Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Homemade zucchini chocolate chip muffins (gluten, egg, nut, dairy-free)

Our zucchini plants are really starting to produce a lot of zucchinis (it's amazing how big a zucchini can get in a couple days)! I've been roasting or sauteeing zucchini for Jesse on day #2 of our rotation diet, as well as freezing grated zucchini for future baking days. This zucchini muffin recipe uses 4 cups of grated zucchini for 24 muffins, so it is a perfect recipe to use up some zucchini before it goes bad (and my four year old, who refuses to eat roasted/sauteed zucchini, devoured these). And, of course, giving away zucchini to friends and neighbors is another fun way to bless others and not waste the fruit of your labors!

Homemade zucchini chocolate chip muffins (gluten, egg, nut, dairy-free)
Yields 24 muffins

3 cups rice flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 eggs (or use flax seed substitute for 4 eggs)
1 cup safflower oil (or other preferred oil)
4 cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini
1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
2. In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. 
3. Make your egg substitute if using flax seed. In another bowl, combine egg and oil.
4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened.
5. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips (can also use cranberries, raisins, or walnuts)
6. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners. Fill three-fourths with batter and bake for 22-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

The Giver makes us Give

“Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you. Grace is free, but when once you take it, you are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give."

— E. Stanley Jones, quoted on Of First Importance

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffins

Because I can't wait for Fall and per request from a reader, here's the Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffin recipe I used the other day for my dear husband:

1 1/2 cup rice flour (or other gluten free flour mix)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
pinch of cloves and all spice
1 cup - 1 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup oil
2 large eggs (I used flax seed substitute)
1 1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for topping

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Put liners in 12 muffin cups or use oil to grease the muffin cups.
Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk pumpkin, oil, eggs, and sugar.
Add dry to wet and stir until combined.
Divide into muffin cups.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top.
Bake 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sunflower Seed Cake!

My breakfast this morning, Sunflower Seed Cake with honey (oh, and coffee of course)!
Jesse's sister is in town visiting with her family this week and some of her friends from Arizona were able to come up as well. Providentially, these friends are on a similar diet as Jesse (don't you love how God works) and the wife/mom, Danielle, runs her own amazing blog, It's a Love/Love Thing, with so many helpful resources for people with dietary restrictions. What perfect timing for us to meet, thank you Lord!

One of the recipes she suggested for us was a cake made out of sunflower seeds. I tried it out yesterday and it's actually quite easy to make (only 6 ingredients). Plus, my husband can eat it on day four of his diet when I substitute sunflower oil for the coconut oil! So exciting....

If you'd like an easy, fun recipe to try for any friends/family who may have allergies, this would be a good one (it's nut, grain, egg, dairy, and gluten- free). It goes well served with honey on top and my kids also enjoyed it... my two year old loved it! Check out the recipe here: GAPS Sunflower Seed Cake!

My $1.45 Baby Clothing Purchase at Sears

I can't say how much I love and recommend the Shop Your Way rewards program (the rewards program for Sears, Lands' End, and Kmart)! I've had it for a few years now and have been able to get new clothing and other items for pennies without even shopping there on a regular basis (see links below for my other sweet scores). They often send free points to my inbox, just because.

I celebrated a birthday last week, and excitingly, they added enough points to my card for it to be $10 off a $10 or more purchase at Sears. I shopped online and found two sweet outfits for our newest boy, due to arrive this Fall. I chose in-store pick up and paid $1.45 total for the outfits.

After a few days, they e-mailed me to let me know my items had arrived at our local Sears. When I went to pick them up, I waited for five and a half minutes for them to be brought out to me (there was a timer going) and apparently the store's policy is that if a customer waits longer than 5 minutes for an online purchase to be brought to them, they get a free $5 off coupon for their next store purchase!

Sure enough, the clerk brought out my 2 outfits plus the coupon! So I guess that makes my purchase a $3.55 moneymaker?! The coupon expires in September, so I'm waiting to see if something comes up that we need before I use it.

Here are some of my other Fru-Gal trips using Shop Your Way free points:
My $1.03 Sears Purchase
Big Spender
My $1.07 Trip to Kmart
2 Free Nuby Sippy Cups

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A new way of eating for us: the Rotation Diet

The first zucchini from our garden!

Homemade zucchini bread that my husband can eat!

Delicious pumpkin muffins made with many substitutions.

My dear husband has endured food allergies his entire life. He has known that he is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, and gluten, but it seems like his body has become more and more sensitive to more and more foods and he now reacts to many different foods. After seeking the aid of an allergy specialist and also a nutritionist, Jesse had several tests run and we've found out that he has over 30 food sensitivities on top of the main allergies listed above.

One hopeful solution to help his body heal and potentially start to add some more foods back into his diet is to try a 4-day rotation diet for 3-6 months. Basically, only certain foods can be eaten each day and then rotated so that he isn't eating the same food consistently, but only once every 4 days. 

Since he can only eat meats, certain produce and grains, and certain oils, all on a rotating basis, my grocery budget has gone out the window... or at least has tripled since this time a year ago. But, I have come to terms with it (as hard as it is for me) and know that that's okay if it is helpful and necessary for my husband who never complains about such a lifelong "thorn in the flesh."

I also eat gluten-free as it has significantly helped my own health and digestive problems over the past year, and I try to maintain a gluten-free diet for the kids when they're at home (if they're served crackers or something at church functions or cake at a party, I let it slide). David is allergic to egg however, so we have to be careful with baked goods and other outside food for him.

I would share my 4-day menu with you, but I don't want to bore you too much with detail. But as an example, day 1 is beef, day 2 is chicken,  day 3 is turkey/salmon/elk, and day 4 is pork. Also, each day has certain fruits/veggies, as well as oils that I can use. It seems that day 2 is best for baking as it is rice day (rice flour) and I can manage to bake a few recipes that are gluten-, egg-, nut-, dairy-free and meet the requirements with the oils and fruits/veggies. We put pumpkin and zucchini on day 2 also, so I have been baking pumpkin muffins and zucchini bread this week (which, excitedly, we also have had some zucchini growing in our garden).

I'm also freezing any leftovers (or at least any that I can grab before they're ate up) for that crazy time in a few months when we're due to have a newborn in our house and ready-made food is such a help!

Operation Christmas Child: Time to stock up on school supplies for pennies!

I really can't believe that it is already time for back-to-school deals, but apparently we are in the season! This is one of the best times of the year to stock up on items for your Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, for mere pennies out of pocket! Check out the weekly fliers for office stores, such as Office Max, Staples, and Office Depot each week to see what items they have marked down.

I have a local Office Max right next to one of the grocery stores I frequent,  so this works out perfect for me to stop in and pick up their sale items each week. Yesterday, I was able to find 24 count crayons for a quarter each and a four pack of glue sticks for a quarter also. I paid $1.06 after tax for the above items! The glue sticks are needed for our kindergarten home school, while the crayons will make wonderful additions to some shoe boxes come Fall.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Today's Frugal Accomplishments with the Laundry

Can you see the hole I mended?

A pile of stained laundry that I treated with the best home made stain remover!

I have been busy mending and cleaning stained laundry today. I was given a super adorable sweater dress for Anna, but it had a hole in it. I'm not an expert seamstress, but was able to find some gray thread and mend it up fairly well. A light shrug over the top of the dress will probably work even better.

I also made up a batch of my favorite, easy stain remover (see recipe here) and treated a whole pile of stained kids' clothes that I had been accumulating for a few weeks.

I don't have any pictures of my clothing bins, but I've also been organizing the past few days for all three kids with the clothes we've been given for them. It's helped me to be able to see what each child needs in which size.

AND The Children's Place has a great sale going on for the rest of today (7/8):  40% off plus free shipping with code EXTRA3 at checkout. I was able to get a pair of black tights for Anna for $2 shipped (I love the quality of their microfiber tights).

Now, back to the folding and putting away of all my laundry accomplishments (my least favorite part)!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Free 2 day Shipping plus 30% off at Old Navy!

Old Navy is having some great discounts today on their online site. Get 30% off items (including clearance, excluding "Everyday Steals") plus free 2-day shipping (today only, 6/30). Use code SURPRISE for the 30% off and FREE for the free shipping!

Plus, they have adorable toddler girl tees in French! I got this sweet tee for Anna's next birthday ("Je t'aime" means "I love you") for only $4.20 shipped after the discounts.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

$7.48 for Toddler Girl's Sneakers at Target.com!

I just bought these adorable sneakers for my daughter off the Target website. The pink ones are on clearance right now for $7.48 and if you use your Red Card you get an extra 5% off plus free shipping. I also shopped through ShopatHome.com to get an extra 4% cash back.