Jeff can shop for our new lifestyle.

What do you do? How are you living the more natural lifestyle? I want to hear from the folks that are doing it now. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but I do want to do something different than what most of us Americans do. I did convince Jeff that we didn’t need to order a pizza. Hurray for small victories. Tomorrow is Jeff’s birthday, so we will be binging, I am sure. Then back on the wagon on Sunday!

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Kombucha, apple sauce, marinara and more during naptime


I have never been busier, and I am off of work for just one more week. I can’t tell you how much I am digging being home with my children all day. I love having more than just a thirty minute meal on the table when Jeff gets home. This is greatness. I would have never known that my dream job would be a stay at home mom. That is my dream job. And writer. Cooking show host. Food critic.

I finally succeeded in getting Quinn to take a fat nap today. During that time, I brewed my first batch of ginger infused kombucha with lots of help from, made a SCOBY hotel (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria & Yeast), homemade marinara sauce, apple sauce, and prepped some of my raw milk for butter production tomorrow.

So I was thinking about my whole objective of this blog. I am not here to tell you about the whys of what I do, but rather the how. There are tons and tons of food documentaries and articles that tell why. But, how do you ear properly on a budget and with such a busy lifestyle? That is what I strive to find. I will list all of my sources and the professionals whose material led me to believe the way I do. I can’t possibly explain their subject matter better than they can. So, I won’t. When passion takes over I may try, but will keep it breif, leave a link to their site, and call it a day.

So Kombucha. Basically, fermented food is awesome for gut health ( Why gut health? It is linked to our immune health. I once tried fermenting some veggies, became frightened I molded them instead and tossed. Kombucha is pretty safe and easy to brew, so why not? Now, the SCOBY is SCARY looking. Once I became aquainted with my two SCOBYs, they’re not so bad. They look like musrooms, but are really a bacterial yeasty pancake. Yummy. It actually is pretty good. It is a little vinagary, but it is a wonderful detoxifier, probiotic, and great for the gut flora. Should I put a disclaimer that I am not giving medical advice? I’m not. Just what works for me.

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Day 3, a Whirlwind Day ending at Lucky Layla/Lavon Farms

ImageThe day started at 7AM, on a vacation day!  I had to take Syd up to an 8 AM appointment, then picked up the babies, and met my aunt for a day of shopping and farm tours.  I found my answer to eating organically, only grass-fed/free-range/wild-caught meat.  But, it is in Fort Worth, more than an hour away from my home in Plano.  But, whenever I go to visit my aunt, grandma or mom, a trip to Town Talk will be on the itinerary.

We had lunch, then headed to Keller or Watagua to Homestead Farms.  I met some lovely folks out there, bac-backed with Quinn at the chickens, watched Easton fall off the slide and almost break his arm and ribs, and then headed back home.  I will be talking with Sarah soon and the interview will be coming soon! 

But, we did go to a farm that is almost in our backyard.  Lucky Layla is the brand and the actual farm is called Lavon Farms.  It is a dairy that sells raw milk.  OMG!  Yes, I did.  It is exactly what I am looking for, and in my neighborhood.  And, milk is on sale for $7/gallon on Tuesdays.  SCORE. 

The kids and I took the 4PM Tuesday tour.  Milking time!  I had flash backs to the whomp-a-whomp of the breast pump as we watched the cows milked by metal pumps.  They seemed happy and not nearly as uncomfortable as I was when I was a dairy cow, myself.  Ah the joys of motherhood…they took a few minutes to get milked, and then went back to their happy pasture for more grass, sun and cow birds to pick away the pests.  Happy cows equal delicious dairy products.  I had found their yogurt at Town Talk and that was our afternoon snack in the car.  Delish, and all natural.  My only concern is the sugar.  I wish there were a variety without any sugar, but hey.

So raw milk is only available where permitted by the State of Texas, and only for sale on the dairy premises.  The yogurt and other dairy products are pasteurized (raw milk is not pasteurized, or cooked at a high temperature to kill potentially dangerous bacteria), and can be sold at different stores such as Whole Foods. 

So the main difference between their milk and store bought, even store bought organic, is that it is not pasteurized and all of the good (and bad) stuff cooked out.  They send samples from each batch for testing and the current batch isn’t sold until the results show that it is safe to consume.  Our tour guide compared raw milk to conventional milk as breast milk to formula.  Both are food and contain nutrients, but nothing replaces the real thing. 

So what are some ways to save money?  Typically, gallons of the raw milk are $10.  On Tuesdays, $7.  I pay $6-7 for almond milk, another for soy and then 2% milk.  This will save me tons.  I won’t have to buy creamer, either.  And, if I get crafty, I can make butter- sounds like a project for tomorrow.  Homemade kambucha and butter.  Fun times and the Fenter home.

I am not sure how I did today, food-wise.  I had Greek Yogurt with honey for breakfast, yea.  Coffee and almond milk.  Lunch is what is questionable, and where I am going to really have to do some research and planning.  If I’m out and about, I can have a salad.  But what about the kiddos?  Here guys, a Happy Salad.  Yeah right.  We had Vietnamese- vermicelli and grilled pork and spring rolls.  I think the vermicelli is rice, but is rice okay to eat? 

I meant to take a picture of dinner, but was too hungry and had an 8PM conference training call.  I found grass-fed ground beef at Town Talk (too bad it is too far from Plano!) for $3.  I made tacos, rice (again, is this okay?) and a big no-no canned re-fried beans.  I did skip the corn chips.  And, instead of putting my tacos in a shell or tortilla, I cut an avocado in half and filled them with the taco filling, cheese and a cut up organic tomato.  No, the cheese was not organic- it was from Kroger.  Small steps. 

Tomorrow I will contact Sarah at Heritage Farms and get some more farm-fresh facts.  This may sound unbelievable, but my belly is seriously flatter.  I’ll weigh-in every Monday, and if I get brave, I’ll add measurements, or maybe how many inches I’ve lost.  We’ll see!!  I am dedicated to this project (man it was hard finding time to get this post in today!), but sharing my wieght and measurements is pretty scary.  Oh well- it’s for the art! 

Hey!  What are you reading?  I just finished the Happiness Project (part of my inspiration for this year-long experiment).  I am currently reading The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor.  See a pattern?  I am searching for ways to get rid of the crap not only in my diet, but in my life.  I want to be happy inside and out!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy, but think there are areas that need some serious improvement. 

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Day Two, What Do I Do?

 My final goal is to eat all natural grass fed and freerange meat (or wild caught fish).  This will be my focus after we get the first two objectives down, and can go without eating from any boxes for a few days.
Stuffed Pepper Recipe
Green peppers
Any leftover meat (I had some brisket)
Parmesan Cheese
Sour Cream with dill seasoning
Cut green peppers in half and clean out seeds.  Dice up tomato and potato (better if cooked or left over from another meal).  Mix in veggies, some sour cream and dill (maybe 3 tbl spoons), and brisket.  Scoop into peppers and grate cheese on top.  Grill for 15 minutes or until cooked.  ENJOY!

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Hungry for Change Happiness Project

 Plano, we have a problem.  My life is high stress, fast paced and full of activities.  It is a recipe for a heart attack.  In fact, I had a fake heart attack a few weeks ago due to high stress and impossible deadlines at work.  I work well under pressure- it is my best motivation, but I am ready for change.  I am hungry for change.  I also just read The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, and want to incorporate a year-long happiness search with my lifestyle change.  I think it is all inter-related, and I want to spend the next year documenting the changes.

So what is my strategy?  I have no clue right now.  I know that I need to make some changes, so I am going to cut out all artificial food.  My family has agreed (sort of) to do the same.  Their change may be a more gradual, but I am starting NOW.  I am starting with all organic produce (bananas will be conventional), no GMOs, so no corn or wheat products (YIKES!).  When we get through this set of groceries, I will only bring good stuff into my home.

Hungry for Change is a very motivational food film that we watched last night. But, how can a normal, American family carry out eating all whole foods, juicing pounds upon pounds of produce, and all grass-fed/free range meet while sticking to a VERY modest budget?  I don’t know, yet, but I am going to find out.

So here’s my objective.  If it isn’t necessary, I won’t eat or do it.  Is Candy Crush necessary?  Nope, but I justified it as a de-stressing activity.  How can I better use my time?  I will apply this to food too.  Are chips and salsa necessary?  NOPE!  But, I can grill an avocado, fill it with taco filling of my choice and enjoy with salsa.  It will take some creativity, planning, and a will to change.

Eventually, I want to nix the microwave, never use plastic, and use natural hygiene products, but for now, I’m sticking to time management and food.

What makes me happy?  The thought of a healthful lifestyle, exercise, proper whole food diet, and low stress.  I love to cook, write, and spend time with my family.  This is the perfect vehicle to do all three.  We will get healthy together, I will write, and we will document our hit and miss recipes from this year-long experiment.  Stay tuned and I’ll post dinner videos and recipes.

My objective for the end of the year is to be the healthiest we’ve ever been, fit, lower our stress and drama, and be artificial ingredient free.  I also want to be a full time writer/film-maker.  There I’ve said it.  Those are my goals, fit and writing and filmmaking.  So here’s day one:  158 pounds, day one of writing, and needing help to stay on the goal wagon.  I’d love to hear from you and see what you do to eat healthy, and work towards goals.

So here are my goals:

1.)  Diet and fitness change

2.)  Stress management

3.)  Pursuing my passions and not waiting for a more convenient time

4.) Having a happier household

I’ve never been happier, however, I think our happiness and stress levels can use a positive boost.  What can I do to help change that?  How can I help the attitudes of a preteen, almost two-year old and a four year old?    I can’t make them less attitude-y, but what can I do to promote a happier home?  Let’s find out!  I really believe that a whole food diet is step one to better attitudes.  Proper sleep and a predictable schedule will help, too.

That’s a lot, but I think it is a great starting point.  I’ll weigh in on our progress tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

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