Recipe Roundup: 3 ideas for Meatless Monday

I’ve been so busy whipping up new breakfast recipes that I’ve gotten behind on sharing my dinner recipe reviews. To make up the slack, here’s a roundup of three delectable dishes to try on your next Meatless Monday … or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or Thursday ……..

 

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Tips for keeping your grocery budget under control

How much do you spend on groceries each month?

It’s a question that’s being discussed right now in several Facebook groups I’m in, and the answers are as varied as they come. Most families with four or more children make it on anywhere from $500 to $1,000 a month, but some smaller families even exceed that.

One thing that is consistent: Everyone wishes they could spend a little less.

In 2011 I quit my job to become a full-time mom to my then-9-month-old son, taking our family from two full-time incomes to one. So being able to spend a little less on groceries was not just a nice skill to have, it was a matter of survival.

Fast-forward to today, and I’ve got grocery shopping down to a science. For our family of 5, I spend between $40 and $60 each week, but no more than $200 a month on groceries. Like a BOSS.

Here’s what I picked up today from my Winco store in Utah for $51.26:

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Recipe: Healthy Banana Muffins

Got another breakfast blender recipe, because you know I’m obsessed with my Blendtec. In fact, this recipe was inspired by the cookbook that came with my blender. I’ve been making the original banana chocolate chip muffin recipe for years and is one of my son’s favorites. The first  change I made was to put a few chocolate chips on top of each muffin instead of mixing them throughout the batter — but then I noticed that Evan would only eat the top of the muffin and abandon the rest. So I went back to the drawing board.

I figured that if the muffins themselves weren’t enough enticement to get Evan to eat the entire thing, I might as well tweak the recipe to make them as healthy as possible so at least my babies and I would get the good stuff. If I could convince him to eat up, then that was a bonus. (We have an extremely selective eater on our hands, folks. Sometimes we take what we can get.)

Email BoxThe first thing I did was swap out a few less-than-healthy ingredients for whole-foods, plant-based ingredients. Then I decided that if chocolate chips are the key to getting Evan to eat, I was willing to go with it. So instead of plopping a few big ones on top, I’d mix a few mini chocolate chips throughout each muffin. This way the amount of chocolate is about the same, maybe less even, but he has an incentive to keep eating once he was done with the muffin top. The result? Fluffy, moist, healthy whole-wheat muffins that my whole family will eat. Win! Continue reading

Processed food is killing you, and food makers don’t care

In 1999, a secret meeting was held by the CEOs of 11 major American food companies — big names like Kraft, Nabisco, Coca-Cola, and General Mills. The meeting was called by a Pillsbury executive, a former food scientist who was instrumental in creating some of the industry’s best-loved packaged foods like microwaved popcorn. He had grown concerned by the rising levels of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other health problems in the country — in particular, in children. So he and a handful of others called the meeting to warn their fellow executives and CEOs that they may have gone too far, that their products — and accompanying marketing tactics — were posing such an enormous risk to the public, leading to a national health crisis.

The meeting, as you may have guessed, did not go as planned. Continue reading

Recipe: Hold-the-Tuna Salad

Here’s a fresh, tasty lunch idea that will appeal to you meat-free folks: tuna salad minus the tuna, with all the flavor and fixin’s of the original but completely vegan. Instead of tuna, the base is made of nuts and seeds, soaked, chopped and flaked to mimic the texture of tuna salad to a T.

When I excitedly tried to share this recipe with some of my family members, they eyed me dubiously and said, “Why don’t you just use tuna?” A valid point, I suppose.

For me the answer is simple: Because I don’t like tuna, or any other fish. I never have. Plus, I don’t like mayo. That’s two strikes right there, no need to go for a third. Continue reading

What is a plant-based diet?

When people hear “plant-based,” they often think of piles upon piles of leafy greens. In fact, when I tell people that I have switched to a plant-based diet, I am pretty sure they imagine me eating bowl after bowl of raw broccoli or gigantic salads without dressing.

If that’s what people think, I can see why the idea of plant-based eating is so unappealing.

The truth, thankfully, is much different.

A plant-based diet is not solely based on vegetables, and you don’t have to go completely vegan or even vegetarian. A whole-foods, plant-based diet is made up of a variety of foods found in nature. The idea is to consume them as close to whole as possible, not processed beyond recognition — but not only eaten in their raw, natural state, either. These foods form the ingredients for some of your favorite dishes — soups, breads, burritos, you name it. When made from scratch instead of consumed in processed, sugar- and chemical-laden, ready-made, store-bought packages, your favorites become some of the healthiest foods you can eat. All it takes is a little slicing, dicing, blending, and sauteing, and voila!  Nature’s most delicious offerings become your new family favorites.

The other day, for example, I ate onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, vegetable broth, white beans, and kale for dinner. But I didn’t eat them like this:

veggies

Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

 

 

I ate them like this:

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Photo Credit: Minimalist Baker

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