Building An Amazing Smoothie

In between classes, I bought a smoothie from the University Center and let me tell you..it was not good.  My Bangin’ Berry was watery, lacked in flavor and was not worth the $3.50.  After throwing it out, I got to thinking about what makes a really good smoothie and how I could easily make my own at home.  So, I decided this post would be a crash course to making an exceptional smoothie because some of us have probably never used a blender before.  Let’s talk ingredients.

1. FRUITS

There are two options: fresh or frozen.  I would recommend frozen because not only are they cheaper, but they make better smoothies.  The freezer section is endless with berry combos, citrus mixtures, etc.  Choose to your hearts desire.  Assuming this is a single serving deal, measure out 1 cup or 1 1/2 cups of your chosen fruits.

ColleenHolland.FrozenBerries

2. VEGGIES

Yes, it is wise to add veggies to this smoothie.  Why?  Because they add double nutritional value with vitamins that include fiber, etc.  Depending how leafy green you want to get choose anywhere from kale to spinach and carrots to avocado.  1 cup of any of these options is advised.  It will still taste good, I promise.

Ingredients

3. LIQUID BASE

A liquid base is needed to make this smoothie smoother and easy to drink.  Obviously.  There are an array of options like juice, water, milk, coffee, iced tea, etc.  Any of these options are guaranteed to make a good drink.  If you don’t want it too watery, beware of how much you add.  Anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup is advised.

Unknown

If you’re wanting to make it a little creamier, adding a couple tablespoons of yogurt, cottage cheese or ice goes a long way.

4. A LITTLE EXTRA

nuts4

For a little extra flavor, some good ingredients to add are honey, vanilla extract, almonds or even maple syrup.  They will add a little sweetness and who doesn’t like that?

Hopefully, breaking down a smoothie helped figure the best way to make one!

Happy Spring Break!

Chicken and Veggie Power Bowl

So, I’ve been really trying to figure out how to incorporate veggies into my meals more.  I don’t know about you..but I am not a fan.  But, there’s no escaping it!  Veggies provide lots of essential vitamins and minerals, and freezer veggies are respectively priced.  Anyways, I needed a solid dinner to fill me up and I put some odds and ends together.  I ended up making a pretty good bowl of veggies, protein and carbs, and the best part is that it actually tasted good!  Due to my distain for greens, I’m going to assume that if I like it then anybody would.

Overall Price:

Ingredients: $3.50

-1/2 a sweet potato (.50 cents)

-1/2 cup of bell pepper (.50 cents)

-1/2 cup of broccoli cutlets (.50 cents)

-1/2 cup of rice (.30 cents)

-3 strips of chicken ($1.50)

-1 tablespoon of olive oil (.20 cents)

Directions:

1. Prepare/cut up the sweet potato, bell pepper, broccoli and chicken and preheat oven to 425 degrees

IMG_8260

2. Put mixture onto pan and cover with olive oil and put it oven for 20 minutes

IMG_8262

3. While the veggies and chicken and cooking, prepare rice by mixing with 1 cup of water and microwave it for 5 minutes

4. Mix veggies, chicken and rice together and enjoy!

IMG_8264

 

Overall Thoughts:

This dinner was very filling and GOOD.  All the flavors mixed together for a great overall meal that I can make again!  I’m thinking next time to add some seasoning or sauce.  I’ve also found an appreciation for sweet potatoes.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Quesadillas

So, I know that Frugal Food is all about decently healthy meals..but here’s the thing.  I had a sweet tooth and a REALLY bad one at that.  I could have indulged a lot more, trust me.  Last night, I was binge watching Scandal because I needed a break from the obsessive midterm season and decided to make peanut butter banana chocolate quesadillas.  I love those three ingredients together and I love quesadillas.  It was a match made in heaven.  It’s a single serving dessert that you will want to make over and over and over.

Overall Cost: .90 cents

Ingredients:

-1/2 banana

-1 whole grain tortilla

-2 tablespoons of peanut butter

-1/2 cup of chocolate chips (melt them. it tastes better for some reason.)

Directions:

1. Spread peanut butter on tortilla and layer banana and melted chocolate

IMG_8242

2. Cook quesadilla on medium heat until both sides are golden brown

3. Enjoy!

IMG_8249

Overall Thoughts:

This is my new go-to guilty pleasure.  Everything just melts all together, is super gooey (can be messy), and is everything it should be!

Happy Cooking!

5 Healthy Snack Combos To Eat This Week

It’s that time of year again: midterm season. DUN DUN DUN..

These next two weeks will be crazy with two research papers, four exams and loads of laundry to pack for spring break..joy.  It can sound super easy to run to the vending machine during your six hour grind at the library or emotionally eat to cope with the stress.  But, I challenge you.  I have come up with five amazingly, healthy snacks combos that will fuel your body with good energy and nutrients, and your spring break bod can still shine!

1. Rice Cakes and Peanut Butter

Rice cakes make a great substitute for bread on the go and it’s even better when paired with a nice source of protein!  Eat with fruit to jazz it up.

lf-he-beck0530lf001

2. Chocolate Milk and Banana

Bananas are packed with potassium and good carbohydrates, while chocolate milk provides protein and essential minerals!  Plus, it’s chocolate.  What’s not to love?

a502f6caba1300db07caadd6e3f79dec.jpg

3. Hummus and Celery

Although hummus can be dense in calories, in the right portion it is a great source of lean protein.  Serving with celery or any other veggies can guarantee getting those greens in and their multiple vitamins!

Unknown

4. Nuts, Craisans and Dark Chocolate

A quick on the go snack for minerals, energy, fats, fiber, protein, etc.  Adding dark chocolate is recommended if craving sweets.

32479499-Almond-Craisin-and-Chocolate-Chip-Trail-Mix-Stock-Photo

5. Greek Yogurt and Honey

Honey contains sugar but also Vitamin C and folates, while  greek yogurt improves digestion like no other and provides amino acids. Put them together and have a delicious combo.

8e7585d2b4fe430c7c667ac37ba95769

Hopefully, this helps to navigate the balance of nutrition and cravings!

Chicken Avocado Burrito Wrap

I’m all about avocados this week!  There was a sale at Walmart..it was too good to pass up.  It’s just a normal Saturday consisting of homework and trying to keep up with ridiculous amounts of reading.  Anyways, I needed to take a lunch break and decided to try this yummy wrap.  It only takes ten minutes to make and I mean..avocado..chicken..burrito.  What’s not to love?

Overall Cost: $5

Ingredients:

-1/2 an avocado

-1 tortilla

-1 cup of mexican blend cheese

-1 cup of shredded chicken

Directions:

1. Combine cheese, chicken and avocado

IMG_8209

2. Apply to tortilla

F4052ADE-667E-4CE6-BD84-BBC79CA77911

3. Grease pan and cook wrap for 2 minutes each side at a medium heat

4. Enjoy!

IMG_8214

Overall thoughts:  Oh my goodness, this burrito was so yummy that I want to make it again tomorrow.  It’s fast, easy to make and has a nice overall nutrition value.  If you’re one for spices, cilantro might be a nice addition to the flavor.  I am considering making a bunch of these and freezing them for later use.  If you didn’t already know: the freezer is your friend.

Sweet Potato Toast

Alright, the need to be creative and frugal was a must this morning.  The fridge and pantry were pretty bare and I didn’t get a pay check until this afternoon.  I had lots of odds and ends going on and I was trying to pull all of them together for a somewhat decent meal.  It ended up being a combination of a sweet potato, an avocado and some eggs.  Put it together and you get..sweet potato toast topped with diced avocado and a scrambled egg.  Yes, yes I know it’s oh so fancy.  I must say this though; don’t knock it until you try it.

Overall Cost: $2.50

Ingredients:

-1 small sweet potato (.70 cents)

-1 small avocado (.80 cents)

-2 eggs ($1.00)

Directions:

1. Slice sweet potato into even, medium sized slices

IMG_8175

2. Put the slices through the toaster 2 or 3 times depending on your preference

3.  While the sweet potatoes are toasting, slice/dice the avocado and scramble the eggs

F084B24D-20A2-4D96-9575-732423CCAAFF

4. Layer it all together and enjoy!

IMG_8188

Overall Thoughts:

One word: yum.  I would have never thought of a sweet potato as a substitute for bread, but I must say it will be done more often.  Sweet potatoes are a great way to pack in fiber and other essential nutrients into a meal!  Top that with eggs and avocado and you’ll be full with energy for the morning.  For the future, I am going to be experimenting with other toppings like peanut butter, fruit and more!  Until then.

Happy Cooking!

A Few Budgeting Tips

Tonight is just one of those nights I have no energy to make dinner.  Sometimes, all you need is hummus and chips to call it good.  I figured I would take this opportunity to share some budgeting tips for grocery shopping because it seems a lot easier said than done.  The biggest fear is wasting money on something as disposable as food.  But, in all reality if you’re just clever about it, you’ll walk out of Walmart feeling not so broke and getting a money’s worth.  So, here goes nothing.

1. Plan and Substitute

I know this sounds very basic, but this is actually very effective.  Plan out what meals and snacks you want to make for the week and make a list of every ingredient needed to make  them.  This way when going shopping, there is no need for wandering aimlessly and random impulse buying.  Get in and get out.

When making a list, do know that making substitutes can be very effective, especially when it comes to protein.  For example, ground turkey is cheaper than ground beef and what to skip fresh meat altogether?  Try beans, lentils and even mushrooms!  This tactic can be used with any expensive ingredients.

2. Shop once a week 

By shopping once a week, you will be saving loads of money.  When people don’t make a list, they usually forget things, which causes them to go back to the store a few times and this results in buying multiple things that you do not need.  Just shop once a week and get it all done.

3. Look through the shelves throughly 

I thought this was actually very interesting, but ever notice how the most known and most expensive brands are at eye level?  It’s for a reason.  Since it’s at eye level, it’s the first thing consumers see and therefore the first thing consumers reach for and buy!  So, look around and scan the prices all over the shelf.  Because guess what?  There is little to no difference between Prego and Great Value marinara sauce.

Those a few easy tips I thought could be put to good use!  I am hoping to share some more through out the weeks.

Happy Cooking!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Alright, on this fine Tuesday I did something I have never dared to do..use veggies to make a pizza.  I found this recipe on Pinterest that is very intriguing to say the least: zucchini pizza boats.  Think a regular pizza but flour dough substituted with zucchini.  Personally, I was skeptical, but if I like zucchini bread then what about and why not zucchini pizza?  It was a must try.  And substituting carbs for a veggie..you know what that means.  Yup, a pizza that is easy on the waistline.

I’ll reveal my initial reaction in my overall thoughts!  But, anyways to say the least this recipe is relatively easy and only requires 4 ingredients (a fifth is optional).  It is also dirt cheap to make for one person.

Overall cost: $3.50

Ingredients:

-1 zucchini (.75 cents)

-1 cup of marinara sauce (.75 cents)

-1.5 cups of mozzarella cheese ($1)

-1/2 cup of pepperoni  ($1)

-olive oil and other spices (not necessary but optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2. Cut zucchini in half horizontally

3. If wanting to use olive oil or spices like garlic, mix them together and spread on zucchini halves

IMG_8161

4. Distribute marinara sauce, shredded cheese and meat

IMG_8163

5. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes

6. Enjoy!

IMG_8166

Overall Thoughts:

LOVE THIS.  It’s a win win situation: cheap, healthy and absolutely delicious.  The pictures really don’t do justice at all.  The zucchini makes for a nice, crunchy texture.  BEWARE..although these are very good, they are also very messy.  Keep those napkins close.  But, all in all a guilt-free pizza.  What’s not to love?

Happy cooking!

 

Not Your Average Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Friday!

The weather is absolutely gorgeous out today and it’s beginning to look a lot like spring..in February.  Nonetheless, it makes me really want to go on a hike or something.  I will definitely have to make some time for that.  Anyways, I was raiding my fridge and pantry trying to figure out what to munch on for a snack.  I then discovered that I had neglected to eat the rest of my bananas before they went very, very…very overripe.

I was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Bananas can be used for so many substitutes: eggs, baking oils, etc.  So, I decided on making some chocolate chip cookies!   Keeping in mind, we are supposed to keep things frugal and outside the box, I am putting my own little spin on your average chocolate chip cookies.  Only 3 ingredients for multiple servings! (12 cookies).

Cost per serving: $1

Ingredients:

-2 ripe bananas (.50 cents)

-1 cup of quick oats (.25 cents)

-1/4 cup of chocolate chips (.25 cents)

Instructions:

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Combine banana and oats in the bowl thoroughly and add chocolate chips over time

IMG_8157

3. Distribute to sprayed cookie sheet

4. Bake for 15 minutes for deliciousness

5. Enjoy!

IMG_8160

Overall Thoughts:

These cookies are actually really good!  They’re not messy, but still gooey.  The texture and appearance is very similar to a monster cookie, which is something anyone can appreciate.  The banana comes through with the taste of chocolate, making it sooooo delicious.  A recipe for the books!

Chicken Noodle Soup

Unfortunately, over the weekend I caught what is going around on campus.  It seems to be a pretty nasty cold: fatigue, cough, sore throat and LOTS of congestion.  I really tried to fight and nip it in the bud with Emergen-C and fluids, but here I am, miserable with three exams to look forward to.  And just like the cliche, I am finding comfort in some chicken noodle soup, specifically my mom’s.  But, I decided to tweek my mom’s recipe into a five dollar version and see what happens.

This recipe is simple, fast and soothing, something any sick person can appreciate.  This recipe is also a bang for your buck because it makes a few servings.  With that being said: the freezer is your friend.

Overall Cost: $4.85

Ingredients:

-1 can of chicken broth ($1.00)

-1/4 cup of carrot (.60 cents)

-1/4 cup of celery (.75 cents)

-1/2 cup of shredded chicken ($1.50)

-1/4 cup of uncooked egg noodles ($1.00)

-Seasoning (opt.)

Instructions:

1. Cut celery and carrots in medium sized slices and shred chicken into reasonable portion

IMG_8140

2. Heat broth and vegetables at a medium heat into a boil

IMG_8145

3. Gradually stir chicken and egg noodles into the mixture

4. Cook for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally

5. Enjoy!

IMG_8146

Overall Thoughts:  This soup definitely does the job in terms of helping a sick girl out.  While making my way to Walmart, I did realize there are several different kinds of chicken broth with varying prices.  I recommend getting the small can of Swanson.  It’s low price and has 3 servings.  Also, when shredding the chicken, don’t be afraid to have larger portions!  I shredded the pieces a little too small and you can’t even see the chicken in the soup.  It’s in there..promise.

Also, egg noodles are cheap, amazing and I love them.