I have never loved summer. I love camping and gardening. But other than that, I rejoice when Fall arrives.
Here in the Bulkley Valley, Fall arrives in a day. And is gone as quickly as it came. Winter is settling in. A few light dustings of snow these past few days and we are in mitts/toques/scarves/boots season. Of course, my daughters love it and squeel the second a few snowflakes float down. My husband has prepped us with wood for the winter. I put away the patio furniture and winterized the garden (the best I could).
But I welcome Winter. There is something about hearty meals, the warmth of the oven baking something-or-other, the smell of snow in the air that reminds me of what matters.
I have become more and more frugal. Managing a family can do this to you. I spend less money on myself. I buy practical, useful, durable things. I ensure the girls have everything they need and a few extras. And for my home, I keep it simple.
I have tried over the past few years to be more content with what I have. I am a list-maker. I am always making lists of things we need or can make or can find. But I review my lists and think "do we really NEED that?" Every so often, we do buy something we simply want. And then it is worth it. It feels like a treat.
I am also frugal in the kitchen. I do not like wasted food. And it seems so easy and convenient to throw food in the garbage/landfill.
Winter makes it easier to "use up" what's left in the fridge. Root vegetables have a longer storage life and can easily be added to soups, stews, and roasted dishes. On the weekends, I do a Food Inventory to see what we have and what we need. I plan the next week of meals around it. If we are planning something last minute, it is planned around what is in the fridge. We have lots of cabbage and brocolli- stir fry it is! It is easy to adjust to this method and saves on food waste. Here are some of my other frugal food tips to avoid waste in the kitchen:
- when prepping vegetables like carrots and onions, place the peels and ends in a freezer bag or container. Save in the freezer for making stock at a later date
- save ends of bread in freezer for making your own breadcrumbs
- when making a roast or chicken, plan the stock and soup you make the next day and you will have meals of what I call "free food" (chicken bones, vegetable ends, and water equals the best chicken stock you can find)
- save vegetable stalks and cores from brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc to put in pureed soups
- use up the last bits of plain yoghurt and sour cream for a veggie dip (3 parts plain yoghurt, 1 part sour cream or mayo and s&p to taste, add chopped herbs too)
- make your own salad dressing/vinaigrette
- make your own granola (my recipe will be posted soon)
- bake - so many people say they can't bake or don't have time. I will post my 30 minute muffins for you to show you ANYONE can bake wholesome muffins in very little time. Or you can get your kids to do it like I do! AND, it means you have a good snack for their lunch that isn't highly processed from a factory (have you read the ingredients of a Nature Valley granola bar?)
- plan your meals ahead- hands down, the best money, time, and food saving tip. First, decide on the day you will do the bulk of your shopping. Then plan your menu for the next 7 days. Make a list of what you need to make those meals plus your regular staples. Buy just what you need for your menu and regular staples. Stick to your menu and use your leftovers for lunches.