Follow this simple method for making delicious buttery brown rice in the Instant Pot.

How to make brown rice in the instant pot

I absolutely adore brown rice but it can be tricky to make, often turning out too dry or with excess liquid in the pot.  So I recently decided it was time to figure out the best method for making it in the Instant Pot.  I’ve made it several different ways and finally settled on this method as my favorite.  It makes the perfect buttery rice that’s ready to eat straight from the pot.  No need to add salt or butter because it’s already in the mix.

Continue reading

how to make quinoa in three easy steps

We love quinoa and make a big batch of it every week.  It’s so easy to make; even my husband knows how to make it.  We eat it in salads, alone, in stir-fry, or with sautéed veggies.  I can’t get enough of this whole grain!  It can be made using water or broth.  Both chicken and vegetable broth work well and just enhance the flavor.  My favorite way to eat quinoa is with a little bit of butter, Parmesan cheese, steamed broccoli, and toasted nuts.  I promise you, it’s SO good!

Continue reading

homemade vanilla extract

If you love to cook and bake you probably use a lot of vanilla. When I started cooking more at home I was surprised at how much vanilla I used and how expensive it really is.  Pure vanilla extract will usually run you a little over $4 for 2 oz.  I snapped this picture at Target and you can see that it’s $4.19 there.

Continue reading

classic homemade pesto

One of my favorite parts of summer is eating fresh basil from my herb garden.  Basil is a great topping for salads, pizza and pasta dishes.  But my favorite way to use basil is in homemade pesto.  I could eat it on just about anything.   Pesto is so flavorful and can take a boring dish and make it much more exciting.  It’s not only delicious but it’s very versatile too.  Take a look at some of my favorite uses for pesto:

Continue reading

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.)


Continue reading

How To Build a Great Salad

Left: mixed greens, toasted almonds, avocado, cilantro, yellow bell pepper, parmesan cheese and cucumber;  Top right: spinach, almonds, parmesan cheese, carrots, and olives; Middle right: mixed greens, cucumber, carrots, red bell pepper, avocado, parmesan cheese; Bottom right: Salad to go!

Last week I shared my favorite salad dressing recipes.  Today, I’m sharing how I make my favorite lunch salads.  You can see from the pictures that I don’t go hungry when I eat a salad for lunch.  It seems like I keep needing bigger and bigger bowls because I find new things to add in!  I choose to eat a salad most days because I find it an easy way to get a good mix of veggies, protein, healthy fats and fiber.  This combination keeps me full for most of the afternoon.  I’ll usually have one small snack and I’m good to go until dinner.  The key to a great salad is to find a good mix of toppings you like and a great dressing.  (You definitely don’t have to be eating salad every day to be eating a healthy lunch!  I would just encourage you to think outside the average lunch box (i.e. sandwich and chips) and eat a lunch with a variety of healthy foods.)  I’m not going to lie, it takes me more time to fix a salad than it would a sandwich and chips but the health benefits are worth it to me.  If you are short on time, spend just one or two nights a week chopping/prepping ingredients for healthy lunches throughout the week.  I take my salads with me on the go all the time.

Continue reading


Before I started eating more naturally I remember reading that you were supposed to have 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  I could not figure out how on earth anyone could possibly eat that many vegetables in one day.  At that time I was eating cereal for breakfast, some sort of Lean Cuisine for lunch, and something like pasta or macaroni and cheese for dinner.  And there were plenty of unhealthy snacks and treats in there as well.  So, of course I wasn’t getting very many fruits and vegetables.

Continue reading

chicken stockMaking your own chicken stock couldn’t be easier.  Homemade chicken stock tastes delicious, saves money and provides many health benefits.  When you hear of people eating chicken noodle soup for it’s immune boosting powers they are not talking about Campbell’s soup.  They are referring to the way chicken stock was made before over-processed soups landed on the shelves of every grocery store.  Do a little research and you can read all about the health benefits of homemade stock.

Continue reading