'One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating'. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story
Today was grocery shopping day. My grocery budget has practically halved - this brings out the practical creatice side in me. It takes time to plan out menu's, and to draw up a thorough costed out shopping list. Then at the supermarket, I check the weights against the prices and compare brands to get a good deal. Green-grocers don't always have the best deals on vegetables, as supermarkets can buy in bulk & have very good deals. I don't live close to an organic supplier, but the bulk of our veges in summer are from our own organic vegetable garden anyway.
On countless days I have thanked, no praised the Lord for his provision and my passion/ability for cooking. I come from a line of good home cooks, so enjoyed many happy memories of my mother and nana baking and making jam etc. My nana also made all her own clothes and knitted her jerseys, stitched together rag rugs, boiled up her washing in a copper, and continued to mow her own lawn, right up until her 80's..what a trooper ! She was a fiery little sweety :)
Over the many years while the children were at home, I manged to serve up budget meals that were still delicous and nutricious...and learnt a variety of techniques out of necessity. If I couldn't make it, we didn't get to eat it.
I've been reading thru various blogs lately related to people 'prepping' for lean times and alternative lifestyle 'homesteader' sites. One of my favourite ones, for those who are truly finding themselves 'pinching pennies' is the Prudent Homemakers blog.
Here's the link to this lady's wonderful, encouraging and practical blog:
So anyway, back to grocery shopping, this week I decided to check out 'dried milk', as many blogs suggest its cheaper, and I discovered it is. One regular 3 litre (3000 ml) container of milk - the cheapest brand in New Zealand costs around $5.00. The cheapest brand of Powdered milk (Homebrand from Countdown), 1kg worth, will yield 10 litres of milk and costs $9.00. It mixes easily with cold water and of course you just make up what you require. I would make it up 1 litre at a time and store in a glass bottle (re-used Ocean Spray glass juice container). I also read online somewhere, if you whizz it up in a blender, that removes any lumps and makes it creamier.
You can also make yoghurt from powdered milk
3 cups cold water
1 cup hot water
1 c powdered milk
1/2 c plain yogurt (use from your last batch)
Stir the water and powdered milk until dissolved. Add the 1/2 cup of yoghurt. At this stage I pop it into my esi-yo yoghurt maker, which is really just a large plastic, insulated thermos. Instructions come with the kit, but I love it, as it uses no power, just the heat of hot water you fill it with. I wrap the container in a towel and leave overnight on the bench.
The next morning, you will have yoghurt. You can flaour it up with vanilla, if desired and or maple syrup. I just use it plain in a variety of ways.
This links below have recipes to make from your powdered milk made yoghurt, like cream cheese.
http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution.html - A usefull site with allsorts of ways to substitue in baking/cooking.
Next week I am headed into the city to do a fortnighly shop, at a larger supermarket. They have better deals, and I want to stock up on some more canned goods, and ingredients for making homemade natural cleaning products. Yes saving money, and being frugal has consumed my life.
Bye for now.