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bowl of hot soup with steam

Soup…What’s Saving My Life Right Now

A co-worker asked on a recent meeting as an icebreaker question ‘what’s saving your life right now?’ My response was a good book. The more I thought about it though, soup should have been my answer. I’m in a real rut of meal planning right now. The thought of having to think about what to cook my family for supper makes my head hurt. Soup to the rescue! My family loves soup and I’m grateful for that. Here’s what I love about soup.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

4 tips for healthy eating on a budget

Eat breakfast. This is the most important meal of the day and the most common one to skip. It’s also typically the fastest and the cheapest to make. Think oatmeal, toast, eggs, pancakes, fruit, low-fat milk.  Just eating breakfast helps charge your brain and body. Buy staples. Beans, pasta, and oats are really inexpensive and filling. Canned fish or frozen vegetables don’t go bad before you can use them. Eggs are a very inexpensive protein as are beans and peanut butter. Plan ahead. When you are hungry and rushed, it is hard to think of budget foods. Make a slow-cooker recipe that will last several meals. Divide the food into several containers to make it easier to reheat. Or, keep the ingredients for an inexpensive meal on a shelf so you don’t have to think what to make when you are tired. A nutritious meal includes something from each food group: grain, meat, fruit, vegetable, and milk. Watch what you drink. Coffee, soda, energy drinks, and alcohol can be dehydrating and costly. Water and milk are healthy and inexpensive. Refillable water bottles pay for themselves within days. -pointers from Peggy

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Slow-Cooker Meal for a Crowd

Last night I had my siblings, their spouses, and my parents for supper (11 in all). It was one of those times that I invited everyone and then started thinking about what I could make. The menu was a little trickier since my oven stopped working last week and I don’t have a replacement. I didn’t want to spend all day preparing the meal or spend lots of money—plus I wasn’t sure what time we would actually sit down to eat.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Kitchen gifts that will help save money

I am not much for lining my countertops with one-use gadgets such as bun warmers, ice cream cone makers, rotisseries, hot dog cookers, rice cookers, single serving coffee makers, etc. But, I do think that some small appliances can help make cooking at home faster, easier, or cheaper. Here are a few ideas for your gift list:

Slow cooker black eyed pea soup

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea Soup

My family has never had any New Year food traditions. I have been reading up on some New Year food traditions from around the world and everything I read sounded so good that I am thinking I need to start one of these traditions with my family.

Slow cooker vegetarian chili

Keeping Food Safe in a Slow Cooker

We often get request for recipes that can be made in a slow cooker. It’s not surprising since you can add the ingredients to the slow cooker, turn it on, and then go about your day while the food cooks. No need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when you have other things you need to do! Here are some tips to keep food safe when using a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Black Eyed Pea Soup

Slow Cooker Recipe Roundup

We love our slow cookers at Spend Smart. Eat Smart. It is such a delight to come home from a busy day to a home-cooked meal that is ready to eat. At our holiday potluck, three of us made slow cooker dishes!

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.

Lamb Curry

Learn from our Mistakes

Most cooks have tried a recipe that did not turn out how they planned. Sometimes it’s a cake that collapses on the counter, other times it’s a roast that ended up raw in the middle. The best thing to do when this happens is to try to learn from the mistake, so it does not happen again. We have rounded up a few common mistakes people make with slow cookers to try to help you avoid them in your kitchen.

Mexican Chicken Soup

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup

Our November recipe of the month is Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Soup.  It is perfect for a busy day. All the ingredients go into the slow cooker in the morning, cook on low for 8-10 hours, and you have a delicious soup ready to eat in the evening.

Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

What are Lentils?

Have you heard of lentils? Do you cook with them? I did not grow up eating lentils, so I did not know what they were until I started working for Iowa State. I learned that lentils are tiny, disc-shaped legumes. Legumes are plants that have seed pods, like beans and peas. In the kitchen, lentils are used as a quick-cooking and inexpensive plant protein that is tasty in main dishes or as a side dish.

Apple Cinnamon Bread

Fall Favorites

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love watching the leaves change color, being able to swap out my shorts for cozy knit sweaters and taking in all the fun fall activities.