Tag Archives: shopping

Back to School Refresher

Hi all,

Sorry to have gone on hiatus again. Summer has been crazy around here. Lots of travel, lots of home repairs, lots of cleaning from said home repairs…. My oldest started school this year, and I’ve honestly been looking forward to an enforced schedule to regulate our days.

Many people feel like this time of year is almost like a New Year’s, a time for resetting and making goals. Hopefully, you are trying to get into a groove with menu planning, eating healthy, etc. Here are a few tips that have been helping me lately.

1. Find something you WANT to cook. We all need lots of quick meals in our arsenal. But, I think it is a good idea to find something that you really want to cook/make that maybe takes more time. For example, I recently grew my own sourdough starter. I’ve used it to make bread, waffles, pancakes, and pizza crust. Does it take time? A little, but actually not that much active time. The key was I WANTED to make it. So I didn’t mind the time. Think outside the box: homemade nut butters, jam, curing/smoking meat, bread, sauerkraut. Maybe it is taking time to stock your freezer with items. But think of something you’d be willing to spend time cooking. I bet you’ll find the time.

Sourdough Bread

2. Think through all the food you need when making your grocery shopping lists. Most kids need to take a snack to school. Maybe you’d have a better day if you took a snack with you to work. Make sure you have accounted for these in your shopping. If you don’t buy healthy snacks, they won’t magically make it into bags. It seems like a no brainer, but it’s important to think about it. One box of crackers and one package of string cheese isn’t going to keep you all going for a week.

3. Try to eliminate decision making. Planning a menu can be a lot of work. Try to streamline or simplify where you can. We always eat breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays. Tuesday is leftover night. Maybe every Tuesday can be taco tuesday. Pizza Fridays. Meatless Monday. These systems either remove or simplify the decisions when planning your menu. Help yourself out!

4. Pick one day for a fancy dinner. Our family recently started having a more formal dinner on Sundays. We sit at our nicer table, use a tablecloth, kids get real dishes, use cloth napkins, etc. We are hoping to break out candlesticks. I try to make sure food makes it into serving dishes rather than putting pans on the table. I often try to have a special drink. Taking this time to enjoy food as a family has been great for our relationships. My kids love it and are SLOWLY improving in table manners. And even if the dinner isn’t super complicated, it feels fancy because of our surroundings. Try it!

Hope these three tips help you as you go back to school. I’ve got some fun recipes coming soon!

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Healthy Cooking Christmas Gift Ideas

I kind of hate thinking about Christmas too much before Thanksgiving. But many of us do our Christmas shopping on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And I will be busy with family over the holiday, so here we are. Here are some of my favorite cooking gadgets or healthy resources. Hope they give you some ideas for people on your Christmas list. (I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning any of these products. These are just things I use and love.)

-Spiralizer. While I might be a year or two behind the trend on zoodles, I recently got a spiralizer and I love it. We have loved eating spiralized hash browns A LOT. You can buy really expensive or really cheap ones. I opted for a less expensive, handheld model and love it. (The one I got doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon, but this one is like it.)

Spiralizer Hashbrowns

-Kitchen Scale. While this seems like a rude, diet-oriented gift, it is actually quite useful. Especially for any bakers out there, exact measurements are very helpful. I recently got this one, because it was the top rated item on Amazon. It does work well.

-Spices or herbs. This isn’t a joke. Fun or exotic spices can be expensive but really open up doors in cooking. Plus it is important to have fresh, quality products. While I don’t purchase them all the time, Penzey’s Spices have great products. I love the curry powder, chipotle chile powder, garam masala, and cocoa powder I have gotten from there. I know many people love their cinnamon as well. They also have great gift box options.

-Magazine Subscription. My favorite cooking magazines are Cooking Light and Cook’s Illustrated. While Cook’s Illustrated doesn’t only have “healthy” recipes, their analysis of the science behind cooking makes you a better cook for reading it.

-Lasagna Pan. I registered for this when I got married, and I kind of felt frivolous. It’s a 9×13 pan, right? WRONG. I love my pan. It is just a bit bigger than a traditional 9×13 pan, which is great for lasagna, enchiladas, and all sorts of casseroles. I just discovered that mine was recalled over 2 years ago (oops!), but there are plenty of options out there.

Happy shopping!

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