Living Simply- Homemade Sunscreen

Spring is here! Hoorah! I truly hope this weekend brings fabulous weather to you and yours. Spring beckons us outside, begging little ones to go play. Let’s knock off some dust and get outside.

Last summer my eldest daughter began having allergic reactions to sunscreen. After several emergency room visits, we decided to stick with all natural organic sunscreens. Two days later, we were back running her to the ER. We’re not sure exactly what ingredient she is reacting to, but we find it easier to avoid them all together, especially zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

When I started looking into natural sunscreens, I started finding that sunscreens are LOADED with nasty cancer causing ingredients. And if you’re a nursing mom, those same ingredients can end up in your breast milk and in your baby’s body.

There are many, many resources on the scary ingredients in sunscreen. Here are two articles I found very helpful:

I will say if you aren’t interested in making your own sunscreen, stick with liquid natural sunscreens with ingredients like zinc oxide (non-nano) because they don’t absorb into the skin!

Because zinc oxide is the most basic of ingredients of natural sunscreen, when it comes to being in the sun for prolonged amounts of time, I decided to make my own!

There are many natural oils that have a natural base SPF, including coconut oil, Shea butter, olive oil, red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, on and on and on! I have to say that I am not a doctor or sunscreen scientist, and I can’t claim exact SPF levels without doing a great deal of scientist like tests… But many studies have found some basic averages. Coconut oil tends to have a SPF between 2 and 10. Red raspberry seed oil usually contains an SPF of 28-50!

This two ingredient all natural sunscreen is just that… Two ingredients! I chose coconut oil as my base because I always have it on hand, it goes really far, and it blocks the “bad” uv rays (UVB) that most sunscreens do not! Red raspberry seed oil is full of emollient fats, that block UVA and UVB rays of the sun, while still allowing the ever amazing Vitamin D to still be absorbed into your skin!

Here’s your recipe!

All Natural Two Ingredient Sun Screen

1/4 c Organic, unrefined cold pressed Coconut Oil
1 tsp. cold pressed organic red raspberry seed oil
A couple drops of your favorite essential oil for smell, optional

Add your ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and beat on low-speed for 2-4 minutes, or until it reaches the consistency to whipped cream. Apply to the body before sun exposure, and continue to reapply as necessary.

*Note this sunscreen is NOT waterproof. Melt in some beeswax on a double boiler and mix in to make this sun screen water proof! I have not tested this, and can not vouch for its use!


Menu Plan Monday- Wednesday Edition

So Monday came and went! We’re having a very busy week in the Sweet Tea household! Forgive me for being a lil’ late! This is also a strange week, because the hubs didn’t get paid until Monday, so we only needed 5 meals!

March 31-April 4th


Lentil Enchiladas with homemade Mexican Rice
Dinner out
Breakfast Chickpea Cutlets on Biscuits with tater-tots
Cheesy Mushroom and Rice Casserole

Breakfast Options

Oatmeal, Cereal, Greek Yogurt Banana “Splits”

Lunch Options

Leftovers, PB&honey sandwiches


Greek Yogurt, Bananas, Applesauce, Goldfish, Protein Smoothies

Stock Up Items-
Cereal (x4), Honey, All-Natural Vegetarian Bouillon cubes, Organic Quinoa, Vital Wheat Gluten

Total Spent this week:
Whole Foods- (stock up basics) $40
Target- (Used my 5% off coupon) $52.50
Publix- $9.86

Left for the month- $337.50

I’m going to try my hardest to get another post in this week, but we have some things going on right now, so there’s a chance it won’t. There definitely won’t be a post next week, but I have some really good stuff in the works for you guys! Including some meal planning tips, printables, and some free goodies to help you shop cheap and healthy!

Love you guys!


“And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:17

Super Creamy Chocolate Green Smoothie

My three year old is notorious for being a bottomless pit. A bottomless pit wearing a princess crown and tutu. During the day she constantly follows me around whining “I’m hungry” in between verses of “Let it go!” However, my two year old has to practically be begged to eat. She’s too busy bossing her big sister around to be bothered with such things. But, hand her just about anything in a cup, and she’ll take it.

As a mom, I’m constantly looking for healthy snacks that will fill up hungry tummies. As the nursing mom of an infant, I’m constantly looking for something to cure my sweet tooth without eating a bunch of junk. In this house, we love throwing whatever we can find in a blender and drinking it through a straw. We’ve been drinking smoothies since before it was cool! This is one smoothie I love. It satisfies momma’s sweet tooth, fills big sister up, and little miss bossy pants can keep up with her big sister while sipping through her to-go cup.

As you may know, smoothies are also a great way to sneak in raw veggies that little ones (or adult husbands) wouldn’t normally eat . Don’t be scared by the ingredients, this smoothie is super tasty and very customizable to whatever you have on hand. Oh, and 3 year old princess approved!

Chocolate Smoothie

Super Creamy Chocolate “Green” Smoothie
Makes 3-4 8 ounce servings, easily halved to make for one.

1 cup Almond Milk or Coconut milk (in the carton)
1/2 cup unsweetened Greek yogurt
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cocoa
3 large cabbage leaves, or two large handfuls of spinach
2 carrots, lightly chopped
2 handfuls of frozen strawberries

Place in high-powdered blender in order listed and blend 3-4 minutes or until smooth, adding extra almond milk if needed.


“The cold never bothered me anyway!”

Menu Plan Monday- 3/21-3/31

10 days. 4 people. $54 dollars. Phew.

It was tight, but we’ll make it work. If you think about it, that’s 45 cents per serving per meal per person per day. Luckily, my husband was able to sell an old piece of furniture that was just sitting around for $30. Then I found out that our local Publix was offering a deal. If you spent $50 on groceries, and you could get a $50 gas gift card for $40. We were already planning on spending $50 on gas this week, so I was able to spend an extra $10 on groceries. That gave me $94! Unfortunately, we all got sick midweek (strep!) so I needed some of that money for meds. Anyway, here’s what I bought!


-Lentil Sloppy Joes with Sweet Potato Fries
-Baked Spaghetti (Dinner with guests, we also bought stuff for brownies and ice cream!)
-Tuna Mac n Cheese
-Quinoa Meatballs and Lemon Pasta
-Baked Ziti
-Lentil Goulash
-Chili over Potatoes
-Poor Man’s Cabbage Noodles
-Fried Quinoa (can’t seem to actually getting around to eating this one)
-Oven Roasted Chimichangas (originally planned enchiladas, but forgot the sauce!) with Mexican Rice

Breakfast Options:

Same old song… We’re in a breakfast rut. Juice, cereal, eggs, toast, oatmeal, yogurt + granola

Lunch Options:

Leftovers, PB&J

Snack Options:

Super Protein Smoothies, Bananas, Yogurt & Granola, Chia Seed Pudding, Applesauce

It’s not pretty this week. Nothing too fancy, and behold the power of pasta. Whole wheat pasta is healthy, cheap, filling, and goes far. I made the goulash on Saturday and we had 10 servings. We ate 6 or so (dinner/lunch, the girls refused theirs for lunch the next day) and froze the rest for emergency lunches.

Total Spent $92.47

I thought I’d throw a party with my $1.53, but I realized I forgot cheese for chimichangas! I scrounged the change jar for another $1.50 to go get my cheese later this week! Oh well.

Like so many women, menu planning can get exhausting and expensive, so come back later this week for some of my best tips to make menu planning on a budget quick and comepletely painless!

Menu Plan Monday- 4/14-4/20


Chickpea Cutlets (smothered in Carolina Gold) and Ranch Mashed Cauliflower
-Mushroom Chickpea Perlo (recipe coming soon!)
-Mushroom and Black Bean Quesidillas with Mexican Rice
-Double Batch Quiche and Oven Roasted Red Potatoes
-St. Paddy’s “Corned Beef” with Red Potatoes and Cabbage
-Fried Quinoa
-Grilled Cheese and Garden Tomato Basil Soup

Breakfast Options

Cereal, Organic Oatmeal, Leftover Quiche, Greek Yogurt and Granola, Breakfast Smoothies, Eggs and Toast

Lunch Options

Leftovers, Sandwiches (meat for the Hubs- 3 slices o’ turkey and 2 slices of cheese= $1.76, and PB&J for me and the kids), Easy Spaghetti, Lentil Sloppy Joes

Snack Options

Unsweetened applesauce, bananas, grapes (I knew the budget was small this week, so I separated a small vine from a large pack), hummus and carrots, All-natural chips (a rare treat!), whole wheat cheeze-its (at my hub’s request)

Total Spent

Publix- $71.68
Target- $15.02
Moes- $15

Total Left for the Month

Drum roll please… $57! Whew. It’s gonna be a tight one, folks. Wish me luck!

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
1 Cor. 10:31

What’s So Wrong with Sugar?


I’ve lightly touched on avoiding high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and standard table sugar previously, but why is it so bad?

Let me preface this with I’m sitting here craving a brownie. Bad. I’d probably give my left arm for a decent sized triple chocolate brownie. For the last year I’ve attempted to create a sugar-free, high-fructose corn syrup free home. While I haven’t been 100% successful, and probably never will, we have made great strides to reducing our sugar intake and have completely eliminated high-fructose corn syrup from the things we buy. This post is definitely not meant to make you feel guilty about eating sugar, but, rather, arm you with powerful information so you can make informed decisions for you and your family!

Anyhoo. Our friend sugar, also known as sucrose, and its super fake bimbo cousin, high fructose corn syrup, are two girls everyone invites to the party. Oh sure, they’re cool and fun and were probably voted prom queen and captain of the cheerleading squad, but those nasty gals will come in and make themselves at home- on your butt. And liver. And heart.

In the last 20 years our nation’s sugar affair has increased from 26 pounds per person per year to 130-150 pounds per person per year (that’s almost a 28% increase per year, y’all)! At least 50% of that is HFCS. Ironically, in that same time period obesity has doubled and diabetes has multiplied times 7*!

Sugar and HFCS can be found in almost EVERY PROCESSED FOOD, including soda, sports drinks, yogurt, desserts, candy, cereal, bread, salad dressing… on an on. In fact, if you drink one soda a day that’s 14,235 grams of sugar and/or HFCS per year!

So why shouldn’t we eat it?

Dangers of Sugar (and HFCS)

-Sugar and HFCS feed and fuel cancer. Remember how she got voted Cheerleading Captain? Yeah, she’s rooting for your boobs to get cancer.
-There are no benefits to consuming sugar (aside from deliciousness, I know, I know), it’s 100% empty calories. You are what you eat! Don’t be an empty shallow bimbo!
-Your parents weren’t just making up scary stories to convince you to brush your teeth… Sugar’s little pets are gross bacteria that love to rot your teeth.
– I haven’t even mentioned that most table sugar is made from GMO sugar beets.
-Studies have shown sugar is linked to lots of conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Let’s break it down.

Sugar is composed of a 50/50 ratio of fructose (the sweet stuff) and glucose (the carbohydrate found in potatoes, bread, corn… Etc). HFCS is composed of 55% fructose and 45% glucose. This is why those corn people tell you it’s “basically the same thing as sugar”. However, HFCS is ANYTHING but natural. In fact, corn has NO naturally occurring fructose. Don’t let that pretty picnic and the model holding the Popsicle fool you. HFCS is not corn, it’s 100% processed-within-an-inch-of-its-life chemical.

The fructose in HFCS is metabolized by your ever amazing liver. According to Dr. Mark Hyman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, because there is no chemical bond in the fructose/glucose structure of HFCS (unlike in cane sugar), it hits your liver hard and fast*. The liver then freaks out and converts it all to fat (bye-bye bikini). This leads to insulin resistance (hello diabetes) and metabolic syndrome. Fat builds up in your body (hello obesity), then it starts building up on you internal organs. Your “bad” cholesterol, LDL, sky rockets and then you have heart disease knocking on your door.

Studies have also found that cancer depends on insulin (your fat storage hormone) for its fuel*. Think of cancer and insulin as BFFs. More insulin means happy, striving cancer. In fact, precancerous cells are believed to turn into malignant because insulin is telling those cells to pick up all that extra blood sugar in order to metabolize it. This nice gentleman named Lewis Cantley at Harvard Medical School says that 80% of cancers, especially breast and colon cancers, have this mutation.

Sugar vs HFCS

No clear evidence has shown (yet) that there is a huge difference between sugar and HFCS. However, in 2010, the Princeton Neuroscience Institute completed a study that suggests rats fed HFCS in addition to their normal food gained MORE WEIGHT than rats fed table sugar with their normal food. Not only that, but HFCS is processed, processed, and then processed again! Your grandmother didn’t eat that yuck, so neither should you! If you break down the ingredients like Maya Weinstein has ( you come to realize that the ingredients in HFCS are nasty. Including one you have to don special rubber gloves to avoid it coming into contact with your skin. This stuff is going in our bodies! There’s also been a link between HFCS and mercury. Half of products containing HFCS have been found with high levels of mercury*. Mercury is linked to neurological impairment in fetuses and children, nervous disorders, cancer, heart problems, and more*.

What Should We Do?

I think one of the most important things we can do is limit our exposure to HFCS and sugar. By far the easiest way to do this is limiting our processed food intake. Look for it in your favorite foods, especially things like soda and yogurt. One common soda is made of 65% HFCS. Avoiding soda can cut your sugar exposure in HUGE amounts. One 12 oz coke contains 10 teaspoons of “sugar*.” One a day for a year is 3,650 teaspoons in a year from soda alone.

Remember, it’s not about “never” here, it’s about informed choices, which sometimes means picking the lesser of the evils. I still put (limited amounts) of sugar in my coffee and tea, but I choose to use organic, unbleached cane sugar when possible. Given the choice in a product that contains HFCS and one that contains sugar, I will choose the one with the sugar. EVERY SINGLE TIME.

One easy way to control how much sugar goes into your body (and your children’s bodies) is buying stuff like yogurt and oatmeal unsweetened and sweeten it yourself. I know exactly how much sugar my kids are exposed to each day!

I like to remember to not only have a healthy attitude about food, but also a relaxed one. It’s ok to have a treat. At Christmas my house is filled to the brim with sweets. My kids have birthday cakes. I like the occasional Friday night pan of brownies, but it’s not an every day or even an every week thing! Make them yourself, be aware of ingredients, limit portions (sometimes), and be easy on yourself! Don’t expect to be perfect, but instead start by reducing your soda intake, then reduce it to only when you go out (don’t bring it home!), then cut it out completely. I’ve always favored Michael Pollan’s rule from his book Food Rules, no sweets or seconds except on days that start with “S.” We add in leeway for special occasions and holidays of course!

Most importantly, if you ever are at a loss of what to do, take it back to prayer and scripture. Ask for help from the Holy Spirit for discernment. The Bible speaks of the goodness of honey, but encourages to not over do it. Can’t argue with that!

“Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!”
Proverbs 25:16


Super Easy Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Chili

Oh y’all. This weekend the weather in the Carolina’s was fabulous. A slip of warm weather in what I hope is close to the end of this nasty winter we’ve had. Oh, how I long for ice cold sweet tea in mason jars on warm days, fresh picked berries, and ripe tomatoes bursting with flavor. Sun kissed skin properly thawed from the winter freeze.

Y’all, the weather down here has been whipping itself back and forth so much we’re all suffering whiplash. This time we’re promised a few days of warmth, only to be followed by more cold. I really don’t mind the cold, because it’s always comforting to settle down with a big bowl of something warm. March also brings the season of Lent, and you might be searching for some meatless meals to bring to the table to get you through these last few days of winter. Although the cold weather is wrapping up, my husband has been requesting chili. This version is a stick-to-your ribs, bone-warming meal to come home to on a cold day, but it’s also cooked in the slow cooker, so it doesn’t heat up your kitchen on those warmer spring days. Not only is this chili hearty enough for my meat eating man, but it’s healthy (cholesterol free), cheap, and as easy as it gets.

Super Easy Quinoa Chili
Quinoa Slowcooker Chili $5.77

2 c of your favorite homemade salsa, or 16 ounce jar of All Natural Salsa
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 all natural Not Beef bouillon
2 c water
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder

Add all ingrediedents to slowcooker cook on low for six hours. You can easily substitute vegetable broth for the bouillon and water. Serve with your favorite chili friends… Cheese, sour cream, cornbread. This version is mild, so it’s kid safe, feel free to heat it up a little bit.

Tip o’ the day: Did you know every time you open the lid to your crockpot you need to add 15 minutes to your cooking time? Set it and forget it. No really… Don’t touch!

Bonus Fact: Since I’ve already told you about the awesomeness of quinoa, I’m going to make sure your rinse you quinoa. Rinsing your quinoa is an acquired skill, but truly necessary. Rinsing it removes this naturally occuring stuff called saponins that can make your quinoa taste bitter. I just put it in a large bowl with water, swirl it around and drain with a fine mesh strainer (sieve) and repeat until the water is clear.

Menu plan for the week of March 7th- March 13th

Brown Rice and Mushroom Soup
PPK’s Chickpea Cutlets with Ranch Mashed Cauliflower
Oven Roasted Lentil Chimichangas with Mexican Rice
Baked Ziti
Peanut Butter and honey with greek yogurt and salad (hosting a birthday celebration, where the guest of honor requested grilled chicken with salad)

Breakfast Options:
Oatmeal, Greek yogurt with granola, multigrain cereal, hash brown casserole, eggs and toast, store bought OJ and strawberry breakfast smoothies

Lunch Options:
Fish Fillets and fries, PB&honey sandwiches, easy stove top Mac n cheese (homemade/whole wheat), bought the hubs some sandwich meat and cheese for a day we don’t have left-overs

Bananas, applesauce, Greek yogurt, smoothies, whole wheat goldfish, roasted chickpeas

Total spent this week:
$17 spent at Target midweek on who knows what, $82 at Publix

Grocery Money left for the month:
I was $9 over this week, leaving $171

“Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh the joys of those who trust in Him.”
-Psalm 34:8

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

It’s the beginning of the month which means make it rain money payday! Time to stock up on some higher priced items I think are worth spending a little more money on than their cheaper counterparts.

While I wish I could afford to buy everything organic, with a limited budget, I simply can’t. I really have to prioritize what’s important to me; that is, what is worth spending more money on, and what isn’t. At the beginning of every month I make the 45 minute trek to the closest Whole Foods to pick up some of my favorite items that I can’t find anywhere else, or are simply cheaper at Whole Foods than at the standard grocery store. My savings are probably less than what I spend in gas to get there, but don’t tell my husband that.

I know what it’s like when money is tight, but I’m willing to fork over a little more money for these things… and so should you!

First off, if we bought meat on a regular basis, local, organic meat would be on the top of this list! That being said, going meatless one or two nights a week can save you quite a bit of money! Try it 😉

A Few of my Favorite Things

1) Maple syrup (Not Pictured)

Hands down my favorite grocery item. My dad grew up in New York and would settle for nothing but the best. These days it’s not only the ONLY thing I top my pancakes with, but it’s my sweetener of choice for other things like oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, etc. It’s vegan and unlike standard table syrup, it’s high in manganese, zinc, calcium and potassium. In fact, a 1/4 c of maple syrup has more calcium than milk and more potassium than a banana*! Take that high fructose corn syrup! Tip: Heat a little for 20 seconds in the microwave to make it go further!

2) Kerrygold Butter (Not Pictured)

Kerrygold is a full fat butter made from grass fed cows. Happy cows = better butter. Not only is low fat butter processed in a dangerous manner** but it doesn’t taste half as good as this stuff. (If you want to know more about the way cows are treated here in America, I suggest a little documentary called Food, Inc.)

3) Organic Quinoa

As a vegetarian, quinoa (keen-wah) is one of the best things I feed myself and my kids for protein. It’s one of the only plant based sources of complete proteins. It’s naturally fat and cholesterol free. 1 cup of quinoa contains 15% of your recommended daily amount of iron, 21% of your fiber, 118 mg of magnesium, 31 mg of calcium, 318 mg of potassium and 2.02 mg of zinc (according to USDA nutrion database)! Wowsa! Plus, have I mentioned it’s crazy easy to cook and taste delicious in chili. My chili. You should probably check back this weekend for that recipe, just sayin’.

4) Local, raw honey

Honey has antibacterial and antioxidant properties, contains 18 amino acids and lots of vitamins and minerals. Local raw honey can also help relieve seasonal allergies! My husband has been taking it in the spring for years to aid in alleviating his seasonal allergies.

5) Organic cane sugar

I use this purely for my coffee and (some) baking. Maple syrup gets expensive in coffee every day, 2-3 times a day. I buy organic becausr standard table sugar is usually made from genetically modified (GMO) sugar beets. Buying organic is the easiest way to avoid nasty GMOs!

6) Organic Coconut Oil

The most expensive thing on this list at $9.99, but it goes the furthest. The benefits of coconut oil is a post in itself, but includes escema relief, increases proper thyroid functioning, all natural conditioner/makeup remover/toothpaste, is an antibacterial and antifungal, a healthy cooking oil full of heathy body benefiting fats on and on… Plus it’s DELICOUS! Tip: Buy nonrefined virgin organic coconut oil, it’s good for using in and out of the kitchen.

7) Organic Bread Flour/whole wheat flour for baking

Organic Flour is free of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and GMOs. Whole Grain flour is higher in fiber, lower on the glycemic index, and higher in vitamins than white flour. It contains some folate, B vitamins (1,3,5) and riboflavin.

8) All Natural (organic) Whole Wheat Bread

Bread is so good for you, medical issues aside. In addition to the reasons listed above, all natural bread is free of dough conditioners and preservatives (it’s best kept in the fridge or freezer!). White wheat is also bleached with chlorine gas. Gross. A chemical that is very harmful to the body. I keep a loaf of whole wheat in the freezer for grilled cheese and PB&J and make a loaf in my bread machine for all other bread needs.

9) Not Beef bouillon

As a vegetarian, sometimes vegetable broth doesn’t meet the flavor mark. It’s all natural and super duper tasty.

10) Fresh or Frozen (local, when available) organic fruits and vegetables from the “Dirty Dozen”

Organic, local, season fruits and vegetables not only taste better, but are better for you. They are free of GMOs and nasty pesticides that are detrimental to your health. Buy them whenever possible! If you’re like me, most of your local farms do not offer organic produce. I choose organic over local, but local options for everything not on the Dirty Dozen list.

Frozen fruits and vegetables in many regards is just as good as fresh. If frozen shortly after picking, freezing maintains many of the nutrients the produce originally contains. I avoid cans for most items, especially tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are lined with BPA, which is toxic to reproductive systems, developing brains and is known to disturb behavior processes.

11) (bonus) Multi-grain, low sugar, GMO free cereal

Because it taste better than cheerios and is GMO free, that’s why!

Menu for week of:
February 28- March 7

Fried Quinoa (rolled over from last week)
Meat-less Meatballs and lemon pasta (rolled over from last week)
Sundried tomato and spinach Pasta
Mushroom nachos
Quiche and breakfast potatoes
Buffalo Meatball Casserole
Chili (Recipe coming soon!)

Breakfast options:
Green smoothies, grits, eggs, cereal, oatmeal, toast, Greek yogurt with granola

Lunch options:
Leftovers, PB&J’s

Snack options:
Chocolate Covered Strawberry & Chunky Monkey Smoothies, Greek yogurt, bananas, applesauce, homemade organic bread, baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon and maple syrup, popcorn

Total spent:
$108 on groceries ($3 over because I’m making desserts for church this week)
$41 Whole Foods
Grocery money remaining for the month- $271 ($90/week)

“I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4


10 Rules for Real Food

Eat whole wheat.
Don’t eat bread.
Don’t eat fat.
But make sure you get enough heathy fat.
Sugar is bad.
Eat lots of protein.
Too much protein is dangerous.

Atkins, paleo, weight watchers, gluten free…

The list goes on and on… Food advice is a dime a dozen these days, so how do you sort out what’s best amid all the white noise?

Our view on food, as well as the way you view food, sets the tone for your children for most of their lives. It is neither an enemy, nor a comforter. The food we put in our bodies affects the way we feel, it can make or break your day (ask anyone who’s had Taco Bell), and the effect the way we move through life. It’s so imperative we raise our standards for what we fuel our body with, so we can handle those days your toddler is hitting you with a dirty diaper, not that that’s every happened to me. The challenge of a small budget and the desire (or pressure) to eat healthy can be enough to make anyone crazy (Did you see my post last week?). How do we make the world of health food and budgeting co-exist?

Fortunately for my family, I’m not a junk food burning Nazi. And I’m not going to make you throw away your Oreos. But I do want to arm you with enough knowledge so you can make informed decisions about your food! I’m not asking you to starve, or worse, diet! So, you what do I think you should eat?

Food. The end. Real, made from nature food.

10 Rules for Real Food

1) Look at the ingredients, become a label reader. Do you recognize the words? Would your grandmother? If not, put it down and slowly back away. If you can find the ingredients in a pantry, and it will rot… get it!
2) Limit processed foods, if you can make it yourself, do. As Michael Pollan says, if it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.
3) Get the majority of your food from the edges of the store, that’s where the real food hides.
4) Which reminds me, if it has a commercial, you can bet it’s probably not good for you.
5) Don’t buy that low fat crap. “Low fat” “fat free” are words that are really screaming “I’ve been processed so much I’m not actual food anymore!”
6) Buy local. Check out local farmer’s markets. Let’s join together to support real people who work to make real food, instead of corporate big wigs who are just out to make another dime.
7) Buy organic when you can. It would surprise you what you can afford. At our local Publix Organic Oatmeal is only $0.10 more than non-organic. Come on! You know you want to. It’s worth it, and all the cool kids are doin’ it.
8) Manage your portions. Portion sizes are out of control in this country, and the best way to manage A healthy diet is to eat a recommended portion size! You don’t have to count calories, but it’s the easiest way to loose a couple pounds the right way is eating 1/2 c of pasta instead of 2!
9) Stay away from high-fructose corn syrup. I repeat Stay. Away. It’s nasty. More on that later, stay tuned.
10) Everything moderation, including moderation. Now go eat your oreos.

Go slow with any healthy food changes, especially if you have kids (or husbands) who will revolt. Pick one thing you want to change and go with it.

One more thing. You, mam, are awesome. I see you working hard to feed your family. You’re a beast! A grocery shopping, real food eating, family feeding beast! Keep it up. It’s so worth it. Here’s to not crying about grocery shopping!

image credit


Y’all my pantry is bare. My fridge looks empty. My kids are asking me what they can have to eat… and I’m standing in my kitchen pondering the same thought they oh so vehemently vocalize. Want to know the irony? I just finished unloading the groceries. Ha.

Often, I hear a lot of people complain that you can’t eat healthy on a budget, and people say to me “Well, I could eat like you if I had more money.” Comments like that make me cringe. While it’s true that convenience food prices are, well, conveniently low, it is possible to eat healthy on a limited budget. Most weeks I have around $100 to spend on food, meals out included. That may be higher than yours, or much lower. My hope is to help spread the knowledge that you can feed your family well with limited means. Eventually I want to address some “rules” our family of five maintains to keep afloat, and hopefully get to a place where every week I share our meals for the week, how much I spent, and some recipes!

As for this week, I had a $60 budget. Y’all, I refuse to eat ramen every day. So what does $60 look like? Here is my meal plan for the week.


Post Punk Kitchen’s Chickpea Cutlets with oven roasted potatoes (ingredients rolled over from last week)

Basic Spaghetti (I’m talking just pasta and sauce, folks. Nothing fancy here!)

Tuna cakes and lemony pasta

Momma’s famous Meatless Meatballs (buffalo’ed!) with good ole’ french fries

Swedish Meatballs and whole wheat egg noodles

Fried Quinoa

Tatertot Casserole (nothing healthy about this one)

Breakfast options-

Eggs with toast, yogurt and homemade granola, multigrain cereal, freezer pancakes, and oatmeal


Unsweetened Applesauce, Pineapple slices, bananas, toast, gold fish, yogurt and granola, freezer pancakes


Leftovers (my biggest money saver!), I bought my Husband three thin slices of turkey from the deli and one slice of provalone for $1.70, peanut butter and jelly, I also have the supplies to make lentil sloppy joes in a pinch.

It doesn’t look like this every week, but weeks like this week are hard. Hard on my spirit. I choose to trust, trust that God will provide for our needs, trust that my kids won’t go hungry, just that what we have is enough. It’s a week of stretching, stretching our money, our faith, and our food. And honestly, I’m happy to be thankful and receive what God has in store, even if it’s just the basics.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”  – Matthew 6:25-27