Feed 5 for $500 Series

I'm a stay-at-home mom (actually, a work-at-home mom who homeschools 3 children, is an independent Team Beachbody coach, volunteers as a MOPS Community Coach, and does freelance writing/editing!).....anyway, because our income is limited, I work very hard to keep our monthly grocery budget around $500. Yes. Really!

So you're probably thinking, "How in the world can you feed 5 for $500 and keep the meals healthy?" Over the next week or two, I will be posting several articles explaining how I manage to accomplish the impossible.

We budget a total of $600 monthly to include all food, pull-ups (still have one child who wets the bed), paper products, bathroom items, etc. My series will include:
  • Breakfast menus
  • Lunch menus
  • Dinner menus & freezer cooking
  • Saving at the grocery store
  • Strategic pantry stocking

It really is possible for you to stay on a budget and feed your family healthy, organic food!


Pumpkin Phyllo Tartletts

I had some leftover homemade Kuri squash puree (similar to pumpkin) and wanted to make a healthy dessert.  So I opened the fridge to find some phyllo dough leftover from making chicken pot pies and a light went on!   

I quickly gathered a few supplies and invented this recipe:  Pumpkin Phyllo Tartletts.  This would make a great and much healthier alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie for the holidays as it has less than 100 calories!  (And for a few extra calories each, I could easily see some variations with walnuts inside and sprinkled on top.)

This stuff is great for baking!
  • 10 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1T + 10 tsp Olivio coconut spread, divided
  • 1 c pumpkin (or Kuri squash) puree 
  • 1/3 c brown sugar 
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Olivio coconut spread for greasing tins
  • honey (for drizzling on top)
  • cinnamon (for sprinkling on top)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Coat 10 muffin tins (preferrably silicone type) with coconut spread.
  3. Cut phyllo dough into square stacks.  Reserve 10 squares.  Divide the rest into the 10 greased tins and press down to form "tartletts".
  4. Combine puree, 1 T coconut spread, brown sugar and spice.
  5. Drop a spoonful of pumpkin mixture into tartletts. 
  6. Cover each tartlett with the reserved phyllo dough square and drop 1 tsp of coconut spread on top of each.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 min (until tops turn brown).
  8. Keep tartletts in tins until cool, then remove and drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon.
This recipe should easily double or triple.  (I also froze a couple of tartletts to see how they hold up and will update you later on the results of reheating them.)  

By the way....if you have a chance, go to my friend Amanda's blog here.   She features some of the best blog posts out there -- from thrifty finds and makeovers to great recipes.  I couldn't possibly tell you all of the wonderful things she posts!  She is my blogger hero and I hope to be her when I grow up. (No, she didn't pay me to say that.  She doesn't even know I'm posting this about her and I'm not even sure if she knows I'm blogging these days!!)
Weekend Bloggy Reading


Butternut Squash Soup

I love fall:  the smells, the weather, the food, sweaters/jeans/boots, and all of the time with family and friends. It's no wonder I'm always looking for soup recipes to try, and now that I have a VitaMix blender, it's even easier to make my own soups!  By blending in the VitaMix, the soup is even heated to steaming in less than 10 minutes.

For today's soup, I adapted the recipe from my VitaMix blender's cookbook.  Enjoy!

  • 1 peeled, cored quartered Fuji apple
  • 1/4 yellow onion, peeled
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp gound white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 T honey
  • 2 cups cooked butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  1. Place all ingredients into your VitaMix blender EXCEPT the cream.  
  2. Start on variable speed 4, quickly moving up to 10 and then on high.  Blend (vented) until steam escapes the top (approx 5-6 min).
  3. Remove lid plug and pour in heavy cream.  Blend another 20 sec or so.


Veggie & Brown Rice Quiche

  • 2 1/2 cups cold cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten

  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 ounces swiss cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1" pieces, and steamed
  • 1 lg zucchini,  chopped and steamed
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped & steamed
  • 2 finely chopped scallions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 10" deep-dish pie plate with olive oil.
  2. To make the crust: In a large bowl, mix the rice, cheese, and egg whites or egg substitute. Press evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes.
  3. To make the filling: Whisk together eggs, cornstarch, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Sprinkle the cheese and veggies over the baked crust. Pour in the egg mixture, stirring gently to blend slightly. Bake for 45 minutes, or until firm in the center. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.
recipe adapted from here


Facebook Challenge Groups

Fitness + Nutrition + Support = Success

It's time to END THE TREND of obesity: P90X & TurboFire/TurboJam Challenge Groups are here! Beginning Nov 1, I will open a private FB group for only 3 people in the P90X Challenge and another private FB group for only 3 people in the TurboFire/TurboJam Challenge. So there are only SIX spots available! I will only accept the first 6 applicants.

Here are the challenge packs available beginning Nov. 1st on my website.

$160 + tax (FREE shipping):
Choice of one: Hip Hop Abs®, Turbo Jam®, Brazil Butt Lift®, Slim in 6®, or Power 90®
PLUS: Shakeology
PLUS: 30 days of club Team Beachbody acct
**saves you $25.75

$180 + tax (FREE shipping):
Choice of one: 10-Minute Trainer® or Body Gospel®
PLUS: Shakeology
PLUS: 30 days of club Team Beachbody acct
**saves you $26.33

$205 + tax (FREE shipping):
Choice of one: P90X®, INSANITY®, or TurboFire®.
PLUS: Shakeology
PLUS: 30 days of club Team Beachbody acct
**saves you $44.69

Contact me (coachkellyabattles@gmail.com) for pricing/details and help me spread the word.


Sweet Potato Cornbread Muffins

What do you do with some leftover sweet potatoes?  Make sweet potato cornbread muffins, of course!  I figured I could make a healthy version to go with our chicken chili tonight, and it turned out to be a success at less than 80 calories per muffin.  These are by no means a sweet muffin, but a little teaspoon of apple butter on top can fix that and turn it into a dessert.

  • 1 1/2 cup mashed sweet potato
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/4 cup ground cornmeal
  • 3 tsp turbinado sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 T natural apple butter
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 T butter, melted & cooled

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly grease 24 muffin tins or use paper liners.
  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pureed sweet potato flesh, buttermilk, beaten egg, apple butter and melted butter.
  • Mix the dry ingredients into the wet just until combined. Pour batter into prepared tins.
  • Bake until the cornbread is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes.

Nutritional Info:
  • 78 calories each
  • 3 g fat
adapted from recipe here


40 lbs gone!

I got on the scale this week to discover I finally hit the 40lb loss mark!  This is a huge milestone for me!  I never imagined back in April that I would reach this point so quickly.  I had given myself one full year to lose about 50 lbs.  Now, at the rate I'm going, I should hit my goal around Thanksgiving.  WOW!

I've also lost TEN inches off my waist.  I've gone from a size 18 to a 10, but 10's are actually fitting me loosely now, depending on the brand.  My goal is to be in single digit clothing again, which should happen any day now.

Some have asked what my secret is.  Ready?  I'll say it again:  Eat less and move more!  YES, that's the secret.  I still count calories and exercise daily.  And does that mean I have to do that forever?  For me, yes.  I will always count calories and exercise daily.  It's worth it to me in order to stay healthy for the long-term.

Although, another part of my secret is that I've finally dealt with my food addictions.  I read a book called Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst.  First, I went through her 21 Day Devotional three times (yes, really!).  Then I read the book.  I discovered that I was constantly making excuses.  Plus, I was resenting my family when I had to make separate food for myself.  So I did something radical and changed the way we all eat.  No more special "diet" food for me.  We all eat healthy food:  whole grains, local produce, organic as much as possible, and we cut out the processed foods!  If you're thinking it's too expensive to feed your family that way, let me tell you what I spend for our family of five monthly:  $500.  YES......I do.  I slowly replaced our food with healthier food: when the cereal ran out, we switched to yogurt and/or eggs from a local farmer; when our white flour ran out, we switched to organic whole wheat pastry flour; and when the boxed goldfish ran out, I made my own crackers from scratch!

Sometimes you need help when starting a journey like this.  For me, I knew that to be successful, I needed accountability.  So some local friends and I all signed up on MyFitnessPal (FREE!).  We decided to meet once a week to weigh in with each other -- just like Weight Watchers, but again, free!  And we try to organize time to exercise together.  You shouldn't do this alone! 

Feel free to "friend" me on MyFitnessPal.  My username is kellybstampin.  It takes that initial commitment from you, though.  Are you ready to change your life?


Coach Kelly's 30 Day Program: November 2011

I have developed a program that I will offer to the first two people monthly.  (You must sign up by the 20th of the month in order to be in the program by the following month.)  Basically, I'm looking for two people who have a minimum of 20 lbs to lose.  You do NOT have to be local to me in Virginia.  We can do our visits virtually or over the phone!  Feel free to forward this program offering to anyone you know.  I'm only offering this to two people each month because I want to commit my time to making each of you successful.  

**I only have ONE spot left.  If you are interested, email me directly:  coachkellyabattles@gmail.com.**

Cost: Team Beachbody Club Membership ($38/3 months) + Team Beachbody workout DVD (minimum of $60) + meal supplements (price varies).

Other details:

  • Workout DVDs start at $60 (-10% for club members). You'll continue the same workout for a minimum of 2 or 3 months so you get your money's worth!
  • Besides the actual workout videos, we also have everything from heart rate monitors to yoga mats.
  • Supplements and/or meal replacements start at $40/mo (-10% discount for club members).
  • I don't charge ANYTHING for my services when you order these things from me.

Official members of "Coach Kelly's 30 Day Program" will receive:

  • my commitment and time to help you succeed! 
  • 10% discount on all Beachbody products.
  • daily meal plans & whatever supplements you choose.
  • access to all Team Beachbody forums.
  • a free gift valued at $20.
  • access to WOWY Supergym and the opportunity to win $500 daily for logging workouts (and the chance to win up to $100,000 for the BeachBody Challenge).
  • a workout DVD program of your choosing, including any equipment necessary.
  • an initial visit where we'll take your measurements and before photos.
  • weekly visits and/or phone calls from me checking on your progress.
  • a final evaluation: At the end of the 30 days, we will evaluate your progress and determine whether or not you want to continue in the program for another 30 days (at no additional cost) and continue to do so until we get you to your goals! We will also take your "after" or "during" photos at that time.
DISCLAIMER:  I do not promise that you will lose 20+ pounds in 30 days, but I do promise that I will do everything I can to make you successful in your weight loss goals! 


Why I Stopped Dieting

I originally posted this on my Beach Body blog last month, but felt it appropriate to repost it here:

I finally discovered the "secret" to losing weight. It's actually quite simple and can be summed up in this: eat less and get active! Yes, I'm serious.

I will no longer put sugar-free, fat-free products into my body. I found that by cooking/baking "diet" food, I resented having to make extra meals for my family. Why couldn't we just all eat the same? Well, we can. It's called HEALTHY eating and portion control! I use www.myfitnesspal.com (it's FREE to join) to log my calories (1200-1400/day). I've learned what a healthy portion size is by literally measuring out my meals.

And guess what? It feels good to enjoy a small bowl of ice cream with my family after dinner! There really is no need to buy the sugar-free or low-fat kinds! I just measure out 1/2 cup of ice cream and consume anywhere from 120-200 calories for a truly guilt-free dessert. (I've found that by putting my ice cream into a small bowl, it doesn't seem like so much less -- I like to use those small glass Pampered Chef bowls!)

I've also started exercising daily. Occasionally I take a day off from exercise, but I also have days where I workout twice (yes, on purpose!). My favorite home workout is TurboJam:  20 Min Workout **UPDATE:  I'm addicted to TurboSculpt this month!**. It's quick and fun! I really don't feel like I'm working out while I'm punching and kicking. My kids sometimes join me, too.

In addition to my DVD workouts, I've developed a love of running! Who knew? A friend suggested I start the Couch 2 5K program with her and it's stuck with me.....I'm up to running 1 mile without stopping. We are all going to do the Turkey Trot this Thanksgiving, and I am actually excited about it!

So I have said goodbye to the word "diet". I will no longer put weird foods in my body and make separate meals for myself. My whole family eats healthy whole foods. And we exercise together quite often.

I'm excited to say that 32 pounds and 8" (off my waist) are gone forever! I still have about 15-20 pounds to go, but it's not such an impossible task anymore. **UPDATE: I have lost 39 pounds and 9"**


Yummy Chicken Salad Recipe

I'm not a big fan of mayo -- most brands at the store have ingredients I can't pronounce, plus they are usually high in fat/calories.  So I do something kind of crazy when I make my chicken salad, I substitute sour cream for mayo! 

Smokey Chicken Salad
  • Smoked chicken chunks (I like to brine a whole chicken in a salt solution for 5+ hours, then smoke it in my smoker for 2+ hours)
  •  2-4T sour cream (I love to buy fresh sour cream from a local farmer) 
  • 1-2 t plain yellow mustard
  • chopped celery
  • optional add-ins -- choose one or several:  chopped nuts, chopped apples, craisins, diced mango, chopped grapes, etc

  • Mix sour cream and mustard.  
  • Add chicken and celery and mix thoroughly.  

Serve with lettuce and tomato on whole grain bread, in a pita pocket, or rolled up in a tortilla!


Kelly's Chocolate Blackberry Cookies (similar to Nabisco's Chocolate Raspberry Fruit Thins)

  • 1 1/4 c turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw or brown sugar)
  • 1 c butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 T espresso/blackberry syrup (I made my own by boiling 1/4 c water, 1 T maple syrup, 1/4 c blackberries, 1 t espresso powder for about 2 min and then straining)
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  1. Sift together flour, almond meal, flaxseed meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  (NOTE:  You could substitute all whole wheat flour for the flaxseed and almond meals.)
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. Beat in egg and espresso/blackberry syrup.
  4. Add in flour/cocoa mixture about 1/2 c at a time until completely mixed.
  5. Divide dough into 3 balls, place in freezer bags and freeze for approx 20 min until firm.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Take one bag out at a time and roll out.  (I used chopsticks on the counter to make sure I rolled the dough to the same 1/4" thickness, and I used parchment paper on top of dough to keep rolling pin from sticking -- avoid using extra flour!)
  8. Cut out into shapes (I made 5 doz. 2" circles) and place on parchment paper or silpat on cookie sheets and place in freezer for 5 min (this helps the cookies keep their shape).
  9. Bake 10 min.
  10. Cool on pan for 1-2 min before moving to cooling racks.
If you make 5 doz cookies, each cookie is only 60 calories and 4 g fat.  Of course, you can use low fat butter or egg substitute, etc. to save on calories/fat, but these taste SOOO good with all "natural" ingredients.  ENJOY!

Almost like Wheat Thins

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup almond meal (coarsely ground)
  • 2T flax seed meal
  • 2T wheat germ
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil (or sunflower oil)
  • 1 T honey or organic blue agave nectar
  • 1 cup water
  • salt for sprinkling
 (recipe adapted from here)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients. Pour in the oil, honey and water; mix until just blended.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as thin as possible - no thicker than 1/8 inch (it is KEY to roll as thin as possible -- use a piece of parchment paper on top of dough when rolling to keep it from sticking to rolling pin). Place dough on a silpat or parchment paper & cookie sheet, and mark squares out with a knife, but do NOT cut through. Prick each cracker with a fork a few times, and sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until crisp and light brown. (Baking time may be different depending on how thin your crackers are.) When cool, remove from baking sheet, and separate (break) into individual crackers.

A Healthy Mocha Frappuccino

Alright....I ordered Shakeology and tried it for the first time today. Because I make my own smoothies in the morning (usually raw milk kefir, fresh fruit, etc.), I thought I'd see how it was.....

First of all, I can actually recognize the ingredients and pronounce them!  Secondly, it was fabulous and I feel SO full (almost couldn't drink the whole thing).

Mocha Frapp Recipe
  • Chocoloate Shakeology 
  • 1 cup cold coffee 
  • 1/4 cup chocolate milk 
  • organic cinnamon 
  • 6 ice cubes in the blender. 
Less than 250 calories and VERY delicious!

If it's something you want to order, you can click on the "veggies" banner to the right on my blog.  However, I ask that you NOT rely on the shake alone for your weight loss and please workout!  We have plenty of workouts available for purchase on my website OR just get active!  Go to your gym if you have a membership, try the Couch 2 5K program, go for a walk/hike/bike ride...do something. 

Kelly's Crispy Granola Bars

I have been looking for healthy snacks for me and for my kids.  I've been taking recipes and "tweaking" them to fit my needs and pantry staples.  I came up with this recipe that we all really enjoy!

  • 1/2 c peanut butter
  • 1/2 c honey
  • 3T brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 1/2 c rice cereal
  • 3/4 c almond meal
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds
  • 1 c flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 c craisins
  • 1/2 c chopped dates

  1. Put peanut butter, honey and brown sugar in microwave-safe container and heat on high for 2 min. 
  2. Add vanilla and stir until smooth. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until all ingredients are combined well. 
  4. Press mixture into foil lined 9X13 pan and place in fridge. 
  5. After cool, remove from pan/foil and cut into 24 bars.  (135 calories each; 6g fat, 3 g protein, 12 g sugar)


My weight loss journey.....

In April of this year, I decided that I would no longer waste away my life.  I weighed in at my heaviest number and was determined to get healthy.

But what does healthy mean to me?  Instead of choosing a specific weight, I have decided to make a healthy BMI my goal, which means it must be under 25.  I began at a BMI of 32, and decided to give myself a full year to lose the weight.

The First 30 Days
I started with Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred.  I made a commitment to do her video every day for 30 days back in May.  I've heard that anything you do for 21 days becomes a habit.  If I can really work out every day, maybe this will become a habit for me.  (Secretly I didn't believe working out would ever become something I would enjoy to do, but I was hoping for the best!)

I also committed to using www.myfitnesspal.com daily to record my calories.  Eating 1400 calories per day seemed nearly impossible.  Instead of switching to fat-free and sugar free, though, I made the decision to eat "clean".  I wanted to cook the same food for my children and my husband that I was going to eat.  This had to be a long-term thing for me, so a complete renovation of our pantry and fridge began back in April.

After The Initial 30 Days
After I successfully completed the 30 Day Shred, I noticed a very strange thing:  I actually wanted to workout daily!  I ordered Jillian's Ripped in 30 next.  Then it was Beachbody's TurboJam, and then I even began the Couch 2 5K program!

I've brought my calories down to 1200 daily, and try to exercise every day, or at least 5 times a week.  I've also read Made to Crave by Lysa Terkherst, and completed her 21 Day Devotional three times!  I discovered that I had a food addiction, and that I have to fight it.  Filling up on whole foods like organic fruits and veggies, and trying new healthy recipes that my entire family enjoys has changed my life!  I finally have freedom in my eating!  Diet IS a four-letter word.  I am not on a specific diet, other than counting calories. 

We eat healthy food.  Do I "cheat" and eat "bad" things every now and then?  YES!  I haven't restricted anything 100% from my diet.  If I eat a cupcake, I work out extra, or watch my calories a little closer the next day.  This is what has set me free from my food addiction.  If I am "allowed" to have whatever I want in moderation, I don't crave the "bad" stuff anymore!

At the end of August, I signed up to be a Team Beachbody coach, and now I'm preparing to become a certified personal trainer.  This is the same girl who never played sports in school and who sat on the couch watching exercise videos instead of doing them!  No longer, though.  I tell people, "It's like a crazy fitness lady has invaded my body and I'm NOT letting her out."

The Results
So it's been 6 months and this is what I have accomplished:
  • Completed 30 Day Shred (twice).
  • Completed Ripped in 30.
  • Completed 23 days of Turbo Jam.
  • Completed 3 different 30 Day Challenges with friends.
  • Brought my BMI from 32 to 27.
  • Lost 38 pounds and 8" off my waist (!!).
  • Brought my percent of body fat from 45% to 28%.
  • Changed my eating habits and drastically transformed my entire family's eating habits.
  • Run 2.8 miles in 30 minutes (on an elliptical).

Your Challenge
I'm here to tell you that if I can lose weight and be successful working out, you can too!  Join me in this journey...make a commitment to spend the next 30 days eating less and working out (even just 20 minutes a day).  I promise you will see results!  If you are willing to accept this challenge, comment on this post and let me know.