What is our aim here?
This website is about ideas for feeding yourself and your family during hard times as well as better times. It is about getting the maximum nutrition and satisfaction for the least money. One basic principle: make everything from scratch.
Please forget those boxed or canned meals. They might take you back to your childhood, but that is superficial comfort. These products are not really comforting at a deep level because they are not good nutritional value.
Home-made is best, especially when it comes to soups, pasta dishes, and other home-style foods.
Please don’t pay for packaging and tons of salt; you and your family deserve the real thing.
Another principle is that vegetarian is cheaper and healthier, for ourselves and for the world: most of my recipes are either vegetarian or vegan.
If you would like to add some meat to the recipes, I include some thrifty meat, chicken and fish ideas to some of the recipes to stretch your protein dollar.
To maintain heart health, I do not like to eat fats that are solid at room temperature, so I use non-saturated or mono-saturated oils wherever possible.
I do not use margarine, butter or shortening if it can be avoided. If you have access to extra virgin olive oil, it is a wonderful food, although I know it is expensive.
There are different levels of thrift.
One level is everyday thrift: the practice of long term thrifty cooking habits.
A second level of thrift is belt-tightening thrift, such as the days before payday, or if you are saving money for a particular reason, e.g., an unexpected bill, or to save for holidays.
The real nitty-gritty level of thrift we can call Emergency times, when there really is nothing in the house, and you have no money for food. This level of thrift is the most challenging and requires both planning and imagination. One strategy for this is to develop a shopping list of core foods and an idea list of what you can make from these few grocery items. We will work on this in some of our entries.
I like to check the reduced produce items and see if there is anything worth buying. A lot of the time these items are far past their best, but occasionally there are great bargains. The grocer might have rescued the items from bags where these were the only goods bits left. Or there might be produce items that are still good, but that won’t remain good for more than a day or so. These are your target bargains. We will think creatively about meals using these produce grab bags.
One more word, and that is about working people, especially parents. If you are juggling a job and a family, you might be exhausted by the end of the work week. These are the times when going out to eat, and therefore spending too much, is very tempting. We have to plan ahead for these times, so in the pages of this blog, we tackle how to prepare ahead of Friday Fatigue, and avoid overspending.
Let’s think about what is inexpensive but delicious. Happy dining!