3 Easy Steps for Storing Freezer Milk

So you have a freezer milk stash?

First of all, CONGRATS! Nice work, mama!!

Alright, time to walk you through a quick 3 step way to organize milk in the freezer in case your freezer looked like mine before organizing : D

1. Lay all the pumped milk out and sort by month that was pumped

2. Using a gallon sized freezer bag, place 10-12 frozen milk bags in the gallon sized bag and label with expiration date.

Example: Use by ____ (6 months from pump date). So if all the milk was pumped in January, you could write use by July 1st to keep it simple, but check the dates as it gets closer to that month.

3. Store in freezer under items for deepest freeze and least likely for it to thaw at all when getting items in and out of the freezer.

Then, use the freezer milk as you need starting with the milk that has the soonest expiration.

Hope ❤ nonstopmomlife

How To Build A Freezer Milk Stash

For mamas returning to work or stay at home moms that want to have a freezer stash, this is for YOU. 

How much milk should you have in the freezer?

THERE IS NO SET ANSWER. I have seen recommendations to have just enough for one week (5 ounce bottle, 3 times a day x 5 days = 45 ounces). In theory this makes sense as you can just use that amount until its replenished. . . 

BUT . . .

To make returning to work less stressful, I’d recommend having more. I set a personal goal for 150 ounces or more. 

It might seem like overkill to have that much, but I want to be prepared. Prepared for if I have a stressful day at work and don’t produce enough as baby is eating.

Or if we want to have a date night and feel comforted that if I choose to have a drink, baby will have enough milk.

Or if I need to take a medicine that requires me to pump and dump. 

AND 150 ounces is achievable and you can even easily surpass that amount! You overachiever, I see you! If you start pumping every morning after nursing baby (when the supply is the best, it is SO quick and easy to build a stash!)

Note, the first few times you pump you might not get much because your body has learned how much baby eats and has adjusted. SOME PEOPLE have no shortage and can pump a few ounces without any issue the first few times pumping! But pumping is all about supply and demand. Consistently is key for gradually increasing supply so you can make a freezer stash. 

SO gameplan – starting at week 4, pump in the morning only after feeding baby. (I usually do between 8-9am) when we’re “up” for the day. 

Let’s say you pump 2 oz every morning for that first week week 2oz x 7days in a week x 1 week = 14 ounces already!  From weeks 5-10 weeks, lets say you pump 4 oz x 7 days in a week x 5 weeks = 140 ounces. So that is already a total of 154 ounces! 

Another option is pumping twice a day if you only have a few weeks left and need to build a supply, you could pump in morning AND at night. Let’s say you get 6 oz daily between the two sessions and do this from 8-12 weeks. 6 oz  x 7 days per week x 4 weeks = 168 ounces.

So whatever your timeline is, you can do it, you totally got this! 

❤ Hope

nonstopmomlife

Must Have Baby Registry Items and Items I Regret Purchasing

A baby registry can be SO FUN to put together. It can also be A BIT OVERWHELMING to do and INTIMIDATING, as you might feel you won’t know what you’ll to definitely use.

When I was planning my baby registry, I ran across so many LONG lists of items that, looking back now, were unnecessary and were confusing! But don’t worry, I’ll break it down for you ❤

registry must haves

So here is a basic list of the most useful baby items to put on your registry:

1.Baby burp cloths and receiving blankets

2.Baby bibs

    • Cloth bibs are hands down the cutest and most effective way to help accessorize that adorable drooling baby. I also use them when feeding baby with a bottle so I don’t need to change onesies/outfits so often.
    • Personal Favorite:Baby Girl Bibs, Baby Boy Bibs

3.Sleepers (so easy to put on and take off)

4.Muslin swaddle blankets

  • GREAT for swaddling, tummy time on the floor, or as a catch all when holding baby.

5.Diaper pail

    • I didn’t get ONE initially for our first baby and we would take the diapers out immediately. After getting one, it has been AMAZING to just take the trash out every evening or every other day because the smell is contained so well!
    • Personal Favorite:Safety 1st Diaper Pail

6.Bottles and bottle brush

  • I put 4 oz and 8 oz bottles on my registry along with a few nipple sizes as the baby would eventually switch flow types. We used the 4 oz bottles for a few months and then switched to the 8oz. I would aim for 4-6 of each bottle size. And of course you’ll need some bottle brushes along the way. You can opt for a reusable one or one you replace every few months.
  • Personal Favorite: Brown’s Original Bottle, 8 Ounce, 4-Pack

7. Bottle drying rack

  • There are two layer drying rack and one layer ones, both do the trick! Consider how much counter space you have when picking yours 🙂
  • Personal Favorite:Boon Bundle Feeding Set

8. Microwave sterilizer

  • THIS IS GAME CHANGER with keeping your bottles, pacifiers, pumping equipment sterile! The alternative is boiling water and sterilizing the things in there instead for 5 minutes and I did that for a few months FOR NO REASON before buying the microwave version. Just go for the $15-20 sterilizer  : )
  • Personal favorite: Munchkin Microwave Sterilizer

9. Infant carrier (TECHNICALLY optional) but highly recommended.

  • Moby, Boba, Tula, ergobaby are all great brands! Ring slings (any brand) are also great!
  • Personal Favorites when baby is little: Ring sling or moby. Personal Favorite when baby is 6+ months: Tula.

10. Boppy

11. Sippy Cups/silicone bibs for eating/plates/baby spoons

  • This will come in handy with the baby is older and trying foods. The gifts that keep on giving!
  • Personal favorite:
  • Silicone Baby Bibs

12. Carseat and stroller

  • Either a standalone carseat or a travel system is a must for safe travel with an infant.
  • Two personal favorites: chicco bravo travel system AND baby jogger city mini

13. Diaper Bag

  • So easy for either parent to carry and comfortable to wear with one or both shoulder straps.

14. Diapers and wipes

  • The registry items you will definitely use. If you are having a diaper party, of course feel free to leave these off.

Personal favorite wipes: Seventh Generation Baby Wipes

15. Bassinet/crib + mattress

  • Having a safe place to sleep for baby is essential. Some families do choose to cosleep safely but we felt more comfortable using a bassinet and then transitioning to a crib.
  • Personal favorite Bassinet: Arm’s Reach Bassinet

16. Baby swing OR bouncer

  • From my experience you don’t need both.

17. Exersaucer/ activity center

18. Onesies

  • I would have at least 8-10 of each size (besides newborn, just have a few of that size) so you don’t have to do laundry daily if you do not have to. A newborn can go through 3-4 a day easily. People usually get onesies and outfits for babies that they pick, but you can ALWAYS put onesies or  outfits on your registry that you LOVE.

19. OTHER items  (also optional to put on registry but useful to get before babies arrival)

  • Pacifiers, diapers (people usually will give you diapers but feel free to list them), specific outfits or accessories (bows/hats) that you are IN LOVE with and would like friends/family to get your little one, baby sling/tub.
  • If you are having a summer baby, I would strongly suggest a baby dome so baby can hang with you outside, either catch a quick nap or do some tummy time.
  • Fisher-Price On-The-Go Baby Dome

Items I regret purchasing or NEVER needed

      1. Newborn sized baby swaddles – Our first was so small and I just wanted him to be so cozy, but within a week we had moved up sizes! I remember ordering these off of amazon in the middle of the night.  I was very sleep deprived and made some impulse purchases on these.
      2. A second and third diaper bag. Not sure what I was thinking, but we really only use the first one that I bought. Sometimes I even just put a few things in my purse if we just run into the store. So crazy, I used to strategically overpack that bag, now I realize we hardly use more than 5 or 6 things (Burp cloth, swaddle, diaper, wipes, hand sanitizer, extra onesie).
      3. Bottle warmer – YUP. It’s still in the box. I do think I tried it a few times but was a hassle and putting milk in a warm water bath or running under warm water was much easier and worked better for us.
      4. WIPE warmer – babies are really okay with room temperature wipes.

Have a safe delivery all you mamas! Let me know what you think, what is your favorite must have baby item?

**Note: This post contains affiliate links to amazon products and I make a small commission on anything that is purchased at no cost to you.

Types of linens for baby: Receiving blankets, burp cloths, and swaddles

baby registry items

Burp cloths, receiving blankets, swaddles. WAIT, what are they each used for?

Let’s break it down really quick. It can be confusing, all this parent lingo!

1. Receiving blankets

blankets

  • These are thin blankets used when feeding baby, for spit up, swaddling a newborn, for diaper changes, or really anytime.
  • Not very absorbent but relatively large, which makes them easy to use.
  • Standard size is 30 inch x 30 inch, but depending on the company, can be smaller or larger than this.
  • Many are flannel, which makes them soft and warm
  • Machine washable

2. Burp cloths

burp cloths

  • Thicker and smaller than receiving blankets used primarily for feeding a baby   and burping a baby.
  • These can come in various sizes an shapes. These are more absorbent than receiving blankets and ARE MY GO TO WHEN FEEDING A BABY
  • Machine washable

3. Swaddles

swaddles

  • The largest of the three linens listed.
  • THESE ARE MY OVERALL FAVORITE
  • They can be used to swaddle a baby, for tummy time on the floor, feeding/burping, diaper changes when out, a nursing cover, a drape over the carseat, as a baby blanket in the carseat or when being held, to use on the changing table as a cover over the pad, to play peak-a-boo and more.
  • The term Muslin refers to how the cotton is loosely woven to make this blanket. So now you know when you hear the term Muslin swaddle they are referring to the light, breathable nature of the fabric.
  • This is the MOST VERSATILE and useful as the baby gets older. Though you can swaddle a newborn with a receiving blanket, these being larger make it easier as baby grows to swaddle or fully cover baby when holding them.
  • They are thin, very soft and prevent baby from overheating.
  • Sizes vary, typically between  44 x 44 inches and 47 x 47 inches.
  • Machine washable and do not quickly show signs of wear

Here is a picture comparing the sizes of a receiving blanket and swaddle.

muslin swaddles

IN SUMMARY, these three types of linen can ALL be used for feeding a baby, for diaper changes, and for any messes. When making a registry, all three are good to put on, as it is nice to have some of each. I would aim for at least 4-6 swaddles, 6-8 receiving blankets, and at least 8 burp cloths at the minimum. It really all depends on how often you want to do laundry. You can always have extras and you’ll be using them!

You got this, mamas and papas! : )

Hope

❤ Nonstopmomlife

 

 

 

Packing the Hospital Bag

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Alright mamas-to-be and mamas who are having another baby, lets go over the essentials of what to put in the hospital bag!

I recommend packing the hospital bag before 36 weeks, but anytime before going into labor still works  ❤

  1. Tolietries (think toothbrush/toothpaste/floss/glasses/contact solution&cases/facewash/lotion/chapstick/shampoo/conditioner)
    • Have toothbrushes/travel sized items packed so you don’t have to scramble when you’re in labor grabbing those last minute things that could have been already packed well away.
  2. Nursing bra(s)
    • At least one nursing bra if you plan on breastfeeding to wear
  3. Cell phone charger
    • For all those adorable pictures you’re going to take of your little babe, along with letting family and friends know about the arrival of baby.
  4. One or two comfortable outfits for lounging in the hospital room and for going home
    • Yoga pants and a loose fitting t-shirt are my pick for going home, around the room I like to wear a nursing gown and cotton robe 🙂
  5. One or two outfits for newborn (at least one newborn size and one 0-3 size)
    • Most infants will fit into newborn clothes but it can’t hurt to have a 0-3 month size packed too just in case you have a nice healthy baby! Of course, feel free to bring a few favorites if you’re indecisive like myself.
  6. Fuzzy socks or comfy socks to wear in the room
    • When you are in labor, it’s nice to wear your own comfy socks or after that first shower at the hospital.
  7. Hairties and comb/brush
    • For brushing those gorgeous locks!
  8. Optional but NICE to have:
    • Nursing nightgown
    • Robe (in case the room/hallways are breezy)
    • Personal items for baby like muslin swaddles, headbands/hats, favorite infant outfits and an infant going home outfit, letter board to take a cute picture of baby’s arrival, personalized blankets/etc
    • Makeup – I always pack it but don’t always use it, but it is nice to have the option ❤
    • Headbands for mama when laboring or afterwards
    • SNACKS – most cafeterias are open 24/7, but having trail mix, granola bars, crackers or other favorite snacks can’t hurt if you are hungry
    • Gum/mints.
  • Note: You’ll need to have a carseat installed so you have a way to get baby home.

Happy delivery mamas!

❤ Hope, nonstopmomlife.com

Easy Chicken Gyros

Looking to try something new? Try these savory chicken gyros, you won’t regret it.

Combine fresh ingredients and you’ll be on your way to a satisfying, tasty lunch or dinner.

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Here’s the ingredients you’ll need: flatbread or pita, cucumber, onion, tomato, chicken, lemon pepper seasonings, feta, cilantro, lime, greek yogurt, and spices.

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First, cook the chicken and then chop into bite sized pieces. I prefer using the crockpot or oven baking.

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Then, chop your vegetables and mix

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Mix the tzatziki sauce together with fresh lemon juice, greek yogurt, dill, and garlic powder.

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Now, build that gyro! Layer some tzatziki sauce, cooked chicken, chopped veggies, feta and cilantro and then enjoy!

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Easy Chicken Gyros

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts (1-1/2 lbs chicken)
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 cucumber seeded and chooped
  • 3 roma tomatos, seeded and chopped
  • ½ small onion, chopped
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • 6-8 naan flatbread or pitas ( I prefer the mini naan flatbreads)
  • cilantro (optional)
Tzatziki sauce
  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp dill
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Cook the chicken breast with the lemon pepper seasoning sprinkled on top. My preferred way is in the crockpot on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours. In a time crunch, I have also cooked it in oven 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes (until temp is 165 or higher) or cut into strips and panfried in 1 tbsp oil.
  2. While chicken is cooking, assemble the vegetables. Cut the cucumbers into strips around the seeds and then small chopped pieces, getting rid of the seeds. Chop the tomatoes and onion as well and combine with cucumber, set aside.
  3. Make the tzatziki sauce by combining the yogurt, dill, garlic powder and lemon juice in a small bowl to serve on the side.
  4. Warm up naan in toaster or in the oven according to package directions, layer with tzatziki sauce, cooked chicken, vegetables, feta and cilantro. Enjoy!

****NOTE: I have made these before and substitued chickpeas for chicken and it was delicious as well!

❤ nonstopmomlife

Mexican Spice Blend

Here is a quick and easy Mexican seasoning spice blend that will be your new go to instead of using a packet.

Move over Chipotle ❤

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I use with blend with cooking chicken, ground turkey or beef on the stove for tacos or fajitas.

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It also works great with black beans or pinto beans if you are looking for a quick vegetarian or vegan Mexican dish.

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For another suggestion, I have used this blend when baking chicken and vegetables and always turns out great.

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For some variety I also like to put chicken and vegetables over rice for a quick lunch or dinner or for leftovers.

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Enjoy!

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Mexican Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Mix all spices together and toss with your favorite protein (beans or meat) or vegetables and cook on the stovetop until done or in the oven.

Hope ❤

nonstopmomlife.com

 

 

Spinach Tomato Tortellini

Looking for a quick and delicious weeknight or weekend meal? I got you covered with this creamy spinach tomato tortellini. It cooks in about 20 minutes and is filling by itself or can pair with a vegetable or with garlic toast.

First gather your ingredients: tortellini, spinach, tomatoes, milk, flour, parmesan, and spices

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Heat water for the pasta then add pasta when boiling

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While the pasta is cooking, start to make the sauce.
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DSCF1871With the veggies are cooking, combine milk/flour with a whisk and then add to the veggies

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Allow sauce to boil, then move to simmer (low) to thicken

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Drain pasta

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Then add pasta to sauce and stir

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Enjoy this vegetable packed dish by itself or with a side

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Spinach Tomato Tortellini

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package cheese tortellini
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When boiling add the tortellini and cook until tender according to package directions.
  2. While the water is preheating, start the sauce. Combine the tomatoes, spinach, salt, pepper, basil and garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir until the mixture begins to bubble (usually 3-5 minutes).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and milk Stir this mixture into the saucepan along with the Parmesan cheese. Heat through then reduce heat to low, and simmer until thick, about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the tortellini then pour the tortellini into the saucepan with the sauce. Stir to combine and enjoy! Top with parmesan cheese if desired.

❤ Hope

Hope’s Homemade Veggie Burgers

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You can buy veggie burgers in the frozen section of most grocery stores, but HAVE YOU ever had a homemade one? They are a GAME CHANGER.

I feel like I can openly say I am a veggie burger snob. I have tried SO many more veggie burger recipes that I like to admit. Most have minimal flavor and are so mushy mushy. I have finally created one that I like the best after trial and error and is my now GO TO. I present to you my sweet potato, onion, black bean seasoned veggie burger.

Let’s get started:

1. You’ll want to cook rice for the recipe (or use leftover cooked rice) and roast one sweet potato and 1/4 of an onion (see directions below)

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(I recently got a rice cooker and typically make 1 cup of dried rice (which makes about 3 cups of cooked rice. I like to have more than I need so I have extra leftover rice for bowls later in the week)

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I roast the chopped sweet potato and onion on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.

2. Measure and gather all ingredients together for easy assembly 

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3. Next layer ingredients in food processor, cover, pulse together to combine, then refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time (if you do not have time, proceed to next step).

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4. Form veggie burgers on a plate then cook in preheated pan with oil.

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5. If desired after the veggie burgers are done, top with a slice of your favorite cheese.

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6. Pair with a veggie side like asparagus, The Best Roasted Red Potatoes and Onions, Vegetable Feta Quinoa Salad, or Easy Seasoned Quinoa and enjoy!

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Veggie Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked white or brown rice
  • 1 can black beans (15 oz) – rinsed and drained
  • 1 sweet potato – peeled, chopped, roasted
  • 1/2 cup onion -chopped and roasted (about 1/4 of a large onion)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or plain)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Olive oil (for cooking)

Instrutions:

  1. Make rice according to package directions. Typically 1/2 cup of dried rice will make more than 1-1.5 cups of rice.
  2. To roast the sweet potato and onion, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper if you have it, makes cleanup a breeze. Peel and chop the sweet potato and onion and place on baking sheet. Drizzle lightly (about 1 tbsp) with olive oil. Cook for 10 minutes, stir and then cook for an additional 8-10 minutes.
  3. Combine ingredients in food processor. First add cooked rice to the bottom of the food processor, then layer the other ingredients and sprinkle the spices on top. Cover with  lid and pulse for 10-12 times in 2 second bursts, until well combined but still choppy.
  4. Remove blade and set aside and cover top of bowl, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to making burgers.
  5. Remove mixture from fridge and form burgers. (Better to keep them thick versus thin, as they won’t get too crumby if you keep them thick). It should make 5-6 burgers.
  6. Preheat pan to medium with 1 tbsp olive oil. After 2-3 minutes, add burgers. Cook for 4 minutes on each side without covering. Turn off heat, leave pan on burner and if desired, add a slice of cheese.
  7. Top with your favorite burger toppings and add a side of choice. Enjoy! If you haven’t tried The Best Roasted Red Potatoes and OnionsEasy Seasoned Quinoa, or Vegetable Feta Quinoa Salad these would all be great options for sides!

Happy Cooking!

Hope ❤

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Whats better than a bowl of tasty chili when it’s cold out? *crickets*

So check it out, I’ll show you a step by step of the quick process to get you on your way to trying my chili. It is a slow cooker recipe that makes life EASIER. Who doesn’t like taking the extra work out of cooking!? It does not disappoint. : )

Turkey Chili

So first gather the beans, tomatoes, tomato soup, spices and chopped onion

chili ingredients

Brown the ground turkey in a pan

Turkey Chili Crockpot

Layer the ground turkey, onions, tomatoes, tomato soup, beans, and spices. Then mix ingredients, cover with lid, and set crockpot for 8 hrs on low or 4 hrs on high.

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Top with cheese, crackers, and enjoy by itself or with warm cornbread

Cornbread

Hope’s Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) cans low sodium tomato soup
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion , chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili power
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a skillet on medium heat. Brown turkey in the skillet and then drain.
  2. Layer ingredients in then crockpot starting with turkey, onion, beans, tomatoes, tomato soup kidney beans, black beans and onion. Season with chili powder, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, and cumin.
  3. Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High.

*Note* – You can substitute ground beef or ground chicken for ground turkey or make it vegan by usually additional beans. You can also decrease the red pepper flakes and chili powder if you prefer more mild chili. This makes a medium spicy chili.

Happy cooking!

❤ Hope