Saturday, February 6, 2010

Truly Frugal Eating.

This post (link courtesy of Cheap Healthy Good) got me to thinking about truly frugal eating.

There are a lot of tricks and tips for frugal shopping, cooking, and eating. From keeping a stocked pantry (or the opposite, buying only what you need for the week so food isn't wasted), to loss-leaders and coupons. I've been cooking and eating this way for about 7 years now, so much of it is old hat.

But like anything (eating healthy, exercising), it can be easy to drift away from the good habits. And I've been drifting. The one big part of this article that really struck me was this:

It all came down to the menu plan. Since joining the frugal shopping ranks, I have been menu planning using what we had on-hand as a starting point. This month has shown me that, while that’s a good start, I was making one fatal mistake. I was using my pantry as a starting point AND purchasing several additional ingredients for each meal.

I have found myself doing that more and more lately. (That and buying snacks when I've got plenty of fruit and nuts on hand.) Part of it is that I like to try new recipes. And generally the recipes that I find include one or two things that I don't have.

Today, for example, I made stuffing. I had a freezer full of bread heels. But I needed to buy a green pepper for it. That's pretty mild as far as expeditures go. But to make new recipes this week, I also had to buy mushrooms, artichokes, diced tomatoes, and ... wait, that's it.

I need to find my creativity in the kitchen again to make do with whatever I've got. So my goal for the month, figure out what to do with:

4 cups of frozen pumpkin
dried figs
green lentils

without buying anything special for them


Lori said...

I have a lentil suggestion with stuff you probably already have: lentil rice pilaf. Here's the recipe I use, except I use brown rice instead of white and have to adjust the cooking time accordingly. Also, I definitely ignore the cumin, because I don't like it :)

Laura said...

Just started reading your blog. Healthy and frugal are two of my goals. Frozen pumpkin is great for pumpkin smoothies. Throw in some vanilla yogurt, graham crackers, cinnamon and call it good.