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TTC: Fried Chicken Meatballs with Collard Greens

TTC: Fried Chicken Meatballs with Collard Greens

Had to do a quick-ish meal prep of my lunches for a week, so I decided to make (and double!) a recipe I’ve already tried before: Fried Chicken Meatballs with Collard Greens.  If you aren’t familiar with my “Through the Cookbook” series, read the intro […]

Instant Pot Veggie Broth

Instant Pot Veggie Broth

Did you know thta you can use your veggie scraps to make vegetable broth? I had heard this but it sounded a little intimidating. Again, just like with ghee and bone broth, I was wrong. It’s SUPER easy and even more so with my Instant […]

Through the Cookbook – Well Fed Weeknights – Introduction AND Giveaway!

Through the Cookbook – Well Fed Weeknights – Introduction AND Giveaway!

I’m so excited to announce my project (and GIVEAWAY to start it off!) for 2018. Through the Cookbook – Well Fed Weeknights. This means I will be cooking and thoroughly reviewing EVERY SINGLE RECIPE in the Well Fed Weeknights Cookbook. All of them. Yes ALL of them.

Why Well Fed Weeknights?

I love cooking and experimenting and “doctoring up” recipes. There is hardly a recipe I cook that gets made “as-is.” In fact, Melissa Joulwan’s recipes are the ONLY ones I’ve cooked where I didn’t feel the need to make any changes or substitutions afterwards. This meant one of her books had to be the starting point to this experiment. Why the Weeknights book? Easy: I need a life! I’m a real person who works full time. As much as I love this blog, it’s my hobby. I also have a toddler, am currently pregnant with our 2nd child, and am pursuing my MBA full time. I love making goals, but those goals need to be attainable. Her earlier books {Well Fed and Well Fed 2} contained recipes that were delicious, but quite time consuming. To make this challenge realistic, this book seemed like a good place to start since every recipe is meant to take 45minutes or less. In fact, this perfectly leads us unto the rating system for each recipe…

The Rating System for Through the Cookbook

This is my idea as of right now, but if anything changes as time goes on and I get into the groove of typing up these reviews I’ll be sure to update this. If you have anything you want to know about each recipe please comment to let me know!

  • 45 minutes or less 

    As mentioned above, I have a lot of different priorities. That means one of the biggest tests is if these meals can actually be made in 45 mins. I consider myself to have average culinary skills. Often I wonder if people writing recipes have a magical robot that does all of the chopping for them. Don’t worry, I will make sure to mention if time was taken out for a toddler meltdown and to account for this when scoring.

    • Yes! – 5 points
    • “If you are better at cooking than me it might/probably would be” – 3 points
    • No – 1 points

  • Taste

    Pretty simple but I want to get mine and my husband’s opinions on how these taste AS IS. No substitutions. No changing spice ratios. This is very hard for me as I’m a bit of a rule bender, but we shall manage.

    • 1-5 with 5 being the “Oh my goodness, this must go into our regular rotation because it’s THAT good.
  • Budget Friendly

The name of this blog is “Budgets & Kale” for a reason….we’re on a budget! We’ve followed the Dave Ramsey Baby Steps and are on Baby Steps 4/5/6, but it was not long ago that we were paying off student loans. We’re a young family so maintaining a reasonable grocery budget is really important to us. I shop primarily at Aldi, Sam’s Club (click here for a free $20 gift card if you choose to become a member!), and Meijer. Occassionally I purchase an item or two at my local health food store, Amazon, or Trader Joe’s. I limit those items to maintain our budget. I want everyone to feel that eating Paleo/Whole30 can be affordable!

 

  • Dishes Made –

    This probably isn’t on many people’s lists of ratings, but let’s be honest. Eating healthy can mean a lot of dishes at times. When people say they
    “don’t have time” to cook, they actually mean they “don’t have time to cook and clean up”

 

What this is NOT:

Me Illegally Giving You the Recipes.

To be clear upfront: I will not be writing out the recipes. That is called copyright infringement and Melissa Joulwan deserves all of the credit for her book. You can buy it here {link!} or check if your local library has it available. A few recipes are available on Melissa Joulwan’s website and I will be sure to link to them if they are available. I simply love these recipes and think it will be fun to “cook my way through the cookbook” with the world.

Long term I would LOVE to continue to do these with other cookbooks, but for now I’m just commiting to this one because that’s a lot of cooking!

Page by Page through the Book

While it’d be kind of cool to go through the book recipes in order, I don’t think it’d be realistic for my family’s budget OR our tastebuds. Well Fed Weeknights is arranged by protein type, and I don’t think I could handle 30+ days of pork in a row. That doesn’t sound enjoyable and Through the Cookbook is meant to be a fun experiment and meal prepping plan.

Want to Join the Through the Cookbook Community?

Join the Facebook Group

Through the Cookbook: Well Fed Weeknights

Follow Me on Social Media –

OPENING GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the beginning of this, Melissa Joulwan herself has given her blessing/best wishes and partnered with me in a giveaway of Well Fed Weeknights! This giveaway will be open internationally until 11:59pm EST January 6th, 2018. Winner will be announced on January 7th, 2018.

How to Enter – EACH of these will give you a chance to win.

  • Follow @budgetsandkale on Instagram- link!
  • Tag a friend in THIS Instagram Post – link!
  • Follow @budgetsandkale on Twitter – link!
  • Retweet THIS tweet – link!
  • Repin THIS Pin – link!
  • Subscribe to my email list (worth 2 entries!)
  • Join the Through the Cookbook – Well Fed Weeknights Facebook Group – link!

I hope you enjoy!

-Rachel

psssst! if you are curious about me and who I am, click here 🙂

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes (Paleo/SWYPO Whole30/DF/GF Latkes)

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes (Paleo/SWYPO Whole30/DF/GF Latkes)

It’s several days after Christmas and my house is full of guests…..and takeout boxes. You see, our visitors have wanted to go out to eat at the local places. It completely makes sense, but has meant that our Christmas leftovers have gone relatively untouched until […]

Instant Pot Turkey Bone Broth (Whole30/Paleo/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Instant Pot Turkey Bone Broth (Whole30/Paleo/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

  As a veteran “Whole-30er,” bone broth is one of those things I just didn’t quite understand. It was way too expensive to buy for our tight budget, and seemed like too much work to make otherwise. Despite three separate rounds of Whole30 (one while […]

Cleaning Products Worth the (Extra) Money

Cleaning Products Worth the (Extra) Money

I love saving money, and love a good deal. There are many areas where a budget can be easily slashed, and household cleaning products are one usually of them. You want the most basic cleaning product that works for everything? Water and vinegar. THAT SAID, I have found a few key items that have performed so well that I don’t mind spending more for them. These are cleaning products worth a little extra cash. With the purchase of our home a few months ago, I started looking way more into products beyond my beloved water + vinegar. These products are worth every penny. Also…

there are no affiliate links and I have no brand relation. They speak for themselves.

  • Method Wood For Good Daily Cleaner

    This is the cleaning product that sparked this idea of “cleaning products worth extra money” for me. Our home has a kitchen full of beautiful oak cabinets that are in excellent condition. I knew when we moved in that we would want to clean down everything as we put away our belongings. Being pregnant, I wanted the cleaning product I used to be less harsh but still effective and meant for wood. Honestly, I cringed so hard because this cost was nearly double the other wood cleaners I saw. My thought process was, “we’re moving in so I’ll buy one bottle then decide after.” Let me tell you, within the first use I swore I wouldn’t ever use anything else. This smells amazing. I wish this scent was a body spray it’s that good. The scent is almond and it’s lovely. In fact, as my in-laws helped us move and people stopped by to see the empty house, I would make everyone smell this cleaner. Yes, it’s THAT good. Needless to say, I don’t plan to ever buy another wood cleaner.

  • Mrs. Meyers All Purpose Cleaner

    Again, being pregnant I wanted something safer for me to use without having to worry about fumes. I was worried about our floors so I wanted a cleaner other than vinegar. Price wise, this isn’t actually bad because of how concentrated it is. I only use a tablespoon of the concentrate to fill my mop (Rubbermaid Reveal) up. It’s diluted with water. Also, the scent I use is basil and I love how unique and fresh it smells. The floors get clean, I know it’s safe, and the smell is fresh. No complaints and I plan to use it from here forward.

  • Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pacs

    We didn’t have a dishwasher prior to purchasing our home, so this was new territory for us. I began with a generic brand tab and our dishes just weren’t getting clean. So I switched to Finish, and those worked a bit better. Except, our house has well water. Beyond this, our area has extremely hard water. Our dishes were coming out looking almost as bad as when they went in, even though they were “clean.” People suggested getting a rinse aid, but I decided to try one last thing before that. I caught these on sale at Sam’s Club. Even on sale, these still cost more than other brands. The ratings were very high and my thought was that it would offset the cost of buying rinse aid. And WOW. I’ve been blown away since using these. Our dishes are literally sparkling. Literally. This is now the fourth type of dishwasher soap I’ve tried and the ONLY one that works with our hard well water. So I’m going to continue to purchase, and the next time I see them on sale at Sam’s, I’ll be stocking up!

  • Method Daily Shower Cleaner

Again, hard well water has its negatives. Our shower was looking gross, even with regular cleaning. This brought me back to college days. I lived in a house with six people and ONE shower. We used a “daily shower spray” and amazingly, it really did keep our shower quite clean. There was hard water in that house too, so that’s where the idea came from. At this point I had loved the “Wood for Good” I mentioned earlier, so I decided to get another Method product because I didn’t want to inhale anything yucky after every shower. The scent Eucalyptus Mint sounded nice so I purchased. It cleans well and helps out the hard water problems. The best part though? It makes our bathroom smell like a spa.

While I feel like most of these were “scent based” reasons, it was mostly the combo of being safe, environmentally concious, and effective products. I still love saving money, but these items are cleaning products worth the extra dollars. Do YOU have a brand name item that is worth the cost? It doesn’t have to be specific to cleaning products. I’m always curious what makes people stay loyal to a particular brand.

-Rachel

the (cleaning) products I think are worth a few extra bucks
Whole30 White Chicken Chili (Slow-Cooker)

Whole30 White Chicken Chili (Slow-Cooker)

Today was a day of busy house-things after a week of work travel. TBH I didn’t want to meal prep. So I told myself I was going to make up a crockpot recipe that I could truly just toss in the ingredients and let it […]

Zero Waste Gift Set Idea

Zero Waste Gift Set Idea

If you are someone like me, who is trying to lead a more sustainable life, but still loves to give gifts…then this gift idea may be perfect for you! It’s a zero waste gift beginner kit for friends/family. Of course, if you don’t want to […]

2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

2017 Christmas Gift Guide/Wish List!

I am someone who LOVES Christmas, but I also like to respect that Thanksgiving comes first. So I’ve been toying with putting this post up for quite awhile. But since Black Friday (and Cyber Monday if they are still separate?) are coming so soon I decided it was time! This list is partially recommendations, and partially things I really want! I’ll make sure to put descriptions and links to everything. Let me know if I’m missing something great and I’ll add it 🙂

FOODIE Category – non-appliance, but still for the foodie lovers!

  • Against All Grain Celebrations Cookbook  – {click for link!} This has been on my wish list since last year, and if I can find a good price this Black Friday I’m going to purchase it with some leftover birthday money. I love Danielle (the author) and every recipe of hers I love. The idea that there is something festive for every big event makes me so happy.
  • Well Fed Weeknights – {click for link!} This is my #1 most used cookbook. I also own Well Fed and Well Fed 2, but this one is by far the most practical and is also about triple the size of the original. Mel Joulwan is the most skilled paleo cook in my opinion. But these recipes are loved by all!
  • Salt & Pepper Grinder Set – {click for link!} Once you start using fresh ground salt and pepper, the taste difference is astounding. I don’t think I could go back to pre-ground, especially for pepper. This set is easy to carry around thanks to the holder, and looks simple yet chic. Note that it does not come filled, here are the salt {link} and pepper {link} that we bought to fill them up with. I still have a ton left of each.
  • Oil and Vinegar Bottle Set – {click for link!} this is on my wish list because we buy our olive oil in bulk from Sam’s Club and I loved our salt & pepper set so much. I think these look great and are convenient for drizzling vegetables (or anything) and keep both items together easily.
  • French Press – Bodum {click for link!} okay so this kind of teeters into an appliance but isn’t electric so I’m going to call it not one. This is a French Press, and if you’ve got a coffee lover in your life, this may be something they’d love. This one was handed down to me by my dad (or rather his passing away) so it’s got some strong emotion behind it. But beyond that, this is just a workhorse. My dad had this for at least 8 years before I received it a year ago. It is in excellent condition (and he used it daily!). I’ve linked the model that looks identical. Being that mine is at least 9 years old, it might be slightly different, but I remember my dad saying that Bodum makes the best french press by far. I’m taking his word on it 🙂

Appliances

A word of caution here if you are a significant other trying to gift this to another significant other….make sure you have both okayed gifting appliances. For some people, this is not an acceptable gift (especially if it’s the “main” gift) and is way too practical.  For me, I’d be okay if we both decided to get one practical item for each other, but if it was one-sided, I’d be upset. This may have happened before with us and it’s another story, just some advice 😉

  • Instant Pot – {click for link!} you might think this is the most overrated kitchen “thing” ever, but it’s not. If you like, keep an eye out for Black Friday deals, OR purchase a slightly older model – this one I have is $75! I’m still working mine out, but it’s done great so far! The meat I’ve made has been amazingly tender, and my favorite feature is that you can saute/brown meat and vegetables all in the same thing! It’s SO much faster than a slow-cooker, can cook food from frozen, and is just a powerhouse. There is a reason these things have such a buzz around them!
  • Immersion Blender – {click for link!} if you make ranch/mayo/any creamy sauce, you will thank me for suggesting this. It makes ANY creamy sauce totally goof-proof. I have literally never messed up a sauce (knock on wood!). Can’t recommend enough!
  • Roomba – {click for link!} my mom has one. My aunts on both sides of my family have them. My grandma has one. These things are MAGICAL. It literally vaccuums your floor for you. You can program it to vaccuum WHILE YOU ARE GONE. How does that not get better?! We have a lot of hard floors and I can’t even explain how much I would love this, from anyone except my husband that is. Also noted that the price has gone down significantly since these were first released several years ago. $270 is a lot, but that is so much time saved and time is money (if you are in a good financial place that is. I never want anything I suggest to put a strain on your budget!)
  • Bissell Cross Wave Steam Mop/Vacuum – {click for link!} okay so this was a suggestion/request by my husband. It’s a combo vacuum and steam mop (yes, I am sort of recommending/wish-listing two vacuums). BUT, it vacuums and mops at the same time. Like super well. Once he showed me the commerical, I was in love. We also currently use (as we have for the past year) a push mop and bucket of soapy water which cost us $5 total. I’m also interested in the Rubbermaid Reveal for a cheaper but still sturdy mop option {link!}

BEAUTY

  • Library of Flowers True Vanilla Hand Cream – {click for link!} if you havent read my review on the True Vanilla perfume, click here. I am head over heels for that scent and really, REALLY want the hand creme. It’s $24, but I promise the scent is heaven and it isn’t greasy. This would be my perfect stocking stuffer (though a pricy one!)
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment -(link!)  in an Instagram (link) post, I admitted that these are my splurge beauty item. They are insanely expensive ($24 for a lip balm), but to me that makes them the perfect present. They are luxurious and beautiful. My favorite color is Berry, which has a good amount of tint, but also the Rose is beautiful.
  • DevaDryer – {click for link!} okay this is a TOTAL wish list item. If you have read about my wavy hair, you might know that I always air dry my hair. Always. I don’t own a diffuser, but I’ve been wanting this one since I began my natural hair journey. But $150? That’s expensive! But it doesn’t mean it isn’t on my list. An affordable, also highly rate option would be the xtava orchid diffuser {link!}. The shape is totally different, but both are recommended by wavies everywhere. It’s only $15 right now!

OTHER

  • Everlane Cable Knit hat & Mittens – Everlane {click for link!} has amazing high quality items at a decent price point. Not cheap. Don’t get me wrong, a sweater is going to be $100+, but the quality is gorgeous and their mission is awesome. Transparent pricing. Always. They break down the costs and it feels real. It isn’t fast fashion and everything is beautiful. Since I’m 20 weeks pregnant, only the accessories are on my personal list, but if I wasn’t the list would be much longer!
Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Sue’s Midwest Whole30 Chicken Gumbo

Earlier today, when my husband told me what he was going to make for dinner, I knew it needed to be put on here. This recipe is a twist on my mother-in-law’s recipe for a soup/chicken gumbo, which I’m 99% sure was taken off a […]