Posts Tagged ‘eating’

Jason and I have both been working pretty hard to get into shape these past few months. He had a good jump start on me (consistently lifting weights for the last 6+ months). I’ve had a few false starts the last 2 months and am finally falling into a good routine for free weight exercises and cardio (cycling, running, walking). And we have come to realize that this is something we both value and enjoy and we are working to make it a lifestyle, to not stop working out once we get “fit”. Our friend actually made the comment that “you two are going to be that ‘fit’ couple aren’t you?” and we both decided that would be A-okay with us.

We both seem to be on the right track with exercise, but food is a different matter. I want eating Healthy on a budget to be a main component of Thrift Kitchen.  I’ve cooked from general healthy eating to vegan to organic to vegetarian to flexitarian, but some key things have always alluded me and that’s what I’m starting to work on this week. I honestly feel a little at a loss as far as how to cook when we are trying to both cut our fat and increase our muscle – something I’ve never done before.

First I did a lot of research to answer a few questions I really didn’t know the answers to and found a few great articles and sites on: eating healthy, loosing weight safely, and eating to compliment exercise over the long term:

Zen Habit’s 5 Step Weight Loss Plan – I really like this article and feel like it’s everything I’m trying to accomplish in my own life.

Losing weight safely – an interesting article by the fda.

Healthy Eating: Tips for a Healthy Diet – there is a lot of information here and I’m bookmarking it to refer back to it on a regular basis. The website in general seems to have a lot of great articles on healthy lifestyles instead of “dieting” which is really helpful.

10 Ways you can Stop Dieting and Change Your Lifesytle Eating Habits – an article with some really interesting points. I particularly like the part about “no cheating” and how you should focus on goals and rewards instead – like having a glass of wine with dinner on my rest day if I’ve followed each day’s routine that week.

These are just 3 of a few of the millions of articles on lifesytle eating habits, but were personally the most helpful that I found. Do you have a particularly good article or website that you have found helpful to you and your goals of healthy eating?

After reading all these I decided that I would focus on developing 3 new eating habits over the course of 6 weeks – focusing on a new habit each 2 weeks and building them on each other.

1) Weeks 1 & 2 -more water less caffeine – I hardly drink any water except when I’m cycling and even then I don’t drink nearly enough. My goal is to drink 4 glasses of water a day (not enough I know, but a start) – approx 48 oz. I will drink one glass with each meal and then one glass after working out (carido or weights).

2) Weeks 3 & 4 – Smaller portions . I’m going to really start cracking down on portion sizes – especially for things like pasta, rice, cereal, and bread. I just straight up eat to much at just about every meal.

3) Weeks 5 & 6. More veggies and fruits – in the third week I’m going to eat a larger portion of veggies with every meal and eat one fruit each day (i know, not enough, but a start in the right direction).

and even though I’m stating these over the course of 6 weeks, it will more likely just happen naturally as I start cooking for a more whole diet.

I read this great article on the simple dollar about establishing new habits and I think it applies across the board from eating to exercising to reading.

If you don’t exercise, well, you should! Read 4 Simple Steps to Start the Exercise Habit and How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit to help get you started. There is also an article on Beginning to Run and 10 Breakfast ideas that are worth a read too.

Some general things for me for this week and the next:

Keeping the junk out of the house. I know it’s hard sometimes and it feels like I’m denying myself, but just not buying that bag of chips really will keep me from eating it. If we have chips, we eat them. If we don’t have chips, we don’t. We just finished off our “junk food” and so I’m just not going to buy anymore. Looking at snacks – simple tips are to substitute healthier alternatives. For instance, if you are craving salty/crunchy try some popcorn with sea salt instead – if you are craving sweat and creamy, have yogurt blended with some fruit. I’ll be focusing on these kinds of quick snack recipes over the long term because I for one am a snacker.

More Water, Less Caffeine and alcohol. Now i’m not saying do without, but cutting back is a great way to save some money and feel better in general. I don’t feel deprived if I have my morning coffee, but I do if I try to cut it out all the way. Same thing with wine – if I say “no alcohol allowed” then I tend to just binge eventually and end up being realllly addicted to caffeine or having too much wine and feeling like garbage (or like I was hit with a garbage truck). Instead I’m going say coffee in the morning is fine, but in the afternoon it really does effect my sleep so no thanks. And with wine, I’m going to keep it to dinner on Sundays only if I’ve completed each day’s routine (so no skipping cardio because it’s raining or weight lifting because I’m tired). There is also just the fact that drinking a lot of coffee and wine is expensive and no longer fits into the budget, water on the other hand is free and makes you feel really good.


I’m going to continue to post on this topic, I’ll keep you updated on how I’m doing on my goals and new recipes I’m making to help stay on track with both our budget and our lifestyle.

In other news, we are doing pretty well on the food budget so far. And I feel like our frig is still stocked. Not eating out has really help cut back + not getting some of the more pricy items we “want” and replacing them with what we need. Oh and buying produce that is season or on sale really helps cut costs – like red onions were just 62 cents per pound last week! Perfect!

Well, i’m off to do today’s weight trainign and then post on Craft Leftovers. See you soon!


Read Full Post »

I LOVE popcorn. I have since I was a kid. It was always a special treat when we made it on the stove with lots of melted butter and salt and YUM! And it was always accompanied by a movie and paper cones made from construction paper and lots of friends (each kiddo was given their own cone of pop corn to eat out of while watching the movie). I think our parents would all rotate who had all the kids for a movie night so it was good for them and for us. So all growing up we had it, and then even when I was a teenager – with the microwave and microwave popcorn becoming popular – it was always a tasty treat. When I moved away to collage I didn’t have a microwave, just a toaster oven. I went back to making popcorn on the stove and I loved it all the more! Being in the middle of the corn belt there are a lot of local farms that sell pop corn and believe it or not, they all taste different and have different textures!

I was shocked when I learned a lot of my friends and classmates didn’t know how to make popcorn on the stove! Travesty!


So here is how you make popcorn for 1 to 2 people.

Popcorn :: The Yummiest!

1/4 cup pop corn kernels
1 T. oil (olive oil or canola works well)

NOTE: Popcorn kernels can be purchased by the bag at any grocery store, but in bulk is pretty cheap at the natural food store. And like with beans there is more of a turn around there, so you will know they are fresh.

Place kernels and oil in a small sauce pan.
Swirl around so all the kernels are coated with the oil.


Cover with a tightly fitted lid and turn on the burner to medium high heat.

Let it sit until you hear sizzling or the first kernel pop. From then on give the pan a good horizontal shake
every few seconds (especially when the popping really gets going).

Once the popping slows down (or there is more than 20 seconds between pops) place popcorn into a bowl and place pan lid on the top – to keep a late popper from exploding out of the bowl and taking a dozen pieces of popcorn with it). And when pouring it into the bowl, keep the lid semi over the pan. The reason you remove the popcorn right away is that the bottom kernels will actually burn… and burnt popcorn stinks like no other!


Right after I took this picture one kernel actually popped – trust me, if that lid wasn’t on there it would be a mess, haha.

Now, for toppings. A big part of how healthy (or unhealthy) popcorn is, is determined by what you put on it. Using a light oil to pop it in and eating a small portion helps.


Use sea salt instead of table salt for some good sodium.

Add some kick by tossing in some cracked pepper.

If you like cheesy popcorn a good alternative is using nutritional yeast (like a 1/2 T. is good). Use the flaked instead of the powdered (which I tend to literally inhale and then I cough like mad for 5 minutes).


Nutritional Yeast is pretty great stuff. It has 8g of protein per 2T, is low in sodium, and has lots of other random nutrients that vegans and vegetarians need but may not get otherwise. It makes a great crust on baked tofu too. I’ve heard people like it on toast and other things like that. So far, a topping for popcorn is my favorite use for it.

Any kind of herb is yummy on there – particularly thyme in my case – but everyone is different.

What do you like to put on your popcorn?

Until next time, have a happy thrift kitchen!

Read Full Post »