Grilled Ranch Chicken Kabobs

by Angela on August 4, 2020

This is hands down the easiest, and most delicious chicken skewer recipe I have found. No overnight marinating is necessary so I can choose to make it last minute and still have dinner on the table at a reasonable time. And something about the ranch dressing makes the chicken tender and juicy. Grilling season is one of my favorites because that means less pots and pans to clean!

Grilled Ranch Chicken Kabobs

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cubed

Instructions

  • Mix all marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Add cubed chicken, toss, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  • Thread cubed chicken onto skewers.
  • Grill skewers for 8-12 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken is no longer pink.

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Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Relief

by Angela on July 20, 2020

It’s been a rough week for me. I don’t know what triggered it, but my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) has been a nightly struggle for me lately. If you suffer from this, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, let me tell you what it feels like:

Imagine every single nerve ending in your legs buzzing with static electricity every time you try to relax or sleep.

Or imagine having an itch on your leg, your foot, your nose…whatever is the most annoying possible itch you could think of . Then imagine NOT being able to scratch it.

Or you know the shivers you get from nails on a chalkboard? Imagine that same shiver coursing through the nerve endings in your legs while you’re trying to sleep.

Get the picture?

I remember the first time my RLS feelings were validated. I was at an OB appointment when I was pregnant with my second child. My doctor was this sweet, little, old Middle Eastern man whose office was in an old house where the walls were covered with flowered wallpaper and the floors creaked when you walked down the hall. After the doctor’s exam, it wasn’t unusual to find yourself in his old office getting some parting advice. This particular day in his office I mentioned to him about jitters I was getting in my legs every night. He immediately exclaimed, “Oh that’s Restless Leg Syndrome!” Then this cute little old man stood up and showed me how to do calf stretches against the wall to help! 😂 That was the day that I finally had an answer to something I thought was just all in my head!

It apparently is very common during pregnancy, but some of us suffer it long after that ship has sailed. For me, sometimes the feeling comes when I’m sitting with my family watching TV at night. A quick relief is to have some nice, caring soul sitting next to me to “chopsocky” my legs which usually helps. Or I find myself on the floor stretching out my legs while watching TV. But when it comes at night at 12, 1, 2am and the rest of the house is sound asleep, it ends up being a long night of tossing and turning, stretching my legs in bed, flexing and relaxing my muscles and repeating all over again.

So it’s not a surprise that RLS sufferers scour the internet for the perfect RLS relief. Some things I’ve come across during my research:

  • Lower your caffeine intake. I drink 2 cups of coffee a day. In the grand scheme of caffeine drinkers, I don’t think it’s an overabundance. And I’m not sure the alternative of quitting caffeine would be better for me, so I don’t go there yet!
  • Increase exercise. This could be what’s triggering my RLS right now. Exercise has been few and far between for me. Seems like an easy enough solution. Yeah, I’ll work on that.
  • Place a bar of soap under the sheets at the bottom of your bed. Say what? I know it sounds weird and super hokey, but I have no shame in saying I’ve tried it. Desperate times, desperate measures. I guess it worked? I definitely don’t swear by it but I’ve read it has something to do with the ingredients in soap interacting with the body chemistry.
  • Increase magnesium. Magnesium is important for nerve and muscle function, so magnesium deficiency would cause problems with nerve impulses, muscle contractions and cramps. Ding, ding, ding! I haven’t added a magnesium supplement to my RLS arsenal yet, but it’s definitely on my short list. In the meantime, I came across this Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil that has given me some GREAT results and very restful nights!

Why does it seem to work? I don’t know the science behind it, but oil is rapidly absorbed so when I rub it directly on my legs, maybe it’s an immediate, targeted relief. It can sting a little like razor burn (more on my calves, less on my thighs….maybe because they’re thicker, haha!) and it has a “sticky” feel, similar to the feel of salty, ocean water on your skin, but the relief I get from it is worth it. I spray it on my legs and rub it in right before bed and get a good night’s sleep.

This is not an ad but the link I have included to Amazon is an affiliate link. This is a product I found during my own online research, read about it, ordered it from Amazon and really liked it. So I wanted to share with other RLS sufferers out there.

Next on my research list…how to get rid of those spider veins!

Stay healthy!

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Chia Seed Pudding

by Angela on July 13, 2020

One of the easiest breakfasts I make on the regular is chia seed pudding. 3 simple ingredients, I can make the morning of and let sit for a bit, or I can meal prep and make enough for a few days. While my basic recipe is actually my favorite, I changed it up recently to try some mix-ins.

  1. 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  1. 1 cup milk + 1 Tbs. maple syrup


For my mix-ins I blended the milk and syrup with one each of the following:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Stir and keep overnight in a mason jar or other air-tight container. Stir and top with cinnamon or fresh fruit before serving.

Chai Seed Pudding

Quick and easy breakfast. Can be made ahead of time!
Servings: 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries optional add-in
  • 1/2 cup blueberries optional add-in

Instructions

  • Add 1/4 cup chia seeds to a glass jar.
  • Add milk and maple syrup to chia seeds. If adding mix-ins, blend frozen fruit with milk and maple syrup before adding to chia seeds.
  • Stir and let sit for at least 30 minutes or overnight until chia seeds have absorbed some liquid and softened.
  • Stir and top with cinnamon or fresh fruit before serving.

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Tomato Zucchini Risotto

by Deena on July 7, 2020

This is my whatever vegetable I have too much of recipe. I love my vegetable garden, CSA boxes and farmers markets – but sometimes I end up with way too much of something – in this case it happens to be zucchini.

white plate with tomato zucchini risotto

Tomato Zucchini Risotto

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Arborio Rice
  • 8 cups Organic Vegetable Stock
  • 1 bunch Fresh Scallions
  • 2 -3 Zucchini
  • 10.5 oz Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 12 leaves Fresh Basil (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp butter

Instructions

  • Dice zucchini, cut cherry tomatoes in half, and chop scallions
  • In a large pan heat a bit of olive oil and cook scallions for about 1-2 minutes until softened. Add 1 TBSP of Italian seasoning and a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Add rice to pan. Stir until rice is lightly toasted (approx 2 mins). Add 1 cup of stock stirring until liquid has dissolved. Repeat until you've used all of the stock (about 30 mins). Rice will be creamy. Stir in 2 TBSP of butter at the end.
  • In another pan, heat 2 TBSP of olive oil and add diced zucchini and 1 TBSP of Italian seasoning. Cook until brown – maybe 6-7 minutes. (note: I like mine charred/blackened)
    tomato and zucchini mixture in one pan risotto in separate pan
  • Add tomatoes, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar to zucchini pan. Cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
  • Add tomato and zucchini mixture to the top of risotto (rice) and sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  • Optional: add more red pepper flakes for heat

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Here Comes the Sun

by Angela on June 29, 2020

I’m not sure when spring ended and summer began. It’s been a weird year so far, to put it mildly. But here we are in northern Virginia facing 90+ degree days, finding ways to venture outdoors, and planning, canceling and re-planning (hopefully not re-canceling) beach vacations. So what better time to share some of my fun in the sun items I’m loving right now!

1. Here Comes the Sun graphic tee from Pink Lily – lightweight polyester blend with cute graphic to celebrate summer.

2. Goodr Sunglasses – My teenager started wearing these when he joined the cross country team. I bought myself a pair because they’re inexpensive ($25), they DON’T SLIP, and I feel cool. 😎

3. Super Goop Everyday Lotion – SPF 50, clean ingredients and comes in a large pump version that sits out conveniently on our counter 24/7 for my fair-skinned boys.

4. Super Goop Antioxidant Body Mist – SPF 50, ready for the beach and did I already mention clean ingredients?

5. Super Goop Glowscreen – SPF 40, sheer tint for my face to round out my Super Goop arsenal.

6. Cerave Daily Facial Moisturizing Lotion – SPF 30 that I apply every single morning for daily facial sunscreen.

I’m wearing a medium but could have gone with a small.

This is not a paid ad despite what it looks like! I just love my Super Goop products!

As cool as the teenagers in their Goodrs!

Happy Summer!

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Million Dollar Spaghetti

by Angela on April 29, 2020

In the middle of a world pandemic, the need for comfort foods (and comfort leggings, comfort naps, comfort chocolate…) is strong. Today I was definitely feeling the need for comfort food, so queue the baked spaghetti.

There are a lot of “Million Dollar Spaghetti” recipes, so I combined a couple based on ingredients I had on hand and came up with a winning combination. In lieu of store-bought shredded mozzarella (couldn’t find it anywhere), I actually shredded mozzarella cheesesticks instead! Hey, you do what you gotta do when cooking during covid! I was also able to “hide” whole wheat spaghetti in this dish since it was smothered with so much cheesy goodness. The kids didn’t even notice they were eating “ugh, brown pasta”. 🙂

I hope this recipe brings you comfort like it did for us!

Million Dollar Spaghetti

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. spaghetti noodles
  • 4 Tbs. butter divided
  • 1 lbs. ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 2 Tbs sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella divided

Instructions

  • Cook spaghetti as directed, drain and mix with 2 Tbs. butter and 1/2 jar of sauce.
  • Brown ground beef with garlic and onions.
  • Add remaining sauce to meat mixture.
  • In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, sour cream and half the shredded cheese.
  • Place remaining pats of butter at bottom of casserole dish.
  • Layer: 1/2 of noodles + cheese mixture + remaining noodles + meat mixture.
  • Top with remaining shredded cheese and bake at 350 until heated through and cheese is melted, approximately 30 minutes.

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Snacks: Kale Chips

by Angela on February 23, 2020

My husband is on a kale chips kick so we’ve been making them a couple times a week. I’d like to say this has made us experts on making them, but in reality, we seem to burn every 4th or 5th batch. There is a FINE LINE between perfect kale chips and burnt, inedible kale chips. And as many of you know, the input to output ratio of kale chips is quite humorous, so you really don’t want to mess it up. Case in point….Input:

Output:

But we’re getting better. So here’s some pointers I’ve learned along the way:

  • Buy the pre-cut, triple-washed bag of kale in the largest bag you can find. Trust me on this one…it’s a HUGE time saver.
  • Use a paper towel to pat the leaves dry after spreading the batch out on your cooking sheet. Any moisture on the leaves will result in soggy chips.
  • Remove any of the hard ribs.
  • Use an olive oil spritzer to spray the leaves and sprinkle a little sea salt.
  • I bake at 350 degrees and start checking after 10 minutes. I usually have to cook for more like 13 or 14 minutes, but I check after every additional minute to make sure I don’t cross that fine line into burnt chips territory.
  • My husband discovered that storing them in a paper bag keeps them from getting soggy so you can enjoy them for days after you have made them.
  • ENJOY a healthy snack that satisfies that crunchy, salty craving!

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Anyone ever buy vegetables for a great recipe but then have to throw them out because you forgot about them sitting in your fridge? Yeah, me neither. So I may or may not have wasted at least one good container of shaved Brussels sprouts before finally making this yummy, healthy breakfast recipe.

It was super easy to make and I topped with an egg for a little something extra. Speaking of eggs, this is what I’ve been making my eggs in:

This was a $10 (ish) gift I bought my husband for Christmas (he loves his eggs! 😂). But guess who uses it ALL THE TIME?! It makes a perfect egg for my breakfast sandwiches.

Anyway, back to the hash. If you can find pre-shaved Brussels sprouts, this recipe just got a whole lot easier for you. I bought mine from Wegmans.

So with only 4 main ingredients (bacon not pictured) and quick to whip up, this recipe was a winner for me. It made about 4 servings. Enjoy!


Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes Hash

Ingredients

  • 4 slices of bacon chopped
  • 1 sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts shaved or halved
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Cook bacon in large pan until crispy. Remove and set aside.
  • Add onions and sweet potatoes to pan and cook until fork tender, about 7 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add Brussels sprouts and sauté for about 10 more minutes. Add in bacon and mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

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Healthy Snack: Protein Bites

by Angela on February 17, 2019

I’m always looking for simple snacks that are easy to grab and go, tastes good, but are still good for you. This recipe was passed on to me from my friend, Janet, who is a Shaklee rep, but I have modified it to work for my family. Because my oldest son has nut allergies (peanuts are okay but no tree nuts), I had to change a few things, including the protein mix I use. Wegmans brand isn’t processed with nuts 👍🏼 and is reasonably priced. I also have to swap out almond butter with peanut butter and limit the mix-ins I use (no nuts, seeds or coconut). But I like to give credit where credit is due, so here is how the original recipe was given to me:

I love when a recipe has written notes on it because that means it’s been tried and modified to be even better! 😊 So thank you Janet for the recipe that I now use weekly for a nice little protein-packed snack stash that tastes like Reese’s Peanut Butter cups!

They may look like meatballs 😆 but they definitely don’t taste like meatballs.  Enjoy!

Protein Bites

Prep Time30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup protein powder
  • 1-1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter or other nut butter

Optional Mix-Ins:

  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, seeds, dried fruit or nuts

Instructions

  • Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, bring honey to a boil, then immediately remove from heat and add peanut or other nut better and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
  • Pour nut butter mixture into bowl of dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Add any optional mix-ins (if using chocolate chips, make sure oat mixture is cooled). 
  • Press into ungreased 9"x13" glass dish or roll into 1-1/2" balls on parchment paper. 
  • Cool in refrigerator before cutting into squares and storing in container.  Keep refrigerated.

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Breakfast Meal Prep: Egg Muffins

by admin on September 20, 2018

I’ve come to the realization that FOOD causes a lot of my every day stress. I worry about the food budget (second largest expense we have each month).  I worry about if I’m feeding my family healthy food.  I worry about what food to pack the kids for lunch. I worry about what food is missing from the pantry or fridge.  I worry about what foods need to be on my shopping list. I worry about what food to make for dinner…on the daily. I worry about how the foods I’m eating will show on my hips and thighs.  Food is a part of my money stress, health stress, time stress, and disorganization stress. Food…the other F word.

But for some reason, breakfast has always been the toughest meal for me. I love a good breakfast, but I struggle with time in the morning and eating something healthy and filling.  I’m either rushing out the door eating nothing, or grabbing something quick and unhealthy in the morning. Both options leave me starving less than an hour later. So this week I tried something different. I made these easy, healthy, protein-packed containers at the beginning of the week:

 

Breakfast meal prep

 

Egg Muffin ✔

Cheese ✔

Nuts & Berries ✔

Coffee ✔

My mornings were less rushed, I ate healthy, and I remained full until almost lunch time. My oldest has a tree nut allergy, so I think I’m going to make these again next week for the kids and substitute Cascadian Farms granola cereal for the almonds. I’ll feel much better sending them off to school after eating these, than what they have been eating…which I will not divulge because it’s rather embarrassing.

The egg muffins were super easy to make and you can use any “fillings” you have in your fridge. For this week, I had some leftover chicken sausage sitting in the fridge that I chopped up and added for an additional protein punch. I also sprinkled in some parsley and shredded cheese. Super easy, yummy and good for you.  Enjoy!  

 

Easy Egg Muffins

 6 large eggs

1/4 cup milk

salt & pepper, to taste

Fillings of your choice (sausage, bacon, onions, red peppers, shredded cheese, etc.)

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a regular 12-cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs until smooth.  Add milk, salt & pepper and any filling ingredients and mix.  

3. Pour egg mixture into greased muffin cups about 3/4 full.  

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before removing them from the pan.

 

 

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