Saturday, October 30, 2010

16 must have items for your pantry

I recently read a great article by Lisa Turner called Screamin' Grocery Store Deals 16 Cheap,Organic Foods. After reading it I realized not many people know which produce is in season and a great deal. Eating seasonal is the best way to eat fresh and keep you on budget.  Lisa came up with a list of 16 organic deals man of which are currently in season and will save you some money. Here's her list and my little tid bits of non sense. Enjoy!

1. Cabbage-you can find cabbage for as low as 99 cents a head and as high as 99 cents per lb. I found mine at Thepumpkinpatch ( a NW local farm) for 2/$1. What a steal! But hurry because they close for the season very soon! Cabbage can be used in just about any meal. My kids love it because its one of the sweeter vegetables. Anytime I make soup, cabbage is always in it. As Lisa points out, cabbage is rich in cancer-preventative compounds and is way cheaper than broccoli which also has cancer-preventative compounds.

2.  Carrots-Rich in beta carotene and fiber. This is a staple in our home and you will never find my fridge lacking carrots. Organic carrots are one of the cheaper items and add so much flavor to any meal.  My favorite thing to do is make carrot juice and use the pulp to make carrot muffins. Sweet Potatoes also contain the same array of nutrients but carrots are a better buy. Don't forget to toss the discarded ends into your compost.

3. Kale-This beautiful item usually cost a bit more but is packed with nutrients.  You can find the same nutrients in things like chard, collards, and turn up greens but would need to eat way more. So a little bit of Kale goes a long way. I have yet to eat Kale and i'm looking forward to using it.

4.  Banana's-Once again a staple in our diet.  Organic banana's can cost as little as 79 cents a pound. Easy to toss in a kids lunch or just eat as a snack.   You can find them even cheaper when they start getting black marks on them. Simply buy them, take them home, peel them, put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer, and once frozen put them in a freezer safe container for later use. Later when you want to make banana muffins/bread you can take them out of the freezer to defrost and simply throw them in your better. No mashing is needed! They taste exactly the same as fresh banana's. Gotta love that! Don't forget to put your peels in the compost.

5.  Apples-In the fall organic apples can be found for as little as 79 cents a pound. Again these can be tossed in a kids lunch or eaten as a snack. The thought of apple pie, apple crumble or even apple sauce has my mouth watering. Possibilities are endless!

6.  Onions-Again a option thats packed in disease preventive antioxidants and last but not least FLAVOR! Organic onions can be found for as little as $1 per pound and a little onion goes a long way. Chop them up small enough and your kids will never know! Well at least in my family anyways. Onion is great in almost anything you make. Garlic and ginger also are pennies per serving and also add tons of flavor so snag those when they are on sale.

7.  Beans-beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you _____! Beans are your best friend when it comes to eating on a budget. Make sure to watch sales and stock up on organic beans. Buy them in the bulk section and they will last months. Simply soak them overnight in water and the next day cook them on low for a few hours. You can then take the cooked beans and put them in freezer safe containers and into you freezer. They keep for months this way and also are way cheaper than buying organic canned beans.  Another way to save money is to have vegetarian meals. Beans are full of protein and fiber plus way cheaper than organic meat. So maybe have chili, a great Mexican dish or even beans soup instead of your regular meat dish. So go take a peek at your options and have fun trying new beans out.

8.  Nuts-Again these are packed with nutritional benefits and a must in your home. I do have to warn you that they are a bit pricey. So keep a watchful eye on sales and stock up. They store very well in the freezer and a little bit goes a long way.

9.  Seeds-These are always cheaper than nuts so maybe a better option for you. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are cheaper than nuts so maybe buy them and jazz them up a bit.  Flax seeds are another great option. Packed high with concentrated fats and super cheap. Again stock up when they go on sale and keep them in your freezer for later use.  I add flax seed to anything I bake. Cookies, muffins and bread are my usual.

10.  Brown rice-A low cost gluten free option. This is a staple in our home and I stock up when it goes on sale.  Also great buys are whole wheat pasta ( our personal favorite), oats and cornmeal.  All of which are great tasting and budget friendly. Also keep well in the freezer.

11.  Peanut butter-Filled with healthy monounsaturated fats just like almonds. This is your better buy.  You can find it in the bulk section or in glass jars. Do your math and buy for the price per ounce rather than the whole unit. I buy my peanut butter from Azure Standard . Its $23 for a 15 pound bucket of peanut butter. That's only $1.53 a pound! I just keep smaller amounts in mason jars.

12.  Ground Beef-This one you need to buy on sale. Organic ground beef can cost you up to $7.99 per pound. Now that's not budget friendly at all. So keep your eye on sales and stock up. Last month I found it on sale at Whole Foods for only $3.99 per pound. They will wrap it in one pound increments in brown paper for you which is my favorite part. I use very little meat about 3 times a week to feed my family of 6. This has kept us on budget and I have yet to have any complaints from my family. I also keep my eye on other organic meats and stock up on those as well.

13.  Chicken-Chicken can be found for as little as $1.49 per pound for a whole chicken. It can be cooked and meat pulled off to use in a few meals. Plus you can boil bones and get amazing stock from it which also can be froze. Double your moneys worth if you ask me.

14.  Olive oil-It's high in healthy fats and antioxidants. At a cost to pennies per servings its your best oil option.  Again watch for sales and make sure to buy in glass bottles because it can be recycled.  And don't even get me started on why plastic is a no no.

15.  Yogurt-Unsweetened is your best bet. Again keep an eye out for sales and get only what you need. There is no way to stock up on this one.  Plain yogurt you can get for cheaper and usually more for your money.  Just add fruit, granola, honey or do what my kids do and add a tsp of my homemade organic jelly. One cup of this for breakfast will do ya for the whole morning. If you want to save even more money try your hand at making your own. There are several methods of making it just Google it and have fun.

16.  Eggs-I find my vegetarian fed chicken eggs at Whole Foods for only $2.99 18 count. If you can find fresh local eggs from a farmer then that would be better. But your best bet is to have your own chickens and get the freshest eggs around. Unfortunately my husband is still saying NO to this option. Sniff sniff.  Eggs are full of protein and can be used in just about anything.  

I always keep these items in my home because you can make just about anything with them.  Just remember that if your going to make that fantastic dish with produce not in season, your going to pay for it. Literally!


Melissa said...

Great post - I never thought about buying peanut butter in larger buckets but it is an often-used food in this house (from sandwiches to smoothies and more!).

ME said...

Your blog is amazing Little Nancy! I can almost hear your sweet voice as I read your most recent posts :) It's so nice to see/hear that your beautiful family is well... Thriving! Your doing a fantastic job - Nathan and the girls must be so proud of their hot little mama :)

Tell everyone hello from Kandace, Randy, and the little bun in the oven (coming in Fberuary) and keep being wonderful! Hope to see you soon...

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

Why Thank you Kandace! Miss you guys so much!

Melissa-I never thought of buying that much peanut butter either. But if you think about it you really do use a lot of peanut butter.

Becky said...

"My kids love it because its one of the sweeter vegetables. Anytime I make soup, cabbage is always in it."

Very interested to hear that! I used to go out of my way not to eat cabbage when I was little, to the extent when I stole a whole cabbage out of the fridge and put it in the bin. My mum was not best pleased. But I'm an improvement on my sister, my mum practically had to wage war with her to get her to eat anything that was green. Green = healthy = evil as far as my sister was concerned! :P

We also stock up on meat, but the first time we bought it from a wholesale outlet, I only went and bunged the lot in the freezer, instead of separating it into portions. And I've never been allowed to forget it. Every time we go to the cash and carry, my other half asks me if we need to buy a hammer and chisel as well.

And I'd LOVE to have my own chickens too. I get through an obscene amount of eggs anyway. I always wanted to live on a farm when I was little and having a couple of chickens would make a little bit of that dream come true.

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

Hammer and chisel LMAO!
I would have to agree with you about the cabbage. My children love it because it is sweet but do not love the smell of it. lol. I love the fact that it last forever in your fridge.
So far the hubby won't allow me to have chickens. But I just bought a large green house so I'm content for a while. Next week were building the foundation and putting it in place. I'm so excited. One day I will have my chickens...............