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Sunday Dinner: Meatloaf

One thing I love doing is making a recipe my own. Whether it was one of my mom’s or grandma’s or a childhood favorite, I love re-creating it to make it healthier for me to enjoy now! I feel that a lot of times, just because we are eating a certain way (I refuse to say diet, because I am not on a diet, it is my choice of eating and frankly, it is not a diet to me!), we limit ourselves to foods. That should not be the problem! Why don’t we just re-create the healthier, better versions!

This weekend, I was hungry for my late Grandma Sharon’s meatloaf, so I re-created it a healthier, clean version that I will enjoy this week as my lunch! It has no brown sugar topping or unhealthy processed grains. It does have, some nutritious vegtables and proteins to keep you feeling full throughout the day (it would be a great meal to take out to the field for those hardworking farmers of ours!).

It turned out wonderful, and I am excited to share it with you!

Sorry, I didn’t take a lot of pictures, when I was meal prepping on Saturday. This is one of those recipes, I just threw together, so I’ll do my best to explain everything to you!

What You’ll Need: 

  • 1/3 cup, canned mushrooms, chopped finely
  • 1 red or green pepper, chopped finely
  • 2 pounds of lean ground beef, or you could even use 1/2 lean beef and 1/2 ground turkey
  • 1 can of organic, no salt added tomato sauce
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 cup of Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup of organic mustard
  • 3/4 of a sleeve of whole wheat saltines
  • 2 Teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 Teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • Pepper to taste
  • Extra Mustard and Ketchup for topping (Yes, I know Ketchup is not exactly “clean” or 21 Day Fix approved, but I drizzled a little on top and it was worth the small cheat! I probably used a couple of Tablespoons all in all of Ketchup for the entire loaf, not bad!)

What To Do: 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the meat of your choice, mushrooms, pepper, mustard, tomato sauce, cheese, eggs, crackers, garlic and onion powder, Worcestershire Sauce and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.

In a large baking dish, (I got mine as a wedding gift from my uncle and aunt off my gift registry from Sur la Table, here is the 2.75 Quart Blanc Round Cocotte), combine the above ingredients. Using your hands, make into a loaf. Then, drizzle the Ketchup and Mustard on top to desire. Place in preheated oven and cook for about one and a half hours or until done. Enjoy!

I like serving mine with a few saltine crackers on the side, almost like a dip! It is so yummy and makes great left-overs! For the 21 Day Fix, one cup of meatloaf would equal 1/2 purple (tomato sauce), 2 reds, 3/4 green, 1/2 yellow, and 1/2 blue.

On a side note,  if you haven’t heard of Sur la Table, it is a great kitchen shop to visit! They have EVERYTHING from linens to bakeware and cookware, to spices! Things that would make excellent gifts for Mom! Right now, they have 20% off one item and free shipping! The promo code to enter at checkout is MAKEHERDAY15. 

Happy Monday!

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Sunday Dinner: Chicken Stir Fry with Pineapple and A Birthday!

Well, this weekend was an interesting one! Let me first flashback to Friday.

Friday, I found out my brakes on my Jeep were wore out to the bare metal. Taylor made me an appointment because all week I was hearing this grinding noise. This was extremely frustrating because I just had it in to get the brakes checked a month ago and the repair man said nothing was wrong. Huh. So Friday, I had my Jeep at our local Co-Op to see what was going on. Of course, parts had to be ordered from a far-away land and won’t be in until later this week. Totally not complaining, I would rather go local any day!

Also Friday, Taylor caught a spring flu bug. Not fun. He was up pretty much all night and felt achy for the next several days after. Finally Saturday night, he ate his first meal in three days. He wanted fish. Not something I would be craving after being sick to my stomach for three days! I gave in and cooked him tilapia, noodles, green beans, and biscuits.

I was ever so thankful that Taylor’s stomach issues cleared up and that I didn’t get it (thank you Shakeology!!), by Sunday for his birthday! He insists on a Dairy Queen cake year after year, they are his favorite so, guess what was waiting in the freezer for us to devour on Sunday after a meal of roast and boiled potatoes (per his request also)?!


Since I was homebound for all of the weekend, I spend it cleaning up the house, doing laundry and letting some fresh air in to get all the flu bugs out. Oh and cooking and meal prepping!

This week, I made a chicken and veggie stir-fry (21 Day Fix Approved and Clean as well) and today I am sharing it with you! I haven’t tried it yet, it is in my lunch for today though, but it smelled amazing!!

What You’ll Need:

  • 5-6 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • California Stir-Fry Frozen Vegetable Mix (in the frozen veggie section)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ginger
  • Honey
  • Pineapple, sliced


Place cooked and cubed chicken with onions and veggie stir-fry into electric skillet. Cook over medium until frozen veggies are tender. Add in pineapple. Add in spices and honey. Mix well until everything is coated in spices and honey mixture. Cook another 3-5 minutes over medium high heat.


And that is lunch for this week! Yummy!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?!

A well planned week ahead!
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Praying For Rain

In case you haven’t heard, North Dakota has been in the news a lot about the drought we are currently having. We received well below normal snowfall this winter, in fact, we hardly had any. Now that it is spring, temperatures are soaring and the winds are roaring. Trust me, every night I can clean the same window sill and check it a few house later and literally dirt will be sitting where I just cleaned. It is bad. But unfortunately, the dirt inside my home is the least of my worries.

Just recently, there have been several fires breaking out in Bismarck, our capital city. The college was evacuated and the streets of Bismarck were chaos. We are not only facing dangerous fires, but also for this farming community. Small sloughs in pastures are starting to dry up and disappear, which is devastating for cattlemen, like us.

Farmers are starting to dig and plant their fields, but all you see is a whirlwind of dust. WIth the extremely low grain prices already and cattle prices are falling rapidly as well, we as farmers can’t afford a drought, not this year. Farmer’s work hard and long hours and take a gamble every year with weather. We don’t protest the low grain prices, we just have to deal with it. There are no raises in farming. What you get is what you get. And drought across our North Dakota prairie, could also mean soaring food prices nation-wide.

In case you didn’t know, North Dakota ranks first in the production of flaxseed, canola, durum wheat, all dry edible beans, all dry edible peas, spring wheat, honey, lentils, sunflowers, barley and oats. Which is a food source for many of you most likely.

Bismarck Fire by University of Mary. KFYR TV Photo Credit


And as you can see, its windy and hot everyday and little to no chances of rain in the seven day outlook.


So I ask you, as friends, and fellow blog readers, no matter what religion or your beliefs, please remember our little state of North Dakota in your prayers and thoughts. RIght now, please join me and say a little prayer for us.

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Sunday Dinner: Egg Noodle Veggie and Turkey Hotdish

This weekend was fun and full of family! Friday night, we had dinner at my parents. My mom made a delicious meal of beef tips or orange chicken over rice with a salad. Saturday was a lazy day at home when I watched most of the History Channel’s The Bible series. Have you seen it? It was wonderful and I was so blessed by it!

Sunday was Easter! My mom-in-law asked me to be in charge of dessert. I was thrilled. I had seen the perfect idea on Pinterest a few weeks ago, a Peep garden scene cake, complete with little carrots and of course, Peeps! I also made Bunny Bait (a chex mix with popcorn, M&M’s,pretzel sticks, chex, and almond bark) and pistachio pudding dessert!



The Peep cake turned out awesome and the kids loved it! I also got to see my sweet, chubby, and giggly niece and god-daughter, Sydney! She loves Blue’s Clues right now and she is just the chunkest little lady, ever! We love her!


With the fun, busy and holiday weekend, I didn’t get much time to meal prep, that is why last weekend I was thinking ahead. Last weekend, I made plenty and froze for this week! One of the recipes I made was a turkey egg noodle hotdish and 100% 21 Day Fix approved! So today, I am sharing that recipe with you!

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups of Egg Noodles
  • 1.5 pounds of Lean Ground Turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups of Skim Ricotta Cheese (I used some cheddar instead, and I used way less cheese than what is called for)
  • 4 cups diced veggies, Spinach, Tomatoes, Onion, and Green Pepper
  • 2/3 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Dash of Pepper, Salt, Garlic Salt, and Dried Basil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook meat and drain fat. Cook noodles and drain. Sautee veggies until tender (I sauteed mine in olive oil). Combine meat and veggies, top with noodles, and then the cheese in an 8×8 pan. Bake for about 15-20 minutes.


This turned out to be a yummy recipe that I would definitely do again! And it froze well too!

On the 21 Day Fix meal plan, this would equal one yellow, one green, one blue, and one red containers. In case anyone is interested, I will be hosting a challenge group starting April 27th (through Facebook)! With the help of Shakeology, BeachBody programs and me as your coach for FREE, we will get you to your goals before summer! If anyone is interested in more information, please like or comment on this post! To date, I have lost over 11 inches with the help of PiYo, 21 Day Fix, and Shakeology! Not to mention my psoriasis has cleared up and my arthritis is doing so much better!


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Sunday Dinner: Southern California Fish Tacos

This weekend was too short by my standards, but so fun! We got to spend all of Saturday with our four nieces and nephews! We spent the afternoon, which was a gorgeous March day in North Dakota, playing baseball, football, doing sidewalk chalk, and visiting. Plus, eating lots of yummy food made by my sister-in-law! After a full day of playing, this uncle and auntie needed a nap! Thank goodness the next day was Sunday!

Last week Monday, we were invited to our Pastor, John’s home for a night of food and visiting! He made us the famous Southern California Fish Tacos! Neither Taylor nor I had ever tried fish tacos! To me, they sounded gross! Fish should never be in a taco, only ground 100% Angus beef (I am being partial since that is what we raise)!

Turns out, we were greatly surprised! They were excellent! Even my very food-fussy husband loved them and suggested that I make them for a Sunday Dinner! So, guess what I made yesterday?!

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 package of the small, white corn tortillas, you won’t use all of them
  • Pam or non-stick cooking spray
  • Filets of Tilapia (I used the frozen), Typically one piece of fish can be divided and used for two fish tacos
  • Red Cabbage (1/2 head), Chopped
  • White Cabbage (1 bag)
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (1/2 large container)
  • Honey or Sweetener to taste (I used honey and a few packets of Truvia)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Black Ground Pepper
  • Cilantro, Chopped
  • 2 Limes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Power
  • Onion Powder
  • Cumin

To Make The Slaw:

You’ll want to make the slaw first so it can marinate overnight. Mix together the white and red cabbage, about a half container of Greek Yogurt, and about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. I like my slaw pretty vinegar-y tasting, so adjust accordingly. Mix well, so there are no clumps. Then add in the sweetener of your choice. I used about 3-4 packets of Truvia and about 1/4 cup of honey. Add in the juice of one lime. Mix well and sprinkle in some ground black pepper. Put in fridge and let sit overnight.

For the fish, season lightly with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and onion powder. Squeeze the juice of one lime over fish. Place in preheated 375 degree oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until done. Meanwhile, on an electric skillet, sprayed will with non-stick spray, spray each tortilla with spray and heat tortillas for a few minutes on each side until soft and pliable.

image1 image2

How to assemble:

Grab a warm, soft tortilla, place one half of a seasoned and baked tilapia on the tortilla. Next, place some slaw and a little chopped cilantro on top! I also served mine with some sliced avocado!

For those of you doing the 21 Day Fix program, one fish taco would equal one red, one yellow, and one green container, and one blue if avocado is served.


Enjoy! And Happy Monday! Xo

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Healthy Cookie Dough

This is my last and final week of PiYo! (Which I will have a review on next week with my final results, stay tuned!)These past two months flew by! Yes, I probably could have eaten better, but I am proud of myself for committing to something for eight weeks, and now longer because of the 21 Day Fix is next for me! Can’t wait!

This weekend was cold here on the Z Ranch. Highs here were in the -20’s and bitterly ugly. So, I stayed inside and meal prepped and cooked for me and my hubby this week! I made stuffed peppers, a southwest style soup, and our Sunday Dinner, salmon with a Sriracha cream sauce (recipe from Prairie Californian, which I will share later this week with you)!

This weekend, I also experimented with some healthy treats! The one that I am sharing with you today was Cookie Dough! It is amazing! People have been asking me about my new lifestyle and all the cooking and meal prep that goes with it. Really, it is about the same, you just have to come up with healthier and cleaner substitutions to cook with. And as you know, I am a “add this and that and taste test” kind of cook. I rarely use recipes, unless following a new one, and even then, I use my own “healthy” variations.

We are having an ice cream church social coming up in a few weeks. I will be making this for myself and bringing it, so I don’t pig out on homemade ice cream and unhealthy toppings! It is a great treat to have on weekends! And the best part, no guilt and you can stay on track!

Here is what you’ll need:

3/4 cup Greek Yogurt (one red container for 21 Day Fix)

1-2 teaspoons Natural Peanut Butter

1 teaspoon Natural Honey

Sprinkling of Chocolate Chips (preferably Enjoy Life – no sugar, dairy)

1 Packet of Truvia or other Natural Sweetener for extra sweetness

Mix together Greek Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Honey, and Truvia. Mix well so all is combined and no lumps of Peanut Butter. Sprinkle in chocolate chips and enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Cookie Dough

This counts as one red container and one half of a yellow for the chocolate chips, and one to two teaspoons (depending on how many you use) for the 21 Day Fix meal plan!

Stay tuned for my Sunday Dinner Recipe of Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce from Prairie Californian later this week!

Happy Monday! Xo

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A Letter to the Future Wives of our Farmers

Many of you may  watch the current season of The Bachelor. This years main man is a farmer, from the small town Arlington, Iowa. “Prince Farming” his early thirties, good looking, down to earth, and he is also a farmer who just happens to be looking for his soul mate.

The ladies on The Bachelor are mostly city, born and raised, and a few small town Mid-West girls who are also looking for their future husband (at least some of them, anyway). Let me start by saying, I know a few ladies that never grew up farming and came from the city to marry their own Prince Farming, and they adjusted well!

Nothing against all the city girls out there, but I think they should be a little bit more educated about what they may be getting themselves into. Some would probably adjust very well, and others not so much, and you can almost pick out the ones that wouldn’t last a minute on the farm!

So, I have decided to write them an anonymous letter from someone who has a couple years of experience under her belt. Someone like, me. Here it goes…

Dear Future Farmer’s Wife, First off, I want you to know that I am a farmer’s wife too. Being married to a farmer is one of the hardest, but most rewarding jobs there is. You get to be a part of a dying community, but a thriving world that brings food to everyone else’s tables. You probably don’t care now how the markets are doing, or if there is a momma cow having trouble calving her first baby in the old barn, but you will. You probably don’t care now when the tractor is broke down and parts aren’t available until next week Wednesday, but you will. You probably don’t care now how long it takes to plant or harvest a field or do chores on a winters morn, but you will. Oh, how you will.

You might not be used to getting invited to weddings, parties, family gatherings and not being able to attend because it’s haying season. You might not be used to sleeping beside someone who has to get up every two hours to check if a cow calved in the middle of the night when it is 25 below.

You may have been worried before in life, but you’ve never experienced worry until you get a text saying “I got kicked by a cow” or “I’m putting in an all-nighter”, and let me tell you, an all-nighter doesn’t mean he is out drinking with his friends. You get used to the long, strange hours, and the hard work, but you never out grow the worry.

You may know how to cook now, but in a few months, you’ll be able to whip up a meal, have it packed in the cooler with time to spare before he comes in to pick it up before he starts a long day in the field.

You may think dirty laundry is wearing an outfit more than once, but you have never seen dirty laundry until you have married a farmer/rancher. Be prepared to find bolts, pliers, corn, soy beans, manure, and gum in the washer or dryer. Don’t expect to find any money.

Whether you work in town or are based at home, be expected to run and I mean literally run, to town on a parts run. Be expected to know how to stretch your money wisely and cut those coupons from the Sunday paper. Be prepared for early mornings and long nights.

Be prepared for basically anything, dirt, mud, poop, bugs, blood and guts, live animals, ANYTHING that comes through your front door (and onto your living room carpet).

Designer is no longer Gucci, Michael Kors, or Prada, but rather John Deere, Case IH, or flowers, freshly picked from the field he was fixing fence at today, and they could be dandelions. But trust me, you’ll cherish them.

Be prepared to eat dinner no earlier than 7 o’clock pretty much every night. Be prepared to keep your weekends free because Sunday, is basically the only day you get to see him for more than 10 minutes while he is sleeping. And be prepared even on Sunday, for the cows to get out, because cows don’t care that it is Sunday.

Be prepared to spend $50+ every week on sandwich meat, Lil Debbies (if you don’t know what these are, you’ll find out), soda, bottled water, chips, and buns for cooler food during the week. P.S. Cooler season is about from April to November. And during cooler season, sitting down at the table for a hot meal, is considered a date night.

Be prepared to deal with a super cranky man when the combine breaks down during mid-harvest and there is rain coming or when a cow dies from slipping on ice.

Also be prepared for the farm life to completely change your life in such a positive way.

Farmers may have rough hands, but they have a gentle spirit and a loving heart. He already loves you more than words can say. Why do you think he works so hard anyway, to support you and the little family the two of you have made together. And don’t ever second guess yourself, on those lonely, late summer nights, because he does love you. More than the cows, more than the new John Deere tractor, and more than life itself.

Somewhere in between the long and hectic summer days and the freezing cold winter nights, you’ll fall in love with this crazy but beautiful life too. You might not think so now, but you will. Oh, how you will.