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Check out this video about Unreal candy. Candy Unjunked!

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Unreal Candy Cookies Recipe

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So yesterday I found Unreal candy at Target. I was so pumped! And it was on sale, which made it even better. I’d seen this cookie recipe on the Unreal Facebook page and been wanting to try it, so today I finally got a chance to make them. They are amazing! Check out Unreal’s website (www.getunreal.com) if you haven’t heard of Unreal candy.

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Here’s what I used for my slightly adapted version:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) organic butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup organic agave nectar
  • 1/3 cup all-natural crunchy peanut butter (non-GMO)
  • 1 egg (cage free, vegetarian fed hens, antibiotic free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon all-natural vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-natural almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-natural rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup unreal candy coated chocolates (unjunked version of M&Ms)
  • 1/4 cup all-natural semi-sweet chocolate chips 

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Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl, mix butter, agave nectar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth.
  3. Add peanut butter and stir.
  4. Add baking soda and stir again.
  5. Add flour and stir.
  6. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and chocolate candies.
  7. Chill your dough for about 10 minutes in the refrigerator. Use these 10 minutes to clean up…in other words, put your unreal candy away ASAP so you don’t eat too many! 🙂 
  8. Next, form cookies and drop them onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can put them pretty close together because they don’t spread too much. 
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes. 

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These are seriously so good. You are sure to love them! And if you use gluten-free oats they can be gluten-free if that is your preference.   

 

 

Organic on a Budget

When talking to people about an organic lifestyle, one of the main reasons why people say they do not buy organic is because it is too expensive. I will admit that it is more costly to buy organic, however, I am one of the tightest people when it comes to spending money, and I have found that it is totally doable on a budget. And think about it: conventional food is cheap, but it’s filled with artificial and chemical ingredients…wouldn’t you want to pay a little more for real food? And while it may be a little more, you could be saving yourself a lot in the future from potentially serious (and costly) health issues down the road.

The following are a few suggestions on how to cut down on costs when buying organic.

  • One of the first things I did when beginning this journey was start a price comparison book. I grabbed a notebook and my receipt from my first organic food shopping trip, and going down the receipt, designated one page in my notebook to each item on my receipt. I listed the price, the size, the store, and the date. I made this my routine for several months. As soon as I put my groceries away after a shopping trip, I would pull out my notebook and my receipt and go to work listing everything new. I did this until I saw where the cheapest prices were for certain items. I eventually got to the point where I could look over my list and know where I should go to get the best prices for what I needed that week. This may sound a little confusing, so the following is an example page from my notebook. (I’m sure you more techie people could do it a lot more easily in an excel spreadsheet or something similar.)

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  • Look for deals on health store websites. I made a list of websites to check out: Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods. I even included Walmart and Target, and a few local grocery stores, and typed in organic in the search bar to see what would come up. Earth Fare is a great example of a store that if you take advantage of their deals, you can save a lot on good all-natural and organic food. Here are two coupons I printed from Earth Fare’s website. I was notified via e-mail because I signed up for their e-mail coupons. Seriously…I’ve gotten so many freebies this way! Some examples include: FREE pound of shrimp, FREE pound of salmon, 5 staple pantry items for $5, the list could go on.

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  • Earth Fare also has text coupons that I take advantage of frequently. Here are a few examples: FREE all-natural milk chocolate eggs with $10 purchase (before Easter), FREE all-natural cookie tub with $10 purchase, FREE ice cream with $5 purchase, $5 off honey-crusted ham, $3 off organic bacon, 20% off bulk coffee (to name a few).
  • Use in-store coupons from health stores. Many times you can find coupons right when you walk into the store. If you don’t see any up front, it never hurts to ask someone if there are any available. Also, pay attention to signs posted around the store that let you know of ways you can save. For example, Earth Fare has local organic milk and all-natural lemonade that comes in glass bottles, and if you return your bottles you get a deposit back. This lemonade was $1.99 and I got a $2 deposit back per bottle, so that made my lemonade completely free!
  • Make a grocery list and stick to it! Only buy what you need! I make a list on the weekend of what we need for the following week and make most of my shopping trips on Saturdays. I base my list on what is on sale and try to shop where I can get the best deals for what I need for that week. For example, if I know our week is going to be really busy and we may not have a lot of meals together, Trader Joe’s freezer section is my go-to.

I hope these tips are helpful if you are wanting to buy organic but are feeling overwhelmed with the prices. Trust me, I remember! And don’t get discouraged if you can’t always buy everything organic. Do the best you can with the budget you have, and the more you practice looking for deals and coupons and such, the easier it will get.   

Slow Cooker Chicken with Caramelized Onions and Honey Roasted Red Potatoes Recipes

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So this is what we feasted on tonight…chicken with caramelized onions and honey roasted red potatoes on the side. I’m all about buying what’s on sale and Earth Fare had a coupon out to get a whole chicken for $1 per pound. So I got this 5 pound chicken for $5! How awesome is that?!

Here’s what you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 4-5 pound all-natural whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • organic soy sauce
  • sage, rosemary, and thyme
  • ground black pepper

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Method:

Chop the onion into quarter-sized pieces and peel the garlic. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with all-natural cooking oil. I used Spectrum Canola Oil. Next, put some of your onions into the bottom of your slow cooker, separating the pieces as you put them in. Place a few cloves of garlic with the onions, and sprinkle with sage, thyme, and rosemary.

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Next, prop your chicken against the side with the cavity facing up, so you can stuff it. Sprinkle pepper, thyme, rosemary, and sage into the cavity, then stuff with onions and garlic and pour in your soy sauce.

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Now lay your chicken breast side down in the slow cooker, and sprinkle with herbs. Put the lid on, and cook for 5-6 hours on low. I bought a meat thermometer this weekend, so I used that to make sure it was fully cooked before I took my chicken out. Here’s what it looked like after about 5 and a half hours…

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Next, I topped it with some of my caramelized onions from the bottom of the slow cooker. Then I took the rest of my onions out with a slotted spoon and strained the broth from the bottom into separate bowls.

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That’s it! It’s as simple as that!

You’ll want to start working on your potatoes about an hour before your chicken will be ready. Here’s what you’ll need for the honey roasted red potatoes recipe:

  • 1 pound red potatoes, quartered (make sure they are non-GMO)
  • 4 Tbsp diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp melted organic butter
  • 1 Tbsp organic honey
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of ground black pepper

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Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with all-natural cooking spray. Lay quartered potatoes on the bottom of your baking dish and sprinkle onions on top. Next, combine melted butter, honey, dry mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl, and drizzle on your potatoes. Put in the oven for 35 minutes, stirring about halfway through. After 35 minutes, my potatoes were not quite soft enough, so I put my oven on 400 degrees and put them back in for another 15 minutes. Every oven is going to be different though, so taste test a piece after 35 minutes and decide for yourself if they need to be in for longer or not.

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With only two of us, this amount provided leftovers, so we will be able to enjoy this for the next couple of days, which is great!

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Where I got these recipes:

Chicken recipe from: http://www.theyummylife.com/Slow_Cooker_Whole_Chicken

Red potatoes recipe from: http://www.piarecipes.com/2012/11/honey-roasted-red-potatoes.html

Ann Romney’s Meatloaf Recipe

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I was watching Rachael Ray one morning before the election and Ann Romney was a guest on the show. She made Mitt’s favorite meatloaf recipe (she called is Mittloaf), and it looked so simple that I decided to try it out later that week. It was so good! I’m really not a huge meatloaf fan at all, so when I say this stuff is good, that means it’s really good!   

Here’s what you need for my slightly tweaked version: 

For the meatloaf:

  • 1 1/2 pounds all-natural ground beef
  • 1 egg (antibiotic free)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all-natural bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons all-natural seasoned salt

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup all-natural ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup organic agave/maple syrup blend 

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Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine ground beef, egg, onion, lemon juice, bread crumbs, and seasoned salt. 

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The best way to combine your ingredients is to really get in there with your hands. Go back to your childhood days of squishing playdough and just have fun with it! It’s gross if you over think it (which I tend to do with everything in life), so don’t. 

Next, form into six to eight small mounds. Put on an aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet. (I made the mistake of not using aluminum foil the first time I tried this recipe, and it was not fun to clean up!) Bake for 15 minutes. 

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During these first 15 minutes of cooking time, make the sauce. Just stir together ketchup, dried mustard, cinnamon, nutmeg, and agave/maple syrup blend. 

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Spoon sauce evenly onto each meatloaf cake, and bake for another 30 minutes.Image

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I served my meatloaf with Trader Joe’s French Fries, which have four non-GMO ingredients. Ann Romney suggests scalloped potatoes and steamed veggies as a side. Depending on how much time you have, you can make this meal fancy or more casual depending on what side or sides you choose to serve with it.

Anyway, try this meatloaf recipe soon because it is delicious!  

 

Organic/All-Natural Baked Penne Recipe

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For dinner tonight, I made a simple yet very tasty meal. This recipe requires few ingredients and very little work, so it’s good for those nights when you are tired after a long day and don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (24 oz)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pound ground turkey

Here’s a closer look at what I used:

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Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, brown the turkey meat. Next, mix the sauce and cheese together. Once the pasta and turkey are cooked, mix them both into the sauce and cheese mixture.

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Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cook for 25 minutes. When I took mine out I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top, but if you have parmesan or leftover mozzarella you could use one of those. Also, if you want to make this a vegetarian dish, just leave out the turkey. I’m sure it would be just as delicious!

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Bon appétit!

Cranberry Kale Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you can probably tell that I love quinoa. I think this is my third quinoa recipe in the last few weeks. Sweet potatoes are also one of my favorite foods, so a recipe that combines the two is a definite winner.

Here is what you need for this recipe:

  • 2 organic sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup organic quinoa (in 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. organic butter
  • 1 tsp. organic EVOO
  • 1/2 small organic onion, diced
  • 1 cup organic kale, in 1-inch pieces (I pulled mine apart with my fingers.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped (non-GMO) nuts of your choice (I ended up using natural glazed walnuts.)
  • 1/2 cup natural dried cranberries
  • salt and pepper

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Method:

Preheat your oven: 350 degrees Fahrenheit for small sweet potatoes or 400 degrees Fahrenheit if your sweet potatoes are big. Bake them for about an hour. Test tenderness with a fork. About 20-25 minutes before your sweet potatoes are done, make your quinoa and cranberry kale mixture.

Cook your quinoa according to package directions. I combined my half cup quinoa with 1 cup of water, put it on high heat, waited for it to boil, then put the lid on the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes. (You can boil it in vegetable broth instead of water if you want to give it a little more flavor.)

While your quinoa is cooking, sauté the diced onions in olive oil and butter and a sprinkle of salt. Add cranberries, kale, and walnuts (or other nuts of your choice), for approximately 3 minutes, or until kale is soft. When your quinoa is finished cooking, stir the cranberry kale mixture into the quinoa.

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If the sweet potatoes are tender, slice them in half and mash with a fork. Spoon your quinoa onto your sweet potatoes and enjoy!

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I found this recipe at: lesliedurso.com