"Good food can be inexpensive, and bad food can be inexpensive, and at the same time, they both can be quite expensive. You just have to make choices on what you should get. ... folks often are quick to just jump to the twinkies without realizing that 'healthy' is easy and available, and inexpensive."
booker81, at MommySavers.com

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Oyster Can-Can

Yeah, maybe the name is just a little on the too-clever side.  Oh well.  It’s because it’s basically cans of stuff dumped together.   But it’s super-easy, it’s cheap, it’s delicious, and it’s healthy.  Oysters in a CAN, spinach and tomatoes in CANS, and you CAN do it very easily.  OYSTER CAN-CAN!~

… or maybe just call it Spinach, Tomato, and Oyster Casserole.

 

OK, anyway, enough of that nonsense, here’s the thing:

Homemade Wheat Gravel… or er, uhm… “Grape Nuts”

Delicious as a cereal, homemade "grape nuts" also has other uses.

Delicious as a cereal, homemade “grape nuts” also has other uses.

I made this delicious stuff by accident.  Chalk it up to my not using recipes very often. I was going for crackers, but it didn’t quite work.  HOWEVER, I did end up with something marvelous, something I have been enjoying in different ways, something I intend to make again!

I ground up a bunch of different grain materials in a blender to make four: barley, rye berries, rolled oats… and combined them with some ground flax, ground sunflower seeds, white whole wheat flour, a little oil and honey, and water. It doesn’t really matter so much about the particular ingredients because the thing here is the general idea.

I did roll some of the dough out and bake it as crackers, but they didn’t hold together very well,  but then I had a big bowl of a  really healthful mix of ingredients.  I wasn’t about to throw it away, so I spread the mixure out and baked it.  I stirred it on the baking tray and got it all nice and brown.  Now I had these clumps of crumbs.  Hmmm….

The first way I ate the baked crumbs was as a side dish, like rice or barley or something.  I would put it in a container for taking to work for lunch, and on top of the dry crumbs I’d put hummus and greens.  It was delicious!  I tried it again with some broccoli and added a little of the broccoli water to the crumbs for them to soak up, and put chicken meat in with it, again it was delicious.  Hey, this could work!

Oddly enough, my crumbs worked excellently as crumbs, too!  That is, I put them on top of a casserole I baked, and it was terrific.

And then about the time I decided to put these weirdos in a bowl with milk and fruit, I realized I had….. dunt da daaaaaaah…. Grape Nuts!

So I looked online, and behold!  It’s a thing!  Homemade Grape Nuts!  Who knew??!!

Apparently, a lot of people knew…

Georgia Pellegrini knew.  The ones she makes use just wheat flour as the grain.  She bakes a sheet of dough, grinds the cooked stuff a little bit in a food processor, and then re-bakes the crumbs.  

Somebody at TasteOfHome.com knew, and commented “I began making this recipe to save cereal costs for our family of six. Everyone loves the hearty flavor that just can’t be found in packaged cereals.”

“If you enjoy Grape Nuts® cereal, try making your own with this easy recipe.This cereal has a great crunch texture and is a bit sweeter than the commercial Grape Nuts® cereal. Why make your own? Because it’s addictive and much less expensive!” – DGatJubilee 

So there’s the general idea – very simple, and no need for precision.  Use various types of flours if you want, like ground amaranth or quinoa.  Play around with it, use whatcha got, you know.

Besides eating a bowl of it with milk, you can use this material in cookies, as a topping of casseroles, an ingredient in chicken stuffing, ice cream topping, breading mix, and more.

Hmmm…   now someday I gotta try homemade corn flakes.

See “A Girl Called Jack: Cooking on the Breadline”

Watch this video, and you’ll know why I do this.

People have different reasons for wanting to spend as little as possible to eat healthy food — like these:

“You just start to feel like you’ve got no value as a human being.”

“When your three-year-old boy wakes up in the morning, he’s going to want some breakfast, and you’ve got nothing to give him.”

“People don’t understand how little things really get to you as a person. Like, when you’ve got a child that’s two years old, their feet grow, and they’re walking along and they’re telling you that their shoes are hurting, and you know you haven’t got the money to go and get them a new pair of shoes.”

“I think, once you’ve been there, you never want to go back.” — A girl called Jack

She’s got a book out.  You can get it.

What’s Like Got to Do With it?

I’m eating a salmon-patty sandwich.  I’m enjoying it very much. I think it’s delicious.  But why?  I know some people who would be repulsed by my sandwich simply because they might know that I used canned salmon.  Some people would refuse to touch it because the canned salmon wasn’t the kind that costs four times as much.  Some would be disgusted by the knowledge that I did not remove the skin and bones from the fish when I made the patties.  I am pretty sure that those people would not be able to tell the difference in a blind taste test, but they have an ideological commitment to the proposition that they don’t like something, and therefore they don’t like it, they won’t like it, they refuse to like it, they won’t even consider liking it.

Why would you want to keep making the world of things that you enjoy smaller and smaller?

I prefer to allow the universe of things I enjoy to expand.

Get over not liking stuff, and start liking more stuff.

For one thing, if you are refusing to eat healthy food that is inexpensive, then eo ipso your priority is not healthy eating for little money. Well, I guess that’s fine, I mean, sure, yeah, I do believe in freedom of choice and you are certainly free to make that choice – just don’t fool yourself by saying you want to make changes to eat healthy food and save money when perhaps what you really want is that the universe, human metabolism, and reality would change so that you can eat the same as you always have but it wouldn’t cost much and it wouldn’t ruin your health.

Hey, it’s great that people have such wealth that they can throw away expensive fruit when a little soft spot appears.  Well, it’s “great” in the sense that living in a fabulously wealthy society provides for such luxury.  Just be honest with yourself about what’s going on.

I happen to enjoy just about all foods.  I’m not picky.  You know how some people refuse to eat a steak in a restaurant and they send it back if it’s not done to some Platonic archetype of perfect done-ness?  ”I ordered this steak rare, and look, there’s a place where it’s slightly brown!”   Hey, I really don’t care how the meat is cooked.  I mean, I enjoy the steak in any of its degrees of done-ness.  I appreciate the red-rare meat, the medium, all the way to the charred carbon-y bits of well-done-itude.

Yeah,  I like all kinds of food, and that opens up to me a huge range of things I can enjoy, therefore I can like a tremendous variety of healthy dishes that cost very little.  But how did I get this way?  I didn’t always like everything.

When I was a boy I became interested in cooking.  My mother told me I could make any food I wanted, but I had to eat everything I cooked.  And thus began my training in not only cooking, but in learning to eat and enjoy more and more foods, a wider and wider range of flavors and textures.

Yes, it is possible to learn to like foods you didn’t used to like.

Now, I understand that there can be a certain kind of pride in a self-imposed disability like food prejudice.  I can see and hear the self-satisfaction of dissatisfaction when people say “Oh, I never eat that!”  or “Limit my beef  to just 14 meals a week??? No Way!”  or whatever it may be, you know.  It reminds me of what Bertrand Russell called Byronic Unhappiness, a common condition in which people “… are proud of their unhappiness, which they attribute to the nature of the universe and consider to be the only rational attitude for an enlightened man.

“… undoubtedly there is some slight compensation in the feeling of superiority and insight which these sufferers have, but it is not sufficient to make up for the loss of simpler pleasures.” — Bertrand Russell

 

 

 

Garbanzo Burgers

Patties like these are extremely variable, so you can make them with a very wide range of ingredients, depending on what you have and what you like.  They are also quite easy, good for your health, and very inexpensive.

Lillitu, at AllRecipes.com, agrees that “…tasty garbanzo bean burgers are quick, healthy, and cheap. “  But she doesn’t fry them, she bakes them.

Adrianna, at ACozyKitchen.com,  is even more enthusiastic, saying garbanzo beans make  ”The Best Veggie Burger in the Entire World!”

People really do love these things.  Heck,  Berea Rider at TasteOfHome.com says “I think I’d rather have one than any cheeseburger at a restaurant. They really rock!”

Such wow.