How to Make Delicious and Easy Bread in Your Bread Machine Every Time

 
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Do you love the smell of fresh-baked bread? There really is no other smell like it. Some people feel like it smells like "home". But, do you avoid making it because you feel like it will be too hard?

Well, if you know anything about me, you know that I am ALWAYS looking for a quicker and easier way to do things and still have a great tasting product. My shortcut for this one? The bread machine. I know that sounds do 1998....Chad and I got a bread machine the year we married (1996) and I immediately went to the store in search of bread machine mixes. 

They had anything you could hope for. Blueberry Bread, Raisin Bread, 9-Grain Bread, and on and on. And I went to making bread in the bread machine. It was good, and it lasted for a little while, but for some reason I just kind of quit doing it. I do not know why?

Fast forward what seems like 200 years! My Emily LOVES bread. Like loves, loves, loves it. So one day i decided to pull out the bread machine and make homemade bread. But I didn't have a bread machine mix to make it with. So, I did what any good mom who spoils their children would do....I decided to see if I could make bread in the bread machine from scratch.

I know! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? But it is actually 1,000 times easier than kneading it and blah, blah, blah. There are so many recipes on the internet, but I finally perfected one that we love. And, I told you it was simple...it is literally dumping ingredients into the bread machine and pushing a button.

I'm not joking. I put some sugar, warm water, yeast, flour, salt, and vegetable oil in the bread machine and walked away! 2 hours later, I had hot, fresh, homemade bread!


First thing I did was combine hot water, yeast and sugar in the bread machine and let it stand for 6 - 12 minutes. The yeast should foam. 

 
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While I waited for the yeast mixture to foam, I sifted the flour and salt into a separate bowl. 

 
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Once the yeast, water and sugar foamed, I added the rest of the ingredients into the bread machine. I closed the lid and chose the basic white cycle and left it to do it's magic.

Look at this beautiful specimen!!! AND, my house smelled A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!! Take my word for it! Want to try it? Here is the recipe!  I'll note down at the bottom what to do if you don't have a bread machine. It's a little more work, but same great taste.

 
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BEST HOMEMADE BREAD

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups white flour

Instructions:
  1. Put hot water, yeast and sugar in bread machine and let stand 6-12 minutes.
  2. While yeast is foaming, sift flour and salt.
  3. Add salt, flour and vegetable oil to the bread machine and close the lid.
  4. Set the bread machine to rapid or basic white cycle.
  5. Enjoy the smell of fresh baked bread and eating it once it's finished cooking!!

***If you don’t have a bread machine, you can make it like this:

Combine ingredients the same way. Add yeast and sugar to hot water and let foam. Sift flour and salt. Combine yeast mixture, salt, vegetable oil and about 2 cups of the white flour in a mixer. Add 1/2 cup flour at a time until the dough is not too sticky. Put the dough in a bowl and let it rise for an hour. Then, divide it into two equal balls. Place each ball in a loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap. Let them rise for another hour. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Pull it out of the oven and brush the top with butter. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

This bread will make you want to keep baking it over and over again!

Happy Bread Baking,

Jennifer


How to Create Individual Pizzas for Your Entire Family the Easy Way

 
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You finish up a long day of work, or you've been at extracurricular activities with your kids, OR you just don't feel like preparing a heavy, labor intensive meal. But, you don't want to go through the nearest drive through either because you are trying to save money AND feed your family 1/2 way nutritious meals! 

What to do? I have a fabulous idea that is so easy and simple you will wonder why you haven't done it before. 

Individual Pizzas.....now I know you are thinking "Jennifer, I have thought of that, you aren't telling me anything new!" Well, I have made A LOT of individual pizzas and I have tried A LOT of different ways to make them. I don't have a pizza oven in my kitchen (I guess like most people), but I still want my crust to be crunchy and hold up to whatever ingredients I choose to put on it.

I think the key to this is the crust! And, I have tried A LOT (the theme here is A LOT!) of different kinds of pizza crusts for individual pizzas. Let's see, I have tried a flour tortilla, canned pizza dough that I cut in small circles, and even French bread. But, none of them have really satisfied my crunch I like in a pizza. They were either too soft, or they wouldn't hold my toppings and they would slide off the whole piece of pizza. I am then left with crust in my hand, and all of my toppings on the plate! Not good.

But, never fear, I found the answer!

What is it?  TA-DA: Pita Bread!!

 
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Yes, pita bread.....and let me tell you it is fantastic! You really can go about assembling the pizza any way you want, but I do have a little method. 

What I used:

Cookie Sheet

Copper Chef Pan

Rubber Spatula

Black & Decker Convection Toaster Oven


Before I started assembling this little gem, I sautéed some onions (sometimes I do mushrooms too, but I didn't have them this day). Anyway, I had everything out and ready to go and it literally took a hot minute to get these together, in the oven, and on the plate. Like 12 hot minutes!

 
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I started by putting pizza sauce on the pita, and then I put cheese (don't tell me why I always thought the cheese went on top? But, I read something that said to put the cheese on the bottom, then toppings, then a little more cheese, and all of your toppings will stay on your pizza!). Then I put my toppings, a little more cheese, and popped those babies in the oven, and 12-15 minutes later, I am eating me some pizza. And it is good! And the crust is crispy AND it holds all of the toppings!

Now, sometimes, if it's just me and Chad, or I'm just fixing one, I will not heat my big oven in my kitchen. Chad got me a Black & Decker Convection Toaster Oven and it is literally the bomb.com.

It works just like my big oven, but heats up faster, cooks a little faster and doesn’t heat up my whole kitchen.

 
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I mean, doesn’t this look delicious??!!

So if you are looking for a quick dinner OR snack for you, your kids, your hubby, whoever (I fed this to my whole family for dinner), this is the ticket. And, one of the best parts about it, is that you can individualize them to what each person likes!

Ok, so now I got to go, I made myself want this pizza!!


Happy Pizza Making,

Jennifer

Instant Pot No Fuss Chicken Parmesan and Pasta

 
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We Love Italian

When Chad and I first started dating, there was a little Italian place here that served the best chicken parmesan. We would go at least once a week and I would get the chicken parmesan and he would order lasagna and they were both amazing! 

Well, I've given you my crockpot lasagna recipe here, and I promise that you will never regret making it! I have made chicken parmesan a few times, but I don't really like frying anything. Besides the health reasons, I cannot stand the smell of fried foods in the house. I feel like it stays on me and in my hair for days and days.

So, when I got my Instant Pot, I had to try to make it, without the breading and frying and see how it tasted. I made this one night after work, and no kidding, I had it cooked and ready to eat in about 35 minutes. The best part of this, is that the chicken is so juicy! We are funny about boneless, skinless chicken breasts, because when you bake them they have a tendency to dry out, or have no taste at all. After I used them in this recipe, we all agreed they were the best cooked in the Instant Pot!

I didn't bread the chicken or fry it, but I guess you still could do that before instead of just browning the chicken breasts with no breading. I put a little oil in the Instant Pot and put in on sauté setting and browned the chicken breasts. About 5 minutes on each side because I wasn’t cooking it, just browning it.

 
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Building Dinner

After I had browned both sides of the chicken, I just literally added the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot. I added minced garlic, tomato sauce, butter and seasonings. I know, it all sounds TOO easy!

Then, all you have to do is turn the Instant Pot on and let it do its magic! It cooked for about 15 minutes and then I released the pressure, topped it with mozzarella cheese (the recipe calls for parmesan, we like mozzarella so that’s what I used), put the lid on and let it melt for 5 minutes. While the chicken was cooking, I boiled some pasta. As it was cooking, one by one, my family came out to see what was the smell....and when i finally took that top off of the instant pot, it filled the entire house with the most wonderul chicken and tomato sauce smell...like our little Italian restaurant we used to go to!

 
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Pulling it All Together

I also had a loaf of french bread that my sister had given me (thank goodness for her), and I spread some butter on that sucker and sprinkled some garlic powder on it and voila'! I had some fantastic garlic bread to go with my Italian meal! To say this meal was a hit is an understatement. It is rare that everyone in my family likes the same thing, but this dish is a keeper! 

And, you know how some dishes taste better the next day because they've been sitting up overnight letting the flavors all blend? This dish is one of them. I had it for lunch the next day and it was even better than the night before.

NO FUSS INSTANT POT PARMESAN CHICKEN AND PASTA

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • 1/3 cups Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter, salted
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 1/3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil in the inner pot on saute setting.
  2. Brown the chicken breasts on each side.
  3. Add parmesan cheese, garlic powder, butter and tomato sauce on top of chicken.
  4. Lock the lid into place and seal the steam nozzle.
  5. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  6. Quick release the pressure.
  7. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and replace the lid to let the cheese melt, about 5 minutes.
  8. Cook your pasta of choice according to package directions.
  9. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta.

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And, you know how some dishes taste better the next day because they've been sitting up overnight letting the flavors all blend? This dish is one of them. I had it for lunch the next day and it was even better than the night before. I will definitely be making this again! If you really wanted to bread and pan fry the chicken, you could do that in the inner pot on the sauté setting. This would also be a great meal for a large family or a crowd, because it goes a long way. We had a good amount for leftovers the next day and still a couple of servings after the leftovers. So, here is another great Instant Pot recipe for you to go try and let me know how much you love it!

Happy Cooking,

Jennifer

Valentine's Day Popcorn That Will Steal Anyone's Heart!

 
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So I realized the other day that National Popcorn Day and Valentine's are in the same month!!! OMG! I love popcorn, and I kind of do love Valentine's Day. Not because of all of the lovie dovie stuff. Our wedding anniversary is February 10th, so we kind of lump the two together anyway. I just like all the candy! (Does that surprise you?) 

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to talk a little about both popcorn and Valentine's Day! More about popcorn, and then Valentine's Day Popcorn!


Americans currently consume 14 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year! That's a lot of popcorn. And, who knew it was so good for you? At the heart of popcorn is a healthful whole-grain that is naturally low-fat, low in calories, and gluten-free! WHAT? Yep! One serving can provide about 70% of a person's recommended daily intake of whole grains.

FUN FACTS

I have some fun popcorn facts (at least I thought they were fun and super interesting)!

  • Most people think of popcorn as a snack, but in the early 1900's, popcorn was a popular breakfast food - much like cereal today.

  • It is most popular around holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and VALENTINE'S DAY!!!

  • At one time, popcorn balls were one of the most popular foods given as gifts.

  • Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world is grown in the United States, but Americans consume the most!

  • Most of the popcorn grown in the United States is grown in Indianan, Nebraska, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky and Missouri.

  • Microwave popcorn became popular in the early 1980's and is one of the main reasons people use microwaves. Most microwaves have a "popcorn" control button.

  • It is a great snack for diabetics as well as people on a low cholesterol diet. 

Who knew all of that about popcorn? I surely did not. I knew it was good for you, but I definitely had no idea that we consumed that much, or that people used to eat it for breakfast!


I always associated popcorn with the movie theatre. You know when you walk in the theatre and that fresh popped popcorn smell hits your first thing? Also, in a gym at a basketball game....that was random. Look, my dad was a basketball coach, so the smell of popcorn and the sound of squeaking tennis shoes and whistle's blowing is comforting to me - I may or may not need counseling....

Anyway, you may or may not know that my mom has Multiple Sclerosis and was diagnosed with Lupus in 1983-1984. Part of her early treatment was chemotherapy. She would be in a hospital in Houston, TX, for extended periods of time to receive treatment, and then she would come home for a few weeks to recuperate, and then head back to Houston. Most of the time, when she came home between treatments, she did not feel well. She was experiencing all of the side effects that come with chemotherapy. One of which was nausea. Most anything made her sick, but she loved some movie theatre popcorn. My sister or my dad would drive me to the theatre to get her some popcorn and it made her happier than happy. She loved it and would eat it for days. The people at the movie theatre got to know us very well. I never wanted a ticket, I just needed to get to the concession stand! I'll never forget getting her that popcorn and how much she truly enjoyed eating it.


My kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE popcorn. My youngest daughter, Emily, likes it a lot, but kind of has to be in the mood for it. My oldest, Katelyn, Lordy watch out. That child can eat some popcorn. And she goes on binges. She tends to eat it late at night and she will eat it nightly for weeks and weeks. And then is done with it for a while. I popped some today and she perked up...I'm sure she'll be back on the popcorn kick tomorrow! Anyway, I thought what better way to celebrate National Popcorn Day and Valentine's Day than with Valentine's Day Popcorn?? 

 
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Did you hear the bells and cheers? Oh, well, they are going off over here. Because popcorn AND chocolate? Sweet and salty? Yes ma'am I think so! I have seen a few recipes for sweet and salty popcorn, but most of them seem to use caramel. I decided to try white chocolate and popcorn, and to make it for Valentine's Day, I added some red and pink M&M's....I did...I really did. You know what I'm going to say...O.M.G....it was delicious. Like so delicious, that after Valentine's Day it will just be M&M popcorn!!! 


I literally popped some microwave popcorn and melted some white chocolate. I drizzled the chocolate over the popcorn and let it set. I then mixed the white chocolate covered popcorn with Valentine M&M's and mini pretzels. I then continued to eat almost the entire thing! This should be called Valentine's Popcorn Crack...I could not stop eating it...it's salty and sweet and it's just the perfect combination. Ok, let me tell you what I did so you can get on out there and make it!


What I used:


Cookie sheet

Spatula

Metal Buckets (you could use ANYTHING)

Microwave popcorn

White chocolate morsels

Valentine M&M's

Mini Pretzels

VALENTINE'S DAY POPCORN!

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 bag microwave popcorn
  • 1 package of white chocolate morsels (11 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp shortening
  • 1 cup mini pretzels (or however many you want to use)
  • 1 cup Valentine's M&M's (or however many you want to use)

Instructions:
  1. Pop the bag of popcorn in the microwave. Once it is popped, pour it onto a cookie sheet in a single layer.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt white chocolate chips and shortening in 30 second intervals. Stirring every 30 seconds to ensure you do not burn the chocolate.
  3. When the white chocolate is melted, drizzle it over the popcorn. Add the M&M's and the pretzels and gently fold it together.
  4. Set the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to help the chocolate set.
  5. Keep the popcorn stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  6. If it is left out of an airtight container for too long, the popcorn will become soft, so ensure once it is served to cover it back up.

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When I tell you to make this with caution…I mean be careful! You will eat the entire thing! OR, better yet, make it for your Valentine and steal their heart!! :)

Happy Valentine’s Popcorn,

Jennifer

February is American Heart Month

 
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February is American Heart Month and a year ago, I probably wouldn't have thought twice about it. It's horrible of me I know, but I didn't personally have anyone in my immediate family affected by heart disease or heart problems. Until May 23, 2018, and we all really got the scare of our lives. I have told the story before about my mom having a heart attack that day, and you can find it here. Since then, I have continued to research heart disease and it's risk factors. I have continued to learn new things about how to decrease your risk, and keep your heart healthy!



Here's the problem in my head. I am a dietitian, I learned all this crap in school, read the books, did the case studies, blah, blah, blah. But two things!


One, you never think it will happen to you or that it will affect you personally.


Two, my mom has always been the most educated person about health and food. What's good for you, what's not. What's going to cause acne and bloating and what's good to get rid of it. Listen, believe, me, she told us and still tells us that anything going on with us is probably related to something we ate. When I was about 13 or 14 and no one even TALKED about skim milk, but my mom was slick. She started taking whole milk and mixing 3/4 whole milk with 1/4 skim milk. She did this for about 2 weeks and then did 1/2 whole, 1/2 skim, and so on until we were just drinking skim milk. 


BUT WE HAD NO IDEA!!! I have three brothers who would've freaked out if they thought mom was switching to skim milk on us.....I guess she figured we didn't need to know! She eventually got tired of putting the skim milk in a whole milk jug and one day we saw that skim milk jug in the fridge and we were like, "No way, not happening, nope". She basically laughed at us and told us that we had been drinking it for at least 6 weeks and we had no clue!

She was also the one that no matter where we went, she wanted a salad (with the dressing on the side) and steamed vegetables (no butter)! So, I was surprised when she had a heart attack.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. About 610,000 people die in the United States a year from heart disease.


The 3 MAJOR risk factors are:

  • high blood pressure

  • high cholesterol

  • smoking

At least half of all Americans have at least one of these risk factors. My mom had slightly elevated cholesterol, but nothing to write home about. Her blood pressure was super, super low. Like we used to joke and ask if she had a pulse. But the smoking. She smoked for probably 20 years when she was younger. She quit smoking about 40 years ago, but I guess that 20 years of damage was done. Thank goodness she stopped when she did!


Several other risk factors that can contribute to heart disease are diabetes, overweight and obesity., poor diet, no physical activity, and excessive use of alcohol.


HOW TO KNOW

There are some major warning signs and they are sometimes different for men and women:

  • chest pains

  • discomfort in the arms, back, neck or jaw

  • shortness of breath

  • nausea, lightheadedness, or cold sweats


My mom had ALL of these EXCEPT chest pains.  The day I really knew something was wrong is when I called to check on her that Sunday morning, and she could hardly talk. She was literally gasping for air and I could tell over the telephone. I mentioned it to her and she of course never wants any of us to worry about her so she quickly said, "I'm fine, I'm fine, y'all don't worry about me". 


Well, the rest of the story is in my post and it boils down to the fact that, thank goodness we did worry about her and had someone check her out the next morning. She had a stint put in one of the blocked arteries, and is taking meds for the other. I have a very close family, and we are thankful for every day that we have together!

One of the things that you can do to help decrease your risk of heart disease is by following a healthy diet and getting physical exercise. 


If you would like to find out more, I have put together a little pamphlet for you that includes the basics of the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and a 2 - Day sample menu!


Enter your name and email below, and it will come right to your inbox!

Happy American Heart Month,

Jennifer



Perfect Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs

 
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The Instant Pot Story

So, my sister, Tracy, got an Instant Pot last year in December, and she has told me all year how much she loved it. And, I have seen all over the internet and all over Pinterest that it was the "rage". 

I was hearing things like:

-You can put all of your ingredients in the pot together and cook them for 30 mins to an hour and have supper just like that!

-It cooks everything super fast and it still comes out tender and delicious.

-You will never cook hard-boiled eggs the same again.

And, that is why my sister is a die-hard fan. 

You see, Tracy makes these deviled eggs THAT. ARE. TO. DIE. FOR!! She makes them every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we literally have to hide them until it's time to eat because we will ALL eat them ALL before lunch has even started.

Anyway, she said this Instant Pot was a game changer when it came to hard boiling eggs.

You know, I've always boiled them on the stove, and quite honestly, it's hit or miss. Sometimes they are perfect! Easy to peel and the yolk is a perfect yellow color...but usually, it's not that fairy tale story. More often than not, I'll at least have a few that are hard to peel, and there is a not so nice gray outline around the yolk. 

Searching for the Perfect Hard-Boiled (Pressure Cooked) Egg

Ok, so guess what? I got an Instant Pot for Christmas! Yay! I got THIS ONE and I love it! I couldn't wait to use it either. Mine didn't come with a basket, so my sister did what any good big sis would do....she ordered me one:) She ordered me one LIKE THIS and she knew what she was talking about. And, yesterday, I decided I was going to try doing hard boiled eggs in it. (I will link both of these at the bottom of the post with pics).

Well, I don't ever doubt my sister, because she's older than me and she knows what she's talking about (I tell her that all the time, UNLESS I'm telling her what to do!!!). And, again, she was right. I hard boiled 8 eggs and they were perfection. Now, I read up on hard boiling eggs in the Instant Pot and there were so many options, it kind of made my head spin...super soft boiled, soft boiled, medium boiled, hard boiled, super hard-boiled. I'm like, just cook the dang egg!

I did figure out that I don't want that yolk soft or super soft....I DO NOT need a squishy boiled egg. So it I cooked the eggs for 8 minutes (which is the second to last hardest yolk) and they were perfection. The directions say to take them out of the pot and put them directly in an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

 
These eggs hanging out in their ice bath!

These eggs hanging out in their ice bath!

 

The Result!

So, I did as I was told. I let them cool about 15 minutes and took to peeling....and they really were the easiest I have ever peeled boiled eggs. Like EVER. The eggs, with the peel off, were so smooth. I don't think I've ever made eggs like that. Mine usually have a few holes in them and part of the white pulled off.

 
I mean look at these, they kind of don’t even look real!

I mean look at these, they kind of don’t even look real!

 

So, I cut one of them open and it was the prettiest yellow yolk you've ever seen. It didn't even have that dark line of gray that it normally has!

I looked at them for a long time, just in satisfaction because I have battled boiling eggs for years. And then I decided I had to do something with these 8 eggs! So, I decided to make deviled eggs (which I didn't photograph and they didn't taste near as good as Tracy's). But they were good and my family devoured them. And I'm so glad I finally got the chance to try cooking them in the Instant Pot. My days of boiling them on the stove are OVER. 

 
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This INSTANT POT has been a game changer for me. I mean, I've read lots of reviews of people that love it, and I've even read quite a few people who have said it is way over-rated. Well, let me tell you, I love it and I have used for so many things just in the past month I've had it. It has changed the way I cook supper for the better.

I can't wait to show you all more of the things that I am making in the Instant Pot and you will see how fabulous it is!

Okay! Here is the recipe that I used!


INSTANT POT HARD-BOILED EGGS

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • Large Eggs - any amount - I used 8
  • 1 cup water (for 8 eggs)

Instructions:
  1. Put 1 cup water in Instant Pot insert.
  2. Place eggs in the instant pot basket.
  3. Close the lid and the steam valve.
  4. Set Instant Pot for 5 minutes on Manual at HIGH pressure.
  5. Allow pot to release the pressure naturally for 5 minutes, then very carefully quick release any remaining steam.
  6. Take the eggs out and set in an ice bath for at least 5 minutes
  7. Remove eggs from the ice bath and either peel or store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

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Happy Instant Potting,


Jennifer

Strawberry Banana Smoothie *Copycat Angel Food Smoothie from Smoothie King*

 
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I’m on my smoothie making spree again. This time, I did strawberry banana and I have to say…it is pretty amazing! I made it once to make sure the recipe was the right flavor and consistency, and I have probably made it at least 2 more times in the past week! So, it’s a winner.

Like I said in my Mixed Berry Smoothie post, I use the NINJA, BLENDER/FOOD PROCESSOR, to make my smoothies. I had a blender, but I have found that the Ninja just blends everything better. In a blender, the blades are just at the bottom, but in a Ninja, the blades are all the way through the center of the pitcher. It’s quite fascinating can you tell? lol! Another thing I LOVE about the Ninja, and especially the set that I have linked, is that it comes with different size pitchers AND it includes a lid to go on it. So, when I’m in a rush, make a smoothie, don’t drink it all, I just pop the top on the pitcher and stick it in the fridge!! It’s amazing! (At least in my world this is amazing!) I have added a picture of the Ninja that I purchased, at the end of this post.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie Ing.JPEG

Here is the recipe and I, of course altered the original recipe, because that's what I do!!! The original recipe calls for vanilla yogurt, and I used strawberry yogurt. I wanted more strawberry and less banana taste, because, in case you didn’t know already, I DON’T LIKE BANANAS!!!!

Also, if you notice that little stainless steel straw in the smoothie below? I. LOVE. THOSE. THINGS. They have a wider mouth (which is better for drinking smoothies and milkshakes) AND they keep it so cold. I bought them here, and I will put the pic and link at the end of this post. We use them for everything because they are awesome!

STRAWBERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE

Makes: 2 servings

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 banana, sliced, frozen
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberry yogurt
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • honey to taste

Instructions:
  1. Combine frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, yogurt and milk
  2. Blend well in blender/smoothie maker
  3. Add honey to taste
  4. Enjoy!

*If you do not have a frozen banana, add 1/2 cup more yogurt and a handful of ice.

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So, go try this smoothie and let me know how you like it! My family thought it was a for sure hit! And you can add anything to it. If you add a protein powder or energy mix, just add it in and blend it!

Happy Smoothie Making,

Jennifer

 
 

6 Ways to Create Healthy Habits for Your Kids

When I first had my kids, I really had no clue what I was doing (but I guess don't we all have no clue)? Well, when it came time to start feeding them, I felt like that is one thing I could handle. I had been in school for five years and was working as a dietitian at WIC (Women's Infants and Children). I did nutrition education all day everyday, for pregnant women, infants, children and postpartum women. I mean, what else did I need?

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JENerating A Good Year - 2019!

Have you heard it? Seen it? I know you have….Now is the time to lose weight, start new habits, lose some weight!

Your New Year’s Resolution!!!….that 90% of people DON’T keep!

It's like people are cramming it down your throats! Well, I am not disagreeing with the fact that we can all eat a little healthier and do something different everyday to feel better about ourselves and make some changes.

But why not do it on your terms.....I mean, every plan doesn't work for everyone. You kind of have to look at yourself, look at your habits, and do what works for you. I'm sorry, but you shouldn't lose 10 pounds in a week, it's not healthy and it's not going to stay off....I call myself a realist, my husband calls me "the dream crusher"! -HA!

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Don’t Want Your Thanksgiving Leftovers to Go to Waste? 5 Ideas to Transform Them Into Entirely Different Dishes!

You plan and organize and stress over Thanksgiving. You have family coming and you want everything to be perfect..or you are just fixing for your immediately family and you still want everything to be the best that it can be. And it is! The turkey is perfect, the dressing is to die for, and dessert hits the spot. And then it's over. All the hype, worry and preparation, and it is over just like that, AND you are left with a ton of leftovers...ughh. What are you going to do with all of this leftover food? Well, I have gathered a few ideas to help you decide what to do with these things.

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Easy Lemon Cookies

 
Lemon Cookies.jpg

Y'all, these are some of the best cookies ever and so simple to make, it should be a crime! Literally, 5 ingredients. And, I whipped these suckers out in no time. They don't last long around here either. Even better, you make them with a cake mix! Score! So, if you are looking for a delicious, easy and quick dessert...keep reading!

EASY LEMON COOKIES

Makes: 3 dozen cookies

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Cook time:

Ingredients:
  • 1 (18.25 oz) package lemon cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar until they are lightly covered. Once they are covered, put them on an uncreased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake for 6-7 minutes in a preheated oven. The bottoms may be a little brown and the insides should be chewy.

Voila! That is it. Literally, didn't even need a mixer. In this picture you can see that I made my cookies a little bigger and it made 1 dozen, so you can gauge how big you like them. I usually make them smaller and they are a little flatter, and I think I like them better that way! Bottom line, doesn't matter the size of the cookie, they are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!

P.S. You can also do this with a strawberry cake mix and they are delicious and pretty too!

P.S.S. I like to use these silicone baking mats, they keep your trays nice and pretty and you don’t have to use any cooking oil!

Happy Baking,

Jennifer