Making your own breads, granola bars, cookies, and other baked goods not only means you have a more delicious and healthier product, but you are saving money as well. Since it’s my goal to squeeze every penny I can from the grocery budget, I buy base baking supplies in bulk. Let’s do a general price comparison.
I was at our Classical Conversations homeschool group, from 8:40-3:30, including travel time. My family likes to eat at 5 p.m., so I needed a solution. Before I left for our group, from the freezer I took homemade, frozen stuffed red bell peppers. When I got home, I threw the peppers in the oven, made a quick salad. Then I got in the mood to be industrious, so I decided to make stock, since it only takes 30 minutes to cook. Yes, 30 minutes using raw, frozen chicken, and vegetables.
I always feel so guilty throwing vegetable scraps away. I would compost my scraps, but I’m just not there yet. Next year I hope. In the meantime, I’ve found a way to put those vegetable scraps to good use. I have been saving washed carrot peels, celery ends, garlic and onion skins, onion tops, and the like. After I acquired 5 bags of vegetable scraps, and two chicken carcases from roasted chickens we consumed, I tried my first batch. The result was four gallon bags, and a 2 quart container full of stock. That’s alotta stock, and from scraps I would have normally thrown away.
A great way to cut down your grocery bill is to identify the items you use most often, and how to either get it cheaper, or make it yourself. Bread is something most of us use, and I find it rather expensive considering the ingredients. I’ve been making my own bread for years, but my experience has evolved. I love homemade bread so much, that even as a single Hill staffer I would dodge elegant events with free food and drink provided by lobbyists, so that I could get back to my apartment and knead my bread. This did not please my chief-of-staff, but hey, I was a spokesperson, not a policy person, so I didn’t need to be there anyway. Really all I wanted to do is come home, kick off my heals and bake bread. Of course now, I use a bread baking method which does not require kneading, so I’m a step ahead. This is so easy that it’s ridiculous.
Finally, the perfect glass cleaner. I have tried different concoctions, none of them working quite as well as Windex. This recipe is better than Windex, and it’s non-toxic and super-duper cheap. The cornstarch is a curious ingredient, but it prevents streaking. Heat your water in the microwave or stove for a couple of minutes, so the cornstarch will dissolve. I’ve ruined so many spray bottles because my experiments have clogged the spray bottle because my ingredients were not totally dissolved.
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
2 tbsp. corn starch
2 cups very warm water
essential oil, optional
Heat water until very hot, not just warm. Stir in cornstarch, and mix until dissolved. Add the rest of ingredients, stir, and pour in spray bottle. Go clean your mirrors!