Spring Cleaning Your Kitchen

Living in the desert has its advantages….like warm weather this time of year that makes you think of spring. This week I’m focusing on spring cleaning your kitchen. We’ll take a look at how to deep clean your major appliances and how to clean your kitchen top to bottom with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Welcome to my edition of spring cleaning your kitchen!

First up: The dishwasher

This one’s not too bad. You’ll want to remove the bottom rack (or just pull it out) so you can reach the drain area in the bottom of the dishwasher. I recommend wearing gloves for this task because it can be pretty gross. Check the drain for any debris that may have accumulated at the bottom and remove it (ick!). Remove the filter and wash it in soapy water. Then, take a dishwasher safe cup and fill it with vinegar. Place in the top rack of your dishwasher and run the dishwasher through a normal cycle with hot water. When that is done, sprinkle some baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and run the dishwasher again. And, voila! you’ve done the dishwasher.

Second: The Sink & Garbage Disposal

For the sink, make a paste with baking soda and water and coat the sink. Soak paper towels in vinegar and place on top of the baking soda paste. Let this react and sit for 10 minutes. Remove the paper towels and rinse the baking soda down the drain. Follow with a small pot of boiling water. Use a toothbrush to scrub hard to reach places like parts of the faucets. For the garbage disposal, ice cubes, coarse salt and lemons are your friends. Put some ice cubes in the sink and pour salt on top. Run the disposal while running cold water until the ice and salt are all down the disposal. Slice a lemon and put lemon slices, one at a time, down the disposal. Voila! Sink and Garbage Disposal are done.

Third: The Oven and Stove

Ok, not gonna lie, this one will take a while. It’s not labor intensive, but is time consuming. Make a baking soda paste with water. So, now is probably a good time to suggest buying baking soda and vinegar from places like Costco or Sam’s. Coat the inside of the oven with the paste. Let it sit overnight. Brush out the paste and spray the inside with a vinegar:water solution (50:50 will be good). Leave this alone and let all the bubbling and fizzing happen. Wipe out with a damp cloth and a bucket of water. You might want to do this 2 or 3 times to get all of the vinegar and baking soda out of the oven.

4: The Refrigerator

Ugh, I hate cleaning my fridge. I will do just about any other chore but this one. Just me? Some maintenance things you’ll want to consider. Change the water filter if you have one. This should be done twice a year, so like batteries in the smoke detectors, change this when the time changes. You’ll want to purchase a refrigerator coil cleaning brush and use this to clean the coils under the fridge. For the inside, wipe down the shelves with a vinegar solution. Wash drawers out with warm, soapy water. Clean out any expired condiments, sauces, salad dressings, etc in the door. PSA: the door of the fridge is the warmest place in the fridge, so you might want to think about storing the milk and cream somewhere else in the fridge. For the ice drawer, empty it completely and wash it out with warm, soapy water. Toss freezer burnt items and any items you put in the freezer that you cannot identify. Replace the boxes of baking soda in both the fridge and freezer.

5. Cabinets & Spices & Pantry

With the major appliances done, it’s time to focus on all the extra areas. Toss out spices that have expired and any pantry goods that have expired. Wipe down the cabinets and vacuum out the bottom of the pantry. Go through your cabinets and toss anything broken or unusable. Donate anything you no longer use but that is still in good condition. Take stock of what you have and put any duplicates together (like the 4 bottles of southwest seasoning I had in my cabinet).

Wipe down cabinet doors, the top of the fridge, vacuum and mop. Then your kitchen should be sparkling clean and organized. And, hey, if any of the other people living in your house dare to mess it up, give them the stink eye.

Click the image to go to my free printables page. You can download this as a PDF.

Hop on over here for the recipe for the carpet freshener. I love love love it.

Cheers!

8 Unique Uses For Coffee

As I am wrapping up coffee week on IG, Pinterest, FB and this blog, I wanted to leave you with a few ideas for using coffee in unexpected ways. I’ve put together 8 unique ways to use coffee that you may have never considered. Which ones will you try? Will you discover a new beauty product you love? Will your garden thank you this spring as you use coffee? Read on to find some new ways to use coffee in your life.

1.Spice rubs

Coffee works great in a spice rub, especially for beef recipes. For any spice rub, the key players for me are always salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and brown sugar. Then, depending on the flavor I want or style of food I want, I add in other spices. For steak, I might add smoked paprika, ground mustard, coffee and ancho chili powder. For chicken and pork, I would use just the key players and add coffee grounds to that. One friendly tip: use less coffee in the rub for chicken and pork than you do for the steak. You don’t want to overpower the chicken with coffee.

spice rub for beef
spice rub for chicken
coffee spice rubs
8 unique uses for coffee
Quick spice rubs for beef and chicken.

2-5.Household uses

Use your leftover coffee grounds as garden fertilizer (roses and azaleas especially, not so much tomatoes), compost, scrubbing pots and pans, pest repellant, neutralize odors in the fridge, neutralize odors in the car, cover scratches in dark furniture with a little coffee, repel slugs and snails in the garden, boost the composting power of the worms in your garden. What great ways to use up those leftover coffee grounds! Also, for those of you going fishing, add coffee grounds to the dirt to not only keep your bait happier, but also to make the smell of humans on the bait. Happy fishing!

6-8.Health & Beauty: skin scrubs!

A friend of mine is the genius behind Vizal Skin Scrub. It’s loaded with nourishing ingredients and leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and glowing. Did you know you could add highlights to brown hair (I have NEVER tried this one, personally. So, reader beware……)? You can remove smells from hands, mix with yogurt and spread on your face to brighten your skin, help puffy eyes not be so puffy. What an inexpensive way to do something great for your skin and treat yourself to some self-care for 10-15 minutes in the process!

8 unique ways to use coffee
alternate uses for coffee
use coffee around the house
8 unique uses for coffee

What’s your favorite way to use coffee grounds (other than just brewing a coffee drink of some sort and drinking it)? Share your knowledge and leave a comment or 2 telling me how you use coffee.

Cheers!

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Chocolate and Coffee Granola

Chocolate and coffee granola…..yummy!

Friends, I have stumbled on the best granola recipe and it is my coffee and chocolate granola. Add some unsweetened vanilla almondmilk and I swear it’s like having those chocolate-y cereals we all loved as kids.  Y’all know I love my coffee and I love my chocolate.  I’ve recently started using coffee in my cooking.  I love using coffee in my recipes. Coffee works well in sweet and savory recipes (look up coffee rubs, you won’t be disappointed). I love my breakfast foods too, especially trying new flavors of granola that work as a snack, on top of yogurt or in a bowl with some milk. The crunchy, sweet, carb-y goodness of granola is something I can always eat. This Chocolate and Coffee granola does not disappoint. It’s not overly sweet and has loads of good stuff in it (oats, chocolate, coffee…..those things are life!). But first, let’s talk a basic granola recipe and how you can change it up to make tons of varieties.

Dry Ingredients:

Every granola recipe has some combination of oats, nuts, dried fruits (if you like that), sugar of some sort and what I will call “extras” that you may not think of immediately, but can really add a pop to your granola. Chocolate, coconut chips (not the sweetened coconut flakes but the plain coconut shreds or chips), nooch or Nutritional yeast, orange zest, lemon zest, the possibilities are endless. Check out this chili cheese granola recipe for an awesome snack idea and/or salad topper. For the amounts, the amount of nuts and other ingredients should be half the amount of oats you use. If you use 2 cups of oats, use 1 cup of nuts, 1 cup of dried fruits, etc. For richer items, like chocolate, use 1/4 the amount of oats. In this case, 2 cups of oats means you would use 1/2 cup of chocolate. For my coffee and chocolate granola, I used oats, pecans, semisweet chocolate, hemp seeds and coffee grounds.

Wet Ingredients:

Granola also has some blend of fats (oil) and may contain honey or maple syrup as sweeteners in place of sugar. You need some kind of oil, but the key is to make it a neutral oil. You don’t want a strong, fruity olive oil. If you want to use olive oil, make it the extra extra extra extra light olive oil. Other oils that work are canola, grapeseed, and coconut (for sweet recipes). If you don’t use a dry sweetener like brown sugar, opt for maple syrup, honey, molasses, stevia and any number of liquid sweeteners. That’s really all you need because you will toast the granola or cook in a skillet and the granola is not meant to really stick together like energy bites. If you want something like granola bites, add some nut butter or sunbutter to help make the granola bites. For my chocolate and coffee granola, you could use brewed coffee instead of the coffee grounds.  Just make sure to let the coffee cool before using.

And now for the coffee granola……y’all I love this granola. I mean, it’s coffee and chocolate, how can you go wrong? Seriously, it tastes like a certain chocolate-y breakfast cereal I loved as a child.

Rise and Grind Granola Recipe….Yummy!

Rise & Grind Granola

Coffee granola is the way to start the day. 

  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks (I use Enjoy Life to make this dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips (or more for your preference)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds (hemp also works well here) (Just for extra nutrition)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or the seeds from 1 vanilla bean)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 pinch salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl (oats, pecans, chocolate chips, flax seed, coconut chips). Mix the vanilla, canola and maple syrup in a separate bowl.

  3. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. 

  4. Spread out on a sheet pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the granola is golden brown.  Stir the granola on the sheet pan every 10 minutes to ensure all the oats and nuts are deliciously brown and full of flavor.

  5. Let cool and store in an airtight container. 

This recipe is just one of a whole series of coffee recipes and knowledge I’m sharing this week. For more on the history of coffee and how the drink came to be, check out this post.

Have you tried this recipe out? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know. Learn more about me.

Let’s talk coffee…..

Black gold, Texas tea, nectar of the gods, survival juice, “coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dreams of champions” (From Kicking and Screaming). I love love love my coffee and have a pretty sweet collection of coffee cups too. Sure, I started out with cafe au lait as a kid (cajuns start young, what can I say) and moved on to the fru-fru drinks as a teen. But, now that I’m older, I have come to appreciate a good cup of coffee. What makes a good cup of coffee? Where did we get the drink we know today as coffee? How do you brew the perfect cup of coffee? Read on for all the info, friends….

History of coffee

Coffee trees are native to east Africa. The coffee tree was taken to India and then to Java before being taken to the French Caribbean. In the beginning, coffee was brewed and consumed in the same cup. So, you’d probably drink a fair amount of coffee grounds. The French were the first to use the drip-pot method for brewing coffee. The drip-pot very simply has a container with coffee grounds. Hot water is poured over the coffee grounds and then the grounds are filtered out in some way. Today, we have the luxury of coffee filters, filter baskets and k-cups. Why was the drip-pot such an important step forward for coffee lovers? Water was kept at a cooler temperature (no more pouring boiling water and coffee grounds together), the time the coffee and water interacted was more limited and the cup of coffee you would drink would not have coffee grounds left in it. These are key things to keep in mind when brewing your own coffee because it minimizes the bitterness of the coffee and keeps the coffee grounds out of your cup, which would presumably add more caffeine to the drink as it continued to brew. Caffeine is one of those things that actually contributes to the bitterness of coffee. After the drip-pot, espresso came to be. Espresso is coffee brewed under high pressure. Brewing coffee under high pressure allows one to extract oils from the beans, leading to a unique flavor.

Where do coffee beans come from?

Arabica beans come from the Coffea arabica variety of coffee. These beans have less caffeine, more oils and sugars and overall a better flavor profile. Another, less popular variety of beans comes from the Coffea canephora plant. The flavor profile of this plant is less desirable due to an increase in natural products that function in plant defense. So, whereas the beans may not taste as good as arabica beans, the plant itself is more hardy and can survive attack from diseases. Yes, plants catch viruses and infections too.

Why are coffee beans roasted?

Unroasted coffee beans are green and taste about as awesome as sawdust or paper or some other thing you really don’t want to eat. Roasting the beans brings on a chemical reaction (Maillard reaction). The proteins, sugars and other chemicals in the bean breakdown and react with each other. This is how the lovely brown pigment appears. Once roasted to the appropriate brown color and appearance, the beans are shocked with a cold treatment to cool the beans immediately. Roasting is a bit of a delicate balance though. If the beans are underroasted, the sugars are broken down into acids leading to a bitter and astringent coffee. If the beans are over-roasted, the unique flavors of some coffee beans are masked and taste more generic in flavor. This means you miss out on a potentially great cup of coffee because the beans weren’t roasted properly.

What makes the perfect cup of coffee?

These 4 things will influence the kind of coffee you drink.

  1. Water: the quality of the water you use really will impact the taste of your coffee. I use filtered water, because it’s a simple and inexpensive way for me to dramatically improve my coffee.
  2. The Beans: Well, yeah, this is a no-brainer, right? Beans roasted properly and roasted as fresh as you can get them will taste the best. The longer roasted coffee sits in a bag or canister, the more the flavor profile will change. The grind is equally important. For espresso, you want a very fine grind on the beans. Compare that with your standard coffee maker where a coarse grind is the way to go.
  3. Temperature: Remember, the temperature of the water will change the taste. Water that’s too hot will pull more acids out of the coffee. For machine-brewed coffee, ideally you want the water to be around 180 F. So, maybe ordering your coffee extra-hot isn’t the best way to go. Trust your baristas…..they should know what the right temperature is for your beverage. You could always ask them too.
  4. Time: The time to steep/brew the coffee will influence the flavor too. The longer the water interacts with the coffee, the more chemicals will be extracted from the bean. A short brew could mean too many acids will be pulled out and not enough of the sugars and other chemicals that give coffee its great flavor. Too long of a brew time means too many chemicals will be extracted and the coffee will taste vastly different. For my not fancy coffee-maker, the sweet spot would be about a 1 minute time frame for the water and coffee to mix and mingle. Manual filters may need as long as 4 minutes for the ideal cup of coffee.

Want to know more about coffee and all the wonderful ways you can use coffee in your home? This is the first post in a series on coffee, so stay tuned. Follow me on my Facebook page and IG for more coffee tips, recipes and humor this week.

Love some good coffee humor? Follow me on Pinterest and/or IG as I’ll be sharing coffee humor all week. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to coffee cups.

Cheers!

One Pot Andouille Sausage Spaghetti Squash

This post contains affiliate links.  Read my disclosure here.

I won’t lie to you friends……we’ve all been sick, the house has gone to hell, I haven’t been to the store recently and I’m rocking the sweatpants-messy-hair-hot-mess look for days now. Have you been there before? Please tell me I’m not the only one who has days, weeks, possibly months like that. We’re really trying to eat out less and get less takeout/fast food to save money and to help improve our health, yadda yadda yadda. The real truth is that it was Sunday and I just didn’t want to go to the store on a Sunday afternoon and deal with all that nonsense. So, I went to the pantry and looked. Then I went to the fridge and stared for what felt like 30 minutes, before I saw the Andouille sausage.

What came from me staring into the abyss of the fridge was the idea for a spicy pasta dish with a cajun cream sauce. I love spicy cream sauces–arrabiata, cajun cream sauce, I love them all. Mmmmmmm………now I’m hungry. Anyway, back to this recipe and my laziness in the kitchen. I had sausage but no pasta. But I did have spaghetti squash. I was saving the spaghetti squash for a spaghetti squash carbonara, but the family tore through the bacon the day before. So, spaghetti squash to the rescue for my dinner. Andouille, spaghetti squash, canola oil, Magic Seasoning, a splash of cream and veggie broth. That’s 6 ingredients y’all.

For the spaghetti squash, I used this trick to make it easier to cut in half. I scooped out the seeds with this handy little gadget that I never knew I needed, sprinkled some canola oil and Magic seasoning on top and roasted it in the oven at 375 °F for about 30 minutes. I let this cool and then shredded it with a fork.

To put all of this together, I used my favorite pan. I drizzled 1 tbsp. Canola oil in the pan and heated it on medium-low heat for a few minutes before cranking the heat up gradually to a medium high heat. I tossed in my sliced andouille sausage and let that brown in the pan. I added my shredded spaghetti squash, vegetable broth and the rest of the Magic seasoning. This is a seasoning blend from Paul Prudhomme and it is awesome. I love that it doesn’t contain MSG either, which is a big headache trigger for me. 

I let that cook for 5-10 minutes, turned the heat down and added the cream. Gave that baby a stir and I was done. Even more beautiful? The pan is dishwasher safe y’all. So, when I finally get caught up on the dishes and laundry from us all being sick, I don’t have to hand wash this pan. I’m a fan of dishwasher safe y’all. Check out the recipe below and let me know how this turns out for you.

Cajun Andouille Pasta.

5 ingredient, one pot meal that is low carb and oh so tasty!

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (sliced in half, seeds removed)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • 1 package andouille sausage links, sliced (I used Aidell's)
  • 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 packet Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blend
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth or water
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

  2. Drizzle spaghetti squash with 1 tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle 1/2 packet of seasoning blend over the top of the squash.

  3. Roast squash in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Shred with a fork.

  4. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in Rockcrock Everyday Pan on medium low heat.  Gradually increase to medium heat.

  5. Add sliced andouille sausage to pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side to brown the sausage and help develop the flavor.

  6. Add shredded spaghetti squash and remainder of the seasoning packet.  Add about 1/2 cup of broth or water. Stir until seasoning mix is dissolved.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 5 minutes.  

  7. Add cream, stir and let cook on low for 1/2 minutes.  Adjust seasonings as needed.

I hope you enjoy this simple and delicious recipe.

Cheers!

Chips & Tacos

This post contains affiliate links, which you can read about here.

Chips and tacos…..what’s more satisfying than that? Crunchy, salty goodness filled with more goodness if it’s a taco. I could eat tacos and chips every single day. Sadly, with lots of added oil, fat, salt and preservatives, store bought tacos and chips really aren’t my best choice. As a random aside, have you seen the price of a container of kale chips? Or sweet potato chips? Holy Guacamole, $8+ for kale chips? Nope, not gonna pay it. I’ll just make my own thank you. And if I’m making something for a friend and the dish absolutely must be gluten free, I’m kinda stuck. Lucky for me, the new “V-shaped baking pan” or taco pan as I call it, helps me solve lots of kitchen problems.

  • Need a healthy snack for you and the kids? ✔
  • Need something crispy and salty to satisfy your snack cravings? ✔
  • Need something to make taco shells or the cheese shells for keto and low carb diets? ✔
  • Need something to hold those tacos to keep them upright so they don’t spill out? ✔

This set has you covered. That’s right, you get 2 pans in the set, which means more tacos for everyone! Need some food ideas for how to maximize your use of this pan?

Lunchboxes and snacks: The lunchbox struggle is real, y’all. Our school has a “wellness” policy, so we can’t bring chips, cookies, candy, etc. in their lunchboxes. Personally, I think this is a great policy, but it would be nice if our cafeterias had to clean up their foods too. My kiddo has a number of stomach issues when she eats from the cafeteria, so I am always looking for ways to make lunches healthy, easy, cost-effective AND add some variety to the mix. Some ideas for lunchboxes and snacks: apple chips with cinnamon, sweet potato chips with salt or cinnamon, beet chips, spinach chips (or kale chips), zucchini chips, fig chips.

Taco shell ideas: Standard corn taco shells can be made with simple corn tortillas, which are gluten free. But, have you tried making taco shells with cheese? My keto and low carb friends do this all the time. This V-shaped pan would make it so easy to whip up a batch of low carb taco shells. And don’t forget dessert tacos. You can use pie crusts to make dessert shells or simpley use a flour tortilkla with butter, cinnamon and sugar to make a dessert shell and use up leftover flour tortillas.

Now, I know there are about a million taco recipes on Pinterest and I am here for most of them. The struggle for me is what to put in a taco that can be eaten cold because my kiddo doesn’t have access to a microwave at school. My best idea, is a vegan taco “meat” filling. Hear me out on this one because it’s really tasty and allergy friendly. The meat is made with sunflower seeds, which are a great source of protein, fat, magnesium, B-6 and iron. Add some nooch on top of that and you’ve added more B-vitamins, fiber and protein in that taco. You can use this recipe to fill taco shells or serve with some chips for a tasty taco dip. Check out my recipe below to see how it’s done.

Vegan Taco Filling

This taco filling can be eaten hot or cold, which makes it great for school lunches.  Also, serve with some chips as a taco dip to have with lunch instead of tacos.

  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (small enough for a food processor)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Southwestern Seasoning Mix (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (plus more to taste)
  1. Soak sunflower seeds in water for 20 minutes.  Pour off the water and transfer sunflower seeds to a food processor.

  2. Add carrots, garlic and seasoning mix.  Pulse in the food processor until uniformly ground.  Adjust seasonings to your liking.

What kinds of chips do you like to make at home? What taco fillings do you like?

What’s a Bubble Waffle and why should you have one?

This post contains affiliate links, which you can read about here.

Bubble waffles, puffy waffles, egg waffles, what the heck are they? Bubble waffles or egg waffles originated in Hong Kong and waffles made from a different kind of batter, cooked in a “bubble” waffle maker. You’ll see these rolled into a cone or bowl shape and filled with ice cream and toppings, but these babies can be used for sandwiches, pizza and so much more.

What’s the difference between a bubble waffle and a conventional waffle?

Egg waffles are truly a unique taste. Made with more eggs than regular waffles (or the Belgian waffle which uses egg whites), these waffles have thin, crispy edges with small bubbles of waffle batter that is almost quick bread like. Custard powder is a common ingredient found in lots of egg waffle recipes and provides the rich, “eggy” taste of these beauties. In addition, these waffles are cooked in a special pan to provide the appearance of little eggs. These look a lot like a bubble wrap waffle and I am here for it.

These are best when eaten warm. Roll them in an ice cream cup and fill with your favorite ice cream. Top with fruits, whipped cream, sprinkles, whatever you can imagine. Change up the batter recipe by adding chocolate, matcha or another flavor you love. Add savory herbs and use the bubble waffle in place of bread for sandwiches. Add Italian seasoning mix to the batter and then top with cheese and meatballs (or any other pizza topping you like) to make bubble waffle pizzas. How fun would these be for kids? You could probably sneak some veggies in there for added nutrition too.

 

Why do you need a bubble waffle maker and which one should you buy?

The short answer is, because it’s how you get the fun, bubble shape of the waffle. The design of the griddle and the cooking method allow for the fun shapes you see, but also allow for that yummy cake/quick bread texture for the bubbles and the thin, crispy edges. Yummy.

 

 Why should you buy a bubble waffle maker from Pampered Chef?

Pampered Chef is known to make quality products. This pan has long handles to keep from burning your hands, works on a number of stoves AND comes with a 5 year warranty. A 5 year warranty! Also, it comes with a nylon fork to help you quickly and safely remove waffles. Anyone else have trouble of spilling waffle batter everywhere when you make waffles? No? Just me? Well, this handy gadget comes with a well around the sides to catch spills. Holla!

When can you purchase one? What recipes do I recommend using? How should you go about requesting a catalog? Fill out the information form below and I’ll send you all the details!

Cheers!

Soothe your sore throat

How to soothe a sore throat

Well, it was bound to happen. The kiddo has been sick for probably 3 weeks now. Scratch that. All kids have been sniffling, coughing, sneezing and spreading germs by the millions for weeks now. Do you remember that game from the 80’s Press Your Luck? That’s been me for those 3 weeks now. No Whammy! No Whammy! No Whammy, Stop! Cue the cute little animated whammy moving across the bottom screen. After 3 weeks of sniffling, sneezing and generally what I thought were allergies, the kiddo took a turn for the worse over the weekend. It’s always over the weekend, right? Or in the middle of the night. It’s never during normal working hours. Sigh…..took the kiddo to the doctor today. Doctor, nurse and me all felt pretty certain this was just an allergy flare up but they checked her out nonetheless. This kid had no fever, no white bumps in her throat, nothing to indicate she was sick with strep throat. Imagine our surprise when the test came back that she did have strep throat. So, now I’m here writing up my list of the best remedies for helping a sore throat feel better for kids. Bonus, these also work for adults too. Particularly when a nasty case of the man flu strikes and you have an extra kid to care for in your house too. All of these come together pretty quickly and easily and are fan favorites in my house.

  • Frozen pops: Cold liquids work wonders to help soothe a sore throat, but that’s nothing new. But, when I can make frozen pops in 10 minutes, that is a huge win. Have you ever made your own popsicles? I’ve listed out a few of my favorite recipes here. Just don’t give the kiddos the boozy frozen pops, mmmkay? Save those babies for yourself when you’re stuck inside with the kiddo who needs to rest, but is feeling just better enough to be cranky and hyper.
  • Chicken soup: What is it about chicken soup that it has magical healing powers? I grew up eating the noodle soups from cans with red and white labels and from a mix in a pouch that had just noodles and no chicken in it. Sadly, both of those are loaded with monosodium glutamate, which gives me wicked headaches. Some of my favorite chicken soups are here, here and here. I love my girl Danielle Walker’s soup because it uses leftover veggies and chicken. I recommend her soup for any potential food sensitivities you may have in your house. The Pioneer Woman makes my second favorite soup. Really, I haven’t yet tried a recipe from her that wasn’t ahh-mazing. Using the frozen egg noodles helps make this easier to make too. The last soup linked, is a John Folse recipe. I love his recipes and his Cajun Encyclopedia is full of fantastic history and recipes. His recipes are not always quick and easy, but if you have the time, they are so worth it.
  • Orange juice: I buy the juice fortified with calcium because of dairy allergies in our house. So, not only does my kiddo get plenty of Vitamin C, but also gets calcium too. Just don’t give them too much OJ at once, because stomach and bathroom issues….
  • Honey: great for soothing coughs and pediatrician recommended to help coughs, honey is great for soothing sore throats too. Since honey is great for wound healing, it may help those nasty sore throats. Please note, honey is in no way implied to be as effective as antibiotics for treating strep throat.
  • Warm salt water: Yep, your grandma was right. Gargling with warm salt water helps break up secretions that may be irritating your throat.
  • Carrots: Steamed, roasted or any other way of cooking carrots is a great way to boost your immune system (vitamin A anyone?) and the soft texture of the carrots may help soothe your throat too.
  • Ice cream/sorbet: We do sorbet in our house because dairy allergies. Ice cream is great for soothing sore throats and plus, it’s ice cream.

Share any tips you have for soothing sore throats in your family. Cheers!

Rosemary Garlic Pull Apart Bread

One of my goals this year is to finally learn how to bake bread. It’s always been my arch-nemesis in the kitchen. Enter the bread proofing feature on my Quick Cooker. Holy perfect bread, Batman! I threw this rosemary garlic pull apart bread in no time. As an added bonus, my 6 year old helped me make it. So easy, so fluffy and so full of flavor. I could rattle on about the bread, but personally, I hate reading through a bunch of text to get to the recipe, so I’ll post that first and then follow with some pictures.

Yummy Yummy Bread, fresh from the oven

This bread is everything I was looking for in bread. Light, fluffy, flavorful….it really is scrumptious. Even better, it was given universal thumbs up from everyone in the family. And, with a proofing feature on my Quick Cooker, the process of baking bread was quick and easy (I have spent an entire day letting dough rise before only to be disappointed that it didn’t really rise).

For more recipes, check out my microblog here. For even more recipes, kitchen tips, cooking 911, jokes & fun, join the Second Breakfast Club on Facebook. Have you tried this recipe? Leave me a comment below and let me know how it turned out. Want to join my newsletter? Fill out the contact form here.

Cheers!

What is Nutritional Yeast?

What in the world is nutritional yeast or “nooch” as it is sometimes called?  Why should you include it in your diet?  Nutritional yeast is a deactivated form of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  Ok, but what the heck is Saccharomyces cerevisiae?  That’s the scientific name for the yeast used is making bread. The yeast is grown on a food source, like molasses, and then harvested, heated and dried.  Ok, great.  Why do I care again?  You care because it’s a nutritional powerhouse and so so good. By the way, I am not an affiliate of the nooch people.

 

Nutritional yeast or nooch or heck, call it hippie glitter, is loaded with B vitamins. And you don’t need to eat a truck load of it to get a meaningful dose of those B-vitamins.  Just a tablespoon will be good.  Know what else this little gem contains?  Protein and fiber.  So grab a spoon, scoop up that hippie glitter and spread that -ish everywhere, k?  Nutritional yeast tastes good. No, not in a grab a spoon and eat it by the spoonful kind of way, you know, like cookie dough.  But I add this to almost every meal I cook.  It’s great for adding a salty and nutty kind of flavor.  Some people use it as a cheese sub, but I’ve never really found it to taste just like cheese.  It does add a good flavor to food though.  If you want to dip your toe in the nooch, check out these 5 suggestions for adding it to some of your favorite foods.

1. Popcorn—seriously, spritz your popcorn with some olive oil, pour the nooch on top and shake or stir it to mix it all up.  So so so good.

2. Spaghetti—spaghetti and marinara with a little nooch on top to give it a salty, slightly Parmesan flavor.  Trust me, this goes well and is easy to stir in and hide from those picky eaters.  Check out my recipe for dairy free “creamed” spinach spaghetti

3. Loaded baked potatoes/twice baked potatoes—I love making twice baked potatoes and I add nooch, olive oil, steamed broccoli, stuff that back into the potato and top with some panko breadcrumbs and bake in the oven.

4. Roasted broccoli—if you haven’t tried roasting your broccoli florets until they get crispy in the oven, get out there and do it.  It’s my favorite way to eat broccoli and I may eat this broccoli by the sheet pan.  When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle some nooch on top.  So good it almost feels like junk food.

5. Literally any savory dish you might make with bouillon cubes.  Making rice pilaf?  Add some nooch.  Making chicken strips/nuggets?  Add some nooch.  Making soup?  Sprinkle that bad boy with hippie glitter and then go crunch some granola.  No really, it’s that versatile and amazing.

Buy a 2-pack of Nutritional yeast here:

Affiliate disclosure: If you shop using the link above for nooch, I may receive a small commission from that purchase.  Your price will not change.

What have you tried with nutritional yeast? Did you like it?  Share your thoughts in the comments section.  Want more recipe inspo and cooking tips?  Join the Second Breakfast Club.