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Stretch your food budget tribe - Page 4

post #61 of 109
Oh, I'm not close to a Costco or Trader Joes, I'm looking forward to exploring some farmer's markets this summer, and cooking more things on the grill.

We have a Sam's club membership that we're going to let expire in July, but I'm wondering if we get a freezer if I shoud load up on anything from there. I prefer shopping at the grocery store closest to my house and I'd like to focus on working their sales. I've also discovered Aldi but don't know if it's worth a special trip that much.

ETA: Oh, and I love sushi, but also have no interest in making it at home.... We usually get sushi once or twice a year at a restaurant and its' a real treat.
post #62 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosie_plus_one View Post
How do you freeze your meat? We have a small deep freezer which I love to fill up, but it seems like everything I pull from there has ice all over it. I use ziploc freezer bags, try to squeeze as much air out as possible, etc.

I actually don't mind it that much, but DP complains sometimes about it. I'm just not sure if there's anything else I can do.
I didn't make it far enough in the thread to know if someonee else answered this so apologies is this is a duplicate. We bought a vacum sealer (from Target/walmart, etc.) and we use it constantly. It really keeps food from the dreaded freezer burn that used to plague us. I use it for seafood, meat, veggies,everything! I do not microwave in it but allow food to thaw in the fridge or sink. It has saved us tons in wasted dollars from freezer burned food!
post #63 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by timneh_mom View Post
So, I try to make most things we would want to eat at home, and save special things, like sushi (don't know where to get sushi grade fish, and could never eat it all even if I did) for going out.
Imitation crab meat (really pollock fish) and smoked salmon make good substitutions for sushi grade fish and taste really really good. Plus, they are probably much cheaper than sushi grade fish and you can buy as much as you will use.

I love sushi, but it is way too expensive to buy, so I have to get my fix from somewhere, lol.

As far as good recipes, Everyday Food magazine is very good. Simple ingredients, all their recipes taste really, really good. I pick up an issue whenever their focus is on something we eat. For example, one issue was devoted to light cooking, another to just chicken, another to sweets, etc. It's the only cooking magazine that's worth it, imo. Recipezaar also has good, ethnic recipes.

I would love to bake all our needs and meal plan. I just don't know where to start. I feel really drained and tired for a long time. I need baby steps, that's all. Anyone have any baby steps they used to meal plan & make everything from scratch?


Ami
post #64 of 109
I don't know about baby steps, but I started meal planning and am making 90% of what I make from scratch. I just started by doing an inventory of what we have and menu plan accordingly. Tonight we had salmon, mango-avocado salsa, curry apricot couscous and salad w/ homemade dressing. I think the biggest hurdle of the menu planning is knowing what you have, and what you need. I did go shopping today, I *knew* it was gonna be a biggie week, I had some large ticket items that had to be purchased, but I also got many things to pull us through the next few weeks, so it all balances out IMO.

I do use some bottled marinara sauces, and some canned goods, but I just can't quite make everything from scratch, I'm not going to make our sandwich bread, DH is the one who eats sandwiches and he likes a certain type of bread. I will make all our cookies and baked goods like that. We now make cookies for DH's lunch every Sunday. I do our plan on Sun. too, I talk it out with DH and we figure out what sounds good, what needs to be used and then put it on paper and on the dry erase board on the fridge. We are loving it, and it is saving money because of the shear amount of food that is NOT being wasted, I am truly amazed.
post #65 of 109
Hey JTA Mom, check out this thread from the Meal Planning Forum:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=464552

Read especially post #4! courtenay_e has a very thorough wonderful tutorial on how she does it and I found it tremendously helpful!

HTH!
post #66 of 109
I'd love to join this thread. In fact, I'm not sure how I missed it! I could really use some stretching of the food bill!
post #67 of 109
subbing!
post #68 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyLamb View Post
I have a question for those who bake their own bread:

how do you slice it?

I always try to bake my own bread for sandwiches, but I always end up frustrated: I always get slices that are too thick to be useful for sandwiches or toast. any suggestions?
I've found that it really depends on the texture/structure. I finally found a great recipe for an oatmeal bread that cuts nicely - thin enough for sandwiches. Now I'm playing with it to add more ww flour in, since the original recipe calls for white bread flour.
post #69 of 109
:

Nothing to add yet, just wanted to sub!
post #70 of 109
Boy, what great advice! I am trying to balance eating organic and locally with eating cheap and there is so much help here. I'll post back soon after I see how I do!
post #71 of 109
I've been having a lot of success lately cleaning out the pantry and freezer and making meals out of what we already have. Seems obvious, but it's been really working for us. I only spent $35 on groceries this week doing that.
post #72 of 109
For those suggesting vegetarian meals instead of ones with meat, do you find that really works? I find when I try to bulk up the meal with enough veggies that it makes DH full, it is not any cheaper! Either that or I have to add another side, again making the price go up. Am I the only one with that problem? Maybe I'm doing something wrong!
post #73 of 109
Honestly, for vegetarian meals I always think more along the lines of beans, rice and TVP. Making an entire meal w/ lots of fresh produce will be expensive.
post #74 of 109
Oh we can't eat soy, maybe that makes a difference. Also, if it is something like rice and beans or veg quesadillas, etc. he will eat so much of it to "fill up" that then there is no leftovers for lunch the next day (which there usually are) and so I'll have to make something else. I guess I'm saying if it doesn't have meat we have to have a lot more of what it still seems to cost about the same as say using ground beef or chicken when it's on sale to fill him up. We still do have veggie meals, as I think its healthier not to have meat at every meal, but I just don't find it cheaper. But I could be wrong, or maybe it's just my DH!
post #75 of 109
I have not read this whole thread but will work my way through it as time permits. I really would like some help with a few things and have some ideas to offer too.

Today we received our weekly grocery ads and one of them says that if we buy a $300 gift card for their store we get 10% additional (an extra $30) free as a bonus on the card. This same store also offers double coupons and this week they sent me a coupon for $5 off an order of $75 or more. This is not a store that I frequent, but they do have weekly items (loss leaders) that are great deals and with double couponing some items will be great buys. I am thinking of buying the card and then seeing how far I can stretch that $330. I won't do the majority of our shopping there but will pick up only items that are great deals and then do the remainder of my shopping at one or two other stores. Does anyone see any drawbacks to this or have any advice on making the gift card stretch?

Also, we were gifted a rice cooker over the weekend and I am planning to try to steam rice and various other items. What foods would you recommend steaming in here? I know I'll do vegetables but I think someone had said here last summer that they steamed fish? maybe other items? I'd love recommendations! One reason they recommended using it was that it didn't heat up the kitchen in the summer time. I think that's marvelous and I'd love to have some recipes perfected by then.

Where can I buy TVP??

Thanks all!
I'll post helps to others as I read through the thread! : )
post #76 of 109
[QUOTE=GenB;11144861(from Target/walmart, etc.) and we use it constantly. It really keeps food from the dreaded freezer burn that used to plague us. ![/QUOTE]

This was actually mentioned in the latest Consumer Reports mag. They found that the handi -vac and the food saver both do a good job of preventing freezer burn.
post #77 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by JTA Mom View Post

As far as good recipes, Everyday Food magazine is very good. Simple ingredients, all their recipes taste really, really good. I pick up an issue whenever their focus is on something we eat. For example, one issue was devoted to light cooking, another to just chicken, another to sweets, etc. It's the only cooking magazine that's worth it, imo. Recipezaar also has good, ethnic recipes.
ITA about Everyday Food! I just started subscribing to it and we have LOVED the recipes! Simple recipes, generally short prep times, and delicious food. I also love the pictures, I'm visual and it really helps to see the recipe.
post #78 of 109
These are the methods to my madness:

-use less meat (stretch or replace with beans, avoid meat-centric meals) and dairy (the other half of my family is lactose intolerant anyway)
-beg, borrow, and garden, and freeze the results (lately the abundant freebies have been rhubarb and asparagus)
-base my meal plan on what's on hand and what's on sale
-do not buy breakfast cereal, except oatmeal (in bulk, for eating as oatmeal or homemade granola)
-bake treats such as homemade bread, desserts that use free fresh or frozen ingredients (rhubarb, squash, apples), etc. instead of chocolate chip cookies and that type of thing
-rarely eat out: stave off the temptation by making good homemade pizza occasionally and having pre-homemade frozen things on hand for when I don't feel like cooking (meatballs, biscuits)
-very few premade snack foods and no pop
-bring our own lunch along to everything!
post #79 of 109
Subbing

I have a new and exotic recipe addiction Even though I love cooking from home and from scratch I always want to try something new, which means I have to buy exotic ingredients!
post #80 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by threekstrio View Post
Where can I buy TVP??
i find it in the bulk section at whole foods, and in a bob's red mill package at albertsons and kroger stores (smiths). i think there is also a food storage place online you can get it from.

i'll try to find it for you..

ETA: here is a website that sells it: http://www.frontiersurvival.net/cat-...s--soytvp.html
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