Frugal Living, Thrift, and Saving Money
Bacon drippings are rich in flavor, but for health
reasons, must be used sparingly. Freeze leftover bacon fat in ice cube trays.
Use small amounts to flavor food or sauté vegetables.
We've all heard of the "cook
for a day, eat for a month" plan. That's a lot of work
for one day, and some people are not able to manage it.
However, there are many ways to take advantage of the
concept. One way is to just make extra when you cook
dinner and freeze it for another meal. That's an easy
way to cut down on both your cooking time, to save
money, and to save your energy.
Storing Your Leftovers
When you can afford it, but some good
Rubbermaid type storage containers for your leftovers. This is a long term
investment, so buy the best you can afford. Make sure you can see the food
through them. Until then, a simple alternative is covering your food with
plastic shower caps.
Keeping Track of Your Leftovers
You have a much better chance of
using up all your leftovers if you can easily see what you have in your
refrigerator. Here is one idea to keep you organized. Use some chalkboard paint
on the inside of the cabinet nearest your refrigerator. Use chalk to write down
all the leftovers that are available. When you eat them, just erase the entry.
You are also going to save money by not opening your refrigerator door as much
as just "browsing".
Divide up Your Leftovers
Here is another kitchen tip that may help
you save money on leftovers. Many of our family members are in a hurry when they
open the refrigerator looking for something to eat. When you have things like
leftover casserole, divide it up into single serving size portions. Put these in
individual containers, such as small bowls or baggies. It will be much easier
for them to grab them, and put them in the microwave to heat up. Anything that
is easier to do is always done more often.
Save leftover pasta. It freezes well, and is easily added to
soups and stews also, or made into a cold salad. Just be sure that after you
boil your pasta you run it under cold water to stop further cooking. This will
keep it from overcooking and getting soggy. Then you can freeze it.
There are several ways to reuse vegetables not eaten at
the dinner table so that you do not have to serve leftovers. Many people keep a
container in their freezer for leftover vegetables, and then pull them out when
they make soups and stews. Another alternative is to puree them, and add them to
any tomato based sauce, such as Spaghetti sauce.
If you own, or are thinking of purchasing an aluminum
pan that is discolored, here is the way to make it look better. Fill the pot
with equal amounts of water and vinegar. Bring it to a boil. Continue boiling
until the pan looks good.
Remember that you can save money by re-using your
aluminum foil. Just wash it off and let dry. The exception to this would be if
you have used it with something that could contaminate it, like raw meat. If you
are going to reuse your aluminum foil, be sure and buy a good brand that won't
come apart when you rinse it off. Use the cheaper, thinner kind for one use
You can get every bit of food out of a can by
purchasing a can scraper. These work better than a rubber spatula. Another
option for some foods is to open both sides of a can, and then using the lid,
squeeze all the ingredients out one of the sides.
Copper pans are wonderful for cooking. They distribute
the heat evenly, and make cooking easier. If you should be lucky enough to find
a copper pan at a discounted price, buy it, even if it is in bad condition. You
can clean it up with a paste of lemon juice, salt, and a lot of rubbing.
If you don't have room for a wooden cutting board, or
get tired of sanding it down all the time to keep it clean and safe, try a
plastic cutting board. They work well, but they do get stained to the point you
do not want to use them anymore. Another option is to use a plastic placemat.
Some of them are quite heavy. However, to make sure your counter is protected,
use it over another surface.
Funnels always come in handy, whether it is in kitchen,
transferring liquid to smaller containers or in the garage, transferring paint
to smaller containers. Make a few disposable funnels by cutting the top off of
plastic soda bottles before you put them in the recycle bin.
When you grate cheese and other items,
you often leave a lot
of product on the grater. You try and get it off, but can hurt your fingers in
the process. The solution- just spray a little oil on the grater first, and the
food won't stick.
Don't waste your money buying expensive knife sets to prepare
the food in your kitchen.
To prepare food, all you need is one large knife to slice meat and dice
vegetables and a smaller knife for paring apples, coring fruit and other
smaller, utilitarian small jobs. A knife with a serrated edge to slice bread,
and a tableware set of steak knives will round out all your needs.
Do not be scared by pressure cookers. The new
electric cookers are very safe, and you can just put in your food and leave.
They cook food quickly, and save you time and money.
Everyone has at least one day a week that is very busy,
especially in the late afternoon. These are the days when you are going to feel
too busy or too tired to cook. One idea is to plan on making a crock pot meal on
these days. Get it going in the morning or the night before, when you are not so
rushed. Knowing you have a nice warm meal waiting for you at home will
help your stress level and save you from spending the money on fast food.
Extending Pre-Packed Mixes
Many of us like the convenience of boxed
mixes at the store, but find that there is not enough product to feed our
family. One easy way to deal with this is to buy your favorite mixes, and then
just have some extra pasta to supplement the quantity. For instance, if you are
making boxed Macaroni and Cheese, you can just add a few more noodles to the pan
when boiling the macaroni. You should be able to add extra without any
significant loss of flavor.
Lots of people grill a lot in the summer to keep from warming
up their homes with their ovens or stoves. Here is a tip for busy families, with
children coming and going. When you are done grilling, put a pan with a little
water on the grill, and put your food in it. The grill will stay warm for a long
time, and your food will be ready when your kids come home.
Try and stay away from feeding your family foods with
little value. Satisfying your
family's need for recreational eating is not in the job description. Watch those
after school snacks and try to choose healthy, body building foods.
Plastic Wrap Mess
Is there anything more aggravating than pulling,
or trying to pull off a piece of plastic wrap only to have it come off and
immediately form a little ball? One way to cure this, other than buying pricier
wrap, is to store the whole container in the freezer.
In the past, when people had bugs in four, they
just sifted the flour and remove the bugs before they used it. While this can be
done, there are other ways to keep bugs out of grain. You method is to place a
few bay leaves in it. If you keep your flour in the refrigerator, it will last
longer.. If you put it in the freezer, it will last even longer. If you don't
plan on using it relatively soon, I would put it in a Ziploc bag or Rubbermaid
container and place it in the freezer.
Putting Away Groceries
Have a plan when you get home from grocery
shopping and must put away items in your refrigerator so that you keep the door
open as short a time as possible. One way is to place all the items for the
refrigerator on a nearby shelf, and sort them according to their place in the
refrigerator. For instance, put your salad ingredients next to each other so
that you can pick them all up at once and put them in the same drawer.