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

This Weeks Misfits Market Box 10/2/2019

Look at all of this amazing food. I love getting these Madness Boxes from Misfits Market. I look forward to them every other week. There is plenty of fresh produce for me, and I can share some with my daughters.

  • 2 pints of grape tomatoes (Took what I would use and gave the rest to Skye & Zowie)
  • red grapes
  • 8 little pepper (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 each to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 yellow peaches
  • 6 Bosc pears
  • 2 bunches green onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 4 lemons
  • 2 bunches red kale
  • 2 egg plants
  • 14 carrots of varying pretty colors
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 4 onions (Gave to Skye & Zowie)
  • 8 apples

This was a very nice bounty of delicious goodness! The squash is being stored because it will last longer than anything else. I have others as well and, once-in-a-while, I will make a stuffed squash.

With this bounty I’ve already made lemonade and am planning to use the rest of the lemons to make lemon water. I made apple-peach and apple-pear sauces for work, and am using kale in smoothies. (One thing I wish came in the boxes is bananas. Oh, and lots of berries. I buy these at the store for my smoothies.)

I also used some of the kale for work salads, adding the tomatoes and zucchini I kept, and some of the carrots. And I’ll be bringing grapes to work for a snack! I love grapes.

I do plan to use the eggplant later in the week by roasting them with potatoes and carrots.

What do you think of all the good stuff that comes in these Misfits Market boxes? Do you get them? I noticed that my sisters boxes are usually somewhat different than mine, and she only lives about ten minutes from me.

~ 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) (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) (This is the discount they are giving right now. Misfit’s Market can change the promotion at any time.)

~ Shannon

My Second Box from Misfits Market

I’m impressed with all the produce in these Madness boxes from Misfits Market. (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) The food is amazing and, while there are a couple of funny looking additions and there were a few bruised fruits, the quality is amazing for the price. That’s why it’s called Misfits Market though. Bruised fruit is easily turned into something else, like applesauce. Funny looking foods taste just as good as perfect foods.

Look at what came in my second box:

  • strawberries
  • 2 bunches kale
  • 6 onions (Gave to my daughters)
  • 4 bell peppers + a bunch of smaller peppers (Gave to my daughters)
  • 12 potatoes
  • 2 squash
  • 2 bunches salad mix
  • 1 cucumber
  • 5 apples
  • 2 bunches broccoli
  • 4 mango (Gave to my daughters)

Despite giving away some of the produce, I have plenty to get me through the next couple of weeks. And I still have spaghetti squash from the last shipment. What I’m making with this shipment, and that spaghetti squash:

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.) (Use referral this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE )

My daughters, Skye and Zowie, enjoy getting the extra food. They both have a lot on their plates financially, so this allows me to help them out a bit. Little Man just loves snacking on peppers!

~Shannon

My First Box from Misfits Market

Last week I told you about a food delivery service for organic, non-GMO produce that is affordable. My first shipment from Misfits Market came on Wednesday, and I’m pleased. I do want to note a few things right off the bat.

  • The company is upfront about the fact that much of what they send would be considered “ugly”. Though, to me, it all looked just fine. Some of the fruit was on the small side. Perfect for me.
  • They also mentioned that some of it might be bruised. A few of the peaches were. I simply made them into a sauce with some of the pears. It worked out wonderfully.
  • I bought the Madness Box, the largest. It is left at your door, but it is heavy. Since I know I have to lug it upstairs, I’ll bring a couple of reusable shopping bags downstairs with me next time to split things up into.
  • You don’t get to choose what you want. You get what you get.

I was impressed by the amount of produce the Madness Box has in it. This is what came in my shipment:

As you can see, it is more than enough to feed me for a couple of weeks.

  • Bok Choy (This will be my first time trying this.)
  • 2 European Cucumbers
  • 4 Zucchini (Kept 2. Gave 1 to each of my daughters.)
  • 1 Romain Lettuce
  • 4 Peppers (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 5 Oranges
  • 4 Limes
  • 3 Mangoes (Don’t like these. Gave them to my daughters.)
  • 6 Pears
  • 6 Peaches
  • 2 Bags of Mushrooms (Gave one bag to my parents, the other Zowie.)
  • 2 Bags of String Beans
  • 2 Spaghetti Squash
  • Dandelion Greens (This will be my first time trying this.)

I did buy a few things to go along with this:

  • Meat (I don’t eat much meat, so a pound will last me a while.)
  • So Delicious non-dairy yogurt
  • Bananas
  • Lemons

And I had some things on hand to round everything out.

You’ll notice that I shared a few things with my parents and daughters. While I like most fruits and vegetables, there are just a few things I’m unable to eat. And I haven’t quite been able to talk myself into trying mushrooms yet. Even taking this stuff out, I consider the $38.50 to be a good deal on the food, considering the in-store costs of organic produce in my area.

I planned things out for meals and such as soon as I opened the box. The meat was purchased to go with the spaghetti squash. Yogurt is delicious with orange slices. And pears and peaches make a great sauce which can be eaten as is, or warmed with maple syrup and served over Paleo pancakes. I bought the lemons to make Lemon-Limeade. Orange slices will go well in smoothies with bananas as well.

According to my research Bok Choy is a chinese cabbage, so I plan to make a salad with it, the Romain lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and string beans. I love salad. The cucumber, zucchini, and string beans can also be snacked on any time.

 

 

I’m going to try the dandelion greens in salad and smoothies, to see if I like them. If I do, I can flash freeze them for  later use and less waste. Nothing is going to waste, because I shared what I knew I wouldn’t eat.

You could also donate anything you didn’t want, or share them with friends and co-workers.

Here are some tips for what to do with some of the the produce from this box:

  • Once you’ve set aside what you want for salads, chop the rest dandelion greens and flash freeze them. Store in a container in the freezer, taking out some as you need it for smoothies.
  • Use some lovely FreshPapers from Mighty Nest when storing fresh produce. It will help the food stay fresh longer.
  • Only using half that lemon? Mighty nest also has Food Huggers! They come nested, in a variety of sizes in each set, and cover partially eaten tomatoes. oranges, and more.
  • Given that a few things may be bruised, you’ll want to come up with a plan right away to use them up. You can make sauces from fruits to enjoy over Paleo “Ice Cream” or french toast, or to add to smoothies.
  • If anything is “thin-skinned”, check it to see if it needs to be used quickly.
  • Top cereal or smoothies with chopped fruit.
  • Utilize Google or another search engine to look up what types of produce and greens can be frozen and how.
  • And use it to find new recipes to try!

I can’t wait to see what my second box from Misfits Market is filled with. (Use this referral code so we can both get a discount: COOKWME-PI4FFE ) I’ll let you know in a couple of weeks. This box cost me $38.50, and should last me two weeks. (NOTE: Price has gone up about a dollar since this was posted.)

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.)

Note 3: Over a year ago I signed up for MightyNest. I wanted a way to bring healthy products into my home, and I thought this would be perfect. I signed up for their MightyFix and, each month, get a package from them with something new for me to try. (Affiliate)

~ Shannon

Cheese Board for Sharing

Finally bought myself a cheese board! I’ve been wanting to for a while now. At some point I want to have my daughters over for some family time, and this will be a big hit. Who wouldn’t want to share the deliciousness with loved ones?

I love that this board has a place to keep crackers separate from the other foods on each side. I also love that you don’t necessarily need to have cheese on the board, though this arrangement has two goat cheese dips I’m sure you will love. (I’ll be sharing links to a few of these dips below.)

The combinations of foods to be placed on a cheese board seem endless, and I promise you I will be trying many. I might even share some more with you here on the blog. I can’t wait to use this at future get-togethers with family and friends.

Try to use organic foods when possible. Rinse and dry produce before use.

NOTE: I prefer goat cheese over that made from cow’s milk. I have an intolerance to cow’s milk, and am so happy to have an alternative cheese. Regardless, I don’t eat cheese all the time. It’s a real treat for me.

Fruit & Vegetables Cheese Board

1 cucumber, sliced

1 apple, sliced

1 pear, sliced

1 or 2 carrots, cut into sticks

1 or 2 celery stocks, cut into sticks

1 orange, sectioned

grapes

pineapple chunks or tidbits

Paleo crackers

1 or 2 goat cheese dips: Fig & Goat Cheese Dip, Almond & Goat Cheese Dip, Fig & Almond Goat Cheese Dip, Blueberry & Goat Cheese Dip.

All you’re doing is placing the food onto the cheese board in a pleasing manner. You can use my photograph as a guide, and experiment.

Tips

  • Use your favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • Try different types of dips and sauces.
  • Leave the peels on apples, pears, cucumbers, and the like, for added nutritional value.
  • On rare occasion, I order Chinese from a restaurant near work. It’s not the healthiest, but it is convenient. Every time I order, they send me at least four of the spoons that are used in the photo. I finally found a good use for them!
  • Make your own Paleo crackers. Use a recipe you find online. They will be healthier than traditional crackers.
  • If it will be a bit before you eat, dip apple & pear slices in lemon juice for about 30 seconds.
  • Growing grapes, celery, and carrots, or other fruits and vegetables, will save you a good deal of money.
  • Cheese boards would be great for any celebration.

Enjoy your cheese board!

~ 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

 

Watermelon and Blueberries with Coconut Cream

I love melons and berries, and find combining the two makes for some tasty recipes. These combinations are great for spring and summer.

This recipe makes a great side dish to any meal, but will also make a delicious snack or dessert.

Ingredients

1 cup cubed or balled seedless watermelon

½ cup blueberries

2 to 3 tablespoons coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla or mint extract to taste

  1. Rinse the blueberries well. Lay them out one towel and pat dry with a towel.

  2. Place the watermelon and blueberries in a salad bowl, and top with coconut cream.

Tips

  • To save money, use fresh produce from your own garden.

Serving Suggestions

Shannon

Blueberry-Strawberry Parfait

I love parfaits during the spring and summer months. This berry based parfait is easy to make for a quick snack any time, and a little dark chocolate can be added if it is to be consumed as a dessert.

Ingredients

blueberries

strawberries

coconut cream flavored with pure vanilla extract

unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Paleo granola (optional)

dark chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Rinse the berries well, and lay them out on a towel to dry for a few minutes.

  2. Slice the strawberries, disposing of the tops.

  3. Layer the ingredients like so: Coconut cream, blueberries, strawberry slices. Do this, being sure the top layer is of coconut cream when done. Sprinkle Paleo granola over the top, and some dark chocolate chips if desired.

Tips

  • To save money, grow your own berries.

  • Try other berries when in season.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve with a vegetable-based salad on a warm day.

 

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