"Beans will save you!!
Jen Reilly, BitchinDietician.com
“What?!” you ask. “How can I eat healthy and save money? Eating healthy is sooooo expensive!”
Actually…no. It’s not.

Heidi Powell

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Ripe Bananas Cost Less

When they're at their best, bananas are the cheapest.

When they’re at their best, bananas are the cheapest.

At a local grocery store, the bananas cost 57¢/pound, except when they start to get near being ripe, when they suddenly get cheaper.  The produce guy puts them in these paper bags and charges 99¢ for the bag. These bags  weighed 4 pounds each, and I bought three bags.

I often buy my bananas at another store, where the regular price is 44¢/pound, but since I know that sometimes they are even cheaper in these special “Ripe Bananas” bags, I like to stock up on them when I can.  I pull the peel off of the bananas and freeze them in plastic bags, so I don’t have to worry about them going bad.

I like to eat frozen bananas with other frozen fruit.  At night, when I want a dessert, I take a banana out of the freezer and cut it up with a knife, add some other frozen fruit in a bowl, and then I splash on a little milk or kefir, and maybe some nuts, and have a treat. You can make a terrific “ice cream” using frozen ripe bananas, too.

Lots of people would use these bananas for banana bread. A little while ago I used some of these bananas to replace the oil in a zucchini bread recipe.    And in all these cases and more, the riper the bananas, the better they taste!

Another good way to use the bananas while they are ripe is to slice them and dehydrate them (either in a dehydrator or in an ordinary oven). I much prefer banana chips dried at home over the store-bought kind because you don’t have to put sugar, oil, “banana flavor,” or sulfites on them. Home-dried banana chips are wonderful for homemade trail mixes.  Similarly, you can include ripe bananas in recipes for homemade energy bars.

 

 

Multi-Grain Zucchini Bread

Healthy Zucchini Breadwith Kefir "cream cheese" and raspberries.

Healthy Zucchini Bread
with Kefir “cream cheese” and raspberries.

 

I had some big zucchini hanging around here for a while because somebody gave them to me.  That’s what happens in the summer – people give away a lot of zucchini.  I thought of making zucchini bread, but when I looked for how to make it, almost all of the recipes I looked at called for a whole lot more oil and sugar than I wanted to use.

Then I found this video recipe for Healthy Zucchini Bread, by Joanna Soh, at Youtube.  I didn’t exactly follow that recipe, but I was inspired by it!

You can tell this is one of those recipes that is extremely variable… but then, aren’t they all?  (Well, no, not all recipes are variable.  Believe it or not, there are a few things out there that you do have to follow the instructions to make.  Still, though, most things are pretty flexible.)

Most people will probably not use several different flours.  Like I said, I was inspired by Joanna.

Whole wheat zucchini bread.

Here’s one with whole wheat and all-purpose flour.

Walnuts and vanilla would be good in there.

As I said…  variation is practically unlimited.  Chocolate, pineapple, lemon, flaxseed… gluten free, fat-free…  TipNut.com has a list of 16 variations on Zucchini Bread.

And all those variations are a good thing, because this time of year, the zucchini situation CAN get a little out of hand!

 

Too Much of a Good Thing? Healthy Eating Disorder

“Have you found that as the quality of your diet has increased, the quality of your life has correspondingly diminished?”  – Dr. Steven Bratman, author of Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – the Health Food Eating Disorder

One day I was sitting on a carpet,  barefoot and crosslegged, talking with a couple of Laotian Buddhist monks. I asked them, “What is the origin of conflict?”

One of the monks replied, “Desire. Desire is the origin of conflict.”

Then I asked, “What if I desire to avoid conflict?”

The little monk just pointed his finger at me and giggled.

Almost Focaccia

I enjoyed this flat bread with some homemade hummus.  Days later I realized I almost made focaccia!

I enjoyed this flat bread with some homemade hummus. Days later I realized I almost made focaccia!

I made a big bowl of hummus.  Delicious.  Now I needed something to eat it with, so I made a crispy flat bread.

Some days later I was talking to my sister and she mentioned something about focaccia, and I thought to myself, “Is that what I made?”   Well, it turns out it’s not *quite* what I made, but pretty close!

 

I’m happy with what I made.   Maybe I’ll try real focaccia sometime.

This recipe for focaccia gets 4 and a half stars at AllRecipes.com.   It’s easy!

These focaccias are softer than what I made.  Better for sandwiches and panini.

Easy Rosmary Focaccia at TheKitchn.com

It’s really not hard.  Actually simple.  A wide, thin, loaf of bread, basically, as illustrated at Italian Food Forever.

Michelle, The Brown Eyed Baker, says “I have no idea what took me so darn long to make this bread, but I could kick myself for not making it 5 years sooner.”

In my case, it’s because I was making “almost” focaccia.  (And I eat my mistakes.)

Roast a Whole Cauliflower

Just put it in the oven and bake it.

Me? I just put it in the oven and bake it.

I have seen plenty of articles and recipes about whole roasted cauliflower in the last six months. It’s an easy way to cook a great vegetable.  Heck, it’s so easy, I just unwrap it and put the whole thing in the oven.  Oh, about 375, maybe 400 degrees, for 45 minutes to an hour.  You can eat it raw, you know, so how long to cook it is purely a matter of personal preference.

Personally, I like it plain.  Just bake the thing and then I have cauliflower for days.

There are more uhm…  complicated  sophisticated ways to do this, if you want to go to more trouble than you have to:

You could put olive oil and salt on it before baking, and serve it with some kind of salad dressing.

Some people remove the stem and leaves and poach the head of cauliflower in wine before baking it.

There are spicy variations that call for marinating the head of cauliflower in a yogurt sauce, or yogurt with herbs and Parmesan cheese, or a coconut oil concoction if you’re not into milk.

It’s about as versatile as anything can be.  One guy even does his with white chocolate and nuts on top.