Don’t miss your chance for a fresh start

Beat the budget blues


“Watch your pennies and your dollars will look after themselves.”

Making New Year’s resolutions was the easy part, and by now many of us have let our good intentions slip away. Perhaps we set goals that were out of reach and not realistic. Big changes are hard to make, but small simple steps to improving our lives are a great way to get back on track. There are so many easy ways to make positive changes to your life.

Learn to schedule some down time for yourself each day to recharge. That could mean a peaceful morning walk or a soak in the tub. You have to look after yourself first to help those around you be their best.

Beat the budget blues

  • Small changes to the way you spend can yield impressive results.

 For example, if you regularly eat out for lunch, brown bag it occasionally and save $520 a year.
  • Buying magazines off the newsstand is costly compared to buying an annual subscription.
  • Make your morning coffee at home and save at least $400 dollars a year.
  • Use a list when grocery shopping and review flyers and online coupons.
  • Take time to review your telephone, internet and television providers. Bundling could help you save.
  • Put 10 percent of your income into a savings plan. Make this saving plan difficult to get at so you cannot easily take money out.

Renew your surroundings

Trends for 2015 include decorating with wood pieces such as a wooden tray or bowl and geometric patterns on decor items such as rugs or throw cushions. Remember to surround yourself with things that you love, pieces that spark memories of travel or special people. Your home should be your haven. Remember that matching materials, time periods and styles are not important. Just use pieces that you love and your environment will be customized to you and reflect your personality.

Refresh your menu choices

Food trends include following simple, easy and detoxifying menu planning, using products that are as close to fresh as possible and with product labels with ingredients that we recognize. Make food fun by combining nutrient rich choices with fun and easy presentation. Preparing food should be like creating art, except these creations can physically enhance your health given the right choices. Here are some ideas:

  • Upon waking, reach for the bowl of fresh antioxidant rich lemons. Starting with a cup of hot water infused with the juice of half a lemon helps to cleanse the system before you start the day.
  • Water throughout the day will keep your body functioning well.
  • For those who like a breakfast on a plate, be sure to add protein. Options include eggs done to your liking, whole grain toast with nut butter and jam, or steel cut oatmeal with a side of turkey bacon or sausage. For the remaining meals, fill your plate with vegetables and protein, and commit to incorporating some fish to boost your healthy omega 3 fatty acids.

Fuel up between meals

If you are hungry, have something to eat. Deprivation and strict diet plans are sure ways to fail. Choosing nutritious food will lead to a healthy satisfying way of life that will energize you and help prevent health problems in the future.

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Offer whole grain, high fibre crackers and chips with cheese and or salsa, vegetables and hummus or tzatziki dips, raw nuts and seeds, dark chocolate for those sweet cravings and fruit such as berries or sliced apples. Moderation is the key when it comes to snacking, so watch your serving size.

Morning smoothie

Try this almond berry smoothie for the first meal of the day.

  • 1 c. unsweetened 
almond milk 250 mL
  • 1/2 frozen sliced banana
  • 1/2 c. frozen berries 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla whey 
or hemp protein powder30 mL
  • a handful of fresh 
kale/spinach
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin 
olive oil/flax oil 15 mL

Add a splash of water if the mixture is too thick. (Plain Coconut water is an option if you want to add some additional electrolytes to the mix.)
Place the ingredients in a blender. Cover, blend until smooth. – Adapted from www.doctoroz.com.

Feta Chicken Bake

  • 6 boneless, skinless 
chicken breasts 900 g
  • 1/2 c. Greek salad 
dressing 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice 30 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1 mL
  • 1/2 c. feta cheese 125 mL
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped 
red peppers 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped fresh parsley 60 mL

Marinate chicken pieces in dressing for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator and then drain the marinade.
Heat oven to 350 F (180 C). Place chicken in a 13 x nine inch baking dish that is prepared with some olive oil. Drizzle with one tablespoon lemon juice, season with black pepper.
Top with cheese, red peppers and parsley, drizzle with remaining lemon juice. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is done (170 F internal temperature).
Serve with a fresh topping of feta if desired. Serves four. Source: www.kraftcanada.com.

Greek Marinade 
and Dressing

If you have the time and desire, mix your own dressing.

  • 1/4 c. extra virgin 
olive oil 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar 30 mL
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, 
peeled and crushed
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 1 mL
  • salt to taste

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Store in the refrigerator. Shake well before using. – Source: www.foodnetwork.com.

Maple Glazed Salmon

  • 1/4 c. maple syrup 60 mL
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce 30 mL
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper 0.5 mL
  • 2 lb. salmon 900g

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).
Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork. Serves four. – Source: www.allrecipes.com33.

Winter Roasted Vegetables

Add these colourful vegetables to your menu as a side to your protein choice. It’s a great time to fill your home with the aroma of roasting vegetables and the warmth of the oven as we meander through the cool winter months. We have dedicated a nine x 13 pan as our vegetable pan and each night we throw in a concoction of available vegetables to roast. We use either fresh or frozen, and this new combo is a hit.

  • 6 peeled parsnips, 
cut into fingers
  • 4 peeled carrots, 
cut into fingers
  • 1 medium onion, 
quartered
  • 1 c. whole brussels sprouts, fresh or frozen
  • 1 c. cubed squash 250 mL
  • 4 tbsp. olive/vegetable oil 60 mL
  • salt, pepper and 
seasoning salt, to taste

Place the carrots, parsnips, onion, brussels sprouts and squash in the baking pan. Drizzle the oil over the vegetables, mix thoroughly and cover. Roast in the oven for one hour at 350 F (180 C) or until just tender. – Serves four.

Yogurt Parfaits

Try these delicious parfait combos for a dessert or snack.

  • Vanilla Greek yogurt topped with strawberries or raspberries and shaved chocolate.
  • Lemon Greek yogurt topped with blueberries.
  • Banana Greek yogurt topped with fresh banana slices and a sprinkle of crumbled granola or chocolate curls.

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Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.