INSTANT POT SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Have you guys hopped on the Instant Pot train yet?  It took me a good couple of years to FINALLY give in and get one, and other than having absolutely no room in my tiny kitchen to store it, it is a great “appliance” to have. For the last few months over on my Instagram stories, I’ve documented my Instant Pot adventures. What has worked, what hasn’t (honest bomb….I still am working on perfecting veggies in there), correct timing; there really is a bit of a learning curve to it, but once you get the idea of it, it’s pretty easy!

Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash

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PICKLED JALAPENOS

Raise your hand if you are a fan of pickled jalapenos!  If you could see me right now I’m raising both of my hands because I love anything pickled, especially jalapenos.  However, this used to not be the case….I couldn’t even fathom the thought of a pickled jalapeno anywhere near my mouth.  But then one Christmas (maybe 6 years ago or so) I received some pickled jalapenos as a gift! Something about a homemade gift made me want to try them out again and guess what; I LOVED THEM!

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BRUSHING WITH BRUSHEEZ

Eating healthy is really important (for obvious reasons lol) , but so is taking care of yourself.  It’s easy for me to remember to brush my teeth, wash my hair, etc etc…..but for this little team of mine, not so much.  I hate to admit it, but sometimes when we are so busy out and about doing after school activities, when we get home the kids get on their pj’s and hop right into bed….without brushing their teeth. Hashtag: GAG. Hashtag: also my fault.  I would never forget to brush my own teeth cause I’ve been doing it for 30 something years and it is just a natural thing to do, but for my kids, that’s another story. It’s such a chore for them especially when they have better things to do, like play!!

brusheez-1-of-1

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KIDS LUNCH ROUND-UP

Lets talk lunch. If you are a stumped mom wondering what the heck you should feed your kids for lunch, then look no further. This is my 1st post on kid (and adult) friendly lunches and there is a discount for a pretty fab bentgo box at the end of the post!!

First off all kids are different. Some like the same. exact. thing. every single day. (That would be my 4th kid) Some want you to do something new every day….whichever the case may be, the most important thing is to feed them real, wholesome foods for their lunch. That means protein, veggies, fruit, and healthy fats.

Below are 4 lunch ideas that are in our rotation. Also in rotation….leftovers, because DUH!!

What’s in the Bentgo kids box: Pastrami wraps, banana and cutie slices, ants on a log, and tomatoes dipped in balsamic vinegar.

If you are trying to get your kids to eat less gluten, just wrap what normally would go into the sandwich around the meat. In this case, mustard, avocado slices, and spinach were all wrapped into the pastrami.

2.

 What’s in the Bentgo kids box: Qunioa and kale salad, apple chips, celery with nut butter, and an rxBar.

Even though we are mostly a paleo eating family, there are some foods that my kids find absolutely delicious and quinoa happens to be one of them.  If you have an intolerance to grains like quinoa then stay away dudes! rxBars are a great snack for kids as their ingredients are very clean. They usually eat a bar like that before their afternoon sports. Since my children are all young and things like rxbars and larabars can get expensive, I usually slice them in half.

3. 

What’s in the Bentgo kids box: Avocado rose, tomatoes, pumkin seeds with dried cranberries, cuties, and bell pepper slices wrapped in prosciutto.

Every once in awhile I like to surprise my kids by making their lunches look cool. (insert avocado rose) Squeeze a little lemon juice over the top of the avocado to keep it from browning.  One of my kids likes to smash the crud out of his avocado  and then dip his tomatoes and bell peppers into it (that would be my son), my daughter likes to make avocado stacks with them.

4.

What’s in the Bentgo kids box: Gluten free pizza, carrot slices, cuties, and a hard boiled egg.

Who doesn’t love pizza in their lunch?!  This pizza has chicken and artichoke hearts. There are lots of companies that have gluten free pizza dough or pre-made pizza. If your kids like to dip their veggies into things, The Whole Sisters have a bomb clean ranch recipe. My kids like their carrots plain jane. #weirdos. 😉

 

Have you been eyeing the bento box I’ve been posting on instagram and now on here. Head over to http://www.bentgo.com and snag your kids up one of these bad boys! Use the code “DONUT10” at checkout for 10% off your bento kids boxes. HURRY though, discount is good only until tomorrow 5/10!!!  Not only do I love them, but my kids do too!!

Have any lunch ideas you want to share with me or anyone else? Leave them in the comments!!

 

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post by BentGo and I was compensated via cash, gift, or something else of value to write about it. All opinions and thoughts are by own!! 

CROCK POT BONE BROTH

Guys, let’s talk bone broth. It is seriously one of the easiest things to make and so freakin’ good for you. If you’ve got digestive issues….(I.e. leaky gut) I’d highly suggest you drink some bone broth every morn. For breakfast. Yup. Breakfast. And nope I’m not crazy! :-).
{Note: there are many other benefits to bone broth. Google it to learn more!}

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I’ve been looking for a way to perfect my bone broth making skills, and I think I’ve finally done it.
Basically all you really need are bones, water, heat, and time. Of course, adding in veggies and spices definitely add to the taste!

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CROCKPOT BONE BROTH

-1 whole chicken
-1 red onion
-3 carrots
-4 celery stalks
-2 large cloves garlic
-2 tbl thyme
-1 bay leaf
-1 tbl pepper
-1 tbl garlic powder
-2 tbl apple cider vinegar

–Set crock pot on low and place 1/2 sliced onion on bottom of pot.
–Place whole chicken on top of onion Sprinkle thyme and pepper on the chicken and inside. While you’re at it put a garlic clove in there too (I don’t even peel it, just throw it in) and some onion pieces.
–Put 1/2 cup water into the crock pot and cover for approx. 6 hours.
–Once time is up, the chicken should literally fall off the bones.
–Put chicken into an air tight container and places bones and skin back into crock pot.
–Roughly cut up celery, carrots, and rest of the onion (skin included….and will make a deeper colored broth too)
–Pour in apple cider vinegar and enough water to cover bones and veggies.
–Cook in crock pot for at least 10 hours. I just have it cooking overnight.
–In the morn take mason jars and some sort of strainer/filter and pour broth into jars.

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I like to freeze some in ice cube trays for if I only need a little.
I also skim off most fat before I reheat it.
Once cold, the broth will form into a gel. Don’t be scurr’d the gel is a good thing!!!

 

Whole30: yes
Paleo: yes

PART 2: BUDGETING

Not breaking the bank with a growing family can be hard, especially when it comes to grocery shopping. But, I’m here to tell you it can be done.

Below are my budgeting tips that I use for my family. We spend about $600 a month doing it this way.
1. Only bring cash with you when shopping. I bring $150 with me the first week and use that to only buy all my meat for the month. Freeze all meat and fish. I buy most fish and some meat from Whole Foods. Sometimes you’ll see a “price reduced for quick sale” on meats that have an expiration date coming up. Buy those and freeze them.  If I don’t spend that much on meats, I’ll set that cash aside.
2. Know what’s in season and take advantage of it! If bell peppers are in season grab a bunch and slice them up and freeze it for when you want them later. Lots of fruits and veggies can be frozen!
3. Take advantage of your farmers markets and local farmers. Farmers markets are usually cheaper. If you go towards the end of the day they sometimes give their stuff away!

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Above is a picture of my favorite orchard stand where I live. We go so often that he actually gives us even better deals than what’s priced.
4. Know when stores have sales. Become “friends” with your local Whole Foods, Trader Joes, Sprout’s, whatever, on Facebook or Instagram, that way you can stay in touch when things go on sale for them! When a great sale comes up don’t be afraid to grab a bunch. (ex. Whole Foods was having a killer sale on organic grass-fed ground beef…I bought enough to last a couple of months, then I portion it out at home and freeze it) You may spend a little extra cash dollars at the time, but then you know that you won’t be using your “meat money” next month and you can either save it or use it on something else.
5. BULK BULK BULK. The bulk section at Whole Foods is seriously my BFF. Grab nuts, spices, whatever for CHEAP! You aren’t paying for packaging, so you cut your cost down a lot! Anytime I can avoid packaging, I will!

6. Check out online stores. One of my favorite places to shop is Barefoot Provisions.  They have great snack options, all paleo and some Whole30 approved. Great, delicious, and healthy deals!

8. We don’t buy everything organic because it can get really expensive. Look at the dirty dozen list for fruits and veggies that you should buy organic. Of course I always try to buy meat that is the best, but when I’m looking at organic chicken that is $6.99 a lb or non organic for $1.99 a lb I probably will buy the non organic kind. If the price difference is HUGE I have to go the non organic route, but if it’s only a dollar or so I don’t sweat it!

 

 

Have kids? Make grocery shopping fun for them too.  I always have one using the calculator, one with the list, and the others are the food grabbers!