10 ways I feel like Julia Child while living with chronic illness

food healthy wood table

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My husband actually came up with this title, probably because he wanted to see just how creative I could be………..or maybe because he secretly wishes I was related to Ms. Child  and some of her cooking genes were in my DNA.  Nope………..and add a chronic illness or three…….cooking is not something I usually enjoy.

So, my friends, the bar for me to feel like a gourmet chef is set really low –

  1.  There is food in the fridge that can be eaten without any cooking at all – yogurt, salad mix, fruit, cut up veggies – hey isn’t eating raw all the rage?!
  2.   There are fruits and veggies on the counter that can be eaten just as they are – bonus points if they are in multiple colors – I know vegan is in!
  3. There are vegetables that can be eaten after being heated up in the microwave – my kids are starting to love sweet potatoes – at least this is what I choose to believe!
  4.   There are still freezer meals  available if you are able to reach deep enough into the chest freezer without losing your balance.
  5.   My pantry has items that can be eaten just by being heated up in the microwave – a can of soup and a can of veggies – hey,  mix those together and I am pretty sure it would taste good enough to try it again.
  6.  There is something cooking in the crockpot.
  7.  There are enough leftovers from the day before to feed everyone another meal!
  8.  I actually cut up fruit and veggies to eat with a meal.
  9.   I prepared something edible with more than three ingredients.
  10.   I have the energy to eat the food once I have prepared it!

 

And there you have it my friends………… if any of those 10 things are happening, I feel like I am rockin’ it in the meal prep department.

 

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free summer meals for kids through 18

cooked fish fillet on plate

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Free lunches, and in some locations breakfast and even dinner, are available FREE to ANY child 18 and under throughout the United States.  Check out the website below to find a location near you.

In our state, most elementary schools and large city parks distribute lunches Monday through Friday.  The below website is good, but many places are probably missing as even our small community has a nonprofit organization, in addition to the government funded summer lunch programs, who also offer free meals for anyone Monday-Friday.

Please know that if you are struggling financially or physically there are places, especially in the summer, to get food.  Please do not be embarrassed to reach out for help.

https://www.fns.usda.gov/summerfoodrocks

If you are looking for some free activities (cheap) for your kids, you may find something in this post.

stores with free download fridays

 

grocery cart with item

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When you are watching your pennies, or dollars if you are lucky, a freebie now and then is a nice blessing.  Below is a list of stores who provide free weekly downloads.  May you find something that can be a blessing to you!

 

Baker’s

City Market

Dillons

Food 4 Less

Foods Co

Fred Meyer

Fry’s

Gerbes

Jay C

King Soopers

Kmart

Kroger

Owen’s

Pay Less Supermarket

Quality Food Center

Ralphs

Smith’s

 

~ wendi, under the pen name Charlie, is the author of Frugal Seeds:  501 Ways to Save, Make or Stretch a Dollar

food freebies for your birthday!

lighted candles on cupcakes

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Here is a (partial) list of food freebies that you can receive on your birthday.  Happy Celebrating and saving money!  I mean who doesn’t love to save money?!

 

Abuelo’s – free treat on your birthday & anniversary

http://www.abuelos.com/join-our-mi-abuelos-rewards/

 

Applebee’s – free dessert

https://www.applebees.com/en/sign-up

 

Arby’s – free milkshake

https://arbys.com/get-deals

 

Au Bon Pain – free lunch

http://aubonpain.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx?Action=Subscribe&_Theme=21474836609&inputsource=w

 

Auntie Anne’s – free pretzel

http://www.auntieannes.com/terms-and-conditions

 

A & W – free root beer float

https://www.awrestaurants.com/rootys-corner

 

Baja Fresh Mexican Grill

https://www.bajafresh.com/clubbaja/

 

Baskin Robbins – free ice cream

https://www.baskinrobbins.com/content/baskinrobbins/en/thescoop.html

 

bd’s Mongolian Grill – free entree

https://www.gomongo.com/join-bds-club-mongo/

 

Bertucci’s – free treat on birthday and half birthday

http://bertuccis.com/email-club-sign-up

 

Benihana’s – $30.00 birthday certificate – must follow all instructions

http://profile.benihana.com/registration/

 

Bennigan’s – BOGO entree and free dessert

https://bennigans.com/e-club-sign-up/

 

Big Boy – free birthday dessert

http://www.bigboy.com/email-club/

 

Black Angus Steakhouse – free steak dinner w/a purchase of any dinner – 1st year

https://www.blackangus.com/contact/#terms

 

Boston Market – free dessert

https://www.bostonmarket.com/eclub/

 

Buca di Beppo – free $20 for your birthday, free pasta just for signing up

https://www.bucadibeppo.com/eclub/

 

California Pizza Kitchen – free dessert

https://cpkpizzadough.myguestaccount.com/guest/

 

Cinnabon – free treat for signing up & on your birthday

http://cinnabon.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx

 

Cold Stone Creamery – BOGO

https://www.coldstonecreamery.com/mycsc/

 

Culver’s – free treat & BOGO value basket just for signing up

https://www.culvers.com/delicious-perks/join-the-club/join

 

Dairy Queen – special treat on birthday and half birthday & BOGO blizzard just for signing up

https://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/Blizzard-Fan-Club/?localechange=1&D

 

Dave & Buster’s – free $10 game play

https://www.daveandbusters.com/rewards

 

Del Taco – free milkshake

https://deltaco.com/contactus

 

Dippin’ Dots – free dippin dots

https://www.dippindots.com/dotcrazy/signup.html

 

Dunkin’ Donuts – free beverage when you sign up and on your birthday

https://www.dunkindonuts.com/en/dd-perks

 

Denny’s – free grand slam

https://www.dennys.com/search/?q=birthday

 

Don Pablos – free nachos for signing up & $10 for birthday

http://www.donpablos.com/hab-club

 

Edible Creations – free gift

https://www.ediblearrangements.com/rewards/

 

Einstein Brothers Bagels – free egg sandwich w/purchase

https://shared.einsteinbros.com/join

 

Iguana Mia – free meal and fried ice cream

//www.iguanamia.com/

 

Firehouse Subs – free medium sub

https://www.firehousesubs.com/birthday

 

Friendly’s – free sundae

https://www.friendlysrestaurants.com/login/?login=register

 

Fuddruckers – free 1/3 pound burger

http://fuddruckers.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx?Action=Subscribe&inputsource=w

 

GOVIDA – free treat

http://www.godiva.com/get-chocolate-rewards?baseURL=get-rewards

 

Great American Cookie – free treat

http://greatamericancookies.fbmta.com/members/UpdateProfile.aspx

 

IHOP – free meal

https://www.ihop.com/en/pancake-revolution

 

Jersey Mike’s – free sub and drink

https://www.jerseymikes.com/email-club

 

Margaritaville – free treat & free appetizer just for signing up

https://www.finsupclub.com/

 

Moe’s Southwest Grill – free burritos

https://www.moes.com/rockin-rewards

 

Olive Garden – free dessert

https://www.olivegarden.com/specials/free-birthday-appetizer-or-dessert-with-your-meal

 

Orange Leaf – $3.00 off

https://www.orangeleafyogurt.com/rewards

 

P.F.  Chang’s – free appetizer or dessert w/purchase

https://www.pfchangs.com/faq/

 

The Melting Pot – free chocolate fondue

http://pages.themeltingpotclubfondue-email.com/Profile_Center

 

The Spaghetti Warehouse – free meal & appetizer for signing up

http://www.meatballs.com/join-our-club/

 

Pinkberry – free yogurt

http://www.pinkberry.com/loyalty/

 

Planet Smoothie – free smoothie

http://www.planetsmoothie.com/eclub/

 

Red Robin – free burger

https://www.redrobin.com/royalty.html

 

Rita’s – free birthday treat, if closed on your birthday will receive on 1/2 birthday

https://www.ritasice.com/connect/birthday-club/

 

Ruby Tuesday – free burger

http://pages.rubytuesdayrestaurants.com/page.aspx?QS=5c591a8916642e737829bde7e144b86f195bb33af6913d4c5dda6ef500467c48

 

Sbarro – free birthday treat

https://sbarro.com/slicesociety

 

Shula’s – free entree

https://www.shulas.com/shulas-clubs/

 

Smashburger – free side or shake w/purchase

https://smashburger.com/smashclub/

 

Sprinkles – free treat on birthday and 1/2 birthday

http://sprinkles.com/perks

 

Starbucks – free drink on your birthday

https://www.starbucks.com/card/rewards

 

Sonny’s BBQ – free big deal combo

https://www.sonnysbbq.com/reward

 

TGI Friday’s – free dessert & free dessert or appetizer for signing up

https://www.tgifridays.com/rewards/faq

 

Western Sizzlin

https://www.sizzler.com/join-the-club

 

Wienershenitzel – free coupon & free chili dog when you sign up

http://www.wienerschnitzel.com/specials/

 

Zaxby’s – free nibbler & free sandwich meal when you sign up

https://www.zaxbys.com/zax-club/

 

Zoes Kitchen – free birthday treat

https://zoeskitchen.com/rewards

healthy “food” pick of the week

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At a grocery trip to WalMart this week, I was looking for some unrefined coconut oil.  If you are chronically ill, I am sure you have heard of the health benefits of this oil and you are also aware how expensive it can be.

I was happy to find this 14 oz jar of organic, unrefined coconut oil for $4.62.  I brought it home and tried it the next day and it had a pleasant, light coconut taste, not over powering, which is how I like it.  The only downside I could find to this product is that it is in a plastic jar instead of glass.

Until next time………………YOU are a superhero and superheros must eat healthy!

 

 

(I am not affiliated with WalMart)

‘health food’ find of the week – $0.94

I have found trying to eat healthy and feeding a family on a budget to be quite challenging.    Although some would not consider this health food, I thought it was a great deal and if you are going to eat corn chips, this is a great choice.

This is Great Value (Wal-Mart’s store brand) organic, blue corn tortilla chips made with only three ingredients…….ground organic blue corn, organic sunflower oil, and sea salt and they are naturally gluten free.  One 8oz. bag is only 94 cents!  I thought this was a HUGE deal and hope you do too!

IMG_1196

 

 

We all have to eat.

apple fruit healthy food

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Just like laundry and dishes, meal preparation is also a necessity of life.  For those of us with CI, it is extremely important for us to eat healthy, well-balanced meals within the plan either laid out by your medical professional or a plan that is a result of  your own research as to what is best for your body’s special needs.  Personally, I do a combination of both of these.

Through the years of raising kiddos and being ill, I have discovered just a few tricks to make it a bit easier for me, because no matter how you do it, meal preparation takes a lot energy.

First, I keep it simple.  Yep, I love looking through magazines with beautiful pictures of healthy foods laid out on the glossy pages and for a split second I think………..maybe I could try that.  Ha!  if it has more than 6 ingredients, it isn’t worth my energy to even rip the page out of my magazine and save for later because realistically it just won’t happen.  I must keep each meal as simple as possible; a combination of protein and carbs and a healthy fat……..heavy on the complex carbs if at all possible.

Two, as I have mentioned in a previous post, if  I am making something that can be frozen, I make two and save one for later.  Foods such as stir-fry, meatloaf, burritos, and meatballs can be easily frozen and ready to eat at another time.  On bad days, who doesn’t love knowing there is home-cooked food in the freezer for your next meal.

Three, I am drinking more smoothies for breakfast.  Simple, fast, nutritious and everyone in my family loves them.

Four, I do not have a weekly/monthly meal plan.  I gave it the good ‘ol college try and realized it maybe be helpful for some people but it just wasn’t for me. It was another one of my attempts to follow what works for others resulting in me feeling like a failure because I couldn’t keep a simple meal plan.  Sometimes I just didn’t feel like eating what was on the menu that week and some days I felt so poorly that food in general just made me ill.  That is when I established number five.

Five, I keep several meals worth of  pre-packaged frozen food in my freezer.  I attempt to buy as healthful as possible, but these are there in case I just can’t do it – you know the days.

And last but not least is number six.  I purchase a much fresh produce as my budget will allow.  That way there are apples, bananas, carrots, celery, cucumbers……….you get the picture, to eat when family members are hungry.

That’s it.  We all need to eat and the healthier the better.  But, remember, you can only do what you can do.  There are days when I look upon a drive thru as the 8th wonder of the world.

Until next time…………….YOU are a super hero, no matter what you eat!