Traditional recipes

What We’re Loving: The Kitchen Safe

What We’re Loving: The Kitchen Safe

Never worry about sneaky late-night snacking again

The Kitchen Safe is a perfect tool for saving your family from excessive indulging!

Are you worried about your kids (or anyone) stealing from the cookie jar when you’re not looking? Well, thanks to the new Kitchen Safe, available at Kickstarter, that is no longer an issue to stress about. The Kitchen Safe is the world’s first time-lock container for food, gadgets, toys, and other items you want, but know you shouldn’t have! The clever creation can prevent kids from sneaking treats when parents aren’t around or prevent adults from snacking on goodies that won't help them achieve their health goals.

CoolThings.com celebrates this invention, calling it "a gadget intent on holding you to your saner decisions." Although it of course takes willpower to actually place "restricted" items in the safe, it could be a great tool for preventing overeating in both children and adults alike.

To use the safe, simply place an item inside, close the lid, and set the timer. Once the timer is set and the button is pressed, you’re locked out. The safe cannot be opened until the timer reaches zero. Although the safe is only currently available online (about $75 for 3 safes), the company’s goal is to make it available in stores as soon as possible. Try out this potentially revolutionary product that will back you up when your willpower fails!


DIY Kitchen Cleaners Your Clients Can Make at Home

We're sharing some recipes in the kitchen today but they're not for our client’s tummies. Instead, we're whipping up homemade cleaners using just a few natural and inexpensive ingredients, some of which may already be in your clients pantries!

Not only are we keeping the kitchen clean, but we're also making sure it's safe for our clients, their children, pets and the environment.

For our DIY cleaners, we use Dr. Bronner's Unscented Baby Mild Pure Castille Soap which is fair-trade, organic and great for acne-prone or sensitive skin.

Ingredients you need:

  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Castille Liquid Soap
  • Olive Oil
  • Essential Oils (of your choice)

Supplies you need:

  • Spray bottles
  • Soap dispensers, squeeze bottles or mason jars
  • Funnel (or a steady hand and a lot of confidence)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Labels or masking tape and permanent marker

Homemade Hand Soap

A super simple liquid hand soap recipe that is mild enough for children, acne and sensitive skin.

  1. Mix 1 part Castille Liquid Soap to 4 parts water (e.g. 1/2 cup soap + 2 cups water)
  2. Pour into a soap dispenser and label. (For the time being, I cut out a mason jar lid to fit the foaming pump from a leftover bottle of soap)

Homemade Dish Soap

A natural gentle solution that allows you to wash dishes without having to wear rubber gloves! (FYI: this soap is for handwashing dishes only and not for the dishwasher.)

  1. Mix 1 part Castille Liquid Soap to 10 parts water.
  2. Pour into a bottle or jar and label.

Homemade Stovetop Cleaning Paste

A less toxic alternative solution to cut through grease and tough stains on the stovetop.

  1. Mix 1 part Olive Oil to 2 parts Baking Soda in a jar and label.
  2. Apply to the stovetop and let it sit overnight.
  3. Wipe away the cleaning paste in the morning with a damp cloth.
  4. Spray and do a final wipe using the Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner.

Homemade All-Purpose Cleaner

An environmentally-friendly substitute to cleaning your kitchen surfaces. Spray and wipe counters, tables, cupboards and appliances.

  1. Mix equal parts of White Vinegar and Water in a spray bottle and label.
  2. You may choose to add a few drops of essential oils for a nice scent (lavender or lemon would be nice!). Not necessary if you don't mind the temporary smell of vinegar.

Homemade Air Freshener

Naturally combat odours and brighten up the kitchen with this easy and fragrant concoction.

  1. Mix 15-20 drops of essential oils (your choice) with 1 tbsp of Baking Soda in a large bowl.
  2. Add 2 cups of water and mix until dissolved.
  3. Pour into spray bottle and label.

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Co-founder of That Clean Life, Registered Nurse and Culinary Nutrition Expert getting people on the path to better health.


Should You Go Grain Free?

Gluten can spell big problems for some people (yes, even if you don’t have full blown Celiac disease), but the buck doesn’t stop with wheat. Even other grains can contribute to leaky gut, autoimmune disease, and mental health problems.

When my husband had undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease, stomach pain after eating was a major symptom and telling factor. Seven blissfully symptom-free years after surgery to remove part of his small intestine, when he had chronic diarrhea for two months, the medical establishment couldn’t do anything to help him.

I was inspired to start a no grains challenge the day after I heard Jordan Rubin talk about his Maker’s Diet. You can also see how the Maker’s Diet compares to other healing diets in this article here.

Two days of going grain-free fixed his elimination better than it had been in his whole life and nixed any stomach pain after eating. Just. Like. That.

People talk to me a lot about digestive issues, and my first reaction is generally: “You should try gluten-free…and it’s easier to just go grain-free and see what happens.” Friends and family have seen impressive results! (Some also see no results, which is also helpful information.)

Just one example: My mother accidentally got dragged into one of our early grain-free experiments when we spent a week with them in Florida and cooked gluten-free and largely grain-free for the week. She had a burger bun once or twice, but for my mom, who eats a half peanut butter sandwich and an apple nearly every day for lunch, it was a pretty serious reduction in grains/gluten.

Her results? She lost weight and noticed more regular digestion, without a doubt (and she’s not a heavy woman). When she returned home, after just three days of her typical sandwich lunch and unsoaked oatmeal for breakfast, she felt a negative difference.

Although a 2015 study showed that just switching from refined grains to whole grains made positive health impacts, many people find that they learn more by completely cutting grains and then easing back in, one grain at a time. This 2017 study on the AIP diet showed massive improvements for Crohn’s Disease patients, and these authors recommend cutting specifically gluten to improve mental health.

Honestly, I think it’s fascinating to see the difference grains make in the diet! But it’s not easy…


1. Set up a sustainable meal-planning system

I’ve gotten into meal planning several times, only to ditch the practice a few weeks in. While meal planning takes time and effort up-front, it does pay off with time saved as well as less waste over time. Create a meal planning practice that works for your family and that you can easily keep up over time.

That might mean only planning 3-5 days worth of meals for the week instead of seven days worth. It also could mean taking turns with your partner, each of you planning every other week. Or it might mean coming up with general themes (like pasta night, pizza night, Mexican night) instead of getting really specific, only planning 30-minute meals or whatever else works best for your lifestyle.

To help with your efforts, download a printable meal planner or buy a special notepad devoted to meal planning.


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Air Fryer Apricot-Glazed Chicken Breasts

The Allrecipes community of cooks has really learned to use and love their air fryers in 2020. In fact, it was our top-selling small appliance for the whole year. So it makes sense one of the most popular recipes for the year is an air fryer chicken recipe.

"Made this recipe and it was moist on the inside and crispy on the outside. We ate as a main course with mashed potatoes. We thought it was simply yummy," write home cook kay.


Almost-Spring Recipes

I think it’s safe to say that no matter what climate you live in, we’re all experiencing a version of spring fever. It’s been exceptionally beautiful in Austin lately which makes me want to cook (or in some cases, just assemble) meals that are light and fresh and full of green things. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve been in the mood for lately. Click on the photos or the links to go to the full recipes.

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls (pictured above)

These are packed with roasted chickpeas, broccolini, radishes, herbs, and avocado. Serve with a scoop of (nut-free) pea pesto that’s made with hemp seeds and dill.

One of my go-to lunches is the take-out sushi at Whole Foods, which is definitely easier and quicker than making it yourself. But I love being able to customize the ingredients – this avocado mango version with peanut dipping sauce is a favorite.

Our spring weather has me looking forward to summer, which has me looking forward to pot luck picnics… and this broccoli salad is the perfect healthy dish to bring. It’s made with tahini instead of mayo, and it’s loaded with zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and herbs.

And speaking of picnics… here are some very green, very packable sandwiches, made with a creamy lemon-edamame spread.

A healthier way to celebrate St. Paddy’s day… or any day that you feel like a creamy green smoothie. These are made with almond butter, banana, spinach (which you can’t taste), and mint.

A sweet twist on tabbouleh that uses dried tart cherries instead of tomatoes. It’s tossed with a bright lemony dressing and packed with herbs.

It’s almost artichoke season around here. Because fresh artichokes take a little bit of work to prep, I like to enjoy the fruits vegetables of my labor in simple ways like these elevated avocado toasts.

Since it’s now quite spring, I thought I’d throw a comfort food recipe in the mix. These cozy sweet potatoes are filled with sweet potato rosemary cashew cream, broccoli, scallions, and hemp seeds.


How Bad Are Your Kitchen Habits?

The Kitchen is letting you know just how bad some common kitchen habits really are, and offering some easy solutions. These faux pas fall into one of three categories: "Not So Bad," "Pretty Bad," or "Really Bad." It's another addition of "How Bad Is It?"

How bad is it… to use wax paper instead of parchment paper?

Our verdict is that this is… Really Bad! If it's going in the oven, then using wax paper instead of parchment paper is really bad. Wax paper melts when it has direct contact with heat and can even catch fire, so it shouldn't be used interchangeably with parchment paper, which can be used for oven temperatures up to 420 degrees F. Some good replacements for parchment paper in the oven are aluminum foil or silicone baking mats.

How bad is it… to put frozen meat into a slow cooker?

Our verdict is… it's Really Bad! Putting frozen meat directly into a slow cooker without thawing it can be unsafe because the meat won't come to the correct temperature quickly enough, which can encourage bacteria growth. If you put cold meat in the warm slow cooker, it could also crack the porcelain basin and the texture of the meat could be mealy or mushy. And, in this case, it may be a good idea to check the internal temperature of your meat, once it is cooked, to make sure it has come to a safe temperature (e.g., chicken should be above 165 degrees F before consumption). Some safe ways to thaw food are putting it in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave.

How bad is it… to eat brown avocados?

The final verdict is… Not So Bad! Avocados turn brown when exposed to air, but the brown part is perfectly safe to eat (assuming you haven't left it out for more than a few hours). The brown parts of the avocado may be unappetizing or even bitter, so just slice that part off and you're good to go. To save an avocado after cutting it open, rub a little lemon juice on it, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for up to 4 days.


Top 10 Best Recipes of 2020 from The Kitchen is My Playground

Yum Yum!! Oh yes! That's a tasty line up! Thanks for sharing at the What's for Dinner party. Hope to see you there this Sunday too! Enjoy your weekend.

Wow, Tracey, these are ALL so enticing! I pinned the ham & cheese macaroni first (only because I'm hungry for that right now!), but they all could become favorites for me. Great roundup!

It was a fabulous year of recipes Tracey and I was thrilled to have you join my party each week and to have the opportunity to feature you many times.
Thank you for sharing this round up at Create, Bake, Grow & Gather this week. I'm delighted to be featuring it at the party tonight and pinning too.
Hugs,
Kerryanne

I read and appreciate each and every one. When you choose to leave a comment, we collect and display your name, as provided by you. Clicking "publish" to submit your comment indicates your explicit consent for name collection. If you click the "notify me" checkbox , your e-mail is also collected. Clicking the "notify me" checkbox indicates your explicit consent for e-mail collection. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground!


40 Healthy Chicken Recipes For The Entire Family

Everyone loves chicken. It’s easy to prep and it’s a safe zone for the kids. Whether it’s a sandwich or a casserole, let’s take a peek at 40 healthy chicken recipes that entire family will enjoy. Satisfy this week’s dinner menus with a few of the ideas below!

1. Sriracha Shredded Chicken Tacos

Jar of Lemons begins our healthy chicken recipes off with a bang! If the family likes a bit of spice, then they’ll definitely get a kick our of these Sriracha tacos. Hop on over and grab the details now.

2. Chicken Stir Fry

Whole fully shows us how to make a chicken stir fry – with rice – that’s a bit healthier for the family. It’s full of flavor and the kiddos won’t shy away from their veggies in this one. Serve it up with low sodium soy sauce!

3. Chicken Parmesan

There’s even a “right” way to whip up a batch of healthy chicken parm. Zucchini helps and so does Pinch of Yum since they have all the details behind the recipe. Serve this up on a Friday night and have the entire family happy and satisfied.

4. Chicken Shawarma Quinoa Bowls

These quinoa bowls are the perfect lunchtime treat or, serving a bigger portion, for dinnertime too. Peas and Crayons shares all the fresh and delicious ingredients behind the concoction. And just think of the leftovers here, you’ll have something to look forward to at work or school with this bowl of goodness.

5. Lemon Chicken with Asparagus

Pinch of Yum has this light and healthy meal of their sleeve too. It’s a great meal for a warm summer evening. Lemon chicken with a side of asparagus, it’s wrapped in loves of great flavor but won’t have you feeling guilty once the plate is licked clean.

6. Chicken with Tahini

Chicken tahini has lots of possibilities as well. Use it in a wrap, on a salad or on its own – just don’t forget the pita or naan bread on the side. Hop on over to HuffPost to snag all the details behind the dish. It’s a great one for meal prepping too!

7. Chicken Vegetable Casserole

Spark Recipes has an indulgent casserole recipe that we’re all drooling over. Who knew casseroles could take such a healthy turn? Of course, it’s packed full of vegetables and chicken too!

8. One-Pan Chicken and Veggies

Here’s a super easy recipe – one that you just can’t mess up – that we found over at Chelsea’s Messy Apron. All you need is one pan and a knife to cut the veggies to get yourself started. Don’t worry, just because it’s simple though, doesn’t mean it’s not packed full of flavor.

9. Teriyaki Chicken

Fill the bowl with some white rice and top it off with bok choy and teriyaki chicken. The bowl is full of healthy ingredients and flavors that everyone at the table will enjoy. Check it out over at Chowhound and whip it up for dinner tonight!

10. Cumin Chicken and Pumpkin with Warm Chickpea Salsa

Taste has a super flavorful chicken dish featured as well. Filled with rich pumpkin and spicy cumin, this fall-inspired plate is the perfect way to finish off an October night. Serve it up with a side salad and a glass of wine.

11. Chicken Fajitas and Peppers

Find out how to create a bowl full of fajita-style chicken and peppers right now! You can go the lower-carb route and nix the tortillas. You can create a salad out of the warm topping or even fill a baked potato with this yumminess. It’s all up to you!

12. Broccoli and Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Happy Healthy Mama made up a broccoli and chicken bowl that everyone will love too. It’s safe ingredients and the peanut sauce is scrumptious! You can even add rice if you want something more filling.

13. Orange Chicken

If you’re searching for other Asian-inspired dishes that fit the “healthy for you” bill, then this orange chicken creation will work too! Again, you can serve it up with some white rice to make it more filling. And it’s a great plate for leftovers as well!

14. Chicken Skillet with Cajun Potatoes and Veggies

Skillet recipes are so easy to pull off which make them the perfect way to finish off a busy weekday when you don’t have a lot of time in the kitchen. This cajun chicken and potato recipe is a great way to have the family satisfied and fulfilled by the nights end. Check it out at Sweet Peas and Saffron.

15. Chicken Salad with Grapes, Apples and Tarragon-Yogurt Dressing

Whether you make these up for lunchtime or as a quick and light dinner, this chicken salad is filled with fresh ingredients and lots of flavor. The recipe can be grabbed over at Two Healthy Kitchens. And we’re loving the possibilities here as well, create a sandwich, a wrap or top off a bed of greens with the mix.

16. Chicken Fajita Bowls with Rice

Yellow Bliss Road made up some gorgeous chicken fajita bowls – with rice – and we found them to be the perfect source of dinnertime inspiration too. Fresh ingredients but ones that even the kiddos will enjoy. You can even meal prep these out as healthy lunches for the family too.

17. Roasted Garlic Chicken

Roasted chicken will always be a great way to serve a healthy dinner for your and the family. Check out how to do it with a bout of garlic flavor over at Its Yummy. Healthy sides or with a salad, it’s a great accompaniment for a variety of dishes.

18. Chicken Pot Pie

Well Plated serves up a healthy pot pie that we’ve fallen in love with. We’ve tried this one out ourselves and can attest to its deliciousness. Who knew this comfort food could end up feeling – without tasting – guilt free?

19. Curried Chicken Sauté

My Recipes went with curry as their main source of flavor. Curry is full of spice and it’s also really good for us too! Cover your chicken and veg with the popular taste and learn how to make a treat that everyone at the table will want seconds of.

20. 4-Ingredient Chicken Quesadilla Casserole

Here’s another casserole that you’ll love to whip up on a night that you just don’t have a lot of time but want something yummy – and healthy – to dive into. Hop on over to The Seasoned Mom to snag the recipe. And don’t worry, the grocery list won’t be long for this one because all you need is four ingredients to get started.

21. Garlic Herb Chicken Salad

Pinch of Yum strikes again with another healthy and delicious chicken-inspired recipe. Check out all the ingredients after the jump but know that this is a great salad to take to work or pack up for school time too. If you love all these flavors together, then it’s definitely worth a try.

22. Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikki masala is a recipe that lots of people already adore. But with this one, we learn how to make it a bit healthier. Take the leap and let us know how your finished product comes out – and what you served it up with!

23. Chicken Paprika Skillet

Healthy Seasonal Recipes went the skillet route as well. And we love these recipes because they’re just so easy! With bouts of paprika and veggies too, you’ll love the finished dish here. Some rice wouldn’t hurt it either.

24. Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies

Here’s a hearty meal that feels like the perfect way to end a fall or winter’s night. Chicken thighs and veggies all in one pot, you’ll be filled up and still within the means of your healthy lifestyle with this dish. Just hide the extra veggies alongside some potatoes for the kiddos.

25. Baked Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

Who says bacon can’t be a part of the healthy recipe? Well, over at HoliCoffee you’ll be allowed to incorporate it without feeling bad about it. Wrap up your chicken and enjoy every single bite.

26. Chicken Waldorf Salad

And here we have another chicken salad recipe that has endless possibilities. Its Yummy will show you how to make it happen. Whether you create some healthy wraps for lunch, croissant sandwiches for dinner or top off your greens with a scoopful, you’ll definitely enjoy this recipe.

27. Honey-Mustard Chicken Thighs

Clean Eating Magazine went with chicken thighs too. But this time there’s a certain amount of honey mustard flavor that will have you falling in love with every bite. Veggies are the best way to accompany the meal.

28. Chicken Chickpea Chopped Salad

Ambitious Kitchen created a salad full of ingredients that we all love already. Chickpeas for protein, corn, tomatoes and some delicious cheeses too, you may even add some of your own ideas inside. Meal prep or serve up at the potluck, it’s just as healthy and satisfying just like everything else on the list.

29. Maple Dijon Chicken and Vegetables

Maple has a certain amount of indulgent flavoring that we all feel comforted in. And thanks to Well Plated, we learn how to incorporate it into a healthy dish that we won’t feel bad about finishing off for dinner. Check out this chicken and veg recipe after the jump!

30. Chicken Divan

Who doesn’t love a good chicken divan recipe? Fortunately for us, Healthy Seasonal Recipes shows us how to create a healthier version of what we all already like to eat! Lots of veggies and served nicely with a side salad, it’s a great recipe to keep on hand.

31. Bruschetta Chicken

If you love bruschetta, then you’ll definitely love this dish. Take the flavors you love from the appetizer we all crave and top off your chicken with a good dose of it. Eat Yourself Skinny will show you how to make it happen for tonight’s dinner.

32. Orange Honey Mustard Chicken Breasts

We have another honey mustard-inspired recipe here thanks to Chowhound. But this time there’s a bit of orange flavors thrown in to make something a bit more outstanding and unique happen on the plate. Just think about some healthy sides you may want to serve up alongside it.

33. Chicken & Waffles

World Market shows off a chicken and waffles recipe that we love. And although, at first glance, we would assume there’s no way that chicken and waffles could actually be healthy – they fortunately can be. Take the leap and check out all of the delicious details.

34. Chicken Pizza

Everyone loves pizza. And everyone loves healthy pizza a little bit more. This pizza includes some delicious chicken and we can’t wait to make our Friday nights just as delicious but a little more on the “good for you” side of the menu.

35. BBQ Grilled Chicken

Eating Well gave us a classic, BBQ grilled chicken recipe that we need to all have in our recipe box. Switch up dinner by creating new, seasonal sides. You can even grill it or bake it depending on your own preferences.

36. Moroccan Chicken Breast

Mid-Life Croissant went with some Morroccan inspiration for their chicken dish. If you want to shake up some flavors at the dinner table tonight, then this is definitely the route you’ll want to take. Get creative and do something a bit more unique for the family.

37. Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Mushrooms

Lemon and garlic go together quite nicely, especially if there’s a side of mushrooms to be had. Grab all the details and the recipe behind this beauty over at NYT Cooking. A baked potato would be a nice addition to the plate, don’t you think?

38. “Fried” Chicken Sandwich

If you’re searching for some comfort food, then you’ll definitely want to check out this “fried” chicken sandwich from earthly taste. You’ll get all the flavors you love without all of the guilt. And yes, the kids will like this one too.

39. Baked Chicken Nuggets

Learn how to make some chicken nuggets for the entire family with some help from Cooking Classy. Grab the ketchup and satisfy everyone at the table – or at the breakfast bar during the kid’s afternoon snack – with these delicious bites. Preheat the oven and get started now!

40. Creamy Avocado Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

And finally, we finish off the list with another healthy chicken salad recipe that you can create the best sandwiches and salad toppings out of. Creamy avocado is packed with flavor and healthy benefits. Just check out the recipe over at Healthy Liv.


The 1970s Called, And They Want Us To Bring Back Fondue Night

Pull out your old roller skates, bell bottoms, and everything colored in avocado or mustard�use we’re taking dinnertime back to the groovy 1970s, if only for the night. We can all recall that fondue pots were at the height of their popularity in the 70s, when folks would fill them up with melty cheese, smooth chocolate, and piping-hot oil for cooking small hunks of mystery meat. Yum! And even though the last one might make you shudder, the other two were quite the fun dinner delicacy to enjoy with loved ones at home. 

With all of us trying to make the most of staying in, we’re ready to bring back the nostalgic fondue pot. Not only does it provide a communal meal experience for a family who got tired of eating takeout around the TV every Friday night, like, weeks ago, but it also provides a totally unique menu that you’ll likely not see on the average night. So, how to dive back into this retro kitchen item? We’re glad you asked.

For most, it will do best to invest in a reliable electric fondue pot with temperature control settings to ensure your cheese or chocolate doesn’t burn nor congeal for the entire duration of your spontaneous fondue night. This top-selling affordable one from Amazon more than does the trick, with a 6-cup capacity, dishwasher-safe materials, and color-coded forks to let everyone enjoy without sharing saliva. If you’re looking to splurge a bit more, shoppers sing high praise for the classic Cuisinart 3-Quart Electric Fondue Set, too. 

From there, pick your poison: cheese or chocolate. For cheese fondue, Swiss and Gruyére cheeses make a traditional duo but we’re partial to our festive Beer-Cheese Fondue recipe. Serve with crusty bread hunks, charcuterie meats, apples, and vegetables. For chocolate fondue, this four-ingredient recipe can be perfectly paired with fruit, marshmallows, pretzel rods, and cubes of our Million Dollar Pound Cake.

So, what are you waiting for? You don’t know heaven until you’ve eaten a full meal of melted cheese. That much we know. 


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