Home » eating healthy

Tag: eating healthy

Frugal Fall Treats to Make with the Whole Family

With the lovely fall season comes a whole lot of delicious flavor profiles. While not everyone is a huge fan of the pumpkin overload, I happen to love the fall flavors. And so do the rest of our family. So it is a season that we look forward to all year long. But, some of these treats can get pretty expensive sometimes. This is especially true because all of our recipes are gluten free. So we have found a few of our favorite frugal fall treats to pass along to you so you can enjoy this season on a budget also.

Mini cheesecakes

I have been making these mini cheesecakes for years now. Everyone loves them and they are so simple to make. You can add in any surprise you want to the bottom also, to create more diversity. We like to use Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter cups.

  • 2 packages Cream Cheese (8 oz each) – $2.68 per package x 2 = $5.36
  • 2 Eggs – $2.46 per dozen/6 = $.41
  • ½ Cup Sugar – 32 oz bag = $3.75/4 = $.94
  • ½ tsp Vanilla – 2 oz bottle = $2.14/24 = $.09
  • 6 Gluten Free Graham Crackers – $5.36 per box (14 crackers per box)/14 = $.38 per cracker x 6 = $2.28
  • 4 Tbsp Butter (1/2 stick) – 1 lb = $4.29/8 = $.54
  • 12 Mini Reese’s (or regular) size Peanut Butter Cups – $3.20 per bag/40 pieces per bag = $.08 x 12 pieces = $.96

Total per batch = $10.58 or $.88 per cheesecake

Recipe

This recipe is pretty simple, which makes it easy to include your kids. I can tell you that my kids favorite part is opening all of the Reese’s Mini Peanut Butter cups and putting them in the top of each crust.

Recipe:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Open cream cheese and place in a large mixing bowl to come to room temperature. You may want to do this an hour or so before you plan to begin, just so that it is softened enough to work with.
  • Grind GF Graham Crackers in a Bullet, Vitamix, or good old fashioned blender.
  • Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Add GF Graham Crackers to melted butter and stir until crackers are thoroughly soaked
  • Line muffin pan with muffin tins/liners.
  • Using your hands, press each muffin tin with the graham cracker/butter crust.
  • Open all Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and place one on top of the crust in each muffin tin.
  • Add eggs, sugar, and vanilla into the large mixing bowl with cream cheese.
  • Mix on medium speed until smooth, approximately 4 – 10 minutes.
  • Spoon cream cheese mixture to each lined muffin tin until approximately 3/4 full
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, depending on oven.
  • Check with a toothpick to make sure they are done and then let cool at room temperature.
  • Remove them from the muffin tin once they are cooled.
  • ENJOY!

One of the biggest perks to these is that you can put different surprises inside each one, if you want to get really creative. And each one is just enough for a good serving, so you don’t have to worry about eating too much or making a huge mess.

Butternut Squash soup

Butternut squash soup is a newer addition to our favorite frugal fall treats. But, it is not only delicious but really nutritious also. Bonus!

The ingredients, and costs, are as follows:

  • 1 Whole Butternut Squash – $1.99 per squash
  • 4 Shallots – $1.99 (per bag of 9)/9 = $.22 each x 4 = $.88
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic – $.99 (3 bulbs per package)/3 = $.33 each/12 (cloves per bulb) = $.028 x 4 = $.11
  • 4 cups Low Sodium Vegetable Broth – $1.99 per 4 cup container
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil – $6.99 (per 1 L bottle = 66 Tbsp)/66 = $.11 x 2 = $.22
  • 3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme – $1.69 (20 sprigs per package)/20 = $.085 each x 3 = $.25
  • ½ tsp Salt – $1.49 (per 4.5 oz jar w/grinder)/ 135 (servings per jar, 1/8 tsp each) = $.01 x 4 = $.04
  • ¼ tsp Smoked Paprika – $5.49 (per 1 oz jar)/40 (servings per jar, ¼ tsp each) = $.14
  • ¼ tsp Cinnamon – 5.49 (per .8 oz jar)/36 (servings per jar, ¼ tsp each) = $.15
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg – $4.29 (per 1 oz jar)/36 (servings per jar, ¼ tsp each) = $.12/2 = $.06
  • 2 Bay Leaves – $2.95 (per ½ oz bag)/30 (per bag, approximately) = $.098 x 2 = $.20
  • 2 Tbsp Pomegranate Seeds – $1.59 per whole pomegranate/16 = $.10 each x 2 = $.20
  • ½ oz Arugula – $2.49 (7 oz package)/7 per oz = $.36/2 = $.18

Total Price: $6.41 or $1.60 per bowl

I can tell you that this is a heck of a lot cheaper than any butternut squash soup I have gotten out at a restaurant. And the flavor profile and nutrients are so much better also.

Recipe

In order to make this recipe, you need to:

  • Peel the butternut squash.
  • Fully de-seed the squash. (Kids can definitely help with this step!)
  • Chop into larger chunks.
  • Dice the shallots.
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Heat pan to Medium heat and grease with olive oil.
  • Add shallots, garlic and half of the salt to pan.
  • Sweat down for approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add butternut squash to pan.
  • Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Add all spices and remaining salt and stir in thoroughly.
  • Add vegetable broth and bay leaves.
  • Turn heat up to High and reach a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce to Low heat and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, until squash is tender.
  • Remove thyme stems and bay leaves.
  • Pour soup into a blender or food processor.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add extra salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  • Pour into bowls and garnish with arugula and pomegranate seeds.
  • Enjoy!

Our kids like to help with the blending part of this recipe, so that is a great area for little helpers. They also like to garnish the top of the soup with the arugula and pomegranate. A few of them like to add pumpkin seeds also, for extra crunch.

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies are something I have been making for as long as I can remember. Not only are they delicious and easier to make than any other cookies, but they are also super budget-friendly. Plus the kids can help with every step of this recipe.

Here are the ingredients and costs for this recipe:

  • 16 oz Organic Peanut Butter – $2.12
  • 1 C Cane Sugar – $.96
  • 2 Egg Whites – $.40
  • 2 oz Dark Chocolate Chips – $.26

TOTAL = $3.74 (24 cookies) or $.16 per cookie

Recipe

And if you thought the ingredient list was short, you should see the actual recipe! The only steps required are:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Throw peanut butter, sugar and eggs into a bowl.
  • Mix on medium until batter is consistent.
  • Hand roll each cookie ball and drop it onto a cookie sheet.
  • Create a cross fork pattern on top of each cookie to smash them down.
  • Decorate the top of each cookie in whatever design you want with the chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes.

This whole process can be a really fun family event. Especially if you all take turns decorating the cookies, since everyone likes different designs.

Pumpkin Avocado Chocolate Pudding

Pumpkin Avocado Chocolate Pudding is very new to our frugal fall treats recipe list. But, so far, it’s been a big hit! Of all the recipes, this one has the most nutrient denseness and overall flavor. So, if you  haven’t ever tried this, now is as good a time as any.

The ingredients and cost breakdown for this recipe are:

  • 2 Ripe Avocados – $2.68
  • 1/2 C Pumpkin Puree – $.59
  • 1/2 C Cocoa Powder – $1.77
  • 1/2 C Coconut Milk – $.70
  • 8 Dates (softened) – $1.83
  • 2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice (or any other spices you prefer) – $1.03

TOTAL = $8.60 (4 servings) or $2.15 per serving

Recipe

You can always add some natural sweetener if you don’t feel the recipe is sweet enough for you. But I would suggest trying it this way first. In order to make this recipe, all you have to do is

  • Put all ingredients into a Vitamix or blender.
  • Blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour into individual containers.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour to set.

Out of all of the recipes, this one is also the simplest to make. Therefore, you kids can help with every step of the process. Including washing dishes!

Frugal fall treats summary

Overall, there are so many great frugal fall treats to enjoy this season. But our favorites are all budget-friendly, delicious, gluten free and nutritious. Well, the peanut butter cookies may be a stretch on the last one. But these cookies are much better options than any other peanut butter recipe I have found out there yet.

So, if you are looking for some delicious fall treats to make with your family, check these out. We would love to hear what you think of them!

What are some of your favorite frugal fall treats to make with the whole family?

Awesome Budget Friendly Foods to Boost Your Health

When it comes to our food budget, sticking to it can be the most difficult part. Of course, we have 5 kids, so that doesn’t help at all! But, what helps us save money the most is stocking up on some of our favorite superfoods. These foods help build our immunity, which keeps us healthy, which in turn, means very little, to no, medical bills. I am all about saving money wherever I can, so these awesome budget friendly foods really help out.

Turmeric

Turmeric is one of my absolute favorite spices to keep on hand. I even put it in my coffee in the morning!

This is because it is extremely diverse in its uses. But, the flavor profile is quite pronounced. So, for some of us, it may take a little while to become accustomed. But once you do, you will love what it does for your body!

Turmeric has been used in Eastern cultures for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. When you see Indian food dishes that have a yellowish tint to them, you know there is turmeric in there.

There are so many health benefits to adding turmeric to your diet, that you really can’t go wrong. Some of the major health benefits of turmeric are:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Increases neural function
  • Increases memory
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Reduces and potentially eliminates cancer cells
  • Anti-depressant
  • Delay aging and aging related diseases

This little yellow spice is really a huge superfood! However, in order to get the best benefits out of adding turmeric to your diet, make sure you consume it with a fatty meal (or coconut milk in your coffee) or black pepper.

Black Pepper

Black pepper is a go-to spice for us. We use it in pretty much every dish we make, including some desserts. And, as previously mentioned, it should be used with any turmeric dishes in order to activate the turmeric. When the two are combined, the amount of turmeric that is bioavailable to you goes from approximately 3% to 2000%. That is a huge jump in bioavailability!

But that is not the only thing black pepper is good for. In fact, black pepper has a lot of the same health benefits as turmeric. Some of the most common health benefits of black pepper are:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Increases memory
  • Decreases degenerative brain diseases
  • Improves blood sugar metabolism
  • Lowers cholesterol levels
  • Fights cancer cells
  • Boosts nutrient absorption
  • Increases good gut bacteria
  • Reduces pain
  • Appetite suppressant

Now, I don’t know about you, but I like all of those things! And, black pepper can be extremely cheap to purchase. So, why on earth wouldn’t you put it in everything you could?

Cinnamon

One of my other favorite spices to add to my morning coffee is cinnamon. I just love the flavor of it, especially when it is combined with turmeric. While we have a lot of cinnamon on hand, we don’t use it as much as the other two previously mentioned spices. But, it can be just as budget friendly to pick up at the store. So that is a huge bonus!

Our favorite thing to put cinnamon in, besides coffee, is overnight oats. The kids love it in the morning and have no idea that we are giving them a ton of medicinal benefits with their breakfast. This is what I call a parenting win!

Some of the most common health benefits of cinnamon are:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Reduces risk of heart disease
  • Reduces insulin resistance (Great for those with Type II Diabetes)
  • Decreases degenerative brain diseases
  • Fights cancer cells
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial

We not only use it in food, but make our own cleaning spray with cinnamon essential oil in it. This is due to its extremely strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. And it works like a charm!

Star Anise

While star anise does not seemed to be used as widely, including in our house, it is also a powerhouse. Star anise has a licorice flavor profile, so it can be a bit harder to use on a daily basis. Unless you are a big lover of licorice, that is!

However, it can still be added to coffee, savory dishes and desserts. So this is a spice to help you get creative with your cooking.

It can be found at most grocery stores, so it’s not too difficult to track down. And the cost is similar to cinnamon, so you won’t be breaking the bank.

Some of the best health affects of star anise are:

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antimicrobial
  • Antiviral
  • Antifungal
  • Antibacterial

Since it has so many great properties, this is another essential oil that we include in our household spray. The combination of cinnamon and star anise alone will kill anything our kids drag in.

Algae

Algae is one of my more recent superfood additions. A couple of years ago I ran across some really great information, including a wealth of scientific studies, about algae. The nutritional and health benefits of spirulina and chlorella are out of this world!

Since I found this information, and did more of my own scientific digging, we now incorporate algae every morning before our coffee. In fact, some of the kids ask for it too! Which is really great for our picky eaters. At least then, I know they are getting some essential vitamins, minerals and nutrition into them for the day.

Some of the most common health benefits of algae are:

  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron
  • Omega 3
  • Vitamin K
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Anti-depressant
  • Reduces and potentially eliminates cancer cells
  • Boosts immune system response
  • Helps with proper digestion
  • Boosts energy levels
  • Reduces appetite
  • Builds muscle
  • Strengthens hair, nails, skin and bones

As you can see, when it comes to superfoods, algae really is the OG! But, algae can be a bit more expensive than the other items on this list. So, we take it in moderation just to maintain our level of wellness, which helps keep withing our budget.

Most awesome budget friendly foods

Overall, there are some really awesome budget friendly foods our there that you can incorporate in your daily regimen. And most of these are so cheap, and stretch really far, so you won’t even feel it. This means you get to boost your overall health, reduce potential illness and medical bills and stick within your budget. So what’s not to love?

Have you tried any of these awesome budget friendly foods yet? If so, what are your favorites and how do you usually incorporate them into your diet?

Summer_Vacation_For_7

How to Execute a Family Summer Vacation for Under $400!

By now, you should realize that we like to do things frugally around here. And we pretty much have to in order to make our blended family of 7 work, and not kill our finances. That being said, we have multiple budget strategies that we use, and that includes when we want to take the whole family on vacation. Take a look at how our family summer vacation strategy worked out so that we only spent a total of $393.93 for 4 days! Read more

Vacation

Was I Able to Keep Our Vacation Frugal?

If you read my last post, then you will remember that my two children and I were getting ready to head out on our annual birthday summer trip. I always try to make the trip a ton of fun, but also on the more frugal side. So here is the big question: Was I able to keep our vacation frugal? And did I do it cheaper than last year?

Read more

Save a Bundle of Money on Groceries

What Are We Doing to Help Us Save a Bundle on Groceries?

Saving money can be really hard sometimes, especially when you are trying to get out of debt. One of the biggest places that we spend our money is on groceries (which is not surprising with a family of 7). However, since the beginning of the year we have been working very diligently to cut our expenses to get closer to financial independence. One of the most difficult budget categories for us is groceries. But we have found a few ways to help us save a bundle on groceries, which has really helped!

Read more

Spring Break on a Budget

How to Have an Awesome Family Spring Break on a Budget

I don’t know about you, but we are thrilled that Spring is almost here! But with the new season, comes Spring Break for our kids. Of course, they all want to know where we will be taking them. The kicker is that just because they have the week off, doesn’t mean that we do. Sadly, that is not always how “adult” life works. Even though we won’t be taking them anywhere for Spring Break, we still have some fun plans in store for them. The bonus is that these ideas won’t kill our budget either!

Read more