Aug 6, 2011 - General    Comments Off on Grocery Advice – Your Guide To Buying Groceries Online

Grocery Advice – Your Guide To Buying Groceries Online

When money gets tight, often times the first thing people try to cut down on is their diet. Unfortunately, cutting back on food and nutrients that your body needs for the sake of saving money just isn’t smart. The benefits of buying groceries online are endless, not only in terms of how much money you can save in the long run, but also how many options you have to choose from in a particular department. Specialty items that can’t be bought in stores can also be purchased with ease online, keeping your pantry stuffed with not only plenty of food, but food that you want to eat and not just things you found that were on sale.

We understand the dilemmas that many families have these days with keeping food on the table without breaking the bank. We’ve done our best to capture all of the best grocery tips and advice we could find on the web and put them in an easy to use location. Not only will you find money saving tips for buying straight from the manufacturers of certain products, we’ll also show you third party alternatives to your favorite items that can be had for a fraction of the cost. It doesn’t matter whether you are buying wholesale diapers or bakery equipment, we will cover them all.

Our mission is simple. We want to put all of the best grocery advice around in an easy to use location so families (including our own) can not only find the cheapest groceries on the web, but can also maintain healthy diets without having to sacrifice on the essentials.

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Sep 12, 2011 - Breakfast Foods    Comments Off on Weekday Cooking – Home Made Granola Bars Recipe

Weekday Cooking – Home Made Granola Bars Recipe

Granola bars are often the perfect snack in between workouts or during the middle of the day when you’re feeling like a light snack to tie you over between meals. But if you’ve ever been to the grocery store to pick up a small box of somewhat healthy granola bars you’ve probably been overcome with sticker shock. Now, if you’re like me, in addition to making my own granola bars from home I also pick up a box or two online at wholesale prices so that when I don’t have time to whip some up I’ll have a supply of tasty bars ready for me in the pantry.

In this article I’m going to hopefully walk you through a fairly simple recipe to help you make your own home made granola bars. You can of course make whatever type of bar you’d like, but the ones we’re going to be making today are going to be of the cranberry variety.


Obviously, first of all you’re going to need to pick up some ingredients. Chances are if you’re any type of regular baker or have any interest in cooking, you probably have most of these ingredients already. I thought about including links to places where you could pick up some of these ingredients in bulk online, but compared to store prices, you probably wouldn’t be saving much and you’d end up with a few pounds of things like rolled oats or chocolate chips which would probably just end up going stale in your cupboard anyway.

  • 4.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cups of butter
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • ½ cup of chopped almonds
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of flour
  • A few drops of vanilla extract

Step by Step

Now comes the fun part: the baking. If you don’t already have one out and ready, you’re going to need a cake pan that measures at least 12” by 12.” You can get by with a cookie sheet or thinner pan if you don’t have a deeper baking pan, but your granola bars will turn out much thinner and may not be the chewy and thick kind you’re used to. Who knows, maybe it’s something to experiment with?

1. Step one in any recipe is to ensure that the oven is preheated for the baking process. You’re going to want to heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, which is about 165 Celsius if you’re baking overseas.

2. Take the baking pan you’re going to be using and with something like Pam or butter, lightly grease the pan so that the granola bars don’t stick to the bottom. (They will stick!)

3. Next, you’re going to want to grab a pretty big bowl from your cupboard and mix together the oats, flour, melted butter, baking soda, honey, brown sugar, and the few drops of vanilla.

4. Once all of that has been mixed together thoroughly, it’s time to mix in the almonds, chocolate chips, and anything else you’d like to include in your bars. I like to throw in a handful of cranberries from time to time to make the bars a bit different each time I make them, but obviously the choice is up to you. Another popular choice is the addition of raisins. While I don’t like raisins myself, they’re easy enough to stir in and spread throughout the mix.

5. Once you’ve gotten your mixture ready to go, scoop it all into the baking pan and push it down so that it’s packed in fairly tightly. This prevents bubbling or air from getting inside the bars which causes uneven baking.

6. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the bars begin to brown.

7. Before you cut up the bars to eat them, let everything cool on in the pan for about 15 minutes before you take a knife to them.

8. Chop them up into appropriate sized granola bars and place them out for eating or get ready to wrap them up for later use.

In regards to wrapping, I like to use a sturdy saran wrap that lets me put the bars in the fridge or pantry for a week or so at a time so that they’re kept fresh and I always have granola bars ready to eat. You can alternatively put them in small Ziploc bags to take them with you to work or to put them in the freezer to keep them for longer.

Pre-Made Alternatives

As I said before, you probably don’t always have time to make your own granola bars from scratch. Having a supply of premade ones in your pantry can never hurt when you’re in a hurry and want a quick snack between meals. My favorite brand by far is Nature Valley. Not only are they crunchy and the right balance of sweet and healthy, they also come in many different variety flavor boxes that make it easy for me to change up what type of bar I’m eating each morning.

Nature Valley Variety Pack: This particular pack comes with the popular oats and honey variety of their bars as well as peanut butter and cinnamon flavors. Each bar is an excellent source of whole grains in your diet. Eating whole grains has been proven to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Nature Valley bars obviously come in a wide array of flavors, but oats and honey and cinnamon are by far their most popular.

Sep 12, 2011 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on The Benefits of Owning a Water Cooler Dispenser

The Benefits of Owning a Water Cooler Dispenser

I’ve covered in past articles the benefits of drinking more water on a daily basis. The issue that a lot of folks have is that they often find it difficult to incorporate those extra glasses of water into their diet because water isn’t always the most accessible thing. With a water cooler dispenser, you can have fresh and purified water at your fingertips all the time. Water coolers are perfect for either home or business use and allow anyone who has a clean cup to have access to water all the time.

Why a Water Cooler Dispenser?

While I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that has clean water provided by the city directly to my home, many folks don’t have the same opportunity. In some cities the water purification systems provided by the state are inadequate and artifacts make their way into the water and cause the drinkers to become sick.

If you live in an area where the water provided by the city is inadequately purified or just doesn’t taste right, a water cooler in your home could be the perfect solution. Water coolers allow you to buy your own 5 or 10 gallon water jugs and place them onto the dispenser each day.

How Cool is “Cooler?”

One concern that new water cooler purchasers sometimes run into is wondering how cool the water is going to be when it’s dispensed from the device. In many cases the water is chilled just slightly below room temperature so that it’s not ice cold, but rather just cold enough to be refreshing on a hot day. The cooler works by filling the dispenser tank with water from the jug and cooling it as it sits and waits to be dispensed into a cup. If you want multiple glasses of water at a time though, you may have to wait a while before everything is cooled down again after the first few glasses.

How Big of a Cooler Should I Get?

Water coolers come in many different sizes depending on the needs of the user. If you’re using a water cooler in your home, it’s a good idea to go with one that fits either a 3 or 5 gallon tank. Anything bigger may just be unwieldy and can be difficult to install. If you’re purchasing one for an office environment, a 10 gallon tank is the best way to go as it offers the most water and the lowest price.

Best Coolers

A few years ago I worked in an office where I had the pleasure of using the following water cooler. While it may just be a water cooler, it made drinking water much easier than traveling to the break room to get a bottle of water and the water was almost always chilled unless a line of people in front of me made it to the machine first.

Primo Products Ceramic Water Dispenser:

This dispenser makes it extremely easy to install a water jug on top. Despite the weight, all that’s involved is a simple flip over into the jug and you’re ready to drink. The tap on the dispenser is great because right after you’re done pouring, it automatically shuts itself so that no dripping or spills occur. The countertop stand is very sturdy and with just a few screws to complete the installation, you can have this thing up and running in no time at all. There’s a bit of space beneath the stand to fit other things so that if you have limited counter space you can slide other pots or pans beneath the base to conserve space.

Best Jugs to Buy

OK, so now that you have a water cooler, where do you get the jugs to fill it? If you have a membership to a local wholesaler like Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJ’s, you can pick up a few jugs at a time for a large discount. If you’re not fortunate enough to have a membership to one of those locations, you can buy your water jugs online for huge discounts as well.

BlueWave BPA Free 3 Gallon:

It may be a bit pricey just for a plastic bottle, but Bluewaves have built a name for themselves as industry leaders in reusable water cooler jugs. You can buy a few of these jugs and take them to a local bottling facility to fill them with clean water. Bluewaves was the manufacturer of the jug that we used in our own office and we never had any trouble. They’re easy to use as they have handles on the side that allow for easy loading and unloading into the cooler itself and with a screw cap, it’s easy to fill these bottles and store them for emergencies.

Sep 11, 2011 - Beverages    Comments Off on Sunday Tip – Protein Shakes for Women

Sunday Tip – Protein Shakes for Women

The importance of protein in any well balanced diet should not be overlooked. Protein helps muscles regain their strength after a vigorous workout and helps things like your immune system fight off infections before they take hold. The problem that arises when people try to introduce protein shakes into their diet is that not all protein shakes are created equally. What works for men doesn’t always work for women, and vice versa.

I’ve compiled a few top tips for you to use when shopping for protein shakes for women that will help you not only identify which protein shake is best for you, but will also help you snag some deals on otherwise expensive drink and meal supplements.

How Much Protein Do You Need

The first question that you’ll want to answer about your protein needs are how much protein you should take in on a daily basis. Most people are able to get all of the protein they need from whole grain foods and drinks that they consume each day. Various agencies recommend approximately .75 grams of protein for every kilogram of body mass you have. That equates to about 50 grams of protein daily. If you work out regularly, this number could jump up to as much as 100 grams of protein a day. It’s always best to talk to a doctor about how much protein you need based on your exercise routine as taking in too little protein is never a good idea.

What Type of Protein Shake Should You Drink

Depending on your fitness and weight loss goals, different protein shakes maybe appropriate. If you’re the type that’s looking to build
strength, choosing a protein drink that’s higher in protein than carbs. If you’re trying to lose weight as a result of your diet and exercise, going with a protein drink that’s very low in carbohydrates and low in fat is your best bet. High amounts of protein will help rebuild your body’s mechanisms after a vigorous workout and the low carbohydrates in your protein drink will prevent you from putting any weight back on.

Protein Types

When you’re browsing the web for different protein drinks, you may notice that protein shakes come from a variety of different sources. The most popular protein sources are whey and soy, but milk, egg, and casein proteins can also be found in protein drinks. Whey and casein are the best for you if you’re looking for the purest forms of protein that are the easiest to digest.

Whey protein is a protein that’s found in dairy and milk products and is absorbed quickly by the body. This makes it perfect for post-workout drinks as the body can easily absorb the protein without having to wait a few hours for it to make it to the muscles that need rejuvenating. Casein protein on the other hand is slow to absorb into the body and is optimal if you’re thinking of using protein as a meal replacement. Because it’s slow to absorb, it can stay in the body for longer and provide a feeling of fullness for longer.

Although soy protein is among the most popular types on the market, it is also high in estrogen. It’s thought that soy protein can help curb the effects of menopause, but not enough research has been conducted to say conclusively that it does in combat menopausal symptoms.

Which Protein Should You Get

Although all of the above information has probably been informative, you may still be asking yourself which protein you should get to start out with or continue your protein supplements with. With so many different options on the market, we know that it can be pretty daunting to try and find the best one for your lifestyle. If nothing else, we highly advise against purchasing your protein powder from a local grocer. Grocery stores have a very high markup on protein products and with the ability to buy directly from wholesalers online, it should be a no brainer that buying online is the best way to save money.

Optimum Nutrition:

It may come in an intimidating container, but Optimum Nutrition’s protein products are by far the best on the market for newcomers to supplemental protein. This particular protein is made from whey proteins, making it easy to digest and utilize after a hard workout. Many professional athletes and body builders swear by Optimum Nutrition’s products. And with over 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, it’s a great place to start with your protein supplements.

Slim Fast Protein Powder:

For those that are more interested in losing weight, Slim Fast protein products are a good starting block to build off of. Their chocolate protein powder is easy to mix in with things like milk and can be taken as meal supplements. And if you’re following the Slim Fast weight loss program, you can integrate these protein shakes as part of your daily meals to help suppress appetite and lose weight.

Tip: If you’re like me, you may not be too fond of the taste of the chocolate or strawberry flavored protein shakes. Very strong flavors such as chocolate and strawberry can be hit or miss between protein shake companies, which is why I recommend ordering vanilla flavored powders instead. Vanilla powders can be mixed with virtually any other fruits and juices so that the flavor of the powder is almost completely gone. With chocolate you’re limited to the things you can mix it with and still have it taste alright.

Sep 7, 2011 - Breakfast Foods    Comments Off on Homemade Pancake Recipe For The New Chef

Homemade Pancake Recipe For The New Chef

Pancakes are one of the easiest and most delicious foods you can make for breakfast. And although they’re generally viewed as unhealthy, you can add some fruit or nuts to your pancakes to add a bit of a health kick to them so you’re not left feeling as though you haven’t had enough of a healthy start for the day. The homemade pancake recipe we’re going to cover today is easy enough that anyone can follow it, even first time chefs.

Why Make Them Yourself

Although it’s much easier to go to the store and pick up a packed of pre-made pancake mixture, the flavor and texture of the pancakes never pan out the right way when you’re making them from a premade batter. Making pancakes from scratch results in much tastier pancakes and pancakes that can be completely customized in flavor.

What You Need

All of the ingredients you need to make pancakes are probably already in your fridge or pantry, meaning you won’t have to make a few extra trips to the store to get what you need. Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to complete this recipe.

  • 1.5 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3.5 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1.25 cups of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (preferably white, but brown sugar works as well)

The Process

If you have kids around, you can invite them to help you as making pancakes can be a lot of fun for families to do together.

1. Grab a large mixing bowl from your cupboard so that when you add all of the ingredients together, you have a little extra room to other things in.

2. Take the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar and sift them into your bowl. The goal is to have them be a nice powdery texture as opposed to clumpy and unmixable.

3. With the ingredients mixed and sifted into the bowl, make an indentation in the center of the mixture to be able to add the milk, egg, and butter. The well serves as a miniature bowl so that the milk, egg, and butter mixture don’t seep into the powdered mixture right away.

4. Mix everything together until you reach a smooth consistency of batter. If you find that the batter is too thick, try adding a little more milk to the mixture to soften it up.

5. Now that the batter is ready, it’s time to prepare your frying pan or griddle. Heat the griddle to a medium heat (about 4 or 5 on a 1-10 scale on the stove) and spray it with non-stick spray.

6. Once the pan is heated, add about a quarter of a cup of the pancake mixture onto the pan and let it simmer for about a minute or so. The goal is to brown and harden one side of the batter.

7. When one side of the pancake has browned, it’s time to grab your spatula and flip the pancake over to do the same to the other side.

8. Enjoy!

Tip: If you would like to add fruit or nuts to your pancakes, the best time to do it is when you’re mixing the batter. Add a sprinkle of nuts or crushed bananas into the mixture and mix until uniform. If you’re adding solid fruits like strawberries or blueberries, it may be a good idea to add them once the pancake has made it to the pan. Sprinkle on your toppings onto the still moist part of the batter and when ready, flip the pancake over to cook the fruit into the pancake itself.

Best Pancake Mix

Although I said earlier on that making pancakes from scratch is much better than using a premade mixture, I know that not everyone has the time to make their own pancakes from scratch every morning. The best batter I’ve ever been able to find online is from a company called Pamela’s. Their Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix is to die for and makes the pancake process much easier than if you were to do things from scratch.

The mixture is completely gluten free, making it perfect for folks that normally have to avoid premade pancake batter because of the gluten content. And with enough mix in a shipment to last a few weeks, if not months, it’s definitely worthwhile having in your kitchen if your family loves pancakes and you don’t feel like making them from scratch.

Sep 2, 2011 - Canned and Packaged Goods    Comments Off on Weekday Cooking – Seafood Paella Recipe

Weekday Cooking – Seafood Paella Recipe

If you’ve never tried paella, it’s safe to say that you don’t know what you’re missing out on. One of the most popular “free-style” foods to make, it can be customized in almost any way imaginable and has been gaining popularity in the United States and other parts of the western world in recent months.

Before we dive into a seafood paella recipe that you’re sure to fall in love, it’s probably good that I tell you not to be intimidated by the list of ingredients. The list of ingredients is long, but the outcome of the dish is superb. It’s easy to cook once you’ve gotten everything prepared. With that said, let’s jump in and see what seafood paella is all about.

Olive Oil

Before we start chopping and dicing our food, it’s worthwhile knowing that many paella dishes are based around the taste of the olive oil
used to make them. You can experiment with different oils and flavors if you’d like. If you’re unsure of what type of olive oil is best to use, we recommend using oil from a company called Zoe. Their organic extra virgin olive oil is to die for and has one of the most distinct and rich flavors out of any olive oil I’ve ever tasted. And for the price it’s a great way to have top quality olive oil in your kitchen for use whenever you need it.


  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ tablespoon saffron
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped garlic
  • ½ pound chicken breast (boneless and skinless)
  • ¼ cup of diced onions
  • 1 cup parboiled rice
  • ½ cup of chopped red peppers
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 12 mussels
  • 12 clams
  • ½ pound of smoked sausage
  • 6 blue crabs (clean them and halve them)
  • ½ cup finely sliced celery
  • 1 pound of shrimp
  • 2 cups of chicken stock


Alright, now that you have all of your ingredients in order, it’s time to put them on the grill to get them ready for a delicious dinner. When doing this entire process, it’s a good idea to have a large pan on hand as all of the ingredients will take up a lot of space once they’re added to the pan.

1. First, you’re going to want to put your olive oil onto the pan and bring it to a light simmer.

2. Next, toss in your chicken breast slices and cook them all the way through until they have a nice golden color to them all the way around.

3. Once the chicken is finished cooking, toss in your onions, garlic, and peppers to the mixture and cook those as well. Saute everything for another two minutes.

4. After the sauté has completed, pour in the chicken stock, rice, and saffron. Bring the mixture to a boil and move onto the next step.

5. The final part of the preparation process is to toss in the remaining ingredients, including the crab, shrimp, clams, mussels, sausage, salt, and pepper. With the mixture boiling in the chicken broth, reduce the heat down to medium low and let it simmer for about 25-30 minutes.


A popular accompaniment to paella is a glass of malt or non-alcoholic ginger beer. The goal is to have one that’s dry enough to cleanse the pallet before the paella, as paella dishes are usually chock full of flavors that need appreciating by themselves.

If non-alcoholic beer or malt isn’t your thing, you can always pick up some pita bread or naan bread from your local grocer to serve alongside the rice dish. As said in the previous paragraph, the goal is to keep the eater’s attention on the dish itself rather than on the side items that accompany it too. We hope you enjoy your paella!

Aug 26, 2011 - Beverages    Comments Off on The Importance of Water: Keeping Your Body Hydrated

The Importance of Water: Keeping Your Body Hydrated

It may not seem like anything special….You get thirsty and then you drink something so that you’re not thirsty anymore. What you may fail to realize though is that when most people go to grab something to drink to counteract their thirst, instead of going for water they instead go for carbonated beverages like soda that are packed full of sugar. A sugary beverage is alright every once in a while, but here are some reasons why you should drink more water and some tips on how you can ensure that you get what you need each day.

How Much Water Every Day?

Many health organizations around the world agree that to maintain a healthy lifestyle, one should drink 8 glasses of water every day. A glass is defined as an 8 ounce serving of water. For most households, glasses come in the 10-12 ounce variety, so filling your glass up about ¾ of the way is typically enough to constitute a glass’ worth.

Water in the Body

The human body’s weight is between 67% – 72% water, making it one of the most vital substances you can keep inside of your body. Your brain is almost 95% water and your lungs 90%. That’s a lot of water floating around inside you!

We could go very in depth and outline all of the uses water has in the human body, but in short it’s safe to say that every single action the body takes to survive would not be possible without the help of water. Getting enough of it every day not only boosts your overall physical health, it can also aid in your mental health as well. Just a small drop in the amount of water your body has can impair even the most basic of cognition skills such as arithmetic and spatial reasoning.

Added Benefits

By drinking the recommended 8 glasses a day, you can reduce the risk of both colon and bladder cancer by up to 50%, and recent studies have started showing signs of reduced breast cancer risk by drinking enough water each day as well.

Tips to Get Enough

Without boring you with all of the details of how water aids immensely in your body’s health, we’ll help you save some money on water and help you get enough of it each day without even realizing that you’re chugging it down.

1. Firstly, if you don’t already own one, it’s a good idea to purchase a reusable water bottle that you can carry around with you wherever you go. Camelbak water bottles are my personal favorite as their drinking spout is easy to use and doesn’t spill. Water bottles can help keep water colder for longer and can carry up to a few glasses of water at a time. If you’re heading to the gym, these are great to keep by your side to ensure that you always have enough water by your side.

2. One reason some people avoid drinking water regularly is that the water from their home taps tastes bad. Since water inherently has no taste, any flavors that are found in water are the result of chemicals added by water purification plants or impurities that are left in the water. Buying a Brita water filter for your home tap can filter out most of these impurities, ultimately leaving fresh tasting clean water.

3. Lastly, if you find that you’re unable to carry a bottle around with you all day, you can stock your fridge in the break room at work as well as your home fridge with bottled water so that it’s always available for you whenever you need some more.

Drinking too much Water

Yes, while rare, it is possible to drink too much water. Drinking too much water can cause salt deficiencies in your body and can ultimately lead to sickness. What many folks don’t realize is that there’s water in almost everything you eat as well as in the other drinks you consume during the day. So, say you have a few servings of vegetables and fruit during the day as well as a cup of tea in the morning. Drinking 8 glasses of water in addition to that would not only be too much water, it could be dangerous.

If you’re worried about taking too much in, all you have to do is monitor the color of your urine. Urine should have a light yellow tinge. Clear urine is an indication that you’ve been drinking too much water and you’re ultimately getting rid of most of it and dark urine is typically an indication that you’re not drinking enough. Talk to your doctor about any medical conditions that could cause your urine to change colors, but a general rule of thumb is to use your urine color to determine how much water you should be having every day.

Aug 25, 2011 - Canned and Packaged Goods    Comments Off on How To Move To a Vegetable Diet

How To Move To a Vegetable Diet

A growing trend not only in the United States, but also worldwide, is that more and more people are going to a primarily vegetable diet as opposed to a diet based around meat and starches. There are many reasons why vegetables are becoming more and more popular. If you’re thinking of starting to go vegetarian or starting a diet program that restricts you to vegetables for a few weeks, we’ve got some tips for you to use so that you’re not crying at the store when it comes time to grocery shop.

When to Buy Vegetables

A fact that many people often forget is that certain vegetables don’t grow year round. The tomatoes purchased from your local grocery store for instance do not grow year round naturally and are instead grown in factories and controlled conditions to keep up with the demand for tomatoes throughout the year. If you’re looking to start a healthy vegetable diet, it’s important to realize that certain fruits and vegetables aren’t available all year and that you’ll have to make some sacrifices on what you can eat all year for the best taste. While you won’t die from eating a tomato that’s been grown out of season, you certainly won’t be getting the optimal nutrition you need from it that you’d otherwise get if you were to eat it when it grows naturally.

If you would like to learn what vegetables and fruits are in season and out of season at any given time, this handy link should help you out. – Click Here

Store Shopping

When buying fresh vegetables, there are probably a plethora of grocery store chains in your area that can cater to all of your vegetable needs. If you make your way to a chain store such as Walmart, not only will the vegetables you find inside the store be grown unnaturally, they’re likely to not be the freshest or best value for your money in town. Big retailers often pay premiums to have things like tomatoes available to them year round and to have the same vegetables on their shelves on a daily basis.

If there is a local grocer in your town that’s locally owned and operated, chances are you can get much better deals on produce there than in big-box retailers. The reason for this is because vegetables are grown on-site or nearby, thus completely eliminating the cost of shipping and handling. That reduction in cost is reflected in the price of the produce available at these retailers.

One thing to be wary of is the cost of other items at local stores. In order to still gain a profit, things like cereals and bread should still be purchased either online or at a mainstream retailer instead of at the local grocer. Smaller grocery stores sell their products at MSRP so that they can make up for the low cost of their produce and still afford to hire staff and turn a profit. Traditional stores like Walmart are able to sell below MSRP because they sell in such volume that the discount actually benefits them.

Canned Vegetables

If in your vegetable diet you find it tough to prepare all of the vegetables you’re purchasing, hope is not lost. Canned vegetables can be a lifesaver for on the go moms that can’t afford to stop and make a meal every night. Vegetables that come canned are often already cooked and prepared, meaning all you have to do is heat them up either in a pot on the stove or in a microwave.

One of the best brands of canned vegetables you can buy is called Libby’s. Their products are readily available on Amazon, and for just a few dollars for a dozen or so cans, you can stock up on your canned vegetable supply easily and affordably.

Libby’s Canned Corn:

One such example of a Libby’s product is their canned corn. All of the corn is grown and packaged in the USA and comes unsalted. Companies have become accustomed to adding things like salt and sugar to their canned vegetables to make them tastier and more appealing to customers. Libby’s avoids adding salt to their corn to keep it as natural as possible. Best of all, all you need to do is heat the contents of the can on a stove top for a minute or two on a medium heat and you’re ready to eat. For anyone looking at going vegetarian, this is a great way to get veggies into your diet without worrying about preparing and cooking a huge meal every night.

Vegetable Cook Book

As mentioned in another article I wrote, part of the problem a lot of folks run into when they start eating a vegetable diet is that they don’t have enough ideas to fill their plate for an entire week. If you’re completely stumped on what you should cook, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I’ve been using it in my own kitchen for almost 5 months now and everything I’ve made from it has been nothing short of delicious. If you’re just getting into cooking vegetarian, this is the book to get.

Aug 23, 2011 - Breakfast Foods    Comments Off on Oatmeal Cookie Recipe – From Mom’s Diary

Oatmeal Cookie Recipe – From Mom’s Diary

No child can probably remember a childhood without fresh baked cookies from their moms. Oatmeal cookies are one of the easiest cookies you can make if you’re just getting started in the baking world. Not only do they taste great, the ingredients are relatively cheap and almost everything you need can be picked up online for a fraction of the price of what you’d pay in a grocery store. Today I’m going to be going through a very easy to follow recipe for oatmeal cookies as well as giving you some pointers on how you can save money on all of the ingredients that you need so that you’re not breaking the bank every time you want to remember what mom’s baking touch was like.

The Recipe

First of all, we’re going to go through all of the ingredients you need. You probably have most of this at home, but anything you don’t own can easily be found on Amazon. One thing I like to avoid buying from a local grocer if I can is baking oats. The reason is because many stores consider them to be a “specialty” item and typically mark up the price to compensate for their low prices on everything else. You can bypass these high prices by buying your oats online in bulk and keeping them in an airtight container in the pantry until next time you’re ready to bake.


  • 1 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 cup of white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups of baking oats
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda


Once you’ve gotten all of your ingredients together, it’s time to start the baking process.

1. The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure that the butter is at room temperature so that it’s easily creamed. Combine both cups of sugar and the butter in a medium sized bowl and mix them until they’re a creamy paste. Add in one egg at a time and whisk them into the creamy mixture. Once both eggs have been beaten into the mixture, add a few drops of vanilla extract to the mixture and stir once more.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and the cinnamon until it’s a homogeneous powdered mixture. With the mixture in hand, add it to the creamy mixture you made in step one and combine the two thoroughly. Be sure to add the powdered mixture to the creamy mixture, as moving the creamy substance to a new bowl will leave some of the mixture behind. Once both bowls of ingredients have been mixed together, it’s time to add in the 3 cups of oats.

3. With the mixture completely made, cover the bowl with saran wrap and put it in the fridge. Leave the mixture in the fridge for about an hour so that it’s completely chilled.

4. As the cooling time is winding down, it’s time to start getting the oven ready. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

5. Grease two cookie sheets with either butter or non-stick spray that can be purchased from your local grocer or online and prepare to put the cookies onto the tray.

6. Remove the batter from the fridge and roll the cookie dough into miniature balls that are approximately an inch in diameter. Place the balls 2 inches apart on the cookie trays so that they don’t spill over into each other during the baking process.

7. With your cookies prepped on the trays and the oven preheated, it’s time to put them into the oven for baking. You’ll want to bake the cookies for about 8 minutes so that they’ve flattened out and are beginning to brown on the bottom.

8. Once the cookies are removed from the oven, place the cookie tray on a cooling rack and leave it for at least 10 minutes before your children’s fingers go near them!

All of the batter you make can produce about 40 cookies when made an inch in size. If you’d like bigger cookies, you may only be able to get two cookie sheet’s worth of cookies, but they’ll be more filling!

More Cookie Ideas

My girlfriend is a big cookie aficionado and has many different baking books lying around the apartment. Her favorite cookie book by far is one by the name of “The All-American Cookie Book.” The descriptions on how to properly mix and bake the cookies are phenomenal and for someone like me who doesn’t bake all that often, it’s really a foolproof guide to making perfect cookies every time.

It’s worthwhile noting that in the beginning of the book there is a section devoted to how to measure all of your ingredients out for the perfect cookies every time. It may seem trivial to read this section if you’ve baked anything before, but the detail is definitely necessary for even expert bakers.

Aug 23, 2011 - Baking Supplies    Comments Off on Make Your Cupcakes Look Good With Cupcake Boxes

Make Your Cupcakes Look Good With Cupcake Boxes

The past few years have seen a huge rise in the demand for homemade cupcakes and cookies. Not only have many different businesses sprung up to cater to the demand, many folks have started making cupcakes from home to either sell in their own bakeries or to their friends for a few dollars on the side. If you’re just getting started in the game, chances are you’re looking to make the best first impression possible when you deliver the cupcakes to your first customers or your friends to try out.

I’ve done my best to compile as many tips as I could for presenting your cupcakes in things like cupcake boxes and plates. If you have any tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments section below and I’ll try to edit the article to include any of the best tips!

Cupcake Boxes

First of all, you’re probably going to want to put your finished cupcakes into boxes so that they’re presentable to people when you hand them over. Boxes come in either single boxes that you’d use to sell individual cupcakes, or they come in half dozen and dozen sizes so that you can sell them in bulk without having to individually package each one.

Darice Cupcake Box:

The first type of box is a simple white box that holds a single cupcake. The box measures 3.5” all around, so you’ve got room for a pretty decent sized cake inside. These types of boxes are popular with bakery owners as they’re able to bake custom cupcakes without having to really worry about size limits when it comes time to put them in a box. There’s a clear window on the top of the box so that part of the decorations can be seen.

Wilton Valentine Cupcake Box:

A quirky option that you may be interested in is one that allows you to put your cupcakes into customized Valentine’s day boxes. The boxes come in pink and red options, making them perfect to give as a gift to your special someone on the big day.

Note: Instead of going in-depth with all of the different types of boxes you can purchase, I’d like to mention that the Wilton company that was referenced above should be your go to source for most of your cupcake box needs. They make a wide variety of different and quality styles that are perfect for everyone from beginner to expert. They’re mostly available on Amazon and can be ordered in bulk quantities if you’re in need of a few dozen boxes.

Cupcake Stands

Another great presentation option that can work for things like birthday parties or the front of your newly opened cake shop is a cupcake stand. Designed similar to a wedding cake in multiple layers, cupcake stands allow for different types and sizes to be placed on different levels of a plastic stand so that many different designs are showcased around one central point.

Wilton 4 Tier Stand:

As said earlier, Wilton should be your go to brand of choice when you’re shopping around for cupcake related products. Their 4 tier plastic stand is big enough to hold about 3 dozen medium sized cupcakes and is extremely easy to assemble. If you’re using it for a birthday party, it can be set up and dismantled again in just a matter of a few minutes, making it a great option for putting all of the cupcakes out before the party starts so you’re not scrambling at the last minute to get cake available to your guests.

Cupcake Store Stands

While the stand above may be good for small time birthday parties, it’s going to take some real muscle to handle all of your presentation needs if you’re opening up a cupcake store of your own.

Stands that are used in food preparation stores are a bit too expensive to sell on Amazon, so we can’t exactly give you a convenient reference link, but we can tell you what to look for. Depending on your state’s health and safety regulations, your cupcakes may not be allowed to be on display on a plastic stand on a table like the one listed above. Instead, many times your food has to be handled by employees that wear gloves and kept behind a glass case so that customers can not only view the cupcakes, but the sweets are kept away from the germs of people touching and prodding the items for themselves.


I don’t personally have any direct experience with opening a cupcake shop of my own, but from quite a bit of research I’ve been able to find out some of the basic costs associated with owning a shop and how to determine whether it’s right for you.

On average, between down payments on a property and start up costs to get things like ovens and decorations into your shop, you’re looking at about $50,000 in initial costs to get the ball rolling. After that, there’s about $8-10,000 a month in operating expenses for things like employees and utilities. Depending on how much you charge ($2.50 per cupcake), you’ll need to sell about 150 cupcakes a day to break even on your investment. That ain’t a joke!

Aug 21, 2011 - Breakfast Foods    Comments Off on Unhealthy Foods – Healthy Alternatives

Unhealthy Foods – Healthy Alternatives

Part of the reason people are able to save money at the grocery store is because they fill their carts with unhealthy foods. It may seem counterintuitive that unhealthy food would cost less than the healthy alternative, but through inexpensive and inorganic ingredients, food companies are able to make processed food at a fraction of the cost of all natural and healthy food for customers to consume. If you’re looking to turn your diet around and not spend a lot more at the register next time you’re shopping for groceries, the following tips should help you out immensely.

Remember, not every food item is for everyone, and depending on your dietary needs, some recipes may not be appropriate. The key is to try different things out and decide on what you like and don’t like and what best fits into your diet and lifestyle.

What Makes Food Unhealthy?

While it’s easy to toss the term “unhealthy food” around, what exactly makes food unhealthy? Foods that are classified as unhealthy are foods that don’t supply the body with the nutrition it needs to function properly. Highly processed foods are generally low in nutrients because in the processing portion of the food preparation, the nutrients are lost in cooking or mixing with other ingredients. The more chemicals and additives that are added to foods to preserve them on the store shelf the unhealthier they generally are.

Processed foods are also typically very high in sugars and saturated fats. The body has a difficult time processing sugars because they are often complex carbohydrates that the body can’t do much with. Expending all of its energy on digesting the sugars and finding no nutritional value from them once they’re deconstructed, the body becomes weak. Eating things like fast food and prepackaged meals can introduce processed sugars and unhealthy fats that the body can’t use for nutrition and ultimately leads to things like heart disease and obesity.

What to Look For

If you think that you’re taking in too many unhealthy foods every day, it may be time to step back and figure out what you can change about your diet. It may not be a steadfast rule, but if you’re purchasing foods in the grocery store that have been prepackaged and the ingredients list looks more like a novel length than a list of simple ingredients, you may want to opt to put that food back on the shelf.

Another easy way to gauge whether or not something is unhealthy for you is to look at the fat and saturated fat content of the food. In the United States, the FDA recommends you eat no more than 20 grams of saturated fats in a day. By looking at how much fat certain premade dinners and meats have in them before consuming them, you can drastically cut down on your weight gain and cholesterol intake.

Knowing  how to treat your body and what to put in it is vital to your life’s longevity. You can get more insight through a number of ways including taking courses in an online msn program.

Things to Eat Instead of McDonalds

Unfortunately, McDonalds is easy to grab and go. What makes unhealthy foods so popular is that they’re often the easiest to make and they’re the most accessible. If you’re looking to introduce healthier foods into your diet but aren’t sure where to start, a fantastic book that we recommend reading is called “The World’s Healthiest Foods, Essential Guide for the Healthiest Way of Eating.”

The ultimate goal of the book is to introduce much healthier foods into your diet and make them tasty to boot. But although there are huge benefits by following the advice in terms of what foods you should and shouldn’t eat within the book, what has us recommending the book not only to you, but also to our friends, are the cooking times of most of the meals. The book keeps busy people in mind and understands that unhealthy foods are easy to prepare. To rival unhealthy meal choices, the book focuses on making most of the meals within itself ready to eat in just a few minutes.

You can obviously get more complicated and extravagant than the meals outlined in the book, but for anyone getting started in the world of healthy eating, this book is definitely the way to go.

Start Small

The problem with most people who try to change their diet is that they try to do it all at once. It would be nice if you could go from an unhealthy lifestyle to completely healthy overnight, but by trying to do so, you’re ultimately setting yourself up for failure. Starting slow and making healthier decisions when you can is a good way to build morale until you can build yourself up to full meals based around vegetables and lean meats and grains.

A good example of what you can do differently is that instead of having cream cheese on your bagel in the morning, you can instead substitute it for low fat butter or low fat cream cheese spread. You probably won’t be able to taste the difference and you’ll save yourself a large amount of calories by making the switch. Another thing to try to ease yourself into a healthy lifestyle is to use whole grain bread for your sandwiches instead of white bread. White bread is simply wheat bread that has been bleached and artificially flavored to taste better. By using wheat bread you’re giving your body healthy whole grains and fewer calories than a slice of white bread and after a few days of eating it, you won’t be able to tell the difference anymore.