Yo, Food Is Expensive! Budget Meals In 2022

Hello, and welcome back! As you can see I still have not upgraded the blog back to the way it was, but I am getting to it. My car needs new tires, and my daughter graduated, I am sure you can relate that sometimes there are more important things to buy than hobby items. But, I do want to get back to a regular blogging routine, and what better way to start than to talk about food, inflation, and budget meals. I hope to provide a new budget meal every week. It might not be on Thursday but on a different day. If a recipe is mine I will say so, if it isn’t I will share a link to the original recipe and how I may have changed it for my own needs. Cooking at home, even if it is more time-consuming, is one of the best ways to save money on your food budget, especially if you eat out a lot for lunches, or take out for dinner. Not only will it save money, but in general it is way healthier as well. I have CKD and if you read here you already know that. I have been able to get back to hovering right around stage 2 and I think a lot of that was accomplished by eating a less processed diet. I do still eat out, it is one of our favorite things to do as a family, and I do still like certain processed foods, but I have greatly limited, and or managed my intake of these types of foods. Homemade meals are generally lower in salt and food additives that may affect the health of the kidneys.

This meal is a meatless meal, but I will share how you could add some meat and still it could be affordable. But, if meat is not in your budget leave it out. This meal has plenty of calories, fat, and protein, all the things you need from a meal. You could add a side salad to beef up the intake of fresh veggies as well.

The recipe is for scalloped potatoes, and using my Walmart app the total in my area would be only 6 dollars for the whole meal.

Here is the breakdown and I get to 6 dollars because I am not going to use the full amount of some of these items. So, they can be used for another meal yet besides. This is also not a quick meal. It takes an hour to bake and forever to peel potatoes, lol. But, it is baking in my oven right now and it smells amazing.

3 lb bag of Green Giant red potatoes 3.78 You will only need a pound and a half so 1.89.

1 yellow onion is 94 cents.

A 2 lb bag of all-purpose flour is 1.16 but you will only use 3 tbsp which I guess is about 5 cents or less.

A package of 4 sticks of Imperial margarine is 1.48, but you only need to use one stick and that is .37 cents.

1 pint of 2% milk is only 54 cents.

An 8 oz bag of shredded cheddar cheese is 2.20, but a block is 2 dollars, and the Dollar Tree has cheese for 1.25.

That is all of the ingredients and this 6-dollar meal which should feed 4 people very easily with the possibility of leftovers is in the books. Dollar Tree has small packs of bacon, and turkey sausage that could be added for some more flavor, if it is within your budget.

BTW I just took these out of the oven and they are delicious!

Let me know if you make these. Here is the recipe that I used. As far as CKD goes if you have issues with potassium, soak your potatoes first for two hours, and rinse prior to cooking them in the dish. Use less cheese if you need to avoid the phosphorus and calcium.

I will definitely be making these again.

The Start Of Week 5 Of My Pantry/Food Budget Challenge

Hello, and Happy Monday. If you have been following along then you know I have CKD and we are committed to following a Pantry Challenge and a Food Budget Challenge for 2022. This is to save money and to see if I can eat shelf-stable type foods on a budget with CKD and remain healthy. I can already tell you that no I can not eat shelf-stable food, at least not the affordable ones, on a budget and still feel good. There is just too much sodium, phosphorus, and other additives that are not good for CKD. While these foods are more affordable they are not healthy. We have, however, been sticking to the 63 dollars a week food budget, with just a few dollars over one week. Well, this week, as you know is the Super Bowl, and I knew I would not be able to stick to that budget. The Super Bowl party items cost more than 63 dollars, and I didn’t even buy chicken wings or soda. Good grief! For this 5th week, I spent 130 dollars. I also stated I was going to try Winn-Dixie, as it was closer than Aldis. No, even with their sales it is still not a better deal than Aldis, even with the long drive to Aldis. I also had to go to Walmart for just a couple of things that were cheaper than Winn-Dixie. I guess we will chalk the Super Bowl up as a gift.

In the image below you will see all of the things I purchased. The best deal of the whole shopping trip was the ground turkey. It was 3 pounds of ground turkey for less than 6 dollars. That is a good deal! Most of the food in the image will be for the Super Bowl, lol. So, we are definitely eating from the pantry this week.

Our Super Bowl menu will be pigs in a blanket, raw veggies with dip, cheese, and crackers, tortilla chips with salsa, mozzarella sticks, and Cracker Barrel mac n cheese which I already have in the pantry.

I decided to pick meals this week based on what I have on hand and the sales flyer. I have not really done that as of yet, but the pantry is dwindling now, and that is the most efficient way to do it.

On the menu this week will be homemade scalloped potatoes and ham, with fresh asparagus on the side, and cornbread. The cornbread is the Jiffy brand. It is very affordable, but not very healthy. It has been in my pantry for a while and it needs to be used up. Egg, cheese, bacon bagel sandwiches. These are a favorite at my house. I like the Applegate bacon and that is the one I am using. Chicken salad sandwiches on wraps with tortilla chips and salad. We use low carb, high fiber wraps, and the chicken is the kind in a can. I will share my thoughts on that chicken the day I make it.

Lunches are generally leftovers, salad, soup, or sandwiches. We still have leftovers from last week that everyone is working on. There is one or two servings of spaghetti with meat sauce and pineapple rice. There is one chicken thigh left as well.

Next week I am going to try and buy only necessities, to save from what I spent this week.

We have really reduced our grocery budget, and the amount of food we are wasting. These are both very good goals to have.

If you would like help in learning more about food options with CKD, label reading, cooking, menu planning, food budgets, etc. use the contact form below to send me an email for a free consultation.

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What Exactly Is A Buddha Bowl?

Hello, and Happy Monday! I see videos and articles about Buddha Bowls all the time. I thought to myself what is a Buddha Bowl, and why is it called that? Keep reading, it is kind of neat.

I really couldn’t find the original intent of the Buddha Bowl. But, according to Wikipedia, the Buddha Bowl became a big food concept in 2013. It apparently started as a Vegan movement way of eating, but can now be Vegetarian, as it the concept has spread. Vegetarian means lots of veggies with some small amounts of meat sources also. It is intended to be healthy, however, so using the freshest, organic if possible, least processed food items would be best according to the Buddha Bowl concept.

Why is it called a Buddha Bowl? Well, there are some theories but no one seems to exactly know for certain.

  1. These bowls are meant to have lots of color with a variety of colored veggies, and wholesome whole grain foods, which may imply balance, and wellness. I can see that for sure.
  2. The bowl should be really round with high edges, possibly a reference to Buddha’s famous belly.
  3. Buddha would, apparently, carry his bowl through the village for villagers to put Vegetarian food items into for him to eat.

I have never actually created a Buddha Bowl, but I love the concept. Especially for taking a meal to work when I work my long 12 hours and it is so easy to just eat garbage food. I will certainly be doing this, and from a meal prep point of view it would be so easy to have already made grains in the fridge with chopped veggies and a protein of my choice. Just the dressing would be an issue, but making my own might be fun. A lot of the dressings use Tahini. I have never tried Tahini, but I know it is made of Sesame Seeds. If you have CKD, or need to watch your Oxalates, Tahini could be a problem for you. As with any dressing, or sauce, use it sparingly. You do not have to use a Tahini based dressing. Be sure and check out the video below with 5 different dressings for your Buddha bowl, to make at home.

How do you make a buddha bowl. First pick a nice, big, round dish with high lips. For work mine will be rectangle, so oh well. I guess I could just leave all of the ingredients separate and put it together at work. That would work. Your cooked grains should go on the very bottom. Some examples are rice, barley, quinoa, etc. Try for whole grains, but again with CKD whole grains may not work for you. I personally love Jasmine Rice. Next would be all of your colorful fresh veggies. These bowls are typically cold, like a salad, but I could see a warm Buddha Bowl being lovely. Don’t forget fresh herbs, and I don’t ever really see fruit, but hay I love fresh fruit. Then your protein would go on. If you want to use a mixture of plant-based, ie beans, lentils, legumes, and or nuts, with a meat source, I say go for it. Make it your own, and whatever will encourage you to adopt a healthier eating lifestyle is fine. Don’t make something you won’t like, or at least make a small amount of it when trying something new. I don’t really see where there is dairy involved in these bowls either. So, no cheese. Last, but not least, the dressing. If you really just can’t make your own, use whatever kind you like from the store. Just be Mindful of portion sizes. Do not mix the Buddha Bowl, presentation is everything. You want to savor the beauty, balance, and health of the bowl.

Of all the food concepts I have read, and studied, I like this one the best so far. From a Mindful Eating perspective you can enjoy putting your Buddha Bowl together, the beauty of all the colors, the amazing smells from fresh herbs, and then the enjoyment of eating it. Just the concept brings peaceful wellness to mind. I think just a plain old salad can be very boring, and unappealing. Buddha Bowls sound amazing!

What do you think? Would you try one, or have you already? Let me know in the comments.

I am going to meal prep some for this next weekend when I work. I actually have some organic barley in my pantry that I need to cook and use. Other than soup, not cold enough for that yet, I wasn’t sure what I should do with it, spur of the moment buy, lol. But, now I know. I shop on Friday, so I can get tons of fresh veggies, chop and have everything prepped. Plus, I got these delicious garlic pepper pistachios from Trader Joe’s that I think will be amazing. My garden has produced a ton of Basil, too, so I might make that Basil dressing in the video below.

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Wheels up!

Happy Sunday! Only 12 days until Christmas! The week after Christmas will be a lot of clean up on this blog, reflection and goals for next year. So, if you enjoy those kind of posts, stay tuned.

Today, is gift idea #12 for people with CKD. As you know I have CKD, and as I get older I have to start to think about things I never really thought about before. Like what if I couldn’t work anymore, or afford my car, what would I do? I am fortunate enough to live in a small town where I do have options for groceries, and other needs, within walking distance. They are not my favorite options, but that is OK. So, what if I had to walk to get my needs met? I would need something to put bags of items in if I didn’t want to carry all of those bags, which I wouldn’t want to, lol. Not being able to work or maintain self sufficiency would be a very hard thing for me. So, maintaining my independence as much as possible would be vital to my well being. That is why I chose carts with wheels for today’s gift idea, and I think I will actually be purchasing one of these myself. I think in January, when my daughter starts the Nutrition course I have created, I think it would be great for her to learn about what if we were poor. We have lived on very tight budgeting in the past, but she was very little and has no memory. Hard times can fall on anyone for any reason and being able to adapt to survive is vital. She is a very picky eater, and really loves garbage food. This has to change. Anyway enough of that. You can find all kinds of great options to fit any number of needs, here. If I did not live close enough to shopping areas, I would be recommending to my husband to consider moving for our elder years. We are not to our elder years yet, lol, but it is wise to think about before hand.

I probably won’t have a gift idea tomorrow, as it is a work day. So, come back Tuesday. Next Friday will be the end of my gift ideas. I hope you have been able to find some awesome gift ideas for that special person on your list with CKD.

Be sure and check out my Fitbit stats from yesterday. It was a rough day. I was extremely tired and I didn’t think I would make my goal. But, I just got by. Lots of energy today, and the weather is lovely. I have tons of outdoor stuff to do before my Bills play my husband’s Steelers tonight. That should be fun!

I threw a quick menu plan together for the week. I didn’t put a lot of thought into this week, but it should work. Tuesday and Friday is shopping days and I have increased our budget to 70 dollars a week for 3 people. That is still a huge cost savings for us, and just will work better for our needs.

Menu:

Sunday: Leftover lasagna. I really suggest making these kinds of large meals that do not cost a lot and last for days for lunches and or dinners. Texas toast and salad.

Monday: Still leftover lasagna, lol I forgot to say that I made homemade sauce with tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. It saves a ton of sodium and needless added sugars. Plus, it was delicious. I made one without meat, and one with. The meatless one had mushrooms and onions.

Tuesday: Cheesy chicken and broccoli over brown rice. I will share this super easy recipe Tuesday, and how I modify it for CKD.

Wednesday: Ham, sweet potatoes and pasta.

Thursday: Chicken, mashed potatoes, and veggies

Friday: Leftovers from Tues, Wed and Thurs.

Saturday: Ravioli. This is a work day for me and I won’t be having ravioli.

If you would like to learn how to cook, meal plan, or shop for your Chronic Illness, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.

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1.5 Mile Beginner Running video Plus gift idea #2

Welcome to Sunday! I don’t always do a post on Sunday, but I realized I hadn’t done a Sweating on Sunday post in a while. When I began the low carb lifestyle, two months ago, I went back to just walking for exercise. Too much exercise, or too intense, just made me more hungry. Now, that I have the food balance down I feel like I can increase the intensity of my workouts without sacrificing carb intake. I had posted a while back about my daughter wanting to be a police officer. She has since changed that to a CSI detective, but as part of her PE for school she still needs to do the running, situps and pushups. I was doing this with her, until I changed to low carb. She didn’t want to run outdoors initially, and we intend on getting a treadmill, but until then I found this video which is exactly the distance she needs. This is a great beginner video to build up to running without interval walking. I have done this video a few times now, and it is really not too hard. Be sure to stretch before and after to prevent injury. Do the best you can. Walk more if you need to, but keep moving if you can. Do not do this every day, trade it out with less intense exercise such as Yoga, or just walking. It is 15 minutes long, but only do 5 to start if you need to. If you have not exercised in a long time, or are new to exercise, this is not the video to start with. I offer a Health Buddy Walking program, message me if you are interested in learning more. The video is kind of bland, and I play music in the background to keep it interesting.

We had company yesterday, so we ended up eating a lot of the leftovers. So, I went ahead and made a meal plan menu for today through Friday. Friday is a new budget and grocery shopping week. We will probably have a treat and get Subway on Friday. I found some coupons in the Sunday paper for Subway. Remember I only meal plan for dinners. Breakfast and lunch is whatever is available.

Sunday: still leftovers. I will probably have the same thing I had for lunch yesterday as it was so delicious. Once I get the leftovers gone and have storage containers again, I will make some coleslaw using some of that cabbage I bought yesterday.

Monday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup. It is supposed to get quite cold so soup is perfect.

Tuesday: Ravioli with sauce, bread and butter, side salad. For me I will stick to one portion of Ravioli, one slice of bread and have a large salad.

Wednesday: Pork tenderloin baked or slow cooker, coleslaw or salad. I also have some sweet potatoes which I can make. I do them in the Instapot as it is easier.

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Possible Subway dinner treat

Please remember I am low carb not Keto. I aim for 70-100 grams of net carbs per day. I also have days were I eat up to 150 carbs sort of like Carb Cycling. If you would like to learn about my Health Coaching services to help you meet your health goals, use the contact form after the images to message me.

My second gift idea for people with CKD, or any Chronic Disease is this heated blanket. This is not an affiliate link, but it is on sale for Cyber Monday. People with CKD are often anemic which makes them cold all the time.

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14 days of gratitude: Day 8 and my 50 dollar food budget

Updated 11/12/2021: In January of 2021 we sat down and figured out our budget the Dave Ramsey way. Our budget is $528 dollars per month for groceries using that method. Some months it doesn’t go so well. Still working at it, lol. I have to say the easiest way to save money on groceries is to use the pickup option. I order online and then pick it up. There is no impulse buying and teenagers picking up things we don’t need. Now, sometimes I actually have to go inside a store.

Yay, Friday! I am happy you are here. Before I get to the two things annoying me today I will write what I am grateful for, LOL. I truly am a grateful person and do not like to complain, but I may not always show my gratefulness which I assume would apply to most people. Today’s prompt is, name one thing I learned from my mother that I am grateful for. I hate these one thing prompts. There are so many things I have learned from my mom. But, since I have to pick one it would be how to be frugal. Now, that does not mean I have always listened very well, lol. As you will see below going back to a strict budget is proving not so easy for me and my family. We have always lived on a budget, but when you have more money you spend more money, and we are no exception to that rule. But, I grew up fairly poor, and my mom was excellent at being frugal, finding deals, stretching a dollar, and saving even with meager amounts of money. I am so grateful all of that information is stored in my brain and I truly want to teach my daughter how to be more frugal and buy what you need and save for what you want. It is so hard, especially for a teenager.

So, my 50 dollar for a week of groceries did not go well for this next week, and I can blame Thanksgiving for that. Now, with that said a lot of the stuff I bought can be carried over into the second week of the budget, as we get paid every two weeks, mainly because there will be a ton of leftovers from Thanksgiving. So, I am hoping it will even out.

I have a few gripes today in reference to things that were supposed to save me money. First Amazon Prime Pantry. We signed up for this and pay for a reason, two day shipping. I made my list the other day and this morning went to place the order. My items, a lot that I needed for Thanksgiving were not going to arrive until probably the day after Thanksgiving. Even if they came on Wednesday that is 5 days to delivery, not 2. I do not appreciate paying for a service and then I don’t get to receive the benefits of the service I am paying for. So, I had to take all of those items out of my cart, and left only the items for the second week of my budget. Amazon is in my not happy bucket today. Now, I could see if it was a true emergency, but Thanksgiving is the same day every year, and Covid has been here for 9 months, so I am not accepting those lame excuses. My second complaint today is for Ibotta. They were offering a free refund on Thanksgiving items that I intended to purchase and donate. But, of course, Ibotta would not load yesterday, or today, so I didn’t get to take advantage of that either. I have stopped using Ibotta before due to it not working properly and well that may happen again. There, now I am done complaining.

My first week menu starts tomorrow, 11/21, and goes until 11/27. I also purchased my two Dollar Tree items for my challenge next week. For this first week, I spent 83.68, and yes that is obviously over 50 dollars, but like I said a lot of the items will roll over into the second week in leftovers. For the second week, I have already spent 17.71 Save A Lot had the better deals, but not by a whole lot over Walmart. Just a few cents difference for most items and Save A Lot does not always have everything I need. Remember, my 50 dollar a week food budget is for food items only. It does not include non-food items. After Christmas, I hope to be able to sit down and make a budget for non-food items we use.

I wanted to share a recipe I made yesterday that was very affordable and will feed me and my husband for several meals. I had leftover pork ribs from Wednesday’s meal. You guys that was such a bargain, We have already had the ribs for 2 meals and lunch, and I was able to freeze 3 of the ribs for the next time I make this bean recipe. So, while the ribs were 10 dollars when you get several meals and then some out of the meat it really was a steal. In my crockpot, I put a can of black beans rinsed, and a can of Cannellini beans rinsed. Now, you don’t have to rinse them, but it gets rid of some of the sodium and I don’t generally like the sauce. Then I added about a 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and a 1/2 cup of Italian dressing. I also threw in some pearl onions because I needed to use them up. Plus, one of the ribs that were leftover, bone and all. Then I put it on low for 8 hours. You guys this was so delicious. My husband loved it and had it again for lunch. If you have CKD like me be sure and not to eat the sauce, or as little as possible. Slow cooking your food helps decrease the phosphorus in the foods and releases it into the juices. I only eat a 1/4 cup at a time, and I put it over a 1/2 cup of masked potatoes. I had a simple side salad of lettuce, green onions, and some sunflower seeds. Try this delicious, simple, affordable recipe. The cans of beans were less than 80 cents apiece and I already had the other ingredients on hand. Eating beans is a great way to reduce your meat budget and still get protein.

Below you will see everything I bought for this weeks menu plan. I could have saved at least 10 dollars by using the stuffing I had already purchased, but my husband wanted me to make his mother’s homemade stuffing. So, I had to buy all of those ingredients. Plus, the pure maple syrup for the turkey was 7 dollars. So, that is actually 17 dollars I could have saved. But, my husband likes to make his turkey that way. I thought we still had some but did not. Sorry, my clean dishes are in a part of the shot. I wanted to get everything in one shot and my teen still hadn’t put dishes away.

Menu for 11/21-11/27/2020:

Saturday: Leftover homemade pizza for lunch and Hillbilly Casserole for dinner. Come back Monday and I will tell you how we liked both of those.

Sunday: Cheeseburgers and a side, probably Mac n cheese, fruit, or a veggie.

Monday: Chicken and broccoli. I think I have a jar of Alfredo sauce so we could have that over pasta. Or, it could be a completely low carb meal.

Tuesday: Tuesday is our busiest day of the week, every week. So, I like something fast and simple. I am sure there will still be the homemade pork and beans, or we could have grilled cheese and tomato soup, or breakfast for dinner.

Wednesday: Cheese ravioli, bread and butter and a side salad

Thursday: Thanksgiving, yay gobble til you wobble.

Friday: Leftovers of course

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Mindful Monday: You Are What You Eat!

How many times have you heard that in your life?  Do you believe it?  Does it offend you?  I have two ways that I used to look at this idea, one good, one bad.

First the bad.  I used to get offended by this statement.  Mostly because I was ignorant of what the people who would say these things meant.  What does that mean, even?  Well, even though nurses get  Nutrition education in school, Dietitians do most of the counseling, educating, and advising.  So nurses never really get to explore more about Nutrition and how it really affects the body. You know if you don’t use it you lose it.   Plus, let’s admit it, there is a new study every week with a new do this, and not that, or go back to doing that.    It is confusing, time-consuming and downright frustrating.  Working, raising kids, and not really understanding what is really in the food we were eating, led us to eat fast, convenient, easy, processed foods instead of cooking which was more time consuming and took a lot of energy.  Plus those processed foods a lot of times were in fact cheaper.  Living on a tight budget, so I could homeschool my kids I was convinced fast and convenient was OK.  But, it really isn’t.  All the salt, fat, and preservatives in these foods can be very unhealthy and pretty void of nutrients.  I had to relearn what I learned 30 years ago in my Nutrition class, plus update all that for all the changes.  We now mostly cook fresh foods, at least my husband and I do, the kids are a bit tougher.  They are at the stage where fast and convenient works for them.  I am working on them through education.  Knowledge is power!

Now for the good thought.  I knew deep down in my heart the way we had been eating was not healthy for any of us.  I let commercials, other people, and convenience rule my mind.  I had to become more mindful of what I was putting in my body and the bodies of my family.  Some of you may be wondering if that way of eating caused my Kidney Disease.  No, according to my Nephrologist there is no proof of that.  My kidney had slowly been feeling probably since my teen years and is probably genetic.  Plus, thank goodness we didn’t eat awful too many years.  But, eating all the processed, cheap and convenient foods did nothing good for my kidneys.   My family and I still have lots to learn.  It is hard to break old habits and replace with new ones.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.   I don’t eat the way I used to.  I have conformed myself.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t cheat or fall of the good eating wagon.  That would be a lie.  I still have a weakness for potato chips and salty snacks. But, by being mindful of what I put into my body, and yes I now realize it is true, I am what I eat, has helped transform my thought process.   It helps to just not buy them, lol,  I wish I had a Health Coach back when work and life started getting more stressful, to help me learn to cook healthy easy fast meals that didn’t cost a fortune.    My husband and daughter are doing ok, and it is my son that I worry about the most.  He is in college and working full time.  The perfect scenario to eat awful foods, and yes that includes fast food and most restaurants.

Do you want to learn how to be more mindful of what you put in your body?  Do you need to learn how to cook, shop on a budget, create a meal plan?  These are all things that I as a Health Coach, can help you with.  If you would like to learn more about what plans I offer, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.  I am running an October special, so be sure and ask about that.  I am still doing signups for the November small group weekly sessions, also.  You can see all of my available plans here, and feel free to message me with any questions.  I am always adding new plans, and a new monthly special each month.  So check back often.  I will be offering gift certificates for Christmas, starting November 1 for people to purchase.  Yes, my prices are probably more affordable than others.  I do that for a reason.  I can’t help people if they can’t afford to pay me.  I don’t want to be a millionaire, or make 6 figures.  This is an extension of my nursing career to grow and help others in a changing market for Health Care.

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