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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

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  • [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!

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Beverages

Frugal Kitchens 101
Beverages are a part of every meal and they can be budget busters. One reason for this is dollar for dollar beverages give very little nutritional value for their dollar. This week's topic for Frugal Kitchens 101 is how to save on beverages.

  • water - Water by far is one of your most frugal choices for a beverage providing you are not using costly bottled water. It hydrates your body best! The average adult should aim for 8 - 250 ml (8 oz) glasses of water daily for proper hydration. Water is cheap and easily transported in refillable water bottles. Avoid using individual sized store bought water that is not eco-friendly. Install a home water filtration system or use portable water filtration jugs for nice tasting water. If you don't like the taste of plain water add a slice or two of your favourite citrus fruit.
  • juices - I'm sorry but I am not a huge fan of any kind of juice. The reasoning behind this is the juice has been stripped of any beneficial fiber that you would get from the actual fruit or vegetable. If you want home made juices there are four juicers I'm aware of. The old fashioned juicer is preparing the fruit then pouring it through a cheesecloth lined strainer or jelly bag. A hand held juicer or reamer is suitable if you are doing a small amount of citrus juice. An electric juicer is nice for family sized volumes of fruit or vegetable juices. Some models are better than others so do a bit of research to find one tailored to your needs. Finally a steam canner is a piece of equipment that allows you to do large batches of juice at one time. Many home canners use this device. I do not because we don't use a lot of juices and I question using heat to extract the juice. Of the juicers I would recommend a cold, electric juicer. In general if you buy commercially prepared juiced frozen concentrates are the best value for your dollar and with less packaging they are a bit more eco-friendly. Don't hesitate to water juices down just a little. If the instructions say to add 3 cans of water add 4 and you won't even notice the extra dilution so you end up getting just a bit more juice than normal.
  • teas/coffees - If you are going to drink tea or coffee, do yourself a favour and buy good quality even if it means drinking less. Any fancy tea or coffee drink you can buy out you can make at home for a fraction of the cost. Buy beans (Fair Trade, Organic) not pre-ground coffee and invest in a coffee grinder to get the best flavour because that is what it is about. Buy loose teas and use a tea ball not tea bags. An espresso machine will pay for itself if you like cappuccinos, espresso and latté plus it can be used for frothing milk for fancier teas.
  • milks - At one time powdered milk was the answer for anyone wanting to be frugal. That is no longer the case. It is still frugal to keep powder milk as part of your emergency supplies but the price has risen to the point it is no longer a frugal substitution. Except in the case of infants where milk (not cows milk) is a necessity children and adults can get by quite nicely without milk. Good substitutes are cheeses and yogurts. There is some indication that contrary to initial beliefs soy milk (not an animal milk) should not be consumed by women of reproductive or post reproductive age because of the estrogen content. Milks seldom go on sale so if you find a sale keep in mind they freeze nicely.
  • pop/soda - A good portion of many food budgets go to soda drinks. These for the most part are extremely poor value for your food dollar. In fact some brands have as much as 17 tbsp of sugar in on drink! You wouldn't think of eating this much sugar yet have no problem drinking this much sugar in the matter of about 10 minutes. In addition to this some of these drinks are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup compounding the problem and for those going to diet there is the whole issue of Aspartame something I certainly would not put in my body. An additional problem many may not know is all pop sold in aluminum cans has a low level of mold content and soda fountains are worse. That isn't a providing you aren't allergic to molds or molds are a trigger for your asthma. So your daily pop could be making you sick without you knowing it.
  • alcoholic beverages - The ultimate way to eliminate this cost is just simple don't serve these type of drinks. If you do there are ways to save. This becomes very much a personal choice.

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