January Favorite Things

What I am loving in the New Year…

It’s barely 2 weeks into the new year and the goals have been  stated, the new routines are forming, and here are a few things I’m loving…

Smoothies

Smoothies are by far the easiest way for me to get in several servings of FRUITS and VEGGIES. I can always tell I have more energy when I’m having a daily smoothie! I have had this blender for years now and *love it.*

Here’s what I toss into the blender for my smoothies, and without measuring, which would feed a few of us:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 big handfuls spinach
  • small handful frozen strawberries
  • small handful frozen blueberries or any frozen fruit
  • greek yogurt
  • orange juice (half my household likes MILK in their smoothies, I prefer the citrus taste)

Water

I am drinking a GALLON of water everyday! I’m feeling GOOD!

My Journaling Bible

I have a renewed love for my Bible at the beginning of this year. I think it must be reading the book Women of the Word and realizing just what a treasure we have in those pages! And the journaling Bible just provides so much room in the margins for note taking and prayers and such…

Bullet Journal

Super uber simple, I followed Edie’s methods in her free video found here.  So. I was NOT going to jump on the bullet journal band wagon. I wasn’t going to do it! Til I was at a goal setting workshop with the amazing Dr. Edie of LifeinGrace blog and she pretty much convinced me. {grin} She has a free video you can sign up to receive in your email and it goes over exactly how she does it. Her ideas are so simple that we can all benefit from it!

Essential oils

I also have a growing and somewhat renewed love for my oils. I have been using Young Living oils for a little over a year now. I can tell such a difference in these oils and the ones I used to use. My mood and overall emotional well being is more STABLE, I’m using their fruit juice supplement and have more ENERGY, our house is generally very WELL. I taught my first class on DITCHING THE TOXINS via video on facebook. I am just loving it all!

Exercising regularly

Ouch. Yep. It’s the beginning of a new year, of course I am exercising. LOL! But I feel so.much.better. I told my husband that weight lifting and walking/jogging 3-4 times a week leaves me feeling empowered. Like I really CAN do hard things. Maybe I’m not a wimp after all. And, handling stress is something I actually can do when I’m exercising. My body needs it.

Live videos for inspiration

Are any of you enjoying  live videos from your favorite bloggers and online authors as much as I am?? Some of my favorites:

Edie Wadsworth of LifeinGrace blog, she also leads the essential oil group I’m in, she does videos and classes online and also does AMAZING videos and talks in our business building group. She has done a goal setting workshop, a talk on living out of LOVE and not fear, how to grow your business and more. If you want to join our Young Living team, please send me a message.

Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom – I’ve done a few of her courses which are video based but I also have loved her periscopes and facebook live videos through 2016 as she talked about her year of rest.

Coconut Oil Lotion {+ Printable Recipe Card}

Homemade Lotion with Coconut Oil and Essential Oils

A few years ago I shared a SIMPLE {4 ingredient, 5 minutes to make!} lotion recipe with you here on my blog and now I want to update this same recipe with new tips and ideas for you! I also have a free recipe card for you to print and use as a reference!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup emulsifying wax (this bag will make quite a few batches)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 12-15 drops your favorite essential oils (I used 7 drops lavender, 7 drops tangerine and LOVE the scent! I do not like the scent to be very strong, so this was still a very light scent)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of potassium sorbate (if you wish to add a preservative)

More Items Needed

Instructions

1. In a 2-cup pyrex measuring glass, I melted the emulsifying wax WITH the coconut oil. (I have seen this recipe using olive oil as well, if you’d like to try that!) The coconut will be a little more white like the 2nd picture as opposed to the 3rd picture – the coconut oil lotion ends up being perfectly white, the olive oil is more of an off-white/creamy color. I put mine in the microwave for about 1 minute and then stirred. (The coconut oil will take a little bit longer to melt, just fyi.)

2. Fill a coffee mug or about 1 and 1/4 cup of water, heat in microwave, again, I heated for about 1 minute. (If you wish to add preservative – listed above under ingredients – you would add 1/8 a teaspoon to your water at this point!)

3. While water is heating, add your drops of essential oil. I only added about 14-15 drops, the original recipe calls for more than that. It really depends on how smelly you like your lotion! you don’t have to add a scent at all!!

4. Pour the hot water into the oil mixture and stir.

5. I then poured my lotion into the small 4oz jars. I left them open because you want to keep stirring the lotion so that it doesn’t separate. I basically left it on the counter and everytime I walked through the kitchen, I stirred it a few times.

After a few hours you have wonderful, homemade lavendar lotion!!

Printable Recipe

Coconut Oil Lotion Recipe PDF

Coconut Oil Lotion Recipe

Essential Oils

If you’d like to find out more information about essential oils, please click over here where I’m collecting all my information I’m learning!

More Pictures of the Process

IMG_7414

IMG_7415

IMG_7416

Favorite Resources for Quick Dinners

Favorite Resources for Quick Dinners

If you’ve read my blog for long, you know that I don’t exactly love being in the kitchen for hours on end. Believe me, I wish I did! I even wrote a post called 20 Meals for Moms that Hate Cooking. ha! I also teach piano lessons two evenings a week, so my crockpot is often my best friend in the kitchen.

Over the years I have collected and tried MANY different cookbooks, recipes from Pinterest, crockpot recipes and freezer batch cooking. I, personally, don’t just stick to ONE of those methods. I do a little bit of everything. I LOVE having meals in my freezer ready to go, I usually have 1-2 crockpot meals on my menu each week, and I love recipes with just a few ingredients that I can throw together at the last minute.

So, I thought I would share with you my FAVORITE resources for getting dinner on the table fast! I also want to share a few of my tried and true meals/recipes that we’ve used over the years.

Favorite Resources for Quick Dinners

1. Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook  – this book came highly recommended to me by several friends! I am slowly trying to get to the point where I make several meals at once instead of just one, then I have something ready to go in the freezer.

2. Chicken Dump Recipes from Sharla of The Chaos and the Clutter. These ebooks are VERY simple to use, they give you grocery lists and everything!

3. Beef Dump Recipes This is another resource from The Chaos and the Clutter. These ebooks have 20 or so recipes, divided into plans so that you can grocery shop according to plan. There are instructions, with pictures, that help you to get these meals into your freezers!

4. Pinterest – Ok this isn’t a cookbook or anything, but seriously, I have tried so many great recipes over the years from Pinterest! I have a whole board of Crockpot & Freezer meal recipes. I have a board of Main Dish recipes that are, for the most part, pretty simple. If it’s got a huge list of ingredients, I don’t even pin it.

5. Find your local Pampered Chef lady! There are new “freezer meal workshops” that Pampered Chef does and they are great! I have a friend locally that does these and you walk away with anywhere from 7-10 freezer meals when you are done! You do have to purchase the Pampered Chef spices to go with the recipes, but we’ve had so many of these meals that are wonderful!

10 Favorite Quick Dinners

 

Favorite Fast Meals (Crockpot or Freezer)

1. Chili in crockpot  (regular beef chili or White Chicken Chili. I always have browned meat or shredded chicken already cooked and in my freezer for meals such as this.)

2. Meatballs (just the simple 1 bottle BBQ sauce + 1 jar grape jelly)

3. Soups

4. BBQ Chicken or Beef, cook in crock pot all day and then place on buns to eat (just use frozen chicken breasts + 1 bottle BBQ sauce)

5. Chicken Hurry (from Chicken Dump Recipes)

6. Roast with potatoes, carrots

7. Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

8. Lasagna (I do NOT boil noodles first. I make a HUGE batch of the “insides” of lasagna and then make 5 lasagnas at one time to go in freezer)

9. Tacos (I make big batches of taco hamburger meat or taco seasoned chicken and then freeze in freezer bags)

10. Breakfast for Dinner

 

I would LOVE to hear what YOUR favorite quick dinners are? Or what resources/cookbooks do you find yourself using time and time again? 

chicken-dump-cover-e1423017915210

 

Simple Oatmeal Bake

Simple Oatmeal Bake

Y’all know me by now. I don’t share recipes unless they are SUPER easy like this 4 ingredient crustless quiche! This is another such SIMPLE and relatively healthy breakfast recipe with few ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen! I made this all the time years ago, and I recently came across this recipe again and wondered why I had gone so long without making it again!

IMG_1821

Oatmeal Bake

Ingredients

  • 4 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 t baking powder
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 1.5 t cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 1 cup blueberries (or other fruit, optional)

Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Pour into a 9×13 or foil pan to bake. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes. Use a toothpick to ensure it has baked all the way through.

This recipe is very forgiving, you could add in nuts, fruits, chocolate chips even! This oatmeal bake is NOT like oatmeal bars that will cut into slices. When it is done cooking, use a spoon to put some into each bowl. Enjoy!

P.S. This recipe still turns out great if you mix it up the night before and bake first thing in the morning. Easy peasy! 

More Easy Recipes

As you all know, I don’t love spending a lot of time in the kitchen. {Believe me, I wish I did!!} So, when I find a SIMPLE and FAST meal I can throw together that is also somewhat healthy, I use it over and over again.

 

Low Calorie Comfort Foods

low calorie comfort food

Help me welcome my sweet friend Alyssa back to His Mercy is New! I’m excited to try some of these recipes! 

We all want to eat healthy and be healthy, right?  I always thought that eating healthy meant giving up all my favorite comfort foods.  Who wants to do that?!  In an effort to lose weight after going on depression medication and doing infertility treatments, I started to count calories.  Along the way, I came across some amazing low calorie desserts and meals that make me feel like I am not missing out on anything!  All of these recipes include SIMPLE ingredients and are easy to make!  Enjoy!

Tried and True Low Calorie Comfort Foods 2

7 Tried & True Low Cal Comfort Foods

  1. Secretly Healthy 87 Calorie Brownies  Gooey deliciousness.  I added 1 cup of mini chocolate chips, cut my 9X13 pan into 24 pieces, and VOILA!   123 calorie brownies!!
  2. Chocolate cake  I LOVE that this recipe uses only boxed cake mix, Greek yogurt, and water—SO EASY!
  3. Pumpkin Bread
  4. Graham Cracker “Ice Cream” Sandwiches  My 4 year old’s favorite
  5. Three Amigos Chili  A favorite meal of my husband’s.  When I am out of town, he will make a batch and eat it all week long!
  6. 3 Ingredient Banana Cookies  I was skeptical, but these really are good!  About 45 calories per cookie!
  7. Berry Parfait:  Simply layer Reddi Wip Whipped Cream, strawberries, blueberries, and mini Chocolate chips!!

Low Calorie Comfort Foods

More Low Cal Recipes I Want to Try

 

Alyssa Burnette profile pic

 

Alyssa lives in South Carolina with her husband and son.  She was raised in NY but has lived as a Yankee transplant for 20 years.  She and her husband have navigated the waters of infertility and adoption for 11 years.  Her loves are the piano, the outdoors, fashion, and reading. She has recently started a blog: Living Beyond the Dust

 

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup  MercyIsNew.com

This is my very favorite winter recipe. I love soup. But I don’t love standing in front of the stovetop for 2 hours preparing soup. My crockpot is my best friend, so I was really excited when I found a chicken noodle soup that could be prepared this way!

I combined several different recipes I found online AND took out the “cream of” can of soup that so many recipes call for. If you want a creamier soup, feel free to add that yourself. 🙂

This recipe is very forgiving. If you don’t like parsley, don’t add it. If you have a dairy allergy, don’t add the milk.  If you want more liquid, add water or more broth. You get the idea!!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 cup water (or more, or add more broth)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 bag egg noodles (if you would like for this to feed more, add the whole bag! and more liquid)
  • 1 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Cook chicken breasts in crockpot and shred. (Cook on high for 2-3 hours or low all day, whatever fits your busy schedule!)
  2. After shredding or chopping cooked chicken, add broth and/or water.
  3. Add sliced carrots (you can add in the morning to cook all day or cook in the microwave for 4 minutes and add at the end)
  4. Add parsley, garlic, salt and milk.
  5. 20-30 minutes before you plan to eat, add the egg noodles to crockpot and let cook on high until tender. (Keep watch on your noodles as each crockpot cooks differently. You DO NOT want to overcook noodles, they become mush!)
  6. At the very end of the noodles cooking, with about 15 minutes left, add the cup of milk, if you wish to add milk.

Enjoy your chicken noodle soup!

Do you have a favorite crockpot soup recipe? I would love to try it! 

More Recipe Ideas

A {healthy} coffee shake

{affiliate links included. thank you for supporting this blog.}

I’ve been experimenting a bit and trying to find a healthy version of a coffee/chocolate shake that I can drink without feeling too guilty! I think I’ve found it!! AND it’s dairy free! Not that I need that persay, but I’ve been reading about the health benefits of coconut milk! yay!

First of all, I did lots of googling.

One thing I didn’t like right away: BANANAS in my shakes. Yuck. Now, you might love that and if so, by all means, add one to this recipe – make it even better for you! 🙂 I just don’t think that banana and milkshake go together. 🙂

Here’s the recipe I came up with. Remember, these kinds of things are SUPER forgiving…not sweet enough? add more honey. Too chocolatey? Add less cocoa. Etc.

 healthy coffee shake

Healthy Chocolate Coffee Shake

  • 1 can coconut milk (I’ve used this or this, both are good. OR you can use almond milk or regular milk!)
  • 2 large mugs full strong coffee (let cool if you can, I made in 2 cups in Keurig and poured in)
  • 1 tray ice cubes (I like a lot of COLD)
  • 3-4 teaspoons cocoa (I use this.)
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (I use local.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (I’ve used this for a long time.)

**Blend all ingredients (save coconut oil for last) in blender.

**tip about coconut oil — MELT IN MICROWAVE FIRST, then POUR into your shake or smoothie! NO lumps! yay! Pour it in slowly AS YOU BLEND the rest of the ingredients.

**I only added coconut oil because I’m trying to get more in my diet on a regular basis! You can leave this out! It doesn’t really do anything to the consistency if you melt it first, so you could leave it or add it! 🙂

I’m using my Ninja Blender a LOT and love it. It was sort of a “next best thing” when we couldn’t afford the Vitamix. We pretty much use it daily for smoothies…and now for shakes too. It has lasted longer than any of the blenders we used to just walk into walmart and buy and then burn out quickly. 🙂

If you try this I would LOVE to hear how you like it!! Do you have any shake recipes for me that don’t include banana? LOL!

Remember, I order a lot of the above things on Amazon or Azure and save money that way!! Read here to see how I accomplish that with Subscribe and Save and monthly orders.

Linking up with Frugal Family,  Thrifty Thursday , Weekend Potluck and Natural Family Friday!

Crustless Sausage & Cheese Quiche

Last week I tried this for dinner one night sort of by accident. I had been wanting to have quiche (with all our fresh healthy eggs!!) but kept forgetting to buy a refrigerated crust AND never had time on the days I thought about it to make my own. So, I decided to try one without a crust – healthier for us anyway!!

So, not only is this dish EASY to prepare, it is also gluten free AND good for you!! If you make it without the milk (which I have done before) you get a thicker quiche and then you have a simple THREE ingredient meal!! Woot! If you haven’t been around these parts long, you may not know that I really don’t love cooking but still want to provide fairly healthy meals for my kids. See my 20 meals for moms that hate cooking!

Simple Crustless Quiche @mercyisnew.comThis was SO simple and ALL of my family liked it and asked for seconds, including my most picky child. I posted on instagram that night that it was a momentous occasion indeed. I honestly think it was the first meal they all truly loved!

4 Ingredient Crustless Quiche

1 lb sausage, browned & drained
8 eggs (use 10 eggs for a larger dish and less sausage/egg ratio)
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 – 1 cup milk (I’ve done without milk before. The milk makes it a little fluffier and it just gives you a thicker quiche!)

**Optional – add spinach or any other veggies to this very forgiving recipe for an even healthier option!

**For yet more variety, try adding in different cheeses combined with the cheddar. Use a combination of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan.

Directions

Brown sausage, drain and set aside. In a mixing bowl, scramble up the eggs and milk. Add cheese and sausage, mix all ingredients well.  It makes a very thick mixture!

Pour into a greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes or so. The top will be pretty browned when it is fully cooked all the way through. It tastes yummy browned. 🙂 I cut these into 8 pie slices and served.

I’ve also used a full dozen eggs and a 9×13 pan for a larger quiche.

Next time, I’m going to make 2 of these at once. My family all wanted more and it was gone! 🙂

AND we have lots of leftover Easter ham, so this month we are going to have this same recipe with ham instead of sausage. 🙂

Try Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

Here’s another easy and {so good} recipe for you! Using the crockpot…my kitchen BFF.

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup 

Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup MercyIsNew.com

More Recipe & Grocery Links

Linking up with Thrifty Thursday.

Subscribe to Receive Freebies

I hope you will consider subscribing to my blog to receive encouragement from God’s Word and learning to Pray God’s Word. My current freebie is a Quick Guide and How-To for Praying the Scriptures! 

 

Click here to subscribe and receive this ebook free!

Mercy is New Shop

Head over my shop to find encouraging devotionals, printables, and more!

31 Days of Battling Your Fears with the Power of God's Word

 

April Menu

It’s that time again!! Menu planning! 🙂

Quick update: we continue to do well with our budget that started Jan. 1st. This is officially the longest that I personally have stuck to a budget! When I shared back in January about all the things we’ve been doing, it helped me to SHARE it – accountability – AND your encouragement along the way has helped lots too!!

More meal inspiration: 
January meals
February meals
March meals
Recipe ideas ~ pinterest board
Healthy meal ideas ~ pinterest board
3 Favorite Grain-Free Desserts

I usually don’t plan meals for Wednesdays and Sundays. Lots of times we just do a quick grilled cheese or quesadilla or find a sandwich. And now in April 2 of the kids are starting Upward soccer, their practices will be Mondays right at dinner time and it takes 30 minutes to get there…thinking about how to possibly feed them in the car without the drive-thru? It will probably be David taking them each week – so something they could all carry with them.

1 Chili & grilled cheese
2 small group dinner
3
4 Slow Cooker (whole) chicken – then make broth this way
5 Luke 14 – at church
6  Luke 14 – at church
7
8 Crustless Sausage & Cheese Quiche {recipe coming next week!}
9 Burrito Bowls (rice, beans, taco toppings)
10
11 Loaded Baked Potatoes
12 Pancakes & bacon
13 Grilled steaks & roasted broccoli
14
15 BBQ chicken sandwiches (shredded chicken & bbq in crockpot)
16 South of the border casserole
17
18 Baked Mac & Cheese (my kids love this) and roasted veggies
19 Potato Soup
20 Grilled burgers & baked fries
21
22 Grilled Turkey/Cheese sandwiches
23 Lasagna (this month I’m going to try and make several for the freezer)
24
25 Chicken Pot Pie (without egg & with homemade bisquick)
26 15 minute chicken fajitas
27 breakfast – eggs, sausage or bacon (whatever is left at this point!)
28 Emily’s birthday
29 Pizzadillas
30 Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

3 Favorite Grain-Free Desserts!

Quick disclaimer: these desserts DO HAVE SUGAR. ha. But, in finding that avoiding grains ~ namely wheat ~ have helped me to feel better overall, I just realized that every now and then I HAVE to have something sweet. I can’t go forever avoiding it all. So, eliminating the wheat at least makes these choices a *little* better for me! Enjoy! 

Easy Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter (I prefer smooth, some like crunchy)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Directions: Mix 3 ingredients with wooden spoon, you don’t even need a mixer! Spoon onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10-12 minutes, depending on how big you make them! Voila! So easy. So delicious. You could also add mini-chocolate chips for something different! Or even white chocolate chips would be delish! We generally double this recipe.

Flourless Brownies (I found original recipe here.)
1 jar almond butter (16oz)
2 eggs
1 1/4 c honey
1 T vanilla
1/2 c cocoa
1/2 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips

Directions: Mix all ingredients in bowl, using mixer. It becomes creamy, smooth, just like “real” brownies! Pour into 9×13 pan and bake at 325 for 35-40 minutes.

Note: In case you might think that these really won’t rise very much and try these in a smaller pan, they do rise and it really does need a 9×13. Not that I would know for certain or anything. 🙂

Dark Chocolate Butter Toffee
(I read this recipe in this book, but wasn’t sure I could share it exactly out of book. She altered her recipe from Pioneer Woman, so I will link to hers and note a few changes.)

2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

Topping choices: 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt, chopped nuts, crushed candy canes, etc. The options are limitless!

Directions: In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar and water. Bring to a boil. Over medium-high heat, keep stirring…and stirring…AND STIRRING until it turns a darker tan/amber color. (Mine never did even though I stirred forever. Maybe i was impatient.) Remove from heat and pour onto parchment paper or well-greased cookie sheet. (I didn’t have parchment paper.) Refrigerate at least 30 minutes until cool and solid to the touch. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl or over a double boiler til smooth. When smooth, pour over the toffee and spread with a spatula. Sprinkle on your toppings and then refrigerate until cooled and solid. Break into pieces.