Archive for ‘Shopping’

September 9, 2011

Running, Shopping, and Baking

by Ashley

Running, shopping, and baking… three of my favorite things to do.  If you read some of my earlier posts, you probably have read that I work (at my church) Monday/Wednesday/Friday/half Sunday.  I changed my schedule recently to Monday/Wednesday/Thursday/half Sunday to be able to teach the senior’s exercise class on Thursdays so I wouldn’t have to commute more than I had to.  I didn’t know what I’d think of my new schedule.  I started to get used to working one day, and having one day off.  However, I think I like having Fridays off… it’s nice to get “finished” by Thursday.  I finished all of the housework and laundry on Monday and Tuesday, so I decided to make this a running, shopping, and baking kind of day!  I can’t complain one bit about that. 

I started my day off with my Peanut Butter ‘N’ Banana Pancakes and coffee while catching up on some blogs.  After my food settled, I ventured out on my run with Ryan.   When we got back, I decided to take Molly on a little walk around the block to make sure she felt special too.  Overall, we covered a little over four miles, including my short walk with Molly, so I felt pretty accomplished (and SWEATY).  

After getting cleaned up, I lounged around the house a bit until I got hungry for some lunch.  Chelsey gave me some motivation in her morning post to make a beastly salad for lunch today.  I’m so glad she did!  On a thick bed of spinach leaves, I put black beans, leftover Mexican brown rice, tomato, and cilantro.  It was refreshing and delicious!

 

            

After lunch, I ventured out to run some errands.  One very important errand was getting Cody’s birthday present.  (His birthday is next Wednesday!)  Unfortunately, I can’t go too much in depth on that one, otherwise he’ll figure it out.  Another stop was WinCo, which I had talked about and reviewed in this post.  It is now one of my favorite places to get groceries!  I headed there because it was on my way home, I had some coupons, and I needed some special “bulk” ingredients (they have tons of bulk bins) for a few yummy recipes I’ll be sharing with you throughout the weekend.  I also made a special stop to Starbucks!  I haven’t been there in forever, and I rarely go unless I have a gift card.  It was my lucky day though because I found a long lost Starbucks gift card in my wallet this afternoon!  I was quite excited.  I was trying to decide between a pumpkin spiced latte or a mocha light frappucino (hot or cold?)… it was a tough decision.  I opted for the frappucino.

   

When I got home, I got to work on a couple different baking projects.  My first one was this one. 

Yes, you’re seeing them correctly.  They are, in fact, sugar cookies in the shape of feet.  They are for a special activity I am planning for a meeting I have with my children’s ministry volunteers after church on Sunday.  They are supposed to go along with my meeting theme, “J.U.M.P.: Jesus Use Me Please”.  “JUMP”… feet… get it?  Haha, ok, so maybe it’s kind of corny, but it’s fun nonetheless. 

My next baking project was for a family reunion that we are going to tomorrow for Cody’s dad’s side of the family.  We were asked to bring a dessert, so I made these little guys.  I call them “Trail Mix Cookies”.  You’ll have to wait for the recipe though…  I gotta leave a little suspense!  I can promise you that they are quite delicious.  (I sampled one a couple. 😉 )  Stay tuned for the recipe tomorrow!

Hopefully they get polished off at the reunion tomorrow because these babies are dangerous to have lying around my kitchen! 

I’m off to spend some quality time with the hubs… He’s had some long work days this week, so I feel like I’ve barely seen him!  Good night!

August 31, 2011

Eating Healthy On A Budget

by Ashley

Eating healthy on a budget?  Is that even possible?!  YES!  IT IS POSSIBLE!  I’ve received emails about this, and it’s something that I too, have to evaluate from time to time.  Eating healthy definitely can be expensive but it also can be done.

It can almost feel overwhelming when you have a food budget to stick to and all of these healthy foods that you WANT to buy are just so darn expensive.  Many people assume it’s just not even possible, but I can assure you, they’re wrong!  It IS possible.  My husband and I are far from the wealthiest couple on the block, and we still manage to stock our refrigerator and pantry with healthy foods while only spending about $50 per week on groceries!  How do we do it, you may ask?  Let me share some tips:

  • Buy what you can in bulk!  We go through milk, bread, eggs, yogurt, and chicken like it’s nothin’, so we try our best to purchase those goods from Costco.  (Make sure you compare prices to your local grocery store though!  We have found that some things aren’t necessarily cheaper just because they’re in bulk.)
  • Stock up on non perishables when they’re on sale.  Frozen vegetables, canned soups, peanut butter, rice, etc. can all be stored for awhile, so stock up!
  • Buy the generic brand.  I understand that some foods MUST be the name specific brand (i.e. my Adam’s Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter 🙂 ), but some foods you will barely notice a difference between the generic and name brand.  The generic brands are usually significantly cheaper, and even if they’re only a few cents cheaper, it adds up!
  • Purchase your “necessity items” each week (i.e. milk, bread, etc.), but opt for the “extras” only sometimes.  For example, we ALWAYS have peanut butter in our house, but I could easily buy every other nut butter out there too.  However, I choose to only allow myself to buy an extra nut butter once every few months. 
  • Don’t waste your money on junk food items such as chips, sugary cereals, processed/packaged desserts.  For one, they’re usually way over priced (a cereal box can be $5 these days!), and they hardly fill you up!  Wouldn’t you rather spend extra money on nutritious, satisfying foods than sugary, processed, NOT satsifying foods??  I certainly would.  If you’re really having a hankering for something sweet, bake a batch of cookies!  Something salty?  Buy some pretzels!  At least they’re better for you than chips.

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  • Use coupons.  I haven’t seriously gotten into couponing because it takes a lot of extra time, but I always go through our mail to see if I can find some good ones.  Even if it’s only a 25 cents off coupon, it adds up!
  • Only buy what you need.  So many people walk out of the grocery store with baskets full of food that they never even finish.  That’s a waste of money and food.  As my parents always told me, don’t let your eyes be bigger than your stomach. 
  • Make a grocery list.  It’s tempting to grab everything and anything in sight that looks appealing if you don’t have a list.  Make it a priority to check your pantry and refrigerator to see what items you need and add them to a list before you go grocery shopping. 
  • Buy produce that’s “in season”.  Produce being sold that’s not “in season” will be pretty pricey compared to the “in season” produce.  Not only that, but the “out of season” produce probably won’t taste very good anyways so don’t waste your moo-lah on it.   
  • Go to farmer’s markets to buy quality and inexpensive produce.  It’s incredible what you’re able to come home with without spending a ton of money. 

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  • Make meals that don’t have an outrageously long list of ingredients.  The more ingredients, the more money you spend! 

I hope these tips help!  I share this with you because I know what it’s like to have a desire to eat healthy and have healthy foods on hand but be on a budget.  I want you to know that it is possible! 

P.S.  This is your LAST CHANCE to put an entry in for the “Nutty Granola” I shared with you yesterday!  I will announce the winners tomorrow morning!

Questions:

  • What are some tips you have to eat healthy on a budget?
  • What’s your favorite place to get groceries?
  • What healthy meals do you make that are inexpensive?
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