Yes, it absolutely can be. But you figure out ways to save here and there, and make it work.
Let’s talk about some of the ways I’ve learned to help with the grocery budget. So I mentioned my favorites at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods but how can I forget Costco? Here is a list of a few of the things that I use on a daily or weekly basis:
organic tomato sauce, 12 pack
organic tomato paste, 12 pack
2 big bottles of lemon juice (use some daily)
organic prepacked apple packs (kids school snack)
organic pre-washed spinach
organic pre-cut carrots
organic chicken stock, 6 pack (nice to have on hand but I really prefer to make my own)
For the meats at Whole foods, I’ll get the grass fed chuck versus the sirloin most of the time. It’s a lot cheaper ($8.99 lb versus $6.99 per pound) but also, I want my kids to get that good healthy animal fat. It’s so good for them! Sometimes when I’m just cooking for myself I’ll use the grass fed sirloin or bison (for calorie’s sake really) but again, the fat is fine for everyone (a whole new post to come on why eating fat really won’t make us fat.).
We also go to the local farmer’s markets (Dekalb or The Catherdral’s on Sat morning). You can get some great fresh meats, goat cheeses, veggies, herbs, and more. It’s typically cost less, plus it’s just a fun trip for the whole family!
It’s also about learning your stores after years of comparison shopping. For example, I buy frozen okra all the time so when I need a quick snack and don’t have time to do lots of chopping, I can just put it on a pan and throw it in the oven. Today’s Harvest Cut Okra is $5.99 at Whole Foods and $3.49 Publix. That’s a huge difference, especially when I’m typically buying 3 bags a week. That’s $360 a year, on just okra!!
And, I certainly don’t go to whole foods and buy everything my heart desires. That would be nice but it’s not in the budget. So, that’s why I got to 3 different grocery stores weekly, if not more. And that’s not including the Costco run at least once a month. It’s just can all be so expensive so I really just get the stuff that (in my opinion) really needs to be organic. The meats are a must! And for the fruits and vegetables, I tend get the ones with thin skin so for example spinach, broccoli, grapes, zuchinni, eggplant, blueberries, tomatoes, etc. I’ll save avocado, limes, oranges, etc for Publix or Trader Joes.
I know it’s expensive, but so is eating out, and we don’t do that often. And, (much to my husband’s delight) I’m not a shopaholic — no Prada for me. You should see my sad closet! But you know what, I’d so much rather have my family eat healthy than have a new fun pair of jeans…at least for now. When I’m old and frumpy, you guys just get me on that show “What Not to Wear”. They’ll throw out my 10-year-old jeans and tees that I don’t realize are out of style (I’m probably already there and just dont know it. Dont tell me if so!) and help me then.
And by the way, please don’t interpret the above as a suggestion that you shouldn’t treat yourself. We all should! It’s just my priorities have changed, and, honestly, with all this grocery shopping and cooking, who has time to shop?
Or cleaning up the kitchen, yet again. So on days like this, I’ll pull out the slow cooker. It’s almost like cheating it’s so easy. My friend, Ashley, gave me this recipe for Mexican Chicken Chili over 4 years ago and we still use it a good bit, especially when it’s cooler outside. I hope you like it as much as my family does.
4 organic chicken breasts (about 1.5lb)
2 cans black beans (strain)
1 cup organic corn
1 can chopped green chilies
1 can tomato sauce
1 16 oz jar salsa (or if you do have the time, finely chop a fresh onion, tomato and peppers. Saute and then add an extra can of tomato sauce to the pot.)
1 tsp Celtic sea salt (if desired)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
Put everything in the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Take the chicken out and pull apart or cut to shred. Then put it back in the crock pot and stir. Add greek yogurt, cilantro, advacado, and cheese (if desired). It’s even better as leftovers so make plenty for lunch the next day or dinner again later in the week!
Alright, so before I start, I have to apologize for the messy picture, but that’s what you get sometimes with a candid shot.
So when it comes to snacks, don’t always ask them what they want, just give it to them. I set this plate of asparagus out on the dining room table for whomever wanted it. Then, after a short time, I went to check on my daughter doing her homework and this is what I found…
Now, if I had said “Hey, Alice, can I get you some asparagus for a snack?”, chances are good she would have said “no thanks”. But 8 out of 10 times this works for my kids. Sometimes when they are chilling out on the couch, I’ll put a huge bowl of steamed broccoli (EVOO, parmasean cheese and celtic salt) and they will eat it up.
Some people would say, “my kids would never eat that.” Well, if they had just had something processed and sweet/salty, then you’re probably right. But, believe it or not, you can change your taste buds over time. It’s just take a little work to change them for the better. Think about it: if you haven’t eaten much (or any) sugar and then have an apple, how sweet and delicious is that apple? But have a piece of cake and then an apple…no thank you. Get what I mean?
So when I woke up this morning it was so overcast and cool, and well, it just felt like the perfect day for chicken tetrazzini. Now it’s absolutely beautiful out, and I’m realizing, chicken tet is good on any kind of day.
It took me awhile to get this exactly how we like it. It’s not Paleo-friendly, but it’s really not that bad either. I think brown rice noodles and a little mayo (I typically like to use my own homemade mayo) are the least Paleo foods, but all in all, it’s still a delicious, healthy family meal. I hope you guys like it.
2 tbsp Kerrygold butter
1 package of celery
2 containers of fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 cup white cooking wine
Finely chop the veggies, heat up the butter and then add in above ingredients until veggies are soft. Set pan aside.
Next you will need to cook:
1 package of Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brown Rice noodles or gluten free Ancient Harvest Quinoa Pasta. (I left about 1 1/4 cup of TJ noodles in the colander). They come in a pretty big pack.
You can get the Ancient Harvest noodles at Publix or Whole Foods. They look like the “white noodles” so some kids may prefer these. Mine seemed to like both in this recipe. Once you strain them, I add about 1 tbls evoo so they don’t stick. The GF noodles are a little stickier.
Then in a large bowl, mix the veggies and noodles with:
1 large 16 oz Chobani greek yogurt (I used all but about 1/4 cup)
1 cup TJ’s raw Parmesan cheese and then 1/2 cup on top
Set the over for 350. Mix everything together, add the last 1/2 cup of parmasean cheese on top and cook for 30 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it really is easy and doesn’t take much time to prepare, especially with the rotisserie chicken. Let me know what y’all think!
Good nutrition is so important for our kids, but being active is just as important!
Growing up as an only child, many times I was looking for things to do by myself. I would ride my bike, hit the tennis ball in the garage for hours (I was definitely going to the Olympics), jog, set up obstacle courses, and even hiked on the Sope Creek trails. I also played a variety of sports my parents introduced me to and I don’t think I ever slowed down. I’m so glad I established these habits and found such joy in being physically active at such a young age. And now that I’m approaching my……well, in my 30s, I still love to be active, and I do it as much as I can. Being an athlete, or at least, being involved in sports, has given me a satisfaction and confidence as an adult that I never knew could exist. There’s no way to describe the feeling of accomplishment after a big race (even if you’re a tortoise like myself) or just a super fun and challenging mountain biking adventure with some good friends! Alice finally did her first back bend by herself yesterday and kept saying “I’m so proud of myself!”. You can’t teach that feeling!!
Take them on a hike, do yoga, rock climbing (we love ATL rocks!), play freeze tag, toss the ball around, set up an obstacle course in the backyard, race each other to the end of the street, or just take an after dinner stoll. You will feel good, too!
I think Alice made up this reverse plank. Is that a yoga pose??