Monday, May 18, 2009

The Thrifty Kitchen Challenge

I'm giving myself a challenge. You see... in times like these, when money is tight, eating at home is a real way to stretch the family dollar. Gone are the days when we can eat out on a whim (usually because mom hasn't gotten her grocery list and menu together for the week). I'm learning to be a bit more domestic and the discipline is doing me good. I'm going to turn my kitchen in to a budget-saver, an educational tool, and a family blessing!

How is cooking at home good for you? Let me count the ways:

* The wallet. You save money eating at home.

* The pantry. You'll always have snacks if you plan to stay home and eat!

* The kids. Not only are they eating healthier, but they are learning home economics!

* The husband. The way to a man's heart is his stomach, I hear.

* Your local grocer and farmer. Buy local and you're helping your local economy as well.

* Your waist. Fast food is full of grease, and assuming you are cooking healthy, you'll be excited to see that eating MORE at home will end up LESS on the scale.

* Your skills. Keeping organized with your menu and pantry stocking, learning new and exciting recipes, and involving the children is not only fun - it's an educational experience for all.

So what is the "Thrifty Kitchen Challenge"? It's just a personal goal that I'm trying to meet ... one that I'm sharing with you all since I know that so many are tightening their belts financially with the state of our economy these days. Here are ways I'm trying to make changes for the better:

I'm just trying to use up what we have at home before hitting the store. Yeah, those dry beans and strange marinades are going to finally see the light of day. No more hiding in the recesses of the freezer or the back of the pantry shelves. Make an inventory of what you have and see if you can marry the ingredients you have with a recipe.

I'm trying to make home-made things more often. Store bought cookies are great in a pinch (like when you promised to bring something to your church meeting and don't have time to bake it after that long Sunday nap); however, baking cookies at home is cheaper and WAY better on the taste buds. You can even find copy-cat recipes for favorite dishes at restaurants. We learned to make fried rice and enchiladas because we ate them out so often. Now we prefer home-made to the stuff we get at restaurants.

I'm trying to lay off the cokes and sugar. It's much easier to diet when you control what comes in and out of your pantry and fridge. Eating at fast food or restaurants, the temptation to splurge on carbs, sugars, and carbonated beverages is overwhelming. I always find that eating healthier is easier at home. I'm saving my hips and my wallet some unwanted overages.

I'm teaching my kids to cook. I don't make them help with every meal, but for a good number of our dishes, my kids are in the kitchen helping. I don't want to turn out young adults who are dependent on others to cook for them - no matter their gender. Nor do I want my kids to feel as if they have to frequent fast food to survive because mom never taught them how to fend for themselves at home. I could hardly boil water when I got married and it has been a long road learning on my own how to cook well. Sixteen plus years after I said "I do", my husband finally admits that my cooking is as good as granny's and mom's. That's my A+ in Homeschool Home-Ec. Now it's my turn to pass the grade on to the progeny.

I'm learning to be organized and saving time. Just recently I started cooking and freezing meals. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to pop something out that is home-made and QUICK for us to eat. Time is as precious to me as money - so this is a GREAT way to kill 2 birds with one stone.

I'm saving money. Less gas spent on multiple trips in to town to eat out after dad gets home from work. Less trips to the grocery store for stuff we need since a menu wasn't planned out and no-one is keeping track of what we have in the fridge. Less chance of getting sick eating fast food that someone else is cooking - with less than par ingredients. Less of our hard earned green paying for foods that make us fat, make us feel bad, and make us BROKE.

So... are you with me? Want to join the "Thrifty Kitchen Challenge"?

All you have to do is post about what you did to save money, cook at home, teach the kids to cook, eat healthy, prep/cook & freeze meals, or make something from scratch. It doesn't matter what day you do it. Just stop in here after you make your menu on Mondays and maybe I'll have a linky up where you can share your kitchen-related posts and tips. I'm going to try and add them to all my menus for Monday each week. That aught to help me be more accountable for staying on top of my goal.

You can use my image as long as you link back to this blog. Right click on my graphic above and you can use it in your post if you save it to your own images and upload it to your own blog. Please don't hotlink. If you don't know what that means, shoot me an email and I'll explain.

Sign up here on the "Thrifty Kitchen Challenge" linky if you plan to participate:

Love in Him,


One More Equals Four said...

great idea! I definitely need help in this area! I'm off to clean out the pantry!

Sprittibee said...

Great. I'm glad to have a pardner or two. ;) Yeeehaw.

We had sandwiches for lunch today, but I have Matzo Ball Soup and Turkey Sausage with Sour Kraut waiting in the wings for the rest of this week. I'm finding that I crave the fast foods and almost caved in today since I need to go get groceries... I used to eat out with the kids when we ran errands. I can tell this is going to be a bad habit to break... and it may require me to pray hard when I'm having a 'Chick-Fil-A moment'.

See here...
Tim Hawkins on Chick-Fil-A

Jo said...

Fantastic! Very timely! A report came out today here in the UK that three out of four British children do not know how to even boil an egg! To involve children in the preparation of meals means they are more likely to enjoy them, therefore less waste and they learn so much in the process.

Unknown said...

Hey, Heather!

I think this is a great idea! It's fun to take on a challenge with others right along side you!

We, recently, went through a tough time with not having enough food... It's amazing what you can do with what you have! Some foods were liked; some not so liked! ;P A GREAT tool to use for the ingredients you have on hand is "" They have a section where you can type in the ingredients you want in a recipe, and those you don't! It was VERY helpful when we were VERY slim pickins! ;P

Our bread machine is a well-loved small kitchen appliance, along with the crockpot!

Christa said...

I am so excited. What a great idea, and seeing other's ideas inspires us to try new things. Thanks!

Selene said...

Ironically I am a home organizer (p/t when I am not hs'ing my girls) but time mgmt and menu planning have me stumped. I ask for your agreement that God will grow me in this area! I am excited because I have already begun using the food in my pantry - learned this at a Dani Johnson seminar and have been doing it for some time. It is wonderful to know what is in the house, mostly. Not so fun to hear "What's for dinner?" Actually, that is the phrase most likely to cause an argument in our household. Having others to share the journey with will definitly be appreciated!

Leanne said...

I SO agree with the fact that it is easier to eat healthier when you are at home. I am finding that I can do a lot of things with a whole chicken, get rid of the fat on it, eat better and cheaper! What a good idea to have a challenge!

Sprittibee said...

Sorry about the linky y'all. Mr. Linky is the devil.