Archive for April, 2011

April 30th, 2011

Healthy Homemade Soups on the Go

Healthy Homemade Soups on the Go by Operation Santa ClausIn this day and age it can be hard to eat healthy. With your busy schedule, especially if you have children, many people find it easier to grab whatever is available and the quickest and deal with the health consequences later. With the following tips for soups on the go you’ll learn how to make sure that the food you grab is of the healthy variety.

The problem with dealing with the consequences of unhealthy eating habits is that later is actually closer than you might think. Later is right now. Sadly, we are a nation of obese adults and just as many, if not more, obese children. Our unhealthy eating choices have caught up with us. You might be asking yourself, “How can I eat healthy when I’m crunched for time already?”

One way is to make foods that can be taken with you on the go. One of those foods is soup. Soup is tasty, filling, and good for you anytime, but especially on a cold fall or winter day. There are hot soups and believe it or not even cold soups. Many of the warm soups are even good eaten cold or lukewarm.

First, choose your favorite soup. A popular choice of many is the infamous chicken noodle soup. There’s nothing better when you are under the weather than the warm chicken broth soothing your throat. Campbell’s has a wonderful soup in a microwave container perfect for eating on the go, but we are going to make our own soup for an even healthier choice.

The one thing that is best about homemade food is that you know what is and is not in it. Since we are concerned with health, preparing your own soup creations at home is the best way to go. No matter which type of soup you choose to make, be sure to use fresh ingredients. The other items you’ll need are plenty of cups with lids and a blender.

Now it’s time to actually create your time saving soup. A good soup always starts with the stock. For chicken soup, make the broth by boiling the remains of the chicken you had for dinner. Add the herbs and seasonings of your choice and boil until the chicken bones come out clean. Any remaining meat will be included in the broth. Once the broth cools completely, ladle it into air-tight jars or containers for storing.

If you’re more of a beef and vegetable soup lover, you can use commercial canned broths or bouillon cubes for the base of your soup. Season the stock really well and boil before adding any other ingredients. Once the stock is ready, all that is left to do is toss in your favorite veggies. Again, wait until the soup is completely cooled before pouring into storage or serving containers.

Now, what about that blender? It’s a bit difficult to eat soup the traditional way while driving and if you are serving to your kids, the combination of a car and soup in a bowl is a disaster waiting to happen. Here’s where the blender comes into the picture.

Pour some of the soup into the blender and blend until the pieces are small enough for you to swallow without choking. You can even puree the soup completely if you’d prefer. For a thicker texture, add a bit of cream soup. Now, your soup is ready for distributing in your to-go cups.

The ideal cup would be a coffee mug with a lid. These types of cups have a wide opening perfect for drinking soups from. Be sure to prepare enough soup for the entire week. You can take the soup with you while you’re out shopping, working in the garden or to work. A cup of soup is packed with healthy nutrients and it won’t mess up the car or cramp your busy lifestyle. The next time you don’t have time to eat, reach for a cup of healthy homemade soup instead of pulling into that fast food drive thru.

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April 24th, 2011

Money Saving Grocery Shopping Tips

Money Saving Grocery Shopping Tips from Operation Santa ClausEverything is getting more expensive today. From gas to groceries, our hard-earned dollars are challenged to stretch further. Now, we may be able to ride a bicycle around town if we can’t put gas in our cars. But, we have to eat. There’s no getting around that. So, we have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families. Here are six money saving tips to try the next time you go grocery shopping.

1. Clip coupons. They put those in the newspaper for a reason. If there are new items you want to try, use a coupon to get it at a discount. If you like it, you have saved some money. On the other hand, if you don’t take a liking to it, you didn’t pay full price. For me, coupons save an average of ten or more dollars per visit. That’s money in my pocket that I can put towards gas for the car.

2. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a box of macaroni and cheese, but is it more economical? A large box of macaroni and a block of cheese will make more servings for your family than one box of prepared macaroni and cheese. The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.

3. Buy in bulk. Consider the food items that you use most often. Cereals, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart. If you have a coupon, you’ll save even more money.

4. Don’t shop when you are hungry. This is a definite no-no. Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that bag of chocolate chip cookies or that box of donuts when the growling gets underway.

5. Take a grocery list with you. This is another protection against picking up things that are too costly. Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down. Remember, the goal is to stick to the list as much as possible.

6. Shop at the same stores. This is more of a frustration reliever. In a new store, you spend most of your time looking for things and walking up and down every aisle, which oftentimes leads to forgetting an item or two. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list.

Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to implement the ideas listed above as well as others of your own, you’ll see savings each and every time you shop.

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