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Happy weekend, everyone!
I was super excited to sleep in this morning. For whatever reason, I have been particularly tired this week and the extra ZzZzZs were much needed! Now it’s time to get productive 😉
Before I get to today’s fabulous Guest Bender, I wanted to share the dinner that Bobby and I enjoyed last night. Mainly because it ties in perfectly to what Caroline is going to tell you about later on in this post – this meal was cheap – and also because I have to thank Bobby for making it as I came home a bit late. It was ready and waiting to be enjoyed when I got home. Let’s call it…Stir-Friday!!
What’s in the background, you may be asking? 😉 It’s actually a sample I received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program called Kikkoman Ponzu Lime. We poured some on both the chicken and the veggies as they were cooking. I would compare the taste to soy sauce with a zip of citrus flavor mixed in – kind of like a garnish on top of a drink. We both liked it!
Here’s the description from the company website:
“Kikkoman Lime Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Dressing adds a kick of lime juice to the umami mouthfeel of soy sauce. Use Kikkoman Lime Ponzu to marinate or finish fajitas or fish tacos, as the finishing touch to guacamole, in an Asian or Latin salad dressing, or mix with mayo and spices to create a delicious, creamy lime dipping sauce for fried foods.”
The veggies we used were from a frozen bag – you’ll see more about the benefits of using frozen veggies as a cheap and easy cooking tool in Caroline’s post – and included carrots, edamame, water chestnuts, and broccoli. Combined with the chicken, it made for a perfectly delectable and oh-so-easy dinner.
And, of course, there was also a bit of wine thrown into the mix.
This one was a Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot. It had a really nice aroma and balance of fruits and spices, as well as a very smooth finish and after taste. Bobby and I both enjoyed this one.
Now, I’ll stop yammering and get to our Guest Bender I just couldn’t help but share since it complements what she will be talking about so perfectly!
Before we start, here’s Caroline’s disclaimer:
Now before I tell you my story let me just point out that I am by no means a nutritionist and though I am working towards becoming one, I haven’t made it past my core classes. The information that I base my healthy diet on is simply from articles that I read online, books I find at the library, and from other blogs I read. This is simply what is working for me and it might not work for everyone else.
Eating Healthy on a Budget
My name is Caroline and I write the blog See Cat Run. I’m 24 years old working my first post-college job at a major university in Georgia. I’m training for my first half marathon and taking classes part time in order to become a registered dietitian. I pretty much make the minimum possible wage at this University and have quickly learned to eat on a budget, which is what I’m here to talk about!
My shift from unhealthy foods has taken awhile. First I made a conscious effort to drink more water. Then I tried to stop eating the cheapo frozen dinners. I switched to whole bags of Bird’s Eye Steamfresh frozen veggies with Mrs. Dash (to continue my quest to cut down on sodium) but they haven’t been on as good of a sale for at least six months so I’ve found other alternatives. I also tried to stop eating as many frozen pizzas with my husband on nights he was home, which means we’re now rather sick of spaghetti.
I’ve never felt comfortable cooking meat on my own and have never really liked it enough to miss it (though I do crave hamburgers from time to time). So I obviously don’t have to deal with that expense. I would make myself burritos for dinner with black beans and whole wheat wraps, but that got boring.
I’ve actually become a little obsessed with Michael Pollan. I read The Botany of Desire a few months ago which inspired me to start splurging on organic spinach since I was eating it twice a day and the book had me wanting to avoid inorganic potatoes! (That’s right, potatoes! Just imagine what could be in foods grown above ground.)
Now I’m reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which has inspired me to try to eat foods with as short an ingredient list as possible (which means little to no fast food). If I buy myself meat (and as already discussed that’s a huge if) it’s going to be organic (Publix has good prices on organic ground turkey, actually). I also try to buy as locally as possible. There’s a weekly farmer’s market in town that recently ended for the season, but we’ll buy in season produce there for a lot cheaper than the super market, and its all sustainably grown. If we had farm stands I’d buy from them too.
I am lactose intolerant so I don’t eat much dairy, even yogurt makes my tummy rumbly!
Otherwise I eat a lot of oatmeal, simple salads, rice and beans or tofu. I’ll make stir-frys a lot with whole grain rice and frozen veggies. I seriously rely on frozen veggies (cheap and frozen while in season) and if at all possible choose whole grains over refined.
Eating this way is sometimes made tough because my Husband is allergic to beans and tofu (so I can’t always include him in my dinner) and also through living with our roommates because they don’t care how they eat. Like when we were all making pizzas the other night, the boys went to the store and bought the cheapest white pizza crust they could find.
When we do have pizza or pasta, I’m trying to start eating a small salad before them so that I fill up faster and have more leftovers.
To be brief, my methods are basically:
- cut out unhealthy frozen meals
- use seasonings (Mrs. Dash) on things like vegetables instead of salt
- use frozen vegetables
- use whole grains for pasta, rice, bread, etc
- use cheap sources of protein like beans, lentils, peas
- buy local and in season if possible and
- (something I’m still working on) experimenting with different spices, seasonings, and sauces because they can completely transform a meal that is kept on heavy rotation
Thanks for sharing your perspective with us, Caroline! This makes for a great question that I would really like to ask all of you: how do you eat on a budget?
I’m really making an effort to be more conscious of my budget this year. I would love to hear your ideas for how that can apply in the sense of food. Let me know what you think
Time to get going on the weekend! That means doing some blog reading, of course…my favorite!