Posts Tagged ‘Coconut Oil’

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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Grain-Free Raisin Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

Makes one 9-inch square cake

To celebrate the good news of Easter I’m baking this gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, and gum-free raisin carrot cake. Like my Black Bean Chocolate Cake, this cake is made from cooked beans rather than from flours. The naturally sweet pinto bean is actually undetectable in this light, moist cake!

sunflower oil

1 cup raisins

1 ½ cups cooked, drained pinto beans

1 cup whole cane, date, or coconut palm sugar

¾ cup extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature (about 72 degrees F)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

1 ½ cups grated carrots, about 2 large

2/3 cup cinnamon glaze

Center the oven rack. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9–inch square baking pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper. Generously oil the sides of the cake pan. Place the raisins in a small bowl. Add enough warm (about 100 degrees F) water to cover them by one inch.

Assemble the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade. Add the cooked beans, sugar, coconut oil, and eggs. Process until a smooth batter forms, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Process until the powders become fully incorporated into the batter, about 1 more minute. Drain the water from the raisins. Add the drained raisins and the grated carrots to the batter. Pulse just until the raisins and carrots are distributed evenly throughout the batter, about 2-3 times. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. Use a knife to loosen the cake from the edges of the pan. Invert a serving platter on top of the cake pan. Quickly flip the cake and pan over onto the serving platter. Lift off the pan. Discard the parchment paper on top of the cake. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake just before serving

Cinnamon Glaze  

Makes 2/3 cup

1 cup confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4-5 tablespoon coconut milk

In a medium bowl combine confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Use a whisk to mix until the cinnamon is evenly distributed. Add 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk. Whisk until combined. The glaze should be thin enough to spoon over the cake. If necessary, thin the gaze with one additional tablespoon of coconut milk.

This post was shared at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday , at Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday, at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, and at The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday blog carnivals.

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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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Herbal Super-Foods Smoothie

Makes 3 ½ cups

Berries, homemade kefir, and an abundance of locally-grown and organic super-foods – it’s my favorite way to start the day!

1 ½ cups high-quality kefir

2 large egg yolks, from pastured hens (optional)

1 tablespoon local, organic bee pollen

1 tablespoon roasted dandelion root powder, see cooks note

1 ½ teaspoons nettle powder, see cooks note

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 large, fair-trade, organic banana

3 tablespoons organic flax meal (freshly ground flax seeds)

3 tablespoons organic, extra-virgin coconut oil

In the pitcher of a blender combine the kefir, optional egg yolks, bee pollen, nettle powder, and roasted dandelion powder. Blend on low until the powders are fully incorporated. Add the strawberries, blueberries, banana, and flax meal. Pulse on high until the fruit is fully incorporated. You may need to scrape down the sides of the pitcher and push the fruit towards the blade.

In a small saucepan, over low heat, warm  the coconut oil until just melted, about 1 minute. With the blender running on low, slowly pour the coconut oil into the pitcher. Blend until the oil is fully incorporated, about one minute. Serve immediately or store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one day.

Cooks note:

Dandelion root can be harvested from your backyard or garden and roasted quite readily. However, it is nearly impossible to grind into a fine powder without industrial grinding equipment. For this smoothie I recommend purchasing organic, ground, roasted dandelion from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe in Portland and Brooklyn or Mountain Rose Herbs online).

Gathering wild stinging nettles and drying them at home is simple and quite rewarding (if you’re into it!). The best way to learn is always from someone else who has knowledge of the herb. Otherwise, purchase organic nettle leaf from a reputable herb purveyor (like The Herb Shoppe or Mountain Rose Herbs) or purchase wildcrafted nettles in the market and dry them at home. Grind dried nettle leaf in a clean coffee grinder until it is reduced to powder, about 30-60 seconds.

Click here for my Kefir Recipe.

This recipe was shared at the Real Food Forager’s Fat Tuesday blog carnival, at Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, at Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday, at Mind, Body, and Sole’s Wildcrafting Wednesday, and at Recipe Lion’s Favorite Spring Recipe Share.

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Sun butter and jelly sandwich

Chunky Nut Butter and Sun Butter

Makes 1 ½ cups

Rich, sweet, and satisfying –  the harmony of roasted nuts, fragrant honey, and smooth subtle coconut oil. If your household must accommodate allergies to tree nuts make Sun Butter by using sunflower seeds in this recipe.

2 cups roasted Crispy Nuts or Sunflower Seeds (or  a combination of nuts and/or seeds)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)

2 tablespoon raw, unfiltered honey

1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, coarsely ground (optional)

Assemble the food processor and fit it with the metal blade. Add the nuts and/or seeds. Process until they become well chopped and begin to stick together, about 1-2 minutes.  Add the coconut oil, honey, and optional salt. Process until the mixture becomes well combined and spreadable, about one minute.

Store most nut butters tightly covered, at room temperature, for up to one month. Butters made with walnuts or sunflower seeds (sun butter) should be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a month. To soften, remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes prior to serving. Remember to stir before using to incorporate any separated oil.

Roasted sunflower seeds are ready to make sun butter

Sunflower seeds are well chopped and stick together

Finished sun butter

Sun butter and crowberry jelly on gluten-free french bread

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday and the Grain-Free Real Food Link Carnival.

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Coconut Fig Balls

Makes 18

These sweet and satisfying snacks are inspired by Jessica Prentice’s Coconut-date Energy Balls. The natural sugars in the dried fruit are balanced-out by minerals from sea salt and fats from extra- virgin coconut oil. They can be made from dates, but the figs’ tiny edible seeds add a nice crunch.  Look for a brand of organic extra-virgin coconut oil that smells and tastes like coconut to use in this recipe.

2 cups unsulphured, unsweetened dried figs

1 cup +1/3 cup dried unsweetened, shredded coconut

½ cup + 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature

1/8 teaspoon unrefined sea salt, finely ground

grated zest of 1 lemon

Use a paring knife to remove the stem from each fig. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade combine the figs, 1 cup shredded coconut, ½ cup coconut oil, sea salt, and lemon zest. Pulse until the fig mixture is uniformly chopped and sticks together when pressed into a ball, about 2 minutes.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Use a double boiler to melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut oil. This will only take a few minutes because coconut oil melts around 80 degrees F. Warm until just melted, being careful not to overheat. Pour the remaining 1/3 cup shredded coconut into a shallow bowl.

Use one tablespoon of the fig mixture to form a ball. Roll it in the melted oil. Then, roll it in the shredded coconut. Place on the lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the fig mixture is used up.

Refrigerate the coconut fig balls until they become firm to the touch, about 2 hours. Pack them into mason jars with lids tightly fitted. For a more portable snack, wrap each ball individually in waxed paper. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in an insulated container with an ice pack all day.

These black mission figs were grown, dried, and gifted by my mom's partner, Buddy

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday and the Grain-Free Real Food Link Carnival.

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