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For the foodie in all of us

Monday, July 21, 2014

When the box has better nutrition than what's inside

We all have had a chance to poke fun of Twinkies and other foods that have been the stories of urban legend. You know the ones that may or may not be classified food, those foods that will outlast every other thing because of the preservatives. But what about these foods and the other things that we eat on a daily basis?  

It is said that "you are what you eat" I do believe this to be true. If we eat nutritious foods in its whole form we will also be whole. We should be eating our fruits and vegetables and whole grains as the main staple foods in our life.  God did not make a mistake. He made our bodies to run off of whole foods. We should be eating food that comes from the farmer's field not the battlefield of food marketing.


Here is an interesting article from peeling back the layers.  In this article they discuss a group of researchers who were looking at the effects of fortified breakfast cereals in mice.  During the research someone got the idea that it would be interesting to feed the mice the box that the cereal came in. The results were interesting. They found that the rats fed the box lived longer than those that ate the cereal. Needless to say, this research was never published because it did not fit the needs of the cereal manufacturers. It would ruin them if the truth was really known.

What is a person to do to escape from that battlefield of food marketing, and how do we know if the foods we are eating will really harm us?   

1. Be aware. You should know that the studies we hear about are usually  paid for by the big companies. The results are usually "spun" to fit whatever it is they are selling and often studies like the one quoted above are never published.  

2. Your attitude about food makes a big difference. There was a time that I did very well.  My thought process was this "I eat to fuel my body, not feed my emotions!"  I had babies and forgot all that. I let myself get caught up in the attitudes of those around me because it was easier, therefore I have had to start over on the process of eliminating the bad food and gaining ground with the good stuff.


3. Begin with a few fruits and vegetables, and keep adding them until you have some great recipes for nutritious and delicious foods. It will be easier to make the transition and make it stick as a lifestyle change if you have some good recipes to rely on.

For more info you can check out the Weston A Price foundation
There is also an interesting book about the tricks that the large food companies employ

The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About

Check out some of these resources and see what happens in your life. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Use this simple trick to clean and restore your car headlights

Who knew that regular old toothpaste could easily shine and restore your headlights? I tried this trick and was pleased with the results.


While there are several methods for doing this, I chose a direct approach.

1.  Apply a good amount of  regular old toothpaste directly to the headlight cover.

2.  Use a soft cloth to rub the toothpaste across the entire surface of the lens cover

3.  Wait 3-5 minutes

4. With a clean cloth and a bucket of cool water scrub the lens  cover clean.

5. Repeat step 4 until all the gunk and goo is removed.  

6. Wipe dry 

My experience with this method:

The toothpaste dried up fast as I rubbed (maybe it was the fact that I stopped to take a few pictures). I had to add more toothpaste as I went to ensure complete coverage. The other trouble I had was I had three young helpers (as Mom's often do) so I ended up with toothpaste in places that I didn't really want, like on the hood of the car. It took quite a bit of rinsing to get rid of all the extra toothpaste that comes from my helpers. 

It was well worth it. I have looked into lens restoration before, it is expensive to have someone else do it. Do it yourself kits are less expensive but still cost quit a bit. I got as good results with toothpaste as I did with one of the commercial cleaners that I used several years ago on another car before I knew about toothpaste.  

I give the simple toothpaste method 5 stars.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Don't heat the house making breads, make stove top breads instead

Wow, the summer heat has come!

What do you do when you don't like to eat store bought breads and heating up the house to make a batch of home-made bread is not a very good option?
      Make stove top breads! 


We make......

 homemade tortillas,

 flat bread,

 and English muffins (just to name a few).

They are all very easy to make and can really spice up a brown bag lunch or a summer picnic.

Life less hurried homemade tortillas

Herbed flat bread @ life less hurried

Life less hurried English muffins

You can check out these recipes and more in my cookbook Quick breads made easy from A-Z: with over 30 recipes for every season

For a limited time (Through Saturday July 12th) you can pick up the kindle edition of my cookbook for free! 

Just click on one of the links below and you will be taken to Amazon where you can pick up your free kindle book.


                  Quick breads made easy from A-Z: with over 30 recipes for every season

While you are there, check out my other book For the love of popcorn: a cookbook for popcorn lovers of all ages


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Earn stamps as part of a mail tracking program

For the last two and a half years I have been part of a mail tracking program. It has been a simple way to get stamps for free. As part of this volunteer program I help them track how long it takes the mail to arrive. They send me 10 stamps each month as a thank you for helping them.  It has been a blessing to our family. It is fairly simple work. When the mail comes you take a few moments and make a phone call to the 800 number to report on the publications came that day. Usually it takes less than two minutes to call in and report.

Once you have reported you can do whatever you desire with the magazines, catalogs, and flyers. Our children have loved some of the children's magazines that come to us through this program. They read them for a while and then we send the magazines to our local Elementary School for classroom use. The teachers have been appreciative of our donation to the classroom. The majority of the mail that comes to us through this program goes to the recycle bin that supports our local community.

The company is in need of people all across the country. If you would like to find out if there is a need in your particular area you can e-mail me   kookykeck @ yahoo (dot) com and I will get you in touch with the company.   


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Winning the grocery store game part 3

In case you missed them........



In part 1 I covered how to navigate the store to avoid getting caught by impulse buys, Part 2 covered how to navigate the ads to find the best deals. Part 3 is all about finding the markdowns and unadvertised/less advertised deals. In other words, know where your store hides the best deals.

1. Know your store. Some very important information to know is......

a. Where are the discount bins found?
b. When does your store mark down things like produce, dairy, and meat items?
c. How do they label the marked down items?

Nearly every store has a place that they put discounted items (scratch and dented, or close to expiring foods). Oftentimes it is found in a corner. Sometimes it is a shopping cart that they have placed with a sign. Being aware of, looking for, and finding these items can lead to huge savings.  I save quite a bit by buying foods that are near their expiration dates and freezing or otherwise storing them. Check out my thoughts on nearly expired foods. Just be aware and buy only those things that you will use.

Knowing when they mark down food can lead to the best choices.  I know that one of my favorite stores makes mark downs in the afternoon, so if I go to that store in the late afternoon I get the best choice. By evening, everything is pretty well picked over and the best of the bargains are gone.

Knowing how to spot the markdowns is useful information.  My favorite store uses a yellow tag on the shelf to show a markdown. I keep my eyes open for them. These can be great deals, but the killer deals (in this particular store) comes when the food has been marked down already and they want it gone. When this happens, they will add an additional savings with a bright yellow store coupon which I also love.  My heart jumps for joy when I find a yellow price tag on the shelf and a yellow coupon sticker too (Double whammy).

I have had several friends ask if I could come shopping with them because I have a habit of being able to sniff out those great deals from across the store. It takes a little practice, but well worth the efforts.  

2. Does your store have a rewards program/ shoppers card?  

Using your shopping card is a great way to save at the grocery store. I frequent Smiths food and Drug. They have the shoppers card/rewards program. I can save on groceries with the card, but more than that, I save up points to use to save on fuel. Another bonus is they send coupons tailored to me and my shopping habits. The send me paper coupons was well offering e-coupons which are loaded right to my card. It is nice because the coupons savings comes off automatically.

3. Sign up for e-mail or text alerts/ become a Facebook or Twitter fan.

This can be a great way to find extra savings, sometimes stores will send out an e-alert about  a special one time buy.  Remember to use the skills learned in the other lessons and not get caught up in impulse buying just because you got a special invite by text or e-mail.  With the information age there are many more ways to find a bargain. There are websites and apps that can alert you to special clearance items that may be lurking in your store, just beware that in the large chain stores, clearance items can vary from store to store, so just because someone in a neighboring city found a great deal, does not mean that you will have the same luck in your store. Keep your eyes and ears out and deals will begin to find you. 

I hope that you have found some useful information in this series, and that it has blessed your life. Come back soon for more frugal adventures here at life less hurried.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Love those leftovers

Does your family enjoy leftovers? We love leftovers because at our house we give leftovers new life. We love to make new things out of leftovers.

Here are a few excerpts from some previous posts that show how leftovers can become new.

Leftovers with purpose

Meal 1 We made a large London broil. It turned out fabulous. We ate our fill for dinner along with some side salads.

Meal 2  We used the sliced beef to make a wonderful sandwich. We sliced a loaf of French bread in half and filled it with the meat, and piled on the toppings (avocado. peppers, onion, lettuce, tomato, olives)

Meal 3 Fajitas. Grilled meat with spicy peppers and onions wrapped up in a warm tortilla, what could be better than that.

My  husband loves homemade pudding. Whenever we cook rice he wants to be sure that we have leftovers so that we can make rice pudding.  He  makes sure to remind me that we need to cook enough to make pudding. He has been known to request rice for dinner just so we can have rice pudding afterwards.

Check out our recipe:

Life less hurried rice pudding recipe

Whenever we cook ground beef we always cook a little extra to make Mexican "pizza" for lunch the next day.

These are so quick and easy. They are great for lunch or snack time.

You will need

flour tortillas
sour cream
toppings of your choice

 Heat a large skillet or griddle to a medium high heat
Spread the tortilla with a small amount of sour cream and salsa as the "Pizza sauce"
Top with cheese and whatever else you have on hand;
We have topped these with ground beef, shredded chicken, onions,  mushrooms, olives, green chilies, bell peppers, tomato just to name a few things.
Cook until cheese is melted and the tortilla is crispy and brown on the bottom (about 4 minutes)
slice into "pizza wedges"  and serve.

Making three meals from a couple of steaks

Meal 1.   Steak dinner.  We had a really nice steak dinner with some friends.  I seasoned up the steaks and grilled them outside. I cooked more steak than we really needed. It made it look and feel like we had an abundance of food, and everyone was able to have their fill. I have an abundance of good things in life, and I want others to feel of that. We were able to sit out back and enjoy the nice weather at the picnic table that my husband built out of scrap wood.  It was enjoyable.

 Meal  2.  Beef Stroganoff.  From those leftover steaks I was able to create a beef stroganoff dinner.  It was a good way to use up the mushrooms and sour cream in my fridge. My kids and husband ate it up.  We made a big pot so that there was enough leftover for meal #3

Meal  3. Beef noodle soup. The leftover stroganoff noodles became the base for a nice lunch of beef noodle soup.  My kids love my soups. Soups are so easy to make with many kinds of leftovers. My son is learning to cook with me.  He likes to create soups. We talk about what would go good together.  He will ask "should we put this in?" we will look at it, smell it, sometimes taste it; then decide if the item will go in the soup.  It is a fun learning experience with him.

We create soups quite often, my children love them and they are a frugal way to feed a family.  You can take a few items and stretch them to fill hungry tummies. My biggest problem is that when I make soup I serve it hot. The kids hate waiting for soup to cool. We have started putting frozen vegetables in the kids soup to cool it down. They love it!  My kids now think that every bowl of soup should have an extra serving of vegetables added from the freezer.

This is how we do and who we are.  It is something that we have found that works for us.

I hope this sparks some new ideas for you and your family! 
Leave a comment below about what your family does and what your favorite leftover meal is.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

winning the grocery store game part 2

Feeding a family on a budget is not an easy task. In part 1 avoiding the impulse buy we covered the added expense that can happen when you get caught up in impulse shopping. Part 2 is all about shopping the sales and planning menus around sale items.

What's for dinner? The answer usually lies in what's on sale this week.

Combine the sale items with a well stocked pantry and you have the ability to feed a family well on a small amount of money.

It is hard for me to create a meal using ingredients bought at full price. The bargain hunter inside of me comes out screaming and kicking.  A big portion of feeding my family on a budget is not paying full price. These are some of the tricks I use to keep the family happily fed.     

1. Know the sale cycles and buy multiple items to last until the next sale. It is typically 2 months between good stock up sales for most items. For example, my local store gets pasta on sale with those deals that go something like this... Buy 6 save $3 with your card.  It can lead to substantial savings. This last sale the pasta ended up being 49 cents a piece. I bought 24 of them. It cost me $11.76. The everyday price for this particular pasta was $1.39, I saved 90 cents a package which made a total of $21.60 saved. With pasta on hand I can make casseroles, pasta dishes, soups, salads etc.  I also use pasta from the pantry to make our Homemade mac and cheese for a quick lunch.

If you notice, the pasta is rarely on sale at the same time as the pasta sauce. They do this on purpose. Most of the time you will pick up the pasta on sale and then buy the sauce at full price to go with it. You can outsmart them. Buy the pasta when it is on sale, and few weeks later when the sauce is on sale stock up on it. I have learned to pick up each of the individual pieces for a meal when they are on sale. Very rarely (if ever) do I pick up all the things for a complete meal in one shopping trip. This little trick alone saves me tons of money.

It takes some time to build up a pantry, but the results are worth it. You can begin by setting aside a small portion of the grocery budget every week to add to your "Stockpile fund" When the deals come along you will have some money set aside to take advantage of them.

2. Get to know your grocery ads.  Grocery stores often plaster a good deal on the front page of the ad trying to get you into the store, once they lure you in, they snag you with an impulse buy which we have already covered in part 1. So, now you know how to avoid being caught by their snares, be sure to check out those front page deals and use them to your advantage.

Let me tell you a little secret.... I have come to find out that the best deals are not always so easy to see. I have been surprised as I have looked at the ads and found gems hidden in small print in the middle pages of the grocery ads. Be sure to check out the entire ad not just those deals that are being "sold" to you on the front page in large print.  I used to just glance over the ads and often would miss those hidden gems. It is worth my time to check out the entire ad. Once I have seen the ad and gone over it, I make a list highlighting the deals. Once I have compiled a list of the good deals, I put a star by those things that I may want to stock up on if the budget allows.

3. Combining sales with coupons can lead to great savings. This is the only way to coupon. This is the way the great couponers have made their mark. Couponing can turn everyday sales into super sales.  I always check the ads, then I check to see if coupons are available for the items on my list. With coupons that you can print at home, and companies that allow you to load coupons right to your shoppers card, there is no reason to not take advantage of coupon savings. There are also coupon apps that you can use on your smart phones. You do not need to be a total coupon freak, but having a few couponing skills can really pay off for you.

A full cup is a great online resource for knowing if there is a coupon available for products that you want to buy.  You can use their advanced coupon search to see if there is a coupon available.  I also use grocery smarts as a couponing source. Many of my local stores are listed and they make it easy to find the coupons that go with the ads. Knowing what is on sale and what coupons are available to match can really save you money. The time spent is well worth it.

So, spend a little time, get out and learn some new skills. Make the advertised sales work to your advantage. With a little time and effort you will be putting money back in your pockets. 

What are your best tips for stockpiling and finding sale items?
Leave a comment below so we can all learn.