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    Posted April 22, 2008 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    More expensive to eat

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    With 9 kids to feed, you can bet I'm watching my budget

    I've always been frugal. I blame my grandma. She was so frugal that instead of plastic wrap or wax paper, she used the bags that come inside cereal boxes. With ten kids of my own and prices jumping like jackrabbits these days, I'm becoming even more frugal. Slowly the convenience food has gone from my pantry shelves. These days my staples include rice and pasta and on-sale chicken and the three most affordable vegetables there are: carrots, onions, and cabbage. I treat meat as a condiment, rather than serving it in huge slabs-- that's healthier anyway. But I also make sure I always have on hand the things that make ordinary recipes extra-special, things like sesame oil and real butter and bacon and mushrooms. Frugal food does not have to be dull or tasteless. Cook with a plan, and cook from a wide variety of cuisines, and your food can be both affordable and delicious. Today for lunch we had a wonderful hamburger-vegetable stew with dumplings that cost just $6 for eleven people. It included fruit and dessert, and was comfort food in the best sense of the word. My monthly food budget these days averages around $800-$900. Sure, I spend a bit more time in the kitchen, and hit a few different grocery stores in search of sales. But the truth is, I enjoy cooking and I enjoy the thrill of seeing just how much food I can buy for our hard-earned bucks. And I'm not alone; lots of people these days are rising to the challenge of high food costs. This Friday, April 25th, I am hosting a 'carnival' on my blog http://owlhaven.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/frugal-cooking-carnival/, I'll be sharing three days worth of menus, recipes and food photos from our house-- about $65 worth of food if my estimates turn out to be right-- not bad for 9 meals feeding 11 people. You can see most of the food in the photo above. I'm asking readers to share their best recipes as well. If you've got a good recipe or two to share, feel free to stop by and share it!
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