For me, there is nothing more comforting then bread. Soft, fluffy bread is the BEST with everything. You can dip it, spread it or use it as a side. There is no denying how versatile bread truly is. I can remember making my very first loaf of bread about six years ago, long before becoming vegan, and it was the most exciting thing to watch. These (what seems like) random ingredients, mix and bake and become this deliciously incredible thing called bread. Or in this case 4 Ingredient Flatbread.
I am most certainly addicted, and it’s that addiction that has brought you my favorite 4 Ingredient Vegan Flatbread Recipe today. It’s actually a very simple tortilla recipe, but when you have it a bit thicker, you can make a great flatbread with it! The thinner you roll it, the crispier it gets when cooked! This recipe is so versatile, you can use it for so many things besides your standard flatbread.
This dough can be incredibly sticky depending on your weather. Sometimes I find I need a little more flour, and other times I am fine with going exactly by the recipe. After needing the dough together, it should feel soft and spongy. Bouncing back when pressed. Now if you are lucky, and you have a tortilla press, this task is easy. Otherwise, you will need some good old fashioned elbow grease and a rolling pin (or bottle)
This recipe makes four large flatbreads roughly the size of a dinner plate, or 8 smaller flatbreads great for taco Tuesday or tacos in general. Keeping in mind that bread is elastic to a certain extent and it will shrink slightly when you stop rolling it, and it will shrink again when you cook it.
With summer vacations end just around the corner, and back to school season VERY evident in the stores around here. Now is the time to think about a quick, simple and budget-friendly breakfasts. My go-to growing up was either cereal or muffins. Let’s be honest, cereal can be ok but muffins are just delicious flavor carriers. There is absolutely nothing better than sticking some fall flavors in a muffin. By flavors, I mean “butter”, jams etc. There is nothing better than a moist muffin with great texture and a topping…or two. That’s why I adapted an old favorite of mine and turned my oh so traditional zucchini muffin recipe into delicious Oatmeal Date Muffins. These muffins are easy to make and have pretty basic common pantry ingredients.
There are affiliate links in this post. They don’t cost you anything, however, if you choose to use them, you will be helping me create more awesome recipes for you!
The best thing about these muffins, is they take very little time to make. They are naturally sweetened with both dates and maple syrup and a dozen muffins only cost about $9 That’s 75 cents per muffin! I don’t personally know anywhere, where you can get a muffin for cheaper than a dollar something. Not only that, but you know everything in the things you make. There are no surprises in this recipe. Besides how moist and delicious they are.
This quick and delicious breakfast staple is a nutritiously delicious prep and go breakfast or snack. Naturally sweetened with dates and maple syrup, it also makes these sweet treats good for the waist line as well.
They even freeze well. When freezing them, all you want to do is put them in a freezer safe container (think eco and use a silicone reusable bag or “freezer box“) It’s so easy then to pop a few out when you want them, and either let thaw in open air or microwave. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
There is something so exciting about fall baking. Cinnamon and dates are just a few of the many fall flavors I love. I can’t wait to share more recipes with you. My goal is to share recipes that have ingredients that are in season and as local as possible. Taking you out of the grocery store, and into your local farmers market or even your balcony or backyard.
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So you want to start growing your own groceries. I bet you have seen many different things online. From “how to grow vegetables from kitchen scraps” to “check out my food forest”. Now you are probably trying to figure out HOW to garden. Whether you have some land or no land, you can grow at least some of your own produce. You can check out last years growing post for more ideas on that. Today lets talk about the 3 mistakes that most new gardeners make. At one time or another, we all seem to make the same mistakes when starting out. So let’s talk about them, and maybe it can save you from making those same mistakes too.
Let me tell you when you are super excited about growing your own food and it doesn’t go the way you planned it. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. It’s just a learning curve, like everything else in life. So I looked back over the first few years of my gardening and cringed over my obvious mistakes. Then I started noticing a pattern. Other people new to gardening were doing the exact same things. So for the safety of our sanity, and the health of our plants. Let me tell you about the 3 mistakes that most new gardeners make, at one time or another.
Not Knowing Your Area
Before you even start growing anything (especially outdoors) there are a few things you want to know first. What zone you live in. Where you are planting or placing your containers. How much sun you get and for how long. All of this will play a HUGE factor in what you can grow. For instance, as hard as I try I will never have a long enough warm weather season here in Canada to grow avocados unless I bring the tree inside (which is doable, and a plan of mine down the road).
So the first thing you want to do is decide where you want your plants to go. If you (like me) live in an apartment, and grow indoors or on your patio/balcony. Then you won’t really have much of a choice. However, if you have a yard, then you need to decide where you want to place your garden. From their, you can tell if that area gets full or partial sun, and how long it gets sun for an average day. This is very important to the success of your plants. While leafy greens like lettuce and spinach like cooler temperatures, plants like tomatoes and peppers need the warmth of a full sun summer.
Along with knowing your area, you also need to find your first and last frost date every year. While cool weather crops like some herbs and leafy greens are pretty resilient to slight frost, your warm weather loving tomatoes, and pepper plants aren’t. So those are the types of plants you want to start indoors. But that is a whole nother blog post that I will get into later on! Once you know your area, then you can research what plants work best in your hardiness zone. I use and recommend the Farmers Almanac website for finding your hardiness zone. Then from their, you can go shopping, and be easily able to read on the seed or plant labels whether that plant will be successful in your area and conditions.
Over Crowding Your Pots or Garden Beds
My second biggest mistake my first year of gardening on my balcony, was overcrowding. I just wanted to grow EVERYTHING and thought it would all be a success. It didn’t work out that way, because I overcrowded the plants and used containers that were too small to hold a proper root system for most plants. Completely ignoring the information on the seed and plant labels.
You can’t do this, you have to focus your attention on ALL the information on the plant label and information tags. Otherwise, what happens is your plant gets root bound. Which means that it isn’t getting enough room to breathe and take in nutrients. This starts to kill the roots, while at the same time suffocating the plant itself. You kind of need oxygen along with the other nutrients for the plant to grow and produce the foods you want to eat.
THIS. This is the number one killer of plants. I swear! It is. I still have issues with doing this sometimes. Overwatering causes the roots to rot, and the plant to grow mold and other nasty things, while underwatering obviously dries the roots out. You can come back from underwatering sometimes though. So if that’s ever the case, don’t give up entirely.
A good trick to use is sticking your finger in the dirt up to your first knuckle. This allows you to get a good idea of how moist the soil is, without disturbing the roots. You don’t want the soil super drenched or dry. It should be moist all the way down the first knuckle. When you first start to feel this drying out is when you want to rewater again. This allows the soil to constantly have moisture allowing for good root growth and the growth of foliage.
Once you get the hang of how each plant acts and what it needs. You will be well on your way to an amazing and fruitful grocery garden. Possibly even bypassing these 3 mistakes that most new gardeners make.
Elf Cosmetics is a go-to staple. A company that prides itself on being 100% cruelty-free and has an amazingly high quality, budget-friendly vegan makeup line, that I quite honestly have been using for years. Long before going vegan myself. I have so many go-to favorites. I want to share them all with you. So if you are new to veganism, or cruelty-free makeup. This can be a great budget-friendly starting point for you. So here are my absolute favorite ELF Cosmetics makeup products.
ELF Cosmetics Ride or Die Favorites
Their lipsticks are honestly great, I have purchased many on sale for under $1, and I do have a habit of going for nude shades and pinks, with the occasional red. My absolute favorite lipsticks of theirs though, are always matte or creme. I love the slight glisten of a creme, but I feel like matte lipsticks have more staying power which is what I tend to look for.
I was so excited when I learned of ELF Cosmetics eyeshadow pallets. I have always loved their eyeshadows, but there is something so much easier about a pallet. You have more choice in a sleeker packaging. My absolute favorite pallets to this day (I got them around Christmas time) are the Everyday Smokey pallet and the Sunset Prism Pallet. Everyday Smokey has a gorgeous collection of 10 neutral/smokey shades ranging from white to a charcoal black. While the Sunset Prism pallet has 6 shadows with gorgeous metallic prismatic shades. There is a reason this is the sunset prism pallet. These shades, for the most part, mimic the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The shadows in both pallets are quite velvety and luxurious feeling, and the color pay off is absolutely stunning. You get what you see in the pan and more.
Lastly, but not exactly something a girl that loves makeup would want to live without, the eyelash curler. I have yet to honestly try any other eyelash curler out simply for the fact that the one I have from ELF Cosmetics works so well. It’s easy to use, sleek and does the simple task it is meant to do!
E. LIPS. F
I have 3 current favorites from ELF that are my absolute. Two are from the mineral lipstick line. Nicely Nude and Runway Pink have soft pigments shades of pink. The feel is buttery and soft. They do tend to come off quite easily while drinking or eating, but honestly. They are so natural looking, you can barely tell. That is just one of the reasons I love pink and nude/neutral shades. You don’t always have to focus on them. My third favorite is a new (to me) matte lip pencil in Praline. This came with a matching lip liner as well. They are both still creamy a luxurious feeling on the lips but instead of my typical creme format, this set is a matte finish. I absolutely LOVE the look of a matte finish. I love glitz and shine, but most days I like my makeup super subtle, and this definitely does the job! There is just something about a matte lip that makes it POP! Even if it is not the main focus.
I won’t lie, and I’m sure you can tell… but I went through a mineral makeup phase for a bit, so I also have some mineral blush in “joy” that I use quite regularly. It has a stunning slightly shimmering dusty rose color. I feel like the more I blend it the more beautiful it gets. It comes in a sifter pot which makes everything so much easier to deal with, and the texture and payoff are tremendous. My other favorite face product is the ALL OVER STICK in Pink Lemonade. Not only does it have an absolutely gorgeous color to it, but it smells so delicious! You can use it literally anywhere. I LOVE using it as a base on my eyes, as well as a highlight on my cheekbones. both will always look amazing.
ELF Cosmetics is just one of those brands that prove you don’t have to pay a lot of money for a product that feels and looks like a high-end product. They’re packaging is kept simple and chic (no doubt to keep the cost down for us…thank you for that ELF) but it is also easily portable. So if you are looking for some great won’t break the bank makeup that doesn’t waste your money, is vegan and cruelty-free, then you have found a winner. I’ve been wearing ELF Cosmetics for years, and I wouldn’t drop a heartbeat before recommending them.
Do you remember in school when we would celebrate Earth Day? I remember cleaning up our schoolyard and even the nearest park. Assemblies would be had, and we would learn about our precious planet.A solitary resource that we have pretty much been treating like a garbage can. Littering, pollution, deforestation, and materialism have created the backbones of our very own destruction. To the point where predictions have been nearly set in stone that our oceans will be completely void of life by 2048. So for Earth Day, let’s find new ways to reuse, conserve, and treat our only home better. That’s why I’ve come up with 8 Simple Ways To Conserve Resources to Celebrate Earth Day. They might be obvious, but hopefully, you will see some new ideas to put to good use in your surroundings.
8 Simple Ways To Conserve Resources
Turn off the Lights
It’s so easy to walk into the room, turn the lights on and leave them on. Even when you leave. Especially at night. There are certain comforts and security we get from being in the light. However, not only does this hike our Electricity bills, but it forces a nonrenewable resource to pump more and more. Did you know that the simple act of turning a light on costs/uses the most energy? Just that simple act of flipping a switch or pressing a button to turn something on costs the most. So why constantly leave the lights on when you don’t need them. Turn the lights off when you leave a room. It’s amazing how easily most healthy eyes adjust to the darkness.
I did say some of these would be obvious, but a lot of people don’t really know WHAT can actually be recycled in their area. Your local municipality or city website should have a section on it that not only shows you WHEN pickup occurs but also WHAT they accept. Some will accept certain recyclables that others don’t, it depends if they can find a market or a company that is willing to recycle them for their project. This can also change over time as well. Sometimes, something that was once accepted, is no longer accepted because there is no market anymore. Or it can even be the opposite way around, something that wasn’t accepted is now accepted because they found a market to recycle the item. The biggest part of recycling though is to always make sure the things you are putting in the bin are thoroughly washed. There is now washing machine in the plants, and if they are terribly dirty or not up to their standards. They will just throw it away. This defeats the entire purpose. Here’s an amazing example out of a small community in Japan. We should all strive to one day be like this town.
Now when you think of the amount of food waste each home, store, and restaurant accumulates, it’s honestly sad. In your own home, you can make sure to lessen your food waste by a few simple changes.
Don’t throw out leftovers, if there is very little left, you can easily use most meals in another meal/snack later on in the day or week. You can create new dishes out of yesterdays side dish.There are honestly so many ways you can reuse leftovers, that throwing it out is honestly stupid.
Buy only what you need for the week. Meal plan (here’s a link to a recent post I did on meal planning) and decide on your grocery day. Then buy only what you need for that week. This allows you to get through what you have before wasting your money on something at the store, and inevitable throwing something in the trash because it’s not FRESH anymore.
Have a leftovers night. If you go Monday to Saturday making meals. There is bound to be a few meal options waiting in the fridge. Have one or two night a week where everyone chooses what they want to eat and just heat it, and eat it!
Don’t just throw your produce and everything willy-nilly in the trash bin. COMPOST, it’s super easy to do. Any organic plant materials just put them in a bag and when it’s full you can either get a composter yourself, find someone in your local area who composts and would take your produce, or your local municipality/city might actually have green bins for you to put your compost in. No matter what your situation, there is no excuse for throwing organic materials away instead of composting them. BONUS: You don’t have to take the trash out as often, because plant matter, tend to fill the majority of our trash bins anyhow. What can you compost? Pretty much anything organic and plant matter. So, produce (fruits and veg), coffee grounds, tea etc.
Stop Buying Brand New
Did you know that every time you buy something new from the store, that store then sends a notice back to the manufacturer that basically tells them MAKE MORE. Meanwhile, a similar or same item is up for sale on a local buy and sell group, or in your local thrift shop in perfectly good condition. If we look at these groups, sites, and stores FIRST, and then buy new when we absolutely have too. We will be sending a big message to manufacturers to cut down on manufacturing needlessly. Which will also decrease the pollution going into the air from these places as well. It’s pretty much a win-win.
Use Your Local Library
Libraries are not dead, they are not going extinct. Actually, they are far from it. How many times do you think you are going to read a book? Most people only read a book once. Then if you purchase it, it will sit around your home on a table or shelf for months or years collecting dust and having no use whatsoever. So what I like to do when I am interested in a book, is to go to the library and check it out. If they don’t have it in that particular library, they can usually request it from another supporting library. If it’s a brand new book out on the market, they can put a purchase request in to buy it. This way they are purchasing it for many people and it will be used for many years. It’s a bonus too, you don’t have that extra clutter
We all know we should, but who is actually paying attention to how long they are in the shower? I mean, I don’t know about you. But that is ME TIME. Which is why we need to find another form of “me time”. There are so many ways to cut down on water consumption.
Here are a few:
Cut down on shower time. Figure out what you actually have to do in the shower and then just.do.that. Easy peasy. It’s so easy to lose track of time. So if you are like me, then set a timer on your phone. When you hear it go off. You have 5 mins to finish what you are doing and TURN THAT WATER OFF.
Place a filled 2-liter bottle of water in your toilet tank. This will make your toilet use less water to do its job.
This is pretty common. Indoor plants are getting super popular, and there is a reason for it. They have been scientifically proven to improve our moods, as well as the air in our home (which is a bonus in the winter when we can’t open our windows. You can also plant plants on whatever outdoor surfaces you have as well. Flowers are great for the bee population (which is in a steady decline thanks to the pesticide and honey manufacturing industries), and you can easily plant produce and herbs as well to help lower your grocery bill a bit.
These are all incredibly easy ways to stop waste and start caring for the only planet we can inhabit. I would love to hear from you. What are you doing to curb waste in your home, work or other places? Let me know in the comments below. For the TL:DR video version click HERE.
There is something to be said for simplicity nowadays. When everything is so needlessly complicated with too many bells and whistles. It can be a relief to have something like dinner be simple and painless. What’s more painless than a one dish recipe? I started a challenge on my channel, simply titled Rice Cooker Recipes. My first video in that series is not a coincidence and it marries into this recipe very well. In the first video, I share with you how simple and easy it is to cook dry beans in a rice cooker. Something I have been doing in my slow cooker taking up to 8 hrs in the past, now takes me less than a half hour
Dry beans are a cheap and healthy protein that can keep you full and energized for long periods of time. So I always try to eat them at least once a day. That’s just another reason why this recipe is so amazing. It’s chalk full of protein from the beans, and good vitamins and minerals from the veggies. All combined in delicious saucy goodness.
Rice Cooker Recipes – One Pot Mexican Inspired Rice
This rice is creamy because of the starches from the rice and the avocado. Depending on what salsa you choose the spice for the dish are blended into the dish through that. So definitely pick a salsa you know you love! This dish would be great with a spicy jalapeno based salsa (for those of us that LOVE spicy!) If you are more of a purist with your salsa though and choose homemade, or a less runny chunky version. You are likely to have a lack of smoothness through the rice.
I am so glad I got my rice cooker when I did. It has saved me time and time again in the kitchen. I have so many rice cooker recipes I can’t wait to share with you.
It is without question, a guarantee. Every time I get new clothes I absolutely love. I will somehow find a hole in it, within a few wears. No questions asked. I don’t know how or why it just ALWAYS happens. If it’s not sooner it will be later. Plus as a plus size woman, my thighs rub together enough to create pilling, pulls and separations in the fabric on the inner thighs. So what do you do, when good clothes, costing good money are going to the wasteland? Instead of automatically replacing them. Here are 3 mending techniques to quickly and easily repair your clothes.
3 Mending Techniques – Saving Money On Clothes
Whether it be pants or shirts, a small hole can be a bit of a disappointment. You know it’s their no matter how small it is, and you know it’s just going to get bigger over time. So here’s what you do.
Materials: Scissors, needle & thread of same colour, hot iron
Take a small length of thread and put it through your needle.
Flip the garment inside out, and start weaving the needle through the edges of the hole back and forth across the hole as close together as possible without overlapping. Then loop and tie it off so it won’t unravel.
Now take the clothing item and iron the area until the hole and knotted threads lay flat to the shirt.
If these three steps are done correctly, you will be able to turn the clothing right sides out and not be able to see the threads very well at all. Especially if you are able to get the right colour of thread. It will just blend in!
Seams ripping/falling apart – resew, shorten fabric, or add fabric depending on placement
Tell me if you are on the same page as me here. You wear something so much that simple acts like walking rub the fabric together so much, that it pills, pulls and eventually tears on you. I swear this is the untold story of my life.
If you have excess fabric (ie. looser and potentially baggy items), you can simply take in the seams by sewing a line down the fabric slightly in from where the ripping is occurring. This will then allow for a breaker wall so to speak, to go up and interfere with the fabrics desire to shred even more than it already has.
Sometimes we just love those extra long pants a bit too much don’t we!? I love when I have pants long enough to go over my feet. I know it’s weird, but that’s just one of my lovable quirks. So what happens when your hem becomes tattered and shredded? You create a slightly higher hem.
Materials: Scissors, needle and thread/sewing machine
Cut the offending ragged hem off of your pants.
Fold up the new rough edge, and then fold up again.
Sew the new hem. Use a zigzag stitch on the edge of the fold if you use a machine, this will help the stitch hold through everyday wear and tear. It allows the fabric to stretch naturally when tugged on. If you are sewing by hand I highly recommend a blanket stitch.
The whole point of repairing clothes is to prolong their life expectancy. So you must learn how to mend and recycle clothes, otherwise you rack up way too much money on clothes (even WITH my tips and tricks for saving the most money) It also goes without saying that repairs should be assessed on a case by case basis. When done right, they will only be seen by someone who is specifically looking for them. The more out of eyesight the offending tragedy is the more likely you are to get away with mending it.
I think I have covered all the common mending needs, but please add on if you can. I love prolonging the life of my clothes, as I’m sure you do too. Saving money on clothing purchase is not just about how you buy them, but it is also how well you treat them once they are yours.
Let me just start off by saying, I love fashion. I love clothes. My favorite thing in the world (after sleep of course) is shopping. I love seeing the new trends come into the stores, trying them on, choosing my favorite patterns and seasonal colors to obsess over. This is my love, this is my life.What happens when you can’t afford it all though? What happens when you can’t afford much if any of it? You have to get crafty. Not in the sense of MAKING, but in how you purchase. Check out all my favorite ways to Save Money Shopping Online.
Shopping For A Bargain (Without Clearance)
I love a good bargain, and a deal is always a dilemma to me. I find something I love and then I look at the price tag. Then I have to decide whether the item is worth the price. I’m one of those women who refuses to buy jeans for more than $25. Yeah, I’m that woman. Here’s the thing though. I don’t always have to spend tons of money on my clothes. I could go into the usual buy second hand, which if you know me well enough. You know I already do that. Honestly, though, I am getting a little depressed by what I see in my thrift stores, that I have started searching elsewhere for my fashions.
Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE going to the store and trying new clothes on, but why buy in a store, when you can get the same deal online…or an even better one.
How To Get The Best Price Possible
The first thing I try to do is go shopping IN the stores. I like to try on their clothes, so I can get a feel for the fabrics. Some fabrics just don’t lay well with me, and I need to always keep that in mind. I also notate sizes and what sizes they go up to, as well as whether they will fit my plus size frame. Now I pretty well know the heartache of how difficult it is to clothe a plus size figure (obviously), so I know the idea of not purchasing right away can sound daunting. But hold on and don’t get discouraged. If I had been patient many years ago, I would have had a much easier time shopping. While you’re there, also feel free to take out your phone and take pictures of the clothes you like. This will help you to remember everything later.
My husband started doing that to me when we first got our cell phones several years ago. I hated it then, but it does make sense. I like to be able to look back and decide whether I truly love an item, or whether it’s just not worth my time after all. That’s the true test of the picture. Whether you still like the look long after you have left the store.
Sleep On It
Usually, by the next day, I will go about checking out my favorite outfits websites to see if the items I truly loved are there. I have taken enough time away from everything to only remember what I really loved, and therefore more willing to lay down my hard earned money for. This works the best with newer releases into the store, but sometimes you catch a break on the sales/clearance rack being on the site as well. The reason I always go to the site is that the warehouse is more likely to have a larger inventory of the larger sizes I need. I will always buy online rather than in store if I can help it. This is where you truly save the money.
Once you have found what you wanted on the site(s). It’s time to implore strategy. I have many apps and sites that I use, but only a couple are used absolutely ALL.THE.TIME.
Time To Research
Now before you get all crazy and go paying full price, do a little research. One of my favorite sites to look for discount codes (coupons) is RETAILMENOT (and in Canada RETAILMENOT), they have a great community that works together to keep the site up to date with coupon codes for hundreds of online stores.
Another place to look is called HONEY, HONEY is actually an add-on app to your browser’s toolbar, it will essentially click into play when it sees you go into the checkout line on a site. What it does is quite simple and quite exquisite (although you cannot use HONEY and EBATES at the same time) it essentially runs through the discount codes in its database on its own to make sure you are paying the lowest possible price for your items. You literally have to do nothing. Just click the button and it does it’s thing! BONUS: You also can earn cashback on it. Every 100 HONEYGOLD is worth $1 and you are able to use the credit once you have 1000 HONEYGOLDs available. These three sites are gold. They have honestly saved me so much money.
Discount Codes & Rebates
What I like to do is create an account on the store’s site first, so that I can create a cart list that will stick. This also helps when they have wish lists or the availability of favoriting items. Then I go see if EBATES.CA (EBATES if American) has them on their site. EBATES is a site that gives you a certain percentage of your purchase back for using their affiliate link. It accumulates in an account, and then you get that money back once it reaches its threshold. EBATES is affiliated with over 1000 retailers, so you will probably find it no problem. Shoot, they’re even affiliated with Etsy, which shocked the craze out of me!
Once you are signed up ( If you aren’t already ) then all you have to do is click on the store link within EBATES and go shopping. It is essentially tracking you while you are on that site, so that when you check out with your purchase it can put a tracker on your EBATES account, and the store will contact them with your actual total (usually within 7 days) so they can add that percentage to you pending payments as a cash back. This comes in really handy when you go shopping a lot.
Last Resort For a Discount
Now, what happens if there isn’t a discount code available? No sale going on! Should you just pay full price? I DON’T THINK SO. See sites hate seeing an abandoned cart. This is why we create an account on the site. ONE: You usually get a sign up bonus for doing so, and TWO: If you abandon your cart just before checkout, nine times out of ten, they will send you an email reminding you of your cart, and a discount code of some sort to use, so that you will spend your money and buy the items.
So there you have it. More ways of saving money on the fashion we know and love. I hope you utilize these tips the next time you decide to go shopping and leave a comment letting me know how they worked for you.
I have been learning and changing the way I do things so often in the last few years, that I am honestly surprised my husband is so calm about it. He is not a fan of change, and boy do I change things up sometimes. I’ve talked a little bit about my minimal waste attempts (I say attempts because I sometimes get off track). Now I am working on my own version of meal planning. For the month of February ( two weeks so far) rather than getting our monthly groceries as we have for many years, and then running out far too quickly, I have started planning our dinners and shopping accordingly. I am so excited by this change that I really wanted to share it with you.
The most difficult part of planning your meals is when you have indecisive people living together. Before meal planning It was such a chore every night to figure out what we were going to have for dinner. Now I am not saying the first week was easy because it most certainly wasn’t. However, now we plan it in advance on Friday evening and Saturday we grocery shop. Such a simple concept. This not only allows us to have meals in our fridge every day. It keeps us on budget and satisfied with food in the house all month long. That is honestly the best part. I love having fresh foods on hand all month long. It makes me deliriously happy.
Before Meal Planning
So, here it is. We get paid monthly. So ever since I can remember, we would go out on payday (because there was pretty much nothing left in the house by that point) and get massive amounts of groceries dependant on sales and the coupons I had. I was a stockpile junkie and a huge couponing addict.
The problem arose when we would get home and start realizing we could make this, but we’re missing that. Or we would have some meals, and I would have to improvise others. Other times, I would be so busy that we couldn’t decide till late, then I would be so frustrated that I wouldn’t want to cook, and we would just go out to eat. This was my life for the last few years, and I hated it. I still hate it. We overspent on food, which means no money to save away. Well, last month I finally had enough and changed the way we do things.
What I Have Learned From Meal Planning
Meal planning has really opened my eyes to how we were originally shopping. We would spend hours upon hours in many groceries stores, needlessly going up and down each aisle. Looking for things we forgot or things that looked like a good deal. Newsflash, if it’s not something you use that often, or you have never used. Even free is not a good deal. Space is still money, and so is time. Not only did this practice cost us money, but it cost us time as well. Something that should only take 2-3 hours at best, was taking us all day. Even then some days we wouldn’t be able to get everything, and we would have to go back yet another day. Wasting even more money.
Now I know exactly what I am getting at each store, and I plan out accordingly. This has saved us hours from our grocery shopping and a lot of stress. I now know what I am making every night, and I can decide if I want a bit extra for leftovers ie. lunch or not. I also always have leftover ingredients, and that helps with my other daily meals as well. This also allows for nothing to go bad in my fridge, pantry or cupboards. Which if you are a minimal waster like I am, is very important.
How To Meal Plan on ANY Budget
Every Friday, I spend my spare thoughts thinking up meals for the week. My husband and I sit down and decide what we want for meals that week. I know that he is not home two nights a week, so I use those nights to use up things that he might not like, that we already have on hand.
Once I have a meal plan all ready for the week, I scour the fliers for our area and make a list. My all-time favorite app to use is ReeBee. I can scour the fliers and easily make a shopping list, even including my own categories, which is a bonus if you have something you need and you can’t find it in the fliers, or you know where you get it, but don’t have that category naturally. This way everything is all on my phone, and I don’t have anything to worry about except making sure my battery is charged and ready to go.
When I have that list and anything else we might need… shampoo, toilet paper etc. Then on Saturday, we head out and do our shopping. My husband rarely comes in the stores with me (which is a good thing) all I have to do is grab my list for each store, and I work my way through it. I no longer go from aisle to aisle, I only get what I need and head to the cash. I can usually get each store done in about 20 mins (MAX) now. Which when you have multiple stores to go to, saves quite some time. The big time saver though is definitely my lists for each store. I can not recommend this time saver enough.
Another thing I find quite helpful is bringing my own cloth bags, and using them when I’m shopping. I know exactly how many bags I need for each store, and I bring them in accordingly. This is a constant reminder not to get anything extra because it probably won’t fit. It’s also nice not to always grab a giant cart. If you have a few things and bring a bag. You can carry them, and don’t need a cart. I also take this as an opportunity to easily place any fresh produce straight in the bag rather than using a toxic plastic bag, that I will bring home and throw out.
I also try to buy as much of my needs at bulk stations as a Bulk Barn. They now allow you to bring in your own bags or containers, allowing for less waste. Just makes sure to read their guidelines. As they have to comply with health and safety as well. So things like pasta, grains, herbs & spices etc. all come from the Bulk Barn for us. This is a great saving because we won’t be buying more than we need. We won’t have packaging to throw out, and we won’t have to worry about where to put it when we get home. All of our jars already have a designated spot in our home.
Meal Planning Takeaway
Now, doesn’t that sound so simple and easy? I swear it is. Once you get the hang of it (especially if you are like me and only shop once a month) it will become second nature. Once that happens, do me a favor and start expanding your recipe library. It does a whole lot of good not to have to worry about constantly repeating meals, and getting sick of them. For instance this week, we will be trying a veganized French Onion Soup. Something I used to make a fair amount that my husband absolutely adores. So wish me luck, because that’s Thursday’s dinner.
A new release is ready for your February 2018 Free Monthly Planner Stickers. January is practically over, and we are now getting ready for the month of LOVE. February is such a great month, isn’t it?. I mean honestly think about it. It has the Superbowl (OK. I will be honest…I only really care about the food on this one!), and of course, there is the ever beloved Valentines Day.
So I was sitting in my home office thinking about how lucky I am to be able to write for a living, and I wanted to show you how much you meant to me. I also wanted to have a little bit of fun and give you, my awesome planner babes and Happy Planner Addicts a little gift for the occasion. This beautiful, rustic, and romantic Valentine’s Day themed monthly view sticker set. It’s simple but makes for a Perfect monthly view of the classic Happy Planner. If you want to check it out, Click on this link to go straight to my printable.
I wanted to give you something I thought you would love and want to use over and over again, which is why I came up with this Valentines Day themed monthly set. I wanted something simple, but elegant because I know how much you love this style.
There is something about the muted dusty tones of pink and red mixed with the wood elements that makes me picture a romantic cabin weekend with my husband, tucked in the woods somewhere. No reception, just time for us. That’s the kind of feeling I get from this printable, and I love it.
I have left the monthly view pretty lowkey so that you have the opportunity to add your flair to it as well. If you want to add other boxes, checklists, etc. by all means. I designed it for versatility, but you can keep it simple like mine as well.
If you are interested in any of my other printables feel free to click through here. If you want the sticker paper I use. Check it out here!