The Crock Pot is My New Best Friend

I shared my exciting job news in my last post.  While I’m ecstatic to finally be bringing home a pay check, I’m still committed to saving money.  I do not want to start spending frivolously just because my husband and I will be making more.  Thus, I’ve decided the Crock Pot is my new best friend.  It cooks while I’m away, makes plenty of food for left-overs and does not require expensive ingredients!  Perfect!  This week I’m going to cook up some Festive Black Bean Soup. It looks super tasty, healthy and not to mention easy on the wallet. Take a peek!

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STEWing it Over

Recently, I was asked to post more recipes and research cloth diapers. After stewing it over, I decided to start with the easy assignment. What do recipes have to do with saving money?  A lot.  I really decreased our food bill by planning, making lists and preparing different types of foods.  I have found that stews/soups are easy to make and usually yield left-overs. The ingredients are reasonably priced, also.

Here is a link to one of my new favorite recipes, Slow-Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew. (Hence, the title of  this post)  My husband rates it a 9/10. It’s healthy, easy to make and relatively inexpensive. Happy Cooking!

*I usually use turkey kielbasa. I also leave the spinach on the side since I’m not a big fan of leafy greens IN my soup. I’ve also added rice and chicken to make left-overs stretch further.  That’s the beauty of stew…it’s so versatile!


Eating Quaker Oats

Most money-saving blog authors advise ditching dry cereal for oatmeal since it is cheaper (not to mention HEALTHIER). I like oatmeal, so this change was not hard for me to incorporate. After eating oatmeal every day for a month, I began to wonder how much money this change was really saving. So, I did a price comparison. This is what I found.

I chose to compare Post Raisin Bran and Quaker Oats.  Here’s the math.
Post Raisin bran costs $4.49 for 12 servings.  4.49/12= $0.37 per serving x 7 (days in a week)= $2.169 per week
2.169 x 52 (weeks in a year)=$136.20

If you eat one serving of Post Raisin Bran every day for a year you will spend $136.20. (this calculation does not account for sales reductions).  Let’s face it.  Most people PROBABLY eat more than one serving of cereal daily. I’m not going to include this fact in my computations.

Quaker Oats costs $5.49 for 30 servings.  $5.49/30=$0.18 (cost per serving of Oatmeal).  $0.18 x 7 (number of days in a week)=$1.28/week.  $1.28 x 52 (number of weeks in a year)=$66.61.

If you eat one serving of Quaker Oats every day for a year, you will spend $66.61.

Switching to Quaker Oats could save $69.58 cents per year.  ($136.20-66.61=$69.58)

If three people in a household switch from cold cereal to oatmeal,  that family would save $208.74/year.  ($69.58 x 3 [number of people in household]).

I think the switch is worth it.  I haven’t convinced my husband, yet 🙂  Maybe, if I show him the math…

*These calculations do not include sales tax. Items listed  are both name-brand.  Neither were on sale*


Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Due to lack of employment after our big move to NJ, I started looking up do-it-yourself recipes that could help save cash. I decided I wanted to try to make granola bars. Here are a couple of links to get you started.

Healthy Chewy Granola Bars

Chewy Granola Bars

I have found that there are a million different recipe’s out there. I’m pretty sure a chimpanzee could bake them. They are that easy! I cut my bars and store them in sandwich bags. My hubby then enjoys them at work. I’m not sure how much money this will save you, but I’m pretty sure they taste BETTER. Plus, they aren’t processed. If you want to save MORE money, skimp on the extra’s like chocolate chips, dried fruit, ect.

This is the recipe that I have used in the past. It’s pretty basic.

Chewy Granola Bars
4.5 cups of rolled oats (I often substitute one cup of rolled for steel cut)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2/3 cup butter softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
a handful or two of chocolate chips
a handful of golden raisins
a bit of coconut
(I like to improvise if you can’t tell)
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 in pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, butter or margarine, honey and brown sugar. Stir in the 2 cups of assorted chocolate. chips, raisins ect.

3. Lightly press mixture into the prepared pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 18-22 minutes. Make sure it looks golden brown before removing from oven. Cool for 10 minutes. Cut into bars. Make sure the bars are cool before removing or serving.

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Recipes That SAVE Time and Money

When I first started researching different ways to save money, I came across blogs dedicated solely to grocery shopping. People document how they only spend $25/family member a week. Others gave up meat or couponed like crazy. I’m glad I read these posts, because I gleaned some money-saving tips from them. I’m definitely not going to become vegetarian, but cutting some meat out of my diet has saved me a significant amount on groceries. I have not become an expert couponer, but I still learned how to find the lowest priced item. My motto is-Eat LESS meat, and more beans and rice. Use left-overs in different recipes. All that being said, I have cut $100 out of my monthly grocery budget.

Here a some links to recipes that have helped me accomplish this.

Crock Pot Rotisserie Style Chicken

I made this recipe last night. My husband gave it a 9 out of 10. It took about 7 minutes to prepare because I chose not to skin the chicken. I decided to let the diner do that for themselves. So, the Crock-Pot ends up doing all of the work.

Also, I always have left-overs when making a whole chicken. So, I substituted the pork in the chili recipe with the remaining bird pieces. My very wise sister also informed me that the chicken juice left in the crock-pot after the bird is cooked is officially called “chicken stock.” The chili recipe also calls for chicken stock. I consider this a win-win situation. Not only did I not have to cook more meat for my chili, I didn’t have to BUY chicken stock.

1)Winter White Chili

2)Chicken Salad with Grapes

The following recipe is a bean dish that is super easy. My husband and I could eat this every day of the week. It’s that yummy! I’ve made it with and without chicken. I’ve added a bunch of spinach leaves and tomatoes and called it a salad. It’s pretty versatile.

Rice Salad with Chicken and Beans

More money/time-saving recipes to come. Enjoy!

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*


Cooking At Home

I’ll admit it. I have never been fond of cooking. As a college student I lived on yogurt, power bars and plain bagels. I did not want to take the time to 1) decide what to prepare 2) cook 3) wash dishes. I’m sure my mother was horrified. When I got married, my husband agreed to cook if I cleaned up the mess. I decided this was a good plan.

Fast forward 3 years. My beloved started a new job, in a new state. I unfortunately had a harder time securing a job in that new state. Thus, I began cooking and grocery shopping. I also became VERY interested in saving money since I was no longer making any. Read any book, blog or article about staying out of debt and I’m sure they will INSIST that it is financially responsible to take your own lunch to work and prepare your food at home. Thus, I began the arduous task of cooking and grocery shopping. Then a funny thing happened. I actually started enjoying it.

Start cooking at home. Your wallet and waist line will thank you for it. The following “cooking” posts will include reviews of recipes that have really worked for me. Enjoy.

*This blog reflects the opinion of the author. Please understand that all information or opinions gleaned from this blog are done so at your OWN risk*