DIY Chocolate Covered Strawberries

For Mother’s Day this year, my husband surprised me with an order of the yummiest, most beautiful chocolate covered strawberries.  My two little ones noticed what I received, and since they love chocolate and strawberries, they each asked for one.  I did share a bite with each of them, but I ultimately told them these were Mommy’s strawberries.  This lead to my five year old immediately asking if we could make some of our own with the strawberries that I had in the fridge.  I agreed, and here we are with a new blog post for you. 🙂

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Frugal Living: How to Feed Your Family for a Week With Just One Chicken! Recipe #9: Chicken Parmesan Bake

This is post nine in the series that started with the crockpot whole chicken.  Just finding out about this great series? Start here to catch up.

Did you catch the teaser for this blog post over on our Facebook page on Monday?  If not, make sure to head there and click “follow” so you don’t miss out on anything else in the future. For those of you who saw it, here’s what you’ve been waiting for…

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What’s in the Garden? Zucchini and Crookneck Squash

The zucchini plants have grown a lot in the past month.  Big yellow flowers began appearing and the honey bees have been busy spreading the pollen from flower to flower.  I have enjoyed my morning strolls in the garden watching the tiny zucchini grow larger each day.  This week I began harvesting zucchini and crookneck squash from my garden.  Oh, the joys of springtime in the garden!Read More »

Quick and Easy Crabstick Cucumber Snacks

This week’s recipe is perfect for quite a few scenarios.  The first time I had this, I ate it as a great finger food at a family wedding.  Then I learned to make it at my home and served it as an appetizer at quite a few dinners.  Lately, I’ve been using it as my Lenten-friendly Friday lunch.  It does fall under the category of “easy recipes,” but I’m not so sure how healthy it is with the crabstick and mayo.  I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure you could substitute greek yogurt for the mayo.  Let me know if you try it this way and how it comes out.Read More »

Lemon Water

It’s Spring and I find myself wanting to spend lots of time in the garden.  Some of that time working in the garden beds and other times sitting in my rocker with a cool glass of lemon water.  Many years ago my husband and I gave up drinking soda.  We learned to drink water with a squeeze of organic lemon.  This little squeeze of lemon made the water a little more refreshing.  My only problem with lemon water was that I often found that I was out of  fresh organic lemons.  I no longer have that problem because today instead of a squeeze of lemon, I just add 1 drop of  Young Living Lemon Vitality Essential Oil to a tall glass of cold water.  It is inexpensive and easy to make.  Besides lemon, you might  want to try Peppermint Vitality, Grapefruit Vitality or even Lavender Vitality.  I even enjoyed the combination of Lemon Vitality with Lavender Vitality.  Just be sure to always read the usage on the bottles.  Also, always use a glass or stainless steel container for drinking and storing your water.

Now I am not a medical professional and what I am sharing with you is only my personal opinion after listening to videos and reading articles.  Besides that refreshing glass of lemon water while sitting in my rocker on the patio, I sometimes choose to bump up the benefits by also adding 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and Stevia to taste.  Apple cider vinegar is full of enzymes and good bacteria. It contains acetic acid.  Together they may help cleanse toxins from your body, aid in digestion, support metabolism, and keep skin glowing.  I like to drink this first thing in the morning and sometimes before meals.

What do you like to drink?  Have you used essential oils in your water before?  If you are new to Essential Oils and would like to know more, please comment below and I would be happy to share my personal journey with oils and help you begin your personal journey.

–Penny

Lemon Water 1

What’s Cooking? Bacon, Ham, and Pepper Jack Cheese Egg Muffins

In my quest for my family to eat healthier, one change I made was to try to stock my refrigerator with meals that were cooked and ready for us to eat.  One of the ways I do  this is to prepare breakfast muffins over the weekend and place them in bags in the refrigerator.  Before my husband leaves for work he grabs a bag to bring with him to work.  It is an easy recipe.  I make a variety of different kinds by changing the types of cheese and meat that I add to the eggs. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients
12 Eggs (one per muffin)
12 slices Bacon
3 slices ham
Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, or pepper jack)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with paper muffin liners.
Oil Muffin Pan Cups
I used precooked bacon and sliced ham today. I cut each slice of bacon in half and put it in the bottom of the muffin cup.
I then added 1/4 of a slice of ham and ¼ slice of pepper jack cheese on top of the bacon.

Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Then pour into muffin cups.

Pour Eggs
Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cool.  Then bag them and keep them in refrigerator.  Breakfast is cooked for the week and ready whenever you are.

Bacon Egg and Pepper Jack Cheese Muffins
 In an earlier post,  I wrote about another way I keep healthy meals ready in the refrigerator.  I do this by sharing meals.  Check out the post here if you haven’t read it yet.  It’s a fun way to eat a variety of meals with half the work.

–Penny

What’s Cooking? Zucchini Lasagna

Today I am going to share with you how I make zucchini lasagna.  In this recipe, I replace the lasagna pasta with sliced zucchini.

Ingredients:
Zucchini and/or yellow squash
Mozzarella Cheese-Shredded
Pasta Sauce (I used ground beef in my sauce, but you can leave the meat out if you want)
Olive Oil for grilling the zucchini and squash

Directions:
I used a mandoline to slice my zucchini and yellow squash 1/8 inch thick.  Since zucchini is a veggie that has a lot of water content, I drizzled olive oil over them and grilled them to remove some of the moisture.

Next you will need a jar of pasta sauce or you can cook it from scratch.  (I seasoned and browned a pound of ground meat, then added a tall can of tomato sauce.)  Cook the pasta sauce until it is thick.  Even though the zucchini was grilled, it will still release more liquid, and make the sauce the perfect consistency.

Layer One Zucchini Lasagna
Once the sauce is ready, begin layering the ingredients into a casserole dish.  I begin with sauce on the bottom.  Then I add a layer of zucchini.  I top the zucchini with sauce and mozzarella cheese.  Then I add another layer of squash, sauce, and cheese.

Layers Zucchini Lasagna

When the casserole dish is full, I place it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Completed Zucchini Lasagna
Let cool for a few minutes and then enjoy.

–Penny

Frugal Living: How to Feed Your Family With Just One Chicken! Recipe #8: Chicken Broccoli Bake

This is post eight in the series that started with the crockpot whole chicken.  Just finding out about this great series? Start here to catch up.

I love chicken, broccoli, and casseroles, so I think I would love any kind of chicken broccoli baked dish.  However, it has been my experience that the few times I’ve tried this combination, I’ve not loved the outcome.  Today I tried this combo again and I actually found some success!  Bonus points that this recipe is quite healthy and easy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp of coconut oil, divided
4 cups of broccoli florets (I used a bag of frozen ones, chopped)
1 medium white onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
1 cup chicken broth (make your own here)
1 cup coconut milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.) Use one tablespoon of the coconut oil to grease the casserole dish.
3.) Steam the broccoli only until lightly cooked.  I used frozen broccoli florets, so depending on the package, you can steam it right in the bag (just steam for less time than the bag instructions say).  I also chopped up the broccoli into smaller pieces after it was lightly steamed.  Set broccoli aside.
4.) In a pan, add the remaining one tablespoon of coconut oil, onions, salt, and pepper.  Brown the onions.  Once the onions are brown, add the mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms are done, stirring occasionally.

add-contents-to-casserole-dish-chicken-broccoli-bake
5.) Add the broccoli,  mushrooms, onions, and chopped chicken to the casserole dish and mix slightly.


6.) In a medium bowl, whisk broth, coconut milk, 2 eggs, and nutmeg with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture into the casserole dish evenly.

remove-from-oven-to-cool-chicken-broccoli-bake
7.) Cook for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then enjoy!

–Brandi

 

 

How to Make Your Own Beef Bone Broth

 

In one of my past blogs on eating healthy and sharing meals, I shared how it was easier to eat healthy when you take turns cooking and share the healthy meals with a friend.  The friend that I share meals with is not the only friend that I have that is aiming to eat healthier.  Although we don’t share meals each week, she has shared recipes and sent samples of new recipes.  In today’s post I am sharing the pictures and recipe for the beef bone broth that she made.  Thanks Christine for sharing!

Start by roasting organic soup bones in oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

roasting-beef-bones

While bones roast …
Into a crock pot, add three fourths hot water, large onion (or onion peels and tops of onions that you have been saving in freezer after chopping onions for other recipes), celery (or celery leaves and ends cut off and saved in freezer), cloves from one head of garlic, ground Thyme, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and sea salt.

After bones have baked for 45 minutes, add cooked bones and any liquid to the crock pot.

Cook on high for one to two hours.  Then cook on low for one to three days.  The longer the broth cooks, the more nutrients and minerals will be extracted from the bones.

cook-on-low-in-crockpot-for-beef-broth

Drain liquid.  Freeze in freezer quart jars.  This recipe made 5 jars.

Save bones and marrow.  When cool put in freezer bag, save for dog treats.

Save strained onions, celery and garlic.  When cool feed to chickens.  No waste!

If you have chicken bones instead of beef bones, refer to Brandi’s post (Homemade chicken broth)

In a future post, I will share Christine’s recipe that she made using this bone broth.  It was the most delicious chili that I have ever eaten!  Oh how I could eat some more of that.  Hint…Hint…

–Penny