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Becoming More DIY

I have learned through my 60 years on this earth that not everything that is good is easy. Rewards come to those that wait or work hard for what they get. This holds true with food. I am single but now helping to raise my 16 year old granddaughter with my son, who is unemployed. So my food budget is stretched sometimes, more often than not. However my pantry is full, we have plenty of good food in our cupboards and freezer. Living frugal doesn't have to mean living poor!
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Recently I found jellied cranberry sauce at my local canned food warehouse store on closeout for 6 cans for $1! Without batting an eye, I picked up a case of 24 cans and put it in my cart. So for $4 I have enough canned cranberry sauce to cook with and use as ingredients for a crockpot chicken and Thanksgiving for a very long time. I always comb my canned food warehouse for good deals every week! One time, I found Ocean Spray juices in the big bottles for Buy One Get One at $1 each. That makes each bottle $.50 a bottle not the $2.99 at the grocery store. Needless to say, I bought 24 bottles, now my granddaughter can drink juice as opposed to soda!

I have found ways to really cash in on produce that is pretty cheap in the summer months. I can some, freeze some, and dehydrate a lot. When I find sliced mushrooms on sale, I buy 8-10 packages and take them home and stick them in my dehydrator and I have mushrooms for soups and sauces for a long time. I also make my own dry Cream of Mushroom soup and Cream of Chicken soup mixes instead of paying upwards of a $1 a can. The fresh dried mushrooms make the soup rich and yummy! I have included the mix recipes below.

Being frugal is just thinking outside the box, being creative in your food buying, and taking advantage of clearance, closeouts and sales as often and as much as you can. I always allow $20 of my food budget for these type items so I can plan for the extra purchases and it won't break my budget. I also went to my local thrift store and found the two books; "Make a Mix" and "More Make a Mix" which has a huge list of easy to make convenience mixes that save a ton of money! If you can find these books, BUY THEM! They will save you a lot of money on prepackaged items which are not good for you and you will know what you are feeding your family along with saving money! If you cannot find these books, try searching the internet where many mix recipes are out there which you will find amazing!

Each of these soup mixes make approximately the equivalent of 12 cans of soup! That is a huge savings!

Cream of Mushroom Soup Mix

  • 2 cups instant non-fat dry milk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup of chopped dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup instant granulated bouillon, beef flavor
  • 4 Tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Mix all together and store in an airtight container.

Cream of Chicken Soup Mix

  • 2 cups instant non-fat dry milk
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup of chopped dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup instant granulated bouillon, chicken flavor
  • 4 Tbsp. dried minced onion
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. pepper
Mix together and store in an airtight container.

Directions

To use either mix (equivalent to one of cream soup), combine 1/3 cup of soup mix with 1 1/4 cups water. Combine water and soup mix in saucepan. Heat on medium heat until thickened and/or mushrooms are soft and soup is creamy. Use as you would a canned soup and add it to recipes or serve with crackers! YUM!

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August 20, 20161 found this helpful

Thanks for the recipes, I will definitely look for the two books. Great article!!!

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August 22, 20161 found this helpful

You will love the recipes and I think you may find you will never purchase those cream of something soups again. The books are a great resource for many other things you can make for a fraction of the cost of the ready made products from the grocery store. It is also much more healthy and you know what ingredients are in them.

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Anonymous
September 18, 20160 found this helpful

Thought I would share with you my Irish family's recipe for potato soup. Might sound odd to the non Irish, LOL, but it's not only awesome, it's one of the most economical meals I know. Just peel and dice as many potatoes as you want. Also peel and chop about the same amount of onion (yellow or white look better, but any kind will do.) Cover the vegetables with milk and cook on the stove top without boiling the soup until they are tender, adding salt and pepper to your taste. It usually takes quite a bit of salt and pepper because potatoes are bland. So yummy.

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Anonymous
September 24, 20160 found this helpful

What stores do you shop at? We must not have any...

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August 21, 20161 found this helpful

What great ideas and thanks so much for the recipes, I will try them.

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August 22, 20161 found this helpful

You are so welcome! I hope you will find them not only more economical, but great tasting too! I appreciate you comments!

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August 23, 20161 found this helpful

Thanks for the soup recipes, so easy and will be much better than those pale jelly-like canned soups! I am going to try and find those books you mentioned too!

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August 24, 20161 found this helpful

These recipes are amazing and actually taste better than the canned versions. The books are soft cover larger books and I have seen many of them in our local thrift stores here in my area so you should not have too much trouble finding them. There are several websites which have a lot of the mix recipes too. You might want to try Budget101.com. They have the largest list of MYO mixes on the web!

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August 28, 20160 found this helpful

Great stuff, Sandy! Two questions: What and where do you find canned food warehouse stores?, and do you have any idea how long the mixes for the soups will store? This would be a good food for prepping if it lasts a considerable time! Thanks

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August 30, 20160 found this helpful

Hi Lonnie!

Out here in the west they are called "Grocery Outlets". I would do a search for that name on google and even if they don't have them in your area, you should come up with a few options. They are pretty common to find. I put my soup mixes in those big 64oz wide mouth canning jars and seal it with a tight fitting lid. The longest I have managed to keep them on the shelf is about 6 months. But I have no doubt they would last longer up to a year I would guess. I use these a lot so mine never last more than a couple of months.

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