Food Is The Drug Everyone Uses

Food The Drug Everyone Uses

Last week I was watching this documentary with my Beau about obesity and realized in the commentary that there was a blaring truth – food is the drug everyone uses.  Think about it for a moment.  Any other drug you can walk away from and survive without it.  Food, however is the one thing you keeping having to go back to for survival.  No wonder so many of us struggle with obesity, eating disorders and obsession with food.

Food The Drug Everyone Uses

Food Is The Drug Everyone Uses

I have never smoked.  I have only had a few sips of alcohol in my life.  Neither appealed to me.  I have never done illegal drugs, nor even considered them.  However, I have eaten food every day of my life – and it has become a drug to me.  I wake up not just craving it, but needing it.  As soon as I am done with one meal, I am thinking about my next.  Whether it is planning for how many calories I have left in my diet for the day, or drooling over the next amazing recipe I prepare – food is always on my mind.

If I try to go without food, I get ill. I collapse and fall sick.  My body literally begins dying without food.  Food is the drug everyone uses – and nobody can truly escape. 

I was born into a family where food was the center of life.  Our lives revolved around meals with family, meals after church, meals after school and special rewards being meals out at a favorite restaurant.  It was no wonder that by the time I hit puberty I carried extra weight.  Now, as an adult – I look back and hurt thinking about how I have perpetrated the same patterns of food behavior in my own little family. I have influenced my son not to eat to provide nutrition, but out of joy and sadness and reward.

Food is my drug.  Food comforts me.  Food rewards me.  Food satisfies both a physical craving and an emotional need in my body.  Food is my addiction.

I don’t know how to deal with food.  I have struggled for the last 15 years with diets, exercise and the scale fluctuating from 150-260 for my 5’5″ frame.  I have been healthier than I am currently.  I have also been in much worse health.  I have had chronic pain issues that prevented me from exercising.  I have had emotional trauma, depression, divorce, legal issues and lack of work hat sent me into a tailspin of “self medicating” with food.  I have embraced rich flavors, delicious meals, delicacies and convenience foods in the name of comfort.

Food The Drug Everyone Uses

How do we as society truly become healthier when food is the drug everyone uses?  How do you truly, “get a grip” on your eating habits when all of your temptations are available everywhere you turn?  No matter how much you want to avoid your “drug”, you literally cannot.  The honest truth is – for someone like myself, it isn’t even a matter of removing the “bad foods” from your diet.  All food is a drug.  All food appeals.  All food can be binged on.  All food can soothe and satisfy that longing, craving or emotional need.

Food is a drug that isn’t just one category or type.  The addiction and struggle for some of us is with every thing on the plate – not just the unhealthy items.  With every bite I take – of vegetable or cake – I feed my addiction. 

Perhaps this is one blog post that won’t make sense to many.  Maybe it is something that you will relate to.  Maybe it is something only I see and feel.  I just know that if you struggle with food like it is a drug, you aren’t alone.  It is the hardest drug to overcome, simply because you can never truly live without it.

Posted in Belle's Heart, Health Tagged with: , , ,

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Not very many kids out there don’t like chicken nuggets, and this recipe for Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard makes it even more fun by covering them in a crunchy pretzel coating. They are also baked not fried so they up the healthy factor a bit too and are easily adapted to gluten free cooking by using gluten free pretzels and an alternative flour. Add an easy and delicious homemade honey mustard dip and you have a winner for dinner, or toss them in a fun container for a great back to school lunchbox.

pretzel crustedchicken and honey mustard

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup pretzels

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put pretzels in a plastic zippered bag and seal. Crush with a rolling bin or glass. You can also chop in a food processor to desired texture.

pretzel  crusted chicken nuggets

In 3 shallow containers place the following ingredients: 1-Flour, 2-Whisked milk and spicy brown mustard,  3-Crushed pretzel pieces.

Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces.

pretzel crusted chicken

Dredge chicken in flour, then mustard mixture, and finally pretzel pieces.

honey mustard and pretzel nuggets

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-23 minutes, until golden brown.

pretzel crusted chicken bake

Healthy Honey Mustard Dip:

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard

2 tsp. honey

Whisk ingredients together until well combined.

Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

pretzel crusted mustard sauce

These nuggets freeze well so it is easy to make a big batch and put them up for quick snacks, dinner, or school lunches.

pretzel crusted chicken mustard side

 

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard
Recipe type: Main
 
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup pretzels
  • ¼ cup spicy brown mustard
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Put pretzels in a plastic zippered bag and seal. Crush with a rolling bin or glass. You can also chop in a food processor to desired texture.
  3. In 3 shallow containers place the following ingredients: 1-Flour, 2-Whisked milk and spicy brown mustard, 3-Crushed pretzel pieces.
  4. Cut chicken into small bite sized pieces.
  5. Dredge chicken in flour, then mustard mixture, and finally pretzel pieces.
  6. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-23 minutes, until golden brown.

We love delicious meals like these pretzel crusted chicken nuggets for an evening meal, lunch box treat or kid friendly treat at a birthday party.  Having plenty of healthy kid friendly options on the menu is important to teaching our children health eating habits.  This year as you pack your kids lunch boxes, think about including this healthy alternative to the calorie laden deep fried nuggets so popular at fast food restaurants.  This honey mustard dip is another great alternative to the traditional sugar laden sauces!

Check out our other favorite kid friendly recipes!

Hearty Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

20 Yummy Kid Friendly Foods

Mini Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

PB&J Overnight Oatmeal

Cheesy Ranch Chicken Quesadillas

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Tips for Getting into a Successful Homework Routine

Tips for Getting into a Successful Homework Routine

It’s hard to believe that school is about to start again, but these tips for getting into a successful homework routine will make that transition easier. There’s so much that changes when the kids go back to school, but one of the biggest changes is HOMEWORK! There aren’t too many people that can say homework is the best part of their nightly routine, however, it is an important part of it. These are some of our favorite tips for making homework an easier part of your back to school routine.

Tips for Getting into a Successful Homework Routine

Tips for Getting into a Successful Homework Routine

Make it a Priority

Homework is something that needs to be done, so make it a habit or a priority. Make sure homework is done first, so that there’s no pressure if it gets too late into the evening. Ensuring your kids do their homework first can also help ensure they know how to handle their priorities later in life.  Set timers if you need to, but make sure it is done first thing when they get home so nothing gets forgotten.

Include a Snack

Homework can be made to be “more fun” if there’s a snack included. In fact, if your kids see you getting the snack around, they’ll know it’s time to get started on homework. It’s like a “cue” for them, without you having to yell or motivate them in other ways.  These mini peanut butter & jelly muffins are a perfect easy snack that kids will love having on hand when they get home from school in the afternoon.

Do Your Homework Too

When the kids sit down to do their homework, take the time to do yours as well. You won’t want to get involved in something too serious because you’ll need to be available to help your kids with their homework. You can use this time to work on bills or organizing other paperwork, just don’t stress yourself out.  Be available should they need you, but not just sitting idly by pressuring them to finish.

Have All Supplies Ready

There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the school supplies you need at home to be successful. One of the best things you can do is gather all the school supplies before school starts and keep them in the same place. When it’s time for the kids to do homework, they know exactly where to find the supplies they need to finish their homework.

Reward Good Grades

Everyone has their opinion about rewarding behavior, right? Good grades are one of those “things” that deserves a reward. The best part is that you’re the parent and you get to decide the reward. When kids see that good grades are rewarded, they’ll make a better effort to complete homework on time and get those “good” grades. Being positive always gets better results than being negative.

Going back to school and getting back into a successful homework routine will take some time, but it’ll be worth it. Take these tips to heart and help your kids be successful this year with their homework.

Tips for Getting into a Successful Homework Routine

Check out our other great back to school tips!

Tips For Adjusting To Back To School Schedules

How To Create A Bedtime Routine For School Aged Children

Ways To Kickstart Your Homeschool

Posted in Homeschool, Kids Tagged with: , , ,

Penne Pasta with Parmesan Garlic and Red Peppers

Penne Pasta With Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers

My friend Jill made this delicious Penne Pasta with Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers a few days ago and I knew we had to have it on the blog.  I love simple dishes that can be thrown together in minutes but provide all the flavors you need for a tasty meal.  This pasta dish is perfect for adding some grilled chicken to as a full meal, or served as a side dish with your favorite meats.

Penne Pasta With Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers

Penne Pasta with Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers

Post may contain affiliate links.

One night when my Beau and I were dating, I made a simple pasta dish for dinner.  It was the first time I had really cooked anything for him, and it was thrown together in a half hour.  It was very similar to this recipe for penne pasta dish that Jill prepared.  It had a basic pasta, some olive oil, garlic and of course Parmesan with a few veggies.  It became one of our favorite easy meals back when we were first dating since I could make it so fast when he arrived after work.  When I saw this recipe, it reminded me so much of that meal that I knew I wanted to share it with you.

Penne Pasta With Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers

We prefer using a great cast iron skillet for the initial preparation of this dish, but you can use any skillet you like for heating the oil, tomatoes, garlic and red pepper flakes in.  You can use any pasta, but penne pasta is a favorite since it holds the sauce well. Cook your pasta (we often use a gluten free corn based pasta), and then mix with your heated oil, tomatoes and seasonings.  Last you’ll want to add in the Parmesan.  For this dish, we use some freshly grated or shaved Parmesan. You could use the canned grated variety, but it’s not going to back the rich flavor or texture that is best.  Invest in a quality Parmesan and you’ll be able to tell the difference right away.

Penne Pasta with Parmesan Garlic Red Peppers
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 16 oz penne pasta
  • 1½ C. grated Parmesan cheese (freshly shaved is best)
  • 1 pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 tsp. red pepper
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet or saute pan.
  3. Add in garlic and tomato halves cooking for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Add in pasta and toss with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes.
  5. Add in red pepper flakes to taste (use less if prefer mild)
  6. Heat through.
  7. Add in Parmesan cheese, stir and allow to melt.
  8. Serve as a side, alone or with your favorite protein

Penne Pasta With Parmesan, Garlic and Red Peppers

This penne pasta with Parmesan garlic red peppers is a delicious meal in itself, but can also make a wonderful base for a hearty casserole with more of your favorite vegetables or grilled meats.  This simple flavor combination makes the most of budget friendly ingredients that please the entire family.

Check out some of our other favorite easy pasta dishes!

Easy Chicken Spinach Pasta

Garlic Tomato Halibut Pasta

Not Your Mama’s Tuna Noodle Casserole

Hearty Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Easy Chicken Noodle Bowl

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Homemade Healthy Ranch Dressing with Veggie Kabobs

If you are over PB&J sandwiches and are looking for healthy lunchbox options this homemade healthy ranch dressing with veggie kabobs is a great way to go.  Make veggie kabobs by taking any fresh vegetables that your child likes- zucchini, squash, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. and dicing them into small bite sized pieces and sliding them on skewers. Every mom knows that just about any food put on stick instantly becomes 200% cooler and kids will at least  try it.

The second part of the equation in getting your child to eat healthier food is dip. Most kids like to dip anything and everything, I know mine do! I have been trying to avoid as much processed packages as I can so I needed to make my own healthier version of my kids favorite dip-Ranch Dressing. So this yogurt based ranch dressing was born and the kids still love it an put it on everything from chicken nuggets to veggies.

homemade ranch dressingIngredients:

For Kabobs:

Fresh, raw veggies your child likes:

carrots, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, squash…

For Yogurt Ranch Dressing:

1 cup plain yogurt (Greek contains more protein)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tbsp. parsley

1 tsp. dill

2 tsp. chives

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. lemon juice

optional- splash of milk

veggie kabobs homemade ranch dressing

Directions:

Whisk together all ingredients for dip until well combined. If you prefer a thinner dressing add a splash of milk to get desired consistency.

homemade ranch and veggie kabobs

Place in refrigerator in an airtight container, allow to chill for 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine.

Homemade Ranch Dressing with Veggie Kabobs
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
 
Ingredients
  • For Kabobs:
  • Fresh, raw veggies your child likes:
  • carrots, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, squash...
  • For Yogurt Ranch Dressing:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (Greek contains more protein)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. parsley
  • 1 tsp. dill
  • 2 tsp. chives
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • optional- splash of milk
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all ingredients for dip until well combined. If you prefer a thinner dressing add a splash of milk to get desired consistency.
  2. Place in refrigerator in an airtight container, allow to chill for 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to combine.

This is an amazing homemade healthy ranch dressing that is perfect with veggie kabobs, baked pita chips, homemade chicken nuggets and even as a dressing on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.  Giving your kids healthy options for lunch or snacks is so important.  This is a perfect option to add to a back to school lunch box, or even just to have for yourself as a healthy snack mid-day. Add some roasted turkey or chicken breasts and pita chips for this to be a great hearty lunch for adults and kids alike

Check out these other great kid friendly food options!

Cheesy Ranch Chicken Quesadillas

Mini Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

PB&J Overnight Oatmeal

Wild Berry Banana Smoothie

20 Yummy Kid Friendly Foods

Hearty Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Posted in recipe, recipes Tagged with: , , , , ,
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