Down-to-earth dietitian & Pampered Chef Kitchen Consultant. Author of The Mom's Guide to a Nourishing Garden. Kitchen addict. Calorie Control Council Advisor. Passion for faith,family & food. Creating the recipe to a nourishing life.
Self-care and salads go together, don’t they? When you are eating well, you tend to feel more energy. And that energy leads to pursuing more of your passions, spending more time on your priorities, and feeling better on a daily basis.
I want to help you with your goal of eating healthier at lunch. Whether you take that lunch on the go or you eat it at home. You could spend less than an hour a week prepping a lunchtime salad that will feed you for five days with these simple tips and tools.
Have your make and take containers ready:
As you prep your ingredients, they need somewhere to be stored. That’s why I like the Large Square Cool & Serve – I can keep all my ingredients for the week’s salads in one space in the frig. I can chop and prep into this portable “salad bar” and pull it out every morning for a fresh new salad.
To build your salads, go for leak-proof containers to eliminate extra clean up. The Make & Take Mason Jar Set is the perfect container for building your salad and for transport.
What to do about dressing:
I love that the lid of the Make & Take Mason Jar set is divided to store the dressing to eliminate soggy salads. If you don’t have this and you are using a glass mason jar (careful to not drop it) then simply put the dressing on the bottom of the jar.
For dressing, it’s easy to make homemade options with the Measure, Mix & Pour. Control the ingredients and flavors in your dressing, and even store the dressing in the same container. 4 recipes are featured on it – Italian, Ranch, Asian, and Caesar.
Gain the grain:
Get creative here with adding rice or quinoa to your salad, or try whole grain pasta. These grains can add some great texture to a delicious salad. I love using my Rice Cooker Plus to cook these up at the beginning at the week without any boil overs in the microwave – and the grains are fluffy!
Chop those veggies:
When you have the right tools, this chopping is not a chore. Instead you are done in just a couple of minutes. I like to get my tools out and my foods washed and ready on the counter, then prep away with the Quick Slice (cuts even slices in one simple rocking motion), Veggie Spiralizer (turn your veggies into noodles!), Close & Cut (quickly split grapes, cherry tomatoes and even butterfly chicken breasts for fast cooking), and the Simple Slicer (perfect even and thin slices of fruits and veggies in a fast way).
Go for the greens:
The darker, the better here. Romaine, kale, arugula, spinach, cabbage…you can mix these and chop them all together or just pick one that you like. Dark greens carry more vitamins, but if you like iceberg lettuce, that’s okay too. Just throw in some romaine with it. And always wash your greens – a Salad Spinner comes in handy here (I’ve had mine for 15 years). And to chop the greens up quick, try the Salad Chopper.
Pick your protein:
Grill up 5 chicken breasts or pork chops for the week using the Grill Pan, or cook them in the microwave in Rock Crok. Both of these tools make cooking faster! And remember, butterflying your chicken breasts or boneless pork chops with the Close & Cut will make them cook even faster!
Or maybe you would like eggs for your protein, simply steam a dozen eggs over boiling water in the MultiPot in 18 minutes. Or just throw some chickpeas or black beans into your salad!
Check out my latest episode of Jen’s Joyful Kitchen LIVE where I share tips, tools and a tasty recipe for your make ahead salads!
Meal prep ahead of time can really speed up your kitchen time. Imagine walking in from work and dinner is just a few minutes away thanks to the quick meal prep you did on Sunday where you sliced up bell peppers and onions for fast chicken fajitas. The kids are saying how hungry they are (you are a little as well) and you simply open the frig and pull out containers filled with pre-chopped or diced veggies to set out on the counter. You grab the dill dip seasoning to quickly mix up with Greek yogurt and a little mayo and ta-da! You’ve got snacks at the ready while you finish dinner for both you and them.
Does this sound like a meal prep dream?
It doesn’t have to be! That’s why one of my favorite kitchen tools is the Quick Slice. I can slice and dice my veggies in literally seconds while I am making homemade pizza for Sunday night dinner.
Would you cut the grass with a scissor? No, we mow with a lawn mower that makes things fast and efficient.
That’s what the Quick Slice can do too! I just love this tool and use it daily. Keep reading for more ideas on what it quickly cuts up and my recent episode of “Jen’s Joyful Kitchen” that aired today to show you how it all comes together.
Here’s to cooking with more joy and living with more balance.
Here’s what you can do with the Quick Slice from A to Z!
Apples (without the core)
Eggs (Hard Boiled)
Onion (first cut in half)
Meal prep does NOT have to be a chore. When you have the right tool for the joy, it becomes fun and joyful! If you would like to order the Quick Slice, I’ve provided a linkhere.
Can you believe all the Quick Slice can do to help you meal prep?
The right tools empower us to eat better and more nourishing meals like chopped salads each night, munching on veggies before the evening meal, and even having easy access fruits for packing a quick lunch.
To see it in action – check out my recent episode of Jen’s Joyful Kitchen.
Jen's Joyful Kitchen Live Show Episode 1 - YouTube
Find me every week LIVE on my Facebook Page for more help in the kitchen!
I am an independent kitchen consultant with Pampered Chef. Links provided in this post are affiliated with my personal website and I do earn commission on your purchase. Your purchase allows me to continue to do what I love! Thank you!
Do you ever want to reach for a healthy snack, but can’t seem to find one that will satisfy your taste buds or your stomach? That’s why I love popcorn – it can be either sweet or savory depending on what I am feeling like! Bonus, you get whole grains and fiber too that make you feel full! But, you can’t necessarily bring the popcorn maker to the office, right? WRONG!
A year ago, the Microwave Popcorn Maker from Pampered Chef was released and it is a family-favorite in our house! Having the right tools in the kitchen makes all the difference in how we cook and eat. Do you agree? (It’s like mowing the lawn – no one wants to cut the lawn with a scissor!)
It’s so easy (and more inexpensive) to purchase just popcorn kernels, and flavor them myself. I add just a touch of oil and some seasonings – if I am in the mood for sweet – French Toast Popcorn Seasoning is what I reach for. Savory? Ranch Popcorn Seasoning. Just oil and salt? Simple! A mixture of both? I make kettle corn, for that sweet and salty flavor. With 4 grams of fiber per 3 cups popped corn, popcorn is filling and delicious at the same time.
Want to know more about the Microwave Popcorn Maker (Did you know the Family size makes 12 cups popcorn, Regular size makes 5 cups)? Keep reading and check out the 45 second video.
Popcorn is a great way to start having a healthy snack more often – use the Microwave Popcorn Maker at work, use it at home, just use it! I love it for a late night snack, or afternoon snack for my kids after school. Pair it up with a smoothie and you have a real treat!
The Microwave Popcorn Maker | Pampered Chef - YouTube
Salt and Pepper Popcorn:Ingredients
Course Sea Salt & ground black pepper Oil for spritzing Salt & Pepper, to taste
As an independent consultant with Pampered Chef, I love to share ideas to help you in the kitchen. Contact me if you would like to host your own in-home cooking workshop or online virtual cooking party. You can earn your popcorn maker for free! Links included in this post are affiliate links.
A salad at lunch can be one of the best ways to boost your fruits and vegetables leaving you feeling energetic (not weighed down) and ready to be productive for the afternoon. I’ve compiled my favorite make and take salads for transport using the Make and Take Mason Jar. You can still eat healthy on-the-go!
It’s simple to make a salad at the beginning of the week, just choose a favorite and prep all the ingredients on Sundays. Have the same salad all week or try different variations. I find it easiest to have the same salad all week and then switch it up the following week. I’ve shared four favorite recipes – which means a month of lunch (if you have one type of salad a week!) And bonus – I’ve included a downloadable salad prep sheet with five other ideas!
Use salads as a way to boost nutrition while decreasing calories – fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, all essential for energy and health. And I love that the Make & Take Mason Jar Set from Pampered Chef makes the whole process easier. The jar is 3 cup capacity and is made out of plastic (no worry of dropping and shattering), comes with a transport carrier and a fork and spoon that can actually make it to the bottom of the jar. Bonus, the lid is actually two pieces so you can store your dressing in it without making your salad soggy.
When you have the right tools surrounding you, the healthy choices become easier. I’m happy to help you!
Just click the picture or the title for the recipe.
Let me ask you a question – have you ever struggled to meal plan and meal prep so you can get a healthy dinner on the table in minutes? I have! That’s why I’m so thankful for the Pampered Chef Rock Crok Dutch Oven with the Slow Cooker Stand! As a busy mom of two, and a full-time business owner, it’s challenging to make a meal between chauffeuring and homework help and schedules that always seem to have a meeting or practice over the dinner hour.
But the Rock Crok has helped me get dinner on the table 5 nights a week in less than 10 minutes of prep time. I save $25-$40 every time I use it because it’s one more night we aren’t going out to eat (expensive) and I’m in control of the ingredients (which means way less salt and calories than restaurant meals).
Grill pan to grill veggies and shrimp and potatoes
Stove top pan to make chili and soups
Microwave for 15 minute meals like fast fajitas
Under the broiler to toast marshmallows for 6 minute s’more cake
And bonus – it works as a slow cooker for root beer ribs, slow cooker carnitas, herb and onion pot roast or beef stew
It’s a four-quart size and made from clay that is heat resistant up to 752 degrees. That makes it safe for stovetops, grills, ovens, microwaves, and under the broiler. Plus, it’s glazed so clean up is easy – dishwasher! (Of course, you can wash it in hot, soapy water too!)
There are so many recipes for this pot and I wanted to share them with you here! Pampered Chef consultants have compiled their favorite recipes for the Rock Crok.
Download the Rock Crok cookbook below!
MailChimp Signup Form
Affiliate links are included in this post to my personal Pampered Chef website. I am a consultant with Pampered Chef.
Moms: I know it's hard to make time for exercise when we are running around making breakfast for the kids, running off to work, then spending several hours picking up the kids and dropping them off and before you know it, you realize you've been sitting in the car for hours! While we are definitely great at taking care of our families, we aren't always so great at taking care of ourselves.
Yesterday as I was shuttling, I realized I had spent some major time in the car. I left to pick up my daughter at 3:15, take her to dance, then pick up my son from working out, drop him off at church, run to the grocery store for 20 minutes, run home to drop off the food I picked up, pick my son back up from church, go to a fundraising event at a local restaurant for my daughter's robotics team, then take my son back to church for confirmation, and pick up both kids from two different locations. I finally arrived back home at 8:45.
Wow! I'm pretty sure this is similar to schedules in your family as well. And to add to that, it's winter, so it's cold and the paths are icy, so I don't exactly want to go outside for a walk.
What to do instead? Workout videos from home.
All I do is put on my workout clothes (let's be honest, I love leggings whether I'm working out or not), and pull up YouTube on my TV (you can also do it from your tablet or computer - so it's mobile friendly too!)
The key is a variety of activities, upbeat music for cardio, and a mix of lengths of times so I can easily fit them into any type of day, whether I have 7 minutes or an hour.
We are meant to take care of the body we have, begin today and make time for yourself each and every day to be strengthen yourself both physically and mentally.
1.0 Mile Happy Walk | Walk at Home | Walking Workout - YouTube
30-Minute Cardio - The CafeMom Studios Workout - YouTube
Tara Stiles: Yoga Weight Loss & Balance Workout - YouTube
Pilates Full 30 Minute Class - YouTube
Chair Workout for LEGS | Leg Exercises | Natalie Jill - YouTube
10 Minute Cardio Quickie Workout With Jessica Smith |Workout Videos for Women at home - YouTube
Want more self-care tips - from nutrition to life balance to simple ways to make cooking for your family more fun and nourishing?
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Happy January! I'm kicking it off to a great start by thinking about what I eat in the mornings - I've been focusing on fast and healthy meal ideas - like egg sandwiches with a berry-filled smoothie. (That's probably my fav!) I recently read a stat - almost half of us take our breakfast on-the-go each day. I wonder what the other half of us are doing - I hope not skipping! That's where the Pampered Chef Ceramic Egg Cooker comes in!
You guys - I'm seriously loving the Ceramic Egg Cooker. It's SO easy to make my egg sandwich! And I can drop in the egg, stir in some shredded cheese and vegetables, and pop on the lid - and woohoo - breakfast is done in about 35 seconds in the microwave!
It's faster than my English muffin can toast - I like it a little dark, you know! With a little slather of butter once it's out of the toaster.
So for those of you that struggle with a quick breakfast, this is for you. Those of you that live in a college dorm or apartment, this is for you. Those of you that are simply just too busy to think you can make breakfast in the morning - I want to help YOU! (Even my kids use it!)
Whether you prep your food at home and take it to work, or cook at home then rush out the door, you can have a hot breakfast anywhere you’re headed. Homemade eggs, instant oatmeal, or a fresh muffin that you can eat right out of the container! The shape and size also keep oatmeal from boiling over!
Today, I'm sharing some recipe ideas with you - for breakfasts, and even a delicious dessert.
Omelet with the Ceramic Egg Cooker | Pampered Chef - YouTube
Here's the egg I make for my sandwich!
Breakfast Taco Roll-ups | Pampered Chef - YouTube
Oatmeal with Banana with the Ceramic Egg Cooker | Pampered Chef - YouTube
How to Make Microwave Mug Cake | Pampered Chef - YouTube
This is the time of year many of us think about baking sugar cookies. And if you tired of looking for easy sugar cookies you can whip up in a flash – you need this recipe! It’s perfect for Christmas cookie cut-outs. (Or any cut-out – including cows!)
And if you need some tools to get you baking, I recommend these from Pampered Chef – they will last a long time and save you so much time and money too (disclosure – I’m a consultant with Pampered Chef):
Make big batches of cookies in a fraction of the time with our Rolling Cookie Cutter! It’s perfect for quickly and easily cutting cookies, pasta, pastries, and pizza dough. The thumb rest keeps the pressure in the right spot so your cookies are uniform and bake evenly.
Knead and roll dough effortlessly while keeping your counter top clean with this exclusive silicone mat. Measurement rings range from 4″ to 12″. Convenient inch and centimeter markings also included along edges as a guide. Perfect for cookie and pastry dough, even candy! 24″ x 16″. Dishwasher-safe.
Our professional-grade Cookie Sheet is the best way to bake a batch of your favorite cookies. It combines the strength and durability of steel with the heat conduction of aluminum. The improved coating prevents food from sticking and keeps your pan looking great. The rolled edges keep it from flexing and popping, and the angled handles make it easy to move in and out of the oven.
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Best Sugar Cookies
A delicious cut-out sugar cookie recipe that you will make every single time.
Contemplating? Overthinking? Stuck in analysis paralysis? Want to move past fear? This post is for you.
When I think about the road ahead, I can freeze up in fear. I overthink and contemplate and dwell. But the opposite is true too. I can choose to be free and live by faith.
10 years ago exactly, I was struggling, with something major. It began with a thought one day. And I couldn't get past it. It gripped me because I had two young children, had been married 8 years, and I was terrified I would die before I turned 30. As I inched closer to that number 30, it was all I could think about.
I was in and out the doctor's office. I was in and out of the ER. My heart was unsettled and couldn't calm down. It was a time in my life that had such a hold on me, that I struggled for a long time.
In those anxious moments, all I could think of was the future. And how scary that looked. I was paralyzed with fear.
Until one day.
I'm often asked how I got through it. And all I can say is God.
One day I was washing dishes, I turned on the under-the-counter radio and I felt God's presence in that moment. It was like warmth coming from the radio. The words were radiating directly to my ears and to my heart.
You see, I hadn't previously known about Christian radio stations, let alone even knowing it was there. But I started listening. And it spoke right to my core. While doctors had told me I needed to trust and not worry, to have faith and not fear, I hadn't really gotten the message until the radio blared it to me.
I was missing the present because I was thinking of the future.
This morning I read these words from my Jesus Calling devotional:
"You wonder how you possibly can find your way through the maze. Then you remember the One who is with you always, holding you by your right hand. As you look at the path ahead, you notice a peaceful fog has settled over it, obscuring your view. You can only see a few steps in front of you, so turn your attention more fully to Me and begin to enjoy my Presence."
As it's been super foggy here all week, I am grateful for the reminder the fog brings:
I don't have to know what's ahead to secure my joy.
I don't need to see the future in order to have faith.
I can live with zest right here and right now.
I can take small steps in the direction I am aiming for as action is the opposite of fear.
It's all about kicking out fear and focusing instead on:
Faith - in ourselves, in the process and the journey, and in God
Essentials - focusing on priorities to prevent distraction
Action - fear hates action so acting on something is better than contemplating, be brave
Resilience - there are no failures, only something to gain
This acronym comes from Judi Holler, a self-described Fear Slayer.
Fear paralyzes, action propels.
Keep moving forward with those small steps today and let the fog settle in.
Here are some of my favorite fear slayers:
If you love music, try Sirius XM, channel 63, The Message.
If you love listening to podcasts, try Joel Osteen.
If you love reading, try a daily devotional to help with focus.
If you love video, try Joyce Meyer Everyday Matters.
If you love writing, keep a journal.
And if you love talking, a trusted spouse or friend helps tremendously too!
Feeling stuck or indecisive? In this post, you will find out how you can grow more of what you love, more of your passion. Even when you are feeling stuck, there's somewhere to grow! Plus a recipe for your harvest: Pasta Fagioli Soup!
There's one thing you have to do when you decide to plant a garden. You have to actually plant a seed.
You can't hold the seeds and expect them to grow. You can't keep them in the package and watch them thrive. No. You have to actually plant the seed.
We all have a seed inside of us. A talent, something we love, something we do and get energy from doing it, something that brings us joy, something that deep down stirs our deepest purpose. Something that we are naturally drawn to, something that makes us come alive.
It's our passion seed. Our purpose seed.
But how do we get from feeling stuck in the mud to actually harvesting more of our passion?
This week I have been thinking a lot about passion. Why? Because at times I lose it, it comes and goes, or it's going full throttle. Or I have it and am not sure what to do with it.
But as I reflect on the seasons in the garden during garden clean up, I noticed that there are some similarities between growing a garden and growing our passion. Here's what I have discovered:
4 Steps to Growing Your Passion
The first step is taking action. Taking the seed out of the package so to speak, and planting it. Giving it life. Bringing it outside of ourselves. That might mean we share it with someone. We speak it aloud. We breathe life into it instead of hiding it.
Next, we have to figure out where to plant it. In the garden we look for the right soil. In life, we look for the right environment that we know the seed will thrive in. The right people or the right group, the right space or right place. The right attitudes of ourselves and those around us. Planting the seed where it will thrive will give it the best opportunity to grow.
Put the seed in the sun. This is huge. As the seed begins to sprout, it needs huge doses of sunlight (positive radiance) and faith to make it grow higher and higher. The sun is the Son. When we put our trust in what's greater than us, we no longer have to worry about the outcome.
Water the seed with action. This is where you sprinkle those forward-moving small steps to encourage blooming. Because a seed will die without water!
If you want to harvest a delicious soup this fall - you must make this one. I've been making it for years and it always gets rave reviews.
(It's similar to the soup at a well-known Italian restaurant, I will let you guess which one.)
Pasta Fagioli Soup
Makes approximately 1 gallon.
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup cup diced onion
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
24 ounces canned diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 cup cooked red kidney beans
1 cup cooked white kidney beans
44 ounces beef stock
1.5 teaspoons dried oregano
1.25 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3/4 teaspoon hot sauce
24 ounces spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup uncooked short tube-like pasta
Heat oil over medium heat, add ground beef, onions, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked to temperature of 165 degrees.
Add tomatoes, beans, beef stock, oregano, pepper, parsley, hot sauce, and spaghetti sauce to pot. Simmer 45 minutes.
During the final 10 minutes of cooking, add the pasta.
Serve with cheesy garlic bread and a fresh garden salad. Can be made in the crock pot too - just add the pasta the last 20-30 minutes before serving.
Here's the All Purpose Pot (affiliate link) I used to make it (it makes a very large batch!) - it's perfect for soups, stews, chili, cooking chicken breasts and even eggs.
How will you harvest more of your passion this week?