Well, it's been a LONG while since I've written about anything here. I've always felt like I need to be inspired to write and not just "blog" to blog, ya know? Anyhow, you all have inspired me and here I am sharing again!
Last week, several people asked me to share the details about a recent meal that was a hit with my family! When I say "hit" I mean people going back for seconds and even thirds!
I've got a cookbook that I've had for YEARS...decades actually. It's called Fit-It and Forget-it Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllils Pellman Good. The recipe I elected to tackle, because I had all of the ingredients on hand (except the ground beef), is called Taco Soup with Whole Tomatoes. If you've got a copy of the cookbook or you plan to get one, it's on page 37.
The original recipe calls for 1lb of ground beef and a pack of dry taco seasoning. These are the two ingredients I didn't have on hand, but I had the perfect substitutes for them and decided to give it a go!
I replaced 1 lb of ground beef with a 14 oz package of Extra Firm Tofu AND I used the homemade taco seasoning that I've been using since 2012 instead of running out to grab the "over sodium-ed" processed kind.
So, what are the recipes? Let's start with the base recipe:
Taco Soup with Whole Tomatoes
14 oz package of extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup chopped onions
28 oz can whole tomatoes with juice
14 oz can kidney beans with juice
17 oz can corn with juice
8 oz can tomato sauce
Homemade Taco Seasoning doubled and separate
1-2 cups water
1 cup grated cheddar cheese for topping
taco or corn chips or tortilla strips for topping
avocado and lime for topping
Homemade Taco Season Recipe (from MyPlantBasedFamily.com)
Combine all seasoning ingredients a 2nd time, minus 1 tsp salt, and add directly to crockpot.
1. Brown tofu and onions in skillet with seasoning as described above.
2. Add the whole tomatoes, kidney beans, corn, and tomato sauce directly to the slow cooker.
3. Combine all ingredients except cheese, chips, avocado, and lime in slow cooker.
4. Cover. Cook on Low 4-6 hours.
5. Ladle into bowls. Top with cheese, lime, avocado and serve with corn chips/tortilla strips.
The Fix-it and Forget-it Cookbook: Feasting with your Slow Cooker is now a revised edition. So the page number I reference above may not be the same page number in the revised edition.
We used Fresh Gourmet Tortilla Strips the tri-color ones and Santa Fe Style ones. In the future I'll stay away from the Santa Fe Style strips not because they were rather spicy, but because they were way too salty in my opinion and overpowered the flavor of the dish itself. The Tri-Color strips have 15 mg of sodium per 2 Tbsp whereas the Santa Fe tortilla strips have 25 mg of sodium per 2 Tbsp!
I’m sooo not ready to show a before and after yet, but I’ve been trying to be deliberate about taking the time to blast....fascia blast that is. Essentially, I’ve got dimples where I don’t want them and NO dimples where I DO want them (in my cheeks...the ones on my face).
So, that cottage cheese looking stuff isn’t always cellulite, it’s what I’ll refer to as “Matted Fascia”. Yeah I’m sure fat is in there too causing those not so lovely lumps, but based on my research it’s fascia that’s all stuck together that should be loosened and this blaster helps with that.
In the picture, I’ve got the BIG DADDY! It was on sale one Father’s Day (now that I think about it, that's kind of strange...) years ago so I got it and have hardly used it. Now it’s imperative that I do! Not only does blasting the fascia make things more aesthetically pleasing, but there are physical benefits to it too. It’s good for muscular function, flexibility, increased circulation, firmer skin, and more!
Since I’ve decided to be more intentional about blasting I scored another great sale and now I’ve got the Mini 1 blaster too! It might look a bit scandalous, but it’s legit for blasting lol!
Word of advice, if you decide to start your own blastin' regimen: watch the tutorials, go easy, work up to increasing your blasting time, and drink LOTS of water! I was been feeling a bit ill/achy for a of couple days after this first blast and there was no apparent reason for it. Then it hit me! Oh my gosh! It’s probably the toxins being released that I’m stirring up with my BIG DADDY. I’m certain that’s it! It’s like when you get a massage they tell you to drink plenty of water for the rest of the day....to flush all of that toxic stuff out! That's all for now. I'll keep you posted on how its going.
So, last week the Governor of Kansas announced that school would remain closed for the remainder of the semester. Jordan and I were in Virginia as I conducted my Army Reserve duty when the call came in.
I was some what relieved that Vince was the one who was home navigating these uncharted waters with the older two as the three of them digested the initial shock of no more school for the remainder of the semester. My hope was that he’d have a playbook or a tutorial all drafted up for me to refer to as I got home.
As I returned home, there was no playbook. There were no instructions. But there were TONS of resources being shared by both teachers and a whole bunch more shared by anyone and everyone on social media! The tough part about having so many (fun) resources is the propensity to become overwhelmed. On several occasions this year I’ve had the opportunity to remind myself, when you don’t know where to start, just start! It’s a really helpful and comes in handy for things like committing to a new exercising routine, beginning a podcast, and even organizing cluttered messes.
Anyhow, I started by doing a brain dump- see the image below. Yes, it says Beauty School and Happy Hour! Happy Hour was Brynn’s idea (she’s 9). She informed me, with a BIG grin that Happy Hour would be when they could do whatever they want...I’m pretty sure that meant screen time galore! It gave me a good laugh!
The girls aren’t doing school work all day, but we do think it’s important, for the sake of having days that somewhat resemble a normal school day, that we get them up at 7 am and they are in bed by 8:30 pm.
The girls have been preparing meals and are excited about their culinary contributions to the family. We are finding ways to not GO bananas during the quarantine. In fact, I bought three bunches of bananas and some other kitchen basics when I returned home from Virginia.
Check what I plan to use these bananas for (see video below)and leave me a comment about what you’ve prepared that includes bananas. I’d love to read all about it! Especially while I’ve got the time!
A couple of weeks ago my husband purchased a 42 oz container of old fashioned Quaker Oats. He's been trying out different recipes in the Instant Pot and some overnight oat meals. So, we have LOTS of oatmeal on hand! Couple that with my discovery of Nature's Path Organic Love Crunch Premium Granola with Dark Chocolate and Berries (that my kids and I really enjoy, by the way) you just might have a recipe for a desire to make your own granola!
After buying three packages of Love Crunch and watching them disappear in under 3 days each (they aren't that big), I decided it might be worth making my own just to save money. How hard could it be right? Oh, and if I asked the girls to help me make it, they would be excited to consume what their hands prepared!
Like anyone looking for consumer approved recipes with amazing photos I clicked on my Pinterest app and searched for Home Made Granola. It just so happens that the first one that came up was simple enough. Thanks to Krissy at Self Proclaimed Foodie I had a terrific recipe to follow. I quickly determined what we didn't have on hand and asked Vince if he'd pick up the coconut flakes, honey, and pumpkin seeds on the way home.
Our granola differs from Krissy's in a few ways.
I think you'll really enjoy this recipe! Even if you're not a big granola fan, try it out. It may change your opinion of the crunch stuff! Oh, by the way, we eat ours with almond milk (any kind of milk will do) and the kids really like mixing it with plain yogurt for breakfast.
Here's how we made it and the ingredients we used. If you'd like to check out Krissy's recipe remember to visit Self Proclaimed Foodie!
1. In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients.
2. In a separate bowl, combine oil, honey, and vanilla. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
3. Stir well; ensuring all the wet ingredients fully coat the dry ingredients.
4. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper and spread granola mixture over sheet to form a thin layer.
5. Bake in preheated 250 degrees F oven for 1.5 hours, stirring or flipping every 15 minutes or so.
6. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool on baking sheet. When ready, break the granola up into small pieces or into large chunks if you desire clusters. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
P.S. when it's fully cooled... definitely add your own chocolate chips!
This recipe makes roughly 6 to 8 cups. Enjoy!
After you try this recipe out, I'd love to hear how you're enjoying your granola!
The other evening we entered the YMCA and noticed that the place was hoppin’! We are regulars here - couple times a week in the evenings as a family and Jordan and I come practically every morning - so the packed facility, we noted, was rather atypical.
The first thing one of the ladies at the desk said with a smile as we walked in (she must have noted the look of surprise on our faces) was: “New Year’s Resolutions!” I chuckled and continued in.
Now that my Army Physical Fitness Test is complete I’ve decided I’ll run only when I want to, but I KNOW one does NOT have to run to experience positive results.
📸 See these photos of me? I spent 3 1/2 months working to look like that and majority of the time was on my own. 30 minutes a week once or twice a week I met with a trainer. Not ONCE did I run. I’m not exaggerating either. I did not run one minute to get those results, but the effort I put in gave me incredible endurance and allowed me to run faster than I had in years.
I’m dripping sweat on the treadmill and looking rough now as I dictate this, by the way!
When you don’t know where to start, just start!
Yesterday, I put the treadmill on 3.5 speed and the incline at 9 and went for 30 minutes. I’m doing the same today.
It’s so easy to do nothing because you’re trying to figure out the best plan. I do it with a lot of things. Sometimes I allow myself to get stuck to the point of inaction because I want to find out the best way to do something.
Months and even years go by because I don’t just start. Well, that me take that back. I start, but sometimes I get hung up along the way. I get what’s been called paralysis by analysis.
When it comes to the new year and your wellness and fitness goals, I propose that we don’t make resolutions. Avoid paralysis by analysis.
Instead, seek out REALsolutions. Solutions that are simple and easy to begin are ideal. REALsolutions don’t have to be costly or time consuming. They just have to be realistic, simple, and challenging- oh! And make it fun!
Ok, so your fitness and wellness goals may not feel fun as you begin, but selecting activities or meal plans that interest you will help.
The photo I’ve shared serves as motivation for me. It reminds me that in as little as 30 minutes to an hour a day it is possible to be metamorphic! To feel and see change! Remember, that change won’t happen over night. However, if you make a commitment to yourself and keep your daily appointments with yourself, you can’t help but notice changes in your thinking and physical appearance.
When you don’t know where to start, just start!
Here’s to you, your New Year’s REALsolutions, and your 20/20 vision!
For more inspiration check out allisonmarschean.com
Easy Peasy Mexican Casserole
This is probably my favorite go-to recipe when I don't know what to make for dinner. I discovered Holly and her blog My Plant-based Family in 2012 when I was desperately searching for animal protein-free meals I could eat that would support my, then, new way of eating.
I was officially diagnosed with discoid lupus in early 2012 and learned new ways of eating that would help me to kick the autoimmune challenge to the curb. The first thing I really enjoyed about this recipe is that it taught me how to make my own taco seasoning, without all of the anti-caking agents and sodium found in boxed taco seasonings. Learning how to mix spices to create amazing, from scratch, seasonings was fun and exciting for me!
On her website, Holly now offers an Insta-pot and a crock-pot version of this recipe, but when I discovered it there was only the oven version and that's the one I enjoy the most. My children and my husband enjoy all three variants! I often add canned corn (fresh corn in the summer) for some extra color and I used one can of black beans and one can of kidney beans to mix up the texture and taste. This becomes our "taco meat" or filling, if you will. Our sides typically include lettuce, cheese, slices of avocado, tomatoes and/or salsa all with taco shells or tortilla chips as a taco salad.
Try it out and come up with your favorite way to prepare!
For Casserole Version
Turn Down the Inflammation Turmeric, Carrot, Ginger, and Banana Smoothie
All three of my kiddos love this smoothie! I found this recipe on the Minimalist Baker's site and have just given it a name that I think fits it well! They are ages 8, 8 and 2. While I own a Hurom Slow Juicer that I really like AND it's pretty easy to clean, I don't have much time to juice my carrots these days, so I buy mine already bottled. To keep things simple I also use frozen and even canned pineapple. Same for the lemon juice. I typically use juice that is pre-bottled.
Quick, Easy, and Tasty
Allison Marschean is a wife and mother of 8 year old twins girls and a 2 year old baby girl who is kicking an autoimmune disorder to the curb with food and fitness, all while living her dimensions!