Homemade Protein Bars

I have begun a rigorous exercise routine….P90X. It’s hard and requires more calories and protein than I am used to eating. Of course the P90X people sell protein bars for you to eat, but I do not want to pay $15.95 + $5.95 shipping for 12 bars! That’s almost $2 a piece. OUCH! No way! I searched the web and modified a recipe to make my own. They are so good to0. I have been eating one everyday to up my calorie and protein intake. Dallas likes them as well and has been taking them in his lunches. I haven’t calculated out the cost, but I know it’s not $2 each!

Homemade Protein Bars

4 cups oatmeal

3/4 c unsweetened applesauce (I used my homemade applesauce from the freezer)

7 scoops protein powder (I use EAS Vanilla, since they sell it in huge bags at Sam’s Club)

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup chia seeds (I got mine from amazon, great source of omega 3, and fiber)

1 cup chunky peanut butter

3 tsp cinnamon

1 cup craisins

Mix everything together. It will be thick. Spread in 9 x 13 pan and press down. Refrigerate for 30 min or so. Cut into 16 bars. Wrap in wax paper. I store mine in the freezer for freshness and pull one out as I need it.

In case you want it:

301 calories

13 g fat

6.5 g fiber

33.5 g carbs

12.4 g sugar

17.6 g protein


Homemade “Sun Dried” Tomatoes

Last week I bought 12 lbs of tomatoes. I was planning on making a whole lot of tomato soup, but silly me forgot to check how much basil I had. I didn’t have enough to make 12 lbs of tomatoes into soup! So I decided to make sun dried tomatoes in the oven with the left overs! I just quartered my tomatoes and removed the seeds by scraping the tomato with my nail. I then placed them on one of my pizza racks that is not solid. I sprinkled them with salt, pepper and italian seasoning and dried (baked) them on the oven at 175° for about 4 hours. Take them out when they are leathery but not brittle. I had to take out a few before the others were done. They are so good and sweet. They taste like a little piece of pizza! A great low calorie, on the go healthy snack that can also be frozen. Use them on salads, pizza or pasta. Check out the before and after photos:

The Pantry Challenge is Done!

I spent the month of January on a Pantry Challenge. Challenging myself to limit my grocery spending and using up what we had in the freezer and the pantry. I set a limit of $100 for my family of 3 and I only wanted to purchase produce and dairy for the month. I also ended up changing my rules allowing myself to spend money on items I needed for my doctor ordered diet change as well as any super deals I couldn’t pass up if my funds allowed. Last year I was able to swing it for $50 for the month. Not so much this year, but we had some changes. My diet restrictions placed on me by my doctor right as the challenge started as well as the fact that both Dallas and Lance are taking their lunches this year.

As of last week my total spending for the month was $94.06

I did go and get a few things later this past week:

over 12 lbs tomatoes (Mmmmmm Tomato Soup!)

a container of grape tomatoes



DRUM ROLL PLEASE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………My total for the month $98.78!!! Technically it’s not over until Monday, but our weekend is full and I won’t be shopping!

Can you see me dancing?! So, we still have lots of food. I know I stock up a lot, but if we really needed to we could live off our supply for 3 months easy! I like that peace of mind….or maybe just all the good deals, doesn’t matter I guess! The only thing we completely ran out of was eggs. And that was just yesterday. I will be limiting my spending again in February. I am challenging myself to keep it it $150. We are getting really low on a few essentials like cheese, which I stock up on at Sam’s club. I am increasing my budget a bit to allow for those few stock up items. Let’s see how February goes!

Princess Themed Birthday Cake


Recently, my niece was here visiting and her 6th birthday was a few weeks away. We decided to throw her a spontaneous birthday party while she was in town. So, off I went to the internet for ideas and made this masterpiece out of chocolate cake, chocolate sour cream filling and whipped buttercream frosting. Oh, so good. Too bad I can’t eat it! I love to make cakes for my favorite little people!

Grocery Totals….Almost to the End of the Month! Can I Make it Under $100?

We are almost done with the Pantry challenge! Monday will be the end, but I think I may continue to just shop how I have been and only stock up if there is a screamin’ deal and I have the funds! Although, I may increase my budget to $150 to allow for that, I haven’t decided yet…

I made a few short trips the end of last week to the store. I had to go to the Hispanic Market for some good produce deals and I came home with over 7lbs of apples (made homemade applesauce!), 7 nectarines, 3 avocados and a can of peas. My total for this trip was $6.03.

I had to go to target to pick up my new glasses and while I was wondering around the store I grabbed a couple things I needed for my altered diet like all natural peanut butter, whole fruit jam (no sugar) and salad dressing. Since I have been eating so many salads, I ran out of my favorite and all we had left was ranch and I only like ranch from a restaurant, not out of the bottle! I tried to make a few dressings, but I just didn’t like them! My total for Target was $6.23.

Then yesterday I made a quick trip to Food 4 Less to get a few items, both produce and dairy, but also a couple things for my diet. I purchased:

3.5 lbs apples

1 spaghetti squash

4 tomatoes



6 cans of tuna


ricotta cheese



Foil (I had run out. I was going to wait to buy this, but I really could have used some the other day, so I broke down and bought it.)

Can of green beans on clearance.

My total for here was $30.50

I spent $42.76 all together. Add that to my previous weeks and I am at $94.06. Just squeaking under my $100 budget! I may need another head of lettuce later in the week, but other than that we should make it!

Grocery Trip…

I ran to Fresh and Easy today to pick up some milk, yogurt and a bit of produce for the week. While there I scoped out the clearance section like usual. They had ground beef marked down to $1.29/lb, so I had to snatch it up for the freezer. I just couldn’t refuse at that price since we were down to our last pound in the freezer. I bought 6 pounds. Yep, another rule broken…I am amending my rules! If it’s too good a deal to pass up, and my budget allows, I am buying (although this is my normal shopping routine anyway!).

I spent a total of $16.42 for the items in the picture bringing my total for the month to $51.30. I set my budget at $100 for the month. I was hoping to stay at $50 like last year, but with Dallas taking his lunch everyday and my dietary restrictions and my inability to pass up a good deal, it looks like we will be closer to that $100 mark than I had hoped. I still think $100 for a family of 3 is a great deal for the month though! According to the USDA average food costs we are doing amazing. For a family of 4 in November 2010 (remember we are a family of 3) the “thrifty” plan says average is $506 per month and the “liberal” plan is $986 per month. I don’t know that I have ever spent that much in a month on groceries…even when I was planning my big birthday bash! A normal month of grocery shopping for me is under $200, I guess we fall under the super duper thrifty category….

If you would like to try this in your house, the first thing you need is a well stocked pantry/freezer in the first place. If you are wondering how to do that on a budget, read THIS.

Menu Plan For the Week

This is the 3rd week on the pantry challenge and it seems I haven’t even put a dent in our freezer! Nevertheless, here is my menu plan for the week.

Breakfasts: protein shakes for Dallas and I. Lance will have stuff from the freezer like pancakes, waffles, scones, muffins (all of which are whole wheat)or eggs or oatmeal.

Lunches: Dallas packs his own with wraps, leftovers, frozen burritos (homemade), or the ham and cheese muffin bites I made the other day.
Lance’s will be PB&J, salami/cheese, leftover pasta, and ham and cheese bites for this short holiday week at school. As for me…I don’t know yet!

Monday: Dinner out with Family
Tuesday: Roasted Whole Chicken (freezer), Homemade french bread, roasted sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes for Dallas (both from freezer)
Wednesday: Chicken Bacon Alfredo Bake with leftover roasted chicken
Thursday: BBQ chicken pizza (also with leftover chicken)
Friday: Burgers with homemade fries
Saturday: Jeep Poker Run, eat there
Sunday: Tacos (haven’t decided on the meat for them yet)

Don’t you love how far a $3.21 chicken can go! I plan on getting some produce this week to round out the meals a bit. I also plan on making the homemade french bread (bread machine), Red Sauce for the freezer since we are down to one container. I may also whip up some whole wheat pancakes to stock the freezer more for Lance’s breakfasts. We are running low on those as well. My kid REFUSES to even try cereal, so I like to have many options in the freezer for easy breakfasts.

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