Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spreading Some Link Love

It's been one of those "What do you mean it's Friday already?  What happened to Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday?" kind of weeks around here.  As such, I'm a bit behind on a lot of writing blog entries.  *cough cough*  Oops. 

So, instead of beating my head against the desk, trying to come up with a good blog entry to entertain y'all, I thought I'd let some other Paleo and food blogs do it for me.  (Yes, I know it's cheating but it gives me a good excuse to wade into the 224 food blog entries sitting in my Google Reader.  ;-)  )

Ad critique: Chef Boyardee @ Ms. Q's Fed Up With Lunch - Most food bloggers know about Ms. Q's project to document a year's worth of school lunches.  Now that her project is over, she's talking about a variety of things, including this critique about the recent advertising campaign for Chef Boyardee's products.  I agree with her statement: "This is exactly the type of veggie advertising we need, minus the Chef Boyardee stuff."

It’s Too Hard!!! And a not so hard recipe @ Everyday Paleo - "But cooking Paleo is soooo hard!"  That reaction makes me want to beat my head against the desk.  It's not that hard!  And I can't help but laugh when I'm told: "But you work out of your home - you have the time to cook like that!"  Let's see - I'm a single mom with two young kids who runs a business out of her home while trying to keep the kids from killing one another.  If I can find the time to fry up a couple hamburger patties and toss a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave, so can you!

Buy this book as fast as you can: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes @ Hunter-Gatherer - I so want to read this book!

What’s Really Behind Whole Grains in School Food @ The Slow Cook - This is one of those times where I rejoice in the fact that my kids don't eat school lunches.

Fake Blueberries In Cereals, Baked Goods @ SlashFood - Is this really a surprise?

9 Steps To Perfect Health – #1: Don’t Eat Toxins @ Healthy Skeptic -A good primer to what many in the Paleo community consider "toxic food".  I've passed this on to a couple friends who are interested in the Paleo Lifestyle.

Against the Grain: 10 Reasons to Give Up Grains @ Nourished Kitchen -Another good article to send to friends.

As always, don't forget to check out this week's Paleo Rodeo for links to more great Paleo websites!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Food Budget Update 2011 - Update

My household food budget remains the same for 2011 - $200 to 225 a month (the extra $25 is for when I find a great deal on protein or other bulk items).  I thought I'd periodically post my expenses throughout the year of 2011 to show that yes, it is possible to eat Paleo on a Budget.

Another grocery shopping day has come and gone in my house, and once again, my wallet is hiding in my purse, sobbing uncontrollably.  Poor thing - hopefully it will recover in the next two weeks.

I had to do some stocking up on basics this weekend.  We ran out of lard Friday AM (our main cooking oil) so that meant a run to the Hispanic store in North Sunnyvale.  I haven't quite figured out why that store is the only place in town that carries lard - not even Smart and Final has it!

Also bought 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters thanks to a 59 cents/lb sale, which I then slow roasted and froze for easy dinners.  Yum! 

Today's errands included:

Lucky's Grocery Store - $23.33
(Bought oranges, 20 lbs of chicken leg quarters, and tomatoes.  That in itself would a pretty good meal!)

Chavez Super Market (Hispanic Store) - $9.54
(Bought bananas and lard - Nice combo, huh?)

Sprouts Farmers Market - $22.97
(Bought raisins, cauliflower, celery, pears, apples, and onions.)

Target - $36.08
(Stocked up a little bit - bread and peanut butter for the kids, ranch salad dressing, mayo, 15 dozen eggs (enough for 2 weeks of breakfasts and lunches for me and breakfast for the kids), and a tall carton of heavy whipping cream for a recipe.)

Smart & Final - 24.26
(Bought butter, pepperoni (as a treat for my daughter who loves the stuff - shudder), potatoes, peppercorns, and Extra gum.)


  • Total for This Shopping Trip: $116.18
  • Total for The Month: $191.74
  • Budget Remaining: $8.26

I did have 2 things happen to me today that were interesting:

One - I got hit on by a guy.  HA!  Haven't had that happen in a long time!  ;-)

Two - The checker at Smart and Final was surprised that I went to so many stores to buy groceries.  "I hope your car gets good mileage."  I stared at him for a moment, perplexed.  Maybe he thought I ran to one store and then went home again before going back out?  I don't know...  It was a strange comment, really.

To answer the question - gas really doesn't come into play the way I run my errands.  I usually start with Sprouts and Target, since they're the farthest away, and stop at the other stores on my way home.  Either way, I would have driven the same amount.

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    Buyer Beware - An Example of Stores Being Deceptive

    See this innocent little 3 lb bag of clementine oranges?  This little bag of happiness?  Well, let me tell you, it didn't make me too happy this morning.

    Actually, it wasn't the bag of oranges that got me ranting but rather the store where I bought it at.  I had seen in this week's Lucky's ad that they had 3 lb bags of clementine oranges on sale for $2.59.  Since this is well under my "$1 / pound" limit on fruit, I ran over there this morning to pick up a few bags - 4 bags, to be exact - my daughter LOVES these things and they last a long time.

    As I walked into the store, I saw a display of bagged clementines in the entrance of the produce section with no price tag.  I thought, "Oh, there's the oranges I wanted." and then I stopped and thought "That's a really big bag for 3 lbs."   I picked one up and turned it over to discover it was a 5 lb bag.  After a little investigating, I found the price tag discretely placed on the side: $6.99.  Guess where the "on sale" 3 lb bags were - in the far back of the produce section, hidden among a display of $1.65/lb oranges.

    *insert nasty names here*

    Now, I know that not all consumers are as careful as I am at reading labels and price tags, so I'm sure Lucky's going to make a killing on these oranges.  People walk in without their ads or maybe they're just in a hurry to get their shopping done, so they see the big display of oranges and just assume those are the ones on sale.

    I had a similar experience right before Christmas, once again having to do with clementine oranges.  I walked into my local Sprouts to do my weekly produce shopping when I saw the 5 lb bags on sale for $6.99.  I knew they could be found at a lower price elsewhere, so I skipped them.  Imagine my surprise when I walked around the central aisle display to find a pile of loose clementines for 99 cents a lb.  I actually stood there for a moment, verifying what I was seeing - I save money AND got better produce if I bagged my own oranges?

    That makes no freaking sense....

    So while I stood there and picked out my own oranges, I watched multiple people stop right next to me and the price tag and grab the bags of oranges, totally missing the loose oranges.

    I know you're probably sitting there, reading this, and thinking, "But Anne!  It's only $2!"  Now stop for a moment and answer this - what could you buy for $2?  I know I could pick up a pound of raisins from the bulk bin, making my son a very happy kid (he's addicted to them).  I could buy 2 heads of celery or 4+ lbs of carrots.

    Every dollar counts these days, people!  So stop, look, and think when you're shopping!  Don't think that the grocery stores are your friends - they are NOT!  They are out to separate you from as much of your money as they can, as quickly as they can.  If you want to save money, you have to be proactive, you have to be logical, and most importantly, you have to be skeptical.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to crawl off my soapbox and go roast some chicken leg quarters (59 cents / lb - couldn't resist it!).  Have a great weekend!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Teaching Kids How "Eat Right"

    One of my many goals as a parent is to teach my kids how to eat healthy.  I want them to walk out of my house at 18 (or older - who knows!) and know enough about food, grocery shopping and cooking to survive without having to depend on fast food.

    There are a few things easy things parents can do to get their kids on the right path towards eating healthy:

    Stock the house with healthy foods -
     I try to keep my fridge stocked with a good supply of their favorite fruits and vegetables along with a few new ones for them to try.  I keep sweets and treats out of the house mainly for my sake - I am a recovering sugar addict and to me having treats in the house is like sending an alcoholic home with a 6-pack. 

    Be an example!!!
    I put three exclamation points behind that one because I think this is the most important tip of all.  Kids learn best from observation and emulation so if you want your kids to eat healthy, you need to eat healthy. 
     Keep treats as treats -
    I've owned up to one simple fact - kids love sweets.  And even though Mama is working hard to limit her intake of sweets and breads and ice cream, it doesn't mean that they can't have them occasionally.  So, periodically when we're out, I'll surprise the kids with a treat - maybe a Costco hot dog or a cookie from the grocery store.  The important thing is these are really "treats" and not an everyday occurrence.   That way, their diets and lives don't revolved around them.
    Limit their choices -
    My two are at that age where they like to have some say in what they eat.  The problem with giving a 4 and a 5 year old carte blanche in the kitchen is that they have too choices with no guidelines.  Instead, I limit their choices in a way so no matter how they choose, it's still healthy.  For example, at lunch time I don't ask them "What do you want for lunch?"  I make that decision for them and ask them, "What fruit do you want with your lunch?"  That way, they're choices are limited and healthy while still giving them a say in what they're eating.
    Talk about food -
    Now that my son is getting past the "grab an orange off the bottom of the stack and giggle with glee as the rest avelanche to the floor" stage, I don't mind taking them to the grocery store.  We'll walk the aisles, talking about the different foods we see.  My daughter is currently fascinated with animals, so I'm introducing her to the idea that we raise animals to be eaten.  Our discussions in the meat section can get pretty interesting.
    Get them involved
    My kids love to help me cook.  Sometimes they're super involved, like when we make GF muffins or cookies.  Other times, they just want to stand next to me and watch as I prep for dinner.  Last night, my son watched me cut up onions, garlic, and bokchoy for our veggie side dish.  He asked a trillion questions and wanted to sniff everything....he got a big surprised when I let him sniff the onion!  Thankfully, he was willing to laugh it off and ate the stirfry like a champ.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Coupons - Do You Use Them?

    I gave up on couponing years ago, well before I went Paleo or Low-Carb.  Every weekend I'd peruse the coupon fliers that came in the Sunday newspaper and end up clipping coupons for processed foods that we thought we'd like to try.  The clipping and organizing and remembering to take the pile with me - it just started to become more of a hassle than a help.

    So, one weekend I went cold turkey - no more Sunday newspaper (we were only reading the comics and the coupons anyway).  Instead, I kept an eye out on the grocery and drug store ads for the few items that we did use bought them in bulk when they were on sale.  The savings in time (and my sanity) were well worth the 50 cents or $1 I would have saved using coupons.

    Now that I've cleaned up my food, coupons are even more useless to me.  Not once have I run across a coupon for fresh fruit, vegetables, or meat.  It's always for processed crap!  I can't help but wonder if there were actually coupons for fruits and vegetables, would more people eat them?  

    Do you use coupons?  Do you have any good tips?  Comment below...

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Paleo and Nuts - An Affordable Option?

    I love nuts - almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts...they're all yummy to me.  The problem is they're EXPENSIVE!

    Have you priced nuts lately?  My recent foray into the bulk bins at my local Sprouts Farmer's Market was a scary one.  The only "nut" under $6/lb were peanuts, which is really a legume and not Paleo.  There were many "nut mixes" under that amount but all had peanuts as the first ingredient - not a good sign.

    I used to be able to find inexpensive pecans and almonds in the baking aisle of Target.  Not surprisingly, in the last three months, those prices have inflated well past the per-pound prices at Sprouts' bulk bins.  That's when I had to sit down and do some serious thinking - are nuts really worth it?

    Anyone will tell you that nuts are a great source of healthy fats.  Best of all, they're portable and require no heating or utensils, making them a perfect snack to take on long hikes or car trips.  But then again, this "portable snack" can backfire on some people - an ounce of nuts looks so small in your hands, your rational mind doesn't realize the amount of calories you're truly eating, calories that could be put into more filling, more nutritious foods.

    (Yes, I know calorie counting and Paleo aren't supposed to be mixed but when you're looking at different foods, you need to be able to compare apples-to-apples, and calories allow you to do that easily.)

    After shopping around a bit, getting prices from various sources, I finally came to a decision - no more nuts.  I'd rather spend $6 on 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters than on one little pound of nuts.  Financially, it just makes more sense.

    What about you?  Are nuts a part of your diet?  Comment below...

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    My Food Budget 2011 - Update

    My household food budget remains the same for 2011 - $200 to 225 a month (the extra $25 is for when I find a great deal on protein or other bulk items).  I thought I'd periodically post my expenses throughout the year of 2011 to show that yes, it is possible to eat Paleo on a Budget.

    This week has been...."fun" when it came to food.  My kids returned from their father's house ravenous and ate everything in sight for 5 days straight.  Thankfully, things calmed down by Thursday morning but the damage to the fridge was already done.  So, this was a restocking weekend.

    Bad new is that budget sucks this month (January and November are my bad months) so I'm trying to be extra careful about expenses.  Doesn't help that my son's birthday is this week so I had to deal with the added expense of presents and a gluten-free cake (thankfully, my local Target is carrying GF cake mixes now for $3.29) - but it is his one special day of the year so I really don't mind.

    The saving grace for this month is that I stocked the freezer full of protein last month.  Otherwise, it would be chicken leg quarters and ground beef/pork for the month.  Ugh.

    Yesterday was one of those rare times when I decided to brave the stores on Friday afternoon with the kids.  I usually wait until Saturday morning, when they're safely ensconced at their father's house, to do my shopping in peace but we were all feeling restless Friday afternoon and needed some time out of the house.  Also, I think that it's important for the kids to be exposed periodically to grocery shopping and to see what's all out there.  We usually spend forever in the produce section, identifying fruits and vegetables, discussing their colors, and how they rank on your yummy scale.  My 5 year old daughter makes me laugh as she repeatedly exclaims, "I like celery!  It's my favorite!"  and "I like broccoli!  It's my favorite!".

    Anyway, I knew I had to do some major shopping this weekend.  Here's how it played out:

    Sprouts Farmer's Market - $34.26
    • 6.75 lbs Bulk Oatmeal @ 69 cents/lb (for the kids - it was on sale so I bought a lot to get us through to the next sale)
    • 2 lbs Bulk Raisins @ 2.49/lb (for the kids)
    • 5 lbs of carrots for 2.99 (bagged bulk carrots)
    • 2 bunches of celery @ 99 cents/each
    • 4.5 lbs Pears @ $1.20/lb (above my usual limits on fruit prices but we needed some sort of variety besides bananas and apples!)
    • 4 cucumbers @ 69 cents/each
    • 9 lbs apples @ 69 cents/lb
    • 5.75 lbs of tomatoes @ 88 cents/lb
    (I love Sprouts for two reasons - they have bulk bins and they have 69 cent or 88 cent sales on fruits and vegetables every week.....and they're produce is ALWAYS good quality!)

    Target - $25.04
    • 3 loaves of Bread @ $1/each (for the kids)
    • Olive Oil cooking spray (store brand)
    • 8 18-pack eggs @ 1.79/each (this amounts to 12 dozen, if you're keeping score)
    • GF cake mix, frosting and candles for the boy's birthday
    (Eggs, bread, condiments, and frozen vegetables are what I usually buy from my local Target.  No frozen veggies this week - no room in the freezer.)


    Lion Asian Market - 16.26
    • 5 lbs red cabbage @ 69 cents/lb (going to make German Style Red Cabbage this week - been craving it all month)
    • 3 lbs cauliflower@ 69 cents/lb
    • 3.5 lbs bok choy @ 69 cents/lb (these are great for easy stir fry veggies to go along with dinner)
    • 3 lbs broccoli crowns @ 89 cents/lb
    • 5 lbs bananas @ 69 cents/lb
    • 2.5 lbs zucchini @ 50 cents/lb
    (As you can tell from the veggie prices, this place is a god sent during the winter months, BUT I don't buy fruit from here (except for bananas) - every apple and pear I've bought there was bruised)


    • Total for This Shopping Trip: $75.56
    • Total for The Month: $75.56
    • Budget Remaining: $124.44

    Now, before you ask....the above grocery shopping stocks my house for two weeks and easily feeds me and two growing kids (ages 3 and 5) with very minimal waste - though I will probably have to go back to the asian market next weekend to top off our veggies since our supply of frozen is very limited this week.    I thank God every night that my kids like vegetables and don't mind eating the same stuff for breakfast and lunch day after day.  That makes my meal planning and grocery shopping so much easier.  ;-)

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Meal Planning and Fat

    As I mentioned in yesterday's post, one of my goals for 2011 is to eat Paleo 90% (or more) of the time.  I'm also trying to keep my carb intake under 100g a day - any more than that and I feel sluggish and brain dead throughout the day.

    To reach this goal, I'm using an online tool, (free), to plan and log my food for the day.  I spent some time last week figuring out ratios and grams.  I'm trying to keep my carbs under 100 grams and protein intake around 120 - 125 grams while keeping my fat as high as possible. (Yes, I guess you can say I'm on a high-fat diet.  I've tried high protein and it's just not as satisfying nor "appetite controlling" as when I'm eating more fat.)

    I think of this as "retraining" my brain to make the right food choices in regards to carbs.  Also, it's helped to reel in my mindless eating at night - usually I'm starving at night and can't stay out of the fridge.  Who knew it was because I wasn't eating enough throughout the day so by night time my body was telling me to eat, eat, eat!  Now, I have a bedtime snack (apple and peanut butter) and that's it....and surprisingly, I'm quite happy.  Gee, what a surprise!

    Anyway, I wanted to share with you a couple screenshots from my daily food log on FatSecret:

    This is yesterday's ratio chart - Carb vs Fat vs Protein:

    As you can easily see, a majority of my calories comes from fat.  The sheer amount that I eat didn't really hit me until I saw this graph.  Geez....if I believed the drivel that the American Heart Association and all of the other "health organizations" are spouting, I should be dead soon....or at least the size of a two-ton truck.  HA!

    Here is the "grams" breakdown for the same day:

    Interesting, huh?

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Finding Time to Cook Paleo

    We all live a busy life these days so finding time to cook at home, and keeping it Paleo,  or "whole foods" with little processed foods, can be a challenge some times.  Here are a few tips to help you cook at home without losing your mind:

    Cook Ahead -

    If you google "once a month cooking", you'll find a plethora of sites specializing in cooking a whole bunch of meals at one time and freezing them for later consumption.  Of course, many of these sites are not "Paleo-friendly" (most of their recipes have grains or dairy in them) but they are still a treasure trove of information and tips.

    As you know from my great "Chicken Broth" demonstration, I do practice this method now and again.  I cook all of my chicken ahead of time so I always have ready-to-eat protein in the freezer.  You can do a lot with already-cooked chicken - instant chicken soup, chicken salad, chicken taco lettuce wraps...the list goes on and all.  Best  of all, all the bones and skin are immediately available for chicken broth.  I also cook "hard to cook" beef and pork, like large roasts or ribs, ahead of time to save me time and hassle.

    Do Your Prep Work Ahead -

    Wash your fruits and vegetables the moment they come into the house.  Lettuce can be washed, spun dry, and stored in the salad spinner one head at a time so you always have salad fixings.  Carrots and celery can be sliced into sticks for lunches and easy snacks.  Boil a dozen eggs and store them in the fridge for easy protein snacks.  The time you spend on the weekend prepping food will save you even more time during the week, when you're tired and hungry and grumpy.

    Frozen Vegetables Are A God-Sent -

    I use my microwave to do 2 things: heat up cold coffee/tea and cook frozen veggies.  Feel free to buy the cheaper store brands - you don't need the buy the special (and more expensive) "steam in the bag" frozen vegetables to fully utilize this convenience. For my family, I buy broccoli, California Blend veggies, and spinach - all of which I find at Target for around $1/lb.

    My method: At the beginning of my food prep, I pour the veggies into a large glass bowl, cover, and microwave for five minutes and walk away.  I don't return until I'm ready to plate-up the meal.  I've found that the extra time allows the steam/residual heat to finish the cooking and by the time I'm ready to plate, the veggies are at the perfect temp for us to eat them.

    Portion....Portion....Portion -

    Portion out your whole foods into easy-to-cook amounts.

    For example, two or three times a year I can find London Broil for under $2/lb.  Steak is a luxury in our house and when it's that low of a price, I load up my cart with 6 or 7 huge steaks (think "roast" size).

    ((Side note - Some time last year, I was heading home from my usual Friday night dinner with friends when I stopped at my local Safeway to partake in one of the great "London Broil" sales.  It was almost 10 PM and I was the only person in the line buying real food - everyone else was buying snacks and alcohol for their Friday night parties.  One of the college kids behind me asked, "Are you having a BBQ tomorrow?"  I laughed, "No, this is for my family."  His eyes got huge, " many kids do you have?"  That's when I enlightened him on the wonders of freezer storage.))

    Anyway...since I know the kids and I can't eat one of these monster steaks in one or two meals, I always take the time to portion them out before freezing them.  I slice the steaks into meal-sized chunks, wrap them in foil, and label it with a big "LB" so I know what's in there.

    I usually take one of these steaks out on days I know are going to be a little crazy.  They don't take a lot of time to cook via my method -  fry two minutes on each side and then place in a 300 degree oven while I make the rest of dinner - and I can use the leftover oil and drippings in my pan to cook a bag of frozen Spinach straight out of the bag.  Tah-dah!  Dinner is served!

    Plan Your Meals Out -

    Part of my New Years Goals included eating Paleo 90% of the time and restricting my carb intake to under 100g a day.  To keep to this goal, I sit down every morning over breakfast and plan out our meals for the day.  That's when I pull something out of the freezer for dinner and make sure we have all the ingredients.

    (BTW: FatSecret is a great tool to do this with.  It lists the carb, protein, fat, and calories right next to each of the food you add to your daily menu, so you can see at a glance what your daily intake is without having to flip to different pages or dig out a calculator to add stuff.)

    Of course, not everyone has the ability to do this every morning but the same idea can be modified to a weekly or even monthly planning.  For example, you could sit down on Sunday and decide what you're going to have for dinner each day of the week.  Make sure you take in account your schedule - that way, you can accommodate late afternoon appointments, soccer games, or any other engagements that could train wreck your dinner plans and send you running for the nearest McDonald's.  Post the menu somewhere where you'll see it every morning and remember to take that day's protein out of the freezer to defrost.
    Don't Be Afraid To Use Modern Conveniences -

    Crock pots are the greatest time savers in the world for busy families.  Pop in a roast in the morning and you have food ready the moment you walk in the door that night.  You can make some great soups, stews, and chili (minus the beans) without worrying about it boiling over or setting itself on fire.  I've even heard of people roasting whole chickens in there!  Be inventive!

    My favorite kitchen tool has to be my electronic pressure cooker.  I bought it a couple years ago and haven't looked back since.  I've discovered that I can make some great soups in there in no time flat....and ribs are "fall off the bone good" when they're pressure-cooked first.  Protein cooks faster in there and always come out juicy and yummy.  I've stewed whole chickens and made pulled pork in there (though learn from my mistake - cut the large pork roasts into large chunks first.  Otherwise it takes forever to cook through,) and everything always turns out so good.  It was a great investment for me.

    Always Have Easy-To-Cook Food Available -

    I learned pretty quickly that with work and kids and house, I don't always have the time (or brain power) to cook a full meal.  So now I always make sure to have some easy-to-cook meals ready in the wings for those crazy "pull out my hair and scream" sort of days.

    My go-to easy meal is fried eggs and veggies.  It takes about five minutes for a bag of frozen vegetables to cook in the microwave.  While they're cooking, I heat up my cast-iron pan (yes, I cook with cast iron - can't do without it!), and prepping the eggs for a quick fry in some butter.  If I'm lucky, everything is done about the same time and we can sit and eat within 15 minutes of starting dinner.

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Whole Foods on a Budget - Is It Possible?

    I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine last week.  She recently decided to start following the "17-day Diet" (Yes, I know...another fad diet.  At least it's touting whole foods....).  She knows my diet (protein / veggies / fruit / fat) is somewhat similar so she asked me, "How do you afford all of the meat, fruits and vegetables?"

    My reply included the following points:
    • I review the grocery ad fliers ever week and buy only those items that are on sale.
    • I rarely ever buy fruit that is over $1/lb - and yes, that means we eat a lot of apples and pears during the winter.
    • I don't do Organics - they're too expensive for my budget right now.
    • I buy a lot of frozen vegetables (usually at Target where they're around $1/lb).
    • We eat a lot of eggs - they're cheap protein that everyone in this household is willing to eat.
    • I'm not picky when it comes to protein - the harder-to-cook cuts and parts (like liver, skin-on leg quarters, well-marbled beef, etc) are usually the cheapest so I've learned to cook them well. 
    • We rarely eat fish - it's just too expensive and it seems to not have a lot of "staying power" with my body.  I'm usually hungry an hour after I eat fish.
    • I shop around at different stores and keep a Price Book so I can easily compare sale prices to regular prices at other stores.
    • I buy those items I know will keep (condiments, peanut butter, protein and frozen vegetables) in bulk when they're on super sale.
    • I don't mind doing some prep work on the weekends (like precooking a lot of chicken at one time) to make weekday dinner time easier.
    • Waste not, want not - I make broth with chicken and beef bones, I save vegetable trimmings in a bag in the freezer and make vegetable broth when the bag is full (yum!), bacon grease is saved for cooking (best stuff ever to fry eggs in), fruits that are becoming over-ripe are frozen for later baking or smoothies, dinner leftovers are eaten for lunch the next day, and larger pots of soup or stews are bagged and frozen in lunch-size portions for later consumption.  Nothing goes to waste here....
    Do you have any great ideas on eating whole foods while on a budget?  Comment below....

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    New Years Resolutions? No way!

    Happy New Years!  I hope everyone had a great time ringing in the New Years last night and that your hangovers are mild.  ;-) 

    I enjoyed my week off - my kids spent the week between Christmas and New Years with their father and I spent most of that time cleaning, purging household stuff we didn't need any more, and finished off a few projects so I could start off the New Year with a clean slate.  Of course, now that the holidays are over, it's time to settle back down into the joys of everyday life once again.  The kids are home, the Christmas gifts have been tossed into a corner and forgotten about, and the days are...well, let's just stay that chaos has returned home to roost once again.

    With the start of a new year, people everywhere are talking about New Years Resolutions.  Personally, I don't do resolutions - those always feel like "wishes".  Instead, I sat down while the kids were gone and wrote Yearly Goals for me, my kids (homeschooling), and my business.  Then I wrote out January's mini-goals, adding a few miscellaneous things that I've noticed need to be worked on (like reading all the email newsletters I've been dumping into a folder and ignoring for the last year.   Oops.)  I also took some time to tweak our daily and weekly schedule to ensure we have time to meet these goals. As I often tell people: it's not all Netflix and Bonbons over here...  ;-)

    I'm proud to say that nowhere on my goals does it say "lose weight".  Yep, you read that right - I've decided that striving to "lose weight" on top of everything else will drive me slowly insane.  I want to focus on eating right (hello, Paleo!) and exercising more.  And if I lose weight....well, that will be a great side effect of all my hard work.  I'm not saying that I'm 100% happy with where I am - I'd love to lose another 25 lbs - but really, with everything else I want to do this year, something has to give, right?  So, no more scale watching for me.  I'll step on the scale once a month just to see where I am, but otherwise, it's being ignored.

    What about you?  What are your Annual Goals this year?