A Twist on My Best Friend’s Noodle Salad: Zoodle Salad

On this journey of health and wellness I have committed to limiting my wheat and grain intake.  In the venture I have taken to Zoodles to replace my ever favorite traditional pasta noodles!

This recipe is a twist on a noodle salad recipe that my best friend gave me years ago.  It is one of my most favorite ways to eat cold pasta!  But alas…I no longer consume pasta so I had to find a new way to make it!!!!

On this quest to find a comparative recipe I came across the concept of Zoodles.  Noodles made of zucchini.  It sounds like a long, drawn out process of taking zucchini and turning them into a noodle like shape, right?  NOPE!!!

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With this awesome tool it is super quick and super simple!!!  I use this bad boy to make my zoodles and then add the rest of the ingredients and BAM!  I have a quick, healthy, and EASY noodle salad for these hot summer days!!!

Want the recipe?  OF COURSE YOU DO!!!!

Zoodle Salad

4 Medium Zucchini zoodled (that’s a word…right? Sure it is!!)

1/4 Cup Green Olives Chopped

1/2 Cup Black Olives Chopped

4 TBLS Zesty Italian Dressing

1 1/3 Cup Red Onions Chopped

(Original Recipe has tomatoes chopped; I leave them out because I don’t like them, but you could easily add cherry tomatoes for those who do)

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix until the veggies are coated with the dressing and the veggies are mixed throughout the zoodles!!

Cover and refrigerate!!!

Enjoy after about an hour of chill time!!!

This recipe is amazingly delicious and super easy for these hot summer days!!!  It makes a great side or even the main dish with a side of lean protein!!!!

Let me see your renditions of this recipe!!!! Post them below in the comments!!  I hope you enjoy!!!

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A Healthy Go-To Snack

As many of you know I am a health and wellness coach so nutrition is very important to me.  Finding healthy snacks to keep in my house is important for me and my family.  We all want to be healthy, but we also want to have a treat sometimes!  I have found the best go-to snack that is healthy too!!!

My kids (ahem…and I) love coconut, and chocolate, and honey…and this snack has it all!!!  Oh and we LOVE cookie dough…uhh..who doesn’t, right?  IMG_3203

How do we eat cookie dough and it be healthy? Oh I am so glad you asked!!!!  It is this stuff right here!!!

Click here to get yours: http://tinyurl.com/ashleyHinson

This stuff has been a game changer in nutrition in my house!!!  My kids love it!!!  Not only to drink but to eat in the fun snacks, like my cookie dough balls, too!!!

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What is the recipe?  OH boy am I glad you asked!!!!

Shakeology Cooke Dough Balls

  • 3 scoops/packets Vanilla Shakeology

  •  1/2 cup organic nut butter

    Yes, you won’t die if you don’t have organic.

  • 1/2 cup raw organic local honey ( I prefer honey that’s raw and local to help with seasonal allergies.)
  • 1/2 cup raw organic shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips

    For the healthiest option, I go with organic chocolate chips with at least 70% cacao content, but try to use 90% as often as possible.

  • Mix ingredients together in bowl
  • Roll mixture into bite-sized balls or shape into bars

    Make an OK sign with your hand and roll the cold mixture evenly into bites about the size of the opening between your index finger touching your thumb—or shape into larger bites if you want to laugh at your husband trying to eat them in one bite without water.

  •  Place bites in refrigerator

    Place remaining bites into refrigerator to yield firmer consistency for a quick-and-healthy treat!

     

    Take pictures and post them!!!  Hashtag them RPFBITES!!!  I cannot wait to see yours!!!

What the Hell Kids?

Do your kids have access to electronics?  Like a Kindle Fire or Nintendo DS or iPad?  Well, my 10 year old does.  We allow her to have electronic time in the evenings after homework and chores.  She is a gamer at heart and we don’t want to deny her her passion.  It could one day be her money maker.  However, we do understand the importance of human and familial interaction as well as responsibilities; to her education as well as her chores in the home.  We don’t want to raise her to be a lazy gamer who has no sense of self or responsibility.

Anyway I digress.  Her future and who she will be is not the point of this post.  The point of this post is to ask…DO YOUR KIDS GO THROUGH CHARGERS?  OMG my kid broke 4 chargers in about 4 days!!!!  How is this possible?  This is was with her Kindle Fire.

So, a little back story (I guess you’d call it).  We moved to Fort Irwin this summer.  If you are not familiar with Fort Irwin it is in  the middle of what feels like HELL!!!  It is in the Mojave Desert of California and it is HOT!!!  So, needless to say in the heat of the day my daughter was inside.  So after she would read and play with her toys and stuff she would ask to have extra electronic time.  I obliged because she is so responsible and helpful around the house.

Boy did that bite me in ass!!!  She broke the iPad charger, and 2 micro usb chargers (using her kindle fire).  One I found crushed in the recliner, one I found at our friends house, the mini portion just snapped off at the cord (well, I found 2 snapped at the cord but one was in the car) and the last I found bent at the micro mini usb end.  Like the port thing was bent and would not straighten out to be used.

How is my child so hard on chargers?  I do not understand!!!!  Do you experience this?

So, I set out to find a charger that hopefully she would not be able to break so easily.  I found these:

They are a nylon braided cord, durable and strong!!!  My kid has not been able to destroy these!!  They are also 10 feet long, which is awesome for the car!!!

 

 

The awesome color is also a bonus!!!  My kid loves color (she gets it from her mama!)  These things are awesome and I highly recommend them if you or your kids go through chargers!!!  The price is great!!  $10.99 for two 10 foot chargers that are durable and will last and long time!!!

Burger Bowls

Last week I found myself bored with the same recipes we had having so I took to pinterest hunting a new recipe for groundbeef.  

I found Cindy’s burger bowls.  They looked awesome so I had to try them.  I skimmed her post and took to the kitchen.  


I had 1lb of ground beef that I seasoned in a bowl with worschester burger seasoning made by Mccormick.  

I then pattied out the meat, sat my jelly jar (after I cleaned it) in the center and formed the edges of the patty around it, creating the bowls.  

I then cut 2/ .5oz pieces of cheddar and put each one in the bottom of the bowls. 0

The recipe I found called for specific measurements of the vegetables but my husband counts macros so I used his measurements.  Really, you can put as much as you want.  I filled them and them topped with another Oz of cheddar.  

He’s the tricky part.  When you put the charcoal in the grill, put it on one side, allowing for indirect grilling of the burgers.  Once the charcoal is grey and ready, place the burgers on the side with no charcoal, cover and cook for approximately 1 hour.  They will come off looking like this: 


They were delicious!!!  My favorite way to eat a burger without the bread!  It’s like a modern day meatloaf!!!  

If you try this recipe leave a comment about how you liked it!!! 

Feeding My Bunch on $100 a Week!

So, a few months ago I set out on a mission, a frugal mission.  As many of you know we are a military family, which means moving around…A LOT!  With this moving comes a lot of unknowns.  In this case it was “Where will we grocery shop? Will they have what we eat?”

When we got here, to the island that is Fort Irwin (not really an island, just feels like one because we are in the middle, literally, of the desert in California) we are very limited on our easily accessible resources, such as grocery stores.  In fact, all we have is the commissary.  Luckily they do have many of the items we usually buy at the grocery store.  In fact, we don’t have to drive out of town to shop.  There are some things we miss, like the Whole Foods, but that was a luxury, not a necessity.

Anywhoo. In my last post I explained that because of the isolation here we were essentially forced to live on post (closest home off post are over an hour away).  This means that we pay a rather large portion of our income (the primary and larger provider) to the military for our home.  With this in mind I had to sit down and reconfigure the budget; bills, grocery, debt, recreation, etc.

As I explained previously I was spending about $400.00 on chicken a month.  That was my entire grocery budget (for the math please see my previous post on this topic).  With our new budget I cannot afford to spend that way so I set out to devise a meal plan that had variety and still provided what my husband needed (for his macros) and for my children.

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So,   I  wrote out my meal plan while doing the math of what I would need for that grocery list.

On the right is the grocery list with estimated prices (when you buy pretty much the same thing over and over you have a pretty good idea of cost).  Well, I was off about $20.  I forgot to take a picture of the receipt, but my total came to $120 and some change.  Not bad, if I do say so myself.  (Sorry the picture is so bad, didn’t realize it was that horrible when I took it. I will update with a better one, but you can get the gist).

The wonderful thing about my family is that when I buy a bottle of say BBQ sauce or a pack of spaghetti it lasts, sometime through three grocery trips (1.5 months).  Same with things like spaghetti sauce and oatmeal. Those few processed things that I do buy only impact my budget every other month, which leaves carry over for the next trip or wiggle room if for some reason I need extra, like for produce.

How do the nonperishables last me so long?  I only make enough for that meal.  I do not cook the entire bag of pasta, or use the entire jar of sauce.  I use enough to flavor the pasta and have plenty left for the next meal.

The key was adding variety to each meal.  Not making chicken for everyone.  I don’t believe you need meat with every meal anyway.  So this works really well for my family.  My husband gets his macros and my kids still get to eat the food they enjoy while continuing to be healthy.

There are somethings on this menu that lasted the entire two weeks for us, like the yogurt.  The total I had budgeted for the yogurt actually covered enough for both weeks (we get paid every two weeks).  Bread lasts us a while too because we don’t eat sandwiches every day.  Something to know about me is that while yes I make a meal plan, I don’t always follow it to -T-.  I tend to get bored or don’t want what I planned so I tweak it as I go, but always using what I planned with. (If that makes sense.)

I hope this helps you figure out how to fit a healthy, clean meal plan into your budget!!  (Note that everything bought was organic, with the exception of the pizzas and pancake mix.  Also, the nuggets on the menu are homemade, from turkey breast, not prepackaged.)

 

Keeping My Little Guy Cool

Keeping My Little Guy Cool

We recently moved to the middle of the desert and boy is it hot here!!!  I’m talking 105 or higher in the day!!!

Because the post is so small I decided that the kids and I would take advantage of this walk everywhere we needed to go.  This gave my husband the car (we are a one car family, part of our plan for paying off debt) and gave us a chance for some exercise.

Well, first time walking I knew I had to figure something out for my 1year old in the stroller.  He was beet red and so sweaty.  So, I did a lot of research and talked to other moms here on post about how they manage their kids’ temps while walking everywhere.

I found two key ways to accomplish this:

1. Frog Toggs found here at Amazon
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2. The Baby Mini Clipon Stroller Fan found here at Amazon
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These two things have worked wonders for keeping my baby boy cool on these tortuously hot days!!!  The Frog Togg is like a shammy you dry your car with…you wet it and wring it out.  I put it behind E, and then lay/sit him on it and buckle him in.  Then as you can see in the featured picture I clip the fan on and it blows on him and keeps him cool.  He will sleep so soundly on our walks, even in the horrific heat.

I hope you are able to use these two items to keep you babies cool this summer!!!

 

 

Feeding My Bunch of Four on $100 or Less a Week

Since we have moved to a new assignment that requires us to reside on base I have been faced with the challenge of over hauling our budgets.  Budgets for food, Recreation, and debt repayment.  

For those who do not know, being frugal is a passion of mine!  I love looking for deals and ways to save money for my family.  It is part of why I am able to stay home with my beautiful babies!!

As I sat down to do the math and figure out what we actually spend every two weeks on groceries, I was astonished.  We potentially spend $200 every two weeks on CHICKEN alone. 

How?

For those who don’t know, we are a chemical, process, health conscious family.  On top of that my husband follows a strict eating regimen that requires specific amounts of lean protein, carbs, fats etc. 

For example, every morning he eats four to five eggs (depends if I add cheese, if so an ounce), two apples, plus a handful of peanuts.  Lunch and dinner consist of 5oz of chicken breast, a head of romaine lettuce, one 9in cucumber, 1/4 cup peppers, and two apples. 

Following this regimen I usually try to feed everyone (I officially have four humans to feed now) the same food so I am not making two different meals. 

Because of our chemical and process conscious ways we only eat organiv, free range chicken and eggs (grass-fed organic beef if I can find it).  This means our eggs are about $5 a carton, depending on where I shop, and the chicken breast are $6-$7 a pack. 

Feeding everyone the same meal for 15 days: chicken for example, 2x’s a day comes to roughly $200.  $7.00×30 meals=$210.  I see now that while essentially cooking one meal saves me time, it is costing my wallet.

Now that we are the “island” of Fort Irwin, my only option for groceries is the commissary, outside of driving over an hour to the nearest town. 

With all of this being said I have set out to try and feed my family of four on less than $100 a week.  While still maintaining our healthy eating habits.  That means as few processed and “convenient” foods as possible, all organic dairy and meats, as well as the few processed foods we do purchase staying organic. 

Once I accomplish this feat I will write a new post, with honest methods and results.  This will be the true test of frugality for me.