Project: Food Budget 2015

Project: Food Budget

It’s official.

I’m starting another round of Project: Food Budget.

This will be the third iteration of the project, and it is something that I continue to come back to as a way to find balance in my budget again. (See what went down in Round 1 and Round 2.)

This will also be the shortest of the projects, lasting 12 weeks total or 3 months.

So, why am I doing this again (particularly when I said was done with it)?

I’ve noticed that even while I’m trying to be intentional with how I feed my family (menu planning like crazy), I have stopped being so intentional around my spending. I simply buy what I want, and then feel a good amount of remorse when I see how much I’ve spent for the month.

I also want to get a feel for what it means to feed an extra mouth each week, and whether that is truly impacting our food budget or just a convenient excuse for my new spending habits.

The project will be kicking off one week from today—on June 1st—with the first official budgeting post starting on June 2nd.

If this is something that you struggle with too, or have always been curious to track your spending on food (eating out, groceries, etc.) this is a great project to get involved with.

And with the shorter time frame, it’s not ridiculously cumbersome or an intense time commitment.

It’s also just enough time to make connections, see patterns, and begin to build new habits in spending and planning.

How it works:

  1. Choose a weekly food budget for yourself (and your family). You can keep it to grocery spending only, or include eating out in your budget. Some people have even included all household items like toilet paper and cleaning supplies. What you include is up to you, just make sure to spell out what you’re tracking.
  2. Write at least one blog post per week about your efforts. You can include your weekly menu, what you plan to spend each week, how many people you are feeding, and even how much each particular meal costs.
  3. Publish your post every Tuesday. Make sure to place the graphic on the top of each post, as well as including a link to Project: Food Budget and the list of participating blogs.
  4. Share it everywhere! When sharing on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), please use the hashtag #pfb2015 so that we can find each other!

Make it official:

If this sounds like fun (seriously, it is super fun) and like something you’d like to participate in for the summer, fill out the form below. I’ll send you weekly email reminders and fun little prompts to keep you on track.




Recipe: Blueberry Spinach Smoothie

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie | emilylevenson.com

I have a confession to make… I’m a certified smoothie snob.

I felt oddly superior using almond milk and frozen bananas (or avocados) to make my smoothies creamy and delicious.

When hunting for new recipes, I would pass over any that would dilute it’s super powers with yogurt, ice cubes, or water, believing that they were somehow less than the smoothies I was making and consuming.

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie | emilylevenson.com

Aaaand then I had a baby, and everything changed.

Suddenly, I was looking for ways to get extra calories and fat into things. To expand a picky palate and inundate it with as much healthy stuff as I could get past those lips.

Seeing as The Babe already like yogurt, I figured it was a safe bet to add it into a smoothie containing her most favorite fruit on the planet: the blueberry.

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie | emilylevenson.com

I also needed something that was quick and easy to eat while chasing after She Who Is Almost Walking. The yogurt seemed like a good idea to help keep me satisfied with more fats and protein.

So off it went, into the smoothie. Yogurt. The ingredient that I was anti for yearsssss.

And you know what? It was freakin’ delicious.

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie | emilylevenson.com

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1-2
 
Ingredients:
Directions:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend on high speed (I start on a lower level and work my way up) until ice is crushed and everything is sufficiently smooth.
  3. Pour into your favorite glass or jar.
  4. Add a straw.
  5. Sip to your heart's delight.
Allergen Information:
Nightshade free, dairy free*, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soy free*, and corn free.

*The dairy and soy free status of this recipe is dependent on the type of yogurt used.

This moment.

This moment is your destiny.

The Hubster and I are huge fans of the Walk The Moon song Shut Up + Dance. Whenever it comes on, we grab The Babe and dance around the house, singing and giggling.

It also happens to be one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days. DAYS. We’ve been known to randomly sing a line or two of the song at any given moment.

One of those lines, “This woman is my destiny.” sounded a whole lot like “This moment is my destiny.”

After about the hundredth times listening to the song, I realized I was singing it wrong.

It was too late. I was already hooked on my version.

I would mull it over in my head, thinking, what if this precise moment was truly my destiny? What if there was something I was meant to experience, learn, understand, and be a part of in this very moment.

Would I experience it differently?

Would I assign a different meaning or more importance to it?

Would I behave differently—be more patient, understanding, forgiving, curious, loving?

The answer to all of those questions is, probably.

It also made me reflect on the moments in my life where I have grown the most: being diagnosed with a slew of food intolerances, my miscarriage, finding out we were pregnant, and becoming a mother.

Would it help me understand or cope with those experiences more fully?

I’m not sure it would have.

Perhaps this sentiment is most powerful (at least for me) in the mundane routine of the everyday. When I’m not being smacked over the head with a major life experience that forces me to take stock, reflect, and analyze every ounce of a situation.

It’s power lies in the quietude of my routine.

Of forcing me to distill meaning where I least expect it.

And for helping me to reframe the everyday into something more magical and miraculous.

It’s your turn!

What’s if this exact moment was YOUR destiny? How would that change things for you?

 

Recipe: Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

It feels like just yesterday I was announcing The Babe’s arrival. And now, here she is, an entire year old and eating food like a champ.

Well, she was eating food like a champ, until a few weeks ago when she officially entered the Picky Toddler Stage.

These days she’s eating precisely 7 things: hotdogs, bananas, blueberries, applesauce, coconut milk yogurt, pasta, and bread. Try to put something else in her mouth and she makes a (freakin’ adorable) stink face and spits it out.

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

In an attempt to try and widen her palate, I decided to give these Apple Banana Quinoa Cups from Pumps & Iron a go. I mean, it had two ingredients that I knew she loved: apples and bananas. And if she didn’t like them, I would.

Also, I had to do something with the bananas that were beginning to take over my freezer. Ahem.

So off to make the muffins I went. Mashing bananas, mixing in the almond milk, honey, and vanilla extract. When it came time to get the quinoa out to cook, I… uh… couldn’t find any.

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

But thanks to the internet, I learned that I could sub cooked brown rice for the quinoa.

Crisis diverted.

Thankfully, I had everything else I needed to make the muffins and into the oven they went.

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out without their star ingredient. I also wasn’t sure how the texture was going to go over with The Babe.

The first muffin went down with a small amount of trepidation. She had maybe 5 bites and then was done. The second attempt—at lunch the following day—was a total no-go. Though, to be fair, hot dogs were involved. So pretty much anything else pales in comparison.

I enjoyed them, so just kind of wrote it off as another Just For Mama recipe.

I went to photograph them the following day, totally not expecting anything to come of it and then this happened:

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

I was mid-shot of the muffin and a little hand began to make it’s way into the frame of the picture. And then BAM. She took it, dumped it out of the wrapper, and shoved it in her mouth.

She polished off that muffin in about 5 bites.

And then another one a few minutes later.

Apparently girlfriend wanted a muffin. (Or two.)

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

Who am I to stop her when she just about doubled the number of foods she would eat in one bite.

I mean, really.

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients:
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 3 bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare muffin tin (liners or greased) and set aside.
  3. Mix applesauce, mashed banana, egg, almond milk, honey, and vanilla extract in a medium sized bowl.
  4. In a separate (large) bowl, combine rice, oats, and cinnamon.
  5. Slowly stir the wet ingredients into the dry mixture until fully combined.
  6. Peel, core, and chop up an apple and mix in with muffin batter.
  7. Fill each of the muffin cups to the top with the batter. They will not rise, so make them as big as you want.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly brown and firm.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Eat! Eat! Eat!
Allergen Information:
Nightshade free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, corn free, and soy free.

*The wheat and gluten free status of this recipe is dependent upon your choice of oats. Make sure to choose certified gluten-free oats if you have an issue.

**If your little one is under the age of 1, you will want to substitute maple syrup or agave for the honey.

Apple Cinnamon Toddler Muffins | emilylevenson.com

Play more.

amberrae(Image source: Hey Amber Rae)

This month is all about playing more.

Playing. Being playful. Having fun. Laughing more. Giggling more. Being goofy. Getting my hands dirty. Not taking myself (or life) so seriously. Not working so damn much.

It feels like it’s been so long since any of those things have happened that I don’t even know where to begin. The thought of game night with The Hubster sounded like it would be fun for approximately 10 minutes before we were both ready to go do something else (like sleep).

Where else could I have some fun?

The kitchen. I could try new recipes, get my hands dirty, or make more desserts. Or even take out all of the pots and pans and make a whole lot of noise with The Babe. THAT would be fun.

My wardrobe. I’m a pretty monotone dresser, preferring black, white, gray, and navy over anything with loud or bright colors. BUT, I love to play with jewelry, nail polish, shoes, and makeup. Playing around with those things would definitely be fun.

My daily routine. Turns out I am a creature of habit and am super comfortable doing the same thing at the same exact time every day. This month I want to shake it up. I want to find new things to do, go for more walks, explore the city more. I need to get out of my house and out of my routine.

I feel like those three areas are a great place to start and am excited to see how this month shapes up.

What about you?

Where could you infuse a little more play into your day?

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