Love Grown

I am not a big cereal eater, but my husband certainly is. Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Honey Nut Cheerios…he loves (almost) all of them. Did you know that so many of the cereals found in the supermarket contain ingredients that are toxins to our body? A common one is sugar. Look at any ingredient list or nutrition facts and you will be astounded at how many grams are in each serving. Way too many. Another common additive is High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), an ingredient that contains mercury and is known to lead to obesity and diabetes. BHA/BHT (preservatives), artificial coloring, and hydrogenated oils are three other common additives in cereal, but one would not know it without thoroughly examining an ingredient list. It’s common for the words “WHOLE GRAIN” to lead a consumer to think the product must be healthy when in reality, the cereal can be just as toxic as those not labeled whole grain.

I don’t mind my husband’s love of cereal, but I have never been okay with him eating food for breakfast that only spikes his blood sugar and makes him hungry again in two hours. While at Kroger last week, I found a cereal called Chocolate Power O’s and figured it couldn’t hurt to try it. Guess what? Matt loves it! It has the sweet chocolate taste he craves in a cereal, but what it doesn’t have is even better. No preservatives, no gluten, no chemicals, non GMO, and fills him up longer than your average cereal. Would you believe beans can taste so good?

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Even though I don’t eat much cereal, I catch myself eating a bowl for breakfast too!

Navy, lentil, and garbanzo beans -all beans high in protein- are the superfoods behind this delicious cereal. It only has 9 grams of sugar per serving, which is much better than the 15+ in an average children’s cereal. Below is the ingredient list:

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All things that a consumer can pronounce combined with the great taste of chocolate makes this product a win-win. Try it and let me know what you think!

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Vitacost Haul

I believe I’ve only mentioned this site once on here, which is certainly not the same amount of times I have placed a Vitacost order within the last few months. With the exception of Thred Up, Vitacost may be my favorite online store. #healthynerdstatus101

For those who may not be familiar with Vitacost, imagine Whole Foods or your local health food store online, at your fingertips, and delivered to your doorstep. Plus, prices are (usually) cheaper than health food stores, which is necessary for the wallet of a medical school family. On occasion, some of the products can be found at TJ-Maxx and Marshalls, but generally speaking, Vitacost is more affordable. Paleo, gluten free, or simply trying to save money: This site is for you. I place an order every few months to restock our shelves with common toiletries and staple food items that are always in our house. Plus, it’s always fun to pick up a few new things every now and then!

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Needed a new pill holder to store my vitamins each day. Figured one that can hold 20 pills will do the trick!

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Forget the Clarisonic. I swear by konjac sponges and their benefits for the skin. Plus, they’re biodegradable when thrown away!

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Staple item in our house and a favorite in smoothies.

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This serum caught my eye, so I figured I’d give it a try. Also needed a new body wash and this one got great reviews.

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Haven’t tried it yet, but I needed a new nail polish remover and wanted one that wasn’t toxic. It’s worth a shot!

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Absolutely love trying different body scrubs, and this brand is no exception.

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My husband’s favorite shampoo/conditioner and body wash combination. It’s difficult to find something that works well in our hard water, and these do an excellent job. We bought three bottles of each because I may or may not consider the shampoo/conditioner a favorite as well 😉 

If you are interested in trying Vitacost, feel free to use this referral link: http://goo.gl/ykAyVW   I do get $10 towards my next purchase, but you do as well. This is simply a referral, not affiliate, link.

If you try Vitacost, let me know what you think. The return policy is ridiculously simple and can be done with a few clicks of the mouse. I have been shopping from this site since graduate school and have no plans on stopping anytime soon!

The #1 Grocery Shopping Mistake and Ways to Overcome It

I know I’m not the only one who’s ever gone to the grocery store without a list. Even worse, I’ve gone without my list AND hungry. Bad combination. If I’m planning a regular grocery shopping trip, I look at Kroger’s or Walmart’s sale ads (depending where I am planning on going, although it’s usually Kroger), looked at what coupons I already have, and then search for more online. If there are any, I print them. Otherwise, I grab my shopping list and reusable bags and head out.

Now as stated previously, that’s a regular shopping trip, which means stocking up and purchasing enough for about two weeks or so of meals, not including drinks and perishable items. My average grocery trip costs between $150 and $180 every two weeks, which may seem like a lot for two people. However, that does include toiletries, household items, and pet supplies (cat and dog food, litter, etc). There are some months I go over and others I go under, depending on what is stockpiled in our small deep freezer. We invested in this one a few months after moving down here and I am so glad we did! The bulk of every shopping trip goes in the freezer and then we write the items on a dry erase board that tells exactly what and how many of each item we have on hand. Sounds time consuming, but it really isn’t. Keeping the list on the dry erase board keeps us in check as far as what we have, need and don’t need. About 2-3 times a year we empty the freezer and check to make sure the list is still accurate. I would highly recommend this trick for anybody who has a deep freezer, especially since items can shuffle to the bottom and you don’t know what you have after a ton of shopping trips.

Despite my typical shopping trips where I try to save as much as possible and I set aside two hours of my day where I could totally be doing something else, there are those times where I go to Kroger or Walmart for 1-2 things and come out $50+ poorer. The culprit is usually hunger. Yes, not having a list is at fault too, but if I’m hungry, forget it. All thriftiness and shopping responsibility goes out the window. Well, thanks to cash back apps, I feel less guilty for dropping my hard earned money on items I most likely did not really need at that time. If you are unfamiliar with cash back apps, they are just what they sound like: Apps for your phone or iPad where you earn cash back for your purchases. If you shop and have a smartphone, there’s almost no reason why you wouldn’t want these apps, even if you’re not a crazy coupon lady like me. Simply check the apps to see what’s available and then after scanning the item and receipt after you get home, you wait for the money to be put in your account. The checkout amount varies depending on the app, but I’ll explain those below.

My number 1 favorite cash back app ever is Ibotta. I find it has the most rewards and the most categories. Matt and I had a date night at Ruby Tuesday’s a few weeks ago and after submitting my receipt, I earned $5 in my account! The items change every few weeks, so it’s good to check ahead of time what’s available. Today was one of those shop-while-hungry days, but I was still able to get $4 back. Pretty nice since I didn’t even have any coupons with me. Once your account reaches $20, you can cash out for either a gift card or have the money put into your PayPal account. It is a great way to earn some extra money, which I know we all could use. Here is a referral code that you can enter when you create an account: kiqiglb. With that code, you’ll get an automatic $10 in your account! Also, Ibotta has the option to have team members, and more members mean more money earned. It’s a fantastic app all around. Information can be found here.

My second favorite cash back app is SavingStar. The nice part about SavingStar is you can cash out after only $5, which adds up quickly when you grocery shop a lot. The concept is similar to Ibotta in the fact that you scan your item’s barcode and then upload the receipt, except there aren’t as many options. Easy enough, right? Information can be found here.

Another cash back app is Checkout 51. As with Ibotta, you cash out when you earn $20, but they mail you a physical check.I recently found out that checks cannot be deposited via a mobile device because the checks are Canadian, but you can still deposit or cash them at your local bank. Information can be found here.

Although there are a couple other apps I love and use frequently, I will touch on them more later. For now, go ahead and check out the apps mentioned. I guarantee you’ll be earning money soon enough!

Jonagold, Rambo, Macoun, Empire, and Northern Spy

Who doesn’t love apple picking? There’s just something about picking your own off the tree knowing you’re not only getting pesticide-free apples, but you’re supporting a local business as well. Not to mention it is SO MUCH CHEAPER than buying them at the grocery store. On Sunday, some friends invited us to join them at Morgan Orchard for an afternoon of apple picking; the link to their website is below. We picked up five of our favorite types: Jonagold, Rambo, Macoun, Empire, and Northern Spy, with the hope to enjoy most as snacks and then a make a pie with the rest, hopefully this weekend. I’ve never made an apple pie before, so I’m relying on good ole’ Betty Crocker to guide me. Any advice on how to make a good pie?

http://www.morganorchardwv.com

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So many options 🙂

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Macoun

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Yum!

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Love adventuring with him.

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