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xoxo, Kerri O.

Living Healthy on a Budget...Yes, it Can Be Done!

I spoke in a previous post about our tight budget. I thought I would talk a little bit about how I manage to make healthy choices while still staying within that budget. It's not an easy task, but getting to stay at home with my kiddos makes pinching those pennies so worth it.

The first thing I did was go to a written budget. Seeing where everything is actually going is the first step to telling it where it should go!

Next, I began to batten down the hatches. Nothing was safe in my quest for extra dollars. Our home land line was the first thing to get the ax. We all already have cell phones, so why spend $50 MORE a month on a phone we never wanted to answer because it was a salesperson? Out that went. Our satellite plan went down to the bare bones (don't tell my fam, but I've considered cancelling that altogether). We don't buy DVDs very often now, we got Netflix. I only buy books I really want and utilize the library tons. I stopped magazine subscriptions I wasn't really reading. We cut out everything extra.

Next, I did everything possible to get our utility costs down. Energy saving light bulbs went in. They are more expensive, but they last forever and cut down our electric bill quite a bit. I just bought a few at a time each week; I found them cheapest at Home Depot (although this week there is a good deal at Target on them). I turn lights off when we're not in a room, unplug things not in use and shut computers down when they're being used. Made sure air wasn't getting out doors. You can search online for lots of ideas on energy savings. We also went to all wood heat and stopped buying propane. That was a little extreme for most people, but it works for us because hubby can cut wood at his family's ranch.

Grocery shopping can be a big expense for a family of 5 trying to make healthy choices. My system allows me to do that fairly cheaply. My grocery budget is $300 to $400 a month. That has to include all cleaning supplies, dog food, cat food, etc. What I do is clip coupons for things my family uses. I also look online for coupons and print them out. I have a little file that I then file them alphabetically in so I don't have coupon messes all over the house. Then, I watch the sales at Target, Safeway, and King Soopers. You can easily do this online; most sites let you make your grocery list and print it out. King Soopers you can even email it to yourself. When something we use goes on sale, I use my coupons and stock up. King Soopers and Safeway in my area even double coupons up to a $1. I never shop at Sam's, Costco, or Walmart anymore. I can do far better with my system. You may have a lot of one item one week and another the next when you first start out, but it will all even out and you'll have a full pantry of everything.

Check with your store, some have limits of 3 like coupons, etc. Most stores will allow you to use a store coupon and a manufacturer's coupon together (combine with a sale and you get stuff dang cheap). I actually buy more than 1 paper if there's good coupons in it. I might be spending $1.50, but the coupons inside can be worth way more. If I want to stock up on something we use a lot, I'll go back more than once, or have hubby or someone else go too. Yes, I'm shameless at getting around limits. You'll find you will get things free sometimes too. For example if Crest toothpaste is 10 for $10 at King Soopers and you have a coupon for 50 cents off (that they will double to $1 off) you just got free toothpaste.

Now, you will find a lot of GREAT deals on junk food this way. That's why I only clip the coupons for healthy things that I want to buy for my family. That way I'm not even tempted when I can get Pop Tarts dirt cheap ;)

For fruits and veggies I stalk the good sales and load up. Now, these are perishable, so I can't go too crazy. If spinach is super cheap, I'll buy a couple packages and work it into a lot of meals that week. You can freeze some things. For instance, berries. When strawberries were $1 a pkg last year I bought tons and froze them. Search on the internet about freezing things (hopefully my sis will read and post the name of that book she has). It's a great way to extend the lifetime of sale things.
I always take cash shopping. It keeps me on my toes. If I know I have exactly $100 to spend I am way more mindful than if I'm just putting it on my debit card. We don't use credit cards at all.

Working out on the cheap is easier than I thought. I already have a treadmill and exercise bike from the days we weren't so careful with money. I bought a cheap set of hand weights and some workout DVDs. I always check a DVD out from Netflix first to be sure I'll like it. They even have ones you can watch instantly online. I also never spend more than $10 on a fitness DVD. I usually stalk the deals on Amazon for these. I always use the free super saver shipping.  I'll even wait a bit until I have $25 worth of things I need to order. Plus, with no sales tax, can't beat Amazon.

If you search a bit you can find lots of helpful websites on couponing and saving money. There's also lots of helpful peeps on Twitter. Two of my favorites: @DealSeekingMom (her website is awesome) and @SpringsBargains (more of a local thing I think). You will find sites you can pay for them to tell you all the deals, where to spend your coupons, etc. I skip these, think it's a waste.

Helpful books I've read: Shop, Save, and Share by Ellie Kay. I don't use her exact system, but it's a good place to start if you're new to all this. Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. Love me some Dave! He changed our lives. We cut up our credit cards and only have our mortage and second mortgage left to pay off thanks to him. If you have no payments that sure frees up a lot of cash! My bro in law says Total Money Makeover is good too.

Sorry, this is so long, I guess I can get windy when I'm up on my soap box! I'll add in the comment section if I think of things I left out.

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KETO Cocktails: The Lemon Drop

I love a good glass of red wine now and then, I mean it's practically a health food, right? ;) But sometimes I just want a cocktail. I'm all for moderation and having a drink now and then, but I'm just not down with the calorie, carb, and sugar counts of some of my favorites. Seriously, have you ever looked them up? Eek. So, I've set to work at converting my favorite cocktail recipes to be more keto diet friendly!

The first cocktail recipe I'm tackling is the lemon drop. I used to love these, but haven't had one in years because of the sugar in them. In my early twenties I had a friend who used to make them for me all the time. We would have a shaker full of these, a good dinner, and a chick flick on a weeknight, it was kind of bliss. Her recipe called for so. much. SUGAR though! Looking back I think she may have used a wee bit more sugar than most, but they were really good.

I think my keto-ized recipe comes pretty dang close to those delicious memories! It'…

KETO Hot Cocoa Pancakes

OK, I know I've been on quite the low carb pancake tangent lately, but THESE! Seriously, these are yummtastic. Yummazing? Ya, they're really good. They just might be my favorite recipe I've ever done. Ever. OK, that might be my paleo apple crisp recipe, but that's not low, I wonder if I could tweak that low carb...

That would be brilliant!

You know, bloggers area always talking seo this and seo that (seo stands for search engine optimization if you're not a blogger) and I'm just over here yammering. I'm pretty sure when google's spider crawlers (anyone shiver at that word picture? eesh) get to FitViews they just think, "Yeesh, move along. Nothing to see here." Ha ha ha!

Anyway, pancakes. KETO Hot Cocoa Low Carb Pancakes no less. So good. 

As I've mentioned before I'm back to low carb (keto actually) and developing new recipes to make it easier to stick with. I find I just plain feel great when I eat ketogenic, and I definitely h…

30 Easy Prep and Pack Whole30 Lunch Recipes

The Whole30Program is amazing. I highly recommend it. Every time I've done a Whole 30 I have felt AMAZING by the end. It's a very empowering experience. It is not however an easy one. Mostly because the food prep can take much more time if you're used to grab and go options. A little planning ahead and you can definitely make it through the 30 days.

When it comes to Whole30 lunches, 3 things worked best for me:

Quick and easy salads.Prepping food on Sunday.Cooking too much at dinner and eating leftovers for lunch the next day.
I thought I'd share 30 of the awesome Whole30 lunch recipes I've found from my favorite bloggers (and a few from me!). I've included all three options I listed above. Some quick and easy salads, some to prep an entire recipe on the weekend and then portion them for lunches that week, and some to be cooked for dinner and the leftovers packed for lunch the next day. Play around and see what works best for you.

This list of 30 Whole30 Lunch Reci…

Paleo Smoky Grilled Pineapple Burgers

Since going Paleo my family has fallen even more in love with our grill. Paleo and grilling just work well together. The past couple of years I've even been stepping outside my grilling comfort zone more and more. Grilling things I'd never thought to have grilled before and trying new flavor combinations. I have to say I'm pretty thrilled with the results of most of my flavor experiments. 

In the past I'd never have thought to grill fruit, but it's amazing. Grilling fruit and adding it to traditionally savory dishes? Brilliant.

Oh yes, and? New rule: every burger recipe for the rest of forever must contain grilled pineapple. OK, maybe more of a guideline. It's a seriously delicious combination though.

This Smoky Grilled Pineapple Burger is always a crowd-pleaser at my house. It's not only Paleo, but Whole30, glutenfree, lower carb, and clean eating friendly. I promise you won't miss the bun! 

Smoky Grilled Pineapple Burger Recipe Ingredients
2 lbs Lean Grass-…

Jillian Michaels BodyShred Full Review

I have to say my two months of BodyShred flew by! It seems like I just started yesterday. Ah, time flies while you're having fun. Right? OK, in this full review post, I hope to give you a good overview of exactly what the BodyShred program is as well as my thoughts and opinions on the program. So, is Jillian Michaels BodyShred hype or help? Let's chat...

Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED is Jillian's latest total-package fitness program. This set includes:

What's in the box:BodyShred Fitness Guide
BodyShred Meal Plan
BodyShred Rotational Calendar
BodyShred "Let Them See You Sweat" Workout Towel
     8 - Shred Style Circuit Workouts
       1. Launch
       2. Rise
       3. Amplify
       4. Escalate
       5. Conquer
       6. Triumph 
       7. Zenith
       8. Apex
     2 - Straight Cardio Workouts
       1. Fire Up
       2. Ignite
    Plus, bonus workout Opus and a disc on the cast and teaching the moves. So, a total of 12 DVDs are included in this set.

The BodyShred Workouts

KETO Sweet Cinnamon Pancakes

I'm completely obsessed with keto pancakes lately. Oh, you've caught on to that? Well, these Sweet Cinnamon Low Carb Pancakes are a seriously tasty addition. They're a quick and super easy breakfast option.  Whether you're getting bored on your egg fast or just a low carb or keto style eater these are for you! With only 4 grams of carbs for the ENTIRE RECIPE, they'll fit nicely into your plan.

This recipe makes 3 or 4 decent sized pancakes and comes in at 340 calories according to my tracking in My Fitness Pal. I generally eat the whole thing and double the batch if hubby wants some too. It easily doubles or triples or feed however many you'd like. I love to make a giant batch on Sunday and have them ready for the week. Just reheat in the microwave and go.

Low Carb Sweet Cinnamon PancakesFor this recipe you'll need:
A mixing bowl (I like to use a large glass measuring cup to easily pour the batter in the skillet), a hand mixermeasuring spoons

Keto Paleo Friendly Coffee Creamer Recipe

Going keto paleo has me missing one thing: the organic grass-fed half-and-half I'd been having in my coffee. Since going paleo over a year ago I've searched and searched and just never found anything else I love in my coffee. I'd just about given up on a keto paleo-friendly coffee creamer!

I was almost to resign myself to black coffee forever, but then I decided to resort again to trying to make my own. This version is simple and quite delicious. Not only is it keto paleo, but Whole30 and 21 Day Sugar Detox friendly as well.

Keto Paleo Cinnamon Vanilla Coffee Creamer
1 can Organic Canned Coconut Milk(the kind in the carton just won't do it)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon Vietnamese Organic
1 teaspoon Organic Pure Vanilla for 100% Whole30 compliant swap for vanilla powder
2 teaspoons raw local honey or Organic Maple Syrup (optional, leave out for KETO, Whole30, or 21DSD)

Blend all ingredients well in your blender. Store in the refrigerator (the cinnamon tends to set…

Easy Paleo Mashed Sweet Potatoes

This Easy Paleo Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe was sponsored by Puritan's Pride.
Growing up the only encounter I had with sweet potatoes was at Thanksgiving dinner. I hesitate to even call them sweet potatoes though. They were more like sugar coated sugar, with a side of sugar. Seriously!
The recipe was to coat a baking dish in margarine, add diced sweet potatoes, top with more margarine and a healthy heaping of brown sugar. Bake. And then? At the end you top the whole thing with a bag of marshmallows and bake again.
Blech! Needless to say I was never fond of sweet potatoes.
When I first went paleo I decided to reacquaint myself with sweet potatoes. They’re a great paleo-friendly carb source. I must confess the thought made me shudder, but I persevered. I tried them simple. Baked. I was so shocked. They're so good!
Now, I love sweet potatoes. They’re a go-to side dish for family dinners. Not only are they delicious, but they’re good for us and easy to make. The funny thing about sweet…

KETO Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes

I'm building quite the little collection of low carb pancake recipes! And, if I do say so myself, these Strawberry Cheesecake Pancakes are a seriously tasty addition. They are a quick and super easy breakfast option for your low carb diet. Whether you're getting bored on your egg fast or just a LCHF or keto style eater these are for you! With only 6 grams of carbs for the ENTIRE RECIPE they'll fit nicely into your plan.

This recipe makes 3 or 4 decent sized pancakes and comes in at 348 calories according to my tracking in My Fitness Pal. I generally eat the whole thing and double the batch if hubby wants some too. It easily doubles or triples or feed however many you'd like. I love to make a giant batch on Sunday and have them ready for the week. Just reheat in the microwave and go. Though, I personally kind of like these cold, straight from the fridge. They taste like little slices of cheesecake that way.

Yes, yes, I know. If you're doing an egg fast…

Paleo Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer Recipe

It's just not the holidays for me without a Starbucks peppermint mocha (or white chocolate peppermint mocha, mmm). I generally splurge once or twice during the holiday season with the real thing. Since going keto, however, I'm not sure if I will. Sometimes the sugar just isn't worth it!

Problem is I like them, miss them, and would really enjoy them all season long!
So..... I decided I wanted to tackle the peppermint mocha and come up with a KETO Paleo-friendly version. With this simple recipe, I can have a peppermint mocha anytime.

Not only is this recipe Keto Paleo, but it's also Whole30, gluten-free, vegan, primal, and 100% junk-free.

KETO Paleo Peppermint Mocha RecipeIngredients:
1 can Organic Canned Coconut Milk(Regular, NOT light. Seriously, ew.)
1/3 cup Organic Cocoa Powder
2 to 3 Tablespoons Organic Grade B Maple Syrup (Optional, leave out for keto or Whole30.)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Organic Peppermint Extract(Depending how pepperminty you like it. I do 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspo…