Tag: frugal recipes

My domestic day

So I spent all day baking instead of painting I like I planned.  It was nice and cool and I needed to make bread, and if I am going to make bread and have the oven on anyway then I may as well go ahead and bake as much other as I can think of.  The kids and hubby got 10 dozen cookies, a cake, bread, and 2 loaves of quick bread, not to mention a crock pot of beans and some confetti rice* for dinner out of it so they are happy.

I got a self portrait doodle out of it so I am happy.  (As I mentioned to Jonatha–hubby suggested that I looked like a 1950’s housewife in one of those awful ads: “Use our wonderful baby soap, with full lye” or Eat our wonderful health food, now with more Lard.”–I think I look more like a gypsy or some weird bohemian chick, especially since my hair is done in multiple braids, not cornrows but close enough.)

In the meantime my large house painting is laid out and ready for me to start on, I have a small but full page  doodle in the works, the bills are paid, made plans with mom to drive down to the Trader Joes 45 min away on Wednesday, the laundry is sorted, the kids folded and put away the 4 baskets of laundry that have been  soaking up the stink in the basement, and Issac and I fixed the crack in the tub so now we can take showers again (the lack of a non-leaky tub is the very reason why my hair has spent the last week up in mini braids, well that an how easy to care for and cool they are,) AND I managed to stay home meaning I didn’t use gas.  It has been a productive day.

*We call it confetti rice though I believe it is different than what most people think of when you say confetti rice.  I am all about quick easy meals–cereal and fruit is perfectly acceptable in our household.  My confetti rice is quick and easy and everyone LOVES it, and and I love it because it is cheap:

1 can tuna with olive oil (you can use the broth version, I don’t but you can.  Plus, if you don’t do tuna you can leave it out or use real honest to goodness meat, or if you don’t buy meat because it is too expensive but want some protein in their you can throw in some TVP which I do occasionally though hubby won’t eat it if I do.):))

2 cups leftover rice (in this case it was aborio, but whatever you have)

2 cups mixed soup veggies, frozen (you can use whatever frozen or canned veggies you all like, my kids like the little soup ones and I HATE canned veggies unless they are green beans)

garlic and onion powder and salt to taste (I like lots of onion and garlic powder and a little bit of salt)

Fry all of it together until warm.  Do not, I repeat, do not cook this until the veggies all turn brown.  Ick.  The kids won’t eat it, and that is just gross.  No, you have to just get it warmed up so everything is bright and colorful–kids LIKE colorful food whiich is goo dbecause it is MUCH healthier when the veggies have their color.

Give the picky eater a small sample and insist she come to the table and eat the sample up before going back to her game.  Picky eater will finally taste it then ask for seconds.  Eat it up while still hot.  The end.

Frugal Cookin’ Carnival

Update: I guess I should mention that our meals are mostly vegetarian. I do buy my husband lots of cheese and pepperoni but other than cheese, eggs, honey, and yogurt we don’t buy much in the way of animal products. It is just plain too expensive, plus I HATE cooking meat. Also my husband and I and one of the kids have a severe allergy to poultry and all of us can only eat hormone/antibiotic free–so unless someone gets us a deer we go without.

I don’t pre-plan meals, I make up a slew of things on Sunday and we all eat what we want of it when we want–especially since each has some things they can’t or won’t eat. That said they eat healthy foods because we don’t have junk in the house and they have seldom had junk food in the first place. So, I adapted this slightly to suit our family-instead of divided up into individual meals it is divided into parts, just like the list of foods the kids has of what they can have for each meal. Also I buy everything in bulk which makes figuring out individual things a bit iffy–for instance I buy organic oatmeal and flour in 25# bags and use organic dry milk for yogurt, organic noodles in 10# bags, and buy yeast in 5# bags–almost all of it is organic due to our eldest’s food issues. The following foods are what the kids and I will eat over a week (my husband eats when he is hungry–usually cheese and pretzels and pepperoni or calzones if I make them) , each Sunday I make some new bulk foods (last week it was calzones, cookies, muffins, and bread, this week it is pot pie, granola, granola bars, bread, and soup. and lots of yogurt and yogurt cheese–Regardless of how they mix and match things each meal comes in at about $1 a person, usually closer to $.60 a meal.) Some of the recipes I have already posted here or at my previous site, Gracedbychrist.com.

Breakfasts and snacks:

  • Homemade granola with honey and flax seed— 1 cup –$.15
  • homemade plain yogurt (the kids add jam sometimes)–1 cup $.16
  • eggs — 3 $.50
  • homemade bread –2 slices (total loaf is $.50 to make so I am estimating the two slices of bread would be $.10)
  • homemade jam (I like the recipes linked here.)–1 T on this I am really not sure since I used what I had to make it–maybe $.10 since it used raw sugar and bought berries?
  • soy milk (bought at Sam’s Club)–1 cup $.29
  • homemade granola bars (see recipe below)–2 bars–$.34
  • oatmeal–1/2 cup $.09 plus 1/2 cup soy milk $.15


Lunches and Dinners:

  • noodles with margarine or cheese–1 cup plus 2 slice cheese $.15
  • noodles with veggies and sauce (I use Bragg’s, with some onion powder and garlic for flavor and whatever veggies I have on hand or I cook noodles in reheated homemade veggie soup which is essentially the same thing)–1 cup $.20
  • salad with nuts and cheese–1 cup plus 1/4 c nuts and 1 slice cheese $.80 (this will be cheaper soon as we have lettuce coming up–this is my normal meal most days.)
  • fruit salad (mango, banana, grapes, pears, plums) with nuts–1 cup $.70
  • mini veggie pot pies–2 muffin tins worth $.10
  • homemade vegetable soup (recipe below)–2 cups $.08
  • peanut butter with homemade jelly sandwiches –1 sandwich $.60
  • eggs– 3 $.50
  • frozen veggies with sharp cheddar cheese–1 cup $.60
  • mini cheese calzones (pictured below: all they are is some bread dough cut in a square with filling then fold up the sides to meet in the middle and bake)–2 for $.30

Recipes below the pictures.

Homemade Yogurt and Yogurt Cheese

To make the yogurt bring milk to almost a boil to kill bacteria or use warm water to reconstitute powdered milk, allow to cool, combine about1/2c yogurt to 1/2 gallon milk–allow to sit covered on top of stove in glass container for 6-8 hours. You can then make yogurt cream cheese by straining it in cheese cloth.

Vegetable Soup

We just fill a pot with water and throw in all the veggies we have available–including but not limited to:

potatoes, carrots, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas, onion, pepper, plus kidney beans–occasionally I throw in texturized vegetable protein but not usually. To this I add garlic powder, onion powder, and Bragg’s Liquid Amino to taste. I cook it until all the veggies are softened but not squishy. I usually freeze half of it and put the other half to be cooked with noodles for a casserole type dish or as filling in pot pies.

For the pot pies I strain out most of the broth and use my grandmother’s pie crust recipe for the crust. I use muffin tins to form the potpies, bake them until just before they turn golden then freeze them in a container. I also make a few large pot pies to freeze in individual containers for quick takeout meals.

Homemade Granola Bars

Keep in mind this is to taste–everyone has different things they like in granola bars, I like mine slightly chewy with lots of nuts and raisins.

Combine equal parts granola +whatever dry ingredients you like with liquid sweetener and nut butter, For example I use almonds, raisins, peanuts, carob chips with granola and mix them with an equal amount wet ingredients: peanut butter, honey, and maple syrup. If it is too sticky add more dry ingredients. Mix well then flatten into a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper. Bake at a low temperature for several hours (I usually keep it at 200 degrees or so for a few hours then I cut them and refrigerate them in the pan.) This is not an exact science and some come out stickier than others but the kids and I like variety. 🙂 They are not quite equal to bought granola bars but the price makes it well worth it–especially since no matter how much I make the kids will eat them all before they go bad.

WFMW: Leftover Cranberries

I meant to share this a while back, you know when it would be more useful, but for some reason it never happened.

After the holidays I snatch up all the cranberries I can find on sale and stick them in my deep freeze.  No we aren’t fans of homemade cranberry sauce or cranberry bread or muffins or whatever.  We are fans of cranberry juice and with 5 people in the house who don’t believe in juice glasses and several members who can’t have preservatives, corn syrup, or dyes–well the preservative free  plain old cranberry juice with no extra sweeteners is EXPENSIVE, plus you still have to sweeten it with stuff they can use (usually honey).

So, instead of spending $5 for a bottle of unsweetened cranberry juice I buy up cranberries and make my own.  

Before you panic and run the other direction–it is easy.  Really. 

First, fill a large soup pot up about 3/4 of the way with water.  Set it to boil.

Next, rinse two bags of cranberries then  pour them in (you don’t want to use a small pot because it will overflow and that is messy.)

Cover and once it is boiling, turn down the heat and let simmer until all the cranberries pop open. (kind of like popcorn only less dramatic).

Add whatever sweetener you like (my pot holds about 2 gallons and I add about a cup of honey or maple syrup at this point–we have also used Splenda in the past, this works pretty well too.)  You can add more sweetener later to taste.

Once all the berries have popped and the sweetener is combined with the liquid, grab a pitcher, a sieve, and a ladle.   Put the sieve in the pitcher and ladle the cranberries plus juice into the sieve, using the ladle to squish the berries into the sieve.  (If you don’t like seeds you will want to use some cheese cloth in the sieve as well.)

I then pour the contents of the pitcher into glass jars (jelly jars, honey jars, you name it–the kids LOVE to drink the juice right out of these and they work as well as bottled juices when you are on the go.)   These get stored in the back of the fridge until they are gone (it only takes a few days around here.)  They aren’t officially canned but I have found that usually they seal quite tight due to the heat of the juice.

When I can’t get cranberries I buy concentrated grape juice at the health food store (it comes in glass bottles with plastic lids. )  I make it up similarly, without the cooking, and store it the same way.   The bottles make several gallons and the juice is much better than the frozen concentrate from the grocery store, plus I can adapt the sweetener to suit and often add a bit of magnesium powder (from the health food store) to give it a bit of a fizz.