Archive for the ‘Saving Money’ Category

We get whole wheat in bulk for the whole year and then grind it in our mill when we need it. Fresh flour can go rancid in a few months, so store bought flour has the germ removed, even wholemeal or whole wheat flour. They make white flour and add some bran back in and then call it ‘whole’. Truly whole flour will say stoneground on the label.

Some people will say they can’t stand whole wheat bread. I think that’s because they’ve tasted it when it’s gone rancid. It has a very strong and bitter taste that you can’t ignore. Fresh flour just tastes good!

We got our mill as a wedding present from Darren’s parents. Our model is called the Hawos Billy 100. It was made in Germany. We love it as it’s very simple to use and can be used to make any flour from grains and even dry legumes like peas. I think you have to be cautious though, as foods with lots of oils will clog the stone. You can see the Hawos website by clicking here.

The above photo shows about how much I make at one time. Those two containers will make around 12-15 loaves of bread. This can last anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on how often I bake.

The quality of flour and bread is amazing… I really encourage you to go for it if you are considering getting a mill of your own. You get many more nutrients as well when it’s fresh, as vitamins break down as flour ages.

Read Full Post »

We’ve been trying really hard to save many the last few months. Things have a way of popping up when you least expect them and sometimes it can feel like you only barely come to the surface for a breath before dipping below the surface again. I’ve needed to go see the dentist, Girl needed a new car seat, I bumped into someone’s car with my car in the car park, so we had to pay an insurance bill and Darren has needed to see the physio for his back. All of these things add up and sometimes we feel like we will never finish our housebus. I see light at the end of the tunnel, but these are a few of the things I do to cut costs in the kitchen while keeping things highly nutritious. It really helps to keep costs down so they can go on other more urgent or important things.

1. Buy Bulk.

This would have to be the biggest saver for us. Buying things prepackaged usually increases the cost of an item. Occasionally I am surprised though. For us it’s cheaper to buy raisins and oats prepacked. But for everything else I like to find a store that keeps things in bins where I can choose how much to buy or buy a large bag that might last me a year or more. I like how everything looks in my own jars or containers, but I like the look of my pocket even more. Sometimes places like this will give you a discount for bringing your own jars too.

2. Bake your own bread.
Good, wholemeal bread can cost a fortune. Here in New Zealand you can expect to pay anywhere from $3 -$5 a loaf at the grocery store, and even more if you buy specialty breads. The way we like to make our money last is to buy bulk yeast and flour, find a good recipe and bake our own. You can find recipes that don’t take all day, and if you’re away too much, breadmakers are awesome. Here’s a loaf I made last night. Yum!

3. Eat Less Meat. Try More Legumes.

This is an easy one for us because we are vegetarian, but cutting meat even one or two days a week can make a difference. Bulk bought beans, or lentils go a long way and there are so many ways to prepare them. Try cutting half the meat in a mince or ground beef recipe and add lentils or black beans instead. If it’s the long cooking times that frustrate you, try a slow cooker or my favourite trick, the quick soak. In place of soaking overnight, bring beans to a boil and remove from the heat. Let sit two hours. Drain and cover with new water to remove the enzymes that tend to cause gas. Bring to boil and simmer until done which varies for different beans. Freeze extras for convenient beans later. Also, the more often you eat beans, your body starts digesting them better and they’ll stop giving you gas. If you’re really keen, grow your own like I did in this post last year. I’m still eating those pinto beans!

4. Shop at Closeout Stores.

You would be amazed at the deals you can find at closeout and bargain grocery shops. Their stock is always changing because they only get stuff from companies that have excess product or items that will soon expire. Last time I picked up cans of fruit for a fraction of the price and these bottles of date syrup were only $1 each. I’ve seen them at $7 before at full price. I stocked up because while sellers have to put a best buy date on items, many of these things last much longer. The date syrup is really nice on peanut butter toast or substituted for maple or honey.

5. Make a Salad for the Whole Week

Cabbages, carrots and beets can go a really long way when shredded into a salad. Toss together and pull out what you need when you need it for the next week. It doesn’t go wilty like lettuces do. Add some sunflower or pumpkin seeds, a splash of olive oil, lemon juice and salt and you have a gourmet coleslaw packing a punch with lots of vitamins and minerals.

So! Those are the top five things I like to do to cut costs while keeping it healthy. I hope they’ve given you some ideas. Let me know what tips work for you. What do you do in your kitchen to make ends meet?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: