Monthly Archives: June 2012

The Adventure Of Change

 

How do you view change? Is it something you fear or something you embrace? I’m talking big changes here, like changing jobs or moving to a new city. The ability to adapt to new big changes, regardless of whether they are voluntary, is essential to your success when you make the change.

Some people fear change. If they are moving to a new town, they wonder if they’ll make new friends, how they’ll find their way around town, and whether they’ll like their new neighborhood.

But I like to look at change as an adventure. If I was moving to a new town (as I have a few times), I’d think about all the new places I’m going to find, the activities the city has to offer, and the new restaurants I will discover.

It’s a completely different mindset, but it can affect your whole experience.

So if you are a worrier and you fear change, how can you adjust your mindset and turn it into an adventure? It starts with trusting yourself. Take, for instance, your worry about finding new friends. Trust yourself that you know you’ve made many friends before, people enjoy being around you, you have a warm personality. Who wouldn’t want to be your friend?

If your concern is finding your way around your new city, trust yourself that you’ll figure it out. You’re smart, you have found your way around unfamiliar places before, and YOU HAVE GPS! 🙂 Not to mention sometimes getting lost is the best way to discover new neighborhoods, parks, shops, and restaurants. It’s an adventure!

If, when contemplating change, you tend to have fears rather than a sense of adventure, just trust yourself. Know that whatever concern you have, regardless of whether it comes true, you have the ability to handle it. You will find a way to make it work. And you will learn more about yourself in the process.

Be brave! Know that failure might be part of the process. Heck, expect that a failure or two might be part of the process. But trust yourself enough to know that even with failure, you will find solutions, you will find success, and you will be a more enriched person for having gone through the process.

18 Easy Food Substitutions To Help You Eat Healthier

 

Do you think you might like to start eating healthier, but you’re not sure where to start? Or maybe you want to create a healthier diet but don’t want a major overhaul that will be hard to maintain. Today I’ve created a list of 18 food and ingredient substitutions you can make that are easy and simple and (most importantly) won’t make you compromise flavor.

1. Use herbs instead of salt. Many people add salt to their food to add flavor. Try experimenting with basil, oregano, pepper, turmeric, cumin, or anything else you find interesting. Or make it even easier on yourself and buy a blend like Mrs. Dash Salt Free Seasoning Blend. At our house, we love to use Costco’s Organic No-Salt Seasoning , which you can also get on Amazon if you don’t have a Costco membership.

2. If you use milk in your cereal or coffee, switch to skim. You can get your taste buds used to this by gradually stepping down from whole milk, then to 2%, then to 1%, and then to skim

3. Use ground turkey instead of ground beef for your burgers. No, the taste isn’t exactly the same, but you can find middle ground by using the ground turkey that is 93% lean instead of the one that is 99% fat free. The 93% lean variety has just eight grams of fat per serving – just enough to make it tasty and juicy, but not nearly as much as you’ll find in ground beef.

4. Use salsa instead of salad dressing. Lots of dressings are high in calories and fat, but salsa adds a great flavor to your salad without the fat and with fewer calories. Some people like balsamic vinegar for their salads, which is another great option.

5. Use whole grain pastas instead of standard semolina pasta.

6. Even better, substitute spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti! If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash before, you’ll find that its flesh becomes noodle-like when cooked. Just cut the squash in half lengthwise, steam in the microwave for about 10 minutes, and then harvest your pasta strands!

7. You can also try Tofu Noodles, which come in a variety of pasta shapes. Rinse the noodles first if you don’t care for too strong of a tofu flavor. Top with sauce, and you’ll never know the difference!

8. Make lettuce wraps instead of sandwiches.

9. Satisfy your sweet tooth with dried fruit. Apricots, figs, and dates are loaded with fiber and minerals.

10. When baking, substitute applesauce for the butter or oil in the recipe. It’s as easy as using the same amount (instead of 1/2 cup butter, use 1/2 cup applesauce), and it really does work!

11. Bake sweet potato wedges instead of making french fries. Just brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle some sea salt or seasoning on top and roast. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, and baking will save you tons of calories and saturated fat.

12. A couple days a week, make steel cut oats for breakfast instead of cold cereal. Oats are good for your heart and can also lower cholesterol. Flavor with fruit instead of sugar.

13. Use frozen or fresh vegetables instead of canned to avoid all the extra sodium.

14. Use Canadian bacon instead of standard pork bacon to save on fat and calories. For the same reason, use mustard instead of mayo and jam instead of butter or cream cheese.

15. Enjoy a small dish of sherbet or sorbet instead of ice cream.

16. Substitute plain, no-fat yogurt instead of sour cream.

17. Look for part-skim cheeses to use instead of the full fat varieties. You can find part-skim mozzarella and ricotta, and you can also find lower fat cheeses like cheddar, swiss, and jack.

18. Make the switch to whole grain foods. Instead of white rice, choose brown. Make quinoa instead of couscous. You can even use ground whole oats instead of breadcrumbs!

Those are just a few of the many ideas you can try to get started with healthier eating. You can find more online, and I’ll have additional articles down the road with other tips and tricks to help you gradually make changes. For now, try a few, see what works for you, and start taking those small steps to a healthier diet and a healthier you!

 

Simple Changes To Reduce Toxic Chemicals In Your Home

photo: Michael Till

 

Have you ever thought about how many chemicals you use in the course of the day? Scented soap, hair products, plant food, cleaning supplies, bug repellant – they all have different chemicals both for function and scent. Of course we don’t always know what chemicals we are rubbing on our skin or or spreading on our floors and counters, but it’s easy to assume that products on the market are reasonably safe.

In fact, I know many people who would argue that they’ve used certain products for years and their parents used the same ones, and everyone’s fine, so what’s the big deal? Well, I’ll tell you. The average household has about 20-25 gallons of toxic materials, most of which are in cleaners. Of all the chemicals typically found in homes, 150 have been linked to allergies, birth defects, cancer, asthma attacks, and psychological abnormalities. Isn’t that crazy?

And, the toxic chemicals in household cleaners are three times more likely to cause cancer than air pollution. So if you think everyone in your family has been fine despite using various chemical cleaners and such, think again – how many people do you know who have developed cancer from an unknown source or who suffer from allergies or asthma? It’s very likely that exposure to chemicals is what could have caused some of those ailments.

Just because a chemical is not banned does not mean it is smart to use it. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only a fraction of the more than 75,000 registered chemicals have gone through complete testing for human health concerns.

If you’re think you might want to take a few small steps to reduce the amount of chemicals in and around your home, I have some ideas for you.

Insect Repellants

In my article, Everyday Plants That Repel Pesky Bugs, I suggested you might plant catnip, citronella, and peppermint near and around the areas where you want to keep mosquitoes away. If you prefer something you can apply directly to your skin, try this mixture I used last summer:

Organic Mosquito Repellant

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup witch hazel

5 drops citronella or eucalyptus essential oil

Mix in a spray bottle and spray directly on skin.

Easy and inexpensive! The only drawback I found was that since it isn’t a lotion or oil, it will run down your arms or legs if you use too much at once. The good news is that a little goes a long way, and you can just set the spray nozzle to a light mist, and you’ll be fine. And you’ll smell good too!

Keeping Your House Clean

If you can get in the habit of immediately removing your shoes when you come in the house, you can greatly reduce the amount of pesticides, chemicals, and dirt in your household. Have you ever thought about all the places the bottoms of your shoes have been? Public restrooms, parking lots, restaurant floors – you can imagine all the stuff you are potentially bringing back to your own floors. If you have kids or pets who play on the floor, it’s especially important to leave your shoes at the door.

As for actual cleaning agents, consider ditching the products you buy and trying these instead:

  • Baking soda to clean sinks, tubs, and toilets
  • Vinegar and water to clean windows, mirrors, and chrome
  • Lemon to fight bacteria and reduce odors

If you want a general all-purpose cleaner, you can mix this up in a big batch:

All-Purpose Cleaner

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

1/2 gallon water

Mix together and store in a couple of labeled spray bottles.

There are tons of other non-toxic recipes for practically any cleaning job. Eartheasy.com has countless ideas for safer dishwasher soap, laundry soap, disinfectants, carpet stain removers, and more.

Controlling pests

Opportunistic insects and rodents may make their way into your home if they think they can find food there. Avoid the temptation to use a pest control service or other chemicals as a preventive measure. Instead, follow these steps to avoid the problem:

  • Keep your house clean, especially your kitchen floors and counters.
  • Take trash out regularly and make sure the trash cans in your house have tight-fitting lids.
  • Think like a bug (or mouse!) and consider their possible entrance sites to get in your house. Caulk windows, install door sweeps, and patch screen holes.

What if the pests have already arrived?

  • Avoid chemical pesticides like Raid or fly strips or any other products that will also release chemicals into the air in your house.
  • If you have ants coming in, you might like to know that they won’t cross a line of cinnamon. If you can block their entrance with a little cinnamon, they will turn around and go elsewhere! I will tell you we had mixed results with this technique this year, since we weren’t able to find their point of entrance. We went through a lot of cinnamon before we just decided to wait them out. Eventually, they left!
  • Ants also hate cucumber peels. Place a few in the spot where the ants are coming in, and consider it their Unwelcome Mat!
  • People in the south often have to deal with roaches, but did you know a mixture of equal parts baking soda and powdered sugar will kill them? Gross, I know. But if you’ve got a roach issues, just spread that mixture around the area where you see them, and they’ll soon be gone.
  • You can make your own fly paper by boiling water, sugar and corn syrup together, and then spreading the mixture on brown paper grocery bags.

There are natural solutions to practically any pest problem. You just have to dig around and do a bit of research to find your answers. It’s a good investment of your time and energy to create a healthier living environment for you and your family and also to protect your loved ones from contamination and potential diseases.

You’ve probably noticed by now that so many of these solutions are much cheaper than products you buy at the store. Easy changes that will  help you live healthier and save money? That’s a 2-for-1 deal you can’t pass up!

Just For Today: Do One Thing You’ve Been Putting Off

 

What’s the one thing you’ve been putting off that you really need to cross off your To Do list? Making a doctor appointment? Getting the oil changed? Registering for a class?

As you know, the more things that crowd your brain, the more “clutter” you have, and the less clearly you are able to see the things that are really important.

So my Just For Today challenge for you is to do one thing on your To Do list that you’ve been putting off too long. Just one thing! It doesn’t have to be anything major. It might be something you can do in a minute or in one phone call. Whatever it is, use today’s Just For Today challenge as your motivation to finally get it done!

 

Just last weekend I FINALLY put all my flowers in planters on my deck. It’s almost the end of June! And I bought those flowers Memorial Day weekend! I’d had a pretty busy couple of weeks, both at work and after hours, but every time I walked by those darn flowers, I kept thinking, “I have got to get those planted,” as they looked back at me all wilty and begging for new soil.

When I finally did plant the flowers, I’m not sure if I got more satisfaction out of knowing how pretty the deck was going to look, or just knowing I wouldn’t have to look at the flowers waiting to be planted anymore. Believe me, once those things were in their new pots, I definitely felt some emotional clutter clear out of my brain! For two weeks it felt like something was nagging me, and now I was free of the nag.

So think about something that you have been needing to get done, something that you keep ignoring in the hopes it will go away, and get it done today! You’ll be glad you did!

Healthy In A Hurry: Veggie Lasagna

 

This week’s Healthy In A Hurry recipe is one I have been making since I was in law school…in other words a looong time! I love this recipe because it is a hearty one-dish meal, is very easy to make, and has the perfect mix of tons of great flavors.

Prep time for this one is about 25 minutes, and then the baking time is 45 minutes, so total in takes over an hour, but once you’ve got it in the oven, you can move on to other things. So, with a prep time of less than a half an hour, I figured it still qualifies as an “in a hurry” dish!

This lasagna is healthy with lots of veggies and some low fat cheeses. And, you don’t even need to cook the noodles before you assemble the dish, since they cook right in the sauce.

Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients

Sauce

1 T. olive oil

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 cups (2 small or 1 large) sliced zucchini

1 jar (26 oz.) prepared spaghetti sauce (I like Trader Joe’s organic tomato sauces)

1 can (14.5 oz.) Italian-style diced tomatoes with liquid

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

_____________________

1 container (15 oz.) low-fat ricotta cheese

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 T. chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

8 to 10 uncooked whole grain lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini. Cook 5-7 minutes until tender.

3. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes with liquid, oregano, and pepper. Set aside.

4. Lightly coat a 9 X 13 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

5. Combine ricotta, Parmesan, egg, parsley, and salt in medium bowl.

6. Spread 2 cups sauce over bottom of prepared dish. Arrange 4-5 lasagna noodles lengthwise and slightly overlapping over the sauce.

7. Spread all of the cheese mixture over the noodles, and then sprinkle evenly with 1 1/2 cups mozzarella.

8. Pour 1 1/2 cups sauce on top of the mozzarella. Layer remaining noodles over sauce, and then top noodles with remaining mozzarella.

9. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.

10. Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes more until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 380 calories, 15 gm total fat, 42 gm carbohydrates, 19 gm protein.

I know this recipe looks long, but believe me – it comes together pretty quickly, and it’s very easy. It’s a great healthier alternative to traditional lasagna. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Download the recipe here: One Move Forward’s Healthy In A Hurry Veggie Lasagna

6 Empowering Steps to Build Self-Discipline, Part 2

photo: Julia Manzerova

 

In the first article of this three-part series, we covered why self-discipline is important and what you can gain from building that skill in Self-Discipline: The Link Between Goals And Accomplishment. The second article, 6 Empowering Steps To Build Self-Discipline, Part 1, covered the first three steps: awareness, self-analysis, and progressive training, and now we’re ready to move on to the last three steps, which are (1) removing temptation, (2) finding inspiration, and (3) resisting the initial urge to overdo it.

Remove Temptation

Now that you have an idea how to identify the areas where you need more self-discipline, you have done some work to identify why you might sabotage yourself, and you have a grasp of how to build your self-discipline skills by progressively training yourself with increasingly tougher challenges, your next step in order to ensure success is removing temptation.

  • If you tend to procrastinate when you should be taking on projects, try to eliminate the distractions. Unplug the TV for a set amount of time on the days you plan to work on more meaningful tasks. Stash your gaming system under the bed, hide your books or magazines out of sight – you get the idea. Regardless of how you usually occupy your time when you are procrastinating, take one or two extra steps to remove that temptation rather than just telling yourself again that you won’t watch television or flip through the new magazines.

 

  • If you want to build self-discipline when it comes to your spending habits, start by limiting the amount of cash in your wallet. Don’t go window shopping or surf shopping sites online – even just for entertainment. You might also try some of my new ideas for resisting the urge to spend that you’ll find in 4 New Tips For Spending Less Money. If you’re one of those people who will spend money if you have it (regardless of whether you need to save or invest), you need to think about all the different things that tempt you to spend money and then design ways to remove that temptation.

 

  • If you want to get better at self-discipline so you can turn away junk food and eat more nutritionally, clean out your cupboards and fridge, and get rid of anything that doesn’t fit the bill. It’s easy to say with your new devotion to self-discipline, you just won’t succumb, but the best plan is to set yourself up to succeed, and you do that by removing any temptation that might cause you to fail.

 

  • Now you get the idea, right? This is an important step, regardless of which area in your life you need to be more self-disciplined. Whatever it is, remove any temptation that could hinder your progress.

Find Inspiration

Remember those “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets? If you think about it, that saying could be a great self-discipline builder. When you want to get better in an area where someone else has already succeeded, you think about what that person would do, and you act accordingly.

Find an inspirational figure in the area that you are working on, and think of that person when you are tempted to let your self-discipline slide. Some examples might be:

  • If you’re trying to get better about exercising, but you’re on the verge of slacking off one day, think about what Olympian Michael Phelps or NFL star Tom Brady would do.
  • If you want to get out of debt and learn to live frugally, think about how Warren Buffett handles his finances, or read some advice from financial journalist Jean Chatzky.

When you feel like your self-discipline is wavering, think about what your idols would do, and count on their judgment to steer you in the right direction. And you don’t even have to depend on celebrities or people in the news to give you a lift. If you have friends who have accomplished goals that are similar to yours, count on them to inspire you and ask for their help along the way if needed.

Don’t Overdo It

Sometimes people get so motivated about overhauling their lives that they try to change everything at once. Before long, it just feels like too much change, and then everything’s a struggle. Don’t make that mistake.

When I suggested training progressively, keep in mind that you should start small and probably only try to change one area of your life at a time. Regardless of how motivated you are, it would be really difficult to give up junk food, start exercising regularly, stop smoking, and start getting enough sleep every night all at once. So do one thing at a time.

And don’t worry that you have to change everything NOW because now is when you are motivated. You will find that as you change one area and get better at self-discipline, your motivation will grow, and you will get better at making lasting changes. The motivation will stick with you!

Think of your lifestyle changes and the gradual building of your self-discipline skill as a marathon, and not a sprint. If you try to change too much at once, you will have a hard time sustaining your momentum for the long term, and you will burn out much quicker.

I hope you are inspired to identify areas in your life where you could use more self-discipline, and then use this six-step plan to help you work on that skill. Once you have mastered self-discipline, you will be well-equipped to make long-lasting changes in any area of your life that needs work. I’d love to hear from you as you follow the plan to get better at self-discipline. Let me know how it goes for you!

6 Empowering Steps To Build Self-Discipline, Part 1

 

photo: Stephen Poff

In my previous article, Self-Discipline: The Link Between Goals And Accomplishment, I talked about the importance of self-discipline and all the things you will be able to do when you build that skill. Most importantly, you will get better at breaking unhealthy habits, overcoming procrastination, and accomplishing goals.

Now I want to give you some steps you can follow that will help you get better at self-discipline, which is such an important component to realizing your dreams and building the life you truly want. Today I’ll start with the first three steps, and in my next article, we’ll go through the final three.

(1) Start With Awareness

You’ve heard the old saying, “the first step to getting help is admitting you have a problem.” That applies here. Take some time to think about your lifestyle, goals, and projects. Now think about what your behaviors are that are helping you to move toward the life you want to have, and also think about your typical behaviors and actions that hinder your progress.

For instance, if you are in debt and you regularly think that you would really like to be debt-free, what are you doing about it? Are you saving money, cutting down on unnecessary purchases, and tracking your spending?

Or are your behaviors are contrary to your goal? Are you buying things whenever you want them? Labeling things as “needs” when really they are “wants”? Spending money you have, without thinking about saving or paying down debt?

Try this exercise: Write down some of your goals (both big and small), and then write down your current behaviors that are affecting your progress toward those goals, both positive and negative. Think about whether one of the negatives is simply “nothing,” in other words you have something you want to accomplish, and although you are doing nothing to hinder yourself, you are also doing nothing to move in the right direction.

(2) Do A Little Self-Analysis

Now that you have an awareness of the behaviors that are hindering your progress, see if you can uncover some of the underlying reasons that you are sabotaging yourself.

    • If you’ve been putting off a project, do you lack the confidence that you will know how to get it done?
    • If you are engaging in an unhealthy habit, are you using that habit to placate an emotional pain?
    • If you haven’t made any progress on a big dream, does it seem so big that you are immobilized to even get started?
    • If you are a procrastinator, why aren’t you making your goals a priority? Why is immediate gratification more important than clearing your To Do list of the things that are weighing you down? If you think really hard about the answers to these questions, you might be able to figure out how to work around them.

Sometimes the thing that keep us from making the right decision is knowledge. What do you need to know in order to finish that project, break that habit, or stop procrastinating? If you feel like there is something that you are lacking, read up on your project or talk to others who have accomplished your goals.

The added bonus of knowing more about the topic is that it naturally will motivate you to take steps in the right direction. Added knowledge will give you power! Try to gain an understanding of why you’re doing these things, then build your knowledge to move around those obstacles.

(3) Train Progressively

If you’re starting to get a better idea of why you aren’t disciplining yourself to do the things you need to do, it’s time to start to change that. And you’re most likely to see progress and stick with it if you start small. Training progressively just means you start with something a bit easy and each time you conquer one step, you raise the bar a bit. Try these steps:

  • Think about an area of your life where you’d like to build self-discipline, and then try to think of one small step that would move you in the right direction. For instance, if you’d like to eat healthier, maybe you should start with skipping your routine afternoon visit to the office vending machine. It’s a small thing, but you are pushing yourself just a bit out of your comfort zone.

 

  • Once you have reached the point where you don’t even think about getting an afternoon snack, increase the challenge. Your next goal might be to eat a healthy lunch every day. If you’re used to going out and grabbing fast food every day, this will be a tougher challenge than skipping the vending machine. But that’s the point – when the challenge is harder, more self-discipline is required. And that’s how you keep building on your ability to discipline yourself.

 

  • Keep taking it up a notch. Once you master one level of self-discipline, think about what you can do to make the challenge even tougher and move up to the next level. Skip dessert? Get up earlier to make sure you have time for a healthy breakfast? Keep training progressively until you have reached your goal of eating healthier.

 

  • Make sure each time you set a new challenge for yourself, it isn’t just a new challenge, but also a tougher one. That’s how you train yourself to get stronger in self-discipline.

 

  • Once you reach a goal in one area, like eating healthy, think about the next area where you’d like to be more disciplined, like exercising regularly. Then start at the beginning again and train yourself in the same progressive way.

Those are the first three steps to help you build self-discipline. Not too painful, right? In my next article, I’ll talk about the final three steps, removing temptation, finding inspiration, and resisting the initial urge to overdo it. For now, though, start thinking about the areas of your life where you could use a little more self-discipline, and also think about your current behaviors that are both helping and hindering those goals. You’ll be on your way to building a more fulfilling life soon!

 

 

Self-Discipline: The Link Between Goals And Accomplishment

 

I was thinking about the above quote today and realized how important that one piece – discipline – is, if you want to reach your goals. You may remember how much of an advocate I am of bucket lists, and I’m a huge believer in setting goals and creating a process to achieve those goals. But the link between all those things you want to do and actually getting them done is self-discipline (and maybe a little motivation).

Self-discipline helps you to do the things you think you should do, and it helps you overcome any feelings to the contrary you might be having in the moment. For instance, if you know you should pay your bills, but you feel like watching television instead, it is self-discipline that spurs you to get moving on those bills.

Sometimes that means sacrificing the immediate pleasure of what you’d rather do, but it’s for the greater cause of accomplishing larger goals.

Self discipline also gives you the power to follow through on plans or decisions you have made, without changing your mind and taking the easier route. When you have self-discipline, you decide (and act) on your actions that are most likely to lead to your own self-improvement and success. You also have the inner strength to overcome procrastination, laziness, and the temptation of instant gratification when you choose to take a stand against those things and follow through on the things you decided are important to you.

If you think about it, it’s very easy to say you will tackle a home-improvement project or that you want to write a novel or that you will get your finances in order. But what good are goals and plans and ideas if you won’t discipline yourself to accomplish those things? Without the self-discipline to work on the goals that matter to you, all you end up with is emotional clutter that feels like extra weight when you constantly have those projects in the back of your mind, always undone.

What Will Self-Discipline Help You Do?

When you develop the skill of self-discipline, it helps you to:

  • Overcome habits that aren’t beneficial to you, like overeating, smoking, not getting enough sleep, etc.
  • Resist temptations like gossiping, drinking more than you should, or spending too much money.
  • Tackle big projects by disciplining yourself to regularly take on the small steps needed to accomplish the goal.
  • Overcome procrastination.
  • Continue working toward a goal long after the initial rush of enthusiasm has gone.
  • Say “no” when you need to and follow through on the things to which you have said “yes.”
  • Be punctual, dependable, honest, patient, and diligent.
  • Realize dreams!

I know that sounds like an awful lot of benefits from learning one skill, and you might think I’m over-promising, but I’m not! Self-discipline will take you far, and it really is the key to achieving all your personal and professional goals.

So now that you recognize how important self-discipline is, I hope that means you are ready to build yours! Tomorrow’s blog post will feature all sorts of ideas to grow your self-discipline skill. Don’t worry – you can start small and then keep building as you get better. Before you know it, you’ll be making decisions every day that move you toward all the things that you value the most! And, for the record, I can really use some bolstering in this department too, so I’ll be growing with you. It’ll be fun (and rewarding) – I promise! 🙂

 

Healthy In A Hurry: Flounder Mediterranean

 

Do you find yourself constantly going back to the same grilled chicken breast with (fill in the blank) when you’re trying to get a healthy meal on the table? I know I do, and there are only so many different ways you can prepare chicken breasts, and after a while, they all taste the same!

I rarely make fish, even though it is a healthy choice, mostly because it’s not on my radar the way the old stand-bys are. So for this week’s Healthy In A Hurry recipe, I have a very simple and easy fish recipe that will take you literally less than 10 minutes to prepare.

Flounder Mediterranean

Ingredients

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 lb. flounder fillets

1 large (28 oz.) can tomatoes in thick puree

1 small can sliced black olives

1 (4 oz.) container crumbled garlic and herb feta cheese

Directions

Place onion in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ glass baking dish. Place fish on top of onion. Top fish with tomato puree. Add blacked olives and then feta on top of tomatoes.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.

That’s it! It really is that simple! I’m guessing this would work with other kinds of fish if that’s what you prefer, although I’ve only tried it with flounder. Also, because I don’t care for the texture of onions, I use dried onion flakes instead. I know a lot of people who don’t care for onions, but I think you’d lose a lot of flavor if you skipped them completely.

Because this dish has a lot of sauce, it goes well with brown rice or quinoa. If you’re not familiar with quinoa, it is a seed that is considered to be a whole grain and is also high in protein and has a nutty flavor. You can find it at your grocery store, and it is as easy to prepare as rice.

Ourbestbites.com has simple instructions you can use if you’d like to try quinoa. It’s a very healthy alternative to white rice, and you can use it in place of rice in almost any recipe or menu. Give it a try! Then add a small side salad, and you’re set.

I hope you’ll try the Flounder Mediterranean! I promise it’s very easy to make, and it adds a whole different flavor to your healthy meals repertoire!

Download the recipe here: One Move Forward’s Healthy In A Hurry Flounder Mediterranean

4 New Tips For Spending Less Money (And One To Ignore)

When it comes to budgeting and spending, you’ve heard all the usual tips like taking your lunch to work instead of eating out or brewing your own coffee instead of picking up Starbucks. But if you’ve done those things and are still looking for a few extra ways to cut down on your spending, I have some ideas for you.

Make yourself a 30-day promise

If you’re in the habit of buying things that aren’t necessities, you can nip that habit by making yourself a 30-day promise. Whenever you want to buy something that you don’t absolutely need, you write down the item and the date you thought about buying it. Promise yourself that if it’s still important to you in 30 days, you’ll buy it.

Periodically revisit that list, and when you hit the 30-day mark since the time you wrote it down, give yourself permission to buy it. More than likely, the strong urge to buy it will be gone. Thirty days isn’t that long to wait for something you really want, and chances are the price will have dropped by then.

Use this trick for anything that’s not a necessity including clothing, shoes, makeup, tools, books, etc. At the very least, you’ll be able to make a clearer and calmer decision after 30 days have passed.

Calculate Purchases in Terms of Hours Worked

Have you ever broken down your salary to calculate your hourly wage? The easy way to do that is to remove the last three zeroes of your salary, and then divide by two. So, if you earn $40,000 per year, that’s approximately $20 per hour.

The next time you are about to make an impulse purchase on something that is not a necessity, consider whether it’s worth the number of hours you worked to get that money. If you make $40,000, is a $200 pair of boots really worth a full 10 hours of work?

Even many household expenses are NOT necessities; they are luxuries. Maybe you are in the habit of spending a lot of money on fertilizer, grass seed, weed killer, birdhouses, and lawn ornaments because you want to have the nicest looking yard in the neighborhood. If you spent $500 beautifying your house and yard this year, consider whether that was worth 25 hours of work, more than half your entire workweek.

Also about small purchases. Rather than picking up a $10 toy for your kid while you are at the store, consider thrift stores, hand-me-downs, or even whether she already has enough toys! You might not think about it at the time, but that impulse $10 you spent took you a half hour of work to earn!

Take Advantage Of Discounts

Except for those obsessive folks on “Extreme Couponing,” not many people cut coupons from the paper anymore. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get discounts. Before heading out to get groceries, do a quick google search of “Tide detergent coupons” or “Heinz ketchup coupons” or whatever brand name items you have on your grocery list. Print from home, and you’re set to go.

Another great source for discounts is RetailMeNot.com, a site that provides discount codes and deals for countless different websites, including percent off and free shipping offers. Promise yourself you will NEVER make a purchase online before checking that site first for a coupon code. I’ve been using them for years, and I can’t even begin to guess how much money I’ve saved. I have no affiliation with them – I’m just a satisfied consumer – but I can almost promise you will save money if you utilize that site.

Take Up An Inexpensive Hobby

Hobbies not only open your world to new ideas and experiences but they also take up your time, which is important if you’re someone who tends to entertain yourself by shopping or going out. If you spend an afternoon biking or geocaching instead of shoe shopping or dropping 20 bucks at the movies, your savings can really add up.

Hobbies don’t have to be about collecting pricey memorabilia or purchasing expensive equipment. Think about different things that might interest you – learning to draw, going fishing or exploring your genealogy – and expand your horizons!

The One To Ignore

In researching this article, I read a simple money-saving tip, “Don’t own a pet – even fish cost money to keep alive.” Ack! When I think about the amount of money we spend on high quality kibble, vet care, and boarding for our three big dogs, I consider it a very good investment for the companionship and joy they give us. Pets add so much to our lives, and there are studies showing pets are good for our mental and physical health. Certainly if you are on a tight budget, consider a smaller pet.

The lesson here – don’t go overboard in your frugality. There are some times where spending a lot of money is still money well spent.

"I'm totally worth it." ~Griffin

I hope I’ve given you some new ideas for spending less money. Spending less on everyday purchases will lead to an increase in your emotional wellness, because you won’t experience the stress that comes about from living beyond your means. Spending less also gives you more breathing room in your budget for the things that really matter to you. I’m not advocating that you don’t spend money – just that you spend it on the things you value the most.

Related Article: Want To Eliminate All Your Money Stress? Make A Budget!