Cooking, Family

A Recipe For Fun: Getting Kids Interested In Cooking

Calling out “dinner is ready” is the only time the kids are interested in cooking. They want nothing to do with the prep, but they’re happy to chow down like hungry piranhas. Moms don’t need the hassle. Most would rather put the dinner on the table and get the kids to wash up afterward. It’s a solid system that has worked for years. Why change now?

The truth is that cooking is a fundamental skill which kids lack. Plus, a healthy interest in the ingredients can lead to a healthier lifestyle. With that in mind, here are the tricks of the trade.

Continue reading “A Recipe For Fun: Getting Kids Interested In Cooking”

Cooking

3 Spring Recipes Everyone Needs to Try

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Perhaps thinking of spring is a little overly-optimistic given the recent weather conditions, but before you know it, the weather will be warming and a sense of hope and optimism will be in the air. This is a particularly exciting development in the kitchen, as you move from the comfort foods that saw you through the worst of winter and into an embrace of lighter, more intricate dishes that suit the warming climate.

For many of us, the change in season means that we’ll soon be returning to recipes that we abandoned in the fall, waiting for warmer times to resume before we could cook them again. While it’s always pleasant to be able to return to an old favorite, there’s no harming in adding a few more strings to your bow to embrace the shift into spring. Below are three recipes that are so good, everyone should try them at least once!

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Cooking, Self-Care

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

We aren’t always the best at putting healthy alternatives into our diet, are we? There’s so much temptation around is no matter where we go. Even with the best intentions, it is hard to stay focused on a healthy diet. Nearly all of the people who attempt it fall within the first week. But this is because getting into the routine of a healthy diet is like getting into a routine at the gym. You have to give it a few weeks before you can go the week without thinking anything of it. It will then become natural to you. So to try and show you why healthy alternatives are the way forward, we’ve listed some of the benefits for you, and a negative that binge eating and unhealthy foods can do to you.

(Related Post: 3 Health Tips For The New Year)

The Bad Foods

We might as well start with the bad foods first to try and highlight how good the good foods truly are for you. We are terrible at giving into bad foods. Frankly, it is because some of them are known to be addictive. Because of the way in which certain chemicals within chocolate, or crisps, or other such junk foods react in our brain, we get addicted to the feeling of happiness eating the junk food gives us. So actually breaking the cycle of eating them is harder than you might think. For a food to be addictive to us, you know it can’t be too good for you. There are times of the year where we eat a lot more than we should of, the holidays being the main one. We overindulge because we feel there is a reason to. But the short-term effects of this are weight gain, higher cholesterol, not enough energy, and crankiness. As good as junk food might make us feel, it does give you a little binge eat hangover which can make you a little more touchy than you realize. But there are plenty of holiday eating tips out there to help you try and reduce your calorie and fat intake at a time when it will usually be highest. If you carry on binge eating, the long-term effects are really bad. Weight gain and possible obesity is the main one. This can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and long-term high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The Good

If you switch your diet up and cut out all the foods full of additives, high sugar and salt content, and fat, the first thing you’re going to notice is your energy levels will be increased. That sluggish feeling we seem to get on a daily basis will soon fade away. You’ll also notice your weight will drop. The benefits of this being less chance of developing the issues we mentioned in the above paragraph, and it can actually help to improve other functions within your body. Your cardiovascular system will improve when it isn’t clogged up with all the cholesterol from all the fatty foods, and your digestive system will also improve. It is so much easier for our digestive system to process the organic foods you will be eating, the processed ones often clog the system up, and most likely are the reason you have a bad belly a few times a week.

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives - The Southern Smiths: Beat your habits!
Cooking, General

7 Healthy Weekday Dinner Crock-pot Recipes

It’s really feeling like a Monday today, isn’t it? It’s so early in the morning, and I’m already dreading cooking dinner.

And then I remember, I just got a new 6 qt crock-pot! Not only that, but my clean eating Pinterest board is full of healthy, low maintenance crock-pot dinner ideas!

So, I’m going to share with y’all a weeks worth of crock-pot dinner recipes, for when you really don’t feel like cooking.

Smoky Chicken Stew

Red Beans and Rice

Parmesan herb chicken and orzo

Cauliflower pizza casserole

Pumpkin Turkey Chili

Teriyaki Chicken

Easy Roast

What are your favorite crock-pot recipes?

7 Healthy Weekday Crock-pot Dinner Recipes - The Southern Smiths: A week's worth of clean crockpot dinners to take the stress out of your evening
Cooking, General, Thanksgiving

5 Unique Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes

I hope you had a great holiday! Now’s the time where you’re home, you’re relaxing, and you start to realize: you have WAY too much food, and no idea what to do with it. You either hosted, and no one took any home, or you attended and were sent with an oversized roaster pan full of leftovers.

Well, here are 5 more creative recipes to help get rid of those pesky Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Turkey and Cranberry Quesadillas 


Thanksgiving Leftovers Stromboli

Thanksgiving Shepherd’s Pie with Stuffing Crust 

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pizza 

Turkey Mushroom and Cranberry Risotto 

Have you tried any of these recipes? What’s your favorite thing to do with leftovers?

5 Unique Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes - The Southern Smiths: From stromboli to risotto, these are recipes you don't want to miss!
Cooking, General

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools

(I do not have affiliate links. All of these links are just to amazon to show the product I’m speaking of.)

If y’all haven’t noticed, I’m obsessed with cooking. The more I can do from scratch, the better. I even recently found a scratch green bean casserole recipe! No cream of mushroom!

With all of this cooking, there are a few gadgets I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. Here’s my top 5!

Microwave plate-cover

Oh my gosh I love this. Sometimes, I have to heat something up (like butter), and this comes in SO handy to keep the splashing to a minimum. No more scraping food off the top of the door!

Meat Chopper

This was a stocking stuffer in my stocking about 4 years ago, and I LOVE it. It breaks up ground beef/turkey into perfect crumbles for you! It makes browning quicker and sooo much easier.

Lattice Cutter

You know all those pies I bake? I love using this tool with my easy 4-ingredient pie crust recipe. I actually have a few different lattice cutters for different looks and occasions. They save time and look SO much better than anything I can do by hand.

Blender

I wish I had a food processor, but my blender gets the job done! It is AMAZING at ricing cauliflower, no lie. I’ve also used it for a lobster bisque. Sauces, pesto, whatever I need to make this thing does its job.

Mandoline

I no longer dread slicing vegetables! I can get thin, medium, and thick slices. I can julienne, I can do anything! I’ve used it most recently for making chips! If you don’t have one, you DEFINITELY need to get one.

Do you love cooking? What are your favorite kitchen tools?

5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools - The Southern Smiths: 5 kitchen tools that will make your life easier!
Cooking, General

My Meal Planning Rotation Board

It’s payday! Isn’t it so relieving to finally stop stressing, distribute money to bills, and get your fridge restocked?

Thankfully, that last task isn’t too daunting for me. Why? Because when I see a recipe I like, I plan to make it. If it goes well, I save it to my meal planning rotation board.

I LOVE Pinterest. Who doesn’t, right? It’s the best way to save and organize a plethora of articles, recipes, DIYs, and more! I’ve got boards for recipes, home decor, general life tips, parenting, etc. My favorite of all, though, is my meal planning board.

I’ve saved a collection of healthy breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner recipes that have gone over well at our table. I have a four-year-old and one-year-old, but that doesn’t mean the meals are kid-friendly. We’re blessed to have kids that will eat salmon, or asparagus, pork, anything I put in front of them.

Don’t fret! The healthy apple pie oatmeal cookies  or pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are sure to win them over! When my kids are unsure of the meal, I tell them if they take 3 bites they can have whichever snack, and I’m fine with that because I know my snacks are healthy and protein packed.

So far I’ve got about 50 recipes saved, and I’m regularly adding more as my family reviews each meal.

These are my favorite recipes from each meal category that you can find on my board:

Breakfast: Quick and Easy Coffee Cake

Lunch: Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

Snack: Apple Slice Cookies

Dinner: Loaded Chicken and Potatoes Casserole 

If you like these recipes, make sure to follow the board! Do you have a favorite recipe board?

 My Meal Planning Rotation Board - The Southern Smiths: Healthy recipes for your family for all meals, including snacks!
Cooking, General

One Week Clean Eating Challenge

Clean eating is one of our favorite things in our family. We love only eating things we can pronounce and understand! Don’t get me wrong, we still have occasional junk food if I forget to make snacks for the week, but clean eating makes us feel much better when we stick to it.

What is clean eating?

It’s ridiculously simple. Clean eating is eating “real” foods. Minimally processed, refined and handled. As close to their natural state as possible! You don’t have to go full organic to eat clean.

How it benefits you:

Less constipation due to added fiber
Great flavors in your dishes from natural ingredients
Better moods and mental well-being due to natural vitamins and dopamine enhancers
Higher energy levels due to stable energy sources

 

So, does it sound like something you want to try? I challenge you to ONE week of clean eating! That’s it, just one!To help you get started, here are a week’s worth of clean eating dinner recipes I use for our family!

1.Cheesy Kielbasa, Rice and Broccoli Skillet 

2.One-Pan Pesto Chicken and Veggies

3.One-Pan Lemon Garlic Salmon and Asparagus

4.Apple Glazed Pork Tenderloin and Carrots, With Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5.Spaghetti Squash and Homemade Meatballs 

6.Sheet Pan Baked Parmesan Porkchops with Asparagus and Potatoes

7.Mini Meatloaves, Green Beans and Potatoes

What do you think? Are you up to the challenge? Let me know if you decide to take it!

 One Week Clean Eating Challenge - The Southern Smiths: I've included a week's worth of dinner recipes to help you out!
Cooking, General, Thanksgiving

Easy 4-Ingredient Pie Crust Recipe

This is Kody’s great-grandmother’s recipe. It is the most delicious, buttery flavored, perfectly flaky crust I’ve ever eaten.

And it’s so simple to do yourself!

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Ingredients (1 shell):
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter flavored Crisco
¼ cup water

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Step 1: combine flour, salt, and Crisco. Sift through hands until it reaches a soft crumble consistency.

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Step 2: slowly add water while kneading the mixture into itself. This will begin to form the dough. Keep kneading and pushing out air. When the dough is soft and slightly sticky (doesn’t stick to your hands) form into a ball. Use the ball to pick up leftover pieces in the bowl. Mold the ball in your hands, pushing out any air bubbles. Smooth any cracks by pinching the dough together and pushing out air.

Step 3: on a floured surface, roll out the dough. Make sure your hands and rolling pin are also floured. Roll dough evenly to ¼ in thickness. Carefully lift the dough and lay into prepared pie pan.

Step 4: Cut excess dough, leaving a ½ inch lip over the edge of the pie pan. Fold this lip under and into the pan, and then crimp or pinch around the edge of your dough.

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Step 5: Using a fork, poke small holes throughout the bottom and around the sides of the dough to create a vent for the crust while baking.

Fill pie and bake according to filling directions. If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Ingredients (1 shell):
1 ½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter flavored Crisco
¼ cup water

Step 1: combine flour, salt, and Crisco. Sift through hands until it reaches a soft crumble consistency.

Step 2: slowly add water while kneading the mixture into itself. This will begin to form the dough. Keep kneading and pushing out air. When the dough is soft and slightly sticky (doesn’t stick to your hands) form into a ball. Use the ball to pick up leftover pieces in the bowl. Mold the ball in your hands, pushing out any air bubbles. Smooth any cracks by pinching the dough together and pushing out air.

Step 3: on a floured surface, roll out the dough. Make sure your hands and rolling pin are also floured. Roll dough evenly to ¼ in thickness. Carefully lift the dough and lay into prepared pie pan.

Step 4: Cut excess dough, leaving a ½ inch lip over the edge of the pie pan. Fold this lip under and into the pan, and then crimp or pinch around the edge of your dough.

Step 5: Using a fork, poke small holes throughout the bottom and around the sides of the dough to create a vent for the crust while baking.

Fill pie and bake according to filling directions. If the crust browns too quickly, cover with foil.

Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments below!

 Easy 4-Ingredient Pie Crust Recipe - The Southern Smiths: The perfect flaky pie crust for your holiday pies!