Simple Real Food Weeknight Dinner Recipes

22
Oct
2020

This week I have a simple and easy menu plan full of real food weeknight dinner recipes. I have some tips and tricks to let you work less and enjoy some really tasty food that is both nutritious and yummy.

For Monday, I want you to grab TWO pasture-raised chickens. You will cook TWO today in your Instant Pot, one for the meal this evening, and one for Tuesday’s meal.

Monday

Instant Pot Rotisseries Chicken from Kristine’s Kitchen

Garlic-Roasted Herb Potatoes, Carrots, and Green Beans from Cooking Classy

Instant Pot Rotisseries Chicken, a perfect weeknight dinner recipe

These two recipes will be perfect for a hearty and tasty dinner. I love roasting fresh vegetables in the oven. Remember, salt, pepper, and spices are your best friend. Always use REAL salt; it’s so good for your body!

Cook one of your chickens in the early afternoon, then let the pressure release; remove the chicken to cool. You can then start your other chicken you will serve for dinner. Once your first chicken cools, you will need to remove the meat and store to use in tomorrow’s recipe. Save the carcass, as you will be making your bone broth with this carcass and the one from the other chicken.

Once you’ve served dinner, take any remaining chicken and store with the previous meat, and take both carcasses and place them in the Instant Pot. You can follow this recipe here, or I often just use some spices, lemon slices, garlic and onions, and cook. Have fun; use what you like and experiment. Strain your bone broth and save for tomorrow. I often will let the bone broth go overnight and then release it in the morning.

Tuesday

Chicken Vegetable Soup from Detoxinista

Try this real food chicken vegetable soup for dinner

Serve with your favorite wholesome sprouted wheat bread, rolls, or gluten-free bread.

This soup recipe is so good, and I will encourage you to have fun with it. Add more of certain vegetables, and if you have enough ingredients, be sure to make a double or triple batch! Then you can freeze a portion to have in a few weeks when you are rushed for dinner one day. I love doubling recipes to make more for a later time.

Wednesday

Best Sheet Pan Fajitas With Steak from 40 Aprons

 Sheet Pan Fajitas With Steak, a real food treat

This recipe will be a hit and it’s so easy. I love sheet cooking in the oven—makes for easy prep and also cleanup! You can easily chop the veggies the night before and place in a baggie, and then if you have a busy day or are returning from work, simply dump it all on the sheet, along with the sliced steak. Tip: Use parchment paper any time you are using pans in your oven; the cleanup is simple and it’s less toxic than aluminum foil.

Serve this with some premade refried beans, or black beans made in your Instant Pot. Grab some organic corn tortillas, sprouted wheat tortillas, or use lettuce wraps! If you are looking for a great place to buy some organic pantry supplies, I highly recommend Thrive Market. I typically place two or three orders monthly for things like tortillas, beans, salsa (this is one of our favorites), and gluten-free products. It makes my life so much easier. You can grab 25% off your first order when you use my referral link.

Thursday

Egg Roll in a Bowl With Creamy Chili Sauce from 40 Aprons

Egg Roll in a Bowl With Creamy Chili Sauce family weeknight dinner recipe

I love this recipe because it is so versatile!!! You can stick to the recipe or venture out and add some fun ingredients in the suggestions to help your family love this even more. I use ground chicken, or you can even use leftover chicken from Monday (if you have any left after your soup!).

Friday

Homemade Vegetarian Chili from Cookie and Kate

Gluten-Free Cornbread

Homemade vegetarian chili real food recipe

Perfect for a Friday night—for real!!! If you can start this in the morning and let it simmer all day in a Crockpot or on the stove, you will love it even more. If you need to skip the blender part of the recipe, no worries. It will still be so yummy!

So there you go! Save this post or pin it to your recipe board so you can easily find the links. Your family will enjoy some tasty meals for the week and maybe even have some leftovers for the weekend!

If you are needing more real food weeknight dinner recipes for your family that are simple and easy, check out my Got Dinner, Quick and Easy Recipes with over 45 of my favorites; it’s only $2.99!

6 Immune-Boosting Habits

15
Oct
2020

My top six immune-boosting habits.

The entry of fall brings more time indoors and more opportunities for our bodies to struggle with feeling our best. Living well is learning action rather than reaction. It’s about the immune-boosting habits, the small daily choices, that we make over and over and over again and how those choices add up to make a vast difference in our lives.

Making purposeful decisions over time can greatly impact our health more than slapping a band aid on problems that arise. I took that approach for many years, especially during my early years as a mom, when I struggled with an autoimmune issue. I truly wasn’t aware and educated on how I could be supporting my body.

I’d like to share some of my immune-boosting habits with you that have definitely helped our family experience the greatest health we’ve ever had. Remember, an ounce of prevention will carry you far!

Get sleep

Your immune system will greatly appreciate you getting more rest rather than less. Our bodies recover and restore during our sleep, did you know that? If you miss that restoration, your body is working so much harder to just survive.

Thankfully, I have incorporated a few things over the past years that have helped me get deep, quality sleep. My first step in a great night’s sleep is using my essential oils—game changer!!! They can help calm the mind and body which then prepares you for a restful slumber. These are my go-to oils to put in my diffuser or on the bottoms of my feet: Lavender, Tranquil, Peace and Calming, Stress Away, and Cedarwood. Not only do I use them, my hubby uses them and my ten-year-old uses them. Perfect for the entire family—even our dogs!

Another piece to my sleep regimen is melatonin. I do not use this every night, but it is a game changer for good, solid sleep. Melatonin is a hormone your brain makes naturally to control your sleep cycle. I have learned that as you age, your body reduces its own production of melatonin. I alternate between a supplement that Young Living carries, called ImmuPro which has melatonin, as well as using Nature’s Sunshine I purchase on Amazon.

As far as immune-boosting habits go, this is one to always practice!

Eat real food

Did you know that eating or drinking sugar curbs your body’s immune response cells that are supposed to attack all the invaders like bacteria and viruses? Processed food is often “dead” food. It contains too few vitamins and minerals (micronutrients), which help prevent cellular damage. They are also high in trans fats, which end up in a person’s arteries and liver, where they generate damaging free radicals. There is more I can add here…but need I go on?? Nourish your body with real, vibrant, living food that will flood your system with real nutrients! Your body knows what to do with those nutrients, efficiently and effectively routing them where they are needed to protect you and make you strong.

Fresh organic greens, grass-fed meats, organic vegetables and fruit should really be the bulk of your daily menu. Ditching dairy has also shown to help our bodies, as dairy creates inflammation in the body, and your body has to work harder to maintain a good state of heath and it often using a lot of energy to combat that inflammation from dairy and also from excessive grains and sugar.

Move your body

Regular exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living! Moving our body is wonderful for our mental and emotional health as well as physical health. Being consistent at moving your body will help your immune system stay strong! Flush out those free radicals and feel your BEST! Your immune system receives a serious boost from regular exercise, making your ability to fight infection and disease at the age of 80 the same as someone half, or even a quarter, of your age. Regular exercise promotes good circulation, allowing the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body and do its job more efficiently.

Decrease stress

Stress weakens the immune system and causes your body to produce greater levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Occasional stress is not as detrimental as long, extended periods of stress, which actually increase that cortisol and over time will cause more inflammation in your body. As someone who has recovered from depression, I need to be keenly aware of my stress levels. Exercise, which I have already mentioned above, helps me manage stress. I also use essential oils to help stress, my racing heart, feelings of hopelessness, and more. You can read more on using essential oils to support your emotions and help combat stress. They are an amazing addition to my routine.

Humidifier

Using a humidifier is perhaps an unexpected tip on my immune-boosting habits list. But here’s an important piece of information you should know. A recent study found that raising indoor humidity levels to at least 43% had a dramatic effect on approximately 85% of airborne viruses, rendering them virtually ineffective. This is incredible. When we begin to remain indoors more, during the fall and winter months, our furnaces are on, creating more dry and stale air, which is a perfect place for viruses to breed. No thanks!

Moisture has the ability to prevent the movement of germs, as they combine with this moisture and simply drop. This happens because the airborne particles are now too heavy to float around in the air. In turn, this helps prevent the spread of many illnesses, including influenza. This is precisely why one of the main benefits of a humidifier is increasing the overall humidity levels in a room or in a home. We currently have two humidifiers in our home and always run them September through April.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses. However, we have become so conditioned to think the sun is bad and therefore we shouldn’t be outside in it without sunscreen that we have become severely depleted of vitamin D3 that comes from the sun. We can’t absorb D3 with sunblock on our skin! And if you think about it, the majority of us work inside compared to our ancestors who worked mostly outside. Make sure you get outside every day, even if it’s rainy or cloudy to get some vitamin D3 from natural sources. I have also been supplementing my vitamin D3 for myself and my family with a Young Living vitamin D, as well as this liquid vitamin D3 by Natural Health Goodies. When you are on the verge of not feeling well, additional vitamin D3 will help your body.

There you have it. Six simple immune-boosting habits you can implement now. Hopefully you are already incorporating a few of these so adding a few more will be easier than you think!

Helping Kids Disagree Respectfully

7
Oct
2020

Disagreements are a part of life…especially in a time of turmoil, such as this year has been. Helping kids disagree respectfully is a key element of learning how to successfully handle conflict as an adult. Everyone has a right to an opinion. As parents, it’s extremely important that we give space for our children to learn how to be respectful of all opinions, regardless if they agree or disagree. By teaching our children to value the opinions of others and help them with coping strategies to engage in respectful, positive conversations, you are equipping them with valuable skills.

We know that conflict is present in all areas of life, and even more so right now. One element of maturing is gaining a skill set to have valuable conversations with others in a respectful way. Being able to work through differences peacefully and also with an ability to strengthen and deepen relationships with others is a lifelong skill.

As a mom of four with kids ranging in age from 27 to 10, I have had many opportunities for helping kids disagree respectfully by centering on the following areas.

Be Aware

It’s important, and truly even more so right now, to keep an eye on what your child is seeing on television or online. We have decided that, for the most part, we do not watch news in the presence of our ten-year-old. We actually adopted this many years ago, and it has served us well. To be honest, most newscasts are filled with negativity, and our children do not need to be exposed to that. I think there are other opportunities to discuss any relevant news happenings with younger children in a way that can benefit their understanding.

Encourage Listening

Encourage your child to be a good listener. Make sure you model that behavior by giving him your attention when he speaks to you. This is by far one of the most important things you can model in your home. Listening is a sign of respect and is an important skill for school, as well as later in life. Teach your child to really listen to what someone else is saying and try to understand their point of view. Don’t think about an argument for what they’re saying when they’re talking. You can even have practice sessions of this when you are having family conversations. Walk through the steps involved when having a conversation and how to listen carefully to what others are saying.

Dinner Conversations

The dinner hour is one of our favorite times to talk about what is happening in the world, age appropriate, of course. Not only is family dinner time great for your child’s health and development, but it has also been linked to positive outcomes like a lower risk of obesity, better school performance, and higher self-esteem! YEP!! If you are not having family dinner together at least five evenings a week, why not? What you can do to change that? Dinner conversations are a great place to allow your child to express his or her opinions about local and world happenings as well as sharing ideas and respecting what others share. Doing so in a family environment is very valuable.

Practice Empathy

Have your child practice seeing things from other people’s point of view. This is one of the fundamental aspects of empathy, which has been shown to be important for a child’s success later in life. Empathy is to learn to give value to things that they may not be familiar with or have experienced, and that in itself is so valuable. I really like to take examples of situations, change the details surrounding the example, and allow my child to think of things from a different perspective. This allows him to see how something might feel if he thought or believed differently. This way, he can understand and learn empathizing skills, which I know we can all use practice in.

Be True to Himself

It can be hard to listen to others and be empathetic but still hold true to what you believe. This is something we share often in these conversations, helping our son learn to be confident in what he believes. We remind him that just because someone else may believe differently does not give him the right to insult or demean them. This has been something we’ve discussed often, especially in the past seven months. We all have differing opinions on so many aspects of what is happening in our world. Our opinion is just that, an opinion, and we can be true to what we believe, yet respectful to others who believe differently.
You have the ability to help impact your child greatly in his or her development of great communication skills. Helping kids disagree respectfully is just one area. I know from my own experience that family dinner together is a powerful piece of that puzzle; I encourage you to make it a top priority.


Mood Boosters—6 Ways to Ditch the Funk

2
Oct
2020

Feeling down? Here are 5 mood boosters to help you ditch the funk.Sometimes we have days that just seem to be downers, right? We need something to help us lift our mood and escalate our spirit. As I was going through my list of mood boosters, I thought I would share them with you because we can all use some encouragement right now.

Pray

I admit, there are times I reach for other things before I do the most important thing, which is to pray.  When I feel my mood sinking, I know in my heart that lifting my needs to the Lord is where I really need to take action.  Scripture is life, it is God word and it has such value in helping to shift our energy.  I also will often take a few drops of essential oil, JOY is one of my favorites and rub between my hands and breath in through my nose as I pray.  The smell combined with the words I am speaking are life giving.

Music Break

One of the best ways I know to boost my mood and relax is to temporarily unplug from my daily surroundings through music. My ultimate break is to put on some worship music; it calms the soul and soothes my mind. One of my favorite albums right now is Peace by Bethel Music. Take a listen as you step away from your normal routine. Have some headphones handy so you can tune out the noise and tune in mindfully.

I also shared this incredible meditation video in my weekly email awhile back; it’s a staple and I’ve kept the link in the notes section on my phone so I can easily access it. It has a high vibrational frequency, which is beneficial for relaxation, and is one of my favorite grounding mood boosters.

If you can carve out ten minutes a day to intentionally relax with some mindful music, you’ll be amazed at how much it can reduce your stress and truly shift you into a good mood.

News-Free Day

Disconnect for 24 hours from the news (social media, TV news, Internet news, all news). Take a break from the outrage; you know exactly what I am talking about. The noise is all around us. We need to set boundaries that are intentional to help us keep focused on what’s important. When we are looking to the news, social media, or the Internet for all the information, it can be daunting and overwhelming. Take a break from it all for a day. I love to do this on Sunday when we observe our Sabbath, but oftentimes fitting in another day is powerful to helping boost our mood.

Move Your Body

Take a walk, stretch out on your yoga mat, or go for a run. The endorphins that are released when we do any form of exercise are some of the most powerful mood-boosting options we have at our disposal. And the best part, it’s free!!  And, you can even take your kids with you if you need to.

As far as mood boosters go, this is one that never fails to lift my spirits. When I find my mood slowly drifting into a place that is energy depleting, I find space to get outside for a walk. Even if the weather is not all that pleasant, I know the fresh air and movement will make me feel better. I also can pull out my Pilates mat and do a quick Pilates workout (my favorite right now from The Balanced Life!), and it will immediately help me feel successful and empowered. Instead of thinking about what you can’t do, shift your thinking to what you can do.

Reach Out to Someone

Random acts of kindness are a great way to improve not only the quality of your relationships, but also your own mood and emotional life. When we focus on others, it shifts our focus off ourselves and onto others. Make a list of five to ten people you care about. Keep that list handy in the notes section of your phone. Take 30 seconds and send a short and sincere text to one of those on the list encouraging them in their day. Perhaps you can send a scripture along with it or another encouraging quote.

I know when I have taken the time to share with others that I am thinking of them, it not only helps them, but comes back to truly bless me. It’s a win/win for everyone!

Prioritize Joy

What do you enjoy? What brings you joy? If you can’t easily answer this, then take a few minutes to sit and think. What lifts your spirits; what makes you smile? How can you add those activities into your weekly routine? Do you enjoy reading a book, baking for others, sending snail mail to friends? Know what can spark delight and joy for you and make intentional choices to have those activities (your own personal mood boosters) fill your schedule.

We all have a choice in how we use our time. Make it count for you instead of against you.

In a world full of big, overwhelming things right now, it might be time to honor and appreciate the little things.

23 Inspiring Quotes for Motherhood

24
Sep
2020

My Favorite Inspiring Quotes for MotherhoodMotherhood is a tough job, not for the weak or weary, am I right? Our days are long and often met with extreme challenges, especially in the past six months. We all need encouragement and inspiration to keep taking one day at a time. I wanted to gather some inspiring quotes for motherhood that will encourage you to keep on doing the things you know to do, and be the blessing to your family you only you can be.

And let me remind you, you are doing an awesome job—truly!!! No one can do exactly what you are doing…no one.

Sit down with a cup of coffee and let these sink in. Grab a favorite image and save to your phone so you can have a little bit of encouragement whenever you need it.

My Favorite Inspiring Quotes for Motherhood

“Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.”
—Cheryl Lacey Donovan

“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”
—Robert Browning

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.”
—Unknown

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. —C.S. Lewis

“Live in the moment and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”
—Fanny Crosby

“Life doesn’t come with a manual, it comes with a mother.”
—Unknown

“No influence is so powerful as that of the mother.”
—Sarah Josepha Hale

Finding balance as a mother means accepting your imperfections. —Mary Organizes

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them FEEL.”
—Carol Buchner

“The journey matters as much as the destination.”
—Michelle Dockery

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.”
—Honore de Balzac

Motherhood has the greatest potential influence for human life. —Unknown

“Motherhood is the exquisite inconvenience of being another person’s everything.”
—Unknown

“Motherhood changes everything.”
—Adriana Trigiani

“You are far more precious than jewels.”
—Proverbs

Successful mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles. —Sharon Jaynes

“Your child will follow your example, not your advice.”
—Unknown

“Mothers are like glue. Even when you can’t see them, they’re still holding the family together.”
—Susan Gale

“The influence of a mother in the lives of her children is beyond calculation.”
—James E. Faust

To the world, you are a mother, but to your family, you are the world. —Unknown
“Children are the anchors that hold a mother to life.”
—Sophocles

“God could not be everywhere, and therefore he made mothers.”
—Rudyard Kipling

“Kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”
Barbara Kingsolver

I hope you take some time to allow these inspiring quotes for motherhood to sink in…to really help you feel the powerful job you are doing today and every day. Even in the hard, it is so worth it.