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Air Fryer Apple Fries
Apple Fries Ingredients:
- 3 large Gala apples
- 1 Cup of flour
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 1 Cup of graham cracker crumbs
- 1/4 Cup of sugar
Caramel Dipping sauce Ingredients:
- 1 container of caramel sauce
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Prep the apples: peel, core, then cut the apples into 8 wedges.
- Add the flour into a medium size bowl. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs, pour into a shallow dish.
- In a second shallow dish combine the crushed graham crackers and sugar. Stir to blend.
- Line the flour bowl first, second put the beaten eggs, and crushed graham crackers, and sugar combination.
- Begin by tossing each wedge of apple in the flour.
- Dredge the floured apple pieces in the beaten eggs.
- Third, roll the apple pieces in the sugar/crushed graham cracker mixture.
- Put each prepared apple pieces on the prepped cookie sheet.
- Toss the apple slices and flour together in a large bowl. Set up a dredging station by put Dip each apple slice into the egg, and then into the graham cracker crumbs. Coat the slices on all sides and place the coated slices on a cookie sheet.
- Coat the bottom of the air fryer basket with oil.
- Do not overlap the apple pieces in the air fryer. Air fry the apples in batches. Spray the apple pieces with a light coat of oil. Air fry at 380 degrees for 5 minutes then turn the apple pieces over and for an additional 2 minutes.
- Pour the caramel sauce into a serving bowl. Transfer the bowl to a microwave. Heat until the caramel sauce is warm and ready to serve with the apple fries.
PREP TIME: 25 min
COOK TIME: 7
8 Healthy Alternatives to Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love ice cream, especially on a hot, summer day? Ice cream comes in many different flavors and assortments. To name a few, ice cream lovers can find the following flavors at their local grocery store: chocolate chip, strawberry, cookies and cream, vanilla, M&M’s and even brownie flavored.
While the frozen milk snack has so many wonderful flavors and varieties, for some the high sugar content can pose a health concern to consumers. Listed below is a list of healthy ice cream alternatives. Enjoy!
Frozen Banana and Almond Butter Bites
For the recipe to this treat, click the link!
Strawberry Banana Ice Cream Sandwiches
Get the recipe for this three ingredient healthy snack here.
Greek Yogurt Fudge Popsicles
These popsicles can be easily made at home. Click the link for the recipe.
Pumpkin Rice Pudding
For this cozy, fall treat click the link.
Chocolate Chia Pudding
A chocolatey delectable! For this recipe, click here.
Banana Ice Cream
Banana Ice Cream can be made into many different flavors! For ten flavor ideas, click the link.
Snow Monkey Ice Cream
Non-dairy, vegan, nut free, plant based, paleo-friendly. To learn more click here.
Vegan Mango Ice Cream
For this super easy, three ingredient treat, click here.
Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash
Cheesy Garlic Parmesan Spinach Spaghetti Squash
This crazy delicious garlic parmesan spaghetti squash is one of the most popular recipes on Peas and Crayons — and for good reason too!
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES
COOK TIME:1 HOUR
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 10 MIN
- 1 medium spaghetti squash(approx. 2-3lbs)
- 2.5 TBSP minced garlic
- 1 tsp avocado oil or olive oil
- 5 oz fresh spinach chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 TBSP cream cheese (optional but delicious!)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus extra for topping
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated or sliced mozzarella for topping to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Slice your spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- For easy cutting, feel free to stick your squash in the microwave to soften it up just a tad. Pierce it a few times with a knife (to help vent so it doesn’t burst) and cook for for 3-5 minutes. The knife slides through way easier this way! Smaller squash will need about 3 minutes while larger ones will be good to go at 4-5 min.
- Next grab a lipped baking sheet or a rimmed baking dish.
- Rub the cut side of the squash with a teeny bit of olive oil and place on your baking dish/sheet cut side down. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until tender and easily pierced with a fork. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of your squash, and larger squash will need to roast a bit longer to tenderize. Once ready, the once rock-hard exterior of the squash will be visibly softened with a tender interior.
- The squash can be roasted and stored in the fridge for a few days if you’d like to meal prep and plan ahead for a speedier dinner.
- While the squash roasts, start on the sauce.
- In a medium pot or skillet, bring a drizzle of olive oil to medium-high heat and sauté garlic until fragrant.
- Next add the spinach and stir until wilted. Add your cream, cream cheese (totally optional but totally tasty) and parmesan cheese and stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
- Once squash is done roasting, allow to cool until easily handled or pop on an oven mit and use a fork to separate and fluff the strands of spaghetti squash.
- Pour your sauce over each squash boat, stir to mix, and top with a little mozzarella cheese and additional parm cheese, if desired.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for around 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- For a golden cheesy topping, flip your oven to broil on high for just a minute or two until lightly browned. Dive in while it’s HOT!
10 Super Herbs and Spices for Ultimate Health Benefits
Many spices hold cultural meaning to them in households throughout the world. Did you know, these same herbs and spices can improve your well-being in countless ways? The addition of herbs and spices to your diet is the simplest way to boost your immune system and fight off diseases and conditions such as inflammation.
Ginger is used to treat nausea caused by morning sickness, chemotherapy, and even sea sickness. Ginger can also be used as a pain management remedy as 2 grams of ginger a day fights colon inflammation the same way as aspirin.
Other research found that a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, mastic, and sesame oil decreased pain and stiffness experienced by those with osteoarthritis.
Rosemary been shown to suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion due to an active ingredient called rosmarinic acid.Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus.
Peppermint is known for its aromatherapy benefits however, this spice also has benefits when consumed through food. Many studies have shown that peppermint oil can improve pain management in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Peppermint helps to relax the colon and reduces abdominal bloating.
Cayenne Pepper is a type of chili used in many dishes around the world. Known for its spicy taste, cayenne pepper is also a remedy for those looking to reduce their appetite and increase fat burning.
Garlic has an in-depth history for its medicinal uses. Garlic supplementation is well known for combatting sickness, including the common cold. It is advised that those who experience symptoms relating to the common cold should increase their intake of garlic.
Studies have also found garlic to cause significant reductions in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Turmeric is a good source of curcumin, an antioxidant that eases inflammation. Research suggests that curcumin may help ease pain. And other research shows that eating even small amounts of turmeric regularly may help prevent or slow down Alzheimer’s disease, possibly by helping prevent the brain plaques that lead to dementia.
The cocoa bean is chock-full of flavonoids, which are antioxidants that have been shown to boost heart health. Flavonoids seem to play a role in lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and helping keep your coronary (heart) arteries healthy, among other things. Also, studied suggest that daily intake of cocoa flavanols can improve mental performance in people with and without mental impairments.
Nutmeg is found to have health benefits, including its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation.
This sweet, pungent spice is in many pumpkin spice mixes. It’s known to soothe an upset stomach, and lab studies show it may also help fight inflammation. Cardamom may help fight bacteria in the mouth, a common cause of bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.
Oregano has many nutrients, including vitamins K and E, calcium, iron, manganese and fiber. Also, oregano is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, helping fend off heart disease, stroke and cancer. Plus, oregano has phytonutrients that help fight infections.
The Gluten Free Diet
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains, including wheat, rye, spelt, and barley. Wheat is the most common form of gluten from the grains listed.
When flour mixes with water, the gluten proteins form a sticky network that has a glue-like consistency. This glue like property makes the dough elastic and gives bread the ability to rise during baking. It also provides a chewy, satisfying texture. Interestingly, the name “gluten” comes from this glue-like property of wet dough.
Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. While wheat is the most common, there are three main gluten substances including: wheat, barley and rye.
Wheat is a yellowish grain used to make flour.
Wheat is commonly found in:
- baked goods
- salad dressings
Barley, a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia as early as 10,000 years ago.
Barley is commonly found in:
- malt (malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar)
- food coloring
- Brewer’s Yeast
Rye is a cereal plant that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures.
Rye is commonly found in:
- rye bread, such as pumpernickel
- rye beer
Gluten Intolerance and/or Sensitivity
There has been research on gluten intolerance and/or sensitivity and Celiac Disease. Gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease yet lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining, leading to medical complications. It also prevents absorption of some nutrients
Let’s consider a person without Celiac Disease but an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Research has categorized gluten intolerance and sensitivity to be less severe than Celiac disease. However, many of the symptoms are the same. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity have a prevalence of extraintestinal or non-GI symptoms, such as headache, “foggy mind,” joint pain, and numbness in the legs, arms or fingers. Symptoms typically appear hours or days after gluten has been ingested, a response typical for innate immune conditions like non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Gluten intolerances and sensitivities are not the same as allergies. In fact, someone can experience an intolerance or sensitivity and test negative to having a gluten allergy.
National Peaches N Cream Day – June 22nd
- 1 cup chopped peaches
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds plus more for garnish
- For the peaches: In a large saucepan, bring peaches, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon to a boil. Boil for 5-10 minutes or until the peaches are soft. If there isn’t enough liquid from the peaches, add a little bit of water. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
- For the cheesecake: In a small bowl, mix together the crumbs and melted butter. Press into the bottom of two glasses or ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or until firm.
- Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl on medium-high speed (with whisk attachment if using 5 quart stand mixer), beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken, about 1 minute.
- Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla then continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes (when you pull the beaters up, peaks will form and not fall over).
- Transfer to another bowl and reserve 2 tablespoons whipped cream for garnish. Keep both cold in the refrigerator.
- In the same mixing bowl (no need to clean bowl – switch to paddle if using stand mixer), beat together the cream cheese, granulated sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl.
- Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture until fully incorporated.
- Add some of the cheesecake filling on top of each chilled crust then add some peach filling and almonds. Finish layering with the cheesecake, peaches, and almonds.
- Garnish with the reserved 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Keep cold until ready to serve.
Benefits of Superfood- Spinach
Leafy green spinach is a superfood that can be prepared a number of ways due to its versatility. Spinach can be used within green smoothies aa a source of fiber. Spinach can also be baked into casseroles and fried into breakfast entree’s such as eggs. Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a leafy green vegetable that originated in Persia. It belongs to the amaranth family and is related to beets and quinoa. Did you know spinach offers major benefits to those who choose consume this superfood?
Spinach is Rich In Nutrients
Spinach is a source of Vitamin K which aids in bone support. Vitamin K works to enhance a protein called Osteocaic that is responsible for stabilizing calcium in bones. Spinach also provides a source of calcium, Vitamin D, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. The combination of these nutrients all aid in bone health.
Spinach is high in Vitamin A which eliminates viruses and bacteria. Vitamin A helps our skin and mucus membranes. Vitamin A is also known to be good for growth in bodily tissues including skin and hair. To help reduce the loss of hair and infections, the consumption of spinach is the solution.
Rich in Vitamin C, spinach supports heart health. There is a rumor that spinach helps with facial wrinkles. Pregnant mothers are advised to consume spinach to help with prenatal and cardiovascular diseases. Spinach is rich in lutein which helps prevents heart attacks and cures heart diseases.
Spinach is Low in Calories
Spinach is mostly made of water. One cup of cooked spinach is 41 calories. Spinach provides 160% of the daily goal for Vitamin A and about 40% for Vitamin C.
Spinach is a Source of Energy
Through magnesium, spinach is able to help generate energy throughout a days span. Spinach is a excellent source of folate. As you navigate through the day, the consumption of spinach helps turn your body into usable energy. Spinach is alkaline in nature. This is why spinach is a number one choice for many athletes.
Spinach Supports Brain Health
Spinach contains anti-inflammatory effects that aid in brain health. One study shows that when older adults consume one to two servings of spinach daily, that person had the same cognitive abilities as someone 11 years younger in comparison to those who did not consume greens.
Spinach Vs. Kale
Spinach and Kale are similar in a number of ways. For starters, both vegetables are leafy greens that are high in fiber. Which is better for you? Let’s look at the facts and you can determine which route to take.
- Kale has more calories per 100 g serving than spinach. It should be noted that both vegetables are still very low-cal choices.
- Both contain fiber and several other important micronutrients in varying amounts, including vitamin A, riboflavin, and calcium.
- They’re both high in vitamin K — a key vitamin involved in healthy blood clotting and bone formation.
- They’ve also each been shown to positively impact heart health by improving several heart disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Add kale or spinach to a salad topped with vegetables and a good source of protein.
- Both are linked to improved heart health, increased weight loss, and protection against disease.
The Best Sautéed Spinach
Crunchy Creamy Sweet provides a recipe for the best sautéed spinach and it looks delicious!
Prep Time- 2 mins
Cook Time-7 mins
Total Time- 9 mins
A fresh spinach sauteed with garlic and onions in olive oil and butter. This easiest and fastest spinach side dish is healthy and low-carb diet friendly.
Course: Side Dish
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 85 Calories
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic see note
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 8 oz fresh spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large skillet, heat up olive oil. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes. Add garlic and butter and saute until the onion is starting to brown.
- Add soy sauce and stir well. Add spinach and gently toss to mix with sauteed onion.
- Cook until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately.
What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?
What is SNAP? SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Needy Families. As a 90’s baby, I grew up calling this Food Stamps. However, SNAP is formal terminology.
SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.
SNAP is a national program that is there for families in need of food. To receive SNAP benefits, you and your family must qualify in your state.
USDA provides a breakdown of eligibility guidelines for families to follow. There is certain criteria to qualify including meeting income limits. SNAP benefits are updated yearly for recipients.
There are special rules for households with elderly or disabled family members. To learn more about these rules, click here.
SNAP Benefits in Tennessee can be used online at the following stores:
To learn more about applying for SNAP in Tennessee, click HERE.
How To: Grocery Shopping On A $4 Daily Budget
There are many joys to raising one big happy family. But, let’s get real, feeding one big happy family is another story. Parent’s of one or multiples can relate to this blog post. There are many ways to maintain a daily, weekly, or monthly grocery shopping budget. We are going to explore some of these areas as a means of learning more options when it comes to grocery shopping for your family.
One strategy is to meal plan. If you’re anything like me, your car wheels are spinning from sun up until sun down, most days. Meal planning eliminates the temptation of stopping at local fast food restaurants and provides a health meal alternative for you and your family. To successfully meal plan, it is suggested that the “planner” and “meal prepper” arrange all of the meal items on Sunday prior to the week.
Now let’s look at Meal Planning On A Budget. This simply involves the core components of a meal- the protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate. The simplest and cheapest way to accomplish this is by sticking to one protein (chicken, fish, broccoli-for vegan families), one choice of carb (rice, sweet potato), and mix up the vegetables throughout the week. Boring right?! You’re encouraged to get creative when fixing these items for your family. Change up the spices blends and cooking styles. Instead of grilling the chicken, place a few pieces in the oven or boil them.
Tips for Meal Planning On A Budget
- Create a menu in advance
- Purchase meals around sale items
- Plan one meatless meal a week
- Check your inventory at home, first
- Make a meal that your family loves
- Utilize those leftovers
- Integrate grains and veggies
- Make extras-when possible
Keeping Your Grocery Bill at $120 and Under
Living on a Cheap provides some very reasonable solutions to maintaining a $4 day grocery bill. This averages to about $120 a month. For larger families, the budget might need to be adjusted, however, the same concepts can be applied. These tips, along with my personal experience tips will be given:
- Eliminate Bottled Water- Purchase a water diffuser pitcher or faucet attachment one time versus constantly purchasing a $4 case of bottled water weekly.
- Eliminate Fruit Juices and Sodas- Fruit juices tend to cause dental health. Sodas are packed with sugar. Eliminating this item will help your pockets in more than one way.
- Eliminate Coffee- One cup of coffee at Starbucks ranges from $4-$6. Making coffee at home can add up as well. There is creamer, sugar, coffee grains, and filters. This one will be hard for coffee drinkers.
- Eliminate Alcoholic Beverages- Eliminate or save these items for a special occasion.
- Purchase Fresh or Frozen Fruits- Many times, the frozen fruit are much cheaper than fresh fruit. It may not be a first preference for most, however, it gets the job done.
- Purchase Fresh or Frozen Vegetables- The same concept applies to vegetables. However, frozen store brand vegetables are significantly cheaper. One bag of Great Value brand (Walmart) broccoli is $.99 compared to other $2.99 brands.
- Keep Snacks Simple- Snacks need to stay simple, plain and simple. At most homes, snacks go FAST. I suggest keeping these items simple when possible. Rather than purchasing an already made cheese and cracker for $3.29, purchase a $.99 cent box of crackers and $.99 cent cheese. This is just an example. All families have their own favorite snacks. See if you can re-create them cheaper!
- Purchase Beans and Grains in Bulk- I always, always, always have some sort of rice on hand. Rice is a simple go-to and easily purchased in bulk. The same for beans. When searching, purchase these items in larger bags and portion them out when cooking for the week.
- Purchase Raw Foods Over Already Prepared- This goes for chicken, fish, beef, steak, and even some vegetables and pastry’s. Kroger is currently selling a “Meal Kit” for a family of 4 for $19.99. This only feeds your family for one night versus purchasing raw items and portioning them out for much cheaper.
- Focus On Nutrition- Focusing on nutrition while shopping will eliminate MOST of the store items, trust me.
- Milk, Milk, Milk- I tend to find myself buying two gallons per week. That’s a lot of milk! When possible, replace the milk drinking with water.
Grocery Shopping Tips
- Shop On A Full Stomach- Yes, everything looks delicious when you’re hungry. Just don’t do it.
- Create a List and Be Prepared to Say No- Your children will go find the largest box (64 OZ) of cereal when you already have some at home. Just create a list and be prepared.
- Buy Non-Grocery Related Items at Dollar Store- This includes laundry detergent, washing powder, soap, and bleach, etc. These items are much cheaper outside of the grocery store.
- Shop Store Brands- Not all store brands are created equally, I know. Shop around. There are some really great buys in store brand.
- Don’t Fall for the 10 for 10- Only use this purchase, if you are truly going to use 10 items of the same thing. These sales are a quick way to rack up you total.
- Learn to Bake or Cook- When in doubt, just cook it at home. The frozen chicken alfredo lasts one night versus purchasing the items at and cooking 2 days worth.