Sunday, October 17, 2010

Eating well on a Budget

It's no secret.  Eating well can be expensive.  It seems odd that you can buy a product that required less 'work' for the manufacturer (less processing) and it is more expensive.  It's a little frustrating, but it's economics.  Good food usually doesn't have a long shelf life.  When I was first married, my husband was shocked at the amount of money I would spend on food.  Over the last 4+ years we've been married, he has felt a difference in his energy level and how he has less sickness or aches and pains since he altered his diet a bit 4 years ago.  (Maybe I'll ask him to do a post on his perspective sometime.)  I learned how to eat well on a budget and thought I'd share some tips.

1. Buy in season and store.  
I love my green smoothie for breakfast, but it requires some frozen fruit. This can be expensive.  In the summer, I look for deals on fruits and then cut them in chunks, place them on a cookie sheet to freeze for a few hours, and then store them in Ziplock gallon freezer bags.  My husband and I found a massive deep freeze in our local classifieds and picked it up for free.  It is worth the room it takes up in our laundry room.  This summer I've snagged some red-tape bananas, peaches from a friend's tree, pears brought in from an Oregon orchard by a friend, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and soon to be added to the list--blackberries.  It's really cheap to do it this way, but you've got to keep your eyes peeled.

2. Buy in bulk.
This one is fairly obvious, but I had to include it or this list wouldn't be complete.  I have a friend, Chirine, down the street who orders from different vendors and has people come from all over the state to pick up bulk grains, pastas, produce, nuts seeds, and lots more.  I just went by last week to pick up 10 lbs of golden raisins for my Super Charge Me Cookies.  If you're close to Utah, her website is  She saves me tons of money.  If you don't live close, you can consider starting a co-op of your own.  Chirine would be more than happy to offer suggestions I am sure.

3. Coupons!
This is a new adventure I've been trying and loving it.  I follow some local blogs and keep track of the deals for me so I don't have to spend a lot of time.  I mostly print coupons online so I don't have to be clipping from a newspaper. posts a 'healthy food' coupon list about once per month.  It's the best.  I've also visited the websites for my favorite brands of food and subscribe to their email list.  They send coupons and special offers regularly.

4.  Ads.
Every week, I glance at the new ads when they arrive and save them on top of my fridge if I see something I want.  Then, before a shopping trip, I pull them down and see what I will buy.  My husband often stops by a store on his way home from work and I will go to another to get some great sale prices.  On the weeks where that just doesn't happen - we go to Wal-Mart with the ads in tow and they honor the prices of any ad.  It makes for a fast trip.  I will admit, I felt sheepish at first (and a little cheap.) but I got over that really fast.  The clerks usually praise me on getting such a great deal and it's kind of fun.

5. Make it yourself.
It's easy to pick up a spouting mix or some baked goods, but it's not the cheapest way of eating.  After finding a sprouting mix that I love (Pro-Vita Mix by Life Sprouts), I started making my own sprouts to save money.  When I looked into getting a large quantity to save money, I found that a 5-gallon bucket would cost over $100.  A good friend of mine gave me the recipe for the mix and I bought all the ingredients in 50# bags and made it myself.  My husband and I mixed it up and found we had 5 buckets of mix and spent less than $200.  We haven't even used 1 bucket in the last year.  I should get sprouting again!  If you like to buy sprouts, I suggest buying a simple sprouter (or make one) and some seeds and start your own. It's so easy.  If you want more information on sprouting, leave a comment.  If there is enough interest, I'll put a post together on the topic.

How do you eat well on a budget?  Leave a comment for other readers.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Introducing: Book Giveaway

So far I have posted my top 3 tips in being your best self by feeling your best.
3. Getting healthy fats in your diet

Now, I am going to introduce #4: Emotional Health

I discovered about 5 years ago that I was holding a lot of emotions that translated into 'clutter' in my body.  As I worked through my emotions, I began to lose weight.  I know this may sound silly to some, but I lost the my last 20 pounds without changing anything more in my diet or without amping up my exercise.  Keep in mind, I still was doing those things - just not really increasing.  

Beyond that point, I can honestly say that I don't care how exactly that happened - there are million theories.  What I do care about is keeping myself emotionally healthy.  Here are a few ways that work for me:

1. Talking about my feelings and not 'stuffing' them in the pit of my stomach.  My husband has been great to talk to when something is upsetting me.  It could help that he working on his PhD in Clinical Psychology. 
2. Take some 'me' time.  That is pretty rare right now with two babies, but when I get it - I cherish it.  I love to spend some time with a friend or go to Zumba (a new favorite).  
3. Take responsibility for my emotions.  I can't expect people to know how I am feeling if I don't tell them.  If I don't want to do something, I say 'no'.  It's empowering!

I am sure there are more too. 

I am doing the first of a few giveaways by Peter Walsh.  He personally mailed these to me - I am a big fan and met him when I was sharing a weekly health tip on an internet radio show.  You may recognize him from TLC's Clean Sweep or The Oprah Winfrey Show.  I am giving away this book on CD (much easier to listen to this when you're on the go anyway!).  

Just leave a comment about how you stay emotionally healthy and I'll choose a winner next Friday, October 22nd at noon.

From the book's introduction: "I believe that the secret to successfully losing weight is to forget about calorie counting and weekly weigh-ins. Instead, you need to focus on how, why and where you eat. When it comes to clearing clutter (the fat in our homes) it isn’t about the stuff itself, it’s about the life you want to live. The same is true for losing weight: it’s not about the pounds. It’s about living the life you deserve in the body you want. Using my expert techniques honed from years as a clutter expert and organizational consultant on TLC’s Clean Sweep and, more recently, on The Oprah Winfrey Show, I show you in Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat? how to deal with the clutter in your kitchen, your pantry and your home and show how it’s directly related to the clutter on your body that negatively affects your ability to lead a full and healthy life."

I couldn't resist

So, I know I said the last recipe was the conclusion of my recipe posting for the week, but my friend Mandy shared a recipe from her friend Camille's cookbook.  It is so yummy that I couldn't resist sharing one more for the week:

Butternut Squash Soup
6 cups (peeled & cubed) butternut squash (1 medium squash)
5 cups of water or chicken broth
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp dried leaf thyme
4 TBS butter (I used Earth Balance spread)
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup heavy cream (I used coconut milk and couldn't even taste the coconut flavor)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP Soy Sauce (I know, seems weird, but trust me ... it makes it AMAZING)
optional: 1/2 cup roasted almonds for garnish

Combine squash and water or stock in 4 quart pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat. Cover and cook until tender. (25 minutes). Meanwhile, heat oil in frying pan and saute the onions and thyme until tender and lightly browned. Add to squash. Puree the squash and onions in blender until almost smooth (leave a few chucks). 

Next melt butter in same frying pan over low heat, add flour, and stir 1 - 2 minutes until well mixed and lightly browned. Add cream and mix with a whisk until blended. Add to the soup, then return the soup to a simmer. Add ginger, salt, soy sauce, and pepper. Simmer 15 minutes uncovered and serve. 

So yummy!  I would say it serves 4-6.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Last Recipe of the week

A friend of mine made some amazing granola that I tried when I visited her.  I ate it constantly when I was pregnant and needed some extra calories.  (I should make another batch today since I am still consuming an amazing amount of calories feeding 2 babies!)

Kayla's Granola
4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1 cup raspberries (mashed--I used frozen ones)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups honey, or to taste
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl, stir together the oats, wheat germ, walnuts, almonds, and raspberries.  In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.  Drizzle over dry ingredients, and stir to coat evenly.  Spread mixture out in a thin layer on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes to toast evenly.  (It is best to use a cookie sheet with edges so you don't make a mess when you need to stir it.)  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  Granola will become crunchier as it cools.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Healthy Breakfast

Love this for a Saturday morning breakfast.

Whole Grain Pancakes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flout (I've done all wheat and like it, my husband likes it better with the white)
2 T agave
2 T baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2 cups almond milk (or regular milk)
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (optional)

In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, oats, and salt.  Whisk in agave, milk, eggs, and olive oil until smooth.  Gently fold in blueberries.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fall recipe

In honor of fall, one of my favorite soups.

Pumpkin Curry Soup
2 T olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion (1 small onion)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tso curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1 can coconut milk
Heaping spoonful of peanut butter

Combine olive oil and onion and garlic in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring frequently for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Stir in curry powder, salt and pepper--cook one minute.

Add broth and pumpkin; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes.  Stir in coconut milk.  Transfer mixture to food processor or blender (in batches, if necessary); cover.  Blend until smooth.  Add peanut butter to your liking (I love chunky peanut butter).  Serve warm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Another Healthy Snack for Kids

Although this is for kids, I've given it to adults mostly and it's a hit.

Peanut Butter Balls
Mix together:
1 cup honey
1 cup peanut butter (or almond or cashew butter)

Then add:
2 cups whole grain flours (I use 1 cup wheat germ and 1 cup oats)
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
Raisins to your liking
Nuts (optional)

Form into balls and roll in:
Dried, unsweetened coconut.  Refrigerate or freeze--they are great both ways.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Healthy Snack for Kids

This is a favorite at our house that I make before road trips.

Trail Mix
1 cup raw cashews - pieces or whole (pieces are cheaper)
1 cup raw almonds
1 1/2 cups date pieces (they are usually sold coated in oat flour so they don't stick together)
1 cup raisins
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds

Mix together and enjoy.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Healthy Treats for Kids

For those of you that are friends of a Wendy's Frosty (or a chocolate milk shake), here's an excellent recipe.  Here's a tip: to freeze your bananas, peel them first and put them on a cookie sheet to freeze.  Once frozen, store them in Ziplock (or similar) bags to use in smoothies or shakes.

3 cups water
1/4 cup carob or cocoa powder
5-6 frozen bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup, honey, agave, or dates
2 tsp vanilla

In a blender, combine water and bananas.  Add carob, sweetener, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth.  If using carob, you can add a TINY pinch or cayenne pepper to help counteract the bitter aftertaste. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010


This is the first in a series of recipe posts.  I taught a "Healthy Snacks for Kids" class Thursday night and it inspired me to start posting more recipes.  This is a great place to share ideas and recipes, so if you have one that you love--please post it/them in the comments.

Here are two of my favorite pesto recipes.  Here are some uses for pesto:
- throw them on a sandwich in place of a spread
- dip veggies into it
- if I am having a having guests for dinner, I warm some french bread or sourdough and use it as a spread (a big hit)
- I love Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas and I tear them up and dip them into pesto (they are a complete protein and the ingredients are found in Ezekiel 4:9)

Red Pepper Pesto
1 cup cashews (soaked for 4 hours in water and drained--optional)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 red pepper

Combine all ingredients except cashews in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Add cashews and blend again until smooth.

Spinach Pesto
1 T dried basil (or 1/4 cup fresh)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 cloves garlic

Blend well and add:
2 cups spinach

Blend well and add:
3/4 cup almonds (soaked for 4 hours in water and drained--optional)

Blend until smooth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

New favorite recipe

I tried a new recipe today and thought I'd share.  I've noticed that most of my friends and family want to eat healthy, but need some recipes and ideas.  Doug loved this as well.  It is SO easy - barely any chopping or sauteing...just put it in a food processor.  Love that.

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 
1 medium clove garlic, (put in a garlic press before adding to food processor)
1/2 tsp sea salt 
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Annie’s Goddess Dressing (or similar brand)
1 ½ tbsp flax meal
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
2 tsp Dijon mustard (I used regular)
1/3 - 1/2 cup green onions, sliced (using mostly green portion, and less white)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves (see note)
1 cup cooked brown rice (preferably cooled/chilled)
½ cup raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1 cup rolled oats or quick oats

In a food processor, add chickpeas, garlic, salt, nutritional yeast, Goddess Dressing, flax meal, vinegar, and mustard. Pulse/puree until well combined. Add green onions, and fresh basil, and pulse through to break up and combine. Then add rice, seeds, and oats and pulse to incorporate and to break up seeds somewhat. Remove blade, shape into patties (can refrigerate mixture for about ½ hour before shaping, but not essential). To cook, add a smidgen of oil to a non-stick skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Cook patties, about 6-8 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Makes 6-8 patties.

Note: If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute a small amount of dried basil. About 1 teaspoon works well, and add along with the first ingredients (chickpeas and condiments). 

Note: To make these patties quick to prepare, cook the rice a day or so in advance. I find it helpful to cook larger batches of rice on any given night, so that I have leftover rice that can be refrigerated for another night, or to use in burgers, burritos, etc.

Note: If you want to double the batch, you can do so. Just be sure to stop the food processor several more times to work the mixture up from the bottom of the processor bowl, as it can get heavier on the bottom and need some coaxing to incorporate the ingredients on the top and sides. 

I loved it.  I had some fresh fruit with it and Doug had a whole wheat bun.  I am not a fan of extra bread - so I always eat burgers without the bun.  I put some of the goddess dressing on top with ketchup, spinach leaves, fresh garden tomato, and a small pickle.  Great Saturday afternoon lunch.

Oh, and I had two.