I’m always looking for ways to get my family to eat healthier on a very tight budget. One of our staples around the house is some sort of healthy baked good. We go through seasons of muffins that give way to seasons of cookies around here. We have been in a cookie season of late and I’ve wanted to change things up. At the end of the year last year, as a way to cut costs, I started using organic white flour for our baked goods. It’s better than non-organic white flour but not as good as coconut flour.
I had a difficult time finding a recipe that worked for us. So, I came up with my own. We use organic ingredients, including raw honey and raw milk to ensure that it’s a good-for-you treat
Here are the very simple ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 organic peanut butter
2/3 cup raw honey
1/4 cup raw milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dark chocolate chips, as desired
1. Preheat the over at 350.
2. Heat a small pan on low and add the coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey (be sure to put the honey in last so that it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat as soon as most of it is melted. Mix together and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, combine coconut flour, rolled oats, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
4. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract to the cooled off peanut butter mixture in the pan. Then, mix in to the dry ingredients.
5. Let that sit for at least 5 minutes before adding the yummy chocolate goodness…I mean, the chocolate chips
6. Use a tablespoon to drop balls of cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet about one inch apart. (Sometimes I place them closer than an inch apart because I don’t want to use a second cookie sheet, as you can see here.)
7. Bake for 10-13 minutes until lightly golden.
Our children love to eat out. And Mommy and Daddy love the idea of eating out. But we don’t particularly love eating out for a couple of reasons. First, it’s hard not to think about what you could be doing with the money spent. Second, even if we allot a certain amount of money to eating out on occasion, it’s rare to find a place with food we can feel good about eating. So, most of the time, we eat in and are glad we do.
One of our family favorites is pizza. And we’ve discovered that we can make it as good, if not better, using ingredients we feel good about for a lot less than we would pay for one we’d order from a restaurant. This week, my daughter asked me if we could make pizza several times. Then, when I was trying to figure out what to make for dinner one night, I thought we’d go with her suggestion. I didn’t have any shredded cheese, pepperoni, or pre-made dough. But, I did have a block of organic mozzarella cheese, organic white flour, yeast, and some chicken sausage. It was enough to make it happen.
For the crust, I used:
3 cups organic white flour
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
3-5 Tbsp. oil (I used avocado oil just because it’s what I have right now.)
1 package of yeast
For the toppings, I used what I happened to have on hand:
1 jar of organic spaghetti sauce
1 block of organic mozzarella cheese
3 all-natural chicken sausage links
1. Prepare yeast according to package instructions.
2. Combine flour, salt, and garlic powder and mix.
3. Once the yeast is ready, add oil and water so that the total liquid mixture is about 1 1/4 cup.
4. Add yeast mixture to the flour and form a ball. Knead for at least five minutes. Then, either let the ball sit in a bowl covered by a clean kitchen towel for about 30 minutes, if you are preparing one large pizza. If you are dividing the dough to make more than one, form additional balls for each crust.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough. (My handsome, handy husband rolled out the dough for us!)
6. Use a fork to poke holes in the crust.
7. Add your toppings. Use what you have. I didn’t have pepperoni and didn’t want to thaw out ground beef. So, I just used the sausage we had in the refrigerator.
8. Bake pizza at 425 for about 20 minutes or until crust looks golden and cheese is bubbling.
9. Enjoy! We did!
What fast food do you replicate at home for less?
I’m always looking for healthy, kid-friendly recipes. But seems that one of my new year’s resolutions every year is to find more varied recipes for our family, especially for more kid friendly foods. Since I just got a good deal on some organic potatoes, I wanted to make something (besides the same ol’ baked French fries) with the potatoes. I found a recipe that was close enough to ensure that they’d like them but different enough to be, well, different. It’s a flavorful version of fries that is sure to please palates of all ages at your dinner table.
I had to adapt a recipe I found because of the ingredients I happen to have on hand. So, here’s what I did:
4 medium potatoes (I used Yukon Gold, but any potato will work)
1-2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika
1/8 tsp pepper
2-3 tbsp avocado oil (use the oil of your choice)
1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Prepare your potatoes. I didn’t peel ours. But some children prefer them peeled.
4. Cut potatoes into 1 inch cubes
5. Mix your seasoning in a small bowl.
6. Toss cubed potatoes with the seasoning.
7. Spread in single layer on baking sheet.
8. Roast in oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until potatoes are crispy on outside but soft inside.
My husband and I had to work very hard not to eat them all as soon as they were out of the oven. My children ate them with ketchup but I guarantee you won’t. They are a delicious version of fries. Close enough to be familiar but different enough to feel like a treat.
What variation of kids favorites foods do you make?
Our family loves Mexican food. Because we don’t eat out much, that means that I make a lot of Mexican food at home. I make most things from scratch, but we usually just buy tortillas from the grocery store. Well, during Christmas vacation, I was perusing Pinterest and stumbled upon a homemade tortilla recipe. So, I tried it… and we loved it! It’s very simple and, even if using organic ingredients, so much cheaper than store bought tortillas.
Here’s how to make them.
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅓ cup coconut oil (or any other oil)
1 cup warm water
1. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
2. Gradually mix in the oil and water. You may want to use a mixer to make sure it is thoroughly blended. (If you use coconut oil, be sure to melt it first.)
3. Form a ball of dough. Use more flour if it’s too sticky.
4. Split the ball in half. Then, split those two in half. Keep splitting the balls in half until you get about 16 balls.
5. Flatten them out with your hands as much as possible.
6. Cover them with a clean, dry towel for about fifteen minutes.
7. Roll them out. (Sorry I don’t have a picture for this. My husband rolled them out and I forgot to take a picture!)
8. Then, heat up a pan (on medium heat). Once it’s hot, place a tortilla in the hot pan for one minute before flipping over. Then, cook the other side for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice that we didn’t necessarily worry about our tortillas being perfectly round. As a matter of fact, it was fun to have different shapes. The children played a game in which they guessed what state each tortilla resembled.
9. Enjoy them the way you would any other tortillas. The only difference is that they taste better and save you a lot more money than the others do.
Our family was recently invited to a “potluck” type Christmas party. And my husband suggested that since we have so many hatch peppers growing in our garden, we should make and take something featuring our peppers. Well, I put the peppers in almost every entree I make, but I don’t make anything that “features” them. So, I looked online for a recipe and found one. I wasn’t quite sure about it but it was worth a try. The only problem is that I should have tried it out for us before making it on the day of the party.
Long story short, it was not good. I needed a plan be and fast. Thankfully, a fast, easy, tried, AND tested recipe came in handy. They are healthier than most cookies but still so yummy. We use all organic ingredients, including raw honey and raw milk (from a local dairy). This is our latest go-to recipe just around the house, partly because they are tasty and healthy but mostly because they are very easy to make. They saved the day for us.
If you need an easy, tasty, and healthy back up, here it is.
3/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup ground flax
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 – 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, depending on your taste preference
1. Combine all the dry ingredients into a small bowl and mix.
2. Mix all wet ingredients in a large bowl (make sure you have melted the oil or butter you are using).
3. Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl and blend.
3. Mix in the chocolate chips.
4. With a spoon, form cookies and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
5. Bake for 10-12 at 350.
What are your favorite go-to quick, easy, and healthy recipes?
It’s not yet Christmas and I feel like I’ve been cooking and baking almost non-stop these days. One more weekend coming up between now and Christmas will likely mean more parties, get togethers…and more cooking. In case you find yourself needing a little break, make it a thrifty one. Here are a bunch of deals you can get right now. Give yourself a break without breaking the bank. Check out the great restaurant coupons and deals below.
Spend $8.00, Receive $2.00 with Ibotta.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free dessert with the purchase of one regular sub and fountain drink. This offer is valid through 12/16.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free appetizer or kid’s meal with the purchase of one adult entree. This offer is valid though 12/31.
Click here to print a coupon good for a $5.99 adult buffet. This offer is valid through 12/14.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill
This coupon gets you $5 off your next visit. This offer is valid through 1/4.
If you join Club Cinnabon here, you’ll get a coupon good for a free Minibon cinnamon roll and free MochaLatta.
How does endless appetizers for $10 sound?
Here’s a coupon for $1.00 off a regular Grand Gobbler sandwich. This offer is valid through 12/31.
Mix and match two sandwiches for only $5.00. You don’t need a coupon for this deal.
Click here to print a coupon good for a free combo meal upgrade with any purchase.
Hardee’s has a lot of freebie and $1.00 off coupons here.
How about a free pizza? Get a free pizza with every $25.00 gift card purchase. This offer is valid through 12/31.
Anybody else already tired of being in the kitchen so much?
It’s time to start cooking Thanksgiving dinner. You’ve started your preparations. No one wants to head over to the crowded, chaotic grocery store now, right? But, what do you do if you don’t have enough eggs or didn’t realize that your recipe called for “apple pie spice?” What is that, anyway?
Here’s a little list that should help you make practical, frugal substitutions just in case you don’t have exactly what your recipe calls for at any time but especially today!
Allspice 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Apple pie spice 1 teaspoon = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice, and either 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, ginger or cloves
Bay leaf 1 whole = 1/4 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
Bread Crumbs, dry 1 cup =
1 cup crushed cracker crumbs
1 cup matzo meal
1 cup crushed cornflakes
1 cup ground oats
1 cup crushed potato chips
Buttermilk (sour milk) 1 cup =
1 cup milk plus 1 tablespoons vinegar (white or cider) or lemon juice (let stand 5 minutes before using)
1 cup milk plus 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup mild-flavored soy milk, plus 1 tablespoons vinegar (white or cider) or lemon juice (let stand 5 minutes before using)
1 cup plain or low fat yogurt
1 cup sour cream
Coconut milk, canned 1 cup = 1 cup whole milk
Cornstarch (for thickening) 1 tablespoon =
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon granulated tapioca
1 tablespoon potato or rice starch
1 tablespoon arrowroot
4 teaspoon instant tapioca
Cream, half-and-half 1 cup =
1/2 cup whole milk, plus 1/2 cup light cream
7/8 cup milk and 1/2 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
3 tablespoons oil plus enough milk to equal 1 cup
1/2 cup coffee cream plus 1/2 cup milk
Cream cheese 1 cup =
1 cup pureed cottage cheese
1 cup plain yogurt, strained overnight in a cheesecloth
Garlic 1 clove, small =
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon instant minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt (reduce amount salt called for in recipe)
Pumpkin pie spice 1 teaspoon =
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!
We’re just days away! Are you as excited (and as a bit nervous) as I am? So much to prepare for one meal. Yet all eyes are on that turkey. Over the years I’ve managed to cook some very dry turkey and somehow managed to cook some pretty good turkey as well. While my husband and I have already started talking about the leftovers we’re looking forward to, I’m also thinking about making sure we have a pretty good initial meal with our friends on the big day.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare a delicious turkey for Thanksgiving.
1. If you have a frozen turkey, make sure you give it enough time to thaw out in the refrigerator. I took my 15 pound turkey out of the freezer yesterday. You need to calculate 24 hours for every four to five pounds of turkey. If you plan to cook a frozen turkey and haven’t already put it in the refrigerator, do it right now…. You’re welcome.
2. Pat dry your turkey before cooking. Whether you use a wet or dry brine or no brine at all, pat dry your turkey’s skin before cooking in order to help it cook evenly and prevent getting dry.
3. Leave at room temperature before cooking. Thirty to sixty minutes before actually putting your turkey in the oven, take it out and let it sit at room temperature. This just allows the bird’s temperature to even out so as to not get dry while it’s cooking.
4. Don’t touch that oven door. It’s so tempting to open the oven door to check on the turkey as it takes forever and a day to be ready. However, every time you open the oven door, you let heat out of the oven. It ends up increasing the time the bird needs to cook and it also makes it more likely for you to end up with a turkey that is thirsty for gravy. Open the oven only when necessary: to check if the it is ready or to baste it.
What else do you do to make sure you have a great tasting turkey on Thanksgiving?