Memorial Day is almost here…
Memorial Day makes me think of backyard barbeques, picnics, and having friends over. When I have guests, I don’t want to spend the whole day cooking and I don’t want to overshoot my food budget. Amanda, our dietetics student, and I figure we can to do the meal below for about $2 per person, or $16 for a group of 8. We figure it will take about an hour and a half of advance prep, not counting making the burgers since that will be part of the party. If I can limit myself to one deviled egg and one cookie or brownie, my diet should be in good shape, too!
Fruit Kabobs—Look Elegant, Taste Great, Kid-Friendly
Sometimes it’s the way you present food that makes it special. Fruit Kabobs are an example. You could chop fruits up and stir the yogurt in, but it wouldn’t look this good.
Which store is best?
Jennifer sent a note asking if there is an easy way to compare prices across stores? I will share three ways that I do it, but I am sure there are more ways and we would LOVE to hear your ideas.
Skillet lasagna highly recommended!
If you haven’t tried the skillet lasagna recipe from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart website, I highly recommend it. Here’s why I like it:
Do you regularly pack a lunch? It saves money, but until you make it part of your regular routine, it can be a hassle. My husband and I want the health and money saving benefits of taking lunch from home, but often are too unorganized, lazy, short on time, or whatever to consistently get something together either the night before or in the morning. Here’s what we’ve done:
Shopping with Kids
We all know it is much easier to shop without kids along, but sometimes it can’t be avoided.
Gourmet Salsa is a hit!
My entire family enjoys snacking on baked taco chips and salsa for an easy snack. We usually just eat tomato salsa that I buy at the store until our home grown tomatoes are ready from the garden. But, for something a little different, I tried adding some plain yogurt to it along with some fat free sour cream. It was a big hit with my son and husband – the yogurt was cool but there was still the spiciness of the salsa for a great flavor combination. It couldn’t be any easier to make – equal parts of salsa, fat free sour cream and nonfat plain yogurt. Just a 2 tablespoon serving yields 2% of the daily value for calcium and it only costs $ .15 a serving. I also liked the fact that it tasted great with vegetables. There was just enough spice to make you keep eating and that IS what I need – ideas to keep me eating more nutrient rich vegetables. At only 25 calories for a 2 tablespoon serving of this South of the Border Dip, you can enjoy this guilt free, inexpensive snack.
Heating it up…Summer Barbecues
When barbecuing, you need to follow food safety rules and also cook meat to a temperature that will kill bacteria, if you want to avoid getting sick. Here are some rules I keep in mind:
Fred’s Community Sandwich saves money for the whole gang
My husband started a ‘community sandwich’ option at his worksite. He takes a week’s worth of ingredients for sandwiches (deli meats, sometimes cheese) on Mondays. It’s stored in the frig in the break room and anyone can use the ingredients to make a sandwich. They pay $1.00 per sandwich. Every week he buys a couple of different deli meats (pepper turkey is the most popular). Someone else brings the bread and other fixings. They take the money out of the sandwich ‘kitty’ to fund the ingredients each week. This started as a ‘trial’ run that has helped my husband save money and is so much easier then packing a lunch. Many of his co-workers are appreciating the cost savings and healthier eating as well.
Needs versus wants applies to food
Recently, I did an educational program on Spend Smart. Eat Smart. for employees at a local public health department. A dietitian in the group shared a way her family could save money on milk: “Get my family to drink more water and not always drink milk.” Some in the group seemed surprised that a dietitian would make that suggestion. What did she actually mean? Her point was that she wants her family members to drink the amount of milk they need nutritionally, but not necessarily more than that.
Farmers Markets = Fresh Produce
Did you know there are more than 212 farmers markets located in communities across the state with direct access to Iowa’s nutritious, affordable and delicious products?
Blueberries – I love ‘em!
Early in July I head to my favorite ‘you-pick’ blueberry farm and enjoy those delicious fresh berries! I don’t have the time or space to grow my own berries, so I’m happy others grow them for us to pick. Grocery stores are running specials of under $2.00 a pint; but, at one pick-your-own operation in SE Iowa, they were $2 a quart if you did the picking or $4 a quart if you bought them in the box. I get satisfaction from picking them myself, and knowing they were produced locally is well worth the price I pay.