Frugally Food

The Perfect Food

Dec
08

Do you want to eat the type of food where you will get all the calories, protein, vitamins and  minerals your body needs without wasting any time on portion control or calorie counting or measuring?  Just eat a plant based diet.  You guessed it,  your mother was right all along.  Eat your vegetables.

Human beings have been scurrying around this planet for millennia and for 99.999% of that time we were munching on plants: fruits and vegetables with only occasional bits of meat from things we could get before they got us.

Our stomachs and digestive systems are used to this diet.  They expect this diet to function properly.  So when we feed it things like junk food and fast food, they rebel.  Big Time.  And you are not going to like the results.

To learn more about a plant based diet watch this two minute video about a documentary called “Forks over Knives”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7ijukNzlUg

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Three ways to save time at the grocery store

Nov
11

Grocery shopping is often a source of frustration for people since most see it as just another chore which is more often than not done on a empty stomach (which does turn it into something akin to torture).  Here are three ideas for how to spend less time in the grocery store, before you even leave the house.

  1. Look at what you have in your fridge and pantry and decide what you can use up in the next week of meals.  Who knows you might have all the ingredients you need to make one meal or several meals (as I discovered myself in a previous post).  That way you wouldn’t have to go the grocery store at all.  How’s that for a time saver!
  2. If you do need to go the grocery store, take a minute to decide what meals you are going to make then make a list of the ingredients that you need.  Nothing wastes more time than wandering around a grocery store, trying to think of what to make for dinner and once you decide on that, trying to remember if you have the ingredients you need at home.  Make a list.  Stick to it.
  3. Don’t waste time clipping coupons.  Fruits and vegetables rarely have coupons and they are the healthiest foods you can eat.
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Simple Priorities

Nov
01

This post should probably be sub-titled “Three ways to simplify in order to make your life better”.  There are many more ways than just three but three is a good place to start for inspiration.  So here goes:

  1. Stop watching tv.   You will not know how much stress created by the constant bombardment of commercials has placed on you until you unplug from the tv.  Not only is it beyond wonderful not to hear the same commercial six hundred times a day, you will have so much more time on your hands.  Time to exercise.  Time to spend with your loved ones.  Time to prepare healthy meals.
  2. Stop going to the mall for recreation.  You have all the clothes you need.  If there is a very real possibility that you might have to go to work tomorrow naked, then okay go to the mall.  Otherwise, you have enough clothes.  There are a million and one other ways to achieve self-actualization.  Pick one of them and use your time to work on that instead.
  3. Stop over-extending yourself.  Some people multi-task.  Others overbook their time with a million commitments.  To give you an example, on the bus the other day a young woman was carrying on a texting conversation while at the same time playing a video game while also checking her emails regularly.  It was non-stop frenetic activity.  So much so that she missed her stop!  Take a look at all of the things that you do and see if they are adding any value to your life or just creating more stress.

The common denominator in all these scenarios is time.  Time is the most precious commodity that you have.  You can’t go to the ATM and get out more time.  You can’t argue with the grim reaper to come back later because you need more time.  Your time is very precious because they’re not making any more of it.

So choose how you want to spend your time wisely.  Do you want to spend your time eating healthy and exercising so you’ll have the best quality of life that you can possibly have?  Or do you want to spend your time watching ads or propping up a clothing giant or stressing yourself with multi-tasking?

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Redo Fast Food

Oct
21

How many times a week do you go out for fast food at lunch time?  Twice a week?  More?  Let’s say it’s twice a week.

In the big city where I am a fast food lunch of sub and soda would go for around $6.  So for two meals that is $12.  And let’s face it sub and soda are not the healthiest foods on the planet.

But you’re busy!  I know.  I hear you.

So how about I show you how to get two much healthier lunches that won’t take any time at all ( and will cost less).

The next time you go grocery shopping, go to the deli section and look for pre-cooked chicken.  The big grocery store near me sells precooked BBQ chicken that has been cut up into pieces.  I can get two legs with thighs attached for around $3.50.  Or two chicken breasts for slightly more.  So pick up one package that will be enough for two lunches.

Then head for the produce section and get yourself a bag of prewashed lettuce.  Having just come back from the grocery store, I am happy to report that there are available ceasar kits that come with the prewashed lettuce, the dressing, some parmesan and croutons…enough for two lunches for the price of ….wait for it….$2.97!  So get one of those and you’re all set.  Two lunches of chicken and ceasar salad for $6.50.

And your lunch is already packed and ready to go.  Just leave it in the grocery bag and put it in the fridge when you get home.  Then when you arrive at work, just put the grocery bag in the fridge at work.  Easy peasy.  And it took no more time than your regular grocery shopping.

Now instead of standing in line at the fast food place for your lunch you can go for a walk.  Or take care of other errands that need looking after.

And you save $5.50 per week.  If you save that every week, you’ll have $275 by the end of the year!  And that’s not nothing!

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Simply Better

Sep
22

Every time a discussion of simplicity or minimalism comes up  there always seems to be a segment of society that is shocked and appalled that someone would voluntarily choose to live with less stuff.  Simplicity and minimalism means different things to different people but a theme common to all is the wish to create the best life they can with the least amount of drain on the earth’s resources.

For me I was sick of the relentless neverending societal “encouragement” to acquire stuff and whenever I did get this stuff that was supposed to make me happy – big surprise – it never did.  Adopting a more minimalist lifestyle and living simply however does make me happier and has improved my life in so many ways:

Now I have a lot more TIME.  I don’t need to go to the mall because I have all the clothes I need to be warm and fashionable.  Since they are good quality and I take care of them they probably won’t be wearing out anytime soon so I can spend my time on things that are more important.

Now I have a lot more ENERGY.  Before I always had a million things on my to do list running the gamut from acquiring stuff to maintaining stuff to getting other people to maintain my stuff.  Now I have less stuff and I take care of it myself.

Now I have a lot less STRESS.  Before I was always anxious and worried because the stuff I had wasn’t as new or as flashy as the stuff that other people had.  Now I just have the things I need to make my life work efficiently and I don’t care if it’s five years old or twenty years old.  These days often the older it is, the better quality it is.

So now because of simplicity and minimalism I can concentrate on the things that really matter like eating healthy and exercising and achieving my goals and artistic pursuits.  You know LIFE.  Real life.

There are many other people embracing simplicity and minimalism.  One of them is Courtney Carver over at the blog Be More with Less.  I asked her the number one way that simplicity has improved her life.  She said, “Simplicity has provided so many benefits, but the most important is that it has
allowed me to eliminate so much stress in my life. Without debt and clutter, I
am much healthier and happier. ”

If you want to learn more about simplicity Courtney’s blog Be More with Less is full of inspirational articles and practical advice on how to get started down the road to being simply better.

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Summer Fruit

Sep
16

Tis the season for getting lots of seasonal fruit on sale.  The other day I got a huge container of strawberries for half price.  This is all well and good so long as you are able to make great use of them.  There is the jam route that many people take but I don’t have the time or energy to make jam considering how rarely I use the finished product.

So instead I wanted to freeze the strawberries so that I could use them in smoothies for weeks to come.  Nothing could be easier than freezing strawberries.  All you do is:

  1. Wash and dry the berries
  2. Core the berries
  3. Place them on a cookie sheet so that they aren’t touching each other
  4. Put the cookie sheet in the freezer and let the berries freeze solid (only takes a few hours)
  5. Transfer them to an air tight container

And voila you have lovely summer fruit for your smoothies.  As the seasons change you can still enjoy the taste of summer for a fraction of the cost.  And here is a recipe to help you do that:

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana

3 or 4 frozen strawberries

1 cup vanilla almond milk (no sugar added)

Take the frozen banana from the freezer and put it in the microwave for one minute.  Doing this will make it much easier to get the peel off of the banana while still keeping the banana itself still pretty cold.  Add the banana, strawberries and milk to a blender.  Blend on high.  Enjoy!

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Decluttering: The Great Motivator

Sep
10

A great side effect of the whole decluttering process is in addition to all the time and money you will save, you will also be motivated to DO more.

For example early on in the process of decluttering my stuff I decided to whittle down my jewellery making supplies.  So I got rid of all the beads and findings that no longer interested me and sent them to the thrift store.  It was a very satisfying project because what started out scattered around the room in three different containers and locations was now all brought together into one small container.

Before if I wanted to make jewellery it would take 15 minutes of gathering supplies from this drawer and that closet.  After decluttering it takes one minute to get started.  The container is here, pop opens the lid and I can begin.

A great time saver.  And also a great motivator to do more things. Before it would take 15 minutes to start making jewellery but that was AFTER I spent half an hour telling myself why the 15 minutes were worth the effort.  I would think no, it’s easier to read and another part of my brain would say no, it will be fun to make jewellery.  The battle would rage for half an hour.  More often than not I would just read.

With the new decluttered arrangement there is no internal debate.  I get an idea for some jewellery, I pull down the container and start.

Very simple.  No stress.

This works so well that I have applied it to many other areas.  For example now I have a ‘baking station’ – a large container that holds all the dry ingredients I need to bake my favourite things.  I just pull out the baking station and pull the wet ingredients from the fridge and voila – homemade baking in no time!

Try it for yourself and see if it motivates you to DO more.

 

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Quick Dinner

Sep
09

Today I have a quick recipe that I came up with after a looooong day at work.  I looked in the fridge to see what was in there, picked three ingredients that would go well together and cooked them.  Simple, delicious and filling.

This recipe calls for frozen peas and you will be happy to know that vegetables don’t lose much nutritional value during the freezing process.

Mushrooms and Peas with Eggs

3 or 4 mushrooms

1 cup frozen peas

2 large eggs

Clean and dice the mushrooms.  Start them cooking in a frying pan over medium low heat. When the mushrooms are halfway cooked, add the peas and put the lid on.  Let that cook for four minutes or so.

Meanwhile crack the two eggs into a bowl.  Add a tablespoon of water and whip together until well mixed.  Once the peas are done, clear a spot in the frying pan and pour in the eggs.  Slowly mix the eggs and veggies together.  Stir occasionally until the eggs are cooked through.  Enjoy!

 

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Time Budget

Aug
22

How you spend your time is a choice.  Just like how you spend your money is a choice.

If you want to spend your time standing in line at a fast food joint instead of standing in your kitchen cooking a healthy meal, that is your choice.  The time you invest is about the same in either case.

If you want to spend your time in doctor’s offices getting tests and procedures instead of investing the time to figure out what is healthy to eat and what isn’t, that is your choice too.  Doctors estimate that 30% of cancers are a result of unhealthy diets.

People are always obsessed with money and how to spend it, or not spend it, in order to make their lives better.  However people also need to start thinking about their time budgets just as carefully.  Is your time better spent sitting in front of the television for an hour or going for a walk instead?

Think of the useless time wasters that clutter up your life.  For example, the ultimate time waster, “going for a drive” which consists of aimlessly driving around burning gas and burning time – doing and accomplishing nothing.

Identify the time wasters in your life and figure out how to make better use of your time.  I know I am.

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The Minimalist Kitchen

Aug
08

I’ve been minimalist for awhile now and the ways that this saves time and money are pretty well endless.  Today I’ll talk about the advantages of a minimalist kitchen.

Minimalism means many things to many people.  For me it means any food I have in the house will either be in the fridge or in one pantry cupboard.  This makes meal planning one heck of a lot easier.  I open the fridge, see what’s in there.  Open the pantry, see what’s there and I’m off to the grocery store.  The whole process takes 5 minutes.

Now the key to this system is to make sure that all food items are only one layer deep.  By this I mean you don’t have to move anything out of the way in order to get to anything else.  Nothing is hidden in the back or crammed in with a bunch of other stuff.

In this way nothing is forgotten somewhere and allowed to go bad.  If I open the fridge and see I still have some veggies, I plan a meal around what I need to use up.  I’ve talked about the process here called flexing my frugality muscle.

So your turn.  When was the last time you saw the back wall of your pantry?  Are there cans of food in there with expiry dates from 2003?  What about the fridge?  Are there containers in there that you are afraid to open because you have a vague recollection of what you might have stored in them many, many months ago?

The best way to start to tackle this problem is to pick one shelf.  Just one shelf in either the fridge or the pantry and go through it.  Clear it out until it is completely empty.  Throw out anything that has expired.  Now before you put anything back, go through what you have and plan your next meal (and possibly your next 2,3,4,5 meals) around what needs to be used up.

Leave the pantry items you are going to use up sitting on the counter so that they are in the way and they will remind you what you are going to be making for supper.  Next, only put things back on the shelf that you will be using in the distant future.  Make sure everything is visible and with one glance you’ll be able to tell what’s in there.

It takes a little effort in the beginning to do this but the money and time you will save in the long run will more than make up for it.

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