Budget

Foodie Friday: Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap

Creamy Avocado & White Bean Wrap Recipe

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (see Note)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat wraps, or tortillas

PREPARATION

  1. Whisk vinegar, oil, chipotle chile and salt in a medium bowl. Add cabbage, carrot and cilantro; toss to combine.
  2. Mash beans and avocado in another medium bowl with a potato masher or fork. Stir in cheese and onion.
  3. To assemble the wraps, spread about 1/2 cup of the bean-avocado mixture onto a wrap (or tortilla) and top with about 2/3 cup of the cabbage-carrot slaw. Roll up. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut the wraps in half to serve, if desired.
Source: eatingwell.com

Foodie Friday: Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce

Chickpea Burgers & Tahini Sauce Recipe

4 servings

INGREDIENTS

CHICKPEA BURGERS & TAHINI SAUCE

  • 1 19-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 6-1/2-inch whole-wheat pitas, halved and warmed, if desired

TAHINI SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini, (see Ingredient note)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION

  1. To prepare burgers: Place chickpeas, scallions, egg, flour, oregano, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse, stopping once or twice to scrape down the sides, until a coarse mixture forms that holds together when pressed. (The mixture will be moist.) Form into 4 patties.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties and cook until golden and beginning to crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes more.
  3. To prepare sauce & serve: Meanwhile, combine yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Divide the patties among the pitas and serve with the sauce.

TIPS & NOTES

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the uncooked burger mixture and tahini sauce for up to 2 days.
  • Ingredient Note: Tahini is a smooth, thick paste made from ground sesame seeds and commonly used in Middle Eastern foods. Look for it in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters in large supermarkets.

Source: EatingWell.com

Foodie Friday: Pad Thai Wraps

Serves 4

All of the flavors of classic Pad Thai are wrapped into this quick lunch: tangy peanut sauce, fresh vegetables, fragrant herbs and crisp bean sprouts. Serve as a light supper, too.

Ingredients

1/4 pound capellini or angel hair pasta, cooked*
1/4 cup prepared peanut sauce, plus more for dipping*
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 whole wheat tortillas or very thin rounds flatbread
4 to 8 large green leaf lettuce leaves
1/2 cup thinly sliced red or green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts*
2/3 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Method

In a small bowl, combine pasta with peanut sauce and vinegar. Top each tortilla with lettuce and then divide pasta mixture among tortillas, arranging it in the center. Top with peppers, peanuts, sprouts, basil and cilantro and then roll up each snugly, tucking the ends in halfway through. Serve with extra peanut sauce on the side for dipping.

Source: wholefoodsmarket.com

Foodie Friday: ANCIENT GRAIN STUFFED RED BELL PEPPERS

Serves 4

Impressive, yet simple with whole grains and arame, a mild sea vegetable. Feel free to add more herbs or top with toasted sesame seeds.

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/4 cup uncooked amaranth (or more quinoa)
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
1 cup loosely packed (about 12 grams) dry arame seaweed, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, drained well
6 green onions, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, dill or parsley
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
4 red bell peppers, tops removed and reserved, then cored and seeded

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F. Put grains and 1 1/2 cups water into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low; cover and simmer until liquid is gone and grains are tender, about 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes; fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Toss in edamame, arame, onions, carrots, cilantro and vinegar. Stuff peppers with mixture and arrange in a baking dish; pour 1/4 cup water into dish. Place tops on peppers, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until tender, 20 to 30 minutes more.

Source: wholefoodsmarket.com

Top 10 Tips For Shopping Healthy On A Budget

Here is a collection of strategies and tips for cutting your grocery bill. Start with strategies that you can implement gradually. Remember your goal: A lower food bill AND a healthy, wholesome diet.

The following tips have been arranged in descending order from most difficult to least difficult. Therefore, you can see the changes along the way and be willing to make more frugal choices as you get more comfortable with this way of eating and shopping. Start with a few things and keep adding. Soon you will see a HUGE difference in your food budget (and possibly your waistline!).

TIP #10:   Use Everything- When you are cooking, think about how you can get every last food mile out of what you are making. Meat bones and vegetable trimmings can be made into wonderful stocks. Leftover vegetables and meats can be thrown into the same stock for soups and stews, or put into pot pies, casseroles, you name it. Try to get everything you can out of your food dollar.

TIP #9:   Cut down/Out on the Junk Food- If you can completely give up the soda, chips, cookies, candy, etc., good for you! Most fail at doing this “cold turkey”, so I suggest you gradually cut down on these items. If you just have to have a baked good, make it yourself from scratch. Homemade cookies, cakes, and pies are much tastier than store bought and they don’t have the additives and preservatives either.

TIP #8:   Make It Yourself- Ban those convenience foods! If you can’t totally cut out the junk foods, make them yourself. A large, homemade pizza costs about $3 – $5 to make, compared to frozen pizzas which are typically $3 – $5 for the small size. And delivery pizzas can cost $8 – $20 each. Bulk buy the ingredients and make the dough from scratch. Pressed for time? Buy the pizza dough pre-made and just add the toppings!

TIP #7:   Eat Less Meat- Does spaghetti really have to have all those meatballs? Does pizza really have to have all of that meat on it? Try to think of meat as an accent to the meal rather than the main course. If this is too difficult, try cutting portion sizes of meats and adding more side dishes to compensate.

TIP #6:   Stretch Meats- You may be able to get away with extending your meat by mixing in extra veggies, grains, or even TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). TVP is made from soybeans and there are quite a few restaurants that use it, so it may be more familiar than you think (it’s also very healthy). You can hide it best in ground beef dishes, like chili, meatloaf, and tacos.

TIP #5:   Fill Up On Healthier Foods- Try fruits and popcorn as snacks, rather than junk convenience foods. Drink sparkling water, with a splash of lemon or splash of 100% fruit juice between meals, instead of soda or Kool-aid. Buy whole grains, like whole wheat bread, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta, instead of their refined counterparts. Munch on fresh veggies w/dip between meals. Whole grains and healthier foods fill you up and nourish you. You will eat less and crave less because your body is nourished more. Think of wholesome foods as an investment in your health.

TIP #4:   Buy and Use In-Season Veggies and Fruit- They are fresher and cheaper. When tomatoes are in season, make tomato sauce and can it. Make strawberry shortcake when strawberries are at their best and cheapest, usually in June and July. Cook with more root vegetables in the winter, when thy are at their best.

TIP #3:   Learn the Sales Pattern- Not only are there better seasons to buy some veggies than others, but meats and other food staples tend to go on sale according to season, holiday, and what store you are shopping at. Learn the sales patterns of your favorite stores and stock up.

TIP #2:   Try Store Brands and Generics- Keep going down in price until you notice a difference in the quality. You may discover that most brands are created equal and some generics are pretty good too. Some basics, like flour & sugar, really don’t change from brand to brand, so go with the lowest price and /or what’s on sale.

TIP #1:   Make a Grocery List, And Stick To It- Plan your meals for the week and shop only for the foods that you need to complete your meals. Be sure to check your kitchen for foods that you may already have that are needed for your meals. This will prevent you from buying certain foods unnecessarily.

As most of you already know, I am a firm believer in the health benefits organic foods. But if you must buy conventional produce, there are ways to reduce your exposure to the harmful chemicals they contain. Thoroughly washing all fruits and vegetables will help, although all pesticide residues cannot be removed by washing. You can also remove the outer layer of leaves or peel vegetables if possible. Another alternative is to grow your own vegetables, although this takes space, time and climate considerations.

Another option is to buy organic produce selectively, as certain foods tend to have higher or lower amounts of pesticides.

The following foods tend to have the highest levels of pesticides:

Vegetables: Spinach, Potatoes, Bell Peppers, Hot Peppers, Celery

Fruits: Peaches, Apples, Strawberries, Nectarines, Pears, Cherries, Raspberries, Grapes

The list below includes foods that tend to be lower in pesticides:

Vegetables: Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Asparagus, Radishes, Broccoli, Onions, Okra, Cabbage, Eggplant

Fruits: Pineapples, Plantains, Mangos, Bananas, Watermelon, Plums, Kiwi, Blueberries, Papaya, Grapefruit, Avocado

Last Comment:

Unfortunately, there are still many people that do not have access to organic foods, whether it is for demographic reasons or economic reasons. If either of these reasons pertain to you, please, please, please do not make this an excuse to avoid fruits and vegetables altogether. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are better than none at all. It is my hope and intention to get each and every one of you to venture outside of your box to try something new, whether it is eating an organic apple for the first time, or incorporating more fruits and vegetables in your daily diet. So, remember your ultimate goal: Eating Healthy without Breaking the Bank!

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