Tag Archives: clean couponing

Making Jam2

#CleanCouponing by Gardening & Preserving

by Jessica

It is challenging to feed my family good quality, healthy food while sticking to a budget. I have four kids with big appetites and they love fresh fruits and vegetables. So, over the past few years I have taken on the challenge of giving them these foods they love without draining my bank account by creating a family garden and canning foods for the off season.

Inspecting First Tomatoes Picking Peaches

We began with the basics – tomatoes and bell peppers – in one four foot by eight foot raised bed. The whole family loved harvesting this little garden and as the kids grew, they wanted to try growing new edibles. Now, we have three raised beds as well as two in ground gardens and a significant container garden on the deck. We grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, strawberries, green beans, lettuce, radishes, sweet potatoes, tomatillos, basil and mint.

While the initial investment in creating a garden bed can vary based on location, soil, and type of garden; homegrown fruits and vegetables are significantly cheaper in the long run. And, if you start your plants from seed, the cost is much less than buying seedlings at the store. A quick Internet search will help you find the exact seeds that will grow well in your environment and in a pinch, you can buy the packets from your local grocery or hardware store.

Making Jam2

My kids have loved eating strawberries straight from the garden and digging up our first ever crop of sweet potatoes. But despite having eight tomato plants, the season was coming to an end and I didn’t have any extra tomatoes to can for the winter. And the children ate, literally, every strawberry the garden produced, leaving me nothing to make into jams and jellies — and I really do prefer to feed my family homemade spreads.

For winter food storage on a budget, I highly recommend checking out your local farmers market and farms. I have been able to buy tomatoes in bulk at a discount by talking to farmers. An extra 40 pounds of tomatoes can make plenty of extra pasta sauce and canned tomatoes to get my family to the next growing season.

In addition, fruit is often cheaper at “pick your own” farms. Our family had a couple great days together picking blueberries, blackberries, peaches and strawberries. And each time I open a new jar of blackberry blueberry jam, I remember how much fun we had picking those fruits. Many fruits can also be stored in the freezer.

Don’t be afraid to get creative while trying to save money and still feed your family great foods. You might start with a windowsill herb garden and discover you have a green thumb!

*Find detailed food preservation safety information at the National Center for Home Preservation.

Mark your calender for another #CleanCouponing Twitter party October 23rd!

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Organic Apple

Let’s Talk #CleanCouponing this Thursday Night!

Are you frugal with more than money?  Are you only interested in coupons and discounts IF a product is the best value or meets some special need?  Come join us Thursday, September 25 from 9 to 10 pm Eastern Time for another #CleanCouponing chat!  Follow us here on Twitter and watch for the hashtag.

Twitter chat September

We’ll keep it simple this month.  Let’s share strategies for stretching a dollar with REAL food or for seeking out non-toxic products without spending a fortune.

We’d love to hear your favorite topics that you want to see discussed here, too!

What about a value like supporting local farms and businesses?   We’ll talk a bit about that, as well.

Looking forward to chatting with you Thursday night along with the Flour Sack Mama blog!

 

Is Cleaner Pizza Really Possible?

Ahhh, pizza.  Everyone in my family wants it, at least once a week.  My husband insists, often ordering whatever sounds good to him, never asking about ingredients.

Something just doesn’t feel right after eating the pizza buffet, and honestly, who goes to the buffet and east just one slice?

Pizza

No doubt, this pie will always be an American favorite, but popular blogger Food Babe has uncovered all sorts of reasons we should be concerned about it, not the least of which is hidden sources of monosodium glutamate or MSG.

So, we all understand the ick factor here, but in the real world most of us don’t have time to scrutinize the pizza ingredients each time.

Maybe our pizza options go something like this, in order from easiest to hardest:

*Eat pizza less often, in smaller amounts.

*Call the manufacturer of our favorite pizza brand for more details about what’s inside.  Stick with the one brand or two that give us the details we need.

*Seek out USDA Organic pizza makers who, according to organic rules, are not allowed to use as many artificial ingredients.

*Make and freeze our  own pizza dough for some convenience in making homemade pizza.

*Make pizza an artisan event and create everything from scratch.

 

 

Wraps Lunch CC

Rock the Lunch Box Back-to-School Ideas & Giveaway!

*This is a sponsored post in cooperation with Organic Valley, Stonyfield Organic & other Rock the Lunch Box brands, bringing you yummy content plus a giveaway!

We’re all inundated with back-to-school deals this time of year, matching prices and clipping coupons.  But is it really a good deal if the product isn’t a wholesome food we’d normally feed our kids?

Because at Clean Couponing we’re frugal with more than money, we’re looking for real food.  Even when we buy packaged, processed foods for convenience, we’re scanning for recognizable ingredients without a bunch of fillers, preservatives or artificial colors.

Melon Ball CU

An entire spectrum of colors is available when lunch planning starts in the produce aisle, garden or farmers’ market.  Those are all great places to get kids involved.

I asked my young daughter to draw her dream lunch for school.  She spent a lot of time designing a very pretty tote, then she clearly indicated she likes strawberries, milk and chocolate.  While I’m not promising candy bars at lunchtime, I can agree on chocolate milk sometimes, IF it’s organic milk from Organic Valley’s dairy cooperative.

Kid Art Lunch CC

Chocolate milk is a part of the healthy lunch we created along with other foods from Rock the Lunch Box participating brands.

Most importantly, my daughter helped me choose fresh carrots, cherry tomatoes and a bell pepper from the produce section and picked green beans from our little organic garden.  She really likes watermelon, so I tried mixing that up with cantaloupe since they’re priced low at the end of summer.  Another time, we’ll put strawberries in her lunch box; and when we can’t find great deals on fresh fruits, we’ll use frozen.

We created a mini-wrap using tortillas from Rudi’s Organic Bakery, leftover pasta sauce, turkey and bell pepper.  She had a little ranch dressing for dipping her crisp vegetables, and a colby jack cheese Stringles from Organic Valley.  Plus, we cut a circle of Rudi’s gluten-free bread and added almond butter for a high-protein addition to her lunch.  It’s likely the Annie’s chewy granola bar and Honest Kids juice will get saved for her snack later in the day.

Wraps Lunch CC

You’ll find hundreds more fun lunch ideas plus cool coupons at rockthelunchbox.com. Getting dollars and cents off wholesome foods you’d want your kids to eat:  that’s what we call “clean couponing!”

One lucky Clean Couponing or Flour Sack Mama blog reader will win a Rock the Lunch Box toolkit, featuring a Laptop Lunches Bento and free food coupons, a $50 value!  Enter via the Rafflecopter form here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We tried another Rock the Lunch Box combination at the Flour Sack Mama blog!

Thanks to the fun #RocktheLunchbox brands for food samples & lunch gear.

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

KaleChipsCleanCouponing

Frugal Baked Kale Chips

Have you noticed how pricey kale chips can be in the health food store?  Fresh kale itself is pretty reasonable.  And growing organic kale yourself is the most frugal way to go.  Here’s how we turned part of our virtually free harvest into a healthy snack:

KaleChipsSnackCleanCouponing

Baked Kale Chips:

KaleRinsingCleanCouponing

1. Rinse kale leaves, remove spines, and tear leaves into pieces.  For best results, thoroughly dry before baking.

KalePiecesDryingCleanCouponing

2. Preheat oven to 370 degrees.

KaleTossedOliveOilSaltCleanCouponing

3. Toss bowl of kale with just enough olive oil to thoroughly coat pieces.

4. Sprinkle sea salt to taste.

KaleChipsBakedCleanCouponing

5. Place kale pieces in a single layer on baking sheet.

6. Bake approx. 15 minutes, watching to be sure kale becomes crisp without burning.

Serve as a snack.  Or, add to a soup for extra flavor.

*I got in a hurry by not drying this batch enough, then went too heavy on the oil.  They still tasted great.  Yours will probably turn out even prettier than ours.

Dehydrating kale has become very popular.  In this post the Food Storage Moms show you how easy it is to prepare kale with a dehydrator.

The Crafty Garden Mama created an entirely different sort of kale chip recipe that’s worth a try.

Prefer your kale in salad? Eating Made Easy has some savory salad ideas.

No matter how you serve it, kale remains a strong choice for snacks and meals.

may20DoA

Guest Post: Global Day of Action to Cut Conflict Palm Oil

When problems seem overwhelming for our children, we remind them to take things “one day at time.” Amazingly, their problems often don’t seem so big or so overwhelming anymore.

On May 20, 2014, you and your family can join me and my family and thousands of other folks around the world as we take one day and create thousands and thousands of actions around ONE ask: PepsiCo The Power to Cut Conflict Palm Oil is #InYourPalm.

Ashleyinyourpalm

For most of us, making a difference and creating change around huge global problems like the destruction of the world’s rainforests and climate change seems way too big and too hard to imagine taking on. As parents, between work in and outside our homes, getting to and from lacrosse games, music and dance classes, putting nutritional meals on the table, arranging play dates for our kids, and finding time for the occasional play date of our own, our lives are full, busy, and regularly frenetic and hectic. Continue reading

Rice for a Frugal Gluten-Free Dish

Maybe you have health reasons to try a gluten-free diet, whether from a celiac diagnosis or other concerns.  The transition can seem a bit daunting, and it can be somewhat more expensive when it comes to traditional baked goods without gluten.  However, a frugal, at-home staple for a gluten-free diet is brown rice.

cooked rice

Buying in bulk by the bag, or even bulk bin shopping can help you save on the cost of rice.

We show you how to make perfect rice in this post on frugal cooking.

Here’s more about gluten free food choices from the Mayo Clinic.

 

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Is Palm Oil Healthy For Your Family? Dr. Weil Weighs In

So, you’re reading more ingredient labels and watching out for things that don’t sound like food.  You may be delighted to read about an ingredient like an oil that at least sounds naturally good for you and the planet.  The following guest post from Rainforest Action Network helps clear up some confusion about palm oil.

by Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz, Rainforest Action Network

Mother Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz with baby boy

Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz of Rainforest Action Network

Now that we’ve added trans fats to the list of ingredients to look for – and avoid – in supermarket labels, and the FDA is poised to ban them from the food supply altogether, we’re good, right?

Not so fast, warns Dr. Andrew Weil, America’s leading expert in integrative medicine.

Conflict Palm Oil is often used to replace those artery-clogging trans fats. It makes a good substitute because palm oil, like partially hydrogenated oil, is solid at room temperature. But is it actually healthy? Continue reading