Smoothie Bags

Today I decided that I needed to inventory my freezer. (That’s a post for another day.) While I was in organizing mode, I took an unexpected detour. I was looking through my small freezer and unearthed about a dozen bags of fruit! In the past I have been a big green smoothie drinker and still enjoy them now. My kids like them as well. Recently, I have not been drinking them habitually, but I still grab fruit from the freezer section when it’s on sale. So, as you can imagine, I now have a freezer filled with fruit. To remedy that, I decided to make smoothie bags. Here it is!

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A quick roundup of ingredients: 3 bags of blueberries, 1 partial bag of strawberries, 3 bags of pineapple, 2 bags of mango, 2 full bags of spinach and 2 partial bags, 1 bag of cherries, 1 bag of flaked coconut, 1 partial bag of blackberries, and 2 bags tropical fruit mix.

To get started, grab some quart size freezer bags and start filling. Fill them with a little of everything or mix them up for more variety. Top off each one with a handful of spinach and, presto you just made a starter pack for a delicious and healthy green smoothie.

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Now repeat until you have used up all of your fruit, or until you have frostbite! Just kidding. I ended up with 27 quart bags. I did end up with one bag of blueberries that I did not use today, but I will use for homemade baby food. Stay tuned for that post later this week.

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When you are ready to enjoy a smoothie, just take out your starter pack throw it in your blender and add liquid of your choice (milk, juice, water, kombucha, green tea, or milk substitutes) and blend away. There are many things you can add to your smoothies: protein powder, honey, yogurt, just to name a few. Hope you enjoyed this post.

Crunchymom out!

What are your favorite smoothie add ins?

Slow Cooker Love

My family uses the slow cooker a lot, and I don’t see that changing in the near (or distant) future. Muscle man and I have very untraditional work schedules, and the slow cooker helps us prepare healthy, affordable meals for our family. Although with 3 boys I can see the need for a bigger slow cooker down the road. I am a big fan of one pot meals and I wanted to share a super easy, delicious and healthy slow cooker recipe that we really enjoy.

Pork Loin and Kale

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin (sized for your family or SC)
Big bag of chopped kale
1/2 stick Butter
2 tbsp bacon fat
1 tbsp Salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 cups Chicken stock ( preferably homemade, but the canned stuff works as well)
Water, enough to cover the kale

Add butter, bacon fat, chicken stock and kale to your SC. Add enough water to almost cover the kale, it doesn’t have to be covered all the way. Next, place your pork loin on top and season with salt and pepper. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with hot sauce, hot pepper vinegar, or chipotle mustard. Enjoy.

Side note, don’t fear the bacon fat and butter. Did you know that in almost every culture in the world (including the southern US) cooked greens with a natural fat source can be found as part of their traditional diet. Just a little food for thought.

Crunchy mom out!

Do you rely on the slow cooker or other appliance to get supper on the table for your family?

Resolutions

I realize that 2/3 of January is over. But I am revamping my one resolution. Yes, I said revamping, not restarting. See, I am very much an all or nothing type of girl when it comes to diet and exercise. I am either all out, balls to the wall, super strict or I am eating crap and lazing around. If you read my last post, I said that my one resolution was to eat a salad every day in January. Have I accomplished this? Well, no. Did I give up? No! And that answer surprises me. See, typically this would have totally derailed me and it would have taken me weeks to find my motivation again. So I didn’t eat a salad one day, so what. I ate two another day. Balance. It is a hard concept for me to apply. This is where my revamping concept comes into play. My plan: stair step resolutions. So in January I will have a salad every day. Come February I will add another resolution. That’s right, add one. So I will continue eating my salads everyday and add something to it. I am not committed to what that is just yet, it might be exercise, or it might be related to my blog or something else entirely (minimalism, perhaps?) Who knows what changes I can make by December. So maybe I should say that my resolution is about finding and maintaining balance in my life. I know myself well enough to know that I must set limits, especially when it comes to diet and exercise. But that’s another can if worms for another day.

Crunchymom out!

What are your best strategies for finding and maintaing balance everyday?

Salad in a jar

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My only New Years resolution this year was to eat a salad every day in January. So far I have only missed a couple days, but on a couple days I had two salads. (Does that make up for it? Yes? I thought so too, whew!). On to my post. If you have been addicted to perusing Pinterest recently, you have probably seen salads in a jar. Whoever came up with this is genius. Brilliant even! I mean really, salad that does not get soggy, is beautifully presented, and it’s in a MASON JAR! Now, let me deviate for a moment. I love mason jars. Seriously. Love. Them. To me they are a piece of history (yes, even the new ones.) They are humble, multipurpose, durable and beautiful!! They bring a smile to my face and always a memory from my childhood, usually one that involved canning green beans with my great grandmother. Ok, back on subject here. If you are trying to eat a few more veggies, or are just looking for some new salads to try out, salad in a jar might be the way to do that. Just layer up a couple, stick em in the fridge and no muss, no fuss lunches are ready to go. (And pretty spill proof too.) Here is how I do it. Measure out your dressing (or just pour, it’s our secret) into the bottom of your quart mason jar. Next add some hearty veggies and/or fruit. Broccoli slaw, cauliflower, peppers, cukes, strawberries, artichokes, onion, corn etc and so on. Then, I like to add some nuts or seeds, sometimes black beans or chickpeas. Then, maybe some dried fruit. Next, add your protein, chicken, turkey, shrimp, bacon, boiled eggs or steak. Top it with some yummy cheese, my favorite is goat, feta or bleu cheese. Then, stuff that puppy full with your favorite greens. Don’t be shy pack it in there. Ta da! Done. Now, make two while you are at it and your ready for lunch. When the time comes to dine, shake it like a poloroid picture and dump onto a plate. Enjoy.

My favorite spinach salad: layer as follows.

Italian dressing
4 large strawberries, diced
2 oz glazed pecans
2 oz goat cheese
Spinach to fill up your jar

So yummy. This salad is reminiscent of a decidedly southern dessert, strawberry pretzel salad. If you have never had this then stop what you are doing and google it right now! Seriously, now. Ok. Found it? Good. Now make it and thank me later. Or just make this salad and have a nice healthy lunch.

What are some of your most surprisingly delicious salad add ins?

Crunchy mom out!

What does the camel say?

Happy Wednesday all, I have a exciting and revolutionary (FUN?) idea for my readers today!

COOKIES! nom nom

Ok, so cookies are not exactly revolutionary, but they are exciting and fun! and yummy.  Since we are without water at the moment, thank you Polar Vortex, I decided to make cookies.  Then I decided to see if I could make them with the least amount of dirty dishes, so here goes.  

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and be thankful the power is on!

Then gather your ingredients

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For our chocolate chip cookies, I used a DIY dry mix that I found here http://fakeitfrugal.blogspot.com/2012/02/fake-betty-crocker-cookie-mixes.html.  Check it out, she has several of these DIY mixes that are great, and cheap!  Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a stick of butter.  In my effort to minimize dishes, I placed my stick of butter in a 1 cup glass measuring cup, covered it with its own wrapper and microwaved until soft.

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when that is done, pour the butter into the bag with your egg and vanilla. I usually don’t measure vanilla, just pour a little in, one less dish!

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Now, seal the bag, pressing out most of the air, and mush it all together.

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Next, I wanted one big cookie, so I sprayed my pan, and snipped off the corner of the bag and squeezed it in. There is enough to make two 8 in round cookies.  I did one then the other to save on dishes.  If you want regular cookies, line your pan with parchment paper and just squeeze out a small dollop.

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Now, slide it in the oven for about 23 minutes and enjoy the smell of hot cookies. 

Because of our no water issue, a feverish 5 year old, and two other needy little boys, I didn’t snap a picture of the actual cookie.  But it was delicious!

Crunchymom out!

 

 

 

Everday Moments

Morning Coffee…
Jackets, shoes and out the door…
Nap time…
Little boy snuggles X3…
Smooches from my honey…
Breakfast, lunch, and supper…
Potty breaks…
Mama, can I…
NO, STOP THAT, and Go to the corner…

All of the above may sound familiar to any parent of small children, but these everyday moments comprise my days.
It is 7 degrees here in WNC, and our heat pump has been running at a near constant all day. Little M is asleep in his crib, can’t believe that baby will be one next Monday. L and T are sitting at the table making those bead ornaments that you fry with a clothes iron (reminds me of Bible school) for their Nonnie for Christmas. (My family has not celebrated yet.)

Bead ornament making

Bead ornament making

My boys giggle and have brotherly conversations, all while giving their utmost concentration to those tiny beads…some still escape. I can see a future date with my broom. These are the moments that I cherish and hope that they will always remember… What are your favorite everyday moments?