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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My new favorite milkshake!

Right now I have a HUGE amount of soymilk to use up. Luckily, I have hit upon a most delicious way of making sure the plethora of milk won't go to waste! Here is my recipe:

Chocolate banana peanut butter milkshake!

2C milk
1 1/2-2 frozen bananas
1Tbsp cocoa powder
1Tbsp peanut butter

Blend on high until smooth and creamy. This milkshake has an awesome texture! Best of all, it's actually pretty good for you, and it's definitely frugal! I made this for dinner yesterday AND today. This recipe can easily be doubled, or halved. Yet another reason I am so glad I bought my wonderful vitamix...:P

Monday, May 24, 2010

Avocado season!

Avocado season is finally here! When Spring arrives, avocados go from being really expensive to being sort of frugal.:P I say they are sort of frugal, because the cheapest I've ever gotten them for is $.75 each. They are well worth the cost, however in taste and nutritional benefits.

There are several different varieties of avocado, but the one I most commonly see is the haas variety. Haas avocados are about the size and shape of a pear. They have a dark colored, bumpy skin that hides a beautiful green interior. Avocados have a mild taste and a smooth, creamy texture. As if all that wasn't enough reason to go out and eat one, they are awesome for your body as well! I read that if a person plans to only ever eat one fruit, that avocados should be the one they pick.

Avocados have been proven to actually search out and destroy cancer cells, but leave healthy cells untouched. Avocados also kill bad cholesterol, so they reduce heart attack and stroke risk. Just one avocado contains 23% of the recommended folate a person is supposed to eat in a day. The vitamin E in avocados will smooth wrinkles and help the collagen in your skin stay youthful and elastic. Best of all, avocados promote weight loss! Mashed avocado was the first baby food I gave all of my three children. They love it!

Here are some of the ways I use avocado in my everyday diet:

Diced up in a salad
Avocado adds bulk and delicious flavor to any salad. You can also mash it up and add diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and some salt to create a delicious dip for corn chips.

In a smoothie
If you have an avocado hater on your hands, just throw 1/4 of a haas avocado in a smoothie and watch them gulp it down. You can also create tasty raw soups with avocado. Just blend up 1C of carrot ginger juice with 1 tomato, one peeled cucumber, 1/2 a red bell pepper and one avocado. I like to garnish it with minced red pepper, cucumber and tomato. So tasty and so good for you!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Weekly Menu Plan!

This week I mostly shopped at Sams club, because I was almost completely out of fresh food! I'm happy to say, that I bought a lot of delicious fruits and vegetables, so we are no longer reduced to eating bean stew.:P Here's my menu for the week!

Turkey sausage

Roasted vegetables

Spaghetti with meatballs
Pull apart garlic bread

Avocado salad
Pita bread

Chicken casserole

Mexican lasagna
Corn chips

Roasted vegetables
Rice pilaf

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

My Garden!

This year I am growing a wonderful garden. I had always wanted to grow one, but my husband was so against it. This year it has finally happened! I'm growing corn, pumpkins, cucumbers, canteloupe, watermelons, bell peppers, tomatoes, sunflowers, zucchinni, yellow squash, spaghetti squash, basil, and peas. So far it's going great! The zuccinni and cucumbers are starting to fruit, the bell peppers, pumpkins, and canteloupes are flowering, and everything else is getting pretty big. The corn is already two feet high! Next year I plan to grow some more herbs. I didn't end up using all of the space I have available this year, so next year I plan to plant even more. I'm thinking I'll add some more herbs, some more corn, and maybe even some flowers.

Gardening is not only great fun, it can be economical too. My kids and I love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, but as we all know, fresh food is really expensive. I always feel bad when we can't eat as much as we want, or when it's the end of my grocery cycle and the only fresh food I have left is onions and a few stray apples. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a good option, nutritionally, and I never let myself run out of those, but fresh usually taste so much better! I'm hoping that my garden will not only allow us to eat as much fresh produce as we want, but that I will save money while we're doing it! I think this first year will not be as big of a harvest, but as I get better at gardening, I'm hoping to have bigger and bigger returns. My goal is to someday have enough to freeze and can for later in the year.

I think the thing I love most about my garden (aside from my plants!) is the fact that it makes me feel proactive. It can be really discouraging when I think about the next few years, and how small my budget will be during that time. Growing some of my own food to save money makes me feel like I'm taking action and not just being satisfied with an unsatisfactory state of affairs. Even if I only have a very small harvest and only save a few dollars, it's a step in the right direction.

I wish I had a digital camera so I could share some pictures of my garden. Maybe if I save a lot of grocery money this Summer, I'll be able to buy one!:P

Thursday, May 6, 2010


As some of you may have guessed from my lack of blogging recently, I've been really busy! I'm taking 3 classes this quarter, and one of them is really tough. I've been having to study all of the time, because we have a really hard test pretty much every week. Then I have to find time to do the work for my other two classes! For anyone who's interested, I'm taking anatomy and physiology, biology, and a healthcare terms class. The anatomy class is the really hard one.

I did, however, want to write a blog about my new vitamix! For any of you who don't know, a vitamix is an AWESOME all purpose sort of kitchen appliance. It can be used to make anything blended, like a cream soup or a smoothie, ice cream, hot soup (the friction of the blades will make whatever you're blending get hot after about 4-5 minutes), juice (the high powered blending will liquefy fruits and vegetables after about 1 minute), and it can also be used as a food processor!

The only downside, is it costs between $400-$500. Luckily, I got mine on sale for $400, but that's still a lot of money. I had to save up for almost a year. I really wanted to buy a vitamix, because it makes it so easy for us to eat healthy! I've been making awesome smoothies, almond milkshakes, raw soups, healthy ice creams, and using the food processor feature to chop up vegetables really small to hide them in soups and sauces. Here are some of the recipes I've been making, so I can illustrate how easy it is!

(I always have made these, but in a regular blender it was a lengthy process to say the least.)
2C almond milk (To make almond milk take 2C water and 1/2C raw almonds and blend in the vitamix for about 90 seconds. Add ice and blend again if you're just going to drink it without making a milkshake. I also like to add maple syrup!)

2C cut up fruit of your choice. (I like to use strawberries, mangos, peaches, apples, alone or in any combination.)

2 frozen banannas (The banannas really should be frozen, or it won't have the delicious milkshake consistency!)

1-2Tbsp maple syrup
Place all ingredients in the vitamix and blend on high for 30-60 seconds. Enjoy!


1-2C grapes
1-2 peeled carrots
1C pineapple
1C strawberries
1/2 peeled cucumber
2C ice
Place all ingredients in the vitamix and blend on high for 60 seconds. Enjoy! I make this juice for my kids and I almost every day now as a snack before dinner. We love it!

1C soy milk, almond milk, or cow milk
3C frozen fruit of your choice
Place ingredients in the vitamix, milk first and blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until you see 4 mounds appear on top. If you blend too long, it will turn into a smoothie!

1 carrot, peeled
1 stalk celery
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper
a generous handful of spinach
1 large tomato, quartered
2C chicken or vegetable broth
salt to taste

Optional ingredients
1/2C corn
1/2C black beans
1C cooked, diced chicken
Corn chips

Place all ingredients except optional ingredients in the vitamix and blend on high for 5 minutes. Turn vitamix down to option one and add the optional ingredients. Pour into bowls and serve! This soup is really good for you, because it hasn't been boiled. All of the ingredients are fresh and brimming with vitamins!