The Bomb Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is probably my most favorite comfort food in the world; I mean, who doesn’t love cheese and noodles and all the creamy goodness? I have tried a lot of combinations to make the perfect mac n cheese, and I think I finally found one! Now with that being said, I will say that if I want a little extra kick, I will sub some of my ingredients for the amazing cheese sauce from Trisha over at the Salty Side Dish. It just gives it a little extra kick that is absolutely delicious!

The prep time for my Bomb Macaroni and Cheese is about 15 minutes or so (give or take depending on how long it takes for you to get your noodles boiling, and then the cook time is about 40 minutes. But worth EVERY SECOND.

the bomb macaroni and cheese

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/2 boxes of macaroni (I like using the large elbow, but you can use either)
3 cans of cheddar cheese soup
2 cans of evaporated milk
2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 bags of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Dried parsley (to sprinkle on top)
*If you use the cheese sauce from Salty Side Dish, use half of the above)

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat over to 350

Cook pasta according to directions, until *almost* done (you don’t want them sticky)

Combine soup, milk, butter, salt and pepper in a microwavable bowl, and cook until butter is melted . (I usually cook about 2 minutes at a time, take it out and stir it and put it back in. Usually takes 3 times, so approx 6 minutes depending on your microwave)

In a large baking dish spread half of the cooked noodles, and top with half of the cheese sauce, and 1 bag of cheese. Then spread the remaining noodles on top, remaining cheese sauce, and then the last bag of cheese on top.

Bake for 40 minutes

Sprinkle with dried parsley.

Enjoy!

I really love this with Mississippi Roast (recipe coming soon) it makes for a great meal!

the bomb mac n cheese

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What is Veterinary Acupuncture and is it Beneficial?

Acupuncture is an increasingly popular form of pain relief and pain management used in human populations around the world. Among the many applications of this treatment program in humans is to help relieve or manage pain associated with cancer treatments. Did you know that acupuncture is also available for your pets? Veterinary acupuncture is provided by many licensed veterinarians as a form of pain relief and pain management for pets in much the same way it is available to humans. Let’s explore this practice further and offer up some of the benefits your pet can reap from veterinary acupuncture.

What is Veterinary Acupuncture?

Acupuncture as a whole is a medicinal practice that has been around for more than 4,000 years. It was originally developed in Ancient Chinese cultures for the treatment of various human conditions, but societies around the globe of adopted and adjusted the practices to aid dogs and cats as well as horses and cattle. Acupuncture is a form of medicine that encourages the body to heal itself.

How does Acupuncture Work?

A veterinarian uses fine, sterile needles that are inserted into the skin and underlying tissues at very specific locations known simply as points. These points are key locations within the body that enable the nervous system to send a signal to the body telling it to heal and return to normal function. The needles are inserted at these different points with the goal of stimulating the nerves in certain areas, increasing blood circulation to that region, relieving any muscle spasms, and serving to promote the release of hormones. For example, acupuncture can help promote the release of endorphins within the body which are a natural pain control chemical. Likewise, veterinary acupuncture can promote the release of cortisol which is a natural steroid.

What are the Benefits of Acupuncture?

As mentioned above, acupuncture is a great means of stimulating the body’s natural healing processes and pain-relief hormones. Veterinary acupuncture is typically offered as a means of easing a particular condition or as part of a wider treatment program. For example, acupuncture was long used in Chinese medicine as a first option ahead of other conventional medicines and (later on) surgery. Today, many people receive acupuncture treatments as a bridge between conventional medicine and surgery.

Beyond relieving pain and muscle spasms, acupuncture can help pets suffering from common issues such as arthritis, skin conditions, nervous system disorders, reproductive issues, and respiratory problems. Acupuncture has a proven impact on all of the major physiological systems within the body: musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular.

Answering Commonly Asked Questions

As veterinary acupuncture doesn’t have several millennia of application at its back as it does in humans, there are often questions that pet owners have about veterinary acupuncture. Below, we’ll try to address some of the common concerns and questions pet owners raise regarding the practice:

  • How quickly does it work? Acupuncture is not a one-time fix for any condition or issue, whether physical or neurological. As alluded to above, acupuncture is a gap treatment that can help relieve conditions after medications are prescribed but before surgery is deemed necessary.
  • How effective is veterinary acupuncture? The effectiveness of any acupuncture treatment is based on the training and experience of the veterinarian. Acupuncture is much more complex than simply sticking your pet with needles. The exact placement of the needles and even the depth of application all serve a particular purpose in generating a desired reaction from the body. The more experience and training the veterinarian possesses, the greater the effectiveness of the treatment.
  • Is acupuncture safe? When performed by a licensed veterinarian with training in veterinary acupuncture, the practice is very safe. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association stipulate that only licensed veterinarians perform acupuncture as it is considered a practice within veterinary medicine.
  • Are there different types of acupuncture? While the insertion of needles is the best-known form of acupuncture, there are similar treatments that achieve mirrored results. These include acupressure, which involves the application of gentle pressure rather than the insertion of needles, and aqua-acupuncture that involves the injection of water-based vitamin formulations into the points where needles would otherwise have been injected.

Big Takeaway

If you believe that your pet could benefit from veterinary acupuncture services, it is highly recommended that you seek out the assistance of a licensed veterinarian. The human body, and now those of pets such as dogs and cats, have been well-mapped for the purposes of acupuncture. Remember that hitting the right points with the right needle depth is key to the success of acupuncture. Licensed veterinarians have the experience and knowledge to successfully, safely apply veterinary acupuncture for the betterment of your pet’s health. If the vet you visit does not practice veterinary medicine, ask them for a referral to a qualified and licensed practitioner to ensure that your dog or cat receives the best possible care.

 

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Aldi Quick & Easy Meatball Casserole

One of our resolutions this year is to budget and save money , and one of the ways I have started doing that is making sure to save more and be thrifty when it comes to groceries. If you have an Aldi store nearby, they are a great resource amazingly affordable food!

I try to balance our meals not only with homemade and healthy, but also with affordable quick and easy meals as well. This meatball casserole is super easy, only takes about 10 minutes or so to prepare, and 15 minutes to cook!

quick & easy meatball casserole

 

Ingredients

• 16oz Bag Noodles
• 8oz Block Mozzarella Cheese
• 24oz Jar Pasta Sauce
• 32oz Bag Meatballs

1. Boil noodles and places cooked/drained noodles into a large casserole dish. Add in thawed meatballs.

Meatball Casserole Step 1
2. Pour in the pasta sauce.
3. Mix well.

Meatball Casserole Step 2
4. Shred the mozzarella cheese and cover the top of the casserole.

Meatball Casserole Step 3

5. Place in preheated 350 oven for 15 minutes. 6. Serve & enjoy.

Meatball Casserole Final

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Keto Samoa Cookie Bars

So one of the biggest complaints (well concerns I guess) from some newbie Keto folks is the cravings for sweets. Trust me, I get it! A lot of people don’t realize all the alternatives you can have of some of your favorites and still stay on track.  It just isn’t convenient, and it does take some planning; but it is well worth it! Since everyone seemed to love the Keto Thin Mints recipe, we decided we’d share the Keto Samoa Cookie bars for you Girl Scout Cookie loving Ketoers!

Keto Samoa Cookie BarsThese are a great alternative to your favorite coconut Samoa Girl Scout Cookies, and I Swear the flavor is totally on point! Trust me! Make them and let me know!

Ingredients:

Almond Flour Crust 

Chocolate Filling and Drizzle:

Coconut Caramel Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut 
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Swerve Brown
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp  pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

    Keto Samoa Cookie Bar Ingredients

Instructions:

Almond Flour Crust:

Keto Samoa Cookie Bars Step 1

    1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Whisk together the almond flour, stevia sweetener, and salt. Melt butter and into flour mixture until the mixture is well incorporated and crumbly.
    2. Flatten out the mixture into an 8×8 baking pan and press firmly into the bottom. You can also add a layer of parchment paper in the bottom if you want an easier way to pull the bars out.  

 

  • Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until just golden brown. Remove and let cool.  While this is cooling you can prepare your filling.

Chocolate Filling/Drizzle:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil stirring in between, I did 30 second increments until melted and smooth. 
  2. Use about 2/3 of the chocolate mixture and spread over the cooled almond crust. 

Coconut/ Carmel  Filling:

Keto Samoa Cookie Bars Step 2

  1. Over medium heat in a small skillet spread the coconut. Stirring frequently, until toasted and light golden brown. Set aside. 
  2. Over medium heat in a large saucepan, combine the butter and sweeteners. Cook until melted and then bring to a boil. Boil approximately 3 to 5 minutes. 
  3. Remove from heat and add the vanilla, cream and salt. The mixture will bubble and this is normal.

    Keto Samoa Cookie Bars Step 3

  4. Slowly stir in the toasted coconut. Spread the mixture over the chocolate-covered crust. Let cool (about 1 hour), then cut into squares. Reheat remaining chocolate mixture and drizzle over the bars.

Keto Samoa Cookie Bars

 

 

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Keto-Friendly Chocolate Brownies

OK so for the most part I try not to partake in any additional sweets, or flours of any kind. Even though on the weekends I go a little crazy with some keto dessert recipes. I keep them very limited (ok, I try to) because I feel like my body responds better to a strict Keto diet. But sometimes you just want a treat – and these keto-friendly brownies are just the thing! I would recommend some whipped cream to add for moistness, and maybe even some heavy whipping cream to be added to the recipe. This was my first time making them, and I’m sure I’ll play around with it a bit more before it’s just right.

Ingredients

3/4 cup almond flour
1/2 cup stevia or other sugar substitute
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup 90% dark chocolate
Optional: Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, stevia, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine

In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, eggs and vanilla

Add the butter mixture to the almond flour mixture and stir.

Stir in the dark chocolate – put batter in an 8×8 greased pan

Cook for approximately 30 minutes

Allow the brownies to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Top with whipped cream, strawberries, or a keto-friendly icing. And enjoy

Per serving (1 brownie)

calories 191
total fat: 17.2
carbs 5.5
(fiber 2.6)
net carbs 2.9
protein 3.2

Keto Brownies

 

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