Dream Dinner Challenge Wrap Up

30
Sep
2014

Dinner-Challenge

Earlier this month I partnered with Dream Dinners  with the 30 Days of Dinner Challenge.  I was blessed with a fabulous way to provide great meals to my family by using the simple and easy meals you pre-make in their store locations.  We have had a very busy month and it was such  treat to just pull something from the freezer and not have to worry about grocery shopping or coming up with an idea and prep time.

We took care of that when we went into Dream Dinners and made our dinners in just under 1 1/2 hours!

We exceeded the challenge I took by two meals.  Our schedule is tricky – but this month I had challenged myself to 15 family meals together – we actually had 17 (and that is not including several breakfasts and lunches!)

What we ate

This is our spread from Dream Dinners – remember I am not a food photographer, but this will give you some ideas of the yummy meals we had.  We also of course had leftovers and a few other family favorites mixed in.

Steak-Provence

Steak-Gorgonzola

Outlaw-Chicken

Monte-Cristo-correct

Kentucky-Pork

Cranberry-Buttermilk

Cola-Pork

Chicken-Soft

Bueno-Steak

Wasn’t all that looking very good??

What I loved

Going to a location where we made our meals all in advanced was FAB-U-LOUS!  They cleaned it all up and I came home with 12 meals.

The best meals in my opinion were the two steak dinners – I was absolutely amazed at the quality of beef we had.  Remember here, I am rather spoiled as we buy direct from a farmer, grass-fed beef – and it is incredible.  I was very surprised at the tenderness of this meat and the sauces used were very tasty.

Going to the freezer and just pulling a meal out was incredibly easy and saved a ton of time.  We have never been real big on just heading out the door to a restaurant for dinner when I end up empty handed in the evening – we always find something.  But this made that idea of ‘going out’ because we didn’t anything an excuse we couldn’t use.

What I found difficult

To be honest, there was one thing that was a bit hard for me, since I have unique dietary challenges, mostly being gluten free.  It was hard to determine exactly what I could eat when choosing the menu items off the website, so we ended up arriving to make meals that did in fact have gluten in them.  If there had been a better description or list of ingredients I could have chosen more wisely or even brought different ingredients to substitute.  

For example, the meatloaf has bread crumbs, I could have brought my almond flour to use instead or these corn flake crumbs and substituted those.  So, for me it was a bit more challenging to eat this month and stay on track.

All in all it was a great success!  I loved making all the meals ahead of time and also finding new things to share at our dinner table.  We were extremely blessed!

Did you commit to the challenge too?  I would love to hear how it went – leave a comment.

Emeals Makes 4th of July Easy!!

3
Jul
2014

E-meals-4th-JulyI love how eMeals makes meal preparation and planning so easy – even better for holiday dinners.  Do you have a great menu planned for the Fourth of July yet?  If not, or even if you do – you might find a new recipe to start a new Fourth of July tradition here from eMeals.

Ready for great food and good times on Independence Day? Get inspired with eMeals’ FREE Fourth of July Menu.

This menu includes:

Easy Baby Back Ribs
Bacon Potato Salad
Marinated Slaw
Crunch-Topped Squash Casserole
Watermelon Salad
Berry-Topped Thunder Cake

It is FREE with any eMeals subscription purchase, so check out 1 of their 60 meal plans on their website today to help you get dinner on the table in a snap every night.  I especially love my meals menu plan for the week, but it is so fun to have a special holiday menu ready made for me – then I can enjoy family time instead of searching for new and interesting recipes to make a holiday special.

Now, onto the sneak peek recipe for Bacon Potato Salad from the July 4th menu!

Bacon Potato Salad:

4 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
6 slices bacon
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
3/4 teaspoon pepper
3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped tomato

Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover with 1 teaspoon salt 20 minutes or until tender; drain and cool 15 minutes.
Cook bacon until crisp.
Stir together mayonnaise, mustard, pepper and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in a large bowl.
Peel potatoes; cut into 1-inch pieces.
Add potatoes and eggs to mayonnaise mixture.
Stir in bacon.
Sprinkle with tomatoes.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Recipe serves 8-10

If you have missed hearing about eMeals, I have shared about how I use it in my home and how it saves time and money for us.  It has made my life much easier and I love supporting a family business too!  Save 15% with the code:  FOURTH on your meal plan today!

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Essential Oils {and a BONUS}

25
Apr
2014

Salsa-ingredients-young-living-lime

I have a fun post today to share with you all – involving food, essential oils and free stuff!  {Who wouldn’t love that?}

In anticipation of Cinco de Mayo in a little over a week, I thought it would be fun to share some recipes that you can make using Young Living Lime essential oil – we tried them out last night and they were ‘the BOMB‘!!!

We made an awesome Cinco de Mayo Easy Blender Salsa  {I’m sharing the recipe with you all here!} and Mexican Grilled Lemon-n-Lime Chicken – on the barbecue.  So good!

Salsa-young-living-lime

 You can find the recipe for the fabulous salsa recipe below –  it was super easy and really good.

Look at this Mexican Grilled Lemon-n-Lime Chicken - it was so moist and delicious – and I will share with you how you can get that recipe too – and 7 others!

Mexcian-Grilled-Chicken-Lime-Oil

Doesn’t that make your mouth water?  

So both of these recipes have a common theme – they use Lime Essential Oil in the recipe.   Say what?  Yep, did you know you can cook using essential oils and it can be amazing?  Both of these recipes use Lime essential oil and it is great.

Want to know what else Lime essential oil is good for and how it can liven up the body?

Lime oil has a fresh and lively fragrance that is stimulating and refreshing. It can help overcome exhaustion, depression and listlessness.  It is great for diffusing in the room, in bath and shower gels, foot scrubs and more

I have a special offer for those of you still wondering about these crazy essential oils.  The ones that have helped me manage my chronic depression, heal wounds, defeat anxiety and fight off a sinus infection.  I am getting you all ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo by offering a few special treats!

Cinco De Mayo FINAL For Susan.jpg

Today is the day – time to get yourself a Premium Starter Kit and begin your essential oil journey.  I provide support, resources and monthly online classes to help you in your journey.  We have a private Facebook page too and I am available to walk alongside you as you help your family save money, find healthier alternatives to over the counter medications and prescriptions and live better.  You won’t regret it!

If you purchase a Young Living Premium Starter Kit today or tomorrow, I will give you FREE a 15 ML bottle of Young Living Lime Essential Oil {value $15}, a FREE Pocket Reference guide {value $16} and an Cinco de Mayo Celebration recipe ebook {value $4} filled with 9 recipes to start using your Lime essential oil and more!

Don’t delay – order it today and you will receive all your items in time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style!  {Oh and the Mexican Grilled Lemon-n-Lime Chicken recipe is in the ebook – yummy!}

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am just a mom sharing my experience in order to help others, not a doctor.

Homemaking Tips and Tricks

20
Mar
2014

Homemaking-Tips-Tricks
As I sit and type, it is 2:12 PM on Wednesday, I am behind on my blog writing, I need to leave in 25 minutes to pick up my little guy from school, this post will likely be left to finish later, I just threw my first load of laundry in the washer, have two phone calls to make and I have no idea what is for dinner.

UGH!  But I was able to get together with my ladies for our bi-weekly bible study.  Sometimes days just do not go as planned!

“There are no perfect homemakers – just real moms, deciding what’s right for their families and working to create a warm, nurturing home for those they love.”

I share, because I want you to know there are days……often many days where I struggle a lot to keep things together.  For me, it seems to be especially when my hubby is out of town. 

After thinking though, I remember – I have some soup in the freezer that is perfect for days like this.  I was out of town at the Hearts at Home Conference all weekend and have yet to get to the grocery store, so when I remember those ‘bits’ in my freezer I am quite relieved.  {I still have to tell you all about my wonderful trip and the time I septa visiting with Jill in her home before my flight home….so treasured!}

I love this chapter of homemaking and learning tips (From No More Perfect Moms) on how to make it work a bit better for you.  We all have areas that we are strong at and areas we are weaker in.  For me, meals are a bit stronger, than say decorating.  I always seem to feel defeated before I even start with decorating, and right now while we are in the midst of ‘re-decorating’ or family room I am feeling very un-inspired.

Hospitality is also a weak area for me, but this year I am trying to stretch myself and invite more people into our home, even in the midst of it feeling like it is not together yet.  Will it ever be all together?  I think we can all feel like our homes will never be quite there, so instead of fretting and delaying, just step out.  I am doing that more and I feel so thankful.

What have I learned about these areas of homemaking?

There are no perfect meals, but there are ways to streamline the meal-making process!

Meals

I love the tips Jill gives and will reiterate a few.  I have already shared my little tip on preparing in bulk and freezing, think about all your family favorites and then out of those what can you cook in larger batches to freeze?  I bet you will be amazed.

I also use eMeals to help me plan meals and keep me sanity.  I honestly enjoy looking at recipes on Pinterest, but to take the time to put together all the ideas, make a shopping list and such is a bit too time consuming for the season I am in right now.  I love that I can grab my eMeals meal plan from my computer or even their new APP and decide if I like all the ideas on the menu or delete a few and add in some family favorite, like simple tacos or chili.  My life is made easier and it doesn’t break the bank, especially when I am trying to eat PALEO or at least Gluten Free.

Decorating

I am like Jill, not much of a creative thinker when it comes to decorating – but I can re-create an idea from Pinterest or a magazine. I can allow the negative self-talk get me down as well, but try to remember that I can’t be great at everything, so that I why I have friends who are gifted in decorating!

Hospitality

This is a goal for 2014 – creating and spending more time in relationships.  

“Hospitality is our opportunity to be Jesus to those around us.”

What resonates with you when you read that line?  Are you living out your life as The Lord would want you, sharing His love with others?  I know that I am not and am intentionally working on this.  I am happy to report I have stretched myself and it feels good. Relationships are important, in fact….they are almost THE most important thing.

Which of these areas spoke to you most?  What do you feel is truly at the heart of the issue and why you struggle?

Where did you learn about the art of homemaking?  Did you have a good role model or did you have to learn to ‘wing’ it?

In what way can you stretch yourself this week or weekend?

Please begin reading Chapter 10, I will see you Monday!

Be sure to come back tomorrow for a great giveaway you will not want to miss – if you care about improving your family’s health – do not miss it!

If you missed my post on Facebook {Which most do since only 2% of followers see it!!} here is the opening from the Hearts at Home Conference on Friday – it was incredible!!  The best part, the performer is none other than Jill’s son Austin.  It was incredible – take a minute and enjoy – YOU ARE AWESOME!!  

If you are reading this in your email – you will need to click through to the blog to see the video  :-)

 

Gain More by Losing the Excess

31
Dec
2013

emeals-weight-loss-meal-plans

I told you that today I was going to talk about taking better care of your body, and like I said yesterday….. it’s not all about losing weight.  Although it seems like that is on almost everyone’s New Years list, I have a real problem with so much focus being on “how much you weigh” and I want to share with you how you might consider changing a few things on how you nurture your body with regard to food choices and having a plan.

A few months ago I shared how I was rather fed up with my body.  I had been struggling with a few extra pounds and just felt out of energy and frustrated.  I know you can relate!  We all experience this at different times.

I was fortunate enough to run across this 30 day PALEO challenge and decided it was time to jump in.  I got a girlfriend of mine onboard to join me, as we both had read how Paleo can really benefit those who struggle to fight different autoimmune conditions, as well as many other benefits.  I did the 30 days, lost 8 pounds and was very happy.   It began a larger journey for me – really thinking more consciously about the food I was putting in my body as well as my family.

If you are looking to make some changes for the New Year, I suggest to make small changes so they can last.  When we try to overhaul in a BIG way, we often fail.  We lose momentum and get discouraged.  I don’t want that for you.

Get a Plan

One of the things that can be hard with changing habits is just developing new habits to take the place of the old ones!  With regard to eating….this is key.  If you know you would like to eat healthier to feel better or to lose some weight, then you have to have a plan.  I hate coming up with my own plans, I can’t wing it.  I just want to be told what to do, what to eat and what exercise to fit into my daily schedule.  One of the things that worked so well for me was following the 30 day Paleo Challenge and then switching to the eMeals Paleo Meal plan – I didn’t have to think about making it all work!

If you are unfamiliar with eMeals they are a site that will give you a weeks menu plan, complete with recipes, grocery shopping list – all done for you.  You can print the information out or have it on their great APP – which is really handy to access anywhere.

emeals-plan-how-it-works

They just released a new 500 calorie meal plan, perfect if you are looking to simply reduce calorie intake.  This meal plan includes a grocery list itemized by section of the store, 7 healthy main dish recipes and sides, and is a simple tool to help you get organized and lose weight in 2014! You can choose to get this meal plan for a family or for 1-2. Each recipe and meal as a whole is broken down with a calorie count to help you track and measure your goals. It’s never been easier – they do all the work for you!  You can join now, and enjoy any plan for 15% off using the code DINNER through January.  You can also change your meal plan too!

Stay Focused

As with any goal you truly have to be focused and committed.  If you are looking to change your eating habits, then make that the focus.  If you can add in some movement each day – do that.  If it is too much to do at the beginning then stick with one area.  If you try to do too much at once, then you will get overwhelmed and quite.  I hear this over and over again from moms…..and I know I struggle with it myself.

So if changing your eating is goal #1, focus there.   If getting your body moving is goal #1, focus there.  Do not stretch yourself thin ladies….have grace with yourself and be realistic.

Each Day is New

This is a biggie – we will fail – every single one of us – we will cheat, eat something we shouldn’t have, but life goes on.  You need to stay committed and realize that each day is new and you do not need to hold onto the mistake you made yesterday.  Begin each day new and feel the power that can come from that.  Give yourself lots of grace, encourage yourself with motivation when you are successful.  Find a buddy who you can share both your success and failures with along the way.  It was such a relief when I could share with my friend that I had cheated and “fell off the wagon” when we were trying to be on the strict 30 day Paleo challenge.

Find Your Weakness

Okay, we all have them – chocolate, salty foods, crunchy things – those items that just call our names when we know we cannot have them!  For me, it is salty chips.  They are my downfall….but you know, if I allow myself to have 4-5 chips when I crave them, I can let the craving go.  It isn’t sitting there haunting me every time I walk into the kitchen.  

What is your weakness?  Maybe this is a bigger issue for you?  If it is, I encourage you to participate in this online book study over at Proverbs 31 ministries where they will be studying Lisa Terkeursts’ “Made to Crave“.  This might be just the study you need to be set free from issues related to food.

made to crave

I pray that whatever your goal is for the New Year that you find encouragement to succeed.  Find a plan, follow a plan and be good to your body.  No one is perfect….so remember that.  Each day is new, so capture the joy in knowing that!