Jello Yogurt Bites

Here is a fun little snack that everyone in the family will love…I mean just take a peek at these ingredients…

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Yep – super yummy and super easy!!  Mix 3 (6 oz each) strawberry yogurts and one .3 oz Sugar Free JELL-O Strawberry gelatin into a large microwaveable bowl.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir.  Microwave 2 to 3 more minutes or until gelatin is completely dissolved, stirring after each minute.  Spoon into 16 paper-lined mini muffin pan cups.

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Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.  Remove from liners and top with half a strawberry.  Its the perfect combo of jello and creamy yogurt!  And it tastes like a sweet dessert treat! The kids will definitely LOVE this one!  ENJOY!!

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Broccoli Mac and Cheese

I can’t believe the weather here in Georgia…it goes from snowing, to 70+ degrees in less than a week!  We have been craving some lake time, so we cleaned up the boat and slipped on over to Lake Lanier for a family evening on the water.

I knew the hubs would be hungry so I whipped up some homemade broccoli mac and cheese for a dinner on the boat!

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Its super simple, quick, and travels nicely in small containers.  Plus you get to toss in that serving of greens too…can’t beat that!  Enjoy!!

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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 Ingredients:  

  • 12 ounces elbow noodlesIMG_6040
  • 2.5 Tb light butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cups 1% milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 oz fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 t oregano
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix together parmesan, bread crumbs, and oregano.
  2. Cook pasta to al dente (about 8 minutes) – do not overcook since it will continue to cook slightly in the oven.
  3. Put broccoli in a microwave safe dish with 2 Tb water – cook for 7 minutes.
  4. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375.
  5. In a large heavy skillet, melt butter. Add onion and cook over low heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Add flour and cook another minute or until flour is golden brown and well combined.
  7. Whisk in milk and chicken broth, raising heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
  8. Cook about 5 minutes whisking constantly, or until the sauce is smooth and thick.
  9. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  10. Remove sauce from heat and stir in cheese.
  11. Combine noodles, broccoli, and cheese sauce and then pour into baking dish.
  12. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.
  13. Broil for a few minutes to brown the bread crumbs.

Enjoy!

Roast Chicken in the Crock Pot

I absolutely LOVE chicken from the crock pot!  I feel like you just about can’t mess it up.  It always comes out tender and full of flavor.  Let’s also not forget the easy clean up, and dinner is practically done when you get home!  This week I tried out a whole chicken in the crock pot and used the meat for a couple of dinners!

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Doesn’t it look so yummy!!!  I started by placing 4 foil balls in the bottom of the crock pot to keep the chicken out of the juices while it cooked.  Then I packed the inside of that 5.4 lb bird with 1/2 cup onions, 1/2 cup carrots, 1/2 cup celery, and 2 lemons.  I finished with a covering of Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper Seasoning over the outside of the bird.

I turned the crockpot on high for 4 hours and left for work.  I shortened the suggested cook time because I knew I would be gone 8+ hours for the work day.  Once my crockpot is done with cooking time, it will stay on the “warm” setting (which is still pretty hot for my crockpot) until I turn it off…so I knew the bird would keep cooking the remaining 4 hours. If you are home to watch it, cook for 4 1/2 – 5 hours (or until internal temp reaches 165 degrees).

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I ALWAYS use a crock pot bag, so when I got home I just lifted the bag out of the crock pot and placed it in a roasting pan so I could easily slice the chicken.  Well, honestly I attempted to slice it, but it was so tender it just fell apart.  It was AMAZING!!!  SO much flavor and melt-in-your-mouth tender.

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I pulled off enough meat for that night’s dinner, and then pulled off the rest of the white meat and put it in the fridge to make chicken and cheese quesadillas the next night!  I also pull off all the dark meat and save it for the dogs. 🙂

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Enjoy!

A Better Sweet Treat

What kind of sweet tempts your sweet tooth the most?  Are you the chocolate-chocolate lover, the sour candy pucker face, or the fruity-chewy combo kind of sweets eater?  I am not picky…I love them all, but I will say that a good fruity sweet is probably my favorite.  When I am trying to make healthier choices, but that sweet tooth is really nagging me, I turn to this quick little trick.

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Grab a pound (or two) of grapes – red or green – whatever suits your fancy.  While you are there, hop on over to the jello isle and grab a 3 oz box of sugar free gelatin – again, whatever flavor suits your fancy. (Tip: One 3 oz box of gelatin will cover 1.5 – 2 lbs of grapes!  A little goes a long way!)

Poor the dry gelatin onto a plate, rinse your grapes and SHAKE dry.  The grapes still need to be slightly moist so don’t pat dry or leave them out to dry too long.  Pluck those grapes, toss them into the gelatin, and give the plate a little shake, shake, shake!  The grapes will roll around and get coated with the gelatin.  Put them in the fridge for 30 minutes or so, then take them out, and pop those little sweeties into your mouth!

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Today’s combo at my house was red grapes with strawberry sugar free jello (just because I had some jello left over from another recipe), but the best part of this treat is trying out different combinations!  My absolute favorite combo is green grapes + green jolly rancher jello!  They taste like sour patch kids!!  Speaking of kids, this is a treat they LOVE and can even make themselves!

Make sure you try them out, then come on back to the blog and leave a comment with your favorite combo!

Italian Foil Pack Chicken

Are you looking for a simple, super delicious dinner?  Try this one out!

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Have you ever made a foil packet dinner?  I have two on the meal plan for this week and I love them!  You literally toss everything into a sheet of foil, fold it up and bake it!  And the clean up is super simple too!

I sliced up all my veggies, but if you aren’t on a super tight budget you could make the dinner even faster to put together by purchasing veggies that are already chopped up! (I just loved cooked carrots!  So healthy and such beautiful color!!)

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So here is the simple process.  Slice the veggies, cut the fat off your chicken, put it all on a sheet of foil, spoon a little dressing over the top, fold up and bake…yep thats it!

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This particular recipe included 4 oz of chicken breast, sliced yellow onion, julienned carrots, julienned red peppers, and 2 tablespoons of Italian dressing in each foil wrapper.

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** Don’t judge my wrapping skills…not pretty I know, but most effective! **

While these babies were cooking it filled out house with the most amazing smell!  They came out of the oven perfectly steamed to fork tender!  Hubs scrapped off the veggies, so I ate double helpings.  It was so delicious and definitely in our “make-again” folder!

Italian Foil Packet Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 45 mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
 Ingredients:

  • 4 heavy duty sheets of aluminum foilIMG_5319
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 red bell peppers, julienned
  • 4 large carrots, julienned
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basel
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite Italian dressing

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Cut excess off breasts, and cut into 4 oz pieces (if you have pups, don’t throw away your excess – see below)
  3. Put carrots in the  microwave with one teaspoon of water and microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Mix the basil, garlic, and Italian dressing together in a small bowl.
  5. Place one piece of chicken on each sheet of foil (season with salt and pepper)
  6. Cover and surround each piece of chicken with carrots, peppers, and onions.
  7. Spoon 2 tablespoons of dressing mix over each chicken.
  8. Fold the sides of the foil over the chicken, covering completely.  Seal the packets closed.
  9. Place foil packets on a baking sheet, and bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

So if you have pups, like we do….save your scraps you cut off of your chicken.  (Spilling secrets here – I always cut a little more off than necessary because I know it’s going to the girls ;0)  I wrapped up their scraps in foil, and only added carrots and 1 tablespoon of Italian dressing – NO onions, peppers, or salt & pepper.  Onions are BAD for dogs – DO NOT feed your babies onions!  I baked their chicken with ours and made a special dinner bowl for them when it all came out of the oven!

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Yep – my 2dogs are spoiled rotten!  They loved the chicken of course and gobbled it right up!  The hardest part was keeping the kitty out of their bowls long enough for me to snap a picture.  And I leave you with a quick little video of  the girls saying “thank you” for their special chicken dinner! :0) Their sweet tails wagged the whole time they were eating!

 

Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

I love smoothies…they are simple, quick to make, and can easily be packed with fruits and veggies!  They are also perfect for taking on the go!  This morning we were looking for something a little sweet.  I guess we are trying to wean ourselves off the holiday eating cycle.  This Cinnamon Roll Smoothie was the perfect transition smoothie!

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Cinnamon Roll Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 5 mins
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print
 Ingredients:  

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 3/4 cup milkIMG_5065.JPG
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons of Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender.
  2. Blend until very smooth.
  3. Add a straw and Enjoy!

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Water with Super Powers

Water…boring!  Yeah, water is not fun, but whoa man it is so very important!  Here are just a few reasons why you should drink water daily:

  • It could aid weight loss.
  • It hydrates during exercise.
  • It keeps things moving, digestion-wise.
  • It can improve your mood.
  • It may help prevent headaches, naturally.
  • It keeps our kidneys working.
  • It energizes us.
  • It protects our joints and cartilage.

And the list goes on and on and on….

So how can I make drinking a TON of water every day a little more bearable??  I infuse yummy goodness into it!  I have tried a lot of varieties like strawberry-cucumber, mixed berries, and cucumber-lemon, but this one is a little extra special so I wanted to share it with you all.

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     Grab your ingredients:

     – 8 – 9 cups of water

     – 1 medium cucumber (peeled and sliced)

     – 1 medium lemon (sliced)

     – 12 mint leaves

     – 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root

Mix everything together in a pitcher (don’t      you just love this one that my sister-in-law brought me back from her trip to Poland?!).  Let the water sit overnight in the fridge so that the flavors can infuse the water.  Drink a whole pitcher of this water every day to reap the best benefits!

 

So how about I tell you what’s so special about this water:

1 – Cucumber – It is good for your muscles (cucumbers contain silica which is necessary to keep connective tissue healthy).  It is good for your skin (the silica and antioxidants help your skin stay clear and supple).  It is low calorie (an entire cucumber averages 45 calories, so a few slices in your water is not adding many additional calories).

2 – Lemon – The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and protein.  Lemon is a fruit that contains flavanoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties.  It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth!

3 – Mint – Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion. It also soothes stomachs in cases of indigestion or inflammation. The aroma of mint activates the salivary glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. Mint is a naturally soothing substance, so it can alleviate the inflammation and temperature rise that is often associated with headaches and migraines.  Mint is a natural stimulant, and the smell alone can be enough to charge your batteries and get your brain functioning on a high level again.

and finally…

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4 – Ginger Root – Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

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I mean with all those amazing health benefits you couldn’t call this water anything other than super powered!  Go ahead and whip up a batch, enjoy the refreshing flavor and all the health benefits!

Resources:

http://lajollamom.com/drink-cucumber-water-health/

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-lemon.html 

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-mint.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=72