Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Menu and Recipe Roundup- Gluten Free, Egg Free, Low Cost and Healthy

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I haven't shared my menu yet! Can't have that happening!

I'm not making everything myself- my mom and I are splitting the work, but we've discussed the menu together and here's what we came up with. Everything on the menu is gluten free, egg free, and refined sugar free (with one exception).

Gluten Free Rolls. I'm making this recipe, which everyone seems to love.

Orange Soup. Not actually made with oranges, but rather, with all those yummy orange veggies- sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, a little zucchini and/or potatoes, and seasoned with nutmeg. Mom is making this.

Delicious Turkey Loaf- Whole turkeys are very hard to come by where I live (out of the US), not to mention expensive, but ground turkey is one of the cheaper types of meat, so my mom will be making my awesome turkey loaf recipe- though when I make it I usually spiral wild greens into it, but she'll be leaving that out.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe- Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free

 photo IMG_2308_zpsdddaa956.jpgI just made the most unbelievable pumpkin pie for our Thanksgiving dinner. It was unbelievable in many ways- firstly, it was just really awesome- it's the reason why I am making the same exact recipe for pumpkin pie as I did last Thanksgiving- if something ain't broke, don't change it.
Secondly, it's unbelievable because it breaks the conventional rules of pumpkin pie- it doesn't have any white sugar or eggs or cream- and unlike most vegan pumpkin pies, it isn't tofu based either- it is soy free as well. So you have an allergy friendly, totally healthy pumpkin pie- one I can eat without any guilt or feeling ill afterward. Not that it is low carb- it definitely isn't- but it's the healthiest pumpkin pie recipe I've ever heard of.
I make mine crust free because I can't be bothered to cook up a pie crust, but if you're not lazy, feel free to make your favorite/healthiest pie crust with it. This is the gluten free vegan pie crust I made it with last year.

As for sweetener, that is versatile, and really is dependent on how sweet your squash is. This year, my squash was really not sweet at all (to the extent that I had my husband taste test it to make sure it was edible enough to make into a pumpkin pie), so I used a lot of sweetener. If you have a more sweet squash, feel free to use much less. If you're trying to cut costs/amount of added sweeteners, I'd suggest first using the squash mixed with the date paste, and then taste test it to see if it is sweet enough. If it isn't, add the sweeter (white sugar or coconut sugar) in small increments until it reaches the desired sweetness. If you have a good sweet squash there's a good chance you wouldn't need any additional sweetener after using the dates.

P.S. If you're wondering why I use butternut squash for pumpkin pie- that is what "traditional" pumpkin pie is made from- if you look in canned pumpkin pie filling, its nearly always made with butternut squash.

Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Pie Recipe- Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Pressure Cooker Saga

 photo pressurecookers_zps6a8b0a73.jpgOr- Why you should always use your brain in the kitchen.

Ever do something without thinking, for a split second, and then end up regretting that thoughtlessness for a long time after that?
Welcome to my morning.

I wanted to make some lentil soup for lunch, and the recipe called for chicken broth. I had some water left over from steaming pumpkins, and I figured if I steamed chicken wings (my new favorite way of eating them- steamed, then fried), the liquid would make an amazing broth to use as the base of my soup.-
Easy as pie.

I loaded the chicken wings into the steamer basket of my pressure cooker, and tried putting the cover in. It didn't go in so easily- I assumed because the pressure cooker was a little too full- but I pushed hard and got it in anyhow. When I went to seal the pressure cooker to start the cooking process, I was unable to, and that's when it hit me- I used the wrong cover!
I have two pressure cookers- one taller than the other, but both with approximately the same diameter. Approximately, but not exact.
And I managed to take the slightly bigger pressure cooker cover, and shove it in to the slightly smaller pressure cooker.
And it was stuck.

I tried and tried and tried to remove the pressure cooker's cover, but I had no success whatsoever.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Falling into Sales Traps on Black Friday (and in General)

Thanksgiving is coming up. And what does that mean? Talking about what you appreciate in your life? Talking about the history of the holiday? Perhaps... but on the blogosphere, especially in the frugal blogosphere, the thanksgiving aspect of the holiday is severely overshadowed by the countless discussions about Black Friday, pre-Black Friday, and pre-pre Black Friday sales. What is on sale, what has the best sales, what is the best way to make the most of these amazing sales...
And you know what that does? 
It makes you think about all the things you want in your life, all the things your life would be better with, if only you had them. It makes your head in the mentality of "what I'm lacking" instead of "what I appreciate".

Why do you think stores make Black Friday sales? (And pre-Black Friday sales, etc... For the sake of this post and simplicity, from now on, all these sales at this time of year will just be entitled Black Friday sales.) Are they doing it because they really, truly want to help you out, want to help you save money?
They're doing it because it makes them money! You think they're doing it as a service to you, but stores are not having your best interest in mind when they have these sales- they're having theirs. These sales aren't a charity- they're a business decision.

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

It's that time again where I share with you all the fabulously frugal things I've done this past week- hopefully to inspire you and show you ideas where money can potentially be saved.

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

How to Make Homemade Ghee- From Cow Butter and Goat Butter

 photo IMG_1867Medium_zps8ef9432c.jpg
And if you're wondering why this container says gluten on it...
lol... its from back in the day when I bought straight
gluten to make seitan, and we stored it in this container.
Have you ever heard of ghee before? I hadn't heard of it until I started getting into eating traditional foods, and ghee was brought up as a good fat to be used.
What is ghee? Also known as clarified butter, ghee's what you get when you take butter and remove the milk solids from it. This post will teach you how to do that.

But why remove milk solids from butter? What's wrong with butter in it's natural form?

Nothing. Butter is great. Especially if it's from grass fed cows.
But ghee is better for many things.
Because it's higher smoke point, so you can use it for more things than butter since you don't have to worry about it burning.
Additionally, it is more shelf stable than butter.
And last but not least, it's got the milk solids removed from it, so often people who are sensitive to casein and/or lactose are able to have ghee even if they aren't able to have butter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Latest Shopping Trip

Sunday evening I went to the grocery store and I had an amazing shopping trip- for more reasons than one- and I just really wanted to share my scores with you. Since I've been trying to lose weight and have changed my diet up a bit (very minimal grains, lower carbs, and more animal proteins), my grocery bills have understandably gone up somewhat, especially since the prices of produce lately have gone up and I can no longer shop at many of the places I used to buy... so when I am able to get great prices for the foods I am eating, I just get really excited.
On top of that, I was able to pay for this shopping trip exclusively with money I earned doing something extra, so it didn't even come out of our regular budget, so that was awesome.

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Here's what I bought- at 2 shops on Sunday night- the local large chain grocery store and the local health food store. I paid a total of $139.46 for this shop.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Homemade Apple Pie Filling Recipe- Sugar Free, Starch Free, Vegan, GAPS Legal

 photo IMG_2176_zps58e79c34.jpgI wanted to make a dessert for my family, but a healthy one. I wanted no added sweeteners, healthy or not, and no grains or starches, healthy or not. I had a bunch of apples in my fridge, and my first thought was apple pie, but again, no grains. So I thought to just serve apple pie filling without the crust, and figured I'd use chia seeds as a thickener instead of the usual flour or starch, and let this apple pie filling be sweetened just from their own juices.
I experimented and this recipe came out so great I had to share it with you.
This recipe is vegan, sugar free, GAPS legal, Paleo/Primal diet friendly, allergy friendly, and much else. Feel free to use this to fill your standard pie crust or in any other recipe that calls for pie filling. Or just eat it plain- it's great all ways!

Homemade Apple Pie Filling Recipe- Sugar Free, Starch Free, Vegan, GAPS Legal

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Frugal Accomplishments This Past Week

It's that time of the week where, once again, I do some reflection on the past week, and see whether or not I was spendy or frugal, and then share the frugal things with everyone. (Maybe once in a while I should have a "my frugal flops this past week". Hahaha.)

This past week was ok. Can't say it was the most frugal ever, but it wasn't spendy. I didn't do a ton of spendy things, but didn't do a ton of money saving things either. I've had better weeks and I've certainly had worse weeks...

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Here's what I did to save money this past week, broken down by categories:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Homemade Breakfast Sausage Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, GAPS and Paleo Legal

 photo IMG_2126Medium_zps8499f986.jpgI'll be honest- the concept of breakfast sausage was foreign to me- it wasn't something I'd grown up with. I'd never eaten meat for breakfast until maybe last year on a camping trip. It just isn't how I was raised. And I thought sausage meant hot dog....
But a couple of years ago I learned about breakfast sausages, and that they sell them in stores, that they look like hamburgers, but they're often sweet, and served for breakfast.
Now that I'm trying to lose weight, I'm trying to cut back on my carbs (not cut them out entirely, just scale back somewhat), and to do that means I'm eating more animal proteins, and trying to eat a bigger breakfast to jump start my metabolism. Because of this, I've been more open to the idea of eating meat for breakfast, so when I found ground chicken on sale at a great price, I stocked up and decided to make breakfast sausage for myself with some of the ground chicken. It came out delicious.
I highly recommend you try it. If you're not a "meat for breakfast" type person, feel free to serve this for lunch or supper.
They freeze well, either raw or cooked, so even though this makes a large batch, you don't have to eat it all at once.

Homemade Breakfast Sausage Recipe- Gluten Free, Egg Free, GAPS and Paleo Legal


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