A few days ago I got a hankering for pumpkin soufflé. I haven’t had a soufflé in years and even then it was a savory mushroom soufflé, not a dessert. Yet for some reason I just had to make one.
The recipe called for canned pumpkin puree of course but I try to limit what we eat out of a can (BPA yo!) and would’ve had to make a special trip to the store. The store where I can buy organic pumpkin puree is even farther. So I decided to make my own puree using two pie pumpkins that had been sitting on my kitchen table for awhile. But how to make the puree?? Well, I am not for making things hard so I decided that I could delay my soufflé craving until the next day and simply slow cook the pumkpkins for the easiest homemade pumpkin puree evah. It was so crazy easy to do that buying canned pumpkin puree is just the height of silliness, at least when pumpkins are in season!
I made about 5-6 cups of puree with two regular size pie pumpkins. I just cut the tops off each one and put them in the slow cooker, with the tops loosely replaced, and cooked for 8 hours on low.
After cooking I scooped out the seeds and set them aside for roasting. Then I scooped out the pumpkin “meat” and stuck it in a my Vita-Mix. I mixed it up until it resembled creamy baby food.
At this point it is all done and ready for storage in the fridge. We made pumpkin soufflé in individual ramekins (I love these Rachael Ray Stoneware Ramekins) two nights in a row. Tonight I am making a Harvest Chicken Soup with pumpkin puree.
Easy peasy. Enjoy!
We don’t often do desserts in our house. On occasion will we follow up dinner with some homemade sorbet but that is the extent of our dessert making here. Perhaps this is why my kids were uber suspicious when they spied pudding chilling in the fridge. They just KNEW that something had to be “off” with it. Was their spinach blended in? Was it sweetened with fruit juice? All good questions and of course they were hip to my tricks. This pudding was mostly comprised of avocado and yet despite that, it tasted very, very good. It is a sneaky way to add nutrition to a dessert!
Creamy Chocolate Avocado Pudding
4 ripe avocados, peeled
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup raw honey
1 cup milk (regular, coconut, or almond)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients in a food processor until super smooth and creamy. Serve immediately or chill for later. So easy, delicious, and fast! Serves 5-6.
First, I want to thank Tiffany for giving me the awesome opportunity to come and spread the word on shopping. We all love to shop, but we donʼt always love the part when we have to take our debit card out at the end! So Thanks Tiffany for letting me chat today!
I used to think that the crazy couponing was a just that, a craze. But since itʼs been a few years now and I still see women chugging through the aisles with their 3 ring binders and their calculators, I think couponing is here to stay.
Not that itʼs a bad thing, if you are one of those women that can walk out of the store with $100 worth of things for just $15, then I salute you.
Hereʼs the issue that I do have with it though, how often do you see coupons for healthy products? Not often. As a vegan wife that tries to give her family the best, couponing simply seems out of the question for me. With that said, I havenʼt given up on saving as much money as possible. I have learned a few tricks of my own over the years to keep my grocery bill from giving me a heart attack at the checkout.
Tips To Eating Clean Without Cleaning Out Your Bank Account
Buy local. We have a few grocery stores that have sections in their produce department for local farmers to debut their harvests. Sometimes there are some great deals, but with the competitive prices of the other companies, a lot of times the selection is jacked up in price, which is backwards in the whole “buy local” theme. So instead take full advantage of your farmers market. It might be during the week, after a long day of work but who cares. You can save a bundle.
In fact, we take just $25 per week to the farmers market and come home having to reorganize our fridge to ﬁnd enough space for all our goodies. Plus, it will introduce you to what is in season and have your kitchen creativity in full swing.
Make a list. I know youʼve heard this before, but seriously do it. I started making a list about 6 months ago and now I kick myself each week for not starting sooner. By creating a list youʼre determining what you need, not want (those things can merge when youʼre in the store). Youʼre also putting together a meal plan for the week. How great it is to come home and know what you are going to make so that it runs much more smoothly and you have no excuse to go grab take out.
Each week, I sit down with my favorite recipes around me and decide what we will have each night. Then I will write down what we need for the recipe that I donʼt already have on hand. At the store, there is no impulse buying. You get in, get what you need and get out of there before doing more harm to your wallet.
Shop around. When I was a kid, I can remember my mom making fun of all the women who would go from store to store to save a few bucks. She would proudly announce “I
donʼt care how much money I would save, I refuse to go bouncing around.” Now looking back, I make fun of her. Why not bounce between stores. If yourʼe in an area where there are several stores lined up then by all means, do not be embarrassed to grab veggies at one place, lunch meat at another and toiletries and another. In fact, that is what I do.
I start off at Trader Joes for some veggies (I know arenʼt at the farmerʼs market) and other odds and ins, then I head 1 block over to Whole Foods where I get our organic milk and yogurts (both for the husband) and almond milk for me. Plus a few other things I know I canʼt ﬁnd else where and their bulk section saves lots of moola. And ﬁnally, I drive across the street to the local store for everything else on my list.
You might thing this takes awhile, but I am done with all my shopping in less than an hour.. again because of the list!
Go Cold. Itʼs great to be able to buy fruits and veggies at the farmerʼs market but what about when the farmerʼs market closes down for the winter? Donʼt be afraid to go frozen.
Frozen foods often contain more vitamins and minerals that the fresh stuff on display because they are frozen soon after harvesting. Most of the fresh stuff in the store was picked before it was ripe, and ripened on the way over from some very far distance. All the while losing itʼs nutritional proﬁle.
Forgo The Fancy Stuff. By fancy I mean things like nutrition bars or granola (which seems to be outrageous). Both of these things can be quickly and easily made at home. I got tired of watching my husband eat $5 worth of granola in 2-3 days, so I started making my own, for $5, I can make an entire liter of granola. I beat him at his own game. Need a recipe: Coconut Granola.
Seriously, making your own stuff doesnʼt have to cut into your busy life, and it will help you save in the long run!
Following these tips have had a huge affect on the money we spend each week and I am conﬁdent that it can help you too. You never know, with the money you save you might be able to go on vacation in a few months, buy a new outﬁt, or get those new running shoes youʼve been looking at.
Taylor Ryan is a personal trainer and the blogger behind Lifting Revolution. Taylor lives in Charleston, SC with her husband where she owns and runs a womenʼs only boot camp. She is passionate about food and that passion has only grown since becoming a vegan less than a year ago.
I make this meal quite often for breakfast or as an after CrossFit “power” meal. This serves one and it is sooooo delicious! I also like that it gives me the opportunity to use leeks because they are a favorite of mine and since potatoes (their favorite playmate) and I are not on such good terms these days, I don’t cook with leeks so much anymore. I also love mushrooms and usually go for baby bellas with this recipe but went with plain white buttons on this day. Often times I will chop enough of the veggies and ham to make two frittatas and then store the unused half in the fridge for a super quickie meal the next day.
Nourishing Mushroom Leek Frittata
1/2 cup chopped leeks (light and white parts only). Use the dark parts for this soup!
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped, precooked ham
3 pastured eggs
2 Tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Saute leeks, mushrooms, and ham on a cast iron skillet until the veggies are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper while cooking them. Beat the eggs together with the Parmesan cheese and pour over the cooked veggies and ham. Tilt the skillet so that the egg coats the pan evenly and then put it in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and eat!
Cleaning the kitchen is one of those things that I know needs to be broken down into daily tasks but an actual plan of action seems to elude me. I always seem to get the bare minimum done… aka cleaning the counters so I can prepare the day’s meals or loading/unloading the dishwasher so we have clean dishes to eat off of. But cleaning the spray off the backsplash and stove, wiping down the walls, or cleaning up stray peas underneath the kitchen table… forget it! This year I totally planned to hire someone to clean the kitchen for me 2-3 times a month but contributing to our retirement accounts before the deadline has taken precedence. It’s always something. Even though I LOVE the idea of having outside help, and I DO hire someone a couple times a year, I really struggle with forking over money for something I can do myself.
So I decided to sit down and write out a 30 day plan to see if I can tackle this once and for all. We shall see how it goes. I figure each item should only take 10-15 minutes tops and it will hopefully help me stay on top of the kitchen so it never gets so bad I decide that takeout sounds like the best option. I plan to hang this on the fridge and check things off each day after the relevant task is accomplished. I have my bottle of vinegar, castile soap, and tea tree oil at the ready. I also acquired a Neato Automatic Vacuum Cleaner that will clean of debris from my kitchen floor for me. I just have to remember to press the button at least once a day and “Cheese” as my son lovingly named him, will cleanup those stray peas for me. As a bonus he will even clean the rest of the first floor! I highly recommend a Neato if it is in the budget.
So…assuming that I can make the time to wipe down counters and do the dishes daily here are my 30 day tasks…
1. Wipe down all appliances (stove, fridge, Vita-Mix, ect. )
2. Wipe down and de-grease cabinets
3. Mop floor
4. Wipe down and de-grease the backsplash
5. Deep clean and shine sink
6. Clean the trash can inside and out
7. Clean drawers and declutter counters
8. Mop Floor
9. Wipe down all walls and baseboards
10. Clean out the fridge/freezer
11. Wipe down all appliances (stove, fridge, Vita-Mix, ect. )
12. Clean under the fridge and stove
13. Mop floor
14. Deep clean and shine sink
15. Wipe down and de-grease cabinets
16. Clean windows and sills
17. Clean out the pantry
18. Mop floor
19. Wipe down all appliances (stove, fridge, Vita-Mix, ect. )
20. Deep clean and shine sink
21. Deep clean stove
22. Wipe down interior of cabinets and pantry
23. Mop floor, wipe down and de-grease the backsplash
24. Wipe down all walls and baseboards
25. Dust light fixtures and vent covers
26. Wipe down all appliances (stove, fridge, Vita-Mix, ect. )
27. Deep clean and shine sink
28. Mop floor
29. Organize pots and pans
30. Wipe down and de-grease the backsplash
Do you have any advice or tips to offer?