The recent Live Below the Line challenge was a simple one. For five days, keep your food expenditures to what many of the world’s poorer citizens live on: $1.50 or less a day.
I’ve always considered myself a frugalite in the food department. Nonetheless, it took real discipline to keep us on this level. We lived primarily on what the rest of the world does: rice and beans, augmented with a few vegetables, tortillas and an egg or two.
That got me to thinking — what other foods are nutritious, yet low in price? Posted here are the 20 Best, in yours truly’s and other people’s opinions. Feel free to chime in with your own favorites.
*Rice – of course. You’ve got all kinds to choose from, including Arborio, wild and the more nutritious brown rice. Tummy-filling, and a more complete protein when combined with:
*Beans. Pick a country, and odds are very [...]
No matter what the reason may be, do you think you could get away with getting all your food and other needs without ever stepping into a supermarket? Could you try it as an experiment for perhaps, say a year? Some have already successfully accomplished a Year without Supermarkets challenge, with maybe the only exception being the few personal products like shampoos, deodorants and toilet paper. Even cleaners and personal products may be either made homemade or come up with an alternative solution if it was thought out real well. What would it take, to be able to do away with ever having to step into a grocery store or supermarket for at least a year? Where would you get the things you needed?
• Meats- You could buy ½ of a cow or pig from a local farmer or butcher. You may even be able to purchase whole chickens [...]
The sun’s shining, the air’s getting warmer. Time to celebrate with a cake that tastes of springtime!
These two recipes fit the bill, starting with Martha Stewart’s Lemon Cake. (Martha’s a huge fan of lemon, and often uses it in her favorite recipes.) This mouthful of sunshine makes good use of fresh lemons — use an extra one, sliced thin, to decorate the cake.
MARTHA STEWART’S LEMON CAKE
Ingredients 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon lemon zest 2 cups sugar 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 cup low-fat buttermilk 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded Whipped Frosting
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, spices, [...]
A lot of people recently participated in the Live Below the Line challenge: $1.50 (or less) spent daily for food, for five days. This figure somewhat reflects what the average world citizen lives on, and was part of a fundraising event sponsored by a number of different organizations, including Opportunity International and the World Poverty Project.
Contrast this with the Food Stamp Challenge, which resurfaces every now and then as people struggle to understand how welfare recipients make use of their allotted funds — $6-7 daily for one person, $12 for two and so on. (Yup, four or more times more than the world challenge amount.)
I participated in the Live Below the Line challenge, and found it interesting, albeit a bit boring. The Brick joined me, giving us $15 to work with. What did I get for that 5 days?
2 pounds rice
1 1/2 pounds beans
1 red [...]
I previously wrote about saving on groceries by meal planning. But if you aren’t basing your menu off of available sales and coupons then you are basically giving money away. By being a savvy shopper, you can minimize your grocery bill while still eating the foods you enjoy. The key to saving money on groceries is knowing what deals to take advantage of, and which to let pass by.
Cartbuster events are also known as mix-and-match sales. Several different brands will be available for sale and any combination of them can be used.
As food conglomerates have gotten larger, they have been able to create cross-brand sales that leave a substantial portion of the store on sale. Kraft is especially big on cartbuster events. Typically, these sales work by requiring a certain number of items to be purchased to get the sale price. A common cartbuster sale will [...]
In December, I wrote an article about some good substitutes that will save you money and also allow you to control the amount and type of product that goes into them. The first one is one that I’ve used often and it’s wonderful to sprinkle onto a roast in the crockpot or oven and allow to cook slowly. I have used the pre-packaged mix for years, until I started reading ingredients more closely. So, without further ado, our first is:
Onion Soup Mix ¼ c. onion flakes (dried) 2 Tbsp. beef bouillon (granules) ¼ tsp. onion powder ¼ tsp. parsley flakes 1/8 tsp. celery seed 1/8 tsp. paprika 1/8 tsp. pepper
Stir together. Use as a substitute for an envelope of soup mix. *Note: 0 sodium, high fructose corn syrup or MSG
Over the years, I got lazy mixing my own spices for some recipes and relied [...]
One consistent theme for saving money seems to be leaving your kids home when it comes to grocery shopping. Mostly the advice is to go alone, go with a list, and never go hungry. While I do agree that going with a list and never going hungry does make a difference, I do not agree on leaving hubby and kids at home. When you make it a family affair, everyone gets the chance to learn about good shopping habits, frugality, sales, loss leaders, unit pricing, math skills and sticking within a budget!
One of the things I have found is that if you go grocery shopping and have the rest of the family just tag along, then certainly this creates an array of problems. They start to beg for items they want, start acting up (including hubby helping in this area) to cause distractions, and in general [...]
The Dandelion is often looked at as a nuisance weed that needs to be gotten rid of, yet is one of the most useful weeds there is. Every part of the dandelion can be used in some way and is often ignored. It is quite an abundant edible in early spring growing virtually everywhere. It truly is an amazing plant that should really gain more status than a pesky weed! So how exactly can you make use of it?
Roots- The roots of the dandelion can be dried, roasted and ground to be used as a coffee substitute. Some prefer to mix this with a little chicory for a more robust flavor. Leaves- The leaves can be gathered and cooked or eaten fresh like any other greens such as turnip greens, or collards. They are best when gathered young, before the plant flowers. They are usually [...]
I have a deep, dark secret. For the longest time, we didn’t meal plan. At first, I made a weekly menu and would decide which individual meal from the list I wanted to make that day. But then I got lazy. I didn’t make any menu at all. Instead, I would simply make a list of random foods that I liked having around, such as chicken breasts, broccoli, and Hamburger Helper.
Each day, I would rifle through the pantry and refrigerator and decide what I was going to make. Food waste was more prevalent than I care to admit, the quality of meals was decreasing, and our grocery bill, and weight, was on an upward trend.
Finally, we got serious about it. My wife printed out several sheets of calendar pages and we started meal planning. Sales circulars are consulted to see what is on sale. Low-fat and low-carb meals [...]
Sure, you can whip up a pot of corned beef and cabbage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day…if you’re American. Surprise — it’s a U.S. tradition! Irish immigrants to the New World latched onto one of the cheaper meats their Jewish neighbors were cooking: corned beef. (After all, it went so well with the root vegetables that sold for very little — onions, carrots, rutabagas, turnips and cabbage.)
Instead, try a true Irish recipe: Boxty, a tasty potato pancake that makes excellent use of Ireland’s gift (and bane): the potato. Unlike the Jewish latke, boxty mixes both raw and cooked spuds for a soft, yet crunchy texture. Make it even easier on yourself, and serve mashed potatoes the night before; cook extras for this dish.
An old Irish saying goes: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you can’t get a man.” I’ll have to ask Husband what [...]