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Healthy Cooking Starts With Smart Shopping

Healthy Cooking Starts With Smart Shopping

Healthy eating is a way of life that you have to get used to. It’s hard to eat healthy if the food that you need is inconvenient to get. It’s important to have nutrient dense foods ready to cook, so eating a nutritious meal is as easy as driving through the fast food line.

If this is the first time that you have filled your pantry with healthy foods, you may need a course in Grocery Shopping 101 in order to beat back the temptations that food manufacturers have strategically placed in your path.

Before leaving home, make a grocery list. But before you make a grocery list, make the upcoming week’s meal plan. Developing your meal plan doesn’t have to be difficult, but consider some of the foods that are already in your cupboard to make things easier and less expensive. Once you’ve got your meals planned out for the week, inventory the ingredients that you will need for each dish and notate the ones that you will need to purchase. After you have established what you need, make the grocery list, and list the food in order of the grocery store layout. This way you won’t go haphazardly down aisles that you don’t need to search.

Try to avoid the aisles with cookies and processed foods, such as sugary cereals. Many of these aisles are in the center of the grocery store, with the fresh items at each end of the store. Look for whole grains near the rice and pasta. Read labels to look for 100% whole-wheat to be sure you are getting whole grain products. Take some time to find the healthier foods rather than going straight for your old reliables.

Fresh vegetables and fruits should make up the largest part of your grocery list. I recommend that you eat at least seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Choose seasonal produce and get a variety, especially if you are feeding a family.

Proteins and meats should consist of mostly fish, poultry and lean meats. Eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes should be part of your list.

Choose low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese. Try soymilk or rice-milk for tasty alternatives to whole milk. Don’t forget, many fruits and vegetables are good sources of calcium like avocadoes for instance.

Beverages should be kept simple. Water, low-fat milk, juices and herbal teas are all good choices. If you opt for soft drinks, choose diet sodas and soft drinks to avoid extra sugar.

Take caution when buying dressings, cooking oils and condiments. They can be sneaky sources of refined sugars and high in fat and calories. Read labels to choose dressings made with healthy oils such as olive oil and canola oil.

Frozen vegetables are convenient and nutritious. If you are cooking for one, there are many single-serving frozen entrees that cook up in minutes. These make it easy to have a variety of vegetables, without having to throw any of it away. If you do have more than you can consume, consider saving your left over veggies to add to a soup for another meal.…

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Six Things to Look for on Your First Shopping Visit to a Pawn Shop

Six Things to Look for on Your First Shopping Visit to a Pawn Shop

Pawn shops are becoming increasingly popular places to save some very substantial money on top quality items. Jewelry, home electronics, tools and collectibles are just a few examples where items can be purchased for 30% – 60% less than even the prices at the “Big Box” stores.

So what does the savvy shopper need to know when making their first pawn shop shopping expedition?

1) Before your visit: Does the pawn shop have a strong Internet presence? A quality, well maintained website with useful information is a great indicator of a first-class shop. Does the shop have an online store? This is a great way to sample the selection at the shop before you make a visit.

2) Does the staff acknowledge you as soon as you come through the door? First impressions are critical in virtually everything and if you get a friendly acknowledgement within the first few steps inside the store, then that’s a pretty accurate indicator that the store is very customer focused.

3) Are there others in the store shopping or getting loans? While every pawn shop has the occasional “Down time”, having other people in the store is always a good sign. Make two visits and never see anyone else? Drive by several times and never see a car in the parking lot? These could be signs that the pawn shop is not very focused on their customers or the local community.

4) Is the store clean and well organized? Many people look for this in a shop as their first priority and it is certainly important. Any store can get a little messy after a sudden influx of customers, but most first class pawn shops hold themselves to a very high standard of cleanliness and order.

5) Are there a lot of items for sale on the shelves and floor of the showroom? This is always a good sign. Lots of items indicate that the store is vibrant and healthy within the community. Contrary to popular belief, a large percentage of items for sale may not be from defaulted pawn loans as many people see the local shop as a hassle-free way to turn unwanted items into cash by selling the items.

6) Now this last item might seem a little does the pawn shop have a good “feeling”? Are there a lot of smiles from the staff? Do you hear other customers laughing and saying something to the effect of, “Wow, I’ve wanted one of those…(Insert item name here!)… for years?” Pawn shops should be fun places. One of the fun aspects of these shops is the highly unusual, rare and dare we say, “Funky” treasures that you can score, for not a lot of money. Do you see a lot of things that you absolutely adore, but are a little concerned as to what people would think if you were displaying something like a complete set of brass animals playing musical instruments? Well, sounds like you found a really good pawn shop!…

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10 Tips for Healthy Frugal Grocery Shopping

10 Tips for Healthy Frugal Grocery Shopping

As a wife and mother on a budget for over 10 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about saving money on my family’s weekly food budget. Let’s face it, when the bills are all due and something needs to give, the grocery budget is the easiest to cut down. So I’ve compiled a top 10 list of my favorite strategies for saving money at the grocery store, while still eating healthy.

1. NEVER shop hungry!

Going to the grocery store with an empty stomach is a recipe for budget and diet disaster! When you’re hungry, you’re much more likely to reach for those quick and easy processed snack foods that we all know are not healthy or cheap. So grab a quick, healthy snack before heading to your local grocery store. It will save you both money, and unwanted calories.

2. ALWAYS plan your weekly meals!

Having a plan for your weekly meals means that you’ll lessen the chances of ordering in, or heading to the nearest drive through for your family’s dinner. If you sit down for a few minutes before you make your shopping list, and plan out what’s for dinner each day of the week, you can spend less and provide healthier home cooked meals for you and your family.

3. Make a list!!

I can’t stress this one enough! Now that you have your meals planned out, go through your fridge, freezer, cupboards, and pantry to see which ingredients you have, and which ones need to be purchased. Include necessary staples like milk, bread, eggs, and anything else your family uses on a regular basis. It may seem redundant to add things you buy every week to the list, but you just never know what you could overlook adding to your cart if you’re distracted or in a hurry. Making a list will insure you have all the foods you need on hand for the week. Saving you time and money by avoiding last minute dashes to the store for those items that were forgotten.

4. Stick to your list!

Now that you’ve made your list, STICK TO IT! If you make a thorough list and only buy what’s on it, you can avoid making those dreaded impulse buys looming at the end of every isle and surrounding you at the checkout lanes.

5. Shop alone!

We all love our kids and our spouses, but lets face it, they can bring chaos to our grocery shopping trips. They have a knack for getting us to cave in to unhealthy and expensive foods increasing our total at checkout and our waistline at home. Not to mention they can be distracting, causing us to forget items, and keeping us from comparison shopping to get the best prices. So when at all possible, leave the family at home and take your time to shop stress free.

6. Shop the perimeter of the store!

Grocery stores are all pretty much laid out the same way. All of the fresh, healthy, natural, unprocessed, lower cost food are for the most part on the outside walls of the store. Like the produce, meat, fish, bakery, and dairy departments. While all of the processed, unhealthy, high priced foods are in the interior isles. This of course isn’t true 100% of the time, and the occasional walk down a center isle can be necessary, but as a general rule it will save you money and provide healthier foods for you and your loved ones.

7. Look up and down before grabbing your item!

Most stores place their highest priced version of a product at eye level. With the hopes we all have blinders on and will grab it because we see it first. But if when you locate the item your looking for you take a quick look above and below your item, you’ll probably find cheaper version, that taste just as great.

8. Buy Generic!

I know, this probably isn’t going to be a popular one! But often times the generic or store brand versions of your favorite foods have the same ingredients as their higher priced counterparts, and taste the same or at least very similar. Seriously, give them a try! The worst thing that could happen is you find out you don’t like the generic and next week you can buy your old favorite brand. BUT, you might find you like the generic every bit as much as the national brand, and you can start saving on those items each week!

9. Coupons!

Most of us don’t like to clip a million coupons a week or scour the internet for printables like those Extreme Couponers on TV. I think it’s also safe to say that we won’t be dumpster diving for your neighbor’s …

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Choosing Wholesome Foods For Your Family

Choosing Wholesome Foods For Your Family

When shopping at the grocery store, many of us don’t have time to review all of the nutrition facts of every item we choose to buy. Trying to keep track of which foods are healthy and which are not can be a daunting task. Instead of reading lengthy labels for each item you buy, you can stick to a few general guidelines that will steer you towards healthier, more wholesome foods when you shop.

Think of Snacks that Include a Vegetable or Piece of Fruit

A healthy snack doesn’t have to be bland, and a tasty snack doesn’t have to be unhealthy. There are many great options that include a fresh fruit or vegetable while still allowing you to indulge yourself. Bananas dipped in chocolate, apples with hazelnut spread, frozen grapes, carrots with your favorite dip, or celery with peanut butter are just a few ideas. Making snacks that include fruits or veggies gives your body the vitamins and minerals it needs while giving your taste buds a boost too.

Stick to the Perimeter of the Grocery Store

One guideline to grocery shopping that has become increasingly popular is to buy the majority of your groceries from the outer sections of the store and avoid the interior. A grocery store’s perimeter usually includes the fresh produce section, the deli, freshly baked breads, the meat and fish counter, and dairy and soy products. The interior of the store, on the other hand, usually contains shelves of processed foods that are more expensive than fresh foods and contain fewer nutrients.

Get to Know Your Butcher

If you eat meat, you may want to get to know the butcher at your nearby grocery store. They can answer any questions you have about the meat selection available, including which meats are organic, hormone-free, and humanely treated. These are qualities that you may want to consider when buying meat, since all of these may affect the health of an animal and therefore the quality of the meat you are getting. Your butcher will also know which meats are freshest each day and which are the best deal out of the current selection.

Avoid Products with a Lengthy List of Ingredients

When you are looking at products in the interior of the store, such as cereals, pasta and rice products, crackers and chips, cookies, and drinks, look for those that have a short list of ingredients. This is a good general rule to avoiding a hefty amount of preservatives and artificial flavors, and it’s something you can do at a glance instead of trying to read all of the fine print on the side of a box. If the list is exceptionally long, odds are it contains a lot of filler ingredients that are not adding any nutrition to the product.

Try Local Products

Local foods are not necessarily better for you than other foods in terms of nutrients. However, because they are local, there may be a shorter lag time between when produce is picked and when it arrives on the grocery store shelf. You may also want to check out your nearby farmer’s market, which will have many fresh local foods, and often you can talk to the farmers or producers about their foods directly.

For More Wholesome Food Ideas

If you would like more information on great tasting recipes that include fresh, wholesome ingredients, check out CD Kitchen online here.…

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Saving Money at Home – More Encouragement

Saving Money at Home – More Encouragement

Often the most challenging part of running a household can be finding fresh and effective methods to save money. The more people you’ve got in your family, the harder it can be to save money. If you feel like your paycheck is exhausted before you can even deposit it into the bank, then follow this advice to assist you and your family save more money.

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. Sometimes we don’t actually recognize it, but we shell out extra cash by simply trying to keep up appearances. If you believe that you must purchase a new car just because your close friend bought one, you need to really think about what type of financial load you are passing on to your family. Living within your means will let you enjoy more financial freedom over time because you won’t constantly be playing catch up while you try to pay off old debts.

If you know how to cook, then cook for your family. Should you not know how to prepare dinner, then it will be beneficial for you to learn. By preparing meals for your family, you will have additional cash every month that you may either save or make use of to pay bills. As an added benefit, cooking dinner will assist you to make sure that your family is enjoying healthful meals.

Bypass the coffee shop. How frequently do you get a cappuccino from your favorite coffee shop? If you take a moment to add up just how much they cost based on how often you purchase them, you’ll likely be shocked by the amount. By simply preparing your coffee at home, it will be easy to save quite a lot of cash. If you have to have designer coffee, think about investing in a professional grade coffee maker/cappuccino machine so you won’t feel that you’re cheating yourself.

Keep to the checklist. When you go to the supermarket, you will save extra money when you make a checklist and then follow it. This tends to ensure that you only buy the things that you have previously budgeted rather than buying things on impulse. It is also common to go to the grocery store and purchase unnecessary items because we don’t really recall what items we already own. To be able to quit purchasing items you currently have, regularly take inventory of your pantry.…

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Organic Foods and Benefits

Organic Foods and Benefits

If you ever open your refrigerator and wonder how to eat more healthfully, many possibilities come to mind, one of the first being organic grocery shopping. Organic grocery shopping can help promote improved farming practices as well as insure your family eats better. Consider the health and community benefits of organic grocery shopping.

What are organic foods? Basically, organic means foods that are in accordance with specific production standards. They don’t have regular pesticides sprayed on them, they have not been cultivated with manmade fertilizer or sewage trash, and they don’t have food additives also. Most countries will not allow growers to call genetically modified fruits or vegetables organic. You’ll also find that organic meats have not had antibiotics used on them or growth hormones.

A growing concern in non-organic foods is a substance called DDT, or hexachlorobenzene. DDT has been proven to cause cancer in humans, over time this substance breaks down to DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene) DDE and DDD (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane) they are chemicals similar to DDT that contaminate commercial DDT preparations. DDE has no commercial use. DDD was also used to kill pests, but its use has also been banned. Other minor symptoms linked to the consumption of pesticides are headaches, tremor, lack of energy, depression, anxiety, poor memory, dermatitis, convulsions, nausea, indigestion and diarrhea.

Where can organic foods be found? Your local grocery is the best place to find organic foods for your family. There is typically an area for organic foods. Community-backed agricultural programs which give you an interest in local farms and joining a co-op in your area are great ways to access organic foods. A farmer’s market in your area is also a good place to go to during the summer.

If you are worried about taste, a study done by Washington State University in Pullman, published in the April 19, 2001 issue of the journal of Nature, showed that an organic apples vs. a non-organic apples were more favorable due to being more sweet based on the ratio of sugar content to acidity

There are people who feel there is little to no benefit between organic vs. non-organic, please do your research and you will see a major difference. Take the next step to a healthier lifestyle and don’t forget to look for organic groceries when making your diet healthier. Be sure to take advantage of all options available in your local area.…

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Wool Coats for Women – Looking Good and Being Confortable Never Seemed So Easy

Wool Coats for Women – Looking Good and Being Confortable Never Seemed So Easy

With women it’s more than just about staying comfortable during the unforgiving winter months. It’s also about looking good and that’s why so many ladies choose wool coats for women to stay warm and stylish.

Women’s coats made from wool come in many styles and colors, sure to please any woman’s taste in fashion. These jackets also come in just about any color imaginable ranging from just one bright color to the very popular plaid flannel design. With a huge variety of styles and colors to choose from, these outer wear items are great gift ideas, whether for your friends, family, or yourself.

These wool coats for women can come in many styles. There are wool trench coats and wool pea coats, just to name a few of the many designs offered to the shopper. The color options are just as vast as the design choice, with every color of the rainbow as the fiber can take color so extremely well. With so many options offered, there is bound to be one that can accommodate anyone’s unique style.

Women’s wool coats can be found in many retail and clothing stores near you. The more you search the more options you will get to see. Using the internet is a great way to make your shopping experience both easier and faster. Shopping online is also a great way to compare prices quickly, helping you not only make the best coat choice, but save you a little money as well.

Many places will put their jackets on sale when nearing the end of winter which is a great way to save money. With the classic styling of some of these you won’t have to worry about being out of style next winter or the next.

When you are dealing with wool coats, you can expect prices to be a little on the high side. You can expect these jackets to be around $70 to $120 in price, and that is just the retail prices. For designer name wool coats, the price can be as high as $200, if not more. Depending upon the type of wool used in the construction of the coat you might find women’s and men’s wool coats on the very high end of the stratosphere. Remember though, that there are plenty of beautiful wool coats for sale that won’t cost an arm and a leg, so be sure to do some research to help find a good price.

Wool is a great material to make a coat out of and can be just as lovely while sitting outside on an outdoor garden bench or going out on a dinner date. It is warm, it is durable, and it can make you look good no matter how miserable it may be outside. If you want to stay comfortably warm while still be very fashionable, then wool coats for women are the best of both worlds.…