Posted in Parenting, tips

Are You A Winger Or A Planner? (+5 Tips to Saving Money Groceries)

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Lots of stuff on sale for Valentine’s Day weekend!

Before my husband and I had kids and a mortgage, meals were super easy.  We would either just go to the grocery store and buy whatever we felt like eating during the week or we would eat out (“oh shucks, we forgot to thaw the meat again, oh well, let’s just eat out”).

Then, well, I became pregnant, we bought a house, I gave birth to Charles, municipal taxes went up, sales taxes went up (the combination of the Federal and Provincial tax where I live tallies up to about 15%), electricity rates went up, gas prices remained high despite the crash of the barrel price (we pay on average 1.10$/L which amounts to about 4.16$/gallon).  Yikes!  Though our salaries went up as well, we soon found ourselves looking for ways to keep more money in our pockets (because who doesn’t want more money in their pockets?).

Here are the 5 things that helped us save money on groceries (because groceries are pretty much the only thing we had control over).

  • We started to plan our weekly meals.

I created, printed out and laminated a meal-planning sheet and each week we would jot down what we wanted to eat for lunch and supper with a dry erase marker.  Then, it was just a question of jotting down on a grocery list what we needed to buy.

  • We started to plan our meals based on what was on sale.

You see, every Wednesday, a Publisac gets delivered to our door.  It’s basically a bag filled with flyers from local stores.  Now, we used to just toss it in the recycling bin.  Eventually, though, we took out the flyers from our local grocery stores and started going through them.  We then took to buying the bulk of our ingredients only when they were on sale.  Then we planned our meals around those ingredients.  This is great, because besides saving money, it also allowed for creativity as we ended up buying stuff we might not have bought normally.

  • We (and by “we” I mean my husband) started to do our groceries at 2-3 different stores (all in close proximity to one another)

We’re lucky enough that there are 5 grocery stores (6 if you count Walmart) within 5 km of each other and our house.  This allows us to go to the 2-3 that offer the best prices each week.

  • We began buying food and household products that we use regularly in bulk sizes (provided they were cheaper that their non-bulk counterparts – which isn’t always the case).

One of the first purchases we made when buying the house was getting a deep-freezer.  It. Is. Wonderful.  We are also lucky enough to have a storage space under the stairs where we can store extra non-perishable food items.

  • We continued to make (pretty much) everything from scratch.

Both my husband and I like to cook, so this has always been pretty easy for us.  But we’ve expanded our repertoire over the years.  No more store-bought pie shells, chicken pot pie or pizza sauce for us!

It may sound like a lot of work, but we did this one step at a time (by the way, did you know that it takes, on average, about 66 days to form a new habit?) and we haven’t regretted it!

How do you do your meal planning? Do you wing it or plan it?

Posted in Parenting, Toddler

Our Easter Sunday

We had a wonderful day today despite the fact that the little guy is sick.  The weather was very nice and we didn’t have to get dressed in a whole bunch of layers to go outside.  Because, of course, now that Charles knows how fun it can be outside, he wants to go all the time.

I got him dressed and the first thing he spotted when we crossed the street to the park in front of our house was a bird.  He, of course, wanted to get up close and personal and try to touch it.

The bird mustn’t have felt that the little guy chasing it was a predator, because it stayed on the ground and just kept its distance on foot.

After a while, I grabbed my son and walked with him to the park.  He had lots of fun climbing up the stairs, going down the slide, looking at me through the clear plastic bubble window and going on the swings.

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When we got back inside, the little guy had some water and a snack and I had fun styling his hair (because it’s long enough now that I can actually do something with it!).

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We also had a lovely lunch with my sister, brother and grand-parents.

As the day went by though, Charles became more and more whiny and his cold was clearly gaining some ground on him.  So, we used a three-fold approach to help him feel less miserable.

  1. Lots of mommy cuddles (because, in his book, daddy cuddles just don’t seem to work when he has a cold…)
  2. Letting him eat what he wants (because he pretty much outright refuses to eat anything when he’s sick and my partner and I prefer he eats something to nothing)
  3. Swapping bath time with a shower with mommy (combining mommy cuddles, a back massage with the stream of water and clearing up his nose with the steam that the shower produces!)

Crossing my fingers for Little Dude to kick his cold in the butt during the night!

How was your Easter Sunday?

Posted in Blogging

Share it Saturday: Simple Chickpea Curry

I thought I’d go ahead and share some of my favourites when it comes to meals around here.  I was thinking of sharing a recipe every week to two weeks.  Today, I’d like to share a curry recipe (I LOVE curries!).  It’s made with chickpeas, but you could easily substitute for chicken or shrimp if you wanted to.  I like to serve this with rice, but it’s also great with some mini pitas to soak up all the curried goodness at the end!

Simple Chickpea Curry (4 portions)

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Nutrition facts (per portion): Fat: 5g, Protein: 6g, Carbohydrates: 21g, Energy value: 160kcal

Source: Kilo cardio – alimentation, exercice et motivation pour atteindre votre poids santé

Ingredients

  • 10 ml (2 tsp.):  olive oil
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup):  onion, chopped
  • 10 ml (2 tsp.):  curry powder
  • 20 ml (4 tsp.):  all purpose flour
  • 250 ml (1 cup):  reduced sodium chicken stock
  • 90 ml (6 tbsp.):  lite coconut milk
  • One 796 ml can:  chickpeas
  • 250 ml (1 cup):  broccoli
  • 250 ml (1 cup): cauliflower
  • 250 ml (1 cup): red and orange bell peppers
  • To taste:  salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger

Directions

  1. Sauté onion in olive oil.  Add curry powder and ginger.
  2. Add flour, stir and add in the chicken stock and coconut milk.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat, add the chickpeas and veggies and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked to taste.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Hints!

  • Double the amount of chicken stock if you want more curry sauce.
  • Save time by preparing your ginger in advance.  Just peel a few hands of ginger, puree with some olive oil and freeze in some ice cube moulds.

If you like this recipe, you can download a nifty pdf printable version.  Just click on the link beside the image!

Simple Chickpea Curry

 

 

 

 

Simple Chickpea Curry

 

 

 

Do you have an awesome recipe to share?