Homemade Bread In The Crockpot?

Hello, and welcome back! I am so glad if you are here reading this. Who doesn’t love homemade bread? I know we do, but I hardly ever make it, especially this time of year.

The recipe is not mine, and I think I will tweak it a little the next time I make it, which will be very soon. With three of us in the house, my daughter didn’t care for it at all, but my husband and I both liked it very much. All crackpots are different and this only took 2 1/2 hours to cook trust me it goes fast so be sure and watch it. I put it on warm after that time as it appeared done while I cooked the rest of our dinner. That was not a good idea as the bottom became very crusty and hard. I just cut it off, but still. I actually think I will just put it in the air fryer for a few minutes next time, at the end with some melted butter so the top gets a little crispy. I sprinkled Rosemary on the top as the directions say and it was so good.

This bread was so easy to make. Try it and see if you like it. Let me know how it comes out and how you changed it, if at all. Making your own bread may reduce the number of preservatives and other additives in store bread, plus it was so cheap to make. I did use white all-purpose flour because I had that on hand and I am the only one that likes wheat bread. White flour is best for people with CKD because it has less phosphorus. According to the website with the recipe 1 slice has 170 calories, I assume it is per slice, it wasn’t real specific. They are large slices though, so cut them in half to make two pieces if you need to.

Do you love aprons, farm decor, and rustic items? Check out my rooster apron below, available at Redbubble.

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Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge Start Of Week 7, Oopsie!

Hello, and Happy Monday. I am just going to get the oopsie out of the way to start with. Have you been following along, did you join the challenge? The challenge is to spend 21 dollars per person per week for groceries. There are 3 of us, one with CKD, and our budget is 63 dollars a week. My week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday, but that may change with my new job that begins Wednesday. I will let you know. Each week I learn something new about our eating habits, how much food we buy that we really don’t need each week, and most importantly, so far we have been able to eat relatively healthy on this budget. I gave up on eating pantry foods with CKD. It was not healthy for me, and I could tell by how I felt.

When I order from Misfits Market, it is on a Thursday or Friday, and then the food is not delivered for several days after that. So, Friday of last week I noticed they had some really good sales on organic meat. If you read here, you know that is my preference and I was getting concerned as to whether I would be able to afford it on this budget. I compared their sale prices to the organic options I can buy at Walmart to compare the pricing. Walmart didn’t even carry some of the options, and the ones that they did Misfits beat them by at least a few cents. So, anyway I placed a 30 dollar order with Misfits Market on Friday to be delivered this Wednesday or Thursday. Then this morning I went shopping and totally forgot I placed that order. So, my oopsie this week is that I should have only spent 33 more dollars today, and I spent $58.17. That is my blonde moment for the week, lol. That means I am 25 dollars over budget this week, which really just annoys me, but live and learn. I will have to see if I can change my Misfits order and delivery days, so this doesn’t happen again.

One thing I learned is that I probably will not buy canned veggies anymore. If I can’t afford fresh, I will buy frozen. They taste much better than canned and don’t have all the sodium. Each week I learn something new and it helps me to buy smarter for our needs, and avoid waste. Below you will see what I purchased from Walmart this week for $58.17. We still have a good amount of food on hand, but like most families, we run out of favorites and snack foods. I always try to have fresh fruit on hand for snacking, but that is not always the snacks they want, but it will have to do. You will see donuts and Trix yogurt. My daughter asked if I would get those and I do try to let her have some snacky stuff each week.

What is on the menu this week? Breakfasts and lunches are always simple and whatever is leftover or on hand to make. These dinner ideas may or may not be in the order they will be made. Today, we had leftover pizza from the get-together with my son last night. I did not actually have pizza I had taco casserole again. I actually froze the last 2-3 servings for later use. I put lettuce in it this time so it was kind of like a taco salad. Tuesday, my daughter and I are having some small steaks I purchased from Misfits a couple of months ago. My husband will not be eating dinner with us this week, so these 4 oz steaks are perfect for two people. I will decide on the sides later. Wednesday I will work, and I will take out hot dogs and buns, and fries will be the side. I am not sure yet if I will have hot dogs or something else. It depends a whole lot on what I decide to take for my lunch. My daughter and husband can have the hotdogs for lunches the next couple of days after. Some other meal options for the week are tuna noodle casserole. That meal makes a lot of food and can be used as leftovers for several lunches after. Probably one night will be sweet sausage with spaghetti. I am not sure, though, because we already have steak and hot dogs this week. Quesadillas with tomato soup is another option. I haven’t really thought out meals that much this week, as you can tell. I will share what I come up with. I need to sneak in at least two chicken meals or a meatless meal.

This budget has allowed us to save more money to pay down debt, and that is a good thing. Our washing machine just died last week and we were able to buy a new one with cash, and no financing. That was pretty awesome! We have some financial goals we would like to meet before we retire, and as long as we are not starving or malnourished this budget works fine. I can always add more money if we need to, but so far everyone is adjusting fairly well. We do not buy a lot of sweet drinks, snacks, and other empty calories that really can suck up your budget. We are also learning to eat healthy portion sizes, which also saves us a lot of money. I have been following my portions for many years, but now the others have to as well.

If you would like to learn more about meal planning, meal budgeting, portion sizes, healthy snack options, etc. a health coach like myself may be able to help you to learn these things. Use the contact form below to message me for a free consultation.

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Living With CKD: Pantry/Food Budget Challenge Week 3

Hello, hello! I hope everyone had an awesome weekend! It is freezing here in Florida right now and my Buffalo Bills lost. So, I am kind of sad today. But, don’t worry it’s alright.

Today begins week 3 of the budget/pantry challenge for my family of 3 at home. The budget is 63 dollars per week, and I hope to do it all year and save lots of money for projects I want to do. Part of the goal is also to see if having CKD limits me from eating convenient or pantry-type meals. We ate a lot from our pantry last week, and then I thought why would I eat everything and then start buying? So, this week I took a different strategy. I planned on spending the whole 63 dollars to replenish some of the fresh stuff we had eaten, and other items that we like. Meat, especially organic meat is going to be our biggest expense. I did buy some cheaper fewer quality meats this week, but I will probably have eggs or a meatless night, instead on those nights. I only list what I eat for breakfast and lunch, and what we all eat for dinner.

I have come to the conclusion that it is just easier for me to eat at work on my 12 hour days. They let us eat for free and I will just have to pick the healthiest option. I only work two days a week, so it should be fine. Yesterday, my husband made the extra turkey from Thanksgiving, used up the rest of the fresh potatoes, and green beans from the pantry. My son and dil were here to enjoy the meal. They did well and did not purchase anything extra as I asked them not to do.

Today, I went to Aldis and Publix to get my 63 dollars worth of groceries. I honestly would just avoid Publix right now because prices are so high, but we had a coupon for a specific coffee that my husband wanted, and Aldis had no coffee creamer. Coffee and creamer are kind of like luxuries in this challenge because they are so expensive. We have one of those k-pod coffee makers, so it is even more. I spent $43.97 at Aldis and $20.06 at Publix. For a total of $64.06 which is obviously over budget, but I did not account for tax in the budget. The budget is for food items only. You can see everything I bought in the image below. I recorded all the new items on my inventory spreadsheet and deducted the things used over the weekend. We still have a good supply of food.

For breakfast, I had one of my Quest protein bars that I already have a ton of. I do not like these at all, but I bought them, so they must be eaten. For lunch, I had 1 ounce of corn chips, a tuna pouch with 1 tbsp of mayonnaise, onion, and tomatoes. Plus a dill pickle. For dinner, I am having leftover turkey breast, 4 ounces of mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of green beans, and a side lettuce salad. Yes, I am doing low carb again. The mashed potatoes are homemade so no additives or preservatives.

That is it, for today. Come back throughout the week to see what else we had from the pantry. The pantry includes fresh, frozen, and canned or convenient meals. Let me know in the comments if you are trying either the budget challenge or the pantry challenge with CKD.

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A Mindfulness Photography Challenge and Week 1 Pantry/Budget Challenge Review!

Happy Monday! I think I will repeat this Mindfulness challenge each month with a different theme. A very important part of Mindfulness is being present at the moment, observing your surroundings and how they make you feel. I love being outdoors in nature and all the beauty that goes with it. I also love photography. It is a great hobby that is relaxing and fulfilling. Even if you think you take awful pictures, then you don’t understand art. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and while some people may actually not like your photo lots of people will. I actually make a little bit of money off my art pieces. It isn’t a lot, maybe 50 to 100 dollars a year. I certainly am not wealthy from it. But, it does allow others to enjoy my art and purchase it on various items if they choose to. You will see a picture of one such item below.

So, the Mindfulness Photography Challenge for the month of January is to find hearts in nature. You can’t create the heart yourself. The point is to be observant and mindful of your surroundings. You can share your photos in the comments or a link to your photo if you have a blog. I will not accept spam so please don’t waste your time. I approve all comments manually. My picture is from a few years ago, so I will be on a mission to find some new hearts in nature. Please do not steal other people’s artwork. That is just rude and may be illegal.

Yesterday, was the end of two challenges we are currently doing. One of them is for the whole year and that is to try and spend 21 dollars per person, per week. For three people that is 63 dollars and it is for food items only. For week one I only had to buy flour and garlic bread. So, I only spent $5.98 The extra money not spent will be deposited into our savings. Some people do this challenge and spend all the money each and every week to build up their pantry, even though they already have a huge stash of food in their homes. This just makes no sense to me, which brings me to the second challenge, The Pantry Challenge. We have quite a bit of food already on hand. To reduce food and money waste I have decided we will use up what we have even if it is not our favorites, which is why it usually sits in the pantry or freezer. Freezer items are considered shelf-stable for this challenge. I tend to buy organic only which probably will be the real challenge as it is way more expensive. We managed to use up a lot of food that we had on hand in week 1. I will be doing inventory today and I will try to take a picture of what we have left and I will share it tomorrow. My husband and daughter did manage quite well this weekend while I was at work. They tend to not want to cook and want to buy stuff from the store. The only thing my husband purchased was garlic bread to go with his homemade meatballs for dinner last night. We also had tortellini from Sam’s that absolutely had to be used and that went with it. Plus, tons of salad items were used up. Unfortunately, some of the carrots did go bad, organic foods go bad fast. I should have frozen them. This leads me to another tip, watch your fresh items, and freeze them if you need to. I will be freezing up the peppers today.

Week 2 begins today. I already know we need milk and coffee creamer. So, they have been added to my list. I do not think we will actually need anything else. But, we will see. That doesn’t mean we won’t want something else, lol.

Today, for breakfast I had the rest of my blueberry crisp and a garden salad. Both were from the fridge. Please remember that oats are extremely high in phosphorus so use caution if you have CKD. Lunch I will have a peanut butter banana smoothie with ground flaxseed. Again, flaxseed is very high in phosphorus so use it with caution. Bananas are high in potassium. All of these items I have discussed in previous posts, and are in my pantry supply. We are almost out of fresh veggies but have quite a bit of fresh fruit still that I may have to freeze to not lose. Dinner will be leftover meatballs and tortellini. Be mindful of portion sizes. Meat should be about 3 ounces but no more than 4, unless your doctor has advised you to eat more protein. Tortellini has cheese, so you will get even more protein. Pasta sauce has potassium and sodium. Be sure to read your labels and be mindful of your portion size.

Today will be a complete leftover day!

Are you doing either of these challenges with me? Share your thoughts and results. Will you try the Mindfulness Photography Challenge?

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Welcome To Christmas Week!

Welcome to Christmas week, 2021!

This week I will focus on a lot of topics related to CKD and Christmas cooking, and other various holiday topics. I am quite tired today, but I have things I need to finish up for the holiday. I do have to work Christmas weekend so we will be doing Christmas on Christmas Eve this year. I have also started some new classes and I am working on getting through them. Be Mindful during this week to not overdo it and make yourself sick and worn out for the new year. Take time to relax and be present in the moments of the holiday season.

We don’t get snow here in Florida, thank goodness, but it is nice to look at snow in pictures or videos. So, I chose a couple of lovely videos I found on Youtube to share with my readers. The first one is a Christmas tree, fireplace, and snow falling outside with lovely classic Christmas music. It is quite lovely. If you have a smart TV put it on while you wrap gifts, or bake Christmas cookies.

The second video is different snow scenes with lovely piano music. The third video is a scene of snow falling live with wind, and the sound of the snow falling.

Let me know which one you like the best!

May you find peace and joy in these scenes and sounds of the season!

Gift Idea #1 For People With Dementia!

None of these are affiliate links. I am currently not doing any affiliate links for many reasons.

Sometimes it is hard to know what to get someone suffering from Dementia as a Christmas gift. Whether they have mild cognitive impairment and can still manage at home, or they are in Assisted Living or Memory Care, I will be sharing gift ideas right up until December 20th. I will try to post five times a week. I can’t do weekends as I am working.

Not only do I work as a nurse on a Memory Care unit, but I also have a LO that we just had to admit to Assisted Living for her own health and safety. I have noticed that things that people bring their loved ones as a gift are not always appropriate for the cognitive level they are at. They may not enjoy the same things they used to either.

The first gift idea I want to start with is this Golden Retriever animated dog. We have two of these at my job and the ladies all love them. The gents don’t care so much, but every now and then one will pay it some attention. One of my family members just bought my LO one and I brought it to her today. At first, she was not super impressed and was very distracted by something else. Once I turned it on she came to life too. She really did love it and gave it a name. She used to have dogs of her own but forgot to buy them food, and feed them. This was actually more stressful to her than bringing her joy. This little dog is just cute, and cuddles, and she doesn’t have to worry about feeding or taking it to the potty. A win-win. Some people feel these are childish. You are entitled to your opinion, but honestly, it is about what helps them to relax and be happy, not your opinions. They do also have them in cats, and we have one of those at my workplace too, but most of the residents prefer the dogs.

This is not cheap and I would recommend anytime you buy your loved one with memory issues a gift, that you take a picture of it, keep the receipt, and write their name on it. Just trust me.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Memory Care Monday: Churlish!

Welcome to another Memory Care Monday post! Just a bit of housekeeping before I get to the word of the week.

Today is the first day of my November topic, Dementia. But, last month the topic was Obesity. I have been seeing some chatter about obesity being the main reason people were dying from Covid. You can’t really just go by what people say, though. This morning I read an article on Politico, and apparently, if you are Obese it does greatly increase your chance of dying from Covid. The article focused on how other countries, besides the USA, were taking this topic seriously and attempting to help their people eat better food options, and increase exercise. You can read the full article here.

Even though the Dementia topic is only for the month of November, I will continue the word of the week until all of the words have been shared. There are 100. Watch for some fun free printables for my newsletter subscribers that will help you remember and study the words as the list gets longer.

Churlish is the 12th word on the list. You can find the previous words in the archives.

I could tell you what churlish means, but I think you will have more fun watching the cute video below and then looking up the meaning. If you want to play along you can keep an online journal, or pen and paper, of all the words on the list. Look up the meaning, and use it in a sentence. Test yourself weekly to see how much you remember. If you don’t remember much, study first. A few other things you can do are find a synonym for the word, an antonym, write it into a joke, and write out the word and the meaning at least ten times while saying it out loud.

I will be trying to get the first printable done tomorrow, for my Wednesday newsletter. Otherwise, it will go out in a special newsletter. If you would like to work with me to learn ways to help your memory, use the contact form at the end of the post to send me an email. Exercise is a very important way to help improve memory. Learn about my Walking Buddy Plan.

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Memory Care: Chromosome

Hello, and welcome back to another Memory Care Monday post. When I first started this blog, at the end of 2018, my most popular posts were these learn a new word a week posts. I don’t recall why I stopped doing them, but I got to #10 out of 100 on the list. Since I am over 50 and have been discussing Memory Care especially in relation to diet, I thought I would start these again.

It’s really easy to follow along. The goal is to learn the definition of a new word each week and then retain it, along with the other words that came before it. You can find the other words on the list under the memory care section of this blog. You can keep track any way you want. A note app on your phone, Google docs, handwritten in a journal, however, you wish to do so. Check out the cool journal below. Find a way to test yourself, and a day to do it on. There are several ways to memorize things. Writing them out several times, saying it out loud as you read it, making a song, etc.

This week’s word is Chromosome. There is even a cool video below to go with it. I am not going to tell you the definition per se. It is your job to find the word, define it, write it in a sentence if you want, find synonyms and antonyms, etc. Whatever will help you to remember it. Make a game of it, like Memory, and have someone play it with you. Keep track of the score, and whoever wins gets a pre-agreed prize, like coffee or something. All you would need is some blank recipe cards and a pen. I think I might do this, lol, it sounds fun.

If you would like to use my coaching services to help keep your memory fresh, or make it better, use the contact form below to message me for details. One way to improve Memory is to increase your physical activity. Check out my Walking Buddy Plan!

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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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Meatless Monday: Greek Spaghetti

Hello, Hello! As I try to work back more towards a Vegetarian type of eating pattern, I have discovered this wonderfully delicious recipe. If you have read any of my posts on Oxalates this month, then you know why I have steered away from strictly Vegetarian eating.

We actually had this on Friday, but I am sharing it today on Meatless Monday. I did not remember to take pics, but you will get the idea. It is a very simple and delicious meal. The video below is the original recipe, and I will share how I tweaked it for my family, and our preferences below.

Greek Spaghetti:

Ingredients: Penne Pasta, Feta cheese, Pepper Jack cheese, onions, black olives, butter, garlic, cherry tomatoes.

For starters I used mostly organic products, as that is my preference. I do not always get my preference, but I try. I also do not mix everything together, as I do not eat Feta cheese, and my daughter will not eat olives, or tomatoes.

To make my version put in your hot pan a half of a stick of real butter, or the whole stick as the original recipe calls for. Add fresh minced garlic, and chopped onions. I like Vidalia. I don’t think her recipe had onions, but I include onions in almost everything I cook. Just let that cook gently on low, while your pasta cooks. After the pasta is cooked, and drained, toss it in with the butter, onions, and garlic. You have to be fast here, and serve it quick. It is not as good once it starts too cool, and I would not like this leftover, so be sure and cook only what you are sure will be eaten. I had the olives sliced, cherry tomatoes sliced, and the cheeses all shredded up so each person could add whatever they wanted to their pasta. I also added some fresh chopped Basil to mine, and a little garlic salt. This really was so super delicious, and everyone loved it. It is also relatively inexpensive. Of note, black olives are very high in Oxalates, so use them cautiously if this is an issue for you. Pasta, can also be moderate in Oxalates, especially if you are using a whole grain pasta. I used just regular white organic pasta.

Try this and let me know if you like it. Try my version, and the original below. They are pretty much the same, but just a little bit different.

Come back tomorrow to see my 6 dollar meal that I am making today. I don’t want to give it away, so no hints. I will also be sharing a new family together time challenge.

Are you trying to eat more meatless meals? Let me know what your biggest struggle is to achieve it.

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