What to do if you love coffee but need to watch the caffeine. (Have you tried Teeccino?)

Sometimes a person says something she means but doesn’t really mean. You know what I mean?

Take, for instance, when I say, “I love to drink. Drinking is so fun! Drinks make me happy.” You might think I have a drinking problem. It’s definitely not a problem, though, because I can stop any time I want to.

Now, what I’m talking about, isn’t drinking. No, no. I’m talking about drinking. Understand now? I actually stay away from drinking because my system can’t handle it, I’ve seen too many dear friends struggle with it, and anyway, I have way more fun when I’m drinking instead.

I drink at home and I drink with my family and it’s great to invite friends over and say, “Do you want to come over for drinks?”

Well now. I think after reading that we can all use a drink. What can I get you?

  • Coffee? (Iced or hot? Decaf or regular? With cream and a spoonful of my homemade chocolate sauce?)
  • Tea? (Hot or cold? Sweet or unsweet? Mango or peach? Raspberry perhaps?)
  • Water? (Ice or no ice? With lemon or lime?)
  • Sparkling Juice? (Cranberry is our favorite. Recipe is coming soon.)

Now that we’re all clear (as mud) on where I’m coming from, allow me to explain further.

I always drink a nice amount of water during the day so I stay hydrated and healthy. I actually like water, even if it is just…water. But I also really like to enjoy another fun drink or two throughout the day.

pumpkin_custard_drink

Desserts? I’m over them. Junk food? I really don’t want it. But a variety of drinks? Yes, please. I think they are a ridiculously fun treat even though I don’t even add sugar or stevia to them.

I realize this puts me over the edge into the complete nerd category, but you guys, sipping an iced coffee in the afternoon is as much a treat to me as brownies used to be back in my “I can eat anything” days. Tossing a slice of lemon in my water makes me feel like I’m indulging in something special when in reality, I’m still in my pajamas and I’m about to embark on a science lesson with my kids.

Having a cup of hot tea mid-morning (let’s call it a “spot of tea,” shall we?) in a special mug really hits the spot while I’m answering emails. Enjoying a flavored sparkling water (lime is my fav) with my lunch makes me feel like I’m splurging at a restaurant. And setting out an assortment of hot drink choices for my family before we begin a game night is way, way more fun than one would think.

Coffee Milkshake

This leads me to share about a fun drink many of you already know about (because several of you have mentioned it through the years). A sample of Teeccino came in my last Azure Standard order.

I made a BIG DEAL of trying it. As in, I made it, put on my pj’s and slippers while it was brewing, added cream, and snuggled under a fuzzy blanket in the living room so I could sip it slowing and savor it. I only had one kid at home with me at the time, so naturally I made him try it with me. He was a good sport, skipped the slippers, and added sugar to his.

We both came back with a thumbs up. So now I have yet another great drink to add to my drinking repertoire. Can life get any more fun than this?! I think not.

teeccino

What is Teeccino?

It’s an herbal tea, completely decaf, which tastes similar to coffee. But don’t expect it to taste exactly like coffee because it doesn’t.  I think it has a unique taste – kind of a mixture of coffee, tea, and chocolate.

It is delicious, though, and I love that it’s decaf so I can enjoy it in the evenings!

All of my family has tried it and enjoys it too. Therefore, I ordered a case which is a variety pack, because of ALL THE FUN this will provide for us.

Now that you’ve heard my drinking confessions, it time for you to share what your favorite drinks are. Also, have you tried Teeccino and do you like it?

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips

Did you get your free Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook yet? You will LOVE how easy it is to put real food meals on the table. As you can tell with the Simple Garlic Shrimp recipe and now this Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips recipe – we are now well on our way to Simple Recipes, Volume 2.

Simple Recipes excitement

Let’s keep the Simple Recipes coming!

ranch chicken12

Today I’m excited to share a recipe that has been a family favorite for several years at our house. Of course, seeing as I like everything to be simple now, I’ve pared down the steps it used to take to prepare this chicken. (Pick up one little piece of chicken. Dip the piece of chicken. Dip it again. No thank you.) C’mon. We have more important things to do with our lives…like attempting to have a Family Movie Night.

Attempting? Yes. Allow me to share a little issue I have as of late.

I can’t stay awake for a movie. Ever. It goes something like this:

  1. I get excited that our family has an actual free evening.
  2. We decide to have a movie night and discuss which movie to watch together.
  3. We make snacks and special hot drinks to enjoy while we’re watching the movie together.
  4. Everyone takes forever to actually get their food and drinks and get themselves into the living room to start the movie. (I’m always the picture of loving patience during this time.)
  5. I begin to get nervous, knowing my eyes struggle to stay open if it gets too late. HURRY EVERYONE!!! Thankfully, we’ve started the “get the movie set up and snacks on your plates” ritual at 8:00. Surely I can handle staying awake for a movie with it being so early, right? Well, one would think.
  6. We finally get situated and start the movie at 8:32.
  7. I finish my snack and fall asleep promptly at 8:47.
  8. I wake up just as the credits roll at the end.

Every. Single. Time.

It doesn’t matter what movie. It doesn’t matter what time we begin. (I know this because we tested to see if I could stay awake during an afternoon movie while drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee. I still got sleepy. You may as well ruin every movie for me by telling me who gets married and who dies and who the hero is because I may never watch an entire movie again.)

Well, anyway. The Simple Recipes and Simple Meals resources do everything they can to keep you out of the kitchen and offer you more family time. As far as staying awake during a Family Movie Night goes – you’re on your own. There’s obviously nothing I can do to help any of us with this need.

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken Strips
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup whole grain flour (rice, wheat, corn, etc) or crushed corn flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix*
  • 1 cup melted butter, divided
Instructions
  1. Cut chicken into strips about 1 inch wide.
  2. Drizzle ½ cup melted butter into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  3. In a bowl, stir together parmesan cheese, flour, and ranch dressing mix.
  4. Stir in the chicken pieces until they are coated.
  5. Spread the prepared chicken pieces into the butter in the pan.
  6. Drizzle the remaining butter over the chicken.
  7. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
  8. If desired, broil chicken for about 2 minutes to crisp it up before serving.

*Here’s my Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix recipe.

Simple Crunchy Ranch Chicken

Notice the recipe offers you a “cheater” method to get these chicken pieces into a pan in a short amount of time! You can dip each piece one at a time if you want, but I simply melt the butter into the pan, stir the chicken all together in a bowl with the flour mixture, then dump it into the buttery pan. It’s so simple!

Typically I prefer chicken thighs over breasts because they are juicier and more flavorful. For this recipe though, I like chicken breasts. I also keep my eye out for mark-downs at the store on chicken breasts pre-cut into strips. It’s a time saver and the mark-down keeps the price reasonable!

‘Fess up! Can you stay awake during movies?

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

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Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

I’ve Been Taking Clean Water for Granted

If ever my kids are whiny, achy, arguing, or restless, I give them this admonition, “Go take a drink of water.”

It’s become a joke around here, as if water is my answer for everything. (Kid: “I can’t find my math book.” Me: “Go take some sips of water.” Perhaps I’ve taken the water thing just a little too far?)

watersm

Hey. I’m right you know. Drinking water really does help many an ailment. Cranky kids really might simply be thirsty, you know? Any time we’re struggling to focus, we take a water break and it almost always helps.  (Unfortunately, drinking water has yet to help us find motivation to clean the house. I find that coffee works better for this. But I digress.)

I heart water. I drink water all day long. I encourage everyone to be sure they are drinking enough water. And I’ve recently come to realize that I take the gift of water for granted.

It’s just right there at my sink, all day long, you know? It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to fill my glass full of clean water and drink it as needed.

I’ve known that other countries don’t have it as easy as I do, but I haven’t learned much about this problem until recently. How about you? Here’s something I just found out:

6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) is the average distance that people in the developing world – often women and young girls – walk for water each day. This walk can be dangerous, and the water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.

OVER THREE MILES!! That’s how far little girls walk every day just to collect (contaminated) water for their families. This news causes me anxiety, which at my house means I need to pause, re-group, and take a sip of water. Oh, the irony.

Many, thankfully, are doing what they can to help with this global drinking water problem. I’ve started by doing this:

Each time I take a sip of water throughout the day, I pray for God to provide clean access to water to those for whom it is a struggle.

It’s a simple thing to do, letting my water drinking habit become a prayer trigger. And what else? Well, what are you doing Saturday, May 6?

This is something we can all do to help!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, people from around the globe will walk or run 6 kilometers to support World Vision’s water initiatives through the World Vision Global 6K for Water.

The Global 6K for Water is organized by Team World Vision, a group of passionate people who run, walk, and race to help children get clean water. Team World Vision’s water projects run in harmony with World Vision’s work in other key areas of development: health, education, food, and economic development. This approach tackles the root causes of poverty, enabling children to experience fullness of life.

Team World Vision was founded in 2006, and since then, they have helped more than 30,000 people cross finish lines to raise $30 million for World Vision’s work around the world.

Did you read that? $30 million! When each person does a little, a LOT of help can be offered!

How you and I can help

World Vision is on site in different parts of the world to make clean water accessible for many. We can partner with them to help – no matter where we live and what we do! Here are some options to consider:

  • Become a host site: Work together with your church, school, community center or run club to register as a host site (it’s free!) and spread the word about how fun and easy it is to support clean water programs around the world! Whether your goal is 10 people or 100 people, World Vision will equip you with all the marketing materials, race day signage and staff support for a successful race day.
  • Join a local host site: Walk or run with other Global 6K for Water participants at a host site near you.
  • Start a virtual team: Invite your friends and family all around the country to join your “team” even though you will each be walking or running from your own neighborhoods on race day. <—- This is what I’ll be doing. Stay tuned!
  • Individual race: Walk or run the Global 6K for Water from your own front door – whether on a treadmill or around the neighborhood with your kids, you’ll be taking part in a global effort to support clean water! (Note: Thanks to our generous donors, the registration fee for kids (15 and under) is only $25 – a discount of 50%!)

Each participant’s registration fee of $50 supports World Vision’s water programs. After registration, you will receive a World Vision Global 6K for Water t-shirt, a race bib with a photo of a child you can sponsor, and a race medal in the mail.

Who wants to walk with me?!

I’d love it if we all took a virtual walk together! Even better, promote this to all your friends so the word will spread and more can become involved in helping!

Register here and mark May 6 on your calendar. Watch for more details coming soon as we plan this fun and beneficial event!

Now, everyone go take some sips of water. And while you do, pray for those for whom drinking clean water is a challenge. How exciting that, together, we can be a part of making healthy opportunities around the world!

I was compensated by World Vision for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.

15 Delicious Ways to Use Chocolate Chips and a Big Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip Discount!

I shared this last year, but am re-sharing today to be sure you all see the awesome Enjoy Life Chocolate Chip deal happening right now!

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

It’s always fun this time of year to find discounts on my favorite Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips! Companies avoid shipping them out during the summer months because they arrive in the mail messy and melty. Therefore the price always goes up when it’s warm. But winter? Well, this is one reason to like winter. If we can’t enjoy warmth and sunshine, at least we can enjoy chocolate. (One must choose to seek joy in all circumstances.)

Today I found that Amazon is offering huge discount!!!

Why the Enjoy Life brand? Because they are soy free, dairy, and nut free. They taste just as yummy as any other brand, and we have the benefit of avoiding soy! I keep these on hand at all times!

Right now (but who knows how long this price and coupon will last??) you can get a 6-pack of the chocolate chips for just $17.88! That makes each package just $2.98 – and amazing price for these gems!

enjoy life six pack

Want some chocolate chip recipes?

15 Recipes That Use Chocolate Chips

Malachi has been helping in the kitchen more lately, thanks to the Kids Cook Real Food course. At this point, he’s mostly motivated by dessert – as in, he would prefer not to “waste time” making boring ol’ scrambled eggs or ranch dip. I’m going to need him to get over that very soon, but to keep it light today I asked, “What do you want to make?” His answer? “FUDGE.”

Okay then.

I had him make this Peanut Butter Honey Fudge recipe, but with almond butter instead of peanut butter. It doesn’t get any easier than this 3-ingredient recipe. Though we’ve decided that the result tastes more like a Tootsie Roll than fudge. Still awesome.

malachi fudge 1

Our other favorite recipes that include chocolate chips are:

Giant Breakfast Cookies

breakfast_cookies

Chewy Granola Bars

chewy_granola_bars
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate_Chocolate_Chip_Muffins
Coconut Flour Muffins

Coconut_Flour_Muffin
Baked Oatmeal Cups

Baked_Oatmeal_Cups
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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(…which can also be made into Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread.)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread
Peanut Butter or Caramel Truffles

Delicious Homemade Truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

cookie_bars

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Mudballs

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(No Flour) Monster Cookie Bars

Real Food Monster Cookie Bars

Easy Peanut Butter Snack Bars

peanut butter snack bars

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls

There. I gave you 15 excuses to eat chocolate chips. Plus a lovely discount on my favorite brand of chocolate chips. Plus a lot of pictures to make you want chocolate right this minute. You’re welcome or I’m sorry – take your pick.

Some of the links in this post are my affiliate links.

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp Recipe (3-Ingredients!)

It’s not that I can’t handle thawing meat ahead of time for dinner. Ok yes. That’s exactly what it is. I can’t handle thawing meat ahead of time for dinner. Or soaking beans, which is probably why I need to break down and get an Instant Pot.

I frequently rely on the “thaw meat in a tub of water” method so I can have dinner ready on time. Or I use recipes like Simple Overnight Melt-in-Your-Mouth Beef Roast or Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken that don’t require any thawing at all.

Today, I’m happy to introduce to you yet another “don’t worry about thawing the meat” recipe: Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp.

shrimp1

I only buy shrimp occasionally since it’s a bit on the pricey side and I don’t have a great source for it here in Nebraska. (We’re good at raising cows and chickens here in my beloved state. Shrimp? Not so much.)

But occasionally I’ll grab a couple bags of frozen shrimp to cook for my family as a special treat. It takes no effort to make this, and it can go from freezer to skillet without a problem!

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp Recipe (3-Ingredients!)
 
Author:
Serves: 3-5
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds raw shrimp (any size, frozen or thawed)
  • ¼-1/2 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or freshly minced garlic
Instructions
  1. Cook ingredients together in a skillet for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Easy as that!

I usually just serve this shrimp by itself with some fruit and veggie side dishes. But if you really want to go all out, I recommend making Alfredo Sauce with Pasta to go with this Garlic Butter Shrimp. It’s amazing, plus tastier, cheaper, and healthier than what you can order in a restaurant.

Simple Garlic Butter Shrimp

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

Get all those recipes in an eBook FOR FREE when you join Simple Meals! —>

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

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How To Make Your Own Popcorn Flavor Shakers (7 Varieties!)

Two Christmases ago, we surprised our boys with this Vintage Popcorn Machine. It’s been super fun for family movie nights – but especially fun to use when we invite friends over.

popcorn machine

I’ve had it on my to-do list since then to make fun flavor shakers to go with our popcorn. (Not that coconut oil and sea salt aren’t amazing in and of themselves.)

Finally, I got the shakers made for my kids to enjoy a year later – in time for Christmas this year. Then it took another three months to type this out to share with you. Time flies when you’re eating popcorn.

So if anyone understands that it might take you until 2019 to make these, it will be me. But if you happen to find a few minutes before then, do try to whip these up. It doesn’t take long, I promise. (Neither does washing windows, but do I ever get around to that? No. Let’s stop talking about that and eat some popcorn, want to?)

popcorn-shaker-collection2

The beauty of these Popcorn Flavor Shakers is that they taste just as good, if not better than, the commercial ones you can buy at the store. But of course, when we make our own we will save money and include only healthy ingredients.

You may find it helpful to blend these ingredients together to make a fine powder for easier sprinkling.

7 Popcorn Flavor Shaker Recipes

Taco

2 Tablespoon dried minced onion
1 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Ranch

2 Tablespoons dried minced onions
3 teaspoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

(These ingredients are the same as my Ranch Dressing Mix, so if you have that on hand, simply blend it and pour it into a shaker.)

Barbecue

3 teaspoons smoky paprika
1 teaspoon sucanat or brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Hot Chocolate

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Salted Caramel

3 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Cinnamon Sugar

3 Tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Pizza

1½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper

make-your-own-popcorn-flavor-shakers

Want a printable that includes the shaker labels and easy recipe reference? Join our free newsletter list (we have a lot of fun together!) and I’ll send it to you!

popcorn-shakers2

If you’re already on my Heavenly Homemaker’s Newsletter List, I sent you an email yesterday with these goodies attached. :)

Introducing the Very Beautiful: Simple Recipes, Volume 1 (How you can get it for FREE!)

Look what we’ve been working on!

Simple Recipes excitement

It’s a brand new eBook, full of all the Simple Recipes I’ve shared recently. It’s beautiful (thanks to my designer!). And at the risk of over-using the word simple – it simplifies the Simple Recipes you’re using to put Simple Meals on the table.

(Side note: Can we actually over-use the word simple? I don’t think so. All of us, everywhere, want our days and our lives to be as simple as possible, right?! Let us all, therefore, apply the word simple to everything we do.)

Here’s a little peek at what the pages inside this new Simple Recipes eBook look like:

simple recipes sample page

Simple Recipes, Volume 1 is filled with over 24 recipes – all of which:

  • Utilize real, whole food ingredients
  • Take only a few minutes to prepare
  • Are absolutely family friendly
  • Take the stress away from meal prep!!

Simple Recipes ebook cover

Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook
Simple Recipes, Volume 1 is filled with over 24 recipes - all of which utilize real, whole food ingredients, take only a few minutes to prepare, are absolutely family friendly, and take the stress away from meal prep!!
Price: $6.95

How you can get Simple Recipes, Volume 1 for FREE!

We’ve got this eBook priced with the frugal in mind – only $6.95. But if you’re a Simple Meals member, we’re adding this to your collection of the free eBooks you have access to!

HUGE PERK of being a Simple Meals member: First, we give you a $10 coupon to use on your Simple Meals purchase. Then, we give you over $60 of free recipe eBooks. Well, now you can make that $67 worth of free recipe eBooks – because our newest Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook will be added to your free eBook file!

Is Simple Meals worth it? I’m pretty sure I just proved it (because you get more in free product than you actually pay for your entire one-year subscription!). But more important than all the free books you get with your purchase, you get an entire year’s worth of weekly Simple Meals Plans (for less than a $1 per week, which is practically ridiculous, but true).

Also? The weekly meal plans come with bonus recipes, bonus time saving tips, a complete grocery list, gluten free adaptations, and more. EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Please join everyone who is loving Simple Meals!! You can’t beat the price and you will be amazed about all that is included in this subscription!

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And as of today, this beautiful new Simple Recipes, Volume 1 eBook will be added to the free eBook collection for Simple Meals members. Let’s keep the simple, real food, real family recipes coming!

The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World! (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)

Because I work from home and we school at home, my daily commute and our trek to school are as far as walking downstairs to the kitchen from our bedrooms (uphill both ways, mind you). This also means that my work attire is typically quite casual and sometimes involves pajama pants.

It all makes sense, then, that I would run out the door to a meeting a few evenings ago where I would join many professionals who had just left their offices. They were so dressed up and looked so nice! I took a seat, looked down, and that’s when I noticed that I was still wearing my slippers.

Nailed it. But at least I had on actual pants.

I’ve gotten to the point of laughing (most of the time) about the craziness of my days – mostly because I truly do love my life – even if it is sometimes questionably insane. The “day of the slippers” I had gone from one kid to the next to the next as we tried to crank out papers and assignments for school, along with a video that was due for a church event the minute we got back from a three day out-of-state basketball tournament. Try as I might, never once was I able to sit down to even answer a work email.

The day after that was no different (except that I was still wearing those same slippers). So I’m not sure what came over me when I decided that morning to try the Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes so many of you told me about after I’d lamented that my mashed tater making days had come to an end.

They take too much time, said I. They make too much of a mess. I’ve got to keep my meals simple!!

All of this is true. After all, I don’t even have time to remember to wear shoes when I go out in public. Therefore no one should expect me to make mashed potatoes for dinner.

But since the crock pot version seemed just as simple as making baked potatoes in the crock pot – and I’ve been doing that for years – I decided to give mashed potatoes one last chance.

The easiest mashed potatoes in the world!

You guys. My children are so happy that you are in my life. They had long since forgotten that mashed potatoes were an actual thing. Imagine their faces (and their full plates) when I presented them with a crock full of beautiful, fluffy, delicious mashed potatoes THAT HAD TAKEN ALL OF 2 MINUTES TO MAKE.

The crock pot has made mashed potatoes great again.

What’s the difference in the amount of work/time/dirty dishes compared to making mashed potatoes on the stove-top? The difference for me is enormous!

When I made potatoes on the stove-top, I’d dirty a pot, and I’d almost always allow the potato water to spill over and dirty the stove-top. Then I’d transfer the cooked potatoes to a bowl and use my beaters to mash them. This means I’d dirty my counter-tops because I’m a messy cook and potatoes would fling precariously from the beaters.

I can’t even handle the memory of making mashed potatoes this way. I just had to walk away.

But here’s how to make Simple Mashed Potatoes in the Crock Pot. I do warn you ahead of time and apologize because I no longer know how to cook in small quantity. If you aren’t feeding an army of teenage boys, feel free to cut this recipe in half.

The Easiest Mashed Potatoes in the World

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Mashed Potatoes (How the crock pot can make mashed potatoes great again)
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 5 pounds potatoes (I prefer yukon gold)
  • 1 cup whole milk, half-and-half, or cream
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ¼-1/2 cup butter
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Scrub, but don't peel the potatoes
  2. Cook them in a crock pot on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5 hours.
  3. Mash soft potatoes directly in the crock with a potato masher.
  4. While mashing, dump in the milk, sour cream, butter, and salt.
  5. Continue mashing until potatoes have reached desired consistency.

How to make the easiest mashed potatoes in the worldA few extra tips: 

  • If you don’t like potato skins, peel them before baking them. Of course, this requires an extra step, takes away some nourishment, and I just can’t handle it. (The skin on yukon gold or red potatoes is much thinner and easier to eat, so I recommend sticking with those potatoes in this recipe!)
  • You don’t have to add sour cream and butter to these, but if you don’t, what even is the point of eating them??
  • These will cook faster if you cut the potatoes into chunks, but again, then we’ve added an extra step to the process which changes the name of these potatoes to “Almost the easiest mashed potatoes in the world.”

Much to my family’s delight, I have made mashed potatoes two weeks in a row after a very long mashed potato hiatus. A huge thank you to all who suggested this method!

Tell me if you’ve tried mashed potatoes this way? If you haven’t, promise me you’ll join this mashed potato party!

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

When people ask me if I have a Honey Mustard Dressing recipe, I feel kind of silly. How weird am I to answer, “Yes. I mix honey with mustard. I call it Honey Mustard.”

There’s probably a more detailed option for making Honey Mustard Dressing. But why go to the trouble to look that up when you can just mix the two ingredients together and call it a day?

Spreading my “special” honey-mustard concoction over chicken legs is ridiculously simple and tastes fantastic. So who’s up for another recipe that only takes 5-minutes to prepare?

honey-mustard-chicken1

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs

Yum

Simple Honey Mustard Chicken Legs
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds (give or take) chicken legs (or any variety of chicken pieces you like)
  • 3 Tablespoons mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place chicken pieces in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl and spread over the top of the chicken.
  3. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and juices run clear.

simple-honey-mustard-chicken-legs

 

Here’s a tip that works well for me: Watch for chicken pieces marked down in the meat section. I often get Smart Chicken legs for $1.49/pound as they reach their “sell by” date. I buy every package and freeze it to use in simple meals like this one. Talk about an inexpensive way to feed my family!

Here are more Simple Recipes you’ll love!

Truly, all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, good, and nourishing.

If you haven’t joined Simple Meals yet, you are missing out on SIMPLE becoming even MORE SIMPLE! (It’s actually possible. I do the work for you.) Check it out here (and get $10 off!). Get an full Simple Meals Planning Packet in your inbox every single week!

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Simple Salad: How I Cheat and Serve Salad Without Actually Making Salad

You guys. I am a cheater. I am a cheater, cheater, salad eater.

Simple Overnight Beef Roast

I tell you all the time that I “serve a tossed salad” with my meals. I suggest in almost every daily Simple Meal menu to “serve tossed salad.” I just wrote an entire post about how necessary it is to eat salad every day. I even express frequently how ridiculously easy it is to serve salads as a side dish with our meals as a way to get nourishment without going to any trouble.

But several of you are like, “Hey. It isn’t actually easy and it is a lot of trouble. I hate making tossed salads. All the washing, and the chopping, and the tossing…”

Shoot. I guess I haven’t really told you in detail what I actually mean when I say “serve a tossed salad.” You guys, the only thing I actually toss are these bad boys:

groceries feb 173

I get them from the fridge and I toss them at my boys to put onto the table.

That is how I toss a salad.

If I have grape tomatoes, I wash them and toss those onto the table too. Sometimes I toss over those mini sweet peppers that are so deliciously amazing.

simple-beanie-weanies

The Organic Mixed Greens and Spinach I buy are pre-washed so they take zero prep. Maybe we can’t actually call it a “salad” if we’re not mixing anything into the lettuce or greens, but if you ask me, the point of all of this is that we’re eating greens and that is the most valuable player. Any bonus veggies we eat with the greens are fantastic, but everyone at our house is old enough to add those to their plate or bowl by themselves.

As far as salad dressing? We all like ranch at our house so we keep a quart of Homemade Ranch Dressing on hand at all times. I’d toss that over to the table too, but I think we all know it’s best to place a glass jar full of liquid onto the table with care. But hey, if that’s the most difficult part of my salad making experience, I think I’m doing okay.

How about the cost of buying these ready-to-serve Mixed Greens or Spinach? I get an entire pound of each organic variety for just under $6. One pound is A LOT of greens. For $12/week, the five of us still living at home get around 25 salads out of those packages. It’s some of the least expensive, most power-packed nourishment there is!

So I think that you, too, should be a cheater, cheater, salad eater. I mean, when tossing a salad really is as easy as tossing a container onto the table…

I suppose I should mention that when I have company, I do often take thirty seconds to dump some of the greens from the container into a pretty glass bowl. Then I toss in some grape tomatoes. Maybe chop in some cucumber.

Pre-Packaged Mixed Greens and/or Spinach is THE way to go for tossing salad at our house.

How about you? What’s the easiest way you’ve found to toss a salad? How frequently do you eat salad?