Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quinoa (Protein) "Cookies"

I *so* swiped this recipe from:

Green Smoothie Girl.

But as usual, I have some compulsive urge to change things around. So here's what I did.

I ground Quinoa in my BlendTec to get a cup of Quinoa flour.

Then, because I didn't have any ground, I ground some wheat in my BlendTec to get a cup of wheat flour. This is both the quinoa flour and the wheat flour in the bowl.

Then my battery in my camera died, so I didn't get to show the added:

1/2 cup coconut oil
T Baking Powder
t Vanilla
1 L Egg
1/4 cup Agava
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 t cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins

But I promise I added it. And my camera battery was just charged enough to make a picture of the mixed dough.

I charged the camera again while I was putting the cookies on the pan to bake. Just so I could get this picture for you.

And here is what they look like once they're baked. (I eyed the coconut oil instead of measuring it and think I added a little too much as they spread out more than normal, but it didn't seem to change the taste.)

And here is the PROOF that they are delicious. My P I C K Y redhead likes them. (Excuse the 80's hair and makeup, she just got back from a dress rehearsal for a play she's in tonight!)

These are something that I feel good about giving my family. If you try them, let me know!


Monday, May 19, 2008

BlendTec Question

Tisha left a comment asking if the BlendTec can grind peanuts to make homemade peanut butter. She said that she had seen a Vitamix demo at Sam's and was amazed that it could do that.

Let me start off by saying that I've never used a VitaMix, but from everything I've read it seems to be a great machine. That being said, this is why I chose the BlendTec:

1. If I'm going to trust someones opinion on what foods I put into my body, I'm certainly going to trust them on something less important like which blender to purchase. This is what Green Smoothie Girl has to say about Vitamix v's Blendtec.

2. It has a larger motor. 3 horse power. That's ridiculous.

And yes Tisha, it WILL make fresh peanut butter. And honey nut butter. And honey butter. And maple nut butter. And maple butter. And strawberry butter. And homemade (healthier) mayonnaise. And BUTTER (from cream).

And all of these recipes came with my blender in a big colorful recipe book.

And while I've not tried it, I've heard that you can also make almond and/or cashew, and/or pecan butters.

It also has a section on milk substitutes with recipes. Nut milks. Oat Milk. Seed Milk. Wheat Milk. Rice Milk. Etc.

Many smoothie recipes (though none like the green smoothie that I've found so far). Even iced cappuccino recipes!

It also makes bread dough (even from wheat berries). It has a whole section of soup recipes that look really, really good. Many, many sauce recipes. Salad dressing recipes.

I'll play with this thing for at least a year before I've scratched the surface of all that I want to try!


Green Smoothie, The Cost Breakdown

(Ok, I hadn't intended this to be a Frugal Friday post, but I'm just so excited about the cost savings that I just had to share!)

Every morning I make 2 pitchers of green smoothie. That's a GALLON of the stuff. Each day.

I got the idea from watching the Green Smoothie Girl video, though I don't use her exact recipe. Look her up on YouTube as well! She is amazing and inspirational. And I have bought her basic recipe collection and highly, HIGHLY recommend it. I will probably join have now joined her 12 Step Program as well.

To make my green smoothie, I use:

Baby organic spinach

Collard greens

Flax Oil





Frozen Fruit

Crushed Ice (from my refridgerator)


I do have to go shopping (at Sam's) at least once a week now, which I don't particularly enjoy. But it's really not out of the way for me as my girls have a co-op that is literally a mile or so from the store. If I had to drive farther, I'd have to factor in the cost of gasoline and at this point that would significantly add to the total.

At Sam's I can get:

Baby Organic Spinach, 1 ½ # - 4.78 (makes appr. 4 smoothies)

Collard Greens, 2# - 3.27 (appr. 8 smoothies)

Baby Organic Carrots, 5# - 5.44 (appr. 28 smoothies)

Fuji Apples, 5# - 6.48 (appr. 18 smoothies)

Banana, 3# - 1.32 (appr. 8 smoothies)

Frozen Mixed Berries, 3# - 7.68 (appr. 6 smoothies)
Frozen Mixed Fruit, 6# - 8.56 (appr. 12 smoothies)
Frozen Strawberries, 6# - 8.44 (appr. 12 smoothies)
Frozen Blueberries, 3# - 9.43 (appr. 6 smoothies)

The flax oil I buy is Barleans and it's $29.99 or less (on sale) locally and it lasts about a month.

The Stevia is $8.99 (or less on sale) locally and a box lasts about a month.


So now, how much does it cost to make each smoothie? (Prices rounded up)

Spinach - 1.20

Collard Greens - .41

Carrots - .19

Apples - .36

Banana - .17

The Frozen Fruit can be as little as .70 or as much as 1.57. With the average being 1.07

The flax oil is appr. .50 and the stevia is appr. .30

So that would make the *average* cost of a full half gallon of green smoothie to be:


But remember, I make 2 of these a day. So MY daily cost is $8.40. Or $252.00 a month.

This was very hard on my frugal mind at first. Even though I realize how important nutrition is, the total cost was hard to swallow. But for some reason, we didn't seem to be spending any more money a month. We actually seemed to be SAVING money and I didn't really understand at first. And then I realized a few things.

+ This is a meal (breakfast for me and my daughters, lunch for my husband) for 4 of us daily. This saves at least $6 a day. Or $180 a month

+ After much research, we no longer take a multi vitamin. We just don't feel like it's necessary with all of this great raw nutrition we're getting. So that saves $45.00 a month.

+ Coffee has lost much of it's importance to me. So instead of buying an expensive whole bean, I'm just getting some cheap grocery store coffee and drinking about half of what I was before. This is saving over $30.00 a month.

+ We're buying *MUCH* less meat a month. Much, much less. My husband is a HUGE meat eater and it's amazing how much less he's eating now. We're easily and conservatively eating less than half the meat we did before. This is not a deliberate thing. This is just what's happening. This is EASILY saving us $40 a month.

+ Our sugar cravings are gone. Really pretty much totally gone. So we're not making nearly as many sweets as we were before. Saving probably $15 a month.

So, if the cost a month for the smoothie is:


Minus the fact that it's a meal replacement brings the total to:


Minus the multi-vitamins:


Minus the coffee savings:

+ 3.00

Minus the meat savings:

+ 43.00

Minus the sugar cravings:

+ 58.00

So there you have it. By my making this smoothie, we're actually AHEAD by appr. $58 a month. I am absolutely not exaggerating this. If anything I'm being conservative.

As an example, I will frequently buy very ripe bananas for about .10# and freeze them, reducing the banana cost in the smoothie. Also, our fresh strawberries are coming in and that significantly decreases the cost of the smoothie right now. And the peach trees show great promise this year. Along with our blueberry bushes, grapes, blackberries, and apples for next year. Also carrots and spinach can be grown to further reduce the cost (we're trying carrots this year and I'm hopeful that my husband will put up a cold frame box for spinach this fall).

But having said all of this, I would do it even if it DID cost me an extra $252 a month. Because how do you put a price on health? And maybe more importantly, teaching your children healthy eating habits?

For more frugal inspiration, be sure to visit Crystal's Blog!


Green Smoothies, BlendTec, etc

Mrs. Gunning asked about the BlendTec Blender that is found on Green Smoothie Girl's Site in a comment and I thought I might answer it in a post in case others are interested as well.

I did buy the blender. I checked eBay and other sites high and low for specials but found that it's just a product that people don't seem to sell once they get one. It's always discouraging AND encouraging as I shop for a product to find that I can't purchase it used much more cheaply than I can new. It means that it's a good product. (And I'm going through the same thing now wanting an Excalibur food dehydrator. They cost as much used as they do new. Sometimes more!)

I ended up getting mine from Everything Kitchens. They were running an email special and I got it a *little* cheaper. The sale runs through May 31 if anyone is interested.

Mrs. Gunning also asked if I'd used it to grind wheat. I have not. I have a BlendTec wheat grinder and grind a lot of wheat at a time with that. However with a grain mill you can't grind oily grains. Like flax seed. So I have used it to gring my flax seed. And it works perfectly. It does seem to cloudy the carafe a little though, so keep it in mind if that bothers you. I've also used it to grind Quinoa. I found a recipe on Green Smoothie Girl for Quinoa cookies. They are not very sweet and they are high in protein and the whole family likes them. I've had no trouble at all grinding the Quinoa.

So I'm sure that the machine would grind wheat as well. Just bear in mind that you have to grind a smaller amount at a time than you can in a grain mill.

We've been drinking the green smoothies for a little over a month now. One of my husbands friends, who is all into health and nutrition, saw my husband drinking one and asked about it. He bought himself a blender and called up in a day or so saying that he feels like he's drinking "life". The stuff is pretty amazing. And surprisingly great tasting. I'm going to do a seperate post on the cost later today.


Friday, May 09, 2008

Michelle Duggar

The Duggar's are adding to their family.




Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I can remember when I was young I thought that when I became an adult I would know things. I didn't know how. I never really thought about how. Just that somehow when I reached adulthood that many of life's mysteries would somehow magically be revealed to me.


When that didn't happen, I set out to find answers. And when I'd formulated opinions I was ridiculous about defending them. I wasn't very tolerant of those that didn't share my belief's. Because, after all, I was now "grown up" and I was right. Right?

And then I came to a point in my life, not too awful many years ago, where I started to realize that I didn't have the inside scoop on all important things in my own life, much less on anyone else's life. That was a humbling time.

And through the years since that time, I've come to realize how very little I know. That the old saying about walking a mile in another's shoes before you judge has tremendous merit.

So now I try, and often fail, to love my neighbor as myself. No matter what their choices. I try to avoid being judgemental. I often fail at this too. I believe that loving our neighbor is one of the most important things we can learn here on earth. We're commanded to do it after all.

A lady recently approached me talking about various things in her life. Hardships. I was startled because I didn't know the woman at all. She certainly didn't fit into the surroundings. I stopped and listened to her, but my body language was terrible (I thought about it after the fact). She obviously had problems other than the ones she was talking about. And she picked me to share with. And I know that I wasn't nearly as embracing as I should have been. It was a safe area. My husband was close. There was no need to fear her. And yet I did. Because she was so different. And came at me so suddenly.

I talked to my husband on the way home about how Jesus would have acted with this woman. And I felt shame. While I was sweet to her, I certainly didn't do all that I could have done to touch her life.

These are the area's that I am trying to work on in my life. Loving my neighbor, especially the less-loveable ones.

And living in the past. But I'll save that for another day.

As a funny aside, when I started typing this post, I had every intention of talking about food and our dietary changes lately. And why I've not done a Menu Plan Monday. And the fact that we're having out of town company tomorrow for several days and how to feed them when we're eating so differently. That's why I called it "nourishment". I had absolutely no intention of speaking about these things that have been on my heart. But it's what I typed for some reason.

But there are other kinds of nourishment. So I think I'll keep the title.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Frugal Friday (Budget Busters)

I know I've not been around much. It's been a whirlwind of a week. Last Friday night we had an overnight GirlScout event at the mall. :) It's a really fun time, but I'm older and staying up all night is harder. And then Wednesday was the girls annual Science Fair. Lots of fun, but LOTS of work to get ready for that. Tonight the girls have another overnight youth function. So it's been get ready for one thing, barely recover, get ready for another thing.

Oh, and we're having out of town company next week for several days. :) Which I love. But it's work. Then an end of the year GirlScout dinner. And then the next week is finals for the girls. And we're planning a summer trip. And I've been working in the garden ever spare second. But I finally got it all in the ground.


I'm not specifically listing a frugal tip this week, I'm telling the things that seem to eat up all of my extra money. Or maybe better put, some of the reasons that I'm frugal in other areas. So that I can afford these things.

(I hope this is ok Crystal. If not, feel free to remove. :)

Tisha is the sweet lady who won my blog contest. And she has tagged me to list my five budget busters. So I thought, how fun! This can be part of Frugal Friday as well! (I'm all for multi-tasking you know. ;) Plus, I've got to admit...there are areas that I'm still working to find more frugal ways.

1. Green Smoothies. We can eat very, very cheaply if we eat a lot of processed food. But that is simply not acceptable to me at this point of my life. We have recently starting drinking Green Smoothies. And yes, I had to buy the blender (I tried it in my lovely KitchenAid blender and it started to have that burnt electric smell really quickly.) We've been doing this daily for over 2 weeks now and I *love* it so much. My husband is sleeping better and I've dropped 5lbs! My youngest asks for her smoothie every day (and my picky red head will even sometimes have some). The thing is, the ingredients aren't super cheap either. We are now buying 4.5-6 lbs of raw spinach, 4 lbs of collard greens and a huge bag of baby carrots (the kind you get at Sam's) ever week. But the most expensive part is the fruit. We have some fruit trees that we planted a couple of years ago that will hopefully help with some of that cost. And I think my sweet husband is relenting on a cold frame for some winter produce. This is my long winded way of saying that I'm trying to get the cost down (and have not even been able to really tell the true cost of it yet as it's so new). And I may post on this more as I get it all figured out. :)

2. My daughters activities. Since we homeschool, I feel a certain obligation to allow them too many a few outside activities. And they all seem to cost a bunch. Times two daughters.

3. My oldest dog. He's 13. And he has arthritis. So we buy some pretty expensive medication for him. I don't at all resent it. I think it's an obligation. And one that I will gladly cut corners in other areas to make happen. He limps pretty badly when he's off the medication. So it's simply not an option to not buy it.

4. My daughters co-op. Great, great education. But it's not cheap.

5. Gasoline. I drive very little. But good grief! A tank on average lasts me 10 days. But it's costing over $50 to fill up! I remember when we first got the vehicle that I now drive and I could not force $15 in gasoline into it. Which I suppose shows the age of my vehicle. :)

I'd love to see what the rest of you spend your money on. If you decide to do a Budget Buster post, please leave a link here so I can check it out!

For some frugal ideas (and I really feel like I need them more than ever now), be sure to visit Crystal's Blog!