Saturday, June 25, 2011

{ Ashley Weiss’ Food Revolution }

Eating habits around here at Casa Weiss are pretty healthy except that, since I’ve been nursing Annie, I eat dessert at least once a day.  We get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, choose lean meats, limit our fast food intake, and actually eat out only about twice per month. But even with a track record as excellent as this, I wanted to try to do more for my family, especially since Annie will join the ranks of solid food eaters in a few weeks. Now please don’t misunderstand me, you may see our car in the McDonalds drive-thru from time to time – but that is, and should be, a treat. Our family eats at our dining room table at least 90 percent of the time – so the food on that table should be first-rate.

So since we are already “healthy” eaters by American standards, what changes are we talking about? I have listed a few of the goals for my kitchen, some that I hope to achieve immediately, and others that may take some time.

{Food Revolution Goals | Achievable by September 30}
*Bake our every day, 100% whole-wheat sandwich bread from scratch
*Switch to organic produce, with fruit being the first priority
*Eliminate products containing MSG and high fructose corn syrup from our regular grocery purchases
*Begin purchasing organic dairy products from Costco
*Stick to our original grocery budget
*Don’t get overwhelmed or try to over-do it with changes

The term “Food Revolution” may sound familiar to you. Jamie Oliver, a British chef, author, and TV personality has just concluded his second season of his show: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. His revolutionary idea (hahaha) was born out of the knowledge that American children are plagued by obesity-related illness, and are the first generation predicted to have shorter life expectancies than their parents before them. I have definitely enjoyed watching his show, and decided to call my own little journey-to-healthier-eating a “revolution” as well. ‘Cause let’s be honest…it sounds much cooler that way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

{ How to Milk Your Coffee Budget }

I love coffee. I really love my Starbucks. And I’m a little snobby about it too. I don’t really go anywhere else. And what do we brew at home? None other than, you guessed it, Starbucks. Back when I was working, frequenting my favorite Starbucks three to four times a week was no big deal, but now that we’re a single income family, I limit myself to a more restrictive coffee budget. Here are some tips and tricks that I use to stretch my coffee dollar, and treat myself more often.

Until recently, Starbucks didn’t have a punch card system that allowed customers to earn free drinks, but this is no longer the case. Procure a Starbucks gift card, then go here to register it. Automatically, you are signed up to receive a free drink on your birthday. In addition, every time you use the card, you earn a star. After you earn 5 stars, you can get:
*Free select syrups and milk
*Free refills on brewed coffee or tea
*Buy a bag of whole bean coffee and get a tall handcrafted beverage, free
Once you have earned 30 stars, you get:
*Everything that’s listed above
*A free drink after every 15 stars
*Personalized offers and coupons

Okay – so that program is totally awesome, and it’s totally free to join. But wait, there’s more! You are able to reload your card right from the Starbucks website, but I do something a little different. Many grocery store chains these days also have fuel stations (Safeway, Fred Meyer, etcetera). My local grocer offers $.10 off per gallon of gas for every $100 I spend on groceries. This grocer also sells gift cards to dozens of retailers, including Starbucks. Buying a gift card counts towards earning my fuel discount…so I am saving money when I buy my coffee card! When I buy a new gift card, I simply login to my Starbucks account, and transfer the balance to my Gold Card.

Finally, save money when you order your beverage. Order brewed coffee or tea for under $2 and creamers and sugars are free (and so are refills once you earn 5 stars!). Love your latte? Try an Americano (espresso and water) instead. Once you’ve earned 5 stars, you can order a Grande Americano with syrup (free!) and room for cream for about $2.75.  You’ll save $.75 to $1 off of the cost of a latte of the same size. Soy drinker? A registered card with 5 earned stars and you can upgrade to soy for free!

You’re welcome. Happy sipping.
Startin' her young. Me and my girl at Starbys.
Big Bear Lake, CA

Saturday, June 18, 2011

{ The First One }

I am a full-time wife and mother. What I do is very important to me. Between creating a loving, comfortable, welcoming environment for my husband and teaching, playing with, and caring for my daughter – I find the question “what do you do all day?” almost laughable. Throw in two needy cats and a Saint Bernard and we’ve got a full-time circus here! And though the purpose of this blog isn’t to answer the “what do you do all day?” question – though I’m sure it may shed some light on the topic – the real intention goes deeper.

The primary inspiration for this blog was motivation and accountability. Surely if someone is watching me do projects I might actually finish them. So, that is pretty selfish, but maybe it will be the fire-under-my-rear that I need to organize my time and talents to better serve my family, and ultimately, God.
Secondly, and most importantly, I wanted to document my journey (if you will) as the Lord leads me to create my home and nurture my family with the talents and abilities he’s given me. There is so much that women can learn from each other. Valuable things. And since I have benefitted from some great blogs written by creative, inspiring women who are much better cooks than me…I am hoping that this blog inspires you to try new things, be creative, or at the very least, enjoy watching my bungled attempts.