Monday, January 26, 2009

Saving Money through Cooking

Lately, we've been saving money with our kitchen and time. We've been making a lot of the things we used to buy prepackaged, saving money and chemicals and packaging! It's a lot healthier, and we are able to create foods with less added fats and preservatives that taste better, too.

Fat "Free" Granola:
I love this granola recipe. It is basic, healthy, and yummy! We like raisins and almonds in it, but you could do any combination of dried fruits and nuts. It keeps well; I have granola that is 3 months old in the cupboard. A final note... bake for only 15 minutes, then stir. It usually only takes 30 minutes total!

Pancake Mix:
I haven't made this mix yet, but plan on doing it soon! It looks nice and yummy. We enjoy blueberry pancakes on weekend mornings, but are too lazy to make them from scratch in the morning. Mix is getting expensive AND they have stopped making the Oat Bran pancake mix we liked!

Whole Wheat Bread:
We are "cheating" and using a bread maker. It is so convenient, however! Our basic recipe is 100% whole wheat, with only 5 ingredients:

1 cup - 2 tbps warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp sea salt
3 cups sifted whole wheat bread flour
1-1/2 tsp yeast

Add into bread machine in the order above (or as recommended by your machine). If you are at a lower altitude than 5,000 feet, you may need to add ALL the water and not leave out the couple tablespoons.

Ciabatta Bread:
We love Ciabatta bread... full of flavor, nice and chewy. It costs a lot at the store, however, so I dug up a bread maker version.

Instead of buying packages of cookies, we've been making bite sized cookies of our own. One of our favorite recipes are these lowfat peanut butter cookies... I quadruple the vanilla and add a teaspoon of cinnamon to them for extra flavor.

Having received a yogurt maker for Christmas a few years ago, we've made our own yogurt. This does save a lot of money, and you can make it in any flavor you want!

Take a 8 quart pan, heat a tbsp or so of oil in the bottom with three kernels of corn. When they pop, add a cup of popcorn. Shake constantly on the burner until it is all popped. (Keep the lid on, obviously). Or, buy a Whirly-Pop...
You can make microwave popcorn with a paper bag and a staple, too... but I've never tried it.


Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

Thanks for the heads up on these. We're not too big on processed foods at the Tiny Bungalow. the granola recipe and website is cool. I'm glad you turned me on to it.

TWB said...

This is a radical idea, might shake up the establishment.

Robj98168 said...

Cool idea this- another helpful thing is to buy items in bulk (rice, flour etc) and repackage them in easier containers- i.e. I bought a 5LB bag of calrose rice, I repackage into large mason jars and since my food sealer has jar attachments for it I vacuumed sealed the rice.

Jennifer said...

Tiny Oak Park~ Glad you like it! It's one of our favorites!

TWB~ Funny how that is, home cooked food and all!

Robj~ You're right! We buy lots of stuff in bulk. I don't have a food sealer... might have to look into that. It sounds useful if it seals mason jars (for dry things)!

Robj98168 said...

I dont remember where I got mine from but here is the one for the Rival Seal A Meal I have a food saver sealer and I will post the one (Lid Sealer) I have when and iff I find it (the url) otherwise check Chile's Blog for it!

Robj98168 said...

Here it is the Tilia Food Saver system about halfway down the page- I have both large and small

sarah said...

We've been doing the same thing - the whole wheat bread recipe in The Joy of Cooking (old edition) doesn't require kneading! Also, we've been making gnocchi of all sorts (tonight: sweet potato). A small bit of potato and flour makes a ton and we eat some fresh & freeze the rest. Also, I had a forehead slapper earlier this year about cookies - a friend said, "I just make a batch of cookie dough, make a few cookies, then freeze the rest of the dough". Duh - now we can make just a couple cookies at a time! If I can keep out of the dough...

Stephanie said...

Yum, yum, yum! We just moved the bread machine down to the basement because Julio said it was taking up too much room, but now that I know I can make ciabatta....

Karen Anne said...

Cookies - just thinking, you turn on the oven just to make a few cookies? I would make a bunch of cookies, and freeze them instead of the dough. A minute or so in the microwave, and your frozen cookie becomes a nice warm cookie.

I keep bread in the freezer, and microwave or toast slices as I need them. As a single person, I was never using bread fast enough to keep it from going stale otherwise.

Jennifer said...

Karen~ No, I usually do what you do, too. I bake 2 or 3 batches at once and freeze them. :)