Frugally Food

Winter Brights


This week’s frugally fun is redecorating for next to nothing.  Earlier this year I decided to do some things to make the bedroom more cheerful and bright during the dark days of winter.

So I pulled out a lovely coral pink bedspread that I had in storage.  Cost: zero.

And I found a cute brightly coloured teacup and a large peony flower at the dollar store for on the side table.  Cost $3.

I brightened up a dark green chair by repurposing a white bedsheet into a slipcover and adding a beautiful floral pillow.  Cost $2.

And I spray painted an old lamp I had turning the base from a dark, sombre brown into a lovely bright Caribbean blue.  Cost $2.

So for $7 I completely changed the look in my bedroom.  Now it’s sunny and bright and cheerful.  And I’m dreaming of tropical vacations much more often.

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Walking in Winter


Walking is my favourite exercise.  In addition to a great workout, it’s a fantastic way to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air and beautiful natural surroundings.

However this time of year, the air is just a little too fresh and the natural surroundings are a little too much like frozen hinterland.

So what’s a poor walker to do?  There is the treadmill option.  Or there is mall walking (see if you can find a mall that opens its doors to walkers before the stores open otherwise it is just too frustrating trying to walk around milling mall crowds).

If you work in a large office building, walk the long way around the floor to get your coffee or lunch.  Take the stairs between floors instead of the elevator.

A good idea I heard was instead of sitting and watching tv, march in place while watching your favourite sitcom.

Try out any or all of these ideas and figure out which works best for you so you can stay in shape because walking season will be here before you know it.

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Ten Minute Recipe


Here is a ten minute recipe that is good for any time of year but is especially handy for this season when people want a quick, healthy meal full of crunchy vegetables.  It makes it so much easier not to overindulge in Christmas cookies and Christmas treats when your stomach is full and happily digesting away.

Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

1 small package sugar snap peas (enough for one person)

1 small package of deli cut ham (enough for one person)

Rinse the peas thoroughly then cut off the tips of each end of the peas.  Cut up ham into bite size pieces.

Heat a frying pan over medium heat.  (Use a pan that comes with a tight fitting lid.)

Add the peas to the pan and put the lid on immediately.  Let cook for two minutes.  Then flip the peas over and put the lid on again.  Cook for another two minutes.

Add the ham then continue cooking….flipping and stirring occasionally.

When the peas are tender and the ham starts to brown a little, it’s ready.  Enjoy!

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Shopping for Free


Stress is a major contributor to a lot of health problems and one of the biggest stressors these days is worrying about money.  So this website will be showing you ways to have fun without spending a lot (or any) money.

So today we are going shopping.  But we’re not going to the mall.  We are going to the closet.  That’s right you are going to shop through the clothes you already have.

Obviously you loved all your clothes at one point in time.  I’m sure you were beside yourself with joy that you were able to get A,B or C on sale for next to nothing.  So rekindle that love.

Spend ten minutes creating new outfits using the clothes and shoes you already own.  Lots of fun.  Zero money.


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Strengthen your Core


Core exercises are not something that usually happen a lot during a regular day especially if you lead a sedentary life going from sitting on a bus to sitting in your cubicle to sitting in front of the tv.

So it’s good to have some core exercises included in your workout routine.

Here’s a ten minute core workout I found on youtube:

This workout is for beginners so it is great for me.  I really like the way she does the sit ups,  I’ve never seen that before and it works really well.

(As usual I am not endorsing any products associated with this video and I am not getting anything from anyone by pointing it out to you.  It just looked like it might be useful for me and possibly for you too.)

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The Perfect Food


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”:

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Everyday Exercise


Exercise is always so much easier to accomplish when it is part of your everyday life.  And I found a list of common everyday activities with the equivalent calorie burning potential.  Some of them are quite impressive.

Below is a list of calories burned for doing just ten minutes of each activity.

  • Walking downstairs  78-111
  • Walking upstairs  202-288
  • Preparing a meal  46-65
  • Shoveling snow  89-130
  • Repairing a car  43-59
  • Playing the piano  32-47
  • Caring for babies or toddlers  41-63
  • Gardening  42-59

Isn’t it encouraging to know that people can get quite a lot of exercise just by doing a bunch of chores around the house?

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Ten Minute Upper Body Workout


Exercise is very important to maintain health but I’m as guilty as anyone of letting exercise move down the list of priorities until it disappeared completely from my daily activities.

But no more!  I’m going to start exercising more often!

First up is a ten minute upper body workout.   There are MANY on youtube but this one looked interesting:

(Just to be clear, I’m not endorsing any products associated with this video and I don’t get any money from pointing it out to you.  I just thought it looked interesting so I tried it out.)

I tried this workout without the barbells and it was just as effective simply by using my own body weight as resistance.   I didn’t do “the scarecrow” for very long.   And forget about “the plank”.  That will be one for sometime in the future.  That’s the great thing about exercising at home at your own pace.  You can do the exercises at your own speed.  As long as you feel you are working your muscles without overdoing it, it’s all good.

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Serving Size


I recently saw a poster that showed recommended serving sizes for various types of food.

For example for cereal, rice or pasta the serving size should be about 1 cup which is about the size of a baseball.  And for beef, chicken or pork the serving size should be 3 to 4 oz or about the size of a deck of cards.

I can’t remember the last time I went to a restaurant where these guidelines were met.  The last time I ordered French fries, a mountain of potatoes appeared before me, easily 3 cups worth (not the 2/3 cup which is recommended for starchy foods).  Plate sizes and the quantity of food on them just keeps increasing and increasing at restaurants.

Which is yet another reason to cook at home…you can control the serving size, the salt and fat content and all for a lot less money than you would spend at restaurants.  (Have I convinced you yet?)  

For the times when you do eat out, consider eating a smaller amount and get a doggie bag for the rest (in some places that would be enough for two more meals!)

So here is a list of the recommended serving sizes:

  • Cereal, rice or pasta    1 cup   (the size of a baseball)
  • Beef, chicken or pork   3 to 4 oz  (size of a deck of cards)
  • Lunch meat, sliced cheese  2 to 3 oz  (size of 2 to 3 CDs)
  • Bread, potatoes, starchy foods   2/3 cup   (size of tennis ball)
  • Milk, yogurt, soup    8 fl oz  (size of paper coffee cup)
  • Beans, hot cereal  ½ cup ( size of 2 golf balls)
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Three ways to save time at the grocery store


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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