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My New Favorite Kitchen Gadget

I am so excited to share with you about the new gadget I recently received as a gift from one of my great friends. When I opened the box, I was a little unsure of what this small gadget was until she explained. See I had been talking for months about finding a kitchen tool that could make zucchini noodles aka “zoodles”. Zoodles are an alternative to your go-to pasta, hold the flavor of the sauce and add flavor and nutrients to your dish. My friend remembered that I had been talking about this and took time to find something to make my zoodle desire a reality. See this tool may be small, but it can do wonders for you in the kitchen. You can find this julienne peeler at Williams and Sonoma.

zoodles

I know that there are other gadgets that can do something similar to this, but most are more expensive and larger and who needs another pricey gadget taking up space in your cabinets…I know I don’t. With this amazing new gadget I have made zoodles with marinara for my family and they liked them so much, I had to make more that night. I have also julienned carrots with the zucchini for a quick lunch and then topped them with a fried egg over easy. So delish!

juillene veggies

Simple Zoodle Recipe

Ingredients

     1 medium zucchini

     Favorite seasonings

     1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil

Directions

First, julienne the zucchini to make your zoodles. Then heat the oil in the pan. When pan is hot add zoodles and season with favorite seasonings. Let them cook for about 2-3 minutes; stirring occasionally. Serve warm and enjoy.

I hope you will give zoodles a try and tell me what you think. I also would love to hear about some of your favorite kitchen gadgets. Have a fabulous foodie Friday!


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Freebies

Who doesn’t like a good deal especially when it is free. There are two websites I follow to stay alerted of freebies. The first website is Smart Apps for Kids. What I love about this site is that it provides an option to receive an email when free apps are available. Most of the apps are educational and pop-up advertisement free. Some of the educational apps are linked to parent apps that provide progress of your child’s learning. The apps are not just for small children either; there are free apps for elementary and junior high age children, too. If you have children, you need to sign up for this Free App Alert. The site also offers other parent friendly information about deals, educational tips, etc.

free app

The second website I check out frequently is  A Frugal Chick. A Frugal Chick’s site is full of great deals and freebies. I like her tag line, too….”living well without going broke.” If you are wanting to try out a product, she shares ways of testing out the product for free. She also keeps you updated of the best deals at your local stores and restaurants. Her website is full of coupons and store and shopping deals. Through the website, you can sign up to receive email alerts for deals and freebies.

afrugalchick-logo

Now go and enjoy some free stuff and good deals today. Happy Tip Tuesday!


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Memorial Day Treat

This weekend is Memorial Day, a time we take to remember and honor the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. During this weekend, many people will gather with family and friends to celebrate Memorial Day and when we gather together there is almost always an element of food. Whether it is a crawfish boil or BBQ, this dessert will be a treat for everyone. With fresh strawberries and a whipped topping, these Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes by Against All Grain are a winner in my book. We made these for Mother’s Day and the entire family loved them and I think you and your family and friends will love them, too.

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups blanched almond flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil, melted
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ cup finely chopped strawberries

Frosting

  • 2 egg whites, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup honey (Note: Using this amount of honey creates a pretty sweet frosting. If you prefer something less sweet, you can reduce the amount of honey used.)
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons strawberry preserves (freshly pureed strawberries will work too)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line a standard muffin tin with baking cups.
  3. Combine the honey, coconut oil, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and lemon zest in the jar of a blender. Puree on medium speed for 20 seconds or until frothy and smooth.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and blend on high for 30-45 seconds. The batter should be very smooth and contain no lumps. If needed, scrape down the sides with a spatula and blend again for a few seconds until all of the dry mixture is incorporated.
  5. Gently fold the chopped strawberries in by hand. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin, filling about ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and comes out clean.
  7. Let the cupcakes cool completely on the counter before frosting.

Frosting

  1. Once the cupcakes have cooled, make your Italian meringue.
  2. Bring your honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites and lemon juice until frothy and you can just begin to see trail marks from your beaters. When you lift out the beaters, you should see soft peaks.
  4. With the beaters or mixer running, slowly pour in the boiling honey in a steady stream. Continue beating for 6-8 minutes, until the meringue is cool to the touch.
  5. Gently fold in the strawberry preserves. Put the frosting into a piping bag for a pretty design, or spread onto cupcakes with a knife.

Tips

  1. For easier separation, separate the whites from the yolks when they are cold.
  2. Meringue will not stiffen if you use a dirty bowl (usually because of leftover oil) or let any of the yolk get in with the whites
  3. Over beating will cause the meringue to fall. Stop once you can lift the beaters out and see stiff peaks.
  4. The frosting needs to be piped immediately and is best served immediately as well. Once it’s on the cupcakes though, it will hold up in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

 

And here they are in their glory…..

 


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Pack It Up – Tip Tuesday

A couple of months ago, my oldest son makes the wrong comment, “You don’t let me have anything. You never get me anything.” My response…”Pack it up!” That’s right…pack up all toys, movies, electronics, etc. I was hoping to instill a simple lesson about gratitude and after three days he had learned what it was like to be without. Having his toys returned was like Christmas and the gratitude he had for his toys was on a new level. Not only did his attitude change toward all that he had, but his respect for me changed as well. He saw me stick with my plan and realized that mom meant business. Now I am not saying that he has been perfectly grateful ever since as we recently had a “pack it up” powwow. (Things are actually packed up as I am typing this blog.) My son fell back into his “I want. I know best.” fiasco; therefore, we had to go without all things again. I will say though that this “pack it up” experience was different. Based on the past time, he knew exactly what this meant.

blog 5.13.14

If you have a child like mine who might be experiencing some ungratefulness, I would like to suggest to “pack it up.” I know what you are thinking. This is easier said than done. What am I going to do with a child who does not have anything to keep him or her entertained? What do you do with a child who does not have any toys, t.v., electronics, etc.? What I did and what I would invite you to do is bring it back to the basics with a pencil and paper. Allow them to draw, write, or make cards. They can help with cleaning and cooking and the list could go on.

I am hoping that this go around my son’s attitude will shift in less than three days, but only time will tell. I do know that sometimes you have to experience the same lesson over and over again until it sticks. And I am willing to “pack it up” until gratefulness grows.

Have you ever had to “pack it up”? Do you feel like it helped your child with gratefulness? What are other ways you have taught gratefulness to your children? I would love to hear.


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Tarnished Silver

Last week at a mom’s group I attend, we finished a study by Ann Voskamp called “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.” I was in and out of the study having certain statements grasp me and others slip by. To sum up the book, the author encourages you to live in grace, to see all as grace, and to bring thanksgiving in everything. Recapping the study this past week, I began to really think about the depth of thanksgiving and appreciating now. When I write “depth”, I am talking about taking thanksgiving from a general thanks to a specific detailed thanks. From a “thank you for my boys” to a “thank you for today as I laid next to the boys and talked about their favorite part of the day.” Practicing this next level of thanksgiving has been challenging to me, but so worth taking the time and effort to really think through details of what I am thankful for today. For me it is like polishing tarnished silver. Tarnished sliver is not appealing to the eye and is not something you go to grab to use for a dinner party. However, with a little time and polishing, that silver can become the centerpiece at the table. Taking the time to “polish” the people, things, and moments in your everyday reminds you of their beauty. Discovering the details of moments, people, and things in your now and giving thanks for them brings a joyful contentment to your life. I am not saying that I have arrived at the level I want to be with a thankful and grace-filled heart for my now, but that is my desire. I desire to take note of the bee buzzing around a flower, my sons sitting together reading a book with a mess of toys around them, or an almond milk latte that I sip in the coffee shop. These are moments I do not want to rush pass, but to pause and polish these moments to bring their beauty to light. For the beauty is there, we just have to take time and energy to realize it. I am not sure what your today looks like, but I encourage you to take a moment to pause and notice the details of the people who surround you or the moments you encounter. Give thanks for them and I guarantee a joy will fill your heart, soul and mind.

 


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One Easy Recipe – Foodie Friday

“Why have I not made this before?” This question came to mind over and over again as we sat down to eat our chicken “tacos”. I did not have to cut or dice anything. I simply opened a can and added some seasonings with chicken breasts and viola. When I mention this recipe to my friends, they all say, “I make that all the time.” And I listen wondering why have I not heard about it yet. So maybe you are like me and have been living in the dark about the simplest chicken taco recipe ever. Today I am hoping to bring at least one person into the light of this simple and easy crockpot recipe.

CROCKPOT MEXICAN CHICKEN

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs. of chicken breasts
  • 1 packet of organic taco seasoning or you can make your own seasoning
  • 1 – 2 cans of rotel

Directions:

Take all ingredients and place in crockpot on low heat. Cook for about 4 hours. Take chicken out, shred and place back in the crockpot. Stir the shredded chicken in the crockpot and serve. (Yep, it is that easy!)

How do we serve this in our home? We have made paleo nachos using plantain chips instead of tortilla chips. We have also eaten these as tacos using lettuce as the taco shell. . This quick and easy Mexican dish could also be bumped up a notch as a stuffing for peppers or used in a Mexican casserole. Have you tried this recipe? How do you serve this meal in your home? Because, our family has found that whatever way you eat it, it is good.

FYI – Cinco de Mayo is just a few days a way and this recipe would be a great idea to celebrate with your family and friends.