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27 Things I Make Instead of Buy to Save Money

Are you looking for ways to save money? You're not alone! It can be tough to keep up with when you have surprise expenses.  By changing some of our daily habits, my family started to make some of our household items instead of buy them to help use reduce waste, save money, and frankly because it can be more convenient. I added the items on this list bit by bit over the years. Please do not think you have to make everything all at once! Sometimes I don’t have to make more of something because I made a bit too much the first time and we are still going through it (looking at you Must Can All the Jam! bender a few years ago.) Other times, it’s a one and done kind of thing like sewing on a button, and sometimes I buy the item instead of making it (like yogurt) because I’m too busy with other life things to keep up with the supply and demand.   Save this list of money saving ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!  In othe

Shwarma Black Bean Burgers

Sometimes I like to make a meatless meal to keep things interesting. It’s easier on the budget and my waistline after binging on holiday cookie for the last month. I haven’t found a black bean burger recipe that truly satisfies. Most are southwestern style, which is fine, except they usually need some help in the form of a slab of cheddar cheese – which doesn’t agree with me.

I have nothing against the occasional premade meatless burger. However, my little vegetarian niece, Miss M does. She says she doesn’t like to eat real meat so why should she eat fake meat? The kid has a point.

I decided this is the perfect opportunity to create a tasty black bean burger that fills bout our needs. Unfortunately, every burger and meatloaf I make is soupy because it lacks a trans fat free crouton binder.

As a Budget Chef, I could most certainly make my own croutons without all of the nasty stuff I don’t want my family to eat. As a Lazy Chef with real world responsibilities, there isn’t always time to do so.

One of the nicer things about being a Balancing Act Community Blogger is that they like to challenge me to develop recipes with a new to me ingredient like Rothbury Farms croutons. Rothbury Farms Rothbury Farms Organic Seasoned Croutons  croutons are one of the rare brands that are trans fat free, high fructose corn syrup free, hydrogenated oil free, AND made with whole wheat flour.

Let’s see how they taste, shall we?

Spicy Shawarma Black Bean Burgers

Spicy Shawarma Black Bean Burgers with Rothbury Farms Croutons

2 cups cooked dried black beans or 1 16 oz can of drained and rinsed black beans
½ chopped onion
1-2 cloves minced garlic
1 egg
3 tablespoons Shawarma spices

  1. Crush the croutons in a blender, food processor, or with a rolling pin in the Rothbury Farms bag. Guess which one I did? Yep. Rolling pin. OK, I really smacked the bag with the stainless steel measuring cup I pulled out of the cupboard to measure the crushed croutons. Rooting through the lower cabinet for a rolling pin was.too. hard. Do whatever you like that crushes your croutons.

  1. Use a potato masher to mix the black beans, onion, garlic, egg, Shawarma spices, in a large bowl while mashing the beans.
Mash! Mash! Mash!

3. Mix the crushed Rothbury Farms Organic Seasoned Croutons into the bean mixture.

 Optional: Allow the mixture to sit for an hour in the refrigerator to allow the Shawarma spices to marinate for a stronger flavor. I didn’t do this while I was developing the recipe and my burgers tasted great. However, the extra burgers I froze for later, tasted a bit better. Let your taste buds and cooking timeline be your guide.

  1. Roll the mixture into ball and flatten it to make a patty.

Do you know how hard it is to take a clear one handed food photo?

  1. Grill the black bean burgers or fry them in light oil on stove over medium heat.

  1. Chow down!
I wrapped and froze the leftover patties for quick lunches or when I have a vegetarian guest. Cooking the frozen burgers is a little easier than a freshly made burgers.

I buy my shawarma spices premixed at a local international grocery store. Most of those little local shops have better price and selection on spices than my traditional chain grocery store. If you can’t find premixed shawarma spices for sale, use this shawarma spice recipe to make your own.

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Disclaimer: I am a Balancing Act Community Blogger and received samples of Rothbury Farms products to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.


This recipe looks delicious. We have a a hearty beef casserole. Come on over and check it out. We also have some great news today
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Becky McNeer said…
I absolutely love black bean burgers!!! Please link up to Foodie Friday
Unknown said…
your niece is right - there's no need to eat mock meat products. when i was a veggie i came up with a truly satisfying black bean burger recipe. it's not quite as simple as yours (which is nice!) but if you ever wanna stop by and check it out you're welcome to.

black bean burgers are great because they're such a good vehicle for other flavors and they're LOADED with protein. love it!
Becky McNeer said…
Thank you for stopping by Foodie Friday!!! ENjoy the rest of your weekend! Come back next week! Not Your Ordinary Agent
Not Your Ordinary Recipes
Liberty said…
looking up shwarma spices now...
Stephanie said…
I completely agree with the kid. She's right, the only thing worse than meat is fake meat. Black bean, tofu, rice; all of them have made excellent patties to sub for hamburgers.