Tasty Stuffed Shells

Contributed by Sheila Buck

(Update January 2017: What a great recipe from Sheila. I love stuffed shells, but I am also trying to eat healthier. Sometimes an old favorite is just what you need though. I want to leave this recipe here. I am not at a point myself where I eat absolutely healthy 100% of the time, and I’m sure many of you are not as well. Also, healthy is different depending on your nutritional needs. ~ Shannon)

Stuffed shells are one of my family’s favorite foods. I have tried to make stuffed shells a few different ways. This recipe is my favorite one and my boys love it.

Ingredients:  

1 box of large shell shaped pasta

1 to 1 ½ pounds of Hamburg

1 medium onion, chopped (optional)

32 oz. container of ricotta cheese

2 cups of mozzarella cheese

24 oz. can of pasta sauce

Pepper

Garlic powder

Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a medium to large frying pan with cooking spray and add the onions and sauté them. Add the Hamburg to the onions. Sprinkle the meat mixture with pepper and garlic powder to taste. Cook the Hamburg until it is no longer red and drain the fat from the pan. Set the Hamburg and onion mixture aside and cool slightly.

Cook the shells according to the directions on the box. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add the meat mixture to the cheeses and mix well. Use a spoon or fork to stuff each shell with the meat and cheese mixture. Place each stuffed shell into a 9×13 baking dish. If there are too many shells for the baking dish you can place them in a smaller baking dish. Cover the shells with sauce. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the tops of the shells. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted.

I use Hannaford brand shells and cheeses for this recipe. The sauce that I use is Hunts, but Hannaford or other store brand sauces can be used as well. Any flavor of sauce can be used for this recipe.

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4288_1008028096866_1709873199_9523_631518_nSheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s
Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also
writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Philly Cheese Steak Mini Pizzas

Contributed by Sheila Buck

(Update January 2017: To keep in line with the new blog focus on eating healthy, I’d like to mention there are ways to switch out family favorites to make them healthier. Using a Paleo recipe to make English muffins for this recipe would be a great start.  ~ Shannon)

My children and I love to make English muffin pizzas. My oldest son and I like to try different toppings on our mini pizzas. This is a new one that we tried recently and really enjoyed.

Ingredients:

1 Package of English muffins

Alfredo cheese sauce

Steak

Medium green pepper

Medium onion

Mozzarella cheese

Canned or fresh mushrooms (optional)

Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the fat from the steak. Cut the steak into small cubes. Chop the onion and green pepper. Coat a medium frying pan with cooking spray. Add the steak, onions and green pepper to the pan and cook until the vegetables are tender. If you want mushrooms, add them as well. While the meat and vegetables are cooking, halve the English muffins and place the halves on a cookie sheet. Spoon some Alfredo sauce onto each muffin and spread it. Cover each muffin with mozzarella cheese. When the meat and veggie mixture is done cooking, top each muffin with the mixture. Bake at 425 degrees until the cheese is melted and the muffins are crisp.

We always use store brand English muffins and mozzarella cheese for this recipe. The least expensive Alfredo sauce we have been able to find is Ragu brand.

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NOTE: (From the administrator) To save even more money on this recipe, use fresh produce from your own organic garden.

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4288_1008028096866_1709873199_9523_631518_nSheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Stuffed Celery

By Sheila Buck
(Update January 2017: I love the celery stuffed with peanut butter! At some point, to stay in line with my desire to eat a more Paleofied diet, I’d like to try stuffing the celery with a nut butter. ~ Shannon)

I make stuffed celery for every family get together we have. It’s funny because there are olives in this recipe and I do not like olives. Even though I don’t like olives this stuffed celery is one of my favorite things to eat. I have been making stuffed celery since I was a little girl and didn’t actually have a recipe for it. I made the tasty snack for our family Yule celebration because Shannon wanted me to post it on here. I hope you all try it out and find that you like it.

Ingredients:

1 Bunch of celery (washed and cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces)

2 8oz packages of cream cheese

1 small onion, peeled and  finely chopped

1/2 cup Spanish olives, chopped

2 Tbs. Spanish olive juices

Procedure:

Place the cream cheese into a medium sized bowl and set it aside for a few minutes to let it soften. When the cream cheese is soft enough to mix add the onions, olives and the olive juice. Mix well. Fill each piece of celery with some of the cream cheese mixture and place them on a plate or platter. Cover with Saran wrap until it is time to serve it.

You can use store brand cream cheese and olives for this recipe. I usually use Philadelphia cream cheese and Hannaford brand Spanish olives. Stuffed celery is a great dish to bring to family or work parties.

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Chip Cookies

Contributed by Sheila Buck

(Update January 2017: Yum! I know these are in no way healthy, but I just love them. I might try tweaking the recipe in the future to use Paleo approved non-grain flour and honey, or something like that, just to make it a little healthier. But I’m keeping this recipe here because it is a family favorite. I’m fine with having a treat once-in-a-while.)

During the holidays, my oldest son and I like to do a lot of baking. One of our favorite kinds of cookies to bake this time of year is pumpkin cookies. They taste great and are a big hit at our home. Our friends and family also like them.

Ingredients:

1 can pumpkin

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons of milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups flour

1 package butterscotch chips (11 ounces)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the pumpkin, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add eggs, oil,vanilla and the baking soda mixture. Mix well. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each cup. Add the butterscotch chips and mix well. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.

All of the ingredients we use to make this recipe are store brand, except for the butterscotch chips and pumpkin. I have been unable to find the butterscotch chips and pumpkin in the store brand packaging. During the holiday season many grocery stores offer sales on baking stuff including the butterscotch chips and cans of pumpkin.

Pumpkin butterscotch chip cookies make great gifts. You can also bring some to holiday parties or make some for your family to enjoy.

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Feature Article: What is Juicing?

By Sheila Buck

Juicing is a good way to obtain the raw foods you need everyday. Both fruits and vegetables can be juiced, but fruit juice may increase the levels of insulin in your blood. Juicing is quick, and a good way to add more healing foods to  a  diet with minimal effort .

When we eat whole fruits and vegetables, our bodies do not always absorb a lot of their nutrients.  The nutrients from juices are easier for our bodies to absorb. Some of the health benefits of juicing are:

  • It is a quick and easy way to get enzymes into your body.
  • Fruit and vegetable juices give the body a lot of energy and increase metabolic rate.
  • It gives your immune system a boost.
  • Helps you recover quicker from some illnesses.
  • Helps ease the symptoms of depression.
  • Helps detoxify the body.
  • Helps the digestive system function better.

You do not need a lot of equipment for juicing. A juicer, although not necessary, makes the process easier. You may want  to add  supplements to your juices. Some good supplements to add are:

  • Cod liver oil
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Fish oil
  • Flax seed oil

It can sometimes be difficult to consume all of the fruit and vegetables you need everyday. With Juicing you can fit more than one serving into every glass, making it easier to fit in all of those servings.

Although juicing has many advantages,  it also has some disadvantages. The following is a list of illnesses that can come from juicing:

  • Foodborne illnesses such as: E. coli and Salmonella
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain
  • Carotenemia

Juicing is an easy way to get the proper nutrients from fruits and vegetables. If you would like to try juicing contact your doctor first. The juicer should be cleaned after every use.

References:

Juice for Health

Best of Juicing: Health Benefits of Juicing

Best of Juicing: Why is Vegetable Juicing Good?

Livestrong.com: What are the Dangers of Juicing?

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Feature Article: The Raw Food Diet: Is it Really Healthy? :

By Sheila Buck

The raw food diet is based on eating raw, unprocessed, whole, live foods for the majority of your diet. Raw foodists believe, and some studies have shown, that cooking food reduces its nutritional value. With the raw food diet, foods are prepared in a way that helps the nutrients stay in the foods so they are more healthy to eat. There is some disagreement between doctors and raw foodists, as to whether or not this is a healthy diet.

Raw foodists believe that the body is more alkaline, and the diet should be more alkaline and less acidic. Raw foods are more alkaline and cooked foods are more acidic. Therefore, raw foods are better for your body. They believe that eating raw foods helps the body eliminate toxins, helps prevent or heal many chronic diseases, and encourages weight loss. If the diet is not done correctly it can lead to dehydration and other medical problems.

Some doctors believe that the raw food diet is a lifestyle choice and not a weight loss plan. The diet can lead to dehydration, anemia, neurological impairment, low bone mass, as well as other medical conditions. Although research shows that the raw food diet can lead to these conditions, it has also shown that it does help prevent some forms of cancer.

The majority of raw foodists are vegan. The do not eat meat or dairy. There are some that eat organic eggs, chicken, and other products. The following is a list of foods usually eaten by raw foodists.

  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Sea vegetables

Raw foodists drink:

  • Purified water
  • Fresh made juice
  • Tea brewed by sitting in the sun

The raw food diet has its pro’s and con’s. If done correctly, it can do wonderful things for your body.  If this is a lifestyle choice you would like to make, it is always best to ask your physician before you start. More research should also be done, so an informed decision can be made.

References:

Starting a Raw Food Diet

Raw Food Diet

Living and Raw Foods

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Feature Article: National Food Banks and How They Help

By Sheila Buck

Food banks supply low-income families with the food they need to survive. The National Food Bank, also known as, Feeding America, works with several other local food banks to make sure that families stay fed and children stay healthy. The National Food Bank and the smaller food banks share a close relationship, and work together to keep families fed.

The local food bank:

  • Obtain food from the local businesses and farmers.
  • Receive donations from local corporations and individuals who donate. They use these donations to help low-income families.
  • Receive food from Feeding America and distribute it to low-income individuals in their community.
  • Hold a close relationship with the National Food Bank and the other local food banks.
  • Promote food safety.
  • Work hard, on a local level, to set up better government programs for families and individuals in need.

The National Food Bank:

  • Obtain food from large manufacturers and the government.
  • Acquire donations from larger corporations and individual donors.
  • Distribute food to local food banks.
  • Hold a close relationship with the other food banks.
  • Promote food safety.
  • Work hard, on a national level, to set up better government programs for families and individuals in need.

Feeding America is a respectable charity. The National Food Bank distributes food to the many local food banks in the United States. The local food banks then distribute this food to soup kitchens and food cupboards. These food cupboards and soup kitchens feed low-income families and individuals, and help them stay healthy.

Resource:

Feeding America

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Feature Article: What is a Vegetarian Diet and is it Healthy?

By Sheila Buck

It is well known that Vegetarians do not eat meat. However, many individuals do not realize that there are different kinds of vegetarian diets. People who follow the different diets also eat different things. According to Mayo Clinic Staff, a well-planned vegetarian diet is a healthy way to meet you nutritional needs. If you are thinking about starting a vegetarian diet or just want to know more, the following information will be helpful as well.

There are four types of vegetarian diets. They are Vegan, Lacto-vegetarian, Lacto-ovo vegetarian and Flexitarian. Each of these vegetarian groups chooses to eat or not to eat certain foods.

Vegan Vegetarians:

  • Do not eat meat.
  • Do not eat poultry, fish, eggs, dairy or honey.
  • Do not eat anything that contains meat, fish, eggs, dairy or honey.
  • Do not use fur, silk, soap or anything that is derived from the above mentioned foods.
  • Only eat plant-based foods, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains and dried beans.

Lacto-Vegetarians:

  • Do not eat meat, poultry, fish or eggs.
  • Do not eat anything that contains meat, poultry, fish or eggs.
  • Eat dairy products, plant-based foods, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains and dried beans.

Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians:

  • Do not eat meat, fish or poultry.
  • Do not eat anything that contains meat, fish or poultry.
  • Eat dairy products, eggs, plant-based foods, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains and dried beans.

Flexitarian Vegetarians:

  • Eat everything, but only consume meat, fish and poultry occasionally and in small amounts.

The vegetarian diet can be a healthy choice when it is done in a manner where you can get all the nutrients that are needed. If you plan to try one of the four vegetarian diets, talk with your doctor first. Your physician can give you tips about how to get the nutrients you will be missing by not eating meat.

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short 4288_1008028096866_1709873199_9523_631518_nstories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Feature Article: What is a Vegan Diet and is it Really Healthy?

By Sheila Buck

A vegan diet is a vegetarian diet that excludes meat, fish, eggs, dairy and poultry products. Vegans do not use other animal products including; fur, silk and other things obtained from the use of animals. People choose a vegan diet for health, environmental and/or ethical reasons.

The vegan diet consists of eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and tofu. The healthy vegan uses these foods in a manner that also allows them to get all the nutrients they need. Although these foods may sound bland, there are many meals that can be made with them including:

  • Smoothies
  • Lasagna
  • Chili
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Sandwiches
  • Deserts
  • Stir fry
  • Pancakes
  • French toast

If done correctly, a vegan diet can be very healthy. If you would like to start a vegan diet, consult your physician first. He may set you up with a nutritionist who can help you to plan the diet, so you will get the nutrients you need. There are helpful web sites that also give information on this form of diet, as well as food lists that give you specific nutrients.

References:

Mayoclinic.com- Vegetarian Diet: How to get the best nutrition

The Vegetarian Resource Group: Veganism in a Nutshell

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.

Basic Potato Salad

Recipe contributed by Sheila Buck

(Update January 2017: This recipe could also be made with Paleo mayonnaise, but I came across a recipe last year that didn’t even call for Mayo. It was a Paleo version that sounded so good. This version here may be fine for your nutritional plan, and that is great, but if it isn’t, then just know you have other options. ~Shannon)

Potato salad is a great summer recipe, and a wonderful side dish to many meals. Here is a basic potato salad recipe from our kitchen. It is one of my youngest son’s favorite recipes.

Ingredients:

6 potatoes, halved
4 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
Paprika

  1. In a medium pot, boil potatoes until tender.
  2. Put potatoes in refrigerator until cool.
  3. Peel potatoes and cube them.
  4. Place cubed potatoes into a medium bowl.
  5. Peel off shell of hard-boiled eggs.
  6. Chop eggs and add them to potatoes, and mix.
  7. Add chopped onion to mixture, and mix.
  8. Add mayo to mixture, and mix well.
  9. Sprinkle Paprika over the top of salad.

Tips:

  • Spices can be very expensive. Sometimes paprika can be found at dollar stores for a better price than at the grocery store.
  • Store brand mayonnaise tastes very good.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Other vegetables can be added to this salad. My mother sometimes adds tomatoes and cucumbers to hers.
  • Serve this as a side dish with cheeseburgers and corn on the cob.
  • My youngest sometimes eats the salad with no main dish.

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Sheila Buck is the single mom of two teenage boys. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. Sheila is a freelance writer, and also writes books and short stories in her spare time. Sheila also writes for Frugal is Fabulous!.