$20 at the Farmers Market

I love love love shopping at the Farmer’s Market.  It’s Saturday morning–the whole weekend is ahead of you.  You get to taste samples of the seasonal fruits, and you can buy local, mostly organic foods surrounded by like-minded people and their cute kiddos running around with apple slices clutched in their hands.   What better way to start the weekend?

But some people claim that Farmer’s Market shopping doesn’t fit into their budget.  It’s true that there’s often a markup for fresh, organic, local foods, but…that doesn’t mean that you can’t get good deals.  So I’ve decided to visit the Farmer’s Market on nice weekends (of course, it’s heading into winter, so I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this up until Spring) with a cool $20 bill in my hand and see what I can come away with.  I’ll tell you about my deals (and my plans of what to make with the goodies).  Hope you enjoy!

Here’s what I got on this crisp fall morning:

Buffalo Cranberry Wine Sausage (free-range and all natural).  4 links=$7.50

4 organic fuji apples = $3.15

3 medium red onions = $2.50

Small loaf of local artisan french bread= $2

1 bunch of organic swiss chard = $2

5 small sweet peppers, different colors = $2

2 jalapenos= 50 cents

Total=$19.65

I had 35 cents left and saw a sign for a head of garlic for exactly 35 cents! If the line for that stand hadn’t been so long, I would have hit $20 on the nose.

market pickings

market pickings

I’ll use the onions in pretty much everything I make this week.   The apples I will cook with cinnamon and water to make applesauce for my 11 month old daughter.   Tonight for dinner we’ll have the sausages, simply browned on the iron skillet with a side of swiss chard sauteed in olive oil with a lot of garlic and some spices.  We’ll have the bread dipped in olive oil mixed with herbs de provence before dinner.  Oh, I’m hungry already.

I bought the jalapenos because I have some stew beef I bought last week at the market in the freezer. I want to try to cook it in the crockpot this week and I read on a crockpotting blog that if you add whole hot peppers to the stew, you get the smoky flavor, but not the spiciness. The sweet peppers we’ll cut into our salads and snack on them throughout the week.

What do you like about Farmer’s Markets?

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V-egg-ie muffins ($1.09 per serving)

V-egg-ie muffins

12 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium zucchinis, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1 organic green pepper, diced
Half a bag of organic baby spinach
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the onion, zucchini, squash, and peppers and cook until the vegetables are soft. About 7 minutes. Add spinach just until it wilts.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with an olive oil dipped paper towel.  Fill each cup halfway with the vegetable mixture.
5. Pour in the beaten egg, filling each cup to just under the top.
6. Bake in the oven until it is set in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes (make sure the toothpick comes out clean).

Makes 12 egg and veggie muffins.  Serve two with a green salad for a hearty lunch or dinner. Or have one with a fruit salad for breakfast.

BONUS–this also freezes well!  After the eggs have cooled off, place them in a large gallon sized freezer bag in one layer and lay them on a flat surface in the freezer.  Pop them in the toaster oven or microwave to heat them up any morning you want it!

A dozen cage-free eggs:$3.19

1 medium onion= 69 cents

2-3 pack of organic zucchini = $2.99

2 yellow squashes= $2.00

1 organic green pepper (2 count package=$4.59. Only one needed for recipe, so cost= $2.30)

A bag of organic spinach= $3.99.  Half bag needed for recipe, $2.00

Olive oil, salt, and pepper=negligible.

Total cost for egg muffins=$13.17. Each egg and veggie muffin = $1.09

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Lentil Soup on a Budget (88 cents a serving)

EASY Lentil Brown Rice Soup on a Budget

1.5 cups dried lentils, rinsed
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 organic carrots, chopped
4 celery hearts, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 14.5 ounce cans organic tomatoes
7 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the water, lentils, rice, and tomatoes with the reserved juice. Bring the ingredients to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer the mixture, covered, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the lentils and rice are tender.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste.

Makes about 12 cups of soup.

Here’s the cost breakdown:

1 16 oz bag of lentils=85 cents. Recipe calls for 1/2 bag=43 cents

1 32 oz bag of brown rice= $1.79.  Recipe calls for 1/4 bag= 45 cents

1 medium yellow onion =69 cents

3 organic carrots.  1 bunch of carrots=$2.99.  Recipe calls for about half bunch=$1.50

4 celery hearts.  1 package of celery hearts=2.50. Recipe calls for about half package=$1.25

3 cloves of garlic (50cents a head, so about 10 cents for 3 cloves)

1 14.5 oz can of organic tomatoes=$2.19. Recipe calls for 2 cans= $4.38

Water (FREE!)

Olive oil, salt, and pepper (negligible)

Total cost of pot of soup=$8.80

Soup makes about 12 cups.  If a dinner serving is 1.5 cups, then there are about 8 servings in the pot.

Cost per meal=88 cents

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Welcome to Healthy on a Budget!

Hello readers,

I am starting this blog because I believe that you don’t have to be rich to eat healthy.  Having an ample budget certainly makes it easier to access as many fruits, vegetables, and specialty items as you want, but it is definitely not a requirement. 

I hope to prove to my readers that you can cook fresh, tasty and HEALTHY meals while sticking to a tight budget.  Let me prove it to you!  I will be posting recipes for dishes as well as the cost per serving.  Hopefully you’ll join me in this journey. 

Thank you!  

Monica

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