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It’s a full-time job to raise a family. Whether you have another full-time job on top of parenting or not, getting dinner together for a family is sometimes a little too time-consuming…especially when you know pizza is just a phone call away. That’s exactly where Kendra Cundick of Idaho Falls found inspiration. “I wanted to find a way to help busy moms get a healthy dinner on the table for their families. So I started creating recipes to use in the crockpot directly from the freezer and Sliced Pepper was born. There is such a need to get wholesome, healthy meals on the dinner table. I was falling short and getting frustrated…so I came up with a solution.”

Kendra pictured with her family (from left): daughter Kella, husband Nate, and daughter Ashton.

Students come to a Sliced Pepper class and, two hours later, will leave with ten meals that go straight from the freezer to the crockpot. You can cater your recipes based on your family size and can make anywhere from 10-40 servings in a class. Meals range from Sloppy Joes to Thai coconut soup to one of her favorites: Sweet Pork.

Kendra’s Favorite Sweet Pork Recipe (serves 6)

Ingredients:

  • 3lbs boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 (10oz) can, red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (4oz) can, diced green chilis
  • 1/2c light brown sugar
  • 1/2t chili powder
  • 1/2t onion powder

Prep:

  • Combine all ingredients and freeze in a large freezer bag.
  • From frozen, cook in a crockpot 6-8 hours or Instant pot 2 hours quick release.
  • Serve on tortilla with black beans, jasmine rice, and any of your other favorite burrito toppings or on top of a bed of crisp kale and cabbage salad.

“When a person attends one of my classes, all they bring is a cooler. I provide everything else from the food to the apron you wear when you’re preparing your meals. I do all of the meal planning, shopping, and even the clean up afterward. It is a fun get together, whether it’s a group of family and friends or people who come alone and make new friends here.”

Sliced Pepper was born about a year ago, but Cundick discovered the Jokari Baggy Holder a year earlier. “I was scanning Amazon, trying to find a better way to hold my freezer bags open while putting food in them. They are amazing and everyone that attends my classes agrees. They are always asking what they are called and where to purchase them.”

There is an art to making large amounts of food ahead of time. Cundick recommends getting as much air out of the bags as possible and, if your recipe is using potatoes, to make sure there is liquid covering them or they’ll turn black. Also, when you’re storing bags in your freezer, place wax or parchment paper under them so they don’t freeze to your grates…or each other. Most meals will keep for up to four months in the freezer.

Kendra’s best advice for meal prep? “Just do it. Most people think of meal prep as a huge task and to be very time-consuming. It saves so much time in the long run. It’s easy to put it off and keep putting it off but when you actually take the time (less than 2 hours at a Sliced Pepper class) to do it, the result is amazing and you will be so glad you di! Your body will thank you for feeding it wholesome, healthy food instead of spur of the moment, fast, greasy, unhealthy food.”

 


Halloween is just around the corner and our kids are anxiously awaiting the mountain of candy that they’ll pour out onto the living room floor after a successful trip (or two) around the neighborhood during trick-or-treating.

If you’re trying to lose weight or keep extra pounds from creeping on during the holiday season, Halloween can be filled with scary temptations that can add pounds frighteningly fast if you’re not paying attention!

But it is possible to keep the Halloween binges under control. Here are three helpful tips to help you enjoy a healthy Halloween.

Fuel up before trick-or-treating


It’s a chilly October night and what’s more comforting than unwrapping a delicious melt-in-your-mouth candy bar? Though we do love to indulge every now and again, Halloween is a holiday that’s filled with excess calories, sugar, and fat. Rather than leave your house on an empty stomach before the night’s festivities, make sure to enjoy a healthy meal that will leave you feeling satiated and less tempted to eat candy along the way.


Be mindful

Though we’ll be surrounded with sugary goodness for the next few weeks, this doesn’t mean you have to take it upon yourself to eat your way through the Halloween candy bowl! Because you aren’t eating candy for its nutritional benefits, be mindful of what you’re consuming and why. We’re not telling you to put a padlock on the candy stash, but we are saying is that if you choose to indulge in a treat, take the time to really enjoy the taste. Also, choose candy you actually want, not the one that you think you should have because it’s the lesser of the two evils. If you deny yourself that treat you’ve been craving and opt for one that you really don’t want, you’ll be more likely to keep eating to fill that void.

Keep it out of sight and out of mind


Your kids don’t have to be penalized just because you’re trying to cut calories. Rather than getting rid of their candy stash, simply put it in a cabinet or a place where you can’t visibly see it all of the time. Another way to limit the over-consumption of Halloween candy is by portioning it out into small baggies for special occasions or trying to pair it with something healthy. If your kids want a piece of candy, they can enjoy a healthy snack to go along with it. Also, if you’re a holiday baker, save some of that Halloween candy for your holiday baking efforts.

It might take a little planning and willpower on your part, but you can have a healthy Halloween.  But don’t stress about it and give yourself permission to indulge. Just don’t eat all of your kids’ candy…they won’t like that, either.

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We are huge fans of repurposing things here at Jokari. Sure, you can get a lot of use out of everyday products the way they were intended. But it’s incredible how many OTHER ways you can use things, too. This week we went a little bananas. Literally.

There are several uses for bananas for that have nothing to do with eating them. Here are seven sensational uses for bananas:

Gardening. Plant a whole banana by the roots of your rosebush to help your roses grow.  You can also use the peel to help your tomato plant absorb nutrients, or use the peel in compost.

Shine your shoes.  Yup. You can shine dark leather shoes with the inside of a banana peel.

Remove splinters. Because banana peels can soften skin, you can use them to help get a deep splinter out of your skin. Cut a chunk of the peel off, tape it to the area with medical tape overnight. In the morning, remove the peel and you will see that the splinter has worked its way out and should be sticking to the pulp of the peel!

Relieve poison ivy itch. Rub the peel over poison ivy to reduce itchiness and encourage healing.

Whiten your teeth. Simply rub the inside of a banana peel on your teeth every night for two minutes, then brush your teeth as usual. Just make sure to use a new peel each night!

Use the skin for…better skin. While we’re on the subject of nightly beauty rituals…you can also rub the inside of a banana peel on your face every night.  Rinse your face in the morning when you wake up.

Polish silverware. Crazy, right? But you can rub a banana peel on your silverware and restore its shine. Just make sure to remove any stringy material from inside the peel before you start. Finish by buffing silverware with a paper towel or cloth.

Of course, eating bananas is also encouraged. Try our banana hook to keep your bananas fresher, prevent bruising, and lasting longer.

No family hates pizza night, but they might get tired of the same old pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Here are four pizza recipes to switch up your slice!

TACO QUESADILLA PIZZA (Source: Closet Cooking)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon homemade taco seasoning or 1/2 store-bought packet
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 (8 inch) tortillas
  • 2 cups cheese such as cheddar and/or jack, shredded
  • 1/2 cup refried beans
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Directions

  1. Brown the meat in a pan over medium heat, drain the excess grease, mix in seasoning and water and simmer until most of the liquid is gone–about 10 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese evenly over two tortillas followed by the meat and the 1/4 cup of the salsa.
  3. Spread the refried beans over the remaining two tortillas and place them on top of the meat covered ones with the bean sides down.
  4. Place one of the taco quesadillas in a large pan and grill it over medium heat until the cheese has melted and the tortillas are lightly golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side.
  5. Place the taco quesadilla on a large baking sheet and repeat for the remaining taco quesadilla.
  6. Spread the remaining salsa over the tops of the taco quesadillas, sprinkle on the cheese, black olives, and green onions.
  7. Broil in a preheated oven until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes. (Keep an eye on them so they do not burn!)

BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA STRIPS (Source: Inspired Taste)

Ingredients

  • 1 (13.8 ounce) roll Pillsbury Classic Pizza Crust or 12 ounces refrigerated pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet (with sides) with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Form pizza dough into a 15-inch by 10-inch rectangle (this doesn’t have to be exact, just close). Place dough onto the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes.
  3. While the pizza crust bakes, add buffalo wing sauce and shredded chicken to a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
  4. Spread the buffalo chicken over the pre-baked pizza crust then scatter the cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese and half of the sliced green onions on top.
  5. Bake the pizza 6 to 10 minutes until cheese has melted and starts to bubble. Scatter remaining sliced green onions on top. Then serve cut into 16 pizza sticks.

JAPANESE PIZZA (Source: Food and Wine)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces shiitake mushrooms—stemmed, caps thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cups cooked sushi rice
  • 5 ounces firm tofu, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons unagi sauce (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shelled edamame
  • 5 ounces Manchego cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup soybean sprouts
  • Kosher salt
  • Togarashi and toasted white and black sesame seeds, for sprinkling
  • 1 cup large bonito flakes
  • 6 shiso leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375º. In a bowl, toss the mushrooms and soy sauce. Let stand for 5 minutes; drain.
  2. In a 9-inch ovenproof nonstick skillet, heat the oils. Press the rice into the skillet, about 1/4 inch thick. Cook over moderately high heat until the bottom is golden, 10 minutes.
  3. Top with the tofu in a single layer and drizzle with unagi Top with the shiitake, edamame, cheese and bean sprouts and season with salt. Sprinkle with togarashi and sesame seeds.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake on the top shelf for 15 minutes, until the top is golden.
  5. Slide the pizza onto a platter; top with the bonito, shiso and cilantro and serve.

OREO FUDGE BROWNIE PIZZA (Source: Dessert Now, Dinner Later)

Ingredients

For the Pizza:

  • 18 Oreos (for the bottom of the pizza pan)
  • 1 (13×9) family size box brownies
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme or fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 10 Oreos, chopped or quartered (depending on the size chunk you want on top)

Fudge Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • *optional 2 tsp HOT water

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the brownie mix, eggs, water, & oil well.
  2. Lightly grease a 12″ rimmed pizza pan (I used a foil one from the dollar store.) Place 18 Oreos in the bottom of the pan. Pour brownie batter over and around the Oreos to evenly fill the pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes (check doneness with a toothpick.) Remove from oven to cool.
  4. While the brownies bake and cool, make the frosting by beating the shortening and butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attached (or a hand mixer.) Mix in marshmallow creme and vanilla. Slowly mix in powdered sugar. Spread frosting evenly over top of the brownies. Top with chopped Oreos.
  5. Combine the ingredients for the fudge sauce in a bowl. Heat in the microwave for 40 seconds. Stir and drizzle over the brownie pizza. Add water if needed, for a thinner drizzle.

Remember to use our pizza cutter for best results!

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