Sunday, April 20, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Week



This past week's frugal accomplishments, in many ways, are more in that I specifically did NOT do things, less that I did things. Meaning, I had many opportunities to spend money, lots of temptations... but I was very good and specifically did not spend money. Mike and the kids were all on spring break, everyone home... we did NOT go on expensive outings with the family, but instead chose to stay home, and entertain our relatives at our house, going to the park together, etc...
I'm still trying to take it relatively easy...

Here's what I did this week:

Friday, April 18, 2014

Homemade Coconut Macaroons Recipe- With Chocolate Flavored, Vegan and Refined Sugar Free Options

White sugar and egg macaroons, coconut
sugar and flax macaroons, and coconut sugar, flax, and
chocolate macaroons.
When trying to make grain free desserts, most recipes you'll find are nut based, which isn't so cheap. Alternatively, they use other expensive or hard to find ingredients, or are very complicated and time consuming to make.
Macaroons are a cheaper alternative to nut based grain free cookies, since coconut is generally cheaper per pound, not to mention per cup, than nuts are... The thing is- nearly all macaroon recipes that I've seen are with eggs, and since I avoid eggs, they didn't work for me. The few egg free macaroon recipes I came upon called for honey, which I didn't want to use, since it is expensive, or called for coconut flour, which I can't get locally.
Today, I came across this recipe for macaroons and I decided to play around with it. First I made a half batch to see how well it held together, and then based on that, I played around with it and came up with a few different versions, without eggs, with coconut sugar in place of white sugar, chocolate flavored, etc... It's a pretty versatile recipe, and once you have this base the possibilities for flavor are pretty endless. Ok, not endless, but you catch my drift.
One thing I have to note is that just using coconut, the sweetener, and the egg or egg replacement will leave you with a macaroon that is somewhat crumbly- adding cocoa powder or starch will not affect the flavor, but will make the macaroon be more solid and less crumbly. So it's up to you if you want to add them, based on what you're looking for in terms of end results, as well as the ingredients you want to use.
Just don't use both cocoa powder and starch in the same recipe- you can divide the batch in half and add half the amount of cocoa to one half and half the amount of starch to the other half. Or, as I said, you can leave it out entirely.


Homemade Coconut Macaroons Recipe- With Chocolate Flavored, Vegan and Refined Sugar Free Options

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grain Free Vegan Potato Pizza Crust, Flatbread, Wraps, and Crackers Recipe

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Pizza with homemade tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives,
and vegan cheese sauce made with homemade almond milk
I was playing around in the kitchen yesterday, trying to make a vegan potato based, gluten free, grain free pizza crust. I made a huge amount (three times the amount listed here) and after making 2 pizza crusts, that, for the record, came out pretty good, I still had quite a bit of dough left over... so I played around with it, and discovered that this dough is also able to be made into a nice pliable flatbread, which can be spread with spreads, or wrapped around fillings tortilla style, and if rolled thinly enough and cooked low and slow, can be made into crackers. (Though I have to admit, it's hardest to get them good as crackers, since they go from soft to burnt very quickly, so you have to time it just right.) Its pretty versatile for something with such minimal ingredients.

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In flatbread form
My husband liked it best in pizza form. My kids liked it best spread with homemade strawberry jam. Me? Can't decide- all ways are great!

Grain Free Vegan Potato Pizza Crust, Flatbread, Wraps, and Crackers Recipe

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perfect Pot Roast With Mushrooms and White Wine Recipe- Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Nightshade Free

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Unfortunately, the only pic I got of it was when it
was nearly finished. The potatoes aren't part
of the recipe. Just reheated together.
You know what's annoying? Sometimes, when you're experimenting in the kitchen, you meticulously write down the exact recipe so you can make it again... and it flops. And other times, your experiments come out so perfectly that you wish you had written down a detailed recipe, but you didn't. Both happened to me yesterday- my attempted almond pulp carrot cake came out pretty blah, but I made an amazing pot roast that, in my opinion, was the best post roast I ever had in my life, soft and delicious and delectable... but I only have an approximate recipe for it, not an exact one, unfortunately.
But since, whenever I have a pot roast, I am always looking for the perfect recipe for it, I decided that I needed to write down whatever I remembered from the recipe, even if it wasn't exact, since it was so good, that I'm sure that even with a slight variation, it'll still be amazing.

While beef usually isn't a cheap meal, I don't mind sharing this recipe on my site since it is made with the cheapest cut of beef I can get here- shank roast- which I am often able to get on sale making it even cheaper. Feel free to use any hunk of beef that you can get your hands on, even or especially the cheapo stuff like chuck roast or shoulder that is usually tough and chewy- because, made this way, cooked "low and slow" it becomes so tender, delicious, and juicy, that even the cheapest meat can be perfection. And, for the record, I've heard people talk about getting roasts soft and delicious... I've never had meat as soft as this. It truly was amazing.

I had a problem getting the wine bottle opened when I first was cooking this recipe, so I ended up first cooking the roast just in the mushrooms and their liquid, no wine, for at least 20 minutes until I got the wine in the pot. I am not sure if that is connected to how it came out, but I do want to note that it did cook first without the wine, and only 20 minutes later was everything added.

This recipe is naturally gluten free, grain free, nightshade free, sugar free, Paleo/Primal legal, etc.... If you used fresh mushrooms and water in place of the canned, it would be SCD and GAPS legal as well.

Perfect Pot Roast With Mushrooms and White Wine Recipe- Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Nightshade Free

How to Protect Your Family From Underinsurance

This is a guest post.


Research shows that 95% of Australians do not have adequate levels of life insurance. Even though many Australians have some degree of life insurance included within their Superannuation, it is thought that many are still underinsured by $100,000 or more. Insufficient amounts of life insurance will mean that your family will not have adequate cover, in their time of need. Source: Lifewise.org.au
Life insurance protects your loved ones with a lump sum payment in the event of your death, or upon diagnosis of a terminal illness.

When applying for life insurance it’s important to understand your policy, be completely truthful when you buy your policy; and ensure your details are up-to-date as your life circumstances change; such as a new child, new home or new job, to help ensure your family is protected when they need it most.
Insurance comparison site compareinsurance.com.au experts in all things insurance, helps you to understand life insurance, and explains how you explore your options and avoid underinsuring your income and life.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week


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This past week has been a bit of a crazy week in our house. The kids are on spring break, and since my husband works in a school, he also is on spring break, so we took the time to do a lot of spring cleaning. Frugality wasn't uppermost in my mind- cleaning was... And taking it easy. Meaning, I took it easy, for the most part, and directed my husband how to clean my house. :-D
I didn't keep track this week, as the week went by, what I did frugally, so the list is more sparse than usual, because, after a whole week, who actually remembers what they did each day that week? At least I don't...

Here's a few things we did as a family that I do remember:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Suave Coupons at Dollar General

While many people, like myself, chose to make their own hygiene and beauty products, more people prefer to buy them ready made at the store, ideally for as little money as possible. Dollar General is offering coupons on some of their Suave products- click here to play their Mix n Matching game to see the details of this offer.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Turkey and Greens Roll Up aka Swirled Turkey Loaf Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Grain Free

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I had wanted to post this recipe for my turkey and wild greens roll up that I made for Thanksgiving dinner already months and months ago, if not over a year ago. But of course, as things happen, I forgot entirely about it, and every single time I went to post it, something else came up. First, I lost the recipe, and needed to make it again so I had the exact amounts to share... and then I forgot, and forgot, and forgot, but I've been saving the photos of this on my camera memory card, using up space, reminding me that I needed to get this posted already.
I've been a little busy lately with the new baby and all, and definitely haven't been making anything as fancy as this lately, but I figured, why not share this fancy but cheap recipe now, with Easter and Passover coming up soon.

It looks nice and pretty, but fortunately it's pretty easy to make, not to mention pretty cheap. You probably can change it up a bit from how I made it, using bread crumbs in place of the potato flakes (use gluten free bread crumbs to keep this gluten free), and/or 2 eggs instead of the flax. (If you do use eggs instead of the flax, you might want to increase the potato flakes a drop, or add a little potato starch or bread crumbs so it isn't runny.)
You can use whatever greens you want for this recipe, whether foraged greens like mallow or wild mustard or sow thistle, or you can use spinach or swiss chard or whatever.

It tastes delicious and has been a hit with my family and guests both times I made it.

Turkey and Greens Roll Up Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Grain Free

Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Frugal Accomplishments This Week


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I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things, leaving the house a bit more, but still trying my best to take it easy. Frugal things I'm doing, predominantly, are things that save more money using as little energy as possible. People have commented to me "You just had a baby- you need to forget about frugality for a while" but unfortunately, that isn't doable. Having a baby doesn't miraculously improve your financial situation- if anything, it makes it more stressed out. I've been doing what I can to ensure that having a new baby isn't as expensive for our family as it is for most families, but even so, it means that my husband had to take off work, I had to pay my midwife, etc...
So my rule is- if I have to be on my feet for too long, or if it entails walking far, or it involves heavy lifting, it's out. When I left my house to go shopping, I went to the store that was further, but had a bus straight there and back from right outside my door and had deliveries to my home, instead of the closer store that entails walking 10 minutes uphill... And another sale that happened locally- I took a bus 3 stops (and about 3 blocks) within my own community to get there, and got a ride back...

Here's what I did this past week to save money:

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Be Your Own Florist- Making Homemade, Free Bouquets

 photo IMG_0004_zps7c9ff85b.jpgYesterday, my 2 year old, Anneliese needed to get out of the house and get some fresh air, so I decided to leave the sleeping baby with my husband and go on a short, quick walk with my daughter. While we were walking, I noticed the abundance of beautiful flowers and foliage growing on a path near my house. I thought that they would make a beautiful bouquet, would work terrifically to add some spring cheer into my house.

I really like flowers, and I especially enjoy flowers and beautiful foliage in my house. I feel a vase filled with flowers enlivens a room, transforms it from dull to enchanting. When my husband comes home with a bouquet of flowers for me, it really makes me smile, and for days, I enjoy its beauty in my home.
That said, my husband doesn't buy me flowers often. It gets very expensive. Especially since flowers only last for a short while until they wilt and die...

Making my own bouquet allows me to have the benefits of flowers decorating my house, without needing to lay out large amounts of money.

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