Tag Archives: food

NEW EBOOK – and a cook-along!

Dirt Cheap Nutrition - get the best tips for stretching your dollars and improving your nutrition!

Monday was a huge day for me – I launched my first ebook!

This book is special for me. I had been thinking about it for a long time and finally decided that it wasn’t going to ever be written if I just sat and thought about it. So even though I was super busy with multiple things, I still made it a priority to sit down and write a little each day. I spent my usual veg-out Facebook time reading articles about writing ebooks and publishing options and marketing. Finally, on Monday, I was able to release it to the internet.

It has been SO fun getting texts and pictures from people who have read my book and followed the outline to change their grocery budget. In fact, I have enjoyed it so much that I’m going to document a batch cooking session next week, starting on Thursday. Pictures will be taken and uploaded to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtag #dirtcheapnutrition

Will you join me? I would love to see everything you create for your family!  There are  2.5 things you need to do:

  1. Buy my book! It’s only $2.99!
  2. Begin a sourdough starter (directions in the book) if you don’t have one going already.

2.25 – Leave me a comment that you will be joining me next Thursday!

2.5- Upload your own pictures and use #dirtcheapnutrition

Thank you all for your support of this project. It’s completely overwhelming and I’m so grateful to you all!


{This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see our full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!}

Cheap and Healthy: Lentils

how to cook with lentils, cooking with lentils, lentil recipe ideas, cheap vegan protein

For the next few Mondays I will be sharing some of my favorite healthy basics and a few ways to eat them. Enjoy! 


Lentils are technically a legume, and they are a very common ingredient in middle eastern dishes, mostly curry or stew, or served over rice. High in zinc, iron, and phosphorus, with a solid 26g protein per 100g raw, they are an excellent addition to anyone’s diet, but especially pregnant women and people with anemia.

There are many different colors of lentils. The yellow and red hold together during the cooking process better and are good for stews. The brown tends to turn mushy and is used as a thickener for soups. Personally, I use brown most often and serve it over rice.

Related: Download my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition, for free!

The lentil is particularly appealing because it cooks very quickly, somewhere between 10-45 mintues. However, to maximize the nutrition value it is recommended that you soak lentils for a prolonged period of 8 hours. Sprouting the lentils is another way to get rid of the enzymes that inhibit digestion and release all those minerals and delicious protein.

Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.

My all time favorite recipe is to cook them with wild rice in a mushroom broth with onions and garlic. Back when I was especially strict with my diet, this meal was a staple both for price point and nutrition. Lentils tend to take on the taste of whatever they are cooked with, so they are wonderful used to extend meat in chili or tacos. A local restaurant here in town is known for their lentil burgers. It’s an extremely versatile food and definitely a staple in healthy frugal eating!

Do you eat lentils? What is your favorite recipe? If you leave a recipe in the comments I might just try it and feature it in a future post!



Top 10 St Louis Restaurants that won't break your New Year's Resolutions - including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, and even dessert!I’ve been working on something behind the scenes and now I get to talk about it!

I had the opportunity to work with our local online magazine as a health blogger! My first piece was published today – 10 St. Louis Restaurants That Won’t Break Your New Year’s Resolutions.

I was able to write this piece because of this blog. I am so thankful, once again, to you readers for being here and loving our family through supporting Crunchy Hippie Life. We are so blessed by you.

How to eat organic for FREE

Happy Monday friends!

The biggest argument I hear to healthy eating (that honestly, I’ve given myself) is “it’s too expensive!” So today I wanted to show you how you can actually eat organic food for free.

Yes, free.

When we first got married, I brought my amazon prime account into our marriage. Which was super awesome because not only did we get free shipping on basically anything, but we had access to the Prime movies – yay free entertainment! Right after we got married, Amazon introduced the most awesome thing EVER – Amazon Pantry.

The general idea is you order however much of whatever pantry-ish item you want for a flat shipping fee of $5.99. Oh, and they give you a running total of how big your box is (and they can get pretty big). One time Peter did a one hour phone survey about going to college and earned a $50 amazon gift card, and so we headed right on over to Amazon Pantry and ordered a HUGE order of food and toilet paper. I think we paid $0.28 in total out of pocket.

{Click here to get a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime, and get access to the Amazon Pantry!}

This was so awesome we wanted to take advantage of this goodness again, so I started earning Swagbucks and trading them in for amazon gift cards.

I’ve been diligently earning Swagbucks again recently, so I took a look at the Amazon pantry. They now have TONS of organic options! I saw everything from granola to broth to pasta. Obviously you can’t get your perishables there, but if you can earn Swagbucks, turn them into gift cards, and get all of your nonperishables organic, how much of your grocery budget would that free up to get the rest organic?

So, how do you earn Swagbucks? 

  1. Join for free! {Earn a $3 gift card when you sign up through this link!}
  2. Install the Swagbucks search bar as your main search site. Anytime you search, you have the chance to earn Swagbucks!
  3. Earn 40+ points every day just by adding the swagbucks tv app on your phone and letting it run for an hour or so while you do other things, answer the daily poll, complete the NOSO (just click “skip” the whole time till the end), and enter a swag code, which is usually sent daily.
  4. Refer friends (you earn 10% of all of their earnings for life!)
  5. Use the “shop and earn” feature. This is my favorite! Anytime you order anything online, check Swagbucks first to see if they have a partnership. Chances are they do, so you first log in to your swagbucks account, click “shop and earn,” then click the store you want to go to. This creates a unique code that tracks how much you actually spend, and you earn so many Swagbucks per $1 spent! Right now Amazon is giving 5 SB/$1. Christmas shopping = FREE GIFT CARDS! They also have partnerships with Walmart, Target, Vitacost, and even Groupon and Living Social!

One of my goals for 2016 was originally to pay for all of Christmas just with Swagbucks gift cards. However, now that I see this I’m thinking of all the organic things I can purchase for free that I can use to benefit my family’s health.

Swagbucks are a great way to earn a little extra spending money, especially when on a tight budget. I hope this will encourage you that with a little ingenuity, organic healthy living IS possible!

Ready for more tips to stretch your dollars and still eat healthy? Download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition! 

How to Eat Real Food on a Budget


When I first moved out, my food budget was $27 every two weeks.  This did not include money for milk and eggs purchased from a farmer, but included everything else.  My grocery budget has increased over the past two years, and what’s right for me may not be right for other situations.

I am often asked where I get my food.  When preparing this post, I realized I now do basically all of my shopping online with immediate needs purchased at Whole Foods or the local farmer’s market. Here are a few tips for a successful healthy and budget-friendly shopping trip.

When shopping at a store,  shop with cash.  When shopping online, have a budget.

Whether you choose to pre-load a Visa gift card as your “cash” or you deposit cash into your account when you purchase online, having a budget will help keep impulse spending under control.

Shop with a calculator

so you don’t go over budget.

Eat mostly produce.

I have found that the more produce I eat, the more energy I have and the better I feel, so I aim for 8 servings of vegetables a day and 1-3 servings of fruit (to help limit my sugar intake).  I then add in my proteins for the day, along with plenty of healthy fats (coconut oil, avocado, salmon, and the occasional handful of cashews).  Most of my produce is purchased organic online, but especially during the summer I like to visit the local farmer’s market.  I love supporting local businesses so occasionally I’ll order straight from a farmer.

Stock up on favorites.

This may go without saying, but buy things you know you love and will use.  Experiment occasionally, but do so in small quantities until you know you really love a certain product.  For instance, I got a great deal on a 5 gallon tub of coconut oil.  I know that I will use that 5 gallon tub of coconut oil, so that was a good purchase.  But if I had purchased a 5 gallon tub of pickles because it was a great deal…well, I hate pickles so it wouldn’t be great deal.

Limit processed purchases.

The ingredients I buy are basics that I use to make my food staples (coconut flour/oil, olive oil, raw honey, etc).  I drink water, coffee, tea, kombucha, bone broth, and the occasional mug of hot chocolate or tea.  I make most of my basics, including kombucha and bone broth.

Cycle purchases.

I don’t eat my fridge and pantry empty every week, so I don’t purchase all of these things every week.  This is one huge way I can make my budget work for me.  I generally use about a quart of coconut oil every other week or so.  I could spend $17 on a quart every other week, but that would cut into a lot of the purchases.  I made my big 5 gallon purchase when the price was $11 a quart on sale.  Now I don’t have to buy coconut oil for a long time, and have that savings freed up to spend on other things, like eggs (I eat about 2 dozen a week, on average).

Order online and order in bulk.

I signed up for a local organic produce delivery service (more on that in a later post). This significantly limits my personal impulse spending, and also saves on shipping costs.

I used to be quite the coupon queen, but because I now buy mostly online and make just about everything, I don’t use a lot of coupons anymore.  I do, however, take advantage of sales and specials.

Thrive Market is an online store best described as “Whole Foods with Aldi prices and Amazon convenience.” For every membership sold, Thrive Market donates a membership to a family in need. It’s a great program and it’s how I save hundreds of dollars every year, without sacrificing quality of food! Click here to get 20% off your first three orders! 

Ready for even more tips, including a sample grocery list, menu plan, and cooking guide? Download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!

How do you budget for real food?