Welcome to Foodie Friday, frugal food edition! This week, we’ll talk about how to survive rising food prices. By producing, preserving, scratch cooking, and stocking up, we can provide healthful, delicious meals at a fraction of the price that others are paying.
This feature is chock-full of all things food related: news, preservation, and delicious real food recipes. As always, I really hope you’ll share your links, recipes, and ideas in the comments section. Be sure to scroll down and check out the question of the week on each Foodie Friday post.
I just love old cookbooks. The cookbook that helped me learn to cook when I was a new wife and mom was a battered copy of The Fanny Farmer Cookbook that I picked up at a yard sale. The good thing about old-fashioned cookbooks is that they don’t use expensive, difficult-to-find ingredients. They tend to be more practical for pantry-style or frugal cooks, and they are focused on using absolutely everything you have on hand, with little waste. This book teaches you how to prepare everything from a boiled egg to a calf’s head. Although it was first published in 1896, you can still get The Fanny Farmer Cookbook today.
What is the state of your pantry? Before food prices escalate any further, now is the time to get your pantry built. This book is chock full of my own frugal tips to help you build your healthy pantry on a thrifty budget. There’s a bonus recipe section at the end. The time to procrastinate on building your food stockpile has run out. Order your copy of The Pantry Primer today.
Foodie Friday News
Economic unease will translate directly into higher food prices. It seems like we’re in the midst of a perfect storm for high food prices. First of all, our economy is in terrible condition. (The details of that are a whole other blog post.) Inflation is continuing to rise – the USDA predicts another 3% or so increase on food prices this year. Unfortunately, our wages are not increasing. Our hours and employment numbers are not increasing. Huge businesses are closing their doors. (For example, Wal-mart has just announced the closure of hundreds of stores across the country, affecting more than 16,000 workers.) And then, on top of it, we have all of these new rules for farmers. The more the government gets involved in “regulating” small farms, the higher our prices will be, due to farmers struggling to meet their new requirements.
Surviving high food prices means we must take matters into our own hands. A few years ago, Michael Snyder predicted the price of food would double by the end of the decade. While we can hope this is not the case, the smart money lies on stocking up, cooking from scratch, and producing as much of our own food as possible. (In many parts of the country, you can be growing carrots right now!) If you are new to gardening, here’s a great video course for newbies.
Did you know that 20 million Americans suffer from thyroid related diseases? Sufferers deal with an ongoing struggle with unexplained weight gain, fatigue, depression, and infertility. Many of these conditions can be improved with diet instead of expensive medicine with unpleasant side effects. This holistic practitioner’s advice is worth a read if you are dealing with any of the symptoms of thyroid disease.
Are GMOs the only way to save the world and feed the poor? According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, if you are anti-GMO, you hate poor people and want them to starve. (Okay, they didn’t say it exactly like that. I may have taken some literary license.) But it turns out their “science” is funded by GMO companies, they pay reporters to wax poetic about the value of GMOs, and they ignore the growing body of evidence that the methods of growing genetically modified crops are environmentally harmful. This is pretty much the textbook definition of propaganda. (Refresher on the textbook definition of propaganda: “Disseminating selective information of a biased or misleading nature to promote a particular agenda is known as the practice of propaganda.”) This article pokes a lot of holes in the Gates Foundation’s claims.
Don’t let your peppers go bad! Peppers are expensive. If you happen to stumble across a good deal, grab all you can. Then, go to this article to learn how to freeze them properly for future use.
Can some homemade split pea soup this weekend. A frugal meal to put back is home-canned split pea soup. My kids absolutely insist on this every year, and it only costs a few dollars to make a huge batch that you preserve for the next series of chilly days. Here’s my recipe and the instructions for canning it yourself. Why rely on the lower quality (and possibly questionable) ingredients in the storebought version when it’s this easy to make it yourself? (This recipe is from my book, The Organic Canner.)
Want more food preservation ideas? This post is a giant round-up of all sorts of food preservation articles that you can undertake in the winter. It includes ideas for canning, dehydrating, and freezing your food. Check them out and let me know what you decide to preserve.
The Frugal Foodie
I think we need a section of thrifty food ideas each week, don’t you? Here are this week’s choices.
Feed the family 4 times from one cut of meat. With meat prices what they are, it’s essential to extend a roast as far as possible. This post provides recipes that will help you get four family meals out of one roast.
Only one serving of leftovers? Stretch it to feed the family. The creative use of leftovers will help you keep your food bill under control. I love the idea of “cream of leftover” pancakes. Check out these thrifty ideas (and they’re not just for breakfast!)
What is thriftier than a big pot of beans? However, lots of folks have never cooked dried beans from scratch before. Here’s the 411 on soaking and cooking a pot of pinto beans. (Pintos are my personal favorite – I grew up in the south and these were a staple dinner time food.)
Squeeze that budget. Here are 7 ideas to get more bang for your grocery shopping buck.
Build your pantry for pennies. Since we’re on the topic of shopping, here are 5 tips to get your pantry bulked up for a fraction of the price.
What to Eat This Week
Learn how to prepare grass-fed meat. Have you ever been really excited to buy some high-quality grass-fed meat, only to discover that it was tough and chewy? It’s horribly disappointing when a splurge like that doesn’t taste good. This article teaches you how to prepare grass-fed meat so it melts in your mouth.
Quick: can you name 15 veggies in season right now? If you can’t, don’t feel too badly. Not many people can because our food-from-afar grocery system gives us blueberries in January. These are the 15 vegetables you should be enjoying right now. (Bonus: It’s way thriftier to eat things that are in season!)
How to make flour tortillas from scratch. If you’re trying to break away from processed foods, you may have a few last hold-outs, like wraps. Well, hold out no more. Flour tortillas can easily (and inexpensively) be made at home.
Make a rotisserie style chicken in the crockpot:
I love rotisserie chicken but have no rotisserie. (sniff) Imagine how excited I was to learn that I could make it myself, in my crockpot. (I have this crockpot.) If you enjoy eating the skin, you can put the cooked chicken in the oven on broil for a few minutes after it’s thoroughly cooked to get it crisp.
- 1 whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry, innards removed
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- Seasonings of choice (I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a dash of cayenne, and 1/4 tsp of sugar)
- Onions and/or lemons (optional)
- If you have a roasting rack for your slow cooker, insert it. If you don’t, wad up 6 balls of tinfoil for the bottom or slice onions and/or lemons in half. You want to raise your chicken up a little to let the juices run down and steam it. If you don’t raise it up, your chicken may be more of a stewed texture from sitting in the juices.
- Rub the chicken with oil and seasonings.
- Place the chicken in the crockpot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. Do not add any other liquid. When it’s done, it will be tender and practically falling apart in its deliciousness.
- Because I grew up in the South, gravy is essential in our household. If you, too, are of the gravy persuasion, you can use the drippings and some flour or cornstarch to make gravy on the stovetop while you brown your chicken in the broiler.
Organic Popcorn in bulk – at the time of posting, Amazon has a great sale on 5 pounds of organic popcorn. That will get you through a whole lot of movie nights!
Dehydrated onion – Another killer deal is this sale on 2 pounds of organic dehydrated onion. Two pounds of dehydrated onion is a LOT of onion – be prepared to relocate it into jars when it arrives.
Home dehydrator – If you’re looking to get started dehydrating your own food, this starter unit is less than $50 right now – normally it’s $100. I have not used this particular unit myself but the reviews are very good, and there are lots of reviews. It is a great way to get started with dehydrating before investing in a very expensive unit.
Foodie Friday Sound-off: What is your favorite frugal meal?
This week’s Foodie Friday question: When times are tough and the budget is tight, what are your favorite thrifty meals to make for your family?
Are you doing some scratch cooking or food preserving this week?
Dish with me in the comments section below! Feel free to share the details of your favorite recipes, and if they are taken from other websites, add the link.