Mother’s Day “Flours”

I just had to share how great my husband is, and brag on how well he listens to me. These are the Mother’s Day flours I received. They include Semolina, Pumpernickel, Buckwheat, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, and 10 Whole Grain Pancake mix These flour were under $20 all together. I haven’t purchased flowers recently, but I think that is about the same price as a dozen roses, and so much more fun.DSC_0999

He went to our local flour mill and had the person working point out all the whole grain flours and he chose several for me. My husband put the 10 Whole Grain Pancake Mix to good use for my Mother’s Day breakfast. I had mine topped with yogurt (plain with maple syrup and pure vanilla extract mixed in), a few slices strawberries, and just a drizzle of pure maple syrup. It was delicious, and I can wait to use the rest of my flours.

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Hope all of you had a special Mother’s Day too!

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Deals from today’s shopping trip

I made my usual grocery trip today and got some great deals. I was able to get 3/4 lb nitrate, nitrite, hormone, and antibiotic free bacon at Grocery Outlet for $2.99. My husband is going to be thrilled for this treat.

I was able to get some really great deals at WinCo this week with some high value coupons totaling $7.05. Here are the deal I got.

  • S&W Beans on sale for $0.68. I used a $1.00 off 2 coupon, making them $0.18 per can when you buy 2. I had 2 coupons so I purchased 4 can of Garbonzo Beans and plan to make these yummy roasted chickpeas.
  • 1/2 Gallon Blue Diamond Almond Milk on sale for $2.68. I used a $0.75 off coupon making it $1.93.
  • 32oz Nancy’s yogurt on sale for $2.37. I used a $0.55 off coupon that I received at a Beekeeping event in Oregon this weekend.
  • Hormel Natural Honey Ham on sale for $2.48. I used a $1.00 off 2 coupon making them $1.98 each when you purchase 2.
  • Van’s Honey Whole Wheat frozen Waffles on sale for $2.68. I used a $1.00 off 1 coupon making them $1.68.
  • Earthbound Farm Organic Spinach for $2.48. I used a $0.75 off any EB Farms Product coupon making it $1.73 for the box.
  • Tillamook Sour Cream on sale for $1.68. I used a $1.00 off coupon making it $0.68.

I also used a coupon for $0.75 off 3 Larabars at Trader Joe’s, making the bars $1.04 each.

In other news, I heard back from the two bread companies I emailed about coupons. The first was Dave’s Killer Bread. They let me know that they no longer have coupons as there was a high level of fraud with their coupons. Bummer. I also mentioned to them in the email that I wanted the coupons as I could not afford to buy $4 bread with my budget. The person who emailed me back said I could find the stores that had the bread on sale on the Dave’s Killer Bread website…which could be helpful. But she also let me know that WinCo and Cash and Carry always had their bread for under $4.oo a loaf. I happen to know WinCo sells it for $3.88 and does not carry the Powerseed bread, which is the only one I have seen that is whole grain and sweetened with fruit juice as apposed to sugar.

I also emailed Alpine Valley, and they let me know that they plan on having coupons soon and to check back in 3 months. I will most likely purchase their bread.

As I was trying to think of the products I use most, so I could email the manufacturers, I thought of brown rice. I usually buy bulk, but if I could get packaged as cheap or cheaper than bulk, I would of course buy it. So I sent an email to Lundberg, who let me know that they have mailed me some coupons good on any of their products and that they also have printable coupons their website. I am looking forward to those coupons coming in the mail and will share the value once I receive them.

St Patrick’s Day fun

Just because we eat real food doesn’t mean we don’t get to eat fun things on holidays. I absolutely love making a big deal of any and all holiday I can. And while I may not make the green sugar cookie shamrocks or soda bread that I used to (I may try to come up with a variation of the soda bread over the next year, because I really do love it) I still made three meals today that all focused on St. Patrick’s Day.

On Sunday’s we have  a light breakfast before going to church, then more of a brunch when we get home from church. For our light breakfast I made two different kinds of green smoothies. The first was frozen berries, plain yogurt, half a banana, lots of spinach, a bit of honey, and a splash of milk. The second one was half a banana, plain yogurt, peanut butter, lots of spinach, a bit of honey, and a splash of milk. They were both good, but not something that out of the ordinary.

DSC_0816For brunch we had whole wheat biscuits in the shape of shamrocks, and green eggs. For the eggs I put five eggs in the blender along with a couple of handfuls of spinach, some fresh rosemary, and thyme. Then added some feta cheese while they were cooking. The eggs were extra yummy!

For dinner we had Potato, Turnip, Leek soup and grilled sandwiches. My husbands sandwich (pictured) was pastrami, sauteed cabbage, swiss cheese, and a little stone ground mustard on Sour dough bread. I went to get whole wheat sour dough, but they were all out so I had to settle with the classic sour dough as we were totally out of bread at home and I didn’t have time to go to another store. I also must say that I spent more on the meat than intended. This is 1/3lb and cost $3.41. I would not normally buy meat for $10 per pound, and if it were just me at the store I would have only purchased 1/4lb and had them slice it super thin to make it seem like more. But the meat eater was with me and instructed the deli attendant as to what he wanted. I had the same thing, less the pastrami. Our son had grilled ham and cheese, and our daughter had grilled cheese.DSC_0819

We had a lot of fun with our food today. I hope you did too.

Stocked up, but the budget is gone

I have already spent $52.77 of the months $55.00 “Stock up” budget. It usually does not go this quickly, but those Larabar 8 packs really were a great deal. In addition to those, Grocery Outlet had a generic brand of Triscuts for $0.79 a box. That is a really good deal. They have the same three ingredients as Triscuts and are just as yummy. The only issue is they expire at the end of May. I figure we go through about a box a week, so I purchased 12 boxes for just $9.48! Because of my Stock up purchases this month, I must say I am feeling a bit of breathing room in my extremely tight $80.00 a week budget.DSC_0803

This week I spent the usual $21.80 for my CSA box. Then I spent $13.45 at Grocery Outlet, pictured above. Technically I will not use all of these items this week, but I had room in my weekly budget so I got extra Whole Wheat Cous Cous and Organic Chicken Thighs. Next I spent $25.69 of WinCo where I was able to get some staples like butter and pure vanilla extract. Last I spent $10.12 at Trader Joe’s where I got banana’s, bread, and coconut oil. This leaves me $8.93 for the rest of the week.

I do plan on going to a local beekkeeper and getting some local raw honey (not only is it tasty, my son and husband have allergies and a little bit once a day helps with that quite a bit). I also plan on getting a very small amount of good pastrami to make hot pastrami sandwiches on St. Patrick’s Day, but just enough for my husband and son to have a sandwich. My guess is that will take up the remainder of my weekly budget.

My menu this week is:

  • Crock pot chicken, potatoes and kale
  • Family style nacho’s or taco. The corn chips I got at Grocery Outlet are baked and make with whole, organic corn
  • Lentil and winter vegetable soup
  • Stir Fry
  • Butternut Squash Gnocci
  • Hot pastrami sandwiches (Mine without pastrami)
  • Potato, turnip, leek soup

I also wanted to share a series of posts from Frugal Living Northwest about saving on real food. There are some great tips in there that I will most definitely try to implement some of these ideas.

A Poison Apple

Recently I went to a viewing of Back to Eden, a documentary on sustainable gardening. While I was waiting for the movie to start I struck up a conversation with the man sitting in from of me. It was apparent by the way that he was shaking that either he REALLY didn’t like talking to strangers or he had a medical issue. He was visiting from Texas and just happened to be here at the time of the viewing.

As it turns out he used to be in the Agriculture business and saw how corrupt it was first hand. He told me the his family had just recently moved back to the states after living in France for over a decade. He told me that before moving to France he was in the food business in the US and moved to France in hopes of having an Organic Farm with another family member. Because of family issues the farm did not work out, so he went to work for a LARGE apple orchard. He said that while the company he worked for was not organic his family ate totally organic and had access to the most wonderful organic food. Then he dropped the bombshell. He said the company we worked for sprayed their orchard 25 times during the growing season. 25! Then he explained that in France if you work in the Agriculture business Parkinson is a work related injury! A WORK RELATED INJURY!!! And you guessed it, his shaking was from Parkinson.poisen apple

If that is not a yellow canary I don’t know what is. While the average person may not have as much direct access to the poison, they are exposed to it and ingesting it on a daily basis.

While my family can’t afford to eat all organic, I darn sure will do my best. For those of you in the same boat here are some tips.

  • Use the dirty dozen and clean fifteen as a guide to what you know if ok conventional produce to buy and what you really need to buy organic.
  • Grow a garden! Most places can grow some food all year round. The documentary, Back to Eden, is a really great resource for easy, sustainable gardening.
  • Find a CSA in your area. They provide seasonal, local, organic produce at great prices.
  • Don’t be afraid to change a recipe. If something calls for equal parts onion and bell peppers adjust it to 3/4 onion, which is on the clean 15 list, and 1/4 bell peppers, which is on the dirty dozen list.
  • If you haven’t signed up for coupons from Earthbound Farm Organic why not? They sell just about everything on the dirty dozen list and have a $0.75 off one EB Farm product just about every week.

Soy sauce stock up and weekly shopping trip

Last week was rough, and by the end we hardly had anything in the fridge that could be eaten without going to the store to get other stuff to make it into something. My yeast ended up being too old to make my bread rise, so I ended up breaking down and buying a loaf of bread for DSC_0759$2.99.  So for this week I started with $80.00, spent $21.80 on our weekly veggie box (I really should try to find someone to share with because I could really use those extra $3 every week) and deducted $5 for the extra spent last week, leaving me $55.21.

I first went to Grocery Outlet and spent $13.45. They had my husband’s favorite Organic Vanilla soy milk for only $2.29, and while he will only go through one this week I purchased DSC_0751two, because if you find a good deal on something you really like at Grocery Outlet you need to buy what you think you can use before the expiration date. That being said, the second one will come out of my stockup budget meaning my GO total is $11.16.

Next I went to WinCo where I spent $29.47. I did get some good deal and used $4.00 in coupons. Here are the coupon deals I got.DSC_0752

  • Mt High Yogurt $2.63 and used $1.00 off 2 peal off coupon, making them $2.13 each
  • Hormel Natural Honey Ham lunch meat for $2.98 and used $1.00 off 2 coupon making them $2.48 each
  • Kikkoman low-sodium soy sauce for $1.68 and used $1.00 off any Kikkoman product coupon making it $0.68 each

I purchased two soy sauces which will come out of my stock up budget as well as one of the hams. If you wanted regular soy sauce instead of low-sodium it would be $0.35 each after coupon. After moving some those items from my weekly budget to my stock up I spent a total of $25.63

Last I went to Trader Joe’s where I had to cut some thing out if I wanted to stay on budget. I was purchasing a great six ingredient bread there DSC_0754for only $1.99, but the last tree weeks they have not had it so I have been buying this other bread for $2.99. I’m going to have to ask if it’s just selling out before I get their of if they are no longer carrying it. I spent a total of $19.48 at Trader Joe’s making me grand total for the week $81.06. If only they had the bread I wanted, then I would have basically been on budget.

Here is my menu plan for the week:

  • Spaghetti Squash Potato and Egg Bake (I did not end up making this last week as my Dad came into town and took us to a great thai place)
  • Pasta
  • Baked Potatoes and Chili
  • Creamy Diakon Soup
  • Fajitas
  • Stir fry
  • Red beans and rice

In regard to the red beans and rice. I just grabbed the package of red beans and rice I used to use and didn’t look at it until I got home. It was loaded with all kinds of stuff I do not want to feed my family, so I will be returning it to WinCo and getting the stuff to make it myself. I found a great recipe online for red beans and brown rice. I happen to have everything but 1 lb of dried red beans and a green pepper, and I feel confident that I can get both of those things for the $2.11 the packaged stuff cost.

Valentine’s Dinner

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You really can have fun with Valentine’s day without eating a bunch of junk. All you really need are some heart shaped cookie cutters. I cut my son’s toast into a large heart for breakfast, heart shaped bananas and strawberries with lunch, and heart shaped veggies on our salads with dinner. I had these amazing watermelon radishes in our veggie box that were perfect for a fun addition to our salads. I make whole wheat chocolate brownies for my husband to take to work topped with hearts of raspberry preserve and coconut.

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For dinner I made a slow-cooker brown rice and butternut squash risotto. This recipe was actually originally a weight watchers recipe.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil DSC_0670
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 6 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • butternut squash, cubed
  • 2 1/2 cp vegetable broth
  • 1 cp brown rice
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • pepper
  • parmigiano-reggiano, grated

In a large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent and soft.

Add garlic, cook until fragrant, then add mushrooms. Add salt and continue cooking, stirring often until mushrooms release their liquid.

Put onion mixture into a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Stir in butternut squash, broth, rice, thyme, and pepper. Cover and cook on high 3-4 hrs.

Turn off slow cooker and let risotto sit undisturbed, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in cheese and serve.

DSC_0678My son had a party at his pre-school today and for that I made strawberry banana fruit leather…of course cut into heart shapes. This was just one thing of strawberries, one banana, and a tbsp of honey blended and dehydrated in the food dehydrator for 7 hrs.