Category: Cooking

Summer is Calling! 5 Amazing Grilling Ideas You Need to Try

In one year, 80 million Americans say that they grilled outdoors. Seventy-five percent of us own an outdoor grill or smoker.

While grills apply heat directly to cook food, smokers use indirect heat that passes through a cooking chamber, usually containing wood chips. Smoking foods helps to preserve their flavor, and the wood gives them that down-home barbeque flavor we recognize immediately.

Grills, on the other hand, cook food more quickly and are easier to use. Many hosts prefer them because they can socialize with their guests without continuously fussing over the fire.

Whatever your preferred method is, nothing compares to the sweet, barefoot music of a summer cookout in your own backyard. Here are some of our favorite grilling ideas for the season!

1. Fish and Veggies En Papillote

This is a great crowd-pleaser that allows each guest to have their own neatly-wrapped protein package that smells like heaven when it is cracked open.

Place a white, flaky fish with light flavor like halibut, tilapia, or cod in aluminum foil and season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or lemon juice. Sprinkle with some basil or thyme and salt and pepper.

Light fish are packed with vitamins and minerals and light on calories. Add some summery cherry tomatoes, zucchini, or squash before closing up the package and grilling it with the lid down. The result is a succulent, savory treat that melts in your mouth.

2. Cedar Plank Salmon

For best results, your cedar plank should be placed in the center of a hot grate, away from the heat. The fish will steam gently here, remaining tender and moist. It picks up the smoky flavors from the grill as well as the woodsy taste of the cedar.

Some serious grillers prefer a charcoal grill smoker combo when entertaining outdoors. It combines the flavor of a smoker with the convenience of a grill.

You will need to soak your cedar plank in salt water for two hours before using it on the grill. Salmon is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which prevent heart attacks and contribute to overall mental and emotional well-being. Try flavoring yours with brown sugar and dry mustard before grilling.

3. Veggie Kebabs

Great summer vegetables such as zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and red onions can be served as a side dish or main event. The grill will make them so soft, smoky, and tender that they will be praised even by non-veggie fanatics.

Try brushing yours with olive oil and lemon juice, and light herbs such as thyme, basil, salt, and pepper.

4. Hot Dog Bar

Anyone who tells you that hot dogs are better served indoors is lying. Something about those charred grooves lets you know a delicious, smoky flavor unique to summer is on its way to your mouth.

Be sure to include classic fixin’s lined up in style like catsup, mustard, pickles, relish, sauerkraut, and an assortment of buns.

You can also shake things up by serving unique recipes like Hawaiian dogs with pineapple relish in bacon, or Asian dogs with hoisin sauce and ginger relish.

5. Grilled Romaine Halves

A healthy, surprisingly delicious appetizer or side, grilled romaine lettuce halves deliver a gorgeous color and succulent flavor.

The halves can be placed directly on the grill, and they need to be turned quickly. Season them with salt and pepper and top with blue cheese and bacon off the heat.

Choose Your Grilling Ideas

Smoky veggies, ethnic hot dogs, and savory fish all make great grilling ideas for your next entertainment event.

For more information on frugal cooking, read our blog today!

Top 10 Healthy and Cheap Snacks Your Kids Will Love

cheap snacksPreparing cheap, healthy snacks for your kids can be difficult. With 1 in 3 children obese or overweight, preparing a balanced diet for your kids is more important than ever.

But what ingredients do you use for a healthy snack?

Here are our top 10 healthy and cheap snacks your kids will love.

Sweet Potatoes

A great choice for fun snacks for kids is sweet potatoes. Not only are they packed with vitamins, but there are plenty of different ways to prepare them.

While it may be difficult to convince kids to stay away from traditional french fries, the nutrients sweet potatoes bring their diet are worth it. With so many different ways to prepare your sweet potatoes, you’re sure to find a recipe that your kids will love.

Sweet potatoes can work well with any diet. Whether it’s vegetarian or paleo, you can still enjoy sweet potatoes.

Whether they’re fried, baked, or pureed, there are plenty ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.

Smoothies

If you’re looking for a great snack for the summertime, look no further. Smoothies are an excellent choice that will keep your kids cool and healthy.

There are a lot of different ways to make a smoothie. Trying out these new recipes and combinations can be fun for kids.

With a little bit of low-fat yogurt, some orange juice, and a banana, you have a solid base for your smoothies.

From here, you can experiment with different fruits, vegetables, and even grains to create a delicious and nutritious treat for your kids.

Whole Grain Cereal

Another fun snack for you try is whole grain cereal. Whether you just want an easy breakfast meal or a fun mid-day snack, whole grain cereals can give your kids the energy they need to get through the day.

Whole grain cereals provide energy and nutrients to keep your kids’ brains and bodies healthy.

Start their day off right with a little bit of cereal, some low-fat milk, and some fruit. Or use some yogurt to make some flavorful snack bars.

With the right recipe, you can put together a healthy snack loaded with different vitamins and nutrients.

Hummus

If you’re looking for an alternative for dipping your snacks, hummus is the solution you’ve been waiting for.

The pureed chickpea mixture can add texture and flavor to your snacks. In addition to tasting great, hummus is also rich in many different vitamins. But how should you serve it?

There are many creative ways to incorporate hummus into your snacks. Not only does it work well as a dip for your chips, crackers, and vegetables but it can also be used on sandwiches. While hummus has a thicker, paste-like consistency, it’s not as messy as other dips.

Cheese

A popular protein-packed snack for your kids to try is cheese.

Kids love cheese in all shapes, sizes, and forms. With the right recipe, you can create the perfect snack.

Cheese can be one of the most healthy and fun choices for a snack. The key nutrients it provides gives kids energy and can help build stronger bones.

Using full fat or 2% cheese can help keep your kids full until dinner. But it’s important not to give them too much cheese, or they may get sick.

Whether they’re cut into fun shapes or simple cubes, cheese can be a fun snack that kids can enjoy with their hands.

Quesadillas

Snacks with lots of different options are always the most fun. Quesadillas can help keep your kids feeling full until dinner and make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need to get through the day.

There are so many different ways to prepare a quesadilla. It’s important to always have a recipe that’s balanced and healthy. But what ingredients should you use?

Quesadillas are healthy and fun snacks because of the different ways you can make them. Using a combination of meats, beans, and vegetables make these snacks filling and nutritious.

With a little bit of salsa, some cheese, and a helping of beans, your kids will have a filling, energizing snack.

Peanut Butter

Much like hummus, peanut butter is another great spread to add to your snacks. Whether it’s used as a dip or a spread, peanut butter is a great choice for giving your snacks some substance.

Peanut butter is a versatile treat. There are plenty of ways to use it, whether it’s with something sugary or salty.

Because peanut butter is such a beloved childhood snack, it’s important to try to change your recipes up to make things interesting. Instead of the average PB and J, try using waffles or rice cakes.

There a lot of different ways to prepare a peanut butter snack. Because of this, the snacking possibilities are virtually endless.

Snack Mix

Another nutty snack that’s great for your kids is snack mix. Snack mixes are a combination of nuts, fruits, and sweets that are both delicious and healthy.

There are many different ingredients you can use to prepare a snack mix. Typically, nuts are used as a base to provide protein.

Finding the right nuts to use for your snack mix can be tricky. Whether you want normal peanuts, tree nuts, or shelled nuts, it’s good to figure out what will pair well with your recipe. Click here for more nuts to choose from.

When paired with fruits and sweets, snack mixes can taste great and provide kids with lots of nutrition.

Eggs

Eggs are another flexible ingredient to use in your snacks. The protein-rich snack can be prepared many different ways and is great for any time of the day.

While it’s most popular for breakfast, eggs can be served at any time. Whether they’re fried or hard-boiled, eggs can give kids the perfect balance of flavor and nutrients.

Noodles

Noodles are a quick snack that can provide kids with some carbs. When paired with sauces with vegetables, noodles can be a well-rounded snack for your kids.

While too much pasta could be bad, they can be great in limited quantities. When combined with sauces and cheese, noodles can provide them with a perfect balance of nutrients and flavor.

Preparing Cheap Snacks

Snacks are important for keeping your kids happy. Because of this, these snacks also should be healthy.

Finding a balance between cheap and healthy snacks is always tricky. But the first step to preparing healthy snacks is picking the right ingredients. Check out our blog for more tips and tricks for cooking healthy snacks.

The Best Air Fryers for Every Budget

air fryer

Are you on the hunt for the best air fryer?

Air fryers are a wonderful way to bring all those tasty foods you crave right into your kitchen. You can cook up crispy chicken wings, potatoes, and vegetables in the comfort of your home.

What’s more, air fryers are a healthy alternative to fried food, because they enable you to get your fry on without all that added oil!

Air fryers are feasible for any budget. In this post, we’ll take a look at the top air fryers on the market today!

1. Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer

Are you ready to ooh and ahh when you start frying food? Then you should check out this boss of all fryers.

Big Boss has an elegant, ergonomic design, operating on a hefty 1300 watts to fry your favorite foods without all that oil. You’ve got two cooking racks with this fryer, too, for maximum exposure.

We love this fryer because it’s energy efficient, using infrared technology to get your foods from frozen to sizzling in a matter of minutes. What’s more is that you can put anything in it, from toast to stir-fry vegetables.

The Big Boss comes with a recipe book for oil-less frying and a two-year limited warranty.

It’s affordable too, clocking in at $60-$70 at most department stores. Check out this Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer review.

2. French May Air Fryer

If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your fryer, check out this stylish creature from French May. Its sleek black design will look good on any counter — plus, it’s got a touchscreen control panel!

The French May comes with preset frying preferences, AirFlow technology, and a 3.7-quart capacity.

The best part about this fryer is that it’s dishwasher safe, so cleanup is always easy. It also comes with a recipe book for frying inspiration.

Find the French May on Amazon or in other department stores for just under $100.

3. The Dash Compact

If your frying needs aren’t massive and you’re on a tighter budget, check out this compact frying machine.

The Dash has a 1.2-liter capacity for frying, but don’t let that deter you. It’s highly energy-efficient — more so than your oven! — and has an easy slide-out drawer for fast afternoon frying.

It’s great for families, as The Dash has an auto shut-off mechanism for maximum safety. Like the others, it comes with a recipe book.

You can purchase The Dash in a lovely aqua, red, white, or black color. Find it online for around $50.

The Best Air Fryer for Your Budget

You can’t go wrong with any of these three fryers. We love them for their power and energy efficiency.

Choose The Dash for more compact frying needs. Larger families or spaces will find a true companion in any model by French May. The Big Boss Oil-Less Fryer is topping the charts when it comes to efficiency and frying capacity.

At Thrifty Momma Ramblings, we’re all about saving you money and helping you live the life you long for. Check out our blog posts on frugal, nutritious kitchen living here!

6 Great Sources of Protein Other Than Meat

Sources of Protein Other Than Meat

Do you think that your family eats nutritious meals?

You may think that you’re giving your kids the best foods possible, but a study on daily nutrition found that empty calories make up nearly 40% of the average kid’s diet.

Do you want your child to eat better and reduce their empty calorie intake? Give them more protein in their meals.

Meat is the go-to source for protein, but when you have to appease picky eaters meat may not be the best choice. Luckily, there are sources of protein other than meat your kids can eat.

Where To Find Sources of Protein Other Than Meat

Kids are notoriously picky eaters. Moms who may have tried low carb or paleo dishes at dinner time know how hard it can be to introduce new foods.

Finding meatless sources of protein can help your child’s overall diet. When you rely more on vegetables and grains in meals your kids can get more vitamins and minerals.

Curious about what things you should add to your diet? If you want to up your protein and reduce your meat consumption, try out some of these foods.

Quinoa

Quinoa is a grain that most people consider to be a superfood.

This wholesome grain has 8 grams of protein in a serving, but its high amount of protein isn’t the best part about this food.

Quinoa is also high in iron, magnesium, and fiber. It’s very versatile, and many people use it as a substitute for rice.

Tempeh

Tempeh is a vegetarian soy food that’s been eaten throughout Asia for hundreds of years, but it has recently become popular in the west.

Tempeh is very high in protein. One cup of it can have up to 31 grams of protein. It’s also an excellent source of calcium.

If your kids don’t like tofu, try introducing them to tempeh. Some people prefer its taste to tofu because of tempeh’s slightly nutty flavor.

Protein Powder

If you want sources of protein other than meat, protein powder is the ultimate meatless protein source.

Protein powder isn’t for people in need of a post-workout nutrition boost. It can also help add supplemental protein to your diet.

Do your kids love smoothies for breakfast? Add a scoop of protein powder to their smoothies or extra nutrition.

If you want more ideas on how to use protein powder and which brands are the best, check out The Ultimate Guide To Protein Powder.

Rice And Beans

Want something simple, delicious, and high in protein? Go for something classic like rice and beans.

When it comes to sources of protein other than meat, rice and beans can’t be beat. This utterly simple food can have 7 grams of protein in a serving. The meal is also full of important nutrients like methionine and lysine.

If you want to switch things up, substitute the beans for chickpeas or lentils for a tasty dinner with high protein.

Seitan

Do you want a go-to substitute for meat, but don’t want to use tofu?

Seitan has been taking the vegetarian and vegan worlds by storm. Because it’s created by mixing gluten with herbs, spices, and stock (or water), it’s much more flavorful than tofu.

This meat substitute has been in use for thousands of years, and a serving can have almost 21 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter

Want the ultimate kid-friendly source of protein? Look no further than peanut butter.

Go beyond pairing it with jelly if you want to give your kids something different. Spread it on waffles in the morning, or serve a big dollop of it with bananas and celery.

Your Turn

Now that you know what foods to use, it’s time to get to work!

If you’re not sure how to use some of proteins, check out the list of recipes on the Meatless Monday website. They have tons of recipes that don’t use meat, and plenty of them are kid-friendly.

If you’re interested in other nutritious meals, check out our post on healthy and tasty breakfasts you can make.

10 Paleo Recipes Your Kids Will Love

paleo recipes

Getting your kids to eat dinner can be tricky at the best of times.

Introducing dietary restrictions can only complicate that.

However, our list of 10 paleo recipes your kids will love helps simplify things, ensuring your kids get the paleo snacks they love.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a power food, packed with healthy carbs, minerals and vitamins. Nearly any recipe calling for white potatoes can be substituted for this healthy alternative.

Blending some maple syrup in while mashing the potatoes helps bring out the natural sweetness, making them irresistible to children.

Paleo Pancakes

These breakfast treats couldn’t be easier to make. Simply mash a banana and mix with a beaten egg. Cook it on a frying pan and you have a dairy- and gluten-free pancake that’s near identical to its non-paleo counterpart.

Delicious and simple.

Avocado Boats

Avocados are another nutritional powerhouse, loaded with healthy fats essential for proper brain development in children.

Halve an avocado, and mash the inside, mixing it with tuna and diced veggies and you have simple paleo snacks that satisfy a number of nutritional requirements.

Coconut Milk Parfait

Did you know that coconut milk can be whipped? Blending full-fat coconut milk can give you the same airy consistency as whipped cream with all the healthy fats coconuts are known for.

Crumble some pecan and dates in the bottom of dish, layer with your whipped coconut milk and top with sliced fruit and you have a dish as healthy as it is delicious.

Chicken Stir Fry

While rice itself doesn’t qualify as a paleo snack, it is easily substituted with cauliflower. Steam your cauliflower, let it cool and then run through a food processor. What you’re left with is an excellent replacement that’s gluten-free and full of nutrients.

Mix with chicken and veg and you have an easy to make dinner classic.

Paleo Smoothie

Smoothies have become a staple over the last few years thanks to their great flavors and dense nutritional value.

Blend a banana with full-fat coconut milk, some almond butter, and cinnamon and you have a satisfying paleo recipe that’s great to take on the go.

Tahini Fudge

Made of ground sesame seeds, tahini is an excellent source of protein and fat.

To turn it into dessert, simply mix it with cocoa powder, coconut oil, raw honey and some vanilla. Add some coarse salt, smooth out in a pan and freeze.

Creamy and delicious, this paleo recipe help satisfy your children’s nutritional needs.

Sweet Potato Bun Sausages

A sausage on a bun is a classic. Bring it to the next, gluten-free level by swapping out the bun for a sweet potato.

Peel the sweet potato and poke holes in it using a fork. Microwave for 5-7 minutes then slice in half.

Grill your favorite sausage, put it in the sweet potato and you have a paleo hot dog sure to satisfy even the pickiest eater.

Chocolate Pudding

By taking advantage of the fatty texture of avocados, this is a tasty dessert packed with nutrition.

Mix your avocado with coconut oil, cocoa powder, honey, vanilla extract and some almond milk and you have a paleo snack the kids will love.

Final Thoughts on Paleo Recipes

By utilizing a few basic staples, it’s easy to create paleo recipes that replicate many of your kids’ favorite snacks.

Check out our other recipes for some more great culinary ideas!

Better Than Fruit for Breakfast: Delicious Food to Fuel Your Day

fruit for breakfast Don’t worry I’m not going to start this article talking about how important it is to eat breakfast in the morning. You already know that!

However, if you are like me you often end up eating the same thing every morning because of its convenience. And while fruit is a fantastic and healthy option, sometimes you just need a treat.

Here are five delicious treats that are better than fruit for breakfast.

1. Oats

Did you know oats have been proven to reduce your risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cancer? These super foods are incredibly rich in healthy compounds and great at eliminating the not-so-healthy ones.

Not all oats are created equal though.

If you want to maximize the good ingredient, avoid eating packaged and processed oats. Oftentimes these are filled with too much sugar and preservatives.

2. Eggs

The second food to keep your eye on for breakfast is eggs.

Not only are they packed with protein and essential vitamins, but they’re incredibly versatile as well. One day you could have a poached egg, and the next you could have them scrambled.

I love to make omelets. This allows me to get in some of those other essential vitamins and minerals through added vegetables.

This is a plate that you can get creative with and one that will be a healthy alternative to your classic fruit dish.

3. Waffles

Next is waffles, and yes I do mean it! Waffles and pancakes can be a delicious and healthy treat for breakfast, especially when made with whole grain.

One of the benefits of waffles is the variety of toppings you can add to it. Whether you’re craving something sweet or salty.

Another benefit is that they are so easy to make! Just pull out your bella waffle maker and whip them up with simple, everyday ingredients.

Within 5 minutes you’ll have a delicious and filling breakfast snack.

4. Crepes

Like waffles and pancakes, crepes are another delicious alternative with lots of topping options.

Entire businesses have been devoted to making great crepe recipes that are both sweet and savory. However, regardless of your taste palette, you can be sure that the crepes won’t add much sodium or cholesterol to your diet.

Bonus tip: Add peanut butter to get a little extra protein in your day.

5. Smoothies

If you are still craving fruit for breakfast, but you want to have a change in your routine, smoothies are a great alternative.

You can never go wrong with strawberry and banana blends. Add spinach or kale to get an extra dose of fiber and keep you fueled for the rest of the day.

Plus they are great for when you have to eat on the go!

Enjoy More than Just Fruit for Breakfast

Each of these options provides delicious and healthy alternatives that will keep you fueled until lunch.

As an added bonus, they’ll also leave more room for yummy desserts at the end of the day like my favorite triple-layer cracker toffee bars. Yum!

Speaking of which, I think I might have some cooking to do.

Do you have any special breakfast treats? Share them below in the comments!

Want more awesome tips? Check out our website!

4 Natural Soap Recipes for Healthier Skin

soap recipesIt’s an unfortunate reality that many commercial soaps contain harsh dyes, fragrances, foaming agents, and other artificial chemicals that are harmful to our skin.

This is even true of soaps that are marketed as “natural.” Believe it or not, there is no regulation or quality standard for the use of that word. Beware of the marketing manipulation. The only way to truly know what goes into your soap is by making it at home.

Plus, making soap can be a fun and relaxing process. You can make soap for at home use, gifts, or even a business. All it takes is a little practice and some great natural soap recipes.

Read on to find our favorite natural soap recipes free of harmful chemicals that you can easily make at home.

4 Chemical-Free Natural Soap Recipes for Healthy Skin

Soap helps us wash away germs, bacteria, dirt, and all the products we put on our skin. Why would we want to use anything unnatural to achieve a clean slate?

Use these natural soap recipes to achieve healthy skin with soap that you can feel good about using.

1. Milk and Honey Soap

This moisturizing soap is great for your skin and smells delicious. You’ll need:

Just melt the soap base, add the remaining ingredients, pour into a mold and allow to cool until firm.

2. Kratom Soap

Kratom is a tropical tree that grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves have been recognized for their healing properties, providing relief from chronic pain, muscle aches, anxiety, and stress.

In this soap, its healing properties are absorbed by the skin as well as through aromatherapy as it mixes with steam.

To make kratom soap, you’ll need to source the leaves in the form of a powder from a reputable kratom strains supplier. After that, just follow the instructions below:

  • 3 cups glycerin soap base
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil (or essential oil of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon seaweed oil
  • 1 teaspoon kratom powder

Infuse the kratom powder and lemongrass leaves in water and simmer for 15 minutes.

Melt the glycerin soap base in a double boiler and add the infused lemongrass kratom mixture and the remaining ingredients.

Mix well, pour into silicone molds, and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

3. Lavender Oatmeal Soap

To make this soothing aromatic soap that gently exfoliates the skin, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound goat’s milk soap base
  • 2 tablespoons dried lavender
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender essential oil

Melt the soap base, add the dried lavender flowers, oats, and essential oil and mix well. Pour into molds and allow to cool.

4. Salt & Grapefruit Soap

This energizing soap is excellent for your skin with gentle exfoliation from both the grapefruit acid and the salt crystals. Here’s how to make it:

  • 1 pound goat’s milk soap base
  • 1/4 cut pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grapefruit essential oil

Melt the soap base, stir in the remaining ingredients, pour into molds and allow to cool.

Easy Peasy!

These soap recipes are fun, easy, and safe. Try making soaps for a fun activity with kids! All of these recipes are free of harsh chemicals, lye, or difficult to find ingredients.

Do you have a favorite soap recipe that we missed? Comment below!

Love this article? Check out our other great posts like this one on healthy eating!