Monday, June 30, 2014

Get your creative juices flowing!

With prices going up on just about everything its time to get creative.  Ive been trying for years to share how you can shop at Whole Foods and keep on a budget but the same old cliche happens. Whole Foods Whole Paycheck! Well to be fair yes you can spend your whole paycheck very easily.  But to be perfect honest you can do that in any store not just Whole Foods.  Its how you spend your money that determines if you stay on budget.  Instead of planning your meals then going shopping how about go shopping, buy whats in season and then do your planning? Let me give you a few examples.

I recently went to my local Whole Foods and made sure I would stick to organic and on sale.  So here you can see Organic Zucchini only $1.99.  I picked up 3 of them to use during this weeks dinners.  Spent only 2 smackaroos! Soon I won't have to buy because my zucchini plants are loaded with flowers. That will save me a bundle. 

Since the Organic Spinach was 2 for $4  I snagged myself two bundles.  This is a good sale and those bundles are pretty large.  Tonight's dinner will include a bundle of these.

And look at these! Organic Baby Bok Choy is so yummy! I took home about 4 of them only setting gem back $2.  Yup these will also be used in dinners or heck maybe even in scrambled eggs in the morning.  I'm drooling just thinking about these. 

What I really needed was fruit and was hoping to buy some apples. At $2.49 per pound (not in season here) they just weren't in the budget. These white nectarines will be just fine. Yes they are not organic but they are non sprayed and way better than fruit in big box stores.  I mean right?   I picked 5 medium ones and headed towards the next sale item.  By the way I didn't use one of those paper boxes or use a plastic bag because that's added weight to my bill.  Just put them in the cart because we wash our produce before we eat.  And besides plastic sucks!

Organic black plums? YES PLEASE!!! Again I picked up a few of these and plopped them gently into my cart as is no bag or paper box.  My girls are going to scream when they see these.  So plump and juicy.  Our plum tree isn't ready just yet but soon we will have a week or two of our own fresh organic plums for free! I'm sure I will find lots of ways to preserve them.  

And here here looky here! This is how I make budget friendly organic meals.  $1.39 is a fantastic price but did you know you can buy them for cheaper? Buy a case of them (12) and get an extra 10% off! When you feed a family of 6 like I do a case isn't a big amount ha ha.  I already have regular pasta so I picked up a case of these to stock up on.  So instead of paying $16.68 I only paid $15.  That's only $1.25 each!

So when it came to making dinner I brought out what I had bought earlier at the grocery store.  On the way home I also stopped by my local Grocery Outlet and picked up nitrate free salami for only $1.99 each.  Kept one out for dinner and the other 5 went into the freeze for a later meal.  

Now doesn't this look yummy? I boiled the noodles then drained.  In the empty pan I tossed in 2 minced cloves of garlic with some olive oil.  I then tossed in the recently rinsed spinach, the salami  and tossed the noodles back on.  On a medium heat I cooked it till the spinach till it wilted. Added salt and whalah! You have dinner.  Here's the break down.

Organic Pasta from Whole Foods $1.25
Organic Spinach from Whole Foods $2.00
Organic Garlic FREE from my garden
Nitrate Free Salami from Grocery Outlet $1.99

Total cost: $5.24
That fed 5 people making it $1.04 a person.
I even have left overs!

Now is that budget friendly enough for you? Now go to your local organic or natural grocery store or local Whole Foods and do this for yourself.  Be smart with your purchases and you can still stay on budget!  Just gotta get your creative juices flowing people.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

DIY Banana Cream Cake or Muffins

Here is my Good Housekeeping Cookbook.  Well to be honest its my mama's and I don't believe she gave it to me but more of me borrowing it and never giving it back. Sorry mama! Its a 1963 book so the pictures are very outdated but so far each recipe Ive used is super yummy.  I apologize for no actual photo of our banana muffins.  You see they were so good that they didn't last long enough to take a picture.  Enjoy!

Banana Cream Cake

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil, butter or shortening (I used olive oil)
2 medium eggs
4-5 ripe bananas (5 small or 4 medium)
1 tsp vanilla (I didn't have any so I used vanilla agave syrup)
1/4 cup of flax seed or nut of choice

Oven preheated at 375 degrees

In medium bowl mix all wet ingredients with the sugar.  In a separate bowl add all the dry ingredients and mix.  Grease your pan with oil and then sprinkle with flour or in my case put in cupcake papers.  Mix the wet with the dry ingredients.  Fill pan with batter or fill your cupcake papers  up to the top.  Bake for 25 minutes or until you poke with a fork and it comes out clean.  Enjoy! 

Note:Ive used a few different flours such as barley and this still turned out yummy.  So use what you have and get creative.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

DIY Oatmeal Pancakes

DIY Oatmeal Pancake Mix 

I recently checked out a King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion Book from the library.  Boy am I glad I did! I found this Oatmeal Pancake recipe and tried it out. Hands down the best recipe I have found so far and I've been looking for a good pancake recipe for a few months now.  These pancakes are filling and a great start to any morning.  I'm not getting paid by King Arthur Flour I just really loved the recipe and wanted to share with you.  No links are affiliate but you can find their book on their website in the link above or you can check it out from the library for free like I did. 

Master Mix 

3 1/2 cups rolled oats (blend to make course but not a powder. (I left whole & liked it very much)
5 cups flour 
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking soda
1 cup oil


Mix everything but the oil together till blended.  Add the oil very slowly making sure to mix very well.  Should be a nice course consistency.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Pancake Batter
1 cup of master mix
1 cup of milk (I used coconut milk)
1 egg
Mix dry master mix with milk and eggs.  1/3 cup of batter per pancake. Let this batter set for 10 minutes before cooking.  The oats will soften up nicely during this time.  

 Recipe says it makes 12 pancakes per batch but I found it didn't.  I made a double batch and it made 10 total.  So unless you have super tiny pancakes you gotta double the batch or even triple it.  

We really enjoyed these pancakes.  I thought the texture would be weird but it really wasn't.  I didn't notice the oats at all and the pancakes had a wonderful flavor.  You can add any flavors you want to this but we like just traditional pancakes and add what we like to them.  Here you can see we have a few syrups and also some strawberry syrup I made myself.  Me? I prefer just a tab of butter.  Easy peasy and yummy.  Lets not forget to have an egg with your pancakes.  Today I used one of Lulu's eggs and of course it was a double yolker.  SCORE!  

Monday, June 2, 2014

DIY Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cookies

While shopping at the newly opened Mark's NW Fresh Produce stand I heard my name called.  Mark knows me because I've been shopping there for many years now.  "Hey Nancy I will give you a steal of a deal on cherries if you are interested." Uh lets think here......YES! I expected a great price but he gave them to me for free.  FREE!!!! But I had to tell him what I did with them. So I dragged 2 boxes of almost bad cherries home and processed them.  Dark cherries went into the dehydrator and light cherries cooked in simple syrup and put in mason jars to use in pies later.   So Mark, what do you think? 

 Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cookies


2 1/4 cups Gluten Free Flour Blend your choice(I used Gluten Free Mama's Coconut Blend)
3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum (I used plain cornstarch)
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter ( I used dairy free)
1/4 cup shortening (I used Dr.Bronner's coconut oil)
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla (I used cherry juice)
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries (dehydrated my own and used them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In medium bowl mix all dry ingredients.  In another medium bowl mix wet ingredients and sugar.  Mix the two together.  Scoop by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes till a little golden on the edge of the cookies.  


Note: Make this recipe your own by using what you have. You have a different gluten free flour you like then use it.   Any dried fruit or chocolate chips will do.  Not into chocolate? Use nuts! Don't like dried fruit? Just use chocolate chips! Heck just use nuts and its tasty! 

You can find Mama's Gluten Free products at any New Seasons Market.  Not local to me? Go here and find a location near you. As for Marks NW Fresh Produce you can find him every year on the corner of West Union and 185th in Portland Oregon.  Head over to his Facebook page and find out more information.

I also wanted to let you know that Gluten Free Mama is just a brand I like to use and I'm not getting paid any money to write this. In fact I did this on my own because people wanted me to share.  We are not a gluten free family but I enjoy them from time to time.