Thursday, November 13, 2014

In the kitchen

Groceries are probably the biggest money-sucker for most of us, and the area we want to cut our budget most, so that we can spend money elsewhere.  This post includes just a smattering of suggestions to help in that department.

Put it on ice!
Freezable Foods

How many times have you purchased a bundle of cilantro, parsley, or basil at the grocery store, used the 1/4 cup called for in a recipe, and ended up throwing out the rest?  Stop doing that!  You can freeze and/or dry fresh herbs so easily, saving money on dried seasonings later on, and not wasting what you've already purchased!

Drying Herbs: Easier Than You Think
Freezing Herbs (just the leaves by themselves...yes, you can!)
Freeze & Preserve Fresh Herbs in Olive Oil
Pesto Freezing Method


Just like furniture and electronics are available at the lowest prices during difference times of the year, so are groceries.  If you have the space in your home to stock up, buying certain items in bulk when they're at their lowest, and storing them, can save you a lot of money.

Grocery Store Cycles -- When Do Things Go On Sale?

Knowing how much you're spending (or how much you could be saving somewhere else) can also make a big difference in your bottom line as well.  I address this more in-depth in another blog post, which you can find here: Grocery price comparison information.


Many people use a lot of pre-made dry mixes in their home, for baking.  Have you ever thought about making your own versions?  There are so many you can do!  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Mixes, mixes, mixes! (includes brownie, all-purpose, tortilla, pancake/waffle, cornbread, and muffin mixes)
Universal muffin mix
Copycat Recipe -- Homemade Bisquick
Marie Callendar's cornbread copycat
Garlic bread topping
14 Homemade Herb & Spice Blends
Homemade "Cream of" Soup Mix


Other things you can DIY in order to save money in the kitchen:

  • Homemade Microwave Popcorn
  • Bake your own bread.  This can seem really daunting, but it doesn't have to be.  Here is a great tutorial to get you started with baking bread, and understanding different aspects of it. I have a Pinterest board dedicated just to bread.  There are a lot of recipes on there for quick breads, various types of sweet or savory rolls, and more, but there are also several varieties of sandwich-style bread.  This is the recipe that I really like to use.
  • Did you know that you can actually freeze bread dough?  It might sound odd, and it is a little tricky at first, but I've done it successfully several times.  This blog post will walk you through the steps of how to do it.  Basically, after the dough finishes its first rise, you shape it and put it into the loaf pan, wrap it up, and freeze it directly in the pan.  When you want to use it, you need to pull it out of the freezer several hours in advance, because it will need to thaw completely and finish its second rise before you can bake it.  If you want bread with your dinner, you'll need to pull it out of the freezer at breakfast time.  If you want to bake it in the morning, get it out after dinner the night before.  This way, you can make bread/dough once a week (or every two weeks, or whatever) and have hot, freshly baked bread whenever you want!
  • Make your own pizza crust.  This is a pretty straight-forward recipe, which I use and love.  (My only tip on it is to actually weigh the flour, rather than trying to convert to volume.)  This dough also freezes pretty well, but like the bread, needs adequate advance time to thaw completely.
  • DIY smoothie freezer packets can be found here, here, and here.  They're all basically the same, just with different ideas for ingredients.  Really, you can just freeze all the fruits/veggies you want to add, and even the yogurt.  Just be sure to add your liquid directly to the blender when you make the smoothie.

No comments: