New Free Printable Packet! Color, Count, and Cook – for Early Learners!

We’ve got a new free packet available for all of you who have young learners at your house!

This one includes bright and fun learning activities to practice counting skills and color identification. Plus it offers some fun, healthy recipes you can make together with your kids!

Color, Count, and Cook – free printable

Color, Count, and Cook cover

 

There are 7 fun printable pages included. While they are geared toward Pre-K students, the recipes can be enjoyed by the entire family! Maybe, just maybe, they will make eating fruits and veggies more enjoyable. :)

Free Printables from Homemakers Learning Zone

It’s fun and it’s free! Simply sign up here and watch for instructions in your inbox. Joining our Learning Zone will provide you will a huge page full of freebies beyond this one, by the way. Wait till you see!

I’m excited to share that signing up for these freebies will connect you to our Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone. It’s free, of course. You can unsubscribe at any time, your info will never be shared or sold, and being on this list means that you’ll be the first to know of the other fun (yes, FUN!) educational tools we’re putting together!

P.S. If you are already subscribed to Heavenly Homemaker’s Learning Zone, you should have received an email yesterday giving you instant access to this freebie. Look in your inbox for the subject: FREE Color, Count, and Cook Learning Packet!

The Most Amazing Peanut Butter Bread! (Naturally grain/gluten and dairy free, with ingredients you already have!)

Once upon a time I came across a recipe and thought, “Really? Could it be?” So I blended together peanut butter, honey, eggs, baking soda, and vinegar and made actual bread. It looked like bread and tasted like bread and I was amazed that indeed, it was bread. I was very, very happy. The end.

pb bread4

So what if I already took a bite out of this piece before I took the picture.
Can you blame me?

Be very, very shocked and amazed with me. We can make actual bread that has no grain, no gluten, and no dairy. The bread tastes delicious and had a wonderful texture! It’s as simple as this Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread because just like that recipe, we simply stir together the ingredients and pour them into a baking pan. It’s ridiculously easy.

Plus, we add vinegar and baking soda to the mixture, so we get to make a volcano. Who says baking isn’t fun?

I originally saw a recipe like this here. I was skeptical because, well, I’ve made a few grain-free recipes with strange ingredients like this, and while everything would look delicious, it seemed to always taste like a soggy banana. (I’m looking at you so called “Amazing Grain Free, Sugar Free Brownies.”)

I decided to take a chance on this bread recipe though, because of this: I wanted to spread butter on something I could eat. (Regular bread isn’t cooperating with me right now.) I also loved the idea of this bread being chuck full of protein. Peanut butter and eggs? Maybe, just maybe, I could fill the hollow places in my sons’ legs.

Indeed.

pb bread21

Worried that the taste of peanut butter will overpower the bread? It has a surprisingly mild flavor. In fact, we were all wishing it tasted more peanut-buttery. Either way, just imagine how good this is with butter, jelly, or honey. I prefer it toasted with lots of butter. This probably doesn’t surprise you.

pb bread12

The Most Amazing Peanut Butter Bread

4.0 from 1 reviews
The Most Amazing Peanut Butter Bread! (Naturally grain/gluten and dairy free!)
 
Author:
Serves: 12-16 slices
Ingredients
  • 2 cups natural, unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Pinch of sea salt (omit if your peanut butter is salted)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a blender or with a hand mixer.
  2. Pour into a well-greased 9x5" loaf pan.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean.
  4. Allow the bread to sit in the pan for about 10 minutes to cool.
  5. Remove bread from pan and cool on a rack.

Here’s my homemade peanut butter recipe.

Grain Free, High Protein Peanut Butter Bread

After seeing the ingredient list, you might be thinking, “Isn’t this bread kind of expensive?” Sure. It costs more than wheat flour bread. But I think it’s actually saving me money because on mornings I serve it for breakfast, my sons don’t ask for meat. They are full after two slices. Did we ever think we’d see the day?

No matter your diet restrictions or lack thereof, I’d love to convince you to make this Peanut Butter Bread. What do you have to lose? Five minutes?

Ever tried a recipe with weird ingredients that turned out…weird? Do share. I promise this one will pleasantly surprise you!

How Much I Spend on Groceries for My Family Full of Teenage Boys (Brace Yourself)

Curious what I spend on groceries each month?

I decided it was time for me to write an updated post sharing details of our family’s average monthly food budget. It’s a lot bit different than it was when our kids were little. Our sons are now 19, 17, 15, and 12. (Matt and I are 43, but that’s entirely beside the point.)

This post is not for the faint of heart.

Can you handle the truth?

Please, take a seat.

How Much I Spend on Groceries for My Family Full of Teenage Boys

Maybe the numbers won’t astound you. Maybe you’ll see my budget and say, “Eh. Is that it?” Yes. That’s probably what you’ll say. I’m just sure of it.

Why am I sharing our grocery budget numbers? Because I’ve been seeing a lot of posts recently shared by women who feed their families for just $50 per week. I’m happy for them, and it’s all well and good that those women are able to feed their families for such a small amount. But you guys? That’s how much it costs to feed my family PER DAY.

Well, not quite. Just almost. I exaggerate. Only a tiny bit.

Good thing they’re worth it…

family1sm

Here’s the truth about my grocery budget: I could cut back here and there. I could feed us beans and rice more often. I could spend less each month by making a few changes in what I purchase. But I’m not going to do any of those things at this point, and here’s why…

  • My teenage boys would not get full if I fed us differently (they are athletes and they need food with substance)
  • I believe strongly that food is meant for nourishment (and that it should taste amazing)
  • I feel that it is very important to offer a high volume of fresh fruits and vegetables (I probably spend $100/week on produce alone)
  • We love sharing our food with others (and find that we often have extras around our table)
  • We prefer eating whole foods as much as possible, in balance (but sometimes I buy take-and-bake pizza because a girl’s gotta live a little)

groceries Lincoln

I wondered how our budget would change once our oldest went off to college a year and a half ago. Turns out, nothing changed. If anything, it increased (someone please hand me a tissue). I think it’s because our other boys keep getting bigger and eating more. It’s also because, even though Asa lives on campus and eats most of his meals at the cafeteria, we feed extra college kids when Asa brings his friends home (and I love it so much that I would feed the whole campus if he brought them to our table).

groceries 318

I buy food from about 7 different sources, so adding it all up and averaging it all out is a bit of a challenge. For instance, we recently bought a half beef and a whole lamb. We’re hoping that will last us an entire year, but I don’t have my hopes up. For the sake  of budgeting though, you’ll see when I crunch the numbers below that I’ve divided the total meat amount by 12 months.

freezer20172

I go to Lincoln for a doctor appointment about once each month, so while there I hit Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market (my absolute favorite!). We have one local grocery store (not a chain, not great prices) and a Super Walmart that I hit in town each week (except for the week I go to Lincoln).

I order online at Amazon. I order from Azure Standard, our health food co-op. I order from Vitacost (though most of that is free credit, thanks to many of you!) I order from Tropical Traditions when they have free shipping mixed with great sales.

We get eggs, milk, and beef/lamb from local farmers.

So that’s about all I can babble about before I share the actual numbers. (Though raise your hand if you skipped all the blah-blah-blah and went right to the bottom of this post to see that part already. That’s right. I’m on to you.)

groceries 411

But one more thing.

This is not about comparing, feeling better than or less than or anything in between. We all have different budgets based on needs, family size, prices where we live, grocery store options, and on it goes.

And can I just say that I’m very thankful my boys don’t like drinking milk? I think it keeps us from the poor house that they don’t drink it and we only use one gallon each week for cooking.

One more thing (last one, I promise). Our family schools at home and works from home. Therefore all three meals every day for every person in our family (except our oldest son away at college) are eaten at home.

My Grocery Budget Break-Down Average for each Month

  • Local grocery stores = $150-200 per week x 3 weeks = $450-$600
  • Lincoln grocery stores (I go to Aldi and Fresh Thyme Market about once each month) = $250 total
  • Local farmer for milk = $20
  • Local farmers for eggs = $30 (we are spoiled with great egg prices!)
  • Azure Standard = average $150 per month
  • Amazon subscribe and save = average $100 per month
  • Local 100% grass fed meat purchased once each year (1/2 beef + whole lamb) = $1,300 per year = $108 per month

Grand total of what I spend on groceries each month:

$1,100-$1,250

If that isn’t enough to make a mama pass out.

And no. That doesn’t include our toilet paper.

This is why we rarely eat out. This is why we make so many foods from scratch. This is why we rarely go to the movie theater. This is why we drive older, so-so vehicles. This is why we don’t buy many pre-made processed foods.

And yes. This is what keeps us healthy.

That’s what it’s all about right?

A huge perk —> We have Christian Healthcare Ministries as our health insurance and we pay very little per month. (Read more about that here, because CHM is amazing.) Since our monthly premium is so very low, that helps us afford to pay more for quality groceries (and keep our athletic sons in good shoes – I can’t even).

I Challenge Myself

Couponing is no longer worth my time. But I do want to challenge myself in the coming months to see if there are any other ways I can come up with to save a little on our budget. I don’t have my hopes up. I won’t negotiate on quality. But stay tuned. I want to try to document my shopping trips with pictures and receipts to share with you. Interested?

Want to share your grocery budget numbers with us? We promise to keep it fun and encouraging! We’re all friends here. 

A Complete Meal in 15 Minutes – From Start to Finish

It’s a complete meal, and I made it in 15 minutes from start to finish. Look how beautiful:

sliced-ham3

First let’s talk about pork for a little bit.

I like feeding my family hormone-free meat, antibiotic-free meat, grass fed meat, free range meat, all the happy, healthy kinds of meat.

But sometimes I compromise.

I have great local sources for chicken, lamb, and beef. But I almost always buy my piggies at the store. We don’t have pork very often, but shucks, pork is so delicious. We love bacon, ham, and sausage. My boys are athletes and often ask for meat in the morning (and all day long). I’ve decided that in order to keep life simpler (and to avoid completely killing my already very high grocery budget) – I’ll go ahead and buy pork products when I find them on sale at a regular grocery store.

I don’t feel great about this, but I guess I feel good enough about it that I haven’t stopped doing it. So that’s that.

sliced-ham2

So now let’s get on with the fun part where I tell you how you can put a complete meal on the table in 15-minutes from start to finish!

A Complete Meal in 15 Minutes

Sometimes I buy a pre-cooked ham as pictured above. I slice it all and put it in a Pyrex dish in the fridge to pull out as needed for quick lunches or to go with eggs at breakfast.

Having this on hand is fantastic! This sliced ham fries up within a few minutes in a skillet. We’ll steam some peas and pull out the mixed greens and salad dressing. We’ll prep some fruit. Just like that, we’ve got a complete meal ready to eat.

complete-meal-in-15-minutes

If you don’t feel good about eating pork, there are Turkey Ham options available – or maybe you’d enjoy another variety of meat that fries up quickly to complete your meal.

Either way: Never forget the ease of steaming a veggie, prepping some fruit, and pulling out fresh greens to complete a meal. This is THE way I make our meals simple and nourishing. The variety of fruits and vegetables is so good for our bodies and feeding us like this takes only a tiny bit of effort!

Are you pork eaters at your house? What meals have you found to be easy enough to throw together in just a few minutes?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Join all of us who are enjoying Simple Meals!

728x90

A Special Gift Package from MadeOn with Free Shipping! (The BEST way to care for dry hands!!!)

Ask and you shall receive.

That is, my hands are threatening to dry up this winter and I thought yours might be too. So I emailed Renee, owner of MadeOn Hard Lotion and asked if she’d rescue us all by putting together a special deal to save us. She came through in a big way. Not only are our hands saved, so are our lips, our bodies, and everything in the whole wide world.

Plus she gave us free shipping.

You’d think I was exaggerating unless you, too, have been a dry hand sufferer. Having the problem under control instead of having dry, cracked, and bleeding hands all winter – with all other lotions making the problem worse – truly does make everything in the world seem better.

You have yourselves to thank for this special offer. I fell in love with her products several winters ago, I shared them with you, you fell in love with her products, she continues to do whatever she can to keep us happy. Renee is a joy to work with, there’s no doubt.

Personally, I never go without her BeeSilk Hard Lotion Bar. It truly is different from any other lotion and I never will use another.

Here’s the deal

Renee has put these Dry Skin Fix 3-Packs in three varieties:

A. Basic Beesilk Pack $12: includes a pocket size Beesilk lotion bar, natural lip balm and unscented goat milk soap
B. Beesilk Jr Pack for Sensitive Skin $12: a pocket size Beesilk Jr (softer than a bar), natural lip balm and unscented goat milk soap
C. Au Chocolat Pack (scented) $13: a pocket size Au Chocolat lotion bar (natural chocolate scent), a peppermint lip balm and Cappuccino goat milk soap

dry-skin-fix-aff-2T

The package price for these is a big discount, and she’s giving us free shipping too. (Use the code HHship at checkout for free shipping to apply.)

Buy just one pack, buy fourteen packs. Shipping is free no matter your order size!

Renee is offering this through Friday, January 20 only – so stock up while you can. Have questions? I’m happy to answer. While Renee has many hard lotion fans, I think I’m her biggest. :)

Grab your Dry Skin Fix Packs here!

The links in this post are my affiliate links.

A Year of Simple Breakfasts

In case the title made you think I have 365 Simple Breakfast ideas to share with you, I have to apologize and let you know that while I do have many simple breakfast recipes, I do not have one for every day of the year. (After all, we do eat eggs pretty regularly at our house.) Rather, this post will share how I’m planning to keep our breakfasts as simple as possible this year! I bet the ideas shared here WILL get you through an entire year, with plenty of variety, and all kinds of simplicity!

Take, for example, the breakfast shown in this picture.

a-year-of-simple-breakfasts

One morning last week, I made and served Giant Breakfast Cookies, Bacon, and Strawberry Parfaits. Sounds involved right? Not at all simple! Complicated and time consuming, even!

But it wasn’t! It was so simple! Here’s how I did it:

  1. I had pre-made Breakfast Cookie dough balls in the freezer. (Read the details on how to do that here.) I simply pulled some out, put them on a baking sheet, and slid them into the oven to bake while I continued my morning Bible reading time.
  2. I had pre-made Bacon. (Read the details on how to do that here.) Just after I woke the boys, I threw some bacon in a skillet to reheat and crisp up. It took 30 seconds, no joke.
  3. I had already made the Cream Cheese Parfait filling for another meal a few days before. I pulled out what was left, washed and sliced some berries, and put them on the table.

The boys LOVED this breakfast (who wouldn’t?) and I loved having such a great meal to serve. What I loved more than anything is how simple it was to put on the table.

But what about taking all that time to prepare simple breakfasts ahead of time?

Sounds like the before-hand prep can negate the “simple” in all of this, huh? Sure, it’s easy to put it on the table if you’ve done all the work ahead of time – but who has time to do all that work ahead of time?

I get it. I don’t always have the time to get ahead either. But I’ve found that if take an hour or two in the kitchen sometime during the week – whenever I can find the spare hour or two – I can knock out quite a bit of cooking which saves me all kinds of time and energy later.

And…while I could fall back on boxed breakfast food if I really wanted to keep it simple, I don’t like doing that unless I’m desperate or especially over-scheduled. We love homemade food. We love a hot breakfast. There really are great ways to keep it simple!

How to Cook Bacon in the Oven, Freeze, and Warm Up Fast

oven-bacon-2

When to find a spare hour or two for cooking ahead?

It varies, and will be different for all of us depending on our work and family situation. Here are some time slots that sometimes (but not always) work for me:

  • In the morning after breakfast after I’ve gotten my kids going on their school work. This only works on mornings I don’t have any pressing blog work needs or deadlines. And it only works if my youngest is sitting at the kitchen table doing his work so I can bounce back and forth between cooking and helping to keep him on task.
  • In the late afternoon or early evening while I’m cooking dinner. After all, I’m in the kitchen then anyway. If the dinner meal is simple enough (and at this point, all my meals are kept simple) – I can sometimes stir up something for the freezer or put something into the oven to help me get ahead for another day.
  • Anytime I’m cooking something for today, I consider if I can double or triple up so I can have extra for another time. I do this with almost everything.

These “cooking ahead” methods work for any meal, but here are some specific breakfast ideas for getting ahead that help keep our morning meal times super simple!

1. Cook several pounds of Bacon Bits ahead of time.

I freeze these to pull out as needed. For a simple breakfast, pull out a scoop to quickly make Scrambled Bacon Cheesy Eggs.

How to Make Bacon Bits and Why You Should Make Them

2. Make 5-Minute Stove-Top Granola. 

Store it in a jar. Save it for a morning you have no time to cook. Serve it with a variety of your family’s favorite stir-in options.

5-Minute Stove-Top Granola

3. Make Dark Chocolate Almond Granola.

Use the 5-minute stove-top method if you like! This is our favorite granola and making it at home saves quite a bit of money compared to buying it at the store.

Dark Chocolate Almond Granola - A Great Make-Ahead Meal

4. Make Homemade Grape Nut Cereal.

This is super tasty and super easy! I typically double this recipe and keep it in big jars so we can have it on busy “no time to cook” mornings.

Homemade Grape Nuts

5. Make Homemade Cracklin’ Oat Bran.

This is our favorite of the homemade cereal options! It’s also super easy to make and stores great in jars in the pantry.

Make Your Own Cracklin' Oat Bran

Wait! Do I ever buy cereal at the store and serve cereal out of a box?!?

Of course. Remember this post? Just because I can, doesn’t mean I always do. Store bought cereal saves my neck some days. No guilt. ;) Now back to the Simple Homemade Breakfast ideas…

6. Make Breakfast Cookie Balls for the freezer.

As mentioned above, these are awesome to have in the freezer. I usually double the recipe, and freeze the dough in balls so I can pull out just enough for one meal. These can be frozen after you bake them too, but we like eating them fresh out of the oven!

Here’s our White Chocolate Cranberry Breakfast Cookie recipe too. :)

Breakfast Cookies for the Freezer

7. Make Homemade Poptarts for the Freezer.

Like the Breakfast Cookies, we like eating these right out of the oven. Again, I usually double the recipe, then freeze them and pull out just enough for one meal. They bake easily from their frozen state. I can throw them in the oven while I’m reading my Bible in the morning. So simple!

homemade-poptarts-for-the-freezer

8. Make muffins ahead of time and freeze them before baking.

This idea is my favorite. I often mix up several different batches of our favorite muffins, freeze the batter, then quickly bake them as needed!

silicone muffins 1

9. Make Stir-and-Pour Bread.

If I have this bread on hand (usually I make it the day before instead of the morning of) – we can make Peanut Butter Honey Toast or Scrambled Egg Sandwiches.

stir and pour bread loaf 5

10. Have cheese shredded to make it easy to make Scrambled Cheesy Eggs.

We love melted cheese on our eggs. If I have some shredded already, this makes breakfast so much simpler!

TIP: We use our Food Processor to shred cheese. I LOVE THIS!!! We can shred a huge 5-pound block of cheese in about two minutes. It’s worth owning a food processor just for the cheese shredding capability! (We have one like this.)

grated cheese

11. Make any of these 49 Breakfast Freezer Food ideas.

Frozen breakfasts are awesome to have on hand for simple meals!

49 Breakfast Freezer Foods

12. Make big batches of Turkey Sausage

I almost always make 12 pounds at once (the entire case of ground turkey I get in my Azure Standard order!). I bag it up in 1-pound bags. Since it’s precooked and crumbled, I can throw it in scrambled eggs or make a quick batch of Sausage Gravy.

Homemade Turkey Sausage

 

I would love to hear your ideas for Simple Breakfasts at your house!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Last Day for Simple Meals Discount!

728x90

Remember, Monday, January 16 is the last day you can get $12 off your Simple Meals subscription! Get all the details about Simple Meals here. You’ll LOVE all that is included!

Simple Meals will save you so much time and energy, giving you more time to enjoy your family!

Use the code SIMPLEYEAR12 to get $12 – through Monday night only!

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

My Cow, My Cleaning Confessions, and Malachi’s Lego Convention

gratituesday[2]

I never met a cow I didn’t like. What I mean is – I really like eating beef. It is my favorite.

Rejoice with me, won’t you? We picked up one half of a cow last weekend. (I do not know which half. It’s better this way.) The cow came from trusted farmer friends who raise their animals in organic pasture. We also got a pasture-fed lamb (both halves) while we were at it. My grocery budget is completely wiped out for this month and next (though it all averages out in the end). Our freezers are bursting and we are so thankful.

freezer20172

I’ve spent time this week rearranging freezers to organize said cow and friend lamb. I’ve also been cleaning out closets and cabinets and throwing out/giving away anything that isn’t nailed down. Phew, it feels so good! Then I did something I’ve been wanting to do for about five years now:

I hired someone to help me clean my house.

Why have I put this off for so long? For oh so many reasons. It’s been hard to justify spending the money. My pride has been hesitant to admit that I can’t keep up. I’ve felt shy about someone seeing the places in my home that are filthy and disgusting after so much neglect. We still want our boys to take part in cleaning our home regularly so they’ll be prepared to be helpful husbands some day. So many reasons.

God finally made it clear that now is the time to reach out for help. (Or maybe I finally opened myself to listen better.) I feel overwhelmed almost daily while trying to juggle raising a houseful of teenage sons, love on their friends, keep up with their activities, work full time from home, school the boys from home, nurture my marriage, love and serve people from the community and church, put three healthy meals on the table every day, and take care of the house. Also?

I despise cleaning.

I always have. I do it because I love a clean home, but as the years have gone by and my days have become more full – much of the cleaning that needs to be done beyond basic upkeep has gotten pushed aside.

I don’t even know the last time I mopped my kitchen floor beyond spot cleaning.

With Matt’s blessing, I finally called someone. We believe we came away with a win-win after our initial visit. Our cleaning help/friend will come just once each month for a 3-hour time slot (and for a very reasonable price). She’ll do the cleaning jobs we never get around to: kitchen windows and woodwork (cabinet fronts too), the kitchen floor, the master bedroom, stairway woodwork, and she’ll thoroughly clean both bathrooms from top to bottom.

Hallelujah! In the meantime, our boys will continue their regular weekly chores of sweeping/vacuuming/dusting the living room, cleaning the bathrooms, doing the laundry, and all the other daily dishes/trash/compost/recycling/etc. duties we give them.

I can’t tell you how grateful I am that the cleaning tasks will not be constantly looming over my head any more! And when I showed my cleaning lady the areas I needed help with, she didn’t even bat an eye over the grossness. Bless her.

So let’s see…I shared about my cow and my cleaning confessions. Now to tell you about Malachi’s Lego Convention.

nebrickska3

Our twelve year old, who loves Legos more than anything in the world, has been dreaming of and planning a Lego Convention for a year and a half. (He’s visionary like his daddy.) Matt has been amazing to help develop the idea with him over the past few months. They decided to go for it, and they named their venture NeBricksKa (because it is a convention held here in Nebraska and Legos are bricks – get it?).

They made plans, they made flyers, they called schools, they reserved our church fellowship hall. Matt deserves “Dad of the Year” for helping Malachi with this and truly, Malachi has astounded us with his dedication to take on such a huge project. He worked for months to create his display and promote the event.

It happened last Saturday morning, and it was fantastic. (Don’t even ask how we managed to squeeze in such a convention between Thursday night basketball games, Friday night basketball games, and Saturday afternoon basketball games. Nobody got much sleep last weekend, but boy did we have fun. Our schedules are further confirmation that I need help keeping up with housework – and why I’m declaring this the Year of Simple!)

Just over 40 people came with displays. The kids all walked around from table to table as each child shared what they had built. I couldn’t stop smiling. It was Malachi’s dream come true, and to be sure, he will be hosting this again next year with big hopes that word will spread and that the convention will grow bigger and bigger each year!

nebrickska1

nebrickska2


nebrickska4

nebrickska5

nebrickska6

That sums up some of our family’s latest ventures in the new year! And now it’s your turn:

What blessings are you celebrating so far this year?

Limited Time Simple Meals $12 Discount!

As we kick off the Year of Simple, I really want to encourage everyone to join our Simple Meals program!

learn-more-about-simple-meals

Why should you join Simple Meals?

  • So you’ll have more down time to spend enjoying your family! <—- That’s the number one reason. :)
  • All the meals are simple (of course), delicious, and family friendly.
  • You’ll save much time and energy!!
  • Meal planning is done for you.
  • Grocery lists are made for you.
  • Every week you get bonus time-saving tips and extra recipes.
  • Every week you get current bonus money-saving tips.
  • Subscribers get oodles of freebies!
  • You can earn money when you refer your friends!

Read all about Simple Meals here.

We know you’ll love it!

Big news this week!

Through Monday, January 16 you can get $12 off your Simple Meals subscription! That is a huge discount along with the $56 worth of freebies you get when you purchase. With this discount, you can enjoy Simple Meals for just pennies per week!

Use the code SIMPLEYEAR12 to take $12 off your Simple Meals subscription. Can’t wait to have you on board!

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken (Lunch is ready when you get up for the day!)

This Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken idea might be one of my favorite Simple Tips/Recipes of the new year!

It takes five minutes of “work” to make this before you go to bed at night. It’s brainless. It involves no measuring or dirtying of dishes. You can practically sleep walk your way around this (which is precisely how I do everything after 10:00 pm). Best of all: No chickens have to be thawed in the making of this recipe.

bbq-chicken2

How this recipe/idea came about…

It was a cold, windy, dark Friday night (adjectives added for dramatic effect). It had been a long, exhausting, busy week (and this is different from other weeks, how?). Saturday, we had a full day of basketball games scheduled in a town two hours away. We needed to pack breakfast to eat on the way and lunch to eat between games. Friday night we were finally getting around to figuring out food for the road the next day.

I eagerly decided to get creative! (In other words, I didn’t have bread or lunch meat in the house and I didn’t want to go to the store.)

We have learned that big, meaty chef salads between basketball games are great for our boys who need to eat something substantial and full of protein, but not terribly heavy.

I decided we could certainly do Chicken Chef Salads to eat between games – if only I had thought ahead enough to cook some chicken for these salads. Frozen, raw chicken just isn’t the same. But then I thought, “what if?” The best ideas are born when you think to yourself, “what if?”

So I dumped some frozen, raw, boneless chicken thighs into the crock pot, dumped on some BBQ sauce, plugged in the crock pot (always, always plug it in), turned it on (also important), and went to bed.

The next morning the house smelled marvelous. After all, I had been slow-cooking BBQ Chicken all night – like a boss – while I slept.

The end of this story was supposed to include the fact that we quickly shredded the chicken in the morning and made ourselves some wonderful chef salads before heading out the door for the day. But as it turned out, the weather was terrible, the games were canceled, and the boys got so excited about the chicken when they got out of bed that they ate it for breakfast.

Who am I to say no? I wanted some too.

simple-saucy-overnight-crock-pot-chicken

Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken

Simple Overnight Saucy Crock Pot Chicken
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1-3 pounds frozen, boneless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1-2 cups of your favorite sauce (bbq, teriyaki, sweet and sour, etc)
Instructions
  1. Place frozen chicken in a crock pot.
  2. Pour sauce over the chicken.
  3. Cook on low for 7-10 hours overnight.

This is hardly a recipe. This is a “use your favorite sauce” and “pour it on whatever chicken you have in your freezer” idea. It’s the simplest thing to do and you can use your deliciously cooked meat in whatever way you need it the following day. Pack it in a lunch to take to work. Make it into a salad. Save it for lunch to eat at home after a busy morning of living life. Pack it to take to away games to eat while sitting in the bleachers. Or most definitely:

Go ahead and eat it for breakfast. Sometimes this can’t be helped.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

It’s recipes like this that makes Simple Meals such a life saver for families. We’ll provide the plans. We’ll provide the recipes. We’ll provide the grocery list. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy how simple your life in the kitchen has become! Join Simple Meals!

728x90

Simple Parmesan Broiled Fish (10-minutes from start to finish!)

I was going to call this Simple Cheesy Fish Dish – you know – because it rhymed and was cute. But then I was like, “What a weird and not-very-appetizing name. Let’s change it to Simple Parmesan Broiled Fish. People will want to make it if it has a better name.”

broiled-parmesan-fish

I sure hope you all appreciate all the thought and trouble I go to in preparing these recipes and laboring to come up with their names. There is no end to all the decisions I have to make around here.

But in actual news, and what you really need to know about this recipe is how easy it is. You broil the fish. While it is broiling, you mix up a few ingredients to spread over the top. You spread it on. You broil it all a little longer. In ten minutes the fish is completely done and ready to serve.

Ten minutes. Maybe I should have called this Ten-Minute Fish Dish. But seriously, though.

Simple Parmesan Broiled FishYum

5.0 from 1 reviews
Simple Parmesan Broiled Fish
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds fish, any kind (cod, tilapia, halibut, flounder, salmon)
  • ¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise (I use Hain Safflower mayo)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons dried minced onion
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash of hot sauce (we like Cholula)
Instructions
  1. Lay fish pieces in a buttered 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Broil for 8-10 minutes in the oven.
  3. In the meantime, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Removed broiled fish from the oven and spread on the cheese mixture.
  5. Broil for an additional 2 minutes.

simple-parmesan-broiled-fish

This fish has incredible flavor! We have also found that the sauce tastes great with the steamed veggies we eat with this meal. There’s just something about cheese and butter and mayo all together that makes a great sauce. So if the sauce from your fish runs over your plate into your veggies – be grateful. The entire meal will taste better this way!

Other Simple Recipes I’ve Shared Recently:

It’s recipes like this that makes Simple Meals such a life saver for families. We’ll provide the plans. We’ll provide the recipes. We’ll provide the grocery list. All you have to do is take a deep breath and enjoy how simple your life in the kitchen has become! Join Simple Meals!

728x90