Thursday, May 2, 2013

Whatever Happened to Spring Cleaning?

So I had this brilliant idea to do a series on healthy eating in April.  And then, I had this other brilliant idea to join a busy (and fun!) committee at school.  So the healthy eating series took an unplanned break!  And so did the entire blog.

I have more healthy, clean-eating ideas to share!  I just ran out of time.  Again.  I'm hoping to get back on the blogging wagon later this month, and finish up "Spring Clean Your Eating Habits".  But for now, I have way too much on my plate.  Thanks for understanding!

What's on your plate right now?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 4/28/13 - 5/4/13)

Woo hoo!  Finally doing a Recipe Round-up again!  It's the "cheater" kind with no sale ingredient list...but just trust me, there are enough ingredients on sale to make it worth considering for your meal plan next week :)  Take special note of all the Mexican dishes that you can make with the Cinco de Mayo sale ingredients.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix

We've already found a good substitute for the guacamole seasoning packet.  Are you ready to ditch another packet?  Let's replace that packet of dry Ranch dressing!  I even did all the hard work for you and tried lots of different spice mixes.  This one is it.  I promise.  It's the best one I've found.  It tastes very similar to what you get out of a Hidden Valley packet (or a Meijer brand one, for that matter).  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Healthy Fats and Oils, Part Two

The following is the second part of a guest article written by Sarah Kamps.  This article is published in conjunction with April's theme, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.

We've already pointed out that conventional fats and oils can be harmful to your health, simply by asking some basic questions.  We also listed off some healthier options, such as coconut oil and olive oil.  Let's examine those healthier options more closely by putting them to the same test:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Healthy Fats and Oils, Part One

The following post is a guest article written by my friend, Sarah Kamps.  She and I have had many conversations recently about improving our families' diets.  Healthy fats/oils is a topic that I don't know much about (yet!), but it's a topic on which Sarah has done a LOT of research.  Read on to discover what she's learned...and what she's teaching me!

Coconut oil has been making headlines lately.  It is creating a buzz in the health food world because of its many health benefits, such as:
  • maintaining cholesterol levels
  • improving weight loss
  • increasing immunity
  • dental and skin care

Thursday, April 18, 2013

All About CSAs, Part Two

I've already talked about why we love our CSA.  But I'm adding a "BUT" here.  I can't really say these are "negatives" or "cons", but just a word of caution.

**To find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest's website, where you can search by zipcode or city and state!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

All About CSAs, Part One

I've talked about CSAs a few times on this blog, but usually just in passing.  Spring Clean Your Eating Habits is a good time to explain the concept more in depth...because joining a CSA definitely helped us eat more healthfully!  I'll give you the facts, and then share my experience and opinions.  

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Perfect Guacamole

(This recipe is posted in conjunction with April's theme, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  It's also posted in conjunction with the 4/14/13 Meijer ad, where you can find avocados on sale!)

My family eats a LOT of guacamole.  Everyone loves it, even the 3-year-old.  Case in point:  tonight, she didn't want to eat her rice, but when I suggested that she mix some "guac" into her rice, she was all over that...and the rice was gone in two minutes.  I used to make guacamole by smashing up two avocados with a packet of guacamole spice mix.  (And admittedly, sometimes I still do.)  And we loved it.  But since we're trying to consume less processed foods, I figured I could do better.  Because that spice packet doesn't just have spices in also has "corn maltodextrin" and "corn syrup solids".  Sigh.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cookies For Breakfast, Part Two

We've already talked about how cookies can be part of a healthy breakfast (insert smirk).  My family really enjoys these cookies, but I had seen another version of the breakfast cookie on Pinterest, so I wanted to try this one as well.  

This cookie recipe definitely has more than 2 ingredients, so it takes a little longer to mix up.  But it does include protein, which adds to the health benefits of, well, eating cookies for breakfast.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Cookies for Breakfast, Part One

Yes, really.  And even as part of a healthy breakfast!  But I'm not talking about Cookie Crisp here.

We recently tried two versions of these, both of which I had seen on (you guessed it) Pinterest.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

What's The Deal With Greek Yogurt?

(This article is part of Cooking Up a Sale's April series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  If you'd like to read more on this topic, you can click over to the Monthly Themes page to find the rest of the articles in this series.)

We eat a lot of yogurt around here.  More recently, we've been eating more Greek yogurt.  (Chobani, Oikos, and store brand...we're not picky!)  We don't eat the Greek stuff exclusively, but we have included more of it in our diet.  Depending on your definition of "healthy", it's considered better for you than regular yogurt.  (Check out this article for more information on how it stacks up against the regular stuff.)  Basically, it's thicker, and has more protein than regular yogurt, which helps keep you full and satisfied longer.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Light(er) Apple Dip

(This recipe is posted as part of Cooking Up a Sale's April series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  If you'd like to read more on this topic, you can click over to the Monthly Themes page to find the rest of the articles in this series.)

I have never been a big fan of apples and peanut butter, but I really enjoy this apple dip...and so do the kids!  It's super tasty and creamy, and can be stirred up in less than a minute.  Greek yogurt is the base of this dip, so it's lighter than other fruit dips I've made before that use cream cheese and/or Cool Whip.  It's so yummy, you might want to just forget the apples and grab a spoon!  But then again, that would kind of defeat the purpose of a healthy snack, wouldn't it?

Friday, April 5, 2013

11 Ways to Help Your Kids Enjoy Fruit and Vegetables

(This post is part of the April series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  You can catch up on the previous articles in this series here.)

So, your kids don't want to eat more fruits and vegetables?  Our kids didn't always want to either.  Here are a few things that have worked to remedy that situation:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Genius Corn

If given a choice, my family prefers corn on the cob over frozen corn (who doesn't, right?).  But there's not much we can do about that this time of year, short of buying some tasteless, expensive, out-of-season ears from the grocery store.  Enter "broiled corn".  Huh?  Yes, that's right.  Cooking frozen corn this way is about as close as you can get to that crisp, sweet, middle-of-the-summer taste.  In my quest to include more vegetables in our diet, I'm always looking for something quick and easy.  This "recipe" definitely fits the bill.  In less than 10 minutes, you'll have perfectly cooked and seasoned corn.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

6 Ways to Include More Produce in Your Diet

(This article is part of a series, Spring Clean Your Eating Habits.  You can catch up on previous articles in this series here.)

I'm going to be honest...when I think "snack", I think of a cookie or some chips.  It's just not natural for me to reach for an apple.  It's not that I don't like just takes more thought to reach for the good stuff instead of the junk.  For that reason, I've had to make a conscious effort to include more fruits and vegetables in my family's diet.  We've always eaten some, but just not enough.  Here's what's worked for us:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Guidelines and A Balancing Act

(This post is part of a series.  Head over here to catch up on any articles you may have missed!)

As our eating habits change, I realize that we've established some loose guidelines to govern what we eat.  These might be too strict for your family, or not strict enough.  But for what it's worth, here they are:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 3/31/13 - 4/6/13) & Easter leftovers

So, the Meijer ad is slim pickin's this week!  Well, we can always find a few things to make using those sale ingredients.  But first, let's figure out what to do with those Easter leftovers!

California Club Wraps

(Sale ingredients based on the Meijer ad week of 3/31/13 - 4/6/13)

The weather is just starting to warm up here in Michigan...which always makes me ready for some lighter fare. These wraps are perfect for a hearty lunch or a light supper.  Guacamole adds creamy flavor and pairs perfectly with the salty bacon.  Topped off with plenty of lettuce and tomato, these wraps make for a fairly healthy main course.  Follow the recipe below, or customize it to suit your family's tastes by subbing in different meats and cheeses.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Clean Your Eating Habits

Real food.  Slow food.  Eating the rainbow.  Hormone-free.  Clean eating.  Ditching processed food.  Going organic.  Whole foods.  Eating local.  Raw.  Nitrate-free.  Natural.  Grain-free.  

Do any of those words sound familiar?  If you've done any sort of research into cleaning up your diet, you've probably bumped into those phrases more than once.  It seems to me that eating healthy is getting more complicated all the time.  There's so much (often conflicting) information to sift through, and so many choices to make.  Whatever happened to "an apple a day"?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Blogger's Kitchen

I'm sure you were all waiting on pins and needles for the latest recipe and the Recipe Round-up from Cooking Up a Sale.  However, the blog editor is taking the weekend off from blogging :) 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Crockpot Cheese Tortellini

(This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 3/17/13 - 3/23/13)

As our kids get older, the after-school hours get busier for them, and therefore, for me!  Homework, piano lessons, catechism, soccer practices and games, and more make those hours between school and supper fly by.  As a result, I've been relying on my crockpot more often.  This recipe was billed as "the best Pinterest recipe I've ever made!" so I figured it would be good!  My family really enjoyed it (although this one is still our favorite Pinterest recipe!), spinach and all.  It literally takes 10 minutes to throw everything together, and then it cooks in the crockpot all day!  The flavorful combination of ingredients was a hit, and the only time I put into making food near suppertime was to make Easy Garlic Bread.  Head over to the Little Fellows blog to check out this delicious recipe...and then come back here to read my tweaks, tips, and tricks!

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 3/17/13 - 3/23/13)

    Lots of great sale items at Meijer next week means lots of menu options!  There are plenty of good cooking ingredients (including a variety of meats and canned goods) on sale, as well as a good selection of baking products (eggs, sugar, oil, cake mix, chocolate chips, and more!) for your bars, cookies, and desserts.  Hopefully this list inspires you to spend some time in the kitchen this week :)  

    Here's what you can make with what's on sale:

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 3/10/13 - 3/16/13)

    I'm not sure I'll have time to post a new recipe this week, but here are a few "old" recipes that you can make using on-sale ingredients:

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Turtle Brownies

    (This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 3/3/13 - 3/9/13)

    These gooey, chewy, and delicious bars start with a packaged cake mix, so they're quick to make...and quick to disappear!  

    Saturday, February 23, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 2/24/13 - 3/2/13)

    Here are a "few" recipes you can make with what's on sale at Meijer this week!

    Plus, check out the end of this post for some money-saving tips for packing lunches.

    Lemon-Lime Refrigerator Cake

    (This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 2/24/13 - 3/2/13)

    If you liked light and fluffy (non-chocolate!) Strawberry Cake, then you've got to try this dessert.  Lemon-Lime Refrigerator Cake comes together super fast because it uses convenience items...but the results taste like you've been slaving for hours.  It's moist and delicious, and is sure to disappear quickly!

    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 2/17/13 - 2/23/13)

    Here are a few meals and snacks that you can make with what's on sale at Meijer this week:

    Sweet-n-Savory Salmon

    (This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with Meijer Ad Week of 2/17/13 - 2/23/13)

    We live close enough to Lake Michigan that we have access to (free!) fresh-caught salmon during salmon season.  If you want to try salmon but don't have access to the fish straight out of the lake, you can find frozen salmon fillets at Costco, and fresh or frozen salmon fillets at Meijer.  So get your Omega-3 fatty acids on and try out this very un-fishy fish recipe today!

    Monday, February 11, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (sort of) Meijer Ad 2/10/13 - 2/16/13

    I started a Recipe Round-up for this week...and quickly realized that I would be linking to almost every recipe in the Recipe Index!  Meijer has so many useful ingredients on sale this week that I might as well just do it this way...

    Saturday, February 9, 2013

    White Chocolate Cherry Chip Cookies

    (This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 2/10/13 - 2/16/13)

    These cute, yummy treats come just in time for Valentine's Day!  I was inspired to try these after reader Karen commented on Facebook that she was going to try these lemon cookies using a Cherry Chip cake mix.  I wanted to make them a little bit different than the lemon cookies, so instead of dipping the dough into powdered sugar, I drizzled the cooled cookies with white chocolate.  The result was a super soft, chewy cookie with a little bit of crunch from the sweet white chocolate drizzle.  The drizzle "fancies up" the cookies...but although they might look professional, they're really quite easy to make.

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 2/3/13 - 2/9/13)

    I don't have any new recipes to post this week, but here are some "old" recipes that you can make with what's on sale at Meijer next week:

    Saturday, January 26, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 1/27/13 - 2/2/13)

    There are lots of good cooking ingredients (especially for main dishes) on sale at Meijer this week!  Here's what you can make using those on-sale ingredients:

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    Balsamic Cream Chicken with Mushrooms and Onions

    [This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 1/27/13 - 2/2/13]

    I pin a lot of recipes, and I even try some of them!  This recipe is one of the few that have been repinned to my "Made and Loved" board.  Not every recipe makes the cut, but this one was so good that I wanted to make it again the following week!  My sad photography skills do NOT do this chicken any favors.  But just trust me on this one.  (Or you can check out a better picture at the site of the original recipe.) The chicken was tender, and the sauce was full of delicious in, upscale-Italian-restaurant-delicious-flavor!

    Oven-Roasted Italian Redskin Potatoes

    [This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 1/27/13 - 2/2/13]

    This potato dish is ridiculously easy, and the results are ridiculously delicious.  Slow-roasting the potatoes means that the Italian flavor is perfectly crisped onto the outside of each bite, and the center is perfectly cooked without any hint of mushiness.  These potatoes hog the oven for awhile, so they're best served alongside any meat that is grilled or cooked on the stovetop or in the crockpot.

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Nothing new

    No new recipe or Round-up this weekend.  I haven't even looked at the Meijer ad yet, sorry!

    Have a good weekend,

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 1/13/13 - 1/19/13)

    Finally a "real" Recipe Round-up, with the sale ingredients for each recipe noted after the link :)

    Here's what you can make with what's on sale at Meijer this week:

    Friday, January 11, 2013

    One Year

    I logged into my blog today, thinking "I think it's pretty close to a year ago that I started this thing."  I checked the date of my first post, and found that it was, in fact, exactly one year ago today.

    Slow Cooker Beef Enchiladas

    [This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer ad week of 1/13/13 - 1/19/13]

    We love (mild) Mexican dishes, and recently I decided to try out a slow cooker version.  I loosely based my recipe on this one I found on the Taste of Home website.  It's completely customizable according to your family's tastes.  My kids (and sometimes myself!) prefer a more mild flavor, but you can kick up the heat by adding and changing up ingredients, as you'll see below.  Spend a few minutes layering this in the morning, and you won't have to think about dinner again until it's time to sit down!

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Recipe Round-up (Meijer Ad 1/6/13 - 1/12/13)

    Ready to start off the new year with some menu-planning?  Here's what you can make with what's on sale at Meijer this week:

    (and yes, I'm still using the "I'm in a hurry" of these weeks I'll have time to type out all the sale ingredients again!)

    Pesto-Stuffed Tomato Bites

    (This recipe was originally posted in conjunction with the Meijer Ad week of 1/6/13 - 1/12/13)

    These appetizers pack a lot of flavor into a single bite!  I'm not gonna lie, they take awhile to put together...but the recipe makes a lot of tomato bites, and their amazing taste makes them worth the effort.