Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sarah's Amazing Cheesy Kale Chips {Trim Healthy Mama S}

You know, I have tried so many times to like kale chips. I know all about how healthy they are. I know other people love them. I've made half a dozen batches TRYING to LIKE them, and I just never have... they've always been bitter. And who likes bitter?!

But then my wonderful friend and neighbor Sarah came over with a little bowl of kale chips for me to try, and I almost fell out. THEY WERE SO AMAZINGLY GOOD that I didn't even share them with my family... I stood there and devoured the WHOLE BOWL.

And then texted her and demanded the recipe. Finally, kale chip perfection... not only are they NOT bitter, they're delicious and have a cheesy taste, and I love them so much I keep a batch in my dehydrator CONSTANTLY. It's just a BONUS that they're chock full of SUPER FOOD NUTRITION. Make some NOW, and then thank my friend Sarah for bringing this goodness into my life...

Start with cashews, preferably soaked, Nourishing Traditions style. (If this is new to you, here's a post on how and why you should soak nuts before you eat them!) Here are mine, fresh from an evening in the oven... 

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Toss your soaked, drained, dried cashews into the blender along with everything else...

A tablespoon of yellow miso. I couldn't find yellow, so I bought white. I have no idea if there's any difference, but this one had a really mild flavor and I liked it.

This is what miso looks like, and I found it in the refrigerated section of my health food store. 

Add the juice of one lemon

Citrus press = one of my most-used kitchen gadgets. 

A few tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar. Be sure and use the unfiltered kind that comes with the mother (Bragg's brand is my favorite). Don't ask what 'mother' means. It's complicated.

You'll also need to add a red bell pepper (I also use green when it's what I have; no biggie); 2-3 peeled cloves of garlic; and a tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast (I like the flavor of KAL the best). <-- a="" addicted="" and="" be="" cheesy="" chips="" gives="" honest="" href="" i="" is="" it.="" kale="" love="" m="" taste="" the="" their="" this="" to="" what="">Nutritional Yeast
on popcorn too, FYI. (*This is not bread yeast. It's also not candida yeast. Because yuck. It's GOOD FOR YOU yeast). 

Blend it up, baby. Make sure it's smooth with no cashew chunks. Then dump it all into a big bowl of kale leaves. And please use fresh kale BUNCHES and NOT the bags because the bagged stuff has stems in it, and also who knows how fresh that really is (and it tends to be more bitter, FYI); I use kitchen shears to cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces and toss the stems into my compost bin.

Stir it up well; it will be REALLY thick. 

I should note that on all subsequent batches of kale chips, I've added 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil to the mix for two reasons: to make the mixture smoother and easier to spread amongst the kale, and also to add in some extra Super Food nutrition. Tropical Traditions coconut oil is my favorite. It also makes this recipe an S Snack if you're a Trim Healthy Mama. 

Spread it in a thin layer in your dehydrator. Sorry about the blurry picture; I was drunk on cashew sauce by this point.

You can ALSO dry the kale chips in your oven on about 175* for 4-6 hours or so.

That's it. Store them in an airtight container (though at my house they get eaten right out of the dehydrator and there's nothing wrong with that). 

Sarah's Amazing Cheesy Kale Chips (THM S Snack)
2 bunches of curly kale 
1 red bell pepper (green is fine too)
1 cup cashews, soaked Nourishing Traditions style
Juice of one lemon
3 T unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (I like Bragg's)
1 T Nutritional Yeast (I like KAL)
2-3 garlic cloves, peeled

Remove kale leaves from stalk and tear into bite-sized pieces; place kale leaves into a large bowl and discard stems. 
Add next 7 ingredients to blender or food processor and process until cashews are finely ground and ingredients are well-mixed.
Add coconut oil as needed to make mixture a spreadable consistency. 
Add cashew mixture to bowl and stir until it's evenly distributed. 
Dehydrate at 105* for 8 hours, or until light and crispy.
Enjoy, and try to share some with your family.

If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor

FYI, this post contains affiliate links. You don't have to buy through my links but doing so supports this blog financially, so thanks!
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

FRAM® Brings a Fresh Breeze Where We Need it Most.

First of all, let me start by introducing my husband to you. 

Hi everybody! This is Michael.

Yeah, he's TOTALLY rugged, and I LOVE that. But notice with me for a second what ELSE all of those above activities have in common. 

I'll give you a second. 

OK, I'll tell you. They SMELL BAD, ok? 

And have you EVER smelled a Honda Accord after a rugged, fishing, camping, sand-covered volleyball lumberjack dude DRIVES IT? The sand in every crevice, the sweat and lake water marinating into the velour seats... 

Think MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS' LOCKER ROOM, only all the odors from hundreds of middle school boys is confined to a tiny little 57.3 cubic feet of space. 

What I'm trying to say is my pretty little Honda Accord STINKS, y'all. 


It's more than just an odor... it's a beast.  I thought I'd need a priest to get rid of it.

So I'll be honest... when I heard about FRAM® Fresh Breeze® cabin air filters, I BEGGED them to let me give it a try. I really had no idea my Honda Accord even HAD a cabin air filter! Because with ALLLLLL that smell going on INSIDE the car, the LAST thing we need is more odors from the outside wafting in.

It was SO EASY... in my car, you get to the cabin air filter through the glove box.  And don't mind the dust on the dashboard... the volleyball playing caveman has been driving it.

You just open the glove box, and squeeze the sides to pop it all the way out.

A little drawer slides out with the air filter in it.

This is it! It was NASTY! As I'm sure you can imagine...

Yes, those are DEAD BUGS AND SPIDERS in my cabin air filter! And probably sand and chainsaw oil...

The new filter goes into the tray, arrows pointing down...

And that's it. Five minutes, tops. See the QR code on the front of the box? When you snap it with your cell phone it takes you to a video showing how to install it.

I'm super impressed already! FINALLY... my the air in my Honda will be safe for my children to breathe again... at least, the air coming IN THROUGH THE VENTS will be safe... even if we can't do a thing about the odors my husband brings into the car with him. 

But for the LOVE, could someone please buy this man a TRUCK?! A truck compatible with FRAM® Fresh Breeze® cabin air filters, that is, because clearly we NEED a little Fresh Breeze in our lives.

Do YOU have to share your vehicle with a man who smells like mine? Leave me a comment telling me why YOU need cleaner air in your vehicle to be entered to win a $100 Visa gift card!

To find the correct Fresh Breeze cabin air filter for your vehicle, click here.
---FRAM® Fresh Breeze cabin air filters may be purchased online at or at your local Walmart, O’Reilly Auto Parts, or Meijer.
---To download a $3 off rebate, click here.
---Visit FRAM® on Facebook and Twitter for more information!
Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/1-7/31/2014.
Be sure to visit the 
FRAM® Fresh Breeze® brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor post signature

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Dirt + Water = A Good Day.....

Baby Susannah Joy is most definitely a 'playing outside' kind of girl. In fact, one of her first words was 'guys?' which means, in Susie language, 'go outside?'

We figured that out because she says, "guys! guys!" as she hangs on the doorknob to the back door. We're smart like that.

Just this past week, she discovered the sprayer at the end of the water hose. She LOVES helping dada water the garden. Helping commandeer the water hose and getting none of the water in the garden, that is... 

It's a whole lot like when she helps me clean the house and helps me with the folded laundry. Thank you for all the help, Susie. 

But as long as she's having fun... 

It was fun until the water just jumped out and hit her in the face for no reason.

It's kind of alarming when that happens.

Good thing dada was right there to run to after that scary water incident... 

....or you can just run away yelling.

You know it's been a good day when... 

If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Does Plexus Slim Really Work? A Review and Giveaway.

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time you know that I TRY, most of the time, to be a snob about what we put into our bodies, ever since my little Annie was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

I've done some crazy things in the name of better health...

Brewed my own kombucha.

Juiced carrots for breakfast.

I make my own dishwasher detergent. Make my own baby wipes.

skin brush.oil pull.

Even gone so far as to - and I've never admitted this in public - wash my hair with baking soda and Apple Cider Vinegar. Yes. It's true. I'm weird, ok? It makes your hair SO incredibly thick and healthy... but that's another blog post.

But when a Facebook friend, Kristen, messaged me about this great new product that was supposedly helping people drop pounds by the bushel basket, and EASILY, I was so far beyond SKEPTICAL.... I was repulsed.

Yes, I will swish coconut oil between my teeth. But do NOT contact me about some SCHEME*. Gosh. And furthermore, anything that works THAT WELL is bound to be some scary* chemical* stuff with horrific side effects* and WHAT IS SHE THINKING?

I told her NO, of course, and would have tossed her straight out of my Facebook friends list like the Soup Nazi tossed Elaine out onto the street... but I do kind of like her; she just had that one lapse of judgement that time, apparently.

What intrigued me, though, was that this was one of my 'crunchiest' Facebook friends.

WAY more of a nutrition snob than I ever thought about being.

Like, among the top tier of my nutrition heroes, even. I knew she wouldn't try this unless it REALLY WAS A GOOD THING.

And she seemed pretty sold on it. I couldn't stop thinking about it.

But I kept saying no, all the while posting on Facebook about my adrenal fatigue... my exhaustion... my total lack of energy.... my inability to sleep at night... and my depression about NOT BEING ABLE TO LOSE WEIGHT NO MATTER HOW FAITHFULLY I STUCK TO THE PLAN.

I was caught in a vicious cycle: diet really hard, diet doesn't work, get depressed about diet not working, eat a cookie to make me feel better, gain one pound. Repeat.

Another friend, Brenda, took pity and sent me a 30-day supply of Slim in the mail because she is awesome and believed she had something that would help with it ALL. Thank you, Brenda; I might not have ever known...

I tried Plexus slim for a month. It's easy enough; you mix one packet of powder with one bottle of water and drink it once a day before breakfast. No shakes. No meal replacements. No melba toast.

That's it. 

Honestly, I felt worse at first... even more tired. Achy. Headachy. And did I mention tired? 

But on day four the cloud lifted and I felt... GOOD.

Energy, nothing too phenomenal, but still.... energy where I had had none before.

I continued to take the Plexus slim for a month, thinking, "my apologies, Brenda, but I'm still not doing this..."'

And then I ran out of Plexus Slim.

You know the saying, "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone?" THAT. With the Plexus Slim out of my system, I crashed again. I was grouchy, moody, irritable, and EXHAUSTED. I don't think I realized how bad I felt until I felt good, and didn't realize how good I felt until I felt bad again. AND I HATED FEELING BAD. Where was the 'me' who used to work two jobs? Or work full time while going to school at night? I MISSED HER AND I WANTED HER BACK.

And that did it. 

I knew I had to have Plexus Slim in my life. I LOVED the feeling of stable blood sugar, the good moods, the ENERGY, and LOVED how THIS finally seemed to be the THING that will bring an end to my YEARS of adrenal fatigue

As far as weight loss, I've watched friends drop so much weight so quickly. I haven't noticed much weight loss, myself, yet. I've only been on Plexus eight weeks or so, and I have MANY years of adrenal damage to undo; that didn't come on overnight, and it won't go away overnight. BUT IT IS HEALING, and I know this because.... 

  • I have MASSIVE energy. The longer I'm on Plexus, the better I feel. I have more energy now than I did at week 2 or week 6; it keeps compounding. I HAVE SO MUCH ENERGY THAT I HAVE WORKED OUT the past couple of weeks. I used to LOVE exercise; I just haven't been able to GO enough to make that happen the last few years. 

  • I'm SLEEPING. And by sleeping, I mean at NIGHT, because...

  • I'm not NAPPING anymore. Not even the mandatory Sunday nap. Which is UNHEARD of for me.... even back in the day when I had normal energy levels, before adrenal fatigue, I HAD to take a nap on Sunday. I skipped my nap yesterday and NEVER MISSED IT.

  • I'm not craving sugar. I made Michael a batch of peanut butter cookies this week and didn't even eat one. NO DESIRE.

And because of those three phenomenal changes in my life, I KNOW THE WEIGHT LOSS WILL FOLLOW. I KNOW I have enough energy to do what I have to do to get there... but the thing is, I'm so HAPPY right now that I don't even care. Well, let's not go that far. I do care. But I'm no longer caught in that downward spiral of self-pity and weight gain.

*And it turns out I was totally wrong... it's not a 'scheme;' there are all-natural ingredients; the only side effects I've experienced have been good ones. 

And I would LOVE to share this amazing product with YOU. Ever since I wrote the blog post about adrenal fatigue, I've received literally dozens of emails asking for help. I KNOW I have many readers who are where I was. So if I can spread the love like my dear Brenda did for me, I want that. 

So with that in mind I'm offering two things: 1) I'm giving away a Plexus slim trial pack, and 2) EVERYONE who orders from my Plexus website in the month of June will be entered to win a 30-day pack of Plexus slim. 

If you'd like to give it a try, a 3-day trial is available here (my Ambassador number is 251128, if you need that info) and shipping is free (and you will be entered to win the month's supply). Don't wait. Feel better today! Because WHAT IF THIS IS THE LAST THING YOU EVER HAVE TO TRY?! And GOOD LUCK. 

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If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor, Independent Ambassador for Plexus Worldwide #251128
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

My Husband is My Soul Mate, and There's Nothing Wrong With That.

I've seen a couple of blog posts about how there's no such thing as a soul mate making the rounds on Facebook lately, and it really disturbs me.

It seems people are above the idea, as if rejecting the idea of soul mates is more spiritual.

I have to disagree.

Oh, there was a time in my life I would have been all over the idea that the idea of a soul mate was ridiculous. As a wide-eyed ministry student in college, obsessed with doing E V E R Y T H I N G R I G H T, I would have scoffed, too, at those less-spiritual ones who wanted to marry for passion or chemistry or, God forbid, ATTRACTION. I made my very mature list of requirements for a future spouse, which included...

Christian. And by 'Christian' I wanted someone who LOOKED very Christian on the outside; someone who went to church every Sunday and followed all the rules of good Christian dress code and pew selection and whatnot. 

A Good Family. He must come from a family with NO divorces. That one guy I thought I'd marry in college? I marked him off the list because his parents had been divorced, because just NO. You must have someone with a stellar family track record of no divorces. At the time, not even any of my COUSINS had been divorced, so I deserved to be picky.

A College Degree. In my family, there are degrees in chemistry and double majors and Master's degrees and even my grandparents had college degrees. I can't even fathom being asked out by a non-degreed person in those days, because NO.

Height. I'm 5'10" and need to be able to wear heels when we're sitting together on a well-chosen pew in church.

And then I found myself an Old Maid at the horrifyingly old age of 25.

I know, it's shocking how old I was, and still unmarried. And the LAST of all my friends to get married. Warning bells sounded.

And a guy came along who had all the criteria on my checklist. Christian? Check. Education? Check. Taught Sunday School? Check. He had a really good job, even. Of course that was on my list.

And so, because I had my handy little list of 'musts,' I totally ignored the feeling in my gut, the still, small voice saying that this wasn't IT. This isn't ANYTHING like I've ever dreamed about, or anything close to what I pictured. I was NOT ATTRACTED to him, but I told myself that I was making the spiritually mature choice. And I ignored every one of my friends who said ".....Um.... are you SURE?..." 

I told myself that they just weren't as in tune with what was RIGHT as I was.

Because Godly people KNOW that attraction is fleeting... the righteous thing is to marry someone who repulses you physically, because who's really attracted to their spouse after ten years, anyway?

And you can't trust chemistry. Chemistry is shallow. And by gosh, I was gonna do something mature and un-shallow to prove to EVERYONE...

I mean, if it wasn't meant to be, then WHY would God bring this person into my life who had everything on my VERY inspired list? 

Of course, my gut feeling, which I've since come to believe is the Holy Spirit, told me something different, but I didn't trust that. Heavens, I was the ripe old age of 25, OK? And if I let this one slip away, WOULD I HAVE TO SPEND THANKSGIVINGS ALONE WITH MY CATS UNTIL I DIED?!! TIME WAS TICKING AND THEREFORE THE LORD WANTED ME TO HURRY!

It's a very real fear, when you're halfway through your twenties and all your friends are already married. But what you might not know at 25 is that men who appear Christian on Sunday might slip off to strip clubs when nobody from church is looking. And a college education doesn't mean intelligent conversation. And the family who LOOKS very together might have ZERO love in their hearts for each other or for anyone else, and those are the most torturous people in the world to have to spend the holidays with.

And all those things that appeared right in the beginning all turned out to be lies, and I found myself alone ... and then, I met a guy who made me laugh. 

And I realized how much I had missed laughing. When there's no laughing, who cares which pew his parents sit on in church?

There was oh, so much laughing. 

And so many things we had in common.... so many remarkable similarities about our childhoods... so many silly things and inside jokes and shared understandings and ridiculousness that would matter ZERO to anyone else, but it's THOSE things that form a soul connection with another person. A marriage without a soul connection is a very lonely and miserable place to be. 

And then there's that whole 'gut feeling' that comes from a still, small voice. Never, ever ignore that. Oh, if ONLY I had not ignored that when I was 25....

So after many years of lessons learned by making bad choices, and the wisdom gained from maturity, I would definitely tell my daughters, contrary to what these other bloggers say, to hold out for their soul mate. Find the one that your soul loves. There's a reason that very phrase is in the Bible.

I don't care if my future son-in-law has a college degree. 

I don't care if he comes from a whole family tree of failed marriages.

I do care that there's lots of laughing.

I do care that we all pray about it, and a still, small voice tells us all, "Yes. This is it. THIS is the one."

I care that he works hard, that he loves Jesus, and that he tells the truth... those intangible qualities that you can't put on paper. 

Marriage is hard. Even under the best of circumstances, even when you're married to your soul mate. Even soul mates can act like total jackwagons and make you want to kill them dead. Seriously, funny is good, but nothing makes me homicidal faster than sarcasm at the wrong moment... 

And when the hard times come, as they inevitably will, it won't be the fact that he does or doesn't have a college degree that makes you want to wake up and do this thing again in the morning.

A good marriage is not about a list you can write down on paper. 

I could find ANY number of men who would score 100% on an arbitrary list of criteria. I canNOT find any other person on this earth who shares the connection that Michael and I have. 

And most importantly, I canNOT find another guy that I know in my gut is the ONE. I prayed, and I know.

In my whole life, there has always ever been only one of those. 

If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor
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Friday, May 16, 2014

The Blessed Ending of a School Year.

Oh, y'all. 

We made it. 

Another school year complete. Behind us. Finished.

We did not die. And that's in SPITE of how I caved and allowed my kids to eat Lunchables for one week out of the year (because, you know, I feed my kids kale and stuff...) and I don't even want to hear a single word about it, because since I started my new job I CANNOT KEEP UP.

And I have to say that we not only FINISHED out a school year, my kids finished WELL, which goes to show you that kids are TOUGH, STRONG, and RESILIENT even when they were NEW at their schools this year and had a LOT of catching up to do, and EVEN in the face of the crappy kind of parenting in which THE MOM JUST GOES AHEAD AND LETS THEM EAT THE FIVE BAD THINGS THE WHOLE LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL. 

Katie, my lovely firstborn, finished up her first year of middle school. There she is, in the midst of that sea of blonde hair... see? I had to sneak a picture on account of it is NOT COOL for your mom to take your picture when you're graduating from 6th grade.

Nana and Papaw came to cheer Katie on as she got awarded.

Mr. D calling out the names of everyone who made the A Honor Roll (and yes, that's my girl there in the blue dress with her A Honor Roll award... Yay her!)

And she didn't just make the A Honor Roll.... she received the Diligence Award in LATIN. Latin, people. She's brilliant, and she did NOT get her knack for foreign language from me because... well, let's just not even talk about how I did in college Spanish Class. It's not a memory I'm proud of...

The Diligence in Latin award
Sweet friends since age 2. 

All smiles as they head into 7th grade.

And these 2 came to cheer Katie on, as well. Except one of them wanted to yell and run around the auditorium the whole time. I won't say which.
Annie wrapped up Second Grade this week, and she had the sweetest teacher in the whole world. It was a great school year for Annie and I was SO proud of all the Bible passages she memorized this year, and how she caught on to cursive so quickly which AMAZED me since she just started school here this year and had a lot of ground to cover just to catch up. But she's smart, and did I mention her great teacher?

Also this week? Steaks with Michael's marinade. Yes, it was important enough to include in this blog post because steak (like chocolate, Starbucks, and shoe shopping) always helps you through the hard times (hard times, e.g., the last week of school). 

And I can't just talk about my oldest two because that wouldn't be fair. Susie has one more week before she wraps up HER school year (Mother's Day Out at Green Acres, in case you wondered). And other than school, she spends her time being a total ham, growing teeth, and eating more than the rest of us put together.

Oh, and she's learned that she disappears when she squeezes her eyes shut. The "where's Susie?" game is one of her favorites so we're not letting on to her that we can STILL SEE HER. It would ruin everything.

Yep, they're smart, happy, and healthy, all three of them, and I couldn't be more proud. 

And oh, so thankful for the end of a school  year. Let the summer fun begin!

If you liked this post PLEASE share it with your friends! ~ Melissa Beene Taylor
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