“One of the main things I hear from people when talking about healthy eating, or eating clean, is that it is too expensive... I actually spend less money now on food than I did when I was overweight, as I am making things myself, planning ahead and looking for the best produce.”
Dannii, at hungryhealthyhappy.com
"If you eat truly healthy, it’s less expensive…”
-- Lois Woods


Past Posts

Get on the Stick… Thermometer

A cheap instant-read thermometer can help you save your money and your health.

A cheap instant-read thermometer can help you save your money and your health.

The reason you so often see professional cooks with an instant-read “stick” thermometer in their pockets is that they are so darn useful. People who cook all day for a living use thermometers many times every day.

I don’t recommend a lot of equipment or tools, but people who want to eat healthy while spending very little money can benefit greatly from spending between $6 and $12 for one of these things. You don’t need a fancy one, although even a fancy one won’t cost much.  Just a regular $6 instant-read thermometer will enable you to save many hundreds, or thousands, of dollars over the many years that they will work for you.

Of course, the first thing I think of when I recommend having an instant-read thermometer in the kitchen is roast chicken.  Roasting a whole chicken is one of the easiest, simplest, and cheapest ways to eat wonderful, tasty, healthy food and save a ton of money!  Sometimes those little plastic pop-up thermometers that come in some roasting chickens are not all that reliable.  If one of those little things pops up too early, you could get very sick. If it pops up too late, your chicken will be dried out and not very tasty.  And a lot of whole chickens don’t even come with a pop-up anyway. So get a thermometer for your whole roast chicken.

…and all your other chicken.

Besides chicken, though, the thermometer is so useful that once you start using it you’ll begin to see how it would have been helpful to use one all along, and you didn’t even know it.

Use your thermometer for all your meats, including meatballs, but besides that you can use it when making YOGURT, BREAD, PICKLES, CASSEROLES, and more.

An instant-read thermometer is not the same as a meat thermometer. I don’t even have a meat thermometer.  You DON’T leave the stick thermometer in the oven!

“Why Use a Food Thermometer?” and other details about why these are such a good idea, from the USDA.

How to Calibrate Your Instant-Read Thermometer

“Do Pop-Up Turkey Timers Actually Work?”  Spoiler alert:  No, they don’t.

Video: How to Check a Roasted Chicken’s Temperature.   “Happy roasting!”

You don’t actually HAVE to use a thermometer when making yogurt, but IT HELPS — especially when you’re first learning.

I have found it VERY useful to use a thermometer to check baked bread for doneness.

10 Reasons Why You Need an Instant Read Thermometer.  “You’ll never know how you lived without one before.”



Seasons, Dogma, and Perspective

Even falling water stops sometimes, and it's beautiful.

Even falling water stops sometimes, and it’s beautiful.

Dogma isn’t only what other people think.   I have my own ideological challenges, and it’s easy to forget that my own cherished ideas are not always right for all people at all times.  Circumstances vary.  What worked for me yesterday might not work for you today.

A couple of years ago, in a discussion about autism, someone made a point that has stuck with me:  Every one of us has special needs.  Not just “those people,” but every one of us.  Expecting everyone to be something we think of as “normal,” and feeling animosity towards those who are “different,” leads to frustration, antagonism, and conflict. When we  all treat each other as unique individuals, pay attention to each other’s particular abilities and treat each other with patience and kindness then the world is a better place.

When my mother moved into a senior living center, she was OK with it until she saw on some paperwork someplace the words “Assisted Living.”  Then as she talked to her older sister about it,  my aunt made a point that means a lot to me. She said, “Oh, well, we’re all ‘assisted living,’ one way or another.”

My mother’s needs are not the same as my needs.  But we all have our needs.  And the solution to our needs are different.  For my mother, saving as much money as possible is not as important as being able to open the containers. When I go home on weekends these days it’s more important not to make a big mess and have leftovers that are just going to spoil when I leave.  It’s more important for her to have me eat with her in the dining room and pay for meals served restaurant-style, where she can see friends and interact with others, than it is to eat cheaply and stay in the room all the time.

There is a time and place for convenience. Yes, I’m a big believer in cooking from scratch, and I have a deep interest in helping people to learn how to eat healthy when they don’t have much money. But I recognize that needs vary.

Our own point of view isn’t the only way of seeing the world, and may mislead us if we don’t get a different perspective from time to time.

Fish Stew, using Canned Mackerel

Chef Buck knows the way….. even if he does remove the skin and bones, silly man.

Damn good stew, anyway.

“You gotta be open, you know, to the possibilities, and use whatever the hell you got on hand.” — Chef Buck

Kimchi and Mackerel Camping Stew

Canned Fish Soup, Soviet Style

Sardines and Greens Stew




Bonne Anne Cher!

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Hot sauce, anybody?


Sweet Potato Pancakes

Pancakes with sweet potato in 'em.

Pancakes with sweet potato in ‘em.

The term “Sweet Potato Pancakes” might be ambiguous. There might be other ways to do this…  like sweet potato latkes? perhaps?   But THIS time, it’s sweet potato pancakes as in making regular pancakes with sweet potato in the batter.

Simple, really.  Mash up a baked sweet potato, mix in flour, oil, egg, baking powder, baking soda and milk.  And don’t have the skillet too hot.  I guess it’s the sweetness of the sweet potato that makes them burn if you have the heat turned up more than medium.

Here are some that turned out prettier than mine:

Sweet Potato Pancakes using leftover mashed sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Pecan Pancakes (or use squash instead of sweet potatoes)

Sweet Potato Pancake Stack (because keeping some baked sweet potatoes in the fridge is the heathiest easy food there is!)

Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Pancakes  (because, as Monique says,  “…cooking up a batch in the morning brings me nothing but good warm fuzzy feelings. For reals. “)

Music to eat sweet potato pancakes by.