10 great blogs to read on the regular & podcasts to keep your brain stimulated on the daily

Workplace in my office with coffee

 

I wanted to share some blogs I enjoy reading and some podcasts I enjoy listening to.

The podcasts have been nice for me lately as I am able to listen to them while driving or doing housework.

What are some of your blogs or podcasts that you read/listen to on the regular?

Blogs:

 

Minimalism

http://nourishingminimalism.com/

http://www.thistinybluehouse.com/

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/

Health and Wellness

http://www.healthhomeandhappiness.com

Pregnancy

Natural. Healthy. Happy.

Spinning Babies: Comfort in pregnancy and birth

Life/family coach

New-Main

http://www.daniellelaporte.com/

 Podcasts:

http://www.danielvitalis.com/rewild-yourself-podcast/

Podcasts

http://budgetsandcents.com/

http://www.cohesivehome.com/podcast/

Home

 

The easiest, yummiest, Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa Meal to Make

best instant pot mexican quinoaI have joined the Instant Pot community since becoming a full time RV family. In the RV, there’s a stove, oven, and a microwave/convection oven. So why would I need something else to cook with you may ask? For one, I am not a big microwave fan and I have never cooked anything in a microwave/convection combo oven before, but I have used a pressure cooker and slow cooker for many years and feel comfortable with those. Also, the oven and stove run off a LP tank and we have to have it filled. That means taking the 37 foot RV to somewhere to fill the tank which is not too bad, but still a bit of a hassle.

So, enter the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot has saved me space in that I am able to use it for sauteing, pressure cooking, rice cooker, and slow cooking so far(there are several other functions, such as yogurt function, that I have yet to try, but want to!). It does not create much, if any, moisture when cooking, which is great in an RV.

So, on to my yummy, easy, mexican quinoa recipe I made! I was trying to use what I had already in my pantry and refrigeration, so this is how I came up with this dish.

Mexican Quinoa Instant Pot Dinner

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 onion, diced

1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper, diced(I had mini colored bell peppers on hand and used about 6)

1 tomato, diced(or use 1 can diced tomatoes Muir Glen Organic Tomatoes, Diced, 14.5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 12))

1,4 oz can diced green chilis ( Ortega Diced Green Chiles, Mild, 4 Ounce (Pack of 12))

1 can black beans( Westbrae Natural Organic Black Beans, 15 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12))

1 can corn(Green Valley Organics Whole Kernel Supersweet Corn, 15 Ounce (Pack of 12)

1 cup quinoa(White Quinoa, 4lbs, USDA Organic by Anthony’s – Gluten Free & Non GMO)

1 1/2 cups water or broth(Frontier Broth Powder, Vegetable Flavored, 16 Ounce Bag), you’ll add this to the blended mixture to make up to 2 cups worth combined.

1/2 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Blend, 2.9 oz

1 teaspoon cumin(McCormick Gourmet Organic Cumin Ground, 1.5 oz)

2 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste(Redmond Real Salt, Ancient Fine Sea Salt, Unrefined Mineral Salt, 26 Ounce Pouch (2 Pack))

Method:

Saute the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes on the saute function in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter. Add in the garlic, stir for one minute, add in tomato and saute for five minutes. Scrape the saute mixture into a blender. Add the green chilis to the blender along with the cumin, chile lime seasoning and salt and pepper. Let cool in blender while sauteing the sweet potatoes. Put sweet potato pieces into the Instant Pot on the saute function, adding oil as needed.   Saute for five minutes, or until slightly brown. Turn off Instant pot and add the quinoa(make sure to rinse the quinoa in a sieve first). Blend the mixture in the blender until smooth. Taste to see if more seasoning is needed. Put in enough water or broth to make 2 cups of liquid and pour into Instant pot and stir gently. Put the lid on the IP(instant pot) and press the rice button.

Serve with avocado, cilantro, fresh lime, sour cream, and cheese, if so desired.

*this post contains affiliate links that cost you nothing when clicked, but may help pay for this blog if they are clicked upon. 🙂

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Checking in on Progress(food journal)

How did you do with your food journal these past few weeks? If you didn’t get a chance to read about food journaling, check it out here, Why you need a food journal(free pdf!).

This is a good time to go over each day and analyze your intake. Is it what you thought it would be? Are there times you saw that you didn’t eat as healthy as you should’ve? What was going on when you ate that way? Were you tired, stressed, bored?

Did you eat enough during the day? How was your water intake?

I would encourage you to try this activity again, this time really thinking about how you are feeling before, during and after eating. It is a good time to make sure you’re eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Many times, we don’t realize that some days, we had not eaten any vegetables at all.

If you feel that you need help with your daily eating habits, please reach out to me so that we can get you on the right track. We will most likely never have a day where we ate perfectly healthy.

For instance, today, my nine year old daughter wanted to make chocolate chip cookies. Then she wanted me to first try the cookie dough and then a cookie. I did eat a small spoonful of cookie dough and one of her cookies. They were delicious! It made her so happy to see me enjoying what she made. Never feel that you have failed eating healthy just because you ate a cookie or six(been there)! It is part of life to enjoy what we eat, but also be cognizant of eating healthy overall.

 

food journal diet weightloss

Why you need a food journal(free pdf!)

Have you ever wondered if a food journal might help you with your health and wellness journey? Do you have unexplained symptoms such as headaches, bloating, fatigue, or nausea? Do you feel like you have been dieting and watching what you eat, but still are not losing the weight? If any of these apply to you, a food journal will most definitely help you! By writing down what you eat and drink everyday for a couple weeks, along with how you feel after eating, you will many times, pinpoint where you are struggling diet-wise or find foods that cause those unexplained symptoms. When I was practicing midwifery, I would always give my clients a handout to chart their food and water intake for the first month and bring it back to me at their next prenatal visit. Many times, the women would be amazed at what they ate, what their diet was lacking, or even discover they were not eating enough. It is also a great way to make sure you are drinking enough water. Many of us go about each day dehydrated. It’s amazing how much better our bodies work when hydrated properly.

I have a free printable Food Journal page for you to give it a try. This is just one easy method. If you like this printable, you may print multiples and hole punch them to put in a 3 ring binder to keep it all together so as to see your progress. Or, you could get a notepad, small notebook, jot it into the notes section on your device as well, whatever is easiest for you!

I will write more in another blog post about using your food journal to help you reach or maintain your health and wellness goals. Happy food journal-ling!

 

Our very first week of fulltiming

On Saturday, March 25th, my husband and I picked up our new home on wheels, a 37 foot Fleetwood Bounder.  Then the very next day, we packed it up(sort of), and headed up to Kentucky where my husband, Brent, was getting back surgery. It was a whirlwind and I was searching through boxes marked “RV” trying to find a few essential for our stay in Kentucky. We were planning to only stay a week and then head down to Louisiana to visit family, but after Brent’s surgery this past wednesday, the doctor advised that we sit tight for at least a couple of weeks.

We’ve been parked in a friend’s driveway(they live on a nice piece of land) and are hooked up to power and water for the past week due to nearby campsites not being open until the first of April. Now we are stuck here for a bit due to me having never driven this huge rig and Brent unable to drive.

The children have enjoyed the past week staying in our new home. My seven year old says we’ve made it all “nice and cozy.” The three year old comments most every morning, “We slept in the RV!”

We had to get a foam mattress topper for the master bed as the mattress that came in it is not the most comfortable one. Later on, we want to replace the mattress and put the foam topper on top of the bunk that lowers over the front seats as that one is extremely thin.

Iliana, the nine year old, sleeps in the drop down bunk, Emme, the seven year old, sleeps in the top bunk and Avery, the three year old, is on the bottom bunk.

The only thing with being parked in someone’s driveway, is that we aren’t truly getting to experience living in the RV fulltime. The family tends to gravitate toward the house. Which I know the kids like it since there’s “new to them” toys in there. I know we will soon enough get to experience this new life.

Also, I haven’t had a chance to cook a full meal in the RV yet. I have only used the microwave in it. The other meals have been at our friend’s, family or restaurants. Some of the reason is due to Brent not able to do much of anything but rest.

It has been a challenge finding where to put everything inside of the RV. I have to get creative on where to store items. While we are parked, the front dash makes a great storage shelf, haha! I am also utilizing the storage bays underneath the RV. That is where some “extra” items are and also my broom and dustpan.

Yesterday, I had a major fail being a newbie owner of an RV. I needed to empty the grey tank, which is all the sink and shower waste. The black tank is the one that collects the toilet waste. When trying to connect the hose to the drain on the RV, I unscrewed the cap, only to have a flood of the most foul liquid ever splash out and onto me! The black tank valve was for some reason, open! I will never, ever forget to check that valve now that I know what will happen if it’s not pushed in! As a mom and a midwife, I have had plenty of nasty stuff splashed in me, but this, by far, was the worst.

In a nutshell, this is some highlights of our first week fulltiming in an RV. I am sure there will be more to learn and I will continue to keep you updated on what’s happening in our mobile lives!

 

*as you can see in the photo, we have a lot of stuff stored on the dash of the rv, but I have been able to organize that space more since this picture was taken.

 

Dreaming of small spaces and slight panic over said small spaces

Hello all! I have been MIA for the last few weeks due to selling our sticks and bricks home, packing it all up and heading out to Tennessee to visit family. We also purchased our new home on wheels this past weekend, but won’t get possession of it until the end of this week due to my husband’s travel schedule. We will also need to install a towing apparatus to the car to tow it behind the RV before bringing it off the lot.

I am so excited to get our RV to start getting our things organized in it. Like most RVs, it is tight on space so I know I will need to go through the boxes I had originally labeled “rv” when packing. As we walked through the RV this past Friday, I truly realized how little of space it had to store items. I know I will need to parr down my pots and pans. I already packed up my pressure cooker and slow cooker, in hopes of getting an Instapot, since it will narrow down my items as it has many functions in one pot.

I am happy that there’s a full-sized refrigerator in it and a tiny pantry area next to it. We also have a convection oven/microwave and a small oven with burners.

The children’s clothing is another concern for me to find space to keep them. There’s two small drawers under the bunk beds and then one of the bathrooms has quite a bit of cabinets, so I’m hoping to fit three little girls’ clothing in those two areas, wish me luck!

We have been staying at my parent’s place and enjoying catching up with family this past week and a half. My youngest is turning three in two days, but we celebrated her birthday this yesterday as her father had to travel this week and would miss her real birthday.

We got her a bike and she loves it. Our plan is for my husband and I to get bicycles so that we are able to bike together as a family. I know it will be slow going with a three year old, so I might wnd up getting a seat on mine for her to ride along.

In a couple weeks my husband, Brent, will be under-going surgery for his ruptured disc in hopes that he will be finally free of pain and enjoy being more active again.

We do miss the friends we made in Kentucky and the family that is still there, but we will be back up there for his surgery, so hopefully we will be able to say “hello” to some. I am sure we will make our way up that way often a we travel about.

We are all excited to start this new journey. Here is a picture of my seven year old who drew our RV today.

Yummy ways to get your stomach bug fighting vitamin defense on

The other day I listened to a webinar from the Franklin Institute of Wellness on the stomach bug and ways to combat it along with pertinent information about it.

There are so many misconceptions about the stomach bug  and what works effectively to protect yourself from it and how to keep form getting it. One of her recommendations was vitamin A. I never really think of vitamin A much. I’m typically looking at vitamin B, D, or C frequently. Vitamin A is so important to our health though!

It helps specifically with inflammation and boosting the immune system, two key factors to fight and build defense against illnesses like the stomach bug.

It is best to get your daily intake of Vitamin A with food as it is easy to get too much by supplementing with it. I have a couple recipes below for you to try out that has some vitamin A rich nutrients, such as carrots and sweet potatoes. Ginger is great for inflammation and boosting the immune system as well, so it is incorporated into these recipes.

Here is the link to the webinar: https://franklininstituteofwellness.com/free-stomach-flu-webinar/

I believe she leaves it up for a year.

 

Gingered Carrot Soup

I modified an old recipe card I had from Williams Sonoma.

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. coconut oil

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced

3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped

2 cups water

2 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbs tapioca flour

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 Tbs grated fresh ginger

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the carrots, onion, celery, and celery leaves and sauté for 5 minutes.

Stir in the water, broth and tapioca flour. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 2o minutes.

Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth.

To serve hot, return soup to pan and stir in milk and green onions. Reheat for a moment over low heat, not letting soup boil, then stir in ginger.

To serve cold, pour into a large bowl and stir in milk, green onions and ginger. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Serves 6.

 

The next recipe is Orange Creamsicle Smoothie. It is so delicious! It’s from a Clean Eating magazine. Here’s the link to the recipe though: http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/recipes/orange-creamsicle-smoothie

A couple of things I did differently; I used a whole orange in place of the orange juice and I didn’t have fresh turmeric, so I used dry powdered tuneric from my spice shelf.

 

Have fun trying these out and stay healthy!

A genuine look at how I reduced my stuff to simplify my life

Over the past year, I have really been cognizant of minimizing my belongings. I have always in a part, been a minimalist at heart, but like many others, have become immersed in consumerism. They make it so easy! I read Marie Kondo’s book, The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japenese art of decluttering and organizing(whew, for a minimalist, that’s a long title!). She has some “out there” ideas, but her book does help to methodically go through the house and to help one see the joy in the belongings we choose to hold on to. I’ve read other books on minimalism over the years, but I was feeling stuck in a way, so I wanted to see what this book was all about.

There were several sentimental items I had been holding onto. One was a shirt from my daughter, Ansley that died three days after her birth. It was a shirt given to me by the medic team that transported her to the children’s hospital. She hadn’t even worn the shirt and it really wasn’t a good memory for me at all, but I had held on to it anyway for these past five years. That was one item I let go. I realize many have special attachments and memories attached to items, but they are not that person. Think about it, what is it you do whenever you see, hold, touch that object? You conjure up a memory in your head! The memory of that person is held in your head and heart, not in that particular item. I am not saying that it is wrong or not minimalist to keep sentimental items, but I encourage you to see why you need it. I did keep several items from Ansley, but most, I gave away. My three daughters enjoy using the couple baby blankets I had from her to play dolls with and it brings me joy(with a hint of sadness) whenever I see them wrapping their baby dolls with her blankets now.

I also wanted to not have so much to have to put in storage while we traveled. The last move we did, I couldn’t believe how much stuff we had even after I had gone through so much beforehand and it was a lot! So, this time, I wanted it to be a lot less. I still feel that I could get rid of more, but I am at a difficult stage with trying to decide if its worth storing for a couple years or if it could be replaced. The frugal part of me wants to keep it, but I’m trying to be okay with living without some of these items.

The featured image above is a current picture of my kitchen space. It is a big kitchen and I love that I have plenty of counter space, but it is also nice to be able to have it cleared off. I have worked hard at getting rid of enough kitchen gadgets to get to this. When I’m in a smaller kitchen I’ll be challenged again!

One thing I’ve been working on is minimizing the amount of food I buy and store. For so long we lived over 20 minutes away(one way!)from a grocery store and I was part of a natural food co-op, so I got used to stocking up. Now I have lived for several years very close to a grocery store, but still was stuck in that mentality. It’s going to be a work in progress and I just hope that I’m not too overwhelmed with it all when I’m in a small RV trying to stock up on groceries!

My hope is to beckon more harmony into my life by simplifying the stuff I have surrounding me. I want to be able to spend more time and energy focusing on the people I love by not having to worry about keeping my house cleaned up.

What are things that you feel you just couldn’t live without? Do you feel stuck in your journey to a minimalist home?

*this post contains affiliate links that help support this blog, but costs you nothing to click on it

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!

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”