Baked Pancake – A Quick & Healthy Breakfast!

Do you ever lack motivation, time, or energy for fixing breakfast for your family? I know I often do, especially with a baby who doesn’t like to sleep at night. 🙂 Mornings can be rough, but I like to start each day preparing breakfast for my family. One morning, I wanted pancakes, but lacked the motivation to pour and flip, pour and flip (we don’t have a big griddle either, just a cast iron pan, so I usually make them one or two at a time). So I came up with this alternative – baked pancake! The first time I whipped it up, it was an instant hit, and I still find myself making it often. The best part is, we always have leftovers for the next day or two (these freeze up great too). Oh, and they’re pretty healthy too. You really can’t go wrong with these!

The only thing you will need to prep ahead of time, are the oats. This literally takes two minutes right after dinner, or right before you go to bed. It is important to always properly soak oats for maximum nutrition and better digestion. So here is how you’ll prepare the oats for this recipe:

Soaking Oats:

1/2 cup of organic rolled oats

1/2 cup of filtered water

1 tablespoon of organic lemon juice (could also use yogurt or apple cider vinegar)

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Mix these ingredients together, then toss them into a mason jar, seal with the lid, and let it sit overnight. It’s that easy!

If you forget to prepare your oats, you could just sub in with another 1/2 cup of flour for this recipe.

Baked Pancake:

1/4 cup butter (melted)

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup soaked rolled oats

1 1/2 cup sprouted whole wheat flour (or other flour of choice)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease “9×13” glass baking dish with butter or coconut oil. Mix together the butter, eggs, milk, and honey. Mix in the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pour and spread the batter into the baking dish. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and toothpick or knife comes out clean. Cut into 8 squares, and enjoy your delicious baked pancake!

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What easy breakfast recipes do you like to make?

I Love Sugar

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As my daughter’s first birthday approaches, I have been realizing how much sugar our culture consumes for holidays, birthdays, and everyday life. (I’m also realizing how much sugar I consume.) Birthday parties are usually full of cake, candy, ice cream, and other sweets. The amount of sugar most of us consume, should actually make us sick. But our bodies have become somewhat adjusted to the unhealthy amount of sugar we eat.

My daughter has never actually tasted sugar at this point in her life, outside of the natural sugars that are in fruit. We feed her lots of bone broth, grass-fed meats, wild caught salmon, organic fruits and veggies, dried fruit, pastured eggs, and homemade yogurt. We will soon be introducing grains, but only ones that have been prepared properly (organic, non-gmo, and soaked or sprouted grains).

I recently began preparing muffins with icing for her birthday party, and followed some wholesome recipes that only used natural sweeteners (no actual sugar). My husband and I strongly disliked the first batch of icing I made. There wasn’t anything to sweeten it besides a banana. Our daughter on the other hand, enjoyed it a lot! At first we wondered how she enjoyed something we so strongly disliked (and we aren’t picky eaters). Then it dawned on me, she hasn’t been exposed to sugar and wasn’t used to the amount of sweetness that we’ve become so used to with foods. It was probably just the right amount of sweet for her. Needless to say, we realized that if we didn’t enjoy it, most likely not many guests at her party would either. So I attempted another icing recipe using maple syrup to sweeten it. This one was truly delicious!

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Our family is really striving to cut back on our sugar consumption, and find recipes that use only natural sweeteners (in small amounts) when we do get a craving for something sweet. God calls us to take care of our bodies, and God has placed my husband and I in charge of nourishing our baby girl’s little body. I don’t want to fill her body with toxic, unhealthy foods. We have to teach her by example.

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

While organic cane sugar is better than non-organic bleached sugar, it’s still not good for you. So we are starting a new sort of journey with our food, and trying to find ways to eliminate sugar and use mostly natural sweeteners (in limited amounts). If you’re unsure of what sweeteners are natural, check out this great post by Food Renegade. Natural sweeteners are better than the white stuff, but should still be used in moderation.

I look forward to sharing some recipes with all of you as I discover sweet treats to make using natural sweeteners. For starters, let me share this delicious maple buttercream recipe with you! I’m also making these yummy gummy snacks for party favors.

I would love to hear from you! What yummy dessert or snack recipes do you make that use natural sweeteners?

Delicious Yogurt Dressing

I started making my own salad dressing 2-3 years ago when I discovered how unhealthy store bought dressings are. Even organic salad dressing! I’m big on knowing what ingredients I’m feeding my family, and store bought dressings are full of so many questionable ingredients.

You could skip the dressing and use a little lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or avocado instead. But if you’re like me, you might still crave a creamy dressing to drizzle over your salad. Salad dressing is one of the easiest things you can make homemade. I encourage you to start looking up some recipes!

I’m going to share one of my favorite recipes for salad dressing. This dressing goes so fast in our house. It’s so delicious (we use it as a dip too), and we don’t feel guilty about using too much dressing. Why? Because it’s made from homemade yogurt! In case you missed my post on how to make your own yogurt, click here.

As I was trying to come up with an alternative to ranch dressing, I ended up with this delicious dressing. Although it does resemble ranch a little, it’s got a delicious taste all of it’s own. You can easily whip this dressing up in a matter of minutes. You’re going to love it!

Delicious Yogurt Dressing

1 1/2 cups of yogurt (if you have really thick yogurt, sub 1/4 cup of yogurt for milk)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

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See how simple that was? I love using this jar for our homemade dressing. It’s easy to pour the dressing from, and it comes with several salad dressing recipes on the jar!

The Food We’ve Been Given

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
 -Genesis 1:29

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At the end of every month, I make a menu plan for the next month. I used to always plan our meals around what my husband and I desired to eat, instead of planning our meals around the foods that are in season. There was a time years ago, when we wouldn’t have had access to the variety of foods and produce that we have access to today during each season. But just because we have access to certain produce all year long, doesn’t mean it’s cheap or fresh! I’m sure you’ve noticed, when certain produce isn’t in season, the price at the market goes up and the quality of that fruit or vegetable goes down. So why not eat foods that are actually in season, fresh, and local (and save a chunk of money)!

I highly recommend the book, ‘Simply in Season.’ This is the book that changed the way I began cooking and menu planning. We now enjoy meals that are rich with fresh, in-season produce. We’ve also started saving a lot of money on our monthly groceries!

So what produce can you get each season? The following list is by no means complete. And there are some foods that can be found locally in more than just one season. This list is to just give you a general idea of the different varieties of produce that you can cook with in each season.

Spring:

  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • New potatoes
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Wild Greens

Summer:

  • Asparagus
  • Berries
  • Cherries
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Green Beans
  • Melon
  • Peaches
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes

Fall:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Pears
  • Pumpkin
  • Swiss Chard
  • Winter Squash

Winter:

  • Apples (able to be kept in cold storage)
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Winter Squash (butternut, acorn, etc.)

You might be wondering what kind of meals you can make with the produce that’s available in the winter. Here’s an example of what one week of our meals looks like:

Sunday: Roast a chicken with potatoes and carrots (make bone broth overnight).

Monday: Chicken soup (use leftover chicken and homemade bone broth from Sunday) with potatoes, leeks, and carrots. (I had enough to freeze for another meal!) Serve with homemade bread and homemade applesauce.

Tuesday: Sweet potato quesadillas (Filling: sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and seasonings. Sometimes I’ll add chicken if we still have some leftover from Sunday.)

Wednesday: Breakfast for dinner (Apple spice oat waffles with bacon and eggs)

Thursday: Bean potato soup (with homemade bone broth from Sunday). Serve with roasted veggies (Whatever we have extra of… sweet potato, carrot, squash, etc.)

Friday: Leftover Bean potato soup (and I still had enough to freeze for another meal!)

Saturday: Butternut squash shepherd’s pie. Serve with applesauce.

I hope that gives you an idea of how cooking in the winter can be delicious and easy. Especially when you double recipes for the freezer. I do freeze some produce in the summer (canning is another great way to preserve summer produce), so we can still make a meal that calls for bell peppers, green beans, etc., without paying a high price for those foods.

We are learning to be grateful for the foods God has placed before us in each season. It’s also fun to have seasonal favorites with certain meals. Then they become even more of a treat!

Do you cook your meals based off of the produce that’s in season? What are some of your favorite winter meals?

Homemade Yogurt

We go through quite a lot of yogurt in our house. We use yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, dips, and dressings. We love eating it with granola or fruit or mixing it into our smoothies!

Thankfully yogurt has a lot of health benefits. Yogurt is full of probiotics, which are ‘good bacteria.’ Our bodies need this good bacteria to keep our digestive systems healthy.

Good quality, organic yogurt from pastured cows can get quite expensive. We were paying around $7 per quart. If you go through yogurt as fast as we do, it can get pricey. Thankfully, I’ve learned to make our own and only spend about $2 per quart. That’s a big savings! Homemade yogurt is delicious and easy to make – and a lot of fun too!

The supplies you will need:

  • Pot for heating the milk
  • 1 quart mason jar (But I recommend making more than 1 quart at a time!)
  • 1/4 cup of yogurt from pastured cows (MUST have live cultures!) per quart
  • Thermometer
  • Raw milk or whole milk
  • Whisk
  • Cooler

Making yogurt is so simple. First you measure out the amount you want to make. Today I just made a quart from the leftover milk we had. So I measured out my 4 cups of milk and poured it into the pot.

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Next you’ll turn the heat on medium-high and whisk the milk constantly, until the temperature reaches 175 degrees F°.

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Let the temperature cool until it reaches 110 degrees F°. At this time you’ll add the proper amount of yogurt (again make sure the yogurt you use has live cultures in it). Very gently whisk the yogurt into the milk.

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Pour into your jar/jars.

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Last, fill a cooler with hot water from your sink (I turn mine as hot as it will get and have found that this is the perfect temperature for keeping the yogurt at 110 degrees F°. Close your cooler and let sit for 8-10 hours until it has thickened into yogurt! The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will become.

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Place the yogurt in the refrigerator. And you now you have some delicious, homemade yogurt! Once you try out this recipe and see how easy this is, you’ll probably want to double or even triple this recipe the next time around! 🙂

Homemade Yogurt:

4 cups of raw milk or whole milk

1/4 cup of yogurt (must have live cultures in it)

Heat milk in a pot over medium-high heat to 175 degrees F°. Whisk milk constantly. Once it reaches 175 degrees F°, turn heat source off. Once the milk has cooled down to 110 degrees, add 1/4 cup of yogurt. Gently whisk this into the milk. Pour into a 1 quart mason jar. Fill a small cooler up with hot tap water (temperature should be around 110 degrees) and place the jar in the cooler. Seal the cooler and let sit for 8-10 hours. The longer you let it sit, the thicker your yogurt will be. Immediately refrigerate the yogurt once it’s thickened.

Then enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade yogurt!

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A Healthier Pantry Part 2

This is part 2 of a 3 part article series on some simple switches you can start making towards a healthier kitchen pantry. Changing your diet can be overwhelming, but these 3 articles are a great place to begin. Don’t dump everything out at once (unless you can afford to), instead just replace your foods with healthier ones as you run out! Here are the next five items you can add to your list of foods to replace.

#1. Coffee and Tea

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Start switching over to organic brands as you run out of coffee and tea. And better yet, switch to organic fair trade coffee and tea to support small organic farms! My current favorite coffee is Equal Exchange Fair Trade Organic Coffee. Equal Exchange also has several kinds of organic tea available as well. I am just getting more into drinking tea lately, as coffee has always been my hot beverage of choice. I’ve currently been hooked on Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea and Peaceful Mama Tea.

#2. Spices

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Start switching your spices over to an organic brand. Organic spices don’t contain dangerous chemicals and pesticides, unlike non-organic spices. I buy organic spices in bulk when I can to save money, or buy the Simply Organic or Frontier brands.

When choosing salt, check the label to ensure the only ingredient is salt. Also, salt that is bright white has most likely been refined – that is not the natural color of salt. Do a little research before selecting a brand. A trusted brand of salt that often choose, is called Redmond Real Salt.

#3. Brown Sugar

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Brown Sugar, like regular sugar, has been refined and has lost any nutritional value due to being extremely processed. Brown sugar is typically made from sugar beets, which most likely contain GMOs. So overall it’s just not good stuff!

Rapidura and Sucanat are good substitutes to brown sugar. Maple syrup (see #10) could be used in certain recipes, but be sure to look up conversions. Sometimes though, you have a recipe and you just want to use some good old brown sugar. So there are two options for a solution.

The first option is to buy an organic, non-GMO brown sugar. Two brands that make this are, Wholesome Sweeteners and Woodstock. Wholesome Sweeteners can be purchased online through Vitacost (Vitacost also has their own brand of organic non-GMO brown sugar).

The second option would be to make your own using organic cane sugar and organic molasses. Try Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Blackstrap Molasses. Simply add molasses one teaspoon at a time to however much sugar the recipe calls for, and mix until the taste and color are how you prefer!

 

#4. Chocolate

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Switch out your chocolate bars, chocolate chips, baking cocoa, and hot cocoa for organic and non-GMO. Just as for anything else, read labels and be sure to read the list of ingredients! To list a few brands, try Alter Eco, NOW Foods Healthy Foods, and Ah!laska. Though not an organic brand, Enjoy Life is non-GMO, has a simple list of ingredients, and is dairy, nut, and soy free for those with allergies. Also, while they do not have the non-GMO label, Equal Exchange also offers some great organic chocolate products.

#5. Syrup

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If you’ve been buying regular pancake syrup instead of real maple syrup, just take a look at the list of ingredients! You’ll find a list of harmful ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, and preservatives to list a few. Switch to real maple syrup (where maple syrup is the only ingredient). If you want to take it one step further, choose a Grade B maple syrup. Grade B is stronger in flavor and richer in nutritional value than Grade A. Try NOW Foods Real Food Organic Maple Syrup Grade B.

Check out part 3 of this article next week for my last set of five healthy switches you can make in your pantry. What healthy switches have you made to your pantry?

A Healthier Pantry Part 1

Sometimes it’s hard to know where to start when you want to make healthy changes. Switching from an unhealthy diet, to a natural, organic, real food diet, can seem overwhelming. You may not want to completely throw away all of the items in your pantry, so instead, I encourage you to replace items in your pantry little by little. When we started this journey three years ago, we couldn’t afford to just trash everything and start over, so I replaced items after we finished the products that we already had (unless I felt it was truly necessary).

This pantry series is meant to be simple for those who are just starting out on this real food journey. So to prevent this post from being overwhelming, I’m sticking to giving you basic options to switch to. I’ll get more in depth on certain topics like flour, pasta, sugar, etc. in later posts, since you could take many of these food items a step or two further.

I’ve broken this article into 3 parts. You can make these changes in any order that you desire, but I think it’s important to know the reasoning of why these switches are healthier alternatives. Each part of this article will break down 5 different pantry items that you can switch for a healthier pantry. So lets get started!

#1. Flour

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First, switch to an organic, non-GMO brand of flour. One of our favorite brands is Arrowhead Mills.

The first healthy switch would be to buy whole-wheat flour. Regular wheat flour (which is white flour) has been refined, which means it’s been extremely processed, as opposed to whole-wheat flour, which has been minimally processed and contains all of the grain.

While whole-wheat is a very healthy switch, I personally had trouble switching over from white flour at first. To make the transition easier, start by putting ¼ whole-wheat flour and ¾ white flour for recipes. Then switch to ½ of each and so on. I personally like the taste of ½ of each, as does my husband, and occasionally bake with this blended mixture. Another favorite flour of ours is spelt flour, which I enjoy for baking bread.

And to take it one step further, the absolute healthiest flour is from sprouted grains. Sprouted grains are packed with more vitamins and minerals than whole grains, and are much easier for the body to digest. But I’ll talk more on the world of flour in a later post. J

#2. Sugar

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There are several natural sweeteners you could use to replace sugar. I’ll start with what I think is the easiest switch, since you don’t have to adjust the measurements for recipes. Sucanat or Rapidura is a great start towards a healthier pantry. I had some confusion on the difference between these two, but after researching, I have come to realize that they are one in the same. They are both whole cane sugar.

Whole cane sugar is different than cane sugar in the way that it’s processed. Unlike other sugars, it is unrefined and unbleached. It has a higher nutritional value because it is minimally processed – just squeezed, dried, and ground.

Honey (local honey) and maple syrup (see part 2 of this article) are also great replacements for sugar. Be sure to look up conversions for these, since it won’t be an even switch for measurements in recipes.

#3. Oil

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This is a tough one, because many of the available oils are extremely harmful to our health. Most contain GMOs, are highly processed, and have negative effects on our bodies. I decided to get rid of our vegetable and canola immediately after learning just how unhealthy they are.

One of the best oils to use is coconut oil. Coconut oil is a ‘good for you’ fat, and is beneficial to our health. When choosing a brand, it’s important to look for a few things. Make sure it’s organic and is non-GMO. Also choose a virgin coconut oil that is unrefined. The brand we currently use is Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

Also, do a quick search, and you will see that there are tons of other healthy uses for coconut oil!

Extra-virgin olive oil is another alternative, but use caution with this. It is healthiest when consumed raw (such as in salad dressings), or when cooking at a low temperature. It should also be cold-pressed and unfiltered (should be cloudy in appearance if unfiltered). Many olive oil labels are faulty, because there are no labeling regulations for olive oil. Be sure to take time to research before choosing a brand.

Avacado oil, red palm oil, and seasame oil are also healthy oils to try! I have yet to try these, because I’m so impressed with coconut oil.

#4. Pasta

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Just like with flour, start transitioning to whole-wheat pasta by slowly mixing white and whole-wheat together. If you still aren’t crazy about whole-wheat, try using Einkorn pasta (or flour too!). Einkorn is loaded with more nutrients than regular wheat, but the flavor is so much lighter than whole-wheat. Because Einkorn has never been hybridized, it’s known to be good for those who have difficulty digesting gluten. We sometimes use Jovial Organic Einkorn Pasta and love the flavor!

#5. Baking Powder

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Most of the baking powder found in grocery stores contains aluminum, and consumption of aluminum has been linked to developing Alzheimer’s disease. There are two options for a healthier alternative. The first option would be to buy aluminum free baking powder. Since most baking powder contains cornstarch, (which most likely contain GMOs) the second and best option would be to make your own. You can quickly make your own by mixing up 2 tablespoons of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder, and ¼ cup of cream of tartar.

I hope these five switches help make your transition to a real food diet a little smoother. Check out part 2 next week, for five more simple pantry switches!

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve! I’ve decided to leave you with my very own chocolate chip cookie recipe, in case you’re still needing something sweet to make this Christmas. And who doesn’t like a delicious batch of chocolate chip cookies?

These cookies are made with coconut oil instead of butter, and can easily be completely dairy free if you use these chocolate chips.

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Brittney’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 3/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips

Use a mixer to combine the coconut oil and sugars. Mix in the egg and vanilla.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add the ingredients to the original mixture. Turn your mixer on low, and mix all the ingredients together for several minutes.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scoop dough into individual balls of cookie dough, and place them on a cookie sheet. This recipe makes about 2 dozen medium-large cookies, or 3 dozen small cookies. (I usually make the smaller cookies and use a tablespoon scoop.)

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just turned golden brown (over baking will make these cookies too hard), about 13-15 minutes (depending on the size of your cookie, the time will vary).

* Note: Because these are made with coconut oil, do not refrigerate the dough for later use. I’ve tried this before, and you will just end up with very hard cookie dough!

I hope you enjoy these warm chocolate chip cookies, and have a Merry Christmas!

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5 Tips For Eating Organic On A Budget

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I used to think it was impossible to eat organic without having to increase our budgeted amount for groceries. And when I first ventured down the road to a natural lifestyle, our grocery bill did increase. But along the way of that journey, I’ve found a couple of different methods for getting our grocery bill almost right back to where it was before. If you want to switch to an organic and wholesome diet without having to change your monthly grocery budget, these tips might be helpful to you!

1.) Coupon

It took me a while to learn that you actually can coupon for organic products. It is definitely more challenging, but it is possible. I save anywhere from $5-$15 a week on coupons. The key to using coupons with organic foods, is to be flexible to change what products you buy, based on what coupons are available. But be sure not to buy a product that you don’t really need just because you have a coupon, or you’ll end up spending more in the end. I don’t get my coupons from a newspaper, I print them off from online. Here are my favorite places to print coupons from:

Mambo Sprouts

Common Kindness

This site always posts great deals on organic products:

The Green Backs Gal

In addition to those sites, I check websites of specific brands we buy for coupons as well. Some sites you have to subscribe to in order to get coupons, so I’ve made a separate e-mail address just for coupons. It takes a little more time to look up individual coupons, but the savings is worth the few extra minutes!

2.) Have a Plan

I know if I didn’t meal plan each week/month, we’d quickly lose track of our grocery money! There are plenty of nutritious and delicious meals that can be made at a low cost. We try to do at least one, if not two, meatless dinners a week to help save money, since quality meat is more expensive. Rice and beans doesn’t have to be boring (we’ve found lots of yummy ways to make them)! Veggie quesedilllas and black bean quinoa burgers are just a few of our favorite meatless meals. We also try to do fish once a week, ground beef once or twice a week, and chicken usually two or three times a week. Other favorite meals get added in to the mix as well, such as a pot roast or breakfast for dinner. I also try for at least one or two of our meals per week to be crock-pot meals (which I try to have them pre-made in freezer bags) for those extra busy days.

3.) A Little Extra Time in the Kitchen

I absolutely love being in the kitchen and cooking from scratch. But if spending hours in the kitchen isn’t your thing (and I rarely have hours to spend in the kitchen!), there are still so many things you can save money on by making homemade, without spending countless hours in your kitchen. I pre-make a lot of things in a big quantity, and then freeze most of it. Once you start getting a stash built in your freezer, you’ll spend a lot less time in the kitchen. When I make bread, I make extra and then wrap it up in and tuck it away in the freezer.

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A few other things I make ahead and freeze are, cookie dough, muffins, granola bars, homemade chicken nuggets (a healthy and quick alternative to store bought), applesauce and breakfast wraps to name a few. And by making things yourself instead of pre-made, you’re saving money and knowing exactly what ingredients you’re putting into your body!

You’d be surprised at how many store bought items you can make in a matter of minutes. I make ranch dressing with yogurt for salads and dips, and it takes all but 5 minutes to whip together the 6 ingredients!

4.) Consider Buying in Bulk and Shopping Online

Buying in bulk is an initial up front cost, but it is so worth it! We save a nice chunk of money through doing so. Look into a membership at a place like BJs or Costco, or compare prices online. I shop at BJs and order from both Amazon and Vitacost. I’ve recently heard of another source called Azure Standard (I haven’t placed an order yet, but their prices seem very reasonable). Online ordering is so nice because it’s pretty easy to order enough for free shipping, and then you save on gas money as well. Plus it’s so nice getting grocery’s delivered right to your front door!

5.) Buy Local (and store up for the winter!)

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Produce is obviously the cheapest in the summer time, and it’s usually the cheapest when bought straight from a local farmer. Find a farmer nearby who grows organic produce and stock up! Buy double of certain items to freeze or can for the long winter months when produce is expensive and not fresh or local. Having a full pantry or freezer will help save money when winter rolls around! Check out this site to find farms in your area:

Local Harvest

I hope these tips can help you save money on healthy food, so that you can stretch your dollar even further. I’d love to hear how you save money on organic food!

 

How to Stop Wasting Food

Over the last three years of being married, I’ve slowly learned one “skill” that has helped us save a lot of money on food. That “skill” is to not waste or throw away any food. When we first got married, I’d forget about certain foods we had, especially fresh produce. I’d end up discovering something rotten or moldy and have to pitch it. I hated doing this, and felt guilty each time I’d throw something away, knowing there are people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Over the past three years, I’ve grown and learned as a homemaker, and have become more and more involved in our kitchen. I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking, and since getting married, my passion for being in the kitchen has only increased!

If you find yourself throwing away food all the time, this article is for you. I have a few tips on how I’ve managed to change my ways and stop wasting food.

First, always have a menu plan. You’ll spend less money in doing so, and only buy ingredients that you actually need for specific meals.

Of course, you’ll want keep fresh produce on hand, like fruits and veggies and salad, so keep tabs on anything “extra” that you buy that’s not needed for a specific meal. If you have trouble remembering what you bought, keep a tiny list somewhere on your fridge.

If you have leftovers from a meal, and no one eats them the next day for lunch or dinner, immediately pop the leftovers into a container and into the freezer. It will be so nice to pull out on a day where you’re really busy or feel too exhausted to make anything (I always make too much soup, and actually just put some in our freezer today – enough for another meal!).

Anytime you have something that’s not getting eaten up, immediately look up a recipe for it, or pack it up and put it in your freezer for another time. We seem to struggle with the same foods, so I’ll give some examples of what I do to prevent food from going bad and having to be thrown out.

One item we always have trouble with is bananas.

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We either eat them up really quick, or end up leaving them sit forever on our counter. As soon as they get extremely ripe, whatever we have leftover, I make into banana muffins.

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Last night I made a double batch and then froze the two dozen muffins, and now we’ve got an easy snack for the rest of the next few weeks. There’s really a lot of produce that can be turned into muffins or bread. Zucchini, carrots, berries, apples, pumpkins etc.

When we first got married, we always purchased store-bought bread (now I make our bread) and we always seemed to be throwing out bread. One loaf took awhile for two people to get through before going bad. So I started keeping it in the freezer and only getting it out as needed. Now that I make our bread, I make it in round bowls (I make peasant bread which is about the easiest bread recipe you’ll find!), and often have end pieces that we don’t eat. I stash those away in our freezer. Once I have a lot of end pieces, I take them out and make a delicious french toast casserole. You could do this with end pieces from any bread, if you find no one in your house likes those end pieces. You could also make breadcrumbs, croutons, or bread pudding.

Another food item often found left over, is beans.

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I often soak more beans than needed (it can be so deceiving since they increase in size after soaking), and while we try to incorporate them into meals to save money, beans aren’t exactly a favorite here. So I’ve learned to use up leftover beans in numerous ways. Leftover kidney beans get made into chili, leftover navy (or other white beans) into a chicken soup or chili, and black beans into black bean burgers or black bean soup. I make our yummy black bean burgers by mixing the beans with cooked quinoa, some spices, and an egg, and then form them into patties to freeze.

The real key to not wasting food is to be creative, and freeze, freeze, freeze! If you need inspiration, I’m sure a quick search on the internet will guide you to a great recipe for whatever item you want to save before going bad. This will give you the skill of turning anything into a meal or snack and ultimately save you lots of money on groceries!