Salad dressing is a fun way to spice up food, and it’s great for foods other than salad.
Salad dressings make great marinades for meat. What I love to use the most are vinaigrettes to marinate chicken or beef. For pork a fruity raspberry vinaigrette works fairly well. A vinaigrette soaks more into the meat you’re trying to marinate. They are also better for when you need to travel with the marinating meat. Cream based salad dressings are better for home and it may take longer for the flavor to seep into your meat.
Sandwiches are often the old stand by of any lunch. We don’t like them quite so much because they can often lack creativity. We also avoid creativity on the off chance our creation won’t taste that great and then the food could be wasted. Salad dressings are a safe way to experiment with sandwiches which consist of meat, cheese, and/ or vegetables. They can extra flavor to a sandwich, where mayo just keeps the bread from being dry and sticking to the roof of your mouth. Italian dressing (creamy or in vinegar form) can add an extra kick to your lunch time stand by. Or replace the cheese in your sandwich with a blue cheese dressing. Salad dressings add a lot more options to sandwich making.
We use salad dressings for dipping sauces all the time for items such as hot wings and pizza. They can also be used for other items. Tater tots or french fries go great with honey mustard. Thousand island salad dressing goes quite well with fish sticks.
When making a casserole, sometimes a salad dressing can flavor your mix better than a dry seasoning. Salad dressings mix better into casserole ingredients. Plus you can change the flavor of the casserole by changing the salad dressing. This means you can cook the same thing more often and have different tasting results.
With Other Sauces
Sometimes it’s fun to mix two sauces to see if you can get a taste you like better. Ketchup with mayo or with mustard is one example. For the bold, trying different mixes of salad dressings can be fun and add a new flavor to your list of enhancing ingredients.
Well, of course!
It’s the end of March and I’m just now discovering that it has been National Nutrition Month. How did that not make it onto my calendar? Did you know that? Okay, so occasions like this are obviously not big national events, but who says that they can’t be great excuses to make some positive changes in your lifestyle?
Even in these last few days of March, you can begin making some choices that, if you stick with them, could become habits for the remainder of the year and beyond. Here are just a few ideas of little choices you can make to improve the nutrition you and your family get on a daily basis.
1. Snacks. Choose fruit, nuts, and veggies instead of prepackaged foods for snacks. This is an easy one to do. Just pack some grapes, an apple, baby carrots, raisins, or cashews in your children’s lunch instead of that bag of chips or gummies. Do the same for yourself. When you are tempted to go the pantry for chips, crackers, or cookies, grab an apple instead.
2. Drinks. Stop drinking soda. Would you ever think to consume 9 teaspoons of sugar in just one sitting? Probably not. That’s what you’re doing every time you drink a can of soda. This may be a good time to stop. Does it sound impossible? Just begin cutting out one per week. If you only drink one a day, that’ll be easy. I know people who drink multiple cans/cups of soda each day. Replace it with water, juice, or better yet lemon water!
3. Green Veggies. Try to include green veggies somewhere in your meals each day. Throw some steamed spinach or broccoli into a smoothie. Make a kale salad. My latest favorite is brussels sprouts. Roast some of those and mix in a little garlic, parsley butter sauce and it’s easy to forget about anything else on the menu!
It seems to be a fancy way to drink water when you’re out to eat. It seems like it’s a good thing to do because you vaguely remember hearing or reading that it’s good for something. But, you don’t do it every day. If you are like me, you’ve thought about adding lemon to your water and you’ve even done it when it’s convenient and you remember to do it. But, it has not been a regular part of your routine.
Well, in case you don’t remember why it’s so good to add lemon to your water, here’s a little list of reasons why it’s so good for us to do.
1. Digestion. Because lemon juice has a similar structure to our stomach’s juices, it aids digestion by helping flush out toxins from the digestive tract. It helps relieve indigestion and bloating and hydrates the colon.
2. Immunity. Lemon helps boost immunity because it is rich in vitamin C. The vitamin C in lemon also helps our bodies to absorb more iron, which also strengthens our immunity. Lemons also have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, to help fight off colds and flu. People who drink lemon water daily are actually less likely to get sick to begin with.
3. Energy. Lemon water (especially in first thing in the morning) gives an instant energy boost. Who can’t use that… at any time of the day?
4. Alkalize. Lemons are of the most alkalizing food sources available. Most of what Americans eat on the standard American diet, like processed foods, sugar, and white flour, make our bodies very acidic. Too much acidity can cause obesity, inflammation, and other more serious diseases. Lemon water is an easy, tasty way to prevent too much acidity.
5. Antioxidants. The antioxidants contained in lemons help alleviate the effects of aging and reduce the risk of several types of cancer. This alone is a great reason to start drinking lemon water every day!
Everyone love a holiday that fills us with fun and hope. Even if you aren’t religious Easter can signify a renewal of nature and a a time of beautiful change. Like every holiday, decorations are part of the celebrating spirit. We just don’t want to over do it too much. Here are a few ideas to get your house into the Easter spirit without killing your budget.
Go to Amazon.com and look up Easter decorations from lowest price to highest. They have stickers, wall clings, plastic chicks, bunnies, and eggs. They have a big variety of colors and sizes. The only problem you may run into is shipping, but often when you order $35 or more in product you get free shipping. Add something you need along with your Easter decorations to make up the $35 total.
Grocery stores have a huge variety of pastel candy and Easter themed candy. Get a couple bags and fill your candy bowls with these colorful gems. They are really pretty and really inexpensive. You’ll also have something to offer your guests when they come to visit. Just refill the dish when they leave.
Grocery stores also carry small inexpensive stuffed Easter bunnies and spring ducks. These are great decorations, especially when you have smaller children. The can pick them up, throw them around, and play with them. You just need to pull them out from under the bed and return them to a decorative position each night.
Fake flowers can be found at dollar stores and craft stores. They are bright and colorful, don’t fill your home with allergens, and can be used long after Easter has come and gone. They don’t require much maintenance. Maybe a little dusting every now and then. Best of all if your toddler decided to trim them, most fake flowers can be put back together.
As a thrifty shopper who may also be a couponer, grocery shopping is all but a mindless activity. So considering the day of the week and the times of the day that suit you best will help to alleviate any additional stressors on these weekly trips.
On what day should I do my shopping? If you are looking for specific advertised sales, you’ll need to consider going on the first day or two of the sale to make sure you get what you want. If the sale starts on the weekend, though, consider waiting for Monday to make your stop. Have you been to the grocery store on a Saturday or Sunday? It can be crazy! I avoid it whenever possible.
What time of the day is best for shopping? Because I have young children, I have gotten accustomed to shopping either early in the day or very late (once the rush hour crowds are long gone and tucking themselves in to bed). As my children have gotten a bit older, it’s not much of a challenge to take them with me. So, I’m not going shopping at 6am and 10pm anymore. However, I still tend to go no later than about 11am.
Other special days. I tend to avoid shopping on the day before a big holiday, like Easter or Christmas, because I can’t stand shopping with the masses. However, if you don’t mind, you can sometimes get some great deals on the day before a big day like that. I’ve heard about deals I’ve missed when I’ve gone into the store the day after a holiday. That said, I’ve also gotten amazing deals on gift and food items on the day after holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, figure out what deals you want, whether you can withstand the crowds, and get those deals.
When do you prefer to do your shopping?
It’s the number one new year’s resolution because it’s, among other things, not very easy to do. It’s not the weight loss itself that’s difficult, it’s the changes, the choices we have to change that we prefer to keep as they are, that make the process difficult. But, if you think of weight loss in the context of baby steps, then everyone can do the following three things and lose weight this year (even with just about one quarter of the year behind us)!
1. Baby steps. Make one healthy choice this week. Instead of having dessert every night, cut it out during the week or on the weekend. The following week, make an additional change while keeping the first one. Maybe you can eat an apple instead of a bag of chips as part of your lunch.
This concept is backed by a study done by the National Institute of Health, which showed that people lost more weight and kept it off for longer periods of time when they made small, gradual changes to their lifestyles.
2. Skip commercials. I know that technology now often allows us to fast forward through commercials. However, for those of us who still have commercials to sit through, take the time to get your body moving. If you don’t see commercials anymore, just hit that pause button for a minute or two for a workout. Anyone can do a 1-2 minute workout, right? Do as many jumping jacks as you can in a minute. Attempt a few push ups. Jump rope.
Did you know that adding five minutes of exercise (cardiovascular) translates into burning 30 to 50 calories? Burning that many calories per day means potentially losing 4 pounds in a year. Just imagine what 10, 15, or 20 minutes a day could do.
3. Make your own lunch. Don’t go to the vending machine, or the fast food restaurant, or even the grocery store for a something quick and easy for lunch. Make your own. You’ll cut calories, sodium, and sugar because processed foods are full of all those obstacles to your weight loss. You’ll save money and feel better as a result.
What baby steps have you taken to lose weight?
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I suppose that’s true considering that before all our modern conveniences we had still to do all the things that we do now. Don’t misunderstand me. I love modern conveniences as much as the next person, but I have often wondered how much money I could save by applying some of the camping practices I use to my life every now and then.
It Inspires Creativity
Outdoor living makes us think out of the box. We have come up with numerous ways to cook without an electric or gas stove. We have found ways to keep water out of our tents. We have found ways to make water that is dirty clean enough to drink. There is no limit to our creativity when we take ourselves away from our modern conveniences.
How does this help us save money? These creative methods used during camping can also be used in our backyards to cook. We can make tin foil dinners to cook in the back yard fire pit or in the family fireplace. We can use clothes lines or drying racks instead of an electric dryer. Imagine how much money that could save us in electricity.
Campers usually have other skills as well, particularly when it comes to finding food. Campers learn how to forage for edible plants. Some campers hunt. Other campers like to meditate in the form of fishing. Hunters often even learn how to dry meat and prepare food for storing for a rainy day. These skills have the ability to cut down our food budgets.
Lowers Our Luxury Threshold
The comforts of home, such as a mattress made of springs and stuffing, suddenly become a bed fit for a king when you have been sleeping on the ground in a sleeping bag all weekend. Things we take for granted on a day to day basis (like indoor plumbing) suddenly are an appreciated luxury. When we find the every day things in our lives have become a luxury we are less inclined to want to replace them with the latest, greatest product. We are instead, content to sit in our air conditioning for a while and enjoy what we have.
It’s that time. Easter is just two weeks away. I always feel a little bit of pressure when I see all the cute pre-made Easter baskets because I grew up getting them every year… and LOVED them. Now, though, I don’t want my children to have all that sugar and all those chemicals and preservatives in a sweet little basket that I give them for what I believe is the most significant holiday of our faith. As you can see, I have issues on multiple levels! So, I think about what I can put together/make as an alternative… every year. I’m not naturally geared to make arts and crafts. So, I’m sad to say that I have often done very little.
This year I’m planning differently. I do plan on an Easter egg hunt. My plan is to place one small piece of candy and a note that reads something like, “He is risen!” inside each egg. That’s the minimum. Anyone can do that. Therefore, I can do it.
Meanwhile, I’m also contemplating making a basket. A healthier one.
Here are the components I’m considering for their baskets.
1. The chocolate bunny. I remember chocolate bunnies that were solid and ones that were hollow. My goal is to find a small hollow dark chocolate bunny. If they are going to have it, it may as well be a little bit of the good chocolate. I can live with that.
2. Crème filled eggs. Crème filled eggs won’t make the cut on these baskets. Can you say, “Way too much sugar.”
3. Plastic Easter Eggs. Like the eggs in the Easter egg hunt, these eggs will contain one or two pieces of candy. Probably all natural, no preservative jelly beans from Trader Joe’s.
4. Peeps. Peeps will also not make the cut. Thankfully, my children have never had them and won’t miss them.
5. Toys. I plan to throw in some colorful whistles or flutes, or other inexpensive toys, and perhaps some sidewalk chalk.
How do you plan to make a thrifty, healthier Easter basket this year?