Posts filed under 'Foodies'

Frugal vs Foolish- Can you live on $1?

I watched this really interesting little video and it really got me thinking.

With the economy going the way it is, many are trying to find ways to cut corners, to make ends meet and simply live on less. Could I live on a dollar a day grocery allotment?

If you watch the video, you find that the couple really felt they were losing health on their chosen restricted budget in order to experiment with food cost. I mean seriously… drinking Tang with the hopes of preventing scurvy! WOW, that is bravery.

However, all funny’s aside - this video just makes me a little more determined. For example, If a person were to grow a garden and learn to preserve/store their goods to last through the winter…I don’t think it would be that difficult to live healthy on a shoestring budget. Ok, maybe not a dollar a day- since we do have some “special diet” needs but considerably less.

I know at our home, we do eat a lot of rice and beans (the video’s dinner mainstay) but we enjoy it and it is frugal, but we also add either tomatoes to it, or serve it with vegetables.  The lunch of homemade bread (I am an advocate of home baked goodies, for sure!) with peanut butter is really not a bad lunch when paired with a piece of fruit and Quite honestly oatmeal for breakfast is Awesome!

So, do you think you could live on the $1.00 a day with the exception of home preserved veggies and fruit?

Tell us what you think.


Add comment December 14, 2008

Frugal Yogurt — what is the cost ?

After posting the last 2 ways of doing yogurt at home, I was faced with a few questions from my friends and family who are just beginning to think more “Homemade” or frugally.

“Well, exactly how much money do you save doing it yourself, fishie? Because it sure seems like a lot more work.”

buttonThis is soooo NOT work

buttonno little plastic containers in my trash, oh yeah!

buttonI save LOTS of money! Let me break it down for you….

Using your crockpot, let’s compare dry milk vs whole milk vs store bought. Got that? There will be 3 columns…

CROCKPOT Yogurt                      dry milk    whole milk      store bought

starter yogurt                              1.80          1.80                      -

powdered milk @1.00/cup          3.67             -                        -

1/2 gallon water .85                     .43              -                       -

crockpot electricity .02/hr           .13              .13                     -

milk                                              -              2.75                     -

total                                           6.03            4.68                   $12.00*

ok, now check this out…. 2  qts of homemade yogurt = 16 4oz storebought servings

Activia on sale in my area is $3.00* for 4 little 4 oz. cups = .75 cents Each

dry milk is .38 cents your first batch and by saving a 1/2 cup starter is only 26.5 cents each batch thereafter

whole milk  is .28 cents your first batch and by saving  a 1/2 cup starter is only .18 cents!!! each batch thereafter.

no plastic cups, 20 minutes of my time in the kitchen and I save money?!?! Yep, I am all over it! The best part is you get to play with all the funky flavors yourself AND show the children the latest science project all at the same time — how could life get any more fun than this!? Nothing artificial, NO waste, NO hassle = absolutely worth it!

oh and i almost forgot… it tastes great and it is good for you!


Add comment November 17, 2008

Yogurt at home - frugal style, take #2 (oven)

Yes, you can make yogurt at home in your oven!!

2 Qts Reconstituted Nonfat Dry Milk (7 2/3c water plus 2 2/3c Dry Milk)  OR 1/2 GALLON of MILK

1 additional Cup Dry Milk — if using milk, only 1/2 cup is needed for thick yogurt.

4oz. Good Yogurt (just make sure it has the acidophilus and other good bacteria in it) I wanted one without any other added stuff.

optional: Organic Raspberry or other flavored jam

Big Warm Snuggly Bath Towel

a 2-4qt saucepan/stockpot or dutch oven with a cover

First things first… If using powdered milk, reconstitute the powdered milk and add the extra 1 cup. Mix this very very well…seriously, no lumps wanted.
You will want to pour this into a saucepan or pot on your stovetop on low and heat to a nice little temp of about180 degrees. Remove from the heat and let it cool down to approximately 110-115 degrees.

After it has cooled to the perfect temp. simply remove 2 cups of the warmish milk and whisk in your 1/2 cup of yogurt (containing the live active cultures) gently pour back into the pot of warm milk, cover and wrap in the big bath towl and place in into your already 100 degree oven (the temp can vary a bit from 90- 115 degrees)

Let it rest for 6-8 hours.(the longer it rests at that temp the more sour/tart it will become, but it will also get a bit thicker.

After 6-8 hours, do the spoon test — YUM!!  ***if your yogurt is a bit thin, you can drain the yogurt by following one of the suggestions below (sour cream) OR add an envelope of unflavored gelatin to the mix when you add your 1/2 cup yogurt.***

Smile proudly and offer some of the thick creamy yogurt to your skeptical spouse aka guinea pig (cuz you dont dare do dairy) Offer to add Raspberry Jam to flavor and sweeten to his liking. Watch his face light up.

Serve at breakfast adding any and all jam flavors requested, cuz it’s fun and easy and you know your guppies will enjoy it.

Chill the remainder covered, in the refrigerator. Your yogurt will last 7-10 days. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch next weekend.

More ideas and uses for your yogurt

If you would like to make sour cream from this yogurt, simply strain through a coffee filter. The remaining cream is sour cream.

If you would like to go even thicker for cream cheese, line a colander with a clean, damp piece of cloth (I use some of those traditional dish towels for this) Pour the yogurt into the cloth and allow it to drain overnight in the fridge. In the morning, the solids will be like a yogurt type of cheese that can be used as cream cheese in many recipes… like cheesecake!


1 comment November 11, 2008

Make yogurt at home - frugal style, take #1(crockpot)

A friend of mine recently discovered an overabundance of powdered milk in her pantry.

So, what does a person do with too much of a good thing? Well, this beloved friend of mine starts calling around, first to see who she can bless with some and secondly, to see if anyone has advice on what to do with it. She mentioned yogurt. OH YUM, GUTBUGS!! I was hooked!! I was all over this!! I was totally excited and anxious to see if I could do it! (fishie loves a good challenge)

Funniest thing, after dreaming about this for a whole day. I awoke the next day wondering not only if it could be done, but could it be done in the crockpot ? I don’t have one of these amazingly inexpensive do-dads yet, and probably never will. And since I found that the crockpot only costs 2 cents per hour to run, I figured why not!?! So, after finding myself a good cup of tea, I was making my morning rounds visiting my FAVORITE websites - first stop - CROCKPOT365. You will never guess what I was greeted with…. You got it! Making Yogurt in your Crockpot ~ WOOT ~ Praise God! And Thank YOU, Stephanie!

So…. the next thing I knew, I was making plans to convert that recipe to use Powdered Milk.

And this is what we came up with …  Now if you have Regular Milk and not powdered, I would definitely recommend visiting Stephanie at Crockpot 365 and using her delicious yogurt recipe. She Rocks! She and I should be the bestest friends ever, just by default because we both LOVE our crockpots.

Anyway, Here are the ingredients and my timeline:

2 Qts Reconstituted Nonfat Dry Milk (7 2/3c water plus 2 2/3c Dry Milk)

1 additional Cup Dry Milk

4oz. Good Yogurt (just make sure it has the acidophilus and other good bacteria in it) I wanted one without any other added stuff.

optional: Organic Raspberry or other flavored jam

Big Warm Snuggly Bath Towel

1 6qt. Crockpot

_______________________________________________

3:30pm… Make Milk — I used distilled water (just cuz that is what we drink ’round ‘ere) 7 & 2/3 cups distilled water Plus 2 & 2/3 c. Dry Milk plus 1 extra cup to make it thicker or more rich for yogurt = 3 & 2/3c. dry milk total. Replace the lid on the water jug and do the Kitchen Hula Dance with your daughter while you shake the jug to mix it well. Let your daughter take a turn while praying the top does not come off. Quickly Place it in fridge to avoid such disaster.

5:20pm Take dinner out of the crockpot, Wash the crockpot and Rinse it well. (oops, so much for thinking ahead)

5:30pm or 2 hours later… Pour the contents of the Kitchen Hula Dance Jug (reconstituted dry milk) into the crockpot, Cover, Plug in and Set to low for 2 & 1/2 hours. Eat dinner and chase the children around the house - get the guppies ready for bed.

8:00 pm or 2 & 1/2hours later… Unplug the Crockpot and chase the guppies upstairs.

11:00 pm or 3 hours later…. Take out 2c. of warm milk and Add 1/2 c. of a yummy plain organic yogurt (I sprung for the $1.80 6 oz Greek Yogurt - it is a bit thicker - almost like sour cream- this one is honey flavored…gosh, hope that is ok… but I KNOW it has all the good gutbugs I want in it) Mix really well and pour back into the crockpot. Replace the lid and wrap your crockpot up in a big thick bath towel and kiss it goodnight. Leave it unplugged and all alone in the dark….do not peek, even at 4 am when you are so tempted. Just like us, it needs 8 hours of sleep to function properly.

7:00 am or 8 hours later… carefully open the towel and the crockpot and gently give it the spoon test. Smells like yogurt, YUM…but it is kind of runny**please see notes below. More like a yogurt drink. Cover and place in fridge for guinea pig (chef hubby) to try tonight, cuz you just don’t dare do dairy. Give yourself a big smile, because if nothing else… we can blend fruit in it and freeze it for frozen yogurt– MMMmmmmmm!

Chill the yogurt covered, in the refrigerator. Your yogurt will last 7-10 days. Don’t forget to save 1/2 cup as a starter to make a new batch next weekend.

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**On the second try of making yogurt in the crockpot — I added 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin to the 2c. warm milk just before whisking in the 1/2 cup yogurt and it worked amazingly well to thicken the yogurt !!


1 comment November 3, 2008

Acidophilus and You- who is Acidophilus?

Since the little article we did yesterday about taking one’s life back, we thought it might be fun to do a few little “mini-series” on things you can do to make it happen for you and your family in a healthyfishies kinda way.

I thought a good place to start would be with something that is very near and dear to my heart…. Acidophilus, from the family of Probiotics or gutbugs, as I so lovingly address them.

Personally, I ADORE yogurt, kefir, saurkraut, kombucha or any of those little delicious foods containing these amazing gutbugs. I have a long historic love affair with them, they basically assisted to save my life. As some of you dear readers may know, fishie has Crohn’s disease. After a bout with a hospital stay, loads of antibiotics and tons of drugs… my gut was better, but still messed up. That is, until a friend introduced me to the world of PROBIOTICS - my new best non-medication medicine. Oh baby, I can not tell you what these gutbugs did for me!! Of course, being unable to do the dairy thing, I found goat milk to make my own kefir and I also found soy yogurt as well as another beautiful drink called Kombucha Tea. I was on my way to being able to live life again…. my first step in TAKING IT BACK!

So, anyway… What is Acidophilus (gutbugs) anyway? And why do we healthyfishies need it?

GOOD AND GOOD FOR YOU

Before I tell you how to make your own healthy gutbugs (Acidophilus, probiotics or lactobacilli) let me share a few of the main health-related reasons for eating this lovely ancient Middle Eastern delicacy. It all begins with tiny little organisms that convert milk to yogurt or kefir:  lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria. These wonderful little things set up a living factory or environment in your digestive system and produce B vitamins; which help combat nervous disorders, mental and physical fatigue, anemia, skin rashes, and even can assist your body in repairing your gut among other things… these gutbugs are amazing!!

Basically, acidophilus is used to describe a number of bacteria which help in human digestion. These bacteria include L. acidophilus, L. casei, L. bulgaricus, among others. These acidophilus thrive — and make yogurt or Kefir — by converting milk sugar (lactose) to lactic acid . . . and this end product produces yet another of yogurt’s amazing health benefits: The toxic bacteria that cause intestinal gas and other gross things, cannot survive in an environment containing significant amounts of lactic acid.  This effect of acidophilus— creating good vitamins to repair and protect all while eliminating bad bacteria — is especially helpful after someone has taken antibiotics. The germ-killing medicines may successfully combat an unwanted disease, but they also tend to wipe out the body’s supply of internal acidophilus and leave the treated patient susceptible to B-deficiency and other issues. Therefore, we should consider acidophilus an important health-restoring food.

Acidophilus can help protect the body against harmful bacteria, parasites and other organisms. As it breaks down, it releases things that create a toxic environment for unhealthy creatures in the body, helping to drive them out. It also plays an important role in digestion, helping to produce a number of chemicals which aid in the digestion process.

Many different people groups look to acidophilus for a wide range of health benefits. In addition to basic digestive assistance, acidophilus is found to help bolster the immune system as a whole. It is also awesome to help provide some relief from intestinal problems (like Crohn’s and others). Also, The fungal infection of Candida albicans, more commonly referred to as a yeast infection has also been found to be controlled by acidophilus.

Because antibiotics kill the good gutbugs called probiotics, such as acidophilus, as well as harmful bacteria, it is a very good idea and a tasty way to replace the good gutbugs in your life!

bon apetit!

I will be adding more to the acidophilus mini-series very soon… like recipes for making yogurt, kefir, saurkraut and yes even Kombucha Tea.

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1 comment October 30, 2008

Bottled Water Controversy

I was reading some news today on Yahoo! and found an interesting little tidbit staring back at me.

I drink bottled “distilled” water and use distilled water in my home for cooking and such. Some would be appalled at the thought of using plastic containers of water and I admit, sometimes I struggle with the eco-friendliness of that decision a bit myself… however, when weighing the choices of tapwater vs distilled in plastic, my brain decided distilled was worth it.

That said… let’s get back to the article I read.

I have always heard people (naysayers) suggesting that bottle water was a scam. I could never agree with them wholeheartedly and at times questioned the quality of bottled water myself. (Please remember my preference though towards distilled over even bottled water) I just could not bring myself to believe that business would stoop that low to use their very own tap water when bottling water for the public.

Now, why is it that people believe bottled water would be more “safe” than tap water? I don’t know, but we do. Why do we sometimes believe the company would have our best interests at heart instead of the dollar? I don’t know - but again, we do. It just seems that we like to take people at their word and trust that they wouldn’t do anything to hurt us, until we find otherwise. Most of us like to believe the best of people instead of dwelling in mistrust– until something like this is discovered…. Bottled Water has contaminants too

Shocking?

Disappointing?

Sadly, yes. Especially when one of these contaminated waters is “Sam’s Choice by Walmart” - yep, the same WAL-MART that has been carrying more Organic groceries the last few years. Get that?

The study tested 10 different waters, 8 of the 10 did not have enough contaminants to warrant further testing, however 2 were above the safety levels; Walmart and Acadia of Giant Food Supermarkets. They had the highest concentration of chlorine byproducts, known as trihalomethanes. The researchers also said the Wal-Mart brand was five times California’s limit for one particular chlorine byproduct, bromodichloromethane.

The most troubling part of the article was “The study’s lab tests on 10 brands of bottled water detected 38 chemicals including bacteria, caffeine, the pain reliever acetaminophen, fertilizer, solvents, plastic-making chemicals and the radioactive element strontium.”

So, tell me… was the organic/ natural push just a huge ploy on Walmarts part or are they innocent in delivering the contaminated garbage in a bottle?

This is just another good reason to buy local, ethical, sustainable and organic. Sorry Walmart, I am just not drinking your “kool-aid”or your water.

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1 comment October 15, 2008

gluten Free Poppyseed Dressing

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 05:15
Gluten Free Poppyseed Dressing

1 cup olive or grapeseed oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
1/3 cup honey–can use sugar instead
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 Tablespoon poppyseeds
1 Tablespoon diced shallots (optional)

Add ingrediants to shaker. Shake very well. Refrigerate overnight. Before using… take out in plenty of time before serving to allow honey to mix well.

Please feel free to experiment with the measurements to your own taste. :-) for example, I like mine with red onions and extra mustard

enjoy! I love this dressing on a romaine and spinach salad with strawberries and candied walnuts. Also on a romaine salad with chicken breast and mandarin oranges - yum.

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Add comment October 13, 2008

Please Allow me to butter you up

Wednesday, 10 September 2008 21:44
Pass The Butter, please.

This is interesting . . The blue part of this article is one of those things I have been searching for… I heard this some time ago but was unable to remember where i found it.Now that I have, I wanted to share it along with the results of my “digging” - ENJOY- LOL!!

Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys. When it killed the turkeys, the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use in place of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

DO YOU KNOW.. the difference between margarine and butter?
Read on to the end…gets very interesting!
Both have the same amount of calories.
Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams..
Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.
Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods.
Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few
only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.
Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

And now, for Margarine..

Very high in trans fatty acids.
Triple risk of coronary heart disease.
Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) and lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol)
Increases the risk of cancers up to five fold.
Lowers quality of breast milk.
Decreases immune response.
Decreases insulin response.

And here’s the most disturbing fact….. HERE IS THE PART THAT IS VERY INTERESTING!

Margarine is but ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC..
This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changing the molecular structure of the substance).
You can try this yourself:
Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:
* no flies, not even those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)
* it does not rot or smell differently because it has no nutritional value; nothing will grow on it. Even those teeny weeny microorganisms will not a find a home to grow. Why? Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Share This With Your Friends…..(If you want to “butter them up”)!

After reading this I could believe it, but being the fishie that I am, I still wanted more facts, So, I started digging … in the digging I found information that margarine is used in placed of butter in many instances to “reduce” the saturated or animal fat a person consumes - especially in those cases of heart disease, in an attempt to eliminate the clogging of arteries.
BUT– in the process they found that the molecules used in making margarine that turns polyunsaturated oils into semi-solid margarine also creates trans fats. The artificial trans fats created by the hydrogenation process turns out to be just as bad (or worse) for our arteries as the saturated fats found in butter. The inflammation caused by the trans fats in margarine may also affect our immune systems and has been associated with increased rates of allergies and asthma.

There are some delicious and healthier alternatives to both butter and margarine. Here are some tips:

* Use olive oil, grape seed oil or canola oil in place of butter when you cook. Both of these oils have been shown to be good for your health and they stand up to high temperatures quite well. Neither of these oils contains saturated fats or trans fats.
* Instead of using butter or margarine on your white bread, try dipping some deliciously crusty whole grain bread into a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
* Top your baked potato with low calorie, anti-oxidant rich salsa. Don’t replace butter with sour cream. Sour cream contains saturated fats too.
* Replace the butter or margarine on your cooked green vegetables with olive oil, lemon juice and a sprinkle of nutmeg.
* Make your cinnamon toast better by using walnut oil instead of butter or margarine.
* Serve your banana nut bread with a dipping oil like walnut oil with a dash or two of cinnamon and nutmeg.
* Look for specially formulated spreads in your grocery store such as Benecol, which has just a trace of trans fats and has plant sterols which has been shown to actually help lower cholesterol.
* Use Clarified Butter in your cooking instead of butter. Clarified Butter separate the milk solids from the butter.

To Clarify Butter:
1 stick butter, heavy saucepan and 10 minutes.
1. In a heavy 1-quart saucepan, melt 8 ounces of butter over low heat.
2. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it has just about stopped crackling.
3. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Milk solids will settle to the bottom.
4. Strain the clear liquid into a container. Keeps well in the fridge for about a month.

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Add comment October 12, 2008

GF Pumpkin Bars

Gluten Free Pumpkin Bars

These gluten free pumpkin bars are moist, chewy and absolutely delicious!

Check it out, they even freeze well.

2 large Organic eggs or equivalent egg substitute
1/3 cup extra light olive oil or vegetable oil or grapeseed oil
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup Organic pumpkin puree (or use the Organic Canned Pumpkin Pie Mix and just add the cinnamon**)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups Pamela’s Ultimate Baking Mix - or use Fishies Fake Pamela Mix *see other recipes at Healthyfishies
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice** (or about a 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon each of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, ginger)
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Beat the eggs; add the oil and beat to combine. Add the brown sugar and mix until smooth. Add the pumpkin and vanilla, beat until well mixed. Add the baking mix and spices; and mix just until the batter is smooth. Add in the nuts (optional) and stir by hand to combine.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the bars are firm and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Frost when cool.

Brown Sugar Frosting
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light is nice)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon- i like cinnamon :)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, as needed

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is smooth and begins to bubble, remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and spices, and beat until well mixed. Add the powdered sugar, a little at a time and beat until smooth; add more sugar as needed to thicken the frosting.
Frost, makes 15 to 18 bars.

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Add comment October 11, 2008

Superfoods we don’t eat

Superfoods we don’t eat!

Here is a cool little list of some incredible superfoods that we very rarely eat. Which is really too bad, because these are the foods that are very Heart friendly and contain a powerful amount of nutrients.

Kefir - a probiotic - good for the guts

beets - helps to prevent heart disease, cancer

red cabbage and dried plums or prunes - helps fight cancer

beans and barley- excellent sources of protein and fiber

pomegrannite - helps to lower blood pressure

cinnamon - wonderful way to help control Blood sugar

swiss chard -  strong eyes

Bon Apetit!

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2 comments October 11, 2008

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