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So much media these days are focused on food. It is good and bad in some ways. It is a great way to be inspired but some times it gets over glamorized. Even easy going Pioneer Woman has an amazing big kitchen that could fit the neighborhood inside of it. What happens when we turn off the screen and go to prepare our own meal with simple ingredients, on a budget and it tight spaces? This was something I wanted to address as I share what I do. I don’t want you to have this unrealistic perception of me cooking in my kitchen with my hair all done up and in a pretty little apron. I do real life on a daily basis with a very busy schedule. Granted I am currently not working in a salon and am home in the day, those days are still split up in to about 2 1/2 hour time chunks before I have to go run some where or pick someone up. Our lives are very full with Ben being in school full time, him working when he can, different meetings in the evenings, building relationships and being intentional with our time.
This picture is where it all happens. And actually it suits me pretty well. We have liked the idea of small living for some time now and are trying to find the balance of staying simple with our possessions and spaces. Some day we hope to build our own place where we can plan the space really well. For now, I just have a basic town home kitchen. My only issue is that there isn’t much counter space so I am constantly forced to clean as I go which is a good thing I suppose. One thing you wont see on the counter is a microwave, it’s in the garage for the few times we need it. It just eats up so much space! I even use a little tv dinner table as an extra table space that stores the recycle bin under it and our tea/coffee box on top with then our fruit bowl on top of that. You have to get creative in places like this and have a spot for everything and everything in it’s place.
I’ve had people ask me how do you do healthy on a budget and where do you start?
I suppose this is different for each person what their background is. For someone who grew up on tv dinners and fast food drive throughs maybe cooking a home made meal once a week is the place to start. Most convenience dry packaged foods aren’t all that difficult to make once you start slowly switching out things in your cupboard. Buy spices! You can make your own taco seasoning that still tastes great with out buying a package. I used to be one of those people where I would buy the package and my mom would just use spices and I didn’t like it as much. Once I read the back of the package and noticed that it had flour in it, I could do it myself. Because that is what would mix with the spices and water to make that kind of gravy around the meat.
I also used to buy guacamole mixes because I didn’t grow up liking avocados, so I needed a step by step to make it. Then I got a great recipe from my sister in law and have never bought one again! Just by having simple kitchen staples on hand I was able to save money and cut out packaging fillers. Just do some Googling and find real food recipes to what you normally would purchase. It may seem like more money up front but keep in mind if you buy a bag of flour, pound of butter, a bag of sugar and vanilla, you aren’t using all that up in one recipe. You now have over half the things you will need again for that recipe and for others as well.
If there is a prepared box meal of your favorite meal, there is a recipe on the internet to replace it and make it yourself. You are often paying for time and convenience, but do a bit of research and do it yourself! You can do it!
What about if you already do a lot of home cooking but want to take steps to make healthier foods? I loved this advice from Katie Riddle when she came to speak at the To Your Health class, she said: do it slowly.
Find alternatives and incorporate them as the “original” runs out. If you get wise and want to get rid of bleached flour, finish using it up and then get an alternative in its place. For her she has a big family, 5 kids so a total of 7. It wasn’t realistic for her to go through her pantry and throw away everything that wasn’t healthy all in one go. She mentioned that they’ve been already eating this way for over 20 years, 2 more days isn’t going to kill them. Now obviously if you have orders from a doctor or have had an allergy testing, by all means do it now. But when she said that it kind of took the pressure off. We don’t have to all the sudden be perfect, take slow steps and keep with it. It can be a challenge but it also is very rewarding. Fast is slow and slow is fast.
If you are wondering what took place in my kitchen the day this picture was taken I had some carnitas in the crock pot. Tuesday is our fastest dinner time of the week so I did this recipe in the crock pot. Although I should have read it through more closely because it took more time at the end to finish it up. Delicious and a nice switch up for our crock pot/ taco Tuesdays from hamburger or chicken.
I also made a batch of home made “Lara bars” as I need something quick and healthy these days. I did dried cranberries, almonds and then the dates. (Dates and almonds bought from Trader Joes for the locals)
I will probably try using pumpkin puree for the next batch with some spices. yum.
And if you recall from my “For The Love Of Cooking” post I mentioned I had made a cauliflower crust pizza. Here is the link for that one as well.
I was maybe a bit impatient as it took longer than the rest of the families regular crust pizza and didn’t let it get as golden brown as it maybe should have, because it was still a bit moist when eating it. It was good day of, leftovers a bit weird. But it was a tasty alternative when I was wanting some Hawaiian Pizza 😉