Thursday, February 6, 2014

What's On My Plate: A New Series on Eating Whole Foods and Saving Money

We've been absent the past few days, but that's okay - and it's good news for you - because it means we've been cooking up new ideas for the blog. Literally! With that said, welcome to a new theme we'll be sharing with you regularly::  What's On My Plate!
We love these adorable healthy portion plates to
help encourage you to fill your plate with lots of healthy foods!

The idea is this:: Cooking in my house is an ongoing learning experience and adventure! I may not be a gourmet chef (although I've gone through several bouts of dreaming of culinary school in my life so far), but I do have a strong passion for food in my soul. You just have that and love to cook or you muscle your way through preparing meals. I think if you give it fair effort you can learn to love it though. My love for food and, in more recent years, my growing desire to eat healthier options and to understand what is truly healthy and what is not, is what drives me to just teach myself. And I want to share what I learn and the explorations of my kitchen with all of you. That's one of the main reasons I started this blog. However, I don't always create unique recipes. Once I'm comfortable with something I might make it more my own, especially if I'm swapping in healthier ingredients, and sometimes I just go for it and come up with something de-lish (see my most recent cooking experiment turned ah-mazing tasty new recipe!).

That said, let me share my idea for these upcoming new posts: What's On My Plate! (#womp!)

The idea::
I don't always have a new recipe to share but I do have food experiences to share. Maybe it's a new technique I learned. Or sometimes it's trying a new food for the first time or implementing a new ingredient in my kitchen as a regular staple like we did with our recent Healthy Start 7 challenge. Sometimes it could be a pairing of foods that ends up really amazing that I just have to share. There are a multitude of talented food bloggers out there and I often try other people's recipes (that's the main way I learn and grow as a home cook - other than devouring books all about eating au-natural and whole food cooking techniques. I'll have to share a list of my favorite reads some time.) When I try another blogger's recipe and it's nom-nom-nom worthy, I think I may just share that with you because how else will you discover it in the vast world of food bloggers? Maybe never....that's sad.

Another way these posts intend to share my tips and tricks in the kitchen is to show how one roasted chicken ends up making, and then enhancing, 3-4 other recipes. Yes, I said one whole chicken can end up in at least two other meals besides the main dish it is originally used in every single time I cook a chicken. That's something that comes with the experience of cooking whole foods. I think a lot of people new to cooking whole foods struggle in this area and I'd love to share how I make that easier by maximizing my ingredients, wasting less food, and eating way, way healthier. Almost nothing in our house comes out of a box anymore and that's definitely a transition you can make in your home as well, once you have some ideas of what to do. That is where these posts aim to help you.

Now, this is where I get really excited about cooking whole foods and sharing tips with all of you. IT WILL SAVE YOU MONEY! (Read that sentence again.) If you don't know, my husband and I teach a financial class at our church - Dave Ramsey's FPU - and we are both just super thrifty to begin with, so saving money is fun to us. Plus, who doesn't want to save money, really?  When it comes to our food bill and eating whole foods, while I do spend more money on organic ingredients (at times) or on certain brands I deem worthy of a whole foods kitchen, I really win with my grocery bill in the end.

Here's one example how::  if I buy a good organic chicken I'm going to use the bones for chicken broth because I know it's a healthy chicken that will make good stock. So, that a $7-8 organic chicken that turns into a large 12 cup batch of homemade chicken stock with no additives, no extra salt, no preservatives, or sugar, or HFCS. It's just wholesome chicken broth. Oh, and did I mention it's organic? An organic 32 oz box of chicken broth will set you back $3-4 easy. Considering this, it greatly reduces the cost of your chicken because really you bought chicken and chicken broth. In my kitchen, it could mean even more items, but I'll share more on those details in another post about chicken!

Stay tuned for our first #womp! post about Pacific Rock Fish. Let us know if you enjoy these new posts in the comments!

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