I've decided to purchase a weekly organic local produce basket. It's not too expensive but we have been trying to both cut grocery spending and also learn to waste less. I've made a few changes to save some money in the kitchen.
1. Vegetable stock.
This is surprisingly easy and cheap. I've been saving and freezing my veggie scraps - broccoli stems, carrot tails and tops, celery leaves, parsley stems etc. Basically, anything that is edible (ie: not rotten!), clean and yet I would ordinarily toss it. I freeze all these scraps as I go. Once my little scrap baggie is full, I put them in a pot with some onion, garlic and water (enough to cover) and I let it simmer for 45 min. or so. Drain out the veggies and you have veggie stock. Needs some salt and spices if you wish. I then freeze it in muffin tins (each tin is 1/4 cup). Last week I made 6 cups and it cost me one onion. Compare that to the cost of boxed organic veggie broth (approx $4 for 4 cups) and I think I saved some money!
2. Almond Milk.
I've posted this before, so I won't go into detail. I buy my almonds from Bulk Barn. One cup of almonds makes me 5 cups of almond milk. One box of store bought is around $4 and 1 cup of almonds is - well, I'm not sure - but less than $4.
Cereal is expensive. Especially the healthy organic variety that we usually buy. It costs us about $8 a week - and that's not for granola. Granola would be closer to $10-$12. Soooo, I make our own. It is so simple and healthy and both my kids and I LOVE it. I've posted this before too, so I won't go into granola detail. All you need is some oatmeal, honey, oil, and whatever other yummies you want to add - almonds, raisins, shelled pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, cocoa nibs - go nuts! Kids love yogurt with granola and fresh berries for breakfast. YUM.
4. Cook from Scratch!
This is the biggest. Anything in a cardboard box costs more (plus fills you with chemicals....). Most of my meals are pretty simple - soups, stews, various salads, beans etc. We buy HUGE bags of brown rice and have rice and beans at least 2x per week. And, eat your leftovers!! Leftover broccoli = cream of broccoli soup. Leftover brown rice = stovetop coconut rice pudding for breakfast. Leftover (stale-ish) bread or muffins = bread pudding. (and we do have box food sometimes when time is really tight or I'm not as on top of my game as I should be...)
Make my own yogurt! I've been saving up my swagbucks* and I almost have enough to buy a yogurt maker. We eat a LOT of yogurt - 2-3 big containers a week - about $10 worth - and that's not organic. So I figure we can save a lot - even with buying organic milk to make the yogurt.