Wednesday, May 30, 2018

12 tricks I have used to keep my family and THM grocery budget down.


I haven't always been good at a food budget.  When I first married our local Walmart was our only option. I can remember spending $150-$200 for only 2 of us and being so discouraged because we came home with hardly anything. We rarely ate meat, and if we did, it was processed. That was hard for me, a farm girl who kinda "ate off the land".  If we didn't grow it, we didn't eat it. We ate food in season. 

But we moved to another state. Food prices were half of what I was use to paying. I was able to coupon and go through ads and find the best prices for food. I spent half of what I use to, and we fed more people!

Here are a few tricks and tips I have used through the years:-

1. The $1 store. When was the last time you went into yours? Guess what I found at mine? Unsweetened Almond milk for $1. Its a quart!  They also have tea, brown rice, beans, spices, 6 ounces cheese, frozen fruit, frozen veggies (some can even find okra!), 

2.I have also worked at a local CSA farm for a food share.   A few hours one day a week and fresh veggies were a great deal for me. Granted this was when I couldn't garden. I know most don't or can't garden. I do garden now so I no longer need to work at a farm. 

3.  Check your local store for reduced meat, veggies, fruits etc. Kroger has a bin specifically for picked over produce. $1 a bag. Most things aren't that great of a deal, but sometimes I was able to find things like 4 Mangos for a $1!  I also was able to find reduced produce. Look for the tags!  I have been able to get most of my salad fixings this way. I use them right away and most are fine for  a week or more.  Same with meat. Just go look through the meats and look for the markdown tags. I have also done well with breads. One day at Walmart I brought home 4 pkg Joseph's pitas! I keep looking and eventually I hit the jackpot. It isn't always the same. Not always the same time of day either. Just check when you run in for "just" milk etc.

4. Don't neglect to look around at local gas stations for deals. I know this is probably one that makes you go HUH?  I have a local gas station here that I know is all over the states. They sell bananas for $.39 a pound. Same with onions and potatoes. They also sell avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Eggs, OJ, meat, and milk are sometimes cheaper as well. Especially if you get their loyalty card. 

5. Local dent or 2nd store. We have a few in my area. Some have food items, some don't. Its been a HUGE blessing for us. I was able to find tortillas for $1. Zevia or $.25 each. I even bought Jay Robb protein powder and WASA rye crackers!  Teas and ingredients are also cheap.  Just be sure to know your prices or you might not be getting the deal you think it is.

6. I don't buy my meat any specific store. I have been fortunate enough to purchase chicken breasts for only $1.49!  I try to not pay more than $1.99 a pound for ANY meat.  I do NOT buy steaks or expensive meat cuts. I do sometimes get pork roasts, but in all honestly my family does not enjoy pork, not even bacon (I have an odd family) so I mostly stick to just chicken breasts and ground beef. I do buy fish, tilapia and tuna mostly. I only get it when it is super cheap during lent and get enough for the year.  

7. Buy milk when its reduced!  I have found it for $.99 more than once at Aldi. I only bought a few gallons and then wondered WHY did I not get all 6 or a bunch anyway. Why? Cheese! I can make cottage/Ricotta cheese with just lemon juice!  I use it to make ice cream and also smoothies and shakes. I can freeze it in 1/2 cup or 1 cup measurements. If you also like to make yogurt and kefir you will be set for a while with that as well. Finding milk reduced is like a party for us!

8. Make your own Kombucha, Kimchi, Kraut, Kefir (water and/or milk).  It costs a little bit of time and some thought.  If you are really adventurous you can try making your own sour dough or even Gwen's Bread into bagels, bread, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, buns, etc. I have a few tips and tricks I will share about that before long. I also make my own Stevia drops from the THM stevia powder. It stretches it and also I can use it so much easier than the powder.

9. Coupons: I know it has a bad name, but not EVERYTHING you buy is in a box or processed. Just the health and beauty aid etc were worth the time to do it. It helped me stockpile things I would normally spend $20, for about $5. That was awesome. I carefully picked the food things that we needed.   Coupons are NOT just paper anymore. There are MANY digital coupons. Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Savings Star. There are also digital coupons for your stores. Did you know Kroger has many great deals that you can use 5 times? I just learned about their awesome deals. I use to avoid Pick N Save (our local Kroger affiliate store), because of their high prices that Aldi just couldn't beat.

10. Plan a menu BEFORE you go shopping.  I like to go through my pantry and fridge etc to find out what I have on hand first. Then decide how I can use that to make my menu. Most weeks I spend $20 on each menu, but $20 or more to stock up on whatever things were on sale that week.  You know, the deals I found.  Usually no more than $50 or more a week to keep us fed.

11. I like to meal prep once or more a week. Mostly I do it for my husband because he is working on eating better. He is super easy and simple to meal prep for though. Not everyone is going to be this blessed. He has homemade kefir for breakfast. Salad or lunch, Boiled egg, Muffin, or PB and celery for snack. Supper he has whatever meal he chooses for the week. He is the Kombucha maker of the family so he'll usually have that with his supper at night.   I wish I had his ability to eat the same thing THAT many times. I don't.   For the rest of us we have a rotating breakfast menu.  I have tried to move it around and it doesn't work. My kids REALLY like how we do this. LOL!  Monday is Oatmeal. Tuesday is Eggs N Bacon (taters for non THM), Wednesday is cereal, Thursday is pancakes or waffles. Friday is leftovers. Saturday and Sunday is yogurt/kefir with whatever baked good we have. Sometimes Grandma spoils them with donuts, but normally it is bagels or toast etc.  

12. OAMC. - Once A Month Cooking.  I make 6-8 weeks worth of suppers in a day. I pick my favorites from the THM Cookbooks.  Those are the menus I share with you on MWM. The last one I did has been a while.  I do it more in the summer time because of the heat and I can toss the meals into the crock pot. There are many menus here on my blog you can try or I am sure just a quick look on Pinterest can help you find a menu.  

I KNOW it can sometimes be so discouraging and frustrating to be stuck with a small budget. I sometimes do not know HOW I do it on $200. I somehow manage to. When I get extra $, that is when I purchase things like protein powder or collagen. I don't usually purchase those on my budget. When I started THM I didn't add to my budget at all. I used no special ingredients. I can still do that if I wanted, but I would really miss collagen, oat fiber, or THM chocolate chips.  Sometimes it helps when I have had eggs AGAIN that I remember, if I eat eggs I can afford to get the sweetener to make the sweet treats I crave. 

THM Menu for June 4 - 10, 2018


This week starts 2nd week of my 4th round of my THM New Habits Challenge. Are you joining us?  I have a FB group page if you would like to join us and keep each other accountable. Or for even more fun use the hashtag #THMnewhabitschallenge2018 on IG and leave a picture.  

I was watching a neat vlog called Our Tribe of 10 a few months ago and they were going through THT trying each recipe. I thought what a good idea! I have made almost ALL the recipes in the original book, but not the Trim Healthy Cookbook. I have Trim Healthy Table, but there are SO MANY recipes in Trim Healthy Cookbook that I haven't even tried yet. So, I am going to try cooking a few more from the Cookbook and see how far I get.  I have made some, so I am going to skip over those, but there are SO MANY I have never tried.  What recipes have YOU tried and LOVED?

I am changing the amounts of recipes I am choosing to try each week. Something isn't flowing right. I end up making and prepping breakfasts and snacks and never seem to make it to lunches and suppers. I need to figure out HOW to not keep doing that.  And I am only using 2 or 3 recipe for supper. 

Breakfasts: - for the shakes and smoothies, I am going to use Kefir instead of cottage cheese and Almond Milk.  I make smoothies almost daily to go along with my breakfast. 
Mintylicious Thin Thick- THM FP  p.424 with - Banana Creamy Grains THM E p253
Cranberry Wassail Shake - THM FP p.406 with Tuscan Sausage and Egg Bake THM S p.152

Lunch- Leftovers
3 Minute Sensational Salad - THM S p.191
Spiced Eggy Noodles - THM S p.83

Snacks:
Luscious Lemon Cake- THM S  p.289
Mocha Gluccie Pudding - THM FP p.351

Supper:
Cornbread Crusted Mexican Pie THM S p.132
Chicken Florentine THM S p. 46
Comfy Cozy Chicken Dumpling Soup THM S p.94
Perfect Pizza THM S p.211

Sippers
Earth Milk Sipper - THM FP p.402

Friday, May 25, 2018

THM Menu for May 28 - June 3, 2018


This week starts 1st week of my 4th round of my THM New Habits Challenge 2018. Are you joining us?  I have a FB group page if you would like to join us and keep each other accountable. Or for even more fun use the hashtag #THMnewhabitschallenge2018 on IG and leave a picture.  

I was watching a neat vlog called Our Tribe of 10 a few months ago and they were going through THT trying each recipe. I thought what a good idea! I have made almost ALL the recipes in the original book, but not the Trim Healthy Cookbook. I have Trim Healthy Table, but there are SO MANY recipes in Trim Healthy Cookbook that I haven't even tried yet. So, I am going to try cooking a few more from the Cookbook and see how far I get.  I have made some, so I am going to skip over those, but there are SO MANY I have never tried.  What recipes have YOU tried and LOVED?

I am changing the amounts of recipes I am choosing to try each week. Something isn't flowing right. I end up making and prepping breakfasts and snacks and never seem to make it to lunches and suppers. I need to figure out HOW to not keep doing that.  And I am only using 2 or 3 recipe for supper. 

Breakfasts: - for the shakes and smoothies, I am going to use Kefir instead of cottage cheese and Almond Milk.  I make smoothies almost daily to go along with my breakfast. 
Berrylicious Thin Thick- THM FP  p.424 with - Giant Blueberry Baked Pancake THM E p261
Cranberry Wassail Shake - THM FP p.406 with Apple Pie Crunch Granola THM E p.252
German Chocolate Shake - THM S p.413 with Eggs and Avo THM S p.245

Lunch: - Leftovers
Creamless Creamy Chicken - THM FP p.78
Superfood Salad - THM S p.192
Spinach Lane Soup - THM FP/S p.121

Snacks:
Chocolate Berry Wedding Cheesecake- THM S  p.332
Peanut Puff Cake - THM S p.292

Supper:
Chicken Chicken Bang Bang THM S/FP p.77
Avo Bacon Noodle Toss THM S p. 81
Crispy Salmon Siesta THM S p.80
Perfect Pizza - p.211

Sippers
Earth Milk Sipper - THM FP p.402

Monday, May 21, 2018

THM New Habits Challenge 2018 Round 4



I am wanting to start a few new habits that are THM related this year. Anyone want to join me? The challenge group will run for 6-8 weeks. I am going to pick 3 things to do for 6+ weeks to help me better my THM journey.  Anyone want to join me?  We will start our next challenge on May 28, and end July 3 , 2018.  THM does not manage or endorse the group’s content.


For the next 6 weeks I want to be consistent in:

-Drinking 1 gallon of water or liquid a day. - does NOT including anything caffeine.
-Eating Okra at least 3 times a week.

-Eat a cultured/fermented food at least once a day.

If this is something you want to join in and keep me accountable, there are 2 ways to do it. Join my FB challenge group or on IG #THMnewhabitschallenge2018.  If you want to join the group I will expect you to check in weekly with pictures or participating in discussions. I want the group to help keep me be accountable. So if you don't plan to post weekly, the IG challenge might be a better fit.  All you need to "join" is posting a picture of your prepping or meal to keep each other encouraged to keep going.  This group is about building new habits to help us in our journey. If we mess up, that is ok. Just restart again in 3 hours.

Once this challenge is over I will hopefully have 3 new habits along with you! I will have a new set of 3 habits for the next challenge weeks.

So who is in with me????

I will be posting my progress with meeting my 3 new habits and also some suggestion and encouragement to keep us going.

So for those of you who did Round 3 with me, how did you do?  Please leave your comments below. I want to hear how we all did!

I can say I did well with 1 of the challenges, but I struggled with Okra the most.  I am not sure WHY I don't either. I just simple forgot. So at least I have some left for this next challenged. And I also hope to grow some in my garden. I was given some seeds so here's to hoping I do finally beat the Okra monster.

I am still working on getting more to drink. I am doing better. Just not quite getting that gallon in. I am still drinking more coffee than I wanted to. I need to find a good tea instead. I just fall into the coffee trap because it is always there and available. The other drinks are NOT and I have to work to get them made.  Right now I am up to 3 quarts of water/GGMS etc a day. And I still drink hot SF coffee at least 2 or 3 times a week. I want to just DROP the SF coffee completely this summer. That is my goal. I was doing it EVERY day and sometimes multiple times a day, so I am making progress. My weakness is caramel. Just not sure HOW to beat that. Even in the summer I drink hot coffee? Its such a bad addition. LOL!

I think I took pictures ALMOST everyday, but I didn't always post them. Quite frankly it is because I eat some of the same things over and over and it seems redundant to take a picture of the same thing over and over? Silly I know!

I think the saddest thing for me is I was meal prepping with my husband, or at least he was eating along WITH me and it was so helpful and encouraging. But he doesn't stick to it and I tend to just stumble and fall WITH him. I need to just be stronger than that. I am worth it and I know I need to just make myself stick to it. It is NOT hard. It is just a struggle when everyone around you is chowing down on donuts and cookies and you are sitting there with water/GGMS and a handful of nuts. 

That is actually how my SF coffee addiction started I think. I would do that instead of the sweet treats. It DID help. I never wanted the sweet treats then. I had my coffee. The problem is now that I am trying to get OFF coffee I can't seem to beat sweets and SF coffee. I can only beat one. "sigh"

My Challenges so far this year
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3

Saturday, May 19, 2018

THM Menu for May 21-27, 2018


This week starts 8th and final week of my 3rd round of my THM New Habits Challenge. Are you joining us?  I have a FB group page if you would like to join us and keep each other accountable. Or for even more fun use the hashtag #THMnewhabitschallenge2018 on IG and leave a picture.  

I was watching a neat vlog called Our Tribe of 10 a few months ago and they were going through THT trying each recipe. I thought what a good idea! I have made almost ALL the recipes in the original book, but not the Trim Healthy Cookbook. I have Trim Healthy Table, but there are SO MANY recipes in Trim Healthy Cookbook that I haven't even tried yet. So, I am going to try cooking a few more from the Cookbook and see how far I get.  I have made some, so I am going to skip over those, but there are SO MANY I have never tried.  What recipes have YOU tried and LOVED?

I am changing the amounts of recipes I am choosing to try each week. Something isn't flowing right. I end up making and prepping breakfasts and snacks and never seem to make it to lunches and suppers. I need to figure out HOW to not keep doing that.  And I am only using 2 or 3 recipe for supper. 

Breakfasts: - for the shakes and smoothies, I am going to use Kefir instead of cottage cheese and Almond Milk.  I make smoothies almost daily to go along with my breakfast. 
Chocolate Chip Baby Frap - THM FP THM Cookbook p.421 with - 
Nana's Fluffy Omelet THM S THM Cookbook p.239
Berrylicious Thin Thick - THM FP THM Cookbook p.424 with 
Banana Creamy Grains THM E p.252
Chocolicious Thin Thick THM FP p.423
Tuscan Sausage and Egg Bake THM S p.152

Lunch: - Leftovers
3 Minute Sensational Salad - THM S THM Cookbook p.191
Cheesy Dream Soup - THM S THM Cookbook p.119

Snacks:
Pretzel Sticks THM FP THM Cookbook p.462
Rich Custard Strawberry Pie THM S p.331

Supper:
Quinoa Goes Cajun - THM E THM Cookbook p.69
Chicken  Florentine- THM S THM Cookbook p.46
Perfect Pizza - THM S THM Cookbook p.211

Sippers
Earth Milk - THM FP THM Cookbook p.402
GGMS G2 - THM FP

Saturday, May 12, 2018

THM Menu for May 14 - 20, 2018


This week starts 7th week of my 3rd round of my THM New Habits Challenge. Are you joining us?  I have a FB group page if you would like to join us and keep each other accountable. Or for even more fun use the hashtag #THMnewhabitschallenge2018 on IG and leave a picture.  

I was watching a neat vlog called Our Tribe of 10 a few months ago and they were going through THT trying each recipe. I thought what a good idea! I have made almost ALL the recipes in the original book, but not the Trim Healthy Cookbook. I have Trim Healthy Table, but there are SO MANY recipes in Trim Healthy Cookbook that I haven't even tried yet. So, I am going to try cooking a few more from the Cookbook and see how far I get.  I have made some, so I am going to skip over those, but there are SO MANY I have never tried.  What recipes have YOU tried and LOVED?

I am changing the amounts of recipes I am choosing to try each week. Something isn't flowing right. I end up making and prepping breakfasts and snacks and never seem to make it to lunches and suppers. I need to figure out HOW to not keep doing that.  And I am only using 2 or 3 recipe for supper. 

Breakfasts: - for the shakes and smoothies, I am going to use Kefir instead of cottage cheese and Almond Milk.  I make smoothies almost daily to go along with my breakfast. 
Berrylicious Thin Thick- THM FP  p.424 with - Giant Blueberry Baked Pancake THM E p261
Cranberry Wassail Shake - THM FP p.406 with Apple Pie Crunch Granola THM E p.252
German Chocolate Shake - THM S p.413 with Eggs and Avo THM S p.245

Lunch: - Leftovers
Creamless Creamy Chicken - THM FP p.78
Zesty Southwestern Chop Up - THM S p.182

Snacks:
Chocolate Berry Wedding Cheesecake- THM S  p.332
Drive Through Sue Cheesy Crackers - THM S p.449

Supper:
Chicken Chicken Bang Bang THM FP p.77
Avo Bacon Noodle Toss THM S p. 81
Wonder Fish Tacos THM E p.171
Perfect Pizza THM S - p.211

Sippers
Earth Milk Sipper - THM FP p.402

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

THM Menu for May 7 - 13, 2018



This week starts 6th week of my 3rd round of my THM New Habits Challenge. Are you joining us?  I have a FB group page if you would like to join us and keep each other accountable. Or for even more fun use the hashtag #THMnewhabitschallenge2018 on IG and leave a picture.  

I was watching a neat vlog called Our Tribe of 10 a few months ago and they were going through THT trying each recipe. I thought what a good idea! I have made almost ALL the recipes in the original book, but not the Trim Healthy Cookbook. I have Trim Healthy Table, but there are SO MANY recipes in Trim Healthy Cookbook that I haven't even tried yet. So, I am going to try cooking a few more from the Cookbook and see how far I get.  I have made some, so I am going to skip over those, but there are SO MANY I have never tried.  What recipes have YOU tried and LOVED?

I am changing the amounts of recipes I am choosing to try each week. Something isn't flowing right. I end up making and prepping breakfasts and snacks and never seem to make it to lunches and suppers. I need to figure out HOW to not keep doing that.  And I am only using 2 or 3 recipe for supper. 

Breakfasts: - for the shakes and smoothies, I am going to use Kefir instead of cottage cheese and Almond Milk.  I make smoothies almost daily to go along with my breakfast. 
Chocolate Chip Baby Frap - THM FP THM Cookbook p.421 with - 
Nana's Fluffy Omelet THM S THM Cookbook p.239
Berrylicious Thin Thick - THM FP THM Cookbook p.424 with 
Banana Creamy Grains THM E p.252

Lunch: - Leftovers
3 Minute Sensational Salad - THM S THM Cookbook p.191
Cheesy Dream Soup - THM S THM Cookbook p.119

Snacks:
Berry Yummy Gummies THM FP THM Cookbook p.388
Rich Custard Strawberry Pie THM S p.331

Supper:
Quinoa Goes Cajun - THM E THM Cookbook p.69
Chicken  Florentine- THM S THM Cookbook p.46
Rustic Pizza - THM S THM Cookbook p.212

Sippers
Earth Milk - THM FP THM Cookbook p.402
GGMS G2 - THM FP

My THM Trim Healthy Table Menu for February 18-24, 2019

I was watching a neat vlog called  Our Tribe of Many and they were going through  THT trying each recipe . I thought what a good idea...