Thursday, June 23, 2011

The value of sweat and cheap eats

I think right now the biggest lesson I am learning is how very much exercise works to combat anxiety ! I go along, de junking, mentally prepping for the actual packing, let my mind spin all the possibilities and potentials, find myself getting very nervous about several what if's, and then having them all disappear with a good session of sweating with The Wii. It's a brilliant thing that I have never been able to experience. It's not that I have never exercised or engaged in heavy physical activity, but rather that perhaps for the first time in my life my adrenal glands are working and I can actually sweat and remove the stress hormones from my body through sweat.I remember one of my PE teachers telling us that we had to run a mile in so many minutes, and after working up a sweat from this and showering I would feel like a new woman. I did not- even with running a three minute mile I never could sweat, and thought the whole process was rather stupid.

As I worked yesterday I began formulating a list of cheap eats that utilized things we have in the freezer and cabinet OR that can be bought for "cheap", but yet are still healthy. We are in the summer months and fresh produce tends to be inexpensive ( our Farmers Markets have not gotten the idea that they are supposed to carry actual fruits and veggies- did you know that  Avon and Mary Kay are crops ???)They may sell a handful of fresh herbs and fresh baked bread, but that is where it ends. Considering this, grocery stores are our options and thankfully we have some great ethnic produce stores and Aldi's carries a pretty good selection of common fresh produce.Aldi's do vary as to their selections- in our area they are getting to be more numerous than Starbucks, and I think it makes us have a better distribution center then perhaps others. You can always purchase fresh apples, oranges, grapes, onions, bananas, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, carrots,cucumbers, mushrooms and avocados there. They always carry frozen broccoli, broccoli mix, green beans , blueberries and strawberries . These are not the end all beat all of produce selections, but they will keep you healthy. The fresh selections includes other options according to season at very low prices, so it can be a pleasant surprise shopping there. Here is the master list I will be working from for meals

whole roast chicken ( one roast chicken can stretch to 3 meals)
Quiche ( refrigerator Velcro that uses lots of odd little bits in a cheap protein)
chicken and noodles- leftover roast chicken
cabbage fry( a brilliant Burmeese dish- sauteed cabbage and egg)
cornbread with creamed chicken ( non dairy creamed using thickened homemade stock)
tuna salad
chicken salad sandwiches- leftover roast chicken
fried egg sandwiches
spaghetti with oil , garlic and tuna
meatball and onion subs ( ground turkey)- sauted onions make up for the flavor lost when it's minus cheese
polenta with chicken or ground turkey and veggies- again, refrigerator Velcro
polenta with sausage and peppers
sesame peanut noodles - peanut butter never had it so good
chicken loaf- leftover roast chicken transformed
ground turkey meat loaf- meatloaf with ground turkey chubs
coconut rice- brown rice cooked in coconut milk and seasoned with cloves,cinnamon and turmeric
veggie and chicken lo mien - a little meat, a little pasta, lots of veggies
home made pizza- redefined without cheese or tomato sauce ( grilled onions, meat, white sauce)
sweet and sour turkey meatballs
carrot raisin salad- always appreciated
Cole slaw- cheap cabbage in a sweet sour dressing
tossed salad with fruit- varies according to what is on sale this week
polenta with eggs- healthier than pancakes
quinoa muffins- cooked quinoa is included in a muffin recipe for the protein
hard boiled eggs
overnight oats-oats, some form of milk, fruit and nuts set in a container overnight and eaten
oatmeal- the old standard
peanut butter and apple sandwiches
It always feel better when you have a plan to pull from ! Any of these will be served with veggies or a salad, and accompanied by either water or home made ice tea. If lemons go on sale, lemonade is another option. I will round things out snack wise by buying boxes of cereal at Aldi's ( very affordable , less calories and more satisfaction than cookies) , cheese sticks for the boy and baking either brownies or a pound cake for a weekend treat. Both are easy, use cabinet ingredients, get several servings and can be frozen. Why consider a treat ? We include a treat on either Saturday or Sunday ( lately it has been non- dairy ice cream , which gets very expensive), and to cut out any and all "fun" foods quickly makes one feel like you have stepped away from "real" life. It is not the once a week treat that gets us into trouble, but rather when they become an every day occurrence.

I think we are going to make it !


Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

You will definitely make it. It's a good plan to have a master list to work from. Our farmer's market does sell food, but there are a few flower booths, meat booths and an Amish booth which sells bread, candy, and cookbooks.

Rachelle said...

Your meal plan is great. It's always cheaper on the pocket book when you have a plan in place and a list. For your home made pizza have you ever considered pesto sauce. You can make your own for cheap as to make sure there's no cheese/dairy in it and it can be frozen so it doesn't spoil. My favorite pizza is red onion, peppers, mushrooms and pesto. Just a suggestion for your next meal plan. We have a few farmers markets around here. Most of them carry fresh produce as well as baked goods and crafts.