Sunday, July 31, 2016

Ten time saving tips to make your life as a busy parent easier...

Have you ever wished and maybe even prayed for more hours in your day? I know for me, my wish consists of a personal chef that could come in and prepare three meals a day for me and my family! Oh, wouldn't that be fantastic? (picture blank stare and cheesy smile here)
I would like to help all of the busy parent's out there who have also felt this way a time or two. Here are ten time saving tips that may help you:

1. Become friends with your crockpot (slow cooker).
Put your food into the crockpot in the morning before you start your day, turn it on low and allow it to do the cooking! (This may be the closest we will get to having that personal chef cook our dinner for us).
A great book to purchase is: Fix It and Forget It cookbook. This book is packed full of crockpot recipes! They even have a Christmas version :)

2. Save time by saving on the mess. When you do have to cook dinner, line your pans and baking dishes with no-stick foil. The clean up is a breeze! No washing every pan!

3. Invest in a Keurig coffee maker. Instead of waiting for your old, standard coffee pot to brew your morning coffee, invest in the Keurig and make the one cup that you need. It will be done in a flash!
Instead of having to buy the individual coffee pods for the machine, purchase the tool that allows you to use your own coffee.

4. Make breakfast for dinner. This is a super fast way to make dinner. Not only that, it is an inexpensive way to make dinner too. Who doesn't like breakfast for dinner????

5. Use that dish washer! Don't waste time washing the dishes, silverware and cups after each meal. Just rinse them off and put them into the dish washer. Run it once a week. This will not only save you time after eating, it will save money because you will be using less water.

6. Have a McDonald's night. It does not have to be McDonald's, but designate one night a week when you make a trip to the drive through instead of cooking dinner. For us, our drive through night is the night that my son has basketball practice.

7. Drive through Starbucks for your coffee. If you prefer to purchase your morning coffee, drive through your local Starbucks instead of going in. While you wait in the drive through line, you can check your email on your smart phone and kill two birds with one stone.

8. Go for a walk during your lunch hour. If you are having trouble finding time to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening because you have too much to do when you get home, go for a walk during your lunch hour. Bring your lunch to work (if you work outside of the home) and go for a walk afterwards...what else are you going to do?

9. Bring paperwork to your children's sporting practices. If you have a stack of magazines you need to read, a book you have yet to finish or a stack of coupons you need to clip, bring them with you and go through them while you wait for your children as they are having a sporting practice during the week.

10. Cook on Saturday. Prepare and even cook your meals for the week on the weekend. When you are ready to prepare dinner during the week, this will save on prep time. Just pop your frozen meal into he oven and go about your business.

*photo: yahoo

Smoothie gone bad...

One night a while back, I tried a new smoothie recipe and it was not good at all! I drank it because I did not want to waste the fruit, but I will NOT be making this one again!
I had a brilliant idea to make a coffee and cream smoothie. Now, this would not have been such a bad idea if I had used pumpkin puree with the coffee, but I used cherries and a dab of pineapple juice b/c there was no sugar in the coffee.
It would have been good if it did not have the coffee in it. Here is what I did (I do not recommend you try this recipe):

1 cup coffee, prepared with milk
1/4 cup pineapple juice
10 frozen dark cherries
3 frozen strawberries
1 banana
3 ice cubes

I blended everything together.
The coffee left a bitter taste in my mouth. If I had put sugar in the coffee it would have been better,
but then I would be drinking all that sugar.
We all makes mistakes you know!?

Here is a recipe I DO recommend:

Fruit and spinach protein smoothie

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 5 frozen dark cherries
  • 3 frozen strawberries
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder (I prefer vanilla)

Blend everything in your blender.
Add more juice if it is too thick.

Coffee addict? Check out easy coffee recipes...

Are you a coffee addict? Do you find yourself with a strong cup of Joe in your hand all day long? Think about this… How much money do you spend on the coffee you drink? I would say the average cup of flavored coffee, you purchase in a coffee shop, will run anywhere between $3 and $5 per cup.

I have some great ideas to help you save money and have a great cup of tasty coffee at the same time. You can take simple ingredients you have around your house or office and make yourself a special treat! I have listed some great additives you can add to a regular pot of brewed coffee to create your own, unique flavors. If you are not a coffee drinker, I have even included a great little recipe for a “Hot Vanilla” drink!

Caramel Coffee

  • 1 pot of fresh brewed coffee
    1/3 cup caramel ice cream topping

Prepare your coffee pot with coffee and water. Before you turn it on, pour the caramel topping into the bottom of the empty coffee pot.
Brew coffee and stir! Add creamer if you like, and enjoy!

Chocolate Coffee

  • 1 pot of fresh brewed coffee
    1/3 cup chocolate ice cream topping

Prepare your coffee pot with coffee and water. Before you turn it on, pour the chocolate topping into
Brew coffee and stir! Add creamer if you like, and enjoy! For more of an intense flavor, you can use caramel/chocolate flavored coffee!
the bottom of the empty coffee pot.

Hot Chocolate Coffee

  • 1 pot of fresh brewed coffee
    1-2 packages of powdered hot chocolate (depending on how rich you want your coffee)

Prepare your pot of coffee. When it is complete, add hot chocolate mix to the pot (minimum 8 cups).
Add half and half if you would like. Stir and enjoy!

Cinnamon Coffee

  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon (ground)
  • Coffee

Prepare your coffee pot with coffee and water. Before you brew the coffee, add cinnamon to the
Brew pot, add creamer if you would like and enjoy!
You can also use pumpkin pie spice or ground cloves in the place of the cinnamon!
coffee in the filter.

OK...this is not a coffee recipe, but it still tastes good! 
Hot Vanilla

  • 1 Cup milk
  • 2 Tsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Whipped Topping (to taste)
    Cinnamon or cocoa powder (to taste)

Heat milk to just below boiling point, approximately 1- 1 1/2 minutes in microwave.
Stir in sugar and vanilla.
Garnish with whipped topping and cinnamon or cocoa if desired.
Serve immediately.
If you like to drink your coffee with milk, try using Carnation Evaporated milk in place of regular. It adds a unique, smooth flavor!