22 real food cookbooks with delicious recipes that will inspire you to eat healthy

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.


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

every mom needs a girls weekend + $15 Publix giveaway!


Recently, I was at the beach with some friends and I don’t think we stopped talking the entire trip! It was so lovely to have an ongoing conversation without chasing children for twenty-four hours. We are all moms so even though our children were away, we found ourselves discussing so many mom details including our post-baby bodies, school routines, eating fresh, food allergies, coupons, and our homes. It made me feel so good knowing that I wasn’t alone on this daily ride of trying to take care of not only myself but also my family.

Being a mom, we juggle So. Many. Things.

I know because I’m in the thick of it, juggling my career with my family and all the other things in between. I’m learning to not be so hard on myself and also to use resources that help me be the mom I want to be. I want to be a healthy mom and I want to raise healthy kids. I want to cook good food for my family and create an environment in my home that is fun. Because we live in the country and have chickens and a garden and so many other amazing fruit-bearing plants, we want our kids to grow up loving farm life. I don’t think it is unrealistic to want these things for my family but I do think I need to be smart and not get overwhelmed with too many things. 

One easy resource that I’ve recently purchased to help me is The Healthy Living Bundle. Y’all, it is full of amazing recipes and resources on allergy-free cooking, essential oils, fitness and weight loss, healthy kids, homesteading, natural home, natural remedies, paleo, and real food recipes.

I am excited about several of these healthy living resources, especially the ones about having healthy kids, homesteading, and natural remedies.

Here are my five favorite e-courses included in the library:
  • Morning Sickness Remedies from Lindsey at Mother Rising
  • 27 Body Transformation Habits You Can’t Ignore from Tyler at Garage Warrior
  • Urban Farming for Kids
  • Three Weeks to Vitality: The Ultimate Cleanse from Mary Vance, NC
  • Real Food for Rookies from Kelly at Kelly the Kitchen Kop

I use The Healthy Living Bundle to help me prepare my grocery list. I’ve mentioned this before but I love shopping at Publix. Really, it just makes me happy. It’s the best grocery store for me to take my kids to because they give out free cookies, balloons, and have a double buggy that is almost always available when we go.


In an effort to eat healthy, I like picking out snacks the whole family can enjoy like Tostido’s scoop chips and Publix’s home-made salsa. On nights that I’m exhausted from a long day at work, we eat chips and salsa as a side to ground turkey tacos wrapped in whole wheat soft taco shells. I let the girls eat queso dip with it and Ridley loves to dip his chips into his salsa! It’s an easy, no fuss, feel good meal for the whole family to enjoy.

If I’m being honest, one of the hardest things for me right now as a mom is not feeling guilty that I’m working full-time. While I know I’m where I’m supposed to be, I still have some hard days where I really miss my kids. But, on my weekend away with my friends, I was reminded that stay-at-home moms feel this way too. We all feel guilty about something that we did or did not do right. But we can’t let the guilt consume us. We need to do our best with the time that we have with our kids. Sure, we are going to mess up but we need to give ourselves grace.

Since today is the first day The Healthy Living Bundle is available to purchase, I am hosting a giveaway for a $15 Publix giftcard! Woo-hoo! To enter the giveaway, follow these simple steps:
  1. Check out The Healthy Living Bundle website. See for yourself all the great resources it has to offer!
  2. Leave a comment and share which of these snacks you like to buy for your family:

• Yoplait® Greek 100, Greek 100 Whips or Yoplait® Plenti, Yoplait® 4 or 6 oz cups (Light, Original, Whips, etc.)
• Frito-Lay® 20-count mutlipacks
• Naked® Juice 15.2 oz
• Quaker Chewy® Granola Bars or Dipps Value Pack
• General Mills Fruit Snacks Value Pack
• Popsicle®
• Fiber One® Cookies
• Chex® Snack Mix
• Tostito’s 9 – 14 oz bagged snacks (except Baked, Simply & Artisan blend)
• Lipton® Iced Tea 1 gallon jug
• Totino’s Pizza Rolls 90 ct.
• Magnum® Core 3 ct

That’s it! Super easy! I’ll pick the winner on Monday at midnight, which is the last day you can purchase the bundle. 

Being a mom is the most exhausting and exhilarating adventure I’ve ever been on. I’m so thankful to have good friends to share this journey with and simple resources to help me be an intentional instead of overwhelmed mama. The time that we have with our kids goes by too fast so let us enjoy them and be the mom God has made us to be for our kids. 

To learn more about The Healthy Living Bundle, follow this link!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

FYI: I know sometimes posts with a lot of links and banners that say “sponsored” can get confusing. I just want you to know that when a post is sponsored, you don’t have to buy anything but I do get a small paycheck for any links that you click on. I set this money into my “blogging” account and use it to help fund blogging needs like website maintenance and trainings. These posts help me not use our family budget so much for blogging so any clicks that you can click are so appreciated! Also, I would never write a post about a product I didn’t believe in (trust me, I’ve gotten some unusual offers in the past!). Thanks so much for reading, friend!









10 products you must-have {chris10’s monthly must-have’s: august}


Happy Friday friends!

I’m super excited to be bringing back Chris10’s Monthly Must-Have’s. If you are new, this is a list of my top ten favorite things for each month. It’s such a fun way to share new recipes, fashion, and products. But instead of listing out everything, I’m trying out Periscope, where I share my must-have’s online through a conversation. We did this last night and I really loved chatting with those of you who joined in the scope! If you are hesitant to be on Periscope, I totally get it but I’m telling you, it is SO.MUCH.FUN. Even if you don’t want to do videos, it is really fun watching the videos that are online. I think I really love it because it is real-time interaction with friends and followers. It gives blogging that personal connection, which is my favorite reason for blogging in the first place. So, I think I’m going to keep trying out Periscope and I’ll let you know next time I’m on. If you’d like to follow me, I’m @chris10price.

Also, I wanted to throw out another idea and if you are a blogger, I’d love your feedback. Would you participate in a monthly link-up and share your favorite things too?

I can totally set that up next month. I think what I would do is have a Periscope Party where we all share our must-have’s via Periscope the Thursday night before the last Friday of the month and then open up the link-up at midnight CST on Thursday. Thoughts? Suggestions? Tomatoes?! I love link parties and committing just once a month is easier than every week for me!

Okey-dokey, here’s the video for Chris10’s August Monthly Must-Have’s:


As I mentioned on the video, my must-have’s are:



1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

2. Lauren Daigle How Can It Be Album

3. Cross Training Couture Tank

4. Wild in the Hollow by Amber Haines

5. Animal Print Cardigan from The Limited

6. Plum Planner – If you are looking for a new planner, use the coupon code Price10 at checkout!!!!

7. Kate Spade Flamingo Bathing Suit (on sale at Dillard’s!)

8. Short Hair

9. Apricot Oat Bars (recipe is coming in two weeks when I share about the Healthy Living Bundle…it’s an amazing bundle of real food recipes, gluten free, paleo, healthy kid-friendly recipes – you’ve gotta try it!)

10. Zone Perfect Perfectly Simple Oatmeal and Chocolate Chunk granola bars (here’s the link to a coupon to try them!)

Happy weekend friends!

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen


for the mom who is the keeper of the schedule {#feelgooder with ZonePerfect Perfectly Simple Granola Bars}

This month, Covenant has had an amazing sermon series called Insomniac: What keeps you up at night? Each week, Hays has shared common things that we struggle with – our purpose, what makes us angry and this past week the theme was family. When sharing about family, he said that the normal for our culture is to live in a state of being overscheduled, overwhelmed, and over-worked. I couldn’t agree with him more.

Life as a working mom is so very full. One problem that I continually face is not having enough time to do all the things that I want to do. Between work, family time, and extracurriculars, we always seem to be busy. I like being busy and social and well-rounded but lately I’ve realized that I might have too much going on in my life right now. The question on where to cut is what keeps me up at night.

When I feel anxious about our schedule, the best thing I know to do is to give myself grace and spend time praying to God. I’m getting better at telling myself that it’s okay if I don’t get everything done. My to-do list will always be there and what is helping me most tackle my list is to trim it down. When I give myself a whole week’s worth of tasks to do just on the weekend, it’s so easy to feel defeated. But, if I only give myself a few tasks a day, I feel less overwhelmed and more at peace.

Having a flexible routine really helps during the week. I try to meal plan but if something comes up in our schedule that makes those plans change, I’m trying to go with it and not get upset. Some people ask me how I have time to blog on top of working and being a mom and I tell them it’s because I schedule time to do this during the week. But, that time is usually very early, at lunch, or in the evening so again, I have to give myself permission to not accomplish all of my blogging tasks.

I’ve mentioned exercise before on the blog, but I have to exercise at least two days a week (preferably three) to relieve stress. I never leave the gym feeling bad for going, I always leave feeling better. Since I workout in the afternoon, I try to pack healthy snacks to eat in the mid-afternoon. Sometimes I pack apple slices and peanut butter but on the days that I’m in a hurry I like to pack granola bars.


Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of granola bars but as I’ve begun to be more consicious of what I eat, I’ve realized that many granola bars have a high dosage of sugar in them which defeats the whole purpose of being a healthy snack. Recently, I’ve landed on ZonePerfect’s Perfectly Simple granola bars and they are so good!


These are the flavors that they come in:

• Almond Toffee Crunch
• Bing Cherry & Almond
• Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk
• Roasted Cashew & Dark Chocolate

My favorite is the oatmeal chocolate chunk granola bar. It has just the right amount of sweetness from the chocolate and the oatmeal fills me up. I also love that they are high in protein, gluten free and less than 200 calories. You can find them at Target and Publix.


Here’s a coupon if you want to try them out for yourself!


To love the crazy life that we live, I’m praying for God to show me where and how to keep trimming down our busy schedule. I don’t think being busy is a bad thing but I don’t want to live in a constant state of feeling overworked and not enjoying this life that I’ve been given. I deeply desire to find calm through the chaos and to celebrate the people, places, and plan he has for my life. My family comes first and living a healthy lifestyle helps me to love them the best that I can.

What makes you feel over-scheduled, overwhelmed, and over-worked?

how to lose the baby weight

Right after Ridley was born last February, my friend Heather set up a meal plan for our friends to bring us food when we got home from the hospital. Since Ridley was born early and we were packing to move into our new house, these meals could not have come at a better time. For almost two months on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday friends showed up at our rental house with a home-cooked meal. At first, I was embarrassed to invite them into our space full of boxes, laminate floors and floral walls. Holding the baby, I’d show them the way to the kitchen, apologizing and thanking them at the very same time. Looking back, I know nobody cared what my house looked like, all they really wanted to do was drop off their food and get a peek at his soft, newborn skin.  The girls were always so excited when the doorbell rang and the friends that brought them gifts were especially adored. It felt so good to be loved by these people while we were transitioning into life with a baby and moving. 

A common theme that I saw in the meals brought to our home was comfort food. Chicken and rice casserole, pasta with spaghetti sauce, and roast were all eaten more than once. One friend brought over sauteed kale which was fun to try and another grilled pork chops and it was a perfect Friday night meal. Raleigh especially loved all the sweets – we had strawberry cupcakes, chocolate pound cake, and caramel-dipped apples. We even had one friend whose family owned a local restaurant who brought over tons of casseroles that we froze and ate six months later. Even if the food was slightly outside our normal realm of recipes, we ate it.

While on maternity leave, I didn’t count calories. For twelve weeks, between nursing and unpacking, I ate what my friends prepared for me. But, as my days at work approached, I knew it was time to start using my new kitchen and I knew we needed to pull back from comfort food and ease into lighter foods. It was also time to start working out again. Once I was cleared at six weeks, I threw on a gym shirt over my nursing sports bra and began to go back to the gym. Before I was pregnant, I had briefly tried Crossfit, but I wasn’t ready for that at six weeks. Instead, I hit the elliptical and did light reps with handheld weights. I stretched on my yoga mat as my friends did burpees on the other side of the gym. Watching them, I knew I wanted to get back to that intensity level of exercise. At that moment, I made up my mind to get healthy.

baby weight

Before having a baby, I was not well-educated on what foods to eat at what time. I’d heard of different diets like Weight Watchers and Atkins but I’d always approached food with the mindset that I’d eat half healthy and half unhealthy and if I exercised it would all be okay. But now, with three kids, I wondered if there was a way to eat foods that would fill me up, give me energy, and also be good for me. I also wanted to, you know, lose the baby weight and fit into my bathing suit that summer without feeling like a nursing cow.

I contacted my friend Chris who is a football coach and whose wife Sandy, had just had a baby. She’d put on Facebook that after one month, she’d gotten back to her pre-baby weight and was feeling great. *I found out that she had followed a 24-Day Challenge for Nursing Moms where she ate healthy, took vitamins and supplements, and also drank some protein and fiber shakes to help her body lose the weight. After doing some research and talking to other moms, I found out that this program was not one of those quick-fix diets but was actually intended to be a lifestyle change. I decided to try it and I’m so glad I did.

how to lose the baby weight

This meal plan came with a food portion chart that told me exactly what qualified as a protein, fruit, vegetable, low carbs, and healthy fats. It also taught me how to eat different combinations of these foods as small meals throughout the day. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was full (like I would be after eating a pizza) but I did feel satisfied and most importantly, healthy.

So, for twenty-four days, I did my best to follow this plan. I had to say no to stuffing my face with my dad’s famous barbecue ribs one night and I also resisted Easter cupcakes but I did slide at times with a glass of wine or Chick-Fil-A fried nuggets instead of grilled. But, for the most part, I was able to eat healthier and I learned what to eat when (I’ll show you a chart in just a sec!).  To make eating healthy fun, I experimented with several different recipes for my three main meals and two snacks. I landed on a few favorites, like broccoli slaw and taco salad, and also became an expert maker of strawberry jello. :)

When I began my nursing mom challenge, I also signed back up for Crossfit. I was intimidated to begin this program again but it helped that I did it with a friend. She and my trainer encouraged me to exert myself but also modify the workout as needed. Going to Crossfit humbles me because I’m seriously one of the weakest girls in my class, still to this day. Even though I’m one of the worst Crossfitters ever to exist, I still try to do a pull-up, overhead cling, and rope climb. Training my body is training my mind to believe that I can do more than I think I can do. Even though I’m terrible at it, I’m motivated to keep doing it because I can tell by my muscle-definition that I am slowly, ever-so-slightly, improving.

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Eating healthy and exercising was hard but once I figured out what my limits were, it became easier and more natural. I know now that a great breakfast for me is two egg whites with spinach tossed in it and a side of oatmeal. And, it’s okay to eat fruits like grapefruit with a healthy fat nut mix at snack time.  Sweet potatoes are delicious at lunch and fill me up until my afternoon snack and grilled chicken and asparagus with lemon is a guilt-free, feel-good meal after working out.

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I’m becoming more aware that what I put into my body is what comes out of me. My mood and energy level is so related to what I eat and how often I exercise. Sometimes, when I need to rest, I slide back into a season of comfort food eating but I’m keenly aware that I don’t need to stay in this place where I depend on food to help me cope with my circumstances. So, I choose to pack the gym bag and crack open another egg for breakfast the next day. A year after eating well and exercising, I’m attempting to eat healthy eighty-percent of my week but giving myself some margin for chocolate and bread and fried food. For me, this works.

If you’d like to try to eat healthier and exercise, here’s a sample of the food chart I followed, my meal plan, and an exercise plan. Know that this is just an example and daily we have to choose what we are going to put into our bodies and how we will strengthen our muscles. But, maybe this can help you lose the weight and feel better about yourself too.

Food and Exercise Charts

Also, for the next two weeks, I’m offering The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. Y’all this bundle is rocking it and I love it so much. Already, I’ve checked out Supermarket Ninja’s by Beth Ricci which is helping me conquer the grocery store aisles and purchasing unprocessed, real food for my family. If you are looking to lose weight and be healthy, I encourage you to buy your bundle today to start living well!  

Here’s to healthy eating and exercising, even on the days that are hard.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

*The 24-Day Nursing Mom Challenge is from Advocare. I was not paid to endorse this company, but it did help me to lose my baby weight and get healthy.