I have a new love in my business - taking people grocery shopping!!! I've done it a dozen times now and it's so much fun teaching others all the little tricks I've picked up over the past few years. It seems silly to some to pay someone to go shopping with you, but there is lots to learn!
1. What your grocery list should look like: Many people list what they need, but not quantities and aren't fully prepared with the right amounts of ingredients for the recipes they decide on.
2. How to pick produce to last the whole week: I teach people to only go grocery shopping once a week, which cuts down on impulse buying each time, as well as the cost of gas it takes to drive to and from the store.
3. How to pick ripe produce: Pineapples, Mangos, Avocados, Bananas, Greens...what do they look/smell like when ripe, when do you need to eat them, and how to you prepare them?
4. Inexpensive Deals: I teach how to price match, good questions for your produce managers at your stores, how to affect change in prices/selection where you shop the most.
5. Budgeting Groceries: If you know how much you have to spend, not only will you achieve that goal, but have a little left over for special grocery treats that you might not otherwise get.
6. Unknown Fruits/Vegetables: There is a good segment of the produce section I doubt you have even visited! I will introduce you to things you've only heard about, give you ideas as to how to use them, tell you why they are good for you, etc. :)
We usually spend 1-2 hours at the grocery store - and I can come to you if need be. It's a blast - wonderfully educational - and fun!
Let's talk about Price Matching! Does it seem like a lot of extra work? Don't feel as though you have the time/patience/energy for it? Well, I'm now offering my services! For $10/month, I will send you weekly emails regarding how/when/what to price match. If you would like to sign up for the year, it's a discounted $100! This pays for itself, for I save far more than $10 every time I shop, let alone per month. Imagine shopping for $100 worth of groceries, but only spending $35! That is what I did with my Green Smoothie Detox Program clients - I took them all shopping and we cut our budget by 2/3!
I don’t know why I wait so long to blog that I’m overflowing with news. I need to blog more often so as not to overwhelm myself. Would you all keep me accountable in this area, and pray for me if you can? As much as is possible, I like to live a transparent life and keep everyone around me fully engaged…so as to make real friendships. Shallow, surface, connections are undesirable to me…but I digress.
Upcoming Raw Recipe Nights
The first thing I want to talk with all of you about is my upcoming Raw Recipe Nights. Let’s talk about Asian foods! This Saturday and the following Tuesday are RRN’s Asian Entrées and Appetizers. We will learn how to make an Orange Broccoli dish that is a great entree, appetizer or side, a Lemon Lettuce Wrap that is full of nutrition but you will want to lick your plate afterward, and an Oriental Noodle dish that will remind you of cooked Asian meals. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it if you would RSVP and let me know if you were absolutely coming. I’ve gotten used to people letting me know the day of that they can and cannot make it, but its hard to plan that way. But, I don’t want to discourage anyone from not attending simply because their schedule is a little more spontaneous than mine. ;) These two RRNs are both on the west side in Peoria, see my website for the exact address.
New Location in the East Valley!
Exciting news!!! I have a third location for my Raw Recipe Nights! My good friend David has volunteered his home in Scottsdale as a prime location for a RRN. August 21st will be the debut RRN, in the afternoon. We will be doing something a little different at this location: learning three recipes, but also having a small lecture/Q&A session. It will be a three hour class instead of the customary RRN…and it will also be in the afternoon instead of the evening. For that time period, the price has also changed. It will be $40 at the door and $30 prepaid, to encourage people to pay ahead of time and reserve their spot. This location has a bit of a cap, so I literally can’t allow a large amount of people…we need to keep it cozy and intimate. The theme for the evening will be crackers and dips. I’ll be demonstrating two different types of hummus, two garlicy spreads, and a simple and easy way to make crackers. Everyone will have plenty to snack on and take home, and I’ll be selling some dips and crackers as well.
Can you believe that my Raw Recipe Nights first became public and I started this business three months ago? Already I have three locations (with a fourth vying for my business) in which to hold Raw Recipe Nights, I have two clients whom I work with one-on-one, and I have an UnCookBook due at the end of the month! CRAZY!
I have had lots of questions lately, some of which I’ll save for the next newsletter (if you haven’t received a copy, make sure you email me with your info so I can send you one!), but I’ll go over a few with you right now.
Q: My first green smoothie was less than appetizing. Do you have any green smoothie recipes for beginners?
A: The main beginner blunder when making green smoothies is the attempt to add far more greens than your body is comfortable with. I did the same thing with my first green smoothie. I thought 2-3 cups of greens was very little compared to the 3-4 cups of fruit I had put into my Vitamix. I could barely choke it down and was completely discouraged. The second mistake I made was not adding enough water and it being more like pudding than something I could drink down easily. When I say to have one part greens and two parts fruit, I mean it! Also…a friend mentioned the fact that it felt wasteful to put so much fruit into a smoothie when she enjoyed simply eating the fruit. I would suggest you use fruit that you aren’t as enthusiastic about for your smoothies and save the savory fruit to eat whole. Say you love apple slices, enjoy those by yourself. Not a big fan of melon? Pears? Try them in a smoothie and you’ll feel less wasteful. I LOVE to put overripe fruit in my smoothies…things like mushy bananas, bruised pears, old and rock hard oranges. They are still nutritious, yet unpalatable. What better way to eat them, than by blending them into a full meal?
Here are some easy beginner green smoothie recipes:
I find that spinach, swiss chard, and kale are the mildest of greens (besides many wild edible greens like purslane and lambsquarters), and I always love bananas in my smoothies as it makes it nice and creamy and provides a wonderful sweetness. I know many people aren’t as big of fans of bananas, so I included some non-banana smoothie recipes. Again, make these to your tastes…if they aren’t sweet enough then experiment and throw another piece of fruit in.
NONE of this is going to waste. Your body will get all the nutrition and will use it! None of us chew our food to a creamy consistency before we swallow it, which is what the blender does, so we are losing lots of nutrition simply by chewing improperly. So if you buy a bunch of fruit and it all goes into the blender…think of it as one large (or two) meals and your body is receiving lots of protein, calcium, iron (from those awesome greens), as well as tons of vitamins and minerals that aren’t found in anything processed (even if it’s “fortified”).
Q: Just a quick question about where to find cheap produce: what's the easiest way you've found for price comparing? I'm trying to conserve money as much as possible right now and I'm going to have to start looking for cheaper than the most convenient.
A: Here is what I do and it's what I personally know about. First: google map the grocery stores in your area (simply to get a list, whether you would go to them or not). Then, see if they all have online ads (most do). Then, for each ad, do a search for produce. Start comparing them to one another and you'll find which stores have the cheapest produce on a regular basis. You can either go to the cheaper stores and do your shopping there, or make a list of all the stores and the produce that you like at the cheapest prices. Take your list to a Super Walmart (that sells produce) and they will match those prices for you.
For example in my area of Phoenix: We have Bashas, Frys, Albertsons, Sprouts, Walmart, Food City, Ranch Market, Safeway, and Trader Joes. Through searching in their online ads, I’ve found that Food City and Ranch Market sell produce for at least half, if not more, the price of the other supermarkets. So I take those specials to Walmart and they sell me things like bananas for a quarter a pound, peaches for a quarter a pound, cherries for .69 a pound. Of course, this is all conventional produce, not organic. I check Bashas, Safeway, the higher end stores for their organic produce sales and see if Walmart sells organic (which most in my area do). OR, if I have time I will drive down to a Ranch Market and buy their produce, as there is much that is NOT in their online ad that is still ridiculously inexpensive. So, check in your area and find who sells the cheaper produce.
ALSO!!! Google CSA or Farmer’s market or orchards or farm in your area. Call or stop by and see if they are organic, what their prices are, and if it’s a CSA, how much produce you will get for your investment. When I was in Pennsylvania I found a wonderful little farm that had a farm stand and a U-pick (usually even cheaper) that was all organic. It is where I purchased almost all my produce and it was wonderfully priced. Always support local produce, it’s healthier for you and it’s closer to the earth (better for everyone!).
Next Blog Post
Okay, I believe that’s everything for tonight. Tomorrow or the next day I’ll be blogging about Christian Stewardship. My friend asked me how I believe it ties into diet and health and I will be responding for everyone to read. I’ll also be praying that the words flow from God through me so that it might be understandable and relatable. J
I love grocery shopping. I don't think it was always that way. I remember looking down each aisle, feeling a little overwhelmed with all the choices, especially unhealthy ones that I wanted to buy but knew were bad for me. I used to allow myself one night of the cheapest frozen pizza I could find. When it came to making something from scratch, it was almost always easier and cheaper to simply buy something pre-made...not to mention better tasting. So I lived out of boxes, cans, and the freezer.
What a difference to today! I LOVE grocery shopping now...finding out what's on sale, my brain already coming up with fun ideas to make with the produce that is on sale this week. And...most grocery stores only have one aisle I can go down...much simpler and stress-free. I don't cut coupons or worry...I very rarely go over my budget. And now that I've found price matching, why I have plenty to spare and buy specialty items (or just more organic produce!).
The fun thing about having one isle to shop down is that you get to see EVERYTHING in that isle very well. You learn quickly what greens your store has, if they have any organic produce and where they have tucked it away at. Most grocery stores have SUPER inflated prices for produce, and that is a topic for another day..don't get me started, but that's why I love price matching. You get the conventional produce that you really shouldn't get all year round but are essentials (i.e. bananas, pineapples, apples, etc) at very low prices. Like four pounds of bananas for a dollar. Woah. That's a lot of bananas....which I'll take, thank you very much. Anyway...back to the topic...which was?! Oh yes, discovering things in your grocery store.
I tend to frequent Asian markets for things like Young Thai Coconuts, Unroasted Seaweed, and other such lovelies. Well, this past visit had me peeking at every nook and cranny, even if I can't read most of the labels, the foods look so inviting. I found two fruits that I had never tried but had heard of: Lichees and Rambutans. They look crazy, which I love. The Rambutans are the spikey, hairy things that taste a little like grapes...very fun. The Lichees I bought were...not so good. But that's okay, you win some, you lose some. Other fun Asian fruits: Jackfruit, Durian, Cherimoyas...go take a look and take a risk! ;)
One of the perks of living in Phoenix is that the citrus here are literally falling off the trees into your lap. So, come October, November, December, I'll be loading up on Organic Oranges, Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes, and other wonderful things like Kumquats, Loquats, Anna Apples, Tangelos...it's wonderful. I'm actually planning on creating a little business of Gleaners...where we go around and help the elderly by harvesting their fruit for them (so it doesn't just fall off or rot ON the tree and create a nasty mess)...oh, and keeping the fruit for myself...and maybe even selling it! Man, do I get off topic...so the exciting thing is that people have fruit trees in their front yards, back yards, and most don't even notice it! I've seen persimmon trees, pomegranate trees, and peach trees that people aren't even aware they could harvest and eat the fruit because it's not usually sold in stores. Crazy! Well, this is fig season, which I adore. Have you ever had a fresh fig? A dried fig? Neither?! You are missing out!!! These are nature's candies...besides dates, that is. Oh, how I adore figs. I would write a poem or a haiku if I were into that (which sadly, I'm not...but feel free to do so if you are), but i can make a scrumptious creation and share it with you!!!
The woman who harvested her fig tree picked a LOT and gave them to me for FREE (score!), but asked me to make her some raw treat with them. So I came up with these cute little tarts: Fig/Blueberry/Cinnamon filling on an Almond/Date/Cinnamon Crust. Oh, so delicious. (I had the leftovers last night for dinner...just pudding. Yum!)
Lovely Raw Creations
I've been thoroughly enjoying myself in the kitchen lately. I've made some interesting sauces that lead to fun dishes: My friend was craving a Thai Peanut sauce, so we used cashews and made an interesting combination, which led to Thai Cabbage Wraps, and a Thai Cabbage Salad:
Next it was way too many onions in the CSA basket: voila...Onion bread!!! This would be an onion bread sandwich with avocado, ranch dressing, tomato, arugula, and more mung bean sprouts. YUM!
Ahhh, pizza. I thought I would miss you the most. Surprisingly...not so much. But now and then, I like a raw equivalent. I used to try to make large pizzas, but they get so messy and it's hard to get everything onto your fork, and blah blah blah...so now I make little pizza bites. Crust made into crackers, a cheese spread made with sunflower seeds and cashews, and an incredible marinara sauce that I got to use fresh basil in....absolutely heavenly. I used to enjoy Hawaiian Pizza...so now I throw on a pineapple slice for flavor and nutrition...and it tastes eerily similar to its cooked counterpart. :)
A couple weeks ago I was hosting a barbecue at my apartment complex's swimming pool after we baptized a few people. I knew they were bringing hamburgers and such (because they asked me to come up with the onions, tomatoes, and lettuce...lol), and started to get cravings that morning. So, I whipped up some raw burgers, raw buns and let them dehydrate while we had church in my living room. By the time of the bbq...my burgers were ready. I used the same toppings, along with my own raw mayonnaise, and voila! Craving defeated! :)
Last night I decided to make some Strawberry Banana Granola, some cheesy crackers, and I had a bunch of food in the fridge I needed to use up. So...let's combine it all into a dip...and then, hey, let's stuff these mushrooms! Yum!!! Okay, I might have left the mushrooms in the dehydrator a tad too long. Oops! I love my leftover-creations...sometimes they are the best. These stuffed mushrooms are incredible!!!
My frugality is an aspect of my personality, but it sure helps with grocery shopping. I love to bargain hunt, shop at thrift stores, craigslist, ebay, go to clothing swaps and freecycle. Now I can add one more to my list: Price Matching. I had heard of it before, but was always intimidated by it. I could just imagine myself in line with a host of angry shoppers behind me as I fumble with grocery ads, redfaced and seemingly inept. How wrong I was!
Here is the concept: you search the grocery weekly ads for all the stores in your area. You find the bargains you like (i.e. cherries for $.79/lb - no kidding!), and then you find what stores "Price Match," like our Super Walmarts do here in Arizona. Then you take your list of bargains (and possibly all the ads as proof), you shop for the items, and at the checkout line you proclaim your "Price Matching" stance and voila! CRAZY bargains in one place. :) My becoming-better-friend-by-the-day, Christa, introduced me to how easy it was, and she even included the sales for the week. What?! A friend who not only shows me how to save MORE money, but makes it effortless?! Now, that is incredible! So, let me be that friend for you!!!
If you are in the Phoenix Area:
Ranch Market sells the CHEAPEST produce by far...check out the online ad for the sales you like.
Food City comes in at a close second.
Sprouts is where I do almost ALL my shopping (although, not anymore).
And then you have Bashas, Frys, Safeway, Albertsons, Fresh & Easy, have I missed any?
Just click on any of those links and you'll be able to find the grocery ads. When I went to Walmart I didn't have to have the ads, just my little notebook of prices and locations. The cashier acted like it was completely normal. SO easy and I saved more than I spent. How awesome is that?!
Now the great thing about this is that it works not only for produce, which is all I buy, but also for EVERYTHING! For boxed meals, wine, meat, cheese...ANYTHING. Can you tell I'm geeking out about this?! Yup, it's what I'm doing from now on.
3 Peaches, pits removed
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
5 dates, pits removed
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve cold.
p.s. isn't that wooden bowl adorable?! I got a whole set at goodwill for a few dollars. I love wood...so warm and inviting...makes me feel all old fashioned. ;)
MORE Raw Recipe Nights!
Even though I haven't even held one official Raw Recipe Night for the public, I am planning away. I have added three more Nights to the Calendar, a few weeknights for those moms whose weekends are family nights, and a new class: pies! Ooooooh, desserts are my favorite Raw dishes. There is ZERO guilt. You can eat two helpings, heck let yourself have that third piece of Chocolate Mousse Pie! Not only is it NOT bad for you, but there is lots of good nutrition in there that is healthy and nutritious.
Whether that dessert be my Lemon Meringue Pie that is so scrumptious I make it every Sunday so I can have a slice EVERY DAY, or my Vanilla Almond "Ice Cream" that we eat every morning for breakfast (unless it's Chocolate Almond, like today). Desserts are wonderfully filling, in fact they can be an entire meal. Usually a nut or seed base (your protein, and vitamins and minerals), with plenty of fresh fruits (the rest of your vitamins, minerals, and fiber), along with some fun spices and oils. While I'd love to do a "desserts" night, there are too many to choose from. So, this one will focus on PIES. I will be supplying you with my famous Lemon Meringue Pie (that has less than five ingredients!), a simple Apple Pie, and a delicious Peach Cobbler (because it's peach season!). ALL of these take less than five minutes to create, have very few ingredients, and are inexpensive. You don't need to be a raw foodie like myself to make and enjoy these lovely creations. That's the fun of it!
Interested in the desserts theme? Stayed tuned for "Raw Chocolate Night" and "Raw Desserts in Under Five Minutes & Five Dollars" and "Raw Ice Cream Night" and "Raw Cupcakes Night" and much, much more. Oh, and have I mentioned that I'm creating a Raw Recipe Book? We have schemed that we will have binders available at each of the Raw Recipe Nights. The more nights you come to, the more pages of recipes to add to your binder...thereby making your own Raw Recipe Book! OR...when I'm finished you can simply purchase the whole thing. Should be within the next month!
Well, even if I haven't worked a stitch on the website as a whole, I can still blog about what is going on! Saturday was my birthday, and my second birthday raw. My first birthday was a bit sad, as my friends were moving to Alabama and I didn't know another soul who was raw. The reason for that is another story all together. But my friends that were leaving within the next month were still thoughtful and considerate and made me this lovely little raw birthday cake out of Larabars. Now Larabars are "technically" raw, but they are mass produced by the General Mills company, bought from a small independent raw founder. So, I consider these my junk food. Very easy to grab one and go...but definitely not a part of my regular diet.
Anyway...back to the story. My friend's had invited me over for a goodbye/birthday party and I received some cute gifts, but my favorite was my "cake". They had taken two Larabars, sliced them thin and layered a cake for me. Very cute, not entirely raw but an A+ in the creative and thoughtful category. :)
This year I am a billion times more confidant creating some raw delicacy for myself. With my friend's help I made a wonderful birthday cake. :) It actually should be considered a pie, but it's my birthday! I took my usual to-die-for Lemon Meringue Pie and she cut up the fruit and I decorated it all pretty. I even added candles and was able to celebrate with a new "sister" and family. My daughter even had a piece and licked her plate clean...now that is what I call success! I had fun making it, and eating it. We all had a slice and I enjoyed the rest of the pie for my dinner. :) Yum!
My fridge/counters are stock FULL and I am still planning on going to ANOTHER farmer's market tomorrow evening! People always ask me how much I spend on groceries, thinking it is an astronomical amount considering the cost of produce (especially organic). I would say for me and my daughter (now mind you, I eat ALL the time because my metabolism is outrageously high), I spend around $250/month. I'm pretty sure that's cheaper than what I spent before. I went to Sprouts today (awesome grocery store, by the way) and picked up lots and lots of food...then I went to the farmer's market tonight and was able to get FREE green onion tops (he was going to throw them away! For shame!). I still have tons of food from earlier grocery trips. Now I go to the store at least twice a week (as I can't buy in bulk because it'll spoil, not to mention I have a small kitchen to work with), however my trips are quick and to the point...no impulse buys and I know exactly what I want. At Sprouts I buy mainly conventional produce with organic apples and pears (the most reasonably priced), and then at the farmer's markets it's all organic. So slowly I'm switching over...but It's slow going. The amount of food I eat...if I went completely organic, it would double my bill.
I had SO much food in my fridge I had to take some out. There are some onions, tomatoes, carrots, and zucchini on my counter awaiting some fun creation. A few days ago I made a pate (that I ate on sliced tomatoes, yum!), that I will eventually make into patties and dehydrate into little burgers. I could add some flax seeds to what I have on my counter, blend it all up and make crackers. Hmm...sounds like a good idea. :) See! You helped me decide what to do!
I also prepare food for Bible Study every Friday evening. Last week it was salsa and guacamole, with cut veggies, but I've done wonderful dishes like Stuffed Tomatoes and Pesto Cucumber Rolls smothered in Bruschetta. That $20 I spend on everyone is well worth it to see them eating wonderfully healthy food for the three to four hours we spend together. It's also my way of tithing...God has given me this knowledge, these gifts, and this money to serve Him. What better way than to feed his warriors as we prep ourselves for battle with His Word?! :)
About the Blogger
Haley is passionate about Raw Food and how God has used it to heal her. She loves to share what she knows with anyone who is curious, and finds herself talking to everyone around her about her lifestyle.