3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – August 21

Are you watching the eclipse today?  We’re actually not too far from the path, so I’ll be watching from home.

1. A new recipe coming to the blog soon! – Grain Free Stuffed Peppers

It’s been forever since I’ve posted a new recipe to the blog, but I’ve got one coming for you soon.  We loved these stuffed peppers and I think you’ll love them too.  If you’ve been watching your carbs, you’ll be happy to know that these are very low-carb.  They are also very delicious!

That pepper looks a little lonely on the plate.  I should have added some salad or something next to it.  I’m woefully out of practice with food photos, and I’ve never been great at them anyway.  But I do believe I’m decent at creating recipes, so there you go.  Taste over looks 😉

2. George Foreman grill for quick protein

I’ve been trying to eat more salads, but I need some protein in there too so our old George Foreman grill has been coming in handy.  It only takes a couple of minutes to thaw frozen chicken tenders in the microwave and they cook in just 5 minutes on the grill.  I usually splash a little white wine vinegar on them before cooking, along with salt and pepper.  Sometimes I add garlic powder or onion powder.  It’s like instant marinade.

3.  Strawberry Chicken Salad with Grilled Chicken

And there’s evidence of a really great salad I had for lunch on Friday.  Spinach, chicken, strawberries, parmesan, and pecans all drizzled with Newman’s Own Honey Apple Cider Dressing.  So good!

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen – Giveaway – $150 Walmart card!

1.  Giveaway! A week’s worth of groceries!

Today on Facebook Live I’m giving away a $150 Walmart card.  That’s about a week’s worth of groceries, depending on your family size and what all you’re buying. If you’re only buying items from the Eat at Home Meal Plans, you’ll get two or three (or more) weeks out of $150.

How to win:

Click over to the Eat at Home Facebook page and look for the live video for today.  I’ll be going live about 10am Eastern, but you can also catch the replay.  Share the video and you’re entered to win.  Winners will be announced on the Facebook page.

You can also still enter to win an Instant Pot by sharing this video where Beth and I made 6 Freezer Meals in 1 Hour.  

And enter to win a set of Cuisinart knives by sharing this video where we made an easy sheet pan dinner.

I have to say that this screen shot is everything!  Embarrassing, hilarious and unfortunate!

Beth and I got a huge laugh thinking of possible headlines to go with that photo:

“Two moms busted for trying to save the dinner hour”

“You’ll never believe what’s in that bag!”

Save on Eat at Home Meal Plans

Eat at Home Meal Plans are on sale right now, so this is a great time to become a member. Get your dinners under control before school starts, so you can spend time with your family instead of figuring out how to feed them.  Use the code EAT25 to save 25%.  Today is the last day of the sale!

Click here for more info

 

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2. New knives that I’m loving!

This is the set of knives I’m giving away (entry info is above).  I needed some better knives for myself, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune.  This set came up in the Amazon search and has over 3000 reviews of 4 1/2 stars.  They are sharp and nice to use.  I love the colors too.  It’s easy to grab the right knife since each one has it’s own color.

3. I finished recipe testing for the cookbook!!!

I am so glad to be done with the recipe testing portion of the cookbook!  I feel like we have eaten ALL. THE. FOOD. this summer.  There were weeks when I made a dozen recipes, 3-4 or more in a day.

So much food!

I will say that I’m very excited about the recipes in the book.  I’ve already gone back to make quite a few of them, just because we loved them so much the first time.

I’m hoping to have the creative energy to start sharing recipes on the blog again soon too.  That has taken a back seat to the cookbook the last few months, but I have some great ideas for recipes for the blog that I’ve been rolling around in my mind.

What’s cooking in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen – It’s feast or famine around here!

1.  Recipe Testing – the feast/famine part

I’m working hard to get all the recipes for my cookbook done by mid-August.  That means that I’ve been testing about 12 or more recipes a week.  Some days we have a LOT of food!

If it’s a day I’m not testing though, we may have little to nothing.

Or we might have three or four main dishes and no sides.  Then once I hit the side dish chapter, we had meals that were all side dishes and no mains.

Now we’re in the dessert chapter, so it could be sugar overload soon!

2. NYC Trip

I took a break from recipe testing last week.  We went to NYC with our two youngest kids and a few other families.  We had a fantastic time!  Highlights include:

Seeing Hello Dolly! on Broadway

Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge at night

Visiting the September 11 Memorial and Museum

And a lot more – I think we saw everything in New York, at least it felt that way from all the walking.  We had such great time!

3. Sale on Healthy Kickstart Plans – only through July 20

Last year I created a new meal plan that many of you have asked for – low carb, lots of lean meats and vegetables, low sugar, but still family friendly.  I called it Healthy Kickstart and launched it in December.  

Healthy Kickstart was only available for a couple of weeks.  It’s been closed since January 10th.  Until now! 

I’ve decided to offer the Healthy Kickstart Meal Plans again for a short amount of time.  These meal plans will only be available until July 20.  

Why Healthy Kickstart

I heard from many of you that you’re looking for meal plans that could be Whole30 friendly or paleo friendly.  Some of you wanted to reset your eating, some want to eat like this on a regular basis.  

The four weeks of meal plans included in Healthy Kickstart have the easy recipes you love from Eat at Home, but they’re among the healthiest we offer.

With Healthy Kickstart plans you’ll save several hours a week in planning, plus save money by not eating out and working from a plan.  

Once again, this is only offered for a short time.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever offer these plans again in this format.  As a bonus, if you choose to purchase Healthy Kickstart plans now, you’ll also receive an option of adding the 12 Month Meal Plan membership for a great price too.

Healthy Kickstart Meal Plans are available now through July 20 for just $14.  Click here to find out more and purchase.

 

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen – June 26

1. So much recipe testing!

I’m determined to get the recipe testing portion of the cookbook done by the time school starts. That means doing lots of recipe testing.  This week I tested eleven recipes.  Ten main dishes and one dessert.  Plus I did a Facebook Live video showing how to make Peach BBQ Pork Sandwiches.

We had food coming out of our ears around here!  I gave dinner to our neighbors across the street three nights and shared some of the rest with other friends.

Favorites from this week included Autumn Chicken Skillet and a quinoa salad that’s packable for meals on the go.  My youngest said that is her favorite thing I’ve ever made.  She even ate it for breakfast one day.

2.  VBS snack planning

Our church is doing VBS this week and I’m doing the snacks.  We have a lot of kids come from the neighborhood and they don’t always get enough to eat, so I try to make the snacks fairly healthy and filling.

This year we’ll be having:

Snack mix with yogurt cups

Apples, cheese and crackers

Watermelon, cheese and turkey rolls, pretzels

Popsicles and granola bars

3.  Cherry Cobbler

We went to Ohio to see Jim’s family last Sunday and I took this Cherry Cobbler.  It’s not always easy to find tart cherries, unless you know someone with a tree, but I’ve been able to find them in Meijer freezer section recently.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen – Plus the book everyone was reading at the beach

1.  Beach food!

We’ve been home from the beach for a week now, but I wanted to tell you a little about the food we had.  Fifteen of us rented a house on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  To keep costs down and to keep things simple, we always eat at the house instead of going out.

My mom is a fantastic cook and super organized.  She started cooking and freezing food in February – waffles, banana bread, lots of cookies, stuffed shells, bbq, chicken tetrazini….  There was so much food and it was all delicious!

She and dad packed it on dry ice in a giant cooler.  My sister and daughter talked me into doing a Facebook Live video of us unpacking it all.  You can watch it here.

One question people always ask is why would anyone do that?  Why cook and freeze all those meal?  We’ve been doing this for years (I should say that Mom has been doing it for years, the rest of us just eat) and it has saved so much money and time.

This year we were close enough to restaurants to go out if we’d wanted to, but restaurants for 15 people X 7 days = $$$$$$$

The last time we went to the beach we stayed very far away from anything and it wouldn’t have been convenient to go out to eat, unless we wanted to drive 30 minutes each way to do it.

And when we’re in Disney World, we try to eat dinner and breakfast at the house and eat lunch in the parks.

Saving that money is part of what makes the vacations affordable for us.

2. New sealing rings for the Instant Pot

The only draw back to the Instant Pot or any pressure cooker is that the rings can gather smells.  I’ve figured out how to reduce the smell, but I can’t get rid of it all the way.  To reduce it, I use 3 tabs of denture cleaner, like efferdent.  Weird, but it’s the only thing that helps.

Finally though, I ordered a set of new rings from Amazon (affiliate link).  They were around $10, but Amazon pricing changes quickly.  There are three in different colors, so I’ve designated one for main dish type meals, one for sweet things like apple sauce and one for neutral foods like oatmeal and rice.

3.  Dishwasher installed and it works!

We’re loving having a dishwasher again after 11 months of hand-washing.  This one is very quiet, which I’m happy about.

The most popular book in our group at the beach:

Several of us took books to the beach, but one book made the rounds.  Isaac decided to read all of Andy Andrews’ books this summer and he brought The Noticer with him to the beach.  He finished it. Our oldest daughter read it. My mom read it (she never reads!), and my niece read it and gave the copy to my sister to read.  My parents ordered copies for my dad to read and to give to their church library.

If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.  The Noticer, The Noticer Returns, The Traveler’s Gift and The Little Things are all fantastic.

What works in the kitchen this week for you?  And what have you been reading lately?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – Plus what I’ve been reading and watching

Happy Memorial Day! Sending thanks to all the men and women who have served our country in the Armed Forces.

1.  A bit of a cooking break

I’ve been trying to test at least five new recipes each week for the cookbook.  This week I didn’t meet my goal at all.  Maybe I just needed a little break from it, but for some reason the cooking – at least the recipe testing part – just didn’t happen this week.

2. Using and giving freezer meals

I had about 10 meals stashed away in the freezer and the next chapter of the cookbook I’m working on is a freezer meal chapter.  This may have been why I was having a hard time doing any new cooking.  This week I gave away a few of the meals from my freezer.  I also used a couple of them for our dinners.

These are so handy to have!  If you’d like to see a freezer cooking session in action, check out my recent Facebook Live video.

3.  Simplified Detox Salad

We love this salad!  It makes a ton and does take some chopping, but it is so good!  I decided to throw this together quickly to go with sandwiches one night for dinner.  I used just broccoli, cauliflower and dried cherries, plus the simple dressing ingredients.

It still made a very large salad, but it was a little quicker and just as delicious!

Reading and Watching

I finished reading At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider (affiliate link).

I really enjoyed this book.  It’s great if you like to travel or if you like reading about places in the world.  I loved that she didn’t sugar coat what traveling with kids is like, but she also made it seem doable and very worth it.

In the book she explores the connection between home and wanderlust.  We usually see these two things as opposites, but the relationship between them is more intricate and interesting than that.

We recently started watching The Durrells in Corfu on Amazon.  I’m really liking this show.  The scenery alone makes it worth the watch, but it will also make you want to book a trip to Greece!  The story lines are fun and light hearted.  The family isn’t without their issues, but it isn’t dark like so many shows can be.

What’s cooking in your kitchen and what have you been reading and watching?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen – new dishwasher coming!

1. We bought a dishwasher!

After almost 11 months of washing dishes by hand, we’re getting a new dishwasher.  Last summer we figured out that the slow leak we couldn’t seem to fix or solve had ruined the cabinet next to the dishwasher.  That happened right before Jim had a bad bike accident, the upstairs air conditioning unit went out and we traveled to Paris.

We decided spending money on the dishwasher could wait.

It hasn’t been bad washing by hand.

But I’m glad to get a new one!  It will be a week or so before it gets installed.  And fingers crossed that it doesn’t leak!

2. Figuring out where to put the things being stored in the dishwasher “hole”

The spot where the dishwasher goes made a perfect storage place for water jugs, the Instant Pot and the bread machine.  I’ve got some decluttering to do in the dining room cabinets to find places for these things!

3. Check the time before trying a new recipe

On Sunday I decided to make one of the freezer meals I’d made on Facebook live last Wednesday.  I chose Grandma’s Spaghetti Sauce.  I thawed it out and put it in the pressure cooker, along with some meatballs.

I also decided to set up the bread machine with a recipe from the booklet that came with the machine – Parmesan Peppercorn French Bread.  Unfortunately I didn’t check how long it would take, so it wasn’t done when we were ready to eat.

We tried it after lunch and really liked it, but next time I’ll check the bake time and hopefully be able to serve the bread with the meal.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things That Work in the Kitchen This Week – Unpacking, Cake and Cups that Run Over

1. The best cake ever!

My pictures don’t do this cake justice, but trust me – this carrot cake and the chocolate cake we had for graduation (which I didn’t take a single photo) are the best cakes I think I’ve ever eaten.  Especially the carrot, although my oldest daughter would argue that the chocolate was even better.

I met Lois Dailey of Dailey Delights at an event for Andy Andrews’ Unshakeable Entrepreneur program.  Since I decided not to cook anything for Isaac’s graduation lunch, I ordered a Chocolate Delight cake.  Then Lois found out that we were going to be celebrating Jim’s 20,000 days (like a birthday – he’s been alive for 20,000 days – see the book 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith) and she sent one of her Carrot Cakes.

The cakes are shipped on dry ice and are frozen when they arrive.  I popped them into the freezer until the day before we were ready to serve them.  Easiest thing ever and oh my gosh! That carrot cake has lured me to the kitchen all week.  The cream cheese frosting is so smooth and creamy and perfect!

I wish I’d taken better photos, but I’m the worst food blogger lately! These were snapped with my phone and it was nearly dark.  I did shine a light on it, but the photo isn’t great. HOWEVER, the cake is amazing!  While I was grabbing the link to the Dailey Delight site just now I saw she has a Butter Pecan Cake and I’m wondering if I can justify ordering it and having it shipped to the beach during our vacation.  Maybe as an early Father’s Day gift?  That’s Dad’s favorite.

This isn’t sponsored in any way. I just loved these cakes and I think there’s one piece of carrot cake left. As soon as I finish writing this post I’m going to go eat it. In the middle of the day, by myself. Did I mention this is a GOOD cake?!

2.  Overflowing coffee

I think I’ve mentioned our Nespresso maker before.  I love this little thing! But it’s been acting crazy lately. Sometimes it makes very small cups of coffee with 1/3 less water than it should. And then the other day it really poured it on and overflowed the cup.

3. Helping to unpack a friend’s kitchen

One of my friends moved last weekend.  In fact, the moving day turned out to be the same day she had her third baby!  That little one has great timing 🙂  I offered to unpack and set up her kitchen for her, so on Sunday after church we drove to her place and joined with quite a few other people in setting up their new home.  It went really fast with so many people helping.  So much had already been done by the time we got there.

I know my friend will need to move some things around, but at least we made it so they could live in it when they got home from the hospital the next day.  We even stocked the fridge with a few essentials.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – (actually, one is a fail)

1. Chili Cheese Waffle Nachos

I’ve been doing a lot of recipe testing. In fact, that’s the bulk of the cooking going on lately.  One of the recipes I tested last week was Chili Cheese Waffle Nachos.  These start with a simple skillet chili that can be used several ways.  Needless to say, this one was a hit with the family!

2. Simple Graduation Menu

One of the ironic things about writing a cookbook is it requires so much cooking that some of the normal cooking I’d do takes a back seat.

Next Saturday our third child graduates from high school.  We’ve homeschooled the kids so it always feels like a huge accomplishment to get one to graduation.  A lot of work goes into their education over the years!

We’re celebrating with a simple lunch for family and I’ve decided to give myself the gift of not cooking a thing.  I’ve ordered a sandwich tray from Costco.  To that we’ll add cut fruit, veggies, potato salad from Costco and maybe some chips.  I also ordered a cake from a friend who has the company Dailey Delights.  She shipped a cake on dry ice and I put it in the freezer when it arrived.  All I need to do is thaw!

It does seem strange to not cook for the graduation lunch, but I’m so glad I don’t have to!

3. Cooking fail – Pork roast in the Instant Pot

Yesterday afternoon I wanted to test another recipe.  This one started by cooking a pork roast and I decided to use the Instant Pot.  I’ve done this many times before, always with great results.

I set the cook time for 60 minutes, which is more than is typically called for.  I wanted the roast to be very done so I could pull the meat apart.  When the cook time was up I let the pot switch to keep warm and came back several hours later to deal with the meat.

But it wasn’t cooked all the way!  It was actually still bloody.  And because I’d left it on “keep warm”, I didn’t feel like it would be save to eat.

I’m not sure what went wrong.  Maybe the pot didn’t come to pressure?  Maybe I need to replace the seal?  If you have any ideas, I’d love to know.

What’s working in your kitchen this week?  I hope you haven’t had any cooking fails!

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3 Things that Work in the Kitchen This Week – April 17

1.  Turkey in the Pressure Cooker – for sandwiches instead of the freezer

The other day on Facebook Live, I showed how to make a turkey breast (or boneless turkey breast roast, in this case) in the Instant Pot.  My intention was to put the meat in the freezer to use for recipes.  We ended up using it for sandwiches and things though.  Mia and I got home late from a soccer game the night I made the turkey.  It was waiting for us, since I’d left it on “keep warm” all day.

We sliced and chopped some of the meat and served it over quick quinoa and brown rice (more on that below), topped with shredded cheddar, salsa, lettuce and sour cream.  Yum!  The rest of the turkey got sliced and put in the fridge.  It made for great sandwiches over the next few days.

2. Quick Quinoa and Brown Rice combo

I know I shared this a few weeks ago, but I’m sharing again because these packets are so good and versatile.  This isn’t sponsored in any way, I’m just sharing a product I love.

I will say that for a family meal, this is not the way to go.  But for 1-2 people that need a quick, nutritious meal these packets are great.  They only have 2 servings in each packet and they cost $2.something  at the grocery.  I picked up a 6-pack at Costco the other day for $10 something. Cheaper but still kind of pricey.

But a 90 second spin through the microwave to have a great base for leftover meat, veggies, eggs, cheese etc – you can’t beat that.

3.  Money Saving Mom is hosting an Eat at Home Challenge

I’m so excited to partner with Crystal from Money Saving Mom for an Eat at Home Challenge.  Crystal will be on Facebook Live every morning this week, cooking from the Eat at Home Slow Cooker Plan.  We’d love to have you join in!

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