I often get asked questions about eating healthy on a budget, and how we manage to waste VERY LITTLE food in our house. I thought this would be the perfect week to post about it! Why? Well, on our way home from our little vacation, I asked my husband to pick up a few produce items so I could postpone a grocery shopping trip for a few days. We just needed some basics: apples, bananas, spinach and carrots. What I came home to was a 5 POUND bag of carrots and a GIANT tub of spinach (he got the apples and bananas too, but in normal quantities). Bless his heart. Little did he know, he would be eating spinach and carrots ALL WEEK LONG. I refuse to waste good healthy produce, so I immediately started to plan how to use up everything!
Once I did make another trip to the store this week I also found a 2lb can of pumpkin puree on managers special. That's one of my favorite money saving tips - I always check the manager special racks in the back of the store. The trick is not to buy something you typically wouldn't buy, just because it's on sale. But I knew I would be wanting to use pumpkin and a little dent in the can doesn't bother me!
So...I now have 5 lbs of carrots, a drawer full of spinach AND 2 lbs of pumpkin to use up.
I started with the carrots and did what I always do with them...soak in vinegar water for 15 minutes (a great alternative if you can't buy organic) and shred them in my food processor. Yep..all of them. I find when my carrots are shredded in my fridge it's so much easier to add them to meals!
On to the spinach. I made grilled chicken salads with spinach (and carrots, duh) for dinner and packed another set of salads for us to have for lunch the next day. I've also added spinach to ALL of our morning smoothies. I also hit my Pinterest boards for some ideas and made a loaf of Spinach and Roasted Garlic Quick Bread. It's SO GOOD and SO EASY. I've had it with my salads and even toasted with my eggs for breakfast! If I can't quite manage to use up all of the spinach before it starts to wilt, I plan to pack it into freezer bags and freeze for future smoothies.
Ok, back to the carrots. After shredding them I started to meal plan based on my abundance of carrots. The spinach salad with carrots and a veggie stir-fry with an extra orange flair. I even experimented with carrot smoothies. It looks delicious and is definitely in the spirit of Halloween, but I'll need to perfect the recipe before I share it with you! I've found that shredded carrots last quite a while in the fridge so I'll continue to incorporate them into salads, smoothies, pasta sauces and stir fries over the next week or so.
Finally, the pumpkin. I have finally given into the pumpkin craze that is October, and not a minute too soon. I think Halloween week is just perfect. I made my mom's recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to use up the first bit of it. They turned out extra orange and Halloween-y! I stored the leftover pumpkin in a jar in the fridge, and headed back to Pinterest for more ideas. Luckily, other people have been in the same boat as me and there are tons of posts on "What to do with leftover pumpkin puree". Jackpot!
Apparently I'm going to have to eat breakfast for all 3 meals a day. OR...I'll make another batch of cookies considering I've eaten 4 of them within 30 minutes of them coming out of the oven. Yikes.
If all else fails, pumpkin is GREAT for dogs and Oakley sure won't be complaining about a little extra fun in her doggie dish!
While I don't always have 5lbs of carrots to deal with, I OFTEN do my meal planning based on what I find on special at the store, or what I have still in my refrigerator. I think it's easier to plan when I have an ingredient I'm focused on, and it also makes for some new creative dishes sometimes!
how about you?
What would YOU do with 5lbs of carrots?
Do you meal plan based off of sales?
AND JUST FOR A LITTLE EXTRA HALLOWEEN FUN...check out my favorite new insect! My baby ladybug!
It's great to see you! I'm Alyssa and I blog about all the things I've found "essential" in my life as a fit mama and football coach's wife. You'll find all kinds of fun stuff here like workouts, oily info, football stories and more!
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