Author Archives: gracewithouttears

A Stroll Through the Garden

The Garden.  It’s one of my favorite places to be.  Watching life grow, celebrating in the small changes each day brings great joy to my soul.

The quality of home grown food cannot be matched by what is available in the stores.  Knowing that nothing has been sprayed on my plants makes me feel happy and healthy.

Picking food from the garden and then bringing it straight into the house to prepare it for a meal is just loads of fun!  Home grown food tastes so much better than what is bought in the stores.

I remember a story from when my children were little.  We were eating lettuce from one of our first gardens that they could remember.  One of them said, “This lettuce tastes like dirt!”  It was actually true.  The lettuce had an earthy taste to it, and we all had to get used to it.

Now, we expect the lettuce to have a taste.  If it doesn’t, then it just serves to add crunch to a meal.  Garden lettuce actually tastes like something, and we’ve grown to love that taste.

Learning how to preserve the food in the most natural way is another step in the gardening process.  Being able to eat garden grown food all through the year is a goal that we are still striving to reach!

Sharing the garden with small pests is inevitable.  Imperfections are simply an indication that things were not commercially grown, and nothing arrives with a little sticker on it!!

The burst of color and textures make food look delicious.  The rich color of garden grown food adds variety and interest to the dinner plate.

Nature’s candy grows freely here.  It’s the only candy I’m eating now!

God is good.  Life is good.  Our garden is good.  Maybe we can share a garden meal one day?  It would be my joy to eat with you!

BLE Day 53

Another day of happy food, happy eating, happy feeling!  So much of this has become automatic now, and the habits are being cemented into this new lifestyle.  I had some thoughts this morning and shared them in the BLE unofficial support group on Facebook.


It really is a LIFESTYLE.  It’s not a passing whim, or a “diet” that you do till you reach your goals.  It’s just how you live, how you eat, how you relate to food.

I don’t think I’ve actually ever really laid out what the “bright lines” are in Bright Line Eating.  Here they are:

#1 No Sugar…of any kind…at all…ever!

#2 No Flour…it hits your body just like sugar does and creates an addiction to food that is very difficult to control.

#3 Three meals a day.  Period.  No eating between meals.  No snacks.  No bites, licks, or tastes while cooking.

#4  Quantities. Eat your foods in specific and measured quantities. 

These are the FOUR bright lines and there is a whole multitude of people following this way of life all around the world.  The Facebook group affords amazing support.  You can join it here.

Then there is Instagram.  If you search for anything along the lines of bright line, BLE, etc., you will find people that are posting about their meals and you can get tons of ideas!  I’ve opened a new IG account just for bright line eating (@bright.line.kristy).  Feel free to follow my journey there too!

I really enjoy posting on this blog, so I will continue to post the most details here.  Let’s talk about today!  I’ve been doing this for 53 whole days now!  That is a lot of days in a row and I have stuck to the plan almost 100%!!  I am proud of my progress and I can’t wait to see where it will take me.  Here was the start of my week.  I always look forward to doing all the little prep work for my week in my planner!!

Breakfast is my favorite meal.  It always looks so pretty to eat and it always tastes delicious.  There is something to be said about no snacking and not eating between meals because when breakfast comes in the morning, you’re HUNGRY!!  And eating food while hungry ALWAYS makes it taste better!!

Lunch today was on the run!  I was in my car, driving home from taking a dog to the vet (in a far away town), and I hadn’t packed a lunch.  I stopped at Safeway and bought foods from my categories.  For protein I had hummus, vegetables were carrots and cherry tomatoes, fat was the cheese stick, and my fruit was cherries.  I did not measure but just did my best to guesstimate how much I needed to eat.

One interesting thing that happened was that when I was leaving Safeway, I saw this row of trees that I used to park under and eat junk food in the shade.  I can’t tell you how many times, when I lived near this Safeway, I bought snacks foods and then parked in the shade and ate them in my car.  Sometimes I did this with my children in the car, and sometimes I did it alone.  It was really strange to see that space, remember my old habits, and know that I will not repeat that ever again!  Success and victory are around every corner!

After getting home, I took a stroll through my garden (that will be the next blog post) and picked an onion, some peppers, tomatoes, and kale.  My guys called and asked if there was supper planned, so I got to work making food that we could all enjoy.  I decided we’d have fajitas!

These are the Soy Curls.  They are so quick and easy to make and can be seasoned any way you’d like.  I used my McKay’s children style seasoning again, onion powder, garlic powder, and a garlic/herb powder that I got from Costco.

I sautéed a garden onion and bell pepper so we could build fajitas with all the veggies and the Soy Curls.

This bouquet of kale was waiting for me to use in the green salad.  I learned to store leafy greens in a vase of water.  They stay fresh and can be stored in the fridge, or we just leave them on the counter.  This was picked a couple days ago and it looks perfect still in the water!

The guys used a flour tortilla to make their fajitas, but I just ate everything on my plate.  Delicious!!

This week I will be doing my measurements again.  I can’t wait to see if there are any changes.  I’m sure there must be because my clothes are starting to feel loose!

I did my core exercises this morning, so it was great to already have those check marks in place.  Everything is getting so much easier to do and I’m more than half way to my goal of 50 push ups by my birthday!!

And that’s a wrap!!

BLE Day 52

I have a plan today!  It already needs to be adjusted thought because I forgot we are going to the air show and I’ll have to pack a lunch.  It should be a fairly easy adjustment. 

Today was a milestone!  This is the last pack of original Quaker Oatmeal. 

These have been floating around our home for a LONG time because nobody would eat them…

But now they are a staple on my menu plan and I will need to buy some more!

Breakfast this morning not only tasted good but it looked good too. I’m trying to get better at making my food look as delicious as it tastes. 

Lunch ended up being late and we had to hike back to the car to eat it. They didn’t allow any food into the Air Force base today and we got busy watching the air show. 

We ate so fast I didn’t snap a picture. I had too much protein at lunch but other than that, everything stayed on track. 

For supper, I was starving again and could barely wait to eat. I fixed up some quick fried cauliflower rice and rounded out the meal with produce from our garden. I didn’t measure anything truly because I was too lazy and starving and I didn’t want to wait.  Those are bad reasons, but the truth. 

I took the peas out of the shells and ate them raw. So sweet and good!!

I also had some mixed nuts that I ate while I was making the rest of the meal.  I know this is not a good habit to get into.  

Looking forward to a new week and seeing where the BLE journey will take me!  

Another successful week with Bright Line Eating. Things weren’t perfect but progress was made and that is always my goal!

That’s a wrap!!

BLE Day 51

…and we begin…with no plan again. My meals really suffer and look very elementary when I’m throwing them together at the last minute. 

Breakfast – this was good and visually looked good as well. Breakfast is the easiest meal though. 

Lunch – basic food. Lazy day. 

Supper – this did not look very good and while it tasted OK, I hate to have to even show a picture because this food does not look like something I would want to serve other people. I can do better than this if I plan ahead. 

Oh! I forgot the garden grown tomatoes. Had these been on my plate, it would have looked like a more inviting meal. 

And that’s a wrap!

Prompting Change

When the snowball gets rolling, it just keeps gaining speed and momentum.  With the money situation in order (we became debt free in September 2016 and I meant to blog all about it, but it just didn’t happen.  Super exciting though!!), and the eating situation in order, I’ve moved into organization mode because I have the energy to do it now, and I’m getting a taste of how great it feels to cut out what is not needed in life and finally simplify.

I’m sure you’re heard of Kon Marie, the Japanese woman that wrote the book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and maybe you’ve even started sorting through your clothing, only keeping those things that bring “joy” into your life.  For those new to KM, her system is different than all others because she has you clean and purge according to category instead of room by room.  This approach allows you to really see what you own, really evaluate what you NEED, and really get in touch with what you truly LOVE and what brings you real JOY to own.

After our basement flooded last spring, I’ve been sort of forced to go through ignored boxes of things that haven’t been unpacked since we moved in 2007 to WA state.  My family has urged me to just throw the boxes away since we haven’t opened them in 10 years, but I can’t bring myself to do that because I know of a few key items that I LOVE, and I want to find them.  In going through the boxes, I’m finding all kinds of things and sorting them into categories.

Now with each category, I’m deciding what to keep and what to donate or toss.  It has been a VERY eye opening process.  I first gathered all of the Erin Condren brand items that I’ve collected over the past few years.


I did not realize how much I had until I FINALLY put it all together in one place.  This covers most of my living room floor! Much of this was actually free to me since I run a blog for my planner ( and I’ve received many referral credits for introducing others to the Erin Condren brand.  But it’s still an indication of allowing an area of my life to be totally out of control.

Next I gathered sticky notes.

Now that I’m a teacher, I am confident that I will actually use ALL of these in a couple of years.  I go through them very quickly in my classroom, so I’ve packed these all up in a tote and I’ll just grab them when I need them as the year/s pass.

They’re even pretty in storage!

Today I grabbed all the note pads that I had collected from various areas of the house.  This one made me stop and consider WHY I had this many notepads and office supplies in general.

I’ve always loved office supplies.  I had a stationery collection and a sticker collection that were sacred to me when I was a little girl.  I still have a stationery collection and sticker collection that I plan to use (and do use), but I want to focus on these list pads right now.

Why would I buy THIS MANY lists?  What in the world was I thinking?  Some of these are duplicates with multiples of exactly the same pad.  I’ve concluded that having this many list pads gives a false sense that everything is in control when in reality things are just the opposite.   Owning all the tools for order doesn’t result in order, and sometimes it can just cause more chaos.  It’s a dream, an imagination, this idea of being organized, and making a list is the way to get that started.  But wanting a dream and making changes to move toward a goal are two COMPLETELY DIFFERENT things.

Changing my eating habits has given me a much clearer mind and I’m learning so much about myself.  I evaluate everything I purchase now and I’m able to make clear distinctions about what I need versus the things I simply want.  I won’t be buying things that give me a wishful reality because my mind doesn’t need them, my body doesn’t need them, and the space in my home doesn’t need them.

The question now is, what am I going to do with all these pads?!!

BLE Day 50

Today marks 50 days of Bright Line Eating, 50 days of new habits, 50 days of my new way of living and eating. I also have 111 days till my 50th bday.

It was a great weight loss week with the scale going down by 2.4 lbs. I think that is my largest weekly loss since the first week of Bright Line Eating. 

At this rate, I should be really close to goal weight by my birthday and that will be the very best present I have ever given myself. 

I took some progress photos today but I don’t really think anyone wants to see a 49 year old half naked body. Maybe when I’m on the other side of this journey, I’ll have enough courage to post them!!

Today had two shiny bright meals and one not so much. I also had no real pre plans—AGAIN!!

Breakfast was really yummy and I want to do it again soon!

Lunch was a quick throw together type lunch and I expect many of my lunches to be this way during the school year. 

I was starving when I ate it and did not want to wait for something to cook!

Supper did not get a picture. I was away from home and there wasn’t much food for me to choose from that wasn’t NMF. I had fruit for a 3rd time tonight!  And some rice crackers plus what is listed in my food journal. I don’t feel real guilty. I did my best and I’ll be back on track again tomorrow. 

Day 50 is a wrap!

BLE Day 49

Very bright lines today!

Oh, but no pre-planning. 

Breakfast was status quo, my go-to breakfast that is always delicious!

Lunch was a nice surprise because my hubby came home unexpectedly and we were able to eat together. The green beans are from the garden!

We went out there and picked food today. I need to take more pictures because there is a ton of food ready to harvest!  I snapped a quickie of the ripe tomatoes. 

We picked and picked and the only available place to hold everything was my shirt. I was ready to give birth!!

It was an easy labor and delivery!

Everything in a more organized manner!!

I’ve already blanched and frozen the zucchini. Excited to learn how to do this!


I froze it on my cookie sheets with the silpat mat. This allows me to pull it off the sheet really easily. 

Bagged and ready to use!!

This evening I found myself wanting goodies and sweets. I realized I was hungry and I better get to work on putting together a quick supper. 

Radishes and peas were from the garden for this meal!

Day 49, that’s a wrap. I have a count down in my planner. There are 112 days until my 50th birthday. Hoping to be very close to goal weight by that time!

For the first time since May 1st, I forgot to do my core exercises. This means I won’t get Saturday off. 

BLE Day 48

After yesterday’s food, I really enjoyed my food today!  I haven’t been doing my pre-planning which makes the days way more difficult.  I did know that I was going to eat the potato salad my friend made and took to the picnic on Sabbath.  I wasn’t able to eat it then because we didn’t share breakfast (the only meal I can do potatoes right now), so I asked her for some that I could take home.  So I knew I would be eating at least that for breakfast!!

I stayed pretty close to my usual breakfast, only substituting the potato for my usual cold or hot cereal.

For lunch I got really excited because I pulled out my Planet Box Launch and used it to practice for when school starts in a few weeks.  Since I’m an elementary school teacher, I have to pack a “sack” lunch every day, and this year I want to use my Planet Box to carry my lunches!  This beautifully held all my food and it was fun to eat it out of all of the little compartments!

The sunflower decorative magnets just make me happy when I see them!  I also have the Planet Box Rover with 5 compartments and there will be some days that I use that one as well.  These both have a regular lunch bag carrier that they fit into perfectly and there are a few accessories for dips, heating food in the microwave, etc.

Supper turned out to be a GREEN meal!!  I didn’t mean for that to happen, but after my food was all on my plate I realized there was no pop of color in my food!  I didn’t let it bother me.  I was really hungry by the time I ate supper and spiralized zucchini with marinara and parmesan is always super yummy!!  I wasn’t sure how to count the edamame beans or the parmesan cheese so I just used 1 ounce of each and called it a meal.  After investigating, I discovered that I had done it correctly and stayed within the lines!

I’ve been thinking that the angle of taking the picture of food from the top down isn’t the most attractive way to photograph food.  So I tried a different angle with this meal.  I don’t aspire to be a food blogger.  Honestly, when I hit my goal weight, I’ll probably stop blogging about food altogether.  But my hope has been that if people can really watch someone’s BLE journey, see the good, the bad, the mistakes, the successes, the yummy food, the icky food, and realize that all of these things make up the journey, and each day is not going to be perfect, and some days are going to be perfect, not every meal will be super yummy, yet a lot of meals WILL be super yummy…if I can show this through my blog, I’ll feel like it was worth my time and hopefully helpful to someone!

I hope people are enjoying this journey!  Day 48, that’s a wrap!

BLE Day 47

This was definitely NOT an exciting food day.  I tried some things that I don’t think really worked, and if I had to eat this way every day, I may abandon the whole BLE idea!  But I think this is a good lesson in life.  Some days are better than others and sometimes you just have to get through the day.  For me, I just got through the meals today!

When I got started with BLE I bought a bunch of different plain yogurts to see which ones I liked best.  I’d heard a lot of buzz about Greek yogurt so that was one that I had purchased.  The first time I ate Greek yogurt, I don’t think I was able to finish it.  After being used to yogurts with sugar, Greek yogurt was just – yuck!!  But I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to make it more palatable.

In the quest for eating more whole foods I’ve been finding things in my freezer that have been ignored in the past.  One of those things was some raspberries from our garden.  After thawing out a ziplock of raspberries, I ended up with this sort of puree, though I don’t think it had been blended before it was frozen.  I decided to mix some blueberries with it and got this…

This is what the raspberries looked like in a jar.  It was pretty “soupy” but didn’t taste like any sugar was added.  I also don’t think it was a jam or anything.  The truth is, I don’t remember when it was frozen but I wanted to see if there was a way that I could use it to make the Greek yogurt taste a lot better!

This is the Greek yogurt that I could barely get down.

I took 6 ounces of the berry combination (which was mostly the raspberries) and mixed it with the whole container of yogurt which was I believe was also 6 ounces.

Um, I think it looked better before it was mixed.

I covered it with plastic wrap and popped it into the fridge to cool overnight.  The next morning came and here was my pre-planned food day!

For breakfast I grabbed my yogurt mix, which did look better the next morning and used my Shredded Wheat as a sort of topping on it.

I call these little wheat “bales” because they remind me of bales of straw.  Surprisingly, they don’t taste as blah as what I imagine straw would taste like, but that is probably due to the fact that my dad always ate this while i was growing up, so I learned to like them (but with honey).  Even so, it is one of my go-to breakfast cereals, so using it as a topping for my yogurt mixture seemed like a good idea.

It wasn’t the most glorious breakfast, but it wasn’t awful.  Just not maybe something I would try again.

And this takes us to lunch, another “recipe” I would not do again!  I sautéed peppers, garlic, onions, and carrots together to create a sort of base for the white beans from a can.

When I put the beans on, it was kinda like, “this needs something else”!!

So I went out to my bucket garden on my porch and grabbed a few sprigs of parsley and lemon leaves.

That made it look a lot better, but the honest truth is I had to muscle my way through this food because it just didn’t taste that great.  I think I used too much garlic, and maybe not enough salt.  I don’t really know.  I just know that I would not do this again.

I was glad for the grapes and tomatoes and cheese because I saved them for last and ended my meal with food that was more enjoyable.

Supper found me tired and unmotivated to do anything creative, so I ate the rest of the beans, which was another 6oz, and then just filled out the meal with raw veggies.  While it was mostly the same foods as lunchtime, I tasted a lot better just boring and raw!!

And that wrapped up my day!

And a note about the food being meh…if I was truly hungry, I would be thrilled with this day of food and eat every drop with no complaints whatsoever!!  I think it’s good to know that there will be times on this BLE journey where the food may not be your favorite. But that’s ok. There is always another day. 

Grilled Veggies and Soy Curls

On Day 43 I ate a dish of grilled veggies for supper. I’ve had some questions about how I prepared them so I wanted to take a minute and share the process.

The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks called “7 Secrets”, by Neva Brackett. I’ve made it many times and mostly we’ve eaten it as a burrito wrap. My family still enjoys it that way, but I just eat it without the flour tortilla and it stands perfectly well on its own.  I don’t know if I can share the exact recipe here in the blog, but this post will give you a good idea of how I prepared the basic recipe.

It was part of my supper meal on Day 43.

I discovered mason jar storage a few days ago so I’ve been putting everything i can into mason jars to see how well things hold up.  I already had these onions cut and in the jar, so it was super quick and easy to grab them and throw them into my recipe.

My zucchinis are almost ready to harvest so I hope this is the last one (these are organic) that I’ll have to buy from Costco.  The yellow summer squash is from the garden at the elementary school and I love knowing that my food is coming straight out of a pesticide free garden!

I chopped the squash into 1/4 inch chunks so I could put them through my Vidalia Chopper.

I love this chopper so much.  It always does a perfect job and it is so FAST and EASY!! I’m all about fast and easy when it comes to cooking!

I’m using the larger blade option for this recipe.

It cuts perfect little squares every single time!

I put both types of squash and my red bell peppers through the chopper.  This sight makes me happy because it was effortless to do.  Cutting these by hand would be too much work and I’d never want to make this recipe.  I bought my Vidalia choppers at Target and through eBay.

The next ingredient is the Soy Curls.  I’ve had some questions about how I prepare these.  I always feel like I need to say that I’m not a gourmet cook.  I never really even liked cooking, though I’m enjoying it much more now with Bright Line Eating.  The Soy Curls come in this little bag.  I bought them at our church’s health food store.  I’m sure a google search would bring up other places where they can be purchased from.

They seem to be nothing but soy and they are hard and crisp in the package.

Since they are hard and crisp, they must first be rehydrated with water.  Then I used a veggie chicken style seasoning and some Brewer’s yeast flakes to season them while they soaked up the water.  You can season them to taste, using whatever type of seasonings you prefer.  They are similar to Tofu with no real taste until you season it.

I let those simmer while I prepped my broccoli.

I love seeing all the colors burst and come to life when the veggies all get stirred together!

The soy curls have been simmering, soaking up the water, and the excess water has evaporated off with the steam.  They are nice and chewy now and soft and “meaty” like!

I added the soy curls to the veggies, including the brothy juice.

I mixed it all together and put it in a large glass pyrex dish that was sprayed lightly with Pam. Any type of low pan works well for putting the veggies under the broiler.  I always set a timer when food is under the broiler.  I’m notorious for walking away and having my food burn under that intense heat.  I’ve learned now to set that timer or just stand there and wait for it to be done.

This recipe is great for using up whatever veggies you have in the fridge.  You can basically put whatever you want into it and it always tastes great!