Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

The bacon-wrapped chicken leg recipe is a tailgate show stopper. This recipe is also a hit at summer barbecues, picnics, and Super Bowl parties. With only two ingredients this dish is super easy to make and fun for the kids.

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Bacon + Chicken?

Bacon marries well with anything, and chicken is a top 5 bacon-lovers mate. Move over salmon BLT, here’s come the chicken leg! When it comes to making this recipe involve the kids. Wrapping the bacon around the chicken leg is a lot of fun and easy to do.

Even though there are two ingredients, make sure you buy high quality chicken and bacon. The cleaner the chicken the better tasting and texture, same with the bacon. I opt for the organic chicken and nitrate-free bacon.

Added bonuses to the bacon-wrapped chicken leg

My husband has played around with putting chicken seasoning on the chicken before the bacon is wrapped around it, I personally don’t think it needs it. With this recipe, you’re open to experimenting. You might even like to play with a little barbeque sauce. Yum!

bacon wrapped chicken leg
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Special chicken leg tool

You will need a tool to make this all happen. Get on Amazon and buy a chicken leg rack. We have this one, which we bought on Amazon. You can use it in the oven or on the grill. We have used it in both environments. It’s a good buy and a necessity for this recipe.

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The perfect sides and finishing touches

My only advice when eating bacon-wrapped chicken legs is to have a toothpick handy when you’re done; not to mention, a napkin or hand wipe. They may get a little messy, but who cares! Your family and friends will enjoy this recipe. If there’s bacon, they will come.

Great side dishes to serve with bacon-wrapped chicken legs depends on the season. If it’s summer, I’d go with an amazing potato salad and watermelon mint salad. For game day, I’d choose some fancy potato chips and veggie sticks with dip. If you’re having this dish for dinner, go for some fun garlic noodles, steamed broccoli, and red grapes. Another great healthy choice is to make my warm kale salad, this dish is nutrient-dense!

bacon wrapped chicken legs

Easy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Legs

This simple chicken recipe is a family favorite! It has bacon… Only two ingredients and not that high in calories!
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, chicken, dairy-free, gluten-free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 215kcal
Cost $8


  • Chicken Leg Rack
  • Meat thermometer


  • 6 Legs A package of chicken legs Skin on is fine. Spend the extra dollars for a higher quality chicken. It makes a big difference.
  • 1/2 Package Bacon Any bacon will do. Again, to be healthier, choose a low sodium bacon or preservative free.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get your chicken rack ready.
  • Take the skin off the chicken legs
  • Grab one strip of bacon and wrap one chicken leg. Start at the bottom of the leg and work your up to the top. You might be able to tuck the bacon into a bacon row.
  • Continue to wrap the rest of the chicken legs and put them in the Chicken Rack.
  • Bake or Grill the bacon wrapped chicken legs for 40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
  • Check the internal temperature of the chicken, remember it's to be 165.
  • Let the chicken rest for a few minutes then DIG IN!


Calories are an estimate per bacon-wrapped chicken leg. This is an amazing tailgate snack. My teenage son loves these things, he’ll eat four! Serve with some greens, potato salad, pasta, or broccoli and you’ve got yourself a meal!

Wrapping it up! (get it?)

We took this recipe to a tailgate for a college football game and let’s just say the chicken was gone in an instant. So if that’s your plan…to take it to a game…you may want to get two chicken leg racks!

FYI- My son is known to put the leftovers in his lunch. Yes, bacon-wrapped chicken legs are good cold too! Another great lunch option for the kiddos. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

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By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Better Belly Steak: Healthy Steak Recipe

Better Belly Steak: Healthy Steak Recipe


If you missed my post about food combining you’ll want to check’r out. This amazing steak recipe I’m about to give you goes in line with food combining. You might think to yourself, “Food combining matters? It’s all going to the same place anyway. What gives?”

When I was a kid, eating with my grandparents was torture for me. Not only did I have to eat everything off my plate, including the extra ketchup…yes, with a spoon, down the hatch it went; I had to watch my grandparents pretty much swirl everything on their plate and eat it. As a kid, I didn’t want my peas to touch my mash potatoes, or for Pete’s sake my jello to touch my chicken pot pie! This kind of food combining is not what I’m talking about, but it gives you a visual.

What happens in the belly

Let’s take steak n potatoes, a classic meal. It’s a meal that has withstood the decades. Many would call it a ‘healthy’ meal. To the eye, it is, but to the stomach not-so. Combining a protein with a heavy-duty starch like buttery mashed potatoes spoils in your stomach. Starchy sugars don’t mix well with hard-core proteins. Ew! With spoiling in the stomach comes indigestion, bloating, gas, burping…sluggishness.

If you want to feel better after a steak dinner, change your side to a low starch veggie, like salad, broccoli, green beans, or grilled summer squash. I know garlic mashed potatoes with steak is OH SO YUMMY, but if you’re feeling icky after a meal like that it could be the food combo. Hold up, I’m not telling you to stop eating that combo, not at all. All I’m saying is that you might want to mix it up every once in a while. Just letting you know what I’ve learned. If you want a download of my food combination aid, you can get one here at freebies. It gives you examples of what to eat with what, along with a list of foods, and when to eat fruit. I personally tape mine to my kitchen cupboard.

Ingredients needed for this dish

With this healthy steak recipe, I use a cast-iron pan. It really does make a difference, especially if you can’t cook on the grill. I highly recommend getting one, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

click the pan for details

As for other ingredients, I used McCormick Grill Mates 25% Less Sodium Montreal Steak Seasoning. This has amazing flavor and it’s gluten-free! It also comes in regular sodium and 25% less sodium. Delicious!

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I also use Kirkland’s Frozen Organic Green Beans. Love these things. They come pre-washed. And for my other side I simply visit the frozen veggie section at the grocery and pick up Green Giant Simply Steam, Riced Cauliflower Italian Style. This is actually my new go-to when I’m running low on time.

Find in your store

On to the healthy steak recipe!


Better Belly Steak

Want an amazing steak with loads of flavor? Try this steak recipe for a quick and easy meal that tastes like it came from a fancy restaurant.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, steak
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 300kcal
Author Christy


  • Cast Iron Pan
  • Tongs


  • 1 steak Strip Steak, highest grade
  • 1 tbsp McCormickGrill Mates 25% Less Sodium Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen organic green beans Washed and trimmed
  • 1 box Green Giant SimplySteam, Riced Cauliflower Italian Style In frozen section at grocery


  • Take yourcast iron pan, put it on the stove, and preheat on high for 4-5 minutes, oruntil very hot (wink).
  • Pat your steak dry with paper towels. In this recipe I used Strip steak, highest grade.
    Strip steak
  • Sprinkle McCormick Steak Seasoning, this is gluten-free!
  • Put alittle salt in the bottom of your hot cast iron pan.
  • Place the steak in your hot pan. It might get a little smokey, so make sure you’re cooking in a well – ventilated space…I do not recommend a tent. I personally turn my kitchen vent on and crack a window.
  • In the next one to two minutes, carefully flip the steak placing it in a different spot on the pan. Cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Continue turning and flipping the steak until it’s cooked to your desired doneness.
  • To be on the safe side, use a meat thermometer and insert it in the thickest part of the steak. Here’s a quick guide on temperatures.
    ·        Medium-rare:135º
    ·        Medium: 140º
    ·        Medium-well: 145º
  • Place the steak on your plate and let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it. Keep in mind the steak may continue to cook after it has been removed from the pan.
  • While steak is resting, take your green beans and put them in a sauce pan with an inch of wate on medium heat. Cover the pan. with lid. Cook 5 minutes and check. Keep checkingevery couple minutes. Cook to desire. Do not burn!
  • While green beans are cooking. Grab your box of Green Giant SimplySteam, Riced Cauliflower Italian Style and follow the microwave instructions. Stir after it has been cooked.
  • Dish up the steak, green beans, and cauliflower rice on your plate. Salt lightly if desired. Enjoy!


Calories are an estimate. 
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes!

All recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp Recipe

Spicy shrimp are two words that were made for each other. This is a dish that won’t disappoint your spicy palate. I’m not going to bore you with a long story about this recipe, because there isn’t a story. My husband was experimenting in the kitchen and concocted this amazingly delicious dish! He calls it: Mark’s Spicy Shrimp… super creative name, right? This recipe is packed with nutrition and flavor!

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More about shrimp and spicy things

Did you know that one BILLION pounds of shrimp are eaten every year? That’s crazy. Shrimp not only live in the ocean, but they are found in estuaries, rivers, and even lakes. Another fun fact about shrimp is their lifespan, it’s from one to seven years. Move over hamster, I’m getting a shrimp! In case you’re wondering hamsters only live for about three years.

As for nutrition, shrimp are very low in calories. About 15 grams of shrimp is 18 calories, that’s close to three shrimp depending on its size. Shrimp are high in protein and low in carbs. It’s loaded with selenium, which is an antioxidant that can boost your immune system, protect your brain, and reduce your risk of certain cancers. (1) These bottom feeders are also a great source of iodine, which is super beneficial for your thyroid to work properly. And yes, shrimp do have omega fatty acids in them too! If you want to learn more about omega’s read my post about them.


There is good reason to enjoy something spicy now and then. If your tummy can take it on, add some spice to your dishes. I guess if you didn’t like spicy things you wouldn’t be reading this post. Spicy foods have multiple benefits. For one it speeds up your metabolism and puts the brakes on your appetite. This stuff is good for weight loss.

Some other benefits of spicy food are that it helps fight inflammation in your body, it lowers your mortality rate…yep, helps you live longer, and it can fight off bad bugs in the body…bacteria that is. (2)

does a body good

Tools needed for this dish

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The number one tool for Mark’s Spicy Shrimp is the trusty cast-iron pan. You’re going to want a medium-size one. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

Does a Body Good Printable

Other ingredients and variations for spicy shrimp

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As for other ingredients, I recommend gluten-free Ramen noodles. Our family likes Lotus Foods noodles. Gluten is super inflammatory on the body, why eat it when there is a gluten-free version. It may be a few cents more, but it beats going to the doctor for issues.

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This recipe may only call for a little olive oil, but it’s worth getting the good stuff. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers.

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The secret ingredient that really makes this dish is the Hatch Valley Flame Roasted Green Chile. My husband eats this stuff by the spoon! Make sure to get the chopped-up version, not the whole. It’s kind of like a relish. Amazon has a two-pack for sale. Simple ingredients, gluten-free, and non-GMO. This is good stuff people!.

Variations to the recipe. This is such a versatile recipe that any protein would work: brats, strips of steak, grilled chicken, breakfast sausage, or vegetarian with tofu or almonds.

On to the recipe!

Mark's Spicy Shrimp

Mark’s Spicy Shrimp

This is one of my husband's favorite dishes. If you like spicy along with noodles, you'll want to try this!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, low-fat, noodles, nut-free, seafood, spicy
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 440kcal
Author Mark
Cost $3.50


  • sauce pan
  • Cast Iron Pan


  • 5 shrimp Frozen Raw Shrimp, jumbo size
  • 1/2 cup Red Bell Pepper Slice half a red bell pepper, this is close to a half cup.
  • 1/2 cup Orange Bell Pepper Slice half a orange bell pepper, this too is close to a half cup.
  • 3/4 cup Red Onion Slice red onion, slice as much as you like. Your preference to how much.
  • 7 pepperoni Pepperoni Chop about 7 pepperonis into 4ths. Use your favorite pepperoni.
  • 1/2 cup Frozen green beans
  • 1 unit Ramen Noodles or Gluten Free Ramen
  • 1 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos You can use soy sauce instead, your preference.
  • 1/4 cup Pickled ginger We prefer the pink color. Any pickled ginger will do. This is a garnish.
  • 3 tbsp Hatch Valley Green Chile Use to your liking. If you want a milder dish, use only 1 tbsp.
  • 2 tsp Sriracha Sauce Use to your liking. For a milder dish, use 1 tsp or less.
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Goat Cheese this is optional


  • Using a saucepan, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  • While water is warming up, chop the red onion, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, and pepperoni. Count 5 shrimp out and have them ready.
  • Line up ingredients so you have the ready to use.
  • After water has boiled, gently place shrimp in the boiling water. Watch them closely as they cook.
    During this time, turn on the heat on for the cast iron pan.
    When shrimp turn pink, turn heat off and set aside.
  • Now that the cast iron pan is hot, put 1 tbsp of olive oil in the pan and place the red onion, red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, along with the hatch chilis and aminos into the pan. Stirfry until you get an aroma.
  • Remove shrimp from hot water, remove any shell and tail.
    Chop the shrimp up. Place shrimp into cast iron pan. Turn pan on low.
  • Boil another 4 cups of water and place Ramen into boiling water. Let cook for 4 minutes.
  • Drain 90% of the water from noodles and add noodles to the cast iron pan.
    Add green beans to the cast iron pan.
    Add ginger.
    Add pepperoni to the pan.
    Turn heat to medium heat.
  • Add sriracha and goat cheese. Turn off heat and serve!


Calories are estimated not including the goat cheese. To make the cooking time go faster, use two saucepans, and have the water boiling. If you’re not a fan of pepperoni try breakfast sausage. And again, adjust the spiciness to your liking. Enjoy!
Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes! All are gluten-free and dairy-free recipes.

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

Brat n Bacon Stew Recipe

The combination of brats and bacon is amazing! Add them into a stew and you got yourself a hearty winter meal. This simple and tasty bacon stew is loaded with flavor. It might not be the leanest, but if you want to splurge on a cozy winter evening, this is a stew you should try!

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More about yams and butternut squash

As for nutrition for this stew, we’re getting protein from the brats and the bacon, we’re getting carbohydrates with the noodles or mashed potatoes we serve with it, and we’re getting a slew of vitamins with the add-ins.

Yams or sweet potatoes. There is a difference and you can use whichever one you want for this stew. As for yams, their nutrition label looks great. Yams are a great source of manganese, copper, and potassium. They have a little bit of folate and magnesium too. Yams are an excellent source of fiber and vitamin c. These orange tubers may help our brain function, ease symptoms of menopause, help manage blood sugar, and are a great alternative to white potatoes.

If you go the Butternut Squash route, it’s easy on digestion and has great flavor. This squash is a good source of calcium, potassium, vitamin A, E, folate, B-6. It helps lower blood pressure, cancer risk, and asthma. Butternut squash is also great for your hair, skin, and immune system.

Tools I love for this dish

Get a small one on Amazon!

The number one tool for this dish is the trusty cast-iron pan. It gives the food an extra layer of flavor. Believe me, I’ve done a lot of research on what pan is the healthiest to cook with. One that won’t leach chemicals, aluminum, or Teflon into my food and the cast iron wins every time! It may be heavy, but it’s extremely low maintenance. In fact, if you’re anemic (iron deficient) it helps put a little iron in your system.

One more thing about the cast iron pan, it’s SUPER easy to clean, no soap required. Seriously, no soap, you’ll wreck the ‘seasoning’ of the pan. I highly recommend getting a cast iron pan, even if it’s the small one. You can find them on Amazon.

Simplify Firefly Etsy

Other ingredients and variations

As for other ingredients, I recommend a leaf to two of basil, chopped fresh tomato, or chopped kale to give it some color and an extra nutrition boost.

click for details
find on Amazon!

The piece that brings it all together for me is the olive oil. I use a little bit in the pan, and if I serve gluten-free Ramen noodles I add olive oil to the noodles with a dash of salt. I absolutely love the flavor it brings to each ingredient. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. With that said, be sure you get an olive oil you trust is 100%. We don’t need no stinkin’ canola or vegetable oil fillers. I have more information on what oils are best here.

On to the recipe!

Pork stew with bacon

Brat n Bacon Stew

This bacon n brat stew brings amazing flavor to the table, easy to make, quickly gobbled up.
Course dinner, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon, brats, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, stew, stew with bacon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 309kcal
Cost $16


  • 1 large sauce pan
  • 1 Cast Iron Pan optional


  • 4 links brats, any kind you like
  • 1/2 package pork bacon
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery sticks (about 2 stalks)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 1 1/2 cup pre-baked yams cubed or butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp pepper for taste
  • 1 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup white wine (this is optional)


  • Chop the onion, celery, yams (or squash) and make sure they're ready to go.
  • Slice the brats into 1/4 inch slices (chuncks) with skins removed.
  • Slice the bacon into small 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices.
  • Put the 2 TBSP of olive oil in the saucepan or cast iron pan, turn on the burner to medium heat. Braise the brat slices.
  • When brats are halfway braised, add the bacon and cook lightly. Do not over cook the bacon so that it is crispy, we want the bacon flimsy. If you used a cast iron pan, transfer cooked brat slices and bacon sliced into a saucepan.
  • Add celery and onion and cook slightly. Stir while cooking.
  • Add the water and garlic powder and bring to a boil. You can add the yams at this time if you want, but I recommend adding them a little later since they are pre-cooked.
  • Once boiling, turn down to a simmer with a top on the pan but slightly cracked.
  • After 10 minutes, add the pre-cooked yam cubes or squash, along with a dash of black pepper, and add the wine (wine is optional).
  • Simmer for the remaning time, checking on it frequently. If it looks like it needs more water, add just a 1/2 cup at a time.
  • Allow to cool to your liking, serve over mashed potatoes, pasta, or Ramen noodles.


brat and bacon stew
The calories are per serving, which is about 1 1/2 cups; this is an estimate and depends on the type of brats and bacon you choose to use. 
This dish is amazing with Ramen noodles and a side of spinach. Add some fresh tomatoes to give it some color, or a nice piece of garlic toast! 

Check out my other simple and delicious recipes that your family will love. All are gluten-free and dairy-free!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Simple Game Day Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

Fried Walleye Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread Recipe

Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread Recipe

Avocado got your taste buds? There are many things you can do with this amazing fruit. Due to my IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) I have had to simplify my diet. So, when I make a meal I keep things as simple as possible. With avocados, I usually just put a shake of salt on them and add them to my meal, but lately, I’ve been more adventurous and have been making guacamole and now pesto!

avocado pesto

This is actually my new favorite find. With normal pesto, there are ingredients in there that are hard for me to digest, like dairy, nuts, and various spices. Yet, my recipe only has six ingredients without dairy or nuts. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference. And it’s healthy for you!

Jump to Recipe

First off what’s so good about avocado?

Avocado is easy to digest, so if you have IBD, colitis, or Crohn’s disease, avocado is your friend. It’s a great source of potassium (more than a banana), folate, magnesium, B Vitamins which include: B2, B3, B5, B6, and it has Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.  This fruit also is a great source of healthy fat. The fat avocados have isn’t going to make you fat, so don’t be afraid to eat it. They have monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; these are good fats.

They also are high in fiber which is also good for us IBD people. Many fiber foods are extremely taxing on our intestinal tracks.

Overall avocados help people get healthier! They help your eyes, assist in weight loss, help make you feel satisfied, ease arthritis symptoms, prevent cancer, and help your body absorb nutrients…which is hard for people with Crohn’s or colitis.

avocado benefits

How to eat them

If there is one thing that turns my son off about avocados it’s how slimy they are. Yeah, it’s kind of gross. This is where we can be creative. Avocados are great in smoothies if you’re a smoothie person. Yet, guacamole is probably the most popular way to eat them, especially around Super Bowl and Cinco de Mayo. However, avocado pesto is on the rise. Move over guac, here comes the pesto!

Does a Body Good Printable

Non-inflammatory dream

Why not make a sauce that is super good for you? Combine all these awesome benefits of avocado and mix them with garlic, basil, lemon, olive oil, and salt. That’s all there is, people. Six ingredients to play with and to make it your own.

Hold up there friends. This isn’t just for gluten-free or keto pasta, you can use it as a sandwich spread! The longer you blend this recipe the more creamer it will get. Oh my goodness, it’s such a great substitute for mayo or ‘dressing’ as some people say. Heck, you could probably add more oil and make it a salad dressing! Endless ideas with avocado.


Avocado Pesto Sauce & Spread

Nut-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free Avocado Pesto Sauce is my new favorite find. Only 6 fresh ingredients! Easy to make, tastes amazing, and shines in every dish. Healthy for you too!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword avocado, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, pesto, soy-free
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 150kcal
Cost $5


  • Food Processor


  • 1.5 fruit avocado chopped
  • 2 pinch salt
  • 2 cloves garlic Large cloves. If you like a lot of garlic add more or less if you don't.
  • 4 leaves basil Large leaves.
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Gather all your ingredients so they're ready to go.
  • Chop your avocado. You want to make sure the avocado is ripe. They should not be rock hard. You want them to have a bit of give. Look for darker skins, not the green skins.
  • Place in the food processor and put your 2 pinches of salt in.
  • Give your galic cloves a rough chop, remove the skin first! Add you lemon juice, chop your basil leaves, and add your olive oil. Put them in the processor.
  • Process all the ingredients. For a chunker pesto, only blend for a short while. For a creamier version blend longer, like I did for this one. All done!
  • Eat it as the main meal or serve as a side…like with a piece of smoked chicken thighs and fresh chopped tomatoes. YUM!


The serving size is about 2-3 tablespoons. The calories are based on serving size. The entire calorie count for the whole recipe is estimated to be 589 calories. 
This recipe will keep for 24 hours. If there are leftovers, store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If the pesto turns brown, discard it. 
Totally makes the sandwich. Enjoy!

Hope you enjoy this amazing recipe. I know your body will love you for it.

Be sure to check out my other simple and delicious recipes that accent this avocado dish!

Simple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Leg Recipe

Better Belly Steak Recipe

Salmon in a Skillet Recipe

Fried Walleye Recipe

Sources: Healthline and Cedars Sinai

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients!

Easy Dairy-Free Nachos with Simple Ingredients!

Nachos no more? If you have to be dairy-free I bet you said goodbye to nachos. I sure did. I also said goodbye to cheese pizza and many other things, but nothing can replace a good plate of nachos. Thanks to some amazing people who feel for us dairy-free folk they have created some amazing dairy-free alternatives.

pulled pork nachos
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Nacho History

But let’s talk nachos. There is nothing like watching a game or coming in from a fun-filled day of summer than popping in a tray of chips and cheese or stacked nachos. Making chips and cheese is one of my fond summer snacks as a kid…when I could eat dairy. The tips of burnt chips with melted cheese and the right amount of taco sauce hit the spot in my taste history.

But where did they come from? According to Wikipedia, nachos were created in 1940 by Ignacio “El Nacho” Anaya. He served up a batch in his restaurant to a few women that wanted a different kind of snack. It was on that day that nachos were born! And yes, the dish is named after its founder.

No more nachos…

After summer fun snacks, I went to college…and the bars. A plate of nachos was to satisfy any bar babe. My friends and I would order up a dish, gobble it down, then…well…it was in college where I learned I was lactose intolerant, whey intolerant too! Needless to say, if I had nachos, you wanted to stay far from me!

Along came parenthood, and I was jonesing for nachos after a day filled with Lego building and football. Because of my intolerances, I completely avoided any dairy-filled product. I ate pizza with no cheese…which isn’t that bad. And nachos was a big no-no. It had been 23 years without this delicious snack. That’s right folks, I was nacho-free for 23 whole years!

Simplify Firefly Etsy

Dairy-free cheese to the rescue!

Thanks to many food manufacturers we now have many dairy-free options. I have tried a lot of them and they all have their perks, but my absolute favorite is the Violife brand. They don’t use pea protein, which can cause a number on people if you know what number I’m talking about.

With this newfound dairy-free cheese I immediately had ‘cheese’ back in my life. I seriously didn’t realize how much I missed it until I had it. Joy reentered my being! Granted I can’t order nachos at a restaurant (because they don’t have the fake cheese), but I can make them at home!

Wrap up before the recipe

My fake-cheese nachos are so delicious you can’t even tell they have dairy-free cheese on them…ask my husband who can eat dairy. We make this favorite dish for main meals at least once a week. On camping trips, this glorified chips and cheese snack makes the menu all the time. It’s SO easy and filling! This recipe checks all my boxes: gluten-free, dairy-free, quick, delicious, easy to make, and little cleanup.

Plus you can build this plate up as much as you want! Add whatever suits your fancy. This is sure to please anyone.

pulled pork nachos

Super Easy + Yummy Nachos

These delicious nachos are a quick solution to meal on the fly. Easy to make, quick clean-up, a people-pleaser.
Course Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword dairy-free, gluten-free, nachos, pork tacos, snacks, tacos
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 502kcal
Cost 2


  • Microwave, Air-Fryer, Oven, or Toaster Oven. Any will work!


  • 2 handfuls Your favorite plain tortillia chip Any tortilla chip works, I persoanlly like restuarant style.
  • 1/2 cup Dairy-free cheddar cheese My favorite brand is Violife.
  • 3 tbsp Taco sauce Again, use your favorite. I like Ortega Original.
  • 3/4 cup Pulled pork We get the premade pulled pork from Costco or Del Real Slow-cooked Pork Carnitas. We have also used left-over pulled pork that we smoked. Do not use the saucy pulled pork.
  • 1/2 cup Avocado Make sure the avocado is ripe but not too ripe. It should have a medium firmness when you lightly touch it.
  • 1/2 cup Tomato chopped Any kind of tomato will do.


  • Warm up the pulled pork in the microwave. If you got store bought follow their instructions on the package. We like Del Real Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas. At the current time, you can get this at Costco. Any NON-SAUCY pulled pork will work.
    pulled pork
  • Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. You can use a microwave or air-fryer too. When I'm in a hurry I just do the microwave.
  • Depending on your cooking tool, spread your chips either on a paper plate (microwave only) or a cookie sheet with foil. I put parchment paper ontop of the foil…it's a bit healthier than on foil.
  • On top of the chips, sprinkle as much cheese as you like. For you dairy eaters, my family prefers the thick cut shredded cheese. For non-dairy I prefer Violife cheddar shreds over other brands.
    Dairy-free Cheese Violife
  • Drizzle the taco sauce over the cheese.
    chips and cheese
  • Spread on as much pulled pork as you would like.
  • Bake or put in the microwave.
    For Baking, keep an eye on it. It's usually done in 5 minutes.
    For microwaving, start out with 45 seconds, then check it, and add another 30-40 seconds for cheese to melt.
  • Chop up the tomoto and avocado, then sprinkle on top!
  • Feel free to add any of your favorite toppings such as peppers, salsa, onions, cilantro. Enjoy!


The calories are a guesstimate. Based on a medium-size paper plate with 1/2 an avocado. Remember avocado may be high in calories, but it is super good for you! Don’t be afraid of it. 

Enjoy your dairy-free nachos! Be sure to look in your specialty grocery for dairy-free cheese. I hope you appreciated this recipe. And, yes, I did make nachos after I wrote this post. So good!

By CT Copyright © 2021 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.
Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky.

Omega Oil Benefits, Why I’m Picky.

Omega oil benefits go far and wide. Or should I say ‘Oh-me-ga’ on the omegas? There is a lot of hype about these fatty acids and it can be overwhelming. Healthy oils for our bodies can be tricky to figure out. Let me make it simple for you with this quick go-to guide that brings an emphasis on omega oil benefits. As an added bonus, I’ll tell you about the best-saturated fat that benefits our bodies! Huh?

To supplement, or not to supplement? You might not need to. There are 3 major oils in the omega family: omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9. All are unique and serve a different purpose. I’m here to simplify the explanation of them all.  

Omega Oil Benefits from Omega-3

First and foremost, Omega-3 cannot be produced in the human body, which means you need to get these from your diet. This fatty acid gets a lot of attention and it should! It’s good for producing good HDL cholesterol, which is good for your heart. This omega can reduce symptoms of depression, help with mental disorders, can prevent and manage autoimmune diseases, and can also help with weight management. Did you hear that? Fat can help you lose weight. Omega-3s are good for your liver and they’re anti-inflammatory. This oil can prevent dementia and improve memory. Not only that, but it betters bone mineral density, and get this, it can help reduce symptoms of asthma. Wow, powerful oil, no wonder it gets so much attention. The two highest sources of Omega-3s are fish oil and flaxseed (vegan) oil.

Some other sources include:

  1.  Atlantic Mackerel: 6,982 milligrams in 1 cup cooked (174 percent DV)
  2. Salmon Fish Oil: 4,767 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (119 percent DV)
  3. Cod Liver Oil: 2.664 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (66 percent DV)
  4. Walnuts: 2,664 milligrams in 1/4 cup (66 percent DV)
  5. Chia Seeds: 2,457 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (61 percent DV)
  6. Herring: 1,885 milligrams in 3 ounces (47 percent DV)
  7. Alaskan Salmon (wild-caught): 1,716 milligrams in 3 ounces (42 percent DV)
  8. Flaxseeds (ground): 1,597 milligrams in 1 tablespoon (39 percent DV)
  9. Albacore Tuna: 1,414 milligrams in 3 ounces (35 percent DV)
  10. White Fish: 1,363 milligrams in 3 ounces (34 percent DV)
  11. Sardines: 1,363 milligrams in 1 can/3.75 ounces (34 percent DV)
  12. Hemp Seeds: 1,000 milligrams  in 1 tablespoon (25 percent DV)
  13. Anchovies: 951 milligrams in 1 can/2 ounces (23 percent DV)
  14. Natto: 428 milligrams in 1/4 cup (10 percent DV)
  15. Egg Yolks: 240 milligrams in 1/2 cup (6 percent DV)

(source: Dr. Axe)

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With the olive oil craze, it is a source of all the omegas. My favorite, hands-down olive oil is California Ranch Olive Oil. It’s 100% olive oil. It has a great taste for salads, dipping…my mouth is watering…and cooking. Click on the picture below for more details.


You don’t hear much about Omega-6, because if you get too much it could backfire. And according to this article, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet should be 4:1, but in the Western diet the ratio is much higher, 10:1 and 50:1! Ouch. They are still essential for producing energy and if taken correctly this fatty acid helps with treating the symptoms of chronic disease like rheumatoid arthritis and breast cancer (in conjunction with another drug). On top of that, it can also reduce body fat, once again, a fat to reduce fat. The top two sources of Omega-6s are Evening Primrose Oil and Safflower oil.

Nitty Gritty on Omega-6

I personally supplement evening primrose oil to help with my hormones. A word of caution, you don’t need to supplement with omega-6. Remember too much could increase inflammation. Keep in mind that other sources of omega-6s are soybeans, corn, and sunflower oils. Note these sources are usually treated with chemicals in the field before processing…which some chemicals leach into our food…hence digestive disorders and disease. If possible, consume organic.


These fatty acids are a bit different. They can be produced by the body. Some studies indicated they could help reduce inflammation and assist with insulin sensitivity. Yes, you shouldn’t have to supplement Omega-9’s because our bodies do a good job of taking care of them. The top three sources include macadamia nut oil, hazelnut oil, and olive oil. Avocado oil is also a source.

Does a Body Good Printable

Now what?

First off, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give it to you in a nutshell. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things.

So what do we do with all this information? Out of all of the Omegas, Omega-3 is the most important. If you eat enough seafood and healthy fats, like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts & seeds, eggs, grass-fed organic beef, and dark chocolate, you should be good to go. I obviously didn’t go into the difference between monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, or saturated fats; if you want more of a ‘science’ explanation there is a great article here.

Bonus! Don’t miss this one.

There is an amazing fatty acid that is 90% saturated fat, but the highest in content of lauric acid, which in a twisted way can help improve the level of lipids traveling through the blood. That means it is likely it will reduce the risk of heart disease! That sounds pretty technical, but I wanted to share this with you because I eat this every day.

What I’m talking about is Coconut Oil. There are so many benefits to coconut oil, you will be blown away, in fact, there are so many benefits it can be a bit overwhelming. To keep it simple I’ll list the top 15 in a minute. But get this, some studies show that it may reduce belly fat and dampen our appetites…hello…more weight loss from fat! Word of CAUTION: too much of a good thing can backfire. Don’t consume more than 2 TBSP a day. If you have too much it can cause diarrhea.

What kind to get?

Coconut oil is a staple in our family. I no longer use butter on my toast, pancakes, or in my baking. Not to mention fish frying. We just had gluten-free fried walleye last night and fried it in coconut oil. And of course, we used our cast iron pans. Seriously, cast iron is a must. It’s the healthiest chemical-free pan, and it’s super easy to clean. The walleye was absolutely amazing!

Keep in mind when cooking with coconut oil you won’t taste the coconut. It’s a clean oil with a high flash point. When buying coconut oil get the Virgin, Unrefined. A little coconut oil can go a long way, just don’t overdo it. Ready for the powerful impact this stuff can do?

Coconut Oil Benefits – Top 15

1. It helps prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

2. It can help treat Alzheimer’s.

3. It BE good for the ole liver.

4. Reduces Inflammation and Arthritis

5. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral! Works well on cuts and skin issues.

6. Improves energy

7. It helps the gut heal by destroying bad bacteria and that nasty Candida (yeast overgrowth).

8. Prevents Osteoporosis by helping to increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium.

9. It’s Anti-aging. Now we’re talkin’!

10. It helps balance hormones naturally. Now we’re really talkin’!

11. Thickens hair and helps with dandruff. It’s a natural hair conditioner.

12. It helps improve sleep when consumed every day.

13. It can help with environmental allergies if you rub the inside of your nose with it.

14. Speeds up the healing of sunburn.

15. It’s an amazing oil to make homemade popcorn with. Just sub coconut oil in place of your other oil. Yum!

Sources: Dr. Axe, Wellness Mama

Where to buy?

We get our coconut oil from Costco because we go through quite a bit. If you don’t have a Costco Membership, no problem! You can get it on Amazon. I highly recommend this product, especially if you use it a lot. If you don’t use a whole lot, get a smaller container at the store.

Buy on Amazon

Coconut Oil Shelf-life

Coconut oil can go bad, here’s an article from David at about what to look for in rancid oil. All in all, keep your diet simple and powerful with clean fresh food. Oil does a body good. Don’t be afraid of it, just choose wisely.

Need a cast iron pan? You can get one on Amazon. And it’s Prime! Click on the picture below to go to Amazon.

Wrapping Omega Oil Benefits Up!

I used to think oil was super bad for you. Back in the 1990’s, there was the low-fat craze and I fell hard on it. Oil was a big NO for me, and that was a mistake. Choose your oil carefully. There are oils that are not good for you like trans-fats, some canola oils, vegetable oil, and even some olive oils that are mixed with other oils. Please read the label and know what you’re getting. You won’t get fat or high cholesterol if you choose wisely.

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By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly, All Rights Reserved.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

How to help your digestive system: 10 triggers to watch for.

If there is one thing in how to help your digestive system it is to figure out what is causing the digestive issues. When it comes to gut cramping and rushing to the bathroom it’s usually a bad burrito and clears up in a few days on its own, but when the bowels howl longer than normal something needs more attention. In my own personal experience with IBD (Intestinal Bowel Disease) over the years and with hours upon hours of research, I’ve found 10 major triggers that can set people off. If I would have known these triggers earlier, I would have healed a lot faster. My hope is that this post will save you a lot of time and frustration. Let’s take a look at what might be triggering your lingering symptoms so you can get on the right intestinal track.

Step 1 in how to help your digestive system

Ever since I started to talk about my own digestive distress, more and more people have opened up to me about theirs. Let’s face it, talking about cramps and diarrhea is not something people want to talk about, but these things DO need to be talked about. A huge part of healing is understanding what’s going on and why. Knowing this, not only gives you peace of mind, but a solid direction to focus on in your healing journey.  Discovering your cause can be a frustrating maze but it could be as simple as asking around and doing some research. You never know what someone is going to say that could be your ticket to healing.

Let me reiterate that when people are silent about their chronic digestive system it is only going to make them worse.  What ends up happening is despair, loss of hope, loneliness, and settling with chronic misery. Self-confidence goes down the drain and limitations in physical activity and social outings go on the wayside. You do not deserve to live like this!

Listen up, this is super important

Another thing about “ignoring’ this issue is that if left untreated, it will lead to other misery down the road; for instance, vitamin absorption problems, depression, stress, hair thinning, and more. I’ve been there, done that, with tears and frustration and a sink full of hair. There is nothing worse than not understanding what is going on and if you’ll ever get better! So please, listen up to how to help your digestive system if you want to get better.

I HIGHLY recommend reading the “Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to identify and heal for good” book. I wish I had this information when I was having problems. This book would have saved me LOADS of time and frustration. Download, read, and heal. It’s a quick read packed with answers that will help you.

Encouragement Coaching Moment

First off, you will get better. If you want it bad enough, you will go into remission and will live a life of no more cramping, no more rushing to the bathroom, and no more uncertainty. The work it takes to heal is totally worth it. It is possible to manage this thing without having to take any pharmaceuticals! The body will heal if you help it.

Your healing journey begins with this

My journey has been quite a road. I am not a doctor or gastroenterologist, but I have experienced firsthand what it’s like to carry colitis and all that goes with it. With an un-relentless drive to figure it out, I’ve tried many different treatments and have spent hours and hours researching (probably too much time) in getting to the bottom of my imbalance. After all, when something isn’t right, things aren’t aligned. So this bullcrap all starts with what threw you off in the first place.

How to help your digestive system starts with questions.

Ask yourself the following questions and maybe even jot down your answers on a piece of paper. I have kept a “digestive journey” journal where I write down my flares, what might have happened before it, and what I tried to manage it. Answer these questions to help you figure your digestive issues out.

Was I recently sick? Stomach bug? Food poisoning? Bacteria infection?

What are my hormones doing?

Did I eat something funny? Eat too much of something? Eat the same thing every day?

Have I been taking NSAIDs (ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc) on a regular basis?

Has my gallbladder been acting up? Do I still have my gallbladder?

What is my stress level been these days?

What exactly am I eating everyday?

Is my back out of whack?

Answering these questions might help you get on the right track from the get-go. It’s important to go over these things with your doctor or functional doctor before diving into a treatment plan.

A closer look at digestive triggers

Let’s take a closer look at what could be the cause of your cramps, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools, and stinky gas. When you have a flare, it is usually caused by a trigger. For instance, when I get a flare I can usually figure out what brought it on. Most of the time it was something I ate. But other times it’s been hormones, stress, or even a change in weather or time zones. The body is so amazing when it comes to healing; it wants to be aligned and working as it should. When it’s not, it tells you through pain or digestive distress. Let’s look at a few things that could be causing the alarms to go off.

Again, I’m not a doctor, nor am I trying to be. I share the information I have either experienced myself or am extremely interested in, and then I keep things simple and give you the nutshell version. This post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult your physician before jumping into new things. This post is for information purposes only and to help you figure out what you might have going on.


What is IBS anyway? IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is simply an angry bowel. For instance, when I was a runner I would occasionally get really bad “poop cramps”, this is what IBS is, cramps out of the blue followed by urgency. With my story, the doctors first diagnosed me with IBS, since I knew what IBS was, I had a hard time respecting their diagnoses. Come to find out what I learned through the years is that if doctors can’t diagnose your digestive problem, they’ll usually say it’s IBS. When I went back to the doctor’s office I asked for a colonoscopy which gave us the real answer. So stick with your gut when you go to the doctor and ask a lot of questions; if they say it’s IBS, ask them why they think so.

Food sensitivities: dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, grains, white sugar, fructose.

Food sensitivities are HUGE triggers that lead to digestive system issues. The number one ‘problem food’ is dairy. So many people have issues with dairy; in fact, I heard everyone is a little sensitive to dairy. Lactose intolerant or sensitivity to whey or casein (a protein found in milk) are a few roadblocks to dairy digestion.

The second big one is gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat. People who have Celiac disease cannot have any gluten. Most people with digestive issues steer clear of gluten as well. This bugger is hard to digest and wreaks havoc on your innards. Talk about inflammation! It’s just not worth it folks.

Other popular food sensitivities and allergies are nuts, eggs, soy, white sugar, nightshades, and fructose.

How do you know if you have a food sensitivity?

Pay attention to how you feel after you consume it. Do you have a headache? Is your skin itchy or throat? Heartburn? Do you have gas cramps within an hour of eating? Dizzy? How about your nose, is it runny? What about severe congestion? Are you rushing to the bathroom?

Hormones: can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

This is a tough one to figure out. Hormones play a factor in digestion? Women get a chance to pay close attention to our system every month (if we’re still menstruating). Both progesterone and prostaglandins can mess with your bowels. Even though prostaglandins focus on your uterus, they can also affect the colon that is nearby. Plus our friend, Progesterone, can pilot our trip to the bathroom more often.

On the flip side, when estrogen declines, cortisol rises, which can slow the digestion process down and cause constipation…a.k.a. too little progesterone. Without the proper balance of estrogen and progesterone, your bowels get a bit confused.


Who knew that a kink in your back could cause issues in digestion and elimination. The vertebrae in your spine are connected to nerves that send signals to the digestive system which includes the stomach and intestines. When the vertebrae are off or twisted this can affect those nerves and give you symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, and bladder issues. Before you head to the chiro, talk to your doctor or physical therapist.

A bug

There are some pesky bugs out there. Bacterial infections, viruses, and parasites, all of these cause inflammation. And when inflammation is present and not calmed down, irritation of the intestinal lining is sure to happen. E-coli, Guardia, Norovirus, and the stomach bug are the main culprits of diarrhea, not to mention vomiting. Yes, even though these are short-lived 1-7 days on average, they can mess up your gut flora and cause silent inflammation in your digestive tract. 

gluten-free granola bars

How to help your digestive system? Reduce stress

Constant stress on the body and mind can be a doozy for your digestion. It can throw your whole system off! From muscle tightness, knots in your gut, to indigestion, stress can physically hurt you. One thing you can do right now in answering the question of how to help your digestive system is to learn some stress-relieving techniques.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like acetaminophen and ibuprofen if taken on a regular basis can actually cause inflammation in your intestines. Yep. Too much of a good thing can backfire. This is true for anything, even food! When inflammation is present, cramps and diarrhea are sure to show up.

Lack of probiotics and digestive enzymes

Sometimes our bodies need a little help getting back on track. Probiotics and/or digestive enzymes are here to save the day. Getting the right bugs in your gut makes a big difference in your digestive health; a game-changer for most folks. The hard part is figuring out what probiotics or digestive enzymes you’re lacking. This is especially important if you’ve been on a regimen of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill everything in your gut, so it’s important to get your gut back up and running as it should. Incorporating probiotics after your antibiotic treatment will help you bounce back a little quicker.

Probiotics may need to be taken every day depending on your condition. The added bonus is they also help your immune system and even skin.

If you have heartburn or stomach acid issues please read my post about stomach acid, it goes more in-depth about digestive enzymes and food combining, you will get a digestive enzyme chart as well!

Bile acid

This sounds kind of gross but excess bile acid from your digestive system can cause diarrhea. Bile acid diarrhea (BAD) or bile acid malabsorption (BAM) is what can cause that urgency, watery, and bloating feeling. Bile acids are produced by your good ole liver and stored in your gallbladder. Their job is to help break down fats to put it simply. For people who have had their gallbladder removed, you may experience a bit of diarrhea…at least now you know why. However, sometimes the body can get confused and cause large amounts of bile acids to exit into the large intestine, hence, diarrhea. Normally there is very little bile acid in the large intestine. I highly recommend you continue to investigate this; check out for starters.  


Where do we start with yeast? Is it good or bad? Well, if you get too much of it, it can trigger diarrhea. Along with yeast-associated diarrhea, you may see other signs of too much yeast by looking at your tongue. If it has a white coat on it, you probably have more yeast than you need. You could also have sinus infections, fatigue, and skin fungal issues. The medical term for an overabundance of yeast is Candida. Check out Dr. Axe about Candida.

In conclusion: how to help your digestive system

WHEW! That was a lot to take in. But how to help your digestive system is no joke. From my personal experience, I wish I had this post in my hands when it all started in me. Again, I can’t tell you how many hours I researched diarrhea. I’ve probably clocked as many hours as a gastroenterologist. Anyway, healing is possible, but you must want it to happen. And if you really want it bad enough, you’ll be able to manage it without drugs and their nasty side effects. You got this. Healing takes time so keep moving forward. To help you get started in healing your gut I wrote this mini book: Triggers and What to do for IBD: How to Identify and Heal for Good. It only takes a few minutes to read, but could contain your path to healing! Download it today and start reading!

Please note: talk to your doctor or find a functional doctor before you jump into anything new. If you want to go the natural way without prescriptions, I’ve had success with a functional doctor.

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By CT Copyright © 2022 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved
How to Simplify Meal Planning! + My Secret Weapon

How to Simplify Meal Planning! + My Secret Weapon

When it comes to meal planning it can either be super fun or a drag. Cooking and I have a love/hate relationship. There are days when it is soothing to my soul, and other days it’s like a ton of bricks on my shoulders. For those hard days, it would be easy for me to tell you to look at it with a fresh perspective; like a form of entertainment or a ‘serenity scene’. There are times when kitchen-time will do that for me, but let’s face it, just figuring out what to eat has been a chore. Today I have a simple yet powerful solution for you when you have to answer the question “What’s for dinner?”. It’s my secret weapon to reduce stress for everyone under the roof!

Do you have a plan when your family asks What's for Dinner?

What’s for dinner?

During my morning coffee time with my husband, I noticed when we ask each other what we want for dinner I start sweating. How could three little words stress me out? What’s for dinner?  

Starting the day out with these words was not doing me any favors. The problem? I didn’t know how to answer the question. Foods would start swirling in my mind with questions like What does Mark like? What can Dave eat? What is easy? What is healthy? Should we go out? But where? When can we all eat together? Hence, the sweat.

There are times in life when it’s actually nice to have someone tell you what you’re having for dinner instead of giving you a choice. Have you ever looked at all the different kinds of jelly and jam at the grocery store? There are a TON of them. How did we get to this point of too many choices? For me when there are too many choices, my friend, Mr. Overwhelm, comes to visits. He tornados through the shelves blurring my vision and confusing the heck out of me. I’ve had times I even walked away because there were simply too many choices.

So when someone asks me “What’s for dinner?” and I can’t answer that, it usually results in me thinking about it ALL DAY LONG. This can be a major distraction and a nuisance. If only I put more thought into meal planning!

How to answer the question

My fix to this madness is to have a piece of paper tell me what’s for dinner. Yep, a simple piece of paper. If you really wanted to get creative, you could origami a paper puppet and have it talk to you. Okay, that’s a little crazy, but your kids might like it!

When I have a plan in place, my stress level drops tremendously and I can move forward with my day. There are a couple of ways we can go about this. We can either look up meal plans online or we can create our own. Either way works. But to make life simple, just use my monthly guide and fill in the blanks. You can find my guide in Freebies. Some meal planners online can be overly complicated and have ingredients or items that are unrealistic.

Meal planning made simple, we’re not going to die

For my family, simply writing out the source of protein and one side dish does the trick. With that said, every Sunday I grab my piece of paper and write out the week’s meal plan, and if it’s like last week, so be it. No one is going to die.

When I plan I only plan dinner; breakfast and lunch are ‘whatever meals’ in my head. As long as I have healthy choices for the kiddos, I’m good. In fact, I gave my son a guide for making his own lunch. His lunch needs to include a source of protein, a veggie, and some fruit…then he picks what he eats! Our kids have to learn how to meal plan and prep too!

As I said earlier, for dinner, I only pick a protein and maybe a side dish, then I fill in the gaps with what I have laying around. For instance, tonight, we’re having brats and green beans. I’ll probably fill in the gaps with either noodles or plain potato chips. Tomorrow we’re having salmon and baked potatoes, and I’ll probably throw in blueberries. The next day it’s grilled chicken and roasted butternut squash, and I’ll probably add some strawberries. Simple, easy, and good for our bodies.

Grocery shopping made super simple

To save time and cravings at the grocery store, don’t go to the store. That’s right, now a day, there are people who will grocery shop for you! This is an incredible service, especially if you hate grocery shopping or you just can’t get to the store for other reasons.

My preferred service is Shipt. Not only am I a Shipt shopper…because I do love grocery shopping…but I know the quality Shipt delivers. Most of these shoppers take it seriously because Shipt takes care of the shoppers. Sure you’ll run into a few incompetent eggs, but most shoppers do their best. We want to help people and earn a few extra dollars. With that said, tipping is always appreciated.

But I have food sensitivities

My family is a bit unique. Remember the jelly and jams in the grocery store? Well, our specific diets went from being able to have many choices, to just a handful. Actually preparing meals, where we could eat anything, was a heck of a lot more stressful than being able to eat just a few things… the bright side to food allergies and sensitivities.

My son and I have limited menus due to inflammation in our bodies. Sure, we could continue to eat everything we wanted, but we would pay a huge price for it. It’s been my choice to reduce the inflammation in our bodies as much as I can by making a few changes in my diet. And it has been very effective and I don’t feel deprived!

My son and I can’t eat dairy or gluten (wheat, rye, barley). He also can’t have nuts. But I can. I can’t do eggs or soy, but he can. It gets really confusing. We both have gone through tests and we also went through food elimination to help us determine what we could eat and what would backfire. We want our bodies to heal, in order to do that we must eliminate the bully. So when it comes to meal planning, it actually becomes a little easier after you figure out what is causing issues! Yes, I said easier. How? There are fewer choices.

does a body good

But what if you don’t have a special diet to follow?

If you want to be healthy, stop weight gain, and put an end to cravings, eat like you meant it. Food is meant to fuel our bodies. Having food taste good is a bonus. When we cut back on processed and sugary foods, our bodies will be given a chance to heal and be happy.

As our body adjusts to a cleaner menu, our cravings will change from wanting junk to wanting pure food. You might be like, “Shut up Christy! I’m not doing that!” Friend, that’s the junk food talking, not you. Bad mood foods? Yes, they exist. Trans fats disrupt the balance of our omega-3 fatty acids, and when our omegas are low, it can lead to a bad mood. Not only that, but blood sugar can play a role in mood swings as well. When our nutrition is off, so is our frame of mind. I didn’t even talk about hormones and foods.

You might save a few bucks too by eating a simpler menu. Fewer doctor visits, simpler food. Cha-ching!

Meal planning in a nutshell

Circling back to taking the stress out of meal planning; simply use a pencil and my meal planner to extinguish the “What’s for dinner?” question. It’s okay if you have the same menu plan for a couple of weeks. We just need to feed our family wholesome foods.   

Post your planner on the refrigerator or a kitchen cupboard so everyone can see what the main meal will be for the night. Heck, you can even use a paper talking puppet to tell your little ones what’s for dinner. Download the Meal Planner in Freebies. Bon appétit!

By CT Copyright © 2020 Simplify Firefly. All Rights Reserved.    

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