Category Archives: Health and Fitness


Cocoa Puffs Kid

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11

by: Kerri Young

When we first arrived in our new home in the Middle East we were, as can be expected, a little overwhelmed.

Life is different here. Not different bad. Just different.

HomesWe traded our yard and white picket fence (literally) for a fourth story flat with three balconies (which we love!). I exchanged my mini-van for public transportation in the form of a taxi, bus and Metro, which I will write about in another post sometime soon. We cannot buy brown sugar, vanilla extract, macaroni and cheese, pop tarts, most breakfast cereals, fruit snacks or shredded cheese at the grocery store (and those are just a few of the things we are missing). Our language skills, and thus our ability to communicate effectively with the local people, are on par with my two year old’s ability to communicate with us. But, we are learning….slowly. Continue reading

Lazy Lasagna

 I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls.  Jeremiah 31:25 (The Message)

By: Gretchen Speer

A few years ago a friend of mine shared this recipe in our MOPS newsletter.  I was really excited to try it because we love lasagna, but I was all for an easier version!  This recipe is perfect for those days where you’re gone all day swimming, and want to come home to a meal that is already prepared.  Pull some pre-made garlic bread out of the freezer and you are all set!  I like using my crockpot more in the summer because it keeps me from having to turn the stove on-which causes our air conditioner to work even harder.

In my menu planning post we talked about cooking up extra ground beef to pull out of the freezer for later.  Having some already cooked ground beef in the freezer is about the only thing that could make this recipe even easier!

Doesn’t look fancy, but it tastes great!









Lazy Lasagna-in your crockpot!

Makes 8-10 servings


1lb. Ground Beef

12 0z. Pkg egg noodles

32 oz. Jar spagetti sauce

8 oz. mozzarella cheese-shredded

16 0z. cottage cheese


1. Brown beef and drain grease

2. Cook noodles according to package directions

3. Stir spagetti sauce into ground beef

4. Layer one-third of the sauce/beef mixture into the bottome of slow cooker  Top with half the noodles, followed by half the cottage cheese and half the mozzarella.

5. Layer in half the remaining sauce followed by all the remaining noodles and cheeses.  Top with rest of sauce.

6. Cover and cook on low 3-4 hours.

Make it Healthier Options:

  • Use whole wheat penne intead of the egg noodles.
  • Use reduced fat or 2% mozzerella cheese.
  • Use 93/7 beef or ground turkey instead of the beef.
  • Use low fat cottage cheese.
  • Instead of using pre made garlic bread, make your own(see recipe below).


Healthier Home Made Garlic Bread

Here’s what you need.









Whole wheat hot dog buns

1 tsp.Italian seasoning

1 tsp. Garlic powder

1 TBS. Parmesean cheese

1/4 cup olive oil


1.Preheat oven to 400

2.Open hotdog buns and lay them on the baking sheet with the inside facing up.

3.In a small bowl mix the olive oil, italian seasoning, garlic powder, and parmesean cheese.

4. Brush onto buns.                                     

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Plate it up!




Monster Heads: DIY Peanut Butter Cereal Bars

“Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” Colossians 3:17 MSG

By: Jennifer Mullen 

So it has been five months since I wrote Permission to Be Imperfect. In that post I listed my five New Year’s resolutions, one of which was to develop healthier eating habits.  In the past five months I have lost 30 pounds by just calorie counting.  (That is a post for another day.)  Today I want to focus on the secondary purpose of that resolution: modeling healthy eating habits for my kids!

My daughter was getting into a habit of expecting a treat after every meal or every accomplishment.  I knew we had to make some changes. Because my daughter is still young, it is the perfect time to make new cooking traditions and to teach my daughter how to choose foods that would make her body strong. 

Instead of making peanut butter cookies with lots of added sugar, we tried this super easy recipe I saw on Dr. Oz. My daughter calls them Monster Heads.  (By the way… watching Dr. Oz is not something I would have done before the New Year.)

What you will need:

You only need two ingredients in a one-to-one ratio. I did one cup of each: 

1-Uncooked Oats (Good source of whole grain fiber) 

2- Peanut Butter(I used the natural Jif)


You can add other things!  

I didn’t have enough Jif so I added some crunchy peanut butter.  Also, I found half of a bag of chocolate chips in my cabinet left over from our Christmas baking.  Before my New Year’s resolution they would have never made it past January in my cabinet!  So, to make it more like a treat we added a 1/4 cup of the chocolate chips.  You could also add dried fruits, nuts, or honey.   You may want to try this recipe with almond butter or sunbutter.  If you do, let me know what you think.

Measure and mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  Be prepared to get messy!!!  This is a great multi-sensory activity for your kids.  Also, what is great about this is that you can eat it right out of the bowl.  I am one of those mommas who deny my children the joy of eating raw cookie batter in fear of salmonella poisoning!












Then we rolled the batter up into balls and placed then on a glass dish.  Dr. Oz said to put them in the fridge over night, but we could only wait two hours. 🙂  They did have a better texture the next day, but we enjoyed then just the same after nap time.  We served them in cupcake holders.






This activity provided great a opportunity to explicitly talk to my daughter about healthy treats.  I told her that the peanut butter has healthy fats that help her brain work and proteins that will make her muscles strong.  I explained to her that God made oats to give us energy.  I also pointed out that we did not add sugar because we don’t have to have sugar to make things yummy.  She ate these for a snack or as a protein replacement at mealtime.   

This recipe yields 14 Monster Heads.

1 serving: 150 calories, 10 g carbs, 2 g of dietary fiber, and 5 g of protein 

Turkey Guacamole Burger Review

Review By the Mullens:

My husband and I started a calorie counting diet, so when I saw Gretchen’s post yesterday on turkey guacamole burgers I thought, “Why not?”  I have never had a turkey burger, so I was not sure what to expect.  I followed the recipe as Gretchen outlined.  My husband helped me enter the recipe in our myfitnesspal app.  He even made labels for me to post on our blog. 🙂  See below.  This meal was ONLY 458 calories!!!

My review: AWESOME!  I loved the flavor of the onion soup mix and the burgers were very moist.  I have never tried the sandwich thins. These are going to be a new staple in my diet!  My favorite part of dinner was the sweet potatoes and apples.  This only had 60 calories, but I had to stop myself with one serving to stay in my calorie budget for the day.  I would have eaten the whole batch if I could!

My husband’s review: His first comment was that it looked like something you would get at a restaurant, which is something that is NEVER said about my cooking.  He actually went back for seconds!  He gets more calories per day than me. 🙁

My kids: Baby boy LOVED it, but then again he will eat anything!  Sister, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with it, but who am I kidding?  She is Little Miss Picky Eater.  It is hit or miss with her. 

I would definitely do this meal again!  Thanks, Gretchen, for this recipe!

Gretchen’s Review:

Well, because of a last-minute errand late this afternoon, I was not able to fix the sweet potatoes and apples, but I did still make the burgers (they are a lot quicker to make). We had a spinach salad with them, and it was more than enough to fill us up. My kids do eat the turkey burgers, but I put cheese and ketchup on them instead and skip the onions. My younger dd likes to dip her burger in the guacamole though. I decided to skip bun tonight. If you are really trying to watch your calories or carbs then that will help. I happen to just like it without the bun sometimes! This meal is a staple on our menu, I hope you like it too!  Below you can see the variety of ways I served it tonight.

Nutritional Facts:

 (Facts were calculated using myfitnesspal)

Turkey Burger with Sandwich Thin:





Guacamole Spread:





Baked Sweet Potatoes and Apples:

What’s for dinner tonight?

So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body.  2 Corinthians 5:9 NLT

For the longest time I thought that eating healthy meant boring, bland meals and bouts of starvation.  But that is not the case!  This meal is both filling and delicious.  It’s also really really good for you!  Just add a spinach salad on the side,

Turkey Guacamole Burgers

1 LB Ground Turkey

1 Packet of Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1/2 Chopped Red Onion

2 avocados

1 Packet of McCormick Guacamole Mix

4 Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins

Mix the avocados with the McCormick mix and put in the refrigerator.  Mix the ground turkey with the Lipton mix and then form into 4 patties.  Cook over medium high heat, add onions when the patties are about done.  I also like to spray the buns with olive oil and then toast them at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes, but that is an optional step.


sweet potSweet Potatoes and Apples

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes-Peeled and Chopped

2 Medium Gala Apples-Peeled and Chopped

1 or 2 Cloves of garlic-chopped (I use a garlic press for this step)

2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Put sweet potatoes, apples, and garlic on a baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil, and then add salt and pepper.  Bake at 400 degrees until sweet potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes.


Jennifer is trying this for the first time tonight, and I am having it tonight as well.  We will follow-up tomorrow with pics and reviews!