I’ll repeat that, do you want a free low-carb cookbook? I’m looking for a few super-heroes. In other words, beta-readers who are willing to provide feedback for a cookbook on low carb eating. The bonus is that you get the book for free in whatever format you desire, oh and my profound respect and thanks
I love, love, love this recipe is. I love how the basic recipe is only 3 ingredients and really doesn’t need anything else to achieve melt in your mouth deliciousness. I love that you can add all kinds of things to change it up. I love that you basically melt and stir and you’re done. So get out your microwave safe bowl and get to it.
1 cup coconut butter (this is the whole coconut pulverized, don’t use coconut oil or the resulting chocolate will melt in your hands)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
Melt the coconut butter in the microwave or in a double boiler. Stir in the cocoa powder and honey. Pour into molds or onto parchment paper. Leave out to set or speed up the process by putting in the fridge.
When chocolate has set unmold or cut into squares. Store in fridge.
Stir 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, almond extract, mint extract, coconut extract, or orange extract into he chocolate mixture.
Stir 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper into the chocolate mixture.
Add 1 tablespoon green powder, maca powder, or mesquite powder to the chocolate mixture. These ingredients won’t enhance the flavor but they’ll add tons of healthiness to your candy
Cut the honey in half for a more bittersweet chocolate.
Use cocoa butter in place of the coconut butter.
Sprinkle large flakes of sea salt over the chocolate after pouring it into the mold or onto parchment.
Break up whole wheat pretzels and scatter over the chocolate after pouring into the mold.
There’s tons more that you can add to this recipe but I’m drawing the line here because I’m going to head to the kitchen to make another batch to bring to tomorrow’s beach picnic.
Just a note – I’ve been experimenting with this recipe and so far creamed honey tastes the best, although regular honey works fine. Maple syrup does not work – AT ALL. I’m working with adding peanut butter to see if it sets up. So much fun working with healthy candy recipes. It feels (slightly) virtuous eating candy made with good ingredients.
Not all recipes call for two cups of pumpkin. How annoying is that? The last time I was left with pumpkin in the can I decided to use the rest of the pumpkin throughout the week and I came up with twelve delicious ways to use leftover pumpkin puree. I came up with a few full on recipes which will be in my gluten-free and Paleo cookbooks but I did want to share with you all some quick and easy ways to use leftover pumpkin.
Note: I’m talking about plain pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling which has seasoning and loads of sugar added.
Chili: add one tablespoon per cup to any chili, canned or home made.
Tomato Soup: add a tablespoon of pumpkin to each cup of tomato soup.
Pumpkin Spice Latte: I could tell you to stir a tablespoon or two along with a large pinch of pumpkin pie spice into your latte (and you can) but if you’re really into Pumpkin Spice Lattes and especially if you’re hooked on Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes you’ll want to check out this recipe from Eating Bird Food. I love that this recipe is so healthy. I can feel even better about not standing in line at Starbucks.
Fruit Smoothie: add a tablespoon or two to a fruit smoothie. Pumpkin goes especially well with apple, peach, or pear smoothies. Add some ginger or pumpkin pie spice for a holiday flavor.
Pumpkin Creamer: Sally’s Baking Addiction has a seriously awesome recipe with vegan options.
Pumpkin Pancakes or Waffles: stir up to 1/2 cup pumpkin into your pancake or waffle batter.
Pumpkin Pudding: mix 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup pumpkin into 1 cup of cream cheese, Neufchatel cheese, or mascarpone cheese. Sweeten with your choice of sweetener and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin Nut Butter: mix up to 1/4 cup pumpkin with 1 cup nut butter. Use as is or sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup or your sweetener of choice.
Pumpkin Hummus: stir some pumpkin into hummus.
Pumpkin Oatmeal: add a tablespoon or two to your morning oatmeal.
Pumpkin Mac n Cheese: stir up to 1/4 cup pumpkin into your kiddos’ mac n cheese.
Replace eggs and oil in baked goods: You can replace both eggs and oil with a 1:1 ratio of pumpkin when making brownies, bars, and cakes. For instance if a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter you can replace it with 1 cup of pumpkin. If a recipe calls for 4 eggs you can replace them with 1/4 pumpkin for each egg. You can even replace all of both the eggs and oil. You won’t get a strong pumpkin taste and if its a chocolate recipe you won’t taste it at all.
That’s all that I came up with this week and I’m not even slightly pumkinned out I’ll be adding pumpkin to lots of things over the next few weeks. I’d love to hear how you all use leftover pumpkin.
I tried this cashew milk by Silk and loved it. Did you see on the package that it’s only 25 calories per cup! And it tastes way better than skim milk (which has more calories anyway). Only problem – it’s not organic. So I found some organic cashew milk and bought it. Not a sustainable plan though since this cashew milk, while DELICIOUS, cost $9 for a two cup bottle. Waa-waaaa!
Plan B – make my own cashew milk. However raw organic cashews cost $9 per bag, if I’m lucky and find them on sale. So homemade cashew milk was still going to be expensive, or so I thought. Take a look at the cost breakdown at the end of this post. Long story, shortened, I went ahead and made it anyway. The long story was basically me stalking a bag of cashews at Mothers Market until one day it went on sale and I bought it. After the disaster with the rice milk (which tasted like watered down water) I felt like I owed myself an indulgence – in the nondairy milk area of my life.
The whole process was pretty simple. I soaked the cashews in warm filtered water overnight. I didn’t add salt to it which all soaking recipes tell you to do, mostly, well completely, because I didn’t read any directions before soaking them. I just did it and then the next morning Googled “how to soak cashews” so that I would know if I needed to soak them longer. That’s when I saw that I was supposed to have added a tablespoon of sea salt to the soaking water. Oh well. So I drained off the water and rinsed the nuts until the water was clear. Soaking part done.
One of the other things that had put me off from making cashew milk is that I didn’t want to have to deal with the whole straining the ground nuts out of the milk issue. Besides having to buy a nut bag and adding more work to the process, me being me, I would then have to figure out a way to use those soaked, ground nuts in another recipe. Cashew Nut Brownies anyone? I decided that I just wouldn’t strain the nuts out. If you can make cashew butter from cashews then I figured that they would probably just blend into the milk as if I’d stirred cashew butter into water.
So I got out my Oster blender. Love that blender. I dumped 3 cups of cashews and 2 cups filtered water into the blender and buzzed them until the cashews were completely pureed into the water. Then I added a large pinch of sea salt, 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, 2 packets of Truvia*, and 4 more cups water, buzzing until blended. I poured 2 cups of this very rich cashew milk into a water bottle to use for coffee. I added 2 more cups of water to the blender, buzzing until blended. This produced a more milk-like consistency.
Okay, so the cashew milk was just as delicious as the store-bought versions, but how did it come out expense-wise? The bag of raw organic cashews cost $9 on sale. That bag gave me 2 cups of cream and 9 cups of milk at a cost of .82 per cup. Comparing that to the cost of store-bought soy, almond, rice, or coconut milk at .63 to $1.13 per cup, homemade cashew milk is actually quite affordable. And if I hadn’t poured off the cashew cream then my cost would have gone down to .60 per cup. (12 cups of water to 3 cups of cashews, made in 2 batches.)
* You don’t need to add sweetener, but if you do you can use stevia, maple syrup, honey, Truvia, monk fruit, Splenda, basically any sweetener that isn’t as bad for you as white cane sugar, because what would be the point of making homemade organic cashew milk and then dumping white sugar into it?
Cooking Club of America has great prizes you can win to stock your kitchen. Seriously, a Vitamix Professional Series Blender!, Their recipes aren’t focused on being healthy, however substitutions are pretty easy, for instance you can sub whole wheat bread for white bread with their Baby Shrimp Crostini recipe.
You can save big bucks by purchasing the less tender cuts of beef (brisket, flank, sirloin). Many don’t purchase these because they don’t know how to cook them to falling-off-the-bone succulence but when you braise or stew them they’re really wonderful.
Lesser known cuts of beef such as top blade steak are also less expensive, just remember to cut out the thick connective tissue in the center before serving. Look for round tip and chuck eye roast – sear then cook long and slow either by braising, stewing or in a crock pot.
Fillet butt is similar to beef tenderloin and can be broiled or grilled just like you would the tenderloin.
A semi-boneless beef chuck roast can stand in for rib eye or tenderloin roast – roast at 325 degrees for 15 minutes per pound, let rest for 10 minutes then thinly slice against the grain.
Instead of bottom round pick up a beef round rump roast or tri-tip roast. They’re more tender than the bottom round and excellent when seared, add non-Starch vegetables such as onion, celery, even apple or pear and broth to cover half the meat. Cover and braise in 325 degree oven for ninety minutes.
Ground chuck is less expensive than ground beef and more flavorful. Because of it’s higher fat content though you might want to drain and pat it with paper towels after browning.
You can save money on veal when you use shoulder in place of leg cutlets. Marinate up to 24 hours in a marinade containing a tenderizing enzyme such as fresh citrus juice. Veal breast is wonderful when braised. Leave the fat while cooking then trim before serving.
You’ll get a 5 pound roast and a dozen chops from a whole boneless pork loin. Pork shoulder butt is less tender but can be tenderized by marinating in a marinade with a tenderizing enzyme such as fresh citrus or vinegar, then cook with the marinade for 2 hours at 300 degrees.
You can get the flavor of lamb without splurging on lamb rib chops or rack of lamb. Less expensive cuts like lamb shank make wonderful stews and roasts. Cook them long and slow and you’ll love them. Lamb shoulder and blade shoulder are great when grilled or broiled, or slice thin and pan fry. Boneless center roast from the blade part of the shoulder is delicious oven-roasted. Season to taste, add 1 inch of water to pan, insert meat thermometer and roast in a 350 degree oven until thermometer reads 140-145 degrees. And don’t throw away any bones, they make great soup.
When making a stew instead of buying cubed beef, buy top round trim the fat and cube it yourself.
So dust off the crockpot, rescue your roasting pan from banishment under the cookie sheets and rack up a huge savings on your grocery bill.
If you choose carefully you can get some healthy options at NutriSystem. If you’re crazy busy, are just getting started learning about healthy eating, or need the discipline of a carefully structured meal then the Nutrisystem plan can be a good place to get started with your UnDiet. And BONUS – they generally have some type of discount going on.
1. Buy in Bulk
Why pay for fancy packaging? I bring everything home and pour them into my own containers. I painted a stripe of chalkboard paint onto each container so I can easily label each container.
2. Make Double & Triple Batches
Freeze leftovers, label with the date and use within a month. Or trade with a friend or two.
3. Plant a Garden
Work with a friend or group to plant different items and meet to trade or deliver to each other.
4. Raise Livestock
Okay I know this isn’t an option for everyone but for those of you who live in an area where this is a viable idea you may want to get started small. A few chickens, a couple of goats and you’re on your way. If that still sounds intimidating enlist the help of a friend or join a local group and meet to trade goods and tips. One person may raise chickens, another may have goats, etc.
5. Join a Co-op
Co-ops are an excellent way to get food that is already lower cost at an even steeper discount. For a few hours a week of work you get all your groceries at a great discount.
6. Take Advantage of Sales
It’s more difficult to find coupons for healthier foods but sales are very common. Many grocery stores even have a healthy food section where you can find items on sale. When you find something that you know you like buy lots. When you see something that you’ve been wanting to try, buy one. If you like it, then next time it’s on sale you can buy tons.
7. Make Your Own Basics
There are so many items you can make for pennies and that don’t take a lot of time, especially if you make large batches or work with several friends to trade items. Think bread, granola, desserts, pizza, pancakes and waffles, pasta sauce, salad dressing, roasted chicken or turkey …
8. Don’t Waste Food
Many recipes cavalierly tell you to toss out the portion you’re not using for the recipe, but I like to:
- zest citrus fruits before juicing them
- save vegetable trimmings to make vegetable broth
- save herb trimmings to make pesto or add to broth
- use egg yolks to make mayonaise or custard
- use egg whites to make mousse or an egg white omelette
- use bread crusts to make bread pudding or croutons
I’ll also use fruit that is nearing it’s prime to make broth smoothies or cut it into chunks and freeze it for making smoothies at a later time.
When the kids ask me to cut the crusts off their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I save them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. When the bag is full they make a fantastic bread pudding.
Add some raisins to leftover rice to make a rice pudding for tomorrow night’s desert.
Crumbs left in the bottom of the bag can be used to top a casserole or for some crunch in your salad.
Broken bits of corn or whole wheat tortillas can be baked for chips.
9. Use Less Expensive Ingredients
Canned fish is much less expensive than fresh or frozen fish.
A whole chicken or turkey is less expensive than packaged pieces.
In season produce is less expensive than produce that has to be trucked in from another area.
Store brands are less expensive than gourmet brands.
10. Eat Less Meat
Meat is easily the most expensive item in any meal. You don’t have to go totally vegetarian, you don’t even have to have a vegetarian meal to eat less meat. You can check out my Meat-less Meals (I’ll update this post with a link when I publish those recipes) for recipes and ideas on meals with less meat, but the basic idea is to:
- Serve a vegetarian meal two to three days a week
- Serve less meat the other days of the week
I hope this list of ways to save money without compromising your desire to eat healthy will serve to keep healthy foods on your table and more cash in your pocket. Eat well and be healthy!