Spend Smart. Eat Smart. – With Friends!

June 27, 2022 | Christine Hradek

Today we begin a series we are calling Spend Smart. Eat Smart. with friends. We are each excited to interview someone close to us about the ideas we tend to feature here. Stay tuned for an interview blog each month through September. I get to go first!

I chose to interview my mom; her name is Betsy. She grew up in Nebraska as one of five children. She and my dad raised my sister and I and are now retired empty nesters in Iowa City, Iowa. In her current season of life, she spends a lot of time with her three grandsons who are 8, 12 and 13. I chose my mom because she has always been the cook in our family and has done so through many phases of life. She had two little children and worked as a nurse and now she is retired and mostly cooking for herself and my dad. She loves to entertain people in her home and she is a flexible and adaptable cook. Let’s see what Mom had to say!


  1. What is your favorite food memory?
    My favorite food memory is when we had all of my brothers and sisters as well as their children and Grandma Betty to our house for Thanksgiving – 26 in total! I love Thanksgiving dinner always but gathering the whole crew was special.
  2. What food always makes you smile?
    Any food that someone else cooks for me makes me smile. I enjoy trying new things that I don’t cook.
  3. What is a go-to meal at your house that is tasty and easy?
    My go-to easy meal is a sheet pan dinner. I chop up kielbasa with whatever vegetables are in the fridge and roast them in the oven on a sheet pan. This is really flexible, fast and easy. It also works during any season.
  4. What is one tip you can share for eating well on a budget?
    Meal plan and don’t buy any perishable food that doesn’t have a place in the meal plan. Planning meals that involve less meat helps cut costs.
  5. What is your favorite Spend Smart. Eat Smart. recipe?
    My favorite is the Sloppy Joes! They are so good and so easy and one recipe is two meals for us. I usually make them with ground turkey.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from my mom! Stay tuned next month for Katy’s interview.

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

More Posts