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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Top 5 Energy Boosting Foods

Oatmeal:  

Oats are low on the glycemic index, as they have a lot of fiber, which means that your body gets a steady stream of energy, as opposed to a huge rush, as carbohydrates gradually flow into your bloodstream. Oats contain the energizing and stress-lowering B vitamin family, which helps transform carbs into usable energy.  


Lentils: 

Lentils provide both carbohydrates and protein, making them a great addition to any meal. Beans are a great source of fiber, which translates to a slow release of glucose, as well as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and copper. And they're low in fat and calories to boot.


Bananas

Bananas provide a lot of potassium, an electrolyte that helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function. Unlike some nutrients, potassium isn't stored by the body for long periods of time, so your potassium level can drop during times of stress or during strenuous exercise, when the nutrient is lost through excessive sweating. The sugar in bananas is an easily digested form of carbohydrate. Other fruits such as apples, grapes, peaches and pineapples also make great energizing snacks.



Chocolate: 

Chocolate contains sugar and caffeine along with fat and calories, so consume in moderation and, when possible, opt for dark chocolate as it has the fewest calories and the most antioxidants. However, studies show that chocolate can elevate your energy levels and has also been claimed to improve anemia, awaken the appetite, aid in digestion and improve longevity.


Almonds: 

Almonds provide essential fatty acids, known as omega-3s and omega-6s that produce an alert mental state. Keep a few on hand whenever you need a instant brain boosting snack.
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Low Cost Recipes

Inexpensive meals are possible for breakfast, lunch or dinner without sacrificing good taste.

Bacon Muffins

2 cups of flour
5 slices of cooked turkey bacon
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
2 beaten eggs
Mix ingredients well. While mixing, add four to five slices of cooked bacon crumbled into small pieces. Pour this mixture into a greased muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. This batch makes 12 muffins. Substitute pieces of fruit instead of bacon for variety.

Crockpot Oatmeal

2 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup of oats
1 cup finely chopped apple
1/2 cup of raisins and chopped almonds
After spraying or greasing the inside of a crockpot, place ingredients inside and mix well. Cover and cook overnight under low heat, around eight to nine hours. Stir before serving.




Chicken Taco Soup

One pound of cooked and shredded chicken
2 cups of cooked kidney beans
2 cups salsa
6 cups of chicken stock
One taco seasoning packet
2 cups of crushed tortilla chips
Combine chicken, salsa, seasoning and stock in a two-quart soup pot. Bring ingredients to a boil and reduce heat. Allow the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes. Top each bowl of soup with tortilla chips. You can use pinto beans instead of kidney beans if preferred, in addition to adding shredded cheese to add variety to your low cost recipes.

See more taco soup recipes

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

One pound of ground turkey
Any brand of mashed potato mix
One 16 ounce bag of frozen corn
One cup of shredded cheese
Spray baking dish with nonstick spray. Brown the turkey and make the potatoes. Spread the cooked ground turkey on the bottom of the dish, sprinkle with corn and then spread over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese and bake another five minutes.

See more Shepherd's pie recipes

Cheesy Veggie Pasta Bake

One pound of cooked elbow or shell macaroni
One pound of ground hamburger
One 26 ounce jar of pasta sauce
Grated parmesan cheese
Two eggs
One pound ricotta cheese
Two cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
Two cups of shredded carrots or diced zucchini
Salt and pepper to taste

This recipe easily feeds a family of four. Coat a large baking pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Mix eggs with ground turkey and cook thoroughly. Spread half of the macaroni over the bottom and sprinkle a cup of mozzarella and 1/3 cup of parmesan. Place a layer of turkey in pan, and then add the rest of the macaroni. Sprinkle mozzarella and more parmesan. Cover and bake the casserole at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Uncover the dish and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top is slightly brown and bubbling.

See more cheesy noodle casseroles


Without breaking the piggy bank, low cost recipes provide good nutrition but most of all, they taste great too.

Frugal Living Resources

Leftover recipes
Frugal Grocery Shopping Tips
Tips on Frugal Living 
$5 Meal Cookbook

Frugal Family Fun series:
Part 1 -Pizza Time
Part 2 -Breakfast Chefs
Part 3- Bouncy Balls
Part 4- Cookie Marathon
Part 5- Smoothies 











Join our Family Deals, Giveaways and Ways to Save Emails and we'll send you our Frugal Family Fun Ebook.



frugal family fun
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cooking with Bread Dough

This Kids Cook Monday we worked with bread dough. The kids made cinnamon knots, pretzels and they each made "something" with the leftover dough. It was fun to see what they each came up with.

One kid cut her dough out with a doughnut cutter, one made a monster that resembles Jabba the Hut (although that was not the intention as he doesn't like Star Wars and doesn't like me to say that is what it looks like, and one created the snail all by himself) 



You can see my son's monster better here before he took a bite out of it in the picture below.




Try this Working with Dough 7 week Camp for more ideas. 


~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Monday, November 19, 2012

Super Healthy Kids Interview

Amy at the SuperHealthy Kids blog teaches her readers about healthy eating and healthy living.

She shares menu plans, ideas to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables as well as many easy kid friendly and yummy recipes! Super Healthy Kids
She has also created a healthy habits portion plate to help kids (and parents) learn how to eat balanced and healthy meals. We'll tell you about it below.

Thanks Amy, for taking the time to answer our interview questions and share with us some great tips!


How do you stay active with your family?

I have three kids, and we have been doing outdoor activities with them from the time they were very small. Our favorite activity is hiking. My youngest, who is 7, even did a 5 mile hike with us this summer, without complaining. They are troopers! The key, I believe to hiking with your kids, is to have an exciting destination. Hiking for the soul purpose of getting nowhere, doesn’t hold their attention the way a waterfall does or a some hot springs at the end of the trail.

My husband is also really great about being outside with them to play soccer, build snow forts, and going on long roller blade or bike rides with them. They love it when he participates.


Do you have a favorite meal your kids love?
My kids love anything that has rice or noodles in it! They are true carb addicts (just like their mother J ) This is fine with me, because both rice and noodles I purchase a whole grain version, and we can add loads of veggies to our dishes.


What do you enjoy about being a food blogger?
I enjoy experimenting in the kitchen with my kids. Food blogging allows me to spend MORE time with my kids and expose them to new and delicious foods (and sometimes not so delicious as we’ve failed many times with things I’ve tried to make healthier)


What is your favorite tip for getting kids to eat healthy food?
My favorite tip is patience. Repeated exposure is key to getting your kids to enjoy a variety of healthy food, but many parents interpret that to mean 5-11 exposures of a food (because that is what the studies tell us). In my experience, it was literally years of exposure to a food, and consistent exposure to get them to eat a specific food and enjoy it!

 
You've created a healthy habits plate. Can you tell our readers about it.
The Healthy Habits Plate is designed to teach kids visually what a healthy, balanced meal looks like! It has an image with half of the plate being fruits and vegetables, a quarter for grains, and a quarter for proteins.

Kids learn very young that they need more fruits and vegetables than all the other food groups. An interesting thing has happened though, it is actually helping parents just as much to remind them to put more fruits and veggies on their kids plates!


Super Healthy Kids
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Time Savings Tips For Dinner Time

Many families are in a hurry to get dinner on the table and the quickest resort seems to be eating out or ordering in. When it comes to meals, preparation is important and can really save you money.

One of the key factors to successful meals is to have an organized kitchen. This will help you to get meals done quicker when everything is in its place and kitchen items are easily accessible. Organize your kitchen in stations to ease in baking and preparing meals.

Place all baking items in a cupboard next to the mixing bowl. Place serving spoons, spatulas and serving dishes close to the stove in a cupboard. For serving utensils a crock or jar on the counter makes for easy access.

After grocery shopping do any prep work that you will need through the week. Cut carrots and celery in sticks and store in a bowl of water in the fridge. Even onions can be diced and stored for later use. Cheese can be grated and sauces made ahead of time.

When planning your meals for the week, plan for making extra. If you make a little more when cooking it can be frozen for later meals or lunches to go. Find recipes that are freezer friendly and double them to use for another busy night.

The crock pot can be a great help when in a hurry. Prepare your dinner in the morning and cook on low throughout the day. There is little work that needs done so these meals are great for nights when you have very little time. You can also buy crock pot liners or line your crock pot with tin foil for easier clean up.
Your family dinners don't have to be lacking in flavor, excitement or fun. Plan ahead and you will save money and time in the long run.


More Family Dinner Resources

More family dinner ideas- with a free dinner conversation starter game
Easy Kids Meals and Ideas



~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kick up your Spice Cabinet

Salt and Pepper have reigned long enough and are slowly being picked off by other, more tasteful spices. Basil and Oregano moved in for a stay at the top while Rosemary and Sage followed suite.

The only problem with these spices become commonplace and are growing familiar to the tongue. Few people know that the tongue has over 10,000 taste buds, so it is safe to say that the tongue can grow tired of the same spices day after
day.

Here are 5 new spices that every kitchen should keep on hand.

Crushed Mint – Mint is a very romantic spice. It is the Romeo of spices and is sensuous on savory dishes, such as lamb and vegetables, while also a welcome deviation on deserts and fruits.

The versatility of mint goes beyond food and adds a touch of class to almost any drink, including teas and other adult beverages. Studies show that mint also helps to produce stomach acid, thus aiding in digestion, which is a great thing if you like to eat. Another known fact about mint is that it repels rodents.


Bay Leaf
Bay Leaves – While these delightful leaves are commonly found in kitchens worldwide, they are hardly ever used except for beans, gumbo and the occasional turkey on Thanksgiving Day. This spice is rich in vitamin A and C and was once used to crown Roman Gladiators – reason enough.

Next time, try bay leaves in your soup, casserole or roast, the longer the cook time, the more flavor will be pulled from the leaf. Just make sure to remove the leaf before eating, otherwise you will get a shock of strong, woodsy flavor when you bite down.



Mustard Seed – Just like the common condiments, these little balls
are bursting with a spicy and noticible flavor. Coming in a variety of colors and flavors, it will do good to try them all. Grinding up the seeds adds a beautiful color and taste while cooking rice.

Using whole seeds while oil is warming, allows the seeds to pop open, releasing their sharp flavor to permeate the oil. Ground mustard seeds also go well on meats such as chicken and lamb; add a little mustard seed and brown sugar to your breading mixture and you have an extremely tasty and crunchy crust when baked.
Herbs de Provence


Herbs De Provence Herbs De Provence are, essentially, the Swiss Army Knife of the spice rack. This one combo-punch packs all of the common spices, such as basil, marjoram, thyme, sage, savory and rosemary. This mixture gives a full and robust flavor to any meat, including Venison, Bison and other strong meats.

It is also quite tasty on anything grilled. A little HDP on your skewers ties everything together and makes the meal memorable.




Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin Spice – This spice came in fifth place, just besting its partner in crime, Cinnamon, due to the unique memories it invokes. Pumpkin Spice is mostly used during the holiday season, which makes it a dual spice, used for both baking and cooking. Pumpkin spice is phenomenal in pancakes and waffles to add that “wow, this is amazing” factor that hits you in the back of the throat. It can also be used in slow cooker recipes such as pot roast or chili.

The next time you reach for your bland spices, slap your hand with the wooden spoon and remember to reach for something that will give your taste buds a kung-fu kick to the roof of your mouth and back.

More Resources

Cooking with herbs and spices- how to use in cooking
Spices around the world chart
 
~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Electronics in the Kitchen

Electronics in the Kitchen

Lately I've been marveling over the high tech age we live in. Without realizing it electronics have taken over our kitchen. And I'm not talking about the blender or the mixer either.

Modern electronics are helping us learn more about cooking.

  • Kindle. I received a Kindle for Christmas and at first I thought it was a high price item I'd never like but I Love It. I love to read and having all the books I'm reading or want to read in one compact item that I can stick in my purse and take anywhere is brilliant. How does it help in the kitchen? You can download cookbooks on the Kindle. Yep, a whole library of cookbooks. But don't forget the cooking magazines you can subscribe to via the kindle as well.
  • Ipods. I love my ipod being able to do household chores and listen to my ipod makes life a little easier. Did you know you can download podcasts to your ipod? My favorites are Saving Dinner, Cooking with the Moms, Harvest Eating, Healthy cooking video, Kraft Kitchen. You can search for these in the itunes library. My husband thinks I should do a Kids-Cooking-Activities podcast. HA! Not sure what listeners would want to hear from me!
    AppleiPod

  • Nintendo DS I guess these aren't just for kids. I recently won a DS game called PersonalTrainer: Cooking. Wow, I didn't even realize all the cooking games and learning available through Nintendo until now. Does this mean I have to breakdown and buy a Nintendo DS, now? My son would be ecstatic!
  • Not to mention the iPad!  What electronics are finding their way in your kitchen?

    ~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Add A Little Whole Wheat To Your Diet

    Adding an extra serving or two of whole grains can increase your health in many ways.
    They are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates your body needs. Whole grains may include wheat, barley, buckwheat, oats, rye and rice.

    With a wheat grinder or heavy duty blender like a Vita Mix you can grind whole wheat into flour, rye into rye flour or barley into barley flour. Wheat flour and specialty whole grain flours can be bought at most supermarkets. They are best stored in the freezer as they will not last as long at room temperature as white flour does.

    Add wheat flour, rye flour or barley flour in any combination to

  • homemade breads
  • pizza dough
  • quick breads
  • waffles
  • pancakes
  • muffins
  • cookies


  • Start slowly replacing wheat flour with white flour using about ½ or less wheat flour instead of white flour at first. Then increase the amount as your family gets use to the change.

    Try this Cinnamon Raisin Bread to start you out.
    1 Tablespoon yeast
    ¼ Cup sugar
    ½ Cup warm water
    ½ Cup cottage cheese
    1 Tablespoon butter
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    ¾ teaspoon salt
    1 egg
    1 Cup wheat flour
    1 Cup white flour
    ¾ Cup raisins

    In small bowl mix warm water and sugar together. Add yeast and set aside 2-3 minute. Meanwhile, in mixing bowl add cottage cheese, butter, cinnamon, salt and egg. Blend together. Add in yeast mixture and then flour. Mix until well combined and stir in raisins. Pour into a greased loaf pan and let rise 15 minutes. Preheat oven at 375 degrees and bake 30 minutes.

    Adding a little whole grains to your daily diet can help you be healthier and have more energy. The key is to start slowly and gradually make a lifetime change.


    ~This post may contain affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you shop through them. There is no extra cost to you. This is how we help support our family and continue to bring you amazing content. To learn more see the affiliates disclosure here.~