Food and I, we are in a relationship together.

The longer we are with each other, I think I know food but I'm always learning something new about it. Some food is healthy and good for me. Other foods are sinfully bad but I try them anyway. Food is so complex and I'm always amazed that when I pair together combinations like steak and zucchini how unexpectedly wonderful those flavors are together. Food is part of my life, something that I can't live without.

I'm trying to understand how to both savor and simplify my food.

I don't want to hate myself after I eat a chocolate molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream but I also don't want to be the girl that can never say no to food. I want to enjoy eating food, not indulge myself again and again and again.

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Over the summer, I ate some of the most amazing food including lobster quesadillas, duck tongues (don't think...just eat!), beignets, faux ya ya (a fancy term for shrimp and grits!), and lemon blueberry layered cake. It was so fun to have an adventurous pallet as I savored the deliciousness of all that yummy food but toward the end of the summer my body began to yearn for the clean-eating diet that I had been on since Ridley was born. I needed to get back on the healthy-eating wagon but I didn't have much motivation to begin again.

Because I had eaten my fair share of hard-boiled eggs, salads, almonds, and fish, real food had gotten boring. Why would I say yes to grilled chicken and veggies when I could have fried pork chops, sweet potato pie, and rice with gravy? But, all the pounds that I was so proud to lose slowly began to inch back across my waistline. My work-out routine had become irregular and my body began to hurt. I needed some motivation to start living a healthy lifestyle again and some new recipes to kick-start my clean-eating routine.

I received an e-mail from the Ultimate Bundles team about a new bundle they were featuring for Healthy Living. I began to scan the bundle and quickly realized that this was exactly what I needed to not only enjoy my food but also eat food that was good for me too. I've loved trying out some of the different recipes from Laura at Heavenly Homemakers, Sharla at The Chaos and the Clutter and Kelly from New Leaf Wellness. Hannah from Kombucha Kamp even had some great DIY Cocktails perfect for weekends or special celebrations with friends!

22 real food cookbooks

Here are some of my favorite real food recipes:

Cindy's Chicken from Chicken Dump Recipes

Cindy's Chicken

I am all about some crock pot chicken and am always looking for some new recipes to serve on gymnastics night at our house. Cindy's Chicken uses Catalina dressing and apricot jam as its' base, which results in this tangy orange color. It was really good and so simple to make! What I really liked best about the Chicken Dump Recipes is she gives you three different plans to choose from and then tells you exactly what ingredients you need for all of them so you can make five meals at the same time and freeze them until needed. I chose Plan 2 which featured Teriyaki Chicken, Lemon Mustard Chicken, French Canadian Chicken, Pepper Lime Chicken, and Cindy's Chicken. It took me less than thirty minutes to prepare all of these meals and many used some similar ingredients so this plan saved me both time and money!

Apricot Oatmeal Bars

apricot oat bars - pinterest

apricot oatmeal bars

I am a huge fan of oatmeal bars so when I ran across a recipe for Raspberry Oatmeal Bars in 227 Healthy Snacks, I thought I'd try them out. I substituted the raspberry for apricot jam since I already had half a jar leftover from Cindy's Chicken. These bars worked great for breakfast and for mid-morning snacks. So yummy and so very simple to make.

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We all have our unique relationship with food. While it is the source of both comfort and anxiety, it is something that we have to have so why not embrace its' good qualities? We use it to bring people together to laugh and sit and talk and celebrate. It can nourish the soul and can be given to nourish others. A certain recipe can remind us of a special time in our lives. While some foods might not be good for us, food is inherently good for us.

That's why I'm loving the real food section of the Healthy Living Bundle.

With twenty-two cookbooks full of healthy and easy recipes for me to try, I'm being inspired daily to eat food that is not only good but good for me. Sure, I'm still going to splurge on sugar and carbs but at least I've got some new recipes to turn to when I need to get myself back on track.

So yeah, food and I are in a relationship. I'm not jealous that it is in a relationship with you too. Because food is something we all have to have, let us not compare our plates or our weights but instead let's both try to eat foods that will fill us up and help us fill others up too. Eating well will make us feel well which in turn will result in us living well.

Don't we all want to live well?

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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