King Ranch Chicken(Slow Cooker)

https://www.sixsistersstuff.com/recipe/slow-cooker-king-ranch-chicken-recipe/

INGREDIENTS

  • 14 ounces tortilla chips, white or yellow
  • 5 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drain slightly
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 cup chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Spread a layer of tortilla chips in the crockpot to cover the bottom. (It’s ok if they are overlapping.)
  3. In a medium-sized bowl combine the chicken, diced tomatoes, cream of chicken soup, cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, garlic, and onion.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Place half of the chicken mixture on top of the chips.
  6. Then top with half of the cheese.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 3 hours.
  9. Serve with extra tortilla chips.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Meditate~How To, Videos, And More

When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives: We lower our stress levels, we get to know our pain, we connect better, we improve our focus, and we’re kinder to ourselves. Let us walk you through the basics in our new mindful guide on how to meditate.

  • BY MINDFUL STAFF
  • JANUARY 31, 2019
  • MEDITATION
moneti/https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/Adobe Stock

This is a guidebook to the many different styles of meditation, the various benefits of each practice, plus free guided audio practices that help you learn how to meditate.

How do you learn to meditate? In mindfulness meditation, we’re learning how to pay attention to the breath as it goes in and out, and notice when the mind wanders from this task. This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and mindfulness.

When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgement.

In mindfulness practice, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgement.

The idea behind mindfulness seems simple—the practice takes patience. Indeed, renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg recounts that her first experience with meditation showed her how quickly the mind gets caught up in other tasks. “I thought, okay, what will it be, like, 800 breaths before my mind starts to wander? And to my absolute amazement, it was one breath, and I’d be gone,” says Salzberg.

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While meditation isn’t a cure-all, it can certainly provide some much-needed space in your life. Sometimes, that’s all we need to make better choices for ourselves, our families, and our communities. And the most important tools you can bring with you to your meditation practice are a little patience, some kindness for yourself, and a comfortable place to sit.


A Basic Meditation for Beginners

The first thing to clarify: What we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered.

  1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.
  2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
  3. Follow your breath for two minutes. Take a deep inhale, expanding your belly, and then exhale slowly, elongating the out-breath as your belly contracts.

Welcome back. What happened? How long was it before your mind wandered away from your breath? Did you notice how busy your mind was even without consciously directing it to think about anything in particular? Did you notice yourself getting caught up in thoughts before you came back to reading this? We often have little narratives running in our minds that we didn’t choose to put there, like: “Why DOES my boss want to meet with me tomorrow?” “I should have gone to the gym yesterday.” “I’ve got to pay some bills” or (the classic) “I don’t have time to sit still, I’ve got stuff to do.”

We “practice” mindfulness so we can learn how to recognize when our minds are doing their normal everyday acrobatics, and maybe take a pause from that for just a little while so we can choose what we’d like to focus on.

If you experienced these sorts of distractions (and we all do), you’ve made an important discovery: simply put, that’s the opposite of mindfulness. It’s when we live in our heads, on automatic pilot, letting our thoughts go here and there, exploring, say, the future or the past, and essentially, not being present in the moment. But that’s where most of us live most of the time—and pretty uncomfortably, if we’re being honest, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way.

We “practice” mindfulness so we can learn how to recognize when our minds are doing their normal everyday acrobatics, and maybe take a pause from that for just a little while so we can choose what we’d like to focus on. In a nutshell, meditation helps us have a much healthier relationship with ourselves (and, by extension, with others).

WHY LEARN TO MEDITATE?


When we meditate, we inject far-reaching and long-lasting benefits into our lives. And bonus: you don’t need any extra gear or an expensive membership.

Here are five reasons to meditate:

1: Understand your pain
2: Lower your stress
3: Connect better
4: Improve focus
5: Reduce brain chatter


How to Meditate

Meditation is simpler (and harder) than most people think. Read these steps, make sure you’re somewhere where you can relax into this process, set a timer, and give it a shot:

1) Take a seat

Find a place to sit that feels calm and quiet to you.

2) Set a time limit

If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes.

3) Notice your body

You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while.

4) Feel your breath

Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and as it goes out.

5) Notice when your mind has wandered

Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—in a few seconds, a minute, five minutes—simply return your attention to the breath.

6) Be kind to your wandering mind

Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back.

7) Close with kindness 

When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions.

That’s it! That’s the practice. You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible.


Meditation 101: The Basics

Try this 3-part guided audio series from Barry Boyce:

How long would you like to meditate? Sometimes we only have time for a quick check-in, sometimes we can dip in a little longer. Meditating every day helps build awareness, fosters resilience, and lowers stress. Try to make meditation a habit by practicing with these short meditations from our Editor-in-Chief Barry Boyce. Find time to sit once a day for one month and see what you notice.

1-Minute Meditation

  • 2:36

A short practice for settling the mind, intended for doing in the middle of the day, wherever you are out in the world.

10-Minute Meditation

  • 10:28

A longer practice that explores meditation posture, breathing techniques, and working with thoughts and emotions as they surface during mindfulness practice.

15-Minute Meditation

  • 15:54

A practice that explores sitting in formal meditation for longer periods of time.

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Meditation Tips and Techniques:

We’ve gone over the basic breath meditation so far, but there are other mindfulness techniques that use different focal points than the breath to anchor our attention—external objects like a sound in the room, or something broader, such as noticing spontaneous things that come into your awareness during an aimless wandering practice. We’ve tapped mindfulness teacher Elisha Goldstein to craft our premium How to Meditate Course. If you’re interested in learning various meditation techniques to help you find focus, feel peace, and uncover your inner power, please explore our Mindful Online Learning School.

Try this free sample of our How to Meditate CourseMaking Mindfulness a Habit—with Dr. Elisha Goldstein.FREE SAMPLE OF HOW TO MEDITATE COURSE

How to Make Mindfulness a Habit

It’s estimated that 95% of our behavior runs on autopilot. That’s because neural networks underlie all of our habits, reducing our millions of sensory inputs per second into manageable shortcuts so we can function in this crazy world. These default brain signals are so efficient that they often cause us to relapse into old behaviors before we remember what we meant to do instead.

Mindfulness is the exact opposite of these default processes. It’s executive control rather than autopilot, and enables intentional actions, willpower, and decisions. But that takes practice. The more we activate the intentional brain, the stronger it gets. Every time we do something deliberate and new, we stimulate neuroplasticity, activating our grey matter, which is full of newly sprouted neurons that have not yet been groomed for “autopilot” brain. 

But here’s the problem: While our intentional brain knows what is best for us, our autopilot brain causes us to shortcut our way through life. So how can we trigger ourselves to be mindful when we need it most? This is where the notion of “behavior design” comes in. It’s a way to put your intentional brain in the driver’s seat. There are two ways to do that—first, slowing down the autopilot brain by putting obstacles in its way, and second, removing obstacles in the path of the intentional brain, so it can gain control.

Shifting the balance to give your intentional brain more power takes some work, though. Here are some ways to get started. 

  • Put meditation reminders around you. If you intend to do some yoga or to meditate, put your yoga mat or your meditation cushion in the middle of your floor so you can’t miss it as you walk by. 
  • Refresh your reminders regularly. Say you decide to use sticky notes to remind yourself of a new intention. That might work for about a week, but then your autopilot brain and old habits take over again. Try writing new notes to yourself; add variety or make them funny. That way they’ll stick with you longer. 
  • Create new patterns. You could try a series of “If this, then that” messages to create easy reminders to shift into the intentional brain. For instance, you might come up with, “If office door, then deep breath,” as a way to shift into mindfulness as you are about to start your workday. Or, “If phone rings, take a breath before answering.” Each intentional action to shift into mindfulness will strengthen your intentional brain.

More Styles of Mindfulness Meditation

Once you have explored a basic seated meditation practice, you might want to consider other forms of meditation including walking and lying down. Whereas the previous meditations used the breath as a focal point for practice, these meditations below focus on different parts of the body.

Introduction to the Body Scan Meditation

man meditating in chair, illustration

Try this: feel your feet on the ground right now. In your shoes or without, it doesn’t matter. Then track or scan over your whole body, bit by bit—slowly—all the way up to the crown of your head. The point of this practice is to check in with your whole body: Fingertips to shoulders, butt to big toe. Only rules are: No judging, no wondering, no worrying (all activities your mind may want to do); just check in with the physical feeling of being in your body. Aches and pains are fine. You don’t have to do anything about anything here. You’re just noticing.

Body Scan Meditation

  • 25:41

A brief body awareness practice for tuning in to sensations, head-to-toe.

Begin to focus your attention on different parts of your body. You can spotlight one particular area or go through a sequence like this: toes, feet (sole, heel, top of foot), through the legs, pelvis, abdomen, lower back, upper back, chest shoulders, arms down to the fingers, shoulders, neck, different parts of the face, and head. For each part of the body, linger for a few moments and notice the different sensations as you focus.

The moment you notice that your mind has wandered, return your attention to the part of the body you last remember.

If you fall asleep during this body-scan practice, that’s okay. When you realize you’ve been nodding off, take a deep breath to help you reawaken and perhaps reposition your body (which will also help wake it up). When you’re ready, return your attention to the part of the body you last remember focusing on.

Introduction to the Walking Meditation

Fact: Most of us live pretty sedentary lives, leaving us to build extra-curricular physical activity into our days to counteract all that. Point is: Mindfulness doesn’t have to feel like another thing on your to-do list. It can be injected into some of the activities you’re already doing. Here’s how to integrate a mindful walking practice into your day.

Walking Meditation

  • 8:58

A mindful movement practice for bringing awareness to what we feel with each step.

As you begin, walk at a natural pace. Place your hands wherever comfortable: on your belly, behind your back, or at your sides.

  • If you find it useful, you can count steps up to 10, and then start back at one again. If you’re in a small space, as you reach ten, pause, and with intention, choose a moment to turn around.
  • With each step, pay attention to the lifting and falling of your foot. Notice movement in your legs and the rest of your body. Notice any shifting of your body from side to side.
  • Whatever else captures your attention, come back to the sensation of walking. Your mind will wander, so without frustration, guide it back again as many times as you need.
  • Particularly outdoors, maintain a larger sense of the environment around you, taking it all in, staying safe and aware.

Introduction to Loving-Kindness Meditation

You cannot will yourself into particular feelings toward yourself or anyone else. Rather, you can practice reminding yourself that you deserve happiness and ease and that the same goes for your child, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone else in the world.

A Loving-Kindness Meditation

  • 17:49

Explore this practice to extend compassion to yourself, those around you, and the larger world.

This loving-kindness practice involves silently repeating phrases that offer good qualities to oneself and to others.

  1. You can start by taking delight in your own goodness—calling to mind things you have done out of good-heartedness, and rejoicing in those memories to celebrate the potential for goodness we all share.
  2. Silently recite phrases that reflect what we wish most deeply for ourselves in an enduring way. Traditional phrases are:
    • May I live in safety.
    • May I have mental happiness (peace, joy).
    • May I have physical happiness (health, freedom from pain).
    • May I live with ease.
  3. Repeat the phrases with enough space and silence between so they fall into a rhythm that is pleasing to you. Direct your attention to one phrase at a time.
  4. Each time you notice your attention has wandered, be kind to yourself and let go of the distraction. Come back to repeating the phrases without judging or disparaging yourself.
  5. After some time, visualize yourself in the center of a circle composed of those who have been kind to you, or have inspired you because of their love. Perhaps you’ve met them, or read about them; perhaps they live now, or have existed historically or even mythically. That is the circle. As you visualize yourself in the center of it, experience yourself as the recipient of their love and attention. Keep gently repeating the phrases of loving-kindness for yourself.
  6. To close the session, let go of the visualization, and simply keep repeating the phrases for a few more minutes. Each time you do so, you are transforming your old, hurtful relationship to yourself, and are moving forward, sustained by the force of kindness.

MORE GUIDED MEDITATION PRACTICES

The RAIN Meditation with Tara Brach

  • 11:42

A practice for difficult emotions, RAIN is an acronym for Recognition of what is going on; Acceptance of the experience, just as it is; Interest in what is happening; and Nurture with loving presence.

A Mindfulness Practice to Foster Forgiveness

  • 11:13

Explore this practice to let go of the tendency to add to our suffering during challenging situations.


Thank you for reading 🙂

Slow Cooker~ Orange Chicken

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Written by Corinne Schmitt  in Asian Chicken Recipes,Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

This slow cooker orange chicken is the easy weeknight dinner of my dreams. Juicy, tender and oh so flavorful, I am super excited to make it again–is that wrong? Surely not.

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and rice on a red plate with black chopsticks on it

When I know that I’ve got slow cooker orange chicken waiting for me in the crock pot at home, it makes my drive home faster and just go by like a breeze.

So good that I have a hard time waiting until my rice is ready–so I make it the day before and just warm it up in the microwave. Ha!

If you’re ready to have a mouthwatering slow cooker experience, let’s get cookin’!

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and rice on a red plate with black chopsticks on it

What You Need to Make Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

One of the best things about slow cooker orange chicken is that it’s basically a dump-and-run recipe. I love it. Seriously, check out this easy ingredient list.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 chicken breast, skinned and cubed
  • 1 tsp sesame oil or stir fry oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
cubed chicken breasts, sesame oil, soy sauce, cornstarch, water, orange juice, brown sugar in glass or white bowls on a white background
https://morechickenrecipes.com/slow-cooker-orange-chicken/

How to Make Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

Step 1

Coat the bottom of your slow cooker with the sesame oil and add the chicken, brown sugar and water then stir to combine.

using a spoon to put raw cubed chicken in a slow cooker

Step 2

Add the corn starch and mix.

adding cornstarch to chicken mixture in the slow cooker

Step 3

Add the water, soy sauce and orange juice over the top and stir.

adding soy sauce to chicken mixture in the slow cooker

Step 4

Then cover and set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

orange chicken in a slow cooker

More Easy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

closeup of Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and rice on a red plate with black chopsticks on it

If you love this easy chicken recipe, but you’re not quite ready to bust out your cutting board, just pin this to your favorite easy salad ideas board on Pinterest so you can find it quick later!

a collage of Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and rice on a red plate with black chopsticks on it with title text reading Orange Chicken In The Slow Cooker

YIELD: 6 SERVINGS ORANGE CHICKEN

Slow Cooker Orange Chicken

CREATE PINTEREST PINSlow Cooker Orange ChickenNo RatingsPRINT

This slow cooker orange chicken is the easy weeknight dinner of my dreams. Juicy, tender and oh so flavorful, I am super excited to make it again–is that wrong? Surely not.PREP TIME5 minutesCOOK TIME4 hoursTOTAL TIME4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast, skinned and cubed
  • 1 tsp sesame oil or stir fry oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Coat the bottom of your slow cooker with the sesame oil and add the chicken, brown sugar and water then stir to combine.
  2. Add the corn starch and mix.
  3. Add the water, soy sauce and pour the orange juice over the top and stir. Then cover and set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Nutrition Information:

YIELD:

 6 

SERVING SIZE:

 1
Amount Per Serving: CALORIES: 213TOTAL FAT: 9gSATURATED FAT: 2gTRANS FAT: 0gUNSATURATED FAT: 6gCHOLESTEROL: 50mgSODIUM: 720mgCARBOHYDRATES: 14gFIBER: 1gSUGAR: 7gPROTEIN: 19g

Thank you for reading 🙂

Gardening And Mental Health Benefits

1. Looking after plants gives us a sense of responsibility.

I remember when my mother gave me a little spot in our garden to tend. I must have been about five. I demarcated it with stones and planted forget-me-nots and ‘poached eggs’ flowers that still make me smile.

Eric Rayner, used with permission

Source: Eric Rayner, used with permission

Having to care for plants is a good way to learn to look after and respect other living things and when we are small it helps develop an appreciation of the magic of nature.

2. ​Gardening allows us all to be nurturers.

It doesn’t matter if we are seven or seventy, male, female or transgender, gardening underlines that we are all nurturers. Horticulture is a great equalizer: plants don’t give a fig who is tending them and for those with mental health problems to be able to contribute to such a transformative activity can help boost self-esteem.

3. Gardening keeps us connected to other living things.

Gardening can act as a gentle reminder to us that we are not the centre of the universe. Self-absorption can contribute to depression, and focusing on the great outdoors – even in the pared-down form of a patio – can encourage us to be less insular.article continues after advertisement

As long ago as 2003, research concluded that for those in mental health units and prison, the social nature of group gardening is beneficial because it centers on collective skills and aspirations rather than individual symptoms and deficits. Yet to dig and delve in a walled or fenced garden also helps to keep vulnerable people within boundaries both literally and metaphorically, allowing them to feel safe at the same time as they expand their horizons.

4. Gardening helps us relax and let go.

For many, the peacefulness associated with gardening comes not from its social aspect however, but the opposite. It enables us to escape from other people. ‘Flowers are restful to look at. They have no emotions or conflict,’ said Freud. Tending to plants allows us to tap into the carefree part of ourselves with no deadlines, mortgages, or annoying colleagues to worry about.

Sarah Rayner

Source: Sarah Rayner

Moreover, the rhythmic nature of many tasks associated with horticulture – weeding, trimming, sowing, sweeping – allows thoughts to ebb and flow along with our movements. I often take to watering the plants in my patio when trying to untangle the knots in plots or characterization that can arise when writing a novel, and all too often the solution comes to me far more easily there than if I sit staring and despairing at my screen. The competing thoughts inside my head somehow clear and settle, and ideas that are barely formed take shape.

5. Working in nature releases happy hormones.

To say that gardening encourages us to exercise and spend time outdoors might seem a statement of the obvious, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that what’s good for the body is also good for the mind. When I’m deeply immersed in writing it can be all too easy to forget this, but when we exercise levels of serotonin and dopamine (hormones that make us feel good) rise and the level of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress), is lowered. It’s true that a session in the garden can be tiring, but it can also get rid of excess energy so you sleep better and ultimately feel renewed inside.article continues after advertisement

Sarah Rayner

Source: Sarah Rayner

6. Being amongst plants and flowers reminds us to live in the present moment. 

As I explain in my little book on anxiety, ‘when we let go of ruminating on the past or worrying about the future and instead focus on the here and now, anxiety lessens’. So one of the best ways to calm the anxious mind and lift mood is to become more ‘present’. Next time you’re in a garden, pause for a few moments, and allow yourself to be aware of your senses.

Listen. Touch. Smell. See.

Just a short time experiencing the fullness of nature like this can be very restorative.

7. Gardening reminds us of the cycle of life, and thus come to terms with that most universal of anxieties: death.

Sarah Rayner
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/worry-and-panic/201505/petal-power-why-is-gardening-so-good-our-mental-health

Source: Sarah Rayner

Rituals can help us work through difficult emotions, including grief, and gardening is a form of ritual involving both the giving of life and acknowledgment of its end; it’s symbolic of regeneration. ​It’s no coincidence we create gardens of remembrance and mark the scattered ashes and graves of our loved ones with roses, shrubs, and trees; by doing so we’re acknowledging that from dust we all come and to dust we return.  

8. Some aspects of gardening allow us to vent anger and aggression…

Clearly then, horticulture is not all sweetness and light: nature has its dark side too. In a similar vein, some of the therapeutic power of gardening is that it allows us to unleash our anger and aggression as well as providing an opportunity to nurture. Why beat pillows with a baseball bat or yell at the cat when you have a hedge to hack? I confess there are times when I enjoy cutting and chopping and yanking and binding as much, if not more, than sowing and feeding and watering, and the great thing about destructiveness in the garden is that it’s also connected to renewal and growth – if you don’t cut back the plants, your space will be swamped by them.article continues after advertisement

9. …whilst others allow us to feel in control.

In a similar vein, anxious people often feel overwhelmed, and gardening can be a good way of gaining a sense of control. Moreover, whereas trying to control other people is invariably a fruitless exercise, you’re more likely to succeed in controlling your beds and borders, which can make gardening a particularly satisfying experience.

10. Last but not least, gardening is easy.

When it comes to growing things, for all its power of healing, the world of plants can feel intimidating to an outsider. If you’re new to gardening you may well be anxious you won’t have ‘green fingers’ and here, as with all new ventures: starting small is key.

You don’t need garden the size of a meadow to enjoy horticulture; you don’t even need a patio the size of mine (above). 

Sarah Rayner

Source: Sarah Rayner

Just one hanging basket or few pots along a window ledge can lift the spirits whenever you look at them, and if you’re strapped for cash, why not recycle an old container like a colander or ice-cream carton?

I also recommend looking for packets that say ‘Ideal for Children’ – who cares if you left school years ago? Nasturtium are a good bet, as are sweet peas, or, if you can find a patch of earth which gets sunshine, try sowing sunflowers or poppies directly into the soil. It’s the perfect time of year to get planting and gardening is a lot more affordable than many other forms of therapy, so why not grow yourself better by making an appointment with Mother Nature today?

Thank you for reading 🙂