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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

For Your Information

Please watch this area for important information like updates, food recalls, polls, contests, coupons, and freebies.
  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
  • [February 1, 2016] - An interesting report on why you should always choose organic tea verses non-organic: Toxic Tea (pdf format)
  • Sticky Post - Warning: 4ever Recap reusable canning lids. The reports are growing daily of these lids losing their seal during storage. Some have lost their entire season's worth of canning to these seal failures!

Popular Posts

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Friday Night Fish Fry

As the holiday season grows closer there are more and more community food events. Some of these events are free for those in need. Others are low cost as a way of attracting support from the community to raise funds to help those in need. Looking through the upcoming local community food events there are a few food events. As the holiday season proceeds more of these events will be scheduled. We try to support as many of these events as possible.

Friday Night Fish Fry

Last night we enjoyed an all you can eat perch and pickerel fish fry. Seriously you can't go wrong with this kind of event! The perch was lightly coated then either pan or deep fried. Sides included a creamy coleslaw, French fries, a vegetable tray with dip, a cheese tray and pickles. Yes those are baby carrots :( not the best choice (see my last FK101 article) but I figured 2 would be ok. There wasn't a lot of fresh vegetable choices. The entire meal was quite lovely. We enjoyed a lot of fish! It was well prepared and well cooked, nice and moist. We had the opportunity to socialize while supporting a worthwhile cause.

I will make more entries on community food events as we attend them over the next month. In the meantime if you have the opportunity to attend one, you will not be disappointed. The volunteers are very, very friends and the food is quite good. They may have door prizes or sell tickets for draws on prizes. It will give you a chance to connect with community in a very enjoyable way.


Friday, November 28, 2008

Pulled Pork Dinner

Last Saturday I did something rather rare. I actually went grocery shopping by myself. The only reason I did so was my husband did not get home until a little after 5 am and I needed fresh produce because the kids with oldest grandbaby were coming. I figured the trip should take me an hour with the focus on fruits and vegetables (aka shopping the outside). I decided to go to the closest No Frills to us some 12 km away. Shopping the outside of this store was a real treat! They had 50 lb bags of potatoes on for $3.99. Yes you heard that right, 50 lb of potatoes for $3.99. I asked the stockboy if he could put them under the cart for me. Then along the meat aisle between the outer meat counter and the inner aisles they had bunkers of meats at excellent prices. Anytime I can pick up pork for $1.50 or less per lb then I'm going to. The had boneless pork ribs on for $1.49/lb so I picked up one for $5 and I picked up to pork loins for the same price per lb coming in at just over $20 for the two.

I don't know the reason but pork has been at rock bottom prices this year. This is the time to stock up while the prices are low. I do know that many of the pig farmers in this area are calling it quits which is a real shame. I'll go into this issue further in a later Frugal Kitchens 101.

Pulled Pork Dinner

I used one of the pork loins to make pulled pork   but did not can it. For this batch I used Uncle Sam's Albuquerque Style BBQ Sauce bought from the last ribfest then cooked the pork long and slow until the meat fell apart. The end result was enough to feed 4 adults and 1 child for dinner, sandwiches the next day and enough in the freezer for a meal for 2 adults. I served the pulled pork with mashed potatoes (method follows) and niblet corn.

Easy Mashed Potatoes
Wash the desired amount of potatoes. Do not peel. Cut into large cubes. Steam until tender. [Trust me on this one mashed potatoes made using steamed potatoes are superiour to boiled.] Place the potatoes in the bowl of a KitchenAid® stand mixer. Add about 1 c sour cream or plain low fat yogurt, 4 oz cream cheese, about 1 tbsp butter and begin mixing on setting 2. Gradually mix in enough milk or chicken stock so the potatoes are creamy. [This should take about 2 minutes or less total time; steaming the potatoes will take about 10 minutes.]


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frugal Kitchens 101: Shopping the Outer Perimeter


Hopefully by now you have had a chance to view the video by Natalie on Eating Healthy on a Budget. Her first suggestion is to buy the raw ingredients and cook them at home and her sixth suggestion was to eat foods that are in season. That brings us to today's Frugal Kitchens 101 topic of shopping the outer perimeter of the grocery store. The outer perimeter is generally where fresh produce, breads/bakery products, meats, fresh fish, poultry, dairy and freezer items are found. I would estimate a good 80% of my food dollar is spent on items in the outer perimeter when I shop in a grocery store with about 75% of that being items in the produce and dairy sections. In general you best value for your food dollar lies in the outer perimeter but there are ways to save even more when shopping the outer perimeter.

Certain food items in the outer perimeter are seldom what I would consider frugal food choices. Eliminating or substituting these foods will save a considerable amount of money with very little effort. Following is a list of ten foods along with my comments that should be eliminated from your groceries.

  1. pre-cut bagged lettuces - In general these tend to be more expensive per gram or ounce than regular lettuces. They have been handled more and have a higher surface area making them perfect for contamination (eg. E. coli) and they may have have been sprayed with sulfiting agents to prevent browning that can cause allergic reactions for some. Replace these with whole leaf or head lettuce. The two exceptions to this are spinach and mesclun or spring mix, so buy these when they are on sale.
  2. baby/cocktail carrots - These are the cute little carrots sold in plastic bags that have become very popular for vegetable trays and as a side when cooked. They often go on sale for about 99¢ for a 12 oz (8¢ per ounce) package making them appear to be a good bargain but they are not. They are put through a machine to be formed then put into a vat of water with chlorine as a preservative. The carrots used have been bred to have a deeper orange colour as well as a sweeter flavour. Consider that whole carrots are often on sale in 5 lb bags for $1.50 (2¢ per ounce) or less saving not only 6¢ per ounce but avoiding any chlorine residue.
  3. bean or other sprouts - Bean and other sprouts in the grocery stores have already started losing some of their nutritional value by the time you get them on the table. They are pricey at upwards of $1.50 per lb and are not always available. Instead buy a bag of dried mung beans and sprout them yourself. A bag of dried mung beans (450 g) will yield 4 - 5 times the amount of beans sprouts for the same price you pay for fresh bean sprouts in the store.
  4. pre-made salads or pre-chopped/prepared anything - You will seldom find anything in this respect that is cheaper than if you cut it up yourself. In most cases these foods will be more than double the cost.
  5. orange juice from concentrate - It is always cheaper to buy the frozen concentrate and add your own water. For example in this week's flyer Minute Maid orange juice is $2.97 for 2.84 L but I can make the same amount from frozen concentrate for $1.29. Right there is a savings of $1.77!
  6. flavoured yogurt/individual yogurts - Sorry but these tend to be over priced and laden with sweeteners as well as having environmentally unfriendly packaging. Make your own yogurt with very little effort. Use it plain for eating or baking or stir in low sugar jams or fresh fruit to kick the sugar habit to the curb. The exception to this is buying one single serving plain yogurt with active bacteria for a starter.
  7. processed cheese slices - These cheese slices contain additional oil to get them to the desired consistency. At the same time they come in individually wrapped slices wrapped again in more plastic. A better choice it to buy better quality cheese and use less of it. You get more flavour for less cost as well as eliminating the excess packaging so it is a win win situation!
  8. pre-made refrigerator snacks (Lunchables, Dunkables etc.) - Honestly these are some of the worst things out there in my opinion. They are laden with salt, sugar and over processed and over priced junk food pure and simple. Trust me on this one Little Jimmy does not need to dip a sugar laden cookie into more sugar laden icing! Instead buy a box of cracker, a cube of cheese and some polish sausage and make your own. Get some divided re-usable containers with lids to make homemade, healthy versions then make them fun for your kids by cutting real cheese or vegetables into fun shapes using cookie cutters.
  9. most breads and bakery products - These tend to have a lot of sugars, salt, fats and preservatives to make them last a week or more. Anything with bleached flour that has been whitened with chloride oxide is a health risk. The chloride oxide combines with the proteins forming alloxon a chemical shown to cause diabetes under laboratory conditions. At our current prices unbleached flour is 8¢ per cup making the average white bread I make cost about 79¢ per loaf when the electricity is considered (more on that later). Now that doesn't sound like a lot of savings but consider what you aren't getting! Cookies, cakes and other bakery items are always cheaper made at home. Pick up a used breadmachine or KitchenAid® standmixer and you will avoid the bread/bakery aisle all together.
  10. lunchmeats - These are on my list of foods to eliminate because they are generally over priced for what you get and there is the concern with contamination (Listeria). Cheaper and safer alternatives are to cook an extra roast then slice for lunchmeat. The same thing can be done with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, turkey breast, corned beef, ham and roast pork. Cook, cool and slice then freeze into sizes you will use within a week and freeze. Thaw as needed.
Following these 10 tips not only will you be saving money you will be eating healthier substitutes. If you grocery shop weekly and save an minimum average of $10 per week it doesn't seem like a lot. However over the course of one year you will have saved $520!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Introducing Frugal Kitchens 101



Not even 2 days into the last poll it was quite apparent that the readers of this blog are very interested in a weekly article on saving money on their groceries. With that in mind I set about making a banner to identify these entries. These entries will be known as Frugal Kitchens 101 leaving the category open to bring in energy savings as well which also affect the overall cost of a meal. A new label has called frugal kitchens 101 has also been created to make searching the archives for these tips easier. As it stands right now I plan on making these posts each Monday to give ample opportunity to put things into practice for those who shop weekly Friday night or Saturday morning. I can't make any promises that each tip will work for everyone but I can guarantee you that consistently using at least one of these tips you will save money on your groceries.

I will leave the results for the last poll up for a couple of days. I am surprised at receiving any votes for "not interested". This could be that those folks don't have to pay for their own food or are independently wealthy so price is no option or they have mastered the skills of total food self sufficiency. I do hope they drop by to share why the rising price of food is of no concern to them.

Please watch for this weeks Frugal Kitchens 101 article tomorrow after which time you will be able to find it here each Monday and in the archives under the label frugal kitchens 101.

Thanks to all who voted :)

Enjoy!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Nachos

The weather has turned cold and we are spending more time indoors. Sunday afternoons are spent with family or friends usually with some football game playing in the background although sometimes it is the centre of attention. That means Sunday afternoons are snack times. Something warm and filling always goes over well for a snack.

Nachos

We were first introduced to nachos at a football game. It was cold with snow flurries so a hot snack was just the thing. They came in a tray with hot peppers and very orange processed cheese. I will admit to keeping the hot peppers and the nacho chips themselves but have changed everything else. I will also admit to buying individual nacho chip dishes for entertaining.

I use corn nacho chips from Sam's Club. It is the least expensive source I have found (2 x 3 lb for $6.18). They are excellent nacho chips, nice and crispy. Until I find a homemade version they will have to do. For this version I topped with homemade, home canned salsa (please don't ask for the recipe, it's not going to happen) along with seasoned ground beef, three shredded cheeses and sour cream but I also like to add chopped onions, green peppers and hot peppers.

Method: Shred cheeses - cheddar, mozzarella and Asiago. Place a layer of nacho chips in a baking dish. Cover with half of the shredded cheese and ground beef mixture. Place another layer of nacho chips then the remaining cheese and ground beef mixture. Bake at 350ºF until the cheese is bubbly and browning. Remove from oven. Top with onions, green peppers and hot peppers if desired. To serve top with home made salsa and sour cream. Serve warm.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Canned Whole Cranberry Sauce

Canning Warning: I have extensive canning experience and can recognize canning practices that are not safe plus I do things like test for pH so I know my recipes are processed properly. One of my role as the author of this blog is to show you the safe way to can food as a way of economically filling your pantry. While I will push the limits on practices that the USDA views as quality issues aka aesthetically or texturally below standard I will not push the limits on their safety standards. Any canning recipe you get from this blog meets or exceeds the USDA recommendations. As I was surfing this morning I came across a lovely blog but as I read I was horrified! The author showed the method and the results for canning cakes in jars. Unfortunately this method came out around the time of the y2K scare prompting the USDA to issue botulism warnings for these products but the method and recipes are still out there in cyberland. The problem is the moist, anaerobic environment is ideal for Cholstridium botulinum the bacteria responsible for producing toxin that causes botulism. This toxin is odourless, tasteless and you can't see it meaning your product could be contaminated if not properly canned. Only a very little amount of the toxin ingested is enough to make you very, very sick or worse. Please do not be tempted to use the "canning cake or bread" recipes and if for some reason you receive one as a gift, please do not consume it!

Our Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 13th this year but I look forward to the week before the American Thanksgiving for two things: turkey and cranberries. Turkeys are a horrendous price here at well over $2 per lb. Awhile back we could buy turkeys in the US for 29¢ per lb with an additional $10 purchase during the week before the American Thanksgiving. So began the turkey runs. Now we can bring back one 20 lb turkey per adult per vehicle per trip but we can make as many trips in a day as we want. I had the larger deep freezer (now replaced with a smaller one) as well as a second smaller deep freezer and the refrigerator freezer. My goal was 6 turkeys for ourselves plus what ever anyone else wanted. This year I have the smaller but large deep freezer so we only bought 2 turkeys. With turkey comes cranberries and Sam's Club had fresh cranberries $4.47 for a 3 lb bag.

Cranberries

Cranberries tend to be available around Thanksgiving and Christmas here. They usually cost about $2 per pound sometimes more. I always pick up a few bags to freeze because we like fresh cranberry sauce and they are awesome in bran muffins.

Sam's Club also had Ocean Spray® Whole Cranberry sauce on 6 cans for $5.72 or 6¢ per oz. The fresh cranberries gave me a yield of the equilivant of 8 - 250 ml (half pint) jars at a cost of 6¢ per oz. Clearly I did not save any money on canning my own. What I did save on was the lack of additional salt, preservatives and reduced sugar content. On the other hand commercially canned cranberries normally cost 9¢ per oz or more and fresh cranberries can't be found so canning is still a good solution. An added benefit is when you can your own you are recycling jars instead of adding to the recyclers or landfill and for every can you don't use it reduces the energy to make that can.

Whole Cranberry Sauce

12 c fresh cranberries
3 c organic sugar
3 c water

Wash cranberries. Put the water and sugar into a large saucepan. Stir then bring to a boil. Stir in the cranberries. Stir in ½ tsp butter to reduce foaming. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to keep at a low boil for 10 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims. Adjust two piece lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath (BWB) canner.


Monday, November 17, 2008

Hunt Camp Dinners

Dinners at hunt camp tend to be rather hearty and filling. This is the largest meal next to breakfast and after a long day in the woods and cold a hot meal is much appreciated. After the meal and clean-up the guys sit around talking about the day then the cards come out. The rest of the evening into the wee hours of the morning is spent playing cards surrounded by the warmth of the wood stove.

Steak Dinner

A steak dinner is one must have tradition at hunt camp, the other is chili made with last year's kill. Consuming a meal made from last year's kill it thought to bring good luck to the camp the following year. This year the guys grilled rib eye steaks with sauteéd mushrooms, caramelized onions and baked potatoes. Now picture this, there was softly falling snow while the steaks grilled mingling with the smell of wood smoke and fresh fallen snow. Yum!!!

The potatoes were baked in the oven giving a nice crispy skin yet soft, tender flesh. They were a perfect match for the steaks that for most of the guys were grilled to rare.

Grilled Sandwiches

Even at hunt camp there needs to be a quick, easy to make meal that is filling. In comes the simple grill cheese sandwich with a twist. The guys added cooked ham to the sandwiches made with slices of cheddar cheese. Butter is a key component of the sandwiches for obtaining the beautiful golden brown as well as adding flavour. Served with plain potato chips the sandwiches make for a quick yet filling meal.

Method: Heat a cast iron fry pan to medium high. Butter one side of two pieces of bread. Place butter side down in the fry pan. Top with sliced cheese and sliced ham. Place another piece of bread on top of each sandwich. Butter. Cook until golden brown on the first side. Flip over and lightly push down on each sandwich. Cook until golden brown on the other side. Remove from pan. Cut in half. Serve with pickles or potato chips.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Breakfast at Hunt Camp

The hunt camp my husband goes to is in northern Ontario. It is the log cabin of a very good friend so once a year a group of the guys get together and go up there hunting. A couple of them including my husband do not hunt themselves but rather go for the camaraderie. It's a nice break from being in the office and they always have a great time!

Pancakes

The temperatures were already hovering at and below freezing and since the cabin is heated with a wood stove, warm clothes and hearty meals were a must. My husband and another good friend did most of the cooking.

You just can't go wrong with pancakes for a hearty breakfast to start the day. The pancakes were made from a mix (Krusteaz® Buttermilk Complete Pancake Mix) that I keep on hand as a just in case for such times when not cooking at home. At $6.23 for a 10 lb bag it is a rather frugal mix as mixes go. The results are consistently light fluffy pancakes with lots of flavour. That is real Canadian maple syrup and butter topping the pancakes!

Eggs

You can't a more hearty breakfast than pea meal bacon, home fries, eggs and toast. Home fries are oh so easy to make using left-over cooked potatoes or you can steam potatoes then pan fry. My husband cooked the eggs to order with most of the guys having 3 eggs each. Now this sounds like a very large breakfast but if you put it into perspective it isn't and there is a reason behind it. Those getting up early make the coffee and perhaps snack a bit. By mid-morning the cooked breakfast is ready. This fills the tummy until dinner without having to stop for lunch. That way the guys hunting can make the most of the daylight hunting hours without having to stop for a meal. The evening dinner meal is served an hour or two after dusk again taking advantage of the hunting hours. So really the guys eat a large breakfast and a large dinner with no lunch and little snacking.


Last Breakfast

The last breakfast at hunt camp is served a bit earlier in the morning and generally consists of foods they want to use up instead of bring home. The reason for this is two fold. First it uses up left-overs, something that is not only frugal but practical. It means they do not have to keep certain foods cold on the way home. Second a large breakfast means they will not be tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home. The drive is a good 6 hours and this time of year they can never be sure of the weather so it's best to load and go or basically make hay while the sun shines with the less stops on the way home the better.

They used up the rest of the pancake mix, left-over steak, pea meal bacon and regular bacon for the last breakfast. After the final cup of coffee they cleaned up the cabin then helped with a bit of winterizing as it will not be used again before spring. I'll post some pictures of the cottage and surrounding area over the next few days on my personal blog. Then they were on their way home with one kill to the good.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Grandpa went to Hunt Camp

Please bare with me as I'm still in Grandma mode:

It was a rather different sort of week last week. My husband aka Grandpa left for hunt camp on Saturday which meant I aka Grandma helped get the food ready. I will state right off the bat that the food choices were the guys and not just my husband's. Anyway he took the digital camera with him so while I had a camera it was not in a convenient form to post so a second digital is in the works but this explains somewhat the lack of posts last week. Grandma was going to enjoy a whole week of solitude spent in her pj's but decided to visit the kids instead.

Lasagne

Grandpa always sweet talks Grandma into making goodies for their food supplies. Friday, I assembled two large trays of lasagne using my homemade spaghetti sauce with meat. The larger tray to the left was for the guys while the smaller tray I planned on taking up to the kids for Tuesday night's dinner.

Lasagna freezes nicely so I often make up several trays at a time for the freezer. I always add cottage cheese to the first layer of lasagna and most times I add a thin layer of spinach. I do not put sausage in my meat sauce or lasagna. Other than that the lasagna is assembled as follows:

  • layer meat sauce
  • layer cooked lasagna noodles
  • layer of shredded cheeses
  • repeat layers ending with a cheese layer


Breadsticks

Years ago we went to a restaurant that served ranch sticks. Grandpa fell in love with them so Grandma set out to make them at home. This recipe needs soft breadsticks that at one time were easy to find in the grocery stores but have been quite difficult to find in recent years so I make my own. I use my standard pizza dough recipe made with a KitchenAid® stand mixer. When the dough is proofed, I form into thin strands for the bread sticks. I allow the strands to double in size then bake at 350ºF until golden brown. These breadsticks can be brushed with butter then sprinkled with Parmesan cheese for dipping or they can be made into ranch sticks. I will post more on the ranch sticks and how to make them along with a picture shortly.

Coolers

In the wee hours of Saturday morning Grandma helped Grandpa pack the coolers as well as three large bins of food that didn't need to be kept cold. I seriously shuddered at some of the food but that could be because the furnace hadn't kicked in yet so the kitchen was cool. Finally all the food and the rest of Grandpa's gear was packed in the truck of a friend. I waved goodbye while sipping on the Timmy's double double our friend had brought marveling for a very brief moment at the silence.

Then it dawned on me that I had no digital camera! Stay tuned...


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Canada Remembers

I come from a strong military family with ancestors that were instrumental in shaping the history of Canada. I grew up surrounded by relatives who had fought for this country. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice and while they are no longer here they live forever in our memories. If this video does not bring tears to your eyes, nothing will. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month we honour our fallen with 2 minutes silence from shore to shore of our great nation, Canada. Please join our nation in showing our respect and how thankful we are for enjoying the freedom they fought so hard for. May we never forget!



Remembrance Day Tribute
courtesy of
Global TV Edmonton


Monday, November 10, 2008

Eating Healthy on a Budget

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you will know I often bring economics into consideration especially when it comes to home canning. The reason I do this is to show that home canning can be one way to save on food costs while putting wholesome, healthy foods on the table. In today's economy of cost of living coupled with increasing unemployment it doesn't take long for the conversation to turn to the rising cost of food. Those recently unemployed or on fixed incomes are especially hit hard with rising food costs. I found this good video on YouTube for eating healthy on a budget. Please take a few minutes to view the video for some very useful tips that are all sure fire ways of reducing your food costs. A point form synopsis of the video and my comments follow the video.



Eat Healthy on a Budget Tips
  1. buy raw ingredients and cook at home instead of eating out
  2. use coupons
  3. frequent farmer's markets
  4. don't buy conveniently packaged processed foods
  5. buy in bulk
  6. eat foods that are in season
  7. plan your menu then form a grocery list from your menu
  8. buy whole foods
I have practiced all of these methods with the exception of menu planning except for special occasions and entertaining. Menu planning does not work for me for day to day cooking because I have a very well stocked large, walk-in pantry pantry with 2 full freezers. I cook from my pantry so there really is no need for a menu. I keep a running grocery list of items I need as I get low on them then shop only when needed. It works for us. Coupons also do not work well for us because here in Ontario the coupons tend to be for expensive non-food items we don't use anyway and the stores never double or triple coupons. However, at one time my husband was the coupon king when we shopped for groceries more in the US. He once managed to get $200 worth of groceries for $15 which was his top record. Now even when shopping in the US we very seldom bother with coupons but that is not to imply that coupons don't save money when used properly. I would suggest joining a coupon exchange group to get the coupons you will use. There are also online sources where you can get coupons sent to you for products you use.

Many folk think that cooking is time consuming and inconvenient. Cooking does not need to be either! Personally I think driving to a fast food restaurant and standing in line for inferior quality food is more time consuming and inconvenient as well as being environmentally unfriendly. In the length of time it takes to go through a drive through you can easily put a nutritious, healthy meal on the table at a fraction of the cost and while it is cooking have a bit of time to unwind. Don't forget that you can have a wonderful meal without cooking at all or minimal cooking like frying bacon. Think outside of the box and you will find many great sandwich and salad meals that require no or minimal cooking. When you use these meal ideas you realize not only a savings on the cost of the food but also on the preparation costs and let's face it even though it's not often considered the electricity or gas used to prepare a meal is part of the overall cost of the meal. Pre-cut vegetables when you bring them home from the grocery store for quick starts during the week. Keep packages of pre-cooked seasoned or unseasoned ground beef and chicken strips in the freezer for those days you don't have time to do a lot of cooking. For more quick start meal ideas check this blog's archives. Make your own convenience foods and can or freeze them for more savings.

I mentioned before the average food travels 1,500 miles from farm to table. During that time and the time you use the food it is losing nutritional value. I cannot stress enough that one of the best ways to reduce food costs is to have a home garden. Supplement with produce from your local farmer's market or farm stands if at all possible. At the very least keep a window sill garden of fresh herbs and a couple of pots of leaf lettuce, spinach or Swiss chard. Sprouting your own beans is a very easy way to add more nutrition to salads and sandwiches.

Something not mentioned in the video was shopping the sales but it was mentioned to only buy what is on your grocery list. I disagree with buying only what is on your list because some grocery stores have unadvertised in store specials and reduced for quick sale specials. I shop the sales but only for those things I know we will use then I buy enough to last until that item goes on sale again. For example, dry pasta is currently on sale and I know it goes on sale this time of the year every year but it also goes on sale in the spring. So figuring on 2 pasta meals per week at 2 meals per package I need 52 packages for the year. I bought half that amount that will get me to the next good sale on pasta. At one time making stops at multiple stores to cherry pick the sales was another food dollar saving strategy. However, with the current price of gas unless the grocery stores are located within close distance to each other preferably on a route you normally take (eg. on the way home from work) it is no longer cost effective to do this.

If you follow the tips on the video along with some of the tips I've mentioned you can pare a significant amount of money from your food bill while eating healthier foods!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Easy Lasagna with Fresh Spinach Salad

Update: Thank-you for your patience during the recent updates to this blog. I think things are pretty much as I want them for now although I am considering removing both the "digg" and "buzz" buttons on the posts. Aside of the design change the biggest change you will notice is that I am now a Featured Publisher with Foodbuzz. Other than that things are pretty much back to normal. Thanks again.

It has been an interesting but very busy last few days. Both oldest and youngest grandbabies were here on the weekend. Saturday for dinner I made Easy Lasagna as we were hosting the normal monthly large event. It was a good turnout with some thirty in attendance. One of my girlfriend's brought her new little grandbaby (age 3 months) so oldest grandbaby had a playmate. Snacks included chicken wraps, meatballs in barbeque sauce and the normal snack type foods.

Easy Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those casseroles that somehow gives the impression of taking more time to prepare. However, you can get the same taste with less prep time by using extra broad egg noodles then stirring all the ingredients together and baking in the oven. Serve with fresh spinach salad and cheese buns for an easy meal that tastes like you have been in the kitchen all day.

Method:

I used:
2 - 500 ml jar home canned spaghetti with meat sauce
1 - 500 ml jar home canned plain tomato sauce
1 750 pk extra broad egg noodles
1 c cottage cheese
handful fresh washed spinach, torn
3 c shredded mixed cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, colby etc)

Bring water to a boil in large sauce pot. Add salt and drizzle of olive oil. Stir in noodles. Cook to al dente. Drain. Pour the noodles into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sauces, cottage cheese, spinach and 2 c of the shredded cheeses. Mix well. Pour into large casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheese. Bake at 350ºF until cheese is bubbly.



Monday, November 03, 2008

Update 2

Update 2: So far things are going not bad but a bit slower than I anticipated. There is still a bit of tweaking to do tonight and in the morning but the overall effect is pretty much as what I was working towards. Stay tuned for the morning update.


Updating

Dear Readers: The ghosts and gremlins are still at it so you will be seeing a lot of things going on today during the testing phase. Hopefully you bare with me as I change things multiple times for a whole new look but don't worry as the recipes and pictures you are used to will remain the same. As you can see the changes will be involving the background, header and sidebars along with a surprize or two. I will post another update this afternoon then by this evening things should be back to normal with more good food coming from our kitchen.

Enjoy!