Act 278

Make the most of what you roast

I got 3 chickens at the grocery store for $19. I roasted all three today (at the same time). The boys will delight in the wings and drummettes, I’ll carve off the rest – part of it I’ll use in meals this week and the rest of the meat I’ll freeze for pie or pasta recipes. Plus I’ll keep the bones to make stock – which can be used for soup and sauces. A tasty use of time and money.

Act 277

Make your own tortilla chips

If you have flour, cornmeal, eggs, salt, water and oil, you can make your own toritllas and your own tortilla chips. Mexican, or any ethnic food, doesn’t have to come from a box or a bag. Just google what you want to try making and you’ll see that the options are endless. Ole to that!

Act 245

Be saucier

Quite by accident, I think I figured out how restaurant sauciers manage all those pasta sauces.

You see, I wanted to make spaghetti sauce for my kids. So I did. But then I also wanted to make chili. But only my husband eats chili in  my house. And I had beans and roasted corn ready to go. So, I just took some spaghetti sauce, set it aside – so my kids could have that – and my husband could have chili. Simple solution. Make a base sauce and build on it depending on what you’ve meal planned or want to make use of in your fridge.

Act 229

No more brown banana blues

Nothing needs to go to waste. Brown bananas? Don’t despair. Make banana bites. A bit of sugar, flour, an egg, some butter, some mashed up bananas – bake in mini muffin tins – and voila. Banana bites. Add a frozen raspberry or two for colour if you feel the need for some colour.

There’s something about taking bits of nothing and making something that makes you feel good. Embrace it. And while you do, you’re saving money and making good use of a few minutes of your time.

Act 228

Take stock – what’s hiding in your fridge?

How often do we end up wasting food because it was hiding in the back of the fridge and we forgot it was there? On many occasions, I’ve bought items at the grocery store because I forgot I already had some. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.

This week I reorganized the food in the fridge at the cottage. Organized by type (veg, fruit, protein, sauce, dairy, bread) then wrote a list of everything we can eat by meal – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and stuck in on the fridge to eliminate the guess work. This way, we spend less time staring at the open fridge wondering what to eat and more time eating what we’ve already got. Less waste equals more money.

Act 220

Buy seasonal produce

Spent a bit of time at the Byward market in Ottawa this week.

Such beautiful food. And buying local produce in season saves money and makes sense. For $26, I purchased a dozen corn, 4 tomatoes, 4 cucumbers, 4 zuchinni, a bunch of carrots, 2 pints of rasperries, 2 pints of strawberries and the biggest bunch of basil I’ve ever seen.

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If produce is not in season, it’s probably from far away, over priced and not as tasty as it could be. So the question really is, why do we bother with that stuff anyway.

Act 145

Make a Sunday Sundae

It would seem that a sundae was invented to cover ice cream up so it didn’t appear to be ice cream so you could eat it on Sunday (which was prohibited by law).

Now, thank heavens, we can eat ice cream on any day of the week but the price of the indulgence can be prohibitive. A Peanut Buster Parfait at DQ will run you about $6. You can pick up syrup at the store – but it’s prohibitive too. So we make our own.

Pick up a few bananas (still the budget friendliest fruit at the store), some ice cream (watch for sales – seems almost always one brand is on special). Chocolate sauce is 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and some cream melted over hot water. Strawberry sauce is simple to make as well. If you’ve got strawberries and sugar, you’re good to go. Add some sprinkles or just have it in a cone – whatever suits your fancy – and have a Sunday sundae party.

It’s a sweet ending (or beginning) to another week.

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Act 96

If it comes in a box, a jar, a bottle or a freezer pack, you can probably make it at home for cheaper.

Since January 1, I’ve spent less money on groceries by shopping only on the outside of the store aisles and using the little hand held cart.

I’ve also tried to make my own dressing, sauces, soupes and mixes. The money I saved, I used to buy better quality ingredients so I find myself a few months in with a better stocked pantry and better food for less money. Spending wisely sometimes means you can get quality and quantity too.