Browsing Tag:

what I buy

HEALTH/ Nutrition

The Easiest Way To Get Your Probiotics


With 2 teenage girls and one preteen girl, I find myself in a season of life that just feels busy! As much as I try to slow and simplify life, their active lives make my life quite active, too! My Teagan will start driving next year which should help a bit, but in the meantime, I’ve been trying to find simple, daily routines to keep myself in the best health so that I can keep up with my girls!

You all know that I am a 2 time cancer survivor and how important health and immunity is to me. To keep taking care of myself in the middle of teenage busyness has been a goal, and one that I find I can only reach by having simple daily routines.

One of those routines is to make sure I am getting my probiotics. There are several ways to do this, but by far my favorite, most easy & simple way for me to do it is by taking Culturelle® Health & Wellness. I take one every night before I go to bed.


The probiotic in Culturelle works in the digestive tract to help keep the immune system healthy.

*with just one capsule per day, the immune system is provided with a clinical strength serving of 100% Lactobacillus GG containing 15 billion active cultures

​* the probiotic in Culturelle helps your digestive system work better

*its probiotic restores the natural balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract where 70% of the immune system is found

*Culturelle has the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval

*it uses easy -to-open packaging and is an easy-to-swallow capsule –which I appreciate!


It is my immune support made simple.

If you want to purchase Culturelle Health & Wellness, make sure to visit their store locator and click here for an awesome coupon to take along with you.


Add Culturelle Health and Wellness Probiotic to your daily routine with 100% Lactobacillus GG to support your immune system and keep you healthy, so you can be 100% you all day, every day. It’s Immune Support Made Simple.*

With the seal of approval from Good Housekeeping, you can trust the daily intake of the probiotic in Culturelle Health & Wellness to support a healthy immune system.*  Visit Culturelle’s website for more information.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

††Based on the number of Lactobacillus GG clinical studies, as of August 2014

Official Rules

Culturelle Probiotics sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.

Brunch/ Healthy Eating/ HOME/ RECIPES

Baked Banana Chocolate Oatmeal with Triple Berry Puree


Oh how I love my oats.  I never tire of them, especially when they have chocolate in them and are drizzled with a triple berry puree!

This felt very decadent, like eating dessert for breakfast.  It reminded me of eating chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough, but doing it in a way that is grown up and sophisticated. The berry puree is the perfect accompaniment, and I just might have guzzled the left-overs!

Using berry puree as a topping in place of syrup, is a great way to get those antioxidants in to my kids, and saves money as they are less expensive than 100% maple syrup.  Making berry puree have saved me many times when making pancakes, waffles and oats that I would usually top with syrup.  Perfect for when you have run out of syrup and have a freezer full of berries.

photo 2

Baked Banana Chocolate Oatmeal

(inspired by this recipe at The Oatmeal Artist)

  • 2 bananas
  • 3/4 cup of milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup water, or more milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Berry Puree
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease 8×8 pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mash bananas, and then mix in milk, water, and vanilla extract.  Add oats, baking powder, and salt.  Stir.
  3. Add chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Top with Berry Puree (recipe below)


Triple Berry Puree

  • 1 12 oz bag frozen mixed berries (I used Trader Joes Frozen Mixed Berry Blend of Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, & Blueberries), thawed
  • 2 medjool dates (or more depending on sweetness desired), pitted
  1. Pour thawed berried into blender.
  2. Add pitted dates.
  3. Puree until smooth.

photo 1

A Little Bit About Blenders

My Very Favorite by far–Professional Grade High Speed Blender

Some of the best money I have ever spent!
Vitamix Professional Blender and accessories
This is the model I have.  I drooled over it for a couple of years!
It was a splurge, but worth EVERY penny.  I use it 2-3 times a day.
It makes crushed ice in seconds.  It takes almonds to almond butter in seconds.  It makes the best raspberry fruit puree for pancakes and ice cream–obliterates all those little seeds into smooth puree heaven! We are eating 3 times the amount of fruits and veggies since purchasing this amazing blender, which I know is keeping us out of the doctors’ office and away from those expensive co-pays, so in my mind it has paid itself off.
Ninja Mega Kitchen Blender and accessories.

Runner Up

I’ve never used one, but have heard good things about them.  They are not professional grade like the Vitamix, but the price is much easier to swallow and they are powerful.
Oster and New Vitamix blenders in kitchen.
{my old Oster on the left, my New Vitamix on the right}


I had one of these for years and it does the job.  You can’t beat the price, and for smoothies, it works, although you have to blend much longer. You will still have chia and raspberry seeds in your smoothies, but if you don’t mind the extra texture, this one will do.  If you have had a high-speed blender, you will not be happy with this one.  If you are looking for something to get by until you can get a high-speed blender, and to just get those smoothies in you, this will do just fine.
What about you?  Do you have a high-speed blender?  Do you desire to have one?
Frugal/ HOME

Saving On Summer Beauty Products For My Teen Girls

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

{my 3 lovlies}

Summer break has officially started in the Bowman household. I’m super excited about having my girls home for the summer.  Honestly, it used to send me into a bit of a panic thinking “what am I going to do with my 3 lovelies with all this time on our hands?”  Now, post-cancer, I am just grateful to be here and for the time I have with them. Being teen girls they are much fun to hang out with & I can always find something fun to do with them.

I am a licenced cosmetologist, although I have not practiced in the salon for over 14 years!  I still have my skill set, which comes in handy with 2 teen girls (and one pre-teen)  especially in the summer.  The challenge is finding ways to have them home & have fun with summer beauty products without breaking our budget!

Frugalness is something I preach often, and summer beauty products are not something I want to spend a lot of money on.  But, I have 3 girly girls who love to express themselves and get creative with how they look, as most teenage girls do.  I love seeing what they come up with, and I’m amazed at their fashion sense & find lots of joy seeing them all express themselves with their own unique style.

I have discovered that shopping at Dollar General is a great way to get some great summer beauty products that my girls love, without breaking the bank.  I was surprised that I found so many products that they are familiar with, would want to use, and would get excited about.

This mascara is super recognizable.  Everyone woman knows that pink and green bottle as it has been around for years.  This is the mascara brand we use and love, and I was delighted to find it at Dollar General at almost 1/2 price of what I am used to paying for it.

My girls also love these particular eyeliners from Mayballine, for 2 reasons.  One, no sharpener needed.  Just twist and use.  Also, they have a great sponge tip at the opposite end for blending.  I’ve shown my girls the importance of keeping makeup natural, a way to enhance their God-given natural beauty, not distract or take away from it.  Blending eyeliner with the sponge tip makes it look so soft and natural.  This is another prodoct I was super happy to find at Dollar General.

I picked up a few more items while I was there.  Sponges for blending coverup for those teen blemishes.  Some Aloe Vera gel to soothe summer skin, cotton balls to use for removing polish, and my fav — pony tail holders to hold up our messy summer buns!

I grabbed a bottle of sparkly polish for our summer toes and a palate of eye shadows to experiemnt with.

I will be doing some posts coming up of all the ways we have fun with beauty around here, from doing our own manicures and pedicures, to our favorite detox bath using epsom salt and baking soda.  I was SUPER excited to find epsom salt and baking soda at the best price at Dollar General!

For more information and inspiration from Dollar General, follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit Sponsor's Site

HOME/ Homemaking/ Simplifying

4 Kitchen Tips From Rachel Ray That I Use Everyday

Of all the cooking shows on TV, Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals is one that I love to watch.  It is so practical!  She gives so many great tips and for some reason, her tips actually stick in my brain and I use them!

Here are 4 tips of hers that I use everyday, that have changed my life.  Dramatic, I know.  But true!  Eating a plant based diet does mean time in the kitchen, and lots of chopping of fruits and vegetables, but this does not have to be a tedious task if you have the right tools!  I personally find being in the kitchen is quite cathartic as long as I have a clean kitchen, efficient tools, and a good work space.

My time in the kitchen is so much more enjoyable and efficient because of these four tips:


1. Use a Large Cutting Board — Rachel Ray’s entire counter top is a cutting board.  Lucky her! I keep my 24×18 inch wooden cutting board out on the counter at all times.  I love having the room to chop many veggies at a time, and being able to push each pile over with my knife towards the back of the board.  There is nothing worse than a small, nasty, plastic cutting board where everything runs off and messes up the counter & floor!

I use one side of my cutting board for fruits and sweets.  I use the other side of it for vegetables & strong, savory items like garlic and onions.

We rarely eat meat anymore, but if we do, I use a small plastic cutting board for that.

You have seen it in many of my photos as I use the natural light from my kitchen window and the neutral background of the board to take many of my recipe photos. Handy!


2. A Waste Bowl — our trash can is kept in the pantry, which is a few steps away from my cooking area and has sliding doors that need opened every time I need to throw something away.  When I am cooking, I make sure I take out my handy dandy waste bowl. It saves me all those steps to my trash can & having to open and close the doors each time.  It makes a huge difference in my cooking time. It also makes separating out plastic or cans for recycling or veggie scraps for composting quite easy.  When meal prep is done, I quick grab the bowl, separate out what is really trash and what can be reused.  So efficient, convenient, and easy.  I have Rachel Rays rubber bottomed waste bowl.  It stays right where you need it. I have the blue one, but the orange one is super fun, too!


3. One Main Knife--Rachel Ray does 90% of her slicing and dicing with one main knife.  I love the simplicity of this.  You really don’t need an entire knife block taking up precious space on the counter.  I have one main large knife, a small paring knife, and a serrated bread knife.  That is it.  3 knifes, kept in a drawer, one used the majority of the time.  Simple!


4. Bench Scrape Shovel–I feel totally professional when my oil is heated in my pan, I have chopped my garlic and onion on my cutting board using my knife, and I use this awesome bench scrap shovel to scoop my cuttings from the board to the pan.  I love the sizzle sound and the immediate scent of vegetables sauteing.  This shovel might seem like a tool that you don’t need, but I make room for it in my tiny kitchen due to the convenience of scooping up what I have chopped in one swipe.  It keeps my floor free from dropped pieces of onion, which used to happen when I would try to transfer my cuttings using just a knife and my hands.  This bench scrape shovel is a must have in my opinion.


Got any great time-saving, space-saving kitchen tips for me?

Healthy Eating/ HOME/ How-Tos/ RECIPES

The Perfect Vegetable Tray-Keep It Full In Your Refrigerator & Watch Your Kids Devour Their Vegetables!

This vegetable compartment carry along tray has been one of my most favorite recent purchases.  I just LOVE IT!  I was keeping cut up vegetables in mason jars in my refrigerator, and they were pretty and great for creating salads, but I didn’t like that I had to grab one at a time, open all the lids, grab the dip and then set them out for the kids to eat.  Too many steps, and I found we were not eating raw veggies as often as I liked.
I thought about how my girls devour their raw veggies when we are at parties with veggie trays.  I thought about why that is, and a light bulb went off as I figured figured out a few reasons why that is.

1. Easy to grab veggies.
2. Dip right there ready to go.
3. It is pretty
4. It is convenient.
5. They can choose the veggies they like and leave the rest.

I decided to search Amazon and the perfect vegetable tray, one with an area in the middle for dip, and one with a lid so I could store it in the refrigerator easily. 

I found this one.  The perfect one.  I love it.  It is easy to clean, easy to carry, easy to snap the lid right on and take it off. It is not too tall to fit on my refrigerator shelf.  It takes up a bit of refrigerator space but boy, it is worth it!  What else would I want taking up space in my refrigerator other than healthy, beautiful vegetables ?
I pull it out every afternoon when the kids walk in from school and set it out on our table.  They come by, grab a veggie and gobble them up.  If it is out and in sight, with dip available, they will eat their vegetables.  
I fill it at the beginning of the week and usually once more mid week.  I love grabbing it when making a dinner salad and adding veggies that are already chopped or just need a bit more chopping.  So easy!

The handle on it is a plus.  I have grabbed it and gone to the park and taken it to my inlaws pool house. The perfect healthy snack that is always ready to grab and go!
Get this!  You will love it.  

 Don’t Forget To Pin It

Brunch/ Healthy Eating/ HOME/ RECIPES

My New Super Favorite Superfood Breakfast Cereal

super food chia cereal

It is not often that a health food makes me giddy & excited, but boy oh boy this cereal has got me excited!   It is called Qi’a (pronounced KEE-ah) & it is full of nutritious super seeds!  It is a trio of seeds full of plant-based Protein, Fiber & ALA Omegas.  You only have to eat 2 Tbsp for a serving, yet it kept me full clear up to lunch time.

How?  Well, the 3 super seeds are chia, buckwheat groats & hemp seeds.  These seeds are full of protein & fiber, and the chia seeds expand once you add milk, so 2 Tbsp turns into much more, in time, once in your belly!  It is only 130 calories and organic!

I got the Apple Cinnamon kind. Here is the ingredient list:
~organic chia seeds
~organic buckwheat groats
~organic hemp seeds
~organic raisins
~organic freeze-dried apples
~organic cinnamon

There are a couple other flavors: 
Cranberry Vanilla
Apple Cinnamon

Each 2 Tbsp serving contains: 
6 g protein,
4 g fiber
2.2 g ALA Omega-3s!

You eat it just like you would eat any other cereal, except a much smaller portion size.  Mix 2 Tbsp cereal to 4-5 Tbsp of milk or milk substitute.  Stir.  Wait 5 minutes for the chia seeds to soak, then enjoy!

super food cereal

This was a unique breakfast experience that I just loved.  It was a nice change from my typical steel cut oats, and is just as nutritious, if not more!  It also has made a good, filling late night snack.  The buckwheat groats add a really great crunch, and the raisins and apples add sweetness.  I did add about 1/2 Tbsp of coconut sugar (can use regular sugar.) I needed just a touch  more sweetness but adding just a bit made this taste like a treat and super enjoyable to eat!

I found mine at our local health food store, but it is a new product so it may be harder to find.  You can also order it here at Amazon.  If you use this link, I will get a small percentage of your purchase, and anything else you decide to purchase while there, which really rocks.

Let me know if you try this!  Does it sound like something you would like?

HOME/ Natural Products

What I Buy At Trader Joes and Why

I bought our weeks worth of groceries today and thought I would share what I got with you, and highlight some of our favorite items.  I bought $110.00 worth of groceries.  I do my weekly shopping at Trader Joes, and pick a few items up (like eggs & coconut milk coffee creamer) at my local health food store.

Why do I shop at Trader Joes?  Well, you can’t beat the prices for their organic fruits and vegetables, especially their frozen vegetables.  Also, foods with the Trader Joes label guarantee:

~no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives

~no genetically modified ingredients

~no MSG

~no added trans fats

This is a huge deal for me.  It is super important to me that my family eats clean.  I don’t want nasty chemical dyes and preservatives in my food.  I have a child who has a tight chest cough/wheeze the minute she eats high fructose corn syrup and anything with yellow food dye in it, so shopping at Trader  Joes makes it easy on me.  I still read labels, but it is much easier at Trader Joes, as their label lists are much shorter and have ingredients that I can pronounce.

On to what I buy and why.  Let’s start with the above picture:

1. Organic Spinach–I bought 2 bags.  We eat a ton of spinach in our home.  It is one of our main sources of calcium and iron since we do little animal products.  We make a ton of green smoothies & I eat spinach salad often for lunch.

2. Organic Kale–Trader Joes just started carrying organic Kale.  It is already washed and chopped, which makes it super easy to prepare.  We often make Kale Chips, I put it in MY green smoothies (not my kids, I use spinach for them, kale is a bit too green tasting for their palates.)  I also will sauté’ it with garlic for a supper side dish.

3. Butter Lettuce Mix–I try to have salad every night with dinner.  My girls love this mix.

4. Organic Pears–These are perfect size for my girls lunch box.  They specifically ask if there is a pear in their lunch.  I’m always happy when I see them for sale!

5. Organic Kiwi–Another perfect fruit for their lunch boxes or as an afternoon snack.  I cut them in half and send a spoon, they just scoop it out and eat it.

6. Bananas–we love bananas in our family, and at Trader Joes, they are 5 for a dollar.  We eat them plain, we spread peanut butter on them, we freeze them and put them in smoothies.  We also love them sliced over cereal or in our Chia Oats.

7. Sliced Mushrooms–I saute’ these with pepper strips and onion, and use them in wraps.  Yum!

8. Organic Broccoli–I eat this raw as often as possible, & top my salads with it.  I will steam it for a dinner side dish at the end of the week, when the expiration date gets close.

9. Organic Gold Potatoes–my girls are on a big potato kick.  They have been coming home from school, washing a potato, pricking the skin and popping it in the microwave.  Cracks me up to see them wanting to snack on a vegetable.  Their little palates have changes so much since we started eating a plant strong diet!

10. Organic Pink Lady Apples–I buy ONLY organic apples.  I will not compromise on this fruit as it is one of the very highest in pesticides.  Sometimes Trader Joes has a huge selection of organic apples, sometimes they do not.  When they do, the price is great and the apples are delish!

11. Onions & Peppers–I saute’ these fajita style and use in a wrap with beans.  We also eat pepper strips raw.

12. Organic Baby Carrots–great for snacks and lunches…and our guinea pig!

13.  Organic Sweet Potatoes–I am a sweet potato fanatic.  I just love them.  I slice them into coins and bake them. I mash fav. I use them in my Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup. I also juice them sometimes.

14.  Lemons–I use these for my daily lemon water, and for juicing.  I also use them for cleaning and my favorite…add sugar to lemon juice for the most refreshing and yummy tasting facial scrub!

15. Dried Cranberries–We use these sprinkled on top of oatmeal.  I also mix them with nuts and put in lunch boxes.

16. Dried Apricots–This is a new favorite of my girls. They think it is like eating fruit snacks, and since I don’t buy fruit snacks, it makes me super happy that they feel that way! It is crazy, as I get sugar snacks out of the house, my kids have gradually fallen for fruit because it will be the sweetest thing in the house!

Whew…this is gonna be a long post.  Ready for pic number 2?

1. Potato Chips–I buy these every other week.  Not the most healthy, but my girls love them with sandwiches in their lunch and see it as a super fun treat.  I keep the portions small.

2. Organic Corn Chips–great snack with salsa, of course!

3. Oats–we go through a container this size every week.  We love our oats.  We eat them raw like you would a bowl of granola topped with fruit, we eat them cooked, we put them into smoothies, we make Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Oats with them.  I will make homemade granola bars or our most favorite chocolate bars–The Best Recipe I Ever Messed Up.

4. Crisp Rice Cereal–I usually buy a more whole grain cereal, but my girls love this and get excited because I don’t buy it that often.  It is not high in sugar, but it does lack fiber so I view it as pretty empty calories.  I make it ok by adding whole grain toast and fruit.

5. Almond Milk–when we switched from cow’s milk to almond milk, my girls growled and complained.  Now they love it so much that they have a very hard time every drinking cow’s milk.  We use this over cereal or in smoothies.  I use it in recipes in place of milk.  I do wish it was organic.  Trader Joes just started carrying organic coconut milk, so I will have to try that.

6. Organic Tomatillo & Roasted Yellow Chili Salsa–I have tried every salsa Trader Joes carries, and this is by far the best.  Great flavor.

7. Earth Balance–we have used this in place of butter since eating more plant based.  I love that you can melt it and bake with it.

8. Shredded Cheese–I don’t buy it often, but we are having chili this week.  I don’t eat dairy, but my girls will like a sprinkling on their chili.  They also make cheese tacos as a quick afternoon snack. I do appreciate that all of Trader Joes cheeses have a label on them that announce that they use milk from cows NOT treated with Rsbt.

9. Clif Bars–a treat.  This box will supply an afternoon snack for my girls for 4 days (12 bars in a box). I love how easy it is to just throw a bar at them when they get home from school.  These are high protein and high fiber.

10. Hummus–I am on a huge hummus kick.  I have been using a big blog of it on my salads instead of salad dressing…so good!  I also love it on my Hummus Sandwich Heaven & to dip vegetables.

You still with me??  3rd pic…here we go:

1. Strawberry Nutrigrain Bars–very convenient for lunch boxes.  These are another item that I don’t buy often and are considered a treat.  They are quite processed and have quite a bit of sugar.  Comparing them to another store brand of these type of bars, they really are not so bad!

2. Vegetable Nests–I will tell you more about these below, but they are really yummy.  You can heat them up in the oven and eat them according to the package, but I like to get creative with it.  My plan is to bake them, then chop them up and add beans, using it as a topping for brown rice.  Easy and convenient meal.  These have amazing flavor and come with a yummy Asian dipping sauce.  Go easy on the sauce…it is high sodium.

3. Mini Chicken Tacos--A treat my girls love.  Not super healthy.

4.Steelcut Oats–These frozen pucks of steel cut oats are my most favorite breakfast.  I add blueberries or raspberries on top and I am in breakfast heaven.  I sometimes make my own steel cut oat frozen pucks, but decided to be lazy.  These sell for 1.69 for 2 large frozen pucks.  I can share one with one of my girls and still get full.

5. 100% Whole Wheat Bread–THIS IS NOT FROM TRADER JOES.  I have had a hard time finding a bread that we all love from Trader Joes.  I have a local bakery we use often, this time I bought Oroweat.

6. Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage–the only meat product I bought for the week, other than the chicken tacos.  We slice this up and sauté’ it, then it it with eggs & toast for a breakfast dinner.  I talk more about this product below.

7. Creamy Organic Peanut Butter with Sea Salt–a staple in our home.  I use it on sandwiches, smear banana with it, use it in chia oats and in smoothies.

8.  Organic Strawberry Jelly–great on toast, sandwiches & a dab twirled into oatmeal is yummy!  I will talk more about this product below.

I took these photos to show you the Trader Joes difference.  The ingredients in the salsa are all whole, recognizable ingredients.  No sugars added.  No preservatives. Love it!

The jelly has organic grape juice concentrate in it.  It still is considered sugar, but SO MUCH BETTER than high fructose corn syrup.  Click here to read more about why I don’t like HFCS.

Look at the ingredients of this crispy little birds nests!  Onion, carrot, kale are the first 3 ingredients.  Yes, they have tempura batter and oil, but for a processed snack that tastes good and is convenient…I’ll take it.

We made it to the end of this very long post.  Thanks for sticking with me…I hope this was helpful.

This is just a taste of the things we love and buy at Trader Joes.  I have not written posts about it because I realize not everyone lives near a TJ’s, but I hope some of the tips given are helpful despite that.

Let me know in the comments if you want to see more Trader Joe posts at New Nostalgia!  Also, share your favorite products with me if you are a TJ’s fan.