Healthy(ish) cooking on a Budget(ish)

Who am I? And why I started this blog.

Who am I? And why I started this blog.

Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to click on this page.

I am Amanda, a 20-something girl living in the Pacific Northwest who loves to cook (obviously).

My passion for cooking started when I was very young, sometimes in the kitchen and sometimes on the playground. I made many fancy birthday celebrations in my Fisher-Price kitchen for my stuffed animals, most notably “Teddy” my teddy-bear that turned 5 quite a few times a year. In the real kitchen, my mom taught me the basics of cooking from the time I started walking (nah, probably even when I was in the womb).

One of Teddy's Birthday Parties

I had a dream of opening a Bed & Breakfast when I was a kid. It was going to be called “Amanda’s Country Inn” and I was going to always have fresh made muffins available for my guests. Somehow I went into sports medicine instead- not sure where I went wrong!

Growing up we always have a great vegetable garden with out-of-this-world sized zucchini and other such produce. Therefore, we always ate a rather healthy diet whenever we had a homecooked meal and consequently, I really enjoy cooking healthy. Just ask my mom, she’ll tell you stories about how I used to tell everyone that olives and brussels sprouts were my favorite foods (still are-had them on my pizza the other day!).

amandacook2 My brother & I in our garden.

But alas, then I went to college. And with college came strict budgets, no time, and long Michigan winters. I still cooked whenever possible, but it was never as healthy as it could be and never enough nutrients.

There were days that I’d skip breakfast to get to class on time, eat animal crackers and cheerios for a late lunch at my job at the YMCA, and then go to my other job at the frozen yogurt shop and eat leftover frozen yogurt at 2am for dinner. Not exactly a healthy diet, even though I’d try to tell myself that the fruit on the frozen yogurt was nutritious. Overall, I gained about 15 pounds in college- not exactly where I wanted to be.

About a year after college and after my move to the Pacific Northwest, land of the organic food and fresh farmer’s markets, I decided that it was time to change my eating habits and get back into the habit of cooking most meals. I started cooking “healthy-ish” meals, or as some people would like to call it: the 80/20 rule. Mostly healthy, but maybe not the healthiest version of the meal- because who doesn’t love sour cream on their enchiladas?  I lost those 15+ pounds of college weight within 4 months and started feeling so much lighter and better.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2017. Still feeling great overall, but my boyfriend and I took a good look at our budget and realized we could probably cut out some of our grocery budget to save for other things. So, then I started shopping on a budget(ish). Part of our budget goals are to only eat out one night a week, rather than the two or three that we had been doing. After a long day of work, it’s hard to resist the urge to just pick up Chipotle on the way home! But those dollars and calories add up fast. By buying all my groceries on Sunday (or Monday, let’s be honest), I can have fresh dinners easily prepped and ready to go by the time we get home from work and usually leftovers to take for lunch the next day.

 Wine always makes cooking more fun! 

       So why this blog?

Because of you! When I started sharing some of my food creations on my Instagram, Facebook, and office kitchen counter people started asking for recipes and telling me to start a blog. As someone who loves to cook, loves to photograph my cooking, and loves to help others live a healthy lifestyle, I thought “why not?”.

So here is Sweet Basil & Thyme:

a food blog with healthy(ish) recipes on a budget(ish)

I’m not following a specific diet, although I tend to personally try to eat dairy free & flexitarian (mostly vegetarian but occasional meat). But my recipes are personally taste tested by my meat & dairy loving boyfriend before I share them, and by my dairy & gluten free Mom within a few days of posting.  I do try to share a variety of foods for everyone and suggest edits for personal diet needs and preferences. Please always feel free to suggest alternatives!

Thanks for tagging along on this adventure and please always feel welcome to give feedback and let me know which recipes you’ve tried!


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