Easy Changes for Health – Kefir Smoothies

kefir smoothie

 

My favorite way to get healthy is to make small changes that add up for a larger impact.  I’m not inclined to sign myself up for a marathon, but I have started walking nearly every morning.

It’s unlikely that I’ll do a complete overhaul of my eating habits (although I did try the Whole 30 once).  I’d rather make small changes that are easier to keep up with.

One of those things is adding kefir to my snack rotation.

What the heck is kefir, you may ask?

First, let me just say that it actually tastes pretty good.  The description I’m about to give you may turn you off of trying it, but stick with me.  Despite the description, I do enjoy these smoothies and I think you will too.

Kefir is fermented milk.  It’s a little like a thin, drinkable yogurt, but it’s not yogurt.  It’s possible to make kefir at home, but I haven’t tried that.  Instead, I buy Lifeway brand.

lifeway kefir

 

I’ve found it at Walmart, Meijer, Costco and Aldi.  Aldi has the best price on the quart size bottles.  Costco carries the individual bottles at a price just a bit more than Aldi.  (This post isn’t sponsored, by the way.  I’m just sharing a product I’m loving.)

Kefir comes in plain or various berry flavors.  I prefer the flavored.  Actually, I’m not brave enough to try the plain.  I even add to the sweetness of the berry flavor by blending half a frozen banana with it.  Of course, the flavored varieties aren’t quite as healthy as the plain, but I think it’s a lot healthier for me.  The reason, is I’d never drink the plain, so I’d miss out on the health benefits altogether.  At least with the flavored type, I get all the good probiotics and other goodness, even if it does come with a bit of added sugar.

Benefits of kefir

Because it’s fermented, kefir is full of probiotics – many more than are found in yogurt.  This is a real boost for gut health, but it also brings a lot of other benefits too.

This article goes into more details on the benefits, but here’s a quick list for you.

~ The probiotics are good for you gut and can help restore good bacteria after illness.  It’s also good for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

~ It boosts your immunity to viruses and infections.

~ It builds bone density.

~ Some studies show it helps both allergies and asthma.

~ People who are lactose intolerant can usually drink kefir with no problem.  In fact, there’s evidence to show that it will help people who deal with that.

~ There have been lab studies that show kefir fights cancer in animals.

~ There are only about 100 calories per cup.

It’s been easy to swap out my morning or afternoon snack for a kefir smoothie instead.  I just blend half a frozen banana with 1 cup of kefir.  If I don’t have the banana already frozen, I add a cube or two of ice to the blender.  Easy!

I’d love to know if you’ve tried kefir and what you think of it! 

 

 

 

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7 Layer Hot Italian Dip Recipe

7 Layer Hot Italian Dip

 

Oh my gosh, you all!  This dip is so easy and so amazing, you’ve got to try it!

Seven layers of cheesy, Italian inspired flavors come together in a hot, bubbly dip.  It’s great for an appetizer at a party or to serve with soup for a family dinner.

It’s really just an assembly process.  You’ll need to chop a few of the ingredients a little bit, but it’s so quick and easy to put together.  Anyone can make this dip.  And I guarantee you’ll be asked for the recipe.  It’s that good!

I even made a short video showing how. (If you’re reading this in an email and the video doesn’t show, you may need to click over to the blog to see it.)

 

A video posted by Tiffany King (@eatathome) on

I completely forgot to take a photo of the ingredients, but these are all very common things. And feel free to vary it as you like. There’s no right or wrong here!

Easy 7 Layer Hot Italian Dip

 

You’ll have leftover roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes and pesto.  This is a good thing, because it means you’ll have the ingredients around to make it again soon!

7 Layer Hot Italian Dip Recipe
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup pesto sauce
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • 1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped
  • ¼ - ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Layer all ingredients in a small, oven safe dish.
  2. Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or till hot and bubbly.
  3. Broil to brown the top, if desired.
  4. Serve hot with crackers.

 

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10 Graduation Party Menus Plus Desserts and Snacks!

It’s that time of year when our graduates take the stage with caps and gowns and march off to get their diplomas and take on the world! Graduating is a great milestone and it’s something that should be celebrated.

But planning a graduation party menu can feel a bit overwhelming. Feeding a crowd can be a lot of work, and picking a menu that pleases everyone isn’t always easy. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!


Whether you are looking for a casual feast in the backyard, a pizza party, or a special sit down family dinner after your Grad gets home, these ten menu ideas will inspire you with some fun ideas and make planning your meal easy and fun. There’s plenty of different kinds of meals to fit all kinds of personalities and preferences, and I must say that they all have me drooling.

Don’t forget to read to the bottom for all the dessert and cookie ideas! Instead of adding one idea to each menu, you can pick your guest of honor’s favorite…or make it a dessert bar and serve a few!

Easy and Casual BBQ Feast

Super easy BBQ Peach Pulled Pork in the slow cooker, or any other easy slow cooker BBQ sandwich for that matter!

The pork can be made ahead of time and frozen, then heated in the crockpot.  The baked beans cook in the crockpot and are easy to put together.  The only thing that will have to be done the day of the party is tossing the dressing on the Asian Broccoli Salad.

Pair this with favorite sides like these:

potatosaladdone_thumb

bakedbeansdone_thumb

asian broccoli salad done

Asian Broccoli Salad

Add desserts and probably potato chips and perhaps some cut fruit!

Grill Out

Get out the grill and make it a backyard party!  Serve any of these and your crowd will be raving.

And when you pair these smoky meats with some classic sides, you have the makings of a winning combination!

Plus, you can get more backyard barbecue side dish ideas in this post here!

Nice Family Dinner

If you are thinking a nice sit-down dinner at home after the ceremony is the way to go, these recipes are mouthwatering and so easy!

italian seasoned salt pork tenderloin done

To make this meal easy and special, pair the tenderloin or chicken with:

Enchilada Buffet

Make a buffet of a couple big pans of different kinds of Enchiladas and let everyone serve themselves!

Some of our family favorites include:

white enchiladas

enchiladas with chili-tomato sauce

Serve these with fresh things like:

Need more side dish inspiration? Check out this post about what to serve with Enchiladas!

Build-Your-Own Fajitas or Tacos

Cook up meat in your crock pot or instant pot. Set out the meat, grilled veggies and a plethora of favorite toppings and let everyone build their own fajita or taco!

You could also grill up some chicken breasts in advance or buy a few rotisserie chickens and have them all prepped and ready to go for the big day to make one of these tasty options.

Serve them up with:

Teens Party Menu

Convert this snackadium into a teen’s dream meal! Both of these strombolis were part of a meal I made for super bowl, but with a few little tweaks it’ll be a great “main course” for your graduate and his or her friends.

Keep it simple and add a variety of chips and dips, chilled drinks and cookies and candy.  Anything they can grab, munch and head back out to dance or talk with friends.

Sandwich and Salads Buffet

Make up some easy sandwich trays that your crowd can pick and choose from!

  • Get a bag King’s Hawaiian rolls or other small buns to make a plate of small ham sandwiches and a bag of croissant rolls for Chicken Salad Sandwiches. You can get Virginia Brand ham in the deli section and have it shaved.
  • We love this easy Peach Chutney Chicken salad for sandwiches. So delicious and moist!

Serve these with a plate of assorted cheese slices, mayonnaise and mustard and almost homemade pickle slices.

 

Round out your menu with an easy pasta salad, a veggie tray with dip and some chips.

pastasaladdoneclose.jpg

Pizza Party

Whip up a bunch of homemade pizza and make a party out of it! You can make this easy dough in advance, and even make super easy awesome pizza sauce. Or buy your favorite premade crust and sauce and top the pizzas in any way you like. Here’s a few of our favorite pizza combos.

Serve this with a veggie tray with ranch dip, and a fresh fruit tray and fruit dip and some favorite chilled drinks.  I love root beer floats as a dessert option with pizza!

Spaghetti Feast

Cook up a bunch of pasta and serve it with one of these easy and delicious homemade sauces and meatballs! These meatballs are freezer friendly so you can make up a big batch in advance and they are absolutely delicious!

Round out the menu with garlic toast and an easy salad! Here are a couple more side dish ideas, too.

Brats or Dogs Your Way

Cook up a bunch of dogs and brats on the grill or stove top and let your people go to town topping them however they like.

You can serve this with:

Add a bowl of chilled melon balls or just an easy plate of watermelon slices and cantaloupe chunks.

Snacks

Want to have a few snack foods on hand for easy munching? Here are a couple of our favorite snack mixes and other snack ideas that are really easy to make!

Dessert Ideas

Clearly no celebration is complete without dessert! Or better yet – desserts! Make one or more of these and your graduate will feel like the party is complete.

derby-pie

peanut butter fluff pie done

lemon cheesecake dessert slice

tuxedo bars done 2

blue velvet cupcakes 2

School color cupcakesBlue Velvet Cupcakes, Red Velvet, Green Velvet, Orange Velvet, Purple Velvet

Here’s a handy tip on how to cut cake to feed a crowd!

Cookies

Narrowing down your favorite recipes to include in your menu is sure to be easier than choosing a college major these days. Especially since any of them will leave you at the top of the class when it comes to a graduation party!

Pin this post!

 

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

I whipped these muffins up one night to snack on during family game night.  We were playing spoons, which usually leads to ice cream for some reason.  Then the next morning we have no spoons to stir coffee or eat cereal because they’re all dirty from the game playing, ice cream eating fun the night before.

But on this night, I decided chocolate chip muffins would make a fine snack.  I love baking muffins, because it’s so fast and there’s an infinite variety of flavors.  Needless to say, these were a hit.

I have some big plans for taking these muffins to a new level that involve cream cheese and chocolate ganache.  I’m waiting for a day when I can bake in the afternoon so the photos have some daylight.  We’ve had so much rain lately, I may have to settle for a dark day.

Back to the muffin recipe.  Here’s what you’ll need.  I didn’t grab a photo of the ingredients, but they’re all common items. [Read more…]

Gardens, Veggies, Meatless – Oh My! (and a few resources)

It’s April!

Spring weather has to be getting closer, right?

Our focus for April here on EaH is going to be everything earthy.  We’ll talk gardens and gardening, vegetables, farmer’s markets, meatless dinners…  Not every post will follow this topic, but many will.

If you’ve been reading this blog very long, you know I don’t tackle these topics often.  Not that I don’t have meatless and vegetarian meal recipes, and we do eat vegetables, of course.  I’ve even got a few posts on square foot gardening.  But this topic isn’t the most natural (pun intended) for me to write about.

So, I’ll be turning to some folks who can help out.  One of those people is Katie from Kitchen Stewardship.  She knows healthy foods like I know my slow cooker. [Read more…]