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This week’s review is of Calbee Snack Salad Snapea Crisps, Original Flavor. According to the company’s website, this snack is made from “high-quality sun-dried peas.” They pride themselves on making peas taste really good, while still retaining all the health benefits. The product is, of course, gluten and casein-free. Plus, they are high in fiber, iron, and other vitamins. snapea crisps

I enjoy eating these with lunch or as a take-along snack. They are crispy, like a chip, and have a pleasant flavor which is not overly pea-like (at least to my taste buds). This is also a fun way to get your children eating a healthy snack too. Personally, I don’t like peas due to their texture (mushiness is just not appealing to me), so when I saw these were crispy – I knew I had to try them! Snapea Crisps are also available in a Caesar Salad flavor, but I have not seen these in my area stores yet.

I found these snacks at Costco, in a very affordable two-pack. However, you can also find them at Trader Joe’s or even order them through Amazon. If you want to learn more about Calbee and their other snack items, please visit their website.

save money on GFCF grocery shoppingYes, you can save money!

Everything is getting more expensive today. From gas to groceries, our hard-earned dollars are challenged to stretch further. Now, we may be able to ride a bicycle around town if we can’t put gas in our cars. But, we have to eat. There’s no getting around that. So, we have to find ways to spend less on groceries while still getting the things that we need to feed ourselves and our families.

6 money-saving tips

  1. Clip coupons. They put those in the newspaper for a reason. If there are new items you want to try, use a coupon to get it at a discount. If you like it, you have saved some money. On the other hand, if you hate it, you didn’t pay full price. For me, coupons save an average of 35-50% per visit! That’s money in my pocket that I can put towards gas for the car. Also, you can visit the websites of many manufacturers and download free coupons. Or, visit the Stockpiling Moms website and learn how to really save lots on gluten-free, dairy-free items!
  1. Buy more staples than prepared foods. It is easier to buy a frozen gluten-free dinner, but is it more economical? A large box of gluten-free pasta and a GFCF marinara sauce will make more servings for your family than one gluten-free frozen dinner. This is especially true for baked goods! The next time you go shopping and pick up a box or bag of an already prepared item, ask yourself if you can make that at home for less. If you can, then put that item back in favor of less expensive staples.
  1. Buy in bulk. Consider the food items that you use most often. Gluten-free snacks, meats, vegetables, condiments, juices, and paper products can be bought in bulk usually at a lower price at food warehouses like Costco, BJ’s, and Wal-Mart. If you have a coupon, you’ll save even more money. Yes – you can find more and more gluten-free, dairy-free items at the warehouse stores. And, don’t be afraid to request certain products through the manager; that’s how they find out what their customers really want!
  1. Don’t shop when you are hungry. This is a definite no-no. Shopping on an empty stomach means that you will pick up more things than you need. You are more likely to pick up that box of gluten-free cookies when the growling gets underway!
  1. Take a grocery list with you. This is another protection against picking up things that are too costly. Check your cabinets and the fridge to see what you need and write them down. Remember, the goal is to stick to the list as much as possible.
  1. Shop at the same stores. This is more of a frustration reliever. In a new store, you spend most of your time looking for things and walking up and down every aisle, which oftentimes leads to forgetting an item or two. Going to the same store each time makes you more familiar with the prices so you can estimate your bill as you write your grocery list. I also find that you get better service if the store employees know your face. (Last weekend, an employee at Trader Joe’s not only helped me find a great watermelon, he cut it open for me to see that it was appropriately ripe; what a great help!)

You can succeed!

Rising prices don’t have to mean a lean dinner table. There are ways to make your food dollar go further and if you take the time to implement the ideas listed above as well as others of your own, you’ll see savings each and every time you shop.

Know any money-saving tips?

If you have some great shopping tips to share, please add them in the comments section below. Thank you!

fruit_bowl

I was asked recently, “How can I buy organic foods if I live in a rural area?” My friend was concerned that she was destined to only purchase frozen or canned items because she didn’t live near a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods Market.  This prompted me to think it might be a question that my readers might have as well. So, here is a list of 7 Ways to Find Organic Foods in Rural Areas

1. Buy local produce at a Farmer’s Market. Many rural areas have great farmer’s markets, or even fruit/vegetable stands that you can purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables.  When you get to know your local growers, you can ask them specifically if they have used any pesticides in their growing process. I can remember as a child that every summer we would look forward to buying fresh corn from a stand near our home; at the time we lived in a town of about 25,000 people.

2. Look for local food co-ops in your area. You can simply google your county and “food co-op” or ask at farmer’s markets to find out where to sign up for a regular box of fresh foods. The box may contain only fruits and vegetables, or in some co-ops you can even find fresh meats and seafood.

3. Check out delivery companies. For example, Schwan’s LiveSmart program, offers foods that have been minimally processed. They may not be true organic options, but at least you can minimize the amount of pesticides and processing.

4. Look for sources of vegetarian feed eggs.  You might want to visit local farmers in your area to find an egg source. Vegetarian feed eggs are great because they don’t feed grains to their chickens (eliminating gluten issues) and they usually have the added benefit of added Omega 3’s in each egg. I have found these at Costco here in Southern California; I’m not sure if they are selling them nationwide in Costco stores, so check for them!

5. Get to know your local butcher and/or seafood market.  Many small towns and cities have local meat and/or seafood markets which can be a good source of minimally processed foods. Surprisingly, you can often save money at these markets as well.

6. Order a half-cow from a local rancher.  This can seem a bit expensive up front, but if you have a large freezer, you can really save over the long haul on having high-quality, organic meat in your freezer for the next 6 months – year. If this seems overwhelming to you financially, consider sharing the cost with another family as each family can still purchase a large amount of high-quality meat. Most purchases will include the packaging of meat into different cuts as well as ground beef.

7. Remember which items are really critical to buy as organic.  You don’t have to purchase everything organic as many fruits and vegetables are perfectly fine to purchase as non-organic.  Get to know the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists and spend the majority of your money and efforts finding the items that are on the Dirty Dozen list.

Some additional resources for finding places to purchase organic foods include –

Local Harvest (a searchable list of co-ops, farmers markets, etc.)

US Department of Agriculture (offers lists of farmer’s markets around the US)

Farm Fresh to You (an online service that will deliver organic produce to your doorstep)

Greensbury Market (an online service for purchasing organic meats, delivered to your home)

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