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.


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!


Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with homemade Paleo granola cereal at breakfast.

Happy Days!



Meal Prep for the Coming Workweek

Another workweek. Another food prep day. Do I mind spending an entire day each week cooking? Absolutely not! I love to cook. And I have less to do on a day-to-day basis when I do this.

This week was pretty basic, and not overly expensive. Here goes:

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

I started with a slow cooker meal. This week I made an Autumn Sausage Slow Cooker Meal that came out real well. I love slow cooker meals. They’re so easy to put together, and free up plenty of time for preparing other foods and getting my cleaning done. Then I also have time for writing. The squash I used in this recipe was a freebie from my parents garden. And the cost before taxes for the sausage was $3.75. Take a look at the store’s selection. You may find a more affordable sausage option than what you use already. I did.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

I then made the base for my iced tea for the week, Berry-Orange Iced Tea. In a few days I will change the tea bags and replace the old orange slices with new. I just keep refilling the pitcher with water during the week. The tea bags were left over from last winter. The fruit was left over from last week. So I did not pay any more to make this.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

Next I made more Chunky Applesauce. This is such a simple recipe. I cook the apples down in water. I don’t add anything else when cooking. When I’m ready to eat the sauce, I add some organic cinnamon. Organic tastes so much better than the stuff I used to buy. The apples were also leftover from last week, so this is essentially another freebie.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

And I put together 6 Vegetable Jars. This weeks jars consist of carrots, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, and a bit of cheese. The carrots were left over from last week. As was the slice of cheese that I broke into 6 pieces.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

Plus I had leftover vegetables to have with other meals or as snacks.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014

After using up all the sandwich meat that comes in the covered containers, I reuse the containers for packing my lunches. I split the food between the containers. I know it does not look like much, but I bring other foods as well.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

This all made 6 meals, and I have a few snacks. Not too bad.

Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.
Photograph by Shannon L. Buck copyright 2014.

So, this is my food from the days work:

  • 6 proportioned out slow cooker meals.
  • 6 vegetable jars.
  • Extra vegetables.
  • 2 applesauce jars.
  • A jar of pickled beets.
  • An orange.
  • 2 bottles of water. Free from a guest at work. (She actually gave me 8 bottles.) I’ll drink tea at work when I don’t have the water (also free), or the iced tea I made is for when I’m at home.

That is 6 meals and, because my work schedule changed this week, I only need two of them for work. I put three slow cooker meal portions into the freezer. They will be good on my days off.

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More Work Week Meal Prep

Even More Work Week Meal Prep




Vegetable Jars

Vegetable jars are so easy to make. You’re simply filling small canning jars with raw vegetables, covering, and storing in the refrigerator until they are ready to use. The produce will last for most of the week this way. They can easily be grabbed as a component to a work or school lunch.

Some vegetable ideas for jars

  • Cucumber rounds
  • Celery sticks, broccoli, and carrot sticks
  • Cucumber, zucchini, and yellow squash
  • Carrots, broccoli, pod beans
  • Pod peas, carrots, and cucumber
  • Pod peas, pod beans, and yellow squash
  • Cherry tomatoes, snow pod peas, and carrots
  • Grape tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber

As you can see, there are plenty of combinations to choose from.

What other vegetable combinations can you come up with? Let us know in the comments.

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Fruit jars



A Good, Healthy Lunch, on a Budget

Earlier I showed you a typical breakfast. Now I’m showing an example of a budget friendly lunch. This is not necessarily a typical lunch for me, as one usually consists of a salad, a piece of fruit, and some type of protein. But this was an affordable option for me a couple of weeks back. It worked and, while not 100% Paleo, it filled me up for the cost.

The picture shows what I had, except for the beverage.

Orange sections, left over from a pitcher of fruit water I made. (Try this water recipe for something refreshing to go along with this lunch.)

Peas in pods, carrot rounds, celery, broccoli, tomatoes

4 slices of ham

4 slices of cheese

I wasn’t sure if this would keep me full or not, but it held me over just fine. I did have a few cups of water in between lunch and dinner, so that may have helped.

What healthy lunches do you make when your budget is tight? I rarely eat grains and dairy, so I’m always on the look out for Paleo type lunches.


A Good, Healthy Breakfast, on a Budget

I keep telling people they can eat healthy without spending an exuberant amount on food. This is true to an extent, if you keep it simple. Stick to the basics, and your meal does not have to cost an arm-and-a-leg. Also, watch your serving sizes.

The picture shows a breakfast I had a couple of weeks ago. It is actually pretty typical, for me. (Don’t mind the paper plate! It is a leftover from my daughters’ engagement party.) The most expensive aspect was the smoothie. I could have saved more money by just having a piece of fruit with breakfast, and drinking either water or tea. But I had the coconut milk on hand, and the berries were not badly priced (for berries!)

I do try to always pair vegetables and a protein source with a little healthy fat, in this instance by cooking the sausages and egg in coconut oil. This combination is a healthy way to consume food. I eat a mostly Paleo diet.

The components of the meal consisted of:

Mixed Berry Smoothie

2 sausage links

1 fried egg

peas in pods, carrot rounds, celery, broccoli, and tomatoes

The meal was simple and tasty, and kept me full until not long before lunch. Good deal. Note that I rarely ever eat grains. Usually just when my budget is just too tight to manage. Also note the absence of real dairy. I rarely ever have dairy. These foods are a no-no with my lifestyle change, and I should not be eating them at all. I do, once in a while, consume cheese… I just can’t help myself 😉

What healthy things do you eat for breakfast?


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.



One-Pan Meal: Potatoes with Vegetables

One pan meals are easy to prepare and dirty less dishes, making them a great choice for hectic days. You can make these meals using a wide variety of ingredients, limited only by your imagination and personal tastes. Here is an easy one for you to try.


1 white potato

1 sweet potato

1 handful shredded carrot

1 handful shredded cabbage

1 clove garlic

extra virgin olive oil


  1. Mince the garlic.
  2. Warm the garlic and some oil in a skillet over medium high heat, while washing the potatoes and rinsing the other vegetables.
  3. Cut bad parts off the white potato, but leave as much of the skin intact as is possible. Chop the potato and add it to the skillet.
  4. Do the same with the sweet potato.
  5. Stir the potatoes together and lower the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally,  for 10 minutes.
  6. Add a handful each of carrots and cabbage to the pan and mix everything together.
  7. Heat until the white potatoes are cooked to your liking, while stirring every so often.
  8. Remove the skillet from the stove and place the food on plates, then sprinkle with parsley.


  • Try this recipe using the potatoes, celery and broccoli.
  • Save money by using fresh produce from your own garden.

Serving Suggestion

  • Serve with a fruit smoothie.

Quick Tip: Vegetable Cups for the Lunchbox

Vegetable Cups are quick and easy to create, and add a bunch of great nutrients to any lunchbox meal. Cut the vegetables up into easy to handle pieces, so that a spoon or fork is not necessary. Put them in a small container, cover, and you are done.

You can use any vegetable combination that you prefer. Try one of these in your next lunch sack meal:

  • Carrots, celery and cucumber.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
  • Zucchini, carrots and potato.

Let us know what your favorite combinations are.


Tomato Soup Idea #1

I regularly come up with ideas for making soup more wholesome. I do this very cheaply, either by using leftovers or by purchasing items on sale. Sometimes, the entire meal is free. This happens when everything has come from the food cupboard and/or friends, or my garden.

Tomato soups are easy to make.

Try this variation:

1 can tomato soup

1 can milk or water



  1. Cook the broccoli and carrots in a sauté pan with a little EVOO until almost tender to the fork.
  2. Pour a can of tomato soup, 1 can of water or milk, and the vegetables into a saucepan.
  3. Warm on medium heat until the soup is at the desired temperature for eating.
  4. Pour into soup bowls and serve.


  • Try other vegetable combinations.

Serving Suggestions

What interesting things do you do with  tomato soup?