Saturday, September 12, 2009

7 Grain Breakfast in the Crockpot!

I love to do breakfast in the crockpot! It is soooo easy, and I love not having to worry about cooking when we have a busy morning. We like oatmeal, but get tired of it occassionaly. Here's a recipe for what I made this morning. I make this ahead in large batches and store in an empty oatmeal container.

7 Grain Cereal

1 c. brown rice
1 c. barley
1 c. whole oat groats
1 c. kamut
1 c. rye berries
1 c. wheat
1 c. quinoa

To cook: For each serving, add 1/4 cup of grain mixture and 1 cup of water to crockpot. Cook on low overnight for 8-10 hours. Serve with milk or yogurt to make a complete protein.

We also like to add peanut butter, cinnamon, honey, raisins, prunes, or diced apples....not all at the same time. Experiment to see what your family likes. If you add the fruit and cook it with the grain, it gives it a great flavor and naturally sweetens it.

This makes 28 servings at 13.5 cents per serving. Of course, your cost will depend on what you pay for the different grains. I found all of these at our local natural foods store. Some of them were organic, so more expensive.

Some of the grains may sprout overnight. Don't freak out. The first time I did this, I was totally surprised in the morning when there were teeny, tiny little white things in the mixture. I thought at first it was worms. Upon closer inspection, I could see that the grains were starting to sprout. This is actually supposed to be really healthy for you. It's pretty tiny and once you realize what it is, it's not that not gross to eat.

I have two crockpots. One is the little one for dips and fondues. This would be great if you're making one or two servings. The other one is ginormous.....great for cooking a whole chicken or turkey breast, but not so great for cooking 4-6 servings of hot cereal. Crockpots are most efficient if they are at least 2/3 full. My solution is to use an oven safe glass bowl that fits inside my crockpot. Just put all of the ingredients in there and cook away.

Hope you enjoy this healthy, economical and time-saving alternative to traditional hot breakfast cereals!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Find out when your stores do markdowns

Last week I just happened to do some grocery early Saturday morning on my way home from picking up our co-op produce. In the past, I have tried to avoid the grocery stores on the weekends. They are always so crowded and usually understocked. I was pleasantly surprised to find that no one shops at 7am on a Saturday morning. I also found tons of markdowns on dairy, bakery, and meat items. I stocked up on organic milk for $1 for 1/2 gallon, lunch rolls for $1 doz., and various meat items for well below sale prices. These items were expiring within the next 1 or 2 days and the store cannot sell them after that date. I've found that if you use them up quickly or freeze the items, the expiration dates are fairly arbitrary. This is where our freezer comes in handy. I repacked the meat and bread into freezer bags and appropriate portions for our family and froze most of it, along with most of the milk. Milk freezes great, and thaws pretty quickly in a sink full of cold water.
I went again this Saturday morning, and found some similar deals, just not as much as last week. I will definitely be making a point of doing some early Saturday morning runs to the grocery stores to check the markdowns.
I encourage you to find out when your stores do their markdowns and shop them to get some great deals and stock up your freezer.

Good Luck!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

I was looking for a healthier muffin recipe and came up with this:

Whole Grain Pumpkin Muffins

3/4 c. milk (I used reconstituted powdered milk)
3/4 c. oat bran
1 egg
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. molasses
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c. rolled oats
2/3 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 t. salt

Combine milk and bran cereal in medium bowl. Add egg, oil, molasses, pumpkin, and brown sugar; mix well. Add remaining ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill 18 medium size muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.

They turned out great! My one year old ate 3. I think next time I will experiment with adding some wheat germ. This is a great basic recipe and you can substitute whatever you have on hand in place of the pumpkin. I'm thinking maybe diced apples?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Coupons on Ebay

In searching for online printable coupons, I came across people selling coupons on Ebay. While they technically don't sell the coupons themselves (doing so would be illegal), you are paying for their time and handling.

So, I gave it a try, twice so far.

My experience has been good and the shipping seems to be pretty quick. I have only searched for multiples of specific coupons that I was wanting, but I do see where you can buy a lot of say 100 grocery coupons. I don't think I will go that route, because there are just so many coupons out there. I would rather know exactly what I'm paying for and getting.

For example, I ordered a total of 20 coupons for items that are on sale this week. If you check your ads as soon as they come out and order the coupons right away, you will most likely get them before the sale is over. For the 20 coupons, I paid $2.00. Shipping was free. If I use all of them, which I'm planning to do, I will save $17.50. So my net savings will be $15.50, minus the less than 5 minutes of my time it took me to find and buy them on Ebay.

I know some stores have a limit on how many of one specific coupon they will take, so you might want to check on that before buying a lot of multiples.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Recipe sites

Here's 2 new recipe sites that I came across.

1. This one is awesome for giving recipe ideas for what you have on hand. Great for stretching the grocery budget to next week or next month

2. I know it's a little early, but this one has tons of Christmas recipes from candy and cookies, to good breakfast and party ideas.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cheap Kid's Clothes

Many stores are having their summer clothes clearance sales and this is the time to stock up for next summer at awesome prices!

In Prescott Valley:

Kohls has infant and toddler clothes up to 90% off. There's many items right now for $1-$2 and they're good brands.

K-Mart has their clearance racks for infants and toddlers and everything is marked $2.99. There's lots of 2 piece sets, so this is a good deal.

I'm sure there are similar deals at other stores, but these are the two that I've seen this week.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Universal Casserole Recipe

This universal casserole recipe is great for mixing and matching whichever ingredients are on sale each week. The creative possibilities are endless!

1 cup main ingredient
1 cup second ingredient
1-2 cups starchy ingredient
1 1/2 cup binder
1/4 cup "goodie"

Main ingredient suggestions : tuna, cubed chicken, turkey, ham, seafood
Second ingredient suggestions : thinly sliced celery, mushrooms, peas, chopped hard-cooked eggs
Starchy ingredient suggestions : thinly sliced potatoes, cooked noodles, cooked rice
Binder suggestions : cream sauce, sour cream, can of soup
"Goodie" suggestions : pimiento, olives, almonds, water chestnuts
Topping suggestions : potato chips, cheese, bread crumbs

Thoroughly mix your combination of the above ingredients. If it seems dry, add 1/2 cup milk or stock. Place in buttered casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.