Crazy About Kale

I know that the kale craze has been in full swing for a while now, but I must admit that I’m a relatively new convert to its virtues.   For the past several months I have been eating mostly vegetarian meals.  I’ve had three people very close to me diagnosed with various forms of cancer within the last year, so I’m really trying to up my healthy eating game.  Kale is high in vitamin K and iron, and overall has a great nutritional profile, so it’s a no brainer to add it to my diet.

 

Kale and Mushroom Sautee

Mushroom and Kale Saute

My massage therapist, Julie shared this super-easy and delicious recipe for Mushroom and Kale Saute.  It has only four ingredients: olive oil, red onion, mushrooms, and kale.  Rinse and chop the kale, then lightly coat it with a bit of olive oil and “massage” it.  Chop the red onion and slice the mushrooms.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet.  Add the onions and mushrooms.  If you like your kale on the softer side, add it with the onions and mushrooms.  If you prefer it a bit crunchier, add it for the last 2 or 3 minutes of cook time.  I served mine over quinoa.

 

Sweet Potato Kale Fried Rice

Caramelized Sweet Potato and Kale Fried Wild Rice 

I found this delightful recipe on Pinterest from Iowa Girl Eats.  She classifies it as a side dish, but this is also a perfect main dish for vegetarians.  I used Minute Rice’s Multi Grain Medley, which is a staple at my house.   Since I didn’t have pepitas (pumpkin seeds), I used chopped pecans instead.  This has become one of my new favorite dinner recipes!

 

kale-cucumber-and-pineapple-juice

Cucumber, Kale, & Pineapple Juice

Two months ago, I bought a juicer and many of the recipes I found on Pinterest had kale as an ingredient.  My favorite is super easy: juice one cucumber (peel it if you are not buying organic), 1 cup of pineapple chunks, and 2 cups of kale.  Even my hubby, who usually shuns my healthy juices, likes this one.

Do you have a favorite kale recipe?  If so, leave it for me in the comments!

 

The Meal Time Box Giveaway ($100 Value) Easy Meals For Busy People

The Meal Time Box Giveaway ($100 Value) Easy Meals For Busy People #MealTimeBox

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You know that I am a huge advocate of meal planning, but sometimes folks are too busy to cook for themselves.  That’s why I’m super excited to bring you this giveaway to receive $100 worth of meals delivered right to your front door!

Sponsored By: Meal Time Box

Hosted By: Deliciously Savvy

Co-Hosted By:

The Homespun Chics // Our-Wolves-Den // IMHO Views, Reviews and Giveaways // Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains // Amy & Aron’s Real Life Reviews // Marcelle mndza~the versatile blog // My Silly Little Gang // Your Strong Tower // Michigan Saving and More // Capri’s Coupons

PLUS a Big Thank You To All Of The Bloggers Helping To Promote This Giveaway! I Can Never Do It Without You All!

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Here Are A Few Of The Meals Available PLUS Dessert Is Added To Every Purchase! Pulled Pork with Sweet Potato Mash and Collard Greens….Orange Chicken, White Rice and Broccoli….so many delicious and ready to eat meals!

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And Now The Giveaway!!!

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THE DETAILS:

1 Lucky Winner Will Receive a $100 Gift Card To Use At Meal Time Box!

 

Giveaway Dates ~ 08/13 9AM EST until 09/07 11:59PM EST

Entrants must be 18 years old to enter and giveaway is open to US residents only in the following states: CT, DC, DE, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI (Lower Peninsula), NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT & WV.

Must Be 18+ To Enter

Any Questions Email Me At mcushing7 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated or associated with Facebook,
Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site. This giveaway is valid only
in the United States. Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter.
This giveaway will end at 11:59PM (EST) on 09/07/2016.

Good Luck! Enter Below

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook!

By Supporting Our Blogs Via Social Media You Are Helping Us To Provide Fabulous Prizes For Amazing Future Giveaways! Good Luck & Thank You!

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How Meal Planning Saves You Time, Money & Stress

Meal Planning Saves Time Money and Stress

I started meal planning over five years ago when I was coupon queen.  At the time my sole motivation to start planning my meals was saving money.  I wanted to make better use of the food that I was buying at a fraction of the cost with my couponing strategies. I instinctively knew meal planning would cut down on the amount of food I threw away, and my family would eat out less. 

However, I quickly realized that the benefits of meal planning went far beyond just saving money.  I was saving time in the kitchen, which meant I was less stressed out at dinner time. These days, I’m lucky if I remember to load my digital coupons to my Kroger app!  Meal planning, on the other hand, is one habit I’m sticking with because it never fails to save me time, money, and stress. 

Meal Planning Benefit #1: Save Money

The average American family throws away up to $30 of every $100 they spend on food.  It’s just like throwing dollar bills into the trash can every time we scrape off our plates or throw away leftovers!  Planning your meals in advance allows you to manage your food resources wisely so there’s less waste and more money in your pockets.

Meal Planning Benefit #2: Save Time 

Everyone has jam-packed schedules and cooking dinner can feel like another time consuming chore to check off your list.  For many of us, it seems easier to just pick up carry out or order a pizza.  However, with a small amount of time invested up front, you can ensure that you’ll have everything ready to go for a delicious, nutritious dinner in 30 minutes or less. 

Meal Planning Benefit #3: Reduce Stress

Think about it: the last thing you want to do when you get home after a long day is stress out over what to make for dinner! Wouldn’t it be great to come home to the wonderful smell of dinner in the crock pot, ready to eat?  This way, you can actually enjoy connecting with your family over a nice relaxing dinner.  The only thing you’ll have to stress over is who’s going to the dishes!

Meal Planning Bonus: Healthier Eating

As a bonus, you’ll also eat healthier when you meal plan.  Just by reducing your restaurant meals, you’ll slash your calorie intake by about 30%.  You’re also more likely to stick to a healthy eating plan if your meals are prepped and ready to go.

New to Meal Planning?  Check out my FREE Mindful Meal Planning course inside of Vigoroom!  (Find it inside of the Money Wellness Room on the home page once you’ve registered.)

Summer Meal Planning Tips (Video)

Summer Meal Planning Tips

Like me, do you dread turning on the oven to cook dinner when it’s sweltering hot outside? Sure, you can use the grill and we do use ours quite a bit during the summer.  But what if it’s raining?  Here are some meal planning tips to keep your kitchen cool this summer!

 

  • Pan Frying Meats or Stir Frying Veggies on the Stovetop

  • Toaster Oven – Bake a single piece of salmon, a small batch of sweet potato fries, or a few dinner rolls.

  • Crock Pot – Use it year round!

  • Veggie Steamer

  • Of course, the grill!  Try batch cooking a whole bag of frozen chicken breasts.  Dice up the extras and toss it onto salads for those nights you don’t want to cook at all.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Taco & Nacho Night

Taco Night

With Cinco de Mayo being this week, guest poster Kim Bergeron of Extreme Coupon Professors bring us some Mexican flair to add to May’s meal plan.  Here’s what she has to say:

Am I the only one who goes to a restaurant, reads the menu and says, I’m going to try making this next week?!  Well, once in awhile I do and with great success when the family loves what I bring to the table.

This week we brought our taco dinner up a couple of notches. We do have a large family, so quite often we need triple the amount. I came across taco casserole kits, which comes in handy on a busy night, but I wanted to add more to the table.

Recently, I was away in Mexico and had shrimp salsa. I had it twice a day, it was so amazing. Tonight I picked up a mild salsa seasoning packet and mixed it in a bowl with 4 chopped tomatoes and 1/4 of cup of red onion.( I can’t wait for summer garden tomatoes!) I added 1 cup of cooked medium shrimp to the mix. I sliced up an avocado and served a bowl of multi-grain scoops to go with the shrimp salsa. YUM! I was back in Mexico.

Chicken Nachos

One night I was able to meet a friend for dinner and we had chicken/feta nachos. Perfect for me to add to my taco night and it’s a huge favorite. I make the basic nacho which consists of the chicken, cheddar cheese and feta. Everyone has different likes and dislikes so I offer the black olives, peppers and onions on the side for anyone to add. It was a nice change-up and everyone enjoyed it!

As always, tweak the recipe to your liking! Use ground turkey, sliced steak tips, and/or ground chuck. Something so simple, changes the menu and you don’t feel like you’re having the same thing all the time. There is no right or wrong.

I have a couple other easy Mexican recipes that I like. One of them is from the Food Network site here!  I often like to have a side of rice and have found this recipe super easy and quick.

Recipes are endless, but I really have been enjoying looking at restaurant menus and seeing what I can put together that is easy and tasty!

Next week on our menu we’re having a Pizza Bar night! I’ll have to share that with you next time! It’s fun and everyone can have their favorite crust and toppings.

Enjoy these great Mexican favorites for Cinco de Mayo or your next Taco Tuesday dinner!

Kim Bergeron and family

I’m a wife, mommy and a lover of life enjoying everything from playing board games to cooking to traveling. Finding deals for our family has allowed us to do the fun things in life with enjoyment and less stress. When I find a deal I’ll always share it on my blog, Extreme Coupon Professors. Hop on over to see all the ways to save!

 

Beet Mania

Beet Mania

I have to be honest, as a kid, I did NOT like beets at all.  In fact I’m a very recent convert to this nutrient-packed gem of a vegetable.  According to health expert, Dr. Mercola, beets lower your blood pressure, fight inflammation, boost your stamina, contain anti-cancer properties, properties, support detoxification, and contain valuable nutrients and are a good source of fiber. 

Frozen Beet Berry Smoothie Ingredients

I’ve taken to tossing in half of chopped beet into my berry smoothie, which I have a few times a week.  I add a scoop of vitamin packed Daily Lift to my shake which almost completely masks the earthy flavor of the beets.  Here is my recipe:

  • ½ fresh raw beet, diced

  • 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries are in my blend)

  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder.  I’m currently crushing on this brand: Vega Clean Protein.

  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cranberry juice

  • 1 cup of water

  • Optional: 1 packet of Berry Flavored Daily Lift

Beet Berry Smoothie

Not into smoothies?  I recently made this recipe for roasted beets with a honey balsamic glaze.  I think you’ll enjoy it too!  You can also grate a little fresh beetroot onto your salads.  And don’t waste the beet greens!  They pack more iron than spinach and can be tossed into salads, smoothies, or lightly sautéed in a little bit of olive oil and fresh minced garlic.

Can I Freeze Dairy Products? (Video)

Can I Freeze Dairy Products

Some dairy products freeze well and others will curdle and separate. Here’s the rundown of which ones make good freezer candidates:

• DO NOT freeze half-and-half, sour cream, cottage cheese, and buttermilk. They have a tendency to separate, become watery, and sometimes curdle.

• Milk – 1 month. Make sure you take 1 cup per gallon of milk out of the container since it will expand when frozen. Milk should be consumed in a week once thawed.  Whole milk and 2% freeze better than skim milk.  If your family goes through multiple gallons of milk per week, stocking up when it goes on sale and freezing it could save you a bundle!

• Cheese – Up to 6 months.  Yes, you can freeze cheese! The National Dairy Counsel suggests freezing cheese for six months or less. Freezing can change the texture of some cheeses, making them crumbly once thawed, and the firmer varieties (cheddar, Gouda, and Swiss) seem to hold up best. As I like to say, “The firmer the cheese, the better it will freeze!”  Stock up on shredded cheeses that you’ll be using for cooking and freeze – you won’t notice a difference in taste or texture in your recipes. You can even freeze cheese slices!

• Butter – up to 12 months. I frequently stock up on sticks of butter when it goes on sale in November and December during the holiday baking season. Spreadable butters also freeze very well, too. I pop them directly in the freezer, no need for a freezer bag or container!

St. Patrick’s Day Meal Plan

This week’s Meal Plan Monday is from Amy over at Savvy Saving Couple.

St Patricks Day Meal Plan

Can you believe that St. Patrick’s Day is already this week? Time is flying by super quick with the first day of Spring already this week as well. When I think of St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef is the first meal that comes to mind. My family enjoys corned beef so much that I find myself making it all year. I try to make a large batch so we have tons of leftovers which inspired some of these dishes.

 chicken-and-broccoli-pasta-bake

Chicken Broccoli and Pasta Bake:  Ok, so I am sure you are thinking, “Well this is certainly not corned beef.” This is certainly true, but I figured I would throw in a non-corned beef meal idea for the week. This dish also incorporates broccoli which is naturally green so it is fitting. The flavors of this meal are similar to Chicken Alfredo, but in a slightly more convenient form that reheats well. 

corned-beef-and-vegetables

Slow Cooker Corned Beef and Vegetables: I love slow cooked corned beef because it produces a tender, and flavorful cut of corned beef. The fact that I added russet potatoes, celery, onion, and carrot rather than cabbage was also a fun twist. By cooking this meal on low heat for 6-8 hours the vegetables and meat will truly complement each other. If you decided to use a larger cut of corned beef (either point or round) you can have plenty of leftovers which brings me to my next two meal ideas. 

Corned-Beef-Hash-Sandwich

Corned Beef Hash & a Breakfast Sandwich Serving idea: Homemade corned beef hash is one of them meals that my husband lives for. He could eat it every day for any meal because it is hearty and jam-packed with flavor. I love that you can literally use the very same potatoes, onions, and corned beef from dinner the night before to produce a lovely brunch the next day. 

Breakfast-Nachos-meal

Breakfast Nachos with Corned Beef Hash: Who doesn’t love nachos? Mix things up by adding leftover corned beef pieces, or some hash to these brunch favorites. With topping like bacon, sausage, corned beef, salsa, cheese, and even scrambled eggs, you can enjoy breakfast and leftovers in such a fun and unconventional way. 

Pistachio-cake-slice

Pistachio Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze: Now that you are likely ready for dessert, I have the perfect choice! This moist Pistachio cake is made with extra pudding in the mix for a tasty and festive treat that is sure to make your friends smile. Glazed with lemon and cream cheese; this is sure to be a hit! 

What are some of your St. Patrick’s Day traditions? 

Meal Planning Leads to Weight Loss (Video)

Meal Planning Leads to Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight or just eat healthier, meal planning is essential for lasting success! Planning your meals in advance ensures that you are heading to the grocery store with a detailed list. Shopping with a list curbs impulse buys which is good for both your wallet and your waistline!

If you’re meal planning on a regular basis, you’ll be less likely to eat out. Restaurant dishes have an average of 30% more fat and calories than the same dish prepared at home. You’re more likely to eat at home if you know you’ve got everything ready for a meal that will take 30 minutes or less to put on the table.  Even better if dinner is in the crock pot waiting for you! Preparing meals at home also means that the rest of your family is eating healthy along with you.  The bonus is that you’ll have quality family time around the dinner table.

Meal Planning helps you to become mindful of your food, which means you’ll be making healthier choices. Check out my website for upcoming Mindful Meal Planning Webinars.

Cleaning and Organizing Your Deep Freezer (Video)

Cleaning and Organizing Your Freezer

Your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to meal planning – but only if you keep it properly maintained. It’s important to keep your freezer organized so you can make the most of the space available and find the items you’re looking for. I suggest that you put the heaviest items on the bottom of your deep freezer. This will ensure that more delicate items, such as loaves of bread and other baked goods don’t get crushed or otherwise damaged. It’s also a good idea to put meat on the bottom of your freezer, so if something happens to leak before it’s frozen, you don’t have chicken juice leaking on all of your other containers. This will be less likely to happen if you properly package your food for freezing.

Be sure to clearly label EVERYTHING with the date and contents.  Arrange your items in the freezer so that you can see labels and expiration dates. This will make it easy for you to identify and grab the item with the closest expiration date. This is especially important for your freezer cooking meals. If you don’t know what’s in a container, chances are it will languish at the back of the freezer and not get used.

It’s also a good idea to keep an inventory sheet of what you have in your freezer. You can write or type in your items and meals and check them off as you pull them out. This will also tell you when you’re about to run out of something. There’s nothing more frustrating than planning a meal around bone-in chicken breasts you swear you’ve got in your freezer – only to find out later you used the last of them several weeks ago.

It’s a good idea to defrost your deep freezer at least annually. Depending on the humidity where you live, you may need to do it more often than that. Any time you notice frost/ ice starting to build up, it’s time to defrost. If you don’t defrost on a regular basis, you are running the risk of increased freezer burn, plus your freezer won’t be working at optimal efficiency. I usually do this in January or February, when it’s freezing cold outside. I borrow a few extra coolers, load them up with my food, and put them out on the back deck (or in the garage if it’s cold enough) for a day or two while I let my freezer defrost. I scrub out the freezer really well before I load my food back into it. Certainly, you could let your freezer inventory get nice and low before you defrost. Or if you have friends or family with extra freezer space you could borrow for a few days; that will work too.

Want a copy of my Freezer Inventory sheet? Email me at Christine@ChristineLuken.com and I’ll gladly send it to you!