Unique Money Saving Tip #1-Use An Unusual Inexpensive Ingredient
In the beginning when I was on my own as a single mom, 19 yrs. old no friends or family around to help, I had to figure out how to make ends meet or else we wouldn’t be able to eat-no food. There were times, more so than I like to admit, that the only food I ate was what ever the kids left on their plates. I never wanted my children to go without because they needed it more than I did. No one should have to eat & live that way. But to be honest, I was absolutely terrible with money. This was my reality for a long time. Things kept getting tighter and tighter and I never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. My life was this way till I finally decided I didn’t want to live like this anymore. The only way to change my life, was to learn everything I could about saving money.
Fast forwards to today……………………………………I am one frugalista, that’s for sure. If there is a good deal, I will find it, you can be sure of that. No, I don’t ever DUMPSTER dive or do anything embarrassing like the people on tv do. There would be no way in HELL that I would do that. If there are people out there that want to do that all the power to them. I personally choose not to do that in order to save money.
Side note that I wanted to share:
Every time I get a good deal, I make it a point to share it with all my 5 kiddos, not so they will be impressed with me (but that is always nice to hear) but so they will grow up knowing how to score a good deal. As well as knowing the value of money and what you can do with just a little, if you choose too. It doesn’t need to cost you a fortune to support your family, only if you allow it too. I wouldn’t want them to ever have to live as I did way back in the day. As long as I am around, they would never need to. This also shows them that you can have a good life, even if you don’t make a lot. Having a joyful life doesn’t solely depend on having lots of money.Having a large family of 7, in today’s expensive society, is a huge challenge. So for all the families out there doing it everyday with a family as large as mine or bigger, my hats off to you. I know just how hard it is to have healthy meals on the table with minimal expense. Because of my frugalness, it’s one of the main reasons I am able to stay home. I am able to make a little stretch a lot. We are comfortable now, which has been a long time coming. Why are we doing as well as we are? Because of 2 things: Jason’s hard work & all that he does AND because my hard work taking care of the house, kids, & scoring the amazing deals that I do. Like scoring a free CSA for 17 weeks saving $824.00 (family size share). It’s a team effort, and we make one hell of a team, if I do say so myself!Over the course of this month (which I am hoping to continue with after the month is over), I will be talking about budgeting, couponing, meal planning, saving $ by EATING HEALTHY, freezer cooking as well as other topics. To be honest, there are so many sites that talk about all of the above, that I don’t feel the need to go into detail and repeat what they already wrote. Instead, I will be sharing how I put it all together, making it work for my large family of 7.
Tonight, I wanted to start with you one of my best tips that I ever came up with. I kinda stumbled upon this and developed it into a workable tip that would fit any family no matter the DIET or the size of your family.
So, you want to know what is one of my secret tip is for saving money with groceries????????
Tip #1- Use An Unusual Inexpensive Ingredient & Highlight It
**Now before you say anything, I know sometimes ethnic foods can cost a bit of money. And I know people want to eat in season, but if you hear me out, this tip may help a little with your grocery budget.**Years ago, when I lived in a Spanish community, everything was different than what I was used to, especially the food. I was interested in how they spent a little and made a ton of food, delicious yummy food. So, I would always watch, listen, and take it all in. When I was finally on my own, I remembered how little they spent for their amazing meals. That’s when I decided to try my hand at making some Spanish foods. Nothing came out and I stopped trying anything.
Years later, we are living in our house and I have a massive kitchen. I knew it was time to try my idea about different ethnic cultures and their foods. Once again I started with Spanish foods. Instead of trying to mimic all the dinners that I used to see being made, I decided to pick a food and based my meal around that. I went out in search of cheap ingredient ideas and that’s when I came across the cheapest ingredient, but wasn’t sure how to cook with it other than frying it. With a little research I came numerous ideas I was ready to start working with them. I found 2 ingredients that weren’t common to people where I live and even so, the items where rather cheap to work. And behold, my tip was born**Start by researching different cultures that feed their families on much less than we do. For example, I picked Dominican foods to start simply because that’s what I was used to from living in a Spanish community. If you have never been exposed to any other cultures quickly look online for help. The next foods I plan on trying out, will be from Africa. I love how they use their greens such as collards, among other things. Now, if you want to just eat in season, then this tip isn’t for you. But if you want to experiment a little and save money at the same time, then read on. Sometimes just sometimes, you can’t afford the organic in season produce. I can’t always afford that but in my opinion if you eat fruits and veggies instead of corn syrup products, even though they aren’t organic its still a better choice than corn syrup. You shouldn’t feel guilty or bad if you can’t go the organic route. As long as you making healthier choices (if that’s your goal) that don’t include sugary things, then you should still feel good about your choices. To many times I have seen blogs and people get so caught up in the organic route that they end up losing their message in all their judgements. **Remember these are my thoughts and the choices I make for my family. If someone has something to add to this discussion, then I WELCOME it. But I don’t want to hear the judgements from my statements above. We need to start encouraging each other instead of always bashing & judging one another****I started with Plantains & Yuccu Root. Plantains at me local store was anywhere from $.20 to $.50 each. If you live near a Spanish store, you will pay much less. The Yucu root I have paid between $1.25- $2.00 for it. With either option, you are still paying way less than you would for other produce that was in season**
Plantains can be used for breakfast, lunch, dinners, snacks, or even desserts. Depending on how you want to make it. I decided that this last time, I would make desserts with it. For less than $2 I was able to make enough desserts to feed my entire family. All I did was make a homemade dough, filled each one with plantains, cinnamon, brown sugar, a few other spices….viola homemade hand pies highlighting plantains. Recipe is below…..For the Yuccu Root, after I took the skin off (which can be hard at first but it does get easier), I tried just boiling it. My kids loved it so much they ate everything up. We all agreed, that it tastes like butter, but just warning you, it is a little stringy like a banana. As long as that texture doesn’t bother you, you will be fine. I also put another recipe up just in case anyone wants to try these foods. **I also included in the general information on how to prepare each item so everyone know how to handle them from beginning to end at consumption.**
Before anyone asks me, yes these 2 ingredients are healthy for you. I am including some information about these 2 items since they aren’t everyday items that people would use. Below is some quick facts for you…………. There isn’t any excuse on trying these new foods, since you can have dinner & dessert made for around $5 which feed my family of 7. Told you, its a great way to try new things and feed your family healthy whole foods, while saving money. It can’t get better than that. So go ahead, it’s your turn……………………………….
Plantains have a number of internal health benefits. Plantains, like bananas, are a quick source of energy, according to HealthGuidance.org. Plantains can ease symptoms of a variety of ailments, including arthritis, gout, anemia, allergies, kidney stones, tuberculosis and urinary disorders. They promote digestion. And because plantains enhance calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen retention, they can assist the regeneration of healthy tissue.
Plantains are used in a variety of skin treatments. They are a commonly used as an anti-wrinkle treatment, according to HealthGuidance.org. Mash a quarter of a plantain and spread it on the face for 15 to 20 minutes daily. To treat skin allergies, mix a plantain with a cup of milk and drink it two to three times daily. Plantain peels can be used to treat warts; press the inside of the peel against the wart and tape it in place. When the peel turns black, remove it and repeat until the wart is gone. To treat poison ivy, apply the inside of a peel to the rash.
According to HealthGuidance.org, plantains are a mood enhancer because they contain the amino acid tryptophan. They can also help people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder. Plantains are high in magnesium and potassium, which can help the body and mind deal with the symptoms of withdrawal from a habit-forming substance.
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/
Yucca root contains resveratrol. Resveratrol is a natural phytoalexin has proven antioxidant properties that protect the body from damage caused by oxidation. Oxidation produces free radicals that can lead to an increased potential for conditions such as heart disease. Yucca roots can help stop the buildup of oxygen free radicals, and prevent blood vessel damage.
The high saponin content of yucca roots allow its extract to dissolve in water and oil, notes Drug Digest. Once in the stomach, these saponin particles attach to cholesterol, and can assist to prevent the body from absorbing it. This allows cholesterol to easily be expelled from the body as bile. More cholesterol in your bile means less cholesterol in your bloodstream.
Best Chiquita Plantain Tarts Recipe Taken From Http://Www.Chiquitabananas.Com/Banana-Recipes/Plantain-Tarts-Recipe.Aspx
- 2 unbaked prepared pie crust sheets ( I made me own)
- 2 small, very ripe Chiquita® Plantains (peel should be mostly or all black)
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- 1 Egg, beaten
Best Chiquita Plantain Tarts Recipe
Peel the plantains and using both hands give a twist make like 4 pieces and then try to make smaller pieces. Place the plantains in 4 cups of water, when the chicken is cooked add the plantains with the water. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Peel the potatoes, cut yucca and potatoes in small pieces, add to the pot. Let it cook for 10 minutes.In a nonstick pan make sofrito. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat, add chopped tomato, onion, green pepper, red pepper, minced garlic and a sprig of thyme, sprinkle with 1/4 tablespoon salt. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add cumin, saffron, and yellow color. When sofrito is ready, add it to the pot, stir mix all the ingredients. Let it cook for an additional 5 minutes, turn the heat off, add cilantro.
What is a unique ingredient that you use in your recipes?