Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

Buffalo Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Fries

For our Sunday recipe, I wanted to incorporate a vegetarian meal. My husband and I have been trying vegetarian for 2 weeks. He and his co-workers made a pact to try it and determine later if it impacted their overall health. I’ve been wanting to hop on board with more meatless meals and nutrient-dense foods.

So far we’ve both noticeably lost weight and feel more alert and energetic. I’ve had such a difficult time staying away from dairy. I had a small amount of cheese on a veggie burger and my stomach did not like it! I miss dairy the most, but I’m on a mission to continue feeling well. Vegetarian can’t be boring if I’m going to be serious about it, though.

For lunch, I wanted to make a yummy plant-based lunch that our boys would actually eat. I’ve been eyeing buffalo cauliflower, but needed a side to go along with it. So I sliced up a few sweet potatoes as fries.

This was a good snack/finger food lunch! These would be perfect for a party of health conscious guests!

Buffalo cauliflower

Sweet potato fries took simple prep, 20 minutes to prep, and we’re very similar to regular fries.

I followed a recipe from tasty.com (link below). One package of cauliflower served our family of 5 for a light lunch. I would consider 1 package of cauliflower per 2-3 adults though.

Basically, you create a breading with spices, bake on 450° for 20 minutes, coat with hot sauce, and bake another 20 minutes. It would be amazing in an air fryer!

We served our with ranch, but Bleu cheese dressing would be delish too!

Sweet potato fries

This is much like the regular fries recipe that is up on Momma Bird Blog. These are nice to make with the buffalo cauliflower because your oven will already be up to temp. All you have to do is pop them in on another baking rack.

Just peel about 3-4 sweet potatoes (I chose longer skinnier ones about the same size for consistency). Then slice in the size you want, keeping the same width for each.

In a big mixing bowl, mix olive oil and garlic salt and toss in sweet potatoes. Make sure they’re covered in the mixture.

Spread sweet potato fries on a baking sheet (with foil or parchment paper). Bake on 450° for 20 minutes.

These were served on a sharing platter with BBQ and we couldn’t stop eating them! The best part was that the boys knew they were sweet potatoes. So, in the future they’ll know that sweet potatoes are something worth trying.

Like I tell my family, you won’t know you don’t like something until you try it prepared different ways. Cauliflower, for instance, seems to be a little less popular. However, you can have it in soups, roasted, steamed, or in broccoli cauliflower salad. Same with sweet potatoes. I’m normally not a fan (sshh don’t tell my kids), but in fry form they were yummy!

What’s your favorite vegetarian meal?Please share a link in the comments below!

Here’s the link to the recipe above.

Changing The Way We Look At Food

Changing The Way We Look At Food

Recently as my husband has been taking classes to become an EMT, he’s thinking more about the human body. He usually feels sluggish and groggy. Like a good wife, I remind him that he can’t be eating highly processed foods/snack and feel energetic.

So after he saw a documentary about animal consumption and health issues, he and his co-workers made a pact. They are choosing a plant-based diet for 2 weeks to see if they feel better. It’s only been a couple days and they’ve all noticed weight loss and more energy.

We’re focusing on whole grains, nuts/seeds, and tons of produce. So far, it’s been nice having him hop on board with me.

The kids love their fresh food especially! We’ve incorporated more fats and proteins in their meals though because they are so little and so active.

After some research, we made a list of foods we would eat. We’ve tried to extend from our comfort zones. We don’t want to just eat salads for 2 weeks either.

In order to stock up well, we’ve applied one of our shopping techniques. We’ve been doing groceries every biweekly pay period. It normally looks like too much food the first day, but we shove next week’s food to the back of the fridge. I mean, what kid would dare venture back there. So safe to say our “rationing” is doable.

2 weeks worth of fresh produce to feed a family of 5. The most we’ve ever bought at once, but now the focus of our meals.

By week 2, I try to make up food before it spoils. So for instance if the lettuce or strawberries are looking sad, I hurry up and use those.

We’re having more whole grains, nuts, and seeds. The whole grains have an amazing flavor!

Ignore the watermelon back there. I was running out of room for all the fresh produce. 😆

With a vegetarian diet I tend to gravitate toward black beans. I love a good Mexican-style rice bowl for a filling meal. I also gravitate towards bananas for a filling smoothie base.

However there’s a little confusion about vegetarians not having cheese or having it. I am choosing to spend the 2 weeks dairy-free because I think it plays a major factor with inflammation. More specifically I cannot digest milk as well as I used to.

A friend from the American Dairy Association noted that if you are lactose intolerant that you may, however, digest cheese fine. Apparently there isn’t much lactose in cheese.

So we’re focusing first on nutrient-dense produce, then adding in nuts and seeds, and whole grains. Things we’re avoiding; added sugars, processed foods, dairy, and alcohol.

I’m learning how not boring it can be.

A few years ago, this term was used and it’s stuck with me since, “fuel-food.” It reminds us that we don’t need to fill our bodies with junk to satisfy hunger. Rather we should be mindful about what we’re putting in our bodies. You’re on the right track if you are nurturing your body.

Like anything else, healthy diet takes time and good support.

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See Momma Bird Blog’s first post, 8 Ways To Lose Baby Weight Realistically.

3 Superfood Smoothies

3 Superfood Smoothies

Sunday recipe posts are back on Momma Bird Blog! Although this is not a fitness and weight loss blog, nutrition is such a huge part of feeling good.

I often find myself talking nutrition with my husband, because I value the benefits of eating well. Sometimes when he’s really tired, I remind him to have a handful or almonds or an apple. When my family is all feeling under the weather, we focus more on hydration and electrolytes. And when I’m getting to that time of the month, I’m always craving heart healthy foods.

Today, I thought I’d share 3 superfood smoothies, especially for those of you who maybe have small children and not a lot of time to eat a balanced diet. Because when you skip a meal altogether, the burnout goes from a mental to physical state.

I’ve had my own speculations about superfoods because it seems like everything is considered to be this ultra-powerful food. It seems that social media tends to really hype-up any whole food. According to Healthline, there are only 16 real superfoods.

Keep in mind that smoothies are super flexible. You can always play with taste; adding various natural sweeteners, dairy, vitality essential oils, and more. If you decide to use oils, make sure to use 100% therapeutic grade essential oils that are intended to digest. (You don’t want to digest perfume oils or oils that aren’t intended for internal use.) Lastly, I used an emulsion blender to whip these up and served them in plastic stemless wine glasses. Perfect way to get that boost for the day!

Avocado + Spinach

Add some lemon or lime to this energy boosting goodness.
  • 1/4 cup avocado ripened, and cubed
  • 1/4 cup fresh, washed spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup water to thin
  • 2 drops of lemon or lime vitality essential oil (100% therapeutic grade)

Blend with emulsion blender and taste.

Berry + Watermelon

Add frozen berries for a chilly treat!
  • 1 cup of cubed watermelon (no seeds)
  • 1/4 cup of frozen berries
  • 2 drops of lemon vitality essential oil (100% pure therapeutic oil)

No need to add water, the watermelon thins well on its own! Blend and enjoy!

Tropical Ginger

One sip tastes like island life!
  • 1 whole banana
  • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple
  • 2 drops lemon vitality essential oil (100% therapeutic grade)
  • fresh grated ginger (a little goes a long way)
  • Dash of dairy milk, almond milk, or coconut milk

If you prefer a chilled smoothie, just freeze your chopped banana and pineapple ahead of time.

The Three Amigos

Which one are you most likely to try first?

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Beef and Vegetable Soup (With Secret Ingredient)

Boy, it’s been a while since I posted a recipe! I am I the only one who tends to make whatever is easier for my family on a weeknight? After everyone gets home from work and school, who wants to spend 2 hours cooking a gourmet meal? And then clean up that mess?

I’m still a huge fan of nutritional food. I even let my boys raid the produce aisle in order to encourage them to eat healthy. (Read 10 Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy.) Healthy to me is focusing on whole foods, definitely using more produce, and less; fat, starch and salt. I was thinking of making more soups, different salads to try, and maybe even some meatless meals just to change things up. But dinner still has to be pretty easy to make and still delicious!

Last summer I made a large pot of vegetable soup that my three boys absolutely loved. It was delicious mostly because it had a lot of fresh garden veggies in it; tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, carrots, onion, sweet corn, green beans… So I wanted to try a couple more soups!

First and foremost, the key to a good soup is the broth. I have a couple favorite methods. You can use up saved meat drippings from roasts and things. Stock works brilliantly also! I think those work the best because they use a real meat based flavor with a little bit of animal fat. Bouillon cubes are my least favorite because the broth tastes artificial and too salty. Recently I found another favorite broth alternative- onion soup mix! This can be bought in a box with 2 packets used to make french onion dip or soup. But using it as a broth base is incredible!

Prep and Cooking Time:

20 minutes of prep, about 1 hour of total cooking time

The thing I love about soup is you just add the ingredients, set at a medium to low heat, and can walk away. You could also make this the night before, store in a crock pot in the fridge, and set for a low heat before heading to work!

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 TBS Olive oil to fry with
  • 1 LBS of diced red meat (I used venison here)
  • Salt to season meat
  • 2 Packets (2 oz. each) onion soup mix
  • 8 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of diced potatoes
  • 1 Cup of diced carrots
  • 1 Red bell pepper (optional)
  • ground pepper to taste
  • a couple splashes of Worcestershire sauce!

Recipe:

  1. Heat olive oil in big soup pot till warm. Add diced red meat, season with salt, and brown.
  2. Add both packets of onion mix and water to pot. Let simmer.
  3. Add veggies, pepper, and Worcestershire. Cook till veggies are tender.
  4. And serve!

The secret ingredient definitely adds a depth of flavor with the onion mix! Rarely have I used onion mix to cook with before, but I will be doing it more now!

We typically have these ingredients on hand, but I also like how easy this is to make for dinner. Plus my family devoured this particular beef and vegetable soup! What’s your favorite soup?

How To Do A Mental Detox (20 Ways)

How To Do A Mental Detox (20 Ways)

Stress is 1,000x harder to hide from when you’re a mom (or dad). You just feel so overwhelmed and you’re well aware that you can’t just shake the feeling. I mean, you let the laundry pile up and then tomorrow there’s a mountain of clothes to fold! Let the kids play on their own for 10 minutes, and suddenly your house looks a hurricane hit.

Sometimes we just need to feel like our lives aren’t falling apart. We just need a few simple solutions to help us breathe and to know that everything is okay.

Mental detox is something to practice often times as needed. This probably goes without saying, but detoxes are a way to temporarily flush the bad and negative out as best as possible, and usually only last a temporary amount of time.

Out with the negative thoughts and in with positive vibes. Out with the things that cause anxiety and tension, and in with quality life and feeling good.

Seriously, no one’s life is perfect. We’re all just trying to catch up.

I’m going to be really transparent for you, my loyal crowd. From time to time, I just feel overloaded with stuff to do. I feel the pressure of being a mom (that probably being one of my most talked about subjects).

Last summer, I was I was taking on being a full-time mom, a part-time job (that was getting busier), Momma Bird Blog, and was writing for 2 other blogs. I felt good at first. Then it started to settle. One of the companies needed me to work on the weekends when I was at my son’s baseball games. I had to work later those nights as well. And my husband’s military obligations left me to take care of the kids. And the second company had a lot of due dates. I felt so overwhelmed because everyone needed me all at once.

So in stepped my 21 Day Challenge for mind, body, and soul. I created, and am tweaking this challenge. Maybe we really should focus 21 Days on focusing our mind, 21 days for our body, and 21 days for our soul. All separate challenges. What do you think?

It’s fabulous that so many of you could take advantage of my very first Momma Bird Blog post, 8 Ways to Lose Baby Weight Realistically. There have been some edits to this one to expand with helpful tips for you. I’m really thrilled that it has over 8.8K impressions on Pinterest!

But today, let’s talk more about mental detox. (Again, I’m no doctor, just a mom who has used these methods and came out on top). The methods I use are a bit more DIY and natural.

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How To Do A Mental Detox

  1. Set aside time to be on your phone in the day. Put your phone in a safe, stationary place (to keep from subconsciously turning on all day) and stay focused on the day ahead. I’d like to start treating my cell phone like more of a home phone. Remember the good ol’ days when the phone you were using was attached to a wire that was attached to a box on the wall? I kind of miss that!
  2. If you don’t have time to answer the phone, call them back later. People forget that there are voicemails. Often, if I’m in the middle of feeding my kids, putting them to bed, shopping, or having a conversation with someone 1-on-1 I usually ignore all of my calls. Of course, I check my voicemail usually after I put the kids to bed.
  3. Unsubscribe to emails that you don’t even read. Uh, the emails! I catch myself just deleting them without even reading them. That means they aren’t a priority. You don’t owe anyone your time.
  4. Unfriend people who whine or complain too much. Drama doesn’t have any place in my life. I have enough to think about. If your “friends” are throwing people under the bus (and publicly), why would you want to be their friend?
  5. Log out of social media accounts and predetermine a time or day to log back in. Similar to #1, this will help you from clicking all of your notifications if you have to check your phone.
    Don’t scroll all day.
  6. Mentally list a couple people who you genuinely look up to. Think about how they make you feel. Influence is good if we use it for good. I personally look up to so many women, it’s unreal! But I definitely look up to my mom and sister 100% because of how genuine and caring they are! I want to be more like that!
  7. Find a way to cheer up/help someone, whether complimenting them, holding the door, or just being a listening ear. It doesn’t have to be anything big. This is another big push towards being positive!
  8. Say “no” to people or events if it’d add too much to your plate. I’m learning from some of the most selfless people this hard decision. We don’t earn God’s love any more by working any harder. But if we narrow our agenda, maybe we would have more time to enjoy this beautiful life and spend it with love and happiness.
  9. Create a goals list. “Eat more fresh produce, play 10 minutes with the kids, plan a summer vacation.” Oh, how this is important! You need to see clearly what you’re doing in life. Are you buying healthier food to bring home? Are you setting aside the time you would’ve otherwise been busy for your kids? And if that summer vacation is a real goal, start saving aside!
  10. Imagine your dream vacation. Put your mind in a happy place. Imagine the scenery, the life, the smells, the sounds, the things you can touch… Can you feel the sand in your toes? Or feel the cool mountain breeze on your cheeks?
  11. Declutter the rooms that you spend the most time in first (like your bedroom, living room, and kitchen). Decluttering is the biggest one I do over and over again. But when I’m existing in a clean room with fresh smells, soft carpet, and minimal damage (like toys and crud), I feel more welcome. There has actually been scientific evidence that a clean home can reduce anxiety. (Which is probably why so many of us moms are always freaking out!)
  12. Not only declutter but part with the items you no longer use. As we slowly collect items like new clothes or Christmas gifts, use that perfect timing to swap out the new for old. Even if you have a stack of papers (that was once a stack and is now meshing together), then start pitching those! I just cleared our paper pile yesterday and GIRL, does it feel good!
  13. Schedule your to-do list. “Monday vacuum, Tuesday errands…” Bloggers use this schedule too. “Monday reply to emails and draft posts, Tuesday edit and schedule posts…” It kind of makes your to-do list happen, one baby step at a time.
  14. Join a church (where you can listen to and understand the Word). This is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. We go to an AMAZING Christian church! Almost every Sunday, I go to service with something on my heart. And it seems like the messages are meant for me. It clears all that mental fog, all the negative and gray area. I always leave there feeling lighter. Not only that, but the community is so important for our whole family. Life will just start making sense if you’re in the right place.
  15. Start a devotional. I own a couple devotionals that sit right on my end table. Every morning I read the quick little messages and it helps me to focus longer in the day. I focus on not trying to be perfect but trying to be a mom God’s way.
  16. Or sit in 10 minutes of silence. This could potentially be the most challenging of all of the mental detox methods. But when’s the last time you just turned everything off, and just let your thoughts flow. One of the biggest things I need as a Mom is “headspace.” I just want an hour to not have to answer anyone, not be focusing on other tasks, but just to be me for a moment.
  17. Silently repeat positive mantras through the day. You are your biggest fan and your weakest opponent. It’s truly amazing the things your mind can do. You can push through your pain if you only tell yourself to keep on going. You can learn to be brave if you remind yourself that you deserve more.
  18. Journal about your feelings and emotions. (If you don’t have time, make bullet points.) Either jot down how your feeling, or journal like you speak to a close friend. Sometimes the best way to sort out your thoughts is by writing them. You’ll discover some feelings and emotions that get buried by your busy day. Let them all out. It’s okay.
  19. Listen to relaxing or ambient music. Another mental detox that has been scientifically proven is to listen to some ambient music. There is a song that’s going viral called “Weightless” by Macaroni Union. This song is supposed to help reduce feelings of anxiety. There are also songs compiled like “Happiness Frequency”, “Deep Focus Music, Binaural Beats,” and “Let go of fear, overthinking, and worries.”
  20. Make time for something you enjoy. If you didn’t schedule laundry to be done today, let it sit. Instead, paint your nails, take a bubble bath, exercise, read a murder mystery, or watch a sappy love story.
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The thing about this detox is you can pick what you need to work on most. The goal is to free you from your overwhelming feelings. After 21 days of consistency, you’ll feel 100% more focused on what matters most. Your family.

Who would be interested in doing the challenge with me?

Delicious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Delicious Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Those days when you just don’t feel like cooking a big meal can still be really simple, healthy, and frugal. And it’s something your whole family will love! And eggs can be very versatile, too! Just grab yourself a couple dozen eggs next time you’re at the store!

Is there even a right way to cook scrambled eggs?

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Better Than Chicken Nuggets

Better Than Chicken Nuggets

Frugal and healthy meals often don’t go hand-in-hand. Sometimes it’s cheaper to cook some hot dogs and mac and cheese. But those boring foods aren’t packed with flavor or nutrition.

But here’s a healthy version of chicken nuggets that are better for you, more affordable, more filling, and taste 1,000x better! An average bag of 2 lb. chicken nuggets cost about $4-5. For the same amount of food, these cost you some leftover chicken or about $2 to make!

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