Meal Plans

This Week’s Meal Plan

heartysmarty

It’s the last week of February and as is usual, our meal plan is full of simple, healthy meals. However, I have changed the format a bit on Prepear.

Prepear App users can now subscribe to my weekly meal plan (Breakfast and Dinners) just once, and meals will be ongoing. No need to search for my meal plan each Monday anymore! Here’s how to find me:

  1. Login to your Prepear account.
  2. Search “Hearty Smarty Nutrition” under the “people” setting. Or CLICK HERE.
  3. Click on “meal plans.”
  4. Select “Subscription Plan” and then “Start this Meal Plan.”
  5. You’re done! This meal plan will auto-populate each week. All you have to do is shop for weekly ingredients!

I hope this makes following me on Prepear even easier. But for those of you who haven’t downloaded the app yet, just my dinner plans are listed below:

Monday, February 25

Tuesday, February 26

Wednesday, February 27

Thursday, February 28

Friday, March 1


Saturday, March 2

Sunday, March 3

Have a great week, and happy cooking!

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Nutrition Education

Overcoming Anxiety and Depression

heartysmarty2 comments

Certainly, our mental health deserves the same attention and care as our physical health. A bout with anxiety ought to receive the same reaction as a broken leg, but for some reason, our society has a stigma surrounding mental health issues which prevents many from talking about their struggle and seeking out proper care. This post has taken me over 2 years to finally write, and I’m still not sure whether I have it all sorted out yet. Regardless, it is high time I share what I know about depression and anxiety. 

My Experience with Anxiety

I have struggled with perfectionism my entire life. As an adolescent I let the pressures of being a perfect student, athlete, family member, church member, musician, and student council leader make me uptight and overwhelmed most of the time. As a mother, I got to the end of my very full days feeling like I hadn’t accomplished a thing—like I just wasn’t good enough. Never mind the fact that I played cars and read books to my toddlers while juggling carpool, meetings, homework, piano practice, meal prep, laundry, and school volunteer hours. I got up early and stayed up late making sure my house was perfectly tidy. I was often late to appointments because I had to do just one more thing before I could get out the door. I would get so overwhelmed that I couldn’t breathe. I lost sleep at night worrying about the unknown and conjuring up my greatest fears. Life became a strict schedule mandated by my long To-Do list and it wasn’t fun any more. I was depressed.

I thought that if I prayed intently, served others, and studied my scriptures more, the anxiety would be replaced with peace. On a particularly difficult night when I was feeling useless and empty, I cried and prayed for release from the anxiety. In a moment too sacred to explain, I was reminded of my worth. I was worthy of getting help and working through my anxiety. I needed this spiritual experience. And I also needed professional help.

Reaching for Help

It wasn’t until I started to notice my perfectionistic behavior in my 8-year-old daughter that I finally decided enough was enough. I inherited my perfectionism and anxiety from my dad, and he inherited it from his mom. I REFUSED to pass this down one more generation. I made a desperate reach outside my comfort zone, and I found a therapist who opened my eyes to my perfectionism and “accomplishment addiction.” First of all, I learned that I am in good company with my anxiety. Once I started talking about my struggles with others, I learned that almost everyone struggles with anxiety in some degree at some point in their life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) over 300 million people worldwide are struggling with depression. Depression is a medical condition that can effect a person’s work, family, self-care, and social-life. The American Psychiatric Association has found that “one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their life time.”

Treatment

Fortunately, depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses with an 80 to 90% rate of positive responses to treatment. For some, relief comes from medication, and for others, treatment comes in the form of cognitive therapy. Many cases require both. For me, I found relief in formal cognitive therapy sessions and I continued my self-help by studying a book recommended by my therapist called, When Panic Attacks, by David Burns. (aff. link) Using the principles from this book as a guide, my therapist helped me discover what my triggers are for going down the path that gets me overwhelmed. I learned strategies for talking myself through my feelings before letting them blow up out of control. For a whole summer, I threw away my to-do list and just woke up each morning, said a prayer, and let the day happen. It was liberating and healing.

I would be lying if I said my anxiety is gone forever. I still experience bouts of feeling overwhelmed and anxious, but one principle in Burns’ Book always comes to mind in those moments: talk to myself the way I would talk to a very dear friend with the exact same problem. That stops my negative self-talk in its tracks and helps me see the truth of my situations.

Ending the Stigma

My hope from sharing this story with you is that you will do one of two things. First, if you struggle with anxiety and depression, I hope something I wrote has resonated with you, and you will take a step in reaching out for the help you deserve. Second, I hope you will share my story with someone who is struggling now. To end the stigma that surrounds mental health, we have to support each other by talking about it. Life really is so beautiful. Life can be so joyful. Sometimes we just need help clearing the smoke so we can see it that way.

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Meal Plans

This Week’s Meal Plan

heartysmarty

How are you liking my new format for Meal-Planning? I value your feedback so much, so please tell me what you think: do you like my new way of posting a link to my meal plan on the Prepear App? Or would you rather I go back to the old way and post links to each recipe I am making for the week? Tell me in the comments at the very end of this post.

We have family in town for the first part of the week, so I am making my very most tried-and-true, kid-friendly meals in order to win over my little niece and nephew. Thus, breakfast includes my best smoothies and pancakes and dinner includes classics like this recipe for my healthified version of Hawaiian haystacks.

CLICK HERE to view and download this week’s meal plan.

I sure hope this week is a bit smoother for you because I helped you do your meal planning. Until next time!

Megan

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Gluten-FreeMeals for OneRecipesSandwiches & WrapsSauces and Dressings

Mediterranean Turkey Pita with Herb Cream Cheese

heartysmarty1 comment

This turkey pita is not like any you have had in a while. It literally has a secret sauce in it that makes your taste buds sing! Today is your lucky day, because I am giving you the recipe. Actually, it’s more of a spread. You get the idea. Regardless, this pita is sure to spice up your lunch time with new, fresh flavors. Enjoy!

5 from 1 vote
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Mediterranean Turkey Pita with Herb Cream Cheese

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword Gluten free, pita
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 1 people

Ingredients

  • BFree Gluten Free Pita Bread
  • 2 slices Deli Turkey
  • 1/4 Cup Red Bell Pepper sliced thin
  • 1/8 Cup Cucumber sliced thin
  • 1/4 Cup Spinach fresh
  • 1/4 Cup Cherry Tomatoes for garnish
  • 1/2 Cup Red Grapes for garnish

Herb Cream Cheese Spread

  • 5 ounces Original Cream Cheese
  • 1/8 Cup Green Onions chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon French’s Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Parsley dried
  • 1 teaspoon Dill Weed dried
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare Herb Cream Cheese by mixing all ingredients in a mixing bowl. I like to use a handheld electric mixer. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

  2. Spread 2 Tablespoons of Herb Cream Cheese on Pita bread. Top with spinach, turkey, red bell peppers, cucumbers.

  3. Serve with cherry tomatoes and red grapes.

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FeaturedMeal Plans

This Week’s Meal Plan

heartysmarty

This week, I am most excited for Thursday’s Dinner. I have a special monotony-breaker planned to celebrate…. Arizona’s Statehood Day! We’ll celebrate our LOVE for AZ (Neil’s birth state) with Mexican cuisine, and our LOVE for eachother (Valentine’s day, of course) with some Strawberry Pretzel Jello. It’s going to be GREAT!

Last week I revealed the big project I have been working to improve my meal planning. If you haven’t seen it yet, read it here.

I have been working hard to get some great meal plans ready on the Prepear App for you to drag and drop into your own planner. Using the app, a grocery list will automatically generate for you, so all you have to do is plan your meals, and take your list with you to the store! Thus, the Andersen family meal plans (and lots of other custom meal plans) can now be found by clicking HERE. 

And that reminds me: you have about 12 hours left to leave a comment/question on last Monday’s Post for a chance to win 1 year of free Prepear Gold Membership. So hustle on over to that post and enter the contest!

I hope this helps make meal times easier for you. Do you have ideas for any other custom meal plans? 30-minute meals? Make-ahead meals? One-dish meals? After-school snack plans? Let me know what you think in the comments. My goal is to make meal-planning a no-brainer for you!

Until next time!

Megan

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RecipesSandwiches & Wraps

Gourmet Smoked Salmon Bagel with Herb Cream Cheese

heartysmarty

Over 10 years ago, I was recovering from the birth of my first baby in Provo, Utah. My husband had gone back to work, so my big brother drove from Northern Montana to come take care of me for a while. While I was in his care, he made the most amazing sandwich for me. It must have made quite an impression on me, because I was reminded of how good it was just the other day. This is my attempt at replicating that heavenly sandwich. It has everything a good sandwich should–savory cream cheese spread, smoked salmon, tart and crunchy apples, and that meaty flavor of arugula. Yum! I hope this leaves an impression on you like it did me. Enjoy!

Gourmet Smoked Salmon Bagel

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword everything bagel, smoked salmon
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

  • 4 Everything Bagel Thomas Bagel Thins
  • 4 oz. smoked salmon sliced
  • 4 oz. Swiss cheese sliced
  • ¾ Granny Smith Apple sliced thin
  • 2 Cup Arugula loosely packed

Herb Cream Cheese Spread

  • 5 ounces Original Cream Cheese
  • 1/8 Cup Green Onions chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon French’s Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Parsley dried
  • 1 teaspoon Dill Weed dried
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Instructions

  1. Prepare Herb Cream Cheese by mixing all ingredients in a mixing bowl using a handheld electric mixer. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  2. Spread 2 Tablespoons of Herb Cream Cheese on insides of bagels. Top with Swiss Cheese, Salmon, Apple Slices, and arugula.
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FeaturedMeal PlansRecipes

Improving My Meal Planning

heartysmarty2 comments

Those of you who have followed me for even a short time know I believe meal-planning is the surest way to eat a balanced variety of foods while keeping the 5:00 panick-attack from occuring every weeknight. I have found that while having a plan for daily meals is awesome, having the plan written down and the recipes + shopping lists all in one place is IDEAL. However, like most other parents out there, I have roadblocks to getting dinner on the table by 6:00 every night. Here are just a few:

Roadblock #1: Writer’s-block. Yes, even food bloggers get in a rut when planning meals. However, turning to the World-Wide Web can be a major time-sucker, sifting through food blogs looking for new recipes.

Roadblock #2: Confession. Though I preach looking over all my recipes before writing my grocery list, I often just do it in my head. Weeeeellll…… there’s a lot going on in my head, and I inevitably forget ingredients. And this Momma of five kiddos does. not. go. into the store for anything these days.

Roadblock #3: Like most of you reading this, I follow recipes from my phone. Sadly, it is constantly falling asleep, mid-food-prep while I’m trying to cook. This is wreaking havok on my personal sanity as I have smudged, sprayed, dropped and cracked my phone a gazillion times in the kitchen.

So, what’s a busy Momma to do?

(Cue the drumroll…) I found THE best App a few weeks ago that has solved all my meal-planning issues. AND, I am happy to announce: I have partnered with Prepear (Affiliate link) as one of their Food Pros to offer recipes and meal plans to users!!

Solution #1: Prepear has a huge collection of new and interesting recipes I can bookmark and plug into my weekly planner of meals. I use it on my laptop, tablet or phone (iOs or adroid). The free version is a DIY, drag-and-drop system of creating meal plans. I can manually add my own recipes or copy and paste recipes from anywhere on the internet, and follow and share with friends and family. No more dinners in a rut!

Solution #2: Once my meal plan is all set, the app generates a detailed grocery list. I can delete items I already have on hand and even add the household items I need (paper goods, cleaning supplies, whatever). I take this list with me to the store or use it to order my groceries online and ba-da-bing, ba-da-boom! Meal-planning is done! It’s a no-brainer.

Solution #3: The App stays awake while my hands are busy cooking in the kitchen. That solves my messy, broken phone problems.

I already have several meal plans created and ready to use. I’ve got more on the way, but some are as follows:

To learn more/sign up for the FREE App, CLICK HERE.

Now, if you are one of the select few still reading this: you are wonderful. To reward you for staying with me to the end, I am giving you the opportunity to enter a drawing for 1 YEAR OF FREE GOLD MEMBERSHIP. (*Update* 3/1/2019 Giveaway Closed. Congratulations to Rachel Nelson!) Leave your questions about the Prepear App and the Meal Plans in the comments below, and you will automatically be entered into the drawing. I’m looking forward to making meal-planning easier for you this year!

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RecipesSlow Cooker and Instant PotVeggie-Lover Dinners

Instant Pot Chicken and Homemade Dumplings

heartysmarty

Anyone following me on Social Media might be wondering if I have fallen off the face of the planet, right? Never fear. I am alive and well and burning the candle at both ends, working on a tool you are going to LOVE! I will make the big announcement on Monday, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, it’s high time I share the most amazing recipe I made for my family after church last Sunday.

When I was a teenager, I am sad to admit that I use to LIVE off of Dinty Moore Chicken and Dumplings mixes. With parents who both worked full time and my crazy schedule as a busy student athlete and musician, it was all we had time for. Had we known about the Instant Pot back then, things would have been different. There are lots of advantages to raising a family in the 20-teens, and the Instant Pot is definitely one of them! From start to finish, I can have this nourishing, homemade-from-scratch comfort food ready to serve in under an hour thanks to the pressure-cook feature on my Instant Pot.

There are a few things I do differently than traditional Chicken and Dumplings to fit our preferences. I think you will enjoy them too. First of all, I don’t use any canned soup in the chicken mixture. Instead, I thicken it with flour and a few ladles of broth after the chicken soup has finished cooking. This decreases the fat content significantly without losing the mouthfeel and thickness. The next thing I do is bake the “Dumplings” separately. Thus, they are actually biscuits and not dumplings at all. We prefer the texture of a biscuit with a crispy outside and moist inside that we can dip into our chicken soup better than a chewy dumpling floating atop the soup. I have also found that baking the biscuits separately holds their flavor better.

All things combined, this dish is so full of flavor and goodness that the whole family swoons over it. I think yours will too. Enjoy!

Instant Pot Chicken and Homemade Dumplings

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Chicken dumplings, Instant Pot
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author heartysmarty

Ingredients

Chicken Soup

  • 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 3 inch chunks
  • 5 cups Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Reduced Sodium Better than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 large Russet Potatoes about 6 Cups, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots about 1 1/2 Cups, chopped
  • 2 Celery Stalks chopped
  • 3 Cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 1/8 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Cup Frozen Peas
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried Parsley

Drop Biscuits

  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 3/4 Cup Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups Kefir or Buttermilk See notes

Instructions

Instant Pot Chicken Soup

  1. Heat Instant Pot using the [Sauté] function. Once it is hot, melt butter so it fully coats the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and brown them inside the pot for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
  2. While the chicken is browning, mix the chicken base and water until the chicken base is dissolved. Set aside broth.
  3. Sauté onions until they are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds until fragrant. Add carrots and celery and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the bay leaf and thyme and let it cook for one minute until fragrant.
  4. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth into the pot of vegetables and deglaze by scraping the brown bits of the bottom of the pot as you stir a few times.
  5. Add the potatoes, remaining broth, browned chicken breasts and meat juice. Close the lid and turn venting knob to the sealing position. Use the [Manual] or [Pressure Cook] function to pressure cook the chicken at [High Pressure] for 3 minutes.
  6. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to pressurize before the cooking process begins. Once the pressure cooking phase has finished, let the pressure release naturally (just let it sit) for 15 minutes. Then, turn the pressure knob to the venting position until the remaining pressure releases and you can unscrew the lid.
  7. Scoop out the chicken and discard the bay leaves. Cut or shred the chicken and return to the pot.
  8. Change the setting to the [Sauté] function again. Leave the lid off and mash a few of the potatoes with the back of a ladle to help thicken the soup. In a separate bowl, add two or three ladles of soup broth to 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Use a wire whisk to stir the mixture until no clumps remain and it resembles a smooth paste. Add the paste back into the chicken soup mixture and continue stirring until you reach the desired consistency.

Drop Biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. Use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the kefir (or buttermilk) all at once. Use a fork to stir just until combined. It should resemble a thick, lumpy batter.
  3. On a greased baking sheet, drop dough by spoonfuls about one inch apart. Use a lightly greased spatula to scrape the dough out of the spoon and onto the sheet.
  4. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. or until the tops are just golden brown. Watch them carefully, because the bottoms will brown before the tops.
  5. Serve the chicken soup in bowls, topped with a broken biscuit.

Recipe Notes

Make sure you chop your potatoes, carrots, celery and onions in chunks about the size of dice. If you chop them too small, they will over-cook and turn into mush in your Instant Pot. Also, I choose to use kefir in place of buttermilk because it’s what I always have on hand. Either one will work in this recipe.

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Meal Plans

Dinners This Week

heartysmarty

Anyone else grinning and bearing it through January? We are experiencing a crazy winter storm here in Utah that is motivating me to spend the Monday MLK Day inside! To keep things interesting, I have lots of fresh meals planned for dinner this week. And, HEADS UP! I have received such a great response from my weekly meal plans that I am partnering up with an app to make meal planning even easier for you. Stay tuned for that. Here is what’s on tap this week:

Monday, January 21

I made tons of food for last night’s Engagement Anniversary dinner, so we are eating leftovers and our favorite, Sweet Pea and Bacon Ranch Salad tonight.

Tuesday, January 22

Wednesday, January 23

Wednesdays are always “Italian Night” at our house. Minestrone is as Italian as it gets, right? For the salad, I am subbing out the strawberries because they are not in season right now. I will use pears instead.

Thursday, January 24

Thursday is one of those tricky days when I need to feed my kids AND I need to bring food to a Relief Society Activity where I will be teaching (you guessed it) meal planning! So, the kids get to eat sandwiches.

Friday, January 25

Saturday, January 26

Sunday, January 27

Sunday dinners are always “comfort food.” This recipe from “Show me the Yummy” is the closest to the Chicken dumplings I usually throw together. The only difference is that I make the buscuits from scratch. One of these days I will share my recipe on here too.

And there you have it folks! A whole week of dinners. And, remember to stay tuned for my meal plan in “App” form next week.

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BreakfastGluten-FreeRecipes

Cinnamon and Honey French Toast (Gluten-Free)

heartysmarty

Lately, breakfasts at our house consist of two different choices: smoothies and toast or oatmeal. Thus, when I whip up anything hot, the kids think I’m the best Mom ever. (See, the trick to being an awesome Mom is just to set the kids’ expectations pretty low. Ha!) Once my sleep schedule normalizes with the baby, I will get my act together act breakfast time again. This French toast is pretty basic, but I have put a more whole-ingredient spin on it, and I have made it friendly to those who need to avoid gluten. I hope you enjoy this as much as my kids did this morning.

Cinnamon and Honey French Toast (Gluten-Free)

Course Breakfast
Cuisine French
Keyword healthy french toast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 8 slices Udi’s Bread
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter For topping
  • 1/4 Cup Honey For topping
  • 1/4 Cup Pecans chopped (For topping)
  • 6 oz. Fresh Blueberries For topping

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat an electric griddle to 400 degrees, or heat a stovetop pan to medium-high heat.

  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and cinnamon. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture and turn to coat both sides. Cook on hot griddle for 3 minutes on both sides of the bread.
  3. Serve hot with a spread of butter, a drizzle of honey, and pecans and fresh blueberries.

Recipe Notes

I think the Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk gives the french toast the perfect hint of vanilla. However, you can use plain milk if that’s what you have on hand and it will still taste delicious.

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