31 Hearty -Real Food- Soups, Chowders, and Stews

This real food recipe has been brought to you by Foodie.  All opinions are mine.

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by Gena at Foodie.com

Prepare For Dry Winter Skin and Soothe Irritating Eczema

I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for #AveenoEczemaTherapy. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

aveeno #AveenoEczemaTherapyOctober is National Eczema Awareness Month and with good reason.  When the temperatures start getting cooler, I know now that I need to be prepared with an arsenal to combat our eczema.  It seems that the dry, cold winter weather is awful on our skin. The Captain has suffered with eczema many winters, and Baby Brother is following in his footsteps.  

What Is Eczema ?

Eczema is a chronic skin disorder that affects approximately 35 million infants, children, and adults in the United States.  Inflammation causes the skin to become itchy, red, and dry.  Extreme cases can cause the skin to become leathery, cracked, and bleeding.  Eczema can be caused by stress, heat and sweat, temperature changes, extreme cold and dry climates, heredity, allergens, or irritants.  In our case, heredity plays a huge factor. We haven't been able to isolate any known cause of our eczema, but we do know that the dry winter weather causes flareups.
 
I have bad hand eczema, even though I use fragrance free products or products with natural oils and scents.  I think it's just part of being a mom with sensitive skin and frequently washing my hands. The Aveeno eczema hand therapy cream really helps!  If I remember to moisturize my hands throughout the day when I feel them begin to get dry, they feel awesome. 

aveeno

It was recommended to us by a dermatologist recently that we should limit the boys baths to once or twice a week.  I feel better about giving the boys a bath now that we have Eczema Therapy soothing bath treatment from Aveeno.  This bath additive is fragrance free, tear-free, and provides relief for our dry, itchy, irritated eczema skin.  
 

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After the bath, we follow up with Aveeno Eczema Therapy moisturizing cream.  It is thick and really seals in the moisture!  Our skin feels so soft afterwards and our dry skin is soothed!
 

eczema dos and don'ts

 
Dermatologist Kenneth Beer M.D. has provided some dos and don'ts for eczema that were helpful:
  • DO use hydrating cleansers and barrier creams with soothing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal daily to maintain the integrity of the skins barrier.
  • DO look for products with ceramide – an essential lipid naturally found within the skin that plays a key role in enhancing and restoring the skin's protective function.
  • DO you use fragrance free laundry detergent to wash clothing, sheets and towels and avoid dryer sheets.
  • DON'T  use body lotions with irritants which can aggravate skin and cause eczema to flare.
  • DON'T  use products with fragrances or harsh dyes.
Also, remember to look for products with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.
We have tried so many different products and I know that all of these suggestions, plus a combination of high quality eczema products like Aveeno helps with the horrible eczema symptoms we have had!  If we stay on top of it and keep our skin moisturizer throughout the winter, I think we will have healthier skin. 
 
To learn more about eczema, visit www.nationaleczema.org.
 
For more information about Aveeno eczema therapy products, visit Aveeno.com and Facebook.com/Aveeno.
 

How do you prevent and treat eczema?

 

 

In A Hurry For Dinner? Can Frozen Foods Be Delicious?

This frozen foods post has been brought to you by Jimmy Dean®. All opinions are mine.

How often do you have nights where dinner falls through, you come home late from work and your family needs to be somewhere in ten minutes, or when you just have hungry little (and big!) people to feed and nothing to serve? As much as I plan, those days happen to everyone, I am sure. I used to think that nothing that tastes good could come from the freezer section. Of course there is always frozen pizza, but that gets old and sometimes we just are not in the mood for pizza.

Last night was one of those nights. We had been running errands all day, the younger boys had a late nap, and it was already 4:30 when I got to thinking about dinner. (We eat at 5 here!) I went to the freezer and saw some frozen chicken breasts and frozen hamburger meat, but there were also some Jimmy Dean® frozen lunch or dinner entrées that I had picked up at Walmart for nights just like this. I felt a huge sense of relief because I know that my family would love these meals. (You can find these in the frozen meal section at Walmart.)

We have always loved Jimmy Dean sausage. I make delicious sausage balls for appetizers and it is always the New Year's Eve party staple. Jimmy Dean's breakfast sandwiches are delicious, too, and Jimmy Dean® frozen entrées are no different? They're hearty and delicious, as you would expect from the Jimmy Dean brand. I knew that my family would love the Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese because well, who doesn't like Mac & Cheese? I also picked up the Grilled Steak with potatoes and bell peppers and a Hickory Smoked Turkey Breast sandwich because the men in my family are sandwich fanatics!

The Jimmy Dean frozen entrees were a huge hit! They tasted fresh and delicious. It was so, so nice to grab these out of the fridge, warm them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, and serve them to my family. They don't taste like a frozen meal, or at least like no frozen meal that I have had.

The all-around favorite was the Smoked Bacon Mac & Cheese, just as I suspected! Before cooking the bowl, I could see the chunks of cheese that melted and made this meal exceptional. And ……..bacon. Need I say more?

This mac and cheese is more than your average mac and cheese. For starters, this bowl has 23 grams of protein! Imagine being able to cook a hot bowl of mac and cheese with that much protein in less than the amount of time you would spend making a box of mac and cheese. The Bacon Mac & Cheese tasted like gourmet mac & cheese. Real ingredients, real flavor, and so good!

I plan to purchase more of these frozen meals and sandwiches the next time I am at Walmart. They're filling, priced right, and perfect for chaotic nights when all we really want is a quick, hearty meal. Check out the other available options from Jimmy Dean that go beyond breakfast.

Follow Jimmy Dean on social media:

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Walmart: Jimmy Dean . The opinions and text are all mine.

 

What Is A Healthy Snack for Babies and Toddlers On The Go?

This non-GMO snack post was brought to you by Mum-Mum.  All opinions are mine.

As much as we try to always have healthy, fresh foods available for Baby Brother to eat, the need for healthy packaged snacks is always present.  When we go to the store, church, or to his brothers' soccer games, I know now that I need to have something easily accessible and portable in my diaper bag for him to munch on. He is all about self feeding, as we never did traditional baby food with him.  And at ten months, he has already found what textures and flavors he prefers.  His favorite foods are blueberries, grapes (cut up, of course,) bananas, peas, sweet potatoes, cheese, and carrots.  Do you know how hard it is to serve a bowl of squished up blueberries to an energetic ten month old at a soccer game, though?  Yeah, not easy!  

non-gmo snack

Baby Brother has been snacking on Baby Mum-Mum rice rusks for a few months now, and still gets excited when I offer one to him.  They're not messy and are made with non-GMO Japonica rice.  There are many options available, like Original, Vegetable, Banana, Apple, and Organic Carrot.  

Mum-Mums:

  • are made with non-GMO Japonica rice
  • contain minimal sugar and fat
  • contain no artificial colors
  • contain no artificial additives or preservatives
  • dissolve easily in your child's mouth
  • are gluten-free, egg-free, and peanut-free
  • are available in many different flavors
  • are available for different ages
  • have organic options

photo 1 (5) non-gmo snack

I gave Baby Mum-Mums to the Captain and D when they were babies, as well, and honestly, D still loves them!  I have gotten into the habit of putting TWO packages of Baby Mum-Mums in my bag because it's a good, healthy snack for D, as well!  D loves Toddler Mum-Mums, too, which are recommended for kids ages 18 months and up.  They're a little more dense and for babies who chew well.

non-gmo snack

Baby Mum-Mums are also a great option when we are dining out, too.  Whether it be something that is spicy or contains honey, something that I am not sure of the ingredients, or he is just not ready to eat, a Mum-Mum helps him to feel like he is crunching and chewing something just like us and helps keep him satisfied.  Baby Mum-Mums promise to never contain any of the main allergens, as seen in this infographic:

non-GMO snack  Top 10 Food Allergens and Senstivities

We love Mum-Mums and are pretty sure that your baby and children will, too!  Also, check out Mum-Mum Snax for older kids!  Find out more about Mum-Mums and follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

27 Satisfying, Creative Skillet Recipes – Start to Finish in One Skillet!

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27 Skillet Recipes

 

I recently wrote about my new found love for iron skillets.  They’re easy to use, clean, and are healthy to cook in, too.  My iron skillets stay on the stove because I use them all of the time.  Keep them seasoned and they’ll be non-stick and ready to use.  My favorite brand of cast iron is Lodge.  (Check out how to season your cast iron and take care of it so it serves you well.)

I have collected 27 great recipes that require only one cast iron skillet to cook.  You can obviously use another type of pan for these recipes, but cast iron is my favorite.  There are breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes…and even one for dessert!  Check them out and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!

 

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables (pictured)

Pepperoni, Avocado, & Sun-Dried Tomato Stovetop Frittata – The West Coast Mommy (pictured)

Skillet Ratatouille – An Ordinary Housewife

Tasty Ham Frittata with Asparagus, Grape Tomatoes, Chives, & Brie – lo-wren (pictured)

Salsa Mac & Cheese – Our Piece of Earth

Homemade Skillet Cheeseburger Macaroni – This Simple Home

Garden Vegetable Beef Skillet – Simply Stacie

Weight Watchers Lime Cilantro Chicken – Penny Pincher Jenny

Easy Gluten Free Paella – Fearless Dining (pictured)

Pizza Pork Chops – A Tipical Day

Cowboy Food – Become A Coupon Queen

Shepherd’s Pie – Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs

Rotini Beef Skillet – Thrifty Jinxy

Chicken Pasta Florentine – Thrifty Jinxy

Red Cabbage, Leek, Brat and Beet Skillet Supper - Farm Fresh Feasts

Tamale Pie with Hatch Chiles – Farm Fresh Feasts

Deep Dish Green Tomato & Goat Cheese Pizza – Farm Fresh Feasts

Roasted Garlic & Fennel Focaccia – Farm Fresh Feasts (pictured)

Roast Potatoes in a Cast Iron Skillet – Amanda’s Cookin’ (pictured)

Udon Noodle Stir Fry – Slap Dash Mom

Skillet Chicken Alfredo Lasagna Toss – Table For Seven

Creamy Tortellini Skillet – Table For Seven (pictured)

Easy One Skillet Nachos – Stockpiling Moms (pictured)

Mexican Pie – A Virtuous Woman

Farmer’s Skillet Hash – The Gracious Wife

One Skillet Breakfast – The Thrifty Couple

Brownies In A Cast Iron Skillet – Amanda’s Cookin’ (pictured)

Make Holiday Entertaining a Breeze with Appliances from Best Buy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

holiday entertaining

The weather is turning cooler which means one thing for our family…the holiday season is on the way!  It seems like October begins everything…starting with Halloween, Fall Festivals, the Captain’s birthday, Baby Brother’s birthday, Thanksgiving, D’s birthday, Christmas, and ends with New Year’s Eve.  I am excited for this season, but it means a lot of cooking.  I really love holiday cooking, but there have been times when I have tried to do too much with appliances that were not the best or most efficient.  Have you ever tried to fix a Thanksgiving meal with a tiny oven?  Not fun!  You have to have some major organization and planning skills to get that accomplished on time.

Holidays are a hectic time because everyone is running around, trying to buy the perfect gifts, all while still going to work, school, and trying to maintain a calm environment in the home.  Add in a few holiday bake sales, parties, and get togethers, you really need appliances that will get the job done the first time.  No one has time for a batch of burnt cookies!  I have learned the tricks of my little oven, but I definitely wouldn’t and couldn’t depend on it for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

My recommendation is that if you are in need of a new oven, head to Best Buy and see what you need and buy it now.  That way, you will have a great appliance for this busy season, you will feel less stressed out, and you can pay it off now, before the Christmas bills start rolling in.

Best Buy #holidayprep #adThe Frigidaire FGIF3061NF plus induction allows you to boil water in less than two minutes and spills don’t burn on, so…..your clean up time is shortened!  (This is where I really struggle…..I hate cleaning my stove top!)  The Frigidaire range also includes a convection oven that circulates the air in the oven for quicker baking time.

Best Buy #holidayprep #ad

And something that I can love and appreciate is the double ovens that allow you to cook two different items at the same time at different temperatures like the Whirlpool WGG555S0BS.  It still fits within the space of a standard range.  Spend more time doing what you love this holiday season instead of slaving over a hot stove or oven and waiting on your food to cook.  Get the job done quickly so you can wrap all of those gifts early, go shopping, and actually enjoy your time with your family this holiday season!

Find these and other great appliances as the Best Buy #HolidayPrep shop!  Check out deals like save 25% off major appliances, 18 month financing or 5% back in rewards plus free delivery.

What new appliance are you wishing for this holiday season?

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables

One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables

I recently splurged and bought myself a cast iron set.  I had never used cast iron, but after reading about how awesome it truly is, I just had to try it out.  I found a great deal on a five piece Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron set on (affiliate) Amazon and have really been pleased.  I use this set for just about everything.  Clean-up is simple, too.  I just rinse out the pan, dry it completely on the stove, then season it with a little dab of coconut oil and it’s good to go for the next use.  I also found that if some foods DO stick, all you have to do is soak it (no longer than 10 minutes,) scrub it with a sponge, and sprinkle a little table salt in it to get the tricky bits off.  So easy.  And there are no yucky PFOAs or chemicals that leech into your food, so cast iron is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

I love meals that can be cooked in one skillet, start to finish, so I created this delicious One Skillet Pork Chops and Orange Vegetables recipe.  It’s delicious, has great vegetables that complement the meat, and is easy, of course!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 TBSP grapeseed oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 orange bell pepper, cut into the same size as the sweet potato cubes
  • 1 cup of baby carrots, cut in half
  • 3 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Drizzle the grapeseed oil into the bottom of your skillet.
  2. Brown the pork chops over medium/high heat.
  3. While pork chops are cooking, mix your brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, water, and orange juice together.
  4. Turn pork chops and add vegetables on top.
  5. Drizzle orange juice mixture over the vegetables and pork chops.
  6. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.
  7. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until all vegetables are tender.  Make sure to check every so often to make sure you have enough moisture.  If you do not, you can add water, 1/8 cup at a time.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

Cake Batter Coconut Chocolate Candy

This post contains affiliate links. However, this post was not sponsored by any company.

Cake Batter Coconut Chocolate

 

 

I’m the kind of girl who keeps a Costco sized bag of semisweet chocolate chips in the freezer.  What….you don’t do that?  For one, it saves a lot of money, not only because I buy in bulk, but because it’s the only chocolate I really eat.  I can use it for chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip pumpkin bread, or I can grab a handful and share some with the boys midday.  There’s nothing wrong with that…right?  I mean, it could be worse!  Right?

For awhile I was making my coconut chocolate candy often.  D and I would eat it, but no one else really cared for it.  And then I realized that if I’m the only one really eating it, then perhaps I should not be making it anymore.  Huge sigh.  But then, I discovered something new and different from my regular coconut butter …….  CAKE BATTER coconut butter!!!  This is totally NOT sponsored, but this company, Nikki’s, makes amazing flavors of coconut butter and Vanilla Cake Batter is one of them.  Vanilla Cake Batter, people!  Coconut butter that tastes like cake batter.  Here are the ingredients:  organic unsweetened coconut, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic honey, organic vanilla extract, and sea salt.  It’s so delicious right out of the jar, but I made my chocolate candy with it!  And it’s so, so delicious!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a double boiler or in a glass measuring cup in a pot of boiling water on the stove.
  2. Melt ingredients, continually whisking or stirring until smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and pour into a silicon candy mold.
  4.  Place molds in fridge and let harden.
  5. Keep any uneaten candy in the fridge or cool place.

 

 

 

cake batter chocolate candy

Have an Eco-Friendly Picnic

This eco-friendly picnic post was brought to you by Paperless Kitchen.  All opinions are mine.

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I am not sure why, but picnics are so appealing to kids.  I remember how much fun it was to eat outside as a kid.  The boys are always asking to go on picnics.  I try to make it fun for them and help them to have a great time, but I admit I get grumpy about packing up the picnic and the waste…..oh wow, the waste.  Most picnics involve lots of paper plates, plastic forks, and napkins.  Last week, I made it a point to use our new bamboo towels and Leafware to make a super special, eco-friendly picnic with no waste.

The boys love salad and fruit, so that’s what was in our picnic basket this time.  I packed cantaloupe and watermelon in some glass jars that I had, salad dressing, water in reusable glass sippy cups, Leafware dishes, and Bambooee reusable bamboo towels.  I grabbed a blanket and we headed in the backyard for our eco-friendly picnic.

paperless kitchen

We all had a great time enjoying each other’s company, the cooler day,and our yummy food!

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The fruit was such a big hit that I had to grab the other half of the watermelon from inside.  The older boys took care of that, while Baby Brother and I ate the cantaloupe.ecofriendly picnic

Which brings me to the Bambooee bamboo towels!  We used quite a few with the juicy fruits.  Baby Brother had his fair share of spills.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I love about the Bambooee towels is that they work well like paper towels, but you can also wet them and use them as a sturdy wet rag that wipes up sticky wet spills and dried on foods, too.  AND when we were done, I piled everything back in the basket and brought it all outside.  The jars and bamboo towels are washable and reusable, and the Leafware is compostable, so…no waste.

Leafware dinnerware is truly sustainable.  They’re all non-toxic and can be used for hot or cold foods, even liquids like soup!  All Leafware products are earth friendly, renewable, and sustainable.   How are they made?  Well, the palm leaves are collected, pressure washed, scrubbed, sun dried, compressed, and then sterilized.  After you use them, they are compostable!  Leafware is truly eco-friendly and much better than paper or plastic plates that are just thrown away.

Likewise, Bambooee towels are made from sustainable organic bamboo.  They are strong, durable, and reusable.  Towels can be washed up to 20 times!

Find Bambooee and Leafware products at Paperless Kitchen.  Follow Paperless Kitchen on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Through September 30, 2014, take advantage of the end of summer sale!  Save 5% Off All Orders discount code:  “PaperlessNow5″.   Free Shipping is offered on all orders!

BeGreen with Green and Organic T-Shirts

BeGreen-T-Kickstarter-Exclusive-T-shirt-510x519

Amber Sorrells, from Easy Green Mom, is one of my favorite mommy bloggers.  She has turned to crowd funding source, Kickstarter, for her new Eco-friendly company, Be Green T, an organic and green t-shirt that sends a message.  BeGreen T shirts are made with high quality and Eco-friendly materials.  Even the hang tags and shipping supplies will be made from recycled materials.

 “Lets spread the Green message via T-shirt!”

 

  • All shirts are printed on 100% Organic Cotton, which is super soft.
  • Water-based inks that are more environmentally-friendly than traditional inks used.
  • Manufactured by a certified B Corporation and 100% made in the USA.
  • Unique, simple, modern and stylish designs that send a message.
  • Portion of profit will be donated to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, a non-profit organization that provides education, support and cloth diapers to low income families in the continental United States.

 

Be Comfortable, Be Stylish, Be Green!

I had the special privilege of receiving one of the first BeGreen T’s.  It is so luxuriously soft!  Organic cotton really does feel softer and makes for better clothing.  That’s why I’m supporting this kickstarter!

Im-a-Green-Mom-Kickstarter-Preorder

 Backers of the BeGreen T campaign will receive great rewards; BeGreen T stickers, an Exclusive BeGreen T shirt for Kickstarter, pre-order of shirts, and voting power of shirt designs released!   

The Kickstarter campaign runs from September 15 until October 14, and funding is “all or none” meaning if the $2500 goal is not reached the project will not be funded.

 Visit to see full details of BeGreen T’s Kickstarter campaign Here.

Sign up to support this awesome project!  And check out one last great, green t-shirt for all of you cloth diapering mommies:

 

I-Heart-Cloth-Diapers-Kickstarter-Preorder1