Thursday, September 11, 2014

Saving On Your Food Budget, Part I

Monday night, I gave a talk about ways to save on food to my local group at Creekside Bible Church. It was  a great way to solidify techniques and ideas I've been using for decades. Wanna know? Part I is here -- and stop by for Part II. It will be out soon.

*How much can you spend…and should you spend it all? I don't think you should. Keep yourself on a budget, and you'll have extra to pay off debts even faster. Over the years, our food budget has ranged from $25-50 weekly, depending on income and availability.

     One thing I've learned over the years -- spend a little more on quality items, and you'll never regret it. At worst, you just use a little less. Examples: real cheese vs. Velveeta, b utter vs. margarine (new studies are saying it's better for you, anyways), Ghirardelli chocolate chips (Hershey's too, in a pinch) vs the generic stuff. 

      Save on the basics, and you can afford to save on luxuries!
Do it yourself...or get your food from the person who does.
    *Grow your own veggies, even if it means growing greens in a windowbox. 
    *Hunt and fish -- and take advantage of the fresh protein. (The Brick is already having fun planning his upcoming hunting trip the end of next month.)
    *Consider small animals or chickens. I've talked plenty about our chicken-raising...and for some years in our old place, we raised rabbits for meat. 
    *Buy your veggies and fruits from a farmer's market -- or even better, from the farmer him/herself.
    *Right now, when garden and orchard produce is cheap, buy a lot -- and preserve it! Peaches, for example, can be washed, put in bags and placed straight in the freezer. (Use them semi-frozen for smoothies, crisps and pie.) Canning isn't difficult...and the sight of a deep red jar of tomatoes or golden-hued jar of peaches that you canned yourself...beautiful. 

BARGAIN RECIPES   (generally serve 4…but can often be stretched to serve more)
Breakfast Burritos:  For each – 1 flour tortilla, mix of refried beans*, choice of meat (cooked sausage, ground meat, bacon), choice of veggies (chopped onion, green pepper, tomato, etc.), cooked chopped or hashbrown potatoes. Add a tablespoon of green chili, salsa or leftover chili, then top with grated cheese – fold, then wrap in foil or store in individual sandwich bags. Freezes well up to 6 months – nuke 1 min. and go!   (Good made in bulk)         
 *canned pinto, black, kidney beans – or cook your own and mash lightly, adding any meat drippings.
Vichyssoise:  Start with 6-8 cups of chicken stock,  then simmer 4 large chopped potatoes, 1-2 sliced leeks – blenderize until smooth.  Serve warm or cold, topped with a spoonful of cream or sour cream.
Porcupine Rice:   1 cup uncooked rice, 1 lb. (or less) ground beef, chicken, turkey or pork, 1 can green beans, 2 tablespoons onion soup mix (or 1 tablespoon soup/1 tablespoon steak sauce). Brown rice and meat together, then add seasonings and beans, and simmer gently for approx. 20 min., until rice is cooked.  
 Options:  substitute or add more veggies (leftovers?), use 1 can mushroom/celery soup, add sour cream.

Helpful Books:  Tightwad Gazette, More-With-Less Cookbook, Cookbook for Poor Poets, Good Cheap Food, any Depression era cookbooks or memory books

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