National Sloppy Joe Day!

Welcome back for another Food on Friday topic. I love Sloppy Joes! Do you? Today in the USA, is National Sloppy Joe Day. Watch the short video below to learn about the history of sloppy joes and her recipe. I make mine a little different than she does. I really enjoy her food history videos. Be sure and check out some of her others. I was actually going to make these today, but I completely forgot to take out the meat to thaw. But, I have made these lots of times using the ingredients below. My new week for the grocery budget challenge will begin Sunday, as that is when I have time to grocery shop.

Now, I have CKD, and I try to avoid HFCS at all costs. It upsets my stomach and generally makes me not feel good. There is a standard Sloppy Joe sauce that is available in stores. It is affordable, but it does contain HFCS and lots of sodium. So, I choose not to use it, and honestly, I don’t even think it tastes that good. Keep your portion size of the meat mixture to no more than 3-4 ounces, and try to make a vegetarian option using mushrooms. Ooh, I bet that is delicious.

To lighten up your Sloppy Joe you could use ground turkey, lean ground beef, or even ground chicken. A whole-grain bun would add more nutrients than just a plain white bun. If you are trying to keep it light don’t add cheese to the finished sandwich.

These are the ingredients I use.

  1. Lean ground beef, the leanest I can find, or ground turkey.
  2. About a tbsp of olive oil to cook the ground beef and veggies in
  3. A bell pepper, green is the most affordable
  4. Some chopped onion. I like Vidalia onions.
  5. Garlic minced, or any garlic you have on hand. I generally have garlic powder.
  6. Low sodium tomato paste.
  7. 2/3 of a cup of catsup. I like organic and prefer sugar free, though no one else does.
  8. 1.3 cup of whatever vinegar you have on hand. I usually have red wine vinegar, or rice vinegar on hand.
  9. 1 tbsp yellow mustard
  10. 1 tbsp of brown sugar, use stevia brown sugar if you watch your sugar intake
  11. 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce.

That is it. After you cook the ground beef, onions, and peppers, add everything else, stir it all in, and voila a Sloppy Joe is born. Don’t forget to drain the fat off of your meat.

Let me know how you make Sloppy Joes, and if you don’t if you will try this recipe and how much you like it.

Disclaimer

Ouch Grocery Prices!

Hello, everyone! If you read here often then you know that I missed my Wednesday post for the next kidney class. I worked all day, and it was a rough day, and I was exhausted. I just plain forgot. I do have to work again next Wednesday, but it is mostly meeting stuff, and I will be bored and thinking about other things I need to do, lol.

The other day I blogged about the really high gas prices. It cost me 40 dollars to almost fill my tank this morning. That is about 8 dollars more than typical. 8 dollars may not sound like a lot, but even if it was 8 dollars a week, that is 32 dollars a month, plus another probably 35 for my husband’s car, extra each month. It will add up pretty fast.

Today is the start of week 10 of my 63 dollars per week grocery challenge budget. That equals 21 dollars per person per week. We pretty much have been able to stick with it, mostly because I shop smart, make a list, shop my pantry first, and have an idea for meals from what we already have on hand. Our on-hand foods are dwindling, and soon this will just be a budget of 63 dollars per week. The budget is for food items only, and not for pets, or other home supplies. You can see the picture of the items I bought this week. I checked all of my local stores for the best deals, and Walmart had the best deals. I mean I could get one or two things elsewhere but to me, it isn’t worth it to go to several stores, and it was pouring rain today too. Anyway, I stuck to the list and it was 5 dollars over. Since these are typical of what I will buy each week, this is probably going to happen each week. So, I will have to put something back each week to stay within budget. Since we are a family, all with different eating needs, and styles, it is hard to follow a strict budget. I have CKD and am on a weight loss journey. My husband eats what he wants, and I have a teen, so yeah teens, lol.

Walmart had the best price on boneless skinless chicken breasts, at 1,99 a pound. Yes, I know I can get another variety of chicken for less, but again, I have to buy what everyone will eat. I could do boneless skinless chicken thighs, but apparently, they didn’t have any. You will also notice I did not buy much fresh stuff. I needed onions, I use them in everything, and that bag of onions was 4.98 and the more affordable yellow onions were sold out. I bought frozen veggies instead, which I prefer over canned. No organic purchases either, this week. Everything is at least a little bit more expensive. I did buy more brown rice because for the price and the nutrition profile it works for me. I can add some beans and we will have a complete protein. I also have the bag of lentils from last week that can be added to rice. In my pantry is also quinoa.

What will be on the menu this week? Tonight, we are finally going to eat the ham steak, some pineapple rice, and a veggie. If I decide I don’t want the ham, I will stir fry up some onions, and mushrooms to put over my rice. Nobody else will eat that but me, lol. Tomorrow we are eating out because of our anniversary. Sunday, my son will be visiting and we will have kielbasa, mac n cheese, baked beans, and green beans. I have some apple chicken sausages in my freezer, that I will eat instead of kielbasa, though I love kielbasa. I may or may not have the mac n cheese. I still have one package of ravioli left and that is why I bought the sauce. I can have my whole grain pasta with sauce. I don’t really like ravioli anyway, but my husband and daughter do, and price-wise it is a good deal. Beyond that, I have not really planned much out. My biggest struggle right now is breakfast, and lunch, on the days I work. I did some prep and got some potatoes done in the air fryer. I can just heat these up and have an egg or two over them in the morning. When you walk 15,000 steps a day at work, I need breakfast to start my day. If I had a desk job it would be different. Lunch is harder. I don’t want to prep a meal for the next day when I get home from work, and I don’t want to take leftovers that will need to be warmed. That is why I bought the whole wheat bread. I really like the Ole Wellness low-carb wraps, as does my husband. But, you only get 8 wraps, and the price of them has gone through the roof. The whole wheat bread was only 1.48 and I didn’t check, but I hope it doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup. My husband will not use whole wheat bread, so I had to get regular sandwich bread for him. I still have not had time to try making my own bread, but after next week, my weeks should quiet down a little. I can pack a sandwich and a piece of fruit for lunches. I still have apples and oranges on hand.

I am still contemplating shopping every two weeks, at 126 dollars, instead of weekly. I have not decided if that will be more cost-effective. If gas continues to rise, most likely it will be.

Are food prices high where you live? Let me know in the comments what you are doing to save money on food. There were a lot of empty spots on the shelves at my Walmart too, this week.

Please remember that we are doing this as a challenge, to save money, avoid food waste, and challenge ourselves. If you have food insecurity that is not by choice, please reach out to local organizations that can assist you to get food.

Disclaimer

63 Dollars Per Week Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge, Start Of Week 8

Hello, and welcome to Friday. If you have been following along, my family of 3 is doing an extreme grocery budget challenge hopefully for the whole year of 2022. The amount of money we saved has already afforded us a new washing machine paid in cash, not on credit. I have had two weeks that I went over, one on purpose, and one was an oops because I just didn’t pay attention. Each week I allow myself to spend 21 dollars per person or 63 dollars. We are using up existing inventory that we have on hand, but I do not want to run out of food completely, so each week I spend the 63 dollars. This is only for food and does not include household items, or dog food. So far we have not had to buy any condiments, or spices, from the last Sam’s Club grocery haul back in December before this challenge began. We also have allotted other money for special occasion dinners when my son and his wife come to visit. There has been some minor grumbling from my family, but for the most part, we all see the benefits to this budget, and since we are eating well it is fine. That doesn’t mean they don’t spend their own money on a soda here and there, or other snack items. So far I have been able to include fresh fruit, and a savory snack such as popcorn, crackers, or pretzels. I generally would rather discourage snacking altogether. Starting today my start and end day has changed. This week and next will be from Friday to Thursday. After that, I am not sure. Today is also the end of week 7. My husband was gone all week so it was a mish-mash of eating for me and my daughter. We generally ate easy light meals.

In the picture below you will see all of the items I bought this week. Not pictured are ice cream sandwiches that had to be put in the freezer right quickly. I did go to Aldis again, even though it is not close, because I had to take my daughter to an eye appt, right near it. With all of the stuff going on in Ukraine, and gas prices going higher, we will need to adjust where we grocery shop in the coming weeks.

I spent $41.61 at Aldis and again this time they did not have the coffee creamer that my husband will drink, nor did they have pizza sauce. So, I went to Publix and spent $15.44 and got creamer, pizza sauce, and the ravioli were buy one get one free. I forgot I had ravioli on my meal plan so I am glad I saw them at Publix. The creamer was 3 for 9 and that was a very good deal. So, my total for this week was $57.05 which means I am under budget this week by $5.95 woot woot. I noticed at Publix that some of their prices are still pretty reasonable, but some items are way through the roof. I forgot to get eggs, so if I end up needing them I will have a little room in the budget to get them.

On my meal plant this week and in no particular order is:

Cesar chicken salad

BBQ fish

Air fryer ravioli with sauce

Turkey teriyaki

Breakfast for dinner

Cheese quesadillas with tomato soup

Tonight, there are still 3 hot dogs left in the package. So, we will be having a hot dog each, on a bun, with a nice salad on the side. I want macaroni salad but my husband probably wants a green salad.

Creating and sticking to a budget is difficult. If you would like to use a health coach to help you use the contact form at the end of this post and send me an email for a free consultation.

Disclaimer

Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge End Of Week 6!

Hello, to all of my amazing readers. I am at the end of week 6 of my 2022 Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. Go back and read the previous weeks to see how this has evolved in relation to my kidney disease. The week technically ends on Sunday, but I will go over what we will be eating through the weekend from items we already have on hand, and the groceries I bought this week. So, far, with the exception of Superbowl week, we have been able to stick to the budget with no issues. Yes, we run out of our favorites by the end of the week, and I have to be more creative with meals, but we are certainly not hungry. One thing I have definitely noticed is that I can cook one large meal that can be leftovers for a couple lunches and another dinner. That means 3 meals a week can be stretched to cover the other days. We don’t typically eat breakfast, except maybe my husband some days, and we always have eggs and toast on hand. Lunches are always leftovers, peanut butter sandwiches, salad if the supplies are all here, grilled cheese, soup, etc. Below you will see the dinners I made this week, and how you can modify them for kidney disease. Remember, I am now hovering right around stage 2, and your dietary requirements are going to be different than mine, along with any other comorbidities you may have. They are examples of what can be done, not dietary advice. I have been off all week because I start a new job next week, so my lunches will need to be figured in as well. My old job would feed me, but it was in no way a healthy option for CKD.

Monday- This might be my new favorite meal ever. I made chicken alfredo for my husband and daughter. They love it, I hate it. Plus, the already made alfredo sauce is full of phosphorus, like 450 mg per 1/2 cup. If you are only allowed 700 mg of phosphorus per day on your renal diet, you can see where this is problematic. There is one you can make homemade on one of the kidney sights that is much less phosphorus. It is also expensive to make. Anyway, what I did was I sauteed some mushrooms and onions with the chicken. I cooked the pasta and drained it. I measure all of my proteins on a scale, except for eggs. On my plate, I put one cup of pasta, 2.5 ounces of chicken breast, some mushrooms, and onions, and then for my sauce, I use 3/4 of a cup of canned creamed corn heated up. This was so delicious! I am the only one in my house that will eat creamed corn. I love it! Try to buy low-sodium canned items.

Tuesday- Leftovers, and we still had some leftovers from Superbowl Sunday that we were eating for lunches.

Wednesday- Actually, lol, I think Monday was Superbowl leftovers, and the chicken alfredo was Tuesday and Wednesday. No reason to delete all that and fix it, lol.

Thursday- When we still had our Sam’s Club membership I had bought a box with like 8 Stove Top stuffing in it. I have no idea what I was thinking when I bought that. Anyway, we still have like 6 boxes left. This meal is not for people with high blood pressure or very strict sodium restrictions. You can find the recipe here. The original recipe called for swiss cheese, but I only had a Mexican blend, so that is what I used. I also left out the vinegar. You can certainly buy low sodium cream of chicken soup, and lower sodium cheese. Swiss cheese, especially you can find in a lower sodium option. There is also a lower sodium stuffing mix, but I had to use what I had on hand because it is a budget challenge. We had 4 pork chops, so this made enough to have for lunch on Friday.

Friday- This was just something I threw together with ingredients I had on hand. I originally was going to make Taco soup, if you read my post-Monday. However, it is way too hot to make soup today. So, I made a taco casserole, actually, my teenager did, that is how easy it is. Buy low sodium taco seasoning or make your own. This made a huge amount of food and will feed us all the way to Saturday and maybe Sunday.

Saturday- taco casserole leftovers.

Sunday- There may still be taco casserole left, but my son and his wife are coming to visit, so we decided that we will buy pizza. We have tried making homemade pizza before but no one really likes the crust at all and it doesn’t really get eaten. I am all about not wasting food.

Next week I am going to try to make a kidney friendlier version of the Tik Tock feta cheese meal that everyone is talking about. If you are not sure what I mean Google it. Next week I am also going to discuss a new CKD drug that has a lot of promise for reducing the risk of kidney disease progression, and a new CKD supplemental drink I found. Be sure and come back to read all about it.

Are you joining in on the 21 dollars a week per person food budget challenge? Let me know how you are doing in the comments. I have actually learned so much about how much money we were wasting on food.

Disclaimer

Living With CKD: Eating From My Pantry And Food Budget Challenge End Of Week 5

If you read my post from Monday, which was the start of week 5, then you know I went way over budget this week due to the Super Bowl party we will be having. Even though it is small, and just us, all that extra food added up quickly, and some of it I had on hand! Going over budget once in a while is not a huge big deal, and we are lucky enough to be able to do so. Food prices are so high right now and I was disappointed with the prices at the store I chose to shop at this week. But, we have used just about everything I bought this week, or will by Sunday, plus finished up leftovers from last week and used items from the pantry that have been there for a while. If you are new here this is a food budget challenge where I challenge myself to spend 21 dollars per person per week. That means I can spend 63 dollars per week on groceries. I have CKD, so the second part is more of a self-study to see if I can eat more affordable shelf-stable foods with CKD and still feel good. If you have been following then you know that no, unless I buy organic, and low sodium options, I do not feel good when I eat these types of foods. This makes it harder to stay on a budget because I refuse to sacrifice all of the hard work I have done to get my kidneys back to stage 2. But, I know I can eat nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans and they are shelf-stable and feel OK, as long as I am mindful of portion sizes due to phosphorus. As we move on with this budget challenge, through the year, as our pantry winds down, plant-based protein sources will be vital. I just am not sure how my family will do with that since this is a challenge, not a necessity. So, I guess I need to rename this challenge because I have answered that question.

My husband is adjusting well to the new budget challenge. He only ran out of milk once. My daughter, however, not so much. She is very much into the more expensive and unhealthy convenience meals. At least I think they are expensive considering they are low-quality nutrition in my opinion. Next week I will be back on track and will head to Aldis again because so far that has been where I get the best prices, and they have organic options for less. I really do like Misfits Market, especially the way they do it now, but this time of year we do not eat as much fresh produce and it goes bad too fast. Obviously, throwing food away is not part of this budget. But, if you have never tried Misfits check them out. They have a great mission.

What did we eat this week? It was pretty much as I stated it would be.

Monday was a bagel, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwich. This is a favorite at our house. I eat only one and will have fruit or a salad on the side.

Tuesday was homemade scalloped potatoes and ham. I used this Taste of Home recipe. I modified it a little. I did not use 2% milk because I don’t buy that. But, I did have Half and Half that needed to be used up and it was the exact amount needed. I also didn’t use Thyme, I don’t like it, or parsley because I didn’t have any on hand. However, I did use Rosemary and sprinkled Paprika over the top. If you have never cooked with Rosemary, it is the bomb! You only need a very tiny amount to get a ton of flavor. This was a huge hit and I will definitely make it again. For CKD it probably is not something you want to eat often. I leach the potatoes by soaking them for a while, then rinsing, prior to use. This leaches out a lot of potassium and phosphorus. I would probably use skim milk the next time to save on the fat content. Ham is ham and not something I eat more than a couple of times a year. This made a ton of food and fed us for lunch and dinner a couple more days.

Wednesday I had a board meeting so I needed something fast. I mistakingly bought from Sam’s a huge tin of their Member’s Mark chunk chicken. They usually are small cans but for some reason, this one was one big can. I knew I had to use this up, but I wasn’t sure how. I know some people put it in soups and casseroles, but I am not crazy about it like that. So, I decided to make chicken salad wraps with some pretzels on the side. We like the low-carb, high fiber wraps. These are going to be higher in phosphorus as they are whole grain. Be mindful of your portion sizes with CKD. I add celery, and onion to the meat, plus some mustard and light Mayonnaise. We are now out of light Mayo and I will have to use full fat because we have a huge tub of it from Sam’s to use up. I drain and rinse the chicken to reduce the amount of sodium. This was really good, easy, and economical. It made a ton because of the large can size and we are still eating it for lunch today I will take some for my lunch tomorrow at work. I stick to a 2.5-ounce portion size.

Thursday Leftover scalloped potatoes and ham with green beans. I forgot to say we had fresh asparagus on Tuesday. I didn’t like it, though, so I probably won’t buy it again.

Friday today we will be having Chicken Alfredo over pasta with broccoli. I buy frozen broccoli and steam it. The Alfredo Sauce, in the pics below, came from Misfits Market. It was not cheap, and it has been in my pantry for a while. I don’t care for Alfredo sauce, but the others in my family do. I will probably only use half the jar, so we will be having this again soon. I also had Rao’s organic pasta in my pantry, also from Misfits. It isn’t cheap but it only has one ingredient. You can see the information for the Alfredo sauce below. Compare it to a non-organic variety here, and see the difference mainly in the ingredient list. While it is true it is cheaper to buy in bulk, when you are on one of these budget challenges you will have to buy smaller amounts. I bought a very small package of organic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts and I think it was 6 dollars for a pound. That is expensive, true, but I am getting organic which I prefer. Sometimes I can get Publix Greenwise brand, which is organic, on sale at a decent price, but that was before all of this inflation crap.

Saturday my family will eat this tomorrow as well when I am at work. Cook once eat twice, or thrice, that is a good way to do this.

Sunday Superbowl junk food fest, lol. The menu will include pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce, tortilla chips with salsa, fresh veggies with ranch dip, pickles, and of course they have to have soda. I don’t drink soda it is Pepsi and dark soda is a bad choice for anyone with CKD.

Who will you route for in the Superbowl? I have no team favorite as my team didn’t make it, nor did my husband’s. So, I have picked the Bengals to win.

Disclaimer

Who Likes Squats?

I would say most people do not like to do squats, but some people probably do. The other day I was reading an article on bone health and preventing Osteoporosis. With CKD you know how important bone and muscle health is. Squats were considered one of the best weight- bearing exercises you could do for bone health. I mean think about it, you are lifting your own weight from a seated to a standing position and then back to seated. The article stated that women in certain cultures who regularly sit on the floor have the best bone density in that study. This is because they have to get up and then down to the floor several times a day. I mean think of it this way, say you have an office job but you get up from your chair at least every hour and take 250 steps. In an 8 hour work-day, that means you would have done at least 8 squats as long as your chair is not high. Even if you have an active job, doing squats will improve your bone density.

Watch the video to learn how to properly do a squat. Start low and build up to more repetitions. Your buns and hamstrings probably will complain, especially at first, but your bones will thank you.

Now for a quick update on the pantry food challenge.

I looked up rolled oats that I used in my blueberry crisp and 1/2 of a cup contains 17 grams of protein, 66 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fiber, 523 mg of Phosphorus, 2 mg of Sodium, and 429 mg of Potassium. This makes oats a concerning food item for CKD. The recipe called for 3/4 of a cup of oats. Be sure and eat the blueberry crisp in moderation only. The homemade sloppy joe sauce was amazing! Compared to Manwich sloppy joe sauce in a can, it has much better nutrition for CKD, namely in sodium content and it contains HFCS. The frozen corn per 1/2 cup has 3 grams of protein, 3 mg of sodium, 213 mg of potassium, and 70 mg of phosphorus. Be sure and be mindful of portion sizes with the corn as well.

Today is an all-leftover dinner day. So, anything I have already cooked will be finished up today.

This weekend is the hardest for me, any weekend- because I work 12-hour shifts. On the first day I can manage a healthy meal, the second day I am too tired and with little sleep not much time to get something together. I may go ahead and prep a bunch of stuff today so I can eat healthy both days. Below are some pantry items I have thrown into my lunch bag in case I don’t get prepped for Sunday. We can eat at work for free, but I find the food generally upsets my stomach so I try not to. I have shown just the item and the labels.

The first item is for Poptarts. The list of ingredients is immense, but I forgot to take a picture. Then a bag of Cheez Its, Quest protein bar, a tun pouch, and Canola mayo I bought that Canola mayo through Misfits Market and I have not tried it yet. I think I will make tuna, and chicken salad so I have something for both days. The only real difference is that it has more Omega 3 than other mayos do and less saturated fat. The Quest protein bars I need to eat up. According to one website, one bar contains 10% of the RDA for phosphorus. I bought them and didn’t love them, but I refuse to waste them. They are so expensive. I have to eat three meals at work because I work 12- hour shifts. I will probably have my last serving of blueberry crisp before I leave for breakfast. I will also stick in a banana, and maybe some clementines. These are high in potassium so they will not work for everyone. That will avoid a fattening greasy breakfast there. If you work with CKD you know how hard it can be to stick to a diet and to get enough fluids. Fluids are an even bigger concern for me than food. As far as pantry meats go, you really can’t beat tuna. Try to buy the brand with the best ingredient list. I have tried organic tuna and I do not like it at all.

Have an awesome weekend and let me know how you plan for workdays with CKD.

Disclaimer

Meatless Meal #2!

If you read here earlier this week then you know that I am trying to get my family to eat two meatless meals a week. These are not Vegan, just meatless.

Why? Because plant-based proteins are generally more affordable and I want to expand the food items we consume in our diet. It can also help the environment.

The first meal in this week no one really objected to. It was an egg, cheese, and bagel sandwich. Everybody loved it. My husband was less enthused with the second meal, which you can see in the photo below. That was what I ate and everyone had the choice to eat that. That didn’t happen, lol. My husband and daughter refused to eat the pork and beans. My husband prefers the sugar-laden Bush’s baked beans of which I had none on hand. He did eat the salad which had cheese on it. I think he ate a Clementine as his fruit, instead of banana and grapes.

For me, with CKD, I had 1/2 cup of pork and beans. Sometimes I only have 1/4 cup depending on what else I have eaten that day. I had 8 red grapes with 1/4 of a medium banana. On top of that was 1 tbsp of whipped topping. Then I had a huge salad with Romaine lettuce, orange bell pepper, onion, tomato, and 1 ounce of sharp cheddar cheese. I believe all of these were organic. I used 1 tbsp of Country French dressing, which is my favorite. Also, on the plate are two small slices of deli bread you can buy at Walmart for 1 dollar. This was delicious and super filling. I could totally eat this every day as a meal and be content.

I have not thought about what two meatless meals I will create next week, but now I feel better if they eat crappy over the weekend when I am at work. Plus they are baking Christmas cookies. Watch for a sugar-free cookie recipe next week and why I am making them.

Have an amazing weekend!

Disclaimer

Walk With Me!

Family Cookoff #3 Dollar Store Meal

Welcome to another Food on Friday topic. This week it was my turn to be the judge and pick the theme for our family cookoff challenge. I chose a dollar store meal. The Dollar Tree is not close to us, but we do have a Dollar General and Family Dollar right here in town. So, I gave them both the rules of one shopping at each store and spending only 10 dollars. I did not specify they could only use the stuff they bought so both of them used ingredients we already had at home to add to their meal.

First up, my daughter. She chose Dollar General for her store. Now, where we live our Dollar General does have a small fresh food section. She chose a bag salad mix, hot dogs, and hot dog buns. She did not put much thought into this, but I was happy she chose some fresh veggies. She chose the most expensive brand of hot dog buns, instead of the freshest, and these buns were not that good due to not being fresh. Hot dogs are not something I eat often, but they were quite delicious as she fried them in butter we had at home. Not the healthiest, but delicious. Since she knows I follow diet restrictions on a regular basis, she could have chosen a lower fat hot dog and less sodium. She used salad dressing we had at home and croutons we had. This was a very simple meal and only cost $8.65, but it could have been less if she bought a more affordable hot dog bun. While I was browsing the food, as she shopped, I noticed some really good deals if you are living on a very tight budget. They had single-serve frozen dinners for only 80 cents. I forget the brand, Michelina maybe, but if you really are in a squeeze these would be a good lunch option. They probably are not the healthiest but if it is all you can afford then that is what you need.

My husband got The Family Dollar by default, lol. Family Dollar does not offer any fresh food though they do have frozen veggies and fruit. I have bought these items in the past and had no problem with them. Unlike the Dollar Tree whose frozen veggies are sometimes not that great. My husband spent $9.65 and put a little more thought into his dish. He made a traditional Goulash-type dish using one pound of ground beef, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of Hunt’s spaghetti sauce, and 1 box of Rotini pasta. He used leftover salad from my daughter’s meal the night before, a plus there. He also used some cheese we had at home to add to the salad because he has to have it, but I tend to pick it out. He also used an onion that we already had on hand. His meal was actually very good, like really really good. It had great flavor and was well thought out. I do not typically use that brand of spaghetti sauce because I think it has high fructose corn syrup in it, but it won’t kill me. This meal was fast and easy to make and even someone who can’t really cook could make this. I do like the meat selections that the Family Dollar offers over Dollar General.

I have never found organic products at either of these stores. It does not match their price point as being a more affordable option, but it would be nice if organic items were more affordable for areas that only have these kinds of stores. Now, they may be there, and I just have not seen them. I do not grocery shop at these stores often. My family did not care for this challenge and complained profusely right up to the day to cook. They felt like this was not quality enough food for them, oh how spoiled we have become. Neither of them, obviously remember the days when we were living paycheck to paycheck and living on a very tight grocery budget and eating these very foods. After their meals were created they were both very surprised at how good their meals actually were. Food does not have to be organic or expensive to taste good. The whole debate about organic vs non-organic is not settled yet. I like organic better, but I don’t always get it. Be mindful of what you eat and do the best you can.

My husband obviously won this challenge. We finally decided on a prize. Each winner gets a 5 dollar scratch-off, and yes my daughter got 2 so far. Though, I think I got ripped off, lol. She won 8 dollars too! My husband will pick the next theme and it will be mother vs daughter and I don’t intend to lose this time.

This is meant to be good family fun or friends! It is a great way to get in the kitchen with your kids and get them thinking about cooking, meal prepping, shopping, budgets, etc. Try it and let me know what you do in the comments. Share your post if you have a blog.

Sorry, I always forget to take pictures when we do this. I will try to remember for the next one.

Disclaimer

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Family Cook Off #2

I totally forgot to share this on Tuesday, so I am sharing it today instead. There will be a few other tidbits in this post.

On Tuesday, my husband, daughter, and myself held the second round of our Family Cook Off. This is meant to be fun, family time, and a little competition too. This time my husband was the judge, and it was me against my daughter. My husband picked the theme of grilled cheese with one other topping. At first I thought, how dreadfully boring, but I was able to find a fancy grilled cheese that I was sure was a winner. Apparently, I was wrong because my daughter won, even though my husband was impressed with my culinary grilled cheese skills. I called foul because mine was way more creative, but hers had bacon, so yeah bacon. I do not care for bacon, but I still had to at least taste it, and I admit it was very good.

Caitlin’s Grilled Cheese: Brioche bread, American cheese, bacon slices, sweet red onions, and Thousand Island Dressing. I have to admit the dressing added a very nice touch with the bacon. I did not care for the onions on it, and tomatoes probably would have made more sense.

My Grilled Cheese: Brioche bread, Kerry Gold Savory Cheddar Cheese, blueberries cooked down in Balsamic Vinegar and a tiny bit of brown sugar. Honestly, this was delicious, though I think the vinegar was a smidge too much for me. But, if I had used an even stronger cheese I think it would have been a knockout. The savory cheddar is strong, but wasn’t strong enough. I also think I should have gotten more credit for trying a healthier grilled cheese, just saying.

We wanted to do these challenges each week, but it really is too much to plan and get ready for it weekly. So, we are thinking twice a month will work better. I get to pick the theme for the next one, and I am thinking obviously about pumpkins. It won’t have to be pumpkin food, but rather it can be shaped like a pumpkin, or any other pumpkin theme. I already know my recipe, lol. Is that cheating? Hmm.

My husband and I have challenged ourselves to lose 10 pounds before Halloween, and then next month to keep it off. I have lost 2.5 pounds so far, and feeling like this might not be possible. He has not disclosed how much he has lost, but he is cutting his calories.

Pizza is something my family loves. I do like pizza, but it is so calorie, and fat heavy. Frozen pizzas, even so called healthier options, are not really all that healthy imo. So, tonight I will be making some homemade pizza dough, and giving it a try. My family is very fussy about pizza, so I am hoping this will be a hit. Other times I tried were not that successful. They are so used to high amounts of salt, fat, and sugar in the dough. I am going to try herbs to spice up the dough and add tons of flavor! I will be using this recipe for the basic dough, and then adding what I need. I will report next week how it ends up being. I have a lot of shredded cheese in the fridge that I need to use up, as well as some whole wheat flour that I will be mixing with the all purpose flour for the dough. Wish me luck!

Have a Fabulous Friday, and I hope to see you back her Monday!

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter!

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Homemade Pumpkin Protein Bars!

Hello, and Happy Foodie Friday! You know October is pumpkin season, right? Well it is. I am funny about protein bars. I am a texture kind of girl so a a lot of them just have a strange texture to me. The only one I have found, and I have tried a lot, are these One Protein Bars, and of course they are quite expensive. I also like fairly clean ingredients and am not crazy about fake sweeteners, though I can tolerate them some. The texture of these are lovely, and that is not an affiliate link I am just showing the one I really do like a lot. I like to keep protein bars on hand in my work bag just in case it is one of those days and a fast meal is the only thing to see my lips.

I have never actually made my own protein bars, but the one in the video below is so easy, and I have Vanilla Bean flavored protein powder already here at the house. My smoothie maker died, and I am not willing to buy another one right now, so protein bars would be great. Since it is pumpkin month, I thought maybe I should try to make these. It won’t be today, or even this weekend, because I work very long days, but I bet I can on Monday. I think the only ingredient I don’t already have is the pumpkin. I won’t use Almond Milk either, I don’t like it much. So, I will have to use regular milk, or evaporated milk. I will let you know if I make them, and how I like them. Monday, is also our next family cook off competition. I won’t give away the theme until Tuesday, when I share the results, but it is going to be interesting. It is my daughter vs. myself this time.

Let me know if you make these homemade pumpkin protein bars, or if you have a homemade protein bar recipe you would like to share, please post it in the comments.

Disclaimer

Check out my special deal on my Walking Buddy Plan!

Sign up for my Mailchimp newsletter and you can take 20% off my Walking Buddy Plan.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.