Welcome to part 4 of More Bang For Your Buck. This week I want to talk to you about baking.
I know, I know. Some of you are thinking things like “I can’t bake”, “I don’t have time to bake”, “I still haven’t figured out this high-altitude baking stuff” (oh yeah, that would be me – lol), “I have gluten issues”, “I’m low-carbing” etc, etc, etc. I’ve heard all the excuses. Heck, I’ve used all the excuses. But, if you want to save money or get rid of the unpronounceables from your food or have the yummy carby goodness without the gluten issues, then you’re going to have to address the issue of baking. *Note: If you have gluten issues you will need to look for recipes without wheat flour or other gluten grains. The ingredients will cost more than regular ingredients, but will still be cheaper than buying the items pre-made.
Let’s start by taking a look at your pantry again. What kinds of things can you find there that either were baked or require baking? That loaf of bread, corn or flour tortillas, pouches of cookie mix, refrigerator biscuits, boxes of cake mix, boxes of brownie mix. It’s ok, we’ve all probably been there. It’s called convenience. But it’s convenience with a pretty hefty price-tag. There are ways around that AND ways around all of the excuses for not baking to begin with.
Let’s take a moment to look at how baking in general can help lower your grocery bills. Baked goods are great for rounding out a meal that might otherwise be a bit skimpy. Ever heard of biscuits and gravy? A little bit of sausage goes a loooooong way made into gravy and poured over biscuits. And talk about filling! Some meals just beg for a baked item to go with it. Beans and cornbread anyone? And that cornbread can help stretch those beans a little further if need be. Baked items can also help get nutritious, but maybe not so well-liked meals into protesting tummies. I’ve been told that my grandmother would make a special dessert whenever she made a meal that the kiddos weren’t too fond of. That way they had something to look forward to.
But how do we get rid of the cost of the convenience items without feeling like we are chained to the kitchen? And how on earth can we do all this baking after working outside the home all day? Part of the answer is making your own convenience. I can spend about half a day on a Saturday and mix up cake mixes, cookie mixes, cornbread mixes, biscuit/pancake mixes, tortilla mixes, snack cake mixes, freezer cookies and more. Those mixes will last me weeks and weeks before I need to make them again. Using those mixes rarely takes any more time than using a store-bought mix or product. And all of those mixes are at least half the cost of buying them pre-made from the store. I’ll give you some links to some recipes at the end.
Now, as for that loaf of sandwich bread we all buy. Sigh. Truthfully, I’m still working on this one myself. When I lived at sea-level I had the perfect bread recipe and I could turn out perfect loaves of bread. Now? Not so much. However! I’m not giving up my quest. Why? Because I can make three loaves of plain white bread for about 50 cents a loaf with nothing but good pronounceable ingredients. I can buy 1 loaf of white bread with an arms-length long ingredient list that I can’t pronounce half of for $1.38 at my local super-duper mart. Do you see the dichotomy? Which would you prefer? I’m also looking into finding a batter bread that won’t require kneading. I wiil succeed! Eventually.
Ok here’s some tips for making baking a budget saver.
Make up a triple batch of pancakes on a Saturday morning and flash-freeze the leftovers. Pop them into the toaster or microwave for a quick breakfast during the week.
You child tells you they need 4 dozen cupcakes for their Brownie troop – tomorrow. Pull out your homemade cake mix and bake away.
You have a craving for something sweet and cookies sound great. Pull out your cookie mix and make whatever flavor cookie you want – right now. Or, pull out your freezer cookie dough and slice off just the number of cookies you want.
It’s the end of the pay period, but not yet payday and dinner is going to be a little skimpy. Mix up a batch of biscuits to round out dinner and grab a bag of mix-in-the-pan snack cake mix for dessert. Tummies will be full.
Make an extra batch of biscuits on the weekend and store in the fridge. Pull out the leftovers and reheat during the week for breakfast, or even a snack.
Make up extra tortillas (they really are easy) and store in the fridge. They make great sandwich bread alternatives. Spread a flour tortilla with butter, sprinkle on some cinnamon and sugar and heat briefly in the microwave for a yummy treat.
Save up your leftover chicken pieces and vegies and make chicken pot-pie or chicken and dumplings with your homemade biscuit mix.
Take leftover stale bread and make homemade croutons and bread crumbs. Both of these can be stored in the fridge or freezer.
Mix up some bags of “Jiffy” cornbread mix and store them in the pantry.
Make popovers or savory muffins to round out a meal.
Make sweet breads or sweet muffins for breakfast treats.
Mix up bags of cookie mixes to have on hand for a quick treat instead of buying store-bought.
What other ways can you think of to make baking a money-saver?
Here’s a few recipes to get you started:
And as always, if you are looking for even more mix recipes check out The Master Mix Way.
Hope you’re having a great week!
Linking up with:
http://newlifeonahomestead.com/, www.time-warp-wife.blogspot.com, http://www.aboverubies.net/, http://www.growinghomeblog.com/, http://www.deeprootsathome.com/, http://www.raisingarrows.net/, www.oursimplefarm.com, http://raisinghomemakers.com/