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My Frugal Life: In The Kitchen

In our culture, we have tended to be almost disdainful of our abundance, as shown by our great tendency to waste, just because we can. Not long ago, I was wondering what I would do differently in the kitchen if we had to survive on rationed amounts of food, as my parents' families had to during WWII. I consider myself pretty frugal, but there are certainly areas I could improve in. Some of them would include running vegetable peelings through the stock pot before discarding, saving all vegetable cooking water for soups and sauces and deglazing all pans that had something roasted in them.

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Some of the things that are a given in my kitchen are drying all leftover bread ends, waffles, muffins, etc., for bread crumbs (I do this in the food processor and use the crumbs for meat loaves or home-made shake-and-bake), making meals without a specific recipe but rather with what the leftovers in the fridge dictate, cooking from scratch, baking from scratch, buying bulk and freezing the unused portions in manageable sizes, avoiding all commercial spice mixtures and thereby eliminating MSG and other unpronounceables as well as the hefty price tag, eating leftovers, scraping the pots and bowls with a rubber spatula (you wouldn't take a 1/4 cup of something off the top and throw it out either!) evaluating the "convenience" of convenience foods (if you can combine the package ingredients with 3 or 4 others, you can probably follow a scratch recipe with a couple of additional steps) and taking any restaurant leftovers home.

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For anyone who is not so comfortable in the kitchen, I would suggest tackling one area at a time. Take, for example, muffins. Make a few different recipes and you will quickly see that there are only a couple of basic steps involved in each recipe: mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, mix together and bake. Not rocket science and certainly nothing you need a mix for.

The bottom line, I guess, is to rethink our attitudes and the economic downturn is forcing us in that far-better direction. Remember that every dollar saved is worth more than an extra dollar earned because you are taxed on the latter. Someone once said that every time we waste, we are insulting those many millions who don't have enough to eat. We view being frugal not as a means to horde, but as a means to be generous with our abundance.

By Dorothy from Edmonton, AB, Canada

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March 25, 20090 found this helpful

You said it all! Great post!

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March 25, 20090 found this helpful

All so true! My kids love chocolate chip mini muffins that cost around 1.60 per little pack. I made about 48 mini muffins the other morning for less than $1.60!

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March 27, 20090 found this helpful

I couldn't agree more!

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March 28, 20090 found this helpful

Awesome post. I like the idea of boiling vegetable products. I am now making our own bread and some convenient meals. We are even going to have a garden this year. Times are tough and any ways to save are welcome.

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March 28, 20090 found this helpful

Your last sentence says it all; a truly heartwarming post.

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