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Frugal eating at home and how I got a fantastic A1c!

March 29th, 2015 at 03:21 pm

Sunday is usually meal planning day for me. I worked a 5.5 hour shift today but got most of the week done last night and finished it after I got off work today.

Awhile back I realized there's a very strong correlation between meat consumption and my higher blood sugar readings so I cut back on meat. I mean, waaay back. I still eat fish and small amounts of beef, pork, and chicken but not daily or even weekly. I call myself a "faux vegetarian". Whatever, it works. :-)

My food guidelines are pretty easy. If it's a vegetable I usually eat it raw or lightly cooked and unless it's a starchy vegetable I don't really limit the quantity. Starchy vegetables are a rare treat for me. If it's fruit I eat it now and then and in strict moderation. Fruit needs to be fairly low on the Glycemic Index like berries and melon. Pasta, beans, and grains are things I have once in a blue moon and then just a very small amount. And if it's meat...well, I think long and hard and usually decide against it. There are exceptions to all those guidelines, though. It's a matter of moderation, balance, and keeping my eye on the prize so to speak. But it stinks that the less expensive foods are things I can eat only rarely and it's very hard to stay within my budget for food.

My next to the last A1c was 5.9 and my last A1c two weeks ago was 5.1. For those of you unfamiliar with Diabetes and A1c, that first number is very good for a Type 1 and that last number is in the non-diabetic range so I'm pretty dang proud of both test results!

I didn't get those results by just cutting out most meat, though. I also walk. A lot. I use a Fitbit Charge HR to count my steps and even when I'm at home and watching television, I generally walk/jog in place. I've lost about 9 pounds in the process but it's taken me four months to do so. Four ridiculously long months! Age and the constant influx of insulin via my pump make weight loss quite the challenge but progress is progress, right? Besides, I've had some non-scale victories, too. My work pants are much looser and I simply feel better. I have more weight to lose but am focusing on the positives and not the fact that it takes so freaking long for me to lose a few pounds!

Anyway, here's my menu for this week:

Sunday night - Two boneless pork ribs (bought for .99 a lb at Albertson's), raw bell pepper strips, and a large salad.

Monday night - Homemade french onion soup, sans bread with extra cheese and a low carb muffin in a minute with butter

Tuesday night - Leftover french onion soup and a salad

Wednesday night - Very large salad, complete with cheese, black olives, and artichoke hearts

Thursday night - Dinner at Mom's house so it will be her choice. Heaven help me, she loves the carbs! I'll choose as wisely as I can, though. She always has salad stuff so if nothing else, I'll make a salad.

Friday night - I'll be at work but will take along leftover soup and an avocado

Saturday night - Vegetables roasted in broth and homemade almond meal crackers

Yeah, I eat a lot of salad and soup. I love them and they're thrifty and delicious so why not?

Keep it simple is my motto!

This week's dinners

January 12th, 2008 at 08:20 am

Today's lunch will be the leftover creamed chicken from last night over toast. That should finish off the creamed chicken.

Tonight's dinner will be chicken quesadillas with some of the leftover chicken from last week. The rest of the week we'll have, in no particular order:

Cornbread dressing and gravy made with leftover homemade turkey sausage, served with salad and green beans

Chicken salad made with what should be the last of the leftover chicken, served with fresh fruit

Slow cooker chile relleno casserole, served with spinach and tomato salad

Black eyed peas with hot water cornbread

Scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, and toast or english muffins

Super salads made with leaf lettuces, spinach, and lots of veggies

There are three meatless nights and two nights with a small amount of meat. Yaaaaay for meatless meals! They're a boon to attempts to improve the health and improve the wealth.

Little goals, little steps

January 3rd, 2008 at 08:41 am

I'd love to have $100,000 saved but the thought of doing that is just too big for me to even consider. I do much better if I break large goals into small ones I can manage. So, I don't even look at the large amount of money I'd love to have saved and focus on more manageable, reachable goals. Saving that amount of money is going to take me a long time and can't even get started until I tend to some other things on my plate. So, I'm in the process of emptying that plate!

One of my goals for this year is to have $2500 saved by the end of July. Right now we have about $1100. The thought of saving $1400 in six months is overwhelming to me so I have to break the goal into mini goals and minute steps. It might be pie in the sky to think I can come up with $1400 in six months but I don't think so. I'm going to give up just a few things in an attempt to meet my savings goal. Here's how I plan to do it.

I have 15 pay periods between now and the end of July. If I save $25 from each of those pay periods, I'll have $375 at the end of July. That helps but is a far cry from $1400. I don't think I can afford to save $50 from each check but if I push the limit a little and save $35 from each check, that gives me $525 at the end of July. Much better but I still need another $875.

I have to get creative with this and come up with ways to save a little more here and a lot more there. And it wouldn't hurt to throw in some things that will improve my health, too, so for every meatless meal DH or I eat, I'll add $1 to my savings. I generally eat at least 5 meatless meals per week but I can increase that to 10, I think, without it being a burden. There are 29 weeks between tomorrow and the end of July so If I do that, I'm $290 closer to that deficit of $1400 and now I need $585 more. As long as I'm thinking health and wealth, I'll add $1 for each time I don't stop for a soft drink or snack while out and about. If I can keep to that, I'll have a minimum of $5 more a week which puts me $145 closer. I still need $440 to meet the $2500 goal.

It's getting more complicated now as I have a husband who loves meat (hey, so do I!) and will only tolerate so many meat-free meals and thinks little about stopping at a convenience store for a drink and snack. However, this challenge is MINE, although the money is OURS. I'll reward the savings account with these small amounts of money even if he isn't really on board. As long as I don't indulge, I'm doing well.

While composing this, my stomach started growling so I prepared eggs with a slice of cheese, topped them with salsa, and added some avocado slices. And DH had scrambled eggs with toast earlier so cha ching, there's $2 so far today! I work late tonight and am taking vegetable soup so that's $1 more.

So, I still need to cut back somewhere to close that $440 gap. Any ideas on that?

I used to sell on ebay, half.com, and Amazon but those have petered out for me and I don't think I want to try them again. I might but I don't see it happening right now. I'm considering babysitting to earn extra money for the challenge but that's just a thought at present. Our cell phones are down to bare bones now and we don't have cable television or subscriptions or dues to cut. We eat very few items that we find coupons for so adding coupon savings won't help much though it will add a little. I do plan to learn more about CVS savings and if I get that rolling, the savings will be added.

If you have ideas on other ways I can shave a little here and a little there, please share!

Another favorite meatless meal

January 3rd, 2008 at 05:29 am

I got this from a Yahoo group recently but don't remember which one. It's very good, though.

Linguine with Creamy Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
6 cups hot cooked linguine, cooked without salt
6 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

Mix the flour, garlic powder and pepper in saucepan. Stir in the broth until smooth. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens and remove from heat. Stir in yogurt or sour cream. Toss with pasta and a few tablespoons of the parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining cheese. Serves 6.

This is very good with a salad and green beans.

Some favorite meatless dishes

January 2nd, 2008 at 09:05 am

For those who seek more vegetarian dishes for health or wealth, here are some of our favorite meatless dishes. I'm working more meatless meals into menu planning and maybe these will help someone else, too. In addition to beans, peas, and vegetable based soups, we love these dishes:

Southern Stewed Tomatoes and Okra

1/2 c. butter, margarine or olive oil
1/2 c. onions
3 lbs. cut okra
2 c. canned tomatoes
1/2 c. green peppers (I leave these out as DH and bell peppers don't get along too well)
1/2 c. chopped celery
4 pods garlic
1/2 tsp. cayenne (I reduce this a little)
1 tsp. thyme

Sauté onions in pot until tender. Add okra, tomatoes and green peppers, Cook 10 minutes. Add celery, salt, cayenne and thyme. Mix well. Cook until okra is tender.

Cabbage Lasagna

1 lb. TVP, cooked beans, or cooked rice
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 chopped green pepper
1 medium head cabbage
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 small can tomato paste
8 oz. sliced mozzarella cheese

Cook tvp, beans or rice, onion, green pepper. Boil cabbage until tender then set aside, saving 2 cups of liquid. Combine 2 cups of liquid, oregano, tomato paste, salt and pepper and simmer, stirring often. Add meat mixture to sauce pan. simmer and stirring often. In a buttered 9x13 pan, layer cabbage and tomato mixture Top with mozzarella cheese slices as your very last layer only. Bake 400 for 30 minutes until cheese is browned. Serves 8.

Stuffed Mushroom Casserole Vegas Style

2 packages frozen spinach or 2 bunches of fresh spinach
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped
1 & 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian herb seasoning
12 giant mushrooms
1 lb tvp, cooked beans, or rice

Cook spinach briefly in hot water; drain and chop. Mix with sour cream, 1/2 cup each shredded cheddar, monterey jack, and parmesan cheeses, chopped green onion tops, 1/2 tsp salt and herb seasoning. Place 12 stemmed fresh mushrooms, cup side up, in center of large baking dish. Spoon spinach around edges. Saute sliced green onions and one tsp salt. Add tvp, beans or rice and mix well. Spoon over mushrooms. Top with 1/2 cup each shredded cheddar and monterey jack. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake covered in 350 oven for 25 minutes. Serves 4.