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Tag Archives: Trader Joes

Healthy Doesn’t Have to Hurt… The Pockets

So the great recession has subsided but the unemployment rate in the United States is still holding steady at 7.3%. This means that over 20 million people in this country are still unemployed… T.W.E.N.T.Y million people! This got me to thinking about all the things I take for granted, like the ability to even eat healthy. Some 20+/- million people don’t even have that option because lets face it; healthier options are generally more expensive than the non-healthy alternative. For example McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese meal (includes fries and large drink) cost a mere $5.49 and if you’re feeling fancy, you can opt for a deluxe quarter pounder meal for a whopping $5.79. Now considering that The American Heart Association recommends limiting sodium intake to less than 2,000 milligrams (mg) per day, and the deluxe quarter pounder alone (not including the fries and 2-3 other meals per day that you still have to eat), has 1280mg of sodium by itself, now what? Paging Dr. Oz!

On the flip side of the equation, the only thing $6.00 is going to get you in a typical grocery store is 1 pineapple ($4.99) and some mushrooms ($1.99)…Yum! And there’s still that little thing called tax, ok so forget about the mushrooms 😦 . So now what’s a normal non-culinary chef trained person who can make something spectacular out of pineapple and mushroom to do?

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That got me to thinking about how to eat healthier on a budget. There are several ways that I know to do this and this week I wanted to share some alternatives that have worked for me:

1.) Trader Joe’s is your friend: This isn’t to say that there aren’t a ton of other grocery store options but I’m particularly a fan of this chain because:

  • They offer an array of antibiotic-free meat and poultry
  • Their products are sourced from Non-GMO ingredients
  • TJ’s buys direct from suppliers whenever possible; this results in direct savings passed onto the customer. Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices for the customer, so TJ’s decided not to even bother with that.
  • Last but not least, my favorite: TJ’s has its own snazzy iPhone app #winning

2.) Buy frozen: Frozen fruits and veggies often are half the price of fresh, in some cases have an infinite shelf life when kept in freezer, and you can buy in bulk to get more of a discount.

  • Also because time is money, buying frozen is great because the produce is usually pre-washed and pre-cut, which saves preparation time.

3.) Buy generic: I like Kellogg’s frosted flakes as much as the next person and I know you get what you pay for but in the spirit of eating to live instead of living to eat, raw foods like rice, pasta, eggs, milk, etc. most times taste just like branded foods once you get used to them, and buying store brand will save you money on packaging and advertising.

4.) Go Local: Try a local farmers market, pick your own farm, farm sharing service or food co-operative

5.) Choose wisely: Many stores have websites that allow you to see what’s in stock and on sale. Take advantage of the Internet to find what’s on sale/special this week. Also other websites like the Food Network offers a myriad of suggestions (i.e. Healthy Foods Under $3) pertaining to buying healthier food alternatives.

I’m sure there are other guaranteed ways to eat healthy on a tight budget. If you’re reading this, do you have any healthy eating on a budget tips that you use? if so please let us know…after all sharing is caring 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Food, Marist IMC

 

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Faux Fried Rice: Making Cauliflower Cool Again

Once upon time (actually not long ago)…

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Growing up I was quite the picky eater, and if we’re being totally honest, I still am. Picky to the point of, I eat pineapple but hate pineapple juice, I don’t eat certain colored foods, and here lately I’m refusing to eat any four-legged animals. Its weird I know! To add to the foolishness, I have embarked on a wellness journey of losing some necessary weight and getting back in shape. To accomplish this, I’m following the Whole30 plan, and let me tell you, it’s no joke!

  • The good: I’m learning how to cook most unique things
  • The bad: No processed foods (bye bye weekend Cheez-Its binge)
  • The ugly: No gummi bears for thirty whole days. Shoot me now!

As a result of all those restrictions and my love-hate relationship with food, I had to force myself to step outside the weirdo box and try new things. Also, Whole30 requires that I learn to use and eat vegetables in ways I never thought possible. Recently a friend of mine introduced me to (Cauliflower) fried rice and it wasn’t half bad; actually it’s just as good as, if not better than the real thing.

 Faux Shrimp Fried Rice Ingredients

  • 1-2 tbsp ghee (I like Trader Joes brand but any brand will do)
  • Veggies: handful each of diced onion, shallots, chives, carrots, garlic (feel free to get fancy with yours by adding peas, mushrooms, bean sprouts, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 head of (organic) cauliflower
  • 1 cup vegetable stock (may use beef or chicken if you’re into land animals)
  • 1 tbsp of Savory Fines Herbs and Trader Joes garlic salt
  • 2 whisked eggs

To make cauliflower a more rice-like texture, you’ll need to grind it up. I’ve heard the easiest way to do this is to use a food processor. However if you’re like me and don’t own those “rich people” type of appliances, you can use a grater or blender.

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Sautee all the vegetables until the onions are a lucent.

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The method for cooking cauliflower rice is similar to regular rice. All you need to do is add grated cauliflower, ginger, broth/stock, and seasoning to the frying pan or wok with already sautéing vegetables. To incorporate the eggs, pour them into the center of the hot pan. As they begin to scramble, begin mixing them in with the rest of the ingredients.

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Lastly add in pre-cooked meat that you’ve selected. I’ve chosen shrimp and langostino tails but chicken, beef, or even pork would work well.

Don’t skimp on the servings because remember its cauliflower, you can eat enormous amounts and not feel guilty because lets face it, nobody ever got fat from excessive amounts of cauliflower.

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TGIF – Chicken Apple Meatballs

TGIF Followers!
One of my favorite things in life is chicken-apple sausage. However traditional sausage is usually very processed and full of preservatives and other things that quite possibly might be the reason why children these days have Triple-D boobs at the age of 9. I decided to try making something similar without all the crap. I chose cupcake sized meatballs because i’m not in any sort of denial about how greedy I am, therefore I need pre-fixed portions of food…even the “good for you” food. These easy meatballs provide the perfect portion-controlled balance of sweet and savory. This is an experiment and my first time making these so lets pause briefly for a prayer that they turn out ok…

FYI I used a combination of 1/2lb of 98% fat free ground chicken and 1/2lb of ground turkey. You can use which ever meat your heart desires (beef, pork, bison, etc.)

Ingredients
▶Extra virgin olive oil for spray
▶1/2 lb ground chicken
▶1/2 lb ground turkey
▶1 large or 2 small red apple (peeled and diced finely)
▶Medium onion, diced finely (about 1/4 cup diced)
▶2 garlic cloves, minced Pantry
▶1 egg, lightly-beaten
▶1/4 cup almond meal
▶1 tbsp honey
▶3/4-1tsp each of: garlic powder, jamaican jerk blend, cayenne pepper, Trader Joes 21seasoning salute & fine herbs from Savory Spice

▶(Note: Season to your likeness, the above are just my faves…you perhaps can you use simple sea salt and pepper if you prefer)

Directions
▶Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

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▶Preheat oven to 375 degrees
▶Lightly spray cupcake tins
▶Form mixture into meatballs w/your hands or use ice cream scooper

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▶Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until meatballs are lightly-browned on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

Perfect as a breakfast side with eggs & Paleo oatmeal or lunch with mashed sweet Potatos

Side Note: I’m thinking it will be a good idea next time to brown on the stove-top before baking in the oven…hmmmm

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Food

 

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