Christine’s Snacking Challenges
Confession time, friends! I sat down to write a blog about my habits around snacking and one thing keeps coming to mind. My habits are not great in this area! Don’t get me wrong, I eat snacks and I love snacks. Some of my favorites are string cheese, crackers, and nuts. I am just not as strategic about them as I could be. I tend to only think about snacks when I am home and have access to them. That is often after dinner when I don’t really need much more energy for the day. I suppose this is coming at a good time as it is forcing me to think about what I could do better.
All of a sudden it is time to go back to school and routines are changing for many of us. Schedules get a little busier and we have less time to cook. The temptation to grab takeout is definitely there, but we can save money and make more nutritious choices by using some shortcuts at home instead.
Meals from a Dollar Store
In my home state of Iowa, there are a lot of us who have a significant drive to get to a big grocery store with a wide variety of food. Trips into larger cities take time and money for transportation. In small towns and certain areas of larger cities, we are more likely to find a dollar store that sells a variety of items including some food. Most dollar stores have shelf-stable foods and some have refrigerated or frozen foods too. I gave some thought to what I could make with the shelf-stable foods my local dollar store carries. Here are some of the products that stood out to me as particularly useful and how I would make them into a meal.
Peppers on Parade!
It has been a fun month reading all about our favorite summer produce items. It is a real joy to have summer produce from the grocery store, farmers market or even your own back porch. I enjoy nearly all summer produce, but I would say peppers rise to the top for me. They are delicious raw and cooked and they can be sweet or spicy.
Quick Meals for a Relaxed Summer
This week we are kicking off a new series all about our go-to meals for summer. In the summer I like to have more time outside looking after my plants and flowers and I tend to travel more often as well. I’ve shared before that cooking is something I really enjoy, but I also like to have quick meals that do not require much cooking so that I have time to relax and enjoy a slower pace.
What’s for Breakfast at Christine’s House
Today I get to kick off a blog series all about ‘what’s for breakfast?’. Our Spend Smart. Eat Smart. bloggers will share some of their favorite breakfast dishes throughout the month of May. Sometimes breakfast does not get the attention that other meals do because we often eat it quickly on our way out the door. I know that is the case for me most days.
Less Waste, One Step at a Time
During this same week of 2021, I wrote a blog about my efforts to use fewer single-use plastic products at home. I didn’t like the idea of these products building up in the landfill nor did I like the idea of spending money on something that is meant to be thrown out. I focused on trying to cut back on using zip-top bags. I tried to use reusable bags and containers where I could and set the goal to use just one box of zip-top bags over the course of a whole year. In the first year, I made it about 10 months before I ran out. I am glad to say I can now meet that goal easily; it has become a habit. For context, I am the only person who lives in my house.
All in One Pot
As I thought about our theme of comfort food favorites, I struggled to pick just one thing. I even asked my mom what she thought I should write about. She would know, right? She suggested anything that involves mashed potatoes and she’s probably right on target there 🙂 . However, as I thought about it more, my go to foods when I’m feeling run down and just need a good meal are one-pot meals.
I live in a small house with just a little bit of outdoor space. In the summer, I try to maximize that space by filling it with pots of flowers, vegetables and herbs. Fresh herbs are something I do not buy at the grocery store very often because they are expensive and often spoil before I can get the package used. So, I see fresh herbs as a seasonal treat I can enjoy from late spring through early fall when I’m growing them. I use dried herbs the rest of the year. Today I would like to share how I use the herbs I grow. Most years I grow basil, parsley, thyme and rosemary. I also grow cherry tomatoes in a big flower pot.
Spend Smart. Eat Smart. – With Friends!
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!
Free Meals for the Summer! Where do I Sign Up?
Hasn’t it been nice sending your children to school all year knowing they have access to free, nutritious meals every day? Think of all the time and money you’ve saved without having to grocery shop, meal prep, or clean up those meals. Well, that doesn’t have to change just because school is ending. Did you know that summer meal sites offer free meals for all children and teens age 18 and under? No application or registration is required, just stop by and enjoy! Participating at a summer meal site with your family not only saves you time and money, it also helps support your school and community.
Do it Yourself Meal Kits for Kids
Better Nutrition, Lower Cost, and Less Waste