Homemade Mac N’ Cheese

This is what I call comfort food.  I will seriously never eat the boxed or frozen stuff again.  Soooo Good!!!  Enjoy!

Homemade Mac N’ Cheese

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Ingredients

2 Cups Water

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 Cups milk

5-6 slices of American cheese, optional

2 Cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat water and cream until simmering.  Do NOT boil, this will burn the cream.
  2. Add Elbow Macaroni and salt.  Cover and keep at a slow simmer until macaroni is almost tender.  Stir occasionally so noodles do not stick.
  3. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup, or a bowl, measure out your milk.  Add flour, mustard, and pepper.  Whisk until combined.  Add this to the pan and simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add in American cheese slices. This step is optional but will provide you with an ultra creamy outcome.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted.  Serve and enjoy!
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Cupcakes for a Superhero

My little girl is turning 5!  I cannot believe how fast time has flown by.  Lately she has gotten very into cooking, so of course she wanted to help make her birthday cupcakes.  After watching Master chef Junior at least every day for about a week, she has decided she will be a pro. It’s so cute watching them try to really cook for the first time, and also very nerve wracking for you and your kitchen!  Her favorite thing to make lately is princess waffles with the new waffle iron her aunt gave her.  So we have been receiving the royal treatment having waffles imprinted with castles and crowns.  We are so fancy at this house!  🙂

Her cake of choice for her party is white cake with blue frosting.  Her party was of course wonder woman themed.  What girl doesn’t want to be wonder woman?

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Easy White Cake (From Scratch)

Ingredients:

1 Cup White Sugar

1/2 Cup butter, softened

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 Cup Buttermilk

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease and flour a 9×9 inch pan or line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. In a mixer cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla extract.  Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder then add to the creamed mixture.  Mix well.  Stir in the buttermilk until batter is smooth.   Pour the batter into prepared pans.
  3. For 9×9 pan bake for 30-40 minutes.  For cupcakes bake 20-25 minutes.  It is done when it springs back to the touch or a toothpick entered in the center comes out clean.

Immune Boosters!

Itapple autumn is becoming that time of year again!  I love the fall, with it’s beautiful colors, fuzzy sweaters, and hot cocoa.  I do not however love the sickness!  It is not fun at all!  But I wanted to help you out with some immune boosting foods to add to your meal routines.  This way you can enjoy eating as well as feeling healthy and strong!

ENJOY!

Yogurt– great probiotic to clean out your gut!  Health starts in your gut, so take care of it!

Oats– Full of Beta-glucan, a type of fiber that aids in healing and preventing sickness

Garlic– Seriously my favorite!  I love to load my meals with garlic. It contains allicin, which fights infection. Great for your heart too!

Shellfish– Helps your white blood cells produce specific proteins that help clear out viruses.

Chicken Soup–  Yes, there is a reason you want it when you are sick! While the chicken is cooking it releases an amino acid that blocks the migration of inflammatory white cells.  Plus the sodium helps control mucus.  Double win!  Add some garlic onion and you’ve got a powerhouse of healing food!

Sweet Potatoes– Helps your skin which is your first line of defense against viruses and bacteria.  Take care of your front-line!

Mushrooms– considered a super food and it increases the production and activity of your white blood cells.  Which means they will fight harder for you!

Onions– Breaks up mucus in your head and chest.  They can also increase circulation to get your blood flowing better.  They are said to absorb toxins, so some put slices on their feet or by their bed when they are sick.  I’ve never tried it, but there are those who swear by it!

Ginger– This amazing root can soothe your sore throat, encourages coughing to get rid of mucus, and can reduce a fever.

In addition to all these foods, consider trying some good quality essential oils.  There are some amazing ones out there, and I have had some great experiences using them on my sick kids and myself. They can prevent sickness or help you recover a lot quicker. Contact me if you need more information or are curious about essential oils.

Foods That Fight Inflammation

Over the years, since childhood, I have struggled with inflammation.  Pain kept me from participating in a lot of activities.  It also caused me to feel unfocused, tired, and just plain miserable.  I never slept well, and never had the motivation I needed.  With all my failures or lack of motivation I would blame pain.  But did I ever do anything about it?  Not until just recently.  I started to change my lifestyle.  It wasn’t easy either!  It is very difficult to make new healthy habits.  But I eventually began to mold my life to where I wanted it.   I eat better, I exercise regularly, and I try to have more optimism in my life.  So what do you think happened?  My pain started to dissipate.  Why?

First off we can ask, What is inflammation?

Inflammation in your body occurs when your immune system is fighting off something foreign.  unfortunately inflammation can persist even when there are no foreign invaders in our bodies!  Chronic inflammation can subject us to many major diseases such as depression, arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.  So what do we need to do?  Run to the pharmacy and down those medications? Make excuses and live a less active life?  No.  We need to look at our diet.

Let’s start off with what foods cause inflammation.  If we really want to help our pain, we really need to cut out any culprits.

INFLAMMATORY CULPRITS

  • Breads and Pastas –  the refined ones such as white breads and pastas.
  • Red Meat
  • Processed Meats
  • Fried Foods
  • Sugar! Especially sugar sweetened beverages
  • Margarine, shortening, and Lard

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Notice that these foods are ones known to be typically bad for our health.  If we try to adapt a clean eating lifestyle, our inflammation should drastically decrease.  You will also lose weight which fights inflammation.  I am living proof of that.  Not only will our inflammation decrease, but you will feel more alert, happy, and motivated!

If inflammation is linked to depression, then to better our mood and life we need to focus on that.  We need to dig deep to underlying problems.  Because, in my opinion, being happy and optimistic are the most important traits to get through any trial.  So, lets look at what foods we should be consuming.

 INFLAMMATORY FIGHTERSvegetables-752153_640

  • Berries
  • Nuts – such as Walnuts or Almonds
  • Fatty Fish
  • Tomatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Peppers
  • Ginger and turmeric
  • Garlic and Onion

Looking at this list is so much more appetizing than the first!  Fresh, Clean, and Amazing!  Why would you not want to eat these things everyday?!  Ok, I know why.  We get used to eating our fast, processed, sugar filled food.  But now is the time to change!  Check out Growing to Like your Greens, for my story on the subject.

Now stop fighting this pain, making excuses, and popping pills!  You can fight this with food, and not only fight inflammation but reap so many more benefits of a healthy diet!

For more help creating healthy habits, contact me and I will introduce you to some amazing routes you can take.

I do realize there are severe cases which may need prescription help.  By all means listen to your doctor.  But there is nothing wrong with implementing a diet that can help.

Sources:  Health.com and Harvard Health

Your Brain on Physical Fitness

I recently watched this video of a P.E. teacher who took something the kids love and worked it into his class.  My first thought was what a great way to connect with the kids and have fun! Heck, have you tried playing a dance video game?  You work up a sweat for sure!  But not everyone feels this is a good thing.  One commenter said they “…would take their child out of that school because they are there to learn, not do a stupid dance.”  Why can’t learning be fun?  Is it really important for physical fitness to be implemented in our childs day at school?  Does It take away from all the academics?

So what does exercise do to our brain?  In a study done at Harvard Medical School they found that exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, “boosts the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.”

“The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.”

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So with all of this, why would you ever want your child to be completely inactive during school?  This is the part of their day where they should be soaking up as much information as possible.  This does not apply to just children either.  As we get older our brain can grow weaker if we do not exercise it both mentally through reading, puzzles, etc. and physically through aerobic exercise.  As the brain grows weaker we are more subject to Dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Not only this, but so many struggle from common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.  These things are all controllable and sometimes completely preventable with daily exercise and proper nutrition.

 Life is about healthy balance no matter what age we might be. We need to find our balance and educate our children on how to find theirs, so they may have a fighting chance for their future.