It’s true. But I am cheap in only a few things in life and food is definitely one of them. I know what you’re thinking. Horror! YOU are cheap on food? You, Shannon, when food is all you talk about? Yes, my dear readers, it’s true when it comes to my groceries, I’m frugal.
Tonight I hit up Walmart for my 2-3 weeks supply of food. Not everything I eat is bought at Walmart, but you truly cannot beat the prices for what you get. I am picky with certain things like produce. I will pick up my veggies and fruit in Philadelphia at Reading Terminal (aka food mecca). So for all of my shelf stable items and brands that I would buy at the grocery store for $1.00 or so more I get them cheaper at Walmart. Besides, that dollar can go towards a new cute dress or fabulous pair of heels ;)
Below are a few tips I always use to save on groceries:
1. Make a list- I never go grocery shopping without a list. I LOVE to grocery shop so without a list, it could lead to me buying everything I am craving. I plan out my meals, create a list and work from it while in the store.
2. Read the in-store circular- These are usually located right at the front door of the store (or lucky me they are delivered in my mailbox every Wednesday). This will give you a game plan of where the sales are located in the store.
3. Shop around- I buy my produce at Reading Terminal not only because its fresh but also because its inexpensive! I will then plan to go to Walmart for the rest of my groceries and household items. My dad would probably tell me that the money I’m saving, I’m spending in gas. I carefully plan so that I am not at Walmart every week so that when I shop the grocery savings are worth it.
Now that I have food shopped my friends, the recipes will be flying your way. I have had a bunch of requests for healthy, budget friendly meals and that is just what you’re going to get. So get your grocery list and appetite ready, I’m ready to hit the kitchen again!
This recipe is a favorite of the BF and my youngest sister Meg. It is quick, easy, cheap and healthy. Does it really get any better than that? For me, meals are all about balance without high caloric intake. This recipe is so easy, you will find yourself keeping applesauce and blueberry muffin mix on hand juuuuust in case, of you know, a guest or a craving.
Yield: About 12-15 muffins
Bake time: 12- 15 minutes
1 box of Fiber One Blueberry Muffin Mix
3 egg whites
2 containers of unsweetened applesauce
½ cup of fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp of water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease or fill the muffin pan with baking cups.
Mix together the dry mix, 3 egg white, applesauce and water. Mix until the batter is wet and fold in blueberries. Fill the muffin tin until ½ to ¾ full in each baking cup.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until muffins are golden brown on top. Remove the muffins from the tin with a butter knife. Serve muffins warm if possible and enjoy!
Next time you have house guests, pop these bad boys in the oven before they arrive. The house will smell of warm blueberries and you will have a tasty breakfast treat too! Win-Win!
Spending a few days in the deep south makes me long for cornbread and sweet tea but allows me to appreciate the cooler NE temps and outside life we’re able to experience here in the summer.
While visiting my sister in Savannah, I had full intentions of running outside. Wake up early? Not a problem. Map a run? Got it covered. Have a buddy? Nittany is game. 82 degrees and 63% humidity at 6am? No thank you!
So instead of running the trail, I laced up and hit the dreadmill in the sweet hotel gym.
While I was running my 5k, I began to think about how people in the south handle the heat. If you asked me, I'll take a 20 degree, snowy day over a 80 degree sunny one. But for my friends in Savannah, no heat and humidity is not an option. So these tips are courtesy of Runners World and dedicated to the readers south of the Mason Dixon line. You have my utmost respect for running in conditions like that, I think I would hang by the pool or on the beach everyday; and lifting my drink to my lips would be my workout. They don't call it Slowvannah for nothin' heh.
Runner's World and Jeff Galloway’s tips for running in the heat.
Early Bird Gets the Worm- I am an early riser but I am not a morning runner. Running at 6 am is cooler than running at 9 pm. The asphalt will continue to radiate the heat long after the sun goes down.
Screen Your Skin- Being a Ginger, sunscreen is ALWAYS a must for me. I have learned my lesson numerous times getting burned on a ‘quick’ 20 minute run. Use sweat proof/waterproof sunscreen. My favorite is Coppertone SPF 15 for a short run. It doesn’t bead into my eyes, and allows my freckles to still surface.
Drink Up- I can’t tell you how important it is to drink enough while running (or doing nothing!) when the weather warms up. Dehydration can present symptoms of a headache, nausea and make a person feel ill. I do not like drinking sports drinks, however, on truly hot days, I will water down a PowerAde to replace lost electrolytes.
Get Tech-y- Sweat wicking materials are a runners best friend on a summer run. The tech shirts allow skin to breathe and therefore help prevent overheating. I always check to make sure my running gear also blocks uva/uvb rays to protect my skin.
Take Your Time- Especially in the extreme cold and heat are runners prone to misery on the run from overheating or pushing cold muscles too hard (in the cold). Start out easy at a 10 min/mile pace. If you feel good, slowly pump up the speed. To dash out of the gate on a nightly run will make you feel ill especially with the combination of heat and humidity. For more great tips on Running in the Heat, read a really helpful post from Running off the Reeses!
Question of the Night: What are your ideal running conditions?
Hi Pinch of Ginger readers! My name is Trish and I'm so happy to be sharing with you today. Big thanks to Shannon for asking me to guest blog on her site :)
So, today is my 27th birthday (happy birthday, self!!). The past few years have been some of the most powerful in my life. They have been full of high-highs and low-lows; when I feel an emotion, good or bad, I feel it hard...and let me tell you, my 27th year marks quite the journey of heavy, beautiful, compelling, confusing, magic and motivating feelings. I have worn a full 27 "dresses" of Trish. So what have they taught me?
I feel I've most deeply learned that we are responsible for creating a life of joy for ourselves; no one is going to just hand it to us. Real joy, I have learned, must start from within. Real love, I believe, is only sustainable when it starts with ourselves. Surround yourself with loving people, places, images, messages--yes. Build a community of support, comfort and adventure. But never neglect to wake up each morning and check in with that inner voice of yours. Never forget that he/she knows you better than anyone else and deserves your unconditional love. As I like to say in regards to my life, you have to be an active participant in your own happiness and success. You have to choose to *live* and not just exist. You have to choose to let go and flow.
I have also learned that our bodies and our stories are not separate from our minds--they are deeply connected. What you choose to think is exactly what will you manifest...in life, in love, in health and wealth. I fully understand that human nature often leads us down a Negative Nancy road. "Why me? Poor me..." syndrome is an epidemic. I have been known to suffer from this on many an occasion. It takes courage and strength to lift ourselves up by our boot straps and move forward. And as my favorite Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, says "Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear." There is so much in life we cannot control--let's just accept this now, shall we? But there is one thing we can always control--and that is our thoughts. I encourage you to be in what you are in, to feel your true feelings--avoiding them will never bring you to a lighter state. But always remember that you have the power to shift so much in your life simply by shifting your thoughts.
For me, the easiest way to start changing and shifting my life was to start being more grateful. I was blessed with the opportunity to begin blogging through my new job; a chance to actively document the ways in which the Universe has given me reason to be thankful. We live in an incredible digital world; encouragement, motivation, lessons can be easily found with just the click of a mouse. I highly suggest finding teachers who inspire you on a daily basis; who put you and your thoughts in check. It's far less easy to slip down that Negative Nancy road when you saturate your world with positive influences, words, messages. I also highly suggest taking inventory of your daily gratitude; start a journal, make a vision board, say "thank you!" often with enthusiasm and love. For my own life, this practice has reaped even more love and blessings to be grateful for.
There will probably be folks in your life who will question this holistic kind of approach to living--and that's OK. Let them doubt you. We are all doing the best we can with what we know in the moment. Their disbelief is most often a projection of their own insecurities and in no way a reflection on the powerful being you are becoming. Be a teacher to them through the good you manifest in your life; be living proof of what love, gratitude and kindness can do. This is a journey that has the potential to move mountains. This is a journey that can take you to a beautiful place of balance between being true to your feelings and being willing to change--don't waste another moment doubting that you, just as you are, is enough. You got that? You. Are. Enough. You are worthy. You are loving and lovable. You are enough.
I've said it before but I'll say it again; There is no script to life. Only love, in it's many, many forms, will get you to a happy ending. Practicing gratitude is a powerful form of loving; it can humble us, fill us and open the doors for good beyond our imaginations.
So, sweet readers, what are you thankful for today?
Sending you all love and light as I wear my 27th dress--one of deep gratitude--the one most fitting to just little ol' me :)
If you’ve been a frequent reader of A Pinch Of Ginger you already know that grilling is one my favorite summer pastimes with the BF. That means instead of eating the same thing week after week, we are challenged to find new and exciting recipes. Well, this my friends, is an awesome and easy recipe to impress friends, family or the man/woman in your life. I bring you the Perfect Pork Burgers!
Perfect Pork Burgers (adapted from Food Network Magazine)
1 lb of lean ground pork
8 strips of thick cut bacon (about 2 pieces per burger)
Salt and pepper
Dole Coleslaw Mix
Thomas’ Bagel thins
With your hands break up the ground pork into a bowl and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Rough chop bacon and add into the meat mixture. Form 4 flat patties (the flatter the better they shrink!).
Add burger to the grill and cook until well done and slightly crispy. While the burgers are cooking, mix together coleslaw bag of chopped cabbage etc and dressing.
Once burgers are done, add them to bagel things and top with a heaping pile of coleslaw. Each bite should provide the creaminess of the coleslaw, and the savory flavors of the bacon and pork.
When visiting a new city, I always have a preconceived notion in my head of what it will look like. Usually I am nowhere near close to what it actually is, and Savannah is no exception. Yesterday, Lauren had to work so Megan and I decided to do the tourist thing and sign up for a trolley tour of historic Savannah.
The historic part of the city is actually much larger than I had anticipated. Stretching about 7 miles wide the city is home to only 140,000 residents but swells every St. Patty’s day. They are home to one of the largest celebrations in the country! I guess I know where I belong next March 17th ;)
The city is broken up my multiple squares all named after commissioned officers in the army. My favorite was Lafayette square with the beautiful fountain right in the center.
Megan and I opted to stay on the trolley instead of getting off at every stop. It was hot as hades outside which is why I guess the driver kept referring to the city as slow-vannah. That and he had several politically directed comments about how the city spent their money. Just look at their city hall with a 23 carat gold roof!
Staying on the trolley was a good decision. We heard many stories of pirates (Savannah is a port city and so pirates were not uncommon) and we saw so many beautiful homes as we toured the Victorian district (my favorite part) of the city
It is my dream to own an old home to renovate. One of these would do just fine as long as there were no other ‘occupants’ in the home. Savannah is the fourth most haunted city in America too.
All of the history and haunting conversations, Megan and I were in dire need of a cold drink. We weren’t very hungry due to the extreme heat and humidity so we decided to split a small individual pizza in city market.
And then go in search of our ‘real’ lunch….Fro Yo. Thanks to Lauren’s boss, she knows all of the good spots downtown, and we were able to go to la’ berry to grab a little sweet treat.
That’s just hitting the high points, but all in all, Savannah is a beautiful town that should be on everyone’s “to visit” list. I can’t wait to come back for Marathon weekend this fall ;)
I’m off to slather on the sunscreen, we’re off to Hilton Head for the day.
Question of the day: What cities are on your “must visit” list?
Yesterday was a looooooong day! My morning started at 3:30 am and my alarm sounding to get outa’ bed! Its time to get on the road! My younger sister Megan and I drove all 13 hours yesterday from Philadelphia to Savannah, Georgia. Leaving at 4am was rough but it had its perks. No.Traffic. ANYWHERE.
And it allowed us a lunch with my long-time friend Rich in Raleigh, NC at the Mellow Mushroom. It was so good to catch up with him and get out to stretch our legs! Win-Win!
After lunch our energy levels picked up and the dance parties began. We might have been just a little slap happy. Just a little ;)
We still had another 4.5 hours ahead of us, and being the smart little travelers we are, we packed a cooler of healthy snacks including blueberries, grapes and apple slices.
Meg looks like she's trying to play chubby bunny by stuffing her little cheeks with blueberries. heh.
I also broke into these bad boys.
Around 5:00 we rolled into Savannah just in time for drinks and dinner with my sister, her boyfriend Jon and their pup Nittany.
Now we are resting and getting ready to hit downtown Savannah for dinner. Recap of our historical tour coming later tonight!
1.) Cooler temperatures- It seriously feels like fall outside and that is OK with me! I cannot wait to lace up my running shoes and go out for a nice run in (get this) 62 degree weather. Ahhhhhh I feel spoiled :)
photo courtesy of Running with cake (those are not my legs! Although I wish they were )
2.) Healthy Grilled Foods- The BF and I cannot get enough. And it may or may not be the way I lure him over for dinner ;) What’s on the menu? Grilled Chicken Sausage and veggie kebobs!
3.) Body Pump Class- I am not bashful to say I loathe weight training, but body pump makes this 55 minutes fly by for me! By the end of the class I’m shaking like a leaf. Oh it hurts so good!
4.) Today is my Thursday- That’s right kiddos! Tomorrow I have a half day and the rest of the week off. This always cranks up my productivity and make me smile even though its *only Tuesday
5.) Sisters in Savannah- I have off the rest of the week because I will be driving with my youngest sister Megan to visit our other (middle) sister Lauren! And I get to see my puppy niece Nittany!
Question of the Day: What are you loving, thankful for right now?
The circus is in town! And no I’m not talking about the one that includes Reese Witherspoon and Robert Patinson :)
My brother is a volunteer at the local fire department and they hosted the traveling circus this weekend. After he invited my sister, mom, his girlfriend and me, I was all aboard. I must admit thoughts of Water for Elephants danced in my head ;)
There were Camels and Tigers and Elephants Oh my!
This was my first time to a ‘real’ circus. I say real because Ringling Brothers at the huge Wachovia Center doesn’t count. Especially when this one puts the elephants close enough to touch!
Me and the surrounding 5-year-olds were all in awe of the trapeze artists and animals alike. Although there was part of me that wondered how much we were watching was real, and how much was schemed… illusion if you will. It just makes me want to read the book again!
What a fun way to spend a rainy Saturday!
"The whole thing's illusion, Jacob, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's what people want from us. It's what they expect."
— Sara Gruen (Water for Elephants)
So where was I? Oh yes… running and finding my balance.
Finding balance in eating and exercising is a conscious, daily effort I make. For instance, I purposely pack my lunch and cook my dinners so that I am controlling both my budget and caloric intake. I will be the first to tell you I struggle with this from time to time. My coworkers will laugh and tell you most days, I hate my lunch. I’d much rather eat the amazing smelling pizza, grabbing sushi (that includes crunchies thank you very much) or something fast like a soft pretzel. I don’t want to eat my tuna or pb and banana sammie I packed. However, I eat it with the understanding that you never regret a healthy meal.
Fighting the scales
As I mentioned yesterday, I used to determine my self-worth and accomplishment in healthy living through the number on the scale. I received a number of emails from readers saying they also have weighed themselves as a barometer of their feelings of accomplishment.
I have since thrown out the scale and used my clothes and how they fit as a means to measure my weight loss and gain. My mom has always told me this works for her, and now that I am feeling the snug pull of my jeans, I believe her.
Where I am today….
I would be lying if I said I had this all figured out. As a matter of fact, since I have stopped frequently running to train for an event, I have put on weight. My jeans feel snug, I feel puffy and uncomfortable and it makes me ultra sensitive and crabby. In the back of my head, I know this is typical of me. ( I gain weight in the summer instead of winter- I prefer to run in the cold) So instead of obsessing about every bite that goes in my mouth, I have tried to balance my meals with more protein (to knock off the impulsive snacking) and bumped up my exercise again. Since I am not training, I am trying to do 3 days of cardio a week with 2-3 days of strength training with power yoga and body pump classes.
My reality is the effort to find balance will be everlasting. I am grateful I learned this lesson of balance early in life because now it has become second nature. I don’t treat eating healthy and exercising as a punishment- rather as a privilege. As a friend has described before about his mom, “Mom said she ate healthy and exercised and she still got sick. Would she do it again? Yeah, because it just made her feel good.”
Question of the night: What healthy habit makes you feel good?