How to Save Money Feeding Your Family

How to Save Money Feeding Your Family from Vicki-Arnold.com

And no, this is not another gardening post. I will take the moment to say that growing your own food is the best money saving tip I have, but I’ve already covered that. So today we are talking strategies to feeding your family for $25 per person for a full week.

That equates to $3.57 per person, per day. To break it down even further, $1 per meal and $.57 for two snacks per person.

I’m just gonna tell you right now that this post is going to be long because I’m going to share a some general money saving strategies, a detailed menu plan with cost breakdown, a free meal planning packet, AND there is going to be a collection of resources known as a linky at the bottom. This linky will have other posts linked up because this post is part of the $100 Grocery Budget Challenge that was created in a blogging group I belong to called Inspired Bloggers Network.

$100 Grocery Budget Challenge Details

The challenge is to show that it is possible to feed a family on $25 per person per week. So $100 for a family of 4, $200 for a family of 8, etc. In our family, we have 6 to feed: 2 adults, 3 kids, and 1 toddler. My almost 10 year old son eats like an adult and we regularly have an extra preschooler.

Our typical grocery budget is actually $125/week, which is less than this challenge already for us ($150), BUT. Big but here. I usually go over that budget because we also have a Miscellaneous fund that I pull drive thru stops and meals out from. As well as any other dietary “splurge” purchases (think sweet treats). The challenge for me this pay period is to stick with the $150.

For reference sake, I’m supposed to tell you that we are in Indiana. And now, let’s get started.

How I Save Money While Grocery Shopping

Coupons are not a regular part of my grocery shopping, I just don’t have the time for them. I do use them when I come across them, I just don’t spend a lot of time hunting them down and clipping them.

And we don’t stockpile items for the most part. I do stock up when I visit certain stores, but we do not have large reserves of toothpaste, shampoo, and tooth brushes in our house.

  • Eat before I shop. I almost didn’t include this because it’s so basic, but I don’t do it approximately half the time so I apparently need the reminder. Grocery shopping while hungry = shopping with your stomach. And you want to shop with your brain. Your brain wants to save money, your stomach wants to eat.
  • Shop prepared. I am one of those people who dreads putting a meal plan together because I tend to dislike being told what to do…even if it’s my own plan telling me what to do. I would much rather prefer eating whatever I feel like it, when I feel like it. The problem with this is that is makes grocery shopping ridiculously expensive because you have to keep more things on hand to cook impulsively. However, taking the time to make a meal plan and a shopping list saves me time (and money) in the long run. I’ll share my meal planning strategy in the next section.
  • Bulk stores. We have a little specialty store in town. Folks around here call it a bulk store, but it’s not a REAL bulk store because the food comes pre-packaged (by the store workers), you don’t choose the amount you buy, but I digress. I buy things like oats (steel cut and old fashioned), specialty flours, and some spices here.
  • Independent discount stores. We have a little discount store run by the local Amish community that is about 45 minutes from my house. I usually make a trip once a month there. I buy things like granola bars, cereals, organic baby food pouches, and any other regular grocery items they happen to have. The items at this store are discounted because of dented boxes, torn labels, discontinuation, and past sale dates. We have occasionally picked up something that was stale (taco shells that cost me $.49) and something that just smelled off (a $1.20 bag of dried fruit) that we ended up pitching, but that has been a rare occurrence for us. I regularly buy outdated boxes of cereal for $1, boxes of organic granola bars for $1.25, and organic baby food pouches for $.39. The last trip I made, I bought a 12 roll pack of Scott 1,000 sheet toilet paper for $5. This is one store that I do stock up on whatever I can get when I do make the trek out.
  • Chain discount stores. There are two Ollie’s Bargain Outlets within 30 minutes of us. I recently discovered that I could also get organic granola bards for $1/box there, too! I already like to stop in here to check out their book selection so it’s not out of my way to walk across the store to see what grocery deals they have. My favorite score so far has been a $7.99 box of Larabar Alt protein bars, 15 bars! Big Lots also has grocery deals sometimes, but I am not in that store regularly.
  • Costco. I big puffy pink heart love Costco. We buy all sorts of things at Costco, like books, movies, clothes, batteries, printer paper, and the random awesome deals that show up. I drive almost 45 minutes every other week to go to Costco. That’s how much I love it. As far as groceries go, we buy organic broccoli florets, packages of bell peppers ($6 for 6), bags of frozen organic fruit for smoothies, butter, cheese, and much much more.
  • Manager’s Special & Clearance. I always look for these when I grocery shop. I know where they are in the local Krogers and can spot them in Meijer’s, too. It’s not dependable what you can find, but when you do find something, it’s usually quite the score. We like Larabars here. They are regularly on sale for $1, I found some on manager’s special once for $.75. Those quarters really do add up! I especially love when I find them on manager’s special and have a Swagbucks coupon to use on top of it. Score!

How I Meal Plan

Over the years, it’s changed. I’ve done the following:

  • Fly by the seat of my pants. We eat a lot of spaghetti and breakfast for dinners during these times. It gets old.
  • Detailed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and treats for one week and two week intervals. I never stick to this.

Now, I do this. I come up with 7 dinners, 3-4 lunches, 3-4 breakfasts, and a handful of fruits, veggies, and other snacks. I put them on a piece of paper and then check them off as I use them. I make sure to mark if the meal is something special like a crockpot meal so that I don’t wait too long to start those. This seems to give me the balance of structure and flexibility that I need.

$100 Weekly Meal Plan

This is a sample of a $100 weekly meal plan for our home.

Breakfasts

  • Cereal – I buy these for $1-$2 per box. We will use 2-3 boxes per week plus a gallon of milk ($3 regularly priced, but regularly on sale for$2-$2.50 or free with other purchase promotions). We’ll overestimate to $9.
  • Eggs and toast – We have chickens that lay our eggs, which are not free because we do buy feed. However, it doesn’t come out of my grocery money and we don’t calculate the per egg cost. We are also often given day old bread from a bakery, which I freeze and we use as needed. The eggs I buy in the winter when our hens aren’t laying cost $2.50 per dozen. My husband eats 2 eggs for breakfast every morning and we will eat a batch of 6-8 scrambled eggs once or twice a week. So I will figure the cost for this at $7.50 for the eggs (3 dozen) and $2 for two loaves of store brand bread, for a total of $9.50 for the week.
  • Oatmeal – I buy this for $.79/lb. at the local bulk food store. A $3 bag lasts us well beyond a week because we don’t eat it frequently. I like to add cinnamon, a little sugar, and raisins. I buy our raisins from Costco, 2 – 36 oz bags for approximately $8. For a week’s worth of oatmeal we might use 1/4 of a bag, roughly $1. Sugar is bought from Costco as well, a 10 pound bag of organic evaporated cane sugar is $10. I use 1/4 cup for 6 cups of cooked oatmeal. I’m going to overestimate the sugar cost to $1 for the week. Total weekly+ cost $5.

Lunches

  • Leftovers – We eat a lot of leftovers for lunch. My husband takes them every day to work and we often have them at home. Cost = $0.
  • Pancakes – Sometimes we do bigger, more time consuming breakfast recipes for lunch. Pancakes and french toast are popular choices. I’ll use the 6 eggs left from the 3 dozen accounted for in our breakfasts for this. That gives me two lunches with a triple batch of pancakes. We often add chocolate chips to ours, but plain are just as yummy if I don’t have chocolate chips on hand (like now). I buy syrup from Costco, $6 for 2 huge bottles that last us months (obviously not real maple syrup). Flour and olive oil also bought at Costco. Baking powder is $2 for a can at Kroger. I buy Redmond Real Salt from Azure Standard. I used this article to help me estimate the cost, we make standard pancakes. Cost = $3.60 to have them twice in a week.
  • Sandwiches – Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make an appearance in our diet roughly once a week. The peanut butter we use is $6/jar because it is SO worth it. Jelly is either home canned, $1 jars from the discount store, or $4 quart jars from Costco. We never use a whole jar of either peanut butter or jelly, I’ll call it 1/3 because sometimes we do put jelly on our toast in the morning. Cost: $3.

Snacks

  • Granola bars – These are the $1-$1.25 boxes from discount stores. With the average of 6 in a box, the cost per bar is $.21. The kids are allowed 1-2 per day, depending on the day’s activities and other factors (some days they are simply more hungry). I will figure 5 boxes at $1.25 each. Cost = $6.25.
  • Apples and bananas – A bag of apples and 3 bunches of bananas. Cost = $6.
  • Chips and salsa – Cost is counted with a dinner below because we have about half of what I buy for the meal left. Cost = $0.

Dinners

  • Beef and Bean Dip – This has beans ($2 for dry), diced tomatoes ($1), ground beef ($4), onions ($1), and spices (nominal). We buy a big bag of tortilla chips from Costco for $5 and will use it for this meal, as a side with tacos, and as a snack. This makes lots of leftovers, I’ll share a detailed breakdown with a recipe in the future. Cost = $13.
  • Spaghetti – My marinara sauce costs less than $7 for an 8-quart stock pot full. And it smells delicious as it simmers, too. We use 1/4 of that for a meal (freeze the extra), plus 2 boxes of spaghetti ($2). Cost = $4.
  • Pizza – I’ll use another 1/4 of the marinara sauce here (less than $2). I buy mozzarella cheese pre-shredded from Costco, $12 for a 5 pound bag. I don’t think we use 1/4 of the package, but I’ve never actually measured how much we do use ($3). We top our pizza with pepperoni ($3/package that we don’t fully use in one week), pineapple tidbits ($1), bell peppers ($2), and any variety of items we have left from other meals like onions, mushrooms, etc. I home make our pizza dough in my Kitchenaid mixer (estimating based on this to $1). This makes us 2 large pizzas, usually enough for leftovers. We pair this with home canned green beans ($0). Cost = $12.
  • Loaded Baked Potatoes – We actually successfully grew potatoes in our garden this year! But for the sake of this, I’ll estimate the cost of a 5 pound bag ($2 on sale regularly). We top our baked potatoes with sour cream ($1 on sale), cheddar cheese (bought at Costco, shredded at home for $8 for a two pound block of Tillamook medium cheddar, cost for this meal’s worth is $3), sauteed broccoli ($2), and bacon (Coleman’s uncured, $12 for 3 packages at Costco, $4). Cost = $12.
  • Tacos – We brown up 2 pounds of ground beef with an onion ($6). Other parts to this meal – taco shells ($1), tortilla shells ($1), salsa ($5 from Costco, see snacks), lettuce ($1), cheese ($3), sour cream ($1), and jalapenos ($3 for a jar that lasts us a few meals). Total cost = $21.
  • Veggie Stew – This is a pretty cheap meal to put together. I home make our chicken broth (so super easy) and will pair that with a can of tomato juice ($3) for the base. Then I add in a bunch of celery ($1), carrots ($1′s worth), a couple potatoes ($1), a turnip or two ($1), and an onion ($1). Then, voila! I have an 8-quart pot of stew. I’ll even toss in leftover corn, frozen green beans, and other veggies that I have leftover from other meals into the pot for a different soup each time. Total cost = $8.
  • White Chili – This is from one of the Fix It and Forget It cookbooks. It costs $10 for a large crockpot full.

And there you have it, a meal plan that will feed my family of 6 for a full 7 days for a total of $122.35.

Free Meal Planning Pages

I made a set of meal planning pages for you. There are two weekly meal plan pages, a page for shopping lists, and coordinating recipe cards.

Free Meal Planning Pages from Vicki-Arnold.com

Download yours today!

$100 Grocery Challenge Links

$100 Grocery Challenge

Below you will find more tips, tricks, and helps for saving money feeding your family.

Share your tips in the comments!

HelloFresh – Fresh Food Delivered Fast (a Review)

Hello Fresh (a Review) at Vicki-Arnold.com

Today brings you my last review with Mosaic Reviews. I’ve enjoyed my time, but need to change gears a bit for the coming year. This final review was a fun one, 99 other bloggers and I reviewed the food boxes from HelloFresh.

About Hello Fresh

HelloFresh is a company that delivers weekly boxes of fresh food when you sign up for a subscription. They offer a Classic box and a Veggie box. In the box contains the exact ingredients for three meals that serve two to four people. The recipes for each meal are also included.

I received a Classic box to review. With the Classic box, you have five recipes to choose from. Once you have subscribed, you will have the option to change up which recipes you receive ingredients for. The cost of the boxes vary, but the classic box with three meals for two people costs $69 per delivery to my area.

You can connect with Hello Fresh on their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

My HelloFresh Review

The ingredients we received were well packaged and the box stayed cold inside our house for over a day. You see, I received my box the day before Thanksgiving and my refrigerators (yes, I have two) were FULL. So it sat in our cool bedroom out of direct sunlight the first night and on the back porch (temps in the 30′s) overnight the second night. Nothing spoiled. The only problem I had with the packaging was one of my ice packs had a slit in it and leaked as it melted, resulting in a bit of a mess.

The recipes were different than what I would normally pick, but not outlandish. We received zucchini parmigiana, apricot glazed turkey with beets and orzo, and stuffed squash with cherry balsamic reduction. It is nice to have all the ingredients in just the right amount, saving you from measuring and then storing the rest.

The recipe cards list exactly what you need equipment-wise as well. For example, the zucchini parmigiana listed a knife, pot, pan, and baking dish. The recipe cards are oversized and include photographs for each step, including plating. The estimated nutrition values for calories, carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber are also listed on the cards.

Now, a lot of the other reviewers would show you photographs of their meals. I do not have any. We have been dealing with sickness in our house since the day after Thanksgiving and in the chaos, I did not take photos. Not even the ones of the ingredients when they came that I THOUGHT I took. Sigh. It’s been a long month.

Pros and Cons of HelloFresh

Pros:

  • Time saver – meals delivered to your door, no measuring, no prep work
  • Delicious recipes – food you may not normally try, but nothing too far outside the box
  • Quality ingredients – food is packaged well, meat is vacuum sealed
  • Fantastic packaging – great ice packs, food stays refrigerator cold for a couple days
  • Dependable delivery – you know exactly when your box is coming (Wednesday) and you can pause delivery if you will not be available one week

Possible Cons:

  • Not allergy-friendly – if you have food allergies, this could prove to be a problem

Cost. This is a big one for me. This is not a frugal option unless you are spending more than $69 each week eating out. We do not. Our entire week’s grocery budget for all 6 of us is $125 for 21 meals (7 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners). So, spending $69 for 3 meals for 2 people is quite pricey to me. That is an estimate, some meals do provide leftovers, but that depends on how many “big eaters” you have in your family. I have 2-3 big eaters, depending on the week.

For me, this falls in the category of eating out. You are paying for the service, not the cost of food. For the service, HelloFresh can be considered a good deal with each plate of food running around $11.50. This is pretty typical of meals at a sit down restaurant. When you factor in that it was delivered to your door; that you don’t have to tip a waiter/waitress; nor do you have to spend the gas to drive to the restaurant or time waiting for a table; it starts to gain more frugal value. It’s really a matter of where you are budget-wise.

National S’mores Day – 15 Pinterest Boards to Follow

National S'mores Day - 15 Yummy Pinterest Boards to Follow (curated by Vicki-Arnold.com)

*Psst! I use affiliate links in this post. Thank you for using them!

I can’t believe that s’mores have their own national day, but then again, how could they NOT? What is really amazing is how creative some food bloggers are with the humble s’more.

I am not even kidding, you can find recipes for s’mores cookies, s’mores bars, s’mores cake, s’mores ice cream, s’mores fudge, s’mores bread and MORE! Someone could do a whole food blog on s’mores, at least a series. And we’d all die happily ever after from our sugar comas.

We do love delicious hot schmoes around this house (Toy Story, anyone?). So to properly honor the day, I present to you 15 Pinterest boards dedicated to sharing the wonderful deliciousness of the classic s’more. Available in many translations (lots of different recipes).

Also, The Kitchn has inspired me to throw a s’more party. I am thinking this will be the perfect fall bonfire party.

1. Sarah McKenna of Craft Quickies :: S’mores: I am Obsessed.

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

2. Tam P. :: S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

3. Marsha Duncan :: s’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

4. Ashton from Something Swanky :: something s’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

I know the same pin is on there three times in this shot, but there are 151 pins on the board and you will want to see them.

5. Marla Meridith from Family Fresh Cooking :: S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

She also has a Marshmallow board that is a good companion board.

6. Erin from The Spiffy Cookie :: Gimme S’more!

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

7. Lisa Frank :: Eat s’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

8. Lisa Spiegel :: S’more S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

9. Alison Lewis of Ingredients Inc. :: S’Mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

10. Deborah Hunter :: Gimme S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

11. Shannon at Tot School :: S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

12. Lori B’s Pins :: S’mores, S’mores and More S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

13. Cindy R :: S’mores and S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

14. Kari Dedmon :: S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

15. Jill Anderson of Just Jilly :: Mores S’mores

15 S'mores Boards to follow at Vicki-Arnold.com

Anyone else hungry?

Oh, and hey, why don’t you follow me on Pinterest, too? I don’t have a s’mores board, but I do pin some pretty awesome stuff.

Teach Your Child to Cook – Cookbooks My 10-Year-Old Daughter Recommends

Teach your child to cook with these cookbooks recommended by my 10-year-old daughter

In our homeschool, we place a high value on teaching our kids life skills. Each of my kiddos will know how to do their laundry, take care of their living space, handle money, and feed themselves before leaving our home. My oldest daughter’s favorite is learning to cook. She loves to use one of her (many) cookbooks to make a snack or lunch. I asked her to share her favorite three cookbooks with you. So if you would like to teach your child to cook, these are a good place to start.

1. Paula Deen’s My First Cookbook

This was the first cookbook we bought her for one birthday. She has made many things from it. The recipes include illustrations for equipment needed, too. The recipes range from simple ants-on-a-log to a slightly more complicated birthday cake.

2. Batter Up Kids Delicious Desserts

This is one that my kids love to flip through and look at the fun things to make. If your child likes to create art with food, you can also check out my Let’s Play with Our Food Pinterest board for even more ideas.

3. Better Homes & Garden’s New Junior Cookbook

We actually have an older version because it was MY cookbook when I was a kid.

Short, sweet, and to-the-point, there is my daughter’s list of three cookbooks to get you started on the path to teach your child how to cook. Do you have any kid’s cookbooks that are favorites in your home?

Orange Creamsicle Sweet Rolls Recipe



This recipe is coming to you as a special request. I love to cook and bake. I love cooking and baking for others. I was not kidding when I said I thought food was my love language. One of the most awesome things I was introduced to when I had babies was this idea of blessing a new mom with dinner so she could focus on baby, resting/healing and adjusting to the new non-sleeping sleep schedule. I try to do this as much as I can because I know what a blessing it has been to me.

I also like to play around with a recipe once I get the original down. These orange rolls came from that. I knew that there were sweet orange rolls that came in a blue can at the store, so I figured I could make something similar (but better since, frankly, those things taste like they came from a can). I also knew that I had my cinnamon roll recipe down, it is my usual go-to recipe for meeting new people. They always say to put your best foot forward when meeting new people, my best foot is cinnamon rolls.

So this recipe came from that, playing around trying to get as much orange flavor as possible and wanting to bless others with awesome goodness. And by goodness, I mean flavor, these are in no way, shape or form healthy.

I use the Kitchenaid stand mixer my husband blessed me with to make the dough. I have no experience mixing dough by hand, so I can’t really help there. Sorry. I will include some notes at that bottom, so check those out, too.

Without further ado, here is the very first recipe here on the Vicki Arnold blog. Putting my best foot forward…

Dough

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 4 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • a few drops of orange essential oil (optional)

Put yeast in mixing bowl. In saucepan, melt butter. Turn off heat, pour in milk, stir, and let sit until warm. Pour milk and butter into mixing bowl. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Add eggs, sugar, salt, orange extract and flour to bowl. Using the dough hook, mix and let knead for 10 minutes. The dough will be a little wet and very soft. If too wet, add a little extra flour. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours until doubled in size.

When first rise is complete, dump dough onto a buttered surface. Roll (or press) dough into a large rectangle.

Filling

  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • zest of 1-2 oranges

Smear the butter all over the dough. Sprinkle sugar evenly across butter. Do the same for the orange zest. Roll the dough into a log, using the long side. Slice the rolls into 1″ rounds and place in a buttered baking dish. Depending on how pliable the dough is, you will have 12-16 rolls. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. After rising, cook for 15 minutes. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before icing.

Icing

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined, then beat until fluffy. Either spread icing on warm rolls or place in a bowl for individual icing preferences.

Notes:

  • Orange essential oil is optional, but does add a little extra orange flavor. I’ve made it with and without, both are great.
  • My buttered surface is a clean counter top.
  • I use my fingers to stretch and press the dough into shape. I’m not very good with a rolling pin.
  • You want the dough thin, but not see-through when rolled out. You will get better with practice, I promise.
  • I use my fingers again to smear the butter on the dough. I’ll use them to even out the sugar if I need to as well. I figure it’s easier to wash my hands than more dishes.
  • I use a handy-dandy zester from Pampered Chef to get my zest off the oranges. I then chop it so that it is easier to sprinkle evenly.
  • Pans, 13″x9″ work great. I’ll use a large bar pan if I double the recipe. Works great.
  • Cooking times can vary. Know your oven. I will often bake the 15 minutes, then rotate the pan and cook an additional 2-3 minutes to finish off the center ones and those in the cool spot of my oven.

Enjoy!

Girl’s Night In

Tonight my Andrew took Gage to the local speedway to watch a variety of races, including a bus race. So my girlies and I had a small, little girl’s night. We started with a yogurt, strawberry and banana dinner to prepare our gut for the decadence that was dessert.

We ate that as we made dessert and the girls had fun being silly.

And what girl’s night is complete without a babe worth gushing over?

We finished the night by watching a cheesy Disney channel movie on Netflix and enjoying Brownie Batter Parfaits.

I found the recipe via Pinterest. It. Is. Rich. Next time I will add a little extra water to the brownie batter part to make it runnier, as it was, you couldn’t really tell the brownie batter apart from the fudgy brownies in texture. Super awesome, super not good for you, but tasted great.

All in all, a great night.

Around Our Little Homestead – July 2012

Around here, we try to grow more food each year than the year prior. Here’s why. You can see my ambitious list of seedling started last year on this post. You should also check out this post because my chickens make me smile.

I’ll get this out of the way first:

Dead Zucchini Plant

There are not enough words in the English language to encompass the whole of my loathing of squash bugs. Thank you, fair zucchini plant, for the half dozen zucchini you blessed us with before those hideous beasts got the best of you.

Now, on to better things.

This is Zane:

Zane

Zane curled up to sleep in a pallet in the barn. Commence oohing and awing.

Bell Pepper Plants

Our bell pepper plants are doing significantly better than the zucchini plant.

Tomato Plants All in a Row

So are our tomato plants (all 75ish of them).

Tomatillos

Our volunteer tomatillo plants are already providing fruit.

Leek Blossoms

And I saved the best for last, the leek blossoms. These things are huge and they just make me happy.

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Say Yes to Popsicles!

Be a yes Mom! Say yes to popsicles this summer!

You know how us Moms (parents in general?) have the tendency to say no to our kids requests to craft/play a game/have a sweet/insert random request that children repeat over-and-over? Well, Jessica over at Bohemian Bowmans has started a new blog meme, Saying Yes. She’s challenging you to say yes as much as you can.

Say Yes to Popsicles!

This past weekend, I made a bunch of popsicles in ice cube trays. Popsicles that I could say yes to when my kiddos asked many times a day to have one. Popsicles that didn’t have things like “high ferocious corn syrup” in them.

Want to make some popsicles you can say yes to?

Grab a blender (or not, see below). Toss in some fruit, juice (or water or milk), and some yogurt (or not). Blend it up, pour into ice cube trays (or use awesome molds), insert a toothpick and freeze.

The two my cutie pie is holding above are strawberry and banana blended with pineapple juice, and crushed pineapple mixed with coconut milk and pineapple juice. For those who like specifics here is the pineapple coconut breakdown:

  • 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple

Mix together in a measuring cup and pour into molds. Freeze. Easy peasy.

I’d give you specifics on the other one, but I didn’t measure. To make up for my lack of measurements, I shall share some tips for making awesome popsicles.

  • If it makes a great smoothie, it makes a great popsicle.
  • Don’t have a blender or don’t want to get yours dirty? Chop, dice, slice, or smash some fruit up, put it in your mold, and pour juice over it.
  • Apple juice goes great with just about anything because it does not have a distinct flavor. White grape juice also works well.
  • Try putting whole blueberries, grapes or raspberries in your mold with juice.
  • Blend some fruit, nut butter and almond milk for a popsicle with some protein. Banana with peanut butter. Apple with almond butter.

Want more healthy, yummy popsicle ideas? Check these out:

For more popsicle idea, check out my new Pinterest boardSay Yes to Popsicles!

If you have a blog and want to join in, please do! If you don’t have a blog, no worries. Just tell me, what are you going to say yes to this week?

May 28, 2012 Menu Plan {GAPS, grain-free, gluten-free}

So last week we tried some new things. I’ve been trying to make notes on my Pinterest boards regarding the recipes I try, changes I made, what we liked, etc. However I made a “substitution” this week that was horrid and worth sharing here so you do not make the same mistake.

The low-carb pizza crust calls for baking powder, which is not GAPS legal. In most GAPS baking recipes, baking soda is used. Baking soda is NOT interchangeable for baking powder. I repeat, do NOT do it! It leaves you with this nasty burnt flavor in the back of your throat. Grody.

The muffins we tried last week? Those were all great! So great, in fact, that I gained .8lb last week. Um, yeah. I like muffins.

Alrighty, onto this week’s menu.

Dinners (side dishes)

  1. Italian chicken lettuce wraps (cucumber tomato salad)
  2. Slow-cooked cajun-spiced beef roast (roasted brussel sprouts with bacon & carmelized onions, sauteed mushrooms)
  3. GAPS legal grilled cheese & tomato soup
  4. Butternut squash pizza (green beans, applesauce)
  5. Cheesy cauliflower pancakes & zucchini pizza bites
  6. Bacon, lettuce, tomato salad (parmesan drumsticks)
  7. chilled red pepper soup (carrot muffins)

Lunches

  1. Carrot & fresh ginger soup (GAPS legal banana bread muffins)
  2. Chicken noodle-less soup
  3. Steamed cabbage & chicken legs
  4. Roasted chicken (broccoli)

Breakfast is always yogurt, fruit and eggs.

Snacks & Treats

  1. muffins
  2. Larabars
  3. kiwi, apples, grapefruit

Meal Plan MondayVisit this week’s Menu Plan Monday for more menus.

If you are interested in GAPS legal recipes (or those easily adapted), please check out my Pinterest board – GAPS Legal Recipes. GAPS legal recipes are gluten free, grain free and many are dairy free.