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RV’ing and a failed meal plan

49352847 - class a motorhome
49352847 – class a motorhome

I typically go to the grocery store on Tuesday’s as the toddler story time at the library is near the grocery. So, on Monday’s I try to make a meal plan, but I don’t usually do a very good job with it. When I get to the grocery store, I will see some organic meat on sale or an interesting vegetable will catch my eye and my meal plan will go out the door, as well as food accumulating in my freezers. It’s amazing to me to see how much I am able to fit in my freezers!

Today I looked through my pantry, my two freezers(yes, two) and tried to plan out meals with just what was in those. I will need to get a few items to make some meals from what I have on hand, but I am going to try my hardest to go through with this.

We are planning on traveling about in an RV very soon. I need to use up almost all of my frozen items. Which I have been trying to, but again, in my first paragraph, you see what happens. Also, the RV will have no second freezer and it might even be a tiny freezer if we don’t get an RV with a residential refrigerator. I am hoping to enjoy using mainly fresh produce weekly and stick to a meal plan while traveling. I do use a lot of fresh produce, but I do tend to freeze a lot for later(or I could just be honest and say that I bought too much or I was too lazy to make it all).

Tonight we had leftover meatballs with red sauce and quinoa pasta. I had broccoli sprouts with my meal. I made an interesting smoothie this morning with random frozen fruit and had a soup from my freezer for lunch. I made a cantaloupe bread from cantaloupe I had frozen from this summer. That will be breakfast for my girls for the next few days.

I took a small lamb roast out of the freezer to thaw and just put a bottled marinade I found on it to marinate overnight and I’ll pop in the slow cooker in the morning to have for dinner tomorrow. I’ll make potatoes and carrots on the side. I pulled another jar of soup out of the freeezer for my lunch tomorrow.

Wednesday will be leftover quinoa pasta with shrimp that is in the freezer. I’ll make a garlic butter sauce for it all and have peas on the side. I have corn tortillas and several frozen Cajun chickens. On Thursday it’ll be Cajun chicken enchiladas. Hopefully, they’ll turn out well as I’ve not made this before! Friday will be white bean chicken chili(using frozen shredded chicken), dry white beans from my pantry and I have a box of cornbread mix I need to use. Saturday will be jambalaya made with another frozen Cajun chicken and frozen andouille sausage. Sunday will be pizza since that’s what we typically have!

I hope since I’ve written this all out on the blog, that I will be held accountable to not stray from my meal plan this week!

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The Tastiest, Healthiest Horchata

Horchata. I had to look up the pronunciation. It’s actually quite a fun word to say! I’ve been wanting to make horchata for some time now. The ones I’ve seen have been more traditional ones made with rice. I wanted to try out some with the Tiger nuts I had bought. They were dried and still slightly chewy with a hard outside. They were sweet and satisfying to chew on. My nine year old daughter really loved them! I preferred them better after soaking them for a few hours. I soaked them overnight for this recipe. Tiger nuts are not really nuts. They are a tuberous root vegetable, high in resistant starch and naturally sweet.

To make Tigernut Horchata you’ll need:

8 ounces of tigernuts

4 cups filtered water

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon

Maple syrup to taste(I didn’t add any as I thought it was sweet on it’s own)

Saok the tiger nuts overnight in water. Place the drained nuts into a high-power blender with a couple cups of water. Blend until smooth. I strained the liquid through a fine mesh sieve, but I really needed a nut milk bag. Next time I make it, I’ll have one! After it is strained, mix in the rest of the water, ground cinnamon and maple syrup to taste. Pour over ice or drink as is! It will save in the refrigerator for about one week.  Continue reading The Tastiest, Healthiest Horchata

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The best blueberry smoothie to get your daily dose of resistant starch

The week is almost over! Here’s a great recipe to add in that good  resistant starch I blogged about earlier this week(Why you need more starch in your life).

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 green banana*

1/4 cup gluten-free oat bran

1 cup nut milk

1/4 teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon

1 tablespoon of honey, agave, or maple syrup to taste

Blend all in a blender. May add in more or less milk to make it to the consistency you prefer.

 

*make sure it’s a green banana to get the most resistant starch

 

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Why you need more starch in your life

Many of you in the health circles have most likely heard of prebiotics by now. If you haven’t heard of them, that’s okay!

Prebiotics are food for probiotics. It comes in the form of what’s called resistant starch. Resistant starch does just what the name implies, resists digestion until it hits the large intestine where it feeds those good gut bacterias hanging out there and promoting the making of butyrate. Many balk when they hear the word “starch” and “carb.” But, the good resistant starches naturally occurring in foods are extremely healthy and will not cause weight gain. In many instances, it might even cause weight loss! Certain prebiotic foods contain specific types of fiber, consisting of inulin, oligiofructose, and trans-galactooligosaccharasides. Inulin, in particular, while stimulating healthy gastrointestinal tract, it also aids in constipation, stimulates bone health by assisting in calcium absorption, and may lower the risk of atherosclerosis by decreasing blood triglyceride levels.

Now, many processed foods contain resistant starches, but these are not the ones that are the healthy startches. RS1 is one of the good ones that is found in whole foods, seeds, legumes, and unprocessed whole grains. RS2 is another found in some starchy foods, like green bananas, plantains, and raw potatoes. There are five different types total. To keep it simple, just remember that RS1 and RS2 are the good starches.

How do you incorporate RS into your daily diet? Easy! Try eating plantain chips, adding a green banana to smoothies, and adding onions and/or garlic to your dishes. Jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, legumes, and cold potatoes are more options. Some like to use banana starch to make into gluten-free pasta or adding a couple tablespoons to a smoothie. I highly recommend to get your daily dose of RS through Whole Foods, but I know some days its easiest to use a shelf-stable item. Stay tuned for a couple tasty recipes high in resistant starch!

*these are affiliate links that help support this blog, but costs you nothing to click

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Moisturize your Body

If you live in a colder climate, during the winter months it can be extremely harsh on your skin. I know my skin suffers during these cold months. I have a few favorite moisturizers that I stock up on for the winter months. I also make sure to drink plenty of water, eat healthy fats and oils. My threee favorite moisturizers are Jason aloe lotion, Plexus body cream, and Trader Joe’s moisturizing cream.

The Jason aloe one is nice with the aloe in it to help seal in moisture and its unscented.

The Plexus body cream has spirulina and activated charcoal in it. The activated charcoal helps work against age-advancing toxins and impurities. The spirulina aids in detoxing. It has a light feel and I will use it on my face.

The Trader Joe’s moisturizing cream is very emmolient and keeps my hands soft for quite some time. I like to use it on very dry areas of my body and my hands are one that needs the extra moisture! With all the hand washing from taking the toddler to the potty, to washing dishes, to cleaning up messes all day, my hands are in water all day long it seems.

Drinking half your body weight in water is vital, especially in the winter when the heat is blowing dry air constantly and when the skin is exposed to the harsh, cold air outside.

I try to make sure to consume good quality olive oil(don’t cook with it, only use it in salads or to drizzle some over foods!), avocados, unsalted nuts, and salmon are all great to help keep the skin healthy.

What are your favorite ways to stay moisterized in the winter?

 

 

*these are affiliate links listed. they do not cost you anything to click on them, but helps maintain this site.

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www.awesomelife.myplexusproducts.com for the plexus body cream

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No Guilt

I know many of you feel guilty indulging in the yummy foods and goodies that are all around us during the holidays. I’m sure like me this morning, you awoke feeling not your best. Perhaps feeling sluggish this morning. Tired from the celebrations, tired because of the not-so-healthy foods consumed, and a bit mentally exhausted too.

I am here to tell you, there’s no guilt needed. You enjoyed your day and today is a new day to start fresh.

To make sure you’re starting your morning off healthy, make up a hot smoothie. I made a hot orange, ginger, carrot smoothie from http://kitchensanctuary.com/2014/10/orange-carrot-and-ginger-hot-smoothie-week-4-of-my-hot-smoothie-saturday-series-for-october/

Like many of you, I am tired and did not create my own recipe this morning. I chose this one with oranges for two reasons. One is that while visiting my grandfather and parents in Louisiana last week, I was given a huge bag of fresh oranges, satsumas, and grapefruits. These all came from my grandfather’s back yard. They weren’t the prettiest, but they are home-grown and pesticide free! The satsuma oranges are so sweet, juicy and brightly colored! I wanted to incorporate these delicious, fresh fruits into my morning.

The second reason I chose this recipe was that it is loaded with vitamin C from the oranges and lemon. The ginger in it helps with so many things, but the gingerol that is present in fresh ginger, can help with lowering the risks of infection and we all know at this time of year, ourselves and our children tend to get sick. The carrot is full of healthy nutrients as well. Honey is great, especially if you choose local honey as it may help with seasonal allergies. Also, the hot water and lemon combination is so good for your body! It helps balance your body’s pH, flushes out your liver(hello holiday cocktails!), and stimulates your gastrointestinal tract. As you can see, this is a powerful combination of nutrient-rich foods, a great way to start your morning, every morning, but especially after indulging during a holiday.

So, enjoy your no guilt Monday and be renewed and refreshed with a tasty hot smoothie!

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Cinnamon Apple Porridge

This Monday morning I am visiting family, so I am in a hotel and unable to make my Monday morning soup. But I have a simple porridge, which is a similar consistency of soup for you. This recipe may be made in a microwave or even just boiling water poured over the top. I am using a gluten-free oat bran. It is high in fiber to keep you satiated longer. You could even add a scoop of protein powder to it, like I’ll be doing. It’s easy to portion out the ingredients before you leave for a trip or work.

You’ll need:

1/3 cup of oat bran

1 apple sauce pouch

1-2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup water

1 scoop of protein powder(optional)

1 tablespoon natural sweetener(optional)

Place all in a microwaveable container or a heat proof one if pouring boiling water over top. Microwave for 2 minutes and let it stand in microwave for 3 minutes. If you are steeping it, pour the boiling water over from a hot pot or electric tea kettle and cover. Let stand 10 minutes or until thickened. This makes too much to put in a regular sized mug, so don’t make the mistake like I did the first time! A half pint mason jar works well.

I am using these for the ingredients:

*

*

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*Protein powder: http://shopmyplexus.com/awesomelife/products/plexus-96.html

*I do get minor compensation for the links on my page*

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Cauliflower soup

Cauliflower doesn’t illicit much in the way of thoughts of delicious and yummy foods, but it has so many nutrients in it to not be ignored. Cauliflower is a wellspring of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, pantothenic acid, and vitamin B6. It is also a great source of choline, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, and biotin. Additionally, it is a good source of vitamin B1, B2, and B3, the minerals potassium and magnesium, and protein. As you see, though lacking color in the white variety, it is so healthy for you!

This soup is from a blog I enjoy reading myself. Here is the link: http://www.healthhomeandhappiness.com/slow-cooker-carrot-cauliflower-soup-with-coconut-milk-and-caramelized-onions.html

I didn’t have any coconut milk on hand, so I just added in more broth. It is great that it’s made in a slow cooker as then you could cook it overnight for your morning soup. I did prepare mine on Sunday as I had time to do so. I love not having to think about what I have to eat in the morning when it can be hectic. Soups are warm, filling and packed with nutrients!

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Traditions for Christmas

What are some Christmas traditions you and your family do during this season? Are there any that don’t bring you joy? What are the ones that do?

Some traditions are passed down, others are made by society, still others are created by ourselves over the years.

I’ve kept several from my family. Some are putting up a tree, but we do a fake one and my parents always did a real tree. Stockings are hung and filled for Christmas morning. Santa will come for the children.

I’ve always enjoyed baking cookies and making a gingerbread house with my family and children.

I do miss holiday parties as I don’t work outside of the home and it would be nice to have at least one small holiday party.

This year our family is parring down extremely in the gift giving department. Over the years, we haven’t exchanged much with extended family as they moved further away. For awhile we all did a drawing as we had a large extended family, then we stopped doing that. I still love to send and receive Christmas cards, letters and pictures. I feel this is enough for us. For my children, this year we are trying to not focus on the gifts they will receive Christmas morning. I’ve been wanting to implement this for several years, but just haven’t. With us wanting to travel in an RV, this has been a catalyst in making this happen this year. We are going to still do stockings, but only have one or two small gifts. We are going to take the three girls to an American Girl Doll store to pick out a few items and spend the day there enjoying the things they offer(bistro or desert bar and activities).

One thing that my children enjoy and that I do as well, is Christmas sticks. These were originally made at a mom’s group I was in several years ago and they have evolved. This year I bought new, large, colorful popsicle sticks to write on and updated some of the things to do on them. One thing I do is remove the more time-intensive activities during the week and add them in on the weekends. You may write whatever activities you would find joy doing.

Here is a list of what we have currently:

Open one present early

Write a letter to Santa

Make Christmas cookies

Watch a Christmas movie

Go see Santa

Color Christmas pictures

Decorate tree

Set up nativity

Pay “find the wiseman”

Make a paper chain or snowflakes

Make reindeer food

Hot chocolate and Christmas lights

Shopping trip with mom or dad

Christmas crafts

Christmas music dance party

Make Christmas colored pancakes

Read Christmas books

Family pizza night

Take goodies to neighbors

Trip to library for Christmas books

Make homemade hot chocolate

Special family outing

Build a gingerbread house

Bake cookies for santa

 

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Pantry+Meal Planning

I love my huge pantry, but it is so easy for me to keep buying food to fill up the shelves because one, I have the space and two, I will buy things on sale just because I have the room to store it. This creates some problems over time if I’m not careful. You might be wondering how on earth this could become a problem? Well, I tend to forget what I bought and then open my pantry to look at what I have for meal inspiration, but I seem to have everything, but nothing that will make a cohesive meal. This is where a large pantry will fail you if you don’t plan. I have not been much for meal planning in the past, but recently I have started to. I am still learning and trying not to impulse buy food on sale or stockpile for when we are in our RV, we definitely won’t have the space to store this extra food.

First, you’ll want to go through your pantry and take stock of what you have currently. This may seem daunting at first, but take an hour or two(set a timer even!) and throw away any items that are expired. Have a paper and pen on hand and write down what you have. The items that are going to expire soon, put a star or check next to them. If there’s canned or packaged food that you just don’t see you or your family eating, donate it to a food pantry, now is a great time to do this. Try your hardest to plan meals around what you currently have on hand, then you’ll be able to start fresh with meal planning.

With meal planning, I’ve learned to keep it simple. I may some weeks get bored with my menu, but it does make nightly dinner preparation easier in the long run. My girls love tacos, so I have adopted “taco Tuesday.” I never was a fan of things like this, but it does take off a whole lot of pressure to know that at least one day of the week, everyone will be happy with the meal and it is easy to keep these items on hand.

I typically grocery shop on Tuesday’s as I’m right by the store coming from the library’s toddler story time, so I try to make my weekly meal plan on Sunday’s or Monday’s. Monday’s we typically have leftovers or if no leftovers, then breakfast for dinner.

I like to use the app, OurGroceries, which is nice to keep a running list. I have not used a paper grocery list in ages as I would forget it frequently at home and not remember what I need and I always have my phone on me. I do jot my weekly menu plan on a scrap piece of paper mostly, but lately I’ve liked to use a small note pad or book so I’m able to glance back at meals.

As you can see from the picture of one section of my pantry, I’m still trying to pair down. So, be easy on yourself and be happy that you’ll have more time, better money management, and less stress from simple meal planning.