An Almost Completely Organic Dinner for UNDER $5!

I made pasta, meat sauce and salad tonight for supper and EVERYTHING but the pasta was organic (ok, the tomatoes were from my garden). The best part of this is it only cost me $4.20 to feed 3 adults, 2 toddlers and have enough leftovers for two adults!  The secret?  Frugal and strategic shopping!  I used sales, Superbucks, 50% off clearance stickers, and garden produce!

Pasta: Free

Meat sauce: $2.40

Organic ground beef (used a Superbucks worth $5.52): $0.21

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Organic tomato sauce: $0.75
Organic ketchup (Ya. I have that.  I used a squirt, so that’s probably a few pennies).
Organic onion: $0.44
Organic mushrooms: $1

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100% organic!

Salad: $1.73

Organic spring mix (I split it into thirds): $1.23
Organic mushrooms: $0.50
Organic pepper (a friend gave a few to me before she left on holidays and I froze it): FREE

Organic dill (the package I used was $2.50.  The amount I used was probably worth a few pennies).
Garden tomatoes: FREE

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100% organic!

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My Costco Trip This Week Included Some GREAT Organic Food Sales!

I’ve been dairy-free since Charles was about 2 months old and have been buying coconut milk for my coffee from Costco.  Generally a box of six is $10.99, but it was on an unadvertised sale for only $8.79 making it only $1.47 per 1L carton!

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Did you know that prices ending in “9” (so $0.59, $0.69, $0.79, $0.89 but not $0.99) generally means that Costco got a deal from the manufacturer and passed it on to members! Hurray!

Another unadvertised sale was for organic black bean spaghetti!  I’m so glad I went down this aisle because this product was on my “must buy if it ever goes on sale” list.  Regular price is $9.99 for a 907g box.  For anything organic I try to pay about $1.00/100g or $1.00/lb so this sale is great!

photo(70)The last time I bought the Costco Wild Roots Couscous Blend it was $7.99.

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When I went back yesterday it was only $4.97!  I’m kicking myself for only buying ONE!

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I also picked up a 12 pack of organic tomato sauce for $8.99 and organic peas for $6.49.

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$45.82 (the sales helped me save $10.22)

Sugar and Pectin Free Crab Apple Jelly

I’ve been wanting to make a sugar-free/pectin-free and after a quick Google search, I thought I’d try this recipe.  Because I love experimenting with food and recipes, I made some tweaks to it.  Here’s what I did.

1. I boiled 4 quarts of crab apples for about twenty minutes.  Next time I’ll add cinnamon sticks to it to make my house smell even more amazing than it did.

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Look at that lovely juice!

2. After boiling, I put some apple into a sifter and began pressing them with a spoon to squeeze out the lovely pulp.

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See that brightly coloured pulp?

3. As I pressed the apples, the pulp and applesauce mixed with each other in the bowl, so then I put over top of a pot, taped the sides so it wouldn’t move, and dumped the applesauce into it.  I stirred the applesauce slowly and the pulp start to drip into the pot.  The cheese cloth prevented any applesauce from getting through.

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4. Once I pressed all the applesauce and all my pulp was in the pot, I added ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 cup organic apple juice, ½ cup water, 1 ⅓ cups raw, farmer’s market honey.  Turn it on to medium heat to boil.  If you turn it on high, it will boil over and you not only lose a ton of jam, it is VERY difficult to clean afterwards.

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6. I boiled it for the recommended amount of time, dumped it into the mason jars, then sealed it by boiling it in a pot of boiling water.  My jelly did NOT set.  It was a beautiful clear liquid that when mixed with sparkling water tasted like pop, but it was not spreadable at all.

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My jelly, applesauce and crab apple liquor!

7. The next day I decided to try again.  This is where I changed things a bit.  I poured all the jelly back into a pot and boiled it on medium heat for about a half an hour!  Once it started to look like it was frothing, I took it off and watched as it thickened before my eyes.  I poured it into mason jars and it set beautifully!  It’s quite a bit thicker than I expected, but definitely spreadable and better than liquid!

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It’s not nearly as clear as before I gave it a 30 minute boil, but it is set and ready to enjoy during the winter!

This week I am pickling carrots and beans!  Next month I’m attending a fermenting class and hope to ferment foods all winter long!

These Were FINALLY On Sale

I’ve been waiting for the Foogo stainless steel sippy cups and thermoses to go on sale at Babies R Us and FINALLY, during their Baby Days, they did! 

photo(46)The regular price for these is $17.99 each, but they are on sale for $12.57 each.  I had a $25 gift card and a $5 Babies R Us coupon (I got this when I signed up for their baby registry).  For buying four, I only ended up paying $20.28 total!  I’m really excited for these stainless steel sippy cups, mainly because they are another step away from us using plastic.  You can buy them in stores, online or even on Amazon.ca.

Converting to Glassware

For a while now I’ve been wanting to not only change what we eat, but what we store or cook out food in.  Last Christmas my mother-in-law bought us beautiful stainless steel pots and pans which I use daily.  The only thing I need to add to my cooking collection is a couple good quality cast iron pans.

Today I went to Walmart to buy their mason jars. Each box of 12 was $5.94 ($0.50/jar).

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I’m excited to start making jams, jellies and pickled goods, but I’m also excited to use these items for every day food storage.  The London Drugs flyer currently has this set of glassware on sale again:

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I asked a friend of mine who is more knowledgeable in this area if this was a good deal.  She suggested that I also look at the dollar store as they sometimes have good glass food storage containers. So I hit up the Dollarama immediately after Walmart and look at what I found:

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These five glass containers and their lids (10 pieces total) only cost me $11.  The small ones were $1.50 each, the medium sized ones $2.50 each, and the large one was $3.  Even if I bought another large one to have a 12 piece collection like the one at London Drugs, it would only come out to $14!  That’s still a big savings of $5!  I’m happy.

I also picked up these ($3 each) to store our flour, rice and oatmeal in:

photo(44)I’m thrilled with how frugal my conversion to glass is so far!  Now to find that perfect cast iron pan.  Or two.

Apples!

Not much to say because these photos speak for themselves.  Both photos are of apples from Superstore.

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Non-organic apples: $5.88 for 6lbs

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Organic apples: $5.98 for 5lbs

I like to post these pictures to show that sometimes it is not really that much more to buy organic food.  If I didn’t currently have lots of apples from my neighbour’s tree, I would be all over this.

Costco’s Organic Steel Cut Oats

A while back I posted here about one of my new finds at Costco: organic steel cut oats.  For 3.18kg, the price was an amazing $9.49!

photo(13)Now these oats are only $8.99!  Only a fifty cent difference, but fifty cents is fifty cents!

photo(38)This should be on your grocery list.  Steel cut oats are super healthy and for this price they are very affordable.  My picky eater son loves them so much (mixed with raw honey, organic milk and cinnamon of course) that he actually eats it for breakfast and a snack!

A Little Bit of Autumn

Spring and Summer are my favorite seasons by far, but autumn is ok too (mainly because it’s a season that is not winter).  The temperatures are cooler, the leaves begin to change and we reap the fruits of nature.  Picking rhubarb and apples, digging up garden produce, baking breads and muffins, cooking stews and chili, and drinking warm afternoon teas are just some of my favorite things.  Oh and wearing SweetLegs.

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Don’t these leggings just SCREAM cozy and comfy?!

Mmm how I love delicious, raw, local honey from the Sherwood Park Farmer’s Market on warm rhubarb banana bread.  I didn’t measure anything for this recipe, but threw a bunch of ingredients into a bowl and it turned out amazing.  All the ingredients are whole foods and there was NO refined sugars added (that’s what honey is for!).

photo(60)My husband dug up our potatoes today.  Not bad for our first year gardening and they should last us a while.

photo 2A million more juicy tomatoes are hanging from their vines.  We will be making plenty of meals that include tomatoes.

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My neighbour has two apple trees that are heavy with fruit.  My three year old and I went over yesterday and picked A LOT of apples, but there are still so many more.  Thankfully, my neighbour wants me to take ALL of them so I’ll be baking, canning, juicing like CRAAAAAZEEEEE!

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Because of all this delicious food nature has provided for us, and because we still have plenty in our fridge, pantry and freezer, I only spend $36 on groceries this week (which included beef, chicken, some produce and kidney beans!). 

Happy Labour Day long weekend everyone!  Hope you’re enjoying your last “hurray” before the kids go back to school!