Posted in Eating More Veggies, Health Improvement, Healthy Recipes, sides

Flavorful Lemon Dressed Salads

I’m making an effort to eat more veggies and so am trying to eat salad for lunch a couple times a week. But, I want salads that keep me satisfied through the day. The salads featured today were inspired by salads I had regularly in chile and contain flavorful proteins and greens topped with lemon juice, ground black pepper and some of my new favorite veggies including avocado and cabbage! With a tangy* lemon dressing and other unsual flavors and textures, you won’t feel like you’re eating the same old salad every day for lunch.

*If you feel just lemon juice is too tangy for you, most of these salads taste great with some vegetable oil sprinkled along side the lemon or lime juice. I prefer just lemon juice, but I tend to love the taste of citris at full potentcy–especially on salads.

Fiesta Ranch Tuna Salad

Fiesta Ranch Tuna Salad with sliced avocado


  • 1/2 Avocado (slice it over the salad for easier eating)
  • 1/4 tomato
  • 1/2 lemon or lime’s juice or to taste (I like mine pretty potent)
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 1 C. romain lettuce or enough to fill a cereal bowl
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Fiesta Fajita Seasoning
  • 1 can solid albacore tuna (you can use the chunk tuna, but it’s just not as tasty!)
  • About a Tablespoon Ranch dressing

Cut up the veggies and lettuce into bite sized pieces and put them in a bowl. Cut an avocado in half and place a halve  on top of the salad. Sprinkle the entire salad including the avocado with the lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon or lime, salt, pepper, and fajita seasoning. Now mix 1 can of albacore tuna with just enough Ranch that the tuna sticks together. Put 1/2 of the tuna mixture inside of the avocado atop the salad you just made. Sprinkle the scoop of tuna with more fajita seasoning. Enjoy!

Seafood Salad-


  • 1/2 package Imitation Crab- High in protein and low in fat
  • 1 T. Miracle whip
  • 1 T. Lemon Juice + Lemon Juice desired to spread over the salad (1/2 lemon’s juice)
  • 1 green onion
  • A sprinkle of onion salt
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Spinach- Super high in Vitamin A and a good source of iron
  • Romain Lettuce
  • Purple Cabbage- High in fiber and potassium!
  • 1 teaspoon seafood cocktail sauce (optional)

Cut the green onions with kitchen shears. Shred the imitation crab with your fingers an combine it with the miracle whip, lemon juice, green onions, and a shake of onion salt. Cut up enough spinach and romaine lettuce to fill a cereal bowl. Squeeze 1/2 lemon or desired amount of lemon over the lettuce and sprinkle salt and pepper over it. Add your desired amount of Seafood salad on the top. Add a teaspoon of seafood cocktail sauce to your salad if desired. Enjoy!

Avocado and Egg Salad:

Avocado Egg Salad with bacon pieces

I first tried this salad in Chile and fell in love with the simplicity and flavor.


  • Romain lettuce roughly chopped
  • egg salad: Mine containes miracle whip, mustard, onion salt, and season all
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 Lemon’s Juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Bac’n pieces or real bacon pieces
  • baby carrots (optional)

Chop your lettuce roughly and then squeeze 1/2 of lemon over it and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Now remove the avocado pit from your avocado half and stuff it with a large scoop of egg-sald. You may sprinkle more salt and pepper over the egg if you’d like or bacon pieces as desired. Add carrots to the salad if desired.  Makes 1 large bowl of salad or 2 servings.

Avocado Egg Salad with bacon pieces


Bacon Pieces- Add flavor without adding a ton of sodium or calories!

Celery Salad or Cucumber


  • 2 Celery stalks (It tastes great with cucumbers too)
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
  • veggie oil (if desired for more flavor)
  • salt
  • pepper

Slice your celery into long thin, bite-sized pieces until you’ve filled a cereal bowl. Cover the pieces with lemon juice and a sprinkle of veggie oil if desired. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the celery. I generally eat this one as a side since it it not quite as filling on it’s own.


Celery Salad with lemon juice and salt and pepper
Posted in Uncategorized

How to Decide if an Instant Pot is Worth the Money to You

  1. Do you or would you like to start cooking more meals with plant-based proteins like beans and lentils?
  2. Do you hate how the oven heats up your entire kitchen when you’re cooking?
  3. Do you hate to use your huge oven when you just need to cook something small?
  4. Are you trying to save money on your electric or gas bill?
  5. Are you trying to reduce the amount of fat in your diet?
  6. Do you need extra motivation to try new recipes and get out of a I cook-the-same-food-all-the-time-rut?
  7. Do you have the patience to read a fair amount of directions before you start using an appliance?
  8.  Do you want to bake cheesecakes, but get frustrated with the difficulty of doing so?
  9.  Do you often decide last minute what to make for dinner and need to thaw out frozen meats quickly?
  10. Do you often forget about food you began to cook only to find it burned up in the oven or on the stove?
  11. Do you cook boiled eggs often?
  12. Do you cook rice often?
  13. Do you not have access to a stove or burner for an extended period of time?
  14. Do you not have a microwave?

If you answered yes to a few of these questions with #7 being especially important, you will probably make use of your instant pot quite often. I’m still learning to use mine to fit my needs, but I have been using it almost daily or multiple times a day.

Instant pots are energy-efficient, won’t heat up your kitchen, and make cooking beans, lentils, rice, veggies-including spaghetti squash, boiled eggs, cheesecakes, and cornbread much easier. It has also served as a good motivator for me to try new recipes and switch up my routine, because anything I put money into is an investment that I make sure to give some of my energy to.

They are not cheap, but especially if you are trying to cut back on your meat intake and use less oil in your cooking, instant pots are a big help. Cooking beans and lentils yourself will also save you money and allow you to have complete control over what is going into your beans.

The instant pot takes time to learn about, and requires some trial and error cooking, but it has some features which I love.


The saute feature- If you don’t have a stove or burner this is a life saver!

The automatic hold warm feature- I can take this pot to church functions like you would a crock pot and plug it in to stay warm, or it seems to retain heat well with the lid on. And it didn’t leak in my car either like crock pots have the potential to do!

Trivet- Allows you to cook things like cheesecakes, chicken, veggies etc. up out of the water so that they are not cooking through boiling, but through the heat of the steam surrounding them.

Cons- Chicken thrown into the Instant Pot doesn’t have the same flavor as meat cooking in a pan or the oven, but when you are cooking chicken to put into something else and want in to take on the flavor of whatever you are adding it to, this is a quick and easy way to cook frozen chicken breasts without having to defrost them and then cook them in a pan or throw them into the oven.

If your food isn’t done the first time, prepare to patiently wait while the pot reheats back up to temperature and then cools down enough that you can open it up again when it is done.

Learning Curve- Be prepared to read long directions before using this guy! It is not intuitive to use in my opinion, but with a bit of effort it gets easier.

Pre-heat time, but I can’t think of an appliance besides the microwave which doesn’t require time to warm up.

Want one? I’ve seen stellar deals on Instant Pots on Amazon around Christmas time, Cyber Monday, and on Amazon Prime Day. With brick and mortar stores preparing to run ads to bring people through their doors, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them deeply discounted in January and February. If you move you can also try applying the Amazon Move Discount.  Credit Cards will also offer cash discounts when you spend a certain amount at a particular store. You may look into a few of these options.



Posted in Cheap Super Foods, Instant Pot Recipes, Uncategorized

Cheap Super Foods: Lentils

Cost per serving: 18 cents!

Lentils cost anywhere from $1.25 to $1.50 per pound and provide aproximately 7 servings loaded with incredible nutrients.

1 cup of lentils includes:

  • 18 grams protein
  • 15 grams of fiber
  • 3.5 grams sugar
  • less than 1 gram fat
  • 358 milligrams folate (90 percent DV)
  • 1 milligram manganese (49 percent DV)
  • 6.6 milligrams iron (37 percent DV)
  • 356 milligrams phosphorus (36 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligrams copper (25 percent DV)
  • 0.5 milligrams thiamine (22 percent DV)
  • 731 milligrams potassium (21 percent DV)
  • 71 milligrams magnesium (18 percent DV)
  • 0.4 milligrams vitamin B6 (18 percent DV)
  • 2.5 milligrams zinc (17 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams vitamin B5/ pantothenic acid (13 percent DV)

Nutritional Information taken from

Cookin lentils with and Instant Pot they become surprisingly easy to cook as well. I like to saute some onion and garlic in my instant pot, put lentils in the pot, cover them with water and 2 teaspoons of bouillon and then cook for 15 minutes on manual mode with a natural pressure release for 10 more minutes. Now you have lentils ready for nearly any recipe you’d like to make.

My Top 3 Tried and True Lentil Recipes:

    1. Lentil Shepherds Pie ( I like to add Worcestershire sauce to this recipe for flavor in place of soy sauce and put french sliced green beans on top)

    2. Lentil-Stuffed Zucchini Boats (Make sure you use a flavorful pasta sauce!

If you’re low on zuchinni make my Wrecked Zucchini Boats with some tips from the slideshow below:

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3. 5 minute Red Lentil Curry ( I use brown lentils, beef or chicken bouillon, red curry paste and add pineapple and add other veggies like carrots and broccoli for extra flavor)

All three of the recipes above have been put into my cooking rotation as Matt and I have continued to work towards eating more plant based proteins. Meatless or low meat meals can be delicious. I hope you enjoy trying these out!