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various lentils and beans

Give Plant-Based Protein a Try!

A few years ago, I made the decision to make 2-3 meatless dinners a week. After our daughter turned one, I was hopeful that making this change would be a great way to introduce her to new foods. While searching for meatless recipes, I came to realize there were several benefits from eating plant-based protein a few times a week! Our grocery bills are lower and the health benefits that come with swapping out protein sources is a bonus.

Meal Planning

Planning your Meals with Family Favorite Recipes

Planning your meals and using your meal plan to make a grocery list are a top tip for saving money on food. By planning your meals and using a list when you shop, you know exactly what you need to buy and are less likely to buy items you don’t need.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Tips for meal planning

Planning meals is important if you want to save money at the grocery store, but most people admit they don’t do it.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

How Many Wooden Spoons Do You Really Need?

A kitchen filled with equipment, gadgets and an excess of food products can put a damper on preparation (and fun!) just as much as not having the right stuff.  Having to sort through layers is frustrating, as is having to move items from shelf to shelf just to get a cupboard to shut.  Can you relate?  It doesn’t have to be this way though!

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Spending Less and Eating Healthier: Part 1 of 3

Meal Planning

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Mise en Place: Work Smarter, Not Harder in the Kitchen

Recently when making supper for my family, I realized part way through making the pizza that I did not have any pizza sauce! I thought I had some, so didn’t check to make sure before I started making the pizza.  So supper got put on hold while I sent my husband to the store to get the pizza sauce. If I would have practiced ‘mise en place’, I would have known before I started that I didn’t have any sauce and could have run to get it before starting to cook or went to Plan B.

oliday-place-setting

Preparing your Kitchen for Holiday Entertaining

It’s the time of year when many of us have family visiting and special get-togethers that involve food. You can save a lot of money by having holiday parties at home rather than in a restaurant and it is usually more fun too. I have friends coming for dinner this month as well as a neighborhood cookie swap at my house.

I Have a Confession to Make

Last month I wrote a blog about how I plan my meals ahead and how easy it is. Well, I have a confession to make. The past couple of weeks I have not done a good job of planning meals. Between my son’s soccer practices and games and just wanting to be outside in the nice weather as much as I can, I haven’t been as committed to getting my meals planned. I feel like I’ve been in a rut making many of the same recipes for the last few months. Therefore, I am excited to have discovered a new resource from Utah State University that is all about making your own meals based on what you have on hand.

Summer Grilling on a Budget

Our weather in Iowa has really warmed up lately and I’ve been firing up the grill a couple of times each week. The outdoor grill is a great tool for eating healthy and if you plan well, you can also save time and money. Here are a couple of tips for using your grill the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. way!

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Slow Cooker – Converting Recipes

I love using my slow cooker for many reasons.  Right now, the main reason I love my slow cooker is the timing. There are usually two or three nights each week when someone in our family needs to be somewhere by 6 or 6:30. It is really hard for me to make a meal, feed everyone, and then get three children out the door on time.  These are the nights when I rely on my slow cooker.  I can do the prep for a meal the night before, load the slow cooker in the morning, and then have a great meal ready in the evening.

little girl with plate of food

I don’t like that!

‘I don’t like that’ is heard more often than I’d like in my kitchen! Often my children tell me they don’t like what I’ve made for supper, even before they’ve tried it. It’s normal for young children to prefer foods they are familiar with and to have periods of time where they may only want to eat 1 or 2 different foods. However, there are ways you can help your child try new foods.

Meal Planning Calendar

A Meal Plan For My Family

Here at Spend Smart. Eat Smart. we talk about planning meals a lot.  This is because it is easier to save money and make healthy food choices when you have a plan.  I know that on the weeks that I do not have a plan, or on the weeks when my plan goes wrong, I end up making more trips to the store, spending more money, and making less healthy choices.