You could win all you see above, plus $$$ to spend at Amazon!
There are jewelry and books, oils, and much more. Our very own Prayer Mugs Journal is included – and you can win in all for free! Plus you can get Amazon Cards too.
Well now, isn’t this interesting? I’ve been feeding kids green beans since 1997. All my bio-boys love them because of the “bacon grease trick” my mom taught me years ago (more details below). But I just learned a new trick to add to my back pocket, which has finally helped our 5-year old Bonus Boy learn to love green beans too! Without further ado, how to get your kids to eat green beans…
1. First, let’s talk about green beans and bacon.
Bacon makes everything better, of course. And you know me. I’m not afraid of fat if it is from a natural, real food source. Our family enjoys plenty of real butter and coconut oil, whole milk and red meat, real cream and yep – bacon.
All of these fats are recognized by our bodies, and are therefore easily digested and utilized for nourishment and energy. (Low on energy? Eat butter and bacon. You heard it here, folks. Now who’s your best friend??)
You can throw a slice or two of bacon into your green beans as they cook – or you can do what I believe is easier and faster! Drum roll please:
Save grease from cooked bacon to add to green beans anytime you need it!
Each time I cook bacon for my family, I let the bacon grease cool, then put it into a jar. I store this in the fridge, then add a scoop of bacon grease to a pot of green beans along with a little water (or chicken broth!) and Redmond Real Salt. Then I steam them to perfection. The bacon grease adds wonderful flavor to the beans, and of course, the fat makes the vegetable so much more appealing!
How do I cook my bacon?
I’m so glad you asked. Here are my two favorite, most efficient methods of cooking bacon:
2. Now let’s talk about what kind of green beans seem to be the most appealing!
My family LOVES fresh green beans from our garden in the summertime. But alas, we live in Nebraska and can only enjoy these for a few months out of the year. If we grow enough, I blanch and freeze them to pull out and use during the cold months. But the past few years, we’ve been eating them as fast as they grow, leaving no reserves for the freezer!
Therefore, I typically buy frozen green beans in bulk from Azure Standard. Frozen green beans are much more flavorful and nutritious compared to canned beans. Still, even when cooked in bacon grease as described above, our Bonus Boy wasn’t very interested in this veggie side dish.
But, I’ve recently discovered a simple new trick! Instead of buying frozen “cut green beans” as I had been doing, I picked up a back of frozen “whole green beans” one day. I steamed them along with bacon grease and salt, and wouldn’t you know it? Bonus Boy ate them, and ate them, and ate them! We all did!
Who knew that simply switching from short and stubby beans to long and skinny beans would somehow make green beans taste so much better!
Now I stock up on frozen whole green beans and we all devour them!
So there you have it. Long green beans apparently taste better than short ones; and bacon grease makes beans taste amazing!
How do you and your family enjoy green beans?
You all know I’m not into anything fancy. The simpler the better when it comes to pretty much everything from food to clothes to schedules. So it probably doesn’t surprise you that I took my basic Sweet and Simple Butter Cookies recipe and added one tiny ingredient to make these Sweet and Simple Cranberry Cookies. Hmmm, I bet you can’t guess which ingredient I added. (Indeed, my ways are so mysterious.)
I’m not a big fan of raisins in my cookies. But adding dried cranberries to this simple butter cookie? Well, that takes them up a notch without adding any effort. Phew, no added effort? Well, that’s a relief. We cannot be expected to add effort to our cookie-baking endeavors. That takes all the fun out of eating a cookie.
Oh! But don’t you worry about me giving you permission to eat a cookie. These are low in sugar, with just a little extra added sugar when we toss in the dried cranberries. And check out how few ingredients these have? Just 5 simple items to grab to make these delights!
Here’s a great list of all we’ve come up with to share so far!
There are over 100 reasons this is our most popular eBook!
What’s your favorite kind of cookie? Ever tried cutting down the sugar in the recipe to see how it turns out?
If my house started on fire, I would grab my family and my Blendtec and get out as fast as I could. Just kidding. I’m not that tied to material possessions. But I felt it was worth a post to share my top 3 small kitchen appliances I feel I can hardly live without.
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that these gadgets save me hours of time and energy every week. As I’ve worked to simplify my real food kitchen, I have been amazed at how I’ve come to rely on 3 very important appliances.
Could I do without them? Well yes. Grandma survived all her many years of cooking for a large family without any one of the items I’m sharing with you today. But Grandma also didn’t have indoor plumbing for a good many years, and then welcomed it gladly when it became available. I’m pretty sure if she was raising her family now, she would very much enjoy the appliances I love having access to!
If you’ve been reading here long, you can probably guess my top three small kitchen appliances. Just for fun, I added two runners up in my “if I had to choose to keep only 3 small appliances, which ones would I keep?” contest. :)
Indeed. If I could only keep one appliance in my kitchen, it would be the Blendtec. I use this multiple times each week, and sometimes multiple times each day.
I mix batter in it, whip cream in it, make smoothies in it, whip mini cheesecake filling in it, the list goes on and on. From cakes to muffins to pancakes – the Blendtec takes away my need to stir and mix. Cream goes from liquid to perfectly whipped in less than 30 seconds. Recently I dumped in all the ingredients for these Mini Crustless Cheesecakes and had them in the oven within a grand total 5 minutes. Beautiful!
In so many ways, my Blendtec makes my cooking and baking effortless. It is extremely high powered, which is reflected in the price. A $25 blender gives only $25 of effort (and in my experience, lasts less than one year in my kitchen). The Blendtec, though much higher in price, comes with a warranty and is so high powered it turns frozen fruit into liquid in just seconds. Unbelievable!
I highly recommend saving up and investing in a Blendtec. Oh the time and energy you’ll save!
I stubbornly refused to get an Instant Pot for several years after they became popular (silly me), and now I am one of the biggest advocates for them! This gem saves so much time and keeps us eating healthy too!
I love that it makes wholesome, rich beef or chicken broth with so little effort on my part. I LOVE that I can cook 7 pounds of frozen hamburger meat in it in just 30 minutes!! And I love the many meals and side dishes I can make in it within just a few minutes.
Psst: I highly recommend that you bookmark our Instant Pot Recipes page for easy access as we continue to update it!
Yes indeed. I have two large crock pots and I often use them both at the same time. My favorite is this 8-Quart Programmable Crock Pot, but I also have this Basic 6-Quart Crock Pot, which works great too!
I’ve learned many tricks through the years that help me throw VERY quick meals into the crock pot so that later in the day, our meal has cooked itself. (See recipe links below.) What a great way to continue putting real, delicious food on the table on busy days!
Just for fun, I thought it would be fun to add a couple others to my list of appliances I love and use often!
Could I live without my Nutrimill? I guess. Does it save me time in the kitchen? Not really. But do I love having such a great appliance to help me grind fresh grain for our baked goods? Oh my goodness, YES!
I frequently grind hard and soft white wheat in my Nutrimill, which turns out the most delicious flour, which then turns out the most delicious breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, pancakes, and waffles. Now that I’m so used to baking with freshly ground flour, I’d have a hard time turning back. We’re pretty spoiled! ;)
Details about using flour ground in a Nutrimill:
Every morning I drink a cup of Javita Coffee. I LOVE its taste and qualities and find it to be well worth the daily investment for my health! But I also love a cup of brewed coffee in the afternoon. There’s just something about the smell of coffee brewing!
So I keep my basic coffee pot handy, which my big boys often enjoy along with me. :)
I’d love to hear what your favorite small kitchen appliances are. Which ones do you feel you can’t live without?
“They grow up so fast! Enjoy them while they’re young!” Yeah, we know. We all know. It’s so true! And yet, I believe it’s time to stop saying this to moms of little ones…
I get it. Oh, how I get it. Once our kids grow up, have a mind of their own, start doing big things, can no longer crawl into our laps, and have problems much bigger than those which can be solved with a kiss on the forehead – we older moms find it easy to look back at the little years with longing. We look at pictures of our kids with their pudgy fingers, wearing the matching outfits we selected for them to wear – and we wonder where the years have gone.
We see that our grown-up kids are taking hard classes, going to prom, and graduating from college and we can’t believe how fast time went. So we look at the mom with babies in her arms and toddlers in her lap and we try to encourage her with, “Enjoy them while they’re young. They grow up so fast!”
Oh, it is true. They do grow up fast!
But today, as I find myself in a season that involves a double portion – that of marveling at my adult and teen children while taking on the task of raising a 5-year old Bonus Boy and fostering a precious 5-month old Boy Babe – I find myself realizing the full truth:
This is hard.
It’s good and it’s marvelous and it’s incredible, but it’s hard.
You can look at my precious new littles, then look up at me and say, “Oh Laura! They are so sweet! Enjoy them while they’re young!” and I will emphatically nod and tell you, “Oh yes! I am!!” I am enjoying our little ones an incredible deal – because of all of the sweetness and cuteness and fun! I am enjoying them so much!
But do you know what else I would enjoy right now?
Taking a shower.
Eating when I’m hungry.
Drinking my coffee while it is still hot.
Having a full conversation with my husband (that isn’t about the last time the baby pooped).
Not having to stop what I’m doing every three minutes to discipline and train our 5-year old to learn obedience.
Moms of Bigs, do you remember all that was involved in taking care of your little ones? Do you really remember? Oh, there is so much joy in the little years!! But there’s also a lot of poop and puke, tantrums and tattling – along with a never-ending list of work to do that you know you’ll never get around to because little ones require so much attention and care.
These are hard (and good) years, just as raising big kids is hard (and good).
“How can I help you enjoy your little ones?”
Think about this.
Moms of Bigs – you no longer have to wipe bottoms, buckle seatbelts, have irrational conversations about broken cookies, or help all the shoes get onto all the right feet. You are, no doubt, in a season of challenge that involves running around like crazy with busy activity schedules, guiding your kids while they make weighty decisions, and then helping them with Geometry after 10:00 pm (Jesus, be near). This is all full of hardship and exhaustion – no doubt about it! But the truth is that even through these challenging days: YOU CAN ACTUALLY GO PEE WHENEVER YOU WANT.
I know this because just a year ago, I was there. With kids who were then 20, 18, 16, and 13 – I thought I was busy, because I absolutely was. Then God put babies on my doorstep and in my arms. Now I’ve got all those big kids plus a pre-schooler and an infant. It’s both fabulous and difficult, beautiful and challenging. I love what God is teaching me through this new gift and calling!
But – some of the days are hard to enjoy. “Enjoy them while they’re young!” I’m trying! But I am also tired.
Here’s what helps me get through these challenging days:
Stop simply telling moms of little ones to “enjoy them while they’re young.” That encouragement falls flat in the ears of a tired mama. AND, it makes them feel guilty for not enjoying the puke-filled, sleepless nights that are apparently – fleeting? Yeah, we’re sorry. Nothing feels fleeting at 3:00 am.
Instead, consider doing what you can do to help young moms enjoy these challenging years. Let your big kids help you with this. It’s a win-win!
Don’t tell them to “enjoy them while they’re young!” Instead, do what you can to help them enjoy these years! Here are some better options every mom of littles actually wants to hear!
This is just a small list, and no doubt, God will fill in the gaps and put on your heart what YOU can do for your friends with little ones. But do consider how you can be a blessing to the weary mamas who are in the snot-filled, wet wipe, dirty-dish-piled trenches. Those days are hard, and those mamas need our real encouragement.
Then, guess what? Those moms really can enjoy them while they’re young! Because it takes a village, and moms with their big kids can be a part of that village!
Moms of big kids? You hang in there too. I know these days are fabulous and exhausting too – because I’m right there with you.
Whether your kids are big or little – or a beautiful mixture of both – we can stand together in encouragement. We can tell each other the truth – that God is carrying us through each day – that He is our provider – that He is with us constantly as we raise our kids.
Be encouraged, Mama! God is with you, and He is good! Because of this, we CAN enjoy every day with our kids.
This recipe is so easy I’m not sure why we haven’t been making this for years and years. Not to spoil the punch-line, but it is a fact that we can make Whole Grain Chocolate Pancakes simply by whisking some unsweetened cocoa powder into our pancake batter. Yup, it’s that easy!
I’ve always loved fresh berries and whipped cream on my pancakes, but on Chocolate Pancakes? Be still my heart.
Or on another day, I might spread homemade peanut butter over my chocolate pancake for a fabulous chocolate peanut butter combo. You know, for the added protein. Yes, that’s why I do it. ;)
The topping possibilities for these Easy Whole Grain Chocolate Pancakes are endless, and I love the fun and ease of turning regular pancakes into a chocolate surprise.
I always have a big container of Homemade Pancake Mix on hand, so making a batch of these pancakes is even easier! Here’s how I make these:
Here are our favorite pancake toppings:
What are your favorite pancake toppings?
How well I remember the years of being an extreme couponer. I would spend hours at home preparing to shop for the best deals, so that I could spend hours at the grocery store(s). Every week. My focus was on saving money – and for many a good reason.
Whether it was during lean financial years or during more comfortable financial years, I knew that a focus on saving money meant that I was being a good steward of what God gave us. I actually loved the hobby and challenge of seeing how much money I could save at the store. Yogurt for $0.09? Eggs for $0.20? How incredibly fun!
I remember thinking during those days that no matter what our financial situation became in life, I would always be a couponer and always spend the time finding all the best deals – because good stewards are good stewards whether they have $10 or $100,000, right?
Well. Yes. But also…
I’ve since learned that seasons change. Circumstances change. Priorities change. Needs change. Meanwhile, God stays the same, and He continues to lead and evolve our focus to become exactly what He needs it to be during each season.
My twenty-something self would be shocked to learn that my forty-something self hasn’t clipped a coupon in ages. (I have pulled them off of food products at the store and used them right then and there – score!) I have evolved from being a coupon clipper to a real food eater – so one might think that my desire for healthy eating has turned me away from clipping coupons and scouring for good food deals. But actually – my focus now goes far beyond both saving money and eating healthy.
You would think this would be a no-brainer. Something that wouldn’t have to be taught. Love people. Easy peasy. Yes, some of it sure is. But what about the parts of loving others that involve dying to self and surrendering fully to the plans God has for us? This is hard and can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Couponing and deal finding and saving money can be fantastic – as long as it is done intentionally and for the greater purpose of loving people.
A focus on eating real, healthy food can also be fantastic – as long as it is done intentionally and for the greater purpose of loving people.
As God continues to teach me more about living through His Spirit, seeing people, and caring for people as He directs, I’ve found that I no longer want to or have time to use energy to find all the best deals or take pictures of all my groceries to share with you here.
I still very much care about eating nourishing, real food – but no longer is my desire based on earthly health.
Should I continue to eat nourishing, whole foods? Absolutely. Should I continue to be a good steward with my money? Absolutely. Especially as I see so many needs around me. I want to use money wisely so we have plenty to give.
But the ways I “save money” simply involve not frequenting coffee shops or restaurants, choosing Redbox instead of the theater, and shopping the clearance racks when we need clothes because yes, it is still really fun to find a good deal! And if I choose to spend a little more at the grocery store now – it is because I want/need to spend my time loving people instead of spending an hour trying to figure out how to save $3.00.
Being good stewards of our time and energy is just as important as being good stewards of our money.
Gratefully, becoming uncomfortable with Christ is starting to actually become comfortable. We’re learning to settle into this new way of living – the kind that involves letting go of control and trusting God with each day as never before. The kind that involves letting go of plans we made and saying yes to the plans God has orchestrated that are better than we could have ever dreamed of.
And as it turns out, we’re finding that we’re saving money in other ways because as we spend more time loving people, there simply isn’t as much time to shop or pay attention to the latest and greatest gadgets and deals we were drawn to before. :)
So there you go. We’ll continue to save money in any way we can as long as it doesn’t take our focus away from what is truly important: Loving God; Loving People.
Then when we happen upon a good deal while doing our normal shopping, we’ll praise God for His provision and care. And we’ll do a little happy dance because shucks, scoring a great deal is still an awful lot of fun!
Introducing what has become my very favorite pasta meal to prepare: Simple Creamy Pasta in the Instant Pot!
This is one of those recipes you’ll want to keep in your hip pocket for days you have no time to cook. Because guess what? Making this takes less time than it takes to run through a drive through to pick up take-out!
As you know, I love having hamburger meat cooked ahead of time to pull out and use as needed for super quick meals. You can read here about how I cook 5-7 pounds of frozen hamburger meat in 30-minutes in my Instant Pot. It’s a HUGE time saver!
If I already have meat cooked, I stir it into my Instant Pot with the other quick ingredients, turn on my pot, and have a meal after about 10 minutes. Total. It’s unreal!! (Meanwhile, I get out salad fixin’s and we’re ready to eat this nourishing, very tasty meal!)
If I don’t have meat already cooked, I quickly brown it in my Instant Pot before adding the other ingredients and I’ve only added a few minutes of prep to this dish.
Either way, you can see that this meal is incredibly fast to put together. And everyone in my family loves it. You can’t go wrong with cheesy, creamy pasta!!
I have this one and I absolutely love how much time it saves in the kitchen. So do consider investing! But if you prefer, you can mix the ingredients together in your crock pot and cook it on low for 4 hours. Then stir in the cheese and cream, and you’ve got an equally easy meal that cooked in your crock pot with no effort on your part!
We’ve got a huge list, and it keeps growing!
We love how Simple Meals has been saving family time for so many, and helping people put great food on the table each night! Join us for just $1/week!
Frustrated about food, overwhelmed about feeding your family healthy meals, always feel like getting take out instead of cooking? And then are you feeling guilty that this is how you feel day after day? Ok then. I’m about to give you some simple cooking instructions that will change your life: “Just dump some sauce on some chicken.”
Where there is chicken and there is sauce, there is dinner. I know. Profound. No matter if you have boneless chicken, chicken legs, or a whole chicken. Grab you some chicken, grab you some sauce, and “Just dump some sauce on some chicken!”
What kind of sauce, you ask? It matters not. I have been known to use salad dressing out of my fridge, or Teriyaki sauce, or Bbq sauce, or salsa, or anything in a jar or bottle that looks like it might possibly taste good on chicken. Sometimes I mix two or more sauces, which is possibly weird but always tasty. And as an added bonus, this helps me clear out random half-empty bottles hanging out at the back of my fridge.
Say it with me: “Just dump some sauce on some chicken!”
Find you some chicken. Get out some sauce. Pour it right on and let it cook while you do something else you enjoy. THIS HAS TO BE THE EASIEST MEAL EVER.
I so badly want everyone to understand this. Making real, good food for our family does not have to be difficult. When all you have to do is open a package of chicken and pour on some sauce – wouldn’t you agree with me that cooking good food really can be easy?
Also? Chicken cooked in sauce tastes incredibly good.
The Crock Pot Chicken/Sauce Meal:
The Oven Baked Chicken/Sauce Meal:
Shorter on time? Do this instead:
Well that depends on how much time you have, what you have on hand, and what your energy level is.
Beyond that, I encourage you to pick a fruit and a veggie or three. Perhaps:
But if you don’t want to or have time to prepare or cook anything to go with your chicken, serve it with something like:
And if you need something more to round out your meal, you could grab something like this out of your fridge:
There now. You needed a meal for your family. You didn’t have time to cook. You needed a quick solution.
Our Teaching Your Kids to Cook eBook has been around for several years, and we decided that it was in great need of being updated! I handed the project off to one of my talented designers, and voila! All 86 pages of this wonderful book are new and improved – beautiful and ready to help you get those kids into the kitchen with you!
I’m so happy to offer this! Now you have no more excuses to avoid teaching your kids to cook!
Teaching Your Kids to Cook is written for parents who desire to spend time helping their children learn their way around the kitchen. Filled with instructions, tips, activities, printables, and over 45 simple, kid-friendly recipes – you and your kids will have many opportunities to make messes together and get chocolate in your hair. Here’s hoping your kids learn how to put basic meals and treats together and learn to serve others too!
The recipes in this book include only wholesome, easy to attain ingredients. Teaching Your Kids to Cook is perfect for families with young children – oh the memories you will make!
The Teaching Your Kids to Cook eBook is a fabulous, realistic resource for you to print and enjoy with your family. It contains 86 pages worth of activities, ideas, tips, and instructions – plus includes 43 kid-friendly recipes and an entire section of printables! Priced at just $9.95 – this eBook is a steal! But of course, this week you can have it for FREE!
When you get our Teaching Your Kids to Cook eBook for free, you’ll also get access to $140 worth of other awesome resources to use with and for your kids too. All for free!
This is truly all free and there is no catch. This package is yours courtesy of several other bloggers like myself who banded together to offer you fun and beneficial books for your family!
On this page, you’ll get all the details about every free book offered in this bundle. If you scroll to the bottom of that page, you’ll be able to sign up to gain access. Then you can download any or all of the free books offered that you like!
See how easy and fun? (And free?!)