First Week of 2021

Can you believe a week of the new year is already in the books? How has your first week gone? Now we could talk about the pandemic but quite frankly I don’t want to.

I am choosing to focus on my health rather then what’s going on in the world. What does that mean for me? Making sure I am working out either outside or on my treadmill. Maintaining some sort of schedule so we have some normalcy. Writing or at least mentally reciting everything that I’m grateful for. And since I have a love for cooking I am trying to test out some new recipes that satisfy my inner chef and keep me on track.

I haven’t made any New Years resolutions but I am excited to see what 2021 has to offer. What are you most excited about?

2020 Coming to an end

Oh 2020 has sure been a ride. It was full of up (buying our house) and downs (the crazy pandemic that is still going on).

Even though it’s been a rollercoaster of a ride here’s a few things I’ve discovered. No one is immune to stress eating especially when there’s a pandemic. Shopping is no longer mom’s break time but a marathon of following arrows and knowing the limits of foods. I’ve also discovered that ever pantry list that you will find online to prepare for winter or a pandemic is not bariatric friendly. What you will find on all these lists are flour and grains which are great for bulking up meals during hard time but horrible on your stomach if you’re a bariatric patient. So now that I feel like I have a grasp on what life looks like for the time being, it’s time to pull up my socks and make a list of foods I should have on hand that fall in line with the lifestyle I want to live.

The first thing on my list is oats. Which might sound boring but as a bariatric patient I can make protein balls, baked oatmeal, overnight oats, muffins, bread etc that won’t wreak having on my digestive system.

The second thing would be powdered milk. Now while this isn’t the best tasting item I can add water and make myself a smoothie or there’s even recipes to make yogurt from powdered milk.

The third thing would be meat. It can be canned, frozen or fresh but we need to keep our protein up all the time. Come to think of it I should have probably made this number 1.

The fourth thing would be protein shakes and protein bars. While not something to I would eat all the time these are perfect to keep up the protein. And there’s a variety of shakes you can get in ready made (rather pricy or powdered protein shakes)

And then I have a mish mash of other items. Quinoa, canned soups, canned/ frozen fruits and veggies, some alternative flours (but you can stock up on these as they do need to be cycled thru rather quickly.), beef jerky, cottage cheese and eggs.

Get more Out of your Food

There’s been a lot of fear about food shortages since the pandemic has started. Now weather that food shortage be actual food not being able to get to the grocery store or the food flying off the shelves because people are preparing in case there a second wave the fears are there. So I thought I would share some tips that will stretch your food budget and allow you to get more money out of the food you are buying.

My first tip would be to buy meat that’s on the bone. It typically tends to be cheaper then the boneless, skinless meats. Also there’s always some sort of bone in meat on sale. Now why do I prefer bone in meat besides it being easier on the budget? I can make bone broth from the bones which I can use in recipes or in soups. The cost of store bought broth is expensive and usually doesn’t pack a lot of flavour. The powdered versions you can buy are full of flavour but also full of salt.

My second tip would be don’t throw away the fat! When you roast a duck or cook bacon your left with a decent amount of fat. Now you could just toss that fat but that would be such a waste. If you put the fat thru a fine mesh strainer and store it in your fridge you can do a lot of things with that fat. You can roast your vegetable in the fat, you can substitute the butter in bread and biscuits with the bacon fat. Or you can make bacon, chocolate chip cookies with the rendered fat!

My third tip is don’t throw your vegetable peels/ scraps away, instead freeze them. You can throw them into your pot when making your bone broth to add extra flavour.

My fourth tip is also don’t throw out your fruit scraps! A friend of mine recently introduced me to apple scrap jelly. So you save your peels and covers and boil them with some sugar and water to make a delicious jelly. You can do the same thing with pears and I have to do some research on some other fruits as well. Oh and your orange peels can serve as a great pot pourri, or you can soak them in vinegar to make a homemade cleaner or throw the peels in your garden to keep cats from using your garden as a litter box.

My fifth tip skip the packaged oatmeal and buy yourself a huge bag of oats instead. Some ways to jazz up some oats is to add homemade or store bought pie filling. You can also add some jams or jellies. You can add some yogurt and frozen fruits. And of course you can’t go wrong with some cinnamon and brown sugar.

And the final tip I will leave you with today is make as much as you can from scratch. I understand that not everyone can do this but it is seriously my biggest money saver. Having three kids it’s way cheaper for me to make homemade baked goods then buying any of the store bought ones.

What are some of your food stretching/ money stretching tips?

I did it

So I took the plunge and I’ve recorded two grocery haul videos. The thing is I haven’t yet mastered the art of editing. Right now I’m trying to decide if I just take the plunge and throw these two videos up unedited or not. I also don’t have an intro video like most bloggers but we all have to start somewhere so I will probably just upload them and get better with each video that I post.

So you’ve probably already guess it but I since I’ve filmed two grocery hauls I obviously added to my pantry and freezer therefore ending my challenge. I did put a dent in the supplies that I had and I have replenished so I feel good. Prior to covid I probably would have pushed the challenge way further but not knowing what is going to happen I like to have my pantry and freezer well stocked. I’ve always had a well stocked pantry and freezer even prior to the pandemic. I always have a minimum of 2 weeks of groceries at all times.

So what have we been eating? For breakfasts we’ve been having some cinnamon buns, banana bread, BLT’s (I have mine deconstructed and the rest of the family has theirs on bread or bagels) waffles, pancakes and yogurt parfaits. Lunches have consisted of homemade lunchables, fried bologna, sandwiches, cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped hot dogs, leftovers etc. Suppers have been fish with roasted broccoli, air fried duck (if you haven’t seen that picture on my facebook go check it out), duck quesadillas, chicken chow mein, stuffed zucchini and more.

What have you been eating?

Camera Shy?

Ok so I know I keep saying I’m going to vlog but I seem to have developed some camera shyness. While I work thru that I will continue to get a blog out once a week.

Even if I’ve realized I’m not comfortable in front of the camera, I have still been continuing on with my empty the freezer challenge. I’m hoping to clear a good portion of my freezer by August 14th because I plan on hitting a wholesale grocery store and stocking up the freezer with items that are on sale. Now I’m not stocking up because of the pandemic or a weather event but rather in an order to curb our grocery budget. The plan is to bulk buy meat in order to stay out of the grocery stores. In September I’ll update you on if we managed to stay on the budget we set or not.

So want to know what’s been cooking in the kitchen lately? Well your in luck here’s a list of foods we’ve eaten since the last blog.

We made some sushi, middle eastern meat pies made in wonton wrappers, ginger beef, BBQ steak, roasted lamb, waffles, steak and eggs, caramel apples, homemade bagels are just some of the meals we managed to make from the freezer and pantry 🙂

What have you been cooking lately?

It’s Hot/ What we’ve been eating

The weather has been incredibly hot here lately. It’s not just the heat but the humidity that can really get to you. We didn’t let that stop us however from enjoying some delicious meals.

But finally today it rained and although it’s still hot we have a beautiful breeze coming into the house. If you remember in my last blog post I told you I was attempting the clear out your freezer challenge for the third time lol. Well I am happy to report that we are working on that even in this heat.

I did do one grocery trip since my last post that I mentioned I would. I bought milk (which I will continue to purchase during this challenge), yogurt, shrimp and a few other items but it wasn’t a huge grocery haul. Be on the lookout in mid to late August I will do a grocery haul that I will vlog for you all to see.

So want to know what I’ve been cooking this week? Here’s some pictures some are healthy and others were cravings but everything was homemade. If I have a sharable recipe you will be able to click on the name and it will bring you to the website I found the recipe.

Thai chicken lettuce wraps (you can find the recipe here)
Chicken wrap with lettuce, tomato, crispy onions and Mayo
Gnocchi
Chicken Shawarma wrap
chicken sharwarma meat cooking on the BBQ
Steak Gyro

Ginger Beef

I hope to start filming my cooking in the next few weeks so stayed tuned for more delicious food images and videos in the near future.

Third Times a Charm

So I have attempted this challenge not once but twice before. I am hoping that I will actually complete the challenge this time around.

So what exactly is the challenge? I am going to attempt to clear out my chest freezer. I am wanting to empty my freezer so I can go and get some bulk boxes of meat from either Cotsco or the Wholesale club. Also it won’t hurt the budget to clear things out.

Disclosure time, I will be going to the grocery store this Friday to get a few items and I will need to replenish things like milk and yogurt thru out this challenge. If I had the fridge space I would sooo make my yogurt home made because it’s so cost effective and delicious.

Now the next thing I am trying to figure out is if I want to blog or vlog the meals I prepare for my family. While I love blogging I think I am ready to become a little more interactive with all of you. So let me know what you think.

So to recap I will be starting the clear out your freezer challenge Sunday July 19th. I’ll update you in the next few days what the plan is as far as the vlogging goes.

The Tale of Two Steaks

As I mentioned yesterday I am back to eating better. I had two steaks in the freezer and they were calling my name. I wanted something different besides just having a huge chunk of steak with roasted veggies, even though that’s delicious. I also wanted to stretch the meat out since the price of steak has now gotten even higher.

So how did I feed 5 people two meals and still have leftovers to avoid a night of cooking? The first meal I made was bbq steak, with a creamy mushroom sauce and spaghetti squash. I don’t have a recipe for this meal I just kind of made it up as I went but it was delicious and approved by the whole family.

The second meal I made was beef and broccoli that I got from this website https://gimmedelicious.com/quick-15-minute-beef-and-broccoli-tiryaki-stir-fry/

I did switch a few things up like I didn’t have any mushrooms so I didn’t add them and I put way more broccoli in because we needed to use it up. I also didn’t bother serving it with noodles or rice.

So these are the types of healthy meals I hope to be able to start regularly sharing with all of you. It doesn’t need to be hours in the kitchen to make healthy foods. You can stretch your steaks if you thinly slice them. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be without flavour. Healthy eating can be amazing! Yes my kids did eat both these meals and are excited we have leftovers.

How are you stretching your proteins? Have you noticed the prices of meat going up in your area?

Chat soon,

Rachelle

Life Updates

It’s been a hot minute since I last blogged. I had all the intentions of blogging our new home renovations and bringing all of you along for the adventure. Then the work began and things were going along until the pandemic hit.

After the pandemic hit while we still kept renovating things got a little more complicated. I can’t even tell you how many hours I spent on the phone trying to get a washer and dryer delivered to our house only to have to cancel the order with the one company and purchase from someone else. But it didn’t just affect the renovations, the pandemic just kind of took everything over.

What exactly I mean by that is nothing was a quick trip to the store anymore. Kids were no longer welcomed as they once were to shop with their parents, heck even my husband and I couldn’t shop together anymore. Grocery shopping became a nightmare.

Let me elaborate on the grocery shopping for a second. I don’t think I will ever forget the first time going shopping and having to wait in queue. And sending pictures to my husband of what the bare shelves looked like. While some areas where raving about how easy it was to eat healthy because people were going for the shelf stable stuff that wasn’t always the case. The limits on milk, meat, canned goods, frozen veggies and fruits being unavailable but also the frenzied and panicked state all the shoppers were in trying to stay away from each other and follow the arrows thru the store.

While I would love to say I stayed 100% on plan during all this chaos I would be completely lying. The mom in me bought things like rice, potatoes, flour for baking to make sure that if things got really rough the kids bellies would still be full. I took part in eating the foods that I shouldn’t have because baking was an escape from the chaos of the pandemic and renovating a house while still trying to also homeschool so the kids routine wasn’t impacted any further.

But this blog isn’t going to be all about negativity. While I did go up and down the same 5 pounds over and over again during these trying months, I feel like I’ve turned a new leaf and I am starting to get back to eating what I should and the house renovations are coming along great. The house is starting to fall into place. I hope to soon be able to vlog some meal prepping (my husband and I built my kitchen island last week with the help of some friends) and share with you how healthy eating can be delicious. Because even if this pandemic isn’t over the best thing I can do for my family is to get back on track to eating the foods I should be and staying healthy.

What have your challenges been? How are you doing?

Chat soon

Rachelle

It’s Snowing In April

It’s April 18th and snowing! The flakes that are dancing around look beautiful but I wasn’t expecting snow this late in the year. Then again 2020 has been throwing us a few curve balls, so we will roll with it.

I’ve been keeping myself busy unpacking, organizing, cooking and, meal planning. Today’s organization focused mostly on the kitchen but I’m hoping tomorrow I can get my workout room sorted and utilizing my treadmill.

I’m trying to create a new normal in our house. I think if we dwell to much on what’s going on in the world right it’s not going to help anything. We are celebrating things we can do instead of dwelling. For instance we had a BBQ for lunch today. Yes it was a small thing but it lifted our spirits and gave us an excuse to stop unpacking lol. What was a small thing that you did to lift your spirits today?