Thursday, March 26, 2015


Creating healthy meals and making the food money last all month long, is what Food $ense  is all about. One way we feel you can save money is by using the grocery store ads to help with your family meal budget. Rachel from pricematchwithrachel has made it easy to see what's on sale each week. She sorts through the ads and creates a beautiful, categorized list of what is on sale. You can use her list to price match at both LOLO's and Walmart.

Meal planning is an important part of making the money last. Here are some things I recommend for creating a family meal plan.

  • Take inventory of what you have on hand. Use this handout as an inventory page instead of a shopping list.
  • Sit down with a calendar of your family schedule. Know what you have happening each day and decide how to  plan your meals. Should  you prep in the morning and leave dinner in a crock pot for later or if you will have time to prepare a meal in the late afternoon. What about lunch time, where will you be? 
  • Have Rachel's list in front of you or the grocery ads from your favorite store.
  • Plan meals that will help you use what you have already on hand and write down what grocery items you need to complete meals. 
  • Use a list when you shop to keep from spending money on food that will not go towards a specific meal. 

Use these items to decide what you have and what you need. Plan your meals to include all 5 food groups based upon the USDA MyPlate recommendation.  Don't forget to plan snacks as well to help you from grabbing quick, less healthy snacks when you become hungry.

This week on Rachel's list my favorite buy is the Barilla Pasta. Smiths has a "buy 10 and save $5" which makes the pasta $.49 per lb. Pasta keeps in the pantry for a long time. This is one item you should really stock up on. There are so many different ways to use pasta that you will always have a meal to fall back on for those busy night. Pasta cooks up quickly and can be topped with a variety of sauces like marinara, pesto, and alfredo. It can also be used in salads, soups, casseroles, skillets and sides. If you are doing pasta and a sauce make it a MyPlate meal by adding a green salad. Reams has DOLE Salads for $1.39 this week. Rancho Market has a variety of fresh vegetables on sale like, radishes, green onions, 1lb carrot bags all  4 for $1 on Wednesday and Thursday. 

As we are heading into spring start watching for Strawberries to drop in price. They will keep moving down as we get closer to summer peaking May-June. When they are below $1 per pound that's when you want to purchase a lot and make enough strawberry jam to last all year. 

With Easter less than 2 weeks away, Ham, frozen dough and other traditional Easter meal items will start going on sale. These are things you can keep in a freezer and prepare at another time. 

-Happy Planning

Saturday, March 21, 2015


Lettuce CHILE PEPPERS Strawberries  LEMONS Asparagus CELERY

PINEAPPLE   Red Peppers   Daikon-Radish   Apples  POTATOES


If you're wondering what that giant white root vegetable from your basket is, it's a Daikon radish.  We'll be using ours in salads and as a roasted vegetable, but here are ten ideas for using it.  


We've put together a healthy meal plan.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.

This week, with a lot of my basket ingredients, I'm going to prep food that fits my busy lifestyle.  I'll prepare things into single servings and then stock my fridge and be ready for the week!  This involves washing and drying the vegetables and then cutting them and putting into single serving containers, such as mason jars, plastic bags, and plastic containers.

The plan:
celery and red peppers cut to eat with hummus
mason jar salads from the lettuce, shredded daikon, some asparagus, some strawberries
smoothies from some strawberries and some pineapple (chop and freeze them in a single layer)
Gazpacho (a cold soup easily made in the blender or food processor):  red peppers, 1 chile pepper,
chopped pineapple to have with cottage cheese or yogurt
frozen lemon custard

I'm going to do a lot of roasting because it's simple, easy and delicious.  Vegetables/Fruit for roasting:  Potatoes, Asparagus, Daikon, Pineapple, and Red Peppers, Green Chiles.  Follow these steps for roasting any vegetable.  You can roast just a couple times over the entire week since roasted veggies will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, and can be reheated.  I'll also cook my grains and proteins just a couple times this week and portion them out so there are less days I need to cook.

One night I'll get a bit more adventurous with homemade CHILE RELLENO BAKE.  I LOVE chile rellenos and baking them instead of frying not only makes them healthier, but it creates a casserole that you can enjoy for days.

Lemons - just slice and add to warm water in the morning for a healthy start to the day
Apples - slice and have with peanut butter, eat whole, or with cheese

As you can see, I kept things really simple this week.  What are your favorite tricks for spending less time in the kitchen to get healthy, delicious food?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


So... do you ever have those nights when you have a non-stop schedule all day long and no time to think about dinner? I had one of those days last week.  What do you do when you get home and have no plans for dinner and everyone is looking at you, waiting for you to feed them. This is why keeping a well stocked pantry is so important.

My 11 year old was complaining that our meals had been too structured lately he wanted something different. I ran through a couple ideas and all he could say is "no, no, no!"  Finally, I hit on something with WAFFLES.  I looked though the pantry and refrigerator to see what kind of fun things we could use to CREATE a Waffle Bar.

 Here is what it took to throw this meal together in minutes.

Pantry Staples- Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, Canola Oil,
Refrigerator Items- Buttermilk (roll over ingredient from a previous meal), Deli ham, cheese, Bacon, Eggs
Toppings- Strawberries, Bananas, Apples, Syrup, Peanut Butter, Jelly

I wanted to show a little love so I decided to create these waffles from scratch. However, using a baking mix is what my tired body wanted me to do. It works either way. I found a recipe on line and decided to use that. It was from BON APPETIT, But I modified it quite a bit for high fat and missing ingredients after I got started. WAFFLE BAR WAFFLES.
Raven teaches a delicious KAMUT WAFFLE with apple syrup.

We set the table with a variety of toppings. This included sliced strawberries and bananas. I did some 5 minute spiced apples. Set out peanut butter, jelly and lemon curd I had purchased out of curiosity. The bacon was a bonus because it is not something we usually keep on hand, but I was grateful to have it this night. Eggs would also be a great way to add protein to this meal.

We did some regular waffles and some with ham and cheese. For the ham and cheese I just cut up deli ham and then sprinkled it with grated cheddar cheese, closed the lid. Yummy!

This meal was a big hit. I made 2 batches of waffles, there was enough for everyone and we probably could have even used a few more. The best part was I had everything I needed for a successful meal already in my kitchen. No running to the store for a missing ingredient or going out to a restaurant.

Keeping a well stocked pantry is essential to eating on a budget. See this handout we share in our classes about GOOD THINGS TO HAVE ON HAND. We don't expect everyone to run out and purchase everything on the list, but to use it to give you ideas as to what your family uses on a regular basis that you could stock up on. It's a good idea to keep everything you need for a few quick meals that your family enjoys on hand for nights like this.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


MyPlate Menu

Using store ads, you can save a LOT of cash at the grocery store.  Check your mailbox, the store websites or apps, or this website that does all the work for you!  In Utah County, both Walmart and LoLo's price match local competitors ad prices.

This week I will be picking up a couple of Heritage Farm Whole Chickens ($.99 lb). In the past I have shied away from purchasing whole chickens like this, but it is a great way to get a lot of meat for little cost. You can cook them whole, rotisserie-chicken style, like this one from Our Best Bites. Or break it up into breast, thighs and wings. I also like to boil the whole chicken with some vegetables and then pull the meat from the bones.

Yes, it is a little work but I have enough meat from one chicken to make two meals for 4 people. In addition to the meat, it also produces chicken stock I can use instead of purchasing it. There are a million things to do once you pull the meat from the bone. Soup, Casserole, Salads, Sandwiches ANYTHING!!!

Enchiladas My Way
For the price matched plate this week I will make enchiladas.  When I make enchiladas, I plate one enchilada and then pile it with lettuce($.98 @  Ridley's), fresh tomatoes, white onions, olives and a dollop of light sour cream (16 oz. $.99). It ends up more like a salad with an enchilada on the bottom. There are ton of recipes for chicken enchiladas online. Family Favorite Recipes is place I go for recipes I know my family will love. They have a variety of enchilada recipes.

Things to stock up on this week

RUSSETS POTATOES 10 lb bag $.98
WATERMELON 4 lb for $1 @ Rancho Market
Fuji and Granny Smith APPLES 2 lb for $1 @ Rancho Market
ORANGES 4lb for $1 @ Rancho Market
MANGOS are $1 each @ Smiths
BELL PEPPERS ASSORTED 3 for $1 @ Rancho Market Sat and Sun
GREEN CABBAGE $.47 @ Ridley's
RED POTATOES $.47 @ Ridley's

100% APPLE JUICE  Western Family  64 oz @ Macey's
MILK $1.99 @ Reams
BUTTER $1.88 @ Macey's (you can easily freeze butter)

For the Freezer
Pork Sirloin Chips, bone-in $ 1.49 @ Macey's
Pork Sirloin Roast bone-in $.97 @ Ridley's
Chicken Drumsticks .$69 @ Reams

Thank you vanillaechoes, phasinphoto, and John Kasawa with for the images.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Green-leaf Lettuce     CARROTS     APPLES     CUCUMBERS     ROMA TOMATOES
PEARS     Honeydew Melon     BABY SWEET PEPPERS
1 bunch green leaf lettuce - 1 head cabbage - 10 roma tomatoes - 1 bunch baby asparagus - 7 bosc pears - 1 honeydew melon - 4 carrots - 3 cucumbers - 22 baby sweet peppers - 5 apples - 7 oranges 

Yesterday, NPR published an article about the use of photography to help make healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables seem more appealing.  (You can read that article - HERE).  Corporations use marketing to entice us into buying their products so that they can make a sale.  These kinds of things are being plastered everywhere constantly, with hopes that you and I will see them and be motivated to purchase their product.  This got me thinking about the kind of food-related things that inspire me....(Or, where I get my "foodspiration")  I love photographing fruits and vegetables.  I love shopping in the produce section!  I love the Christmas morning feeling I get when I pick up my bountiful basket.  I love trying new things and making discoveries.  I love going to little mom and pop stores and markets, especially if they have a cultural niche.  Pinterest is enthralling.  Talking with people and spending time in their world and learning about their traditions always gives me ideas.  Another favorite thing to do is explore the community.  Foodspiration is everywhere.  It's up to us to find the best sources.  I hope this little blog inspires you in some way!  Thanks for coming by.


We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.

Basket items:  4 medium carrots or 2 large
I've got a rotisserie chicken in the fridge that I need to use the rest of and this is one of my favorite childhood comfort foods!  It's so inexpensive and the carrots will go nicely.

Basket items:  4-5 roma tomatoes
One pot meal for the win!  I love the taste of roasted tomatoes.  I also love black beans, especially if they are seasoned.  Easy meal for a busy day.

Basket items:   2 (or more) pears
Pork chops are on sale at least for a few more days and I really wanted to do something with basalmic vinegar and pears.  I'll probably make a little extra and then use the leftovers on top of a green salad.  Yum!

Basket items:  Some of the asparagus, a few tomatoes, a few peppers
I've got pesto in the fridge and shrimp in the freezer.  Cook up some pasta and sautee some of these gorgeous vegetables and it will be a perfect dinner.  I can tell this will be my favorite meal of the week.

Basket items:  a handful of sweet peppers
I'm thinking about those delicious little peppers and how good they would be on a pizza.  I've got mushrooms in my fridge as well and I'll saute them both up a little together before adding to the pizza.

Basket items:   5 cups (chopped) of the cabbage
If you're like me, even though you're usually home on Saturdays, you don't usually want to spend a lot of time cooking.  That's why the crock pot can be your best friend!  I really love mine.  Not only that - this cabbage stew will really hit the spot!

Basket items:  2 pears
One of my favorite flavor combinations is cheese with sweet.  These sandwiches or quesadillas will be yummy with some soup on the side and a small salad or plate of fresh veggies.  If you want something heartier for dinner - do these as your appetizer.

HONEYDEW WITH MINT - simply cut up your ripe honeydew melon and toss with some shredded mint leaves.  The result is a sweet and cool flavor you will love.
MASON JAR SALADS - so convenient to prepare salads ahead of time and grab to take for lunches or even to have some of your dinner meal prep done ahead of time.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I don't know about you, but the grocery ads that come in the mail and clutter my counters make me crazy. I hold on to them thinking,"I need to look at that". It gets shuffled around from table to counter and back again until the week is up and I can throw them away without guilt. By this time there is a whole new stack to deal with.

One of the resources available to help save money on food is Walmart's Price Match.  When it comes to price matching it can get really overwhelming. Rachel at has done all the foot work. Each week she scours the ads and puts together a beautiful, convenient list of all the ads. You can simply use her list to identify what you need and then price match from her list.

We have decided that this is such a great asset to readers, that we want to highlight some of the best deals and help you with your meal planning.

Click here to see her Utah County List

The price matched plate will give you dinner ideas based upon the grocery ads. I will also point out things to stock up on and keep either in a pantry or freezer. It is important to keep a well stocked kitchen.


This week's price matched plate includes pork chops (bone-in $1.47 or boneless $1.87) on sale at Ridley's. You can sear these in a hot pan, bake them in the oven or if it warms up like it is supposed to in the next week, cook them on the grill.

Spiced apples go nicely with pork chops, I have shared a simple recipe I love here. (I also use this as a dessert by adding light whipping cream and a sprinkle of granola to make a 5 minute Apple Crisp.)

Cauliflower and Broccoli are both on sale for $.69 at Reams. I recommend doing a roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

Potatoes are on sale for $.99 for 5 pounds at Macey's. This is not as good as it was last week, but still an inexpensive side to go with your pork chops. You can do a couple meals with 5 lbs. Scalloped, skillet, baked, etc.

Last but not least, a nice tossed green salad. Lettuce is on sale at Rancho Market for $.89. Iceberg lettuce does not offer a lot nutritionally, but there is also tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, celery, all $.50 a pound and avacodo on sale Sat-Sun. These vegetables are packed with  vitamin goodness, antioxidants and dietary fiber.  All the little goodies at the bottom of the salad are my favorite part.

Good buys for this week.
Some other items to stock up on: Fresh Baby Back Ribs for $2.98 a pound. I usually I keep my meats around $2.00 a pound, but IT'S MY BIRTHDAY so I am going to do it. This item is more like $4 or more per pound regularly. It is not on Rachels list, but is in the ad for March 6-9th

Adding to a Well Stocked Kitchen
$1.67- Boneless country Style Ribs, Country Style Sausage, Ground Pork or Ground Italian Sausage at Ridley's 
Chicken breast in a 40lb box at $1.67 a pound is a great pick up but be ready to put in some time separating and freezing it in smaller portion sizes. This will need to be done as soon as you get home. So be sure to have freezer bags. 
Macey's has Shur Savings Milk, Skim, 1%, 2% for $1.99
Cottage Cheese is $.94 for 16 ounces
DiVinci 1 lb pasta is $.68 at Ridley's 
Frozen Vegetables are $.89-$.99 depending on brand. 
Thanks to Rancho Market there are tons of veggies to choose
Reams has Nectarines for $.99, bring a fresh summer break from winter cold.

If you have a question about what to do with something I highlighted this week. Post your question in the comments and I will get back to you with some ideas.

Happy Menu Planning- Kristi

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Eat Green

What if there was a magic potion that would:
  • Reduce your chances of getting cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and kidney stones
  • Decrease bone loss and cholesterol levels
  • Keep your eyes and skin healthy
  • Protect you against infections
  • Aid digestion
  • AND help keep you at a healthy weight? 
  • and had zero side effects
Would you take it?

I'm happy to report there is a way to have these results, in a fun, delicious, colorful way.


All it takes is eating at least 3 cups of vegetables a day. And, by the way, vegetables contain thousands more vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals than a potion or pill could ever contain.

I am a huge believer in the power of vegetables. I believe establishing the lifestyle of eating lots of vegetables is one of the best things you could ever do for your family's health.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, and in honor of your health, challenge yourself to eat more vegetables, especially green ones (which are very low-calorie and particularly powerful immunity-boosters).

Sometimes buying and preparing vegetables can seem very time-consuming. Whenever I think that, I think of this principle I heard once:

 "We either spend some of our time and some of our money on staying well, or we eventually spend all of our time and money on getting well." 

Below are some ways to incorporate green vegetables in ways that maybe you haven't tried before. 

Happy cooking!


Click on the recipe titles to access the source and see the full recipe.

Green Smoothie
Green Omelet (Green Eggs!)

Spinach Potato Soup
or Split Pea Soup

Green Pizza
Lemon Parmesan Zucchini
Kale, Cranberry, and Breadcrumb Salad

Kale Guacamole
Kale Chips or Spinach Chips

Black Bean Brownies with Avocado frosting (my new favorite brownie recipe!)
(Did you know beans are considered either a vegetable or a protein?)

For more know-how about preparing healthy meals quickly and affordably, come to one of our FREE CLASSES this week!

For more information, please contact us:

 Thurs 3/5 @ 7pm
Lehi Library 120 N Center St Lehi
Create Healthy Family Meals on a Budget Series
Create A Pizza
Tues 3/10 @ 11 a.m.
Mommy & Me
USU Extension Office, 100 E Center St, Provo. In rooms L600 and L700. 
Must pre-register. Email, or call 801-851-8460
Cooking demo for mom, activities and cooking for young children. Light lunch to follow.
Weds 3/11 @ 10:15 a.m.
Centro Hispano  817 S. Freedom Blvd, Provo, UT
¡Cocine y ahorre $$$$!
Cocinar con un Presupuesto
Weds 3/11 @ 12pm
South Franklin Community Center 770 S 700 W, Provo
Cooking Skills Creates Series
Knife Skills
Weds 3/11 @ 7pm
Springville Library 45 S Main Springville
Get Creative in the Kitchen Series
Creative Edibles with Fruits & Veggies
Tues 3/17 @ 4pm
Department of Workforce Services 1185 North Chappel Drive Spanish Fork
Creates Series
Create A Skillet Meal
Weds 3/11 @ 10:15 a.m.
Centro Hispano  817 S. Freedom Blvd, Provo, UT
¡Cocine y ahorre $$$$!
Proteinas baja en grasa
Weds 3/18 @ 12pm
South Franklin Community Center 770 S 700 W, Provo
Cooking Skills Creates Series
Skillet Cooking
 Thurs 3/19 @ 11am
Department of Workforce Services 1550 N Freedom Blvd, Provo
Create Healthy Meals on a Budget
Create A Pizza
Thurs 3/19 @ 7pm
American Fork Library 64 S 100 E, American Fork
Create Healthy Family Meals on a Budget Series
Create A Pizza
Weds 3/11 @ 10:15 a.m.
Centro Hispano  817 S. Freedom Blvd, Provo, UT
¡Cocine y ahorre $$$$!
Frutas y Verduras--Crear un Batido
 Weds 3/25 @ 11am
Utah County Health Dept 151 S University Ave, Rm 1600 Provo
Create Health in the Kitchen
Creative Edibles with Fruits & Veggies
Weds 3/25 @ 12pm
South Franklin Community Center 770 S 700 W, Provo
Cooking Skills Creates Series

Sunday, March 1, 2015


Some highlights from the basket:

Asparagus  Celery  ENGLISH CUCUMBERS  blueberries   
Rosalynn-Apples  PINEAPPLE  Broccoli
We are loving this amazing basket this week!  So many good things.  I admit that within a couple hours of getting home I had already devoured 1/3 of our blueberries and several slices of cucumber.  I think those are my favorite things this week.  Here is more info on blueberries and if you scroll down, you'll see our meal plan and recipes using this week's basket ingredients.  Enjoy!

You can see from this photo why blueberries were once called "star berries" by Native Americans.  These darling little things are packed with goodness, including Fiber and Vitamin C & E.  Their prime growing season ended in October, making them a prize addition to our basket this week.  Also, according to a study done by the University of Michigan, blueberries are natural anti-depressants!  Perfect for chasing away the  ;-)
You'll want to store them in the fridge and wait to rinse until it's time to eat them.  Blueberries can stay well in the fridge for up to 10 days.  Keep an eye on them though and enjoy them while they are nice and fresh!


We've put together a meal plan, with feeding a family of 4 in mind.  However, these ideas would be great no matter how many you're feeding.  This meal plan uses produce from a Utah basket from Bountiful Baskets and is based on MyPlate recommendations.  We'll also use a few simple ingredients from a well stocked kitchen and minimal additional items from the market.  You can click on each recipe name for the recipe.  Everything shown here was included in the basket contribution - $15 plus a small fee ($2.50).  Everything pictured came from my personal Bountiful Basket and all photos are of actual produce from the basket.

This week I wanted to feature healthy recipes from some fabulous local blogs!  We have so much knowledge and inspiration at our fingertips these days - the web is a fantastic resource for ideas to make the most out of food we have on-hand.

Basket Items:  Head of broccoli
Simple.  Quick.  Delicious.  Serve on the side of a protein or over pasta.

Confession:  I like eating raw asparagus.  I've already snacked on a few stalks just since bringing it home this morning.  I'm also obsessed with roasting asparagus with garlic.  This week, I wanted a one-pot meal I could throw together for a busy night and this one is just the ticket.  I even have all of the ingredients already stocked in my kitchen. 

Basket Items: blueberries.  You could also use the lettuce instead of kale or mixed with it.  Either way, this salad will be packed with quite the super-food punch.

Basket Items:  Carrots, lettuce, cucumber
I'm not sure what I love more - eating fresh spring rolls or making them.  There's something therapeutic about wetting the delicate rice paper until it's just soft enough to work with... and then rolling them one by one until there's a beautifully stacked plate of them.  ....or is it just me?  

Basket Item:  1-2 avocado
Kristi was kind enough to share one of her favorite fun recipes with me.  I love avocado and I would just eat it plain, over eggs, on a sandwich, over pretty much anything, in guacamole, in a smoothie, sautéed, or maybe even try one of those baked-egg-in-an-avocado things.  Salsa, which is basically what "cowboy caviar" is, also brightens up my day.  Serving it with grilled meat, fish, or chicken sounds perfect for a special dinner at home on the weekend.

Basket items:  Celery, Carrots, any other veggies you want!
Follow simple steps to creating a soup using whatever veggies you have!  I have salmon in my freezer and this salad sounds great for a lunch or light dinner.  I might even substitute blueberries for the grapes, since I have them.  Laurie, who shared this recipe with me is so warm, friendly, and authentic that I knew her food ideas would be as well.

You may already know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.  I like the idea of doing something with pineapple for Sunday dinner, for this very reason.  Having food with company is good for the soul.  I'm giving a shout-out to one of my favorite foodies and best friends-of-all-time, Sarah from the Single Mom Survival Guide.  Happy Birthday!!  I hope you have good food, laughter, and the best people all around you this and every day.

Rosalyn apples, bananas, blueberries, oranges, lots of celery, lots of lettuce and probably a bit of this and that.

Celery with peanut butter, hummus, cottage cheese, or other dip
Fresh fruit is the best
Mason Jar salads
Banana bread
Orange Julius
More spring rolls!