Stretching Your Food Money

It is hard to budget as prices of basic commodities are increasing almost everyday. Here are some tips on how to stretch your food money. I want to share this to all the moms out there and dads too who do the shopping.

1. Buy foods in season for they are cheaper than out-of-season foods.
2. Make a list of what you will buy before leaving for the grocery or market.
3. Check your supplies while making out your shopping list.
4. If your budget is limited, don’t buy luxury items on impulse.
5. Buy perishable foods only as you need them.
6. Buy food of good quality.
7. It is cheaper to buy basic supplies like rice, sugar, salt, oil and seasonings in large amounts.
8. Compare prices in different market stalls or grocery stores.
9. Buy only as much as the family can eat.
10. U can use evaporated milk instead of fresh milk in some menu.
11. In buying canned or bottled goods, read the labels carefully.
12. You can use other protein-rich foods like tofu, beans or eggs in some dishes instead of meat.
13. To avoid waste, cook just enough food for meal and serve small to medium portions.
14. It is all right to buy in large quantities if the price is less, provided you have space for proper storage.
15. Plan meal for several days at one time.
16. If you can not be home for every meal, carry foods or “baon” with you.
17. Try to minimize waste in food preparation.
18. If you have time and space, grow some vegetables you need in the garden.
19. If you have oven, make your own bread, cookies and cakes.
20. Use margarine instead of butter for it is cheaper and more healthful.
21. If buying vegetables, check the color and buy only what you can use right away.
22. Buy at a convenient time. If you are in a hurry, you will do your shopping randomly, thereby wasting both time and money.

Source: Best Recipes For The Home

Tuna and Mushroom Omelet

1 small can tuna flakes in brine
1 small potato (diced)
1 medium red bell pepper (diced)
60gms. button mushroom (sliced)
3 medium eggs (beaten)
1 medium onion (sliced)
a little oil
salt (optional)

In a pan, saute onion potato, bell pepper, tuna flakes, and mushroom (salt is optional). Cook for 5 minutes then set aside.

In a heated non-stick pan, add a little oil then pour the beaten egg. When egg is almost done, add the cooked ingredients on the half side of the egg.

Flip the egg to form an omelet. Turn the omelet. Serve hot.
This has carbohydrate and protein so it can be a meal itself. Delicious and easy to cook.

Healthy and Hearty Meals

My hubby’s favorite meal now…

Sweet and Sour Tofu

tofu (sliced)

1 small bell pepper (sliced)
1 small pineapple chunks (drained, set aside juice)
1/2 tbsp. banana ketchup
1 tbsp. sugar
a pinch of ground black pepper
a pinch of salt
1 tbsp. corn starch

Fry tofu, cut in cubes then set aside. Mix all the ingredients except for tofu and cornstarch. Bring to boil. Dissolve cornstarch in a little water then add to the mixture. Stir until thick. Pour the mixture on top of tofu.

Vegetable Salad

big tomato (sliced)
small carrot (grated)
pineapple chunks
thousand island dressing (or your favorite salad dressing)

Mix the vegetables together. Pour salad dressing on top.

*low fat, low calories, low sodium but nutritious

What is Gluten?

My husband gave me a cook book 4 years ago. I love reading cook books but I did not pay much attention to this one because the primary ingredients in its main dishes are gluten and tokwa. I didn’t know what gluten is and I only use tokwa in making “Tokwa’t Baboy”. Last month, because of my husband’s needs I looked for the cook book he gave me.

I learned that the complete protein has all the essential amino acids, they are lysine, threonine, trypthopan and methionine. All these amino acids are present in meat. Sad to say that my husband can not eat meat for now so I need to use other foods that have these amino acids, but other foods has imcomplete protein, like for example, rice is deficient in both lysine and threonine, corn in trypthopan and lysine and beans in methionine. In order to have diet that is complete in protein, it is necessary to combine foods so as to have all the essential amino acids. Some good food combination would be macaroni and cheese, rice and beans, cereal and milk, gluten and tokwa.The doctor advised my husband not to eat beans…cereals and milk are good for breakfast…macaroni and cheese are good for breakfast and snack, so I have no choice but to use gluten and tokwa for the main dishes. What is gluten? Gluten is a substance occuring naturally in wheat. When extracted and cooked with appropriate protein rich food like tokwa, it has the consistency of some types of meat and can thus form an excellent substitue for flesh in the diet.

How to make Gluten

To make your own gluten,mix8 cups of gluten flour (white bread flour is the most common souce in the Philippines) with 2 1/2 to 3 cups of water to make stiff dough. Form into a ball and knead well. Let stand underwater for at least 1/2 hour, or overnight if possible. Wash out the starch by kneading with the hand in the water, being careful to keep the dough together. Pour off the starchy water frequently and continue washing until the water is almost clear.The lump of gluten should next be sliced into choplet-size pieces, 1/2 inch thick and 4 or 5 inches square. Cook for 1 hour in salted water. Seasoning maybe added to the water such as onion, soy sauce and a yeast extract. Refrigerate or freeze until needed. 

I made half of the formula yesterday. The first picture above is the finished product. In the second picture it is like cubed meat. I used it today in stir-fried vegetables (third picture). This is good for vegetarians.

Ginisang Ampalaya w/ Tofu

With my husband’s condition, I’m having a hard time thinking of what to cook everyday. Our body needs protein that can be found on meat but the doctor advised him not to eat meat for 2 months. So I found a way to get as much protein from other foods as we would get if we were to eat meat. I thought of using tofu and gluten instead.

After the day we found out that he has a kidney problem, I cooked ginisang ampalaya (bitter gourd) and used tofu and egg as a substitute for pork. I sauteed onion, garlic and tomatoes to a very little corn oil. I add the ampalaya (sliced thinly). When the amplaya is almost cooked, I add the fried tofu (cubed), add a little water then add 1 pc. egg (beaten).

I didn’t use any seasoning because my husband was advised to eliminate salt from all his food. For those who has no kidney ailment, just add a little fish sauce or powdered seasoning. MSG is optional.