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Posts Tagged ‘Butter’

My post from April 9,  Fabulously Frugal, Sprouted Lentils, reminded me that I have been wanting to share another fabulous way to save money on natural, gluten-free, and organic foods. A few months back I began actively seeking coupons, weekly sales, and special discounts for items that we regularly purchase from stores. At first I was skeptical – I though that there wouldn’t be coupons and sales for natural and organic foods – yet over the last few months I have found several ways to make these types of small savings add up – all without compromising on buying mostly local, fairly traded, and organic food! This week I’ll share my strategies for gluten-free, organic, and natural foods couponing.

Initially, I was inspired to investigate the possibilities of natural foods coupons by the Chinook Book. The book costs $20, but can be found on sale for $15 (we bought one at the Better Living Show for $10). It is filled with coupons for discounts on natural foods and at natural foods stores (and for many other green-ish businesses). In my household the Chinook Book quickly pays for itself. For example, for each of Portland’s Co-Op’s (People’s, Food Front, and Alberta Street) there are coupons for 5 dollars off a purchase of 25 dollars. That’s 25% off our groceries!

Click here to view a list of the natural grocery coupons in the Chinook Book.

Click here to view a list of the local grocery store coupons in the Chinook Book.

Keep an eye out for coupon books in your favorite grocery stores. New Season’s and Whole Foods each have in-store coupon books. (Whole Foods coupons are also available online.) People’s, Food Front, and Alberta Street Co-Ops (and other co-ops) share the bi-monthly Co-Op Advantage coupon book, though not all of the products are available at every store. Free, bi-monthly publications like Remedies for Life, Taste for Life, and Delicous Living frequently contain coupons, I pick them up at Food Front in Hillsdale. Other print publications frequently contain coupons, I like to scan neighborhood and weekly newspapers, as well as my favorite print magazines devoted to healthy lifestlyes. (Living Without and Whole Living frequently contain natural foods coupons.)

I’ve found a few coupon websites devoted to natural foods. Mambo Sprouts Coupons is affiliated with the coupon giant Coupons.com and is regularly updated with new coupons. Coupons.com, like the Sunday paper coupon inserts, is mostly for conventional foods, however, there are occasionally natural products coupons to be found on/in both. HealthESavers.com is also dedicated to natural foods, but it is updated only occasionally Whole Foods coupons are updated bi-monthly, but (of course) they are only good at Whole Foods.

Click here to view Mambo Sprouts coupons

Click here to view Coupons.com coupons.

Click here to view HealthESavers coupons.

Click here to view Whole Foods coupons.

Some natural foods companies offer coupons to people who sign up for their mailing lists or become their Facebook fans. Look for mailing lists and facebook pages that offer specific coupons when you sign-up or ‘like’ the company. I’ve had repeated success with directly contacting companies and requesting coupons. I send quick e-mail note telling the company what at I appreciate about them, which products I buy, and I request coupons. (Some even send samples!) I encourage you to contact some of these exciting companies.

Columbia Gorge Organics

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap (they make coconut oil too),

Food For Life (sprouted and gluten-free breads)

Nancy’s Cultured Dairy & Soy

(These links provide you with the contact page, but you must make the request.)

All of this may seem exciting and overwhelming, so here are three things that I do to keep couponing helpful and under-control.

#1. My own rule has become that coupons must be for something I would normally purchase (even without the coupon) or for special treats on special occasions. (They’re for saving money not spending more!)

#2. Organization is key. I keep a small 3-ring binder with clear pockets to organize all of my coupons. It’s cute, tidy, and fits easily into my purse or shopping basket. I’m sure to keep it with me and I’ve seen other shoppers eyeing it enviously!

#3. Combining coupons and sales is always best, so next week I’ll share how I keep track of sales.

Do you have any tips for gluten-free, organic, or natural-foods couponing? I’d love to hear any suggestions in the comments below.

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Gluten-Free Blueberry & Banana Muffins

Nutty and moist, simple and quick – these coconut flour, banana, and blueberry muffins are already a favorite around my house! I like to peel, mash, and freeze ripe bananas in a half-pint mason jar – then they’re always ripe and ready to make bread. Defrost frozen mashed bananas overnight in the refrigerator or on the countertop at room temperature for 1-2 hours before making bread.

Makes 12

¾ cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

¾ cup coconut flour

½ cup whole cane, palm, or date sugar

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

1 large egg,lightly beaten, at room temperature

1 cup whole coconut milk, at room temperature

1 cup mashed bananas, about 2 large

½ cup extra-virgin coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted, or a mixture of the two

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Center the rack in the oven. Pre-heat  the oven to 375 degrees F. Line twelve muffin tins with muffin cups (see cooks note). (Conversely, line 4 mini (3-inch x 5-inch x 2 1/4 -inch) bread pans). In a large mixing bowl combine coconut flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. Use a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment to mix until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the egg, coconut milk, bananas, and coconut oil or butter. Mix until a smooth batter forms, about 2 minutes. Slowly fold the blueberries into the batter. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full; use about 1/3 cup of batter in each cup (or fill bread pans 3/4 full by using about 1 cup of batter in each pan).

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15-20 minutes for muffins and 25-30 muffins for mini bread pans.  Cool in the pan or pans on a rack.

Cooks note:

Twelve muffin cups can be made from a piece of parchment paper measuring 12 inches by 16 inches. Fold the 12-inch side of the paper lengthwise into thirds, then fold the 16-inch length of paper into quarters. Unfold the paper. There should be 12, 4-inch squares on the paper. Cut along the fold lines. Use the bottom of a glass or ramekin that has an outside diameter slightly smaller than the inside diameter of the muffin pan. Invert the glass. Center the parchment paper over the bottom of the glass. Use your hands to fold the parchment paper down over the glass, creating a large muffin cup.  Repeat with the remaining papers.

This post was shared at the Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog carnival, at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday blog carnival, and at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday .

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Ghee Recipe

This room temperature ghee is semi-solid

Ghee

Makes 4 cups

Ghee is the traditional cooking oil used in Indian cuisine. It unites the diverse spices used in Indian cooking and adds a satisfying richness to the mostly vegetarian dishes. Yet ghee is useful far beyond Indian cuisine. It makes an excellent all-around cooking fat. It is made from butter and has the flavor of toasted butter, but unlike butter, ghee has a high smoking point (485 degrees F). It can be substituted directly for butter in most recipes and can be used for moderate-temperature sautéing or pan-frying. Making ghee at home is simple, but it requires about an hour of occasional monitoring. This recipe is based on the method described in The Ayurvedic Cookbook: A Personalized Guide to Good Nutrition and Health by Amadea Morningstar with Urmila Desai.

2 pounds high-quality, unsalted butter (preferably organic and grass-fed), chilled or at room temperature (see cooks note)

Place the butter in a heavy bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. Heat over medium. When the butter is melted reduce the heat to medium-low (after about 5-10 minutes). Do not stir the pot. Milk solids collect on the bottom of the pot and shouldn’t be disturbed. As the butter begins to simmer expect crackling and popping sounds. The sounds will become less numerous then cease, after about 45-55 minutes. When the popping sounds stop remove from the heat. Ghee should ideally be removed from the heat while still golden yellow. Allowing it to cook further and brown adds a nice toasted flavor, but ghee can burn if over-cooked. Skim the surface to remove all of the accumulated film.

Bubbling ghee

Store finished ghee in 4 half-pint (one cup) jars with tightly fitting lids. Use a fine-mesh strainer positioned over wide-mouth canning funnel to fill the jars.  As you pour or ladle the ghee from the pot try not to disturb the milk solids in the bottom. (You might not need the strainer, but it’s a nice backup.)  Store tightly covered, at room temperature for up to two weeks; or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Cooks note:

If you don’t need all 4 cups of ghee, this recipe can be halved. Instead of two pounds of butter, use one pound.  The cooking times will be at the low end of the ranges given in the recipe.

This was shared at Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Wildcrafting Wednesdays and Real Food Wednesday.

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On the left is commercially-made, organic butter, on the right is homemade, spring butter

Imagine a pad of butter as intensely yellow as the flowers of the common buttercup. On pasture-based dairy farms the most productive grass growing seasons are marked by gradual changes in production. As the nutritional content of the grass peaks, the butter can be as yellow as the flowers of the buttercup.

Carotenes from the grass are concentrated in butter and give it a naturally pale yellow color.[1] The color is a sign that the cows are allowed access to pasture. On dairy farms where cows have no access to pasture producers add annatto (a brightly colored Latin American spice) to their butter. However, when cows are raised on pasture their butter has a naturally yellow hue. It is rich in nutrients.

The vitamins A, D, K2-MK4, and E; omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; conjugated linoleic acid (CLA); and trace minerals can all be found in butter from naturally raised cows.[2] [3] The Danish Institute of Agricultural Research has shown that organic milk has significantly more nutrients than conventional milk.[4] For example, they found, on average, 50% more vitamin E and 75% more Betacarotene in organic milk than in conventional milk. The study attributes these nutritional differences to the pasture that organically raised animals are allowed to graze.

Environmental toxins (like pesticides) can bioaccumulate in dairy products. Pastured and organically raised dairy animals are not exposed to these toxins. It is especially important to seek out dairy products from grass-based farms that use organic methods.

Making your own high-vitamin butter from local, high-quality cream is straightforward. The food processor is your modern butter churn. The only ingredient required is the cream. If possible, talk with the dairy and ask when the spring (or fall) grass will peak and plan to make butter at that time. Watch the local weather and the grass in your neighborhood. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, the grass grows fastest when the sun shines after a few days of rain. We’ve had a few weeks of this type of weather. It’s time to bask in the nutritious luxury of spring butter!

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday.


[1] Jessica Prentice, Full Moon Feast (White River Junction: Chelsea Green, 2006) (p. 97).

[2] Chris Masterjohn, “On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor: A Sixty-Two-Year-Old Mystery Finally Solved, ” www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/175-x-factor-is-vitamin-k2(2008).

[3] Sally Fallon Nourishing Traditions (Washington, New Trends, 2001) (pp. 15-17).

[4] “Organic milk ‘higher in vitamins’,” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4153951.stm, 7 Jan 20

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