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Clemson Extension plant guide and peppers seeds.
We recently added a blog post to our new website, Urban Veggucation that explains why we've given up coupons for seeds saving (Adios Food Coupons, Aloha Obnoxious Homesteader).

Meals have more meaning and flavor when they ingredients are homegrown. Just yesterday, AJ decided to make a meat free variation of his spaghetti recipe that included carrots, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, and a variety of heirloom tomatoes freshly picked from the garden. Very tasty indeed.

 
I didn't grow up on cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but my husband did so I bought more cans than we needed last year.  After Christmas and Thanksgiving, the Food Bank where I once worked got more cranberry sauce and similar holiday specific foods than you can imagine.  It was difficult to move because people are used to eating it only one way. The cake mix I bought with coupons gave me the idea for Cranberry Sauce Dump Cake, a popular Southern dessert that comes together in milliseconds. Somehow it mysteriously disappeared before I could take a picture of the final product.
 
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All this food for $47
Apologies for Saturday's drama fest.  As I'd stated before, my last 9-5 was spent showing folks how to eat healthier by transforming common fare.  Our house was another story, replaced 90% of processed foods with staples and cooked from scratch AND we have chickens in the backyard.  I'm working towards hard core healthy 'round these parts.  That practice got away from me for a bit in my quest to get germainesolutions.com up and the couponing frenzy that soon followed.  But it can be done!  Think of processed food as a half glass of empty.  Just fill it up with nutrition!

Little to no whole grains in your favorite muffin mix?  No problem. Too much fat and or sodium in a frozen dinner.  Gotcha covered.  Here's how.

Remember my list of healthy foods no kitchen should be without?  Well, filling the processed food glass with nutrition means adding in the stuff that's missing.  Simply adding a cup of old fashioned oats to a muffin mix dilutes the concentration of hydrogenated fats, salt, etc. as long as you don't add these things back into your new and improved recipe.

After going out and buying two June All You mags, I waited to redeem the Chef Boyardee coupons for a number of reasons. 1) We make our own pasta dishes and sauces and when you get a taste for highly flavored tomato sauce, often what's found in a can seems lacking. 2)  The ravioli seemed to disintegrate if you thought about them too hard.   Four step solution coming up!


 
Mind:Let's call this BA (B1G1 Anonymous) meeting to order.  Does anyone want to speak. 

GWhiz: I do, hi fellow nutrition enthusiasts, I'm G.

Mind: Hi, G

GWhiz: I've been a flaming bowl of nutrition for the last 7 years. I taught my kids how to cook when they were toddlers - brussel sprouts are a treat for them. My husband who was recently diagnosed with diabetes has avoided insulin injections, maintained great cholesterol levels with an AIC number of 6 because of the whole grain, high fiber, low fat foods we eat at home.  I can make my own yogurt for broccoli's sake!

But fellow foodies, in the last two weeks I've bought 10 frozen dinners for about $1.25 each, but they were the healthier options. Three packs of...gulp, big pause, hotdogs....  all beef Kosher hotdogs on sale for $1.50 each. Five rolls of $1 Jimmy Dean sausage - 3 of them were reduced fat.  And two, count 'em, one-two boxes of Nabisco snack crackers, that I bought by accident because I thought they were part of the BIGI sale (probably subconscious punishment for my couponing transgressions).  On the bright side, we haven't had them in the house in almost a decade so my daughter just referred to them as 'Nabasco' crackers.  I feel an eensy bit better.  With $2 boxes of Kellogg's Pop and Honey Smacks cereal snickering at me whenever I walk in the kitchen, I'm starting to feel like a Saturday morning cartoon endorsement!  I did get the skim organic milk that's served with it for $2.50 a half gallon though.  I almost printed an online coupon for, for...oh God, OREO COOKIES!!!  Can anyone out there help me before I hit rock bottom and eat my first pop-tart?

My mind:Wait, wait, wait! Calm down, G.  You can do this! Heck, you got paid to teach people to doctor packaged food to make them healthier.  Just look at the semi-homemade soup in your germainesolutions.com header -- DUH!

This is a dramatic version of the one person dialogue that's bubbling inside my head and heart. I've been conflicted since that very first frugal grocery shopping trip - 37 coupons a-blazing, but I don't want to shoot my family in the foot nutritionally.  I repressed my regret until Jamie Oliver outed me on Oprah yesterday.  "All those B1G1 sales are for the most processed foods."  This 'Food Revolution' star is mostly right, but for every one salad coupon I find, there 10 for Redi Whip.  So what can I do?

We have a ridiculously large garden in the yard, but the dumb slugs - they've taken feral cats place as my arch enemy - have chewed up my peppers and sugar snap pea plants (I told my husband we need a duck)!  Blackberries are only ripening by the handful and the cucumbers and tomatoes are taking their sweet time to grow.  Darn these trees!  Strawberries are starting to pop up all over, but I'm allergic to them!  We don't have the funds for me to buy more plants.  What is this, the Twilight Zone?  Better not say that out loud or my daughter - might run in thinking I'm talking about the movie.


There has to be a way to coupon and still serve out easy healthy meals.  If I can do it, hopefully people who are trying wean themselves off processed everything can find some doable strategies and comfortably maneuver through the kitchen with something other than a can opener. Culinary Tourette's, is that journey.

Remember, my sentence structure issues?  Maybe we can fix that too.



Easy Recipes for Cheap Living
Last Updated November 26, 2010
Web Site Content by Mrs. Germaine Jenkins (gwhiz@germainesolutions.com)
Easy Recipes for Living Well on a Budget