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Healthy Dinner Options For the Picky Eater

If you have a child like mine in the house, then you know how difficult it is to get them to eat a balanced meal…let alone a balanced diet. I have found some healthy “go-to” recipes that my picky eater will devour. I have compiled a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu along with a dessert and snack option. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Breakfast:

Vanilla Yogurt Bowl

This is no ordinary bowl of yogurt!
 Prep Time 10 minutes
 Total Time 10 minutes
 Servings 1 serving

Ingredients

  •  cup reduced fat (2%) plain yogurt
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Shakeology
  • 5 medium strawberries , chopped
  • ½ medium banana , chopped
  • 1 Tbsp . sliced raw almonds

Instructions

  1. Combine yogurt and Shakeology in a small bowl; mix well.
  2. Divide yogurt mixture evenly into two medium serving bowls.
  3. Top each bowl evenly with strawberries, banana, and almonds.

 

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 354
Total Fat: 9 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 20 mg
Sodium: 286 mg
Carbohydrates: 48 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sugars: 26 g
Protein: 26 g

Lunch:

Edamame and Radish Salad with Avocado

 Prep Time 10 minutes
 Total Time 10 minutes
 Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic , finely chopped
  • 1 tsp . finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp . raw honey
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 4 tsp . olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp . fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt (or Himalayan salt) and ground black pepper (to taste; optional)
  • Hot water
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame , thawed
  • 3 medium green onions , chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley , chopped
  • 8 medium radishes , thinly sliced
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 medium avocado , chopped
  • 2 tsp . sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. To make dressing, combine garlic, ginger, honey, vinegar, oil, and lime juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper if desired; whisk to blend. Set aside.
  2. Place edamame, green onions, parsley, radishes, arugula, and avocado in a medium bowl; toss gently to blend.
  3. Drizzle with dressing; toss gently to blend.
  4. Top with sesame seeds.
  5. Divide evenly between four serving bowls.

 

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 263
Total Fat: 16 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 89 mg
Carbohydrates: 23 g
Fiber: 13 g
Sugars: 7 g
Protein: 11 g

 

Dinner:

Steak Fajitas

  Prep Time 20 minutes
 Cook Time 18 minutes
 Total Time 38 minutes
 Servings 4 servings, 2 fajitas each

Ingredients

  •  tsp . olive oil
  • 2 medium green (red or yellow) bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 1 medium onion , sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic , finely chopped
  • 1 lb . raw extra-lean beef sirloin , cut into 2-inch strips
  • 1 tsp . ground chili powder
  • 1 tsp . ground cumin
  • 1 tsp . crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp . sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • ½ cup fresh salsa
  • 8 6- inch corn tortillas , warm
  • 4 Tbsp . reduced-fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add bell peppers and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent and peppers are tender.
  3. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  4. Add beef, chili powder, cumin, pepper flakes, and salt; cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 8 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add salsa; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through.
  6. Evenly top each tortilla with beef mixture, yogurt, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice

Desserts:

Slow Cooker Baked Apples

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings5servings, 1 apple each

Ingredients

  • 5 medium Cortland (or Honey Crisp, Macintosh or Mutsu) apples
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup dry old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp . ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp . pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp . sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • 2 tbsp . organic grass-fed butter , (or extra-virgin organic coconut oil)
  • ¾ cup water

Instructions

  1. Core apples using an apple corer (or sharp knife).
  2. Add water to a 3-quart slow cooker and carefully place apples in slow cooker so that they are standing upright.
  3. Combine flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and butter in a small bowl; mix with a fork until crumbly.
  4. Fill apples evenly with oat mixture.
  5. Cook on low for 2 hours, or until apples are fork tender. Remove apples from slow cooker. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 251
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 12 mg
Sodium: 134 mg
Carbohydrates: 49 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sugars: 29 g
Protein: 3 g

Snack:

Maple Chai Roasted Chickpeas

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 38 minutes

 Total Time 48 minutes
 Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, dried
  • 1 Tbsp . olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp . pure maple syrup
  • ½ tsp . ground ginger
  • ½ tsp . ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp . ground cardamom
  • ¼ tsp . ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp . sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • ¼ tsp . ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Combine chickpeas, oil, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl; toss gently to blend.
  3. Place chickpeas on large baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 35 to 38 minutes, shaking baking sheet every 10 minutes, until brown and crunchy.

Maple Chai Roasted Chickpeas

Nutritional Information (per serving):
Calories: 151
Total Fat: 6 g
Saturated Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 477 mg
Carbohydrates: 20 g
Fiber: 6 g
Sugars: 3 g
Protein: 6 g

 

 

 

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The Art of Bedtime Routines

If your household is anything like our household, then your household thrives on repeating solid routines to make things run smoothly.  In fact, all the research suggests that bedtime routines work best if you reserve the hour before bedtime for quiet play. It lowers your child’s activity level and prepare his nervous system for relaxation. Roughhousing, running, playing tickling games, and even watching action-packed TV shows or videos make peaceful transition to sleep especially difficult. Here are just a few of our “musts” when it comes to bedtime:

    • Set a specific time and stick to it. Your child’s body clock will adjust much more quickly to the routine if the routine follows a natural and consistent pattern.
    • Give a warning. Just before bedtime, give your child advance notice that the day is winding down. Your child may be too young to judge time yet, so saying something like “five more minutes” is not likely to be understood. Instead teach your child by association. Begin the first part of your routine — running the bath water, putting the toys away, or however your particular routine begins to signal the start of the wind down. Some parents signal impending bedtime with the ringing of a kitchen timer for five minutes; the child learns that the sound means bedtime. This allows an impersonal third party to announce bedtime and reduces the desire to complain, since even a toddler knows that you can’t argue with a machine.
    • Offer a snack. A light snack that includes both protein and carbohydrates — for example, a small piece of cheese and one half slice of whole-wheat bread — will induce sleep and help her stay asleep through the night. The carbohydrates make her sleepy, and the protein will help keep her blood sugar level on an even keel until breakfast. Be sure to brush her teeth after she eats.
    • Give your child a warm bath. By raising your baby’s body temperature slightly, you’ll make him more prone to sleepiness. Also, playing with his bath toys allows him to relax.
    • Get dressed for bed. Choose comfortable, non-binding pajamas, that are neither too warm nor too light.
    • Read a favorite story to your child. This is a particularly comforting routine for your toddler, particularly if it’s a favorite story that’s associated with bedtime, such as “Goodnight Moon.”
    • Make sure your child has a friend to sleep with. A favorite doll or teddy bear provides comfort. Our girls LOVE sleeping with stuffed animals so they are allowed to choose 5 to sleep with each night. That is something you could adjust for what fits with your child’s age and your comfort level.
    • Limit or eliminate bottles. If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, make sure it contains only water. Milk, formula, or juice can pool around her teeth causing cavities, even in infants.
    • Keep last “goodnights” brief. Say “goodnight” when it’s time for you to leave the room and try not to come back if your child calls for you. This sounds harsh, but if you keep coming into the room you will have taught your child that “If I call to Mommy, she’ll come back.” Kids learn how to “condition” parents very quickly! Any hesitations on our part may be picked up by your child as an indication that maybe you really aren’t serious about this bedtime business and if she yells loudly enough you’ll come back and play some more.

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Daily Sunshine…It’s What’s For Din Din!

As a mom, I know the struggle of trying to get your family to eat healthy. What’s worse, even seemingly “healthy” snacks are filled with refined sugar, saturated fats, and artificial flavors. I also know that while Shakeology is an incredibly important source of dense superfood nutrition, most of us still need a source of nutrients from fruits and vegetables that we can share with our kids as an alternative to the unhealthy snacks they beg for. And that’s why Beachbody created Daily Sunshine.

This is a smoothie that everyone will love. It’s made with organic fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and it provides plant-based protein. I know how hard it can be to convince my daughters to eat all those things—but not with Daily Sunshine!

I still drink my Shakeology every morning, and then every afternoon my daughters and I each have a chocolate or strawberry banana Daily Sunshine. The best part is, it’s not a battle, they ask for it! Sometimes I even make Daily Sunshine a reward for eating a small bowl of veggies! How about that for a healthy incentive?

We know our kids need fruits and vegetables. But they beg for snacks loaded with salt, saturated fat, and high-fructose corn syrup—and zero real nutrition. What’s a well-meaning parent to do?

You give them Daily Sunshine, the healthy smoothie kids love—and parents feel great about serving! Daily Sunshine puts an end to the kitchen table battles, the bargaining, and the compromises. Now everyone can be happy at snack time.

3-IN-1 SMOOTHIE
Daily Sunshine is made with organic fruits and vegetables, organic pea protein, and healthy fats. It delivers the equivalent of a full serving of fruits and vegetables† in each smoothie. Just add water, shake, and drink!

NUTRITIONIST DEVELOPED
Daily Sunshine is carefully formulated with the building blocks of nutrition kids need to help them grow up healthy and strong.

PEDIATRICIAN-APPROVED FORMULA
4 out of 5 pediatricians approve the Daily Sunshine formula. So you can be confident you’re giving your family great nutrition every day.

KID-APPROVED TASTE  
How can a “real-food” formula taste so great? Beachbody puts both flavors through rigorous taste tests to ensure they satisfy the world’s toughest critics—kids!

THERE’S NOTHING SECRET ABOUT OUR INGREDIENTS.

Check out our label. These are real ingredients you can recognize. Made with organic fruits and vegetables, organic pea protein, and healthy fats, plus a few other important ingredients to help support optimal health.

http://images.beachbody.com/pdf/DSS-nutrition-fact-PDF-StrawBan.pdf

http://images.beachbody.com/pdf/DSS-nutrition-fact-PDF-Chocolate.pdf

 

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Mom of the Year…or Not.

Stressed? You’re not alone. Apparently 70 percent of U.S. moms say mothering is “incredibly stressful.” And 96 percent also feel that we are far more stressed than our own mothers were.

So what’s triggering Mommy Angst, circa 2017? (How much time do you have? LOL) It’s everything from financial insecurities, a more intensive parenting style and  higher expectations for our kids’ success to a lack of support, time famine, relationship demands, and concern that the world is more perilous for kid raising.

The best news is that you can try these tricks with your kids that will make you feel like “Mom of the Year” is right around the corner, which means everyone benefits by learning to manage stress.

1. Learn your stress signs

Common stress signs include: Rising blood pressure or spiked heart rate (which can make you feel a little dizzy). Speaking louder or yelling. Irritability, more impatient or experiencing lapses in judgment.

2. Take a break

You may not be able to avoid all the stress, but you can get away for just a few minutes to feel less overwhelmed. Giving yourself permission to take a brief “stress break” is often enough to decompress or just give a new perspective. This can include:

Taking a Mommy time out: Put up a “do not disturb” sign on your bedroom door. Listen to relaxing music or plant a picture in your mind of a soothing place. Take five minutes to decompress.

Give permission to “take ten”: Let everyone in your family know it’s OK to walk away until they can get back in control. Some families create a family signal such as using an umpire “Time Out” hand gesture that means that the person needs to decompress.

3. Create solutions for your “hot” times

Stress mounts for me at predictable times, such as in the morning when everyone is dashing to get out the door or at that dinner time witching hour. Identify when you are most irritable, and find a simple way to curb the friction during that “hot” time. For instance: If mornings are stressful because your kid can’t decide (or find) what to wear: lay clothes out the night before. If your car pool is frantic because you can’t find your keys, make an extra set.

4. Learn deep breathing or meditation

How to start:

Use slow, deep breaths.Inhale slowly to a count of five, pause for two counts, and then slowly breathe out the same way, again counting to five. Repeating the sequence creates maximum relaxation. (Using bubble blowers or pinwheels helps younger kids learn to take slow deep breaths to blow “meanies” away.)

5. Exercise together (My personal FAVORITE technique)

The research is growing that exercise keeps stress at bay whether it’s walking, bike riding, swimming, playing basketball or something else. The trick is finding the type you enjoy. Best yet, find a strategy to do with your kids so everyone benefits.

Just walk: Walk alone, with your kids or find one other mom to join for a short walk each day.

Ride off the tension: There is nothing like riding bikes with your kids.

Dance stress away: A ten-minute spontaneous dance session with your kids is a great tension reliever whether the music is a nursery rhyme or Coldplay.

6. Take time to laugh

Be spontaneous: Celebrate the dog’s birthday by baking him a cake. Eat dinner in reverse. Tape a dollar bill to the garbage can (and don’t say anything about it) to see who will take out the trash. Just have fun!

7. Find a support group

The truth is we devote so much time to our families, we forget to take time for our social needs, whether it’s our significant other or our girlfriends. Relationships help reduce our stress and restore balance.

Schedule date nights: The date doesn’t have to cost anything — a walk, going to the park, watching a rented movie, or sitting in the car in your driveway with wine and cheese. It’s just time alone with your significant other.

There’s a reason flight attendants remind us to put on our oxygen masks first, then on the kids. We can’t take care of our families unless we take time for ourselves, and Moms are notorious at putting ourselves on the backburner. Take time for yourself. Make sure to check your stress. After all, a happy, less-stressed mom makes happier, less-stressed kids. Always has. Always will.

What are your secrets for de-stressing?

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Top 10 Tips for Teaching Manners

Kindness, consideration, and respect are qualities I hope to instil in my children. Some today may find the concept of proper etiquette old fashioned, but teaching children basic good manners is one way to enforce these important ideals.

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”—Emily Post

While I could write a whole book about manners (as Emily Post most famously did) here are 10 very basic lessons we can teach our children, providing them with the understandings necessary to become well-mannered adults.

1. Please. Thank you. Excuse me.

Beginning at square one, it is not too difficult to get even the youngest children into the habit of including a “please” with every request, a “thank you” upon any receipt, and an “excuse me” upon any imposition.

The key to developing this habit in children is simply to kindly remind them consistently to include these “magic words” until they can remember on their own.

2. Respect in conversation

As my children get old enough to engage in conversation, they can be taught to respect those with whom they speak by giving their full attention and maintaining good eye contact. Children can be taught to address adults properly (that is, “Mrs. Smith” or “Dr. Jones”). Parents can help children by saying things like, “Do you remember Mrs. Smith?” upon introduction. These are skills that can be explained and taught through role modeling at home.

3. No interruptions

Patience may take time for kids to learn, but one way to regularly exercise this virtue is to teach children not to interrupt others, unless of course there is an emergency. Very young children can understand that if others are engaged in conversation it is not kind or considerate to insist upon stopping it so that they may say something. If it is necessary to interrupt, of course, they can be taught to say, “excuse me.”

4. Listen to understand

Building upon the ideals of patience and kindness, we can teach kids, as they mature, an essential skill that epitomizes good manners: the skill of listening. Giving respect to anyone they converse with, kids can go beyond the practice of not interrupting to truly listening, with an aim to understand what is being said.

5. Be nice

Of course, simply being nice is critical to having good manners. Thanks to Disney’s Bambi and his adorable bunny friend, Thumper, this is an easy concept to remind kids of: “If you can’t say somethin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” (You can teach them proper grammar later. ;))

6. Digital decorum

The use of digital devices presents a whole new category of etiquette to consider. If parents instil the idea of consideration for others, though, right and wrong quickly become clear. Looking at your phone while in the middle of a conversation? Wrong. Sharing photos with your the friends around you? Right. Pulling out the iPad at a restaurant? Wrong. Googling the answer to a question everyone present would like answered? Right.

7. Be a facilitator

Whether a guest in someone’s home, a participant in a discussion, a pupil in a classroom, or a shopper in a store, one can always consider others and aim to be someone who makes things easier. If we can instil this idea in our kids, they’ll surely be well-mannered. As guests in someone’s home, for example, they’ll clean up after themselves and offer to help. As students in class, they’ll follow the rules and be helpful to their teacher and classmates.

8. Tolerate and appreciate others

Children are never too young to be appreciative and tolerant of others—true testaments of kindness.

“The real test of good manners is to be able to put up with bad manners pleasantly.”—Kahlil Gibran

9. Praise their good manners

Positive reinforcement is a critical tool to teach children anything. As your kids develop good habits and continue to display good manners, reinforce their success with praise. Notice when your children are using their good manners and being kind and let them know you’re proud of them.

10. Model the behaviour yourself

Perhaps the most effective way to teach your children good manners is to have good manners yourself.

“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”—Fred Astaire

Children, as you likely well know, model the behaviour of their parents. If this is an area you could use improvement in, make the effort to bring about a positive change that both you and your children will benefit from.

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Healthy Mac and Cheese Recipe Your Kids Will Love

 

No, really. I mean it. Healthy Mac and Cheese.

Like mac and cheese that is healthy. Noodles with sauce that will secretly give you vegetables. Creamy sauce without boatloads of butter and flour. Favorite comfort food that packs a little nutrition.

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni – whole wheat, low glycemic, gluten free… any will work!
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)
  • 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup shredded cheese – I like Gruyère but any kind will work
  • parsley for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium low heat. Cut the onion into thin rings and add to the butter in the pan, sauteing over low heat until fragrant and golden, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, remove the skin and the seeds from the squash. Cut the flesh into small cubes. Bring the broth to a boil and add the squash. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until fork tender. Drain, reserving ½ cup broth, and transfer squash to the blender. Add the onions, milk, salt, and reserved broth and puree until completely smooth and creamy. This should yield about 4 cups sauce.
  3. Pour the pureed sauce over the cooked noodles and add the shredded cheese. Stir to melt the cheese; add water or milk to adjust consistency as needed. Serve with parsley, salt, and pepper to taste.
NOTES
When caramelizing the onions, keep the heat low to prevent burning. The deeper the golden color, the more flavorful they will be.
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10 Ways You Can Create Lasting Memories With Your Kids Without Breaking the Bank

I get so busy doing dishes, running the sweeper, keeping up with my online business, running errands, cooking, etc. that sometimes I fail to STOP and PLAY! Play with my kids, appreciate the stage in life they are currently at and just enjoy…just…enjoy…life!

I have started to make it a point to relax and soak in my kids a bit more. Am I busy, YES…is it hard, YES…is it wirth it…YUP! Here is a list of some things I have done to create some lasting memories with my family and some things I plan on doing in the near future…some ideas on how I was, am, and will be able to STOP and PLAY a bit more.

  1. Do a science experiment together  https://sciencebob.com/category/experiments/
  2. Tuck away electronics and play
  3. Escape into the world of your child. Become the princess or dinosaur and tromp around the house acting silly.
  4. Be silly. Have those dance parties, put make-up on each other, etc.
  5. Go splash in rain puddles with your kids…it is EXTREMELY fun!
  6. Conduct Family Interviews. Members of your family’s older generations, like grandparents, great-aunts, and great-uncles, have many fascinating stories of growing up in different eras. Have your kids ask them what life was like in yesteryear and use a tape, digital, or video recorder to capture their tales, voices, and expressions.

  7. Designate a Family “Holiday.” Surprise family members with “holidays” tailored to each personality. Just like birthdays and conventional holidays, pack these days with unique traditions (like a poem written in someone’s honor) and special foods, etc.

  8. Plant a Family Garden. Encourage everyone to get their hands dirty by digging a patch to plant flowers or vegetables in the backyard.

  9. Cook (and eat) a family meal together…from start to finish.
  10. Take a family nature walk.

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Smoothies…It’s What’s For Dinner

Ahhhhh…the cool breeze of spring leaving us and the HOT “dog days” of summer arriving. This is my time of year. In fact, I would say that summertime has allowed me to be creative…let me explain how. With hot weather comes days of eating a bit less BUT eating a bit unhealthier than usual. Oh, you know, ice cream with gobs of chocolate sauce, burgers and hot dogs on the grill with potato chips, potato salad smothered in mayonnaise, cotton candy and elephant ears at your local fair, etc. Food can either be our fuel or our enemy…and we get the opportunity to choose. Fortunately for you, I have some amazingly creative ways to get your fruits and veggies into you and your children’s diets without them batting an eye, squealing with disgust, or turning their cute little noses up at the thought of eating 2 cups of spinach daily. In fact, if you are not someone who loves their veggies, read on…this is your blog post my friend!

I couldn’t be more excited to share with you the different smoothie recipes we use throughout the summer. My kids LOVE these recipes and when they are asked what they would like to eat, they usually come up with some sort of smoothie they have had in the past several days. Check these recipes out, try them and comment on how well your kids liked them. Post your own smoothie recipes and let’s get some recipes flying!

1. CLEAN EATING COCONUT MILK SMOOTHIE

Author: Tiffany McCauley | The Gracious Pantry.com

Yield: About 2 cups
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup light coconut milk (in the can)
  • 1 large ripe banana
  • 1 cups raw spinach
  • 2 tablespoons dried coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS: Blend and serve.

 

2. Cinnamon Chai Tea Banana Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

  • -1 scoop grass-fed whey protein Use code LEXI for 10% off at checkout
  • -1 6 oz. cup pre-brewed chai tea, cooled
  • -1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • -1 frozen banana
  • -1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • -1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • -5 ice cubes
  • -Optional: Dash of raw honey or 3 drops liquid stevia

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 1. Place all ingredients in high-speed blender
  • 2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  • 3. Garnish and enjoy!

 

3. Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 1 • Size: 1 smoothie • Points +: 5 pts • Smart Points: 5
Calories: 312 • Fat: 12 g • Carb: 51 g • Fiber: 10 g • Protein: 9 g • Sugar: 31 g
Sodium: 241 mg • Cholest: 0 mg

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 cup organic frozen blueberries
  • 1 loose cup baby kale
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 1/2 frozen ripe banana
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup ice

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth.

4. Quinoa Banana Berry Smoothie

Yield: 2 servings | Serving Size: 1 cup | Calories: 328 | Total Fat: 2.8 g | Saturated Fat: 0 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium:4 mg | Carbohydrates: 71.8 g | Dietary Fiber: 9.8 g | Sugars: 34.4 g | Protein: 7.2 g | SmartPoints: 11 |

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa (cook according to package and chill)
  • 1 frozen banana (pre-sliced)
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1-1/2 cups green tea (home brewed without added sweeteners is best), add more or less depending on consistency preferred.
  • 6 ice cubes

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

5. Eat Clean Oats & Banana Protein Smoothie {Easy & Delicious}

 Author: The PennyWiseMama
Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter OR 2 tbsp PB2
  • 1 tbsp ground golden flax seed
  • 1 tsp bee pollen (optional)
  • 1 cup ice

INSTRUCTIONS: Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

 

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Bursting with Flavor: Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect time to dust off the grill and gather together with family and friends to thank the Lord for our many blessings as we remember the heroic men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy!

What better way to celebrate than with a super quick-n-easy meal that allows us more time with our family and less time in the kitchen! Firing up the grill is definitely one of the easiest ways to get a healthy meal on the table in just minutes!

Another plus is that grilling results in less mess and less dishes. And of course, you just can’t beat the savory flavor of grilled meats, which is why it’s one of my favorite cooking methods.

This super easy Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe is my new go-to favorite. I love that I can make the marinade ahead of time, which means even faster turn-around time on busy weeknights! I also throw some veggies on the grill at the same time for a simple side dish that complements the chicken perfectly and adds a boost of nutrition!

Dinner doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious and healthy. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create quick-n-easy dishes just bursting with flavor! And remember you can always save even more time by grilling extra chicken that you can use to create other healthy weeknight meals.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken

Ingredients

2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 Tbsp lime zest (about 2 limes)
2 Tbsp lime juice (about 2 limes)
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sea salt

Instructions

1. Place chicken thighs in a 9×9-inch baking dish; set aside.
2. Place remaining ingredients into a blender or food processor in the order given. Cover and process on low until fine chopped and blended.
3. Transfer 1/2 cup of the cilantro-lime marinade to a small bowl. Evenly distribute the remaining marinade over the chicken, making sure to well coat.
4. Cover chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour. Then remove from fridge and pre-heat grill to medium-high heat.
5. Grill chicken about 3-4 minutes, until the edges become opaque. Then flip the chicken over and brush with reserved marinade. Reduce heat to medium and cover grill. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Enjoy!

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How to Become a Stay-At-Home Mommy on a Budget

One of the questions I get asked is “how do you afford to be a stay at home mom?” I never know exactly what to say because honestly, we don’t have an abundance of money just floating around. Staying home has meant that we don’t eat out very often, we give a lot of thought to what we purchase, and although we live a frugal life, we live a happy life.

Let’s be honest, affording to stay at home is not easy. It’s not something that was just magically bestowed on us although we do KNOW it’s a blessing. However, living on one income brings a new set of challenges and sacrifices.

My husband and I have always tried to be “smart spenders” and careful with our money even before having children so that definitely gave us an advantage once we had kids and more expenses. I continued working after my first daughter was born until she was about 18 months old. I then  transitioned to a stay at home mama. I always wanted to be a SAHM but didn’t think we could afford it.

So how do I afford to be a stay at home mom?!

Here are a few ways we save money so I can afford to be a stay at home mom. I think most people want to save money but often times it seems time-consuming and overwhelming to keep track of expenses and stick to a budget. I know as a busy mama, it’s not always easy to keep up with coupons or tracking every dollar in and out of the checking account. I actually need improvement on setting a budget but these are few easy ways that just keep us living within our means.

1. GROCERY SHOP SMARTLY & COOK MEALS AT HOME

With a house full of girls and daddy, our grocery bill is growing on a weekly basis. I try my best to plan out weekly groceries, even if it’s just a note I keep on my phone. While the grocery bill might increase, I’ve noticed that when I cook more at home, our monthly food bills are significantly lower than when we get take-out.

I do most of the shopping with the girls so it’s pretty common that I forget things since I’m always distracted in the stores with them. But, I’m going to try a new way of organizing separate lists for the 3 stores we mainly shop at. It frustrates me so much to go to a store one day and realize I need to go back in the same week!

I try to get most of our groceries at Aldi which really helps save on our grocery bill. It’s not always the most convenient place to shop when I have the girls since I have to bag the groceries but it is the cheapest!

2. BUY IN BULK

A huge money saver is buying in bulk! We love to buy household supplies like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, paper towels, diapers, and non-perishable food items in bulk every month. It’s a time and money saver and everyone is happy that we’re usually well stocked on all of our favorite snacks. I love that having a bulk supply of household goods means that I’m not making random trips to the store to pick up one or two things.

3. FOCUS ON ESSENTIALS

Of course, essentials are different in every family. We’re pretty good about distinguishing between our needs vs wants. We definitely splurge on the “wants” but that’s only if our budget allows it. So what do I mean? Well, we don’t have cable – seems like a staple in many households. We know it would be cool to have but we can’t afford all the “cool” things so we don’t. We have AppleTV and that’s our splurge.

I don’t often shop for new clothes for myself or the girls. When I do shop, I look for sales, shop end of season sales for the next season, and my youngest mostly wears big sister’s hand me downs.

Taking it a step further considering essentials we decided not to send my oldest to preschool this year. Instead, I home-schooled her to prepare her for kindergarten. Many families in this area, start children in preschool or a formal daycare setting pretty early so I felt a bit of pressure. But, the reality is that preschool is another expense. I was a teacher before staying home so we decided not to try and scrounge up the money for preschool and I incorporate learning time into our days.

Oh and treats like pedicures, manicures, and fancy coffees — well, those are treats for special occasions. It’s not to say that I won’t ever treat myself but I just think of how we could use that money instead so I enjoy my cup of coffee at home and paint my nails myself.

4. ENTERTAINMENT

We knew for this lifestyle to work we had to choose entertainment options carefully. 

The girls LOVE to get out of the house and enjoy activities but we mostly find activities that are free. We love exploring museums, libraries, parks, playgrounds, or inside playgrounds at Chick-Fil-A. Also, when we go places, we pack our own snacks and drinks. We make impromptu picnics just a part of the fun.

Another tip is to plan ahead and search for coupons. We wanted to take the girls to Disney World and when my hubby and I were searching for deals, we saw that Bass Pro offered a deal we couldn’t pass up. After much consideration, we took the plunge and were able to enjoy Disney for a fraction of the cost. I check for coupons for places like Chuck E Cheese and often we get more tokens for our money. Groupon has also been helpful for our family when dining out.

5. EARN MONEY AT HOME

There are many ways mamas try to earn money while staying home. I know finding the time and life balance can still be kinda tricky. But, I have many mama friends who supplement their income in various ways. I personally started health and fitness coaching with Beachbody when I transitioned to a stay-at-home mom. I loved having an outlet and something new to learn and challenge myself with.

I know there are no quick and easy solutions for a family to afford to live on one income. We have made sacrifices and sometimes I have a little worry about putting my career on hold and what that means for my professional future but I don’t have any regrets. I wish every mom who wanted to be a stay-at-home mom could be home. I remember the emotional stress I felt when I had to work every day when I had my first daughter. I enjoyed working but my heart just wanted to be home with her. I know I don’t have all the answers but I hope this gives some insight into how we make this life work!