Tuesday, June 25, 2019


It's summer and the sports season is in full swing! But, don't get into a habit of grabbing fast food, while you are on the run to cheer on your favorite team! Instead, let's "root" for the home team!

This week, we're talking root vegetables! As spring, gives way to summer, these glorious, colorful, nutritious veggies make their first appearance. We want to make the most of the opportunity to serve them to our families, the ultimate "home team".

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Ready? Let's go!

First up to bat: Red Potatoes!

Current Stats:  

Potassium = 47%
Vitamin C = 72% 
Iron = 12% 
Fiber = 5.2 grams 
Cholesterol = 0
Fat = .5 grams

Recipe Idea: 

Curried potatoes

This taste sensation was the 14 year old sous chef's choice. It combines cooked red potatoes with seasoning, curry powder, nutritional yeast, and non-dairy milk. I could NOT believe how easy it was to make or how delicious it was! The recipe can be found in The China Study All Star Cookbook.  

Second up to bat: Beets!

Current Stats: 

Serving size - 1 cup 

Folate = 34%
Manganese = 24%
Fiber = 3.4 grams 
Cholesterol = 0
Lowers Blood pressure!

Recipe Idea: 

Oven roasted beet packets

I created this method of roasting beets to eliminate much of the red mess on pans and kids' clothing. As an added bonus, children love getting their own, personal packet of beets to put on their plate. 

Simply wash and cut beets. Then, set on large squares of foil. If the beets are large, quarter them. Use 1 cup of beets per square of foil Fold foil over to form a packet. Place, seam side up, on baking pan. Roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Beets are done with pierced easily with a fork. 

Greens reminder!

Don't discard those beet greens! Cut them into bite-sized pieces and saute them with a little water until bright green. The greens will wilt as you cook them. Don't worry! It's normal for them to get much smaller. You can add some onion and garlic to the pan at the beginning of the cooking process if you want and then add the beet greens after the onions and garlic are softened. Honestly, I just like them cooked plain. You can add a splash of lemon juice to the finished greens, or (as we did in my childhood) a splash of white vinegar. Don't overcook them or they will get mushy. 

Recipe Idea: 

This recipe comes from a website the I newly discovered: Healthy Slow Cooking. Author, Kathy Hester, is a genius when it comes to putting spice mixtures together to create new and interesting dishes. 

Kathy says to make this recipe with kale. But, shhhh... Don't tell her, but it works with beets greens as well. This simple, weeknight meal goes together in about 30 minutes. 

$50 Weekly Menu Post!

In fact, my sister, Robin, is a taste tester for Kathy Hester's newest cookbook, which will soon be released. Robin was in town last week, visiting from Alabama. We cooked up a storm, test tasting and rating recipes. Be watching! I'll be releasing a post next week with a $50 menu plan, created from recipes from the website and Kathy's cookbooks. 

Third up to bat: Carrots!

Current Stats: 

Serving size - 1 cup 

Rich in beta-carotene
Vitamin A = 113%
Biotin = 20%
Fiber = 2.8 grams
Cholesterol = 0
Retain 75% of nutrients when quick-steamed for 5 minutes

Recipe Idea: 

Rainbow Vegetable Rice Pilaf

I mentioned earlier in this post that while my sis and I were in town we road tested some recipes for Kathy Hester's new cookbook. This was one of them. It was absolutely delicious! We began with a HUGE bowl of riced cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. The recipe made 15-20 cups of riced vegetables! 

We then divided that batch in half, creating "cheesy" riced vegetables with one half and this recipe (vegetable rice pilaf) with the other half. This served us for two nights and was very versatile. In the photo, you see it served over hot cooked whole oat groats. It would be equally good over rice or rolled up as filling in a tortilla. 

Once again, here's a link to Kathy's website. You can find info. there on the soon-to-be-released cookbook. REMEMBER: Be watching next week for my post: "Cookin' with My Sister: Feeding my Family on $50"! This post contains many more recipes from Kathy's website and upcoming cookbook. 

Fourth up to bat: Green Onions!

Yes! Green onions deserve their own shout-out! Depending on your locale, you may refer to them as scallions or spring onions. I absolutely adore them! They are one of the first veggies to be ready to harvest in the spring and are always a welcome sight in our home. 

Current Stats: 

Serving size - 1 cup 

Vitamin K = 259%
Vitamin C = 31%
Folate = 16% 
Cholesterol = 0
Reduces cholesterol
Good for heart health

Recipe Idea: 

The sous chef and I created this recipe for a ladies' tea at our church. I got many requests for the recipe at the end of the event. The dressing features: lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and ginger. Yum! While you are checking out the recipe, click on the "cheap eats" tag at the bottom of the post. It will show you links to all the rest of our exclusive Cheap Eats recipes!


You can't go wrong including a rainbow of root vegetables in your diet. They provide you with protection from heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and much more!

To access all the posts in the CSA Series, click on the CSA label at the end of this post.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

BULK BARGAINS: Feeding My Family for $50!

It' been a while since I did a "Feed My Family for $50" post. But, I recently got some terrific bulk buys. So, let's talk about turning those ultra-low priced items into a menu plan (without your family feeling like they are eating the same thing every night.)

By the way, in this post I have a family of "6" instead of "5". Nope! I did not have a baby! My oldest son came home from college for the summer, giving us 6 in the family instead of 5 for the next 3 months. Whew hoo! Mama's happy to have all the boys home for a few, short weeks!

Bulk Bargains

Sometimes you get bulk food at a price that you just can't turn down. This often happens during the growing season when friends and neighbors share excess garden produce with us. But, not always. Earlier this month, I stopped by my favorite ethnic store and scored some amazing deals on organic produce. There are some things you have to take into consideration.

Here's a post where I break down some thoughts on what you should do after you have shouted "Buy!" and your countertops and fridge are now bulging and overflowing with your amazing buys.

What did I get?  

9 bunches of organic broccoli - Cost:  $9.00. 

24 broccoli stems -  from the 9 bunches of broccoli.
Yep! I use the stems.

In my post entitled, "Hey! Don't Waste That!", I give you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare the stems for use. 

Over 10 pounds of organic red potatoes - 40¢ a pound - Cost: $3.40

Cabbage - 19¢ a pound - I used my HyVee rain check!  - Cost: $1.79
1 bought 3 heads of cabbage.

My General Plan 

My first line of defense when I score fantastic bargains is to assess: 

1.    How long the item will last before degrading in quality. I.E. - Cabbage will last two weeks, but fresh tomatoes, just a few days.

2.  How much I will cook and how much will I freeze for long term use.

3.  How many ways I can prepare it - so my family doesn't feel like they are eating the same thing  every day for an entire week.

Let's talk specifics. What did I do with all this food?

My Menu Plan

Breakfast: Hot Cereal and Fruit


Breakfast rarely changes for us. We rotate between oatmeal and cream of wheat, adding fresh fruit to the top every morning. May seem boring, but it's really healthy and, more importantly, it sticks with kids, so they are not shouting, "I'm hungry" just 45 minutes after they finish their bowl of cereal. 

7 Day Breakfast Cost: $7.50

Lunch: Soup, Salad, and Fruit


Creamy potato-broccoli soup! - Cost: $2.50 for 6 quarts!

Vegetable Soup - Cost: $2.50 for a HUGE pot!


Tuno Salad - cost for 10 sandwiches: $3.00

I've mentioned this staple vegan sandwich filling before. It's a chickpea salad spread, much like tuna salad (without the tuna). It's a family favorite and can often be found as an option to go along with your bowl of soup. 

Side Dishes!

(These were used for both lunch and supper.) 

Vegan Mustard-based Potato Salad - Cost: $1.50

Cole Slaw with Oil Free Lemon Ginger Dressing - Cost: 50¢!

Broccoli Black Bean Fiesta Salad  - Cost: $3.00

A variety of in-season fruit - bought weekly at the lowest prices in town!
Cost for 7 days of lunches - $4.00

Total cost of 7 days of lunch: $17.00

Supper: Main dish, more salad, raw veggies, and fruit 

Buffalo Broccoli "wings" in the air fryer - Cost: $2.00

This is one the 14 year old sous chef's favorite recipes. I just hand him the recipe and tell him to make a double batch. We serve it with extra hot sauce and add some sides for a complete supper plan. We use the batter from Fat Man Rants' recipe for buffalo cauliflower wings and simply sub broccoli for the cauliflower. We actually like the broccoli better than cauliflower. I had plenty of broccoli to make two huge pans of broccoli wings. 

Dairy Free Roasted Potato and Broccoli Lasagna - Cost: $5.00

This is one of my Cheap Eats recipes. The 14 year old sous chef and I created it especially for Mother's Day and featured it in my Feeding A Crowd for Pennies:  Father's Day brunch post.

 I will admit that contains more fat than most of my other recipes. This is because of the addition of vegan ricotta cheese. Nearly all of my recipes are based on real, whole food products. This is an exception, but the dairy free ricotta adds a lot of creaminess and it even melts a little like real cheese. I just want you to be aware that it has a lot more fat and oil than you want to eat on a regular basis. So, please DO give it a try and please DO share this recipe with your friends and loved ones who need to know that vegan, dairy-free meals can be amazingly flavorful and delicious. 

Scalloped Riced Broccoli Casserole  - $2.50

This casserole is an exclusive Under the Median Cheap Eats recipe. We use it as a main dish, adding a salad, homemade muffins, and fruit to make it a balanced meal.  The 14 year old sous chef and I created it specifically because we didn't want to waste the broccoli stems from that glorious haul of organic broccoli. It tastes amazing and is perfect for taking to a picnic or potluck! 

Total Cost of 7 Days of Supper: $13.25



Blanched broccoli florets for the freezer 

I had plenty of broccoli left over to blanch and put in the freezer for later use. For a step-by-step tutorial on blanching and freezing fresh vegetables, read:

"Putting Food By for Winter: Blanching". 

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Monday, June 17, 2019


Summer is the perfect time to save money on food or get your grocery budget in line if the winter months have taken a toll on your pocket book. One of the amazing things about fresh food is that you don't have to go to great lengths to add expensive ingredients or spend hours in the kitchen to create amazing, tasty, healthy dishes.

Fast food is good for you! 

Nope! I don't mean any establishment where you look at a brightly lit board and order a "full meal deal". My version of "fast food" that won't pack on the pounds, endanger your health, or cost you and arm and a leg.

This week, let's focus on real food that can be prepared in 30 minutes or less, with a maximum of 9 ingredients.

Ready? Let's go!

Crisp Sauteed Red Potatoes with Green Onions 

So easy and yet, so delicious! Red potatoes, sauteed with green onions in a pan until crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Amazing! 

This next recipe utilized green onion, broccoli, and cauliflower - all from my CSA box! 

I made this for supper tonight and it got a rousing "two thumbs up" from everyone. I had the quinoa pre-made. But, even if you don't you can saute the veggies, while cooking the quinoa and still have this dish on the table in 30 minutes. 

Quinoa with Broccoli and Cauliflower

3 cut up green onions (including the tops)
2 cloves of garlic - minced
2 cups cut up fresh cauliflower 
2 cups cut up fresh broccoli
1 Tbsp salt free seasoning (your choice) 
2 tsp. onion powder 
1 tsp. garlic powder 
4 cups cooked quinoa
2 Tbsp lemon juice

I don't saute anything using oil. It's just extra calories. You can achieve the same effect by using water. Cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of water. Heat until very warm. Add onions and garlic. Cook until the onion and garlic are softened. Add broccoli, cauliflower, and seasoning. Cook on med/high heat until the broccoli turns bright green - about 5 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and pour the lemon juice over the top. Check to see if you need to adjust the seasonings. 

Lemony Sugar Snap Peas 

Truthfully, these are absolutely decadent just washed and eaten raw. But, if you are fortunate enough to have some left, then this recipe for lemony sugar snap peas is a sure winner! The 14 year old sous chef and I designed this recipe after I found 2 pound bags of sugar snap peas on clearance at Kroger. Since then, my family has asked for it again and again. It takes 9 ingredients and 20 minutes. Throw them over brown rice for a complete meal. Enjoy!

Quick Cabbage Soup 

Nine ingredients, easy, and delicious! The blog promises that this quick cabbage soup is exactly that -  hot and ready in just 15 minutes.

Tomato Cucumber Salad with Lime Dressing

The fresh tomatoes are just starting to ripen! Yay! I created this recipe for tomato cucumber salad as a tribute to the sweet and sour summer salads that my grandmother made for picnics. I gave it a twist with a fresh lime vinaigrette. Perfect for upcoming summer get togethers.

What are you making with this season's early summer produce? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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