Home Economics

Discussion in 'The Home Front Woman' started by desi_de_lu_lu, May 22, 2008.

  1. Catarina

    Catarina New in Town

    Dirty Brooklyn
    I'm so glad this thread got bumped to the top, as i am having A LOT of trouble with this... We spend over $500 per month on groceries for a family of 2 :eek: Because we are only 2 and both eat small portions i cannot seam to buy variety without things getting spoiled. Just Sunday i went to the supermarket and 1 of the zuchinis i bought is already completely rotten. It's only Tuesday! Why are you rotten already you evil zuchini? :( It is very frustrating since most of the food i buy is fresh vegetables, and so much money and food is wasted this way. Also, a lot of times i find myself exhausted after a supermarket trip (which always happens late, after a tiring day), and instead of portioning meat/fish in "couple portions" to freeze i "save it for tomorrow", then things slowly make their way to the back of the fridge until i find them, ruined, 1 week later "oh! thats right! thiiiis chicken!" aee aee aee...
    what positivelypinup said on the first page about not going to the market hungry is great advice, it certainly curbs all sorts of quick hunger fix impulse buys. i've also purchased these vegetable storing bags that help produce keep fresh longer (if only i remembered to used them :rage: ). they do work, i'll look for the name tomorrow.
    what do you wise ladies suggest to help plan meals? i wish i knew how to re use similar ingredients in different recipes, since cooking for 2 birdies leaves lots of ingredient leftovers
    (can you smell my desperation with this matter? hehe)
  2. Tishkaminx

    Tishkaminx One of the Regulars

    If i cook up a load of veggies (stir fried or roasted) I can use them in many ways. I might cook up onions, mushrooms, corguettes, carrots and peppers.

    -Add fajita seasoning and chicken (or crumbled feta) and do in wraps or add seasoning to a tin of tomatoes for a sauce (if you are avoiding the bread)
    - Add to whisked eggs and make a large omlette- I usually serve with nice sausages or gamon steaks
    - Add chinese spices and some soy sauce and serve with meat (maybe do the meat in a bit of hoi dsin sauce) maybe throw in some fresh ginger and bean sprouts
    -Vegetable soup! Add stcok cubes to water and then add veg. This can be customised many ways.

    These are just a few things off the top of my head. I find that if you keep your larder stocked with herbs and spices and sauces yuo can make just about anything.

    My biggest tip for managing my money is to have regukar ebay sales. I dug up an old bovril jat out of my garden a few years ago and sold it on ebay for £5.00! I seem to be able to scrounge about £50.00 form my old junk regularly. I'm planning a huge sale of steampunk/gypsy clothes and some real Victorian and 1920's pieces i might part with- my beau inherited the lot when a freind died and I'm gussing there will be at least £300-400 there.. when i get round to it.
  3. Drappa

    Drappa One Too Many

    Hampshire, UK
    Some of the vegetables we buy are frozen and apparently they are better than fresh ones, as they get frozen just after harvest, whereas "fresh" ones from the supermarket lose nutrients the longer they sit around.
    I also just started to get groceries delivered, and apart from the delivery charge, I find it saves us money because there are no impulse purchases or things you wouldn't have bought but do because you walk past them.
    We also get organic vegetables delivered once a week in a box for two people, and not only does it make us eat things we wouldn't have normally eaten, but we waste less because we try to use it all.
    Having groceries delivered also cuts out the stress of shopping and bagging and queuing up.
  4. Puzzicato

    Puzzicato One Too Many

    Is it OK to mention my blog on here? I did this post a few months ago on the re-using things in different ways question.

    I tend to have a few dishes in mind that I will make through the week, for example chilli one night and then a stirfry or noodle soup the next night, so I know the bunch of coriander (cilantro) and the lime will get used up without getting sick of one cuisine. I look for flavours that work across several different dishes, so I know half an eggplant can be roasted to go with lamb & hummus, and half can be chopped into a caponata or ratatouille.
  5. Foofoogal

    Foofoogal Banned

    Vintage Land
    Coming from a large family I could easily teach classes on this.

    If you have any extra room at all a freezer is your friend. Buy meat and seperate yourself with white freezer paper. Buy specials only.
    Look always at price per pound on meat. Check to make sure price listed is price per pound also. Amazing how many times I catch them in this.
    I buy mainly frozen veggies also when there is a special. I do of course buy fresh in season.
    You really need to separate the meat as soon as you get home though you say you are tired. Possibly get out all the paper, tape etc. before you go to the shop and put it on counter in squares to wrap.

    As we are empty nesters sometimes it truly is cheaper to go out to eat when restaurants are having specials.

    I thought this thread was about Home Economics. I also took 4 years of that in high school and loved it. Just the other day I chatted with a Home Economics teacher though they do not call it that anymore. I was amazed they even still have it.
  6. Miss Sis

    Miss Sis One Too Many

    I think the problem is that there is not *enough* Home Ec taught these days - and I mean for both boys AND girls.

    Although it really helps if you were bought up to cook and be inventive with ingredients, having it taught to you is such a help. My mother is a very frugal lady but she didn't teach me to cook. I've kind of 'found my way' myself and learnt as I've gone along. I did have HE classes at school, so that helped me on my way. It constantly surprises me there are people who have no clue how to cook healthy, balanced meals from scratch, or even cook extremely basic things. To me, it's a life skill that's WORTH teaching.

    I agree that prices are rising and any tips for making a £ or $ do the distance is worth reading!
  7. vintage_jayhawk

    vintage_jayhawk One of the Regulars

    Expat in the Caribbean
    Well put, Miss sis. My mother has been a Home Ec teacher (or Family and Consumer Science, as they call it these days) for 30+ years and her enrollment is dwindling every year. She teaches both the cooking and sewing side of things, and there is basically no interest from HS age girls or boys to learn basic cooking and sewing skills. I took a lot of her classes in HS (mostly so she could keep an eye on me ;) ) but I'm glad to have learned that stuff.
    :eek:fftopic: These days I especially like having access to the school's sewing room when it's time for projects!
  8. Amy

    Amy New in Town

    London, UK
    I absolutely agree. I try to never waste food, -adding ingredients to dishes rather than throwing them out. Mushrooms, peppers or scraps of leftover cooked meat make a welcome addition to most pasta dishes, for example, and the odds-and-ends of the fridge can be used up in a casserole, risotto, soup or pizza, -all of which can be frozen for use later, should you so desire. I also try to make use of all ingredients that come my way. If I have a whole chicken, I might separate the breasts and legs (perhaps for use as chicken kievs and BBQ drumsticks), then cook up the rest to make a risotto (adding dried mushrooms and wine for flavour), using the bones to make the stock. At least three meals from the one bird. It's what my grandmother would have done, and I'm sure it would have tasted fabulous!
  9. Donna/Dante

    Donna/Dante New in Town

    Alexandria, Virginia
    I make a lot of stuff from "scratch". We do not buy ready-made bread, rolls, etc. I do have a breadmaker, and that helps out with the dough, everything is baked off in the oven, 'cuz we like bread-shaped bread & rolls. ;)

    I have a sizeable garden and yes, I can and preserve as much as I can. There's nothing quite like going out to the yard and harvesting something that ends up on the table later that day. :) Also, my husband and I are officially spoiled by homemade tomato paste & ketchup.

    To be honest, I do all this more out of a desire to know exactly where my food's coming from and what's in it, than economic factor. We have chosen to do without things like magazine subscriptions, etc, to justify spending <i>more</i> on food than the average consumer. On the other hand, we buy very little processed food, and don't eat out much (perhaps once a month, if that).

    Taking the time to cook things like beans from their dried form saves a lot of money. If you invest in a pressure cooker saucepan, you can cook dried beans a lot faster. And dried beans are rather less expensive than canned.

    My .50 cents or so,


    Oh, and to add: I did not grow up with someone who liked to cook and/or sew. My mum, may she rest in peace, cooked because she had to, not because she wanted to, and couldn't sew on a button. I've been sewing since aged 8 and cooking since High school. I took home ec in jr. high and highschool and loved it. I'm definitely a "purple" sheep in my family.
  10. Joie DeVive

    Joie DeVive One Too Many

    I think I may have a few suggestions. My Mom often said I could pinch a nickel until the buffalo hollered! lol I shop for my husband and myself on $25 a week. And yes, that's all breakfasts, lunches, snacks and 6 dinners. (I get one night off!) And no, we don't just eat beans and rice.

    Here are a few suggestions:
    • Read the store ads and try to shop the sales.
    • If you have more than one store nearby, use the sales at different stores.
    • Make a list before you go.
    • Actually, if you have trouble using stuff, before you shop. make a weekly menu using the ads, then you'll have figured out how to use what you buy.
    • Try to be flexible on brands. We all have our favorites, but with sales and coupons, it can make a big difference in price, especially with store brands.
    • If you can, use coupons. Places that double them are a bonus, add them to sales for big savings.
    • Foo Foo Gal is right about buying bigger packages of meat, dividing them and freezing them.
    • Limit your meat consumption. Most Americans eat too much meat anyway. A serving should be the size of a deck of cards. Consider doing one vegetarian night a week.
    • Limit the beverages you buy. *This is a biggie* Soft drinks eat into your budget and add inches to your waistline with no nutritional value. Drink more water.
    • Decide on a budget and shop in cash with only that amount.
    • Know before you get to the register about how much you expect to pay. This way you can catch mistakes that cost you.

    I hope this helps! :D
  11. Amy

    Amy New in Town

    London, UK
    Yes! Pressure cookers cook EVERYTHING faster, so if your worry is that cooking from scratch takes more time, this could be for you! I swear it's genius!

    ...On the other end of the scale, I also like to put something in the slow cooker in the morning, so it's ready to eat when I get home. Then I'm not tempted to waste money on getting food delivered because I'm too tired to cook.
  12. Scarlet Belle

    Scarlet Belle Familiar Face

    Helen...Im going to make this Potato soup tonight!! YUM YUM! And I know you wrote this a long time ago, but I have quite an infatuation with Norway and I would love to try your fish cake recipe if you would share it!! :)
  13. Scarlet Belle

    Scarlet Belle Familiar Face

    Hahahaha...this really made me laugh! My hubby does this a lot, but unfortunately he would rather go hungry than cook his own dinner. When I get that response, I just go ahead and make dinner as usual, because he usually DOES get hungry once he starts smelling things wafting from the kitchen. lol lol lol lol
  14. Puzzicato

    Puzzicato One Too Many

    I've never heard that expression before! It is brilliant!
  15. Amy

    Amy New in Town

    London, UK
    Joie de Vivre, I think you've really summed it up when it comes to shopping and food. I'm off to implement the things you've mentioned that I don't already do. I think that the same principles can apply to any shopping (using price comparison websites, googling voucher codes for things before you buy, etc..) Thank you for your advice! :)
  16. velvetongue

    velvetongue Familiar Face

    New York
    For fresh vegetables, I usually cook them the day that I buy them. On Sunday I cook a large meal -- for me about 5 servings, since I live alone. I eat that steadily throughout the week until Wednesday, when I cook another large meal and eat that until the weekend. I rarely buy meats and freeze them since I tend to forget about them in the freezer. I buy some things fresh (spinach, leafy vegetables, salads) and I buy some things frozen (corn, peas, etc). I also try to make versatile things that I can combine in different ways throughout the week -- roasted vegetables, steamed vegetables, etc -- and based on how they are seasoned they can taste like different meals from day to day. Paying attention to what's in season vegetable-wise, and I only buy lean cuts of meat but in small amounts, using meat as an accent rather than a main dish. I cook 2x a week and go grocery shopping 2x a week, and so far that has worked out OK. I hope that helps!
  17. Miss sofia

    Miss sofia One Too Many

    East sussex, England
    I have found that i have saved a lot of money and waste by trying to plan my meals everyday for my son and i. I usually cook a roast on sunday and make sure i buy a large chicken or joint so we can have say curry the next day, sandwiches, bubble and squeak with the leftovr veg, etc, I also make stock from the chicken or soup which i freeze, so there is always a standby meal of sorts knocking about. I have actually found it cheaper to go to our local butcher and buy what i need for each meal, instead of just randomly chucking stuff into a trolley and impulse buying in the supermarket. I have to agree with the other ladies who said about frozen vegetables, i just buy basics, potatoes, salad etc from our local market which is very cheap and the rest i buy frozen, frozen mixed berries are also good too for puddings and i also buy those in bulk when they are on special offer. Tinned fruit in juice is always good for standby puddings, any fruit with some mixed spice and a crumble topping is a winner. I always stock up on rice and pasta too when it is on special offer, one trick my grandma in Italy told me was to always have some fresh parmesan in the fridge, garlic, chilli and some herbs. I know Parmesan is expensive and i'm lucky because my family visit regularly and bring me a brick of it, but even when i have had no food in the house or very little money to buy any with, you can make a great supper dish by just having risotto or pasta with butter and parmesan and herbs, or spaghetti with garlic, olive oil and chilli. I do miss the convenience of the supermarket, but with things being so tight at the moment, i have to be thrifty, but it does reap dividends. Thanks for all your great advice as usual ladies x
  18. Miss Crisplock

    Miss Crisplock A-List Customer

    Long Beach, CA
    Ah, the wonders of the Slow Cooker

    Crock Pot Joy: The blog: A Year of Slow Cooking is an inspiration, and the blogger now has a book of the 366 meals. There is a focus on Gluten-free meals, frugality and slight use of cream of mushroom soup.

    Best thing I found for the crock pot: disposable liners. THESE THINGS ROCK! Instead on baked on side crust, you just pop the 3/4 of the receipt in freezer bags, put them in the deep freeze for future use, and throw away the bag.
    This way I cook 4 meals every time I use the thing (off-setting the plastic use) and get a fabulous home cooked meal for a decent price.
    Hawaiian Tri-tip, lord have mercy.

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