Tasty Tuesday: Slow-Cook Fake Baked Beans

Thank you Hungry Girl for another AMAZING recipe…

Nutrition Values: 1/10th of recipe (about 3/4 cup): 178 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 432mg sodium, 37g carbs, 8.5g fiber, 13g sugars, 8g protein.

FreestyleSmartPoints® value 2*      MAKES 10 SERVINGS

Prep: 20 minutes     Cook: 3 – 4 hours on high or 7 – 8 hours on low

Ingredients:

One 6-oz. can tomato paste
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tbsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups finely chopped onion
2 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped Fuji or Gala apple

Directions:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine tomato paste, molasses, vinegar, mustard, garlic, and salt. Mix until smooth and uniform.
  2. Place all remaining ingredients in a slow cooker. Add tomato mixture, and stir to coat.
  3. Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours.
  4. Stir well before serving.

Do you know the perfect way to carry a crockpot full of yumminess to a picnic?  With Thirty One’s Fresh Market Thermal.

The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes (and a crock pot). A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Affordable and Fun Staycations

 5 fun and affordable spring break staycations

The weather has been crazy – some days it is freezing cold while others it is close to 60!  I love the warmer weather and I know many are thinking about Spring Break or those long weekends, right?

As a single mom, I didn’t have a lot of many for vacations and I wasn’t as creative as some of these ideas from the ThirtyOne blogger… We lived close to the shore so trips to the beach and boardwalk were always a easy and inexpensive way to take a break.  Check out some of these “staycation” ideas;

Spa day at home

Fully embrace the spring break spirit with a spa day in your very own home. First, gather the supplies. Fill a Double Duty Caddy with the scrubs, cleansers, mud masks and other items to make you feel relaxed and renewed. Make sure your Glamour Case has a variety of nail polishes so you can choose the hue which strikes you when it comes time for your do-it-yourself manicure and pedicure.

Light a candle, soak your feet and grab a refreshing beverage. Bonus: Now your caddy and case are ready and waiting, it will be easy to create your own at-home spa long after spring break ends, whenever you need a little pampering without the price tag.

Park and picnic lunch

Take in the great outdoors! You don’t need to visit a national park to stop and smell the roses. Head to your favorite local park or playground and relish a few hours under the sun. Hike the trails, spot some wildlife and make the outing a little more special by eating al fresco.

The Picnic Thermal Tote’s zip-around closure makes it easy for you and your companion to pack a picnic lunch, or choose the Fresh Market Thermal when you want to carry enough sandwiches, sides and drinks for the whole gang.

Swim Outing

Swim outing (inside!)

Instead of a trip to the beach, stay closer to home! Find the closest indoor pool or water park and spend a day in your swimsuit, come rain or come shine. You might not be able to dig your toes into the sand, but you can enjoy the next best thing when your Essential Storage Tote is filled with snacks, goggles and water toys. Even better? No sunscreen required!

Movie under the moonlight

See the stars – on the big screen and in the sky. Planning an outdoor movie night add a little bit of pizzazz popcorn alone just can’t manage. Once you locate a projector (pro tip: check your local library), the rest is easy. A mobile movie screen (inflatable or otherwise) is great, but a white or cream-colored garage door or even a large blanket will do.

A Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote is roomy enough to hold everyone’s favorite movies, snacks and drinks with space to spare for outdoor necessities. Keep the bug repellent close at hand in one of the tote’s exterior pockets. Or carry a Catch-All Bin outside, filled with enough candy, napkins and glow sticks to keep even the smallest movie buffs entertained.

Road Trip

Road Trip!

How far can you go on a tank of gas? Forget the overnight bag and instead explore some of those hidden treasures an hour or two from home. A Crossbody Organizing Tote can fit everything you need for a day on the road – books, toys, snacks, water bottles and even a few diapers for tiny travelers. Best of all, you can throw it over your shoulder and keep your supplies close at hand all day long!

What is your favorite type of staycation?  Share it with us…..

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Slow Cooker Butternut Black Bean Chili

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Thank you Hungry Girl for another YUMMY recipe!

Prep: 15 minutes     Cook: 3 – 4 hours on high or 7 – 8 hours on low  Serves: 8 FreestyleSmartPoints® value 0*

1/8th of recipe (about 1 heaping cup): 173 calories, 0.5g total fat (0g sat fat), 532mg sodium, 35g carbs, 9g fiber, 8.5g sugars, 8g protein

Ingredients:

One 14.5-oz. can fire-roasted tomatoes (not drained)
2 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
Two 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into bite-sized pieces (about 3/4 of a medium squash)
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, light sour cream

Directions:

  • Pour both types of tomatoes into a slow cooker. Add garlic and seasonings. Mix well.
  • Add remaining ingredients, and gently stir.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3 – 4 hours or on low for 7 – 8 hours, until veggies have softened.

HG Tips: Look for pre-cut butternut squash in the produce aisle, or click here for squash-cutting tips. And when handling jalapeños, don’t touch your eyes (pepper juice can sting), and wash your hands well immediately afterward.

Tailgating season may be over BUT it won’t be long before the summer barbecues start…Why not grab a Fresh Market Thermal now?  The Fresh Market Thermal is a stylish, portable thermal large enough to hold two 9″x13″ casserole dishes. A must-have for family picnics, tailgating, trips to the beach, days on the boat, potlucks, grocery shopping or weekend camping. Its water-resistant Leak Lock thermal lining means you can add ice to this cooler bag to keep food and drinks cold. Need more room? The sides unsnap and expand to give you more space inside. Long handles allow you to carry it over your shoulder when you need to be hands-free. The Fresh Market Thermal also features a zipper closure for securing contents and an exterior front pocket to hold other important items. Monogramming and personalization options available.  Approx. 10.5″H, 15″H with top extended x 15.5″L x 10″D

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Tasty Tuesday: Naked Chicken & Eggplant Parm

Thank you Hungry Girl for another AWESOME recipe.  The farmer markets are open and veggies are fresh.  What better way to enjoy them then with some protein.  I’m not usually one to run the oven this long in the summer but it is sooooo worth it.

All the things you crave about chicken and eggplant Parmesan, in one big melty dish… Super yum!

Prep: 15 minutes          Cook: 1 hour and 10 minutes          Cool: 10 minutes

1/4th of pan (4″ X 4″): 350 calories, 12g total fat (5.5g sat fat), 814mg sodium, 14.5g carbs, 6g fiber, 7.5g sugars, 45.5g protein — SmartPoints™ value 6*

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant (about 20 oz.), ends removed
Four 5-oz. boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Seasonings: garlic powder, onion powder, salt, Italian seasoning

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets and an 8″ X 8″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
  • Cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt, and lay on one of the baking sheets.
  • Lay chicken cutlets on the other baking sheet, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. garlic powder, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  • Bake eggplant and chicken for 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, to make the sauce, combine these ingredients in a medium bowl: tomatoes, 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, and 1/2 tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder. Mix well.
  • Remove chicken from oven.
  • Flip eggplant, and bake until lightly browned and mostly softened, about 12 minutes. Remove sheet, but leave oven on.
  • Evenly layer the following ingredients in the baking pan: 1/4th of the sauce, half of the eggplant slices, another 1/4th of the sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp. Parm, and another 1/4th of the sauce. Evenly top with cooked chicken.
  • Continue layering with remaining eggplant slices, sauce, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, and 2 tbsp. Parm.
  • Cover pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  • Uncover and bake until cheese has completely melted and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

Have leftovers?  What better what to take them to work the next day then in a Thirty One Thermal?  Did you know they are on special in June?  50% off any thermal with a $35 purchase  

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Saving Money on Your Road Trip

 

The weather is getting warmer and I am ready for a road trip.  Of course, I am usually ready for one.  A definite perk of a business you can work from anywhere.

So whether you are preparing for a weekend getaway or starting to plan for the summer; here are some tips to help you save some money on your road trip:

1. Get a Tuneup and Cut Weight

There are TWO preventative measures you need to take before heading out on a road trip.  They will help you save gas and avoid the need for roadside assistance.  Getting your tires checked and your oil changed.  Did you know you can improve your gas mileage when your tires are inflated to the proper pressure.  Gas mileage can also be improved by using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil in your car.  This is a BIG one because I don’t know about you but I always come home with MORE than what I left with on a road trip….Remove any unnecessary weight from your car –  excess weight can reverse the other gas saving measures you take.

2. Rent Responsibly

If you’re renting a car, avoid airport outposts and seek out deals online. Check out Groupon or Ebates for deals.  Choose the smallest car to meet your travel needs.  It will not only save you money on the rental, but you’ll save on gas, too.

3. Stock Up Before Hitting the Road

When on a road trip, we do “pee, eat & gas” stops.  Everything at one time to save us time and usually money.  I usually stock up BEFORE hitting the road with my favorite cooler filled with drinks, healthy snacks and food.  Thirty One has a thermal for everyone – small for the kids to family size. Many have the “leak lock” protection so you can use ice instead of freezer packs. 

I also pack lots of individually-bagged snacks to avoid the temptation to “graze”.  Things like granola bars, nuts and cookies.

4. Use Mobile Apps to Save on Gas

Apps like GasBuddy  has a feature to help you calculate fuel costs for a trip or compare prices at nearby gas stations.  Planning your route ahead of time can also cut costs. The best option is not always the shortest distance between point A and point B.  I usually want the quick one and then end up sitting in traffic because of poor planning. Map out the most efficient route based on mileage and possible traffic.  Check out the app Waze

5. Call and Book Hotels Directly

Leaving last minute, check out Expedia, Hotwire and Priceline for last-minute deals on hotel rooms.  Be aware they don’t always have the best deals.  Once you’ve found the hotel you want and the best rate online, call the hotel directly to see if they can beat the rate — or at least match and upgrade your room. They’ll save money by not having to pay the online travel agency and will often pass the savings to you.

6. Start a Summer Savings Plan

You may not have a small fortune in time for this summer’s vacation, but there are saving tools to help you get ahead of some expenses.  Set up an auto withdraw from your bank account to a separate savings account for vacation.  Some banks offer things like “keep the change” which moves the difference between your debit card purchase and the next whole number to a savings account.  I am always amazed at how much I can save each month.  Do you use coupons?  How about taking the money you saved in coupons and putting it in a jar or in a separate bank account.  You may be surprised what a difference those $5 or $10 each week will make when it is time to go on vacation.

No matter where you are going or what you are doing, there are cost cutting measures along the way. What are your favorite tips for saving money on a road trip?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!