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.

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

I love, LOVE hot spinach artichoke dip. To the point where I would eat the entire thing if my hubby would let me get a cracker in edgewise! The only trouble is that the original recipe has a TON of cheese in it: an entire block of Philly cream cheese + 1/4 cup parmesan + 1/4 cup romano + 1/4 cup mozzarella melting and gooey on the top! The health benefits of spinach and artichoke is completely lost in all of that dairy! Not to mention what all that dairy does to the pipes…just sayin’…plus it has mayo which just isn’t something I want to eat anymore (are there any “real” ingredients left in today’s mayo??)

So…I was determined to figure out a way to make it healthier yet still delicious. No cheese and no mayo (so vegan) yet still devour-this-now-it-is-awesome good. Well….I did it!!

spinach dip

 

The primary ingredient is a separate recipe (at the bottom of this post) of a cashew “soft cheese”. This is a little expensive to make, but Philly cream cheese isn’t cheap either. I also always like extra garlic in anything I can put extra garlic in, so I add chopped garlic pieces to the dip just before putting it in the oven. My recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent source of vitamin B12 (and makes everything cheesy good without the cheese!) It also uses avocado which is a good-for-you-fat instead of all that cheese (the cashews are good fats too).

Here’s a quick Simple Life Gal trick too: I mix the entire thing up in a Pyrex bowl so that I can just put it in the oven after it’s mixed. This way, only one dish! Simplify, Simplify!!

If you’re in the mood for more recipes, Krystal created a great eBook “Spicing Up School Lunches” – add your email address to our list (up there in the top right corner of this page) and get access to it for free! And don’t forget that our other ebooks (Click the Products page) are full of Simple Life Gal tricks and tips! Get all three for just $9.99 (regular price $14.97). And if you like this Simple Life Gal recipe, you will LOVE the amazing (yet simple) Filet Mignon dinner we share for your “Date Night In” in our Simply Sexy Date Night Package ($19.99 for the entire package that includes recipes, ideas and workbooks to bring that spark back to your marriage!)

steak dinner

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 cup cashew “soft cheese” (see below for my recipe for that)
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I would rather use coconut oil because of the high temperature, but it is a short cooking time so olive oil is OK here)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or fresh if you have it)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw & drain first)

Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to oven-ready baking dish. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until bubbly & slightly brown.

Cashew Soft Cheese

This is a vegan “cheese” replacement. It isn’t cheese, but I don’t know what else to call it. There are a ton of recipes out there using nuts to make “cheese”. This is how I made mine this week:

  • 2 cups raw (or at least unroasted) cashews
  • 1/2 cup alkaline water (we have a special Santevia water system that alkalizes our water. You can use regular water too)
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (yes, REAL lemon juice! not the stuff in a green bottle!)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar – this is so good for you! (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street for this too!)
  • 1 tsp chopped onion (or onion flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend (you’ll have to stop and scrape down the sides as you go) until creamy. You won’t need all of this for the artichoke dip, but you can use this on pizza, as a “cheese” dip or wherever you’d like! Use within 2 days.

Our Badass Meal Plans have the meal plan, recipes, AND grocery lists! Click the picture of the badasses below to subscribe!

Calendar Craziness

It’s New Year’s Eve!!

What a perfect time to get going on celebrating all that was 2012 (We LOVED 2012 and are so thankful for YOU!) and move forward to 2013.

That’s what I love about New Year’s – it’s a “stepping forward” and “new beginnings”! However, both Krystal and I believe that resolutions do not stick unless you really mean them. We don’t even like to call them “resolutions”! Personally, I like to sit down a few days prior and just after to physically write down my goals and plans for the coming year. I loved, LOVED using my Create Your Goddess Year Workbook and I’m soooooo stoked as I have begun to use my new Create Your Incredible Year Workbook & Calendar (click to get your own!)

calendars

Krystal gave me a gorgeous calendar of the two of us that I will be using for SLC planning. We’ll also be using our new Create Your Incredible Year – Business Edition from Leonie Dawson to set up our intentions and track our progress! The Cevraini’s also have a STARS calendar on the wall where all the family stuff gets written down and can be visible from the supper table when those discussions come up. I usually have my daughter and husband help with filling in school holidays, school field trips, hubby’s work schedule and more. You don’t have to do all the work! It’s good for everyone to get involved in the calendar process – this is a MUST KNOW life skill! (Note to self: Get my sons more involved in this process!)

As most of you know, we’re pretty techie too. We love to sit down with pen and paper and create with these gorgeous paper calendars & workbooks, but we also MUST have all of this marked down in our iPhones for on the go. We use Google Calendar for this each and every day. This way, we’ve got our SLC calendars side by side with our family calendars and personal calendars. I created a little video  showing you how to do this for your family too!

(turn up your volume, I’m a little quiet in this one!)

We can help you get your calendars organized with a one on one mini-session – 77$ for 1 hour in the evening/weekend to get you started. We can even do this virtually! Contact us if you’d like to know more!

Did you know:

  • We post daily challenges on Facebook to help you get organized one step at a time?
  • You can also follow us on Twitter for these and other tips & tricks!
  • We live in Olds, Alberta Canada, but can help you virtually, anywhere in the world! We are tech-savvy organizers!
Open post
You can use this for towels or for the coats as I mention in this post

Christmas Front Door Clutter

I’d like to thank Kathleen Windsor of Windsor Graphics for this question:

How about a front entry tip for Christmas? Expecting about 50 shoes & boots at my front door & snowsuits from 6 kidlets. Help!

This is a fantastic question and one that I think most of us can relate to!

For the boots:

  • Use a low long plastic container(s); remove the lid. When everyone is in the door, these can be moved to other locations to dry so that they are out of the way. The containers can easily be wiped out later.
  • My parents have a small back entry and we always have big tobogganing parties (and thus the same issue!) Everyone takes off their boots at the back door and then carries them down to the laundry room where there is more space and a floor that can easily be cleaned up.
For the coats:
  • a coat “tree” (the kind with the arms) for temporarily hanging snow pants & jackets. Again, this can easily be moved to a different location so that the clutter isn’t at the back door. There’s no messing with hangers and snow pants (which NEVER seems to stay on the hanger!) There’s one at Jysk http://www.jysk.ca/hugo-coat-rack-3.html … – I use mine in the bathroom as well for towels. 🙂
You can use this for towels or for the coats as I mention in this post
  • My parents have a heated garage (which is also very clean & organized!). We all take off our coats and snow pants out there and hang them on Dad’s wood working equipment, benches, etc. so that all that stuff isn’t in the house. The mitts & toques stay out there too.
  • For all the coats of the “non-wet” 🙂 type…I remember when we grew up that we always put the visitors’ coats on my mom & dad’s bed. I still do this from time to time if there are a lot of people visiting me. Of course, it means that your master bedroom will be “seen” by many people… 🙂 That may be an overwhelming thought for some. If that’s the case, use another room for this purpose!

For the toques and mittens:

  • If these are just damp and cold, use a mesh bag and collect them all – hang the bag in the laundry room. Depending on the kinds of mitts & toques they are (and the degree of cleanliness…) you may be able to toss the whole bag in the dryer and let them dry while everyone is visiting. Then they’re nice and warm for when everyone goes home!
throw toques & mitts in and hang the bag
  • Use another big container to toss all these in and remove them from the back door area. They won’t dry very well in there, so keep that in mind. At least this will get them out of the back door area and allow for easy pickup at the end of the visit.

What are some of your suggestions for the back door clutter that occurs during the holiday season? How do you deal with it? Let us know in the comments!

For more great tips on keeping those seasonal clothes under control, read Krystal’s Seasonal Confusion! If you’d like some help getting your home ready for the holidays, contact us for a virtual session! You can send us photos of your space and we can give you step by step instructions for what to do. Alternatively, we can possibly book a mini-session and spend an hour with the two of us tackling that trouble-spot!

Open post
IMG_2091

Empower Them

I am learning that nagging the kids to clean up really doesn’t work. When I ask them to “clean up your room”, I am ignored or forced to listen to the whining. Let’s face it, if someone gave you a vague task like “Get a new client” or “Write a new program” and we had no experience in doing so, we would not know where to start. A mentor or supervisor or instructor has given us the specific steps we need to take to accomplish this task. At the very least, we’ve had life experiences which help us to figure out a way to get started.

It’s the same way with the kids. We need to empower them with the tools they need to accomplish the task.

For example, this weekend, instead of saying “clean up your room”; I gave them specifics. For my son:

  • clean up the lego on the floor
  • put the magnets away
  • put the toy guns, soldier items away
  • tidy the top of the foot locker

He knew where these things go and what my expectations were. So, he set about doing these specific items. He did it at his own pace; even spent time playing with some of these as he was putting them away. It didn’t matter, there was no “agenda” and I’d rather he do it at his own speed rather than mine. I did not hover and he completed the tasks as I asked.

For my daughter:

  • hang up her clean laundry
  • tidy the top of her dresser
  • put away her magazines & books
  • pick stuff up off the floor

Again, she had a specific list. The lists weren’t long and I believe that they felt like these wouldn’t take all that long so there was no whining. I simply asked them to do these items before they continued with the rest of their day. My daughter is suddenly becoming much more mature and capable as a young woman (she’s 13 in a couple weeks!). She went above and beyond in her room!

When you empower the kids to do things on their own and in their own way, they feel the reward of a job well done. As she tidied the areas in her room, she cleaned and reorganized as well. I did not ask her to do this. She has just seen the value of being able to find things now in our home (most days! 🙂 ), so she wanted the same in her space. Her grandma is a big influence on her and has shown her how to clean as well as I like to explain what we’re doing for organizing jobs as well. This was the incredible result of all her hard work:

There are still going to be days when they whine and I yell. We’re getting there. There are days when it’s really difficult to let them do it their way rather than mine. It keeps getting better and better though. The more I empower them to do things on their own; the more they are up to the challenge.

Do you give your kids specific tasks for their jobs around the house? Do you have tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!

Help Me Clean Up! Is Anybody There?……

Sometimes getting the kids to help pick up after themselves is like pulling teeth. (Except that may be less painful!)
How do we get children to help out without ALL of the complaining? I have some ideas that I have shared in this PDF (yay a printable gift for you!)
Hopefully you are all back into routines and are able to try some new tactics to simplify cleanup; it can be so much easier with a little help from everyone.

Here is the PDF PACKED full of fun ideas for your children to help out!
GettingYourKidstoHelpTidyUp

Chores. How to Get the Children to Pitch In?!

You walk into your home with your work bag, a grocery bag, and a pile of your kids’ coats and bags teetering precariously between your arms. You stumble up the stairs as the dog runs excitedly between your feet. You trip over the shoes that your family has kicked off in the door way. You glance to the left to see that their sweaters and jackets have been thrown on the back of the couch…again. When will they ever listen? You tell them every single day that they need to hang up their coats and put their shoes out of the way on the shoe rack. You stop to hang them up because it’s easier than having the same old arguments. You just walked through the door and you don’t want to battle.
You ask them to put their backpacks away and empty them but this falls on deaf ears. You can feel your blood start to boil as you try to get supper ready and on the table before you have to head out the door for them again. You wonder, who is going to set the table without groaning? Why is this so difficult? As you put something in the already full garbage you notice that the dog is out of food AND water. Now you are stopping what you were doing to do this as well. Where was I? You think to yourself, “Now who was the last one to set the table?” And it goes on and on.

Well this was a typical day at our house. I was at my wits end. I wanted this to stop; to get easier for all of us. I decided that I needed to make myself clear. I decided that intentions needed to be set; something definitive that would make sense to the kids for their ages. I wanted something that they could reference that was user friendly for kids.

Here is what I made for my daughter who is in grade four. The top list is compiled of daily chores that she gets allowance for (if she completes all without constant cuing and instruction). The bottom list is what is expected of her when she first arrives home from school.

And seeing as my little guy in grade one hasn’t quite learned to read yet, he gets a picture chart!

Both charts are posted in their bedrooms in clear view so that they can easily refer to them. I no longer have to ask them if they have completed task, a,b,c,d and so on. I just have to ask them if they have completed everything on their list. Although it is not perfect, things are sooo much easier and less stressful for everyone! I would say that this was successful and I am even considering one more chart for my little guy to remember every task that he has to complete while getting ready for school in the mornings!

Do you have ideas on how to get your kids to pitch in? Do you use a chart method or something else? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

Open post
Floating down the river July 2012

Getting Outside

I love being outside. I especially love to be barefoot in the grass. I think that’s why I love summer so much. I can feel the grass and the earth beneath my toes.

Being in nature heals. It allows me to breathe. It allows me to be bigger than me. I am a part of something.

I spent a good part of this past weekend outside. I harvested nanking cherries that I picked while barefoot. I gathered raspberries in short sleeves and allowed the trees and bushes to embrace me. I floated down the river where I grew up and let it wash away all my cares. I reveled in the quiet as the sky and trees drifted past me. I feel uplifted and grounded at the same time.

Outside is where the action is. It’s where peace can be found. Outside you can breathe. It’s where you can feel part of something bigger than all the crap we all worry about all the time. Outside is where real life happens. The rest? Well, it can all wait. Just get outside.

 

Are the kids (and you!) running out of things to do outside? Can’t think of anything? Krystal and I wrote our ideas down in this comprehensive Simplify: Summer ebook. Find out more here: Simplify Summer

Simple Tips – Re Purposing

 

I have been having fun creating simple ways to get and stay organized. All of the following cost less than $1.50; now that is my kind of organizing! None of these took a long time to make either. (Bonus!)

Use toilet paper or paper towel rolls covered with a piece of left over wrapping paper to keep cords untangled and organized.

Cost: Pennies

 

An empty tissue box can create pretty storage to hold your shopping bags for easy access.

Cost: Free

Rubber bands from produce can help slippery and strappy shirts stay on the hanger.

Cost: Free

This little under mount basket is a great way to create storage for a simple table.

Cost: $1.50 from Dollar Store

I added a magnet to these fancy clothespins with double sided tape.They are now on my fridge and hold papers like coupons, schedules, my meal plan and more

Cost: Free as this was a gift and I reused some plain magnets.

What have your re purposed in your home to create new storage?

Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

 

 

Posts navigation

1 2