Collard Green Wraps

2015-02-08 11.49.13We have continued to get a weekly produce box, which I absolutely love! The only downside is that in the winter months, we get A LOT of greens and I’m not always sure what to do with them. I can only eat a side of greens so many times per week. It has taken a bit of creativity to use up the greens before they go bad. Additionally it has taken some creativity to stick to our food budget with our current dietary restrictions, being that my husband is on a grain free low card diet and I am a vegetarian trying to reduce my grain intake. With those restrictions in mind I found the perfect use for our collard greens in the way of making sandwich wraps out of them. They add the perfect amount of spice and add to the crunch of whatever vegetables are in the wrap.

 

2015-02-08 11.46.13I have also found that it pays off to get good quality cheeses and meats that are packed with flavor. When using a good quality, flavorful cheese, like a raw gouda for example, a minimal amount is needed for big flavor, allowing your dollar to go further. As you can see there was just a small amount of cheese, but it was very flavorful!

 

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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!

Carrot “Cake” Juicer Muffins

One of my favorite Juicer Juices is Carrot, Orange, and Ginger. I use 3 medium carrots, 2 oranges and a one inch cube of ginger. It’s a great immune booster and tastes amazing. Not to mention IT’S CHEAP! I have been using my Earthbound Farm coupons to get FREE carrots at Walmart basically every week, and have been getting oranges in my CSA box all winter. So basically the only extra cost is the ginger, and this juice uses maybe $0.04 worth.

After making this juice this morning I thought I would attempt some muffins with the pulp. I went online and found a recipe to adapt, and here is what I came up with:DSC_0987

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • About a cup of Juicer pulp
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 1 cup milk (any type is fine)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup combined raisins and pecans

Preheat oven to 400 and place 18 muffin liners in muffin tins. In a med mixing bowl, mix together first 5 ingredients and set aside. Place the Juicer pulp in a large bowl and pull out any large pieces of pulp. Add the next 5 ingredients and mix will. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in the raisins and nuts. Scoop equal amounts into each of the 18 muffin tins and bake at 400 for 15-18 min. Let cool completely on a wire rack before attempting to peal off the muffin tin or the muffin will stick to it.DSC_0994

They are definitely more muffins than cake, but equally as tasty, and a great way to use juicer pulp.

Sunday Paper Coupon Inserts

Traditional couponers purchase at least one Sunday paper for every person in their family so that when they find a great deal they have the coupons to buy lots of that product. I know, I used to do it. When I started the transition to real food, I felt like it was not going to be worth it anymore as the newspaper inserts are typically filled with processed foods. I still follow a couple of couponing blogs and about twice a month I see a deal with coupons from the paper that I really wish I had.

My husband has just started a new project for our family that I’m calling “The nuclear fallout stockpile”. Not only because it will be our stockpile in case something happens to our area or family, but also because the food is just as bad as nuclear fallout. (maybe not that bad, I have not researched the effects of nuclear fallout:) He will be taking the traditional couponing approach and only bringing home things that are free or we are being paid for.

Because of this, I was able to look through some Sunday paper coupons this week and was really excited about it. I think companies are becoming more aware of the fact that their consumers are doing the research and want to eat real food. These are the coupons I ended up clipping from the 4/29 Sunday inserts:

  • $0.75 off Organic or Cage Free Egglands Best eggsorganic-eggs-t
  • $0.50 off any Egglands Best eggs
  • $0.50 off any 8oz, 16oz, 24oz, or 48oz Pom juice
  • $1.00 off any 3 Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice. They have brown and wild rice pouches, but I’m not sure if there are any additives in them.
  • $1.00 off 2 Crunchmaster crackers

This week Raley’s has Egglands Best Organic and Cage Free eggs on sale for $3.99. Making them $3.24 with the $.075 off coupon. I may just use all 4 of the coupons I have.

Roasted Chickpeas as an alternative to nuts

As a vegetarian I love nuts as a protein packed snack, but they can be fairly expensive, so I have to limit them as a stand alone snack. While an ounce of almonds has just under 6 grams of protein, an ounce of chickpeas has just under 2 grams of protein. That seems like a big difference, but you could certainly eat three ounces of chickpeas for less money than one ounce almonds, particularly if you have a coupon for the beans.

You can get coupons for beans by signing up for emails from S&W. I received a coupon from this week for $1.00 off 2 cans of beans. Right now at WinCo S&W beans are on sales for $0.68, making them $0.18 a can when you buy 2. That is a really good price.

This week I made these tasty roasted chickpeas. I think they sound strange, but man they are good. My kids also love them. Particularly my daughter, who HATES beans. Typically she will spit any kind of bean out the second it touches her tongue, but the ate the majority of these beans. Which is great, because they are cheap and supper easy to make.DSC_0952

  • 1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp dried Rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 450. Place beans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 min or until beans start to crisp up. Once beans have started to crisp mix in the oil, herbs, and salt. Return to the oven and bake for 5 min or until they become fragrant. Serve hot or at room temp. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Budget Buster!

I have always had a problem coming up with lunch ideas. I’m fine with pulling some random stuff together  for lunch (a piece of fruit, some cheese and crackers, and a few nuts), but my husband needs something more substantial, and so do my kids. My husband can typically count on left overs two or three lunches a week, and is able to pull something together the other days. Last month however, the leftovers must have been in short supply as there was a need for him to run to the store and buy lunch on several occasions. It’s crazy how quickly $5 here and there adds up. And what’s the point in sticking to budget in one area if it just causes you to go over in another area.DSC_0932

So after discovering the issue I had to come up with a solution quick! I don’t like buying microwave dinners as they typically have junk in them and cost a crazy amount for the ones that don’t have junk. Even at Grocery Outlet, the Amy’s frozen entrees are $2.99, and that just doesn’t fit in out tight $80 a week budget. So after taking a quick inventory of the freezer, fridge, and pantry, I came up with a few microwave meals of my own. Here’s what I came up with.

Something like a tex-mex casserole. It had brown rice, canned pinto beans, frozen corn, fresh cilantro, sour cream, grated cheese and hot sauce. I was able to make 2, 2 cup servings

Enchilada casserole. It had leftover corn tortillas, canned pinto beans, frozen corn, sour cream, grated cheese, and a very small amount of enchilada sauce. 1 serving

Butternut squash zitti. It was made from left over homemade butternut squash ravioli filling, ricotta cheese, Italian herbs and whole wheat penne. 3, 2 cup servings

Curry. This was made from brown rice, organic frozen peas and carrots, organic lentil curry soup, additional curry powder, and fennel seeds. 3, 1.5 cup servings

A couscous dish made with whole wheat couscous, canned chick peas, organic spinach, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, 4 greek olives with additional juice, and a very small amount of feta cheese. 3,2 cup servings.

So by getting creative and spending an hour or two I managed to make 12 frozen lunches ready to just grab and go. Hopefully this will supplement all of this month and I can actually plan some out for next month.

Garden Planning and Seed Coupon

I have been planning my garden for a couple of months and am REALLY excited to get all the summer veggies planted. Not only is it totally rewarding watching your food grow, and teaching your kids where food comes from in a really practical, fun, and dirty way, it saves so much money. (If you think you need lots of water and expensive garden boxes, watch Back to Eden. This guys methods really work, even if you don’t agree with his theology. We have a good month or two of 115 degrees and we only need to water every 7 to 10 days in the heat of summer.) So far this year planted lettuce, carrots and radishes (first fruit pictured below) in February. Then onions, strawberries, and raspberries in March. Today I planted some peas and plan to plant some corn and pumpkins later this month. Then in May and June I will really kick it into gear and plant most of the veg we will be enjoying through the summer and early fall.

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I’ve been thinking about what this means for my CSA box. I don’t see a need to get a weekly box if I can go out the back door and gather the food I want for dinner. So I plan on setting my box to “Vacation” when things start coming on. I can tell you I will miss out on many good things from the box that I will not have space to grow on my own, so I may occasionally get a box, as well as visit the farmers market for things like stone fruit…Yummmm.

So what am I going to do with the extra money…Save it of course. My hope is that we can go 2 months without the box being able to  save at least $175. With that I would like to buy good bulk meat (a quarter of a cow or something) for my husband and kids. They really deserve good meat more than we have it now (once or twice a week), and this would go a long way to helping that happen.

If you are planning a garden as well, don’t overlook deals on seeds. I was at Walmart today and saw a rack of Seeds of Change Organic seeds for $2.18 each. I remembered I had 2 Seeds of Change coupons for $1.50 off any Certified Organic Product, Making the seed packets $0.68 each! That’s a whole lot of Organic Produce for $0.68! Here are the links to a couple of Seeds of Change coupons.

$1.50 off any 1 Certified Organic Seeds of Change Product (See this post on how to get it at Coupons.com) Note that if you printed the coupon in March it has Reset for April, so you can print it again!

$1.50 off any 2 Certified Organic Seeds of Change Product