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6 Ways to Eat Real Food on a Beans and Rice Budget

I have a confession to make. I have been blowing my monthly food budget. Yep, it's true. Recently, my hubby resigned from his job for a job opportunity that didn't quite pan out. This left us without full-time income for six months. But I continued to cook on a "full-time" grocery budget. It was one of those things that just...happened. We didn't expect to be six months (and counting!) on part-time income. And eating well is one of the most important aspects of our budget (right up there with our mortgage and chiropractic care!). But one day David mentioned he would be ok with beans and rice since we were, essentially, on this level of a budget. It was as if a weight had been … [Read more...]

7 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Tight Budget

It’s a common misconception that eating healthy means you have to have a huge grocery budget. Eating healthy on a tight budget is possible! It’s actually not that hard. Here are a few tricks and tips for eating healthy that I’ve learned along the way. Tips for Eating Healthy Have a budget. This helps you know when you can splurge on something and when you shouldn’t. Meal plan. This has made a huge difference for us! Plan out every meal for the week; not just dinner, but breakfast, lunch and snacks too. This helps with the next tip: Shop with a list. I end up spending more money and having food go bad when I deviate from my list. Because if it’s not on my list, I don't need it! … [Read more...]

Living Simply in the Kitchen: When the Budget Says You Can’t Do It All

One of the most frequent questions I hear from readers is "what do I do if I can't do it all?" That's a tough one, isn't it? Ever wondered any of these as you plan your family's grocery list for the week? Organic or grassfed? Vegetarian-fed or grain-free? Local or organic? Raw or low-pasteurization? First, I'd like to answer that none of us can do it all. No, it's true. There are a bazillion ways each of us has to negotiate within our circumstances. And that's ok. Some of us don't live near co-op drop-offs. We just had a new baby. The hubby lost his job. There are numerous reasons why we "can't do it all." We need to recognize that the pressure we feel is often generated by … [Read more...]

On The Menu, Week 3

Growing up salads just weren't all that...yummy to me. Now, it's almost like a game: what else can I pile on? I love how every bite of last week's taco salad tasted of salsa dressing, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, taco meat, cheese, organic tortilla chips, etc. I'm just sad I was out of my sour cream! This week I'll be making my version of the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad, oh baby! (Oh, and if you're not sure what this "On The Menu" is all about, click here for the intro - and a bunch of menu ideas!) I also may or may not have thrown some more sourdough French toast on the menu. Don't judge. I also may or may not lick my plate clean from all the maple syrup. The … [Read more...]

Live Simply in the Kitchen: Organic Produce

Growing up there was never an "organic" section in the grocery store. The food was just...food. And produce was just produce. A few years later I noticed the "organic produce" section but never really paid any attention to it.  I bought what I wanted, whether it was in season or not.  I bought what I wanted, whether it was internationally grown or not. I bought what I wanted, whether it was "clean" or not. But now, I spend half of my time in both sections. What? I don't eat everything organic? Nah. And I'll get to why in a moment. But first, let's review what we know about the term organic. Why Organic Produce is Good What is organic produce? Simply stated, … [Read more...]

On the Menu, Week 1

On the heels of Foodie Fridays (with lots of recipes linked-up to try!), comes the menu for next week's meals. One of my fave "tricks" is to save leftovers for the next night's dinner - instead of eating them for lunch the next day. Since dinners are often the most expensive meal of the day, eating leftovers for dinner typically saves money. I'm all about that! I'm also really big on meals looking pretty and not so big on just one-pot-meals. (I miiiiight love cooking shows enough to get me in some trouble here.) Lunches. Ohhhh, that idea of saving last night's dinner for tonight instead of today's lunch sounds great until I'm staring in the fridge trying to figure out what to send the … [Read more...]

Vegetable Soup

This vegetable soup is one of my faves. I seriously love this soup. I make a double (bigbigbig) batch of it and freeze it in lunch-sized portions. We eat off of it for a really long time. And it's uber easy! Remember the folk tale Stone Soup? This is kinda like that. Except you don't go borrowing from your neighbors. Well, you can if you want to but unless you promise them some of the yummy results that's kind of mean. And you probably won't want to share after this is all done. Yep - it's that yummy! It's also a great way to get kids to eat their veggies - this soup is like the rainbow! All you homeschoolers with preschoolers? Work on colors while eating this soup and call it a school … [Read more...]

Live Simply in the Kitchen: Real Food Pantry

Lately we have been discussing various aspects of our kitchen and how to live simply. We've talked about meat and what to buy and why. We've talked about dairy (here and here) and where to buy and why. Today we are talking about the pantry: how to stock a real food pantry! The Challenge The pantry is kinda sneaky, in my opinion. It's sneaky because you don't realize the vast array of "bad for you" foods lurking in the dark corner of that top shelf. Or the ones in the plastic cereal containers. Or the spray oil containers. Or the soup mixes. Canned goods. Etc. See what I mean? It's pretty shocking how easy it is to look right past an item (or 50!) you've used for years...when all of a … [Read more...]

Homemade Chicken Stock

I'll admit. I was scared. I mean, there had to be a reason stock is sold in stores in huge varieties - all sized cartons and cans, flavorings and brands. But then, I dug my heels in and said, I can do this! And I made my very own, homemade chicken stock. I'll tell you a secret: it was super easy. No, really, it was. I think those chicken stock companies are sitting back watching all of us who buy or bought their products and laughing a happy laugh. I would be! Because it really is very simple. So I'll share with you now. And would you please do me a favor? Please share this with a friend or two: because nobody should ever have to buy chicken stock again! Homemade Chicken … [Read more...]

Foodie Fridays: Homemade Marinara Sauce

Thanks for joining us again for Foodie Fridays! Last week we talked about how eating real food is good. Really good. And pretty much nothing should need to be off limits. Especially when it comes to homemade marinara sauce! The other day I was telling David how shocked I am at times to find how easy it is to make some of these food items I just assumed were so difficult. I mean, they're sold in the grocery stores, so they must be difficult to make, right? Wrong! So much of our food is actually rather easily prepared - and with much "hands off" time! And, in this day and age, we have the added blessing of being able to prepare lots of food in advance and freeze it (my garage deep-freeze … [Read more...]