Michele Joan

Wife, Mother, Blogger & Author

Trim Healthy Mama on a Shoestring

chicken blt

Grilled Chicken BLT

As much as I love my Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, I’ve been spending a ton of money on food over the past four months.  It seemed like I was always running out of something and I was running to the grocery store every day!  Now that I have my fridge and cabinet converted from sugary junk to wholesome foods,  I have really been trying to keep the grocery bill down!  Here is a few ideas that have helped me to stay on budget.

Once a month Wal-Mart trip….

Now I am really trying to only shop once a week and stick on a budget.  On the first week of the month I stock up on Joseph’s pitas, lavash, Dreamfields pasta,  and low carb tortillas and Breyer’s low ice cream!!  I buy as many pitas and lavash breads as they have (usually around 6 of each) and toss them in the freezer. If I run out, I have to figure out something else to use.  Extra trips to the store always seem to cause the budget to explode.  Be creative with what is in your fridge and freezer!

No more weird ingredients…. I try to shop the other weeks only at Aldi and only use what they sell!

Instead of always trying to find a new recipe in the book on online, I have taken many of my old recipes and made slight changes to be THM friendly.  Here are a 7 recent dinners I’ve made that don’t require a single weird ingredient and you can get everything at Aldi and Wal-Mart :

Really Easy Roast (S) – I’ve made it with beef and venison.  Just throw it in the crock pot and season with Montreal Steak Seasoning, pour in one cup of water and top with a sliced onion.  Cook for 8 hours on low.  It was so tender my kids ate the whole thing!!

Tacos (S) – I season low fat ground beef with aldi taco seasoning (3 carbs) and serve in low carb tortillas with lots of veggies.

Chicken BLT Wraps (S) –  Grilled chicken, bacon, lettuce, & tomatoes in half a Joseph’s Lavash served with caprese salad on the side (fresh mozarella, tomato and basil).

Chili (E or Crossover) – I use ground turkey to keep it low fat and season with Aldi taco seasoning (yes, I meant to write taco, we like it better than the chili seasoning)  Again it only has 3 carbs.  I use one can black bean and one can chili beans with 2 cans diced tomatoes.

Grilled Chicken Salad (S) – use up all your garden veggies to make a delicious salad!  I top mine with chicken grilled on just a heated pan with Kickin’ Chicken Seasoning from McCormick.  Use less than 3 gms chicken and Wishbone spray for a FP!

Mediterranean Wrap (S) – I used to eat a lot at Noodles and Company restaurant loved their Mediterranean wrap.  This is my own rendition of that recipe:  Grilled chicken breast with diced cucumber and tomato topped with feta cheese in a Joseph’s pita.  Its great all by itself or tossed with balsamic vinagarette.

Ratatouille (FP) – sautee  one onion, one green peppers and a few cloves of garlic until softened in scant amount of coconut oil (just enough so they don’t stick to the pan, but not enough to put you in S territory).  Add in 1 cup eggplant, one cup zucchini, one cup yellow squash and cook until soft.   Add in 2 red tomatoes and 1 yellow tomato and season with basil, parsley, salt and pepper.  I wanted an “E” meal, so I served over dreamfields pasta with one homemade sourdough biscuit on the side.  You can also add a little grilled chicken on top if you’d like some meat in your meal.  Keep it under 3 gms for FP!

Make smoothies ahead of time.

Fresh smoothies are best, but when I am in a rush in the morning sometimes they don’t get made and I give my kids a cup of Greek Yogurt instead.  I’ve been burning through 5 tubs of Greek Yogurt a week and that is really expensive!  I found blending up my kefir into smoothies as soon as I strain my kefir and keeping a pitcher ready to drink in the fridge helps make it more accessible.  With the warm weather I’m getting a batch of kefir every 12 hours, so making quite a lot and also making kefir cheese.

Other Helpful Tips – These are also great social support as well as money saving help:

Form a local THM email group – We have formed a local yahoogroup for our THM friends and share our success stories and favorites.  It’s like a microcosm of the THM FB page but since we are all close friends already can post more private things.  We share recipes, which stores are having sales on THM items, meal plans and other tips.  We have also ordered Joseph’s Pitas and Lavash in bulk.  They cut you a huge discount when you do this and then we just freeze them to have easy access.

Get a THM buddy – I have a wonderful friend here in town that is doing THM with me.  Whenever each of us finds something new we really love, we pick up extra for each other and drop it off.  It started out with me bringing her a little THM starter kit with Joseph’s pitas, glucommanan, stevia, home made sugar free berry syrup.  Since then we’ve swapped  many fun things like Sans Sucre Stevia sweetened brownie mix, True Lemon Drink Mixes, Oolong tea, Steaz stevia sweetened drinks, SOBE drinks and even samples of our favorite homemade dishes.  It’s fun to try new things, surprise your friend with little treats and look forward to what new things you’ll receive.  We also stock up on things we see on sale for each other to save both money and time.

So far, the budget (and my husband) have been much happier!  What are your favorite THM Money Saving Tips?

This post is linked to Gwen’s Nest and Stacy Makes Cents Trim Healthy Tuesday Link up.



Kefir Cheese!

kefircheeseLast year I shared my introduction to fermented foods with learning how to make a homemade drinkable yogurt called Kefir (see my original kefir post here).  Since last summer, its become an staple in our house and I have split my grains with many of my readers to make their own kefir.

Fermented foods are all the rage now, and for good reason.  They are full of probiotics to help improve your overall nutrition, increase healthy intestinal flora and increase immune function to help fight of harmful bacteria and other pathogens. (See more on the benefits of fermented foods here).

Since I know many of my readers are kefir makers, today I’d like to share with you a new discovery of mine, kefir cheese!  I try to make fresh kefir every few days, but some days I don’t have time to strain it, so I toss it into the fridge to halt the fermentation process.  Last week was one of those times.  Then it got forgotten… and a little too thick.  I left it on the counter with the intention of straining out the grains and tossing the kefir, but when I looked at it, the curds and whey had completely separated.  I did a quick google search on how to make kefir cheese and found this great post on Cultured Food Life.  I took my clumpy looking kefir, dumped it over a strainer lined with a coffee filter sitting in a bowl and let it sit in the fridge.  The next morning, a little afraid of what it might taste like (or if I’d give myself food poisoning), I spread it on my toasted sprouted bread…..

It was delicious!!!  So delicious that I made a second batch and have used it in my sandwiches every day now on my Trim Healthy Mama diet.   Its considered an S or FP (thanks to Stacymakescents.com for the clarification!)  Its spreadable like cream cheese and has a tart flavor.  Its so easy to make too!

I’m sharing this post with you today because I have thought in the past that it was just too hard eat healthy, but I want you to know that there are some simple and very healthy things you can do that are very easy!!!   Kefir and kefir cheese are both great things to give to your kids.  My family loves kefir shakes in the morning and now the cheese on their sandwiches.  Its so delicious and the benefits of fermented foods keep you and your family healthy.

The picture above is my breakfast today. Toasted Trader Joe’s sprouted whole wheat bread with kefir cheese, cucumbers and seasoned with Gwen’s Nest’s recipe for Greek Spice Blend. I served it with egg beaters and sauteed yellow crook neck squash for a fresh summery meal.

This post is linked to Gwen’s Nest and Stacy Makes Cents as part of Trim Healthy Tuesdays.

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