Saturday, July 26, 2008

Make your's better ya know

My girls love popcorn, and I calculated the cost of microwave popcorn in individual bags to a one-time purchase of a popper. So, about a week ago, I bought a microwave popcorn popper from eBay stores. It was about $10 plus a nominal shipping fee. No moving parts; as simple as simple can be. A bowl and a lid. We have made popcorn almost every day since it arrived. I bought a jar of bulk Orville Redenbachers popcorn at Target for about $3. (I know there is way better popcorn out there, and I'm intent upon finding it. Know of any? Comment me!)
I also noticed something else; I don't want to be gross, but I had always been hesitant to eat popcorn myself because my stomach was not the same for 3 or 4 days afterwards. No problems now. All of this to say.........what in the world do "they" put in boxed microwave popcorn? It can't be good for you!
Get one. It's nifty.
For 3 1/2 years now, I've been baking my own bread. At the beginning I used a bread machine; now I just use my stand mixer. I've even found no-knead recipes that only require a big bowl and a wooden spoon. I lost about 5 pounds the first month of breadmaking, and I was eating the same sandwiches that I did before. What in the world is in commercial breads, even so-called "healthy breads"? I can count on my hands and feet the number of loaves we've purchased since then.
When Ingrid was an infant, at the suggestion of a good friend, I decided to make her baby food -- I made 95% of what she ate, only purchasing prepared stuff for trips or emergencies. She really hated the Gerber jarred food after getting a taste of mommy's! I gave her regular rolled oats instead of the boxed powdered kind, just as soon as she could physically handle the texture. She still eats them for breakfast and she's 4 1/2. Think about the cost of a pound of sweet potatoes versus the cost of a jar of Gerber. A pound made enough to feed her for a couple of months.
I also made my own yogurt for a while (I gave that up because I found really good, organic and reasonable yogurt had become readily available even at the Base commissary - you civilians, that's just the grocery store on Base). Read this article by Dr. Sears about how to know good yogurt from not so good. It's really enlightening, and you may never buy Yoplait again: I always keep two big tubs of yogurt in my home: a Stonyfield flavored (strawberry or vanilla) and a nonfat plain, which I use all the time for salad dressing, smoothies, as a sour cream substitute and in baking.
We make our own fruit smoothies instead of buying them in little bottles.
I make my own salad dressing. Good grief, this is a 1 minute way to save a ton of money if you eat salads! Here's a simple beginning recipe which works as a springboard for lots of flavors:
  • 1 part olive oil
  • 1 part vinegar of your choice (balsamic, white, cider, wine, red wine, japanese)
  • Some dijon mustard
  • a bit of sugar (raw is great)
  • Dried herbs
  • Maybe some garlic (powder or fresh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Okay, you bored yet? I better stop, besides Chad is telling me he's "seven minutes" away from walking out the door, and the girls are still napping...

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