6 Crazy Easy Crock-Pot Recipes

6 Crazy Easy Crock-Pot Recipes

Crock Pot RecipesI love my crock pot any time of year, but there’s something about the aroma of comfort food in the fall that makes me happy, happy, happy.

Gimme recipes that I can make without awakening a brain cell and I’m ecstatic!

That’s what I’m sharing on Stuff Parents Need today. Hope you’ll read the recipes, will pin them, and most of all, will try them! You won’t be sorry.

These recipes are perfect for adding to your Once and for All Meal Plan. Be sure to follow Stuff Parents Need for 31 Days of Unforgettable Recipes that may make their way onto your meal plan, too.

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Take Your Pins to the Pan Recipe Party

Take Your Pins to the Pan Recipe Party

Take Your Pins to the Pan

Last week I invited you to share your tried-and-true recipes with us. So many of you clicked through to see the recipes others have actually made and loved, only to find that mine were just about the only recipes linked up.  I have some theories about why this was the case:

a) You have no time to find your favorite recipes on Pinterest, let alone figure out how to link them up. You may have even been at the drive-through when you read the post.

b) You don’t even know what I’m talking about. You’re on summer vacation after all!

c) You pin recipes. You don’t actually MAKE them.

If option c applies to you, allow me to encourage you to make one of the great-looking recipes on your “to try” boards. I want to make it even easier for you!

The problem with making Pinterest recipes is we know that sometimes we’re being deceived by the photos. Sometimes that delectable-looking dish is going to taste disgusting and that’s after spending a ton of time and money making it. Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable actually making these dishes if a real person had made them and could vouch for them?

You know what I mean. Some of these food bloggers know the key words to use to get our mouths watering. Right now I think they could concoct a s’more omelet and we’d pin it. Sure they’re going to make it look good. And most of the comments on their sites are along the lines of “Can’t wait to try it!” Truth is we are most likely to make dishes we have eaten elsewhere and we are second most likely to make dishes our friends rave about. When a non-food blogger says a dish is to-die-for, we’re all ears.

I prowled Pinterest for real people with boards of recipes they’ve actually MADE and liked. I’m following them and you might like to, too:

Shayla has some healthy and yummy looking recipes I can’t wait to try.

Jeannette has a huge variety of recipes here that are quick and get raves.

Katt has a nice selection of breads, soups, breakfast and more. She reports how it went over and how she would change it.

Miranda offers up plenty of yummy main dish recipes, including crock pot recipes, often giving a brief review.

Joanne has pinned some of the yummiest looking dishes ever, including desserts. My mouth is watering. She also shares comments.

Karie offers a creative variety of dishes on her Made board, too. I love that she describes one of the dishes as “Awesome!” That’s exactly how my friends and I talk about food.

Now It’s Your Turn

You can either link up your “Made” boards and recipes below after pinning the graphic for this post (see this post for full instructions) or share the link to a recipe you’re committed to trying in the next week in the comments. Come back and tell us if it’s a winner.

I’ll be making Clean Eating Lemon Muffins. I am being more intentional about clean eating and my kids are crazy for lemon. I think this will be a nice change of pace for breakfast.

Update: The Clean Eating Lemon Muffins were a fail for my family, unfortunately. I would have needed to zest four large lemons to have enough zest and I didn’t care for the lemon extract taste. I think the problem is we’re comparing the taste to lemon cakes that are loaded with fat and sugar.

I don’t plan on doing another Pinterest link-up. But I will be sharing recipes I’ve tried and pins and pinners you shouldn’t miss. So be sure to click here for the latest finds.



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Pin Your Way to the Perfect Meal Plan Party

Pin Your Way to the Perfect Meal Plan Party

Pin Your Way to the Perfect Meal Plan Party

 

The problem with Pinterest is the recipes you spend lots of time and money making that are fails. If you’ve read my free ebook, the Once-and-for-All Meal Plan, you know there’s a better way to make food your family loves on a regular basis. But we’re always on the lookout for great new recipes, aren’t we? That’s what my Recipes on My Meal Plan Pinterest board is all about.

If you want to save time wading through the recipe fails, follow this board. If you have a recipe that’s a real winner month in and month out, please link it up below so the rest of us can give it a try. If you’d like to be a contributor to this board, comment below or on one of the recent board pins and I’ll add you. The board will appear on your list of boards and you can pin to it as usual.

If you would like to link up other pins to this party, feel free! Here are the rules:

If you’re completely new to Pinterest, check out this beginner’s guide.

1. Pin the graphic above so more pinners will come to the party. (You can use the Pin It button that appears when you hover over the picture or the button at the bottom of this post.)

2. Follow me on Pinterest. You’ll have access to all the great pins I share.

3. Share as much of the following as you like in the linkup below:

– A link to your Pinterest page

– A link to a board you want to share

– A link to up to 3 pins (tried-and-true recipes would be great!) you want to share

Don’t have a clue how to participate in a linky? Leave this tab open. In another tab, go to the page, board, or pin you want to share. Highlight the URL in the white box at the top of your screen. Right-click and choose copy. Click on this tab, go to the bottom of the post and click “Click here to enter.” Click in the URL box, right-click and choose paste. Give your URL a name. If the link is your personal board, write your name. After providing your name and email, you’ll be given an option to choose a photo. Choose “from the Web” and you should see the picture you want. Select it and crop it as desired. Choose “Click here to return to blog” to add another pin.

4. Pin recipes you want to try to a “to try” board and pin and follow as you see fit all week!



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Easter Story Cookies

Easter Story Cookies

Easter

I originally shared this great recipe and activity six years ago. I planned on updating the post with pictures, Pinterest style, but my friends at Circle of Faith did it for me! I hope you can make time to do this with your kids or grandkids this week. You’ll love it.

Ingredients Required:

1 cup whole pecans; 1 tsp. vinegar, 3 egg whites, pinch salt, 1 c. sugar, zipper baggie, wooden spoon, scotch tape, Bible

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.

Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and to belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.

Beat with mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Is. 1:18 and John 3:1-5.

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matt. 27:57-60.

Do not bake the cookies. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and TURN IT OFF. Give eah child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66.

Go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in depair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9. HE HAS RISEN!

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Stuff It!: On Food, Family, and Friction

Stuff It!: On Food, Family, and Friction

stuffing recipe, family problems, holidays, humorWhat is it about the holidays that makes us want to be close to family? Close enough to beat them over the head with a turkey drumstick anyway.

I would argue it’s the food.

The Food Fight History is a Long One

All our problems began with food.

We were cursed after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, yes. But more salient to this discussion, the first marital spat then ensued over who caused whom to blow their specific-fruit-free diet.

One brother stabbed the other in the back when the Father liked the food he brought to the table better.

The Israelites complained about nothing more than the lack of food variety in the desert.

And early Christians bickered over what foods were okay with God to eat.

The Food Fights Continue

Today, everyone seems to have their own diet: organic, vegan, raw, allergy-free, clean, low-carb, low fat, sugar-free, two-year-old (only what you don’t want me to eat) and my dad’s favorite–seefood (you eat only what you can see).

While it can be annoying to accommodate all these preferences and necessary restrictions, the friction we have about food in our families isn’t really about the food.

But you just said it WAS about the food.

I know. Irritating. If I were your family member, I’d give you plenty of reasons to come after me with that drumstick.

It’s NOT about the food, but we act as though it is. Why?

  • It’s easier to gossip about Aunt Ginny bringing one can of corn to the feast than it is to admit she’s disconnected from the family, much less to wonder why.
  • It’s easier for your sister-in-law to complain about your cooking than it is to admit she’s incredibly jealous of you.
  • It’s easier to complain about the food being cold than it is to talk to your brother about showing up late for every gathering.

Food becomes a displacement for hurts and hostilities that are too threatening to admit or deal with. Remember that next time someone asks you to stab them a potato.

Stuffing: the Ultimate Food Fight

There may be no food more subject to personal preference than stuffing. You love it, you hate it. You make it from a box or from scratch. You have regular, cornbread, or gluten-free. You put in giblets, sausage, cranberries, or none of the above. You drench it in gravy or you don’t.

And most people think their stuffing (even if that’s NO stuffing) is the best stuffing. Why?

Because stuffing represents the holidays and holidays represent family and deep down we’re all still little kids who believe my-dad-is-bigger-than-your-dad and my-mom-cooks-better-than-your-mom and we’re willing to get a black eye to prove it.

Don’t believe me?

How do you feel if I tell you that my mother’s stuffing recipe is hand’s down the BEST stuffing ever? As you scan down to check out the recipe, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that YOUR (family’s) recipe is better or that I’m stupid to even eat stuffing. Am I right?? Am I, huh?

My Mom’s Best Ever Stuffing

1 Box Turkey flavor Stove Stop Stuffing Mix

1 package hot dog buns, torn into 1/2 finger-length pieces and left out overnight

1/2 loaf of bread, torn into 1/2 finger-length pieces and left out overnight

4 stalks celery chopped fine

1/2 medium onion chopped fine

1 stick butter

2 large eggs

1 tsp sage

1 32-oz box chicken broth plus 2 14-oz cans chicken broth

Tear up bread and leave out overnight to dry. The next day, preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray one oven-proof, deep casserole dish if you plan to stuff your turkey or two dishes if you don’t. Saute celery and onions in butter until almost transparent. Meanwhile, put Stove Top stuffing, sage, and eggs on top of stale bread. Add sauted onion and celery. Warm 32-oz chicken broth on medium heat and pour on top of bread and mix well. Add additional chicken broth until it’s soupy. You’ll think it’s too watery, but if you bake it without enough liquid, your stuffing will be dry. If you plan to stuff your turkey, first make sure the stuffing and turkey are the same temperature (both warm or both chilled). Bake stuffing for one hour, covering with foil the last 20 minutes.

Beyond Stuffing It: How to Avoid the Family Food Fights This Year

You can’t control whether a family member forgets the rolls, whether Uncle Dave has a few too many, or even if your mother-in-law makes a nasty face when she bites into your dish. But you can control YOU and that’s a lot.

  1. Don’t Confront at the Holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas are a little like weddings. Most people wouldn’t think of starting something with the bride before she walks down the aisle. Why? Because all her hopes and dreams are pinned on that day that she will remember forever.  Your family has high hopes for happy holidays, too, and they are remembered like no ordinary days. Do you want everyone to remember the Christmas of 2012 as the one where you finally lost it and told the big mouth off and sent her running in tears to her car after having too much to drink in a snow storm… You get the idea. Save any necessary confrontations for a less emotional time.
  2. Keep Your Expectations Under Control. We’d be better off watching the beginning of A Christmas Carol than the end before a family holiday. Unfortunately, people aren’t on their best behavior at this time of year; they’re usually at their worst. They’re tired, stressed, strapped for cash, bombarded with the temptations of food and alcohol, and feeling pressured to eat someone else’s substandard stuffing (i.e., yours). Instead of envisioning a scene of peace and joy, imagine you’re walking into a room of toddlers who’ve gone without a nap. If you get out of there without raising your voice or hitting someone, you’re doing well.
  3. Avoid Resentment. 1 Corinthians 13 says that our good deeds are worthless without love. If you’re going to be bitter about hosting the holiday ONE MORE TIME or if it makes you crazy that your lovely homemade gifts aren’t appreciated, don’t do it. Avoid doing or giving anything that will make you resentful. Romans 12:18 says as much as possible, as far as it depends on you, to live at peace with everyone. Sometimes that requires avoiding someone. Keeping suggestion #1 in mind, either avoid seeing someone if it won’t create undue conflict or spend the majority of your time talking with people who don’t push your buttons.
  4. Create Your Own Holiday. Even if you’re single, you can plan a celebration to include the food, decorations, and mood of your choosing. Don’t limit yourself to a certain day either. Would you like to have a peaceful Thanksgiving meal with friends or with just your immediate family? Plan it for another time so you won’t mind as much if the family holiday itself isn’t all you hoped.
  5. Invite a Loving Family Member. Cain took it personally that God didn’t approve of his offering, but deep down Cain knew it was because he hadn’t brought what God asked. God absolutely loves your stuffing, even if that’s no stuffing at all. Invite Him to your holiday celebrations this year and you won’t even notice all the racket the relatives are raising. Spend extra time in prayer and worship, asking God to help you be on your best behavior. I know He will.

I plan to take my own advice this year, but I want to hear from you. What do you do to make family holidays less stressful? Please share in the comments.

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How to End the What’s for Dinner Dilemma for Good

How to End the What’s for Dinner Dilemma for Good

free for subscribers to Psychowith6.com

What’s for dinner?

I used to hate that question. Either I hadn’t planned anything or I had planned to make something new, but then thought better of it. I knew that new recipe would take extra time and I didn’t have the energy. I ended up serving junk food far too often.

This pattern became a drain on my time, my pocket book, and my family’s health. I tried many cookbooks and meal plans, but ended up dreading the “What’s for dinner?” question anyway. That’s when I quit trying to be a nutritionist and chef, and put my degree in psychology to work.

What kind of meal plan would work long-term?

By studying my own behavior (and my family’s, too), I knew I needed to ask myself a different question. Rather than what was for dinner on any given day, I wanted to know what kind of meal plan would allow me to:

  • save time
  • save money
  • improve my family’s health
  • be flexible
  • enjoy making new recipes
  • share cooking responsibilities
  • be fearless when faced with “What’s for dinner?”

I discovered a plan that can work for anyone.

I was only trying to solve my own problem, but realized that the solution I had could work for anyone. Like so many solutions, it’s simple and common sense. I wrote the Once-and-for-All Meal Plan to encourage homemakers to try it and experience the benefits of knowing what’s for dinner (and breakfast, lunch, and snacks, too!). It’s free for subscribers to the Psychowith6 mailing list. Want to know more? My friend, Deb, did a great write-up of what you can expect from the book and this blog on Counting My Blessings. If you’re ready to subscribe, you’ll receive your meal plan ebook that you can read on any computer or mobile device after you confirm your email. I’d love to hear what you think!

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