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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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Monday, March 11, 2013

Frugal Kitchens 101 - St. Patrick's Day

Frugal Kitchens 101 In Canada we have statutory holidays (eg. Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Labour Day, Family Day, Heritage Day, Good Friday, Thanksgiving, Victoria and Canada Day).  These are the days government buildings will be closed, businesses may be closed or have reduced hours and employers pay their employees for the day even though they have the day off.    We also have special days (eg. Valantine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Remembrance Day, Decoration Day, Secretary's Day, Oktoberfest and St. Patrick's Day) where there are various events and gatherings but folks don't get an actual day off of work.  St. Patrick's Day (March 17) is quickly approaching.  This is just a fun day where folks can kick back a little, have a couple of green beers while enjoy Irish stew or a corned beef with cabbage dinner accompanied with Irish soda bread and a healthy dose of music by the Irish Rovers. 

St. Patrick's Day is one of the more frugal special days to celebrate.  The emphasis is on good, old fashioned home style cooking using low cost ingredients, socializing and simply enjoying.  A corned beef with cabbage dinner will cost about $10 to $12 for a family of four including the Irish soda bread which works out to $2.50 to $3 per serving with left-overs.  Irish stew is a real money saver coming in at about $6 for a family of four or $1.50 per serving.  The trick is of course getting ingredients on sale.  It is less expensive to cure your own corned beef but this is the time of year where commercially cured corned beef goes on sale.  Cabbage is always cheap!  Here, No Frills has a 20 lb bag of potatoes on sale for $2 this week, perfect timing for the St. Paddy's celebrations. 

Green is the colour of the day which really brightens up an otherwise grey day in an month of constantly changing and fickle weather.  It signifies wealth and the promise of spring.  Five dollars spent at the dollar store will get you enough St. Paddy's themed decorations that can be saved for using the following year.  Green food colouring is almost a must if you want to make themed cookies or green up the beer or milkshake.  However, you can get a lot of green without the food colouring.  Green juice or smoothies are a healthy, inexpensive and kid friendly alternative to green beer or milkshakes AND they are naturally green!  Both pasta and tortilla shells are available in spinach (green) to bring a little luck of the Irish as a school lunch.  Pack green tortillas with more greens, chopped tomatoes, onions, cheese and meat for a festive green  lunch. 

While green is on your mind for St. Patrick's Day, make school or office lunches green garbage-free.  You will be saving a bit of green on St. Paddy's Day while helping the environment!  Just have fun with this fabulously fun and frugal special day!

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