Healthy Snacking Options

As per my new year goals, I’m consuming even more healthy foods this year. Whenever possible, I will be getting in extra vegetables, and consuming at least one fruit every day. I don’t want to go overboard on fruit because I’m working on weightloss goals and fruit has a good amount of sugar, but it’s important to include fruit in a healthy menu. And most fruit is simply delicious.

One way I’m meeting my goals is by really thinking through my snack options. And there are so many delicious, healthy snacks out there. The picture above is a snack I’ve made and intend to repeat. Fruits, veggies, and protein, with a little coconut oil in the dip for the healthy fat addition.

SnapIt Board used in this Photograph.

Some other things I’m doing more of:

  • Fruit-based smoothies with protein powder, a small amount of coconut oil, and ground flax seed, paired with raw green beans or other raw. Vegetables can be eaten fresh from the garden if you have one, to save money. And any affordable fruit can be used in the smoothies. (In this picture, I used two SnapIt Boards, which I am loving right now. I don’t have the best lighting or surfaces in the room that I rent, so these boards help with my picture taking efforts. This is not an affiliate link, but the people who make the boards did send me the pair to try out.)
  • Fruit-based smoothies, like above but with greens. Because greens are super good for you and I need more in my diet.
  • Fruit slices paired with some seeds. I especially love sunflower and pumpkin seeds, but I’m also roasting the seeds from different varieties of squash. (If I haven’t posted a recipe recently, I will be doing so!)
  • Chicken slices with strawberries, carrots, and celery.
  • Nut butter and celery sticks.
  • Home-baked chard and kale chips.
  • Trail mixes.
  • Non-dairy yogurt topped with berries.

I’m sure I’ll come up with more ideas.

So how about you? What health goals did you make this year? How are you going to reach them?

~ Shannon

Getting Enough Protein Affordably

When trying to eat nutritious meals, remember to get enough protein. More than half your plate should be filled with vegetables, then you add some protein. You obviously don’t want to go overboard with meat.

I mainly try to follow a Paleo lifestyle, and I do pretty well, but I’m well aware that the cost can be astronomical. Living on a budget, I’m not able to eat all organic, grass-fed, etc. I mainly just go to the grocery store and buy basic meats, seeds, nuts, and eggs to cover this nutritional need. Adding a protein source to every meal and snack can be costly, so cutting costs and being creative is important.

For me, beans are out. But when my stepfather makes his baked beans at the holidays I’ll enjoy a few meals worth. I also avoid milk, cheese (most of the time), and yogurt. I get much of my protein from meats and eggs, and some from seeds and nuts.

One important thing I notice is that, when I’m eating a (mostly) proper Paleo diet, I consume smaller portions at each meal. This is because my body realizes it’s getting what it needs, and knows it is not starving for those nutrients. This did not occur the first day, but over the course of a few weeks I noticed I didn’t need to eat as much as I had been at the beginning. Once this started happening I started buying less food, saving me money.

I eat at least a few eggs a week. Though they are more expensive than they used to be, I find they are cheap overall. Far more affordable than buying only meat, they are still a good buy. I hard boil, scramble (I use a little water and not milk), or fry them. It takes me two or three weeks to go through an 18-pack, if not longer, because I’m the only one eating them.

The same with pumpkin seeds. A bag costs $2.99, but lasts me a long time. I sprinkle a few seeds on a salad once a week, and have a few seeds with a fruit or vegetable at snack once in a while, along with a teaspoon of cocoa flavored coconut butter. A great money saver is to roast your own pumpkin seeds, from the pumpkins you use in the fall.

I rarely cook just a single meal. If I buy a small chicken or a roast, it’s often cheaper per meal than if I bought meat on a per-meal basis. One of these will give me enough meat for a number of meals. Chicken with vegetables one night. Chicken with my salad the next day. And enough leftover to make a small chicken soup which will last a couple of meals.

When I find a sale on meat, I take advantage. For instance, I compare prices and weights. I bought pork and beef this week. I don’t often consume pork, but this week I decided to. Then I noticed beef steaks were on sale. Those two packages of meat will make at least ten meals for me. I’ll put pork in one slow cooker, beef in another, and cook them both with vegetables. That will take care of the main course for my work meals, as well as a few at-home meals.

A great way to get protein i your diet cheaply is to buy the biggest turkey you can fit into your oven when they are at their cheapest. If you can, buy two or three of these and freeze a couple. So much can be done with leftover turkey. The first few days after Thanksgiving, eat off the bird. Make a sandwich, cook some turkey soup, and make a scramble for breakfast. There will be enough turkey for freezing to make other meals: Chili, casseroles, and more.

Sometimes a coupon will present itself that gives a discount on an item while it’s on sale. Take full advantage, as long as doing so means you’re getting the best deal over other brands. It may be that friends and family will give you their coupons, if they don’t need them, so buying more than one is possible. Freeze what wont be used right off. Coupon/sale combinations often present great deals.

How do you save money on protein sources? How do you use them? Let us know in the comments, or message me at I’m also happy to answer questions.


Patriotic Holiday Recipes: A Simple Food Platter Idea

What would a Fourth of July celebration be without a food representation of the US flag? This simple platter is placed out at the beginning of the party or picnic, for everyone to snack on until the main foods are brought out.

You are simply going to fill a rectangular food platter with red, white, and blue foods, in such a way that finished platter resembles the US flag.


1 pint blueberries

small watermelon

1 pound strawberries

2 pints raspberries, or another red berry

cheese cubes, enough to fill white lines – mozzarella/provolone/another type

  1. Cut the watermelon into slices. Chop into (about) 1 inch squares
  2. Rinse the berries, and use a towel to gently pat them dry.
  3. Hull the strawberries, and cut them in half.
  4. Place the blueberries into a square, white bowl, just big enough to hold them. Put this bowl in the upper left corner of the platter.
  5. Cut a few cheese cubes into quarters, to place on the berries to act as ‘stars’.
  6. Beginning next to the bowl, at the top of the platter, you are going to add lines – red and white stripes. Start with a line of watermelon for red, then a line of cheese cubes. End with a line of watermelon for red, and a line of cheese cubes above that. In between, use the strawberries as red lines, raspberries as red lines, and watermelon if you need to. Do these separately, so only one type of fruit is in each line. (The order does not really matter.) The white lines will all be cheese cubes.
  7. Cover and refrigerate until needed.


  • Place on a table and let everyone enjoy while hanging out.
  • Cut expenses where possible. Look for coupons on cheese. If you notice a sale, most cheeses freeze. A sale combined with coupons will save a lot of money. Some fruits, such as watermelon, can also be bought when on sale and frozen.

You may also be interested in

Patriotic Holiday Recipes: Fruit Salad

Patriotic Holiday Recipes: Berries and Cream

Easy Burger Options

Enjoy the holiday weekend!


Food Movies!

I love a good movie, and a good food movie is great! Even when food may not be the center of the movie theme. I’m sure all us foodies have our favorites, and I just thought I would share mine with you.

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  2. Fried Green Tomatoes
  3. Julie and Julia
  4. Waitress
  5. Martha, Inc.: The Story of Martha Stewart
  6. Chocolat – Johnny Depp

And some other films I found interesting:

  1. Food, Inc.
  2. Supersize Me
  3. Hungry for Change
  4. Food Matters

What are your favorite food movies? Feel free to share them in the comments.


Shepherd’s Pie Variations

The shepherd’s pie recipe I used when the girls were growing up was a favorite of ours and our cousin Ashland. At its most basic, this is what it was:

1 pound browned ground beef, rinsed and drained and spread over the bottom of a baking dish, topped with 1 can of drained whole kernel corn and 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid. This was topped with mashed potato. Sometimes I sprinkled cheese over the top. I might replace the beef with cooked chicken sometimes, and occasionally use peas.

Pretty basic, but maybe not the healthiest way to enjoy this dish. One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be changed to match sales. Each ingredient can be switched out to save money. You can also make it according to what produce you get from the garden.

Play with the recipe. See what you can do.

(Update 2017) While the above method of making shepherd’s pie is a family favorite and is therefore staying on the blog, I wanted to share variations with you.

Here are some healthier variations, that

  1. Leftover meat medley, thawed, (Diced beef, pork, chicken, and turkey). Top with 1/4 cup of water or vegetable stock, 1 cup cooked carrots, and 1 can of peas, and then add mashed sweet potato as a top layer.  See: How to Store Food Odds and Ends for Later Use.
  2. Use turkey as a base, adding 1/4 cup of vegetable stock or broth, 1 cup chopped, cooked broccoli, and 1 cup cooked carrots. Top this with mashed butternut squash, and top with a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.
  3. Use a pound of precooked venison, and top with diced tomato and peas. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from the peas (or homemade vegetable stock), and then top with mashed carrot and sweet potato.

Come up with your own variations, and tell us about them in the comments section for this post.



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.


Juice for Health

Best of Juicing: Health Benefits of Juicing

Best of Juicing: Why is Vegetable Juicing Good? What are the Dangers of Juicing?


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.


Starting a Raw Food Diet

Raw Food Diet

Living and Raw Foods


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.


Feeding America


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.


  • 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.


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: Vegetarian Diet: How to get the best nutrition

The Vegetarian Resource Group: Veganism in a Nutshell


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!.