Friday Faves

Friday Faves

One of my main modes of trying new things is by the recommendations of others.  If I’m looking for a good book, recipe, podcast, TV show…I always like to hear what friends recommend.  I’m also that person that depends almost 100% on Amazon reviews before I buy something.  I want to start a weekly “Friday Faves” to talk about my current favorite things, which hopefully can be recommendations for you!  Some of the things I might feature are books, music, freebies, podcasts, recipes, baby/toddler gear, clothes, home products, TV shows, movies…..anything that’s putting a smile on my face that week.

I’ll kick things off with a deal, a book, and a favorite crockpot recipe.

1. True Lemon Drink Mix

I know y’all have heard of and/or used those little drink packets that flavor your water.  Crystal Light is probably the most popular, but there are several off brands as well.  I try to drink a lot of water, but dang sometimes it just gets boring.  I want a little flavor in my life!  I used to drink alot of different drink packets (depending what was on sale at the time), and the best part is….they’re sugar-free!  Right??

Wrong.

Ok, most sugar-free drink mixes don’t have sugar….they have something that could potentially be worse.

Aspartame.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is probably in most “sugar-free” products.  Have you ever wondered why your sugar-free yogurt still tastes sweet?  Yeah, that’s aspartame and more and more research is coming out proving how bad that stuff is for you.  I’m not going to get into all of the details here, but you don’t have to look far to find information on the stuff.

I try to avoid aspartame if at all possible.  Now that’s not to say I don’t enjoy a Diet Coke every now and then, but I try to limit my aspartame intake when I can.

Which brings me back to the True Lemon drink mix.  It’s free of artificial sweeteners, and only has 1g of sugar!  Woo-hoo!  That’s because it’s sweetened with stevia, which is a natural sweetener.  Plus, it’s so yummy!  They have a lot of different flavors like Strawberry Lemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Peach Lemonade, and more.  They even make True Lime and True Orange (which I have not tried).

I’ve been drinking True Lemon for the past couple of years, but I drink it sparingly because it’s around $2 for a box of 10 packets at HEB.  Ok, I know that isn’t super expensive!  But I hate paying full price for something when I know I can get it cheaper.  Every now and then HEB will run an in-store coupon with something like “5 for $5”.  Which puts each box at a dollar a piece. That’s when I stock up on True Lemon!  But when I run out, I refuse to pay $2 for a box when I know I can get them for a dollar.  Call me a bargain shopper, or call me stubborn.  Either way, that brings me to one of my favorite things this week…

Dollar Tree carries True Lemon!!! 

And it’s $1 all the time!  I actually stumbled upon it by accident….but it’s with all their other drinks, juices, and powder mixes.

I had to fight the urge to buy all they had.  It’s been my experience at Dollar Tree that if you see something you like, you better buy it right then.  Because when you go back, it will probably be gone.  Like, they won’t even have a spot for it anymore.  I don’t really know how that happens.

Anyway, if you haven’t tried True Lemon (or if you love it, like me) you can get it for only $1 at Dollar Tree!

 

2. The Black Book by James Patterson

Against the advice of my husband, I wanted to include a book recommendation.  He says nobody cares about books!  And that nobody has time to read.  I know our lives can get super busy, but there’s nothing like getting lost in a good book!  Then again, this is coming from a total book nerd who loves to read.

I’m not so much of a non-fiction reader, with the exception of a few topics.  I love reading fiction, and murder mystery/suspense is my genre of choice.

If you like murder mysteries and have never read James Patterson, you are missing out!  His books suck you in from page one and are such easy reads.  Plus, the chapters are super short (some only 1-2 pages), so it really feels like you’ve accomplished something when you “read 20 chapters today.”  I’ve read so many James Patterson books, I’ve lost count.

His new book, The Black Book, was a birthday gift from my awesome cuz who knows me too well and knew this would be the perfect gift.

I read the whole thing in 2 days.  Every spare moment I had, I was devouring every page like I was a character in the book myself.  It’s full of plot twists and turns and a surprise ending you don’t see coming.

If you’re looking for a great, easy, and fast read I highly recommend this book.

 

(PS…does anyone remember Reading Rainbow where the kids gave book recommendations half-way through the show?  That’s what I just felt like.  Ha!)

 

3. Slow Cooker Salsa Quinoa Chicken

I love my Crock-pot.  I actually have 2, and I use them both regularly.  You can get a slow cooker for under $30 these days, and they are so useful.  By the way…if you’re new to the world of slow cooking, a Crock-pot and slow cooker are the same thing.  Crock-pot is just a brand of slow cooker…but most people apply the name Crock-pot to all slow cookers.  You know…like how everyone asks for a Kleenex, not a facial tissue.

Y’all know I’m a bargain shopper, but I did splurge on this Crock-pot about 2 years ago.

I love this Crock-pot because it connects to your Wi-Fi and allows you to control it from anywhere via an app.  This was great when I was working full time because I would find recipes that would call for a cook time of 6-8 hours.  Well if I turn it on before I leave for work at 6:30 am, then my meal is ready between 12:30 and 2:30 while I’m still at work??  No, thank you.  Even if I found a recipe for a shorter cook time of 4 hours, I’d turn it on when I got home at about 5:00 and it wouldn’t be ready until 9:00 pm.

With this Crock-pot, I could open the app and turn the crockpot on in the middle of the day from work so it would be ready at whatever time I wanted.  It still comes in super handy and is worth every penny.

Here is one of my favorite Crock-pot chicken recipes.

Salsa Quinoa Chicken(<—click on the link to view the recipe).  It is so easy and so yummy!  You literally just throw everything in the Crock-pot and turn it on.  There is 0 prep work…you don’t even have to cook the quinoa beforehand!  It’s fairly healthy too, which is a bonus.

I modify it slightly by throwing in 2 chicken leg quarters instead of rotisserie chicken, and I leave out the queso fresco (purely because I never have it on hand).  My favorite part of this dish is the salsa.  Our HEB carries a lot of local salsas, and it’s fun experimenting with different kinds.

I’ve made this more times than I can count, and it’s a hubby and toddler favorite.  I also made this as a freezer meal for a friend, and her family loved it as well.

 

And that’s it for the first edition of Friday Faves!  I’d love to hear in the comments below if you try anything I mentioned and what your thoughts were.  Also, if there is any specific topic you’d like featured on Friday Faves, let me know!

 

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