Week 3: Menu & Receipt

This week, there were several grass-fed meat sales I wanted to take advantage of so I did things a little differently. Instead of creating a base menu from the proteins I had in stock and then buying to fill in the recipes, I started by creating a shopping list based on the weekly circular sales I hoped to get in on. It was 90% meat which will help build protein stock, to then cut costs over the next few weeks. Follow me?

After eyeing up my hunt, I then looked at my presumed financial total and decided which produce we could use to roast, soup or salad easily. Those easy produce choices for my family are carrots (I could have skipped them this week but grabbed a bag since I was at budget) $2.49, onions (1 of the cleanest non organic option) $2.99, (always) organic bell peppers $3.99, cucumbers 2/$1.98, a tub of organic greens $4.99 and to top it off, bananas $.49/lb and (always) organic apples 5lb/$4.99. There were a few sales in that mix of produce, but I found better deals on some items after reviewing the Dirty Dozen App while shopping. One of these days I should start remembering which plants are on which list, but I find I  have the opposite of a photographic memory: as I see it, I forget it.

I predicted $100.03 and the final bill was $99.07.

I predicted $100.03 and the final bill was $99.07.

A few choice notes: I bought a bag of coconut flour because it was on sale AND in stock, a rare sequence of events $5.15. I also bought 2/$10 k-cups and a box of EnviroKidz Leapin Lemurs (my kids’ favorite) because they are Gluten Free AND Non GMO Verified $3.79. Although, I usually wait to buy EnviroKidz brand cereals when they go on sale for $2.99. I’ve also taken notice to the additional varieties of free range, VEG FED eggs in the regular refrigerated section and one brand was on sale at 2 dozen/$5. I was paying $2.99 for half a dozen when I wasn’t able to buy from the local market on Thursdays. WIN. Other than that, I spent the bulk of my budget on meat.

After the days bounty was put away, I saw down with my laptop and used Supercook.com to come up with some ideas to use all this meat, a lot of it ground, in a variety of ways throughout the week. This site allows you to enter what ingredients you have and then recipes containing those things are displayed in order of adherence to your list. GREAT tool for folks who aren’t able to eat certain foods likes eggs, nuts, etc.

menu

Saturday: Meatloaf Balls and Roasted Veggies (use an egg, OR NOT, add puree and/or chopped veggies, maybe wrap a few in bacon! I like to make a ton so I have leftovers for breakfast or lunch plus some to freeze for a quick and easy option for the kids. You can make them as big or small as you like.)

Sunday: Sausage and Peppers with salad (I’ll cook peppers and onions in a skillet with the sausage.)

Monday: Shepard’s Pie (we stayed with friends during Hurricane Sandy and my daughters fell in love with this delicious cold weather food. To paloe-ize, instead of mashed white pots, use mashed sweet OR mashed cauli. And as Uncle Corey reminds: Remember to paint it with butter. No problem! Also easy to make ahead of time.)

Tuesday: Pulled Pork with salad and biscuits (There are so many good pulled pork recipes. I think I’ll use one that involves cinnamon and coffee grounds. I used this great recipe for sweet potato biscuits on Thanksgiving.)

Wednesday: LEFTOVERS, we’ll have plenty between Shepard’s Pie and the pulled pork.

Thursday: $5 Pizza and salad (I’ll probably have more leftovers or cook up some bacon and scallops and eat them out of a bowl with a spoon)

Friday: Turkey Veggie Soup (found it on Supercook! I’ve also seen ways to make it with a chicken broth or a tomato base for the soup – whatever your pleasure!)

Saturday: Pork and Onion Casserole (I wish I could spell that word without spell check.)

I always like to throw a few random ideas for my husband and the kids at the bottom as a reminder. I know it’s annoying. We made Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies from Eat Like A Dinosaur today. As my 5 yo puts it “Mama’s famous chocolate chip cookies!” She even brought them in for her class snack once. The girls are looking forward to having 2 small cookies for breakfast tomorrow. Ha. Less sugar and more protein than standard cereal or pancakes!

Tomorrow I’ll prep a variety of items including meatballs, omelet muffins, hard-boiled eggs, guacamole, and perhaps I’ll prep some more pancakes for my dear little 5yo towards the end of the week. She loves them and they keep her fueled on school days. Plus it’s so convenient to have them in the freezer.

What are you favorite budget saving tips?

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There’s an App for that!

I’m on my iPhone all the time. Whether I’m looking up a word in the dictionary, scheduling my calendar, posting to Pushups and Carrots on Facebook or using it to log my workout, everything I want or need is handy! I’m not a junkie, however. I have 1 page of apps. And I’m not a gamer so everything I download is a tool with a purpose.

Here are a few of my favorite apps that help keep me focused, motivated, and in shape. AND THEY’RE FREE.

 

  • dirtydozenDirty Dozen – Simply lists the 12 most contaminated fruits and veggies. 5 servings from this list will bring no less than 14 different pesticides into your body a day. YUCK. You’ll want to buy these 12 plants organic whenever possible. The app also offers a Clean 15 list which you can find deals on since you’re not committed to organic-only options. It’s an easy go-to when I’m in the produce section. They even have a list of 53 fruits and veggies ranked in order of most pesticides. Apples are #1. I believe 5lb bags of organic apples are on sale this week at GIANT. Just saying.

 

  • nongmononGMO – I’m the asshole standing in the organic aisle just staring at her cell phone. I promise I’m doing something valuable, not texting my girlfriends. Typically, I’m comparing brands via my nonGMO app and finding the brand who doesn’t use genetically modified organisms in their ingredients. I am especially interested if this is a non-paleo item, as I want it to be as clean and wholesome as possible for my 4 and 5 year olds’ bodies. Just because something is labeled organic, does not mean it is the best choice. Research your food.

 

  • workoutsWorkouts – This takes the guess-work out of what exercise routine to perform when I’m running behind, only have 30 mins and can’t think straight because I just rolled out of bed. Choose your target area ie; abs, arms, butt, legs, cardio or full body, then choose your length of time 10-30 minutes. Only have 5 minutes? Make it count. The app provides a count down during each exercise so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, it also shows a video of the movement along with posted tips for best form and technique. EASY PEASY. Remember to stretch.

 

What are your favorite apps? PLEASE SHARE!


Colds, Cleaning & Natural Solutions

Oh the joys of catching a cold. I am currently raw-nosed, weepy eyed and foggy headed. I’m hoping it skips my girls but I heard some coughing from one a night ago and the other was sneezing this morning. They’ve been off school for 9 days over the holiday and return in 2 more, please don’t get sick little ones!

I’m definitely of the approach that we need to live in our environments and not sterilize them. That being said, my go-to solution for all things cleaning and disinfecting is vinegar and water. See the recipe below, further explanation can be found here. When there is an illness in the house, I equip my kids with vinegar wipes and have them ‘wash’ all their Polly Pockets, Barbies, Legos and markers, crayons and paints while I spray down the house. Teamwork!

I literally just refill old cleaning product containers with my vinegar solutions, including sprays, wipes and scrubs.

I literally just refill old cleaning product containers with my vinegar solutions, including sprays, wipes and scrubs.

Vinegar Solution

Step 1:Pour a mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and hot water into a spray bottle of your choosing. Vinegar is a strong acid that kills most germs.

Step 2:Spray the vinegar solution onto the affected area to kill germs left by common household contaminants such as pet accidents, vomit or raw food. According to a study conducted by the University of Florida in 2003, when sprayed on strawberries contaminated with E. coli and other germs, a 10-percent vinegar solution reduced bacteria by 90 percent and viruses by 95 percent.

Step 3:Allow the surface to dry. The vinegar smell disappears once the area fully dries.

Vinegar has amazing properties, is super cheap and can help with almost anything. It’s like coconut oil’s best friend! Speaking of coconut oil, I’ve been dabbing it under my nose to help the cracking. It’s quite soothing. Check out this quick list for more amazing properties of vinegar and household uses. Now check out this one for a ridiculous amount of additional ideas!
Also remember to open the windows and allow the air in your house or office to circulate, yes, even in the dead of winter. Fresh air is healing! And don’t hesitate to catch some rays while you’re near the window, natural Vitamin D is godly in its own right. Try to soak up some rays before applying your sun block this summer. Your body will thank you.
sun_shade_1

What are your go-to natural cleaning and healing products? I’d love to learn more!

 

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About Fasting

Picture that:

Mr. Paleolithic-Man is moving camp with a few friends, either for lack of food or water, climate change or because they have become the hunted. He gathers his tools and animal skins, a few nuts or sun-dried meat from camp in a satchel and they set off on a journey which could be miles or days away. As he and his friends travel to their next destination, they hunt when and what they can, as needed. Some days are better than others. They hope the few morsels they carry tide will them over till their next big find. Their strong, defined bodies continue on until they reach their destination. They set up camp and Mr. Paleolithic-Man sets off on a hunt while friends gather local plants to refuel themselves after hours/days of hard work.

 

Picture this:

You and your family decide to spend the day at the local amusement park, pool, carnival, block party or boardwalk. You drive your car to the destination then walk and play and enjoy yourselves until hungry or tired. You eat whatever you find tantalizing in the moment, enticed by colorful signs and bright lights, gooey concoctions and fried foods. Packaged snacks are so easy to pass out, so you do. You eat until your stomachs are heavy then you move onto the car for the drive home. You enter your house where all bodies flop onto the couch and recover. It’s not the long day you’re recovering from, mind you, it’s your body trying to salvage enough energy out of the grains and sugar you chose to fuel it with to get up and prepare dinner, tidy the house or get the kids ready for bed.


Now ponder this:

If you’re on a path of health the standard fast food options are the last thing you choose to eat. You point out the funky neon signs and the funny characters of the vendors at the park to your friends and family as you pass but you wait to eat until you find a reasonable option, or you go into your satchel (ie: purse, baby bag, backpack, etc) and pull out a banana or homemade jerky, perhaps you were better prepared with an insulated bag and share fruit and chicken and vegetables with your mates. OR *gasp* you just wait. It could be less than an hour till you’re at home where you have a refrigerator that has fresh, nutritious food waiting inside. Perhaps it will be 4 hours or 12 hours until you have access to reasonable, fresh, clean food. I promise, you will not die.

When people hear the word “Fast” they often think of religious sacrifice or fad-dieting. Fasting is a word I’m using for a less intense experiences and is something our bodies were designed to endure. I’m also not referring to Intermittent fasting, although an amazing option for building muscle and strength, which I’ve had my own positive experience with. Whether it’s 20 minutes after your stomach growling or a day, you can wait to eat. If you’ve been fueling your body with real food, it will find energy within. You will lean out over time and change eating patterns. Your insulin levels will steady out, your health will refresh and you won’t feel like you’re going to rip someone’s arm off their body and devour it after a little practice and patience.

Now, your child, on the other hand, may act as if they have completely lost their minds when they become hungry. This is our fault, not theirs. We have programmed them (and ourselves) to eat 3 times a day and pop a snack whenever they feel like it, half the time we’re only eating because we’re bored. Always grab an apple or a banana when you leave the house to help little ones through times of fasting until they are no longer ‘scheduled’ to eat. As adults, we have logic on our side. We also have decades of routine, so it is a hard choice to opt for fresh food until you’ve had a lot of practice. I’m working with 18 months of experience in clean (and mostly paleo) eating, it gets better, but you have to change your thinking. Your body and your health will thank you for it.

It’s not always easy to wait for fresh, clean food, but it’s always the right choice.

Setting yourself up for success is the best option. Eat before you head out, fueling your body with a hearty portion of protein befor a long day. Know where you’re going and plan ahead with snacks or a mental map of the day so your brain knows your body will be fed at some point. It’s more of a mental game then anything else. Drink water and stay hydrated, it’ll keep those pesky headaches away, too. Most importantly, however, enjoy yourself! Life is for living. Eating clean is easy, stop over-thinking, stop over-complicating and relax in the simple decision of plants & protein.

 

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