Happy National Reading Month!


Let’s take a little break from the food and celebrate National Reading Month. As a self-proclaimed bookworm, mother and someone who has worked in education for almost eleven years, I’m a huge proponent of reading. Reading develops the mind and so much more. Teaching children to read helps them develop their language skills and helps them learn to listen… definitely something to celebrate!

kindle

It is so much fun watching my 3rd grade daughter follow in my footsteps and enjoy reading as much as I do. I want to do everything possible to encourage and foster her interest in books. The Kindle e-reader ($79) was the perfect motivator to make her want to read a chapter book. It is designed to make great books as accessible and engaging as possible, with zero distractions. With Kindle, children can:

  • Look up definitions as they read to build their vocabulary and increase the font size for easier reading.
  • Use features like Vocabulary Builder – which stores words that kids look up and allows them to quiz themselves with flash cards – or Word Wise, which provides short and simple definitions above difficult words as they’re reading along.
  • Read thousands of books for free, including classics like Treasure Island and eBooks from their local library
  • Easily take their books with them without loading up a heavy backpack, helping to increase the amount of books they read – when one book finishes, they can start the next one right away!

Madelyn reading the Kindle

Madelyn was super excited when our Kindle arrived and I told her she would be the first one in the family to download and read a book of her choice. She downloaded a cute girly chapter book, suitable for her age. I let her bring it to school, to use during silent reading time… she felt pretty spiffy.

We took advantage of the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, another great resource that encourages reading for kids. An all in one subscription starting at $2.99 per month, FreeTime Unlimited offers unlimited access to hundreds of hand-picked chapter books and early readers, all curated for age-appropriateness, so parents don’t have to spend time and money guessing what their kids will enjoy.

FreeTime Unlimited is really cool- definitely worth checking out. It’s great for kids between 3 and 10 years old, providing a world of content for kids to explore in a kid-safe zone. I love that it includes parent controls, which allows you to choose what content your child sees and set educational goals and time limits.

We’re having so much fun with the Kindle and I’m especially pleased that it has made Madelyn so excited about reading!

Something to think about….

How are you celebrating National Reading Month?

Have you ever tried reading on a Kindle? Madelyn and I really enjoyed it. It’s very visually friendly!

What’s your favorite book? If you’re a book worm, like me, check out my book club page!

Happiness is a cup of coffee and a good book.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A Day in the Life

Hello, foodie friends! How’s everyone’s week going? I really can’t complain, mine’s been pretty great. It’s Wednesday and that means What I Ate Wednesday day! The meals and such I’m sharing are all from yesterday, so I decided to do a “day in the life” post. Nothing too exciting, just a typical day of eats.

a day in the life

Maybe not the typical day… I usually have my first cup of coffee no later than 5 AM and this first cup of coffee was enjoyed at about 8 AM. Every year a few hospital employees come to the school to do cholesterol and blood sugar checks. I always partake, not that I think anything is abnormal, I just like to compare the results every year. I also think it’s really important to have a baseline, in case something does go wrong.

late morning coffee

Waiting till 8:00 for coffee and breakfast was not fun! I had a Wild Mountain Blueberry K-cup, sweetened with SweetLeaf Stevia. I received a few sample from SweetLeaf and I have to say it was perfect in my morning cup of joe!

I made Blueberry Banana Overnight Oats in preparation for bringing my breakfast with me to work, so I could just grab it and go. Best decision, ever! It’s been awhile since I’ve had overnight oatmeal and this jar of oats really hit the spot… could be a new breakfast obsession, especially with warmer weather on the way.

blueberry banana overnight oats

Lunch was another egg salad. I’ve been loving these, lately, and I actually have two varieties I need to share on the blog soon. This one was a curried egg salad, which might just be my favorite yet. I’m a huge fan of curry.

Curried Egg Salad

I snacked on a couple of almond butter snack balls, after leaving work. Just a little warning… these things can get quite addicting!

almond butter snack balls

Taco Tuesday- the easiest way possible, thanks to my slow cooker! Most weekends I make the easiest salsa chicken ever and then use it throughout the week for salads, casseroles and tacos, of course.

two ingredient salsa chicken

These chicken tacos were incredibly easy and delicious. I stuffed mine with the salsa chicken, slaw, tomatoes and avocado crema and served black beans on the side. Yum!

Two Ingredient Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker- Perfect for quick and easy chicken tacos!

And of course dessert… always an evening coffee treat!

coffee and cookies

Something to think about….

What was the most delicious thing you ate yesterday?

Have you ever had your cholesterol checked?

Did you partake in Taco Tuesday, yesterday?

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Super Simple Slow Cooker Meal Ideas

Today, I’m sharing my favorite, go-to, simple slow cooker meal ideas. Every single one of these recipes can be part of your meal prep and then used later in the week, throughout the week for different meals or served immediately after slow cooking. These super simple slow cooker meals are all included in my regular rotation and are enjoyed by the whole family.

A round up of my favorite super simple slow cooker meals that are all included in my regular rotation and are enjoyed by the whole family!

As a working mom, I know that planning a healthy dinner every day is enough to drive anyone crazy. This is why I love using my slow cooker, to cut down on extra time and work for me. I have this easy-to-use, inexpensive slow cooker from Kohl’s and it truly is a busy family’s best friend. If you’re in need of even more slow cooker meal ideas, be sure to follow my Slow Cooker Pinterest board.

Lean and Clean Stuffed Bell Peppers

Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers- so easy and so delicious! (Paleo and Gluten-free)

Nutrient-rich bell peppers are the perfect vessels for holding deliciously seasoned bison, brown rice and diced tomatoes for a complete satisfying meal. I enjoy baked stuffed bell peppers very much, but honestly my favorite way to eat them is straight out of the slow cooker. They’re so much juicer and it doesn’t hurt that they’re way easier!

Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers- so easy and so delicious! (Paleo and Gluten-free)

To save time- prep everything the night before (cook rice, mix all ingredients and store them in a covered bowl in the fridge). In the morning, stuff your bell peppers, set the slow cooker and go on about your day. Dinner will be waiting when you get home! I served my stuffed bell pepper with a spinach salad and chips and salsa.

Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers- so easy and so delicious! (Paleo and Gluten-free)

 

 

Nutritional info for slow cooker stuffed bell peppers

Slow Cooker Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal

Slow Cooker Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal- Set up your slow cooker with a blend of basic steel cut oatmeal ingredients and have a healthy delicious breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

A slow cooker recipe for breakfast? You bet! Set up your slow cooker with a blend of basic steel cut oatmeal ingredients and have a healthy delicious breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

I kept this slow cooker banana oatmeal recipe really simple, without an overwhelming ingredient list. Your bowl of oats will be a blank slate, ready to be finished off with your favorite toppings. I enjoyed my oats with a splash of almond milk, a couple of stevia packets, coconut chips and pom seeds. Yum! Totally makes getting up out of bed, in the morning, worth it!

Slow Cooker Banana Steel Cut Oatmeal- Set up your slow cooker with a blend of basic steel cut oatmeal ingredients and have a healthy delicious breakfast waiting for you in the morning.

 

 

Nutritional info for slow cooker banana steel cut oatmeal

Two Ingredient Salsa Chicken

It simply does not get any easier than this, people! Have a favorite salsa? Got about a pound of chicken? Yes… well than you’ve got the perfect ingredients for taco filling, salad mix-in, pizza topping, soup add-in, burrito stuffing… and the list goes on…. I typically make this every weekend to have chicken ready for whatever I may be craving during the week.

Two Ingredient Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker- It simply does not get any easier than this, people!

With this last batch of two ingredient chicken that I made, I used it to make chicken tacos. Just add your favorite taco toppings and serve with black beans, brown rice, chips and salsa… an easy, peasy lunch or dinner!

Two Ingredient Salsa Chicken in the Slow Cooker- Perfect for quick and easy chicken tacos!

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes

This very easy recipe… if that’s what you want to call it, works with either regular white potatoes or sweet potatoes. I so prefer sweet potatoes- they’re way healthier and in my opinion, way tastier! I like making a slow cooker full of these to use as a side or even snack throughout the week.

Black Bean and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes make for a light, but satisfying lunch or pair it with seared salmon or grilled chicken for a wonderful dinner.

You can also use these potatoes as an actual meal by stuffing them full of tasty ingredients. Try sweet potatoes Southwestern-style by stuffing the potatoes with salsa, guacamole, black beans and corn. Another must try is the breakfast sweet potato topped with Greek yogurt, granola and almond butter!

A great stuffing idea that I came across in the February 2015 edition of Woman’s Day magazine was a simple stuffing of spinach, black beans and Greek yogurt. It makes for a light, but satisfying lunch or pair it with seared salmon or grilled chicken for a wonderful dinner.

Black Bean and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes make for a light, but satisfying lunch or pair it with seared salmon or grilled chicken for a wonderful dinner.

 

Nutritional info for black bean and spinach stuffed sweet potatoes

Kitchen utensils that I use while preparing these meals are; large skillet, mixing bowls, kitchen tools, measuring cups, measuring spoons, tongs, colander, cutting board… and the slow cooker, of course!

My favorite Slow Cooker kitchen tools.

Something to think about….

What are your favorite quick and easy slow cooker meals?

Have you ever tried cooking oatmeal or potatoes in the slow cooker?

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This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Kohl’s.

Easy Veggie Burger Cabbage Cups


This recipe is so easy, it’s really not even a recipe- those are my favorite kind. I love when I can throw some healthy ingredients together and come up with a flavorful nutritious meal, as simple as that. These easy veggie burger cabbage cups have the nutrition you need with the taste you crave!

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options.

For these veggie burger cabbage cups, you can totally use a homemade veggie burger recipe, but to keep things quick and easy, I used new Boca Essentials Chile Relleno veggie burgers. The Chile Relleno veggie burgers are made with green chile peppers, black beans and brown rice.

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options.

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options. Complete protein refers to the nine essential amino acids that the human body needs, but cannot produce on its own. In addition to the Chile Relleno patties, Boca Essential flavors also include Breakfast Scramble with potatoes, scrambled eggs and vegetables and Roasted Vegetables and Red Quinoa with brown rice.

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options.

These easy veggie burger cabbage cups are SO full of flavor and texture, you’ll pretty much inhale them or maybe that’s just me! The Boca Essentials Chile Relleno patty tasted wonderful and I absolutely loved the little kick of spice. The juicy veggie patty paired perfectly with the crunch of the cabbage cup… a tasty explosion in every bite! Cabbage is my favorite lettuce leaf to use as a wrap because they’re large enough to add plenty of filling and they hold up so well, with no tearing.

As much as I love my veggie burger stuffed in cute little leaves of cabbage, feel free to deconstruct the recipe. You could simply top freshly chopped lettuce with a chopped veggie burger, slaw and avocado cream sauce.

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options.

Easy Veggie Burger Cabbage Cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 veggie burger cabbage cups, serves 2-3

Serving Size: 3 veggie burger cabbage cups

These easy veggie burger cabbage cups have the nutrition you need with the taste you crave!

Ingredients

    For the cabbage cups:
  • 6 cabbage leaves gently peeled from 1 head of cabbage
  • 4 veggie burger patties
  • slaw of choice
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced green onion, if desired for topping
  • For the avocado cream sauce:
  • 1 large avocado
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat.)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 teaspoons garlic salt
  • sea salt to taste, as needed

Instructions

    For the cabbage cups:
  • Cook veggie patties according to package instructions. Meanwhile, gently peel leaves of cabbage from head of cabbage.
  • Once veggie patties are completely cooked, chop them up and compile cabbage cups. First layer slaw, then chopped veggie patty, next drizzle avocado cream sauce over the top and sprinkle on minced green onion.
  • For the avocado cream sauce:
  • Combine all cream sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Notes

*The recipe for avocado cream sauce will make more than enough for these cups. I love having extras for egg wraps, omelets, salad dressing and sandwich spread. If you prefer to not have leftover cream sauce, consider cutting ingredients in half for the cups. *For the "drizzle look" of the avocado cream sauce on cups, cut off the very end of one corner of a plastic baggie (a very small cut). Load the baggie with a couple of spoonfuls of cream sauce and then squirt cream sauce out of the cut as you move back and forth across the cups.

http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/2015/03/23/easy-veggie-burger-cabbage-cups/

Nutritional value calculated for 3 cabbage cakes (without avocado cream sauce).
Calories- 260, Fat- 8g, Sodium- 655mg, Carbohydrates- 29g, Protein- 17g

The new Boca Essentials is a line of vegetable- and grain-based patties that offers a source of “complete protein” to people looking for meatless meal options.

Something to think about….

Have you tried Boca Essentials veggie burgers?

Have you ever made cabbage cups, rolls or wraps? What did you stuff them with?

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza

Hello, Friday, it’s so good to see you! If you ask me, Friday is not quite complete without wine in my glass and pizza in the oven. Friday dinners not only need to be super tasty, but also really convenient and as easy as possible; which is why this copycat recipe of California Pizza Kitchen’s Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza is totally perfect. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the start of a fantastic weekend!

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen's Hawaiian BBQ California Pizza- super tasty and also super easy... perfect for Friday night dinners!

Pizza is my all-time favorite food, of all of the foods in the universe! There are so many different varieties that I love. As a child it had to be pepperoni or pepperoni and sausage, but my tastes have matured a bit since then- and I have to say, it doesn’t get much better than this Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza. From the savory barbecue sauce to the spice of the onion and topped off with sweet pineapple chunks and a dash of cilantro… YUM!

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen's Hawaiian BBQ California Pizza- super tasty and also super easy... perfect for Friday night dinners!

My spelt flour crust is a wonderful healthy pizza crust, but it’s not near as quick as store-bought and on Friday I’m pretty much beat, so unless I’ve pre-made a crust, store-bought it is. Brad and I both really like Mama Mary’s Whole Wheat Pizza Crust, an incredibly tasty thin crust, seen in these pictures.

For the barbecue sauce I used one of my favorite Kraft varieties, the Sweet Honey Barbecue Sauce. Use whatever barbecue sauce you fancy. I used a white onion, but I really wished I would have had a red onion on hand. The original California Pizza Kitchen’s Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza uses red onion and smoked Gouda cheese. Trader Joe’s has a yummy smoked Gouda cheese, but I also didn’t have this on hand, so mozzarella it was. Still super delicious! Ingredient measurements in the recipe are just a guide and what I used for my pizza- feel free to use any amounts that you prefer.

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen's Hawaiian BBQ California Pizza- super tasty and also super easy... perfect for Friday night dinners!

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: serves 4

Serving Size: 2 slices of pizza

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen's Hawaiian BBQ California Pizza- super tasty and also super easy... perfect for Friday night dinners!

Ingredients

  • 1 large pizza crust store-bought or homemade (If using store-bought, I like Mama Mary's Whole Wheat Pizza Crust.)
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese, divided (Mozzarella works well, too.)
  • 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken (I use rotisserie chicken.)
  • 1/4 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup canned or fresh pineapple chunks
  • fresh cilantro for topping

Instructions

  • Preheat oven according to pizza crust instructions and prepare pizza baking pan/stone, if using.
  • Toss 2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce with the cooked, chopped chicken to coat it. Set aside.
  • Spread 1/3 cup (more or less, depending on preference) barbecue sauce over pizza crust. Add a layer of 1/2 cup of cheese over the barbecue sauce. Next, top with chicken, the reserved cheese, sliced onion and pineapple.
  • Bake pizza according to crust instructions. I baked my pizza at 450 degrees F. for about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, top with fresh cilantro, slice and serve.

Notes

Nutritional information calculated using my spelt flour pizza crust. To decrease calorie count, go lighter on the cheese or cheese-free. You could also reduce the amount of barbecue sauce and/or chicken used.

http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/2015/03/20/hawaiian-bbq-chicken-pizza/

Nutritional Information for Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza

Copycat California Pizza Kitchen's Hawaiian BBQ California Pizza- super tasty and also super easy... perfect for Friday night dinners!

Something to think about….

Have you ever had Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen?

Watcha doin’ this weekend, anything fun? Anyone else have sushi plans? :)

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