Posts Tagged ‘Snacks’

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 Lemon & Poppy Seed Muffins

Makes 12

The classic combination of lemon with poppy seed has been updated in this allergen-friendly recipe. During the height of citrus season (late fall and early winter in the northern hemisphere) look for bergamots, a hybrid of lemon with bitter orange, to use in this recipe. The outer peel of bergamots (the zest) is valued for its high essential oil content. It brings a bright citrus flavor, the flavor of earl grey tea, to the muffins. Jennifer Katzinger’s Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe from The Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book inspires this gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and gum-free recipe.

1 ½ cups brown rice flour

1 cup Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix

¾ cup date, palm, or whole cane sugar

¼ cup poppy seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

¾ teaspoon unrefined salt, finely ground

½ cup warm (about 100 degrees F) water

½ cup extra-virgin coconut oil, melted

4 tablespoons lemon juice (the juice of about 2 medium lemons)

1 ½ teaspoons (firmly packed) finely grated lemon zest (the zest of about 2 medium lemons)

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Adjust the rack to the center of the oven. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare a muffin pan with 12 paper liners (see cooks note).

In a large mixing bowl combine the brown rice flour, Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, sugar, poppy seeds, chia seeds, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until the mixture is evenly combined, about 1 minute. In a medium bowl combine the water, coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Add the mixture of liquids to flour mixture. Whisk until a smooth batter forms, about 1 minute.

Fill the muffin cups ¾ full (about ¼ cup of batter per muffin). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Use a heat-safe spatula to loosen the edges of the muffins from the pan. Remove from the pan and place on a rack to cool completely. Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.

The large, rounded fruit on the left is a bergamot, the others are lemons

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.

What is a Bergamot? A fascinating explanation, collection of recipes, and interesting links from David Lebowitz.

This was shared on Fat TuesdaySlightly Indulgent Tuesday, and Real Food Wednesday.

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Kefir Sauerkraut

Makes about 1 quart

Dairy kefir grains can be used to make quick and consistently delicious cultured sauerkraut. The kefir grains act as a starter culture for the cabbage, the ‘kraut ferments for just 2-3 days, and the results are predictable: tangy, crunchy, and palate pleasing. To preserve the probiotic content, heat raw, cultured sauerkraut to no more than 110 degrees F. Serve as a garnish to savory dishes like baked beans, vegetable or lentil salads, roasted meats, or stir-fries. This recipe is inspired by Dom’s Kefirkraut recipe.

1 medium sized white cabbage

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt

1 tablespoon dairy kefir grains, well rinsed (see cooks notes)

clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

Prepare a half-gallon (or one-gallon) wide-mouth glass jar by washing it in hot soapy water (use soap, not detergent). Remove any wilted or discolored outer leaves on the cabbage. Discard them. Peel off one crisp outer leaf. Trim it one-inch larger than the diameter of the jar. Set it aside to be used later as a cover for the sauerkraut.

Use a chef’s knife to half, core, and thinly slice the cabbage. Place one quarter of the sliced cabbage in a large bowl. Sprinkle with one quarter of the salt. Use a large wooden pestle, kraut pounder, or the flat end of a meat hammer to bruise the cabbage leaves. When the vegetables have been thoroughly bruised, add another quarter of the cabbage. Sprinkle with another quarter of the salt. Repeat the bruising process with the remaining cabbage and salt.

Place one half of the kefir grains in the bottom of the prepared jar. Add one half of the cabbage. Press down firmly with your pestle, pounder, or hammer. Evenly compact the cabbage within the jar. Add the remaining kefir grains. Then add the remaining cabbage. Again, press down to evenly compact the mixture. Cover the shredded cabbage with the reserved cabbage leaf. Tuck the edges of the leaf into the sides of the jar. Add a weight heavy enough to hold the cover leaf in place (see cooks notes). Add enough water to cover the top of the sauerkraut by one inch. Cover the top of the jar with a cloth or paper towel. Secure the cover tightly with a rubber band or string.

Store at room temperature (about 65-75 degrees F) until the kraut smells and tastes pleasingly tangy, about 2-3 days. Skim any foam that rises to the top during the fermentation period. If the liquid evaporates, add water to keep the sauerkraut covered by one inch.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. The taste of kefir kraut is stable for two weeks. After 2 weeks of storage it becomes increasingly, though pleasantly, tart. Eat within one month.

Cooks notes:

To prepare kefir grains for making sauerkraut rinse them in water until it runs clear. No traces of milk should remain.

If it fits through the opening in the sauerkraut jar, a pint-sized mason jar, filled with water, and capped tightly may be used as the weight. To use a stone as a weight for fermentation, select one that is non-porous, relatively heavy and flat, and fits easily through the mouth of your fermentation jar. Scrub the stone with hot soapy water. Then, sanitize it by dropping it into a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes (alternately, drop the stone into the silverware tray of the dishwasher and sanitize it with the next load of dishes).

Read more about Making Kefir

Read more about why Fermented Beverages are Homemade Probiotics and Multi-Vitamins

This recipe was shared on Fat-Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays,  Hearth & Soul Hop, Real Food Wednesday, and at the Probiotic Food Challenge.

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These tiny late apples were gleaned off of the ground in an abandoned roadside orchard out in Columbia County. I picked them up a few weeks ago and decided to dry them. They were so small that I left the skins on and used my melon baller to core the tiny halved fruits.  The results were so delightful that I had to share some pictures. They’re sweet, chewy but not too tough, and made delicious use of an otherwise ‘buried treasure’ orchard.

Dried apples

This post was shared at Mind, Body, and Sole’s Wildcrafting Wednesdays blog carnival.

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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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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 20

Gluten-free, grain-free, crisp at the edges, chewy inside – I can’t ask for more! Be aware that many naturally sweetened chocolate chips contain malted barley (a gluten-containing grain). Look for a brand sweetened with cane sugar.

1/3 cup + 3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil, at room temperature (about 70 degrees F)

½ cup coconut palm sugar or whole cane sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup arrowroot powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup gluten-free chocolate chips

½ cup crispy sunflower seeds or crispy nuts, roughly chopped (optional)

Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together coconut oil and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla extract, vinegar, and salt. Whisk until the mixture lightens in color and becomes well blended, about 1-2 minutes. Sift together the coconut flour, arrowroot powder, and baking soda. Add ¼ of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Stir until it is well incorporated. Repeat until all of the flour mixture is added. Add the chocolate chips and optional seeds or nuts. Mix until evenly distributed throughout the dough.

Measure 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie. Space them about 1-inch apart on the cookie sheet. Bake until just browned around the edges, about 15-20 minutes. Use a heat safe spatula to remove cookies from the baking sheet. Cool them on a plate. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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

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Soaking sunflower seeds and almonds

Flax Seeds

Makes about 3 tablespoons

Flax seeds are perhaps the most well-known plant source of the anti-inflammatory, health-promoting, and essential, omega-3 fatty acids. When prepared as called for in this recipe they are sweet, nutty, and easily chewable. I like to serve them over salads.

3 tablespoons flax seeds

1 cup clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

¼ teaspoon unrefined sea salt

Soak: 7-24 hours

Dehydrate: 12-24 hours

See further directions below

Pumpkin Seeds

Makes about 2 cups

Pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of B-vitamins, zinc, and fatty acids[1]. They are especially nourishing to the male reproductive system[2]. Always roast pumpkin seeds to remove any harmful bacteria on the surface of the seeds[3].

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds (hulls removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 7-24 hours

Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Sesame Seeds

Makes about 3 tablespoons

Distinctly flavored and indispensable in world cuisine, sesame seeds are also rich in the anti-nutrient oxalic acid. This naturally occurring acid binds with calcium and other minerals (and prevents their absorption into the gut). Oxalic acid can contribute to the build-up of calcium-oxalate kidney stones[4]. Avoid them if you are prone to this problem. Otherwise, they should always be soaked, roasted, and preferably ground before eating.

3 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

1 cup clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

Soak: 7-24 hours

Roast: 2-4 hours (250 degrees F)

See further directions below

Sunflower Seeds

Makes about 2 cups

Among the most inexpensive of nuts and seeds, sunflower seeds are truly a nutritional bargain. They’re rich in protein, trace minerals, and the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid. I like to include them in trail mix with another more expensive nut like almonds.

2 cups raw sunflower seeds (hulls removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 7-24 hours

Dehydrate: 12-24 hours


Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Soaked almonds, ready to dehydrated


Makes about 2 cups

Almonds are unique among nuts. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t truly nuts, but the edible pit of a soft fruit (called a drupe) [5]. They’re like the stone of a peach or the pit of an olive, but contain an edible seed.  Almonds are the only ‘nut’ to alkalize – rather than acidify – the blood[6]. Their outer skins contain bitter medicinal compounds that can aid lung conditions. However, they should be removed for everyday eating,  as they can irritate the lining of the gut.[7]

After almonds are soaked in water overnight their skins are easy to remove. Use clean hands to rub the skins from the nuts. The results are worth the extra effort! The nuts are easy to digest, and have a sweet, full-bodied almond flavor.

2 cups raw almonds

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours


Dehydrate: 36-48 hours

Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below


Makes about 2 cups

Raw cashews have been heated to 350 degrees F during processing to neutralize cardol, a toxic oil found between their inner and outer shells[8]. While this is necessary to make the nuts safe to eat, it also renders cashews un-sproutable. Nevertheless, purchase whole cashews, rather than pieces. They retain their freshness and the whole pieces are much easier to uniformly dehydrate or roast. Sea salt must be added to the soaking water. Cashews won’t sprout, so this only means of enhancing their digestibility.

2 cups whole, raw cashews

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt

Soak: 5-6 hours, no longer

Dehydrate: 36-48 hours or

Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below


Makes about 2 cups

Growing up, my family referred to the hazelnuts from our backyard tree as filberts. Both names are correct. The filbert is the type of hazelnut grown locally in the Pacific Northwest. They are over 40 % monounsaturated oleic acid[9], a stable fat that protects the nuts from rancidity. After roasting, the outer peelings can be removed by gently tossing the nuts in a towel.

2 cups raw hazelnuts (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours

Dehydrate: 36-48 hours


Roast: 12-24 hours

See further directions below


Makes about 2 cups

Like hazelnuts, pecans are high in shelf-stable monounsaturated oleic acid. They are amazingly high in fat (over 70%) and are a good source of manganese[10].

2 cups whole, raw pecans (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Soak: 12-24 hours

Dehydrate: 24-36 hours


Roast: 6-12 hours

See further directions below


Makes about 2 cups

According to the Doctrine of Signatures (which states that the healing traits of an herb are marked by its appearance) walnuts – with their wrinkled, brain-like double-hemispheres – can improve mental function[11]. In fact, walnuts are high in the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)[12], which nourishes brain development and function[13].  This type of fatty acid is susceptible to rancidity, so walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator. Roast walnuts to kill any parasites in the nuts.

2 cups whole, raw walnuts (shells removed)

3 ½ cups clean (well, spring, or filtered) water

1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (optional)

Roast: 4-6 hours

See further directions below

Cutting parchment paper liners for the dehydrator trays

Further Directions for Crispy Seeds and Nuts:

In a wide-mouth, mason jar or medium-sized non-reactive bowl combine the seeds or nuts, water, and unrefined salt (if desired or called for). Stir to dissolve the salt, about 1 minute. Cover loosely. Store at room temperature for the amount of time indicated above.

Use a fine mesh strainer to strain the soaking water from the seeds.  Line a dehydrator tray or rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.  Spread the seeds evenly over the tray or pan. To keep raw, dehydrate at 130-145 degrees F. To roast, bake at 250 degrees F. stir the seeds or nuts 2-3 times while dehydrating or roasting. Dehydrate or roast until the seeds or nuts crunch between the teeth (the approximate time is indicated in the recipes above).

Store them tightly covered at room temperature for up to one month (flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts should be stored in the refrigerator).

This was shared on Real Food Wednesday.

[1] James F. Balch and Phyllis A. Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Garden City Park: Avery, 1997), 75.

[2] Balch and Balch, 452.

[3] Paul Pitchford, Healing with Whole Foods (Berkley: North Atlantic, 2002), 534.

[4] Balch and Balch, 361.

[5] “Drupe,” accessed May 29, 2011, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drupe.

[6] Pitchford, 532.

[7] Pitchford, 532.

[8] Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions (Washington: New Trends, 2001), 515.

[9] “Nuts, hazelnuts or filberts,” accessed 29 May, 2011, http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3116/2.

[10] Fallon, 514.

[11] Penelope Ody, The Complete Medicinal Herbal (New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993), 19.

[12] Fallon, 513.

[13] Balch and Balch, 51.

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