Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge: Week 13

Hello, and welcome to week 13 of my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge. This is a year long challenge, and possibly more. If you have been following from the beginning this started as a dual challenge at 63 dollars per week, for a family of almost 3 adults now, and a challenge to see if someone with CKD, could eat shelf-stable, convenient type foods and still feel good. The latter only took a few weeks, and I quickly decided that no I could not eat those types of foods on a consistent basis and still feel well. Now, with that said I can eat shelf-stable veggies like canned veggies that are low in sodium and no funky preservatives. I don’t prefer canned fruit, but the same ingredients would apply. I can also tolerate shelf-stable tuna, and canned chicken, as long as the sodium is within reason, and there are no funky preservatives. I looked at canned beef, I think it was, roast beef maybe, but the sodium was insane, and it was expensive. I did not even bother to try it. Mainly, when I say shelf-stable I am talking about convenience foods, such as frozen meals, and ultra processed foods. Last week, I had to increase the budget from 63 dollars per week to 75, just because of how high food prices are now. The sole purpose for this challenge is to see how much money we can save, and to take account of how much food we are wasting. 75 dollars per week is about a third of what we were paying prior to starting this challenge. So far we have had to replace our fridge, and washing machine. We also just got nailed on taxes and were able to pay the balance. We did not have to finance any of this. The fridge and washing machine were not just bought because we wanted new, both of them needed to be replaced. We are not starving, we have reasonable snacks, and still enjoy the food we are eating.

Last week, I came in at I think 5 dollars under budget. I did have to pick up an extra gallon of milk part way through the week, so that money went for that. This week, I spent 25 cents over my budget, so 75.25. Food prices are still going up, and chicken is outrageous right now. Some of this is due to the millions of chickens that have been euthanized due to a Bird Flu outbreak. Chicken is my main protein that I eat. So, that is a bit distressing.

You can see the picture of my grocery haul below. Please don’t mind the cups in the sink. I shopped at Winn-Dixie and Walmart this week. I have mentioned before that I hate shopping at two stores. But, I needed some pool chemicals, and Walmart is right across the street from Winn-Dixie. Along with prices going up, there are still bare shelves for some items. You might be shocked to know, but each week I shop, whether it is Aldi’s, Winn-Dixie, or Walmart there is always coffee creamer in short supply. Onions are very high in price, too. Cheese and lunch meat have gone way up, and most other items have gone up at least a few cents as far as I can tell.

I was kind of annoyed this week, because I go to Winn-Dixie because they mark their meats way down, and my husband prefers their meat over Walmart. I don’t know why, they all taste the same to me, unless it is organic, then it is better no matter where I buy it. But, the new weekly ad prices started yesterday, yet they did not have all of the sale signs up and I had to go back and forth between the app, and store items to figure out what was on sale. This just took so much longer, and I won’t go on a Wednesday again. Two items that were super good deals this week, were the Swerve brown sugar replacement, and the organic milk. At Walmart, last week, I paid 7.50 for the same Swerve. At Winn-Dixie for this week only, it is buy one get one free. That means each bag was 4.25. The organic milk which was not in the sale flyer was 3.99 for a gallon. If you buy organic milk you know that is a good deal. I did not buy a lot of meat this week, because the prices are high, and we have a good stock in the freezer. The ham steaks were buy one get one free, and I can make them go a long way in several meals. Lettuce and tomatoes were also very high priced at Winn-Dixie. I had to get lettuce at Walmart where the price was a little more reasonable. I don’t know how much longer I will buy fresh tomatoes, and I hope my garden will produce some. I bought more canned veg this week, than frozen because one it is cheaper and two hurricane season is coming and I don’t like to fill the freezer too much in case we lose power for an extended period of time. We will use up what is in there, and then keep bare minimum on hand. The juice was buy one get one free too.

If you are on any kind of specialty diet to stay healthy, and or manage a chronic disease you are probably feeling a pinch in your budget. Healthier foods are more expensive right now, even beans and lentils have gone up in price. Do the best you can. Decrease your portions, especially if you are overweight and can afford to decrease your portions. Don’t be afraid to reach out to community organizations that may be able to help you get the foods you need to stay healthy. Not all junk food items are cheaper. They too are going up in price. Snack type foods, like chips and pretzels, even crackers are outrageous right now. We don’t drink a lot of soda, but the price for that is also through the roof. I am surprised people are still willing to pay these prices for food items that serve no purpose to health and well being. I know some people say eggs have gone up, but honestly dime for dime they are still a great deal as a protein source. The same goes for milk. I do not drink milk, but the others in my family do.

Are you on a grocery budget, or do you just spend whatever you want? Leave me a comment and let me know. Do you use any reward cards? I have the Winn Dixie rewards card and so far I have 5 dollars saved up to use on groceries. I just signed up for the Hitchcock’s card, but I have not used it yet.

Next week, my daughter and I will be taking our 75 dollar budget and shopping at our local Family Dollar and Dollar General to see what we can get. Family Dollar I know sells frozen chicken thighs, and Dollar General does have some fresh fruit and veg, albeit very expensive. We will see how that goes. These two stores are right in our town, and we could literally walk there if we had to. I am unsure of what day this will be, but probably Friday.

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Taste Test Tuesday: Quest Pizza!

Hello, and welcome back my awesome readers to one of my topics that readers seem to love, Taste Test Tuesday. With my new job and all that goes with that, I had forgotten I wanted to repeat this series every week. But, if you read my Extreme Grocery Budget Challenge post yesterday, then you knew I was going to talk about this today. I will tell you at the end of the post why I ultimately chose Quest Pizza.

This Quest pizza and this is the link to the item with the ingredient and nutrition info, is quite expensive. For 2 servings it was $7.48. With that said if your family loves pizza, and maybe you are on a weight loss journey, this could be a good option for you. I didn’t even know Quest made pizzas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw them at Walmart Sunday. I like the Quest tortilla chips, and some of their protein bars, but not all. I am fussy about protein bars, anyway, so it isn’t a flaw in the Quest product. I was looking for a healthier option pizza, for both CKD and weight loss. I could not find any WW pizzas, so I opted for one of these. Before I get to the nutrition of this Quest pizza, and no I did not look at it first, except for the fiber and carb count, I want to talk about texture and taste. I am a huge texture eater. If the texture is odd, chances are I am not going to like it, or even eat it. I chose a thin crust Quest pizza, and I fully expected the crust to come out crispy. Not only is this crust not very thin, but it also does not come out crispy after baking. So, I threw it into the air fryer for 5 more minutes. The only thing that got crispy was the toppings. I was a little disappointed by the crust, but not enough not to eat it. The cheese I am not so sure about either, but it didn’t taste bad or have a strange texture. As far as taste goes, it was overall fairly bland. I am funny about pizza sauce and this one was OK. I think if I buy it again, and actually I still have half of it left, I will sprinkle on some garlic powder. Would I buy this again? Maybe.

Now as far as nutrition goes, and now I am speaking in relation to my CKD, this is probably not a great choice. Why? I threw away my box, and I can’t really make out the ingredients on the box online, but the list is fairly long. That means it probably has additives I would normally opt to avoid. Remember, there are only 4 slices to this pizza, and 2 slices are a serving size. It is very high in fat, sodium, calcium, and protein. In this regard, this is not a healthy option for CKD as most pre-packaged foods are not. Plus, I can not account for how much phosphorus is in it, but I can assume it is pretty high. It is high in fiber, and low in carbs, and I was not hungry after I ate 2 slices. This was definitely a spur-of-the-moment buy for me. I would have been much better off using one of my Wellness wraps, a little marinara sauce, low-fat mozzarella cheese, and making my own little pizza.

So, why did I choose this particular pizza? I have not discussed weight loss at all much this year, and that is on purpose. But, I recently started following Itrackbites. It has a different name now, but I am finally coming off of my plateau and seeing results. It is similar to WW in that you get assigned a set number of points and each food item has a point value, and some are zero points, but not like WW. Anyway, I knew we would have pizza on Sunday for a quick and easy dinner. I also knew the pizza my family likes is like 13 points per slice, so I was hoping for an alternative. For the 2 slices of the Quest pizza, it was 10 points and was a much better fit for that day. That is why I chose the Quest pizza, and because I was intrigued by how it would taste.

This is not a paid post, as none of my posts are. This is my thoughts and my journey. If you would like help in your health journey email me for a free consultation.

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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.

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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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$63 Dollar Per Week Grocery Budget Challenge: Start Of Week 6!

Hello, and welcome back! If you have been following along then you realize I changed the title It used to be a duo challenge with the first part being could I, with CKD, eat pantry shelf-stable type foods and still feel good and healthy. After 5 weeks, the answer is no, I can’t. Those types of foods, unless I buy organic which I can not on this budget, are too high in fat, salt, sugar, and added phosphates. None of which is good for someone with CKD. So, that part of the challenge is over and decided. With that said there are some options that can be worked in like peanut butter, nuts, seeds, frozen fruit, beans, and canned or frozen veggies. Be sure and read the label and ingredients list prior to buying these items. For example, last week I save a couple of dollars by buying a cheaper French salad dressing. I did not read the label before buying. Today I went to put it on my salad and did read the label. Much to my shock 2 tbsp contains 13 grams of fat and High Fructose Corn Syrup. I will never buy this dressing again, and I am not even sure I will eat it.

For the remainder of this year, I will continue the 63 dollars per week Food Budget Challenge.

This is the start of week 6. I will be starting a new job probably within the next 7 days, so I may have to adjust my start and stop days. You also may remember that I went way over budget last week buying Superbowl stuff. The good news is, we have tons of leftovers, probably enough to feed us lunch all week, or most of the week. We also still have in the freezer mozzarella sticks and a package of hot dogs. Plus, a bunch of other things we didn’t use last week. We also did not cook the macaroni and cheese, I just forgot. For my challenge, The Pantry is anything in a cupboard, on a shelf, or in the freezer.

You can see everything I bought in the image. Aldis seemed just as expensive as Publix this week. So, unless I need to be over there I will shop at Walmart or Save A Lot from here on out, which is only 10 miles from my home, as opposed to 35. The only meat I purchased was the Boston Butt which I am not sure you can see well. It is a good chunk of meat and will make a lot of meals.

No one in my house will eat beans, except me, and I don’t eat them a lot. So, as this challenge goes on and the meat inventory gets depleted, this budget will be a real challenge. We may have to have a few meatless meals a week. Good thing they like eggs.

The only fresh veggies I bought this week are carrots and onions. My Instapot died and I didn’t buy a new one yet. So, I am going to prep the whole bag of potatoes extra from last week’s haul, and the carrots by baking them all up or freezing them. Because, I love to pop a carrot and a potato in my Instapot for an easy lunch, but I forgot I don’t have one. I did buy fresh fruit, because I hate canned fruit, and will use frozen only in smoothies. I got a bag of apples and some bananas. I eat a banana every day until they run out, even with CKD. I bought no salad stuff this week. It just doesn’t get eaten well this time of year. Some of this stuff I don’t eat, like the pizza, and chicken tenders. Once in a while, I will, but not this week.

One thing I like to do when we are having Alfredo Sauce, like tonight, is I use creamed-style corn as my sauce instead. Gravy will work too as long as it is low sodium and doesn’t have phosphorus additives in it. This will be tonight’s dinner. I will cook up the chicken breast with some onion, mushrooms, and frozen peas with carrots. Then, I will cook the creamed corn in a separate pan, and add half of a cup on top of my chicken and veggies. No one else will eat it this way but for me.

Some meal ideas I have floating around in my head for this week are Chicken Alfredo which is a definite for tonight, Spanish rice with ground turkey, cream of chicken lemon pork chops, taco soup, bbq fish. All of the ingredients for these meals I already have on hand. We should not have to buy any other food items until next week.

I spent $60.25 on groceries this week, but it could have been much less had I not bought the Boston butt.

If you would like to learn more about meal planning, and grocery shopping with CKD, use the contact form at the end of this post to send me an email and arrange for a free consultation.

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Living With CKD: Eating From My Pantry The End Of Week 4!

Hello, and happy Friday! I have some news to share today. Last week I took the plunge and decided that the 12-hour shifts every weekend was not healthy for me, and I started to look for other nursing opportunities. I had an interview yesterday, and was hired! I should start my new position in the next few days. I am very excited about this move, and they have opportunities for me to grow with their company.

We are at the end of week 4 of our $63 dollar per week food budget and pantry challenge. The budget will stay all year unless it gets to a point where we can no longer do it. My husband did have a minor freak out last week because he had to go a day without milk, but he is OK, lol. I may have to change the beginning day and ending day because I will be working every other Monday at the new job, but I think I can keep it the way it is. We actually ate a lot from our pantry this week and ate a lot of the fresh stuff I purchased on Monday. I update my pantry list every time I grocery shop and we do not have a goal to completely eat everything in the pantry and then start fresh on the super low budget. That just will not work, but if we had to we now know we are not going to starve to death and can eat relatively healthy if we shop smart. I have not shopped at Misfits Market in a few weeks, because I don’t need a lot of fresh stuff, or meat, yet, and there is a 30 dollar minimum to order. Today, I will be making spaghetti and meat sauce, and we bought pizza last night as a treat to celebrate my new job. Both of those things will get my husband and daughter through the weekend while I am at work. I eat at work now, not the healthiest, but it saves me time prepping in the morning when I have to get up so early. I don’t know if the new job provides food to the employees, so that may have to change in the near future. Be sure and check out my post about cleaning fruits and veggies to remove pesticides if you can’t afford organic foods.

I had a crazy busy week and did not take pictures. So, I will provide links to some of the not-so-healthy food items we used, so you can see the nutrition info. Next Sunday is the Super Bowl, and I can already tell you we will be over budget this week, but I don’t know by how much. I am going to try and get everything we need in my weekly shop, but I know my husband will want chicken wings and he insists on buying those, and they are expensive.

For breakfast each day this week I had a banana and my coffee. I still have enough for tomorrow and Sunday. For some reason, my husband is not eating fruit right now. I also have one cutie left if I need it in case he does eat a banana. I do have frozen fruit and can make smoothies.

For lunch each day this week I had a green salad. Some days I put on a little cheese or croutons. I do not mind a simple salad. I ran out of tomatoes and instead of going over budget and buying more I decided to use one can of corn and put a little on each salad. That worked out well and was very tasty. I am almost out of my Country French dressing so I will be on the hunt for an affordable low sugar variety, as the one I have is not low sugar, though it was affordable. We still have quite a bit of lettuce leftover and we will have some tonight with dinner, and my daughter will use the rest over the weekend.

Dinners this week were:

  1. Monday: This was a low carb dinner with lean pork chops, peppers and onions, and steamed broccoli. All of this was from the freezer and fresh pantry. I do not eat more than 3 ounces of meat at any meal, unless I have not had enough protein the rest of the day.
  2. Tuesday: For this meal I had bought the previous week a turkey polska kielbasa at Aldi. Even though this is still not super healthy, it is much better than the regular variety. It is way less in fat, and sodium. Just be sure and weigh your portion and try to stick with the 2 ounce portion size. I cut it up really small so it looks like I am getting more. Then I made a homemade macaroni and cheese. I had about 2 ounces of Velveeta cheese left in the fridge. I do not remember why I bought this but it has been in my fridge for about 2 months. I do not eat this stuff, usually, but I cooked some macaroni, then added the Velveeta and about 1/4 of a bag of part skim mozzarella cheesed that also had to be used up, and a 3/4 of a can of low fat evaporated milk from the pantry. Velveeta is very high in sodium, and fat per 1 ounce serving. There is absolutely no way you can call it healthy. Be mindful of your portion size. I eat about a third of a cup to half a cup once it is prepared. We had canned corn on the side. I love corn with macaroni and cheese. You can also substitute some of the cheese with an orange veggie like pureed carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, or sweet potato to make it healthier.
  3. Wednesday: I had fresh pineapple in the fridge that needed to be used before it went bad. So, I made pineapple rice, using Jasmine rice, that is the favorite rice in our house. It is white rice, so it is still not as healthy as the brown version, but economically it is very affordable. I cooked the rice separate, then added it the cooked pineapple, and cooked onion mixture. At the very end sprinkle on some garlic salt, and just a little brown sugar. This is super delicious and a big hit at my house. I also made chicken thighs. I did not realize I bought the bone in variety and I won’t buy them again. You really are not getting much meat for the price, and paying mostly for bone. They were just OK and too forever to cook due to having the bone in.
  4. Thursday: Pizza take out to celebrate. Be mindful of your portions and have a large salad with it to fill you up.
  5. Friday: Today, I am making spaghetti with meat sauce. The meat is not organic, but I will survive. This makes a ton of leftovers and my family will eat on it over the weekend. As does the pineapple rice from Wednesday. These large meals make great lunch options for at least a day or two after.
  6. Saturday and Sunday: I will be at work and they will be eating leftovers from the week, the pizza, and any snack options they can find in the pantry. I know there is still pretzels, bagels, and popcorn.

Unless I have to go to Gainesville to do stuff for my new job on Monday, I will not be going to Aldi. So, my other budget-friendly options are Dollar Tree, Save A Lot, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie. Winn-Dixie is not always budget-friendly, but my husband reminded me we have a rewards card there, so I may give it a try. The Dollar Tree I am not so convinced about their food options, and Save A Lot is usually good. At least they are all in the same city and within a mile of each other. So, if I have to go to more than one it will be convenient.

I hope everyone has an amazing weekend. Are you joining in my food budget challenge? Share what you are doing, and how it is going in the comments. I would love to hear about it. We have spent about $250 dollars on groceries for the past four weeks. We did go over a tiny bit this past week, I think by 8 dollars. That is at least half of what we were spending on groceries.

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Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes!

I am sticking with the Mediterranean alternatives to Thanksgiving sides. If you have CKD or any inflammatory disorder or are thinking of ways to prevent Dementia, the Mediterranean Diet may be the way to go. There are not tons of butter or heavy cream in these recipes. You will find one recipe to read, and some that are from Youtube. They kind of all have the same idea with a few variations. For the first one, I would not use Pine Nuts, as they are not the best option for CKD, but I would use Sunflower Seeds instead. I also would add a few more spices such as Paprika and Turmeric.

Now, if your family might not be feeling healthier dishes at Thanksgiving but it totally would benefit your health, just make smaller dishes of the two options. That way those that want the less healthy mashed potatoes can have them, and others can have the healthier version. Please note potatoes are very high in Potassium. If you have CKD limit your portion sizes or leech the potatoes prior to cooking them. This will help reduce the Potassium in the potatoes. I love potatoes and I eat them regularly. I do not have an issue with Potassium, though.

These are kind of short posts this week, as I have family coming to visit starting today.

Mediterranean Mashed Potatoes

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Family Cook-Off #4: Breakfast For Dinner!

Hello, hello! As promised this week’s Family Cook-Off results are in! My husband was the judge this week. So, it was mother against daughter. Caitlin cooked on Monday, and I cooked on Tuesday.

Here were the rules made by my husband:

  1. The meal had to be a breakfast for dinner meal using a grain, fruit, and a meat.
  2. He judges based on flavor, presentation, use of the items above, and effort put into the dish. He is also biased towards his daughter, lol.

After I profusely objected to a daughter bonus he tried to impose at the very end, he was forced to declare a tie. That means we each get a 5 dollar scratch-off ticket.

This is what Caitlin made:

Everything Bagels with butter, bacon, scrambled eggs, and sliced apples. The items were made into a bagel sandwich. She then added Yum Yum Sauce. That was the clincher! She lost points for giving two tops to one sandwich, lol. So, picky.

I bought some organic Bob Red’s Mill pancake mix. I think that is the proper name. I made small pancake sliders. Then I made breakfast sausage patties. I had some delicious homemade peach preserves that my friend made me earlier this year, and I needed to use them up. I figured that could be my fruit. I spread the preserves onto each slider piece, put the sausage in between, and voila a delicious sandwich. I also offered freeze-dried fruit in a variety pack, and no one even tried them, sadly. I lost points because he said my fruit was not a fruit, even though he did not specify in the rules what fruit meant. BTW that pancake mix is awesome!

Not next week, but the week after, will be the 5th competition. That is the week of Thanksgiving. Read about my choice for that week, here.

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what does your brain need to survive?

Hello, and Happy Tuesday. Today, and tomorrow, are the last two posts for the topic of Brain Health. If you want to know ahead of time what my Health topic will be in July, sign up for my weekly newsletter below. You may see affiliate links in this post, or any of my posts.

Some of the things a human brain needs to survive may seem obvious, like oxygen, and an energy source. Did you know, for example that the brain uses about 20% of the bodies oxygen and blood supply? That is astounding considering it only weighs three pounds. If there is no oxygen source, the brain will die, as such is true if there is no blood supply. Quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy blood pressure are two easier ways to help your brain stay oxygenated.

But, what about an energy source? I read this analogy: the brain is like a car, it needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid, and other materials to run properly. The brain needs water, fatty acids, cholesterol, glucose, and omega 3’s just to name a few. Plus a whole host of other vitamins and minerals to keep it running like clock work. If you remember reading at the beginning of this month I had thought about doing a completely Zero Point Food Challenge, based off of the WW Zero Point Food list. But, after much research I realized I would be sorely undernourished in the fat area as to qualify most foods had to have no fat at all. I opted not to do that and went for a more reasonable lower fat limit with zero point foods as the challenge. You can read all about it in the archives. Our brains need fat, and yes even cholesterol, to function properly. I for one do not care for fish, so getting Omega 3s is not easy for me. I have done a whole host of posts on that topic as well. you can find them in the archives. This is also why the Mediterranean Diet is the #1 Healthy Diet four years in a row. The only thing it really makes you give up is processed foods, and red meat for most of the time.

But, you may not also realize the brain has some other needs. I urge you to watch the video below to see what I mean. The most profound thing he said that stood out to me is that our brains need a purpose to be healthy and survive. I have talked about this to friends and family the fact that I don’t think I will ever fully retire, unless I have found another purpose. This blog, and helping people learn about Healthy topics can be a purpose. Humans need to have a purpose. It doesn’t have to be to make money. It can mean many things to many different people, but our brains need it. I urge you to watch the video. I don’t want to give away what he says. I think it will really make you think.

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Low calorie food #3

Happy Friday! Today is my Orthopedic consult for my injured shoulder. While I was able to work yesterday without too much discomfort, I also did not lift or pull on anyone. My boss was in agreement to these terms for me to work. I have a feeling this will need to continue if I am going to work until it completely heals. This post may contain affiliate links.

Today, I am going to discuss the 3rd low calorie food item in my new series. Cantaloupe is this week’s featured food. Cantaloupe is a Musk Melon and I have one plant growing in my garden. I decided to give it a try even though the directions said it needed a lot of room to grow. I have placed it in one of the raised beds all by itself and it has several blossoms that I hope will produce fruit. I have never really eaten much Cantaloupe. It is an awesome source for Vitamins, C, A, plus Potassium, and Folate. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin which means in order for the body to absorb the Vitamin A properly it must be eaten with a fat source. So, bring on some yummy fruit dip or whipped topping full fat variety. Just use it in proper portion sizes. I think a lot of times people don’t realize when they remove fat completely from their diet they probably are not absorbing vital nutrients properly, as well as when they take a supplement. You can read more about this here.

Per my Nutrition Facts app 1/2 cup of raw cantaloupe contains the following nutrients: There are others but these are the basics.

Water: 90 grams. This is a lot of water. If you are on fluid restrictions be sure to account for water in foods. If you are underhydrated have some cantaloupe.

Calories: Only 34 calories per 1/2 cup

Protein: Less than 1 gram

Fat: .19 gram

Fiber: 1 gram

Carbs: 8 grams

Calcium: 9 mg

Magnesium: 12 mg

Phosphorus: 15 mg this is a great choice if you have to watch your phosphorus intake

Potassium: 267 mg. If you have CKD this is a high Potassium option. Either have a 1/4 cup or be sure and adjust you other potassium food items the rest of the day.

Sodium: 16 mg

Vitamin C: 37 mg

Folate: 21 ug

Vitamin A RAE: 169 ug

Vitamin A IU: 3382 IU

Vitamin K: 2.5 ug

Did you know there are two different types of Vitamin A? Watch the videos below to learn more about this, and other facts about this awesome low calorie food. You can actually get too much Vitamin A. Be sure to read these safety facts and foods that are good sources of Vitamin A.

The purpose of these low calorie food posts is to help anyone who is overweight and needs to lose weight to make better food options.

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