Easiest fried rice

rice.jpgThis is a great dish to make when you’re not really in the mood to cook but still want something healthy, filling and tasty.

This is how I was feeling last night…really not in the mood to cook.

When I’m feeling this way I often turn to dishes that I consider to be “semi-homemade.” I’ll use the base of something pre-made such as canned soup, chili or something yummy from the frozen section, and then add veggies and maybe some extra beans or meat to it.

Making food this way is almost always cheaper than getting take out or going to a restaurant and I can keep the ingredients on hand in the pantry or freezer, which is nice and convenient.

For last night’s dinner I heated up a bag of pre-made chicken fried rice in the microwave. Then I fried up 3 eggs for some extra protein (and they were really delicious!). For the veggies I boiled up some green beans and sliced a tomato. It was a fast, easy, delicious and super inexpensive dinner!!

 

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Homemade popcorn recipe

popcorn3I love homemade popcorn, it’s quick and easy to make. It also has a nice slightly, roasted flavor and is very fresh.

If you have an air popper that is definitely the easiest way to make popcorn, but the “old school” method of cooking it in a saucepan is also easy and fun. It’s without a doubt healthier than microwave popcorn (although I love microwave popcorn also…no judgments).

One of my favorite things about homemade popcorn is that it’s an awesome frugal snack! I bought a nearly 2 pound bag of popcorn kernels for $1.75 and it’s lasted for a really long time. I only use a couple of tablespoons of seeds every time I make popcorn, I haven’t done the math but it’s probably around 5-10 cents for a full serving of popcorn. Compared to microwave popcorn: I usually get three bags of popcorn to a box for about $2.50. That means each full serving is about 83 cents. It doesn’t break the bank of course but 10 cents is certainly better!

Popcorn is a great canvas for flavors. I like mine pretty basic with just oil (or butter) and salt, but you can get really creative and add herbs, spices, cheeses (parmesan is a good one), nuts, wasabi, sriracha, hot sauce, chocolate, dried fruit, and more. Here are a few more fun ideas.

  1. How I make my popcorn: First things first, be very careful!! Never open the saucepan lid facing towards you in case a hot kernel flies into your eye! I always wear clear glasses, or even sunglasses.
  2. In a cold saucepan add about a tablespoon of vegetable or olive oil (mmm…olive oil…). Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of popcorn kernels. Put the lid on.
  3. Turn the heat onto medium and as the oil is heating gently shake the popcorn so that the kernels get coated in oil.
  4. As the kernels begin to pop shake the saucepan gently when needed. You can give the popcorn a little air by lifting the the lid slightly facing away from you.
  5. When the kernels are all popped, pour into a bowl and dress the popcorn how you like!! 🙂 Just be sure to be careful of “late popping kernels” — watch your eyes!

Lunch at my desk

iveggiesYikes I haven’t posted in a long while, I’d like to be better about that! Today’s lunch is a simple plate of sliced tomatoes, cucumber, olives, hummus and corn chips. I’ve really been into olives recently…yum! Summer is in full swing and we’re having a meltingly hot day. I’m sitting in front of the fan as I type.

Funny thing is part of me wanted to go out and get some phở for lunch because it sounds really good (and also because the restaurant has air conditioning).

I’m happy though that I ended up making my own lunch. The nice chilled veggies were very good and it was from ingredients that I already have. I love to grocery shop so sometimes I over buy and don’t end up eating when I already have. I’m making an effort to eat through what is already here before I buy too much more.

I hope you’re having a lovely day ❤

Food budget Friday, May 12

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My food spending went pretty well this week! My budget is $100 and this week I spent $72. Each week is different but I love to see that number go down. Woohoo!!

I wasn’t skimpy on the groceries either. I bought healthy food such as veggies, beans and rice but also a lot of fun foods like chips, chocolate pudding, and seltzer water. I assume if I bought less treat foods that my grocery bill would go down a lot more. But what is life without a few treats?

I went out to eat fast food a few times and I spent around $10. That number is included in my weekly total.

Want to see some of the groceries I bought? Here is my shopping from May 6 and May 11.

I hope you have a beautiful and blessed day!!

Having a friend over for dinner + grocery shopping

groceriesMy husband and I are having a friend over for dinner tonight so I’m just starting to cook! This is the first friend we’ve had over for dinner at our new place so that’s pretty cool 🙂 The rice is boiling away so it’s giving me a few minutes to write up a quick blog post.

We’re having a pretty simple menu tonight: rice, turkey sausage, black beans, and veggies.  For dessert we’re having strawberries and whipped topping. I like whipped topping because it’s nondairy and low in calories but still love the taste.

Today’s groceries were mostly for the meal tonight but the granola bars were a bonus.

I bought:

  • Black beans
  • Rice
  • Sriracha sauce
  • Granola bars
  • Turkey sausage
  • Whipped topping
  • Frozen veggies

The price was excellent on these groceries. The total today was: $9.03 The per meal cost for each person person is going to be around $3. This is definitely less expensive than eating at a restaurant!

What are you having for dinner?

I hope you have a blessed day!! ❤

Slow cooker lentil soup

soup2This week I’m trying out some light meal planning, particularly for lunch. I never quite know what to eat and too often I end up buying fast food. My fast food lunches aren’t that expensive, usually about $3.75, but I know I can eat healthier and cheaper when I make food myself.

So for the next few days I’m going to try and have homemade soup and salad for lunch and see how that goes. Maybe a sandwich sometimes if I need some extra food.

Early this afternoon I made a pot of lentil vegetable soup in my slow cooker. I’ve never made soup before using the crockpot so it was a bit of an experiment. I just tried it and it’s pretty good! Basically you just put all the ingredients in and set it to cook for 7-8 hours, it’s very easy. Here is the recipe 🙂

Slow cooker lentil soup

  • 8 ounces brown lentils (1/2 of a one pound bag), rinsed
  • 5 cups water or chicken broth
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes (omit if using broth)
  • Tomato paste, 2 heaping tablespoons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin, optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme, optional

Add everything into the slow cooker and set on low. Cook for 7-8 hours.

I stirred the soup around hour 5 just to mix everything together, but this isn’t necessary.