Stephanie Langford's blog Keeper of the Home has long been one of my favorite real food, healthy living blogs. The information she presents is always of interest to me and she really connects with her readers.
I was thrilled when Stephanie published Real Foods on a Real Budget. Since delving into traditional eating approximately a year ago, I have been struggling with how to do this on a limited budget that has very little wiggle room. Foods found in a traditional diet typically cannot be purchased with coupons or discounts and are usually so very limited in quantities available in my area that it makes finding a stock up sale difficult. I asked Stephanie if I could review a copy of her book as I felt that not only would I benefit but that many of my readers would benefit from her insights as well.
Stephanie opens this book with a really informative, honest introduction. She acknowledges that there are a lot of terms and phrases circling around nutrition and healthy living in today's environment. Instead of focusing her book on one “type” of nutritional lifestyle, Stephanie finds the common ground in all of them. I really appreciate the fact that she takes the time to outline the commonalities in different nutritional lifestyles and makes it clear that she knows that everyone reading this book will not all be on the same page about what healthy eating looks like.
Stephanie says, “My main goal is to encourage, inspire, equip and challenge you as to how you can make your family's diet look the way that you believe it should be, without compromising due to budgetary constraints.” This book does just that as Stephanie crafts a well written, easy to understand, and concise book focused on making real foods affordable.
Why I loved this book and why everyone interested in making real foods affordable needs to read it:
1. Stephanie walks the reader through the process of setting up a realistic budget. I thought that I had a pretty good system in place for my food budget but after giving some thought to the questions Stephanie posed and the budgeting groundwork she outlines, I realized that my budget was not very accurate. Hence why I was not able to stick to it. Stephanie pointed out a lot of little things that I has missed in budget planning. She also provides some really wonderful suggestions about various budgeting methodologies so the reader can select the one that best suits him or her.
2. Stephanie clearly outlines where to find real foods, what shopping options are out there, and how to effectively do produce and price comparisons. She has even provided readers with printable price comparison worksheets. How easy does that make things?
3. Stephanie presents logical, easy to follow information about meal planning including why you need to do it, the different methods, the pros, the cons, and even discusses seasonal meal planning in additional to a whole host of other extremely useful information. Personally, I am really good at meal planning but for those readers who have never done it or are failing in their attempts, this chapter alone makes the book a wise purchase. Trust me – you will be an expert meal planner after Stephanie gets done with you!
4. The book outlines what products you can easily make at home with better quality ingredients at a better price per unit. Great discussion about finding time to cook from scratch. This is a great inspiration for busy moms and dads who argue that they do not have time to cook from scratch. Stephanie does not belittle anyone for not having enough hours in the day to make it work. She does however, provide some insight into how you can slowly begin to implement more homemade foods into your schedule.
5. There is an empowering chapter about coupons. Wow! And here I thought that coupons did not apply to real foodies. The resources Stephanie provides along with her overall discussion about how to make coupons work for you is invaluable. Every budget conscious mom needs to read this chapter whether you decide to eat real foods exclusively, partially, or not at all.
6. In Chapter Ten, Stephanie talks about having an “aha” moment. Well, in my opinion, Chapter Ten IS an “aha” moment. Wow! In this chapter, Stephanie asks questions like: What do I have available to me? How can I use it to meet a need? How could I make do with what I already have and not need to buy something else? How do the costs break down and is this really worth it? She offers some very creative solutions, many that I had never considered and cannot wait to implement. Chapter 12 piggybacks off of this a little and Stephanie offers great insight by sharing tips from real people like you and I about all those little things that we overlook but that can count in a big way!
7. One feature that I just love are the Wisdom from Women tips scattered throughout the book. These tips are from real moms, grandmothers, working women and the like about how they put all of Stephanie's guidelines and information into practice. I enjoyed reading them all and gleaned a lot of time tested, useful tips and tricks.
Stephanie's wisdom certainly does not end with those few points I outlined above. A few other things I learned were how to be more effective at buying in bulk; how to have a properly stocked pantry and what a real food pantry should look like; how to store surplus foods (so much that I thought I knew about this but didn't); why it is important to and best to eat locally and eat what is in season; and how to grow your own food (and why you should do it) as well as how to preserve your bounty. As if that was not enough, Stephanie provides an exhaustive resource list at the end of her book. She has pulled together EVERY resource you will ever need. Trust me. I checked most of them out!
Overall Stephanie provides her readers with an invaluable look at meal planning, food selection, purchasing options, food preparation, and food storage. The fact that she also enlightens us on how to do this within a limited budget is just icing on the cake! Her book is palatable, has a great flow, and should be on everyone's must read list. Times are tough right now but eating healthy should not have to be.
Stephanie is generously offering one lucky reader a copy of her Real Foods on a Real Budget Ebook.
Here is how to enter:
Mandatory Entry –Leave a comment here telling me how you could benefit from reading Real Foods on a Real Budget. Be sure to add your email address in this entry.
Extra Entries (Do one, do them all, do none at all). Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry. You do not need to put your email address in the extra entry comments.
- Follow Hybrid Rasta Mama's blog on Google Friend Connect. If you already do this, that counts too
- Subscribe to Hybrid Rasta Mama's blog via email or RSS feed. If you already do this, that counts too!
- Subscribe to Keeper of the Home's blog via email or RSS feed. If you already do this, that counts too!
- Become a fan of Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook. If you are already a fan that counts too! (You must use your personal FB page NOT your business or blog FB page).
- Become a fan of Keeper of the Home on Facebook. If you are already a fan that counts too! (You must use your personal FB page NOT your business or blog FB page).
Good luck to everyone! This giveaway opens on Thursday, April 21, 2011. All entries will close at 11:59pm on Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 27th. You will have 24 hours to contact me and claim your prize after I announce your name and contact you via email otherwise a new winner will be drawn. Winners are selected from random.org.
Want to purchase the book now? (Hint, hint…you should!) Stephanie is offering a generous coupon code good for ANY of her books. Simply enter HRMAMA15 to receive 15% off any of her books. Please order using the link below. I'll be honest – I get a little something if you purchase through this link. J It helps support this blog.