Saturday, March 20, 2010

On Saving Money and Time

This is a gluten free cake I made, it has nothing to do with the following blog. Doesn't it look yummy though?

The hubster and I eat out about once a month, sometimes less. It seems silly to pay triple the amount for something that we could easily make at home. Not to mention worrying about food allergies, cross contamination, a child with sensory integration problems is no fun in a restaurant, and oh there was that one lovely occasion that I took a big bite of my veggie burger to find it was a beef burger........yuck. Beyond that, since moving here we have found no food that is so superb, or that tickles our taste buds to a degree that we MUST have it. So in short, until a vegetarian restaurant opens in town, or we find the ultimate Thai curry we will be partaking of most of our meals at home.

We stay super busy though, when I'm not at Dr.s appointments, speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, the gym, gymnastics, story time, the park, play group, or church, I am at home. While at home I am cooking, cleaning, crafting with the kids, lesson planning, cooking, and blogging about what I am cooking......sometimes I sleep. Here are a few things I do so that my family is always fed, and also a few tips on making meals special without spending all a lot of dough.

  • I thought it would be fun to make this blog bulleted...I like bulleted blogs, they are quite fun aren't they? I hope you like them too, imagine....mankind finally found a good use for bullets, just another wonder of the interweb.
  • I keep a well stocked pantry, plenty of rice, beans (canned and dried), coconut milk, pasta of all sorts, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sulfite free dried fruits, Spices. There isn't a bean or veggie I have met yet that doesn't taste good with Indian spices on it, if I'm stuck for an idea or I just have to work with what is on hand I will turn it into a curry.
  • I also keep a well stocked freezer, not only with frozen vegetables that I have bought at the store, but also foods that I have made. I always try and keep a few of the kids favorite meals in the freezer like chili or spinach soup. Beans also freeze well. I will often make a large pot of beans when I have time and store them in the freezer for future use. Currently in my freezer I have home made broth, chickpeas, chili, taco filling, spinach soup, home made pop tarts, and cookies.....cookies freeze well too.
  • Meal planning is important!!! I started meal planning in the land before kids and it has really paid off to have it as a habit. I shudder to think how much food we threw out before I started meal planning, produce wouldn't get used, or I wouldn't have to make this that or the other thing....oh it was awful. Now if I know Tuesday afternoon is going to be hectic I know I need to throw something in the crock pot Tuesday morning or declare it left over night. This saves us from making a mad dash to a restaurant because "I don't have time to cook" or even worse if because of poor planning I start thinking about what to make for dinner after everyone is already hungry. Crock pot meals are for busy days, casseroles (because they reheat well) are for days when I know the hubster won't be home in time for dinner, and leftovers or previously frozen meals are planned for the nights when the hubby has the kids all to himself. Produce that will quickly go bad is used early in the week, while squash, carrots and potatoes can be used later.
  • I have plan B meals, a mac and cheese recipe that takes 15 minutes, pita pizzas that can be thrown together in no time, and other meals that I always have on hand.
  • I love me some small appliances. The crock pot, toaster oven, rice cooker and even the waffle iron can cut down on time in the kitchen, and I experiment with them regularly, but most often in the summer when we don't use our oven.
  • We picnic! At the park, in our yard, and even sometimes in our living room. My daughter gets tickled pink at the idea of eating an a blanket on the floor. It makes sandwiches and diced up fruit seem special and fun.
  • The hubster and I sometimes eat a special dinner after the kids are in bed. I might buy one fancy ingredient like truffle oil or an imported cheese, and it is still so much cheaper than eating out.
  • In a word.....lentils. Lentils are cheap, and full of protein. Learn to love them
  • Buy seasonally! Join a co-op, shop farmers markets and oooooh...
  • Grow your own!!!! Anyone can have an herb garden, it's so easy and fresh herbs spruce up any meal. Plus some can be dried, or even frozen for future use. And if you have the space why not a veggie garden? Eating a fresh tomato is a wonderful experience.
  • Lastly....and I'm putting this last because it really doesn't count as "not eating out"....but it's my blog and I'll do what I want. Sometimes we go out just for dessert. We get ice cream, or stop by a bakery, and I'm sure the kids enjoy it just as much (if not more) as if we had eaten a whole meal out.


  1. Almost of these I have learned to do in the last year or so myself. I now can not imagine living any other way. If by chance you make it to San Francisco on your trip I know oodles of wonderful places that are vegetarian,indian and Thai. I get excited just thinking about it. Or we should cook a meal together! I miss you and very excited that you will be in my state in a matter of months!

  2. I would so love to see SF with you! I don't think we will have time though. How would you like to see Disneyland with us instead?? I am excited.


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