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Let's Give Some Good Shopping Advice
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We all know it is hard to afford buying gluten free items on the internet, or in a health food store. Many of us are on limited or very strict budgets. I think we need to offer some good shopping advice for those of us on limited budgets.

My one piece of advice right now, is the fact that I pretty much only shop the outer area at the grocery store for the most part. I walk almost a complete square shopping for fresh fruits and veggies, meat, milk, eggs, yogurt and margarine. However, I do buy frozen and canned veggies as needed also. I watch all sale ads!

I cannot afford very many advertised "gluten free" items. I mean a bag of 12 cookies cost close to $5.00. The second the words "gluten free" go on something it's like the price has to double or something. I do occasionally treat myself to something like a chocolate cake mix or maybe buy a bread mix or something like that, but that is my treat, I only buy them occasionally.

BamBam ;)

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One thing my boyfriend and I have decided to do is to purchase a 'chest-type' freezer...we figure we can even throw a nice cloth over it and use it as a side-table if need be -

It will come in very handy for buying gluten-free items in larger quantities (thus, less shopping= less time and gas = less costs), and I can buy 'expensive' items that freeze well 'en masse,' too.

It will also be good for making extra servings of gluten-free recipes that I know freeze well, so that I won't need to cook as often, and so that there will always be things available that I like and can eat - such as a delicious black bean vegetarian chili I love that freezes/defrosts perfectly.

"Individual-serving"- sized glass storage dishes are another thing worth purchasing, in my opinion. That way, you can defrost as many, or as few, servings as needed.

Thanks for starting this thread...

I agree that it IS sad to see 'the big companies' over-charging for "gluten-free"...the smaller 'start-ups' need to, of course.

Gina

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The following companies list gluten on the label:

Aunt Nelly's

Balance

Baskin Robbins

Ben & Jerry

Betty Crocker

Blue Bunny

Butterball *lists wheat only

Breyers

Campbells

Cascadian Farms

Celestial Seasonings

ConAgra *lists wheat only

Country Crock

Edy's

General Mills

Good Humor

Green Giant

Haagen Daz

Hellman's

Hershey

Hormel

Hungry Jack

Jiffy

Knorr

Kozy Shack

Kraft

Libby's

Lipton

Martha White

McCormick

Nabisco

Nestle

Old El Paso

Ortega

Pillsbury

Popsicle

Post

Progresso

Russell Stover

Seneca Foods

Smucker

Stokely's

Sunny Delight

T Marzetti

Tyson

Unilever

Wishbone

Yoplait

Zatarain's

Richard compiled this list and posted it at the Delphi Forums board and today, at this board

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I think the best advice is the easiest - buy whole, simple, ingredients, not specially prepared stuff, and cook at home. Also provides an awful lot of flavor. ;-)

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Has anyone looked into www.unitedbuyingclubs.com ? I have joined a group of 7 families with food allergies and organic food preferences. Deliveries are every 4 weeks. We can split cases of food amongst the group, and take advantage of the bulk discount. The web site will help you find an existing group in your area, or information to start your own. The group leader has helped me find the best tasting gluten free foods. I haven't wasted money paying inflated prices at the health food store on food I don't like, just because it's gluten free. It has worked out great for me! I did invest in a large freezer. I make a double batch of everything I can to have a spare meal on hand. I also am pretty picky about fresh fruit, so when it starts to look a little less than pristine, muffins or breads are a breeze to make up and freeze.

I am looking into an organic farm arrangement. Fresh produce, eggs, poultry and beef, and the assurance that it is fresh. We bought 1/4 of a cow. It has saved money by cutting out the grocery store middle-man. The meat is processed when all parts have been sold.

Last fall I helped an older couple do their yearly canning. I learned how to can and they gave me a case of everything we canned. I enjoyed their company more than anything else. Canning your own vegetables is cheap if you don't mind doing the work and have the time.

Laura

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If you do much baking, you are probably better off in the long run to buy whole grains (such as rices) and mill them yourself rather than paying the exhorbitant prices at the grocery store. You can buy large amounts of flours but some of them don't seem to stay as fresh. I mill brown rice, bean, and sometimes amaranth, teff, and millet about once a week and mix up a large batch of flour to keep in the fridge. It is fresh and ready for use as needed.

The recommendations about keeping it simple and cooking from scratch are both good ones. We would never be able to afford extras like cookies or brownies if we had to buy the gluten-free mixes. Dry beans and rices are easy and very inexpensive. We even do potato chips from scratch on those occasions when we eat that kind of stuff. I watch for sales and stock up on those items I know we will eat. For example, one of our local grocery stores just had a "10 for" sale. At 10 for a $1.00, I got a lot of canned stuff. It may take up space, but I only bought the items I know we will eat. It isn't a bargain if it doesn't get eaten.

Using simple meats and veggies, I manage to feed a family of five on around $250 a month. About every three months, I spend an extra hundred dollars on mail order gluten-free items I need for baking. One of the tricks to this is never go to the store hungry. It helps if you go without the kids or the husband, but I can never seem to manage that. I have just learned to say no.

We did a homeschool project once where we had the kids go to the store and shop for a week's worth of groceries. The only caveat was that they could only spend $25.00. They managed, but they also learned a lot in the process.

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I'm not on a real tight budget but I rarely buy specialty gluten-free food. I cook my own meals from primarily fresh ingredients and I rarely eat out. If you must have bread, cookies, cake etc, start experimenting with making your own. Some of the flours that cost an arm and a leg in a health food store are extremely cheap at an international or Asian market.

richard

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I started to make my own bread. And with the breadmaker I have you can make your own jam as well. And when I go for shopping, my weekly menu depends on the special offers in the shop. That was cheapest for me so far.

I will try that website, which Laura posted here. It sounds good.

Hugs, Stef

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Has anyone looked into www.unitedbuyingclubs.com ? I have joined a group of 7 families with food allergies and organic food preferences. Deliveries are every 4 weeks. We can split cases of food amongst the group, and take advantage of the bulk discount. The web site will help you find an existing group in your area, or information to start your own. The group leader has helped me find the best tasting gluten free foods.

Very good point--I have a celiac friend here in NYC and we live within....four blocks (less than 1/4 of a mile) so our parents coordinate when ordering online--same sort of thing, but on a smaller scale.

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It occured to me that you will not find the price list on line. You need the price booklet you are ordering from. Here is an example of the price breakdown.

item #, 12/10oz. packages, product-Amy's whole meal cheese enchilada,

This is the cheese enchilada with black beans and corn on the side.

$3.62 per meal, = your price for the case $43.47 ( This is not a sale price!)

I checked the price at the health food store for this item $6.99

The booklet lists the items that are gluten free with a small g.

There are also monthly sales on items.

This particular item may not be a great deal for your area, but it is a great price for my area.

In the information about starting your own club, it was mentioned that some groups might not give individuals the full discount for their purchases. That seems rude to me, and if you can cover the $750 monthly order, start your own group. You don't have to have meetings. You just have to make sure the money is there to meet the truck.

Laura

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I think all the advice you guys have given is great!!

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Smith,

What about Tacos-

Corn tortillas naturally gluten free- and if you don't buy the already made ones like Old El Paso, you can get like 20 for $1.29 ( in my area). Just moisten some paper towels put the tortillas in, I do up to 4 at a time, and microwave for 20-30 s depending on your microwave. The meat is easy, brown ground meat, if you don't want to use a seasoning mix, but McCormick seems to be gluten-free, season with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, or whatever you like. Top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, black olives, avocado, sour cream, whatever hits your fancy or whatever was on sale.

You can also fry the corn tortillas or bake them in the oven. Frying has a much better texture imo, but baking is healthier. If you fry or bake them flat, spread refried beans of your choice, homemade or canned, any leftover meat ( we use leftover baked chicken, season with whatever seasonings you prefer, spread shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack, again whatever you prefer) bake in oven until cheese is melted. Top with suggestions from above. You can make these there own meal or serve with mexican rice (I am still experimenting so I don't have a decent recipe to share and I haven't found a gluten-free boxed one).

Going south of the border so to speak is an inexpensive gluten-free way to cook imo. I also do enchiladas with corn tortillas. If you have a Goya section in your grocery store you might get some more ideas. (Just be careful most of there spice mixes contain gluten and I have family that has trouble with their canned beans due to preservatives)

Oh and these are pretty fast- I can get the tacos on the table in like 15 minutes. If you buy prefried flat corn tortillas and canned refried beans the chalupas are about the same.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

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Hi celiac3270:

Thanks for all that research on the products that list gluten. Is that the new labeling law that was passed. I live in California and have been waiting to see when it would take effect.

Thanks

Sally

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Hi Smith:

I know what you mean by expensive. I am also on a limited budget. I did find out that the baking mix can be used as coating for meats. I have used it on chicken and pork chops and it was really good. I have had a problem finding the flour in my area. I just thought I'd pass that on. I don't know of a way to make cheaper food, I bought a cookbook but then again the initial purchase of all the ingredents is out of my price range.

If anybody has any ideas that would be wonderful

Sally

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Hi Donna,

Can you tell me more about your grain mill? Is it a regular flour mill, what kind, where did you get it, is it easy to clean (does it need to be cleaned?)?

Thanks!

Merika

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Hi celiac3270:

Thanks for all that research on the products that list gluten. Is that the new labeling law that was passed. I live in California and have been waiting to see when it would take effect.

Thanks

Sally

No, no, that wasn't me :). Richard (lovegrov) compiled this, posted it at Delphi, and I just copied and pasted the list from there.

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Smith-

Like others have said mexican food is relatively inexpensive. I find that ground turkey is less expensive than hamburger and is healthier anyways. With added seasoning I can't tell the difference.

Mission white corn tortillas are about 1.50 for 30 of them I believe. Very cheap. You can even do breakfast burritos with those. Eggs are very inexpensive.

I also cook quite a bit of stir fries. Inexpensive cuts of beef sliced thin, add sauces and veggies. It is quick and easy. Some of the Sunbird sauce packets are gluten free (under a dollar a packet), they are made by the company that makes Williams chili and taco seasoning (both gluten-free also).

Chili is a good easy thing to make. Bush's beans (NOT the chili magic line), williams chili seasoning, ground turkey, some onion and can of tomatoes. I can eat that for a whole week and still have some left to freeze. Make chili fries with the leftovers (ore-ida french fries)

Taco salad is a favorite of mine also. Make the taco meat, toss with lettuce, cheese, tortilla chips and some salad dressing.

I also find that cooking extra and freezing portions in gladware containers is a very great inexpensive way to have a "frozen dinner" for those nights I don't feel like cooking. Or on days I need to take a lunch with me. Pull it out of the freezer and go. Then I don't have to worry about contamination or spending extra money. I label them with the dinner title and date so they are easy to identify. (frozen things all look alike ;) )

-Jessica :rolleyes:

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About the mill...

Mine is a Whisper Mill. I bought it from BreadBeckers. You can access their site at www.breadbeckers.com. They also carry bulk stuff like the rices and beans and such. I just bought a five gallon bucket of brown rice flour for under $30.00. It will last my family of five between 6 and 12 months. If kept clean and dry, bulk grains unmilled can last for years (remember the story in the Bible where they stored extra for seven years then used it for the next seven). You can imagine the amount of flour that could be made with the grains from that size bucket. Grains can also be purchased in smaller pound packages or 1 gallon size buckets so you can try different ones.

I mill my own flours including buckwheat (makes a great pancake when mixed with other flours) and beans. You don't have to clean the mill. Just follow the directions and let it run for an extra few seconds to clear the piping. The receiving bowl you just wash using soap and water. You may also want to invest in one of the bucket openers and a couple of the gamma lids (however many large buckets of grains you purchase) so that your grains keep well and be easy to access. While the initial investment feels large, in the long run you save so much that it is worth every penny...not to mention the value of the nutrition in freshly milled grains. If you have a diabetic or adhd person in your home, be sure to check out the honey, sucanat, and sucant with honey for sweeteners. The sucanat can be used equally instead of brown sugar, the s/honey the same as white sugar. I prefer the sage honey but last year's wild fires wiped out the crop so I am currently using tupelo. DO NOT USE RAW HONEY WITH A BABY.

Potato starch, xanthan gum, larger quantities of yeast, etc. can also be purchased here instead of buying from multiple places so that you can save on shipping and handling/ Be sure to use olive oil to bake with as it helps keep the bread from spoiling so quickly. I use a light olive oil usually, but the EVOO is fine also. This can be purchased by the gallon even locally, but is much cheaper when purchased as part of the order. I watch for it to go on sale if I buy locally.

If there is a homeschool convention close to you where the Beckers will have a stall, you can see everything, ask questions, attend their seminar, and save on s/h.

Other things that can make a quick meal are the dried refried beans. 5 minutes soaking in hot water, add a little cumin, salt, and pepper, and you can fix a quick mexican style meal.

Comparison:

Locally, a bag of brown rice flour is $4.99. It is enough to make one big loaf of bread or two very small ones. It would only take six loaves to make up the cost of one large bucket of grain. If the mill costs $199.00, then it has been paid for with 40 loaves of bread. That is less than one year if you only bake one loaf per week. The time involved each week is less than half an hour to mill and mix all the flours. After that you just put everything in the bread machine and press start.

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I have become the queen of the 30 minute meal. I am disabled and do not have the stamina to make it any longer. The key is planning and having things readily available. When you shop, go ahead and rinse everything. The night before, take the meat out of the freezer and place it into the fridge to begin thawing. I usually do this at the same time I begin tonight's meal.

Start with the item that takes the longest to cook. Get it started, then work your way to the item that requires the least time.

Baking caseroles or stir frying are simple and combine most of the meal in one unit. With a slow cooker, you can put the stuff on in the morning and it will be ready when the family comes in at night. This works well on nights when you have to come in from work and head straight to the ball field or church.

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Thank you all for the suggestions.

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Thank you for the mill info!

Merika

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You are welcome for the mill info. Hope you enjoy milling once you get your own. Don't hesitate to message me if you need further info. One other thing you may want to get is a small spice/coffee mill for the flax seed. You can get one at the local Walmart for very little money. I use a Black and Decker Smartgrind and run a tablespoon of rice through it to clean it after grinding the flax seed.

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I also make my own flour from brown rice, buckwheat, corn, lentils etc.

I have a Whisper Mill, and though it is a considerable expense to buy, yet it soon pays for itself if you consider that a small bag of gluten free flour where I live costs $10. And that won't last long as I do all my own baking. Also I don't have to worry about cross contamination or old flour.

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I recently bought a home mill and am searching for a good source to buy items like soy and buckwheat to grind into flour. A local co-op sells them but told me that both are run on lines that also process spelt. I can't risk the cross-contamination, so I'm looking for other options Help?

If you do much baking, you are probably better off in the long run to buy whole grains (such as rices) and mill them yourself rather than paying the exhorbitant prices at the grocery store. You can buy large amounts of flours but some of them don't seem to stay as fresh. I mill brown rice, bean, and sometimes amaranth, teff, and millet about once a week and mix up a large batch of flour to keep in the fridge. It is fresh and ready for use as needed.

The recommendations about keeping it simple and cooking from scratch are both good ones. We would never be able to afford extras like cookies or brownies if we had to buy the gluten-free mixes. Dry beans and rices are easy and very inexpensive. We even do potato chips from scratch on those occasions when we eat that kind of stuff. I watch for sales and stock up on those items I know we will eat. For example, one of our local grocery stores just had a "10 for" sale. At 10 for a $1.00, I got a lot of canned stuff. It may take up space, but I only bought the items I know we will eat. It isn't a bargain if it doesn't get eaten.

Using simple meats and veggies, I manage to feed a family of five on around $250 a month. About every three months, I spend an extra hundred dollars on mail order gluten-free items I need for baking. One of the tricks to this is never go to the store hungry. It helps if you go without the kids or the husband, but I can never seem to manage that. I have just learned to say no.

We did a homeschool project once where we had the kids go to the store and shop for a week's worth of groceries. The only caveat was that they could only spend $25.00. They managed, but they also learned a lot in the process.

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I am also on a tight budget. I make my own food and treats. I use corn tortillas anywhere I used to have bread, I toast it in my toaster and eat with eggs, for sandwiches, wraps and pizza crust. I buy the 100 pack at Walmart less than $5.00. That lasts me more than 1 month, eating them daily.

I make peanut butter cookies, the old recipe with no flour. I also shop in the Asian section of Walmart and other grocery stores and you can find a lot there. Wraps that you wet and use for empanadas, rice noodles and bean threads are very inexpensive there. We have Hispanic markets here and you can find tapioca and yuca flour there in small mixes that are also cheap. We eat a LOT of rice.

I shop the store ads and our local Walmart will honor any ad from any store. I make a master list of items and take my ads along. They will match all the prices.

Good luck! You have received very good advice!

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