Blendtec Recipes: Quit Buying Expensive Processed Foods

One of the biggest lessons I had to learn when I was adjusting to a strict gluten-free diet was how to read labels. Gluten is in everything. Or at least it feels like it some days.

If I can’t check the label, I’m not going to eat it. That may sound extreme, but when your health depends on the ingredients in your food, it’s worth it to be a stickler. Almond Butter Ingredients

I’m pretty savvy with predicting when gluten is going to pop up. Some brands of stock, most canned soups, lots of salad dressings, Bloody Mary mix, and soy sauce are all gluten land mines. But then there are a lot of labels with hidden sources of gluten. The ingredients list won’t say “GLUTEN,” but it will say malt, modified food starch or hydrolyzed protein, or even natural flavor – all potential sources of gluten.

But then I started getting burned by foods that I thought were safe. My favorite hummus changed the recipe to include soy sauce. A new mustard I bought without looking at the label ended up having wheat flour in the ingredients.

I’m serious about my gluten-free diet, but I need to be more serious about making my food from ingredients I know and trust.

Making my own food also means a difference in my wallet. It’s great that more awareness of gluten-free food has led to more products available at the grocery store, but sometimes a “Gluten Free!” label means an extra 20 percent on my grocery bill. Buying things like chickpeas, vegetable stock and olive oil in bulk – or at least full-size bottles – means that I’m not paying a premium for someone else to do the work for me.

Let’s compare some ingredient lists and the overall cost of the food:

Campbell’s Broccoli Cheddar Bisque
$2.98 per 15-ounce serving

Chicken Stock, Broccoli, Cream (Milk), Celery, Vegetable Oil (Corn, Cottonseed, Canola, and/or Soybean), Contains Less than 2% of: Modified Cornstarch, Cheddar Cheese (Dried) (Cheddar Cheese [Milk, Cultures, Salt, Enzymes], Cream, Salt, Sodium Phosphate, Lactic Acid), Salt , Wheat Flour , Onions (Dried), Broccoli (Dried), Cheddar Cheese (Milk , Cultures, Salt , Enzymes), Maltodextrin, Parmesan Cheese (Milk, Cultures, Salt , Enzymes), Soy Protein Concentrate, Yeast Extract, Flavoring, Nonfat Milk, Butter (Dried) (Cream [Milk ], Salt), Garlic (Dried), Buttermilk (Dried), Roasted Garlic (Dried), Spice, Sunflower Lecithin, Annatto Extract for Color, Soy Lecithin.

COMPARED TO:

Blendtec Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
$10 for ingredients for 8 servings/ $1.25 per serving

Broccoli florets, vegetable broth, water, kosher salt, ground black pepper, ground nutmeg, cheddar cheese.

Get the Blendtec Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe here

 

Trader Joe’s Tuscan White Bean Hummus
$5 per 16-ounce container (varies by state)

Great northern white beans, water, tahini (pureed sesame seeds), canola oil, garlic, soy sauce (water, wheat, soybean, salt), lemon juice concentrate, citrus fiber, cultured dextrose (for freshness), olive oil, sun dried tomatoes, salt, phosphoric acid and malic acids, parsley, white pepper, paprika.

COMPARED TO:

Blendtec Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus

$50 for ingredients for 12 16-ounce servings / $4.17 per servings
Chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, garlic, tahini, kosher salt, paprika.

Get the Blendtec Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus Recipe here

 

Kraft Classic Caesar Dressing
$1.98 for 16-ounce bottle

Soybeans Oil, Water, Vinegar, Sugar, Cheese Romano From Cow’s Milk (Milk Part Skim, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Eggs Yolks, Cheese Parmesan (Milk Part Skim, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes), Contains 2% or less of the following: (Salt, Vinegar Red Wine, Garlic Dried, Spices, Phosphoric Acid, Fish Anchovies, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Onions Dried, Molasses, Corn Syrup, Yeast Extract Autolyzed, Soy Flour Defatted, Disodium Guanylate, Disodium Inosinate, Caramel Color, Tamarind, Flavors Natural, Sorbic Acid, Calcium Disodium EDTA).

COMPARED TO:

Blendtec Caesar Dressing
$20 for ingredients for 12 16-ounce servings / $1.66 per servings 4f3e5d63c97bc5cebeceab8f902302b7

Olive oil, water, fresh lemon juice, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, ground black pepper, egg yolk, garlic, grated Parmesan cheese.

Get the Blendtec Caesar Dressing Recipe here

Kraft dressing is a budget friendly item, but it’s not so friendly to folks trying to cut down on their processed foods. Since I already had almost all of the ingredients for the Blendtec Caesar dressing in my pantry, it was easy and inexpensive to make my own dressing. Buying all of the ingredients for the dressing might run you about $20, but you’ll be able to make Caesar dressing for months with one batch of pantry ingredients plus fresh eggs and lemon. That’s what you’ll find as you make more and more of your food at home with the Blendtec. A stocked pantry means fewer emergency trips to the store, and the cost per meal will keep going down.

While I love the convenience of Trader Joe’s, I think I’m going to love using the Blendtec Designer 725 to make my own food more.

Blendtec Designer 725 Replaces a Counter of Kitchen Appliances

The first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, my name is Jennifer, and I have an addiction to kitchen gadgets.
Blendtec_Designer 725_Gun Metal
The Blendtec Designer 725 is indeed another kitchen appliance, but can you give me a pass if I prove to you how it replaces all the other appliances on my counter?

I used to be a pretty bad cook. My repertoire consisted of pasta with jarred sauce and grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup (also canned). My kitchen was complete with a few hand-me-down pots and pans and a spatula.

Then I discovered that I have a severe gluten intolerance and for health reasons I would have to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This was before gluten-free options filled supermarket shelves and every restaurant has a special menu. If I wanted to eat, I was going to have to learn how to cook.

In my excitement to improve my cooking skills, I started to build my new appliance collection lining my kitchen counter. I had to get a new toaster to replace the old gluten-filled one. Then when I started baking for myself, Santa brought me a professional level stand mixer. Next came the food processor, blender, immersion blender, margarita maker, ice cream maker, rice cooker, and toaster oven.

Now, some of these appliances are used very frequently – I keep my stand mixer on the counter to encourage me to bake more. Some of them are even multi-use. My rice cooker has a steamer basket to cook veggies at the same time. But I started to wonder if I really needed five different appliances to puree, mix, combine and blend food.

Even with all of these appliances to perform various tasks, they didn’t always work the way they were supposed to. I tried to puree butternut squash soup in my $30 blender and ended up with hot soup sprayed across the counter. The immersion blender worked a bit better, but I still haven’t gotten the hang of the suction to the bottom of the pot when I turn it on. The margarita machine was just a joke. Thank goodness it was a garage sale find because I would never pay for the watery margaritas it produces.

So how does the Blendtec Designer 725 replace these appliances?

I’ve been trying out some of the most common things I make with various appliances, and I’ve been extremely impressed.

Blender
Blender Compare
The Blendtec is without a doubt an improvement over my $30 blender. I have no clue what power was behind my old one, but I can guarantee it’s less than the 1725 watt Blendtec Designer 725.
I’m also a big fan of the blunt safety blade and one-piece jar. I cut myself a few times on the sharp blades of my old blender when I was trying to take the jar apart to clean it. I’m a stickler for a clean kitchen, so the clean cycle and easy-to-clean touch screen are ideal for me.

I can’t imagine my old blender serving any purpose that the Blendtec Designer 725 couldn’t handle, so the cheapie is going in the donation box.

Immersion blender

I primarily use the immersion blender to puree soups and sometimes to whip up a quick vinaigrette. As I already mentioned, the immersion blender has often been difficult to use and the sound drives my dog crazy. While it doesn’t take up much space in the kitchen, I could ditch it for the sake of streamlining my drawers.
Homemade Broccoli Soup
The broccoli soup I made from the Blendtec recipe book was supposed to be a bit chunky but I was so excited at how the Blendtec heated my soup that I got a little overzealous with adding time. Lucky me, because the broccoli cheddar soup was smooth and velvety – almost whipped. Instead of cooking and heating your ingredients in a stockpot, then using the immersion blender, the Blendtec executes every step of the soup in the blender jar.

Margarita maker

I would be embarrassed to serve the margaritas that my old novelty appliance served. That thing has been gathering dust for months. Since I got the Blendtec, I’ve been making delicious smoothies every morning with frozen fruit and almond milk. I can’t wait for the next time I have friends over so I can impress them with different flavors of frozen cocktails. With the super-easy clean cycle there’s no down time between switching flavors.

Ice Cream Maker

Guys, I’m not even going to lie to you. I have never used the ice cream maker sitting in my cabinet. It’s just one of those appliances that takes a lot of prep work and a lot of time; way more effort than picking up a pint of Häagen Dazs. I’ve been making most of my smoothies for breakfast, but I confess I made one with bananas, peanut butter and chocolate syrup that would be perfect for a dessert treat.

I might have talked myself into kitchen appliance recovery. My stand mixer is still my baby, but I can’t wait to continue testing the Blendtec with all my other recipes for blending, pureeing, crushing and pulverizing.

Here’s what I’m going to try next:

Pumpkin Pleaser

Decadent Chocolate Mousse

Creamy Tomato-Basil Soup

Gluten-Free Flatbread

Nasonex Reviews: Side Effects Are Tolerable for Allergy Relief

Nasonex reviews

Nasonex reviews claim that even though the nasal spray is prescription only, if you can tolerate the side effects, it’s good for relieving allergies.

With the spring season in full swing, those of us who suffer from allergies need all the relief we can find. Over-the-counter allergy relief medicine only goes so far to relieve my most annoying allergy symptoms. To get my seasonal allergies under control when they are at their worst, I need a prescription-strength remedy, not the cheapest knock-off brand I can find.

In my case, nasal allergy sprays are usually my first line of defense when my allergy symptoms start to flare up. From my experience, Nasonex is a good choice, if not the best choice for me. Nasonex reviews on Viewpoints back me up, rating Nasonex 88/100.

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Is Spray Sunscreen Safe?

Is spray sunscreen safe?

After reports of injury while using spray sunscreen, many consumers are concerned about their safety and the safety of heir children while using the product. Are we at risk?

What many people have been asking as summer approaches is an important, and somewhat scary, question: Is spray sunscreen safe? A Massachusetts man was injured after applying Banana Boat sunscreen in a can. Brett Sigworth, suffered severe burns when applying a Banana Boat aerosol spray sunscreen while using a grill. Since, consumers have become concerned about the safety of spray sunscreens.

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Best Sunscreen: Get Your SPF And Save Money With Generic

generic sunscreen

Buying a generic brand sunscreen can save you money. Just because a sunscreen is a store brand doesn’t mean it is any more or less effective, experts conclude. Viewpoints explains the difference.

Walk down the aisle of your local convenience store, and you’ll notice a number of sunscreens, lotions and other products with SPF.  Not only do you have to choose between them, but you need to consider if you want a name brand or generic. While you’d like to save money, everyone wants to feel like their skin is getting protection with the best sunscreen, so this is one area you don’t want to scrimp on. We have the scoop on what the experts think about how to find safe, affordable sun protection.

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Sunscreen: What a Lifeguard Knows

Lifeguards with banner

Perhaps no one spends more time in the direct sun than a lifeguard. So who better to give advice on protecting skin from sunburn? This is must-read advice whether you swim or not! While growing up in Faribault, Minnesota, Megan Trout, pictured second from right, spent summers as a lifeguard.

by Megan Trout, Viewpoints Guest Contributor

Have you ever been burned so badly you’ve questioned your life choices? I have. I was sunbathing with some friends near a river wearing SPF 8. After an afternoon in the sun, the backs of my knees were burned so badly I could barely bend my knees without screaming! Sitting, standing, walking, even laying down hurt so much I cried. I was 15 years old, and I had learned my lesson! As a lifeguard, sun protection is now an essential part of my well-being. While I used to be able to accommodate the healing of a sunburn, with a next day 8-hour guard shift, I now cannot.

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Mythic Paint Review

Mythic Paint

Mythic Paint might be an up and coming eco friendly paint. But does it stand up to this reviewer’s test?

As my eco home remodeling adventure continues, I have moved on to painting various rooms in my house. Paint is one of the main culprits of releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polluting indoor air with health adverse chemicals. After hearing mixed reviews about the performance of low VOC paint, I was a bit hesitant to test Mythic Paint in a large room. I started with the guest bathroom and tested the eggshell enamel paint in celestial blue, and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

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Does Rest Easy Work?

Does Rest Easy work?

Bed Bugs, the biggest fear of every dorm dweller, apartment super, and hotel visitor in America. Have scientists found a way to dispose of these pests?

 

Reestablishing themselves as an infuriating pest in American homes and hotels, bed bugs in recent years have withstood the oppositional efforts of research scientists, public health officials and pest-control professionals. No one quite knows how to get rid of them. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of spray products that promise to do just that. One bed bugs treatment in particular sounded too good to be true. Rest Easy combines all-natural oils (cinnamon, lemongrass, mint and clove) for a spray it claims is both environmentally friendly and deadly effective. But does Rest Easy work as well as it claims?

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California Baby Reformulation Incites Anger

California Baby reformulation

The recent California Baby reformulation has raised questions about the lack of regulation when it comes to cosmetic and personal care products. Especially products marketed for infants.

California Baby recently changed its natural lotion without warning, and customers are crying on Facebook.  Skin care products aren’t regulated, leaving some to wonder why not? This California Baby reformulation incited a lot of anger, raising a lot of questions regarding regulation and what consumers need to do before buying.

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Crib Mattress Basics: What Is a Safe Crib Mattress?

What is a safe crib mattress?

As with any baby product, safety is the No. 1 concern when selecting a crib mattress. If there is any space between the mattress and crib frame your child could get stuck, which increases their risk of physical harm.

Babies get 13,000 – 16,000 hours of sleep in their first 3 years so you should get to know your crib mattress. From birth to age three, your child will sleep an average of 12 – 15 hours a day. Getting enough sleep is a crucial step in healthy development; your child’s crib mattress will get a lot of use. But there are some safety concerns you should be aware of when it comes to crib mattresses. So, what is a safe crib mattress? Here are some things you need to look for in order to find one.

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