Cleaning Up the Dirt Cake


I grew up eating this amazing recipe that my mom made called “Dirt Cake”. Maybe you have heard of it before. The creamy goodness of a pudding mixture layered with crushed Oreos. Yum! My mom made the coolest dirt cake because she served it from a legit plastic, flower pot. Plus, she added gummy worms for effect!! Yummy and creative, right?!

The man I married fell in love with this dessert almost as much as he fell in love with me. LOL Every holiday we have, he expects dirt cake! Lucky for him and you (well, for everyone!) I have cleaned up the dirt cake recipe!!! Yes, it still a sugar filled dessert; but, remember here at SLB we are all about balance! I am not going to deprive my husband of his favorite dessert because I want to eat as clean as we can. I do though want to at least do the best I can do by improving upon what he likes… without losing any of the yumminess!!

So, with my mother’s permission I share with you the original recipe:

dirtcakeoriginal1          dirtcakeoriginal2

 Cleaner Dirt Cake

1 16 oz. carton of Organic Heavy Whipping Cream20161230_215313

1 pack of Oreos or gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies (broken into pieces, 1/4ths)

1 8 oz. Organic Cream Cheese

1 pack of Jello Simply Good Vanilla Bean pudding mix

3-5 tablespoons of Organic Milk

1.Soften cream cheese and mix until smooth.

2.Add in the whole carton of Heavy Whipping Cream on high speed until fully thickened; about 2 to 3 minutes.

3.While the mixer is doing its thing, layer a covered dish (I use an 8x6x2 inch glass dish) with a layer of broken Oreos (about one and 1/2 of a row). You will place the majority of the Oreos on the bottom for a good base layer. Cover the bottom of the bowl as much as you can.

4.Add the packet of Jello Simply Good Vanilla Bean pudding mix to the cream once you have achieved cool whip like consistency.

5.Add the milk to the mixture. Start with 3 tablespoons and increase by tablespoons as you mix. I suggest this because my husband likes his cream thick. Be sure to taste as you mix!!!!!

6.Layer 1/2 of the mixture on top of the first Oreo layer you made. Then add a layer of broken Oreos, the rest of the pudding mixture and then top with remaining broken Oreos.

7.Cover and refrigerate.

You can eat it right away. My husband likes it better after it has chilled overnight. The dessert usually last 2-3 days in the refrigerator but it usually gets eaten all before then. We only purchase Oreos when making this recipe (about 4 times a year). Usually, an entire pack of cookies does not make it into the recipe. Oh, well! LOL img_20161210_214744

Cleaning up this recipe has taken time because we do not make it that often. I started with omitting the powder sugar and butter altogether. Then I learned I can easily make whipped cream from heavy whipping cream, which I can by as an organic product. Before Jello came out with the Simply Good line, I still used a box of vanilla pudding mix. So, it took time and honestly, I am sure it could be cleaned up even more.


Life is all about balance!


Dirt cake is easy and affordable to whip up. Even if you do not use organic products (which is ok!), my version is still cleaner than the original. No, I do not suggest eating dirt cake every day or even every month (although my husband may disagree). Let me know if you try this dirt cake recipe and your thoughts about it. How have you cleaned up any recipes?


Beneficial Becca


With Nutiva eating healthy can be sweet, even on the wallet!


I know, I know “eating healthy is too expensive”. This is what I hear way too often when I speak to people about healthy eating alternatives. Honestly though, the more my family and I eat healthy, it seems like the less we eat. If we do indulge on snacking on unhealthy options then we are hungry again right away (like the pop tart we ate last night then my 2 year old begged for an orange). I can remember when my eating decisions were never the best and I would always be hungry. This constant hunger leads to unhealthy habits of over eating. The truth is I was never really hungry for calories; I was starving for nutrition.

So, how do you transition to eating healthier foods that may cost a little more than those $2 box of pop tarts without completely breaking the bank? First off get rid of the mental concept that you cannot afford healthy foods. If this is what you are always thinking, you will never be on the look out for healthy deals.

There are plenty of ways to save bundles of money on healthy alternative foods. TONS! But right now I just want to quickly focus on one company that I am head over heels for: Nutiva. Nutiva’s products can be pricey because they are high-quality. I choose wait to purchase their products while they are on sale because they have GREAT deals ALL the time! In fact Nutiva offers a new monthly deal at the beginning of each month PLUS they offer a steeply discounted deal every Tuesday. These deals are not your normal 20% off but these are usually steals of 40% off or more!

Here is the link to November’s deal and all you need to do is insert your e-mail address into the sign-up box at the bottom of their page to ensure you do not miss any more deals. I like that Nutiva is consistent with the dates of their deals: once a month and every Tuesday. I also like that their deals usually include a bundle meaning you may receive a product you have never tried before while ordering something you already know you will like.

There is also usually a free shipping threshold like “Spend $30 or more for free shipping” in which you can stack with these deals. Be sure to also friend Nutiva on Facebook for reminders of these deals. Let me know if you are already a fan of Nutiva or if you begin to try any of their products.
From a happy belly and happy wallet,

<3 Beneficial Becca

Double Fruit Chocolate Shake


I am so excited to share this recipe with you!!

So, here it is:

Double Fruit Chocolate Shake



7 whole pitted dates                                                                                         (First serving of Fruit)

  • 1/2 large banana or 1 small banana FROZEN                                             (Second serving of fruit)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cacao                                       (a super food; or cocoa if you do not have cacao)
  • 1 tablespoon of flax seed                                                                (for health and texture purposes)
  •  12-16 ounces of your favorite milk                       (I use organic almond or raw, organic cow’s milk)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil                                                                       (optional, but why not?!)
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter                                                                             (optional)

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender.

Blend and enjoy!

I suggest a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or a Blendtec ( BTW, I love my Blendtec) for this recipe due to the dates needing to be finely chopped. I know these blenders are expensive but they are worth the investment. I bought mine off of Ebay for less than $200. Totally worth it! Even with my Blendtec there are still a few chunks of dates left at the bottom but those are like little prizes of sweetness.

If you need it any sweeter (you should not because the dates are sweet) you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup!


Let me know if you try it! My sister-in-law is here sipping on it and she is enjoying it!


Beneficial Becca


Taste the Rainbow! Do rainbows even taste like anything?


Food dyes are in everything! From the bad stuff like: candy, cereal, snack bars, doughnuts, ice cream, sodas, juices, chips, boxed mac and cheese, flavored milks, and cookies to the “good” stuff like: medicines and pickles. I mean really, why?

I get it. Junk food is junk food. Candy is meant to appeal to children for marketing purposes. Cookies and cakes are meant to be pretty for decoration purposes. So, then you just don’t purchase the junk food. Seems simple enough.

Until you want to purchase a jar of pickles but won’t because it contains Yellow #5. Then your husband pays $7 for one jar of bread and butter pickles at the local co-op because they do not contain food dyes. Pickles should be left to pickle around in clean vinegar without any help from food dyes.

Why am I so mad about food dyes?

Reason #1: Food dyes have been linked to cancer, ADHD, and allergic reactions. I have a friend who ended up taking her 1 year old daughter to the emergency room because of a rash. The doctor’s narrowed it down to the crackers she had eaten earlier that day that are ridden with red food coloring.

Reason #2: Other countries have virtually taken all food dyes off the shelves, banned food dyes, or at least are taking steps with intentions to stop the use of food dyes. The American FDA though still approves companies to use Yellow #5 and Red #40. If other countries are noticing the negative side effects of such chemicals and deem food dyes are unnecessary, why the USA still approving the usage of these chemicals in our “foods”?

Reason #3: Who cares what color your OTC medication is? Who cares if your pickles look a little dull? Who cares if an orange flavored soda is actually orange? Why does my vanilla ice cream have to contain yellow #5  when it should just be white? I recently had a friend post on social media that she came down with a serve cold. Her husband purchased an OTC cough syrup for her and she broke out in hives. Doctor confirmed it was from the food dyes in the medication! Really? Food dyes do not affect the taste or texture of the item. Food dyes are used to market that product by making it more visually appealing.

What can we do about this problem?

  1. Start reading every label before purchasing. I know this takes time but you will quickly get the hang of which products are safe. There are obviously some items you don’t have to check for food dyes like fresh produce. Be aware some pre-season meats may contain food dyes. Do not waste your time hoping those Sour Patch kids or other brightly colored candy won’t contain food dyes.
  2. Stop purchasing food dye laded products. The best way to make an impact is to pressure  companies to change their recipes by lowering the sells of their products.
  3. Communicate your concern. E-mail or write to any and every company you know that uses food dyes. There are also other bloggers you can follow like The Food Babe and 100 Days of Real Food that are already taking a stand against the use of food dyes. is also a great resource for other ways to take a stand against food dyes.



Beneficial Becca

The Blogger’s Life


Hey Everyone…again!

Yet, once again I have not posted in a while. Last night I started considering the reasoning behind why I was so into blogging and then I just stopped. I realized I “blog in my head” all the time. If “blogging in your head” is not a thing, I am making it a thing right now! So, why would I just stop sharing with everyone? Honestly, I don’t know for sure. I do know I am ready to share with everyone what I think was happening when I stopped blogging, why I am starting back blogging, and what has happened in between.

When I first started blogging I had intentions. Intentions to make a whole lot of money! Do not get me wrong, I was and still am passionate about healthy eating on a frugal budget. I quickly realized with blogging that I was not going to get rich quick nor was blogging just about writing. A monetized blog is a business in which you must show up to work at, even if it is sitting in your p.j.s! After posting about ten or fifteen posts, people started talking to me in person about my blog! Wait, what? You mean I am actually going to have to verbalize about the topics in my blog? Every time I would share a post after that realization, I was a bit more anxious upon the idea that the entire world could read my thoughts. Then I decided, what the heck. I started really trying to push my blog by setting up Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Youtube accounts. I even had stickers made of my logo. Then I realized with only 4 or 5 likes on a post, that the whole world really is not looking at my blog. But, then nobody was reading my blog so what was the point? So, then I stopped blogging.

The time after that season until now I have been consistently going to exercise classes at my local YMCA. I have thoroughly fallen in love with Les Mills BodyPump and BodyFlow classes along with cardio kickboxing classes. Just last week, I attended my first ever HIIT class of interval training. (That was rough, but I think I am going back!) What I have learned from these classes about my blogging life are the following:

  1. Consistency pays off.– If I skip a week of a certain class at the gym, then going back the next week only makes it that much harder. If I attend the classes weekly, I only get better and stronger. When I was writing posts on my blog weekly, the ideas were coming quickly and I was excited to share!
  2. You are allowed to start, take a break, and stop back up again; just do no stop moving!– During workout routines, sometimes I have to take a break to catch my breath. My goal though is to never, ever let those last reps during a set pass me by! There have been too many posts I have read from other bloggers, where I felt like “I should have wrote that!” I know I am capable and I have a passion for my topics. I refuse not to share that passion!
  3. Doing what you love and feeling good about it is more than any amount of money is worth.– Maybe one day I will become an exercise class instructor. Maybe one day I will profit a million dollars by blogging. Maybe not today, but maybe one day. So, what does it hurt to pursue that dream today?


Beneficial Becca

What’s your goal to positivity at the gym?


It has been too long since I have written a post. Truthfully, my life has faced some new stressors which has required focus and new decisions to be made. Most of my younger years, especially during the teenage years, I relied on crying to relieve my stress. I had the lie that I had to cry to release those hormones in order to balance myself. Fortunately, during these recent turn of events in my life, I have found a new coping skill….hitting the gym!

I was lucky to receive an employee discount through both my job and my husband’s job landing us with a $44/year gym membership! I am not bragging but I am encouraging you. Ask your employer about a gym discount and if they don’t provide one…beg for one! LOL Talk to the local gym about calling your employer to strike up the relationship. You can also ask your gym about discounts and scholarship programs.

I am not truly here to talk about my life or gym discounts, but rather to encourage you! I have categorized 5 different motivating mind sets that I rotate though when hitting the gym. When I just don’t want to go or I would rather just walk the treadmill rather than run, I clear my head and refocus with a positive mindset.

5 Positive Mindset Goals while at the Gym:

  1. Accept Accountability– We first have to get to the gym, right? Which means getting dressed and going. Find someone to go to the gym with or make friends while at the gym. If you go about the same time everyday, you are bound to see a routine of the same people. So, make friends and make it intentional to meet them at the gym.
  2. Full of Fun– What else is fun to you? The gym provides televisions if you like to watch. Walking and watching is better than sitting and watching, right!? If you like to listen to music, grab your phone or ipod and headphones to take with you. Do you like to read? If so, take your book. I have been surprised at how many calories people can burn while reading!!
  3. Tell the Truth– Be honest with yourself. You are not going to lose weight just by going to the gym once. So DO NOT allow losing weight to be your only goal. Yes, working out helps the process of losing weight. Be sure to seek immediate benefits that you can receive every time you go. Such as, how it makes you feel, being able to forget your stressors, and having a relaxing routine that provides consistency.
  4. Cannot Compare– If you find yourself wondering how fast the person beside you is running or how many calories they have burned…check yourself! I have been beside the speedsters and the slow pokes and peeking has never been positive for me. Focus on the fact that whatever workout you accomplish is better than no work out at all. Considering yourself and that you did a little bit better than the last time you worked out . You especially did better than those days you don’t work out at all!
  5. Get to that Goal– Most importantly consider, what is your goal? Make a reasonable achievable goal and then increase that goal as you progress. One of my goals is to keep the calories burned equivalent to my distance; for example, one mile equals 100 calories. As I am steadily hitting this goal, I will then change my goal to running a 12 minute mile, then a 11 minute mile and thus forth.

Challenge yourself. Coach Yourself. Change yourself!


<3- Beneficial Becca

Alternative Lemon Detox Water


So, you’ve seen it. The social media graphics encouraging and suggesting you drink lemon water every morning. And then there are those that suggest you even add cayenne pepper to your daily lemon water!! Like this graphic I made:


I know how it sounds but starting your day with warm lemon water helps aid in digestion and boost your metabolism for the day. The cayenne pepper is truly the extra kick to get your energy going. But I know what you are really thinking: Cayenne pepper in my water!? It is really not that bad but most people think “Ugh!”

So, as my father-in-law was visiting this past weekend he shared with me his fruit (and not so spicy) version of lemon water that he prefers in the mornings. I tried his concoction and it was rather tasty! So, now I wanted to share it with you!image


Alternative to Lemon Cayenne Water


  • 1/4 of a whole, fresh lemon (organic if possible)
  • 8-10 dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
  • 5-8 drops of grapefruit essential oil
  1. 1. Start heating the water on the stove.
  2. 2. Squeeze the lemon slice then dump in the cup.
  3. 3. Add 8 to 10 dried cherries.
  4. 4. Pour the hot water over the fruits.
  5. 5. Drop in the peppermint and grapefruit essential oils.
  6. 6. Add in the honey and stir
  7. 7. Let these steep, love and mingle together.
  8. 8. Then take a spoon to stir and press the cherries against the cup to “juice” them.    Let cool enough to sip and enjoy!

***I really liked this “tea”. I made a double batch and did not finish it all this morning. So, at lunch I added ice and it was really refreshing. It was like a cherry lemonade!

***You can also add a tablespoon of coconut oil while it is still hot. Just know as the tea cools the coconut oil may solidify.

***You may also like to play around with the essential oils like using lime oil instead of grapefruit.

Let me know if you try and if what you think!


Beneficial Becca

Simple Chocolate Avocado Smoothie


Back in February of 2016, I shared with you all “10 Simple Ways to Eat an Avocado Everyday”. I intentionally did not include drinking avocados because I had not tried an avocado smoothie yet. WAIT…what? Drinking an avocado?? Yes! Avocados are great in smoothies!! I now know this as I sip on my freshly blended, creamy chocolate avocado smoothie!!



Before now, I had seen recipes of avocado smoothies but had yet to try one. I do not want to be responsible for suggesting a recipe that I have not tried. While making this smoothie I was still a little worried about the outcome. I am telling you that this is so good that I am having to write this post while sipping it. A good recipe is the best blogging motivation!


So, without further ado, here is the receipe below. I adapted it from Danielle Walker’s receipe that you can find by clicking here. And by adapted, I mean I just used what I had available. This smoothie is simple, easy, quick, and healthy. I want to say it’s a green smoothie since it has avocado in it…but the color is brown and I don’t want to confuse anyone!

Simple Chocolate Avocado Smoothie

1/2 avocado (peeled and seeded)

1/2 cup crushed ice

1 cup half and half (organic if possible)

1 frozen banana

2 tablespoons of cocoa

1 teaspoon of vanilla

Blend for 30 seconds until smooth

Serve, Share and Enjoy!


*To use the whole avocado and be able share the love with someone else, just double the rest of the ingredients and blend together.

**This smoothie reminded me of a meal replacement smoothie since it wasn’t really sweet. If you are looking for a sweeter smoothie try adding dates, honey or maple syrup as easy non-refined sweeteners.


Plus this recipe is very easy on the wallet. Feel free to add extras like flax and hemp seeds but you do not have to add anything else in order to enjoy it!!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think. The blend of banana and avocado provide a truly creamy and healthy experience! Next step…chocolate avocado ice cream!


<3 Beneficial Becca




The Oxymoron of Organic Tobacco- A Farm Visit


The thought of blogging about tobacco never crossed my mind until I was blessed to be a part of Annie’s Project 2016! While in Georgetown, SC we visited a tobacco farm where they grew both conventional and organic tobacco. Everyone’s first thought was “Organic tobacco, why? How is there even such a thing?” This presented mindset represents just how little the consumer population may know about what “organic” really means”.20160505_171028.jpg


The farm grounds were sectioned off to include about 1/4 of their land promised to organic practices. This acreage was sectioned off with signs stating not to pollute the surrounding area, from the ground or the air.








It was very interesting to see how one farm could produce both conventional and organic versions of the same crop. I did not know this could be done until the visit. I always imagined organic crops coming from solely organic practiced farms.

I asked a lot of questions about the organic process and division of workspace. There was one greenhouse devoted to organic practices with sings posted on the door. The seeds sprouted in a Styrofoam tray that floated on water. The only other ingredient they were allowed to use in that green house was organic vinegar to help with the bugs.


(We were not allowed to enter the greenhouse, which made me happy…good for them!)

After the seeds grew to seedlings, they were planted in the roped off organic section of land to grow into tobacco stalks. There are three grades of tobacco: conventional, PCA and Organic; all of these bring better profits along the way. There is an organic fatty acid that is used on the stalks while growing that cost almost double the price of conventional fatty acid yet only contains one less ingredient. This fatty acid helps to reduce and waste the blooms that the crop would usually produce so that the farmers do not have to go through and pluck them off by hand.


Once the stalks matured they were harvested and dried. They then go through a conveyer belt for bundling to sale. This conveyer belt takes the whole farming crew 2 hours to clean in order to switch from conventional crops to organic crops. Once the farmer goes to market, his bales are then tested 3 times by chemical testing companies. BUT only every other bale is tested. At this point, the farmer receives only a deposit of his profits from the sale; he will not receive all the profits for his crops until they are all tested and pass USDA organic certified regulations. This could take up to several months of the farmer waiting for his profits.

This farm hired a chemical specialist to come to the farm quarterly to examine, observe, and test to ensure the farm is following organic practices. This is a costly investment to the farmers but helps ensures that when they go to market, their crops will pass inspection.


Although, I do not support smoking, dipping, or chewing tobacco, I did learn why many of our organic products are so much more expensive. Yes, these farmers get a premium price for high-quality organic crops at the market; but, they are also investing time and money to produce organically. The biggest risk is the insecurity of losing your entire sale because one stalk gets traced with chemicals. These large farmers were working even harder to produce an organic crop.


If you ever get a chance to visit an organic farm, no matter the crop, I highly suggest doing so. Visiting an organic farm will help your understanding of where that extra $.50 or $1.00 is going to when you purchase your organic produce. There is a lot of extra money, time, and pressure on big farmers to produce organically the correct way.

***Remember that organic does not always mean healthy. Organic tobacco is just like organic cane sugar ridden and organic junk food!

*** What are your thoughts on organic tobacco? Worth the cost?


Beneficial Becca

Simply Easy Cherry Pie! (GF, Vegan, & Low Sugar)


This simple and easy cherry pie takes only 5 items to throw together to make an enjoyable dessert! With strong intent, I say 5 products because there are more than 5 ingredients! I have to rant a little bit here!

When I see a graphic advertising a recipe that includes a roll of Pillsbury pie crust and a can of high fructose corn syrup drowned peaches, that should NOT be advertised as a “Two Ingredient” recipe. That is a two product or two item recipe!!  You know good and well that box and that can contain at least 20 “ingredients” combined. Most of those “ingredients” are just science chemicals anyway. For example, what even is ferrous sulfate, thiamin monoitrate and riboflavin that is found in the flour of this roll of Pillsbury pie crust?

And why the heck do we need to add Red 40 and Yellow 5 to a pie crust!!??

Seriously, come on people!!!

Now that I have my rant out, I would like to share with you a cleaner cherry pie that is gluten free, vegan and low sugar. I only used 5 items to put this yummy cherry pie together. It was quick and simple! I came up with it myself…so, I assure you it was easy!


Simply Easy Cherry Pie:

1.Jar of Cherries (I found a jar at ALDI that was just water, cherries and sugar. Trader Joes also has these.) $2.49-$3 at either store

2. Gluten Free Pie Crust (I used the Wholly Wholesome from Whole Food’s) $4 for two shells- only use one for this recipe

3. Can of Organic Coconut Milk (full fat and refrigerated over night) $2 at Whole Foods

4. 3 tablespoons of Organic Tapioca Starch  (1 full box cost $3 at local super market and has lasted forever)

5. 1 tablespoons of Sugar (coconut sugar preferred) One bag was $4 at my local super market)



Total Cost:$16 but I still have almost a whole box of Tapioca Starch, a pie crust in the freezer, and a whole bag of coconut sugar for other recipes


  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk over night
  2. Heat the frozen pie shell according to the label (prick it with a fork and bake at 400 for 10 minutes)
  3. Drain the cherries very well leaving no juice (this will eliminate a lot of the sugar content from the cherries; but, not all of it)
  4. Make your coconut milk whipped topping:20160417_164653
    1. -Open the can of coconut milk from the bottom. (After sitting in the refrigerator over night, the fat would have formed a solid on the bottom and any left over liquid will be on top. So opening from the bottom will give you first dibs at the cream.)
    2. -Scrape the solidified cream out into a mixing bowl while leaving the liquid. (Set the liquid aside to save for later. It goes great in coffee or smoothies.)
    3. -Add the 3 tablespoons of tapioca starch and the 1 tablespoon of sugar. (You do not have to add any sugar at all. I did just to tone down the coconut flavor.)
    4. -Mix until you start seeing peaks form! (I LOVE peaky whipped cream!)


5. Add the drain cherries to the baked pie crust

6. Layer the beaten coconut milk on top of the cherries!

7. Refrigerate 1-2 hours (waiting is the only hard part of this entire recipe!)


P.S. This pie was even better the next day. I highly recommended making it the day before you would like to serve it. Allowing it to sit and chill together for a day really set the coconut cream and tied in the flavors well.

This pie is airy, healthy and tasty! It was just sweet enough without being too sweet! If you are curious about the ingredients in the Wholly Wholesome gluten free pie shell I used, you can find them here. WARNING: NO ADDED FOOD COLORING! Imagine that!

Let me know if you try it and what you think. This was my first pie I made without following a blog I found on Pinterest! BTW, Simply Beneficial Life has a Pinterest page where you pin great recipes just like this one.

What are your thoughts on food dyes or chemicals being sold as “food ingredients”? I think you know where I stand! 😉


Beneficial Becca


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