Cucumber-Banana Smoothie

Cucumbers are a great addition to most smoothies. Their water content is high, so you might not need as much milk in this recipe as you do in others. Use what greens are in season. You’ll save money if you grow them yourself. Use organic ingredients whenever you can.

This recipes uses leftover ingredients from other recipes. Another great way to save money and create less waste.

Ingredients

vanilla almond milk

1 handful of greens – kale, chard, baby spinach

10 cucumber slices

1 egg

6 banana slices

5 watermelon chunks

  1. Place everything except the vanilla almond milk into a blender.
  2. Cover and blend until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla almond milk a little at a time and blend, until the smoothie is at the desired consistency.
  4. Pour into a tall glass.
  5. Add a straw and enjoy!

Tips

  • Save money by using leftovers, and by purchasing produce in season.
  • Switch up ingredients for different flavors.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with breakfast or as a snack.

Enjoy!

Shannon

 

 

Vegetable-Banana Smoothie

Another leftovers type of smoothie for you to try. A lot of times I just use whatever I have on hand. Add more milk if it isn’t smooth enough. Smoothie recipes pack quite the nutritional punch at snack time, or with your breakfast.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (may need more)

1 egg

small handful of greens – kale, chard, or spinach

a few pieces of broccoli

10 baby carrots

3 chunks watermelon

1 small banana

  • Place everything into a blender.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add a little more almond milk if needed.
  • Blend again.
  • Pour into a tall glass.
  • Add a straw.
  • Enjoy!

Tips

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with homemade Paleo granola cereal at breakfast.

Happy Days!

Shannon

 

Quick Tip: Using Leftovers to Make Smoothies

I know, it sounds gross. But those aren’t the type of leftovers I’m talking about.

I am talking about using those leftover bits of raw fruits and vegetables. You know, that half of a banana your little one didn’t eat at lunch, or the three pea pods he neglected. The chopped vegetables, such as carrots, cauliflower, celery, and broccoli, from the get-together you had the other day.

It’s also okay to use that hard-boiled egg no one wanted at breakfast, and the last of the fresh parsley or thyme.

Go head. Use stuff up. Doing so will save money on your grocery bill, and add necessary nutrients to a smoothie that your body will love you for. And you wont even notice the taste of those foods, unless they are being used as the main ingredient.

You’ll notice that I implement this tactic often in the smoothies I make.

Shannon

 

Quick Tip: Keep a Few Homemade Single-Serve Meals on Hand

You never know when you may need one. In a hurry and need a meal for work? Grab a container of chili-topped squash or sweet potato from the freezer? Not feeling good and don’t want to cook? Take out a container of chicken noodle soup and heat it in the microwave.

It’s easy to prepare these extra meals without too much extra effort. Simply make a little more than you need at each meal, and freeze a meal or two from that. Here are some recipes that lend themselves well to freezer storage.

Label each container with the meal name and the date it should be eaten by.

Shannon

Invest in Containers for Meal Prep

And don’t worry about spending all outdoors on them. I found the containers I mention in this article at Walmart at reasonable cost. They are BPA free, and will be perfect for my work meals. These containers can go into the freezer, on the top shelf of the dishwasher, and even into the microwave if you have one, and are reusable. There is a place on the covers where you can write the date by which the meal or food items should be used; nifty for freezing. And these containers even have stay-cool handles.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

These little containers come six to a package, and are each 4 fluid ounces. They’ll hold dips and sauces, as well as small bits of leftovers. You could also use them for pudding cups or trail mixes. The cost for these was $2.47.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

I bought a variety pack as well, which includes two snack size (9.5 fl oz) containers, five entrée (25 fl oz) containers, and five soup and salad (24 fl oz) containers.  The cost for these was $4.47.

Photograph copyright January 2017 by Shannon L. Buck.

I also bought these round containers. They are bigger than the 4 fluid ounce ones, but I cannot seem to find the information for the exact size. They came in a four-pack, and cost $2.17.

I paid just under $10.00 for all of these, and they are going to be perfect for bringing my meals to work with me. I work 40 hours in 4 days every week, and I like to prepare my meals the day before my first shift. When I get everything to work I can put a couple of meals in the freezer to be moved to the refrigerator Saturday morning, put the snacks in the office, and put the other containers straight into the refrigerator. Easy-peasy!

NOTE: For items that may stain plastic container, such as my chili, I use glass canning jars or glass bowls with covers. Glass items are easier to keep clean under these circumstances.

What do you use for meal prepping?

Shannon

Leftover Thanksgiving Fry Pan Meal

This recipe is frugal because it uses leftovers from you Thanksgiving meal. It’s easy enough for an older child to make.

Leftover Potatoes: You will want to make sure that these are warmed when the pan-fried food is done. You can do this in the oven. Sweet potato is a good choice.

Ingredients to put into pan:

coconut oil

turkey, bite size pieces

leftover veggies from the turkey dinner

add-ins you like: sliced onions, crushed garlic cloves, and parsley.

  1. Melt the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the turkey, veggies, and add-ins.
  3. Cook until all is warmed through.
  4. Put on plates.
  5. Take the potatoes out of the oven and spoon them on the plates as well.
  6. Serve.

Tips

  • Try adding roasted squash to the meal as well.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Fruit and Chocolate Trail Mix

I don’t eat snacks often but, when I do, I’m trying to make healthy choices. These mixes can be placed in small jars and stored in the pantry, so you can quickly grab one when putting together a meal for work or when you want a snack.

Trail mixes are easy to make, and allow me to use up leftovers from other cooking ventures. The chocolate chips are not Paleo, but they are organic – as are the other ingredients.

Ingredients

( 4 (8 ounce) servings)

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/4 cup chocolate chips

2/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

2/3 cup dried cranberry and blueberry mix

2/3 cup slice almond and dried cranberry mix

  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands.
  2. Divide between four 8 ounce canning jars.
  3. Cover and place in the pantry.

Notes

  • Use different types of seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, for variation.

Serving suggestions

Shannon

 

 

 

 

End of the Week Lunches

What do you do for lunches at the end of the week, when your food items are getting low? I use leftovers to make new meals. I also try to keep it simple.

In the picture above you see yesterday’s lunch. I used some leftover beef roast at the center of the plate. Not a lot; just a few slices. Around it, I’ve placed a half of a pear, chopped, carrot rounds, cucumber slices, broccoli, and raw string beans.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck, copyright February 2017. http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/shannonbuck

For to today’s lunch, I again had a few slices of beef, surrounding it with lots of cabbage, broccoli stems, and carrot rounds. Both meals were tasty and healthy, and left me feeling satisfied. And lemon water was my drink of choice at both meals.

Because everything was leftover from other meals, their costs already counted, these two meals were free.

I try to use up food from the fridge before it goes bad, even if there isn’t much of a particular ingredient. This helps me to save money on my overall grocery bill.

How do you use leftovers?

Shannon

Freezer Mix-Ups

What are mix-ups?  Well, to make a mix-up, all you do slice or chop fruits and/or vegetables for freezing. These will likely be different each time you freeze, depending on the available produce and the amounts. They are easy to throw together and place in the freezer for later use.

This is a good way to use up produce that may be a little less than fresh, and to use those odd pieces not used in recipes or eaten with meals.

Here is how I make a vegetable mix-up:

  • Take out a large mixing bowl, and a cooking spoon for mixing.
  • Get out your cutting board and a sharp knife.
  • Take the vegetables you are worrying about going to waste out of your refrigerator. Produce that may not be the freshest, but could be used in a stew or something else.
  • Look at the counter produce to see if any of it needs to be used.
  • Rinse everything and wipe dry with a towel.
  • Chop all the vegetables and throw them into the bowl.
  • Throw out the trash (or compost it!), and then mix up what is in the bowl.
  • Judge how many freezer containers you will need, get them ready, and label them veggie mix-up and put a use-by date on the label. (Six months would work)
  • Spoon the vegetables into the container(s), cover, and freeze.

Use these mix-ups for:

To make fruit mix-ups, take the same steps above and use the fruit mix-ups for smoothies or homemade ice cream.

These are great ways to help you save money. It is frugal to also use leftovers in the same manner, adding even as little as a teaspoon of corn or pees to a freezer mix-up will allow you to save money in the long run.

How do you save money in the kitchen? Get a copy of my eBook Frugal Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen + Frugal Recipes for the Health Conscious. It is FREE!

Shannon

Homemade Vegetable Stock

By not having to purchase canned vegetable stocks, you’ll save money on your grocery bill.  Use the peels and ends of the vegetables from your cooking ventures, along with some pieces of whole vegetables, if necessary.  Herbs may also be used. Nothing has to go to waste completely.

The finished product may be frozen in ice cube trays, and then placed in freezer bag and put back into the freezer. Use ice cubes in place of some of the water when cooking rice and pasta, or even when making casseroles.

You might also choose to pour the liquid directly into the containers and freeze like that. This can later be used when cooking soups and stews.

The process is simple, but will take some time. This is perfect to make when you will be home for a number of hours.

  1. Place these odds and ends into a large pot.
  2. Add fresh herbs if you’d like.
  3. Fill the pot about 2/3 of the way with water.
  4. Cook down to about half the liquid.
  5. Strain the liquid.
  6. Discard the non liquid ingredients at this point. (I add these to the stews that I make for my cats so that nothing goes to waste. Or you could compost them.)
  7. Reconstitute the liquid by 2/3 to 1/2 and cool.

That’s it! A simple task that does not take much hands on time.

Shannon