How I Prepared 2 Healthy Meals in 20 Minutes

eathealthy

I dropped Malachi off at piano lessons at 10:00 this morning, arriving home at 10:05.  I needed to leave again to pick him up at 10:25.  That leaves 20 minutes.  (That was your math lesson for the day. If only all story problems made that much sense.  Who invented those anyway?)

Knowing my day was super full:  school and website work throughout the day; piano lessons for Malachi at 10; soccer for Matt, Asa, Justus, and Malachi at 2; grocery shopping for Elias and me at 2; someone coming by to pick up a co-op order at 3:30; friend coming over to study with Asa at 4; Bible study at 6:30 – and did I mention there’s a “ready to be assembled” shower in my living room  and plaster dust all over my house right now??  Well, I knew I needed to stay on top of meals if we were going to actually eat today.

I decided to see how much meal prep I could get done in my 20 minutes of time before picking Malachi up from lessons.  See, I can’t just say, “Here’s how to put a nutritious meal together when you’re low on time.”  No.  I have to go into all the details about my schedule and give my opinions on math problems and tell you about the new toilet that promises to flush efficiently that’s still in the box but will soon be in my new bathroom but not until we get all the tile issues figured out.  (That is a story problem in and of itself.)

So busy day, blah, blah, blah.  Here’s how to put a nutritious meal together when you’re low on time:

2 Healthy Meals in 20 Minutes

Today I decided to make Easy Noodle Stir Fry for lunch and Taco Salad for dinner.

At 10:06 I started browning meat for the Taco Salad.  While it was cooking I washed and cut carrots and broccoli, throwing it all into a pot with spinach for Stir Fry.  (The asparagus I had planned to use up was slimy so I had to throw it out.  I was very disappointed and apparently need to re-read this post somebody wrote recently about not wasting food.)

I gave the meat a stir from time to time.  I answered a question about an English assignment, drank a few swigs of water, and threw some blueberries into my mouth for a snack.  I put water in a pot to boil noodles at noon.  I got out the noodles.  I dumped mixed greens into a big bowl, poured in cheese I had shredded Monday, and tossed it all around with the freshly cooked taco meat.  I mixed up French Dressing for the Taco Salad.

At 10:26 I ran out the door to pick up Malachi.

With all the major prep work done for our day’s meals, at lunch time all I had to do was turn on the stove to cook the prepared veggies and boil noodles.  At dinner time all I had to do was get the prepared salad out of the fridge, dice some tomatoes (which I picked up at the store this afternoon on my grocery run), and get out the tortilla chip crumbs I’ve been saving for such a meal as this.  I also cut up a pineapple to complete our evening meal.  That took two minutes.

Now you tell me.  Is it really so terribly time consuming to prepare healthy food?  I think not.

What are some of your quick-to-prepare meals that pack a punch with nutrition?  Have any great “prep-ahead” methods to share with us?

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Silicone Mat Giveaway Winners (From Healthy Cooking Products)

Silicone Baking Mat

The winners of the silicone mats from Healthy Cooking Products are:

1) Ellen: ellenmkimsey@
2) Emily K: emily-knight@
3) Terri: wrapwithlundells@
4) Carol Dowling: dowlingcarol@

Winners, email me to let me know your addresses! :)

Everyone be sure to check out the great silicone mats Healthy Cooking Products offers.  They are an incredible price and a wonderful way to use your bakeware safely!

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The Recipe That Didn’t Make the Cut – and What I Did With It

With all the recipe experimenting and inventing that goes on at our house (especially recently as we’ve been working on our new Healthy Snacks eBook), you can be certain that we have some fails and flops from time to time.  Sometimes a recipe idea turns out tasty but ugly, sometimes a recipe is not tasty in the least, and sometimes it’s both not tasty and it’s ugly.  Bless its pitiful little heart.

A few weeks ago I was excited to try out a recipe for Cinnamon Quick Bread.  Sounds good, right?  My men thought so.  It looked like a recipe I could adapt easily to make with healthier, real food ingredients.  But I ended up cutting the sugar down too low, and I didn’t adapt the baking soda amount, and I’m not sure what else I should have done differently – but not even Matt (who eats anything) could make himself choke it down.  It tasted like bread full of baking soda.  Can you say bitter?  Bleh.  (It was almost like the time I was at someone else’s house and I used salt instead of sugar while making cookies.  Wow, wow, wow.)

Now silly me.  I know better than to double a recipe experiment.  But indeed, I thought for sure this Cinnamon Quick Bread experiment would turn out fine.  So double it I did.  Brilliant.  Not only did I come away with one bitter loaf of quick bread – I came away with four.  {shudder}

Like I normally do with “leftovers,” I put the bread into the freezer.  I’m not sure why I did this, because dare I remind you of the nastiness?  It’s just hard to throw away food and hard work.  Maybe I thought the freezer would settle down the bitterness and bring out the sweetness – as if my freezer has a magic wand.  Hey, I figure if lasagna and spaghetti can taste better the next day, surely bitter bread can find a way to taste good.  I realize none of this makes sense.

Several weeks after baking and freezing the pitiful bread, I cleaned out my freezers.  Wouldn’t you know it?  Shoved in the back I found a bag with two of these delightfully gross loaves of bread.  It had been in there too long, so not only was it likely to still be bitter, it was also freezer burned and crumbly.  I’m telling you, I really nailed this one.

I walked to the trash can.  ”Just do it,” I said to myself.  I could bury it under the other trash.  No one would ever know.  

Ugh, I just couldn’t do it.  I decided that my family had by now forgotten how terrible the bread had tasted, so they wouldn’t be afraid to try it in a “re-purposed” breakfast.  Maybe?  Hopefully?

Guess what?  Nasty, bitter, crumbly quick bread – when soaked in egg and milk and cooked in butter on a griddle – makes a wonderful (yet more than slightly messy) French Toast breakfast.  Without blinking, my family ate both loaves of this interesting looking French Toast.  Butter and real maple syrup make anything better, right?  Well, at least in this case it worked.

cinnamon french toast mess

I’m sure your life is enriched by hearing that inspiring story.  I have no recipe to share this time (for obvious reasons, you’re welcome).  I can’t even give advice based on my bad experience.  But if at all possible, I do encourage you to try to make use of a recipe flop.  There really is likely a good way to use up the food so you don’t have to throw it away.

But one more thing:  Never stir 2 cups of salt into your cookie dough.  Paula Deen herself wouldn’t be able to figure out a way to repurpose that one.

Have a “recipe gone wrong” story to share with us?  Do tell. :)

Here are all the recipes that DID make the cut!  Get our 227 Healthy Snacks eBook while the price is still cut in half!

227 Healthy Snacks 2

 

$7.95
Get your 227 Healthy Snacks eBook for just $4.00!
(price good through January 31, 2015)

Add to Cart

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Gratituesday: Bathroom Remodel

gratituesday[2]

Our house is over 100 years old.  This means that it has a lot of character, which we love.  It also means that it has a lot of issues, which we have been working on during the past 12 years we’ve lived here.

Remember when Matt knocked out our living room walls, added insulation, then rebuilt the walls three years ago?

Before

living_room_3
During (oh my)

living_room_7

After

living_room_2

There have been several other projects going on since then as our house is a never-ending project!  The latest?  Our downstairs bathroom.  This room has been a huge frustration the past few years with a toilet that doesn’t work efficiently (understatement!), a bathtub that leaks, a sink that…well, you really don’t need all the gory details.

Here’s where we are with our “new bathroom” at this point:

Before

bathroom 1

 During

bathroom 2

And the “after” is yet to come.  Matt is working double-time on this project because we very much need our second bathroom back.  We’re in the midst of picking tile and a shower and a vanity and choosing colors schemes.  This is not my specialty!  I’m going with earth tones.  You’re shocked, I’m sure.

I can’t wait to show you the finished bathroom, and I’m even more excited to have a bathroom for people to use when they come over that I won’t have to say, “Hold the flusher down for thirty minutes when you’re done, the plunger is in the bathtub if you need it, and if the door sticks when you’re trying to get out, just bang really loud and we’ll come kick it in for you.”

You think I’m kidding.

God is good to give us the resources to make these home improvements.  I’m so thankful for my husband and his hard work and know-how.  Very soon, I’ll be sharing the “after” picture of our beautiful new bathroom.  I can’t wait!

What are you thankful for this Gratituesday?  Leave a comment to let us know what God is doing in your life. 

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227 Healthy Snack Ideas and Recipes

It’s here!  The eBook that is going to take care of all your snacking needs.  Nourishing, simple, easy, and YUM – 227 times over.

227 Healthy Snacks

This book contains 59 pages full of 227 awesome snacking ideas.  These have all become our snacking staples, and they are sure to become yours too!

  • All 227 of these snack ideas and recipes can be prepared ahead of time for easy snacking.
  • More than 200 can be prepared or mixed up in a matter of a few minutes.
  • 145 of them are naturally gluten free or are recipes that can be easily adapted to become gluten free.

And how about the 78 recipes in this book?  I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had creating new recipes for this resource!  From homemade Payday candy bar knock-offs to oyster crackers to hearty cookies and bars to several varieties of crackers and so much more – you will love these simple, real food recipes.  Just for fun, I’ve even perfected a homemade fruit snack (lightly sweetened with honey)!

227 Healthy Snacks

I am so excited for you to enjoy this resource along with me!  We want you all to have a copy right away, so we’re giving you an introductory price of just $4.00!  Hurry to snatch the eBook at this price for this week only.

$7.95
$4.00 (through Saturday, January 31)

Add to Cart
Just for fun, I thought I’d share part of the recipe index this ebook includes:

Fruit and Veggie Snacks 

Apple Cinnamon Fruit Leather
Peach Fruit Leather
Apple Ring Pancakes
Sweet and Easy Fruit Salad
Hawaiian Islands Fruit Salad
Peaches and Cream Fruit Salad
Strawberry Kiwi Bowls
Asparagus Fries
Zucchini Pancakes
Cucumber Sandwiches
Chocolate Whipped Cream Topped Strawberries
Sweet Potato Fries
Cool Pineapple Cream Dessert
Orange Creamsicles
Strawberry Creamsicles

Snackin’ Dips

Super Easy Hummus
Green Chili Dip
Fresh and Quick Salsa
Spicy Sausage Chip Dip
Spicy Lentil Dip
Strawberry Yogurt Fruit Dip
Easy Nacho Cheese Dip

Popcorn Varieties

White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn
No Corn Syrup Caramel Corn
Chili Cheese Popcorn
Ranch Popcorn

Muffins and Quick Breads

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Pineapple Upside-Down Muffins
Pizza Muffin Bites
Orange Cranberry Muffins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Broccoli and Cheese Cornbread Muffins
Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

Hearty Snack Bars and Cookies

Raspberry Oatmeal Bars
Caramel Oatmeal Bars
Crispy Snack Squares
Coconut Fudge Bars
Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Sweet Potato Squares
Chewy Flourless Peanut Butter Bars
Simple Baked Granola Bars
Banana Bars
Applesauce Bars
Pecan Pie Bars
Quick Snickerdoodle Bites
Strawberry Brownies
Pineapple Bars
Pineapple Coconut Bars
Chocolate Raspberry Bars
Carrot Bars
Cream Cheese Blueberry Bars
Chocolate Walnut Bars
Easy Peanut Butter Snack Bars
Chocolate Date Peanut Butter Bars
Chocolate Almond Granola Bars
Rice Crispy Balls
Honey Peanut Bars
Chocolate Peanut Butter Raisin Balls

Homemade Sweet or Savory Crackers

Oatmeal Crackers
Shortbread
Cheddar Pecan Crackers
Oyster Cracker Bites
Mini Chocolate Chip Cookie Snackers

Healthy Drink Snacks

Morning Glory Smoothie
Strawberry Kiwi Smoothie
Green Machine Milkshakes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Cool Watermelon Chiller
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
Strawberry Banana Sipper
Chocolate Whipped Cream for Coffee

Other Snack Recipes

Homemade Fruit Snacks
Cranberry Nut Trail Mix
Pizzadillas
Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
BLT Roll-Ups
Mexi Roll-Ups
Super Creamy Peanut Butter
Quick and Easy Crepes
Cream Cheese Filling for Crepes

$7.95
Get your 227 Healthy Snacks eBook for just $4.00!
(price good through January 31, 2015)

Add to Cart

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Menu Plan for This Week and a Freezer/Pantry Challenge Update

Well, with my huge stock-pile of food, we are still doing just fine with only purchasing fresh produce, eggs, and dairy.  Confession:  You will see a little package of Hormel’s Naturals lunch meat in this grocery shopping picture from this week.  I needed some slivered ham for a fun breakfast idea my friend Brenda told me about at Bunco.  I had to have it, yes I did.  You’ll be thankful she told me about this and that I veered off course just enough to buy it.  Just wait until I share the recipe.  :)

jan 22

This isn’t everything, by the way.  I had to make a mid-week run to the store since we were almost out of everything fresh.
I got cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and I can’t remember what else because it’s gone already.

Can you believe I bought strawberries in January??  I can’t even believe it.  Somehow, they were a great price and actually looked good.  This never happens in Nebraska, but seeing as we are having 50° weather, it does sort of feel like spring.  Even if these strawberries aren’t as delicious as they are in the summertime, I figure that at the very least we can choke them down with some Chocolate Whipped Cream.  Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.

I bought three packages of blueberries this week – woohoo for price matching!  I also price-matched broccoli, cauliflower, and apples.  This price-matching thing has been saving me a bundle.

Speaking of which, I am excited to share that our family has seen some significant grocery budget savings this month since I’ve bought only fresh food and have avoided buying anything for our freezers or pantry.  We will be ending the month with spending at just a tad over $400.  This number is fantastic for my family in this season of life.  (Oh my, I remember the days I spent less than that for everything including meat and pantry staples.  Hello, teenage appetites.)

I have also found it interesting to note that it takes between $100-$130 per week to keep us in fresh produce, eggs, and milk.  Seem like a lot?  I beg to differ.  That amount goes a long way toward awesome nutrition so it is very, very worth it.  I also love thinking about how our preserved garden produce helps keep that amount as low as it is.  I also (how many times can I use also in the same paragraph?) realize how blessed we are that our fresh milk and eggs are priced so very reasonably.

And now, here is our list of menu items for this week.  What a blessing to have so much variety and so much good food!

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Sides (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

If you are also taking an “Eat from the Pantry and Freezer” Challenge, I’d love to hear how it is going for you!

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Use Coconut Oil For Fantastically Healthy Baked Goods (Free Shipping from Tropical Traditions!)

If you make no other changes in your diet, at least switch over unhealthy fats for healthy fats.  Butter and Coconut Oil are amazing, both in nutritional value and in flavor.  Do this.  You will love it.  Your body will love it.  Your baked goods will love it.

Seriously, my baked goods used to taste so weird and turn out looking so weird when I used margarine.  <— naughty word

Butter and coconut oil can’t help but turn out a great baked good.  They are real.  Real food makes real good food.  <— someone should embroider that quote and hang it on a wall

Now the best news:  There are some great coconut oil sales going on this weekend.  Take advantage of this and be on your way to better health (and really yummy food).  First off, my very favorite, top of the line, coconut oil of all coconut oils is on sale this weekend at Tropical Traditions.  Get two quart jars of Organic Gold Label Coconut Oil for just $45.  This makes them $22.50 each for the highest quality oil I’ve ever seen or used.  This variety has a light coconut flavor.

tropical traditions coconut oil 2
Next, Tropical Traditions is offering two 16-ounce jars of their Pure Coconut Oil for a total of just $12.50!  That is crazy low, and I love it.  Stock up!!!  Why is this one so much lower than the one I mentioned above?  Because it is processed just a little differently.  While it’s not as high quality as their Gold Label oil, I still love the Pure Coconut Oil and it is still very nutritious.  This one is odorless and flavorless – perfect for those of you who want the health benefit but not the coconut flavor.  I use both varieties.  :)

tropical traditions pure coconut oil
The best news of all?  Tropical Traditions is offering free shipping this weekend!!!  With a minimum purchase of $19.00, use the code 15261 and receive free shipping.  I only purchase when I can pair their sale prices with free shipping.

One more thing:  New customers with Tropical Traditions automatically receive a free Virgin Coconut Oil Book with your order.

Happy baking!

This post contains referral links.

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Lilla Rose Flash Sale Today!

Look what’s happening at Lilla Rose today!

flash sale

You can take advantage of this WITH Paula’s special offer:

Get a FREE SURPRISE FLEXI when you place a $40 order between now and January 23!!!*

*Place an order of $40 or more (excluding tax and shipping) through Paula’s website, then message her to redeem your free surprise flexi! Offer valid for U.S. customers only and expires January 23, 2015. This is for both new and Paula’s returning customers, but if you already have another Lilla Rose consultant, please stay with her; I’m sure she will appreciate it!

Too fun!

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Honey Peanut Bars ~ Like a Healthy Payday Candy Bar

Ladies and um, other Ladies (although surely there is a gentleman or three around here too):  We have a winner!

Thanks to all who put in their vote as to which of the new healthy snack recipes from our upcoming eBook we should reveal early.  It was a pretty close call on several.  I put Malachi to work making tally marks as votes came in (a great school project for him).  He had a lot of fun with it…

counting votes

Here’s how my afternoon sounded:

“Pizza Muffins are in the lead.  They’re going to win for sure!”
“Mom!  Peanut Bars have a ton of votes.  They caught up to Pizza Muffins.”
“I think Oyster Crackers are going to pull ahead!”
“It’s back to the Peanut Bars.  Why is everyone choosing that one?”

Yeah, Malachi doesn’t like peanuts.  ;)

When it was all said and done, the Honey Peanut Bars won by several votes.  Not to worry though.  Our 227 Healthy Snacks eBook is almost finished.  Then you’ll have access to all the recipes forever!  (Our goal is to have the book ready for you by Sunday night.)

I mixed up a batch of these Honey Peanut Bars tonight again, just because they sounded good.  Our older boys will probably finish them all off once they get home from basketball practice.  What a perfect post-workout/bedtime snack for them.  (With apples and cheese and whatever else they get out because…do I really need to explain?)

You should be excited to know that it only took about five minutes for me to mix these up tonight.  Their simplicity is of the many reasons I love them.  :)

Honey Peanut Bars

1 1/4 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/3 cup honey
3 Tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

In a small saucepan stir honey, peanut butter, and salt together over low heat until well combined.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanuts and almonds.  Spread mixture into an 8×8 inch pan.  Chill for 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

Honey Peanut Bars - Better Than a Payday

Told you they were easy to make!  Go grab your simple ingredients and get busy on these bars.  You will love them as much as we do (well, everyone but Malachi).  Be watching for 227 Healthy Snacks – coming very, very soon!

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Lilla Rose Giveaway Winners

The winners of our Lilla Rose Flexi-Clips are:

1) Carie W-F: folzfamily@
2) Lynette: netteshome@
3) Betsy: betsy.tripp@

Winners, please email me and I’ll forward your info on to Paula for your prize. :)

Don’t forget:

Get a FREE SURPRISE FLEXI when you place a $40 order between now and January 23!!!*

*Place an order of $40 or more (excluding tax and shipping) through Paula’s website, then message her to redeem your free surprise flexi! Offer valid for U.S. customers only and expires January 23, 2015. This is for both new and Paula’s returning customers, but if you already have another Lilla Rose consultant, please stay with her; I’m sure she will appreciate it!

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