Tips for Allergy-Friendly Baking on a Budget

allergy-friendly-baking

Guest post from Becky of Milo & Oats

Living with diet restrictions can be a huge budget-buster. From food allergies to celiac disease, there are a variety of health needs that might leave you searching for an economical way to bake for your loved ones.

Here are some tips that will have you baking up delicious treats without breaking the bank!

Make your own flour blend.

Do you eat gluten-free? Do you have a loved one with a wheat allergy?

If you’ve had experience baking gluten-free, you know it requires multiple flours for baking success. However, commercial pre-made blends can be expensive! It’s much more cost-effective to make your own.

There are many gluten-free flour blend recipes out there. A quick Google or Pinterest search should get you started in finding recipes with which to experiment.  Once you have a recipe in hand, you’ll need to actually purchase the appropriate flours!

The natural foods section of your local grocery store will likely carry a variety of gluten-free flours. However, this is usually not the most cost-effective. My favorite to place to purchase gluten-free flours at a great price is Azure Standard. I buy rice, milo (sorghum) and teff flour, as well as potato and tapioca starch. If you don’t have a local Azure drop, Vitacost may be a good option.

Use everyday ingredients.

Ingredient substitutes can be shockingly expensive. We have an egg allergy in our family, so previously I have used egg replacer powder. Then, I realized there are many other ways to replace eggs. Flaxseed, banana, or applesauce work well as an egg replacement.

These are all ingredients I tend to have on hand, anyway. Not to mention, they are healthier than using a synthetic replacement!

Buy in bulk.

We love our Costco. I have found savings on ingredients that would otherwise be considerably more expensive — coconut oil and flax seed make the list.

We also buy the Kirkland brand chocolate chips. Did you know that they don’t contain dairy?? They have been one of my greatest Costco discoveries. Way less expensive than buying those little bags of specialty chocolate chips!

We are not Sam’s Club members but I’m sure they have some allergy-friendly deals worth discovering, too.

Focus on foods you can eat.

This one is so important, but probably took the longest for me to discover. Focus on all of the delicious, safe foods that you can eat!

Baking with allergies can be discouraging because there are so many ingredients to alter, or replace entirely! By concentrating on recipes that require less replacement, your baking success will be greatly increased. Your results will actually get eaten, not thrown out…again.

Apple crisp naturally requires no eggs and a smaller amount of flour. A big bowl of berries with some lightly sweetened coconut whipped cream is a treat! Cut yourself some slack and relish eating those wallet-friendly, in-season foods.

These are just a few tips we use — I’d love to know what you would add to my list! 

Becky is a wife and homeschool mom to five incredible kids. She loves chocolate, books, and baking allergy-friendly treats for her family. Becky is the blogger behind Milo & Oats and loves chatting about everything from parenting to curriculum hoarding to what’s for dinner.

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Premium Magazine Sale: Rare Titles + Great Prices!

Cooking SaleThere is a great weekend magazine sale going on right now at DiscountMags! Lots of great titles, some that we rarely see and some of these would make great gifts for people on your shopping list!

Titles include:

Go here to see all of the titles in this sale!

No coupon code needed, this sale will end Sunday night, November 24th, 2014 at midnight (est). You can purchase these magazine subscriptions for yourself, as gifts or to renew an existing subscription.

(Note: The links in this post are my referral links. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Rare Deal! TWO year subscription to Food Network magazine for ONLY $9.99!

Food Network MagazineAttention Foodies! Here is a magazine that we rarely see a deal on, and this might make a great gift idea!! AND this is the lowest price that I have ever seen on this magazine, it is normally on sale for $14.99 but cover price is over $70! This sale makes this subscription only $5.00 per year, joy!

Food Network MagazineRight now, you can get a TWO year subscription to Food Network magazine for $9.99 when you use coupon code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout. You can use this offer to purchase for yourself, and you can also renew current subscriptions, and you can also purchase a gift subscription for someone else. Best of all, this subscription will NOT auto-renew.

About Food Network: Each issue is packed with inside scoops and tips from everyone’s favorite TV stars, plus hundreds of recipes!

(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read my disclosure policy here.)

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Brigette’s $57 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week! We are just planning a simple get-together with friends as all of our family live too far away. I’d love to hear what’s on your Thanksgiving menu, or any good deals on groceries you were able to get this week thanks to holiday sales!

Aldi

3 1-lb packages Ground Turkey (@$1.89/each) – $5.67

1 10-lb bag Russet Potatoes – $1.99, plus receive $0.50 back from Snap By Groupon – $1.49 after rebate

1 2-lb bag Lemons – $2.29

1 Pineapple – $1.19

3 dozen Eggs (@$1.39/each) – $4.17, plus receive $0.50 back from Checkout 51 – $3.67/3 after rebate

2 3-lb bags Sweet Potatoes (@$1.17 each) – $2.34

1 jar Minced Onion – $0.99

1 jar Baking Powder – $0.99

1 bunch Bananas (2.53lbs @$0.44/lb) – $1.11, plus receive $0.25 back from Checkout51 – $0.86 after rebate

1 package Rice Cakes – $1.29

1 12-oz package fresh Cranberries – $1.19, plus receive $0.25 back from Snap by Groupon – $0.94 after rebate

1 20-oz  canister Raisins – $2.89

1 3-ct package Romaine Hearts – $1.99

1 16-oz container Eggs Whites – $1.99

1 3-lb bag Fuji Apples – $3.29

1 3-head package Garlic – $0.79

1 8-oz bag Dates – $1.89

Total after Rebates: $33.39

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Harris Teeter

2 8-oz packages Mushrooms, reduced (@$0.69/each) – $1.38

1 3-ct bag Avocados, reduced – $1.00

1 16-ct package Tide Pods – $4.99, used $2/1 Tide Pods, Gain Flings, Downy Unstoppables, Bounce Bursts or Gain Fireworks, exp. 12/31/14 (RP 11/16/14), plus $2/1 Harris Teeter evic – $0.99 after coupons

after coupons 2 pouches Pioneer Gravy Mix (B1G1) – $1.29/2, used $0.65/2 printable (doubled) – FREE after coupons

2 1-lb boxes Domino Powdered Sugar – $2.00, used $0.50/2 Domino Brown or Confectioners Sugar, exp. 1/3/15 (RP 11/02/14 R) (doubled) – $1.00/2 after coupons

2 8-oz sticks Crisco Baking Sticks – $2.00, used 2 $0.35/1 Crisco Shortening, Spray, or Olive Oil, exp. 12/31/14 (RP 11/02/14 R) (doubled) – $0.60/2 after coupons

2 75-oz jugs Extra Laundry Detergent (B1G1) – $3.99, used 2 $1 off Xtra Liquid or Sure Shot Paks Laundry Detergent, exp. 12/20/14 (SS 11/09/14) – $1.99/2 after coupons

2 5-lb bags Gold Medal Flour – $1.54 (they substituted this brand for me since they were out of the store brand which was advertised)

Total after all Sales, Taxes, and Coupons – $9.73

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Walmart

(My husband price-matched a couple of things for me since he was already making a trip for some non-grocery items.)

1 Turkey (20.76lbs – price-matched Food Lion @ $0.47/lb) – $9.76 (Turkey prices were cheaper here last year, but as it is the week before Thanksgiving – I am not holding out much hope for them to drop any further! What are turkey prices like in your area of the country?), plus receive $1.00 back from Snap by Groupon – $8.76

2 5-lb bags Flour (@$0.77/each – price-matched Harris Teeter) – $1.54

Total after Rebate: $10.30

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CVS

(I couldn’t pass up this peanut butter deal with holiday baking just around the corner!)

5 jars of Skippy Peanut Butter (@$2.00 each) – $10.00, used 2 $0.55/1 printable, plus 2 $0.55/1 printable, plus $1.00/1 insert coupon – $6.80, plus receive $3 ECB back

Total after Coupons and ECB: $3.80/5 ($0.76 each)

Weekly Total for all Groceries: $57.22

Weekly Menu Plan

Breakfasts

Omelettes, Oatmeal and Fruit, Smoothies and Toast, Cereal, Cinnamon Rolls (Saturday)

Lunches

Baked Sweet Potatoes/Bananas; Build-Your-Own-Salad Bar; Baked Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese; Peanut Butter Rice Cakes/Apples; Leftovers x 2; Fried Egg Sandwiches/Oranges/Carrots

Dinners

Taco Salad, Green Beans

Friend’s House for Dinner – I am bringing Upside Down Praline Apple Pie for dessert

Cheesy Hamburger Potato Soup, Easy Whole Wheat Muffins

Date Night (Super excited about this!! A sweet friend offered to watch our children just because, and I can’t wait to spend some quality time with my busy husband!)

Thanksgiving Menu: Turkey and Gravy, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Crescent Rolls, Green Beans with Almond and Thyme, Our Favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie

Leftovers

Turkey Gravy over Brown Rice, Steamed Broccoli, Leftover Muffins or Crescent Rolls

Snacks

Fudge Babies (I will use pecans instead of walnuts), Popcorn, Homemade Oatmeal Cookies (my husband’s specialty!), Fruit

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Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband…

Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband

Dear Frugal Gal Who is Married to a Spender Husband,

Oh, how I get you. Because, you see, I am you!

When my husband and I got married, I totally had no clue that people could truly find fulfillment in spending money. Yup, it was a recipe for complete success and harmony in our marriage. Ahem.

I knew he liked to buy brand names. I knew he liked nice things. But I figured that I could help him see how it was so much better to shop at thrift stores and get bargains.

So I went into marriage all prepared to fix my husband. Because, in my incredibly humble opinion (not!), that boy needed a lot of fixing.

I was going to help him understand how we could save so much money if he would just come over to my frugal side. I was going take those extravagant blinders off his eyes and help him see the frugal light.

It shouldn’t take much work, I was sure. Yes, you could say I was a wee bit naive. ;)

Then we got married. And I set to work fixing him.

For the first few years, we were so poor that there wasn’t any money to spend on anything but necessities. So I really thought all my “sermons” and words of wisdom had cured his “extravagant” appetite.

A few years into our marriage, with law school behind us and a blog that was quickly growing, our income began steadily increasing and my fantasy ideas of how I had fixed my husband were all shattered by reality.

The reality was this: I had married a guy who liked to spend money.

I was aghast! I loved this man, but how on earth could he find fulfillment from spending money?!? My frugal self just couldn’t fathom it!

I had tried fixing and that didn’t work. So then I tried criticizing. And, as you can imagine, that was a complete flop.

I was stubborn and frustrated. However, I loved this man. I really did. And I didn’t want to live life feeling constant tension over money.

So, I humbled myself and started asking questions trying to determine what Jesse’s heart really was. And little bit by little bit, I realized that he wasn’t trying to be extravagant or ruthless; he just enjoyed spending money. It was the way he was wired.

Just like I was wired to enjoy saving money (and he had trouble understanding my frugal nature!), he was wired to enjoy spending money. There was nothing wrong with him. He just had a different personality than me.

I have slowly come to really appreciate him for how different he is than me. Without him in our family, I’d probably be a miser. He’s helped me realize that there is more to life than always doing everything possible to get everything at the rock bottom price.

He’s also helped me to realize that breathing room in our budget can allow us to enjoy some memory-making experiences — like taking the kids out for a special outing or enjoying a date night together at a fun restaurant. Without him in our family, we’d probably have a lot less fun at our house.

I’ve also learned that sometimes, it truly does pay to spend more for a nicer brand. Yes, really. Not always, but sometimes. :)

And, most importantly, he’s helped me learn the joy that comes from generosity. I love watching how much he loves to give and how he is always going out of his way to give to others. Seeing his heart for giving inspires me to live with arms even more outstretched.

The beautiful thing is, Jesse has also learned a lot about me and has come to appreciate my frugal nature — even if he doesn’t always understand it. He thanks me often for how I help our family save money and stick with a budget.

As my attitude changed, it’s made him a lot more open to making compromises for the health of our family’s finances. He’s learned to look for great deals on things he needs to purchase, he’s waited to buy items he wants until we could afford them in our budget, and he’s talked himself out of many purchases because he knew that it wasn’t a wise use of our money.

Dear Frugal Gal Who Is Married to a Spender Husband

We still have moments when there is tension or disagreements when it comes to money, but I’ve learned 4 strategies that have helped bring a lot more harmony to me as a saver who is married to a spender:

1) Nagging Doesn’t Work

If you want to ruin your relationship, start trying to nag and drag your spouse along with your latest and greatest ideas. It’s a recipe for disaster — and discord.

2) It Has To Be an Us Thing, Not a Me Thing

There is no “I” in team. If you want to successfully get on the same page, it has to be a game plan you come up with together.

Don’t expect your spouse to jump on board with you. Instead, ask your spouse if you can sit down together and talk about where you both are financially and where you both want to go together.

3) Compromise Is Key

When you sit down to discuss your finances, come with an open mind. Don’t have everything all mapped out and badger your spouse into signing off on your plan.

Share your concerns in a gentle manner and then listen to your spouse’s thoughts and concerns. If they see that you genuinely want to work with them and want to hear their heart on the matter, they are going to be much more apt to join you in the journey. But they will likely resist from the get-go if you don’t seem to care about their desires and or have any willingness to compromise.

4) Give Grace — And Some Breathing Room!

Because of our different personalities and natures, we’ve found a beautiful compromise in an agreed-upon Blow Category in our budget. We each get an allotted amount of money that we can spend on whatever we’d like, whenever we’d like. This set-up has worked well for us and prevented many unnecessary arguments over money.

When we both accept our differences, agree to compromise, set goals for our family together, and give each other grace, we have so much more unity. And this unity propels us to both be working together to wisely steward our money — instead of constantly fighting and bickering over stuff that really isn’t going to matter too much in 25 years from now.

These four strategies won’t completely remove any money fights or misunderstandings, but I truly believe that they will help improve your communication and oneness in your marriage. And when there’s more communication and oneness in finances, it usually will have a trickle down effect and improve many other areas of marriage.

So hang in there! Start taking baby steps forward and hopefully your effort to better understand and get on the same page with your husband will result in some of the same rewarding results that it has for us in our marriage!

Don’t give up! I’m cheering for you…

Crystal

P.S. For more suggestions, check out my post on How Can We Improve Communication About Finances In Marriage?

photo credit #1; photo credit #2

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Cents of Style: Knit Poncho for $19.97 shipped!

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Cents of Style is offering my readers an exclusive deal on their Knit Ponchos this week only. Get one for just $19.97 when you use the coupon code MSMPONCHO at checkout.

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These Knit Ponchos are 100% acrylic and come in off white or brown. They are 32″ long and feature a 5″ fringe with diamond detailing.

Cents of Style Knit Poncho

Cents of Style insisted that they send me a Knit Poncho to try out. Since I’m pretty straight forward and tell-it-like-it-is, I told them I doubted I would like it but that they could send me one if they really, really wanted to.

Well, I totally surprised myself because I love it! It’s SO warm and comfy and perfect for all the cold weather we’ve been having. Now I understand why people love ponchos so much!

Use the coupon code MSMPONCHO at checkout to get a Knit Poncho for $19.97. As always, shipping is free.

This is is valid now through November 23, 2014, or while supplies last.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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