Stacy and Erik live in Colorado with their two young daughters. Erik is an active duty infantryman and earned a Purple Heart in Afghanistan. Stacy works and is studying to be a nurse. Both parents are focused on finishing school and building a bright future for their daughters.
With both parents in school and working, money is tight. The family receives WIC benefits to help get by. Stacy spends about an hour and a half every week scanning the grocery circulars and clipping coupons. “I shop when stuff is really cheap,” she says. “We saved money to buy a deep freezer so that I can store my meats, my most expensive items.”
Cooking Matters was offered at their local Head Start center, and Stacy signed up. She had a pretty good idea about healthy food before Cooking Matters, but she is now more conscious about her choices when grocery shopping. “I learned quite a few new things, like unit pricing, that I didn’t really look for before.”
Stacy now buys in bulk and freezes what she’s not going to use right away. She’s also taking portion size into account more - a 32 oz. block of cheese now lasts a couple of weeks because she weighs each portion. “I feel like I was wasting a lot of money,” Stacy says of her time before Cooking Matters.
The family has liked a number of recipes that Stacy learned in class. Stovetop Mac and Cheese was popular with the girls, and Stacy bulked it up with broccoli and chicken. Pineapple Carrot Muffins are in regular rotation in the household. For dinner tonight, the family is having a casserole with tuna, broccoli and brown rice.
Even with her background in nursing and interest in healthy eating, Stacy feels she learned a lot in Cooking Matters. “I think the most important thing I got out of it is knowing the better choice,” she explains.