2/6/11

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

I’ve posted before about Meal Planning and challenging myself to use what I have.  I’ve learned that necessity really is the mother of invention and that so long as I didn’t really *have to* get creative I would avoid exercising my brain and fail to really use up what I have on hand.  I would justify those little things like “oh I really need a can of mushrooms to make this recipe so I’ll pick up a can of mushrooms.

With less money coming in and more money going out, I have less available to purchase groceries.   I actually went two weeks without going to the grocery store.  Yes I usually shop once a week and sometimes in between those weekly stops, my honeybear would stop for me to get that “one little thing” that I had forgotten that I just simply had to have to make a particular recipe.

Guess what?  This week, when I had NO mushrooms, I still made the recipe!  I just didn’t include mushrooms.  I did have celery and bell peppers (neither of which the recipe called for) and I used those and it was GOOD.  

I was nearly out of milk and very tempted to ask my husband to stop and get milk (ok.. I *did* call him but together with the children we found something to cook for dinner that did NOT require milk and was NOT soup).   He did call me as he was leaving and ask me if he should stop and get milk.  I said “well, I don’t know what we’ll make for breakfast but having milk for breakfast would be nice.”  

But we were so close to the end of the week.  We knew we would be buying milk and a few other groceries so we decided that we would find *something* that didn’t require milk for breakfast.

I could have gone another week without going to the grocery store. I didn’t have to but I was greatly limited to what I could spend ($36).   This pretty much meant picking up perishables and absolute necessities like toilet paper.  We purchased rice, flour, milk, cheese, 2 cans of mushrooms (that felt like a luxury!) a jar of olives (that *is* a luxury!) bread, toilet paper, mac & cheese (I cannot make home made for less than 50 cents.  I spent $1 on two boxes of mac & cheese!) two boxes of Apple Cinnamon Jiffy muffin mix.  (Cheaper than cereal and a nice change from the hot cereal we’ve been eating.)

It will be much easier to go one week, instead of two with NO trips to the grocery store.  I suspect that I’ll still have to get creative but I’m thankful that I was able to replenish some supplies!

I find it much easier to be creative when I have the following items on hand:

  1. carrots--- great for soups or chopped tiny in a casserole
  2. celery—adds flavor and bulk to casseroles and soups
  3. onions--- a nice way to add flavor!
  4. potatoes--- having these on hands opens up so many possibilities for meals!
  5. cheese—I prefer having both cheddar and mozzarella… I have some of both this week!
  6. milk (I’m thinking I need to pick some powdered milk up for the pantry for those times when I run out of milk but can’t go to the store. 
  7. rice
  8. pasta
  9. flour
  10. canned tomatoes

I am sitting very well this week, even if I don’t have my “favorites”.   Not only will my family NOT go hungry, I think we’ll actually have some great meals!

What are some of your “need to have on hand” items?   If you couldn’t get to the store for a week, would you be able to feed your family?

(This entry is submitted to the Blog Carnival  The Christian Home hosted by Mrs. White at  The Legacy Of Home and appears in Issue 2)

6 comments:

  1. Tortillas. We can live for days on cheese and tortillas. Carrots, Onions, Celery and rice and I can usually whip something up. I keep powdered an boxed milk in the cupboard. My boys don't drink alot of milk ,so it is not always a sure thing that it will be good. ;)

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  2. I'm not your newest follower. :) I would love for you to follow me back at http://wendy-homeschoolingblessings.blogspot.com.

    I am an expert at scraping together something for us to eat when we don't make it to the grocery store! I hate grocery shopping, and we don't have a "regular" grocery shopping day. We go when the pantry is bare and it's absolutely necessary. :P

    It's a skill all moms should perfect! :D

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  3. I don't like grocery shopping (or the money it costs), either. Most of our store runs are for milk (our kids do drink a lot of milk but they are all still pretty young).

    I agree with your staples list and Angie's tortillas. I would add eggs, whole wheat flour, cornmeal (the kids love to have cornmeal pancakes for dinner), canned tuna (you can add it to your mac and cheese), nuts (usually walnuts, adds protein and crunch), and whatever fruit is on sale super cheap.

    Necessity is the mother of invention, and yes, I am more creative when I'm low on food.

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  4. I hate to pick, but why aren't you making muffins from scratch rather than buying a mix? :P

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  5. I don't like to be without onions, garlic and mushrooms. Our family has been surviving on what others in the extended family buy or get for us. We haven't gone to the grocery store in a while. But when I do go I HATE going without my coupons. It drives me batty to know I could get something for well under the price I end up paying if I had just brought the coupon. That reminds me I need to get updated on my coupons.

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  6. Hi

    Came accross your blog through Legacy of Home x

    We always have lots of potatoes (or spuds as we like to call them here in Devon, UK)

    We have them mashed, in their skins (jackets) sliced and baked with milk and cheese, roasted, boiled and wedges.

    Throw in some frozen mixed veg which we can pick up quite cheap here, and we usually add bacon, ham, sausages, tuna, egg mayo and more than often as they are so cheap - baked beans.

    Blessings x

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