Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Art of Being Frugal

My mother taught me the simple art of being frugal growing up.  She always planned her weekly menu for meals and made a shopping list based on these meals.  This was certainly a time saver and helped her to be organized at the end of her day.

Having a meal plan for nightly meals makes sense.  It helps me to avoid the 'lets just go out' because we don't have anything on hand, and I'm too tired to figure something out at that point.  I can always fall back on food that I had planned and stay in for dinner.

Okay.  So that all sounds not fun and too planned out and everything that is not spontaneous that most people like in life.  It doesn't fall into the category of going with what I feel like that day.

I've taken what my mother has taught me about being frugal and planning meals and expanded on this idea.  Here are some things that I have discovered over the past few years:
  • Plan your meals with one of two large meals during the week.  Every night doesn't have to be a big meal.  Those bigger meals will yield left overs that you can have for lunch or use for a newly constructed meal of leftovers.
  • Have breakfast for supper once a week.  It is economical, can be healthy and has lots of options.
  • Look for creative ways to use staple items when planning your meals that use what you have!
I hate to waste food and enjoy the creative nature of looking at what I have in my pantry to make a meal.  This past week, I had a half loaf of french bread, turkey bacon and some apples that needed to be used rather quickly.  So, what to do?

I made a meal of french toast for dinner with a stewed apple compote.  Voila!  Dinner solved.  Economical.  Quick and tasty!  

French toast isn't really a science.  Any recipe will do.  I typically use eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and a little honey to make a batter and cook.  You can use whatever technique you like.  

For my stewed apple compote, I like to core and slice the apples.  I even leave the peels on.  Throw in a few raisins.  Add a little water and whatever spices you like and cook until soft and reduced.  You can opt to thicken or not.  

Look into your panty.  See what is lurking in there and needs using.  Think of ways to group these things into a meal.  Or, you can even search for recipe ides online.  

Having a plan can go a long way and be very helpful during busy weeks!  One more thing that I have discovered recently and am just starting to try is eMeals.  You sign up for an account.  Each week, you receive a menu with recipe instructions and a detailed shopping list.  Select from plans for families or two people.  You can also choose low carb, vegetarian or even low fat options.  How easy is that?  Meals are economical, easy and healthy!