What I learned in one hour at the Champaign Public Library from the general manager, Jacqueline Hannah, of the Common Ground Food CO-OP in Urbana, IL:
Processed foods are not your friend.
Bulk bins, your new best friend.
Many people will complain that eating organic is too expensive to do. Jacqueline addressed this & said when shopping at a natural foods store you need to veer towards the bulk bins instead of buying the organic processed foods. Her two examples were:
Can of Organic Black Beans: $2.67
Same Amount of Bulk Black Beans: $0.28
Switch your carbs from Bread to Rice:
2 slices of organic bread: $0.73
1 c. organic rice: $0.45 (+ 1/2 the calories & no sugar)
Cook It Yourself
Example: Two Servings of Lentil Soup
Campbell's Lentil Soup: $1.69 (on sale!)
Large Cup of Lentil Soup from Deli: $3.49
Homemade & Organic from your kitchen: $0.79
Jacqueline addressed the fact that not everyone is comfortable in the kitchen. If you live in the CU area you can check out the full version of Healthy Eating on a Budget for FREE on either Wednesday, February 23rd from 10AM-1130AM or Saturday, March 26th from 1030AM-Noon. Call 217.352.3347 to register.
Cook in Bulk
• Learn the restaurant rule
when you triple a recipe or more you save time making it... especially soups
• Package easy to use portions
• Label everything well
• Keep track of what you have on the outside of your freezer
"Like a Condiment"
• Use less of the expensive favorable organic ingredients: ie cheese, meat & nuts
• Cut the amount of cheese a recipe calls for in half (WHAT?!)
• Buy Triple S farms meat & only use 1/2 in stews & soups. You won't even miss it since the flavor is so much better than store bought meat.
• And finally with nuts, add or eat 1/2 as much as you normally would & your expensive snack will last longer.
Beans & Whole Grains
Add them to your diet. They are cheap & good for you.
And finally, I picked about five Food For All recipes to try out in the next two weeks to put some of these things I learned into practice. Here is the one I'm the most excited about. I will be making the black bean burgers, but not the millet. I'll write out the whole recipe in case anyone wants to try it. And if you do, please let me know!
Black Bean Burgers & Southwest Millet
These black bean burgers are so delicious and they freeze well, so think about doubling or tripling the batch. They're perfect with flavorful Southwest Millet, a healthful & economical alternative to wheat buns. About $1.15 per serving.
2 tsp veggie "Better than Bouillon"
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced fine
1 c. millet
2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
Black Bean Burger
2 1/4 c. cooked black beans
3/4 c. quick oats, bulk
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 tbsp Woodstock Farms applesauce
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp cornmeal
Mix the broth concentrate with 2 cups boiling water. Stir in the tomato paste, spices, and salt.
In a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed saucepan, warm the oil over medium heat. Add onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft & translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add millet & garlic, stir to coat, and saute for about 4-6 minutes longer.
Pour the liquid over the millet and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover & cook for 20-25 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow it to sit, covered, for about 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and fluff with a fork.
Blend all ingredients in a food processor or with a potato masher until well mixed, but not a paste. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
Spread a little cornmeal on your hands and try shaping a small handful of the burger mix into a ball. If it's not holding together well, process or mash just a bit more. Form into four large, flat patties, or eight smaller ones (smaller are easier to handle when cooking).
Spread cornmeal on a small plate and dredge the burgers. Oil a frying pan as lightly as possible with canola oil and heat over medium-high temperature. Once hot, place your burgers in the pan. Fry until browned on both sides, turning gently with a thing metal spatula.
Pile each plate with a quarter of the millet & center the burgers on top.
1 avocado, diced
Mildly Sassy salsa