Quick Crock Pot Pork Chops

Here’s another really quick and simple meal for those busy summer time nights. This takes only a few minutes to prepare in the morning. It’s then ready to eat when you get home!

crock pot pork chops

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 lean, boneless pork loin chops
  • 4-5 organic carrots (chopped bite size)
  • 2-3 parsnips (or other root veggie like potato or sweet potato, chopped bite size)
  • 1/4 chopped white onion
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced or whole (we like whole)
  • 1/2 cup regular BBQ sauce (we use a sugar free one)
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions:

  • Place thawed pork chops in bottom of crock pot
  • Add veggies & garlic
  • Pour BBQ sauce & water over all
  • Cook on low for 7-9 hours.

Serve with a green salad. I sometimes do individual salads so that each person gets the veggies & dressing they like. This keeps the peace on a busy night and the kids are more likely to just eat. The kids can even build these themselves while you’re dishing up the hot stuff. Have lots of varieties of veggies to choose from. Mine is simple baby mixed greens, some tomato, feta, cuke and some tamari dressing that I had on hand.

Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pancakes!

pancakes

 

My first experiment with this pancake recipe was just sugar and white flour free. It has now evolved to include dairy free (yep, even the chocolate chips are dairy free!!) and gluten free. These are a hit in our house; topped with real AMAZING maple syrup straight from a farm in Quebec (we have it at Health Street!). These are so simple & easy that you CAN whip them up on a weekday morning! Really! I’m a Simple Life Celebrations Gal – it has to be simple and few dishes!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk – the kids can’t tell, believe me. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk would be fun to try
  • 2 tbsp liquid coconut oil (we don’t use canola oil at our house anymore)
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
  • sprinkle Himalayan or sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour (yes, buckwheat flour is not wheat and is gluten free)
  • Enjoy Life Mini-Chips – dairy, nut & soy free
  • solid coconut oil for the pan

Instructions:

  • Beat eggs in a bowl big enough for all the pancake mix
  • Add milk & coconut oil & agave and whisk together
  • Add the baking powder & salt and whisk to blend well
  • Add the flour and whisk. You can add more almond milk at this point if the batter is too thick. It depends on the size of your eggs
  • Melt a little of the solid coconut in the pan
  • Pour by the spoonful into pan to make individual pancakes
  • Sprinkle a few chocolate chips into the wet side of the pancake
  • Use the solid coconut oil between batches to keep the pancakes from sticking. I only use about 1 tsp per batch.

I use just one bowl to mix everything in. I know that the “rule” is to mix the dry ingredients together first, THEN add them to the wet. It’s just quicker to do it this way and mixes well; so there is no need for two bowls in my opinion. I prefer coconut oil in the pan simply because it is WAAAYY better for you (yes, it’s a fat – it’s a good fat and actually helps reduce cholesterol among other health benefits). This adds to the “staying power” of the pancake as well. These are filling and actually good for you and the kids! As I mentioned, these are simple enough to make on a weekday morning – feed the kids as you pull off each batch. The Enjoy Life Mini Chips are sweetened with a little bit of brown sugar and only have 3 ingredients. It is still “sugar” – but less refined and being “Mini Chips” the kids only have a few of them to get that “chocolate chip” treat! Skip them if you want completely sugar-free.

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Whimsy

Today, I am feeling whimsical. Remembering special moments and how much fun I’ve had in my life. Remembering to have fun every day.

I had a plan for today’s posts. I was feeling so organized. Then, I couldn’t find the stuff I needed. I was ticked off. I was disappointed. I was bummed. So I did yoga, had some tea and went to bed. Sometimes, you just gotta throw the plan out the window. Which is easy to do when it’s written on a paper napkin.

paper napkin

 

Just for today:

  • Read Calvin & Hobbes and remember your imaginary friend (I know you had one)
  • Revisit the inscriptions on your favorite books – my Nancy Drew hard covers given to me by my great grandmother at this time of year “for passing”; the year marked in the front
  • Smile and remember your favorite movie. Swiss Family Robinson. We sure loved to pretend we were them out in the treehouse
  • Drink a Margarita on a Wednesday afternoon. It’s 5:00 somewhere.
  • Sleep naked ’cause pj’s aren’t as much fun 🙂
  • Star Wars. That just never gets old. I still have my storm trooper figure I got for Christmas in 1977
  • Dance around like a wild woman while you’re doing dishes. Belt out a few lyrics. Makes dishes less boring and the kids embarrassed. Who doesn’t love embarrassing their children?
  • Get up in the morning and walk barefoot on the grass. Dig your toes in the dirt. Smile at the neighbors. Suddenly remember you slept naked…
  • Chew bubble gum. Remember that time it got stuck in your hair?
  • Sweet Tarts. Enough said.
  • Eat a DQ dipped cone – the biggest you can get and as fast as you can before it melts. Don’t share with anyone.
  • Wear a revealing outfit, kiss him like a hussy and “sassy-walk” away. See if he follows.
  • Sip coffee on the deck, even if it’s raining again. That’s why they made umbrellas.
  • Blast your favorite songs on the stereo. Leave the TV off and just rock out.

I’d love to see your whimsical list!

 

Shawna’s Simple Hamburger Helper

As you know, we love, LOVE to simplify! We are all busy, and it’s very easy to resort to eating out or eating something that doesn’t make us feel good. We’ve all done it. It’s time we get over our mistakes; understand that we’re not alone and then try again another day. I decided that I was going to make something good for us and quick and easy for a busy Thursday night last night.

Tinkyada PenneI didn’t want to resort to the highly processed “Hamburger Helper” like I used to! Instead, I came up with my own that was just as easily prepared and was gluten-free! It took less than 1/2 hour to get it on the table. We ate it so fast that I forgot to take a photo!

Here’s my simple recipe:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup Tinkyada Penne (or other gluten-free pasta)
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 green onion (optional), chopped

Brown beef. Add water, penne, salsa & corn. Simmer for 15-18 minutes (rice pasta takes a little longer than regular pasta noodles). Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella cheese until melted through. Serve immediately with green onion sprinkled on top.

We like to add more “spice” to ours, so we added Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or you could use a spicier salsa.) You could also top with a dab of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream. Serves 4 (You could also add some black beans to make it “go further” and serve 5 or so). Make it even faster by browning the beef ahead of time (when you buy a big package of beef at the grocery store, brown it up and freeze it individually, ready to use for these kinds of recipes! That’s planning ahead! Plus, only one mess to clean up!)

Let us know how it worked for you and any variations you made. We love your feedback!

Did you know: We have created a meal plan just for YOU! It was created to help you find that balance between healthy (mostly!) and simple recipes with ingredients that you can actually find at the grocery store. It is called Bad Ass Meal Planning.

badass header2

We teach Meal Planning Classes? Yep! Get your group of gals together and let’s learn how to eat healthier AND save money!! Contact us to set up your custom class!

Simple Joy

joy

I’m talking a lot about joy these days. I’ve been working on a few ebooks & workbooks and basically everything reminds me of the same thing: Practice Joy every day. It really is that simple. When we look for joy and do things that bring us joy, everything else just falls into place.

There was a time when I yelled and screamed…a lot…and at the wrong people. I looked in the mirror and despised the woman who looked back at me. If I could even look her in the eye. There was a time when headaches radiated from my neck all the way around to my forehead. I thought this was the way it was supposed to be.

I thought, if he just loved me more or if they would just listen! If I kept a better house, if I wore nicer clothes, if I put make-up on my face…then…yes, THEN…everything would be perfect. I went to work every day, dragging myself because that is what people do. I got “busy”; I drove kids this way and that, yelling at them to hurry up to go to a practice or even a game that they didn’t even want to go to any more.

But when I dared to look her in the eye, I did not see happiness. I did not see joy. I saw a lot of worry and I even saw pain. I remembered the girl who loved to draw. Who talked to her cows or her dog. Who loved to feel the grass between her toes and touch the sticky branches of the “climbing tree”. Who read books and wrote stories and poems by flash light when she was supposed to be asleep. Where did she go?

Slowly, but, indeed…surely…she is being reborn. That young woman is excited to go to work every day and help people feel better. She goes roller-skating or tobogganing or does something crazy whenever she can. She doesn’t yell as much, she “lets it go”. She reads books, she plays on the computer. She goes for a walk, barefoot on the lawn sometimes. She digs in the dirt and plays Lego long after the kids are done.

She is finding her joy. She notices the little things like the robins singing or the first ladybug there in the grass. She’ll put down the phone and listen to what you have to say. She makes time for friends and makes love like she’s twenty-something. She laughs more and cries lots too because it is OK to feel every emotion. To feel is to be alive and I certainly am…and for that…I am joyful.

 

Summer Get Up N’ Go Pack

Fun Exploring

Summer is here! It is sometimes difficult to know what the weather is going to be like but it sure is nice to be ready if you decide on a last minute day trip! So most of us have an extra backpack kicking around – why not make up a bag so that when the weather and the timing is right you are all ready to go?

Here is your list of ‘ingredients’ to help make your adventure successful.

☼Backpack
☼Sunscreen
☼Bug spray
☼Small hand sanitizer or moistened wipes
☼Water bottles/water pack (1 per family member). Reusable is better for our environment!
☼A few small toys for the car ride (car bingo sheet, paper, crayons,
☼Small first aid kit
☼Sheet or thin blanket for picnic or rest
☼Small tissue pack
☼Light jacket or hoodie
☼Sunglasses and or hats (protect your skin and eyes)
☼$ in case of emergency (or an ice cream stop☺)
☼Camera if you don’t have one on your phone; good for capturing those special memories.
Don’t forget snacks. If you are hiking dried fruits, nuts, granola and sandwiches are easy to carry and not too messy!

This list can be tailored depending on what your trip is. If you are going to the beach substitute your picnic blanket for towel and for toys grab some bubbles and sand pails.

Most of all don’t forget to have FUN!!!

Summertime Fun
Summertime Fun

For more great summertime FUN ideas, grab your copy of Simplify: Summer for only $4.99! It’s jam-packed with ideas for making this summer the best EVER! Click to download your copy: Simplify: Summer

Minimalist Packing

minimalist packing

 

We’ve gotten pretty good at packing light. This is important now that some airlines have begun to charge for ALL bags! There was the spur of the moment trip to Great Falls Montana where the Cevrainis left their house with nothing but a change of clothes, some P.J.’s and a few snacks! It was one of the best weekend’s ever! (The whole story is back on my personal blog: http://cevraini.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/lewis-and-clark-adventure/ ) I went to Edmonton for the week for work in the spring, and only took a back pack and my laptop bag (pictured above)! I had enough clothes for the week, including some workout stuff. Krystal and I went to North Carolina for the weekend for a retreat and we had a duffel bag each! Our families went to Florida this spring for 10 days and the Worths (5 people) had 3 suitcases and the Cevrainis had 4 (one for each person). We saw families with A LOT more than that and they struggled through the airport. Never again will we be like that.

The benefit is, it usually only takes me about 15 minutes to pack and then I don’t have a ton of stuff to try to carry around! I love it! The only thing we were missing for Montana was swim suits, but we did that on purpose because we all needed new ones and they were cheaper there! LOL!

Here’s my list of things that I normally pack in my suitcase (to be checked):

  1. PJ’s
  2. Toothbrush & paste
  3. Shampoo & soap
  4. Small bottle body lotion
  5. Norwex facecloth – this is the only thing I use on my face
  6. Norwex towel – this is light weight and dries quickly
  7. Contacts, solution & glasses
  8. Minimal “first aid” – tylenol, homeopathics etc.
  9. Feminine hygiene
  10. 4 pairs undies & socks
  11. 1 sport bra
  12. Capris or my other comfy pants
  13. 2 short-sleeve tops
  14. 2 long sleeve running tops – these are nice and are cool or warm for every day, great for layers
  15. 1 yoga pant
  16. 1 yoga top
  17. Swim suit
  18. Sandals
  19. Journal & Pens
  20. Books (1 or 2)

Here’s my list of things that I normally pack in my carry on:

  1. Passport and documentation
  2. My small wallet
  3. Book and notes that I’m working on
  4. iPhone and/or GPS for travel car (and charger)
  5. Laptop
  6. Few granola bars and snacks
  7. Kleenex
  8. Gum & mints
  9. Lip balm
  10. Water

Try packing less the next time you travel. What’s the worst that can happen? You may need something, but chances are it’s pretty minor. You won’t regret it – and you’ll love the ease of moving through the airport compared to the others that need a cart!

 

What I Didn’t Do (and What I Did)

I was beating myself up like I do sometimes.

Ever do this: think about all the stuff you didn’t get done? All the things you “messed up”?

This week, I didn’t:
  • Get more toilet paper! I mean, who runs out of toilet paper?!?!
  • Run – AT – ALL…even though every time I saw a runner, I longed to join her.
  • Do laundry. Not a single load. And who preaches about doing a load every other day??
  • Get my photo book done yet. Yep, I wanted it done yesterday!
  • Catch up on paperwork from post holiday that was two weeks ago now!
  • Stop myself from laying the guilt trip on my daughter when she was having a fit about a lost hat (that was me feeling guilty because I may or may not have indeed been the reason it was lost..
  • Go to bed early and get up at 5 like I like to do
  • Not cry at work just because I’m not superwoman and making everything perfect everywhere.
How about we try this: what DID I do so far this week:
  • Have all the supper meals planned so far so that we haven’t had to scramble for food on our busy nights
  • Help my daughter get rest and good food while she has the busiest, most stressful week of her year
  • Have a visit and lunch with my hubby and parents, talking about our garden plans getting advice from the expert
  • Restrain myself from screaming at stressed out daughter and instead pulled her in for a hug and a “i understand kiddo, and you got this” talk that helped her pick herself up and push on
  • Acknowledge and thank my little man for doing what I ask
  • Drive all over for dance without speeding like a maniac
  • Watch a movie that I’ve been wanting to watch with my sweetheart
  • Just have coffee with my friend instead of always talking shop
  • Listen to the robins for a little while and remember how much I’ve always loved  doing that.
  • Helped a few folks along their healthy living journey
  • Said good morning to strangers in the street
  • Write an imperfect blog post on my phone just so that I could write
We all stumble. Some days, are worse than others. If we sit and focus on all that we don’t do and mistakes we’ve made, it WILL be that way every day. EVERY DAY.
However, I’ve come to believe that EVERYONE has one good thing they have done and have happen to them.  Find that one thing and be grateful. It will mean all the difference in your life. Just one thing, everyday. Watch it grow.

Clutter Chaos

gerberia daisies

The dog wants out in the middle of the night. As you fumble towards the front door, you trip over the pile of clothes in the bedroom, bump over the box in the hall, stub your toe on the stack of books at the top of the stairs and have to push the coats & shoes out of the way as you struggle to get the door open…

You decide that you want to make a special cake for your 8 year old for his birthday. After pulling 8 pans out of the cupboard, including a bundt cake pan (what the heck is that thing for, anyway?), you finally find the one you’re looking for. You rummage through the pantry trying to find the brown sugar. When you finally find it, you realize that it is hard as a rock. You run to the store and end up buying a cake from the shelf instead; for twice the price of the sugar…

Your husband calls you from work and offers to take you out for dinner. You are elated and excited. After spending 10 minutes looking for your babysitter’s number on that piece of paper, you jump in the shower and knock over 3 shampoo bottles that have a tiny bit of shampoo left in them. Then you try to grab a fresh towel and pull down 5 others in the process. You untangle the cords from 4 different curling irons. You rummage through the closet past outfits you wore 10 years ago to find your favorite pair of jeans. You realize the top you wanted to wear is wrinkly in the dryer. 15 minutes later, you realize that the iron you plugged in isn’t heating up because it’s the one that your hubby was going to fix and you remember you bought a new one two months ago and find it still in the bag from the store sitting beside the freezer. After dumping 3 make-up bags out onto the counter in the bathroom, you’ve got your mascara on and quietly pray that it’s only a year old instead of the two you think it is. Your husband gets home and you realize that you forgot to tell him to pick up the babysitter. You get annoyed that he didn’t think of that and you start the evening off glaring at each other…

Everyone in the family is exhausted. You check the calendar and realize that there are 3 times in the week that you have to be in the opposite sides of town at the same time. You can’t remember the last time all of you sat down and had a meal together. You don’t remember the last time you just played a game with the kids or had a pajama day and just stayed home. If you’re not going to a practice or a recital; you’re heading to the mall “for something to do”. You realize that there are several items of clothing in all the closets (some still in bags) that have never been worn and are now too small. You have multiple projects on the go, and haven’t touched any of them in months. You are exhausted, and just don’t know what to do.

We have been there too, we know what it’s like. We’ve been doing a lot of minimalizing over the past couple years, we’re here to help you. Minimalizing isn’t about throwing out everything in the house. It isn’t about living like a hermit. It’s focusing on what is really important and getting rid of all the excess. It’s not about keeping up with what everyone else has or does; it’s about doing what is best for you and your family.

The Simple Life Gals encourage you to go through different areas in your homes and lives and really prioritize what is important to you. We welcome your questions and we’ll support you in whichever way we can. If you would like to book a session, with us, check out our sessions here: Organizing Services.

Introducing Kristin!

Krystal and I will be “off the grid” for a little while with our families! We’re pretty excited! A joint vacation will be so much fun!

We have asked our adventurous friend, Kristin, to post for us while we are away. We adore her and we’re sure you will too! Be sure to leave a comment and say Hi!

kristin

 

Kristin Allan is a Pennsylvania native who migrated north to Alberta 9 years ago. She strives to live simply by minimizing the stuff and stress, while maximizing the love in her life.
For several years she operated a women’s consignment clothing store which she founded in central Alberta.  “Buy it used” is her motto.

She and her man half recently sold most of their belongings and purchased a 30 year old motorhome to live in for the warm season, until the bitter northern Alberta winter chases them into a warmer space.

Kristin loves to share her knowledge of minimalism, growing food, healthy communication and veggie cooking with curious folks.

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