Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ever Wonder?

I feed a family of seven for less than $100 a week, usually way less and somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-75. Wonder how I do it? The answer is very complicated: I make almost every meal from scratch. Other than that, I make great use of my garden - canning & freezing like mad - and lately, coupons. Another thing that has helped tremendously with the food bill is help from other people.

Someone almost always gives us tons of powdered milk, canned pork, dried beans (lots) and lately, cereal - including farina hot cereal and oatmeal. This is the kind of stuff that a lot of folks would turn their noses up at because it takes creativity and time to make something good with it. I'm not talking about the cereals, but my goodness, fixing up a dinner with dried beans isn't for everyone.

Here's what I did with some of that stuff for tonight's supper:

Barbecued Pork Sandwiches
I took one can of shredded canned pork and cooked it in a skillet until fairly dry. Then I added ketchup, mustard & Worcestershire sauce (I don't measure, just mix up until it tastes good.) Heat through and serve over slices of bread.

Vanilla Pudding
I got a recipe from Hillbilly Housewife and used powdered milk to make a wonderful thick vanilla pudding. I have a feeling we'll make this a lot, maybe add cocoa next time for chocolate.

Whole Wheat Bread

I made a really good bread using my bread machine at dough setting for the mixing and first rising.

9 oz. warm water
1 1/2 TBSP canola oil
2 TBSP molasses
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. active dry yeast

After dough has risen twice (last rising in greased loaf pan for 1 hour), bake at 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

I also served home canned green beans and baked potatoes (done in the microwave) to round out the meal.

Moral of this post: use what you have and be creative. You don't have to feel hopeless when the prices in the stores rise. Use coupons, be a smart shopper and compare prices, make things homemade when you can, and enjoy the creative challenge.

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