5 Veggie Plants You Can Grow Right Now

Gardening season is upon us, and I couldn’t be happier! I often get asked what type of veggie plants a novice gardener could grow and have successful results.

Just like anything else, gardening is a skill that requires patience, time and dedication. That doesn’t mean you can’t jump right in and start! There are so many great veggie plants you could try, but I have a few suggestions.

You will notice tomatoes are not on this list. Many people claim they are simple to grow. I have never felt that way. Tomatoes require more TLC than other plants, and I have had many years with a bad harvest. There are easier plants to try first, but if you love tomatoes, give them a try!


  1. Lettuce
    My first suggestion is always lettuce. I’ve never struggled to grow a plentiful crop of lettuce. While it doesn’t like hot weather, damp soil and some shade will give you a harvest until winter. Some people make hot boxes and grow lettuce year round, even in the snow.You can grow lettuce in a raised bed (like I do), or try it in a container. Lettuce needs planted as an early, spring crop. We always grow a few varieties of butter crisp lettuce and romaine.
  2. Beans
    Beans are an easy staple to grow in almost all climates. Green beans and dried beans are simple and come in two varieties: pole and bush. If you are short on space or like to take advantage of every area (like us), pole beans are the way to go. All you need is a trellis or poles with strings in between for the beans to grow up.Beans need to be planted after the final frost. They prefer warmer and hot weather to grow. A good tip is to soak the beans for at least an hour before you plant them. It always seems to increase the germination rate.
  3. Peas
    Peas are a spring and fall crop, but you can plant them at almost any time. I find peas to be a hardy crop, capable of withstanding warmer weather if the soil is kept moist.My kids love to plant peas. From the time they are little, I teach them how to line the seeds along our beds and, using their little fingers, push them into the soil. Peas come in bush and pole varieties as well. We have great success with our pole peas.
  4. Zucchini
    Zucchini are prolific plants. If you don’t grow them, you are likely to still have some given to you because the plants produce a lot. Zucchinis are an iconic summer veggie. I’ve never had trouble growing them!You can start zucchini directly in the ground with seeds or start the seeds one to two weeks prior to transplanting. If you start the seeds inside, remember that zucchini can get root bound easily and prefer not to be disturbed.
  5. Cucumbers
    The last plant I suggest newbies try is cucumbers! They are easy to grow in small space; all you need is a trellis or poles to grow up. Cucumber plants are prolific growers, and they are perfect for summer. If you love pickles, you have to try a few pickling cucumbers. Making pickles is so easy!

Gardening is fun. There is no reason to wait if you want to give it a try! These are just 5 veggies you could try to grow right now.

Do you have a favorite veggie plant you love to grow? Let me know in the comments.

11 Easy Ways to Save $50 per month

Budgeting and saving money isn’t a race; it is a marathon. We are in a lifetime marathon to budget and use our money wisely.

Sometimes, we realize we need just a bit extra in our budget. Whether you just want another $50 per month to put into savings or need a bigger grocery budget, there are plenty of ways to save $50 each month.

Most of these methods I have personally tried with positive results. While not all of save $50 by themselves, you should pick one or two to try. Together, most of them will save you $50 over a span of time. Mind you, some of them mean you have to wait for the following month to see the results. That’s ok; it is a marathon!

Let’s start with one of the most obvious choices:

  • Cut Out Cable: If you have yet to try this, cutting cable can save you a boatload of money each year. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are three of the most popular streaming choices. I bet you won’t even miss it! Cutting cable can save you between $50 and $100 per month, equaling a yearly savings of $600 to $1,200. Is cable really worth it?

One of the places people can easily find money is their grocery budget. Each week, we tend to buy a bit more than we logistically need, but that helps on the weeks when the budget is thinner.

Ways to Save $50 per Month

  • Go Meatless Once a Week: I’m a total meat and potatoes type girl, but I understand that meat costs money. Ground beef can cost up to $6 per pound, depending on your location and source. Ground turkey typically is close to $4 per pound. I’m not saying go crazy with some vegan meal, requiring you to buy different ingredients. Instead of having meat sauce with your spaghetti, eliminate the meat. Replace the ground beef in sloppy joes with lentils (the texture is the same). Depending on the cost in your area, going meatless once a week can save you between $16 and $24.
  • Make Your Own Yogurt: This task can seem daunting. Is it truly possible to make your own yogurt? Absolutely! While you can use an Instant Pot, all you really need is a crockpot. The cost for your first batch will be the cost of a gallon of milk and a small tub of plain yogurt, for the starter. Now, you are ready to make yogurt! Flavor it with fruit, honey, maple syrup or jam. We eat a lot of yogurt, so this equals a savings of $40 per month!
  • Buy in Bulk: I am a believer in buying bulk. We love Costco. Take a good look at what your family eats on a regular basis. Make sure you know the price per unit (ounces or pounds, for example) of the item you typically buy at your store. Then, go to Costco or Sam’s Club. Remember, you have to be able to use all of the food or it is a waste of money. However, there are plenty of deals for everyone. We purchase 3 pounds of lunchmeat for $10. The same price at the store would equal $18 to $20. It is a small savings on ONE ITEM. Shopping in bulk easily saves us $30 to $50 per month.
  • Start a Small Garden: If you’ve never gardened, it can seem intimidating, but it really isn’t! Pick three or four of your favorite veggies, and set out to grow them. Learn how to preserve! For the last five years, our family preserved all of our tomato based products (sauces, diced tomatoes, soups) from the tomatoes we grew. It is an estimated savings of $200, and it can be even higher the more you grow.

The way we live our life costs money. While you don’t need to make HUGE changes to save $50, pairing a few of these together will increase your budget in a big way! Of course, you may live a frugal life already and these may not apply to you.

  • Buy a Reusable Coffee Cup: There is no reason to purchase coffee while you are out if you know you will buy it anyway. A spur of the moment cup is one thing; a planned purchase is just silly. A reusable cup costs around $5 and lasts a lifetime. If you purchase 3 cups of coffee at $2 each per week, that is $6 a week, $24 a month and $288 a year. I know you can find other ways to spend that money.
  • Hang Clothes to Dry: I once did an experiment. I line dried every single thing in the summer to see if it would reduce my extremely high electric budget. Can you imagine my shock when my bill was $50 lower than the previous year and month? I nearly fell out of my seat. Not only does hanging clothes help to preserve your clothes for years to come reducing your clothing budget, it also decreases your electric bill. For most people, one load of drying costs $.75. That doesn’t seem expensive until you are drying 15 to 20 loads a week!
  • Eat Out Only Once Per Month: I would tell you not to eat out at all, but I know that doesn’t work for our family. We love to treat ourselves and eat out, or even order in. We set a budget when we go out and make sure we don’t go over. Going out only once will save you between $50 to $150 a month, depending on how often you eat out!
  • Adopt a Use It Up Attitude: Attitude is half of the battle, and one of the best ways you can save money is to change your attitude. Don’t plan to go buy things unless absolutely necessary. What do you have around you that you can use to solve your issue? It takes ingenuity and creativity, but it is worth the savings. Estimating the savings for a use it up attitude is hard, but I can say we easily save $20 to $40 a month just by being creative and smart. The first choice should NOT be to run to the store.
  • Buy Memberships: Fun is important, but you want to save as much money as possible. I am a huge believer in buying memberships. For example, find out if a local lake has a membership. Ours is $130 per year. We would pay $15 to enter and swim each time, but we can go more than once a week. It pays for itself after 8 visits. Do you love the zoo? Buy a membership and pack a lunch! You can save over $100 a year by using memberships. Our lake membership saves us $45 a month after the first 8 visits.
  • Reusable Products: We mentioned using a reusable cup, but all reusable products save money after a few uses. Paper towels cost around $5 each payday, so $10 a month. That leads to $120 a year in paper towels. Two packs of kitchen towels costs $8. No comparison! Cloth diapers saved us over $700. That is a serious savings. Do you love k-cups? You can spend $16 a month on k-cups or buy a reusable one for $5. Do you see the trend? Reusable products can save you over $30 a month.

Saving money is about changing a habit or lifestyle. You need to think about your personal family and spending. One or two of these things could easily save you more than $50.

What is your favorite way to save money? Let me know in the comments!

5 Simple Ways to Use Up Old Bananas

Wasting food is wasting money. In America, we can waste up to $48 BILLION a year, a shocking amount. We could feed our homeless with all of the food that we waste each year. How is it possible that Americans waste up to 40% of our food each year?

Some of it has nothing to do with individual families. Federal regulations and rules make it hard for supermarkets to send overripe produce and close to sell-by-date meat to local food kitchens. Their hands are tied.


Image Credit


Saving money is important for our family, and wasting food is just throwing our dollars away in the trash. If you wouldn’t toss out a dollar bill, you shouldn’t throw produce or leftovers out either. There are ways to use them up.

I am going to go through a series I am dubbing the ‘Waste Not, Want Not Series.’ Everyone has heard the saying “waste not, want not,” and it applies to using up food.

First up is ways that you can use overripe bananas. Let’s be honest; we all know that this happens more than we can admit. If we purchase too many bananas, they will go bad before we can eat them up. I have a few ways that I love to use ripen bananas.

  1. Banana Muffins: I just posted my favorite recipe for banana muffins. The more ripen the bananas, the better the flavor! So, don’t shy away from using bananas you assume are too far gone.
  2. Homemade Banana Pudding: Heck with pudding from a box! Making homemade pudding is one of my favorite treats to give my kids. Overripe bananas are the perfect ingredient! My kids love to eat it layered with vanilla wafers or in a graham cracker pie crust. That is a cheap dessert!
  3. Banana Cookies: Do you see a theme with these ideas? You can tell we love our snacks and desserts. I love easy cookie recipes that only require ingredients I keep on hand. These cookies are perfect, and they are done quickly!
  4. Chocolate Banana Shakes: If you think you won’t be able to use up the bananas in time, take them out of the peels and freeze them. When you have a desire for a shake, all you need is a few ingredients – frozen bananas, peanut butter, milk, and cocoa powder. Put all of these ingredients into a blender, such as the Ninja. It is our favorite!
  5. Banana Jam: I am a canner at heart. I love to can anything and everything. One day, I discovered a recipe for banana jam. It isn’t a recipe I make frequently, because we have a whole cupboard full of jams and jellies. However, once in awhile, we get a craving for some banana jam. Plus, it is an oddity you won’t find in every kitchen. You could also try this recipe for strawberry banana jam if you don’t want just straight banana jam.

Do you have a favorite way to use up old bananas? I would love to hear! I’m always looking for new recipes!

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How to Grow and Harvest Radishes: An Easy Guide

Radishes are forgotten by gardeners too often. They don’t have as many uses as carrots or lettuce, yet radishes are a valuable crop you shouldn’t leave out of your garden. We love them because they are easy to grow. The kids help to plant and harvest radishes throughout the growing season. Here is what you need to know about how to grow radishes.

When to Plant Radishes

Radishes are a cool weather crop. Typically, you want to sow the seeds in your garden two to three weeks before the last frost date. In Ohio, that is the last week of April. You can also plant radishes in the fall. Because they don’t mind cooler weather, radishes will grow right into early winter. You can get a lot out of one crop!

How to Plant Radishes

We practice succession planting with our carrots and radishes. I always keep them together because radishes only require 20 to 70 days at maximum to come to harvest, depending on the type you select. I always pick an earlier breed. This year, we planted De 18 Jours Radish that only requires 18 days to harvest. It did take a bit longer because our conditions weren’t perfect.


To plant, I make a line in the dirt stretching along where I want to put the seeds. It should be around ½ inch deep. Try to keep each radish one to three inches apart, depending on the final size; winter ones are larger! You can plant each row around six to ten inches apart.

Because we plant carrots with radishes, we alternate rows – radishes, carrots, radishes, carrots, etc. We do this because carrots take time to germinate and harvest. Radishes serve as a sort of place marker.

The Best Growing Conditions for Radishes


Radishes prefer cooler temperatures, but you can’t always control the crazy temperatures during spring. There are some conditions you can control.

  • Radishes need full sun or only partial shade. If they are getting too much sun during the summer, try putting a cover or a trellis nearby to cast some shade.
  • The soil should be loose and well-draining without any lumps or rocks. They will prevent the root from correctly developing, leaving you without a lovely radish.
  • The garden bed should be kept moist, but not wet.
  • Add organic matter to the soil before planting.

Harvesting Radishes

Soon, your radishes will start to pop out of the soil. Mark the date when you planted, so you have a better idea when they will be ready. Harvesting is so simple, and your kids will want to help! Gently pull them up by the base of the greens.

Storing Radishes


Radishes won’t stay good forever. When you get them inside, cut off the greens and roots at the bottom. Wash them off with cold water. One of the best ways to store radishes is in a plastic baggie with a folded paper towel. Don’t dry them off before putting them in the bag.

How to Eat Radishes

So, you went through the trouble of growing radishes. What in the world will you do with them? The most obvious way to eat radishes is in a salad. We dice them up with every salad throughout the spring. Most of the time, you barely notice the taste, but the crunch is a welcome texture in a salad. Plus, their color is remarkable.

Here are some other ways we like to use radishes.

Do you grow radishes? Or, do you have a favorite radish recipe? I love to try new ones, so share with me!

The Best Banana Muffin Recipe

My kids love banana muffins. We eat them at least once a week or whenever we have bananas reaching their peak ripeness. I tried multiple varieties of this banana muffin recipe. Nothing worked! Some were too complicated with strange ingredients. Others didn’t taste like a banana – isn’t that the point?

After what seemed like eternity, this banana muffin recipe appeared. The angels and heavens sang, along with the praises from my children. Now, we have banana muffins a few times a week. I typically buy four to five pounds of bananas every two weeks, with muffins and smoothies in mind.

So, here is our ultimate banana muffin recipe.

Ingredients: Makes 12 Muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
  2. Mash up all of the bananas. It’s ok if you have chunks! They end up being some of the best parts.
  3. Next, Mix in the egg and sugar.
  4. Add in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. I’m a huge cinnamon fan, so I typically up it to 1 teaspoon.
  5. Pour in the melted butter.
  6. Mix in the flour. I do it 1/2 cup at a time to ensure it is fully mixed.
  7. Grease the muffin pan, then divide the batter equally into each muffin. You will get exactly 12 muffins. I use a 1/4 c. measuring cup to divide out the batter.
  8. Finally, Bake the muffins for 20 minutes. Eat immediately!

Best of all, you can add chocolate chips if you want! My kids love that. Before I divide the batter, I add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. Nothing else needs to be different. Now, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy! If you were looking for other ways to use your ripe bananas, check out my favorite ways!

Did you try this recipe? If so, let me know what you think!

My 11 Go-To Costco Items


Today, I want to talk about my favorite things I get at Costco. We already talked about how I save money at Costco, but there is more to this. I love to know what people buy at places! I might be the weird one, but I even like to see grocery hauls. They either make me feel like I buy too much or not enough.

So, the first thing you should know is our grocery budget is $300 every two weeks. This budget doesn’t include pet items, pull-ups, or personal care items. We don’t eat any specific way, except we try to eat as healthy as we can. While I would love to purchase all organic items, that doesn’t fit in our budget.


  • Organic Bananas: Costco sells prepackaged bags of organic bananas. Each bag is 3lbs and costs $1.99. That equals $.66 per pound! I buy three bags each time I go there. My kids love bananas.
  • Water Bottles: The Kirkland brand of water bottles are sold in a pack of 40 for $3.39. It is a great price, even if you compare it to Wal-Mart!
  • Honey: I prefer to get my honey from local sources, but I like to use Costco honey for baking. When you heat up honey, it does lose some of its natural nutrients and benefits. Costco has both raw honey and clover honey. Their raw, unfiltered honey costs $13.89 for 44oz.Costco7
  • Maple Syrup: The last two years haven’t given us a great yield of maple syrup. We don’t use the fake syrup made of high fructose corn syrup. Unfortunately, maple syrup is very expensive in the stores. Costco sells a 33oz bottle for $10.49! You won’t find that price anywhere else.
  • Romaine Lettuce: There are a few options for romaine lettuce available at Costco. One bag has 5 heads of romaine lettuce, and it is sold for around $3.50. We go through a lot of lettuce when it isn’t gardening season.
  • Dog Food: I mentioned this before. We purchase a large bag of dog food that is grain-free at Costco. It is 35 pounds and costs $33.99. Before we found this deal, we would spend $35 on a 15lb bag of dog food. It saved us a great deal of money each month!costco9
  • Salmon Burgers: If you try to find salmon burgers at the stores, they are expensive. At Costco, I purchase a bag with 12 wild Alaskan salmon burgers for $15.99. This price might seem high, but Wal-Mart sells a box of 4 for $4. The kids absolutely love these, plus there are only a few ingredients!
  • Lunchmeat: My kids love lunchmeat, but it is expensive to buy in the stores. Hillshire Farm sells a deli variety pack at Costco. You get oven roasted turkey breast, honey ham, and smoked turkey breast. It is priced at $9.99. That equals $3.30 per pound!Costco6
  • Flour: I love to bake. Whether it is bread or cookies, I go through a lot of flour. If you use all-purpose flour, Costco sells 25lb bags for $5.89, equaling $.236 per pound. You might think that somewhere like Aldi would be cheaper, but it isn’t! Aldi prices their 5lb bags of flour at $1.87, equaling $.374 per pound.costco10
  • Applesauce Pouches: I tend to stray away from prepackaged items at Costco, but their applesauce pouch price is amazing. They make the perfect snack for the diaper bag. Kirkland sells 24 organic applesauce pouches for $9.99.Costco11
  • Drawstring Kitchen Bags: Trash bags are expensive in the stores. Kirkland brand bags cost $13.49 for 200 bags. Yes, you read that right! The box will last you a long while.

Clearly, this isn’t all that I buy at Costco on a regular basis. Some other items include:

  • Alaskan Pollock fish sticks (the only meat that my youngest consumes)
  • Jones’ Sausage Patties – typically priced around $10.89 for 36 patties, with only a few ingredients.
  • Whole Chickens – if my local store doesn’t have a good sale, I get them at Costco.
  • Organic Ground Beef – when I can’t get it local, I always buy from Costco.
  • Outshine Bars – my kids love these popsicles made with real fruit. They are typically priced at $9.99 for 24 bars!

Are you a Costco shopper? If so, I want to hear YOUR favorite items. I love to pick up new things while I’m there. Don’t we all? Let me know in the comments!

Genius Tips for Saving Money at Costco

Costco is one of my favorite stores. It is a frequent date location for my husband and I. Oh, the joys of being an adult, married couple!

I frequently am asked if Costco truly saves money. When you have to pay to shop at a store, you want to make sure it is worth the cost. For our family, the answer is a resounding YES. However, there are some tricks that you need to know to make it worth it for your family.

Tips for Saving Money at Costco


  • Be Careful Buying Produce: Unlike paper towels, bananas and lettuce have an expiration date. Even though the price per pound often beats your local grocery store, it is a waste of money to buy ten pounds of apples if you can only eat five pounds.
  • Know the Price Per Unit: When you shop at Costco, everything is more expensive. It isn’t hard to spend $100 because everything is sold in bulk. How do you know if it is a good deal? First, you have to know the price per unit at your local grocery store, allowing you to compare to Costco.Costco7
    For example, if maple syrup costs $6.97 at your local store for 6 ounces, you know that the price per ounce is $1.16. Perhaps your local Costco sells 16 ounces of maple syrup for $12. The price per unit is $0.75, making it a clearly cheaper choice, even though it is sold in a larger package!
  • Buy What You Always Use: Are there things that you buy every single grocery trip that your family devours faster than you can buy? Those are the items you want in your Costco grocery cart. Sure, toss in a snack or a package of bagels, but your goal is to save money on the items you always buy.
  • Check Costco Coupons: As a homeschooling mama of three kids, I honestly don’t have time to coupon. Costco sends out a coupon package each month. The coupons come off automatically if you purchase those items, awesome for us absent-minded folks. Make sure that you check out what these items are. Sometimes, the deals are great, allowing you to stock up.
    For example, GoGurts go on sale frequently. The box typically has 32 tubes and is priced competitively to start. Every few months, the boxes have a $3 coupon, allowing you to get 32 tubes for around $4. That is a steal! If you have room in your freezer, it is a great stock up purchase.
  • Look at the Books and Clothes: Costco sells more than just groceries. Some of my favorite deals are their other items. I purchase rain jackets for my kids every year, priced at $20. Each year, my kids get their winter jackets at Costco. They sell Carter brand clothes that are consistently priced at Carter’s sale price!
    Don’t get me started on the books! Homeschooling families love to purchase as many books as we can. I find that their books match the price listed on Amazon, a rarity for stores.
  • Compare Organic to Conventional: I love to purchase organic food for my family, but let’s be honest, it’s expensive! I wish I could afford to buy all organics, but that isn’t in our budget. Costco lets me buy more organic food for my family than ever before because the price of their organic food closely matches the conventional food at my local grocery store.Costco3
  • Buy Frozen Veggies: Frozen veggies are often overlooked for their fresh counterparts. Don’t get me wrong; I love fresh veggies. Frozen vegetables and fruit are put into the freezer at their peak freshness when their nutrients are maximized. Costco has an amazing selection of frozen veggies for a great price!
  • Check the Fresh Meat Counter: Fresh meat prices fluctuate, and you won’t always find the best deals at Costco. I always check the sale price at my local grocery before I visit Costco. You don’t want to pay $3.99 per pound at Costco for stew meat if there is a sale elsewhere. But, there are plenty of times when the meats beat out other stores, so take the time to check the prices!


  • Go for Store Brand: Kirkland is Costco’s store brand, and it is high quality. Their products are typically cheaper than the brand name items. In the five years I have shopped at Costco, I have never once had an issue with Kirkland products. They are worth your consideration, and they will save you even more money!
  • Buy Your Baking Supplies: If you are a baker, Costco should be your best friend. The price rarely is higher than your grocery store. I purchase my flour, sugar, and yeast in bulk. Flour can be frozen! If you know you use these items a lot, you will save money here.
  • Check Out the Dog Food: Before we were Costco members, we bought our dogs a name brand, grain-free dog food, costing $35. The bag would last two weeks! Costco sells their dog food in larger bags for the same price. We save $35 each month just by this one thing. So, take a look at their animal selection.
  • Enjoy the Samples: If we are discussing saving money, you can’t for
    get the samples. Samples save my skin when I take all the kids grocery shopping, and they decrease how much I have to give them for lunch. Speaking of lunch, stop at their food court. Pizza is cheap, and then you can make the trek home!
  • If you want to save money at Costco, it will require some pre-planning on your part. You have to know the prices you typically pay to ensure you actually are saving money. Once you take the time to know these facts, saving money at Costco is a breeze.
    Check back soon to see my favorite items to buy at Costco.

5 Awesome Ways to Save Time with an Instant Pot

Every now and then, I find a product that changes how I work in the kitchen. The Instant Pot is that new product. Never heard of it? You are in for a treat, my friend.

An Instant Pot is essentially a pressure cooker, but it does so much more. You can use it to brown meat, as a rice cooker, yogurt maker, and a pressure canner. Instead of having multiple devices, you just need the one.

Why Do I Love the Instant Pot?


There are few times that I say I LOVE a product. The Instant Pot is true love. Because we are focused on saving money, I would never share it if I felt that it wouldn’t benefit your family. Here are the reasons why I love it so much.

  • It saves me money. I can cook a dinner in 25 minutes. As I started to write this post, I considered calling for pizza. Our night was busy with an EMT class, soccer, and a Montessori meeting. Take out sounded great, right? I made a dinner in 20 minutes in the Instant Pot, a shorter time than pizza!
  • It’s great for summer. You know those hot summer when you can’t stand the idea of standing in front of a stove or oven? Put your dinner into the Instant Pot! While it does heat up, it won’t heat your entire kitchen.
  • It’s portable. Are you heading to the beach and want to save some money? Make dinners in the Instant Pot. It weighs close to 5lbs, and it isn’t huge. You can easily put it in the trunk of your car and use it.
  • It replaces other devices. I love my slow cooker, but I’ve rarely used it since I purchased an IP. Who needs a rice cooker or yogurt maker now? I don’t! If you plan to pressure can, the IP can do that as well.

My 5 Favorite Ways to Use the Instant Pot

  1. One Pot Meals: The very first time I used the IP, I followed a recipe for a Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole. I was totally skeptical. Hello, I was putting UNCOOKED pasta into this thing! 25 minutes later, I was blown away by the amazingness on my plate.

    Since that time, we have been known to toss a variety of ingredients into the IP, creating tons of one pot meals. Chicken stir fry, chicken and wild rice, spaghetti, roasts with potatoes and carrots. There are so many great recipes.


  2. Rice Cooker: I can honestly tell you that rice and I used to not be friends. It always had that crunchy texture, even after I cooked it exactly what the directions told me to do. I love rice, so disappointment typically followed. The IP changed my relationship with rice. Every time I use it in a dinner, it is always perfectly cooked! Even my rice-cooking challenged husband succeeds.
  3. Baked Potatoes: I LOVE baked potatoes, but they can take an hour to cook. If you know me, you know that I tend to forget everything. I can’t tell you how many times I forgot to put them into the oven. You only need 25 minutes in the Instant Pot to create the perfect baked potatoes.eggs
  4. Hard Boiled Eggs: Hard boiled eggs are a favorite in our family. My husband takes a few to work each day. I add them in my salads and chicken salad. With the IP, you only need 7 minutes to perfect hard boiled eggs! You can see directions here. It really is simple.
  5. Cooking Whole Chickens: One of the top ways that I save money is by purchasing whole chickens instead of all boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I typically would roast or boil a whole chicken, but I always forget when I needed to put it into the oven. Are you holding onto your seat? You can cook a whole chicken in 30 minutes in the IP. Did your mouth fall open? Mine did the first time I read it and then tried.

The Instant Pot has truly changed my kitchen. Do you have one in your kitchen? Let me know your favorite ways to use it!

+I may receive compensations from items linked in this post. It doesn’t influence my opinions on the products listed.

How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil

Did you know that dandelions have a purpose? They do more than dot your yard with pops of yellow. My husband creates delicious bottles of dandelion wine each spring. Years ago, your grandmother might have sent you out to gather dandelion greens for a salad. There is even more.

Medicinal Purposes of Dandelion Infused Oil


Besides the delicious scent, dandelion infused oil has medicinal uses that can benefit anyone. You can leave it as an infused oil or use it to create salves and ointments.

  • helps ease aching muscles and joints
  • calming properties when combined with lavender
  • stress relieving properties
  • excellent skin moisturizer

How to Make Dandelion Infused Oil

Lucky for you, making dandelion infused oil is very simple. It is a cold infusion process that uses the heat and light from the sun to extract the useful properties. One thing to note is that, unlike other infused oils, you only let this set for two weeks due to the high moisture content in the flowers. If you allow it to set longer, you increase the risk of spoilage and molding. Here is the simple process.


  1. Pick enough dandelions to fill up your selected jar. I use mason jars. You only want the flowers!
  2. Allow the dandelions to dry for a day or two. As they dry, they will shrivel up, taking less room in your jar. I collected a pint jar of dandelion flowers and only filled up a half pint once dried.
  3. Fill up the jar with olive oil. You want to submerge the dandelions fully. Poke with a spoon to eliminate any air bubbles.
  4. Put the lid on your jar and allow it to set for two weeks in a sunny spot. A windowsill works perfectly. It needs to steep to allow the properties to soak into the oil.
  5. Once the two weeks are up, strain out the oil with a coffee filter. Now, you can use the oil!

Ways to Use Dandelion Infused Oil

Unlike other infused oils, this is not meant to be used for culinary purposes. The best way to apply it is topically. You can apply it directly to your skin or use it in homemade products.

Have you ever used dandelion infused oil? I would love to hear if you have tried dandelions for anything!

Meal Planning for May 8th

Meal planning is a task that I love to avoid. Grocery shopping and hitting the stores typically results in a headache, as a I drag 3 kids around to multiple places. Thursdays are busy around here!

Payday falls on a Thursday for us. So, every other week, we hit up the grocery store, list in hand.

Meal planning is a necessary evil for our family. Yet, we do love finding new recipes that are exciting and delicious. Instead of putting a meal for each day of the week, I create a list of 14 meals for the two week period.

We tried to put a meal for each day. It didn’t work. We felt trapped. Sometimes, we don’t feel like spaghetti that day. My personality doesn’t allow me to feel comfortable altering the plan that is set. So, we go with a laidback plan.

So, let’s take a look at the 14 meals we have planned! I loosely follow the Trim Healthy Mama plan. I fell off the bandwagon, and I’m slowly climbing back on. Some of these meals I labeled THM meaning that they came from the cookbook. If you don’t use Trim Healthy Mama, you could still make these meals or adapt them to your own eating style! Another point is that our budget for our family of 5 is $300 for two weeks.

  1. Chicken and Dumplings
  2. Chicken fajitas with rice and broccoli (uses leftover chicken from meal #1)
  3. Potato Soup (uses broth made from meal #1)
  4. Grilled cheese and tomato soup (canned for kids, THM for adults)
  5. THM Balsamic Chicken with Brussel sprouts and salad
  6. Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
  7. THM Cowboy Grub (a meat and bean mixture below with cornbread on top)
  8. Sloppy Joes with fries and corn
  9. THM Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
  10. BBQ Chicken on the grill with a tinfoil pack of veggies
  11. Turkey burgers with broccoli and cauliflower & fries
  12. Instant Pot Whole Chicken with Parmesan Potatoes
  13. THM Meatloaf, mashed cauliflower and salad
  14. THM Creamy Herb Chicken, green beans with mushrooms and salad

Many of these are our normal meals or ideas. Tinfoil packs on the grill are a family favorite. We toss in whatever veggies we want to cook with some olive oil and seasoning. It is delicious and easy!

The Instant Pot is one of my favorite tools. If you don’t own one, run to the store and purchase it right now. It might have revolutionized my life.

Do you have any favorite meals? Meal planning for the next two weeks will come before we know it, and we love new ideas! Leave them in the comments!