The price of food keeps going up. Every time I go shopping, I realize I can afford less and less. We can’t stop eating, so I learned to make things that were getting too expensive to buy.
> Salad dressing #1 – A large bottle of vinaigrette dressing was about $4.25 last time I checked. Daniel gave me a recipe his mom used when he was a kid. I made it, then tweaked it to be even less expensive and more convenient.
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 cloves crushed garlic
Mix in a jar and refrigerate. Simple!
Leave out the lemon juice. Just mix olive oil and soy sauce, adding crushed garlic.
Make your salad. Drizzle olive oil on it, and stir it up. Drizzle soy sauce on it, and mix it up again. Eat. No mixing, make it on the spot, no forethought. Simple and inexpensive! A few teaspoons of olive oil and soy sauce go a long way.
> Salad dressing #2 – When cabbage and carrots were fresh in late summer, we were making Cabbage Salad (recipe forthcoming), grating carrots and slicing thin pieces of cabbage. We poured store bought poppy seed dressing on it, but this was getting expensive. I checked the ingredients on the bottle and googled for similar recipes. Cooks.com has the perfect dressing. It uses ingredients you should have right on hand, too!
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. dry mustard
3 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
2 1/3 cup canola oil
3 tsp. poppy seeds
You can blend this in a blender on slow, but I put it all in a one quart mason jar, shake it and put it in the fridge. It tastes the same as the store bought brand! And it’s way cheaper!
> Yogurt – A quart of organic yogurt is $3.79-4.79, depending on where you shop. We eat 2-3 quarts a week. That adds up to way too much money a month. I found a simple recipe to make yogurt in a crock pot from Stephanie O’Dea. Check the link for the whole recipe including ways to add fruit and sweeteners. Here’s my shortened version:
Take 1/2 gallon of milk, and put it in your crock pot on Low for 2.5 hours. Turn it off for 3 hours. Put 2 cups of the warm milk in a bowl, and add 1/2 cup plain vanilla yogurt as starter. Stir, then put it all back in the crock pot, cover and leave for at least 8 hours. Voila! Yogurt! Save 1/2 cup for your starter for the next batch.
I accidentally left it to sit for 9.5 hours last week, and it was thicker than the 8 hour version. I use old yogurt containers to store it in the fridge. I eat it plain with a little stevia or with granola, nuts, honey and raisins. A half gallon of milk is $3.99, roughly the price of one quart of store bought yogurt, and it makes two quarts! This has been a huge money saver for me. Thanks, Stephanie!
> Barbecue sauce – This is what I’m looking for today. My younger daughter, the picky eater, will eat a chicken breast if it is baked with bbq sauce on it. Store bought is about $4.00 a jar, and most contain high fructose corn syrup. Bad! So I’m on a mission to learn to make my own while she is away on vacation with her auntie. I’ll post this as soon as I find a good one.
There are things I have always done to save money and packaging in the kitchen. I make my own tortillas – very cheap, very organic and very fresh. I also cook beans from scratch. Canned beans are such a rip off! For $2.00 or more, you get about a cup of beans. The rest of the can is water. I buy canned beans for emergencies and last minute meals, and I buy refries. But if I need beans for chili, soup, hummus or falafels, I plan ahead and cook them for an afternoon in the crock pot.
And, needless to say, I grow a lot of my own food. Have you looked at the price of produce lately?! If you don’t have a yard big enough for a garden, you can grow in pots in sunny windows or under lights. Pots can go outside in good weather and come in for winter.
Take a look at your food budget. What can you make that would save you money? Cooking at home is better health-wise, too. It’s not always about money, but as food prices keep going up, I am more motivated to make my own so I don’t have to sacrifice my eating habits.