Cilantro Lime Chicken & Rice – Easy, One-Dish Meal

I like simple.  Especially when it comes to meals for my family.  When meal planning, I tend to look for dishes that won’t require a lot of time taken away from them, and won’t require a lot of clean up afterward.  I want to spend the majority of my time feasting and celebrating around the table with them, so I want a meal that is simple, tasty, and perfect for all ages.  This dish fits that bill perfectly!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice (super easy one-dish meal!) |

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice

3 c. instant brown rice
2 1/4 c. water
¼ c. lime juice
fresh cilantro, chopped
10 chicken tenderloins
lemon pepper & salt

Spread rice in the bottom of a 10″ x 15″ casserole dish.  Add water and lime juice, and gently stir to mix and saturate rice.  Sprinkle cilantro leaves across the rice, and lay chicken on top of the rice and water.  Season, and cover tightly with foil.  Bake in 375° oven for 50 minutes.

This is an E meal for Trim Healthy Mama.

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice |

This is a great dish to serve to your family on a busy night or when you have company over because it leaves plenty of time to just be with your family and friends.  The flavors mix perfectly, and there’s really no need to add anything else to the meal.  However, if you feel like there needs to be something else, a green salad with an Italian dressing or vinaigrette would be yummy!

Cilantro-Lime Chicken & Rice - a super easy, tasty, and beautiful one-dish meal! |

Trim Healthy Mama One Week Meal Plan Without Stevia

I wasn’t quite prepared for the response I received from my post on making Trim Healthy Mama work without stevia!  Apparently, that’s been an issue for quite a few of you.  Going through my first week doing THM without the stevia has been wonderful!  I did end up having some Crossovers I hadn’t planned (not listed on the menu – more on that at the end of the post), but I was still down a pound!  I know many of you have been waiting anxiously for the menu plan I promised, but I needed to make sure I had tested a couple of things before letting you see it.  Plus, it’s been a super busy week (thus, the reason for the Crossovers I hadn’t planned on!).

I’m going to do my best to answer questions I think you might have in the post itself, but if you don’t see your question answered, leave a comment, and I’ll answer you there (or I’ll write another post if I think I need to say more to cover your question!)


To start with, I am using an editable THM planner courtesy of Sheri Graham.  You can get yours HERE for free!  These are VERY handy!  They include 3 meals + 3 snacks.  Now, you may not NEED all your snacks, but you will find that if you plan your entire week WITH snacks, you stay on track A LOT better!

And be sure to keep a hard copy of every menu plan you make!  These will be indispensable to you!  Even if you end up tweaking the plan or going off of it for a meal or two, you will want to have these past copies to help you menu plan in the future!  I keep the current week’s menu in a plastic protector sleeve in my THM notebook.  (yeah, I still haven’t written THAT post.)

So, here’s a quick look at my week of Trim Healthy Mama (no-stevia style)!

*correction – Thursday lunch is a FP if you are using Dreamfields; although, I have seen some documentation that Dreamfields still spikes blood sugar the way regular pasta does.One Week Trim Healthy Mama Menu Plan Without Stevia | RaisingArrows.netI’m going to go day by day for you, so hold on tight…
(Pinterest recipes can be found on my boards HERE, but I have tried to include the original recipe links.  And if the rest of this post is too tedious for you, just screenshot my menu and call it good!  You won’t hurt my feelings.)


Breakfast – Crepes (p220) with turkey sausage patties (S)
notes:  I made the crepes without gluco, xanthan, or sweetener.  You don’t really need any of those.  Do make sure you get your pan coated well.  I purchased the turkey sausage at Aldi.

Snack #1 – 1/2 c. Greek yogurt with 1 tsp All-Fruit jelly stirred in (FP)
notes:  This is an old standby of mine especially during the summer months.  

Lunch – Summer’s Cup Soup (p289) & E bread (E)
notes:  I made this with yellow squash and without the coconut oil.  I used an immersion blender to blend it in the saucepan, but I didn’t blend all the chunkiness out of it.  Because of that, I ended up not wanting the garbanzo beans in it (I’m not a big bean fan anyway, in case you had forgotten 😉 ) I ended up eating this soup with a low carb pita.  Had I only eaten half the pita, this would have been a FP. 

Snack #2Cheese Crisps with Salsa (S)
notes:  Be careful with this one!  Cheese can quickly get out of hand, and truth be told, I ate TOO MUCH of this.  Not sure I’ll do this one again as a snack.

DinnerTaco Bake & Salad (S)
notes:  Ranch is a good option when it comes to pairing a salad with an S meal.  All the Ranch dressings I’ve purchased from Aldi have had 2 or less carbs.  Go light on the cheese and other S type add-ins for your salad because of how much fat is already in the Taco Bake.

Snack #3 – Joseph crackers (p394) & light cheese wedge (FP)
notes:  After a big S meal, a FP is a nice “light” snack.  I buy my Laughing Cow-ish cheese wedges from Aldi.


Breakfast – Trim Healthy Mama Pancakes (p223) with All-Fruit Jelly (E)
notes:  These DO NOT need the stevia.  Throw a smear of jelly on them, a few berries or even actual sugar, honey, or maple syrup if you must.  Remember 1 tsp = 4ish carbs, so don’t overdo it!

Snack #1 – Blue corn chips & pico de gallo (E)
notes:  I’ll be honest, blue corn chips that are on plan (baked) are hard to find.  I did not end up eating this snack.  I did make this pico and paired it with some avocados later in the week for an S snack.

Lunch – Unwich (Romaine lettuce leaf with cream cheese & deli meat rolled up inside) (S)
notes:  I don’t like big lunches most of the time.  I like easy lunches that I can grab and get back to homeschooling.  This one fits that bill.  I learned it from Jimmy Johns where you can order this right off the menu.  Make this a FP by trading the cream cheese (or mayo) for mustard or a light cheese wedge.

Snack #2 – Cucumber slices in cottage cheese (FP)
notes:  You can really dress this up as seen HERE.  It could be an entire meal if you let it.

Dinner – Fajita Nachos (S or E)
notes:  I didn’t actually use this recipe, so I cannot give you a thumbs up or down on this, but I will say that I LOVE me some fajita nachos!  As soon as I am able, I’ll post a recipe for my original version of these, and I’ll let you know how my makeover version turned out.  Basically, you are talking fajita chicken (I like to buy the bagged stuff from Aldi) with green peppers and onions.  These are S if you skip the chips and go full-tilt or E if you use a lighter cheese sauce and use the blue corn chips.

Snack #3 – Popcorn (E)
notes:  You will want to see p84 in Trim Healthy Mama to learn how to have your popcorn.


Breakfast – Hard Boiled Egg & Cottage Cheese (S)
notes:  Boil up a whole slew of eggs and keep them in a carton in the fridge marked “Hard-Boiled” all over the carton – and I mean ALL OVER!  That way no one can blame you when they try to crack one for scrambled eggs the next morning.  However, be aware that once your 4 year old realizes there are hard-boiled eggs, he will not have the discernment to look for the words “Hard-Boiled” on the egg carton before trying to peel an egg for his snack.  This will lead to a mess life lesson. 

Snack #1 – Chocolate Greek Yogurt w/ nuts (p251) (S)
notes:  I was beyond excited to try the whey protein powders from Swansons.  They are the only ones I’ve found not made with Splenda or Stevia, and the calorie count is lower too.  They are made with xylitol, so if you are sensitive to xylitol, be aware.  If you just want to go with unsweetened protein powder, you can safely add a teaspoon of sweet without going over the carb limit.  By the way, without the nuts this is a FP.  

LunchBig Mac Salad (S)
notes:  I REALLY like this salad!  The version I linked to is NOT the one I usually use, but sadly, that recipe disappeared from the web.  This version will need a little tweaking.  Trade the sweet relish for dill, skip the sugar, and use a sugar-free ketchup.  The THM Ketchup found on page 411 is REALLY good and absolutely does NOT need the stevia listed.

Snack #2 – Celery with light cheese wedge (FP)
notes: hmmm…I can’t think of anything to say about this!

Dinner – Turkey meatballs with brown rice (E)
notes:  I buy my turkey meatballs from Aldi (see the reoccurring theme here?).  This is a super simple meal.  Cook your rice and warm your meatballs, toss together with some herbs, salt, and pepper, and enjoy!

Snack #3 – THM Pan Bread (p266) with light cheese wedge (E)
notes:  This is a nice versatile bread – no stevia required.


Breakfast – Oatmeal with Berries & 1 tsp sugar (E)
notes:  You may not need the sweet if your berries are sweet enough.  1 tsp sugar, honey, or maple syrup is approximately 4g carbs.  1/2 cup of uncooked oatmeal is around 20g carbs, so adding in that extra 4 isn’t going to break the carb bank.  But, experiment first and see if you really need it.

Snack #1 – Apple slices with Greek yogurt and cinnamon (E)
notes:  I learned this from my friend Jamie.  You do not need any sweet added to your Greek if you are dipping apple slices in it.  Additionally, consider buying a high quality cinnamon.  We highly recommend THIS CINNAMON.  It is naturally sweet, and a world apart from your run-of-the-mill store bought cinnamon.

Lunch – THM Pan Bread (p 266) with chicken, mustard, and celery + pepper sticks (E)
notes:  If you made Pan Bread the day before, you probably have some left over for a quick lunch.  Use a chicken breast or chicken in a can, mix with mustard and celery and a good dash of salt and pepper.  Slice up some pepper sticks for a side.

Snack #2 – Fajita Chicken with onions and green peppers (FP)
notes:  This can double as a FP meal if you’d rather.  And again, I really like the fajita chicken in the freezer case at Aldi.

Dinner – Roast (in crock pot), broccoli, and Marcy’s Cheesy Rolls (p272) (S)
notes:  Put the roast in the crock pot in the morning when you have a busy day ahead of you.  Broccoli is an easy side, and if you have the time, Marcy’s Cheesy Rolls (p272) are delicious!  I do use gluco in these, so I’m not sure how these would turn out without it.  If you aren’t keen on that, try this recipe – it is uber yummy too! 

Snack #3 – Cheesecake Berry Crunch (p373) (S)
notes:  I could eat this in a house, I could eat this with a mouse, I could eat this here or there, I could eat this anywhere!  This is one of those snacks, I cannot wait to eat!  And you do NOT need the stevia listed in the recipe.  I buy frozen mixed berries from (you guessed it!) Aldi.  I pick out the strawberries and throw them back in the bag, add a few walnuts, a couple of spoonfuls of cream cheese and throw them in my Vitamix.  Give it a whirl, and treat myself to a bowl of bliss!  And now, I’m hungry…

Cheesecake Berry Crunch (Trim Healthy Mama without stevia) |


Breakfast – Spinach & Cheese Omelet (S)
notes:  throw a handful of fresh spinach in your buttered skillet, let it wilt, add your eggs and cheese, let it set on low with the lid on and do its thing.

Snack #1 – Cottage Cheese (FP)
notes:  Buy the 1% stuff to make this a FP

Lunch – Spaghetti & Meatballs (FP or E)
notes:  Use turkey meatballs and Dreamfields pasta for FP.  Or you could try a whole wheat pasta in moderation for E – I need to look into this a bit more.  Use a sauce that has no sugar or make your own.  Pair this with a veggie that doesn’t need butter.

Snack #2 – Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (FP)
notes:  this is that thing you saw me sipping last week!

Dinner – Cheeseburger Pie (p326) and cabbage (S)
notes:  This is one of my favorite THM meals from my beginning days!  It is yummy!  Don’t miss it!

Snacks #3 – A handful of nuts (S)
notes:  For some people, this is NOT a good bedtime snack.  Replace accordingly, but on a day like this, it is probably good to end your day with an S snack.


Breakfast – Hard Boiled Egg (S)
notes:  This was all I needed that morning.  I was in a hurry and very glad there were still a few hard boiled eggs left for me.

Snack #1 – Cucumber slices (FP)
notes:  This is a simple snack that takes care of the urge to crunch something.  Salt and pepper them if you like.

Lunch – Chicken Breast & Cottage Berry Whip (p379) (FP)
notes:  The Cottage Berry Whip is another one of those recipes that does NOT need stevia.  The frozen berries are enough sweet in my opinion.

Snack #2 – Cheese Stick (S)
note:  I buy mine at…oh never mind…you already knew that.

DinnerPizza Bites and broccoli (S)
notes:  I ended up not making these, but plan to this week.  They look so yummy!

Snack #3 – Chocolate Chip Cookie/Scone (S)
notes:  This is another of those recipes that no longer exists in its original home on the web.  I had to ask on a Facebook group if someone had the recipe.  Thankfully, they did.  I really like this recipe!  The reason I say in my menu plan that this is off plan is because I use milk chocolate chips when I make this.  The recipe below gives you an on-plan version:

Chocolate Chip Scone Recipe


Breakfast – Oatmeal with 1/2 banana & apple pie spice or cinnamon & nutmeg (E)
notes:  Contrary to popular belief, you CAN have a banana on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  Well, HALF a banana that is.  If you are wanting your banana to sweeten your oatmeal, it needs to look like this:

Make sure your banana is plenty ripe to sweeten (Trim Healthy Mama wihtout stevia menu plan) |

Don’t forget to get the good cinnamon, and enjoy a hearty breakfast!

Oatmeal without stevia from the Trim Healthy Mama no stevia plan |

Snack #1 – Celery with light cheese wedge (FP)
notes:  I don’t have anything to say about this but all the others have comments, so I didn’t want this one to feel left out.

Lunch – Chili Relleno Casserole (p325) & cauliflower (S)
notes:  This is another really great casserole from the book!

Snack #2 – Tummy Tuck Ice Cream (p368) (FP)
notes:  You will notice on my menu, I put 1 tsp of sugar.  I actually ended up using frozen strawberries as my sweet. 

Dinner – Cilantro Lime Chicken & Rice (E)
notes:  Recipe forthcoming, but here’s a sneak peek:

Trim Healthy Mama without stevia |

Snack #3 – Apple slices w/ 1 tsp almond butter (E)
notes:  Keep it to 1 tsp to make this an E.  Almond butter is the bomb, by the way.

So, there it is.  I know this menu offers a lot of variations, but remember, if you find something you like, you can eat it a second (or third, or fourth!) time in a week!  It’s ok. 😉  And I NEVER eat 3 snacks, but knowing they are there if I need them makes me happy.

Not relying on sweets does take some getting used to.  Concentrate on the spices and flavors, and use berries as much as you can as a sweetener.  If you need to add 1 tsp of sugar to something, it’s ok – that’s about 4g of carbs.  Try to stick to E & FP type foods when doing this so you aren’t mixing fuels.  And always be aware of what you are doing, so you don’t overdo it!

And I’m human, so if you see something I got wrong, call me on it and help me fix it.  Thank ya much!

Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (no stevia)

I’m on a mission – a mission to prove you CAN do Trim Healthy Mama WITHOUT using stevia.

{affiliate links included}

My husband and I have decided to avoid using stevia to sweeten things, and I thought that meant no more THM, but as I started looking through the book again, I decided I COULD do this without stevia, and here’s where I started…

Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (no stevia) |

I noticed quite some time ago, that certain treats in the book didn’t really need the stevia they called for.  The Cheesecake Berry Crunch (p373) and the Trim Healthy Pancakes (p223) are a couple of these.  You just don’t need the extra sweet, so why add it?  I decided to see what else I could find that didn’t need the stevia.

The first thing I tried was the Fat Stripping Frappe (p240)  The original version calls for glucomannan powder and stevia.  I left both of these out.  I also substituted cashew milk – a new favorite with less calories than almond milk, and I used vanilla whey protein (because it’s what I had on hand).  You could use unsweetened, chocolate or strawberry instead.

NOTE:  When using a sweetened whey protein, be sure to check the label.  So far, the only one I’ve found not using stevia is Swanson; however, it does contain xylitol which I know bothers some people.

There are a couple of tricks to making this Fat Stripping Frappe taste great, but the biggest component is FRUIT.  Strawberries are mentioned as an “option” in the book, but to do this without stevia, strawberries or another berry are ESSENTIAL!  That’s why this version is called a Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe!  The berries give you the right amount sweetness needed to make this drink palatable.  I’m also using a “sweetened” protein powder (see note above), but I’d encourage you to try an unsweetened version too!

Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (no stevia version) |

No Stevia Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe

1/2 c. almond or cashew milk
1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp cocoa powder (could leave out if using chocolate protein powder)
1/2 c. coffee (optional, but yummy!)
1 scoop vanilla, chocolate or strawberry protein powder
4 large strawberries (or other berry – frozen or not)
dash vanilla
dash salt
12 – 24 ice cubes (depends on how frozen you want it)

Mix all of this together in a high-powered blender and enjoy!

Chocolate Strawberry Fat Stripping Frappe (no stevia) |

Note:  I’ve also made this without coffee, with only 1/2 a scoop of protein powder, and using frozen berries.  All versions have been perfectly palatable WITHOUT stevia!  I personally prefer it with the coffee and the fresh berries.  Try all sorts of combinations – I think you will find one perfect for your summer sippin’!

Swedish Skorpor {Rusks}

When Ty and I were first married, we worked as night managers at a Bed & Breakfast in a small Swedish-influenced community.  Every day, the kitchen help would replenish the supply of Swedish rusks known as Skorpor on the buffet table near the front door of the Inn.

Swedish Skorpor (also known as Rusks) are a delightfully rich tea time treat!  They are baked twice, leaving them hard like a biscotti, but once you dip them in your tea of coffee, you won't be able to eat just one! |

skorpor = “toast”

rusks = a twice-baked dry biscuit

Our first day there, I decided to snag one of these banana bread looking treats and take a big ole bite.  When I recovered from the shock of what felt like biting into a rock, and took a moment to count my teeth, I realized not only was this NOT banana bread, it was NOT something I knew how to eat!

Later, I learned Skorpor is more like biscotti or rusks, and requires one to DUNK them in coffee or tea to make them palatable.  After I learned this little nugget of information, I quickly acquired the bad habit of grabbing a Skorpor (and a cup of coffee!) every time I passed by.

Swedish Skorpor (also known as Rusks) are a delightfully rich tea time treat!  They are baked twice, leaving them hard like a biscotti, but once you dip them in your tea of coffee, you won't be able to eat just one! |

These Skorpor are a rich, nutty, and oh so delectable tea time treat, and after much experimentation, I have learned the secret of just how long of a dunk into hot coffee it takes to make the Skorpor spongey enough to melt in my mouth without it crumbling to mush in my cup.  *happy sigh*

Now, I suggest you run a series of tests yourself!

Swedish Skorpor (also known as Rusks) are a delightfully rich tea time treat!  They are baked twice, leaving them hard like a biscotti, but once you dip them in your tea of coffee, you won't be able to eat just one! |

Swedish Skorpor

1 c. sugar
½ c. shortening (we use this Palm Shortening)
1 c. buttermilk (we use dry buttermilk powder & store it in our freezer)
1 egg
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt (we use RealSalt)
1 c. chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
3 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda

Cream shortening and sugar together in a large bowl, then add in remaining ingredients. Spread the dough in greased 9 x 13 pan and pat it smooth.  Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Turn onto a baking sheet and cut into 1½” x 3″ strips or 2″ squares or whatever size and shape your little heart desires!  Pop them in a 200° oven to dry for 1 – 2 hours (1 hour will give you only a slight crisp with a more cake-like texture, whereas 2 hours will give you that biting-into-a-rock-has-to-be-dunked Skorpor I’ve come to know and love!)

Store the Skorpor in an airtight container, but it is fine to keep them out for quite some time (not like they are going to get any harder!) These will keep a long time, so you might even want to make a double batch!


Making Lunch Easy

It only took me 12 years of homeschooling and 9 kids to figure out how to make lunch easy.

Gah!  Why did I wait so long?

I finally figured out how to make lunch easy! |

To be completely honest with you, what finally forced me to simplify our lunches was this new job/new house/new baby thing that all took place right around the holidays.  We did just about every major life change all in a matter of 6 weeks!  Go big or go home!

I was really struggling after Aspen’s birth (that’s another post) and needed to make life as simple as I could until I was back on my feet and fully present.  I made a list of all the things that were causing me stress, and one weekend I took some time away to pray and work through as many things on that list as I could.

Lunch was on that list, and the solution came in the form of 3 S’s:

Soup ~ Salad ~ Sandwiches

Make Lunch Easy with the 3's - Soup, Salad, Sandwiches |


Last week, I told you about our Kitchen Sink Soup.  This is our go-to soup.  We make it a couple of times a week to finish off any random leftovers in the refrigerator.  I don’t really plan any soups besides this one.  When I originally made the 3S Plan, I was going to add in some “original” soups as well, but implementing that proved to be more work than I cared to do.

I try to keep a loaf of bread on hand to go with our soup.  I prefer it to be homemade, but will often grab some sort of specialty loaf from Aldi just in case I don’t get around to making something.  Sourdough or French bread are favorites here, as well as our homemade whole wheat buns.


Before I had Aspen, I ate salad almost every day for lunch, but rarely had the kids eat it.  Now, if I’m eating it, so are they!  The two salads we make most often are Taco Salad and Chicken Fajita Salad.  For the Fajita Salad, I buy chicken fajita strips at Aldi in the freezer case, warm them up and throw them in with salad greens and cheese.  Corn chips add filler to both of these salads.


Because I need things to be as simple as possible, I purchase a couple of loaves of bread a week and keep sliced cheese and deli meat, peanut butter and jelly on hand at all times (although, I’ve never eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich myself, most of my kids like it).  If we have homemade bread, great, but if not, I know we can still throw together sandwiches with the store-bought loaves.  We will have the occasional deviation from these two types of sandwiches with something like my son’s fried egg sandwiches or my daughter’s grilled cheese or bagel sandwiches, but that is fairly rare.

This plan makes shopping for lunches super simple too!  My weekly list will always have these things on it:

Chicken broth
Shredded Cheese
Salad greens
Fajita Chicken
Chili Beans
Corn Chips
Peanut Butter
Deli Meat & Cheese

I keep us stocked with those items so I always have what I need to make lunch easy!

**Huge sigh of relief!**

How have you simplified lunch at your house?  Or maybe you’ve learned to simplify another meal.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

Easy Homeschool Lunch – Kitchen Sink Soup

Some of you are going to laugh.  Some of you are going to wonder if I’ve lost my mind.  Kitchen Sink Soup?  That does not sound delicious…

Kitchen Sink Soup - because it includes everything BUT the kitchen sink! This is a grab and go lunch - video included!  (and yes, I should have named it something else, but this is what we call it - weird as it is!) |

I seriously thought I ought to call this soup something else.  Something more…um…appealing?  But, for some reason this is what we started calling this pull-everything-out-of-the-refrigerator-and-stick-it-in-a-pot concoction, and well, if I were to name it anything else, I wouldn’t be true to the weirdness that is our family.  (Please tell me you have weird names for stuff too!)

The whole idea for Kitchen Sink Soup came about as a result of my needing to revamp homeschool lunches into something SUPER EASY.  Next week, I plan to share the full plan with you, but suffice it to say it has been a lifesaver!

So, what is Kitchen Sink Soup?  It’s everything but the kitchen sink!

Come on in to my kitchen and see what I mean…
(not seeing the video?  Click HERE!)

Kitchen Sink Soup is basically a soup made from your leftovers with a few add-ins to make it extra yummy!  Have a little leftover hamburger?  Throw it in there!  Have a few leftover veggies?  Throw them in there!  Have a can of beans or black olives?  Throw those in there too!  Add some broth or milk, some spices and cheese and you have a nutritious homeschool lunch that can simmer on the stove while you teach your little ones.

We have Kitchen Sink Soup a couple times a week to finish off any leftovers we’ve become tired of eating on.  I get quite a sense of satisfaction knowing I’m not throwing out leftovers, but reinventing them into something different and yummy!

In the video above, you’ll see how I make the soup, plus a short list of some add-in ideas.  You’ll also see me without makeup and my hair pulled up in my usual “mom-has-work-to-do hairdo.”  Try throwing together your own Kitchen Sink Soup – actually, why don’t you call it something else so no one will look at you funny the way they do when I tell them what we had for lunch – then, come back here and tell me what you put in it, as I’d love to have some new ideas for my soup!

***Read more about my easy lunch plan!***