I have made some of my very best soups on "clean out the fridge day"! Just made one the other night, as a matter of fact. It had onions, garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, butternut squash, kale, spinach, mushrooms, celery, carrots, and chicken. It was delicious! I never make a soup the same way, lol.
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Grocery Budget - Organic/Natural Foods - Page 2post #21 of 303/5/12 at 7:55ampost #22 of 303/5/12 at 10:34ampost #23 of 303/7/12 at 8:32ampost #24 of 303/11/12 at 7:32amThread StarterMamas, you are all AMAZING! I can't thank you enough for all the ideas I love cooking, but I am so tired at night after work that often I sabotage myself with convenience foods. I am trying to do once a month cooking and that seems to help. I will try maing my own yogurt...I buy about six of the large containers a month!
As far as the booze goes, I just need to have cheaper wine...whole foods has their new three buck chuck like trader joes ( we don't have tjs yet)post #25 of 303/13/12 at 5:10pmpost #26 of 303/16/12 at 2:31amI saw that frozen berries for smoothies got mentioned... Not sure where you are OP, but instead of cutting the berries out (frozen storebought organic berries are PRICEY), look in to you-pick options in your area. We LOVE smoothies in our house too... By picking your own berries, you can usually cut the price dramatically. Freeze on cookie sheets and then put into ziplocks in the freezer. Same with jams and jellies. I didn't make nearly as much jam this summer as I usually do because I was veeeery pregnant and feeling far too big to pick berries all day and can all day the next, but we are literally paying for it now. It costs me more than twice as much to get jam at the store vs. Picking/canning my own, and mine is so much tastier.post #27 of 303/25/12 at 3:40pmpost #28 of 303/31/12 at 3:03pmYou can try to make just about everything from scratch. You can make bread in a bread maker. If you want a crustier crust, take the bread out of the bread maker a little before it is done browning. Put it in a 400 degree preheated oven for 5 or 10 minutes, until it is completely done. You can make a lot of your own mixes or just make from scratch things such as pancakes, waffles, scones, piecrust, cakes, puddings , pies and custards. You can make your own yogurt, granola, vanilla, mustard, pickles, jams, syrups. Make iced tea and iced coffee. Make your own bread crumbs and croutons.post #29 of 303/31/12 at 5:54pm
We love the Whole Foods 2.99 Chardonnay. :-) For everyday wine, or bulk wine for a party, or a white sangria or the cabernet for a red sangria. The Whole Foods right near us doesn't have wine, but the one uptown does and it's worth the trip to stock up!
Also, a WF rotisserie chicken is good to have on hand for a quick dinner the first night with rice and salad, then leftovers can be soup (put bones in the crockpot), sandwiches, enchiladas, tacos, etc. My son just loves having cooked chicken around to snack on.
Always pick up the coupons on the way in! I only buy the convenience foods that are on sale and/or with a coupon, or the organic store brand. I can keep it at $100-120 for 3 people with 2 FT workers and not a lot of cooking time that way.post #30 of 303/31/12 at 7:34pm
Try setting aside one day a week where you make all the "convenience" foods for that week. Every Saturday while my girls are visiting their dad I spend a few hours in my kitchen making the snacks for the week. Usually I make these:
LaraBars: http://enlightenedcooking.blogspot.com/2008/02/home-made-lara-bars-energy-bars-part-3.html a double batch for my daughter who needs to gain weight for after her swim lesson
Granola Bars: http://www.anotherlunch.com/2010/05/recipe-chocolate-chip-granola-bites.html quick snacks and school lunches
Bread: http://crunchycatholicmomma.blogspot.com/2011/09/rhythm-of-our-week-monday-baking-day.html One loaf for us for the week and one for my parents who are kind enough to take my youngest to school twice a week so I may meet a volunteer commitment.
some version of these Banana Oatmeal muffins(sometimes with bits of leftover strawberries, sometimes chocolate chips, etc. I switch it up): http://half-bakedbaker.blogspot.com/2009/01/guilt-and-gulten-free-oatmeal-banana.html
Granola(I like the granola bars but the above recipe is way better): http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/06/16/recipe-connection-homemade-granola-and-granola-bars/ Make about 1-2times a month.
Crackers: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2010/02/05/finer-things-friday-homemade-cracker-recipe-at-long-last/ Again, I make a double batch maybe 1-2times a month. They are kinda labor-intensive.
Realistically, I think it takes me maybe 4hours of active work in my kitchen to prepare all the snacks for the upcoming week. I do have other recipes for treats and we do switch it up a bit. I'll make a batch of cookies for after-school snack or whatever but these recipes are the staples in our house. Those are our "convenience foods." And we do things like yogurt and applesauce and whatever in the crockpot so it's 5 minutes of active work puttng it in the pot and 10minutes later on packing it up in jars and washing the crockpot so that's doable on a week night. But I find that taking one day and putting a few hours of work in in my kitchen is the best system for me. It keeps our costs down, it's healthier for my kids, and I feel good about giving them homemade treats that mom made with love.
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