Archives for May 2016

Healthy Watermelon Fruit Pizza with Cream Cheese Frosting

Whip up a healthy watermelon fruit pizza with cream cheese frosting in a matter of minutes!

Create a healthy watermelon fruit pizza with cream cheese frosting. It's an easy and simple dessert recipe everyone will love.

Who’s going to be the star of the next BBQ/Memorial Day/4th of July???

YOU ARE!

Just show up with a watermelon fruit pizza with cream cheese frosting and everyone will love you!

As an added bonus, this is really simple to make. Like really simple. I’m talking it can be done in about 15 minutes.

How’s that for easy?

Please use real whipping cream for this recipe. It’s so easy to make and it really does taste different from the frozen stuff.

homemade whipping cream

But if you must use the frozen stuff, I would adjust the amount of powdered sugar you add to the frosting. Start with just a 1/4 cup and add more as needed.

I can’t really tell you how many slices of watermelon the frosting recipe will frost. If your watermelon is sweet, you may need less frosting. If your watermelon turns out a bit tasteless (I’m sorry! Such a bummer, isn’t it?), you may find you want to add a thicker layer of frosting.

Your watermelon may also be wider than the watermelon I purchased. If that is the case, your frosting may not cover two slices.

Create a healthy watermelon fruit pizza with cream cheese frosting. It's an easy and simple dessert recipe everyone will love.

IF you are worried about having enough cream cheese frosting, double the recipe. Any additional cream cheese frosting can be used as a dip for strawberries, or spread on a chocolate wafer, or sandwiched between two graham crackers, or just eaten with a spoon!

Healthy Watermelon Fruit Pizza with Cream Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 seedless watermelon
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Berries or other fruit for toppings

Instructions

  1. Cut two one-inch wide slices from the middle of the watermelon.
  2. Beat whipping cream until stiff peak form.
  3. Add sugar, cream cheese and lemon zest. Beat just until smooth and combined.
  4. Frost watermelon slices with cream cheese mixture. Top with your choice of fruit toppings.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/healthy-watermelon-fruit-pizza-with-cream-cheese/

I used strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to top my pizza – making it perfect for Memorial Day or 4th of July. But you could also use peaches, bananas, kiwi…. choose any of your favorite fruit combos!

Create a healthy watermelon fruit pizza with cream cheese frosting. It's an easy and simple dessert recipe everyone will love.

Graduation Gift Idea: Study Session Survival Kit

Graduation gift idea: Study Session Survival Kit

Graduation Gift Idea for a Study Session Survival Kit

I’m in the middle of another graduation season! It’s so fun to watch kids I’ve known since they were in preschool walk across the stage to get their diploma.

As part of graduation season, we get invited to A LOT of celebrations.

I want to honor these kids, but I also need to maintain a budget.

For the girls we don’t know as well, or haven’t had a close personal relationship, I’m giving them these graduation gifts once again.

Since I now have a kiddo in college, I asked her what she actually used at school.

She told me one of the most useful things she brought to college was her Quirky Power Strip. She said it was awesome for late night study sessions when everyone needed a place to plug in their laptops.

Honestly? Giving just a power strip seemed kinda lame. It just doesn’t scream of a celebration. But tucking it into a Study Session Survival Kit seemed like something fun that I would like to get!

graduation gift idea for a study session survival kit

IDEAS FOR A STUDY SESSION SURVIVAL KIT:

  • Quirky Power Strip
  • Snacks (I let the girls pick. They wanted a salty and a sweet. We went with popcorn and fruit strips.)
  • Gum
  • Caffeinated Beverages
  • Something Fun – We went with a beach ball
  • Optional: A gift card for a local delivery place like a Jimmy John’s or a pizza place.

study session survival kit

I packed everything up in a tub that they could also use in their dorm room.

I chose to add a chalkboard label to the lid of my gift. I wrote “Late Night Study Session” on the label.

How to put together a study session survival kit for a graduation gift

Since it is a chalkboard label, they can erase my message and use it to label whatever they chose to store in it.

Suggestions for a graduation gift idea. Pack up a late night study session survival kit.

What else would you include in a Study Session Survival Kit?

How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Once you learn how to make healthy slow cooker shredded chicken, your weekly meal prep becomes a snap!
How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Once a month I get together with a group of friends for our Cooking Club.

Last month we were having a delicious Cinco De Mayo meal when the subject of shredded chicken came up. I was so surprised that only one of my friends knew this trick for shredded chicken.

Since this is one of my go-to ways to prep food for the week, I had to share how to make healthy slow cooker shredded chicken.

This simple recipe is a game changer when it comes to weekly dinner prep.

You’re going to start with 6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts. However, if you are on a budget, you may substitute 10 to 12 boneless skinless chicken thighs. (If you are on a super tight budget, definitely check out How to Slow Cook a Whole Chicken. It doesn’t get any cheaper than that!)

Add the chicken to the bottom of your slow cooker.

How to make healthy shredded chicken in the slow cooker.

Next, you’ll season your meat. Salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder are all you need.

How to make juicy and healthy slow cooker shredded chicken.

Finally, you are going to pour over about a half cup of chicken broth. It’s not a lot of liquid but it is the secret to juicy chicken. Set your cooker on low and cook for 8 hours.

Then, this is where the magic happens.
While still hot, transfer your chicken to the work bowl of your stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat at the lowest speed for just a few seconds.

WALLA!!! Shredded chicken!!!

How to use your mixer to shred chicken.

Now, if you don’t have a mixer with a paddle attachment, this chicken is sooooo tender you can easily shred it with two forks. In fact, it is so tender, it is falling apart when I transfer it from the slow cooker to the mixer. I really just use the mixer because it’s ultra easy.

How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 - 8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Add chicken breasts to slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with seasoning. Pour in chicken broth.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Shred meat with two forks OR while chicken is still hot, add to the work bowl of a mixer. Using the paddle attachment, turn mixer on low until chicken is shredded.
http://naturalgreenmom.com/make-healthy-slow-cooker-shredded-chicken/

This makes a ton of shredded chicken.

Make this on a Sunday. Then, plan out two or three meals for the week that call for cooked chicken. Freeze the rest. The next Sunday, pull the frozen shredded chicken out of the freezer and use it for 2 or 3 meals during that next week.

One day of cooking (and really, is having something in the slow cooker “cooking”?) and you’ve got 2 weeks worth of shredded chicken ready to quickly and easily whip up healthy meals!

Costco: New Organic Products I Found {May 2016}

I’m always searching out new organic products at Costco. This week I had the perfect timing – Costco wasn’t too crowded and I wasn’t in a hurry.

Here is what I found at my Costco in Colorado. If you can’t find these at your Costco, you may want to fill out a suggestion card at your local Costco.

I wasn’t familiar with this brand of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar but yes! it has the mother!

organic apple cider vinegar

Superfood Smoothie Mix of protein, acai, and goji berry.

Superfood Smoothie Mix

I don’t shop for baby food, but I’d never noticed Sprout in my Costco before.

Sprout Organic Baby Food

This was a cool product – Light Brown Rice. They only partially remove the bran – so it retains part of the benefits of brown rice but cooks in only 20 minutes like a white rice.

Light Brown Rice

Have you had these Organic Flour Tortillas? Oh gosh so good!

uncooked flour tortillas

Love Beets now offer organic cooked beets!

love beets

Just in time for summer BBQs – two kinds of organic sausages!

beef sausage

Sweet Italian Sausage

In the frozen food section, they now have organic rice and cheese burritos.

organic beef and cheese burritos

These aren’t organic, but I could see buying them for a healthy snack on the ride home. (Grocery shopping makes me hungry as does the free samples.)

Ready Snax

Finally, if you need potting soil, they have organic potting soil! 

potting mix

FREE Downloadable Adult Coloring Page

free erin condren coloring sheet

Have you discovered how fun it is to color again?

As an Erin Condren fan, I’m so excited that she is offering a free adult coloring page.

Print one for yourself, then make sure to print out a few extras for the kiddos to enjoy too.

For coloring these pages, I’d highly recommend this set of pencils. The quality is excellent for the price!

Spring Capsule Wardrobe: Casual Outfits for a SAHM

I finally managed to pull together a spring capsule wardrobe. It’s made up of casual outfits for a SAHM.

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Casual Outfits for a SAHM

Despite the difficulties I had coming up with a capsule wardrobe, I have finally done it!

If you don’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, you may want to start by reading What is a Capsule Wardrobe and Why Would I Want One?

I had two challenges when putting together this spring capsule wardrobe:

1. The wildly changing temperatures during spring in Colorado
2. The wardrobe I had didn’t really have interchanging pieces

Since the temperature here in Colorado will fluctuate wildly – even within a day – this spring capsule wardrobe had to have a solid mix of long sleeved shirts and pants as well as short sleeves and shorts.

I really struggled with – how many pants do I need? And if I’m committed to wearing this through June, shouldn’t I include some shorts? If so, how many bottoms could I include before this no longer was a minimalist wardrobe???

Unfortunately, in the wardrobe I owned, I didn’t have a lot of pieces that could be worn interchangeably. Interchangeability is THE KEY to a functional capsule wardrobe.

Although I had really hoped I wouldn’t have to buy anything for my spring capsule wardrobe, I did end up investing in a few pieces that I could wear multiple ways. I purchased 4 things from Garnet Hill. I was flipping through their catalog when I noticed they already had a selection of clothing that were meant to be worn interchangeably. This was what finally lit the spark to get my spring capsule wardrobe put together.

As you will notice, the main color scheme to this wardrobe is navy and white. I knew I wanted a yellow sweater to be able to pair with it. I used thredUp to find a gently used sweater that is absolutely perfect and looks brand new. You can see me wearing it here.

Finally, since I’m a SAHM, I don’t dress up very often. However, I did want a few options for church and other evenings out. My dress options are still super casual but I’m hoping with a few accessories and kickin’ shoes they can easily be dressed up. (That’s the plan anyway!)

My capsule ended up with 2 dresses, 1 maxi skirt, 1 mini skirt, 14 tops, 2 sweaters, 7 bottoms. That’s 27 pieces.

I did not include workout clothes, under garments, or pajamas in my capsule.

2016 Spring Capsule Wardrobe

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Dresses

Black knit dress/already owned/Athleta * Navy blue maxi skirt/new/Garnet Hill * Denim tunic dress/already owned/Soft Surroundings

Spring Capsule Wardrobe long sleeved shirts

Navy blue button up/already owned/J. Crew * White linen tunic/already owned/Old Navy * Black dolman sweatshirt/already owned/Nike

Spring Capsule Wardrobe tunics

Black tunic/already owned/White House Black Market * Pink tunic/new/Garnet Hill * Black sweater with patterned underlay/already owned/White House Black Market

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Shirts

Grey striped T/already owned/H&M Concious * Navy blue tunic/new/Garnet Hill * Navy striped T/new/Garnet Hill

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Shirts 2

White T/already owned/H&M Conscious * Navy T/already owned/Old Navy * Grey and white dolman top/already owned/Stitch Fix

Spring Capsule Wardrobe pants

Skinny jeans/already owned/White House Black Market * Coral Skinny jeans/already owned/6pm.com * Denim capris/already owned/White House Black Market

spring capsule wardrobe ultra casual clothing

Colorado T/already owned/Gift * White denim shorts/already owned/Anne Taylor Factory Outlet * Flamingo T/already owned/J. Crew

Spring Capsule Wardrobe sweater

Sage capris/already owned/Local Boutique * Yellow Sweater/new/ThredUp * Black capri leggings/already owned/White House Black Market

Spring Capsule Wardrobe complete

Pink sweater/already owned/Steinmart * White skinny jeans/already owned/White House Black Market * Denim mini skirt/already owned/Boden

To give you an idea of what I mean by interchangeability, here’s a few of the ways I will be wearing my coral skinny jeans:

Spring Capsule Wardrobe 2016. Coral jeans with a white tee. Perfect for stay at home moms.

This is so easy. White t-shirt, coral skinny jeans, statement necklace, flip flops. I happened to have a necklace that is just the right color (although something about the photograph doesn’t make it look like it matches???), but any long necklace will work.

Coral skinny jeans with a navy button up top. Silver slip-on vans. Capsule wardrobe idea for a SAHM.

I love navy and coral together. I topped the jeans with my navy button-up. My favorite new go-to shoes are my silver slip-on Van’s.

SAHM capsule wardrobe idea coral skinny jeans rolled up, oversized white linen tunic, birkenstocks.

Rolling up the bottom of my skinny jeans and pairing them with a white tunic and birkenstocks is the ultimate in comfortable dressing for me.

I plan to make this capsule wardrobe work through the end of June when I will swap out pieces to create a summer capsule wardrobe for July/August. Then, once September rolls around, I want to make a larger capsule for the 4 month period of September/October/November/December.

Have you tried a capsule wardrobe? Any advice for a newbie?

PS – It is evident to me I have a hard time photographing clothes. I’ll try to have a new game plan before my Summer Capsule Wardrobe!

What is a Capsule Wardrobe and Why Would You Want One?

If I told you I was going to start a capsule wardrobe, would you ask “What is a Capsule Wardrobe? and Why Would You Want One?” I’ve got all the info here.
Have you wondered What is a Capsule Wardrobe? Why Would You Want One? Here's the answer to those questions.

Have you heard of capsule wardrobes?

A capsule wardrobe is basically a simplified wardrobe made up of a limited number of carefully picked pieces that you commit to wearing during a season.

Think of it as the tiny house for wardrobes. Paring down your wardrobe to those clothing items you actually love and will really wear. You trim away the excess and are left with only the necessities.

Let’s face it, so many of us have a closet full of clothing and will still remark, “I have nothing to wear.”

The beauty of the capsule wardrobe is it is meant to eliminate the question of “what to wear” by carefully curating a minimal amount of clothing that you actually love and will wear repeatedly.

Capsule Wardrobe

I like to think of it as a wardrobe of interlocking building blocks. Every piece should be able to be worn with several other pieces in your wardrobe. That means that although you might have fewer pieces of clothing, you have numerous outfit possibilities.

Once you’ve gathered your capsule wardrobe clothing items, you commit to not purchasing any additional clothing for that season’s wardrobe.

A season is typically defined as a 3 month period. So your capsule wardrobe will need to be re-evaluated every three months to be seasonally appropriate.

There are no hard and fast rules to how many items of clothing comprise a capsule wardrobe. However, there are many opinions as to how many pieces a good capsule wardrobe should have.

A strict capsule wardrobe would include shoes and accessories in your limited number of pieces, or it could just include tops, bottoms and jackets.

Most capsule wardrobes do NOT include items like under garments, pajamas or work out clothes.

Here are some of my favorite sites to help you decide what your capsule wardrobe should entail:

Project 333

Mom Advice Modified Project 333

Into Mind

5 Piece French Wardrobe

What is a Capsule Wardrobe and Why Would You Want One?

Why Would You Want a Capsule Wardrobe?

It makes getting dressed easier.

By streamlining your choices, you can find an outfit readily. Your outfit will be based on the weather and the occasion. When done correctly, your capsule wardrobe will have the right combination for both.

It saves money.

Your first step will be to go through your closet and figure out what clothing you own that you actually love and wear.

Now divide that clothing by season. Start playing with combinations. At this stage, I love to use Pinterest. In fact, I referenced my own style board to come up with outfit ideas quite a bit.

Your goal is to use what you have to form the basis of your capsule. Limit yourself to purchasing between 3 and 6 pieces to complete your capsule.

Once your capsule is set, you commit to not buying anything additional.

By staying out of stores and sticking to a spending freeze, you will save money.

It’s good for the environment and human rights.

If you haven’t watched The True Cost on Netflix, you probably aren’t aware of the human cost of cheap clothing. I watched it last summer with my girls and it opened my eyes to the plight of the people who are making our clothes. It encouraged me to look at my clothing in a whole new light.

If you don’t have Netflix, NPR has a great article explaining fast fashion.

Did you know the average American throws away over 70 pounds of clothing each year? That’s a staggering number.

Before I make any new purchases, I’ll be scouring the local consignment stores and Goodwill as well as ThredUp for gently used clothing before I purchase anything new.

By purchasing less, I’ll have less textile donations/waste every year.

More room in your closet.

Your off season clothes should be boxed up and stored until you are ready for them. They only items hanging in your closet will be the limited pieces in your capsule wardrobe.

You won’t believe how much room your closet has!

Still curious about capsule wardrobes? I’m revealing my first spring capsule wardrobe I’ll be wearing until the end of June. Here’s a sneak peek:

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Ideas for a Stay at Home Mom. Denim mini with grey striped T and a yellow cardigan.