Ep.3:Deirdre & Jen, Feeding the Fam and Loving your Season

https://anchor.fm/jenilee-samuel/embed/episodes/Ep-3–Deirdre–Jen–Feeding-your-Fam–Loving-your-Season-e2g1qt

Hi Friends!

I’m so excited to get to introduce you to my friend Deirdre for today’s episode!!  She is one of the most encouraging, intelligent, resourceful women I know, and a great mother while juggling a head-spinning number of things… I knew she would have some gold-nuggets to share with you as you may find yourself whirling from life’s demands too.  If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed or just plain bad at knowing how to keep your family fed well with all the other things you do, you’re going to love the secrets shared in today’s show, not to mention, at the end she drops some truth bombs about loving and appreciating the season you’re in to help reduce stress.  What qualifies her to speak on these things? I’m so glad you asked!  😀

She is a mother of two precious little ones ages 5 &3, works a full time job as an Accountant at one of the nation’s largest firms, as well as working a part time job as a Leadership Developer of the staff at Chick Fil A in Vicksburg.  She is also currently in school, finishing her advanced degree in Accounting and looks forward to being done at the end of this semester.  Aside from being a wife, mother, working woman, she is in Ministry leader with her husband and has a couple pets to chase and clean up after.  Even given all of this, she manages to keep a clean home and happy, well-fed children, all the while her exuberance for life and encouragement fuels you with excitement when she comes around!!  (Just wait for it, you’ll hear it in our squeals :D)   So, listen close as I pull on her insights and share some of my own so we can help YOU feel more equipped and capable at managing your home, specifically feeding your family well, and resting into the season you’re in.

We kicked this episode off with a Life-Hacks portion, filling the episode with links, apps and services that will save you time, money and trouble, and you can find them all listed below!  (This is not a paid advertisement, just excited to help. 🙂 )

LIFE HACKS with Jen & Deirdre! 

  • Make grocery shopping easy and save time: Walmart Grocery App. Order your groceries online to save time AND money.
  • Teach me to cook!  Pinterest!  I have some great recipe boards that can get you started:
    • Kid-loved foods!  (Some of these pins my kids added themselves, so if there are repeats, that’s why. :D)
    • Holiday treat: Peppermint Merengue Puff cookies!  This is one of my own blog posts that’s been repinned on Pinterest in a number of locations hundreds of times.  It’s a classic!  It’s a recipe I found and tweaked to make my own on Pinterest.
  • Easy RecipesAmerica’s Test Kitchen on Pinterest & App (the app is currently only available for iOS devices)
    • Here’s the Mac-n-cheese recipe Deidre loved if you sign up!  (Tip: you boil the noodles in water AND milk).
  • Meal planningMealime : Keeping meals healthier!  This App & website is the easiest way to specify types of recipes you want, and to have personalized options populate for you to choose from, pick the ones you want for the week, and compiled into a shopping list.  The easiest way I’ve found to healthfully meal plan so far!  You can pay a little to get access to a larger database of recipes if you really love the app, though I haven’t had to yet, still lots of great options.
  • Lunch planning, & gets kids involved!: LaLa Lunchbox –  The website also offers an App download, which I use, and my kids can use and has made life easier!!  I believe they have a breakfast app too, but we just do lunch.

I believe those were our cooking/meal planning/how to keep it healthy suggestions, but if we missed anything you heard in the podcast that you have a question about, feel free to email me: javawithjenpodcast@gmail.com !  Feel free to leave comments below of what you’re loving as well!

Other links mentioned.

We hope this podcast was a blessing to you, and stay tuned for more content from Deirdre in the future!!  If you enjoyed this, please share it with friends, on social media, and go on itunes to rate the podcast!  This causes more people to be able to find the podcast and be blessed by it as well!  Thanks so much and happy feeding-the-families!

-Jen

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Blueberries, blueberries and more blueberries!!

We decided to finally go berry picking at a local Berry Farm!! Hurray!!  We had such a wonderful time!! (well, except for the rain downpour in the middle of our tasking, but then again, it was refreshing from the heat!)  For only $10 a gallon (equivalent of about 10 lbs of berries) we came home with an ABUNDANCE of berries!!  So, given that, I decided to use as many as possible since I found out AFTER rinsing them, that you can’t freeze them AFTER rinsing or they get freezer burned, you have to just rinse them before you use them… Agh.  go figure.  Soooo, I have a LOT of berries to use.  I’ve been giving some away, and otherwise will stuff them in my children’s faces and make as many blueberry things as possible!  Below are two yummy recipes I made.  One is Strawberry blueberry white chocolate oatmeal cookies, and the other is vitamin water with the berries and peppermint.  🙂  Enjoy the photos, and here’s the link to the recipe for the cookies.

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Storm is coming!!

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Levi preparing to pick a bucket full!!

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Shiloh picked a few, but mostly ate a lot!

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Benjamin did great, but tired out quickly.  He is three. 🙂

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Me and the boys very proud of our increasing supply of berries.

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Levi and my collection growing!!

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Judah and Benjamin, happy, but tired and ready to call it quits.  They didn’t last but fifteen minutes! Lol…

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Benjamin is just too cute not to put his little photo. 🙂

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Shiloh eating them up… forgive the repeat!!

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Washing my blueberries!  Very thrilled with my initiative taking, unfortunately, if you’re freezing yours, rinse them AFTER so you don’t lose the protective layer on their skin.  However, if you’re keepin them fresh, rinse them, and throw a capful of VINEGAR into the water with them to kill any mold spores so they don’t go bad so quickly!!  (at least I did SOMETHING right!)

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Letting the berries dry out on a towel before handling them!

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Making the cookies with chunks of white chocolate, blueberries, and strawberries!!  YAY!!

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Yummmm… cookie batter!!!!  It was so good, maybe better raw than cooked!!  I saved some dough just because… 🙂  Ooh!!  I remembered that just now and might go eat some!!  🙂

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Beautiful cookies!!!!

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Forgive the tiny picture, but this is what I threw into the bottom of a pitcher for vitamin water:

-Thinly sliced strawberries

-Blueberries, gently squeezed to release some juices.

-Peppermint from my garden, crushed to release the oils.

Add filtered water to top, let it refridgerate over night!! Ta-da!!  Vitamin water!!!

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Stawberry, Blueberry, peppermint vitamin water!!

DIVINE Roasted shrimp, tomato and feta bake

Ok, so i’m not a huge shrimp fan, but this dish was AWESOME!!  I didn’t invent it, but I did tweak it a little bit, and it was so good, it was one of those meals that when I ate it, there was NOTHING I would have changed about it!  ( I don’t know if that’s EvEr happened to me!)   It actually was a surprisingly quick meal too!  I started cooking at 4:30 thinking it’d take an hour to make dinner since it was a new recipe for me, but I was done by 5:00!  Its great, healthy, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!  Here’s the recipe:

Serves 6      Hands-on Time: 15m     Total Time: 40m

Ingredients

  • 5 large tomatoes, cut into eighths (I used about 6 roma tomatoes, larger size, cut into quarters or eights, depending on its size).
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined.  (I used small shrimp to avoid shrimpy texture, personal preference.)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup Feta, crumbled  (I used one 4-oz package of Feta and sprinkled with a handful of Italian blend shredded cheese after it had baked)
  • crusty bread, for serving

Directions

1. Heat oven to 450° F. Place the tomatoes in a large baking dish (I used a square 8×8 dish) and spoon the olive oil and garlic over them.

2. Sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon each salt and pepper and toss. (I was fairly generous with the salt since tomatoes absorb salt to much)  Roast on top rack of oven for 20 minutes.

*While those baked, I sauteed the shrimp stove-top in 2 TBS olive oil, 2 TBS butter (toward the end), about 1/3 cup chopped onions and 2 TBS minced garlic.  Get the garlic and onions nice and seared to the point of becoming transparent-ish, then throw in the thawed shrimp. (I bought mine frozen).  At one point, the juices were starting to pool in the pan from the shrimp, so I drained the extra juices into the sink, and kept sautee’ing.  I wanted my shrimp browned, not soggy.  I did this till the shrimp were beautifully browned and flavored.  Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

3. Remove baking dish from oven and stir in the shrimp, parsley, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with the Feta.

4. Return the dish to oven until the shrimp are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.  (I just did it for 10 min, enough to toast the cheese since the shrimp were already cooked.  When I removed the dish, I then sprinkled a generous handful of Italian blend shredded cheese over it to melt and add more cheesy yumm-ness!) Serve warm with the bread.

SERVE WITH:

I made garlic french bread to go with it, and served it over Whole Wheat angel hair pasta that I spiced up with a little olive oil, dry italian blend herbs (a cheap blend I got at the dollar store!), a touch of salt and 1 or 2 TBS of paremesan cheese.  That made the pasta have a great neutralized flavor to go with the slightly tart/zing of the tomato, lemon and salt in the dish.   I also made microwaveable broccoli and cheese for a veggie on the side.  The meal was AWESOME!  And my husband Loved it!  So, good luck and enjoy!!

Health perks from this meal:

-Use of olive oil is a great plant-based fat that keeps you heart healthy, and even targets the burning of belly-fat (per the Flat Belly Diet– which I’ve done and loved how healthy and effective it was!).

-Whole grain pasta is a wonderful alternative to typical processed pastas and doesn’t cost but a few pennies more (and is more sustaining!)

-Using white cheeses (like most italian cheeses, feta and mozzarella) helps keep things more natural.  The colored cheeses are almost always dyed and a little higher in fat.

-Fresh tomatoes!!  Tomatoes are a huge health food!  They have so many great vitamins and antioxidents that help to prevent cancer and other health problems.  And, tomatoes are one of the few foods where their health benefits INCREASE as they are cooked!  Bring on the tomatoes!

This is a meal that will leave you feeling satisfied, but not bloated.  You will feel GOOD after you eat this meal (as I distinctly noticed when I ate it the other night… and I even had two full servings!)  Eat guilt free, save on prep time,  save on your ingredients list, and save on your waistline.  That’s a win-win to me!