Frugal Recipes Happenings Summer 2019

I’m sitting at Aroma Joe’s, where I sometimes come to write when the internet is out at home, looking out the window and noticing the leaves have started to change. Fall is right around the corner.

What have I been doing? Enjoying fresh produce, hanging with my mom and sister, visiting farmer market’s. Waiting for autumn!

It’s been a good summer. The weather wasn’t too bad, overall. Though it was a wet season. A wet year, really. My parents garden did okay, but would have done better had the ground been dry enough for them to plant when they were supposed to. I’ve gotten a small number of zucchinis and cucumbers from them. Yum! I’ve also been enjoying the Madness boxes every two weeks from Misfit’s Market. While some of the produce has been consistent, there have also been differences in what I am receiving. And the convenience, wow! I’ve spent significantly less at Wal*Mart.

I’ve been enjoying salads, fruit-based cereals, juices, lemon and lemon-limeades, and more. I’ve also been enjoying other foods while hanging out.

Little MissSpending time with Little Man and Little Miss has been precious. Little Miss started crawling, and is now walking while holding onto things. She chats away like she is part of every conversation, and is so full of smiles and laughs. She turned one in July.

Little Man is getting so tall, and turned four just before his sister turned one. He and I went out looking for Dragons and Fairies and, I’m pleased to say, we came out of the woods with him holding onto his beliefs in them. I am good at what I do.

We had one birthday to celebrate both of their days, and it was so much fun. Little Man’s friends, Little Man, and Little Miss sure do love their fruit! I lost count of how many times they would come back to me asking for more fruit. I’m so happy to see them preferring the healthier foods.

Skye and her friend Phil took me out for a birthday dinner. We went to a new restaurant in Old Town called Outta the Ordinary, which is located in the same spot that Acme Pizza was located years ago when the girls were teenagers. We used to get pizza there sometimes. I got The Mainah! A pizza with lobster, clams, a butter sauce and corn. It cost more than $30! But it was Delicious. And so filling it lasted me three meals.

Zowie made me a dinner for my birthday, and baked a cake. Fajita’s, and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that I got to share with her and the kids. Devan was working that evening, so I only saw him for a few minutes.

Skye and her boyfriend Ryan took me to Uno’s one evening, where I got a pasta dish with shrimp, and we watched some of a game, and the next day I went with Skye to Bar Harbor. While she worked, I walked around the Loop, taking pictures. I visited a few shops, and I found a juice bar where I enjoyed an very healthy smoothie! I also found an ice cream shop that has soft-serve ice cream made from almond milk. Great for me, with the dairy issues that I have. And it was delicious! Before we left, Ryan took us to The Thirsty Whale, a bar that serves food. Yum! Lobster Bisque is delicious. I also got to go into the very fancy hotel he works as a bartender.

Way fancier than The Inn where I work. We had a barbecue at The Inn the beginning of July. It was great fun.

Skye, my sister Sheila, nephew Isaiah, and I went to the Harry Potter birthday celebration at Diagon Alley Bangor, Maine! It was a great deal of fun, and I tried butter beer, finally. (Bring on the Immodium!)

Missy and I had a girls day! We headed to Western Maine, stopping at a craft show/farmer’s market, taking pictures, enjoying ice cream, and talking about so many things. We also stopped at yard sales. Another Immodium event! There was nothing healthy about this day’s food intake.

Right now, I’m on vacation. Despite the fun I’ve had, I’ve also been stressed and feeling unmotivated. I decided I needed to take some time off and get some perspective. There may be some changes coming up.

How has your summer gone? What new recipes or foods have you tried?

~ Shannon

 

My Third Box from Misfits Market

It’s hard to believe this is my third box. I’ve been enjoying the food from these boxes and plan to keep doing so. Not only are they saving me money, I am trying new foods without breaking my back by carrying it all home.

This is what box three held:

  • 4 plums
  • 1 cucumber
  • 6 onions (split these between my daughters)
  • 2 oranges
  • a bunch of little peppers (split these between my daughters)
  • 2 heads lettuce
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 5 limes
  • 2 celery bunches
  • 2 bunches of kale
  • 2 butternut squash

So, I did some very obvious things with some of this produce. For instance, I:

I’m saving the squash for when I have the other ingredients to make stuffed squash. Mostly what I am buying at the grocery store these days are nut milk and bananas. I buy one package of meat. I find that I am eating far less meat than I used to. And things as they run out, such as eggs, nut flours, and almond butter.

This is a lot of food for one person, but it is only delivered every other week. I’m eating far healthier now that I’m getting in the habit of eating more fresh produce again.

Does anyone else find this happening who have ordered these boxes? What are your weekly or bi-weekly grocery budgets looking like? Also, are you receiving the same produce boxes I am? Let’s compare!

I also have received some zucchini and cucumbers from my parents. And ended up with about a dozen cans of applesauce from a friend that I put away for winter when I might not get many apples. They’ll also make great back ups when funds are low. Oh, and that same friend gave me about the same number of cans of peas.

It makes me happy that I am also able to help my daughters out a little bit. ❤

Note 1: It’s called Misfits Market for a reason. It is a source of “ugly” produce. Let me just say that I don’t care if the produce is perfect. If I can get “ugly” produce at a good price, I am all over that. Produce is produce. It’s all good!

Note 2: Get 25% off your first order, and give me 25% off a future order. It’s a win-win! The links in this article will take you to my page with your discount. (Affiliate) (This is the discount they are giving right now. Misfit’s Market can change the promotion at any time.)

~ Shannon

What’s-on-Hand Salad

Because I’ve been getting the Madness Boxes from Misfits Market every couple of weeks, I’ve come up with a few salad combinations. All I’m doing is using what I have on hand that week for fresh produce. I’m not adding meat, seeds, or nuts, unless I want something with it when I am actually eating.

This type of salad is also good for using up those odd bits of produce leftover from other meals.

Don’t feel like you have to follow this recipe closely. Just use what you have available.

What’s-on-Hand Salad

Ingredients

mixed lettuce

spinach

cucumber

broccoli

  1. Rinse the produce well. Place on a towel and cover with another one. Press gently to dry produce.
  2. Break the lettuce and spinach up using your hands. There’s no kneed to use a knife.
  3. Slice the cucumber into rounds, then cut into halves or quarters.
  4. Chop the broccoli.
  5. Add everything to a bowl.
  6. Enjoy!

I take this a little further by breaking out the reusable containers and filling each of them with enough salad for a meal or a snack. With these in the refrigerator like this, I can just grab a salad when I want one. Easy-peasy!

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with soup on a cool day.
  • Serve with a meal of meat and potatoes.
  • Add some grilled chicken and seeds or nuts and call it dinner!

Tips

  • Use scraps so nothing goes to waste.
  • Use produce from your own garden to save money.

~ Shannon

 

Building Memories: Baking with My Grandson

Oh how I love this Little Man. ❤ My grandson is a big helper, and he has mad stirring skills! Just look at him. Little Man likes to help in the kitchen sometimes, so I asked him if he would want to help me bake some chocolate zucchini cake.

I needed to make some for my coworkers, and told him I’d leave a cake at his house as well. He was good with helping so, while his mom was looking for a job not long after they moved to the area, Little Man and I baked.

He was so good about washing his hands. I measured out all of the ingredients and he showed me his crazy good dumping skills.

Little Man was very impatient while spreading the cream cheese frosting. I’d put a scoop on the cake, he’d move the butter knife over it once, then stick his hand through the frosting and into the cake to taste it. What a goober! I had to finish that part on my own.

We chatted about a lot of things while we were making this cake, and we laughed so much. I’ll always cherish our baking time. The memories will, hopefully, stay with me forever.

Little Man is a hoot to bake with. We’ll be making a chocolate mayonnaise cake with peanut butter frosting next. I know these things are not healthy, but they are a nice treat once-in-a-while, and my coworkers appreciate a treat on occasion.

Shannon

I’m Picky about Cooked Veggies, But I Love them Raw!

Okay, I do like some vegetables cooked. Mainly things like peas and potatoes – of course, I like white potatoes raw as well as cooked. I’m aware that it is said to be, nutrient-wise, better to eat certain vegetables cooked, but I just can’t stomach most of them that way.

I can only eat carrots cooked if they are mashed in with white or sweet potato, or shredded into chili or meatloaf.

So, you see, I really am picky. But…

…I eat a lot of raw veggies. I do different things with them, so I’m not always eating the same things.

  • I make veggie jars.
  • I love salads.
  • I make wraps, veggie and otherwise.
  • I always get or make vegetable platters for parties.
  • I have always loved stuffed celery. My sister makes it for me, stuffed with peanut butter, for get-togethers – because she loves me. I also like them stuffed with almond butter.
  • I like to snack on raw cabbage. Just raw cabbage. Yum.
  • Pickled beats are amazing.
  • I like to add vegetables to smoothies. Not just greens. I’ve also put carrots, broccoli, celery, and cucumber in them. I’ll likely try other veggies in them as well.
  • I like to add extra vegetables to meals as well, such as shredded sweet potato to meat loaf or chili. Or making a shepherd’s pie by layering beef or chicken, peas, white potato, sweet potato, and squash. Sometimes I use fruits and vegetables interchangeably. They’re both so good for you!

I am aware that some of my tactics are a form of manipulation, and I think it is funny that I can do that to myself successfully. What can I say? I am good! LOL

Are you a picky eater? How are you getting your vegetables in?

Shannon

I’d Like to See More Foods Packaged for Singles

I don’t need family size packages of food now that it’s just me at home. An already refrigerated quart of almond or coconut milk would be perfect. A package with just four slices of cheese. One-quarter pound of pre-packaged ground beef. Just enough for one or two meals for one would be perfect, without the jacked up prices because you’re buying less.

There is a little of this going on, but at a cost greater than with the bigger packages. You can get three string cheese for $1.00, but you’re going to spend more per string cheese than if you bought a package of 12. Why? I won’t eat 12 string cheese quickly enough to warrant that purchase; some would go to waste.

Let’s talk spinach. It comes in a big package, and half of it goes to waste before I can use it all. Why not offer the single person half the quantity for half the price. Help a girl out.

Seriously. A girl could eat healthier more consistently if she could get half the amount for half the price. So she can have more variety. How about letting me choose how much fresh spinach I want to buy, like when I buy my cucumbers, apples, and pears.

But please, don’t make me have to pay more to get just what I need. If you can package three cucumbers for a dollar, why do I have to pay $0.68 cents just for one. I mean, it should be cheaper just because there is no packaging.

Just some ponderings from a girl who wants to save money on her grocery bill.

Have a great winter.

Shannon

Veggies as the Main Meal Component

Now that the holidays are over and our new year goals have been set, I bet I’m not the only one eating better than I was during the holiday season. One thing I’ve been considering is the amount of meat I eat during a meal. I can easily load half of my plate with meat, but I’m not sure that’s what we should be doing.

Not that meat is bad. I love beef, chicken, pork, and turkey. However, I think we are seriously lacking the nutrients we need from fresh fruits and vegetables. I want to be eating more fresh produce and less meat, so I’m going to be switching things up a bit.

My goal is going to get in more fruits and vegetables each day. To accomplish this, I’m going to make the sides the main part of my meal, and have less meat at each.

Protein is an important part of every meal, and I don’t want to skip on that, but I think I’ll get enough if I use vegetables that have the nutrient alongside a little meat. Broccoli, green peas, asparagus, cauliflower, black beans, and broccoli raab are just a few of the vegetables that contain protein. I figure, if I can pair a protein-rich vegetable with the little bit of meat cooked in a healthy fat, and then add more veggies to the plate, I’ll be doing good. What do you think?

Shannon

 

Happy New Year! I Can’t Wait to Share More with You

2018 went by far too quickly. Did you notice? I didn’t have time to do so many of the things I wanted to do. For instance, I wanted to add a lot more content to this blog, experiment with new healthy recipes, and rearrange my little area. It’s okay. I’ll be doing more of those things this year. Sometimes things just get away from you.

This year’s theme word, or word-of-the-year, is FOCUS – for me, anyway. So I’m going to focus on getting some things finished up and learning more nutritional stuff. I’m going to try out new recipes, and experiment with them, to create more menu ideas for myself. Obviously, I’ll be posting recipes and such regarding the new things I find.

There will be plenty of recipes, more quick tips, and other information you will find useful in the new year.

Thank you for hanging around!

Take a look at the three New Year Goal articles I posted earlier today:

New Year Goal: Try New Recipes (Mostly Paleo)

New Year Goal: Be Healthy

New Year Goal: A New “Kitchen”

 

Shannon

 

New Year Goal: A New “Kitchen”

Many of you know that I rent a room and, therefore, do not have an actual kitchen. Right now the picture to the top of this post shows my current “kitchen”. The food is in the closet, a setup that is no longer working for me.

I’m actually saving for an efficiency or one-bedroom apartment but, until I can move, I’m stuck with what I can do in my room. So I’ve decided to change things up a bit. My new “kitchen” will need to work better for me, so I’m working out affordable ways to organize things better, like repurposing a couple of old shelves that I have on hand. Really, the shelves need to be replaced. But I’m going to use them to set up a kitchen corner in the room instead.

There will be a little more space to move around as well, and I’m coming up with a plan to have a food prep area on top of one of the shelves.

Let’s see how I can make all of this happen. I’ll update you when my new “kitchen” is complete.

Happy new year! Feel free to share your kitchen and food related goals in the comments.

Shannon

New Year Goal: Be Healthy

Oh the things we lose track of, like our fitness goals. I’m so disappointed in me. 😦 But, rather than dwell on the negativeness of this, I’m going to put my energies into staying positive and getting myself back on track.

What does this mean?

Through a combination of fitness, positive thinking and attitude, and getting back into eating healthy, I am going to get myself back on track. Not that I’ve gone back to all of my old, unhealthy behaviors, but some of them have seeped back into my life.

It’s time to rethink how I want to feel, and how I am going to get there and stay there.

Nutrition is a big part of this plan I have formulating in my head. So I want to expand my menu choices in order to give myself more options.

The basics of protein, a few fruits/vegetables, and healthy fat is great most of the time, but I think I need more of a variety so as not to get too bored. And I need to do something about what I’m doing with cravings. Rather than blow the healthy eating habits all together, I can lessen the impact by making healthier choices.

So, what do you say? Are you with me?

Let’s be healthier this year!

Shannon