How to For2fy Muffins From A Box

Let’s get real–it’s not always practical, possible or responsible to bake and cook from scratch. There’s nothing better than home made start-to-finish foods, but LIFE GETS BUSY!

We need quick options!!

There are wholesome items showing up in fast food restaurants and prepared grocery store meals but the majority is in the not-so-nutritious category. Since we’re on the go so much, how can we make healthier choices at home in between our comings and goings? Is it possible to integrate bits of wholesomeness into our quick meals? What opportunities are there for upping the nutrient value to our in-home “fast food”?

Make-ahead items and freezer meals are two great options where you get to control the ingredients. Like many, I incorporate this practice into my routine. But–I’ll be honest–there are times that a frozen entrée or boxed mix just eliminates some added stress! However, as my husband can attest to, I cannot follow a recipe (even a boxed one) without for2fying it in some way. I feel so much better when there is substantial nutrition to what we eat. Read on as and I share some of my tricks and tips.

Take Time to Read Labels

To make good decisions we need to understand the makeup of food labels. Two things here: recommendations are minimum requirements to maintain a base level of health. For optimal health we want much more of certain ingredients like iron, vitamin c, etc. Remember each person has a unique makeup–take into account individual needs like age, gender and health concerns. For a quick overview on labeling follow this link:

For a more in-depth explanation you can go here:

Get Familiar with Ingredients

Can you pronounce the ingredients? Is the list so long you’re getting a headache? Put it down and walk away! Look for items with simple components. We’re lucky to have multiple choices of the same types of food in most grocery stores. Take advantage of this and find the best option for your family. This awesome book serves as the BEST reference guide while helping to demystify those hard-to-say ingredients.

Time to Compare Products

Don’t be fooled by clever marketing strategies and enticing graphics. Take into account these two examples below:


Example 1 is Lehi Roller Mills Blueberry Muffin Mix. Just looking at the box this seems like the healthier option. Graphics steer you to thinking this is made from quality wheat with fresh blueberries–kind of a fresh farm feel. When looking at the list of 31 ingredients, you find that the wheat is unbleached which means there should be fewer chemicals in flour production. The blueberries are really blueberry bits containing processed sugar, oil, fake dye and artificial flavor with a trace of actual blueberry. This product list includes several synthetic additives known to disturb gut health.

Example 2 is Krusteaz Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix. Three clues from the cover suggest this might be better option with a picture of a can of wild blueberries, the wording “natural flavors”, and a banner on the bottom stating “no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives”. This list of 19 ingredients tells us this product is made with enriched bleached flour, natural additives and flavors with real blueberries.

Based clearly on the mix, the second seems to be the better choice. In the first option the flour might be slightly better quality as it isn’t bleached leaving a small amount of vitamins (or they’ve been added back in) but the list of additives is hefty compared to the second, which shows more iron and NO artificial ingredients. Knowing that I’ll add my own whole foods to the Krusteaz makes this a good solution for me.

Fort2fy Prepared Mixes

Now for added nutrition. The recipe on the back of the Krusteaz box calls for two eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil and 2/3 cup water. I add 2 cage free-organic brown eggs, because I want to support humane treatment of animals. A lot of controversy exists over different types of eggs and which is most nutritious. The fact remains that eggs no matter what color or how they are raised are very nutritious for you. When you add eggs to this recipe you are adding 12 g of protein entirely: 2g protein per serving.

One of the biggest problems (and there are many) in working with refined foods is that fiber gets striped away. Fiber helps lower blood cholesterol levels while stabilizing blood sugar levels. It helps prevent many disorders like constipation and colon cancer. Fiber also helps remove toxic metals from the body. When you take a whole grain and strip it of its natural casing you remove the fiber. We need to add this back in. Flaxseed is a great way to do this, while getting some heart-healthy omega-3’s. I always have ground flaxseed on hand in my fridge. I add it in all my baked goods, unbeknownst to many! You could also add a whole grain flour or some crushed nuts in place.

*An important note about flaxseed–some people with certain health concerns (my son being one of them) shouldn’t have whole flaxseeds because they can get caught in the digestive tract. Not to worry, this is where ground flax comes in and even flaxseed oil.

When talking about oils, you want to replace refined with unrefined–look for the words cold-pressed or extra-virgin. THE LESS REFINED A PRODUCT IS, THE GREATER AMOUNT OF NUTRIENTS YOU GET! I often use extra virgin olive oil. Because of it’s strong taste I cut it with some low-fat vanilla yogurt. Plain non-fat yogurt is even better or sour cream will do great here too. Any of these options will result in a moist muffin.

Lastly, I add some fresh orange zest (lemon is my favorite in blueberry muffins but I didn’t have one) for flavor and a bit more fiber. I’ve also added some fresh blueberries before, in addition to the wild blueberries in the mix. I LOVE blueberries!

Krusteaz Blueberry Mix For2fied

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
  • 1 tablespoon orange or lemon zest

Stock Up & Eliminate Waste

When you find a prepared product that works for you, buy several and keep them on hand for those days when you feel like you’re running a marathon.

Then, use what you have on hand to for2fy–don’t go out and buy special ingredients. This will help to eliminate waste.

Finally, be at peace knowing everyone in your household is better nourished.

Happy Cooking!


*I do not receive any comensation for my work here. This information is solely my opinion. You can find direct links to supported findings by clicking words underlined in blue.

Do You Have a Family Wellness Plan?

An umbrella shelters us from dark clouds filled with precipitation. As we watch the rain fall all around its effects go unseen until long after the storm. There can be negative changes following adverse weather such as heightened emotions, stress, damage and loss.

There are also good effects–like one day we look down and see a sprout emerging from the soil. After more time it grows into a flower or tree providing its own shelter.

I’d like to compare an umbrella to our own plan of protection at home. While life’s storms result in positive and negative outcomes, there’s always need for protection, even if it’s only for a short time. Through fort2fication we are providing tools for our family members to withstand the weather and even GROW from the effects!

The world offers many things to protect ourselves, from job security, money, and insurance of every kind to simple things like food and clothing. What are we doing in our OWN space we call home to for2fy our family’s health: mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally?

Years ago I created a wellness plan for my family in attempts to for2fy our “germ shield” at home. I shared the chart with several friends who loved the idea. Currently, it seems the whole world is on a similar path to build a stronghold against certain harmful germs–maybe this will be of use to many of you too!

I’ve created a template below so you can personalize it. Just hold your finger over the image until it gives you the option to save. Then print directly from your photos. The idea of this chart is to glue on your own printed goals or hand write them in the WHITE circles. Then print images or cut them out of magazines and attach to the YELLOW circles. The upper rectangle box is for your family name, the lower for the word family, household, clan….you get the idea. If you are super crafty and want to make your own chart from scratch maybe this will give you some ideas!

This was designed in Publisher and I’d be happy to share the file so you can edit directly and print. You can email me here:

Here’s an example of my own chart with some of our family goals. The pictures are great for the little non-readers. I have posted this in our garage so we get a reminder BEFORE we enter the house. There’s also one in the kitchen and bathroom (kid height). Place them where your family will get frequent reminders to self-check their cleanliness and health choices.

Another good place to post this chart is at your front door or inside your entry so that, neighbors, extended family and other visitors know what your house rules are. It will give them a reminder to also self-check their health habits or help reinforce rule with household members. Your focus will evolve over time as life changes occur: update or alter as needed.

If you have never put pen to a wellness plan the following can get you thinking about what’s important for your family. Discuss with family members (even if it’s just a fish or the cockroach in the cupboard) and decide what needs you want to address.

Start simple.

You’ll find that several of these areas can be combined or incorporated into one section or goal. For example, on my chart I listed deep breathing in our sleep circle as we need to work on calming emotions which encourages good sleeping habits.

Goal ideas:

  • Nutrition improvements
  • Exercise
  • Personal cleanliness
  • Home sanitization
  • Emotional or spiritual needs
  • Sleep habits
  • Therapies and treatments
  • Medical/health needs
  • Home Security
  • Emergency Preparedness

When deciding what will go on your chart, it helps to eliminate what you don’t need. Say your family is great at praying daily or you feel you eat healthy and have a good exercise plan, then you wouldn’t want those on your chart. Include things that you need reminders on or improvements in or good habits that’s need establishing.

I hope you find this useful in your home. There’s nothing more important than family. While doing our best to protect them, we’re also for2fying our community, our nation and our earth. I leave you with a quote from the lovely Kerri Walsh Jennings. Her champion spirit reminds us that opposition is essential.

Happy wellness planning!


For2fy Your Immune

What’s most important to you concerning this COVID epidemic? I bet it’s protecting yourself and those in your household: creating a barrier to keep germs away. It’s the same for me, especially because I have a medically fragile son who’s high-risk. We’ve been living in lock-down mode every winter since he was born. I’ll share my insight on that in a future post.

For today I’d like to focus on revving up our immune systems. How can we do this?

Eat more nutrient dense foods (aka whole foods) and less of the processed kind.

This is a subject of much depth that’s specific to each person, but there are basic things we can all do to for2fy our immunes.

God designed our our body sytems to work in harmony together. We throw that harmony off by consuming highy processed food and drink. I am personally taking this time in life to focus attention on what’s fueling my family–what’s going into their bodies that will build defense against invaders? I’m generally a healthy person but have realized, especially since having children, that there are items needing attention. I can do a few things to for2fy, as I’m certain most households can.

So–how can we do this in practical ways?


May I suggest this great book I ran across years ago while studying naturopathy–I couldn’t write better words on the subject. I felt the concepts and implications of this book were so powerful, I scooped up ten copies for extended family and close friends. I think you’ll connect, as I did, with the beautiful gift the author is offering her readers–the gift of better choices and better health.

I’m certain you’ll find the advice on these pages beneficial if you need practical ideas for “moving away from refined food to more wholesome eating.” It’s a great reference to have in your home library and easy enough for children to read too.

One of my favorite parts of the book is the areas Allison calls Shifting Summary offering ideas on how to start shifting, what to shift to and finally what’s most nutritious–kind of like low, medium, high steps. This collection of knowledge should inspire you to make good nutritional choices for whoever occupies the walls of your home, young and old.


Recently I took a trip to Harmon’s Grocery Store–specifically for their splendid produce selection. (May I add, totally of my own merit, that their efforts to protect employees and customers at this time are unprecedented and very much appreciated.)

I wanted to start juicing again for my son because it’s a great way to get lacking nutrients into his diet. I ended up with a cart FULL of fresh, vibrant fruits and veggies. I took the following picture to remind myself that these nutritious gems are of major importance to my family’s defense. These foods will nourish and strengthen our immunes against COVID (and like viruses) if and when it enters our home.

When you go to the grocery store and the toilet paper and sanitization isles are empty, don’t feel panic or defeat–go to the produce department! You’ll find an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables that God created to for2fy our bodies.

No fancy techniques are required to assimilate their goodness. Some can be eaten in their raw form or gently steamed, shredded, juiced, grilled, sautéed or baked. The list goes on. When you don’t have the ability to scrub your hands with soap, take advantage of your body’s inner workings to flush out toxins and fight off germs by adding more of this good stuff to your diet.



2-3 large kale leaves (stem removed)

1-1 1/4 c frozen mango

1/3 c plain yogurt

3/4 c passionfruit juice (no sugar added)

Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. For thicker consistency, add ice. For thinner consistency add more liquid. For an extra health kick add flax seed or chai seed.

I came up with this recipe trying to recreate one I had at a smoothie shop. Smoothie making is not an art, it’s a matter of taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works for you. Remember though, you can cross over to the unhealthy side by adding too much fat and sugar. Know what your health goals are and monitor what goes in to your delicious concoctions. Don’t be afraid to adjust measurements or substitute ingredients. And go heavy on the greens–they are good for you!

Smoothies are an easy way to incorporate foods that you wouldn’t otherwise eat. You can mask less favorable veggies like kale with fruit superstars like mango and strawberries.

When it comes to juicing, downing a lot of straight juice from vegetables can be somewhat unpleasant at times. I’ve found some clever ways to incorporate juice into smoothies, fizzie drinks and meals. For example, on St. Patrick’s day I made Shephard’s Pie for dinner and colored the potatoes green with spinach juice. Everyone loved it and I got away from artificial color which is a great thing! I keep a small pitcher of juice in my fridge so it’s on hand to use as needed.

Juicing is so healthy but one complaint is that it produces A LOT of waste. If you don’t compost, that’s a bundle of pulp added to the garbage pile. The good news is you can use pulp in all sorts of ways. I’m always experimenting and trying to add more nutrients to the food I serve. Here are some ideas you might like to try too:

  • carrot pulp–use fresh or frozen in carrot cake or substitute for zucchini in sweet bread (I’ve also used pineapple pulp as a substitute or addition in carrot cake)
  • kale pulp–add fresh or frozen to meatballs or meatloaf
  • spinach pulp–freeze and add to an omelet, quiche or frittata
  • any of the above are great added to homemade mashed potatoes (with skins)


Pray–really? Yes, really! After all our effort, there are miles to go. If we do our best then take it to God and ask for His blessing, it is enough. Through prayer, I include God in all my decisions, especially about what to take into my body and those I’m responsible for. I know he watches over me and I know He watches over you. He is the Master Physician and is the only one with perfect knowledge to direct us in our individual circumstances.

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, ado all to the glory of God.1 Corinthians 31

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for ameat.Genesis 1:29

And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome aherbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man. Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with aprudence and bthanksgiving. —D&C 89:10-11

Hopefully these ideas will encourage you to build up your defenses against micro invaders. I hope by trying these methods, you’ll gain confidence in for2fying those whom God has entrusted in your care.

May you find a simple way to for2fy your home. —Jeni

I will always end with a question in effort to collect your response through commenting or email so I can address it in a future post.

If you have a home protection plan (written or in your head–like mine is) what are some weaknesses you’ve noticed during this stay-at-home initiative?

For example: do you want to have more food storage, do you need things to be more self-sufficient, do you need ideas for germ-proofing your life? Along with this question is an invitation to share your strengths. What makes you home a strong hold against external opposition?

What is for2fy?

I’m on this journey of creating a haven for my family and would like to invite you to participate by reading, commenting and sharing your own successes and tips. This invitation extends to all, whether you live with a spouse, partner, 5 children, 2 cats or a fish, we can all do more to for2fy our homes!

Definition of fortify:

a: to make strong, strengthen and secure (a place such as your home)

b: to give physical strength, courage, or endurance to

c: to add mental or moral strength to

d: to enhance, enrich (food) to improve the nutritional value

I love the words secure, to give endurance, to enrich: perfect definitions to my purpose in writing, which is, a desire to make my home and your home a stronghold.

With all that’s going on in our world today, it seems that our homes are more important than ever. That means we need to finetune our self-sufficiency, adjust the filtering of what comes in and what goes out, and create a sanctuary where we can learn, grow and flourish. HOME should be the hub!

It’s my goal that for2fy will become a database of knowledge on how to:

Inspire healthy and practical ways to increase nutrition through food selection and cooking methods. This includes turning unhealthy, traditional recipes into more nourishing sustenance. Through substitution methods you can be more confident in transforming your own kitchen!

Strengthen skills on mental & emotional health and medicinal self-care tips, including how to germ proof your home in practical ways and care for minor emergencies (spotlighting guest bloggers in the works).

Increase awareness and responsibility through tips on effective shopping, recycling, waste management and better use of goods–aka–MAKING DO–the healthy way.


This scripture above goes through my head constantly serving as a mantra to help me look for the good in every situation–especially the tough ones. Through education, training, hardship and struggle comes my unique insight that I hope will be meaningful to you in some way.

To give a bit of background, in post high school years I studied: social work, fashion design, alternative medicine, nutrition and small business management. I spent many years working in retail, food service, interior and floral design, then running my own business planning, decorating and catering events–which I absolutely loved.

Then life changed DRAMATICALLY after my second son, Lukas, was born with a rare chromosome disorder, hydrocephalus, three heart holes, severe pulmonary hypertension and the list goes on and on. Thankfully– God’s good grace and Luke’s indomitable will–it’s still going on and on.

There are so many things I’ve learned being a mom to a medically fragile child. Life has presented numerous ways to grow–like furthering my skills in nutrition, implementing medical therapies (conventional and non conventional), breeding dogs for service training (yah, a little unconventional), and soul enriching opportunities to fundraise and advocate. I also had the privilege to share my experiences in the first few years caring for Lukas, accomplishing a long-time goal to write and publish a book.


There are wonderful people who’ve crossed my path, teaching me valued lessons and ways of life that I feel compelled to share. One of these great mentors was my Papa Joe who always said to me: You can do ANYTHING! And so I leave you with his empowering words:

YOU can do anything!

Anything and everything needed to create a wholesome home and a happy, healthy YOU. Together we can for2fy the most important place and the most important people in our world. I hope my ideas will inspire you to for2fy your home, to strengthen your family, and ultimately increase your skillset and quality of life. I look forward to sharing yours as well.