Change, change do ‘ya good

I’ve alluded to it time after time again, yet I’ve never truly opened up about one of my best-kept secrets.

However, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve decided to let on to the details…

With no further delay, here is the full report on my awesome Sunday afternoon cook-offs.

A little anticlimactic, you say? Just bear with me…

My Sundays usually start off on a slow, relaxing note of church and lunch with Dan. Then, I shift into homework mode for a few hours. Since my time is limited on Mondays and Tuesdays, I also rearrange my workout schedule by fitting in an easy, relaxing run.

The day really gets going when I make my trip to my favorite place on earth the grocery store.

Last year, I found myself going to the grocery store a few times a week. Each time was without much of a plan, which left me extra susceptible to spending unanticipated money.

This year, I was motivated to come up with more of a plan. Although I still don’t have a meal planning strategy down to a science, I do like to make a mental game-plan before hitting the grocery store.

Once there, I always hit up the produce section first. That way, by the time I make it to the ice cream aisle, my ominously full cart reminds me to limit my splurging.

(Bonus: When I do buy some ice cream, this method prevents it from melting by the time I get to the cash register.)

After navigating the fruits and vegetables, my route is mostly dependent on the store I’m in. Preferably, I like to scan the perimeter (fresher food) before moving onto the aisles (processed food).

Fortunately, more and more stores are adding organic or natural food sections. I also like going here before moving on to the generic aisles.

With fewer products to keep track of, I seek out the good deals and then make note of the prices. That way, when I move on to the other aisles, I can compare deals.

Surprisingly, the natural foods sometimes offer better deals. For example, last week the organic-brand shredded wheat cereal was $2.59 for a 20 oz box. In contrast, the generic-brand in the standard grocery section was $2.89 for a 22 oz box. After calculating it out, the organic-brand was still the better deal ($.129 per ounce), even though the generic-brand was a larger box ($.13 per ounce).

Granted it wasn’t much of a difference, but I was happy to scoop up the organic-brand, while feeling as though I was saving money.

Hitting on that point, I don’t like to think of myself as “frugal.” Rather, I am a “savvy spender.” Looking back on my grocery receipts, almost everything I buy is on sale or with a coupon.

For example, this week I got a few “want” items, simply because they were on sale…

Bonus hint: The HyVee honey wheat pretzels are even better than brand name varieties.

This is another reason why I hesitate from going in with a grocery plan; If broccoli is on sale and zucchini isn’t, then I go for broccoli…

Finally, in the case of a good sale on a non-perishable item, I usually grab a few.

Be sure to check the sale tag, though. Often, the date that the sale will end is listed. If the sale is going on for a few more weeks, I save my stockpiling until closer to the end of the sale.

After winding my way all the way through the store, I check out and head home.

But, instead of simply putting it all away, I get down to business of pre-week food preparations. This usually consists of chopping lettuce (unless bagged mixes were on sale), carrots and other veggies.

Note that carrots get their own category. I get them every week, regardless of whether they are on sale. However, I usually snag a two-pound bag for less than $2, so it’s not a big deal.

A few other necessities include hummus (which I can make at home), oatmeal, nut butter, soy or almond milk, etc.

Anyway, when I have the veggies all chopped, I like to kick things a notch up with a few simple steps. For example…

Red Wine Marinated Onions

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 1/4 C red wine vinegar
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Combine everything in shallow dish, cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.

I like to use these on sandwiches or with salad. It’s just nice to add more complexity to a dish. I also like to do a similar thing with mushroom, but substituting the red wine vinegar for balsamic vinegar.

However, a girl cannot subsist on veggies alone. In consideration of this, I make sure to fit in some easy protein with tofu…

BBQ Tofu

Ingredients:

  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1/4 C BBQ sauce (alternatively can use teriyaki sauce, salsa, honey mustard, etc.)

Directions:

  • Drain the tofu and press between paper towels. Then, horizontally slice into four segments. Dice those segments into quarter-inch chunks. Place between two paper towels, top with a weight and allow to soak for another 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, toss tofu with BBQ sauce. Spread out on greased baking sheet at bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, stir it all up and then bake for another five minutes.

With these few easy preparations, I am able to easily assemble salads and wraps throughout the week.

And, quoting Forrest Gump, “That’s about all I have to say about that.”

Now for another quick topic…

I’ve been at this whole blogging thing for a few good months now, and I continue to love it more every day. The sense of community and the marketplace of recipes are just the beginning of what health blogging means to me.

A lot of this burst of blog-loving emotion is based on the libelous article about health food bloggers published by Marie Claire.

On the other hand, it is just coincidental timing to some other changes I am looking to institute with my blog.

First, I decided to delete the “reviews” page, as I no longer feel that this serves my purpose. Although I’d be willing to review products, it will simply be on a day-to-day basis, rather than by devoting a permanent page to it.

Secondly, I created an interactive feature on my “edibles” page to a lot of my recipes. As of yet, I can’t load the video directly to my page, but be sure to click on the link to check it out.

On that note, I am looking to update my server for more storage and for more publishing powers. I hope that this doesn’t affect the content I currently have saved, but just want this to serve as a heads up.

Finally, I want this blog to continue to evolve. That’s why I created a new poll under the “About You” page about what you like. Feel free to keep the conversation going from there.

Questions: What do you do to get ready for the week? What updates would you like to see in the blog?

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5 responses to “Change, change do ‘ya good

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