beef and vegetable soup

I know we are heading into summer soon but I wanted to go ahead and share this recipe anyway.  I am one of those people that can eat soup year round.  Honestly, soup is one if my favorite meals.  The soups I make are usually filling and healthy.  This one in particular is filled with a lot of vegetables and can easily be adapted to add/sub your favorites.  Another reason I love soup is all the leftovers I usually have.  Leftovers = a night off of cooking.  I call that a win!  This soup is delicious served with crackers or you could add rice or barley to bulk it up a bit.

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PB Chocolate Chip Fudge Bites

I have a minor addiction to chocolate and peanut butter.  Add coconut and/or coconut oil and I’m there!  These little fudge bites are so good.  They are a perfect snack or “healthy” dessert.  You can make them healthier by using a natural peanut butter with nothing added, just peanuts.  I had to ration them so I wouldn’t eat them all in one sitting!  If you don’t have chocolate don’t let that stop you from making them.  I made some without the chocolate and they were still delicious – just smooth and creamy peanut buttery goodness.  I think the combination of peanut butter (or other nut butter) and coconut oil is such a great mix for a little treat because it provides you with protein, fiber and healthy fat, a perfect combo for a filling and satisfying snack.

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In my “What We Ate” posts each week I’ll share some of the recipes we ate for dinner the previous week. I love to get inspiration from what other families are eating so I thought it might be helpful to some of you. Please leave a comment if you have questions about any of these recipes. And if you know of a recipe that you think we might like please share it with me!

*** Annie’s Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese and Veggie Patty (for me)

what we ate

  • Since we are short on time on Sunday nights we go easy.  I made Annie’s whole wheat macaroni for the boys and a veggie patty for me.  I served it with steamed broccoli and cauliflower and fruit.

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Occasionally I share pictures of our school lunches on Facebook or Instagram so I thought I’d do a post here on the blog with some lunch ideas for you.  My lunches aren’t beautiful or creative but I do try to send a well balanced lunch most days.  I send lunch to school with my four year old twice a week and my 6 year old almost every day.  My kindergartener does buy pizza once every two weeks or so and I do let him buy a treat on those days as well.  I always send a thermos of water with their lunches.  We’ve never been juice drinkers so they haven’t had a problem with me sending water.

School Lunch Ideas

You can click on any of the pictures to see the picture gallery for each set.

Leftovers in a Thermos:  I use the thermos to send warm leftovers to school.  In these photos I sent leftover homemade tomato soup, leftover pasta with cauliflower sauce and leftover whole wheat macaroni and cheese.  On the side I sent carrots, applesauce, graham cracker bunnies, raw sunflower seeds, and different types of fruit and veggies (grapes, strawberries, cucumber, and peppers.)

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Today I’m sharing five ways you can improve your health.   I shared the first five tips here.  Again, these are based on my learning and personal experience.  The specific suggestions work for me and my family but they may not work for you.  However, the general ideas are good for anybody.

6.  Increase your activity level (if you are not already living an active lifestyle.)  You don’t have to belong to a gym to be active.  Just get moving!  You can take walks in your neighborhood, ride bikes with your kids, go for hikes, play sports, garden, or do exercise videos at home.  With Pinterest, YouTube and other sites out there you can do just about anything from the comfort of your own home.  I do go to the gym, but it’s not always possible with the kids so I workout at home too, when time permits. I have a yoga mat, large exercise ball, and several different sized hand weights.  A great site for exercise videos that I use is pop sugar.  I pin a lot of their videos on Pinterest and do them at home with hand weights.  I also do PiYo videos at home.

exercising at home

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Easy Slow Cooker Refried Beans

I love making dried beans in the slow cooker.  They are healthy, easy and cheap. More importantly, they are much more tasty than canned beans.  For this recipe I make two pounds of beans (which is about $2) and you end up with the equivalent of about 8-9 cans of beans.  These are great as a side dish, in taco salad, tacos, burritos and tostadas.  I sometimes even send them in a thermos with the kids to school with some cheese sprinkled on top.

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In my “What We Ate” posts each week I’ll share some of the recipes we ate for dinner the previous week. I love to get inspiration from what other families are eating so I thought it might be helpful to some of you. Please leave a comment if you have questions about any of these recipes. And if you know of a recipe that you think we might like please share it with me!

*** Leftover Pizza

  • We ate leftover pizza from the party the night before.

*** Rainbow Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Rainbow Chopped Salad with Honey Lime Dressing Blog

  • I have been seeing lots of pictures of chopped salad on Pinterest so I decided to come up with my own.  Since I had leftover bacon I started from there and came up with a list of toppings that we all like.
  • The kids mostly just ate the toppings.  I made extra of everything so they would have plenty to eat.  They also had some peanut butter and celery.

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Cinnamon Maple Baked Sweet Potato

If you’ve been following my recipes you might notice a trend…we like cinnamon and maple syrup, a lot.  That combination is great in granola, oatmeal, desserts, yogurt, and on sweet potatoes.  Today I’m sharing one of our favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes with our meals.  You simply bake the potato and top it with a little butter and maple syrup and then sprinkle on cinnamon and salt.  Easy peasy!

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favorite sweet potato muffins

This is one of our favorite breakfast (or snack) recipes.  Pretty much any time I make sweet potatoes for dinner I make extras for these muffins.  Its one of the first breakfast recipes I began making when I started cooking at home.  Over the years I have made changes to the original recipe and I’ll share my version today.   The original recipe can be found here.   I use coconut oil instead of canola, whole wheat flour instead of all purpose and I make regular size muffins instead of mini muffins.  I normally prefer to use maple syrup or honey as a sweetener but since this recipe only uses 1/3 cup brown sugar I’ve just left that part as is for now.

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