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Savory Roasted Vegetables

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gro-ables. All opinions are 100% mine.

Savory Roasted Vegetables

I am looking forward to spring so much!  We are hoping to plant a few vegetables this year, and I cannot wait to have fresh food on hand to prepare dishes such as these savory roasted vegetables.


Savory Roasted Vegetables

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Then chop up some veggies and herbs and toss them in some olive oil. Squash, peppers, onions and tomatoes are a good combination. Add some fresh herbs like basil, parsley and oregano.

Mix all your ingredients and wrap everything in foil on a baking dish. Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes or so. Drizzle with your favorite balsamic reduction and serve over rice, quinoa or just have it by itself.

Do you want to have your own fresh veggies growing right in your backyard?  Gro-ables seed pods are a great option for beginning gardeners or those with a brown thumb!

Gro-ables is a new product from Miracle-Gro that is designed for people new to gardening.  When used as directed, they are guaranteed to grow!  And they are super-affordable at $1.29 – $1.49 per pod.

Each pod contains all you need to grow your own food:

  • Specially selected non-GMO seed at just the right depth
  • Growing materials to protect the seed and keep it moist
  • Plant food to help it grow and build strong roots

There are 17 different varieties of vegetables and herbs that you can grow and use to create delicious recipes like the one above.

And if you are really bad about remembering to water your plants like I am, Gro-ables also work together with the Sprout It app.  Just enter the date you planted it in your app, and you will receive reminders to water your plant as well as other helpful tips.

Yellow Zucchini photo 12_MG_YellowSquash_5497_1209002_V01_zpsc90bc415.jpg


What fresh vegetable or herb are you most looking forward to growing?

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Crockpot White Chicken Chili

The following post is from guest contributor Andrea.

crockpot white chicken chili jpg I love cooking in the winter.  I can cook and bake to my heart’s content without overheating the house.  And I can make soup – a lot.  We eat a lot of soups in the winter months.  They are usually frugal to prepare.  They are very filling and healthy.  And most soup recipes make a lot, which means that I can cook once and get several meals out of the effort.  I especially love soups that can be tossed into the crock-pot in the morning and then ladled into bowls at dinner time. One of my family’s favorite “soup” recipes is White Chicken chili.  I first heard of this recipe from my friend Sarah.  I have tweaked it a little until it is just the way my family loves it.  It’s frugal, hearty, easy, and it makes a whole lot.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

This isn’t a true white chili because it calls for black beans instead of white beans.  You can choose to use canned ingredients and a store-bought spice mix to make it really fast, or prep the ingredients yourself.  I prefer to cook dry beans.  I cook up a whole bag and then freeze it in 2-cup portions.  For this recipe I use two of my pre-portioned bags.  You can buy a white chicken chili seasoning packet, or just mix up some spices at home (for much less money!).

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

2 cans of corn (or about 4 cups of frozen corn) (do not drain)
4 cups cooked black beans (if using canned beans, do not drain.  If using cooked dry beans, add about ¼-1/3 cup water)
2 chicken breasts
1 tsp. garlic powder
Sprinkle crushed red peppers
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. oregano
Pinch cayenne

Combine first three ingredients in crockpot.  I often throw the chicken in straight from the freezer, but you can thaw it first.  Combine spices and sprinkle over the top.  Cook on low 6-8 hours.  Before serving, remove chicken from crockpot and shred with two forks.  Return chicken to crockpot and mix to blend all seasonings.  Serve over rice or tortilla chips, with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese!  (My husband likes his with a big helping of Tabasco sauce too).

White Chicken Chili

Healthy Baking Substitutions

Many of you are likely doing quite a bit of baking this time of year.  Here are some Healthy Baking Substitutions you can use to make your goodies more healthy!

Healthy Baking Substitutions


Replace white sugar with the following:

  • Organic pure cane sugar (rapadura) or sucanat (1:1 ratio.  Also, you can gradually reduce the amount of sugar the recipe calls for until you get used to less sugar.  You should be able to get used to the total amount of sugar being cut by as much as half.)
  • Honey (Use 1/2 to 3/4 cup for every cup of sugar.  Reduce liquids by 1/4 cup for each cup of honey used.)
  • Maple Syrup (Use 3/4 cup for every cup of sugar.  Reduce liquids by 3 tablespoons for each cup of maple syrup.)
  • Applesauce (Cut the sugar in half, then replace the missing half with applesauce plus another 1/3 the amount.  Example: if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of applesauce plus another 1/3 cup of applesauce. Reduce liquids by 1/4 cup for every cup of applesauce you add.)


Although real butter is not an unhealthy fat, you may want to replace up to half the butter in your baking recipes.  I use these substitutions often for cost savings or to add a bigger variety of nutrition.  (You can also use these substitutions if you can't have dairy.)  You can use the following substitutions:

  • Applesauce
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Coconut Oil
  • Mashed Avocado


Vegetable Oil, Crisco, or Margarine

Please, please do not bake with these products!  These are trans fats, and your body does not even recognize them as food, but will store them as toxins instead!  Use the following substitutions:

  • Real butter
  • Applesauce
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Coconut Oil


Chocolate Chips

Most chocolate chips are made with GMO sugar and soy lecithin, which are both harmful to your body.  Instead, use homemade chocolate chips, an organic chocolate bar cut into chunks or Enjoy Life's chocolate chips (I find them cheapest at Vitacost.)



This one is a little bit of an advanced step if you're not used to it.  I do not drink store-bought milk, but instead use raw milk and the cream off it for any recipes that use milk, cream, evaporated milk, buttermilk, etc.  If you're not ready to use raw milk/can't afford it, etc., at least try to purchase milk that is antibiotic and hormone free. (If you can't have dairy, you can substitute almond milk or rice milk.  Soy milk is not the best option – here's why.)



Another advanced step is to make sure you are using farm fresh eggs.  The nutritional content is about 1000% higher than store-bought eggs, and in fact you may be harming your system with GMO's when you eat eggs from commercial chickens.  If you're out of eggs or have allergies, you can substitute ground flax seed and water.  All you need to do is finely grind some flax seeds in a heavy-duty blender and use 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed mixed with 3 Tbsp. of water for each egg you need to replace.



Today's flour (even whole wheat flour) is a completely different product than it was years ago.  It is basically devoid of nutrition, and actually contains phytic acid which steals nutrients from your body.  So in a way it has negative nutrition.  If you can find a resource for heirloom wheat (such as Tropical Traditions) you will be getting a product that has not been altered through hybridization.  If you cannot get quality heirloom wheat, try to avoid recipes with wheat as much as possible. Instead opt for gluten-free recipes using oat flour, almond flour, coconut flour, bean flour, etc.

What did I miss?  How do you make traditional recipes more healthy?

10 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

This list of 10 Healthy Snacks for Toddlers was created for anyone looking for ideas of what to feed their toddler that is not a choking hazard and won't create a huge mess!

Healthy Snacks for Toddlers

These snacks are truly healthy and nutrient dense (no Cheerios or Toddler Puffs here!), but still very quick and easy for mom to fix for the little ones.

I know my little guy likes to be independent, but I don't like the mess that he makes when he eats by himself! Here are some (relatively) mess-free foods that toddlers can eat by themselves. I also tried to make sure everything on this list is not a choking hazard. (Obviously, you still need to watch your children carefully when they eat!)



1. Cheese slices

2. Banana

3. Homemade Cheez-its


Homemade Cheez Its

4. Homemade Yogurt Melts

5. Strawberry slices

6. Soaked Banana Pumpkin Biscuits

Soaked Banana Pumpkin Biscuits


7. Apples – peeled and diced

8. Rice cakes with peanut butter or almond butter

9. Hard boiled eggs

10. Homemade granola bars


Homemade Granola Bars


Did you see my little guy in his Combi high chair up in the top picture?

Combi High Chair

This is a fantastic high chair!  Here are just a few of the features it has:

  • 5-position height adjustment – make sure your child is at a comfortable level in proportion to your chair
  • 3-position reclining adjustment – this is helpful for younger babies who may not do so well sitting all the way up at first
  • 5-point harness – all my other kids were amazingly skilled at getting out of their buckles, but with a 5-point harness, I don't think that will be possible!
  • the tray has a removable insert that can be snapped off and put into the dishwasher – quick cleanup!
  • compact folding for storage – perfect for our little bitty house!

Combi High Chair

I also loved the color we received (bronze) as it matched our kitchen perfectly.  If you need a high chair for your busy toddler this is one I recommend!  Click here to see it on Amazon.



What other healthy snacks for toddlers would you add to this list?

Mini Sloppy Joe Pizzas

Are your kids tired of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Here's quick and easy lunch for busy homeschool days that your kids will love – Mini Sloppy Joe Pizzas!


By using a little forethought, you will have all the ingredients already prepped for this by preparing extra when you make your family dinners.

You will need to prepare extra biscuits whenever you are making them and cook up some extra ground beef whenever that is a part of your dinner prep. Keep the biscuits and cooked beef in the fridge and pull them out to make this quick lunch.


Mini Sloppy Joe Pizzas


  • Slice open several biscuits or use store-bought bread
  • Mix cooked ground beef with a jar of spaghetti sauce and spread over biscuits
  • Sprinkle with grated cheese (I prefer Cabot brand)
  • Broil until  cheese is brown and bubbly
  • (I added a slice of tomatillo to each of mine as you can see in the picture above. You can add whatever additional toppings you like.)


Psst…I have an entire Pinterest board called “Unique Lunch Ideas”, so be sure to follow me there!