I'm still at 317#. Sorta disappointing but not surprising. I think I will be happy when I get down past this number because I was here once before and went back up. Not, Not, Not again! :o) Since Hubby has a stressful presentation/evaluation Friday night we have been getting up at 6AM instead of 5:30 AM and he is not exercising this week, just to make sure that he gets well rested. However, I have gotten up at 6AM and exercised Monday and Tuesday and I can't believe the difference that half hour makes. When your body is actually awake, it's much easier to exercise!
Last week I began discussion on ways to use an existing budget or even trim your budget while purchasing and eating more healthy foods. The first step for me is beginning to organize - my pantry, my cookbooks (next week's discussion), menus and shopping lists. I am still working on that and part of my delay in getting started is that we are still transitioning. We are still seeking new sources for certain types of foods and trying new to us recipes, so it may be a month or two until we get into a settled rhythm.
I always love it when God is teaching you something and then you get bombarded from all sides with the same information - you hear someone else talking about it, you find a blog or website, you read another book etc - it is like He is confirming your steps. So I was delighted this week to read the series at Storybook Woods grocery budgeting. Post 1 covers creating your own grocery price book to help you see where to spend money. At the top of each post you can follow the links to the next post. The 2nd post covers inexpensive ways to add flavor, the 3rd covers meat, the 4th bulk foods and the 5th talks about treats and splurging! She has a neat blog, enjoy looking around.
Another thing I learned from my Grandma Hopkins was to use your resources wisely and that stores and businesses pay money to provide services and benefits that you would be foolish to ignore! So today's post is going to talk about free resources for finding good and healthy recipes and information for improving your health.
1. Your own family/Your own kitchen: Today you can buy a cookbook for just about any imaginable diet, food or interest. But Deborah pointed out to me that when she began cooking gluten free and casein free for her son, she just used her Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and adapted the recipe. Many recipes you already have in your recipe box, sitting on your shelf in recipe books or are on your coffee table in magazines. Also, don't forget to look on the back of food packages and wrapping. Bob's Red Mill, which are healthy products, often have delicious recipes printed on the back of the package. Remember, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush!
2. Your Local Library: I am willing to bet that even a small town library has cookbooks. Many libraries today are even online. When you are a busy Mom with small children who don't like to be quiet, an online library is priceless! I go online, order a book that I want and it is put on the shelf with my name and hubby can pick it up for me on his way home from work. This is also an excellent way to preview books. Sometimes you hear great things about a book and it turns out to be something different than you thought. Noone really wants to pay $20 or more and only be able to use one recipe. Also remember, most libraries can get things through inter library loan if they do not have it in their own collection.
3. Your Grocery Store Home Economist: Most stores of any size will hire their own home economist to provide nutrition information, recipes and innovative uses for their products. Some of these recipes may be adapted, but don't look a gift horse in the mouth. A few stores will even have an economist who has a desk set up in the store and will be there at certain times to answer questions. Look for racks displaying recipe cards. I have generally found these in the produce and meat departments. Also remember too look online for your favorite store. They may have web available recipes. For instance you can register to use the free recipes at Whole Foods Market even if you do not have one in your vicinity.
4. Your County Extension Office: I just googled and found mine and I am looking into taking some of the food preserving classes. You can also do master gardening and other things through the extension. My extension offers several free demonstrations as well as ones with a $3 class fee. I can almost always come up with $3 even if I have to raid the piggy bank! These classes will give information and recipes.
5. Potluck Cookbooks/Friends: Our church has a cookbook of recipes many of the ladies have donated and I have received this type of cookbooks from other friends as gifts. You might be surprised at what you can find. Again, many recipes may need adapting but the information is fun and varied. Don't forget to ASK your friends. Most people are willing to share.
6. Yahoogroups: Go to Yahoo Groups and search. You can find a group on almost any topic. Recently I signed up for the whole-grain baking list and have learned a lot. This is all free information. Don't forget to check the files sections in your group for recipes and information.
7. Used Books: If you find something you like it can often be purchased used...sometimes good as new! I have purchased books at thrift shops, garage sales, eBay and sellers at Amazon. I don't have a local book store, so I use Amazon. Don't forget to use 40% off coupons from JoAnn's and Michael's for some resources.
8. Magazines: A lot of grocery chains are publishing their own seasonal magazines which are free. But if you don't want to buy a cookbook and you do want to learn something or have recipes, magazines can be a good alternative. If you find one you really like you can subscribe and receive it on a regular basis. One that I really like is Cooks Illustrated which appeals to the geeky/science part of my brain. It provides good reference information but also explains things in lay language. Everyday Food, a Martha publication usually has healthy recipes that are a little more normal than her other cookbooks and magazines. She has a wealth of information but sometimes her recipes are complex and don't turn out any better than a simpler one. Everyday Food is inexpensive and at most grocery checkouts. Don't forget to also check your favorite magazines website to see if they have additional recipes.
9. Your Local Newspaper: Most local newspapers will have a food and cooking section. Recipes in here are free if you already subscribe to the paper for other purposes or inexpensive if you pick up a paper on certain days and times (which varies according to your area). Libraries usually have newspaper subscriptions as well as many papers being available on line at no cost. Newspapers are another source for access to a home economist.
10. The Internet: This last source is probably obvious since, here you are! There is no human way that I could cover all the resources on the web, but I will post a few that I have enjoyed recently. Don't forget to check the link section on your favorite food blogs.
Bob's Red Mill
Whole Food's Market
King Arthur Flour
A Year in Bread
Tammy's Recipes Blog
Mother Earth News Article Archives
My Journey To Wholeness
Gluten Free Girl
Book of Yum (gluten free)
Please let me know if you have any other resources that help you save money on groceries in general or in cooking healthy. I'd also love to hear how any of the rest of you are doing on your goals! Thanks for reading.