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Know Your Ingredients, Know Your Costs

Recent Recipes

$6 and 20 Minute Swordfish

$6 and 20 Minute Swordfish

Getting tired of all that delicious homemade $4 and 15 Minute Salmon or Trout? Had your fill of $5 and 25 Minute Lobster Tail lately? Mix it up with some swordfish! $6 and 20 minutes later, you’ll be glad you did!

$0.25 and 15 Minute Stovetop Grilled Corn

$0.25 and 15 Minute Stovetop Grilled Corn

This title must be a typo. Grilled corn in an apartment kitchen? Yep. Sweet, delicious corn that brings the smell of summer right into your own kitchen. And no, you don’t need a grill. All you need is a stove and you’re good to go! Next time you see corn on sale at the grocery store, text your friends, make some $4 Apartment Ribs, $0.90 and 40 Minute Cauliflower Faux-Potato Salad and some $0.25 and 15 Minute Grilled Corn!

$1.50 and 10 Minute Mug Cake

$1.50 and 10 Minute Mug Cake

Today’s the day to have some cake. Why? You deserve it. You’re awesome. How do I know that? You’re reading this post! Also, this “cake” is gluten-free and is only sweetened with fruit (with options for vegan and whole wheat substitutes in the Tips Section!). Kinda hard to call it cake based on the ingredients, but it sure tastes like one! With the knowledge that you’re only $1.50 and 10 minutes away, every day is a day for cake.

Ingredients (1 Serving):

  • 2 TBSP of almond flour
  • 1 TBSP of coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 TBSP raisins
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

Tools:

  • Fork for mixing
  • Microwave
  • Flat-bottomed, cylindrical coffee mug (~3″ tall and ~3″ in diameter)

Instructions:

  1. With the fork, mash the banana into the bottom of the mug until liquidy.
  2. Add egg and vanilla extract and whisk in with the fork until evenly combined.
  3. Mix in flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and raisins until evenly combined. Top with a couple more raisins if desired.
  4. Cook in the microwave uncovered for 1 minute and 45 seconds.
  5. Enjoy!

Total time = 10 Minutes (8 minutes to prep, 2 minutes to cook)

Mug Cake Vertical

Tips:

Ingredients – You can substitute a flax or chia egg to make recipe vegan. Check out my $0.50 and 40 Minute Granola post to see how to make a flax egg!

Ingredients Cont. – You can also substitute the almond and coconut flour for 3 TBSP of whole wheat flour if that’s what you’ve got in your pantry. In my opinion, whole wheat flour makes the recipe taste more like banana bread, while almond and coconut flour makes it taste more like cake. Both great options!

Tools – There are many different types of coffee mugs out there and they all work pretty well. Some are a little too small, others a little too wide, and some are just right! I’ve had my best success with flat bottom mugs that are around 3″ tall with a 3″ diameter. Anywhere around this size and you’re good to go!

Step 4 – While in the microwave, your cake will rise to the top of the mug maybe even rise above the rim. Don’t stop the microwave, just enjoy the view. I’ve never had a cake topple out of the mug.

Also, remember that all microwaves are different so give yourself 3 tries to play around with the timing to find out what works best for you. A great way to check whether your cake is done is to flip over the mug on to a small plate so that you can inspect the bottom. Think about it this way, this is an excuse to make 3 cakes.

Step 5 – My mug cakes don’t always turn out the most Instagram worthy but they always taste delicious! Sometimes they rise unevenly resulting in an unsteady tower when removed from the mug. Good thing aesthetics don’t affect taste, just flip it back into the mug and dive in!

Also, I’m a huge fan of tres leches cake. If you are too, pour a little milk over the top and enjoy!

Cost:

  • 2 TBSP of almond flour ~ $0.25
  • 1 TBSP of coconut flour ~ $0.10
  • 1 egg ~ $0.50
  • 1/2 banana ~ $0.25
  • 1 TBSP raisins ~ $0.25
  • 1 tsp cinnamon – negligible
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract ~ 0.10
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda – negligible

Cost per mug cake ~ $1.50

Conclusion:

Having unhealthy, processed ingredients is not a requirement for dessert! You don’t need to rely on processed sugar and butter to make food irresistible, all you need is a little creativity. So next time you feel a craving for something sweet, think healthy $1.50 and 10 Minute Mug Cake or $0.75 and 50 Minute Chocolate Cake before cookie!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Cup Cake Scoop

$0.75 and 50 Minute Chocolate Cake

$0.75 and 50 Minute Chocolate Cake

A world without chocolate cake is not a world I want to live in. However, it’s no secret that a couple slices of chocolate cake aren’t the definition of healthy eating. Thankfully there’s a healthy way to work in chocolate cake to celebrate special occasions or a successful Tuesday! Especially when this chocolate cake is refined sugar free, gluten-free, and contains no processed ingredients while only taking about 50 minutes to create (cooling time included)! Party on!

$1.25 and 3 Minute Overnight Oats

$1.25 and 3 Minute Overnight Oats

For too long I lived my life under the false impression that oats are bad for you. I associated oats with carbs and carbs with unhealthy. Then I compared this belief to my eating values – unprocessed ingredients with minimal, all-natural sweetener – and saw that it was completely unfounded. Organic rolled oats were not something to be avoided, but to be enjoyed in moderation like all good food! This quick, healthy, affordable, and delicious recipe along with my $0.50 and 5 Minute Oat Breakfast Cake recipe is a product of this change of heart and have transformed breakfast in the Cafe4111 kitchen.

$0.10 and 5 Minute Cold Brew

$0.10 and 5 Minute Cold Brew

Want to know what really grinds my gears? Cold brew coffee prices. It seriously gets me worked up. How can a jug of cold brew cost $10+ at the grocery store, when you can make it yourself in less than 5 minutes of touch time with pre-ground coffee and water? $9+ worth of marketing cost and $0.50 worth of ingredients?? I just don’t get it. To understand my confusion/frustration for yourself, try out my cold brew recipe 1 time, demystify cold brew and never buy that overpriced jug again!

Ingredients (~7 Servings):

  • 1 cup of grocery store brand pre-ground coffee
  • 5 cups of water

Tools:

  • Large bowl or plastic container
  • 1/2 cup measuring cup
  • Coffee filter (I use a Sea to Summit filter because it has a metal filter! You can also use a funnel and paper filters. Either #2 or #4 filters will work!)
  • Large containers for storage

Instructions:

  1. Combined coffee grounds and water in the large plastic container.
  2. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  3. Use the measuring cup to skim the grounds off of the top and discard.
  4. Use the measuring cup to scoop out coffee and pour it through the filter into storage containers.
  5. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks!
  6. The coffee will be strong! Dilute it with roughly equal parts water/ice when serving.

Total time = 5 Minutes (5 minutes to prep, 24 hours to steep)

Cold Brew Milk Pour

Tips:

Step 1 – Stir until all coffee grounds are wet before moving the container to the refrigerator.

Step 3 – Don’t stir the coffee once you remove it from the refrigerator! Gravity has been hard at work overnight to make your job easier! Most of the grounds will settle at the bottom while some will remain at the top! The picture below shows what I mean by “skim the grounds of the top”. No need to be a perfectionist, just get most of them.

Cold Brew Skim

Step 4 – As you near the bottom, tilt the container to one side so that you can scoop out delicious coffee while leaving most of the grounds behind. No worries about accidentally scooping out some grounds, you can quickly clean a metal filter or replace a paper filter as needed.

Cold Brew Grounds 600pix

Below is a picture of the metal filter I use. It’s advertised as perfect for camping but it should say perfect for cold brew!

Cold Brew Filter

Cost:

  • 1 cup of pre-ground coffee ~$0.50
  • 5 cups of water – negligible

Total Cost per batch ~ $0.50

Cost per serving (~7 servings) ~ $0.10

Conclusion:

Coffee is expensive. You may not think so at first but let’s do the math. 1 coffee shop cold brew costs roughly $4 including tip. Let’s say you buy coffee 5 times per week, that’s $20 per week right there. Run the numbers and you’re out about $1000 per year on coffee. Compare that to a week of $0.10 homemade cold brew. Add up the numbers and you get ~$35 PER YEAR on coffee. $35 per year for a glass of cold brew every single day.

Not saying you need make your own coffee every day, but if you’d like to save an extra $500 this year, coffee would be a great place to start.

For more homemade coffee ideas, liking learning to home-roast your own green, organic, fair trade coffee beans and create stovetop espressos, check out my $0.13 and 20 Minute Homeroasted Espresso Recipe!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Cold Brew After Milk

$0.50 and 5 Minute Oat Breakfast Cake

$0.50 and 5 Minute Oat Breakfast Cake

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a huge fan of starting off my day with a delicious breakfast! Thankfully breakfast does not need to be time consuming or expensive! It’s time to insert this $0.50 and 5 Minute Oat Breakfast Cake into your morning routine and make sure that no matter how much time you have in the morning, you always have time for breakfast!

$0.25 and 20 Minute Peanut Butter Cups

$0.25 and 20 Minute Peanut Butter Cups

New Recipe on the blog today! $0.25 and 20 Minute Peanut Butter Cups!

Peanut butter cups were my favorite candy growing up. Every Halloween, they were that candy that I would set aside for last because I knew they would be the best! As I’ve embraced unprocessed foods, I figured that I had eaten my last peanut butter cup. But that was not a world I could live in. Turns out by combining a few of my favorite recipes ($2 and 5 Minute Almond/Peanut Butter and the chocolate topping from $5 and 30 Minute Cardamom Raisin Squares!) they can quickly be created in your own kitchen for a fraction of the cost of those store-bought peanut butter cups I grew up craving! And better yet, they only have 4 ingredients! This healthy dessert is truly worth your time – your inner child will thank you!

$2 and 7 Minute Creamy Scrambled Eggs

$2 and 7 Minute Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Great days start with great breakfasts! And what makes breakfasts great? Simple, affordable, healthy recipes that provide you a feeling of nourishment and accomplishment before you get to work! This is why many of my great days start with this $2 and 7 Minute Creamy Scrambled Eggs recipe. So simple. So affordable. So healthy. Check. Check. Check. Get a headstart on your next great day by giving this recipe a try!

Ingredients (1 Serving):

  • 3 pasture-raised eggs
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk
  • 1 tsp of butter
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt

Tools:

  • Medium bowl
  • 10″ Non-Stick sauté pan
  • Silicon spatula for mixing

Instructions:

  1. Crack the eggs into the medium bowl.
  2. Add the milk and salt and mix with a fork until evenly combined.
  3. Leave the egg mixture on the counter for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Heat the stove top to medium-low (~4 out of 10) and, once it’s had a minute or two to heat up, lightly coat the bottom of the pan with butter.
  5. Once the eggs start to form at the bottom of the pan, begin to stir with the spatula. Continue to stir constantly until the eggs almost reach your desired done-ness (~2-3 minutes). Scrape the sides of the pan to keep any eggs from sticking.
  6. Remove the eggs from pan about 30 seconds before they reach your desired done-ness and allow them to come up to temperature on the plate.
  7. Enjoy with a half of avocado and some home-roasted $0.13 and 20 Minute Espresso!

Total time = 7 Minutes (2 minutes to prep, 5 minutes to cook)

Creamy Eggs and Espresso

Tips:

Step 2 – Once you can see small bubbles at the tops of the mixture, the eggs/milk/salt are sufficiently mixed.

Step 3 – I often do Step 1 & 2 right when I get out of bed. Then I hop in a shower, get dressed, and gel my hair. Turns out it takes me about 10 minutes to do all this! As soon as I’m ready, so are the eggs!

Allowing the eggs to sit gives the salt time to break down some of the proteins in the eggs. Broken down proteins equal softer, creamier eggs!

Step 4 – I usually partial unwrap the stick of butter, coat the bottom of the pan and then wrap it back up. No knife or exact measurement required!

Step 5 – This constant stirring removes any air pockets from the eggs and allows them to cook evenly resulting in dense, creamy eggs! Like these:

Creamy Eggs on White Plate

Cost:

  • 3 pasture-raised eggs ~ $1.50
  • 1/4 cup of whole milk ~ $0.15
  • 1 tsp of butter ~ $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp of kosher salt – negligible

Cost per serving ~ $2

Conclusion:

Got to give credit, where credit is due. This recipe is inspired by Kenji Lopez-Alt’s scrambled egg recipe from his awesome book The Food Lab. If you’re looking to learn more about the “why” behind your favorite dishes, feel like being inspired by more delicious food or check out his scrambled egg recipes, I highly recommend checking it out. While talking about giving credit, there is no such thing as a truly original recipe on this blog or in the world. Everything you see/read is inspired by someone and their version of creativity in the kitchen. For that reason, take this recipe, try it out, make it your own and share it forward. You don’t need to re-invent the wheel. The more people sharing awesome, healthy, un-original recipes with their personal touch, the better off the world will be!

As always, make informed food decisions. Know your ingredients, know your costs!

Creamy Eggs with Avocado

$5 and 15 Minute Scallops

$5 and 15 Minute Scallops

Scallops should not be a treat you only enjoy at a fancy restaurant for $20+ per plate. They’re a treat to be enjoyed in your own kitchen whenever the opportunity arises. And by opportunity, I mean a sale at the fish counter of your local grocery store. It’s time to stop associating “scallops” with “difficult to cook” and start associating them with “an incredible 15-minute option for dinner this weekend!”