Money Saving Monday–A Crunchy Kitchen Essential!

Readers, I’m probably never going to give you a “What’s in my kitchen!” post, because it will leave you incredibly confused. I live in a household of three adults, one vegan, one vegetarian, and one meat eater. So while some things, like the bunches of kale, or the entire section of my cupboard devoted to beans, will make sense, things like Hamburger Helper, canned ham, and stacks of frozen, ground “beef” will not. I do think, though, it’s important that you know a few items I can’t live without. Since today is Money Saving Monday, this is the perfect day to talk about the one thing I panic over if I can’t find it–unsweetened applesauce.

This stuff is insane, guys! Unsweetened applesauce is more than just a tasty treat to give your kid so she’ll shut up while you try to get the dishes done, it’s an absolute necessity in vegan and low fat baking. Whenever a recipe calls for an egg, you just mix 1/4 cup of applesauce with about 1/2 tsp of baking powder, and voila, you have an egg. In fact, you can replace a good bit of the oil many recipes call for with applesauce and end up with a much lighter, but still moist, baked good. One of my favorite brownie recipes omits all the oil and replaces it with applesauce, and you can’t tell the difference!

Applesauce is a cheap eat, at around $1.80 for a giant jar of it. It keeps in your cabinets for a long time, so when it’s on sale stock up on it for super cheap (I’m a big fan of the buy one, get one sales, myself). It’s good to have one jar opened in the fridge, for immediate use, and one sealed in your cabinet, for when you’re in a bind. All of my cakes and cookies require the stuff, and I think if you’ve baked them, you’ll agree, applesauce does the trick quite nicely!

Watch out for applesauce with added sugar. The sugar is completely unnecessary, as applesauce is naturally very sweet, but companies add it in because it tends to sell better. I promise, though, that you will not know the difference, especially if you are baking with it. At that, if you sprinkle in some cinnamon, your kids probably won’t know the difference either!

Sure, you could mash a banana up and use that as an egg instead, but for $1.80 a jar you get a fake egg that isn’t going to alter the flavor of your baked good AND won’t disintegrate into something unrecognizable on top of your fridge in a few days. Plus, it shuts the little ones up pretty darn fast when they’re begging for sweets.

Is it as good for you as an apple? No. Apples have fiber and more vitamins overall. Whole fruit ALWAYS beats purees and juices. What it is, is a low fat alternative to the oil and eggs you were going to throw into your banana bread, so it’s worth a try. Trust me guys, it’s good stuff.

Happy Monday readers! Yummy recipes are up ahead for the week, but today I want you to think long and hard about how good applesauce is, and then try one of my muffin recipes. It will be your best applesauce experience ever, promise!

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