Freezer: Using up the Winter Stocks

Since it is the time of the year when we spring clean, I thought it would be nice if we all considered our freezers for a few minutes. Do you have any leftover produce in the freezer? I know that I still have some frozen smoothie packs and berries in the freezer that need to be used. Here are some pointers for using up your winter stores:

* The eggs you purchased on sale and froze will need to be used. Since the yolks had to be broken to freeze, you cannot make boiled or fried eggs with them. You could make other things, though:

  • scrambled eggs
  • french toast with a hearty paleo bread
  • use them when baking

These can be frozen in snack size baggies, then put all the baggies into a quart or gallon size freezer baggie until needed. Freeze them one egg to a snack size baggie, or use bigger bags and freeze more than one  in each.  Take the eggs out of the night before  you need them.

* Use grated zucchini  to make:

  • muffins
  • breads
  • omelets
  • cookies
  • brownies
  • cakes

* Diced apples are great for breads and muffins, brownies, cookies and cakes.

* Sliced apples make great crisps, pies, sauces, and cobblers.

* You can make a great soup from (saved) leftover vegetables, meats, and liquids from cooking the veggies.

* Make smoothies using the smoothie packs you froze during the winter.

Happy eating!

Shannon

New Year Goal: Getting Back to Eating Healthy

I must have gained 15 pounds this month, and I feel crappy to boot. I can’t claim to eat healthy 100% of the time, but usually I eat far healthier than I have in the past couple of months.

The holidays are rough, that’s for sure. All the delicious foods are so hard to say no to.

What is healthier for me? A mostly Paleo diet. Mainly vegetables, protein, and healthy fat, with a little fruit thrown into the mix. This is not a diet as many people use the term, but a lifestyle. Remember, a diet isn’t something you go on. It is how you eat daily.

Now, a Paleo lifestyle is not cheap, but I am trying and learning new things to help me save money when possible. Usually my hours are cut back during the winter months, meaning my food budget is next to nothing, but this year my boss tells me I’ll be working 40 hours each week. If this is true, I’ll have more money for groceries. Thank goodness! More money for experimenting with recipes. More money for regular meals. More money for healthy food, and not having to eat all the grains, sugars, and other stuff that causes me to gain weight.

My parents gave me $100.00 for Christmas, and I intend to put that money toward stock-ups for healthy eating this winter. After all, we all like pancakes and muffins sometimes. It’s just a matter of what ingredients are used when making them. So I want to stock up on things like:

  • almond flour
  • coconut flour
  • cocoa bliss
  • coconut oil
  • canned tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • bakers cocoa
  • canned full-fat coconut milk
  • canned coconut cream
  • unsweetened coconut flakes

I lose weight and feel so much better when I’m following a Paleo lifestyle more closely.

What is healthy for you and your family? That depends on your health concerns and other things. Your doctor or a nutritionist should be able to help you figure it out. You owe it to yourself and your family to figure out what healthy is for you, and to change your recipes and menus up accordingly.

You don’t have to make one big change at the beginning of the year, especially if that means you wont stick to it. Why not try something new each month, continuing throughout the year with each one. You will make each a habit to carry with you into every year from here on out. Here are some suggestions:

January: Do you really need a bunch of fruit every single day? With the Paleo lifestyle, and a need to lose weight, I’ll only be having one fruit a day. Fruit has plenty of natural sugars, and I don’t need that much sugar when I’m trying to lose weight – natural or otherwise. If you’re not trying to lose weight, then more fruit is likely fine.

February: Are you getting enough vegetables? Even if you get two vegetables at the three meals every day, adding a side salad to lunch and dinner will give you a nutritional punch. These don’t have to be huge salads, and will help to make sure you’re getting enough produce.

March: Water is so important! Try drinking a lemon water each morning. Then a water with lunch, and one in between lunch and dinner. This may enough for you. A good rule of thumb with water is that you should be able to get all your food in throughout the day. If you’re drinking a lot of water each day and not feeling hungry enough at all three of the basic meals, you are likely drinking too much water. Eight glasses of water a day is not for everyone. Keep in mind, you’ll need more water during hot months.

April: Is juice necessary? No. It’s far better to have the fruit than the juice. If you really think you need the juice, be sure it has no added sugars. One-hundred percent juice is the way to go.

May: Is dairy really your friend? Being on the Paelo diet, you eliminate a lot of foods from your diet. Then you can reintroduce some things. During this process, I learned that milk and yogurt are not my friends, but I can tolerate cheese. However, cheese is not really part of the Paleo lifestyle Let’s just say I haven’t given cheese up completely, but I limit it. I rarely ever have it.

June: Did you take milk out of your diet and want to replace it with something else? I didn’t think I would like them, but I now drink almond, coconut, and cashew milks. Try one. One serving a day is good.

July: Cut out processed sugars, for the most part. I do use organic honey, maple syrup, and molasses (on rare occasion). I don’t use sweeteners a lot by any means.

August: Corn is not a vegetable. Not really. It is a grain. Please treat it as such.

September: Rethink grains, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight. And don’t be fooled by wheat products. They may not be as healthy for you as they are supposed to be. Still want pasta, breads, and brownies? Think almond and coconut flours. There are non-grain options that taste great.

October: While my favorite dessert item is not 100% Paleo/healthy, it is tasty and easy to make. If you have the money you can get healthier versions of chocolate chips, but I don’t have that kind of money. This treat keeps me from eating a whole slew of very-bad-for-me desserts, so I’m keeping it.

No-Bakes: Melt chocolate chips with a tablespoon of organic coconut oil. Chop almond slivers up a little finer, and give some dried fruit a chopping as well. Add these two ingredients along with unsweetened coconut flakes to the melted chocolate. Make sure all the goodies are coated, then drop by the tablespoon on to parchment paper and allow the no-bakes to set up. Yum! Store in a container in the fridge. I’m sorry, I don’t measure these ingredients.

November: Be sure each meal and snack has a vegetable, some protein, and a little healthy fat. A good snack might be a carrot or celery, a hard-boiled egg, and a tablespoon of cocoa bliss.

December: Make sure each get-together includes a vegetable platter or two!

Tips for saving money while eating healthier:

  • If you are cutting back on fruit intake, you’re saving a little money.
  • You’re also saving money on processed foods that can go toward healthier foods.
  • I can’t afford all organic foods, by any means, but I do buy organic when I can.
  • I rarely ever am able to afford organic meats. I don’t let it bother me. I’ll still be eating healthier than when I’m consuming all the dairy, sugar, and grains.
  • Peanuts are not nuts. They are legumes. If you are on the Paleo diet, you aren’t allowed legumes. You’ll save money by not buying peanut butter, beans, etc.
  • Figure out what healthy brands of foods are sold at the stores you frequent, then go online to look up their websites. Sign up for coupons. Use coupons only when it will save you money.
  • Combining coupons with sales saves even more money.
  • Wal-Mart has organic herbs in pots. Place them on a windowsill and use them in place of dried herbs. This will save you a lot.
  • Start an organic garden in the spring.
  • Save leftovers, even if it is only a tablespoon or two of something. Freeze what you wont use right off.

Happy New Year!

Shannon

The Art of Soup Creation

Soups are so easy to make! They are healthy, and you can add just about anything to them. Experiment to see what your favorites will be.

A big pot is best, so you can have plenty of leftovers. Covered and placed in the fridge it’ll last a good 4 or 5 days, and you can freeze some of the soup as well.

I use leftovers first when making a soup, then add to the pot if the need be. If the leftovers are frozen, they don’t really need to be thawed. This process will happen just fine during the cooking period, so no worries.

Here is the basic process of making a soup:

  • Go through the refrigerator to see what needs to be used up, leftovers or not. I’m usually looking for meats, broth, stock, and vegetables.
  • Go through your freezer. Again, leftover meats and vegetables that have already been chopped and cooked, as well as stock or broth if you didn’t have any (or enough!) in the refrigerator.
  • If it looks like there will still be room in the pot, look in your pantry or food cupboards. Is there anything you’d like to add to the soup?
  • Start by placing the pot on a big burner, and pouring in about an inch of broth or stock. Turn the heat on high, and allow to warm.
  • Add any frozen foods when the stock or broth is warm, then chop fresh vegetables and add to the pot.
  • Brown any meat you want to add, unless it was already cooked. If pre-cooked, just add it straight to the pot.
  • Add any other leftovers from the refrigerator.
  • Add more stock or broth if necessary, to cover the food.
  • Once the liquid is boiling, turn the heat to medium-high and continue to cook. Most of the foods will probably be warmed through by now. If not, no worries. Continue cooking. The longer you cook, the more the foods flavors will mingle.
  • About 30 minutes before you’re done cooking the soup, add any canned foods you want to use.
  • Add and any herbs you like 10 minutes later.
  • Cook for 20 minutes and you are done.

There are so many combinations of ingredients that will work. Try using different ones each time you make the soup, mix things up a bit, writing a new recipe out each time.

Try this simple combination for a small pot of soup, following the steps above:

chicken stock

diced carrot

sugar snap peas in pods

chicken or turkey

parsley

Tips

Serving Suggestions

  • An excellent way to add more nutrients to a meal is to serve a side salad. Try a fruit salad with this soup.

Happy cooking!

Shannon

The Art of One-Pan Meal Creation

I love one-pan meals! Why? Because you only use one pan, for course! A girl doesn’t always want to dirty more than one pan to make a meal, because she doesn’t want all the extra dishes to wash after.

The trick with one-pan meals is to start with melting a healthy fat in a skillet and then add the food item that takes the longest to cook and work your way to the one that takes the least amount of time to cook.

Every so often, the longest cooking part of a meal may need to be drained after cooking part way through and that is fine. Start adding the other foods after that step.

For example, pasta or rice (if you eat grains, I do not) would be cooked partially first then drained. So would ground beef. White potatoes take longer to cook than sweet potato and squash. Shelled peas don’t take long at all. Its okay to learn through trial and error. I did.

If you need to add liquid, do so after the healthy fat (I prefer coconut oil) is heated. I’d use a good broth or stock for this purpose.

A one-pan meal I particularly like is made like this:

  1. Melt a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet.
  2. Add chopped white potato to the pan and cook, stirring every minute or so, until they start to get tender.
  3. Add chopped squash and sweet potato and cook for a few minutes. Keep stirring as above.
  4. Add chopped sausage, still stirring as above, until potatoes are cooked and everything is warmed through.
  5. Add seasonings, stirring one last time. Let cook a minute, and it is done.

See how easy it is. All the flavors from the different foods mingle for a great tasting meal that can be served any time.

If you wanted to add diced carrot with the sweet potato and squash, and shelled peas at the end, you could. The above is just one example of a meal that can be prepared in one skillet. There are many more combinations. What are your favorites?

Tips

Serving Suggestions

Happy cooking!

Shannon

The Art of Casserole Creation

At the most basic level, a casserole is food items put into a baking dish and baked until done. It can be layered, or all the foods might be mixed together, a few ingredients or many. The foods, when baked together, make a delicious meal to be served any time. Most casseroles can even be frozen before baking, to have on a busy weeknight. These creations are easy to make.

Some items, like most meats and pasta (if you use pasta), should be cooked before baking. Others, like peas, don’t have to be. Leftovers are great in casseroles, and help to cut costs on food.

When I make a shepherd’s pie I first cook and mash the potatoes and brown the ground beef. I don’t pre-cook the other ingredients.

My shepherd’s pies usually include these types of ingredients:

Liquid: Just a little in the bottom of the casserole dish. Water, stock, and broth each work. Usually just a few tablespoons, sometimes a little more.

Meat: To cover the bottom of the baking dish. A thin or slightly thick layer, depending on what I have on hand. Ground beef, or chopped beef, pork, venison, chicken, or turkey. Other meats could be used as well. When using leftovers from the freezer, there may be a combination of meats I will use.

Vegetables: Peas, carrots, broccoli, tomato, etc. Use one or more. Thicker vegetables may need cooking first. This second layer is spread over the ground beef.

Toppings: I used to always use white potato, but I have changed it up a bit. Now I will use squash or sweet potato if I have them on hand. Then I’ll sprinkle fresh herbs such as parsley and/or rosemary over the top of the casserole.

Bake your casserole at about 350* for 20 minutes or until warmed through.

I’m trying to stay away from grains, though I am sure many of you will use them. Doing so can be a money saver. Just be sure that there are plenty of vegetables and some protein to go along with it, and I’d use a healthy fat to brown the meat in.

If I wanted, I could slice the potatoes or squash and not mash them, them layer over the pie. Or mix all the other ingredients with sliced potato before cooking. I’m also considering finding a Paleo “cornbread” recipe to make a sort of taco or chili casserole, using the bread as a topping. Paleo breads are not made from grains, so it would work for me.

What is your favorite casserole? I’m always open to new ideas, as I’m sure everyone else her is.

Tips

  • Grow some of your own produce and herbs to save money on these types of recipes.
  • To be extra frugal, save leftovers from meals in the freezer. Saving a tablespoon or a quarter cup of foods over the course of a week or month might net you an almost free meal.

Serving Suggestions

Happy cooking!

Shannon

5 Laws of Being a Frugal Kitchen Goddess

Being a Kitchen Goddess is one thing. Being a Frugal Kitchen Goddess is something else. I’m a Frugal Kitchen Goddess, and darn proud of it. How about you?

In order to be a frugal Goddess in the kitchen, you must know and/or do things that help to save money. What they are will depend on your cooking style and just how much money you wish not to spend. My Frugal Kitchen Goddess laws are:

  1. Know the truth about eggs. That’s right, most of the time all size eggs are created equal. There are only a few types of recipes out there that wouldn’t come out right if I did not use, say, three large eggs, and I don’t make those recipes. While large eggs are sometimes the better value, this is not always the case. Just last week I bought a dozen medium eggs because they were the best value where I was shopping. I used two medium eggs in my homemade brownie recipe and the brownies came out perfect, even though the recipe called for two large. No difference. I have also used small eggs in this manner. It is way more economical, most of the time, to use small eggs in smoothies as well. Also, when tripling and quadrupling recipes, I leave out an egg. The food comes out just fine. I have even been known to use duck eggs (given to me by a friend) in different recipes. They are amazing.
  2. Grow your own food. Even though I rent a room right now, and can’t garden outside, I still grow a little of my own food. For instance, my mother grew kale and chives in her garden last year and, at the end of the growing season these greens were still growing strong. I took two of each plant, put them in a pot with soil, watered when necessary, and used the greens in salads and smoothies until after the holidays. Every time I’d take a leaf or two off, more would grow. It was great. Right now I’m trying my hand at growing herbs on at the back of my desk, right in front of a huge window. So far the cilantro and parsley are growing well, and I can see the beginnings of some oregano. Yum. I’m doing it all organically, and it will save a good amount of money.
  3. Cook from scratch. It’s much more frugal, and healthier, than using so many processed foods when you’re trying to eat healthy. I don’t do a lot of baking any more, as far as cakes, breads, and such. But I do take squash from the garden to roast, filling it with other fresh produce and a little meat. I also make other foods in my toaster oven.
  4. Accept whatever people offer. From duck eggs to fresh produce to food plants, I take whatever anyone wants to offer. This saves me a bunch of money each year, and provides food to experiment with allowing me to create new recipes. Fun! You’ll figure out a way to use each item. Duck eggs are great in smoothies, omelets, and more. The plants can be placed outside or in a sunny window. And the fresh produce can be used in all manner of things, from smoothies, to omelets, to nachos.
  5. Utilize the slow cooker when possible. Make everything from roasts to chili to soups, and so much more. Use of the cheapest cuts of meat, and the ugliest produce, wont even matter. No one will notice. And you’ll make the most amazing meals!

Now, I realize each frugalista has her own laws of being a Frugal Kitchen Goddess. What are your yours? Do any of them match up to mine? Are they different?

Shannon

25 Kitchen Secrets All New Cooks Should Know

When I was in high school, we had Home Economics. We learned how to prepare a few things, one being a taco dinner that was mighty tasty, and the basics about baking and whatnot. Many schools don’t do this any more, and not every parent teaches a child to cook, so it helps to give new cooks tips. Even if you know the basics, there is more you’ll be thankful to learn.

These ‘secrets’ will help you along your journey:

  1. Accept fresh produce and herb offerings. This will save a good deal of money on your grocery bill, and will allow you to expand your menu.
  2. If they are offering kale or chard, or if you’re growing it yourself, and it is too cold to grow it outside any longer, take up the hole plant, root and all. Transplant to a planter with organic soil and place on a shelf near a window. Use the leaves in salads and smoothies, or in whatever recipe you want. As you cut off leaves, more will grow, until the plant is done. Last year, mine lasted until after the holidays. I had two of each type of plant, and I used at least one cutting from each per week.
  3. Grow organic herbs inside. You will save a good amount of money by doing this rather than buying organic herbs at the store. And, they taste amazing! Plant them in pots, and place them near a window.
  4. Butternut and acorn squashes last a long time! I’m sure there are other types that do as well. We are almost through April, and I still have a butternut squash from last harvest season. I’ll be making stuffed squash. All you have to do is keep checking them to be sure there are no bad spots. If you notice anything adverse starting early enough, use it up after cutting out the bad part.
  5. You can roast squash seeds like you do pumpkin seeds.
  6. Squash is a pain to cut up and peel, but stuffed squash is easy to make because all you have to do is wash the squash and then cut it in half. And, there a so many ways to stuff each half. Bake the halves cut-side up, brushed with oil, for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until tender. Then fill each half with any combination of cooked meat and vegetables mixed with herbs and/or spices and some cheese. Bake about another 20 minutes.
  7. Large eggs are not usually needed in baking and cooking, unless you are doing some pretty fancy baking. Save money buying whatever size egg is the most affordable at the time. I’m not sure if jumbo eggs can replace the large ones or not, but I know small and medium eggs work just as well as large in all my recipes.
  8. Freeze small bits of leftovers, be they fruits, vegetables, or meats. You don’t even have to split them up by type. For instance, freeze leftover cooked chicken, turkey, pork, and beef all in one bag. Multiple fruits can be frozen in a freezer bag. Same with the vegetables, and even the meats. Use the fruits in smoothies, and the vegetables and meats in soups, stews, stuffed squash recipes, and casseroles. Keep a quart or gallon size bag in the freezer for each type of food – three bags is all you need. Add to each bag as you can. Just be sure to let the air out of them each time you add something.
  9. Keep old, even stained, dish towels and dish cloths on hand to use when cleaning up spills and washing down sideboards and appliances. No need for paper towels. No wasting paper or money.
  10. Keep the stock and broth from soups and roasts, to use in recipes throughout the week. Also keep the liquid from when you cook vegetables for the same purpose. These liquids can be frozen as well, and used later in soups and stews.
  11. Cooking soup is easy, and can be done in a pot on the stove or in a crock pot. For example, if you want to use the leftovers you’ve kept in the freezer over the last couple of weeks, thaw the vegetables, meats, and broth or stock most of the way. Pour the meat and vegetables into the pot or crock, then cover with the stock or broth? If you don’t have the liquid, just use water. Cover and heat until the food is warmed through, then add any herbs and spices you think might work, and cook about 10 minutes more.
  12. Buy ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables if you can find it cheaper. There is nothing wrong with them other than they don’t look like the best pieces.
  13. Use the ends of vegetables, such as carrots and celery, when making stocks. They wont hurt anything, and provide nutrients.
  14. The leafy part of celery is good. No need to waste anything. Use the leaves when making stocks, in salads or smoothies, or another dish. These leaves have a slightly peppery taste. *Note: There are some people who seem to be allergic to the leaves.
  15. Batch cooking makes things easier if you are going to have a busy week or month. Some people simply double or triple recipes each night until the freezer is stocked with a variety of things. Others spend a day shopping and cooking the meals they will need for the week. Still, others spend a day shopping and doing prep work and another day preparing meals to make enough food for two weeks or a month. Do what works for you.
  16. I use glass measuring cups for liquids.
  17. And plastic or stainless steel measuring cups for dry ingredients.
  18. When mom tells you to use a tad, dash, pinch, smidge, or drop of something, there is a measuring spoon for each. They come in a set.
  19. Baking from scratch is easy, and far more affordable in general.
  20. You can grow your own food easily. Start small with a few different vegetables and the herbs you will use while cooking. Think you have no space for a garden? Plant in containers and line them up your steps or along the front walkway.
  21. Crock pots rock! If you’re going to do a lot of batch cooking, it wont hurt to have at least two. You can make so many things in these, such as lasagna, stew, soup, chili, and cake. Cooking in these is so easy.
  22. One-pan meals are also easy. Start by melting some oil in a skillet. Wash a small potato and cut out bad parts. Thee peels are good for you. Chop and put into the pan. Then wash and peel a small sweet potato. Chop and add to the skillet. Add some meat and let it all cook until done. You can add any seasonings you like.
  23. Buy fresh produce from farm stands when possible. Farmer’s often sell what they don’t need at these, sometimes right on their farm. You can get great deals. Learn to freeze what you can, to have over the winter.
  24. Visit farmer’s markets during the last hour or so of their day. They might be willing to make deals. Often you can get herb and vegetable plants already started that are well worth the cost.
  25. Learn to dry or freeze fresh herbs.

If you have any tips not listed, or want to elaborate on any that are, feel free to do so in the comments. You can also email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I always answer as soon as I have a free moment.

Shannon

What Healthy Food is for Me

In a post I made last week, I explained what I used to think healthy eating was. But I’ve learned how wrong I was.

Everyone is different. Each person’s body reacts to foods in its own way. Mine seemingly does not like for me to consume certain things, at least not all the time. So I’ve cut out certain things, for the most part, including cow’s milk and yogurt, grains, and a slew of other things.

Now, I’m not perfect, and I do have these things on occasion. Unfortunately, I’m unable to afford to eat the way I should all the time, but I do the best I can. During a good week, I’ll eat a 90% Paleo diet, which works well for me. When I can afford to do this regularly:

  • I lose weight.
  • My skin looks great.
  • My hair is softer and seems fuller.
  • My gut is healthier.
  • My asthma is just about non-existent.
  • My gums are healthier.
  • And a number of other great benefits.

As a matter-of-fact, by the time I was almost done with the Whole 30 plan, I could sleep through the night. I hadn’t done that anywhere near consistently in so many years, and I’m still sleeping great. What a relief!

So, what does healthy eating look like for me?

  • Breakfast is pretty much like any other meal.
  • Each meal includes a protein, with a variety of vegetables and/fruit, and a healthy fat.
  • Snacks, though smaller than meals, ideally include a small amount of protein, a healthy fat, and a fruit or vegetable as well. I don’t eat snacks every day.
  • The beverages I drink are mainly plain water, fruit water, teas with nothing added, the occasional Paleo chai tea or hot chocolate, and almond, coconut, and cashew milks. I do make my own Paleo smoothies as well.
  • For treats, I like to melt chocolate chips and stir in any combination of unsweetened organic coconut flakes, almond slivers, dried berries or other fruit, and/or sunflower seeds.
  • I do, sometimes, bake Paleo breads, tortillas, and other items, but I don’t have these times of things every day or week.
  • I also try to buy what I can organic, but cannot afford a completely organic diet.

I simply do the best I can.

What is healthy for you? Given that each person is different, not all diets or healthy eating lifestyles will work for all people. What have you learned about your body and what it needs? Please share with us in the comments below, or email me at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I always reply.

 

Shannon

What I Thought Healthy Food Was

When my daughters were growing up healthy meant something different from what it does today, at least for me. The belief was that as long as you had the basics – meat, fruits or vegetables, dairy, and a grain – you had a well-balanced meal. For some people this might work, but not for everyone. Too many processed foods, sugars, white breads and pastas; even the wheat breads and pastas, are not the healthiest options available. Not to mention the GMO’s in the foods.

A lot of this stuff I even made homemade, because that was supposed to be better for you. And let’s not forget all the low-fat and nonfat items. And the diet colas.

  • I thought because I served cheese meatloaf, mashed potato with milk and butter, corn, and bread and butter, with a glass of milk, we were eating well.
  • I believed if I served pasta with a meat-tomato sauce, bread and butter, and milk, that it would pass for healthy.
  • All the homemade breads were considered healthier than store-bought, and the fruit desserts were supposed to be better for you than the others – even though they were still sugar laden.

And that wasn’t even all. I had such a little amount of money to feed everyone on. I did the best I could at the time, with the information I had and the amount of money available. And the food tasted so good! Still does sometimes, when I need comfort food.

This way of eating, however, contributed to weight problems as well as other health concerns. As it turned out, for me this was not a healthy way of eating. I had a moderate case of asthma, and felt ill most of the time. After only a few hours of activity each day, I felt worn out. It was not good.

I know plenty of people who eat like this and seem healthy enough. I envy them. They aren’t over weight, and have plenty of energy. In all honesty, I’m so happy for them. They get to eat my favorite foods without feeling guilty, or ill. I wish the same were true for me.

Shannon

New Year Goal: Experiment with Recipes

Still trying to figure out what your New Year goal will be? How about a food related goal? Resolve to experiment with new recipes during the new year, and you’ll open yourself up to a world of possibilities. Just step outside your comfort zone and try something new once a week, or even once a month.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and snack recipes are plentiful. Take a look around the web. You’ll find Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, Paleo, vegetarian, and vegan recipes, and many more. The possibilities seem endless. If you want, you can even try new foods while experimenting with the recipes.

Let’s start with a recipe from here on the blog: Making Soup with the Bestest – Missy’s Vegetable Soup. This is quite the versatile recipe.

To begin, make the recipe as it’s written. It’s easy to throw everything into a big pot and let it cook. How did you like the recipe? Are there other vegetables you would have like to have used, besides what we did? Different herbs? Would you rather have some meat in the soup? Using the answers to these questions, try making your own soup – just the way you think you’ll like it best.

How did your soup come out? Is there anything else you would change or add? Anything that did not work for you?

This is one of the ways I experiment with new recipes. It works well for me.

Here is another way I experiment with new recipes. Search for a recipe you would like to try, that maybe has an ingredient or two you know you wont like. It can be any recipe, but we’ll use another recipe from this blog as an example: 4 Meat Chili with Butternut Squash.

This recipe is easy to experiment with; to change-up. Take a look at the ingredients. What if you don’t like the meat choices? Choose meats you do like. What if you don’t have canned tomatoes? Dice fresh tomatoes instead. Want to add something else? This recipe tastes great if you add a cup of pureed pumpkin, squash, or sweet potato. Adding diced or pureed carrots is another option.

Try the recipe the way you think it will be good. How did the chili come out? Is there anything else you would change or add? Anything that did not work for you?

This way of experimenting also works well for me. I’m very picky about some things. I cannot stomach onions and peppers, so I always look at recipe that include them and think about what I could do differently.

Now that I’ve told you about a couple of ways you can experiment with new recipes, how about trying these techniques out on more recipes:

Fruit and Almond ‘Cereal’

Homemade Chicken Soup

Sausage and Apple One-Pan Meal

So, what recipe are you going to start with? One of mine? One of Yours? Another recipe you found in a cookbook or online? Get started this week, and keep trying new recipes throughout the year.

You May Also Enjoy

Simple Chocolate-Coconut No-Bakes

Corned Beef and Potatoes One-Pan Meal

Simple Chicken Soup

Are you looking for a different type of new year goal?

New Year Goal: Reduce Debt

How did your recipes come out? Please share your experiences with us in the comments below, or email me personally at shannonlbuck@gmail.com. I always reply to comments and answer emails. Also, come back to this post over the coming year and update us on more successful experiments.

Happy New Year!

Shannon