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Quick & Easy, RV Friendly Chicken Pot Pie {A Light Life Favorite}

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 I wanted to share a quick and easy recipe with you that is totally RV kitchen friendly! It isn’t fancy smancy organic, grassfed & gluten-free BUT it beats the heck out eating out or those awful frozen pot pies that nobody should eat ever! It has become a staple meal in our tiny home and my kids won’t eat any other pot pie. So of course I always keep ingredients on hand as my husband and kids devour it every single time I cook it!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3-4 chicken breasts (just buy as all natural as your budget allows! – let’s not be ridiculous)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 large can or 2 small cans of veg-all canned vegetable mix
  • 2 pks. of refrigerated roll out pie crust
  • 2 refrigerated pie shells (optional) *If you use this you will only need 1 pk. of roll out pie crust listed above for the top crust
  • salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 425. Cook chicken thoroughly in skillet and cut up into bite sized pieces. Roll out pie crust and place in bottom of pie pan (you can also buy 2 pie shells for the bottom). Fill each pie crust with chicken, 1 can cream of chicken and vegetable mix. Salt and pepper as desired. Roll out pie crust and lay over the top of pie and tuck in the edges. Put in pre-heated oven and cook until top crust is golden brown. (around 25 minutes or so)

Viola! It really can’t get much easier than that.

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Of course this recipe is totally customizable to your taste. Sometimes I cook my own potatoes and steam my own veggies. but I have never and probably will never make my own crusts and cream of chicken soup from scratch because I just don’t love to cook that much.

But if you want a quick, easy and super hearty meal your entire family is sure to love – then you’ll want to add this to your recipe box!

Basic RV oven cooking tips:

  1. One thing I have found to help with cooking evenly in the RV oven is to put 4 unglazed tiles above the heating element. It evens the heat out and since doing that I do not even need to rotate my food and have not experienced any uneven baking. It’s been a LIFESAVER for me since I love baking and we are full time in the RV!!! (tip sent in from Amy B.) Thank you Amy! 
  2. If you don’t have tiles in your to oven to even out the heat, turn your food halfway through cook time so it cooks it evenly and to prevent bottoms from burning.
  3. If you have trouble with the bottom of your food burning, pre-heat the oven to desired temp and them turn it down a bit once you put the food in. But really, turning the food half way through helps the most with this.
  4. Don’t overload. This should be fairly obvious, but RV ovens can’t handle large amounts of food at one time.

I hope you try out this super great recipe and love it! Leave us your comments or oven tips in the comments below! Who knows? I may just share your tips in a future post!

Live light, travel light, eat light.

Comments { 2 }

Energy Balls {A Light Life Favorite Food}

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Lately, I’ve been hearing the term “crunchy granola mom” a lot. Every since, I’ve been trying to figure out how one knows whether or not they fit into that category or not. The jury is still out on that one for me, but one thing I do know for sure is that I do LOVE these yummy home-made granola/protein bar substitutes. So if that, along with the fact that I live small and don’t send my kids to school makes me a “crunchy granola mom,” well then so be it!

I’m not really what one would call a foodie. You’d have to check out my super talented, genuine foodie friend’s amazing food blog for that. But every now and then I do love to post a light life favorite food for you to try out with your own family! This one is hands down our family’s favorite healthy snack item that definitely doesn’t taste boring!

I usually make at least a triple batch of these at least twice a week and they never last long around our camper. We use to them to replace the store bought granola or protein bars and grab them for a quick pick me up snack when running out the door to soccer practice, to the gym and even sometimes for breakfast on the go!

I caught our oldest putting one on her plate to go along with her dinner the other night and personally I think that’s taking it a bit far, but hey – we are addicted! 

So here’s the scoop on how to make a batch (or three) of energy ball yumminess for your family!

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  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed
  • 1/2 dark chocolate chips or carob chips
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

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Stir all ingredients together in a medium-large bowl until combined. *Using your hands to mix it works best. (Perfect recipe for the kids to help with!) Form mixture into small balls. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

That’s it! It’s THAT simple.

Of course you may tailor this recipe to fit your own taste! Like sometimes we don’t add the coconut flakes at all and sometimes I use more or less peanut butter.

I hope you love this recipe and come back and tell me how your family liked it in the comments below!

Tiny home, big life. 

 

Comments { 13 }

Grilled Coconut Chicken & Rachel’s Favorite Salad!

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Those who know me best know a couple of things about me when it comes to food: Rachel isn’t up for cooking junky, fatty foods and she isn’t going to cook AT ALL if there’s more than 10 ingredients in 1 recipe and it takes longer than 30 minutes to do. I just wont. I’ve got better things to do than stand in a kitchen all day BUT I want my family to eat healthy so eating out, is NOT an option. And so I’m teaching myself to learn to enjoy cooking on my own terms. Healthy, easy & fast!

Here is just one of the healthy, easy, meals I’ve been putting together lately for our family on the road.

A bunch of you asked, so here is the recipe I promised for this super healthy quick & easy meal! (prep time: 20-30 min.)

Rachel’s Favorite Salad:

  • spinach
  • garden mix lettuce
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 red bell-pepper
  • 1 yellow bell-pepper
  • 1 green bell-pepper
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • cherry tomatoes (optional)
  • fat free feta cheese

Dressing: (super low calorie/fat)

  • lemon juice
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper

All three just poured over top of salad to your taste and tossed!

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Grilled Coconut Chicken

  • 1 small-medium boneless chicken breast for each serving
  • 1 bag sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • salt
  • pepper

Combine buttermilk, egg, salt & pepper in bowl and whisk together.

Then soak chicken breasts in buttermilk/egg mixture for a minute or so (you could also let them soak for hours in ziplock bag in the refrigerator if you’d like) & then roll each chicken breast in coconut flakes until well coated on both sides.

Dip them in buttermilk/egg mixture again, then coat with coconut once more.

If grilling, lay large sheet of tin foil sheet pan and brush/spray tin foil generously with olive oil and lay chicken breast on top. **DO NOT lay chicken breast directly onto the grill as all of the coconut will burn and fall off. 

Grill until cooked through – turning as needed.

prep time: 20-30 min.

*You may skip the grill and also do this exact recipe in the oven instead!

** It’s best not to use large, thick chicken breasts as the coconut on the outside will burn before the chicken is cooked through. If they are large, just cut them in half for better results. 

We paired this salad and chicken with fresh, baked sweet potatoes topped with butter & a little raw honey!

Hope you get to try it out and enjoy this super easy, healthy and delicious meal! ENJOY!

Here’s to eating light… on the road, or at home!

Own less, live fully, travel light. 

Comments { 5 }

Eating Light

20130924-092611.jpgWhen we were living our American dream life, I would have to admit that it’s embarrassing how many evening family dinners we missed together. One because of the rat race pace of our lives in being a two income family, and two because we didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on good food.

As you could imagine, this left no time for enjoyable evening meals together and little thought for the kinds of food we would scarf down.

This is one of the things that has been radically changed by life on the road full time.

This way of living has freed up us in two huge ways:

1. Time – Not being forced to be a two income household gave us time we didn’t have before.

2. Money – Since we don’t own a lot and we are able to freely travel to all kinds of great jobs, it has freed up our money to spend on things like quality, whole foods.

Honestly, I’ve always thought I hated to cook. But what I’ve realized is, it’s not the cooking I hate, it’s the thought and prep. that good cooking requires. Both of those take time, and time isn’t something I had a lot of. My brain is sort of scattered most the time, so when my life is overloaded – it leaves me very little mental room for the “non-essentials”. The problem is, good eating IS an important essential. I’ve always known that, but felt a little powerless as to what to do about it.

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So once a week we travel to the nearest town, about an hour away with good grocery stores, for our meats & produce. We stock up for a week at a time since we don’t have a ton of room to store food. We usually buy things like organic produce, nut medleys, salmon, boneless chicken, hamburger meat and sometimes shrimp for our yummy shrimp and grits meal! ….and the occasional treats for our sweet tooth! Like s’mores!  😉

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I say “we” because we do most of the grocery shopping together and most of the cooking together in the evenings. He cooks all the grilled items, and I cook anything else! Honestly, when putting each weekly menu list together, I intentionally choose meals that can be mostly grilled because it’s easy and healthy.

…And because we do not fry food. In fact, I don’t even own any cooking oil except for olive oil. Oh yes we LOVE fried food, but we have just chosen not to include that into our normal eating habits for obvious reasons.

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We have cooked and had family dinner together almost every single night since we’ve been in our new life. Yes, this IS something I’m incredibly proud of. Because it has always been one of the things that we have always known we were missing out on and weren’t sure how to fix it.

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After dinner is done and the dishes are washed, I set out to pack Anthony’s lunch for work for the next day. Usually we have dinner leftovers to send with him. This works out nicely because holding onto leftover food isn’t something we can do much of. And if not, we keep some healthy lunch options on hand so that he isn’t grabbing whatever he can find at lunch time, which usually ends up being super unhealthy.

It just feels amazing to feed my family good, healthy food! I can’t explain it, it just does.

20130924-092246.jpgSo when we decided to sacrifice some of the things in our lives that most people have, we gained other things in their place. Good food, and quality family time each evening are two of them. These are the little, BIG things in life we wanted and didn’t have. So now instead an overload of material things, we have good food and each other.

In our hustle to have the American dream, many American’s find themselves forced into choosing McDonalds &  frozen pizzas for dinner because they are over-mortgaged, over-extended and drowning in debt.

This was our story. And so we chose to re-write it.

We have simply chosen to embrace a different story.

And maybe this kind of life is not a better one, but at the very least  – it is ours.

 

Own less, live fully, live light. 

**I will be posting the recipe for the salad & coconut chicken pictured above tomorrow. Look for it! 

 

 

Comments { 6 }

Tips On Lightening Up Your Life With Juicing

Since making the decision to sell 90% of our stuff, leave our house and hit the road full time in our camper, I have sincerely been on a mission to lighten up our lives in every way possible over the past few months as we prepare to head out. In keeping with my “all or nothing” personality, I’ve determined not to just stop at lightening up by ridding our lives of stuff and clutter, but also by cleaning up our health and diet lifestyle. *I sort of hate the word “diet”as it tends to imply “losing weight” but that is NOT what this post is about as that is not a goal of mine. 

I’ve been toying around with juicing here and there for the past couple of months. Not sure if it was really something I would do, I had bought a cheap juicer, used it twice, learned a few new curse words and realized that if there was anything that would keep me from NOT juicing, it would be that damn thing. FYI, cheap juicers are NOT worth it, so don’t waste your money. They are difficult to use, impossible to clean, and they waste much of the fruits and veggies you paid good money for.

I love drinking fresh fruits and veggies. I just like the way it makes me feel to do something so incredibly good for my body. And since I am NOT so good at eating all the fruits & veggies I should, getting the nutrition my body needs by drinking them just works better for me. So last week I took the plunge and bought a decent juicer so I can get more serious with this thing…and so I can stop paying $6 a juiced drink at the local health food store. Yikes!

Fusion-JuicerI purchased the Fusion Juicer which sells for $160 on Amazon, however I found it for $119 at Wal-mart. I have looked at several but decided on this one because it is quite a bit more compact than others I’ve seen and yet it is still quality. I just won’t have room for a monstrosity juicer in the camper. Also, it was advertised as quiet and easy to clean (and it is!) which if you’ve ever juiced before you know how important those things are.

I first used it after my run last night, made up a double batch and finished up my morning juice along with my normal eggs & spinach omelet for breakfast!

fruits & veggiesI decided to start out easy and gradually add in the scarier veggie items a little a time.  For this juice I used organic carrots, oranges and apples (exact amount pictured above.) However, I do not think it’s critical that your produce be organic in order to do this. Just start where you can and go from there! No matter what way you slice it, this is STILL so much much better for your body than anything else you could find to feed it. And oh my goodness, SUCH a yummy combination of whole foods to fuel up your body, your brain and immune system!

*Now, obviously this juice recipe wouldn’t be the best choice for someone with diabetes, but I don’t have issues with that and I am only going to be drinking this juice 1-2 times a day at most so this amount of natural sugar won’t be an issue.

Cost: I averaged the cost of a single serving of 12-16 oz. juice to be around $4- $4.75 depending on what kind of produce you buy and where you buy it. Yes that is a lot, but so is a grande latte with a shot of espresso at Starbucks. So I figure if millions of people (including myself) can justify paying $4 for a caffeine buzz, then I can justify investing the money into health. Plus, last time I checked, cancer and other chronic illnesses are way past expensive so there ya go!

carrot-juiceYou’ve never seen such beautiful bright colors until you seen what colorful fruits & veggies. look like juiced! Doesn’t it just look so amazing for you! Like the perfect refreshment for your body.

Time: It took me approximately 1 minute of simply cutting each apple & orange in half (I left the peels on) put the carrots in whole, and about 3 minutes of putting them all through the juicer and viola! I had made enough for 2, 12 oz. glasses. I drank one with a small meal for dinner and another with my breakfast! Clean up was also easy and took me about 3 minutes.

juicingBoth of my kids tried it and loved it so I’d have to say, this one will be one of our staples and an entire family favorite! If you’ve never juiced before and are thinking about trying it, I’d try this first. I will be venturing into different recipes including green juices over the course of the next few weeks and will keep you posted with my honest opinion of how that goes!

Here’s to eating (and drinking!) healthy. Here’s to living the light life!

Have you ever tried or considered juicing? How did it go for you and what are your thoughts!

Comments { 11 }

How To Make More Room In Your Life By Lightening Up

I have come to the conclusion that one of the most pointless things one can do with their life is spend most of it working just to accumulate more stuff.

Stuff doesn’t make us who we are, and it never fulfills us.

However, I sort of need to go ahead and own up to the fact that even I have a few “stuff” obsessions. A few of which happen to come with a pretty steep price tag. BUT, I do find them to be worth every penny!

Someone once said that money can’t buy happiness. The person who said almost got it right…except they had apparently never owned an Apple product. 😉

These are the few material items that really do make my life better. So therefore, I have chosen not feel guilty for indulging in these few little pleasures.

apple mac & starbucks

1. Anything Apple  – I’m a total Mac addict. When I get to Heaven, I will find Steve Jobs and give him a huge hug.

2. Starbucks  – It’s my drug of choice. I also truly, truly enjoy it. I’ve had the best conversations with people sitting in a coffee shop, sipping a cup of the dark stuff. It connects people and that makes me happy!

bed head

3. Salon trips / professional hair products   – My sister has the kind of hair that requires nothing to be beautiful. She doesn’t need to color or highlight it, never blows drys or fixes it, and barely bothers with getting it trimmed and still it always looks so luscious and gorgeous. I do not. So not fair! Therefore, I do not  and will not skimp on my hair. Period. The end.

organic

4. FoodI don’t care what anybody says, whole, healthy, organic food doesn’t come cheap. It just doesn’t. If I could find a way around this I would, trust me. But so far I haven’t figured it out.

However, there are a myriad of other tangible things that spending wads of money on does not appeal to me. I have been known to shop for hours only to unload my cart of all that I was about to buy, put it back on the shelves and walk out of the store.

I honestly can’t think of a single time that I’ve regretted doing that.

I’d rather save our money to buy experiences, not just more stuff that we don’t really even need.

So, here’s my list of things I will not splurge on, many of which I don’t even bother to buy new.

1. Shoes  –  Yes, I am a girly girl, no I do not have a love affair with shoes. The end. I do buy them when absolutely necessary, but most important to me is to purchase 1 pair of rainbow flip flops every few years and wear them 80% of the time and do not buy a new pair until I wear them out….or someone steals them from off of the beach.

thrift shopping

2. Clothes – I do not go around looking like a bum (at least not most of the time) but you wouldn’t believe how little money I put into clothing purchases. Here’s how I do it.

Thrift shopping. I LOVE a good thrift store and could spend hours rummaging through the racks for pretty clothes at steals.

Children’s resale stores.  My kids are still at the ages in which we have to buy them an entire new wardrobe for each new season. SO, every season I take all their clothes from the previous season and trade them in at the resale store for money or store credit. Sometimes this means I have to take their clothes around to more than one resale store to get rid of at least most of it, but it always pays off. Last season I spend a total of $300 out of pocket for both of the kids clothes, bathing suits and shoes for the entire season. (I have a few tips for being successful with getting the most $ back for this. If you’re curious, comment below with your question and I’ll be happy to share them with you!)

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3. Organic meat & milk – I’ve set the cows free! Recently I’ve come to the point in which I will not buy meat unless it is free of all the crap that most conventional animal products have. So, in order to go organic in other important areas (mainly produce) we have almost completely eliminated meat & dairy (milk) from our household diet in order to save us the $ and the added hormones.

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4. Underwear – ……… Just kidding. I DO NOT buy used under ware. 🙂

It is OK to have little indulgences in life! The problem becomes when your entire life becomes one big pursuit of indulgence.

When we choose to cut back or even cut out expenses in the non-essential areas, we free ourselves up to stop and buy a coffee when we want to, or take a trip with the kids to see places we’ve never been….and not have to go in debt to do it!

In that, we are gaining priceless life experiences, not just buying more things. 

THOSE are the few simple pleasures of life that money can buy….that is it we haven’t wasted  it on stupid stuff that will go out with next week’s trash.

It’s up to you to figure out what you value and find a way to tailor your spending in other areas so that you can actually afford what means most to you.

There’s so much more I could list but I’ll stop for now and share more in later posts!

As a family, we are excited about discovering even more ways to cut back and simplify our life and we take this new journey!

Are there any little indulges you have or tips on ways to cut back? Share them with us in the comments below!  

Here’s to living the light life!

Comments { 6 }
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