I know many people purchase toaster ovens because they want to be more "green." They love the energy efficiency a toaster oven can provide. With that in mind, I will be sharing some tips with you on how to "go green" without spending a ton of money. These tips may not be directly related to a toaster oven, but rather to the lifestyle many toaster oven owners are looking for. Enjoy!
There are many wonderful reasons to choose to eat organic food. It is clearly the best choice you can make for your health and the health of the environment. So why won't everyone buy organic food? Organic food is expensive. It costs more to produce food naturally and that cost is passed on to the consumer. There are, however, some easy things that you can do to make the switch to organic more budget-friendly.
There are four basic things you can when trying to switch to organic food for less money: First- grow what you can, Second- spend your food dollars wisely, Third- make most of your food from scratch and Fourth – don't waste anything. Each article in this "go green and save green" series will address one specific change you can make in each of the four areas.
Grow Your Own
So many people say they don't have the time or the outdoor space to grow their own organic produce. Well, today I have an option that leaves you with no more excuses: organic sprouts.
The selection of sprouts at most grocery stores is very limited and very expensive. A small 2 ounce bag usually costs about $4. That's the equivalent of $32 a pound! As far as variety goes, you'll normally find 2 or 3 kinds of sprouts if you are lucky, and they are never as fresh as they ought to be.
Organic sprouting seeds cost very little and produce a whole lot. The same 2 ounce bag costs me between 5 and 25 cents to produce, depending on the type. I grow organic broccoli sprouts, organic sunflower sprouts, organic clover sprouts, organic alfalfa sprouts, organic radish sprouts and organic mung bean sprouts. The process is simple: I put the sprouting seeds in a glass jar and top them with clean, filtered water (chlorine will kill the sprouting seeds, so clean water is definitely needed for this process.) I leave the jar on the counter overnight, then drain in the morning. I then put the jar in a cool dark cabinet or closet. I wet and drain the sprouts once a day until they are ready. They take between 2 to 6 days, depending on the variety. More precise instructions will come with your organic sprouting seeds. With a few seconds of effort a day, I am able to grow fresh organic sprouts indoors for a fraction of the grocery store price.
Spend Your Food Dollars Wisely
Go for food items that will give you more of a nutritional bang for your buck. Skip the vitamin waters; they are expensive and usually don't offer much towards your good health. Make clean water your drink of choice and get your vitamins where nature put them in the first place: whole, unprocessed foods, especially organic fruits and organic vegetables.
Make Your Food From Scratch
A lot of home cooks make their food from scratch but purchase ready to use ingredients, such as pre-sliced vegetables. A good food processor will do the job for you instead, saving you money. Buy whole organic mushrooms, garlic, onions, carrots, cabbage and so much more. Slicing, chopping, mincing or shredding them at home will cost less and the vegetables will stay fresh longer when left whole until ready for use.
Don't Waste Anything
Organic Ketchup costs more than regular Ketchup, but a quick read of the ingredients in both options will probably convince you the organic is the better choice for your health. One way to offset the higher price is by using every singledrop. I'm sure you were taught to turn the empty Ketchup bottle upside down to get the most out of it. This is an amateur tactic when it comes to culinary frugality.
So how do you get the last of it out of the bottle? After you have removed as much as possible, fill the almost empty organic ketchup bottle with water and shake to clean the sides. This is the best way to really get as much as possible out.
What can you use Ketchup water for? There are so many options. There is still a good amount of flavor left in the bottle, which is transferred to the water. Use it instead of plain water in any recipe that would go well with the tangy, tomato flavor. Here are a few examples:
Use it instead of plain water when making organic brown rice. The resulting rice is perfect for use in a stuffed pepper filling or as a bed for beef stew.
Add the ketchup water to the mix when making homemade organic beef stock.
Simmer organic vegetables in the ketchup water. My favorite vegetables for this include organic green beans, organic corn and braised organic cabbage.
I hope I have convinced you that eating organic doesn't always have to break your budget. Make simple changes to get the most out of your food dollars. Thanks for reading, see you in part 6!