I have been without a computer monitor since friday before last. We finally got a monitor Friday, but I had to work this past weekend and so was unable to post anything. So finally it is monday, I have 2 loaves of bread rising and the dishes are somewhat done(can't wash my bread bowl yet) so I am on here catching up. Not much to tell I guess. Last week was grocery gettin week and so I spent a lot of time oranizing my fridge, pantry, and freezer. I tried using up as much stuff as possible so nothing would be wasted and I believe I was successful. I have to tell ya, I have sticker shock everythime I go to the store. Even at Aldi I was rethinking just about every purchase. I still need to go to Sams today, but even that I am having to pare down my list to stay in budget. Pretty soon my tricks won't work as well and I will have to increase my grocery budget again. While at Kroger Thursday I saw a lady with about 8 kroger all natural peanutbutter she had purchased. I said something about she must like peanutbutter or something to that effect, and she said she had heard that peanutbutter and peanuts (and pretty much anything that has peanuts in it) is about to spike due to a bad harvest this past season so she thought she should get some extra. Very prudent I must say. I am thinking I might grab a few extra. I use alot of peanutbutter and I also buy the all natural. Not cause I am a food snob, but I have one child allergic to HFCS and another that is on the autisim spectrum. I want to be careful with what they eat. Can't do it all the time, but I can do it with what is feasible for us. Can I share some money saving tips on groceries? I hate those magazine articles that say they can cut $100 from your grocery bill. I laugh at thier tips: buy generic, don't shop hungry, shop with a list, stuff like that. Those are fine for someone that has never tried to save on their grocery budget ,but what do you do when you have done all you can and still the ends aren't meeting. These are the blackbelt grocery saving tips. These are tips for when you are willing to put the time and energy into saving money. Your abilities and your willingness to put effort towards providing food for your family are free to you. It is what you do when you have nothing left to spend.
MAKE YOUR OWN- Alot of the items we buy at the store we can make ourselves. The resources to learn are abundant and easy to find. It is much more cost effective to buy a 5 lb bag of flour at the grocery store, and a 1lb bag of yeast at a warehouse store (keep it in your fridge or freezer it lasts longer) to make about 6-8 loaves of bread per 5 lb bag of flour as opposed to spending the same amount of money for 1 loaf of bread. The pay off is awesome tasting bread(storebought can't compare) for pennies, strong arms (from kneading), and you know what things are going into your families body. Things like bread I understand are labor intensive and you need to aquire a knack for making bread. If you are nervous about making your own bread, go to a thrift store and aquire a bread machine to start with. I used to use mine for making pizza crust, but when it finally died I just went to making the crust by hand. Breads I make are: sandwich, french, quick breads, dinner rolls(cinnamen, hamburger and hot dog, donuts, etc, ), as well as my pizza crusts. The easiest way to begin making your own breads is to start with something easy like white bread and /or a pizza crust. Here is my recipe for pizza crust:
1 1/3 CUPS WATER SLIGHTLY WARM (ABOUT 105 DEGREES)
1/4 CUP DRY MILK
1/2 TSP SALT
1 TBS SUGAR
2 TBS OLIVE OIL
2 TSP YEAST
4 CUPS FLOUR
You can put everything into a bread machine on the dough setting or you can do it like I do. Take your water and put into a large mixing bowl. Add your dry milk, sugar, oil, and salt. Sprinkle your yeast over the top and let it bubble a second or two. Add about 2 cups of flour and whick it really well, then stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a spoon. Turn onto a floured surface and knead a couple of minutes using just enough flour to keep your dough from being sticky. Pour a little bit of oil back into your mixing bowl. Take you dough and put it back into the bowl turning a few times to make sure you cover the dough well with oil. Let rise in the bowl for about 25 min. It won't rise too much, but punch it down and knead it a little more. Cut into two crusts. Press the crusts into the pizza pans. This will take a bit cause you will press a few minutes and then let it rest a few minutes, then press some more til the pan is covered with the crust. Put your sauce and toppings on and bake at about 425 for about 10 minutes or util the cheese is good and bubbly. This is even more economical if you use your own homemade tomato sauce. I will include mine in the next post.
Other items I make are pancake syrup, choc cyrup, granola, ready to bake biscuits, spaggetti sauce, salsa, wheat thin crackers, doggie treats, english muffins, as well as the normal things most people would make like pancake and biscuit mix, muffins, and white sauce mix (use it in place of cream soups). Aside from the bread which I will say takes a litte more time, but I haven't noticed a problem on my end, these other items take literally seconds to minutes to make and I believe well worth my investment of time and energy. It is because I do these things that I have been able to keep my grocery budget as low as I do and still maintain a pantry; which is another tip I will go into at a later date. This is becomming a long post so I will continue this in my next post and include more recipes for those interested.