Thursday, December 18, 2014

Simple Snack Bowl for Kids

This is one of my favorite treats. A big huge bowl of multiple fruits. This sexy bowl is made up of one whole grapefruit, grapes, mango, pineapple, and apple slices.  

I sent a bowl similar to this, but larger, to my kid's school holiday party. I opted for a healthy snack instead of making cupcakes. It was easier for me (WHEW!) and better for the children.  Win. Win.  

My little one loves to sit in front of his homework and snack on a big bowl like this one.  Try it with your kids. Yes, they will pick out the fruits they don't like. Yes, it will annoy you. Yes, you should still try it. 

*Cheap tip- Buy large bags of fruit in bulk and also frozen.  Cut and wash the fresh fruit yourself instead of buying premade bowls.   

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The 8 Minute Juice Feast!

Here are my tips to make juicing go faster:

Line the pulp catcher with a Baggie and then transfer the contents to compost or the fridge or freezer to use later in muffin or pancake batter. One less thing to clean. 

Invest in a hard bristle scrub brush to clean the blade with, if your machine didn't come with one. 

Fill the sink with soapy water before you start juicing, so you can wash everything as soon as your done. 

My first juicer was a little cheap Black and Decker. The mouth was small and the blades were dull so I yielded very little juice for my efforts.  And it took FOREVER to juice a batch because of the small mouth. When you're able to, invest in a quality juicer so that you save time on the juicing process. I recommend Omega Vert for quick slow press juicing or Breville for faster high speed juicing. I love that the Breville has a wide mouth so you can stuff it with produce.  You will also save money because you will yield more juice. 

Juice in one batch at night and freeze part of the batch for later.  This way you only have to juice once a day if you consume multiple portions. 

Wash all the produce first and put it in a bowl next to the juicer. 

Juice into a pitcher or line up glass bottles to fill and store your juice in as you go. 

Yesterday I juiced 50oz of carrot and vegetable juice. The process from start (washing veggies) to finish (cleaning the machine) took me 8 minutes. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Easy AND Healthy AND Cheap Kale & Cranberry Salad

I love to pick up convenient and healthy items to help make my life easier.  I'm a busy mom who works inside and outside the home and like most busy people of all walks of life, convenience sometimes wins over health when it comes to meals. That's why I get excited when I find things that are convenient, healthy AND CHEAP!

One of my favorite meals to pack for lunch and to eat for dinner is the Kale Cranberry Salad from Costco. It's $5.79 for a big huge bag. I buy two bags for the week and that gives me about 8 servings of greens per bag. 

The bag comes packed full of fresh, raw kale, thinly shredded cabbage and shaved brussel sprouts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds and a creamy poppyseed dressing. (Sometimes I substitute my own organic dressing but there are days when even that is too much work!)  All this for about 140 calories per serving!

I pack a big salad bowl and a biodegradable "not plastic" fork and take it with me to work.  The cranberries and pumpkin seeds are packaged separately inside the bag. The dressing is also packed in two packets.  That makes it easy to take on the road with me.  It's also a quick and easy raw vegan dinner when I don't feel like preparing anything more "ornate" like spiralized squash noodles. 

-cheap tip. Make your own salad bag by chopping up romaine heads and putting it in a ziploc bag. Be sure to press out all the air before you seal it.  Buy salad toppings on sale or in bulk like nuts, dried fruit or croutons. Put those items in a small ziploc bag by serving size. Pack it with your salad bags. Voila!  Your own cheap ready made salad. 
Bon appetit! 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Warm, Cozy, Vegan Chicken-less Broth

I consume a lot of raw fruits and vegetables.  Most of the time I feel great, but every so often, especially in the winter, I want something warm besides tea.  When I'm sick, I want soup! Not a cold apple. 

When I'm on raw vegan websites I see others post that same request. So I'm not alone. Posters ask, "What can I eat when I want something warm or when I want a hot soup?" Another question I see is,  "What's a good substitute for chicken noodle soup?"

Problem solved!  This is my simple broth that will satisfy that craving for something warm.  You can opt to leave the veggies raw and make this even more nutritious. I prefer to sautée mine lightly to release some of the flavor and then save some raw carrots and celery to snack on separate from the soup as a side. 

Here's what you need:

2 cups filtered water warmed in a saucepan on the stove (Don't boil it. It's not necessary.)

Add 1tsp of kosher salt and pepper or more to taste 

Add 1tsp of garlic powder (you can also smash a garlic clove but this addition will change the broth flavor from mild to strong)

Add 1 tablespoon of any chopped fresh herb (I prefer basil and parsley or cilantro.  But I use whatever I have on hand)

Add 1 heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast. (Don't skip this step. This adds the "chicken" flavor)

In a cast iron skillet or regular pan, in a tsp of oil, sautée two chopped carrots, two chopped celery sticks and half a medium onion chopped. Use a tsp of vegetable oil, coconut oil or light olive oil. Sautée the veggies just until barely softened and then add to broth. 

Voila! Chicken-less soup. 

You can feel free to add to the broth your favorites: pasta noodles, zucchini noodles, brown rice, quinoa, or wild rice. I like to add mushrooms. 

*cheap tip---buy nutritional yeast in bulk at your local organic market. It's less expensive to just purchase what you need for the recipe if you don't use it very often. 

*another cheap tip --- You can save by using dried herbs instead of fresh. If you use dried herbs, use 1-2teaspoons. 

Yummmeeee!  This serves 2. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Fast Simple Low Cost Juicy Juice!

I love to juice carrots and celery. It's so easy, fast and healthy. The veggies are hearty enough to take the beating of a high speed juicer. The best part is that they are among the cheapest veggies you can buy to get a large volume of juice. Here you see my pretties getting ready to be pummeled. 

The quantity seen below (9-10 carrots and 9-10 celery sticks) makes about 48oz of juice in a Breville juicer.  I got my juicer on sale at Score!

I purchased the carrots and celery in my weekly Costco food haul. To me nothing beats warehouse shopping, if you like to juice and/or eat raw, fresh, organic veggies. 

*Cheap tip--- don't get sucked in by warehouse prices.  Only buy what you know you and your family will consume. Fresh Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable. So if you think you won't eat it all in a few days, buy the frozen varieties instead. 

I purchased this quantity for a week of juicing. I make 32-48 ounces at a time. 

Carrots 10lb bag $7.99

Celery sticks 2.5lb bag $4.99

Friday, December 5, 2014

Burrito Time!

I love to get an assortment of chopped veggies and roll them up in collard green leaves for a quick, easy, cheap lunch. 

I get an assortment of whatever veggies are in my fridge, chop them up. Then take a few collard leaves and run a knife down the length of the hard stem to remove most if it (this makes it easier to roll the leaf into a burrito), stuff it with veggies and eat...and eat....and eat!  

I like to add avocado or a drizzle of organic salad dressing/olive oil or some crumbled nuts to add essential fatty acids to these wonderful wraps.  

They keep well. So you can make them in the morning and take them with you to work. 

*Cheap tip --- Make sure to use the older veggies that are in your crisper, so they don't go to waste. This saves money over time. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fat vs Muscle

I found this little chart on my favorite pastime Pinterest.... I think it makes a good point. 

Lift something heavy today and then eat something raw, vegan, fresh and organic.  Your body will thank you. 

Cheap tip--- today's grocery list is for fresh snacks and juicing supplies. 

I'm buying:

A bag of oranges

A bag of apples

A bag of celery

A few cucumbers

A large bag of spinach. 

These items are low cost and make quick, easy snacks. They are also water rich, so they net a lot of juice. If you are into juicing, the first four items on this list should be staples in your basket. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Motivation for Hump Day

---cheap tip

Here are some ways to motivate yourself that are free. 

1. Write down your goals.  

2. Say them aloud every day. 

3. Do one thing daily to get yourself closer. 

4. Reach out for help when you need it.  

5. Hide yourself from naysayers as much as possible. 

6. Don't quit until you WIN!

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Fat Butt Remedy

If you want to lose weight the hard way, but keep it off the easy way, then weight training is for you. Most people take on cardio when they want to lose a few pounds.  Cardio is great for your heart, but won't have the lasting impact on your physique like lifting heavy things.  

The formula that most people commonly use is low calorie diet, cardio and maybe weight training.  Good one, but I say weight training, high nutrition diet and not a lot of cardio, for a few reasons. 

1. Lifting weights puts on muscle and muscle burns fat faster than cardio.  When you gain muscle, your metabolism gets a boost and you burn more calories all day long. The benefit of that workout keeps on giving even after you're done. 

Ever go on a strict diet and when you come off of it feel like everything you eat makes you gain weight?  Thank your lowered metabolism for that. Starving yourself burns off muscle. Burning off muscle lowers your metabolism. Lower metabolism means a "fatter" you. 

2. Lifting weights reshapes your body. So if you do cardio and you're a fat pear shape, when you lose weight you will be a skinny pear. I prefer my body to be balanced and have the shape I want. (For me that is an hourglass). 

When you lift weights, you can control your shape and sculpt the body you want.  

3. Muscle weighs more than fat but takes up way less space. Muscle may make the scale show a higher number than you would like, but excess body fat is what sticks out of your belt, sits on your butt and makes your jeans too tight. Fat is light but has a heavy impact on clothing size. 

(Thanks Scottyhendo for this pin)

4. Men and women lose muscle as they age.  Weight lifting is the best way to keep the fountain of youth on your side.   Less joint pain, sleeker physique and a younger looking body and face are all benefits of lifting weights on a regular basis. 

5. The exception to this rule is high volume cardio. If you do cardio and sweat like nobody's business for an hour or more, then you will lose fat. (The pace I want you to think of is chasing someone to get your wallet back not strolling through a meadow....I mean - HARD CARDIO..). 

Do hard, high volume cardio and you will lose fat. But it takes a lot of time out of your day and is a difficult routine to maintain. High volume cardio like running ten miles or elliptical for an hour at level 12 also puts you at risk for injury and joint pain. But if you like working out like that, go for it. I personally don't. 

Am I saying don't go for that run today? NO!   What I am saying is, if you want to lose weight, pick up a dumbbell and lift it many many times.  Your fat butt and fat belly will thank you by going away.   :-) 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Morning Cleanse Time!

Let's face it. It you want to lose weight, then you know, cleansing is all the rage. Everyone wants a fast way to lose 20lbs in two weeks. Welllllll, that doesn't work!  However, you CAN detox your system each morning the natural way.  Don't starve yourself or use chemicals to clean out the pipes. (Pun intended). Buy a bag of lemons and some berries and toss some into a glass of water.  Drink it first thing in the morning and wait 20 minutes.....wait for it...... (You know what I'm trying to say) 

This is an easy, simple, inexpensive way to cleanse your system, gently detox your colon and clear the way for your system to shed fat.  If your body isn't busy trying to rid your body of excess waste products, it can focus on burning off that extra weight you're carrying around.

*cheap tip ---- skip the berries if you're low on cash.  Lemon works fine by itself. 

Bargain Basement Holiday Fat Loss Salad - $8 feeds 2-4

This is a wonderfully festive salad that keeps for a few days in the fridge in the right container.  It is loaded with greens and other foods that provide disease prevention and immune boosts!  Plus it's PRETTY!  Mine was pretty boring served in Lock and Lock airtight storage container (purchased on QVC), but you could really rock this if you put it in a pretty bowl or on a platter.  Bear with me....I'll get more creative. I promise.  😘

Versatile Serving: 2 for Lunch; 1 as a Dinner; or 4 for a Side Dish with a meal

Bag of baby kale and spinach $3.99 (use whole bag) 
*cheap tip --- Buy the family size bag for $5.99 and have leftovers for sautée, salad and soup all week long 

Bag of organic apples $3.99 (2 for the recipe)

Bag of cranberries $1.50 (1/2 cup for the recipe)

1 chopped Green pepper $.79

1 bag of Broccoli Slaw $1.99

Annie's Shitake Mushroom dressing $2.79 
*cheap tip ---Get the large Ginger salad dressing from Costco for $6 (one bottle has triple the servings!)

Toss greens and slaw with several tablespoons of dressing. Let sit in fridge for an hour to wilt the greens.  Top with sliced apples and cranberries before serving. If you feel like a spicy kick and a metabolic, fat burning boost, sprinkle some hot pepper flakes on top. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cheap Breakfast! Recipe of the Day Under $5

This is a quick, cheap breakfast.  This is one of my favs juices that I drink when I need to replenish the system after a long night of fun!  If you consume alcohol, this is a refreshing drink that can cure the hangover, along with some lemon water and Advil.  If you suffer from migraines, this is also good for those severe headaches.  The iron, minerals and vitamin C, coupled with the cold liquid, is sure to help soothe the soul.  Chase it with a B-12 supplement to boost your system and you will be feeling 100% in no time. Drink this and experience a health booster shot that is cheap, easy, leaves no dishes to wash.  I promise pure vibrant health will follow. I mean how can you go wrong with that?

3 oranges $.40
1 cup baby spinach $.75
1 red pepper $1.19
Dash of raw sugar, agave nectar, honey (if you want it sweeter, if not omit this step)

Add enough water to make it the consistency you prefer and blend in a high speed blender with ice.  I use a Vitamix, but for years I used an Oster blender from Salvation Army I picked up at a steal. When that burned out, I used a NutriBullet.  When that burned out, I shelled out the cash to get a Vitamix.  It has been worth every penny...let me tell you.  Reviews on appliances I suggest will come later.


A Little About Me and Why I Created This Blog

In my quest for healthy living, I have tried many things....vegetarian, vegan, raw vegan, paleo, Atkins (yuck), South Beach, fasting.  What I discovered is that most of these lifestyle changes are difficult to implement if you eat the standard American diet and have all your life.  I also discovered that to commit to health sometimes means committing to spending lots of your cash on food and products to support natural living.  I don't think that is fair!  I work hard for my money and I don't mind spending it to support my health, but I would like to spend it on other things too......I don't think that is too much to ask.
I went on a quest to try to have a healthier life, as free as possible from chemicals and foods that can cause ill health, but at the same time, keep some of my money for fun and things other than GROCERIES.
Here you will find my tips for living healthy on a budget, how to feed a family on a budget, tips for replacing commercial products with homemade ones that are just as good, recipes and whatever else I stumble upon that helps me.  If anything I have to share helps make choosing health a real option for you, then my work is done.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Mini food haul on a budget! Under $20

Feeling sick and tired of Thanksgiving junk that is currently crowding my body was craving red foods.  Go figure?  So I went to Trader Joe's and picked up :

20 bananas $5.80
3 red peppers $3.57
4lb bag of organic oranges $3.49
A bag of organic carrots $.89

That should hold me a for a few days.

I'm all about healthy living on a budget.  And living on a budget is not easy.   I don't live in some small, low cost of living town. I'm in Washington DC metro. Where prices are high and stress is higher.  It is a challenge to say the least to live on a tight budget and still eat fresh, healthy, living foods......I love fruits and veggies.

Off to make some carrot orange spinach juice.....cheers!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The "I'm Broke" Shopping Lists!

Somebody asked me how to eat raw or vegan on a tight budget. Here's my tips:

*1. If you are really low on funds.... 

Extra Large bag of spinach
Head of lettuce preferably green leaf or romaine but iceberg in a pinch
Case of bananas
Family size bag of frozen berries or other fruit

Goal: live on smoothies and fresh bananas

*2. If you are "broke" but surviving....

Get all the above plus a party size bag of raw almonds to make almond milk and to put in shakes or to snack on

Goal: still living on smoothies but with some variety

*3. If you just need a budget grocery list...

Get all the above from both lists and add:

-A bag of organic apples (for juice and lunch bag snack)
-A large bag of organic carrots (for salad and juice)
-Large cucumbers for juice and salads (cucumbers net a lot of liquid so they are great for budget juicing)
-Large family size bag of lettuce/carrot/cabbage salad blend (this variety is cheap)
-Bag of organic lemons (for morning cleanse and salad dressings)
-Bag of onions or garlic for immune boosting and seasoning
-Zucchini for "pasta"
-Canned organic tomatoes or fresh if you can afford it 
-tofu or tempeh
-Bag of walnuts for 'meatballs' and nut burgers
-Sunburgers or other non gmo veggie burger
-Cold pressed olive oil

Add in a B12 supplement and a multivitamin. I find the BOGO sales at drugstores and stock up when they have them.  Rite Aid and CVS and Walgreens are good candidates for this tactic.

Add in organic cruelty free eggs, seafood, poultry and grass fed beef if you are paleo or eat animal products 

Join a warehouse club like Costco, Sam's or Bj's and that will help you save 50% on grocery if you shop there consistently.  Trust me on this one.

I hope this helps someone.