Saturday, February 5, 2011

Frugal Kitchen

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.

3.  Granola.
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...)

Next project:
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. 

* Swagucks
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