Tuesday, January 15

A Week in Breakfasts

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I am proud to say that I never skip it. It's probably my favorite meal! Not that it has anything to do with coffee... I usually eat pretty light in the morning. It only keeps me going for a couple hours, but I always eat several small meals a day. 

Coffee with almond milk, banana, and fruit dip

Coffee with almond milk, and leftover fruit (one pineapple ring, leftover cantaloupe, a cup of grapefruit, 1/4 of a banana). I could never let fruit go to waste! 

I had a long day ahead of me, so I carb-loaded a bit. I had a banana, apple crisp oatmeal, and black coffee (not pictured).

I had a 7:30 AM class and when I woke up at six I wasn't even hungry. I had to force myself to eat a banana, and grapefruit cup. The coffee, however, I drank willingly. I'm really glad I did eat, because when 10 o'clock rolled around I was starving. Good thing I always keep a cereal or granola bar in my purse!  

Apple and fruit dip. Can we say obsessed?

Sunday & Monday:
Berry smoothie deliciousness!

Monday, January 14

Arm Candy

Am I the last the join this fad?

From left to right: J. Crew Outlet, PacSun, Forever21, vintage, PacSun, & Charming Charlie

I think so. 
Either way, I have really been enjoying stacking on a few bracelets lately. My collection sure is growing! This is such an inexpensive way to add character to an outfit. I hope that I can add more colors besides gold and turquoise to my little collection. 

Wednesday, January 9

Broccoli Pasta

When it comes to cooking, the easier the better! And trust me, this meal is so so easy!

-3/4 c tricolor noodles 
-1 c broccoli (frozen or fresh)
-1 tbsp olive oil 
-1 tbsp sprinkle Parmesan cheese
-1/4 tsp garlic powder
-1/2 tsp parsley

1. Cook noodles as normal.
2. I used frozen broccoli and added it to the boiling noodles after about five minutes. Fresh broccoli would need less time to cook. I just used my  judgement on this one. 
3. Strain noodle/broccoli mixture. 
4. In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients.
5. Enjoy! :) 

This meal is always my go-to because it doesn't require fresh ingredients. I usually eat this when I run out of fresh produce and need to go to the grocery store. It's packed with protein and definitely hits the spot when I'm craving carbs!

Monday, January 7

Fruit Dip Recipe

Don't mind my unpleasant staging of this tasty treat. 
If I've ever had an apple-related obsession, this is it. This is the perfect breakfast, snack, or dessert! I could literally eat this everyday!

-One piece of fruit (I used an apple, but bananas, peaches, kiwi, etc. would be tasty as well!)
-2 tbsp nonfat vanilla yogurt (You could use Greek Yogurt as well.)
-1/2 tsp peanut butter
-Sprinkle of cinnamon

All you have to do is combine the ingredients.. so simple! This snack is cost-efficient, and guilt-free! 

Grocery Summary (01/07/13)

It's my first week back at the apartment after winter break back home. Therefore, I literally had no food. Unless 100 calorie popcorn and flat club soda counts as food. I knew that my grocery list was going to be quite cumbersome this week. 

Budget: $60 to last two weeks
Spent: $69.14 including tax
Saved: $20.45 in store promotions and $2.00 in coupons. I saved about 32% this week. Not my best, but decent.  


-Fruit or oatmeal smoothies
-Banana and egg pancakes
-Yogurt and fruit
-Crock Pot Apple Pie Oatmeal 
-Special K bars
-Grapefruit cups
-Apples and peanut butter

-Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken (I made two freezer bags worth of this recipe.)
-Crock Pot Tex Mex Lettuce Wraps
-Grilled chicken and assorted veggies (Green beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli, corn, sugar snap peas, zucchini) with rice
-Breakfast for dinner

Great Deals: 
-Special K Cereal bars were on sale for 2/$5 and the store provided a tear off for $1 off. So, each box of 6 bars was only $2. I saved $1.39 on each box, which was roughly a 40% savings.

-Cantaloupe were 2/$4, making them $2 each. I saved $.99 on each melon. 

-Packs of three Publix boneless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.99/lb. They are usually roughly 4-5 dollars a pound! I picked up two packs, totaling $7.54 for six chicken breasts! I saved $9.47! I froze the breasts I wasn't using for the week. 

-Crystal Light tea (for pitchers) were on sale for BIGI free. Along with a tear off coupon for $1 off, I got each pack of drink mix for $.91. That's a 67% savings. They are sugar free, and I love making these when friends come over! 

-Green Giant frozen veggies were BIGI free. This made each 9 oz. box only $.66, which was a 50% savings. I am definitely going to pick up more of these before the sale ends. 

-Silk almond milk was on sale for 2/$5 and I only got one carton because I don't drink that much milk and I didn't want the other carton to go bad. I would freeze it, but my freezer is minuscule. So, I got one carton for $2.50, saving only 25%. I thought this was a good deal, because almond milk hardly goes on sale. 

Overall, I think I did pretty good for the amount of food I had to purchase. This should last me about two week, usually a little less because I run out of fresh produce. I'm excited to try out some of my new Crock Pot recipes as well! 

Save Money and Buy Healthy at the Grocery Store

I wish I could say that I hated grocery shopping. Really, I wish I could. However, I love food and I love saving money. Put these two together, and that is my shopping experience. I'm still learning, but I do have a couple tricks and tips that help my buy the healthy food that I want, without spending a fortune or hours of time. 

Step One: Do Inventory
Before I go to the store, I look through my shared pantry and refrigerator and see what I have. I make a mental note of items that I need. I also look at expiration dates and see what items are about to expire. I try to work these items into my menu for the week. 

Step Two: Do Research!
This is probably the biggest way I save money!!! The stores I shop at are Publix, and sometimes SuperTarget. I look at the online ads for both stores, and make a list of what items are on sale. For example,  at Publix this week, Green Giant frozen veggies were BIGI free. This is a great deal on healthy veggies, so I stocked up on these. I also look at price per pound on fruits and vegetables. As a rule, I never buy produce when it is more than $2/lb. Even spending $1.50/lb is a stretch for me! Produce that is in season will be cheaper, so I only buy seasonally. Strawberries are delicious, but not in January when they are $4/lb!

I also use coupons (the ones I steal from my mom). I like to use CouponMom, which will compare coupons in the newspaper to promotions in store. This way, you are able to match your coupon with a sale item, getting a great deal. I only use coupons for healthy items, so finding a match is scarce for me. I do find great deals on household items though. This step only takes a couple minutes, so why not? 

Step Three: Make a List
I look at my temporary list of items that were on sale, and compare them to recipes that I have. For example, chicken was $1.99/lb at Publix so I looked through my chicken recipes and found a couple that also included ingredients that were on sale. Score! I choose several recipes for the week using this method. Next, I record the needed items for each recipe on my handy checklist. Finally, I go back to the kitchen and record "staple" items that I need, such as milk, eggs, bananas, etc. I tear off my list and paper clip my coupons to it. 

Another important part of budget shopping is actually setting a budget. When I walk into the grocery store, I need to know exactly what items I'm purchasing and how much I can spend on them. My budget is usually more of a "goal." Sometimes I go over, but usually I'm under a little since I overestimate. 

Step Four: Shop Carefully
Before hitting the grocery store, I make sure that I have everything I need, including a full belly! This reduces the likelihood of making impulse buys. I don't like spending hours at the store, so I move quickly. I try very, very hard to only buy items on my list. Sometimes Publix will have deals that I missed, or provide tear off coupons for promoted items. I check these deals out, but these are rarely for healthy items. Occasionally, I'll find an item that I neglected to put on my list. It happens. I check off items as I go, and anticipate the checkout line. Again, I don't buy anything in the checkout line. I awkwardly stand there and watch the numbers go up up up. Then I do a little prayer, hoping that I stayed within budget. 

Honestly, this isn't rocket science. I wish it was, because then I would be akin to a genius. Saving money just takes planning and effort, but I think that anyone can do it! I always feel like such a winner after a successful shopping trip because I know that I stayed within budget and bought items that make me feel good.