At the time of publication, all recipes were free of the allergens listed as being free of in the title (i.e. soy-free, milk-free, etc.), and all other information shared was accurate to the best of my knowledge.
Though I strive to update outdated information quickly and work diligently to make sure you have the most accurate information possible at all times, it is your duty to double check labels EVERY TIME to ensure that the ingredients you use are SAFE FOR YOU.
Your doctor or allergist should also be your first go-to for information on how to handle your medical needs. That being said, if you DO notice an error, please send me an email letting me know (tell me what page or recipe the error is on, what the error is, etc.), and I will correct the error ASAP.
Thank you so much!

Please Be Advised:
I make sure all of my recipes use foods that are free of the allergens they say they are free of. You will need to do the same. For help with this, please see the appropriate "Alternative Names" page for the allergen(s) you need the recipe free of.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Healthy Recipe Link-Up: 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (Soy, Wheat, Milk, Egg and Fish-Free, Can Be Nut-Free)

I know it's been awhile since I've had a new recipe for you.  I sincerely apologize for that.  It was my intent to post one sooner than this, but time got away from me.  Hopefully I'll have another one up sooner than later.

Anyway, today I have a link-up for you!  I am part of a multi-blogger link-up (with a lot of wonderful bloggers from The Blogging Collective), that is designed to offer you some yummy, healthy recipes!  If you have a recipe that you'd like to link-up, feel free to do so below (you can only link-up through today).  Also, please check out all the recipes that have been linked up.  You are missing out if you don't!


Now, onto my recipe for the link-up:
3 Ingredient Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars!

This is my version of a recipe I found here.  It is soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), wheat, milk, egg and fish-free and can be nut-free (see variations).  Not only that, these is SUPER easy to make.  The hardest thing about it is waiting until the next day to eat them! :)  I hope you enjoy them.

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

1 Cup natural, soy-free peanut butter (chunky or creamy is your choice)

1 Cup soy-free jam, jelly or preserves (your flavor of choice)

2 to 3 Cups quick or old fashion oats (make sure these are gluten-free if you need them to be)

  1. Line a 13x9 inch pan with tin foil; set aside.
  2. Put peanut butter and jam, jelly or preserves into a heavy saucepan and heat on low until thoroughly combined and becomes a liquid consistency, stirring constantly.  (Note: If using preserves, you will find that the mixture will not become completely liquid, but will become obviously melted.  Stop heating the mixture at this point or the mixture will start to re-thicken.)
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the oats until well-blended.  (Note: The first time I made this, I used the full 3 Cups of oats and found it a little drier than I'd like.  I found 2 Cups more to my liking.  You can use any amount between 2 and 3 Cups that suits your tastes without ruining this recipe.)
  4. Press mixture into the prepared pan.
  5. Cover pan with another sheet of tin foil and let set overnight.
  6. Cut bars into desired size and enjoy!
Makes a minimum of 12 servings.
Variations (Please keep your individual allergen needs in mind when using substitutions!):
  • Nut-Free: If you can have tree nuts or seeds, you can substitute any tree nut or seed butter for the peanut butter.
  • Grain-Free: If you have trouble with all grains, including oatmeal, sub quinoa flakes for the oatmeal and make as directed.
  • Peanut Butter and Honey Bars:  Substitute honey for the jam, jelly or preserves and make as directed.
  • Mix-ins: You can add up to a Cup of chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, etc. when you add the oats.  If you do this, you might need to use the lesser amount of oats, though.
  • Coconut Bars: You can try subbing coconut for all or some of the oats and using coconut oil for the peanut butter for a coconut treat.  You can leave the jam with this variation or use honey.  You could even stir in chocolate chips or nuts or dried pineapple or anything that you think would taste good with coconut.  You can even use chocolate chips in place of the jam as well for a chocolaty coconut bar.
  • Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bars: You can substitute chocolate chips for the jam and make a peanut buttery, chocolate version that tastes very similar to my No-Bake Cookies.
  • Thicker Bars: Press the mixture into a 9x9 pan vs. a 13x9 pan for thicker bars.
  • Other Subs For Jam: You can use molasses, maple syrup or any other substance that is sweet and will melt into liquid for the jam.
  • Feel free to mix and match any of these substitution ideas as well.  Let your imagination go wild! :)
So many possibilities, so little time!
What's your favorite quick and easy treat?
What's your favorite "go to" healthy snack?
 Don't forget to link-up your own healthy recipe below and check out some of the other yummy, healthy recipes linked up, as well!


(This recipe was originally posted on my original site, Natural and Free.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Monthly Milestones {4}

Today is my fourth time running my monthly feature where I will be giving you updates on how I am doing physically, mentally, etc. and in which you can link up a post about some form of progress you are making, if you wish (see details below). I am enjoying this, and being publicly accountable (as hard as it is) will and is helping me out tremendously.  I hope you enjoy this link-up as well, will link up something inspiring and share it with others so that we can meet our goals together! :)
Here is how I am doing so far:
Me today, April 5, 2014 at 229 lbs.
Sorry about the frowny face - it was early and I hadn't had my coffee yet! LOL :)  Oh, and hubby didn't warn me he was taking the pictures until he had taken them, so I didn't know when to smile.  Next time, I'll tell him to warn me! :D
  1. I've lost some weight!  I've lost 5 lbs. since last weigh in, but I've actually lost more than that this month.  You see, about halfway into March, I noticed that my weight was going up and I was teetering around 240 - sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less.  This was obviously not ok with me!  I decided it was time for action!  I knew my biggest issue was that I was eating a lot of soy and processed foods as well as a lot more sugar/carbs than protein, so I decided to change my eating habit drastically.  I knew I needed to do something that would have me focus on getting more protein in my diet and cut out the soy (something that my body is not ok with - definitely a food sensitivity for me), so I decided to do a modified version of the South Beach (stage one), which meant no carbs, no starchy veggies, no grains and no fruits for around 2 weeks.  It was rough, and I went through a pretty nasty detox (saying I was crabby would be an understatement), but I feel so much better now, especially since I have more energy, less pain and more focus.  Those things alone made the detox worth it, truly.  Besides that, I figure I lost over 10 lbs. in those 2 weeks, hitting 229 today - the lowest I've been since about September 2013!
  2. I've made some serious eating change decisions.  As I mentioned above, I am working on getting more protein into my diet and working on eating less carbs and soy.  My hope is to eliminate soy from my diet, at least when I'm home.  I will do my level best to keep it out of my diet when I'm away from home, but if it is not possible, I plan on making the healthiest choice of the options available to me.  I know that the biggest key to me regaining my health is eliminating soy more than anything else, and so (no matter how hard it is) that is what I will do.  I've done it before, I can do it again.  I've also decided to keep an eye on how sugar and gluten make me feel.  If I notice an issue with IBS, fatigue, headaches, etc. associated with them, then I plan on removing them from my diet or at least greatly reducing them.  I know that won't be easy either, but I will do what I need to to be healthy again. :)
  3. I'm adding a new supplement to my routine.  I will now have 8 vitamins/supplements to take vs. 7.  I am adding a probiotic to the mix.  I think this will be a great addition, especially since I was encouraged to add one by my doctor and several friends.  I had been eating yogurt daily, but most of the yogurts I can tolerate texture-wise contain soy, so I figured a soy-free probiotic pill would be a great option.  This way, I'm guaranteed to get the probiotics into my diet, and if I do find a soy-free yogurt that I like to eat by itself, then that's just an added bonus! :)
  4. I am getting more active!  The weather is slowly getting nicer, so I've been able to get out for walks a little.  It feels so nice!  I am looking forward to more and more energy as the weight comes off and my diet improves and my body adjusts.  I'm also looking forward to the energy that comes from getting more exercise (yes, it does work that way), and I'm sure the kids will enjoy it, too! :)
  5. My exciting news did not pan out.  I was supposed to have an interview with a very well-known magazine, but due to an email getting to me 2 months late, I missed the chance.  I am disappointed, but I know that God's hand is in all things, so I trust that other opportunities will come my way. :) 
  6. I have some exciting plans for my blogs!  I'm not sure when I'll get those plans rolling, but I am hopeful that it will be by next month.  I can't wait, but I'm not going to tell you the details because I don't want to spoil the surprise! :)
  7. Spring Break is this week!  My boys have Spring Break this week (well, through Thursday since we decided to do school on Friday so we could take Good Friday off when hubby has off work).  I am excited to have some time away from the schooling, as are the kids, and looking forward to having some fun times with them as well as get some Spring Cleaning done.  I am even hopeful to knock off some things off my To Do List! :)  We shall see!
  8. We've made some decisions about schooling.  At the end of March, we signed our daughter up for pre-school.  I am hopeful that she will get in and we won't be put on a waiting list, but if she does get put on a waiting list, I'm going to do something at home with her.  I'm kinda leaning towards, if school outside the home doesn't work out (i.e. she can't get into preschool or we have issues signing up for school when it comes time for her to be in kindergarten), that maybe that is our cue that we should just homeschool her.  That terrifies me, honestly, because I feel out of my element from preschool through about second grade, but I have been praying about it, and feel like that is really the way to handle it.  As to the boys, we've re-registered for the online school again next year, and we're all excited about it.  The boys have really thrived and, though it's been rough at times, I know this is the best thing for all of us. :)
  9. I am having a lot of "Where did the time go?" moments lately!  As school winds down for the year, I am forced to realize these things: 1) My oldest will be in 7th grade next year and the Teen Youth Group at church this summer!  Whoa!  He will be 12 in October!  2) My middle kid will be 10 in a few weeks!  Say what?  Two kids in my house in double digits!?!  Now I feel old.  3) My youngest will be 4 in July and in preschool next fall!  Yah...I feel old.  I am excited and sad all at the same time over all of these things.  It won't be long now and we'll be facing driver's ed and graduations and...well, let's not go there. :)  I'll just focus on enjoying and getting through each phase as we get there.
  10. I got new glasses.  As you may or may not have noticed in the pictures above, I got new glasses.  It has been a long time since I've had wire frames and they took awhile to get used to, but I like them. :)

I know I shared a lot this month, and I hope I didn't overwhelm you!  March was definitely a month of change here!  How are you doing on your goals?  Hopefully well, and I hope you will link-up a post telling me all about it or even leave a comment sharing your thoughts.  As always, I wish you the best of luck in all you do, and hope you will return soon! :)

Now It's Your Turn!

Grab A Badge!

(This post was originally posted on my original site, Fibro, Fit and Fab!)