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Instant Pot Series: Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

October 3, 2017 in Recipes

I am so excited to be doing a series of Instant Pot recipes!

I have tried a bunch of recipes to make Cafe Rio sweet pork and this copy cat recipe is the one that we love! Its already super easy but when you do it with the Instant Pot its so quick.

Here’s what you need:

2 lb pork

Coke—NOT diet

1/4 cup brown sugar

garlic salt or garlic powder

1 can diced green chilies

10 oz can red enchilada sauce

1 HEAPING cup brown sugar



(In the morning) Cut up your pork into pretty big chunks. Marinade in 1/2 can Coke + 1/4 cup brown sugar.

(In the late afternoon)
Turn the Instant Pot on ‘saute’. let it heat up while you drain the marinade. Then add 1 T olive oil to your Instant Pot and sear the meat for just a minute or two. Add garlic (fresh or powdered—doesn’t matter) and a can of Coke. Start the Instant Pot on Meat/Stew for 35 minutes.

While thats cooking make your sauce. Add that HEAPING cup of brown sugar, 1/2 can of Coke, red enchilada sauce, and green chilies to a blender (I use the NutriBullet).

Let your Instant Pot release naturally (don’t turn to ‘venting’). When the button releases drain (if necessary) and spread your pork. Add all the sauce to the Instant Pot and start it again for 10 minutes.


Put it on top of rice and beans and add lettuce, guac, salsa, chips, and of course DRESSING.




Here’s the RICE recipe. Also done in the Instant Pot!

1 cup white rice

1 t butter

1 t (ish) minced garlic (i use the squeeze kind)

2 3/4 cups water

2 cubes chicken flavor

juice from 1 lime

2 t sugar

3 T chopped fresh cilantro (i use THESE herb scissors)


Turn the Instant Pot to sauce and add butter and garlic. Stir just until you smell it. Add rice, water, chicken, and lime and stir. bring to a boil. Cover and turn to low for 15-20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and add sugar, lime, and cilantro.


and BLACK BEANS recipe for the Instant Pot!

olive oil – just a tiny bit

1 t minced garlic (i use the squeeze kind)

tiny bit of cumin (or to taste)

1 t of salt

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 can diced tomatoes

2-3 T chopped fresh cilantro


Turn your Instant Pot to saute. Add the garlic and a bit of oil. Add salt and cumin then beans and tomatoes. Use the manual function for 3 minutes. remove from heat either by turning it off for a while or moving it to a different bowl and add cilantro. If its too hot your cilantro will wilt and not be as pretty.


and lastly the DRESSING.

The recipe we love is HERE.





Melt-in-you-mouth Caramel Popcorn

November 4, 2015 in Recipes

favorite fall treat


Oh gosh guys, I love this time of year. I’m a sucker for fall time and fall treats. Caramel popcorn is one of them and I have to make it EVERY year because it practically melts in your mouth!

Yes, this probably goes against all my “clean eating” rules… but it’s one of those recipes that is worth the calories. This is perfect to take to a party, or just eat the whole bowl to yourself while you watch Netflix. (I won’t judge!)

I got this recipe from my husband’s family… and I’m addicted! Love this fall tradition mostly because it tastes amazing and is super easy. (No fires started over here!)

Here’s the recipe:



3 bags of popped popcorn

1 C. light brown sugar

1 cube of butter

1 C. Light Karo Syrup

1 can of Sweetened Condensed Milk


Melt all ingredients over medium heat while stirring. Once it starts boiling, keep stirring for 2 minutes. Pour caramel over popcorn while it is still warm and stir so that it gives a nice coat of caramel all over. At first you might feel like you don’t have enough caramel, but keep stirring — it’s the perfect amount every time I’ve made it!

That’s it! So easy. Make sure when you make your bags of popcorn that you take out all the kernels that didn’t get popped, that way there aren’t any “hard” surprises in your yummy treat!





Healthy Take 5 + Almond Joy Bars

September 25, 2015 in Recipes

You guys… I have to be honest. I’ve only known of this recipe maybe a week and I’ve already eaten almost 2 batches completely by myself. Seriously… these are to die for. Think Take 5s with a hint of Almond Joy and you get this:

untitled (1 of 1)


As you know, I’m a total sweet tooth but am trying to find healthier recipes and have been more aware of ingredients I’m consuming. My cute Mother-in-Law sent this to me and I had to blog about it– mostly so I can refer to it quickly in my recipes folder of my favorites!

Here is the recipe: (Thank you Clean Eats and Treats) — She calls them No-Bake PB Crunch Bars but I like to call them Mouth Watering Healthy Candy Bars (Take your pick!). Seriously just look at the ingredients and you’ll want to try them… The best news is they are guilt-free because the ingredients aren’t at all bad for you. I’m sure the health police would like to debate about the chocolate chips so if you want to leave that out I’m sure they’d still be good, but I just drizzled a little less chocolate on (as you can see in my pic) and I might just be addicted. Quick, easy, and yummy enough to take to a party!

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 9.54.42 PM

I made mine into granola bars for my husband to take to work or for me to have in my “snack” stash for my toddler and I felt like the squares might have been the perfect size. We’ve had them for Sunday dessert because they’re that good! You might want to pin this for later, or to refer to every other day if you’re like me:) Enjoy!




14 Meals in 1 Nap Time

August 27, 2015 in Recipes

Alright friends. I wasn’t going to post about this because I wanted to just do it for a friend, but I ended up wanting to remember everything I did so that I can do it for my own family!

My cutest Texas friend that lives below me just had her baby recently and I decided that I wanted to make her a months worth of dinners. Mostly because when I had my baby we had just moved and so I didn’t know my neighbors (Luckily I had my family close) but I remember thinking, “I want to be a good friend and neighbor to anyone that has a brand new baby!”

Well, 30 meals is a little over kill. But I was able to figure out a system where I could make 2 weeks worth of crock pot meals and accomplish it all within the time my baby slept! (I didn’t look at the clock but I’m thinking it was around 2 to 2.5 hours). I went grocery shopping that morning, put him down for a nap, and went to work! My goal was to finish before he woke up and I totally did. Very doable if you buckle down!

Here’s how I did it:

I researched meals. I found some recipes that looked good on Pinterest. (I didn’t keep track of who made up what recipe so if you happen to know the amazing people that came up with this before anyone else please let me know so I can give credit!) I altered them slightly to fit what I wanted.

I wrote down the recipes and grocery list. I doubled one recipe and tripled 4 other recipes. (To make 14)

Europe (1 of 3)


Here’s my grocery list:


BBQ Sauce – 3 bottles

Brown Sugar


Cayenne Pepper

Garlic Powder

Cream Cheese – 3 (8oz each)

Italian Seasoning – 3 packets

Cream of Chicken – 3 cans

Frozen broccoli – 3 packs

Green Pepper – 3 large

Alfredo Sauce – 6 jars (16oz each)

Limes – 6

Cilantro – 3 bunches

Minced Garlic

Red Onions – 3

Black Beans – 3 cans


Baby Carrots

Pineapple – 2 (20oz) can

Teriyaki Sauce – 1 bottle


2 big bags of chicken breasts

Bag of corn

Sour Dough bread (to use as a side – get the 3 packs that are sealed and last awhile)

The total was about $108 and it makes about 4 servings per meal which averages about $1.90 per person each meal! Um… YES please!

A lot of stuff you might already have at home too!

I made sure to write on all my ziplock bags before starting. I wrote the ingredients and instructions on the first one (of every meal) and then just instructions on the other ones to save time.


Here are the recipes I used:

Cilantro Lime Chicken: (Do 3 bags with these in each)

3 Chicken Breasts

Juice from 2 Limes

1 bunch of Cilantro chopped

1 (16oz) bag of Corn

2 garlic cloves minced

1/2 Red Onion chopped

1 can of Black Beans drained/rinsed

1 tsp. Cumin

Salt and Pepper

Instructions: Cook low for 8 hours, Shred meat and serve on tortillas

Europe (3 of 3)


I chopped all my veggies up first and then put the chicken in last so that when you dump it in your crock pot, the meat will go in first.


Chicken Alfredo: (Do 3 bags with these in each)

3 Chicken Breasts

1 (16oz) frozen Broccoli

1 Large Green Pepper

2 (16oz) jars Alfredo Sauce

Instructions: Cook low 4-6 hours, serve over noodles.


Creamy Italian Chicken: (Do 3 bags with these in each)

2-3 Chicken breasts

1 (8oz) cream cheese, softened

1 can Cream of Chicken

1 dry packet Italian Seasoning

Instructions: Cook low 4-6 hours, serve over rice


BBQ Chicken: (Do 3 bags with these in each)

3-4 Chicken Breasts

1 Bottle BBQ Sauce

1/2 C. Brown Sugar

1/4 C. Vinegar

1/8 t. Cayenne Pepper

1 tsp. Garlic Powder

Instructions: Cook low 4-6 hrs. Shred and serve on sandwiches or w/ a side.


Teriyaki Chicken: (Do 2 bags with these in each)

Baby carrots (1/2 bag)

1/2 Red Onion

1 (20oz) can Pineapple undrained

1 Garlic clove

3-4 Chicken Breasts

1/2 bottle Teriyaki Sauce

Instructions:Thaw overnight, cook on high for 4 hrs or low for 8 hrs. Serve with rice and/or veggies.


Europe (2 of 3)


I don’t have a ton of counter space in my home so this is where I ended up lining them up. I put in all the ingredients for each bag except for the meat. I felt like the chicken breasts I bought from Costco were huge so I evenly distributed them where I thought it would be best for each meal. So some got 2-3 whereas others got 3-4. These meals will feed 4 people so if it’s a brand new mama she will have dinner for her husband, herself, and then lunch the next day! Super convenient when you’re trying to take care of a tiny baby for the very first time.

I will be doing this for my own little family because the food is really yummy, helps save time, and moolah! Let me know if you try it! Would love to hear your favorite crock pot meal!















Healthy No-Bakes

July 23, 2015 in Recipes

No bake Cookies (2 of 2)


Ok so I’ve had this craving for No-Bake-Cookies the passed few weeks and I tried a few recipes online that were more healthy but I wasn’t the biggest fan. So I made up my own recipe that actually turned out mouth-watering and they aren’t too bad for you either! Did I mention they taste like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Oh man. Yes. These are perfect in the summer too because you don’t need to have your hot oven on and they take about 10 minutes.


1/2 C Natural Peanut Butter

1/3 C Raw Honey

1/4 C Coconut Oil

1 TBS Flax Seed

1 1/2 C Quick Oats

2-3 TBS Cocoa (If you like them to taste really peanut buttery just do 2, but I think 2.5 TBS is perfect)



Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan and warm until they are combined- This takes just a minute, no need to overheat your honey. Add flax and cocoa, stir. Add oats and stir until they are all covered in a chocolate peanut butter goodness.

Put spoonfuls on wax paper on a cookie sheet and let cool uncovered in the fridge. Once they are set up store them in an air-tight container. It makes about 15 cookies which is perfect if you have kids that want to make cookies real quick.

But if you make them on your own and eat them all in one sitting, I won’t tell anyone. 😉






Delicious + Healthy Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes

July 16, 2015 in Recipes

 {photo and recipe: 40aprons}

I swear I’m always looking for new, delicious, quick and EASY meal ideas for my toddler. Do you ever feel like you give them basically the same thing to eat day after day? I know I do. We have a few staples and try to branch beyond that, but sometimes you just need something quick and easy.  But then I remember that it also needs to be HEALTHY and taste delicious. I feel like everything has sugar these days– especially breakfast items and when I find something that is more of a healthy option with less sugar, it just doesn’t taste that great. Why can’t we ever win!? Anyway, I’m trying to be smarter about looking at labels/ingredients so when I found this recipe, I knew it was a game changer.

So before you look at the recipe– let’s talk about how exactly this recipe is quick and easy. Because when you first look at it, you may think it’s not. But the way I do it…it IS! If you have time to make it in the morning, that’s great! But I personally like to make it at night with my husband’s help [you know– bringing an at-home date night to a whole ‘notha level 😉 ] haha.

Here’s where the “quick and easy” comes into play. So I usually double the recipe and make as many pancakes as I can. After they’ve cooled a little bit, I individually wrap them in tin foil and place them in the freezer. Then when I need a quick breakfast for Henry, I pull one out and microwave it for 30 seconds and it’s done! Seriously– so easy. Get ready to throw out your Eggo waffles! And now let’s talk about how fantastic these taste. I’m not even kidding! They are SO good. So good that when we didn’t have anything planned for dinner one day and I’m scouring our pantry trying to scrape something together, I decided to make these. So here it is…I found this recipe on 40aprons and then changed it up a bit. My version isn’t gluten free just because I don’t own other types of flour.





So I literally just mix everything together in my Ninja blender and then pour it right onto the griddle. Also– if you have a litter stinker like me, that sometimes likes to pick blueberries out and play with them instead of eat them, try blending the blueberries right into the pancakes. I will warn you that they aren’t as pretty when you do it that way. Your child may or may not be eating pancakes that look like they got in a fight with the blue food coloring, but I promise they still taste just as delicious! So delicious that he literally eats them plain…no butter, syrup, nothing! Can’t wait to hear what you guys think of our new favorite recipe. Head to the store today to grab the few items that you may not have and let me know when you try them!



Whole-Wheat Crepes

June 30, 2015 in Recipes

Um… if you aren’t following the blog 100 Days of Real Food yet, you seriously need to! She’s awesome because you can look up recipes in an index and her recipes are usually both healthy and tasty!

I’m a crepe kinda girl. Growing up my dad would make them every Saturday morning. He served an LDS mission in Paris, France so he learned how to make them there and they are legit! I could seriously eat them daily and I still make his recipe a lot when we do dessert. (if you’re looking for an amazing crepe recipe to impress guests, leave your e-mail and I can send it to you!)

However, since switching my food over I found this whole-wheat recipe that turned out pretty darn good! No, it’s not loaded with butter, but you can eat it feeling guilt free! Since I made these on the weekend (and I let myself cheat on those days), I did add a little bit of Nutella, but they would be just as good with maple syrup or a more healthy option on top if I made these during the weekdays!



Here’s her recipe:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted + extra for cooking
  1. Put all ingredients in blender and mix well. Let stand about 15 minutes.
  2. Melt and swirl around a small pat of butter in an 8 or 10-inch frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Angle pan and pour enough batter on one side to thinly and evenly cover the pan. Very quickly swirl the batter around to cover the pan in one thin layer.
  4. Immediately use your cooking spatula to push down the thin edges of the crepe around the perimeter.
  5. After about 1 minute (and once it is golden brown on the bottom) carefully flip it over without tearing the crepe.
  6. Fry for 1 more minute on the other side (until it is golden brown as well) and then roll up each crepe.
    Serve with 100% pure maple syrup.



My Change

June 25, 2015 in Recipes


I’ve been wanting to write about this topic but have been a little hesitant because it can get controversial. I’ve been doing some research lately and have been changing my eating habits.

It all started after I had my babe. I don’t even share my weight experience with anyone because I would hear “Oh, I wish I had THAT problem.” It’s not something to even brag about because I didn’t lose my baby weight in a healthy way by any means, nor am I an expert on this topic. This has just been my experience.

After having a baby I went senile. No really. My hormones were way out of whack and to be honest I quit eating the amount of food my body needed because I was completely stressed at trying to keep a tiny human alive, not to mention I was forcing suicidal thoughts out of my own mind. It was miserable. By my second week postpartum I weighed 10 pounds less than I did before I got pregnant and almost 20 pounds less than I did in high school. I know every body is so different, but it wasn’t something I was super proud of. Mostly because I was in a really dark state of mind.

I tell you this because it has opened my eyes to what food I’m putting into my body. This was over a year ago and I’ve been able to keep the weight off not because I don’t eat certain things, but I focus on what I CAN eat. I think having a baby in general opens your eyes to what you eat and what you want your baby to thrive off of.

I’m not saying I’m “going organic”… but kind of… (don’t stop reading yet, all my fellow Oreo fans!)

Here are some changes I’ve done:

1. Instead of looking at how many calories are in something I’m eating, I look at WHAT I’m eating. I see how many ingredients that food item has – the less the better. This is my honest opinion, but I feel that my generation all grew up on the same food – canned foods, Mac N’ Cheese, Top Roman (nothing against our parents, it was just what everyone kinda did!) I’m learning to cut out processed foods and want to get to that point completely.

2. This year I’ve switched to eating healthy fresh foods 5 days a week (without cheating!) and then weekends are free game in moderation. If I don’t give myself those “free” days, I’d never do it, so this has worked for me!

3. I’m in the process of switching my pantry over and getting rid of temptation food. I’m a huge snacker, so instead of being tempted by the M&M’s on the counter – I send those with my husband to share at work and keep healthier options at home.

4. I avoid enriched flour. I’ve cut out lots of breads and noodles and make sure my proportions are just the size of my fist.

5. I find healthy snacks that I love. I keep those snacks ready for me at any moment (since I secretly eat constantly!).

6. I drink lots of water (with lemon is a bonus!) If I think I’m hungry, I take a drink of water first and realize I was just super thirsty. Sometimes we train our bodies to want to eat, eat, and eat, when really our body just needed water.

7. I use honey instead of sugar in some of the recipes I’ve tried and am amazed at how it will still taste just as good without it! You can also sweeten with maple syrup or applesauce in some recipes. (I’ll post some for you soon!) I have noticed by cutting out sugar I don’t feel as drained which is a huge bonus when you’re a mom!

There are other things I’m in the process of switching over, like the kind of yogurts, milk, oils, and eggs we are eating and a few things I’m still learning about. By no means am I a healthy Nazi. I will for sure still go out to eat and enjoy some DQ blizzards every now and then. In fact… I’m the “treat” girl in my family so there will still be tons of treats I will give recipes for still that are Sunday night must haves! I just want my family and life as a whole to be healthier. I don’t judge anyone for what they are eating or what they feed their kids, I just want the food that’s in my house to be healthy and tasty! It is definitely a work in progress, but something I want to continue working on and learning about.

It’s definitely a change you have to put effort in, but it’s definitely been worth it for me with feeling good!

Those are my two cents, peeps. Who are your favorite healthy blogs to follow? What things do you do to help you eat healthy?





Texas Sheet Cake Cookies

March 26, 2015 in Recipes

I’ve come to learn a serious lesson the passed few months. Brace yourself because this is huge.


I’ve learned that if you put the word “Texas” in front of anything… it makes that object bigger, better, and even tastier! Yes, my friends… Texas pride is a real thing and a big deal, but so are these cookies. When I saw the name I knew I had to try them.

A. Because now that I live in Texas, I gotta try and have some pride.

B. The fact that they are sheet cake cookies sold me… think about it slowly.

Sheet. Cake. Cookies.

The name makes my mouth water every time.

texas sheet cookies (4 of 4)

So, now that you’ve probably learned that I’m a total sweet tooth here is the recipe, tried and true by yours truly. I secretly try really hard to eat well during the week so that 80% of my life is really healthy…but I party on the weekends with treats. There, I said it.

So if you’re like me, you’ll definitely want to try these this weekend! (or every weekend…I won’t tell anyone 😉 )


makes 24 cookies

  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1⅓ cup flour
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment or silicone mat, set aside.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and sugar together until light, scraping sides frequently.
  4. Add in egg and vanilla and continue mixing until incorporated. Mix in baking powder and salt.
  5. Turn mixer to low and slowly add in flour. Dough will be thick.
  6. In a microwave safe bowl heat chocolate chips on high in 30 second increments until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
  7. Mix melted chocolate directly into cookie dough until evenly mixed.
  8. Drop dough by a measured tablespoon sized mounds onto baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes until cookies just appear set. They will still be very soft on the inside. DO NOT overbake!!… (I could’ve gone a few seconds less to make them softer in the middle.)
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  1. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa powder and milk over medium heat, whisking until melted together. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar.
  2. Pour icing over cookies and allow icing to set before serving.

store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*Make sure not to overbake these cookies. The insides will remain soft and dense if baked correctly.

texas sheet cookies (1 of 4)

texas sheet cookies (1 of 1)-2

texas sheet cookies (1 of 1)-3



{Thanks Cookies and Cups for the recipe!}

St Patrick’s Day: Green Smoothie

March 17, 2015 in Recipes

I love St. Patrick’s Day. Growing up, my parents made it so fun. Leprechauns would come and leave footprints all over the floor, use our potty, and drink our milk! The best is that they would leave a hidden pot of gold somewhere full of treats. It’s like Christmas really. 😉

I thought it would be a perfect day to share my favorite GREEN smoothie! We are a big smoothie family and seriously drink these at least 4 times a week. I have a picky little eater who won’t eat anything different, but he slurps these suckers DOWN. And it’s healthy, so I’m a happy mama over here!

FullSizeRender (9)

Here’s my recipe:

1 yogurt (5oz)

1/2 banana

1 C. orange juice or milk (if you are needing more iron, do orange juice because citrus helps absorb the iron from the spinach)

2 Tbsp flax seed

1 Tbsp chia seed

1 tsp. vanilla

1-2 big handfuls of frozen fruit

2 big handfuls of spinach

***TIP: Something I learned recently, is to buy a big bag of Spinach (I buy mine from Costco) and then stick it in the freezer so that it lasts longer and keeps your smoothies cold and fresh.

What are some of your favorite green smoothies?

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