Monday, December 28, 2015


The Holidays have a lot of us low on funds. In the month of December I try to buy as little as possible in the grocery department. I use the extra savings for gifts for my family.
At the end of the Holidays  a recipe may call for an ingredient that I do not have. Therefore I go to my pantry and see what I can substitute for it. 
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The recipe for the Chicken Noodle Soup said 1 1/2 cups (8 oz.)diced cooked chicken breast. I no longer had any chicken breast but I did have some cooked diced chicken thigh meat. I also did not have the required amount. Over the last year I have been using about half or less than the recipe called for. This has cut the calories considerably.
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The recipe called for 2 cans 16 ounce chicken broth. I only had one can of 14 ounce. There was a box of beef broth in my pantry so I just added 18 ounces of this to the recipe.
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I had the celery and carrots but had only one onion. Since I may need some of the onion in another recipe I used half of it and added about 1 1/2 Tablespoons dry onions instead.
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The directions said to combine the chicken broth, celery, carrots, and onion and bring mixture to a boil. I did this only with the chicken broth to give the vegetables a little more chicken flavor. Later I added the beef broth and brought it just to a boil. I then added the corn and noodles as the original recipe called for.

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The soup was delicious and hubby thought so too. This soup could be served with biscuits, cornbread, or even cheese and crackers
The original recipe will be posted below.


4 cups (two 16-ounce cans Chicken Broth
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 2/2 cups (8oz.) diced cooked chicken breast
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
Scant 1 cup (1 1/2 ounces) uncooked medium noodles

In large saucepan, combine chicken broth, celery, carrots, and onion. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir in chicken, parsley flakes, and black pepper and salt. Add corn and noodles. Mix well to combine. Bring mixture to a boil again Lower heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until noodles and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

174 calories, 2 gm Fat, 23 gm Protein, 16 gm Carbohydrate, 2 gm Fiber

Diabetic: 2 Meat, 1 Starch, 1 Free Vegetable

The above calculations are not for the substitutions that I made. The calculations are only for the original recipe.


HERE WE GO AGAIN- the food prices went up in the stores this month once more.  I went to buy my brand of mayonnaise (with the least amount of ingredients) at Wal-Mart and it was over $4.00. 
Needless to say saving money in the food department is getting harder and harder.  This makes me more determined to find ways of saving money. 
After reading "Penny Pinchin’ Mama" found at  Livingin on a Dime I was inspired to have ready serving sizes for meals.   On her blog I read about Portion Control control for the family. This was one of the ways Jill feed her family on such a low income and keep them healthy.  It was directed mostly to children, but the ideas are great for adults too. 
The only way I was going to do this was to portion my food out ahead of time and freeze.  This method has also saved time when preparing my meals.
So I decided to post some little methods that will stretch my dollar, and keep me from waisting food by spoilage or mold.

One of the things that kept happening to me, with only my husband and I was that one loaf of bread was molding before we could eat it. I came up with this solution.

1.   start by separating the loaf of bread in 2 slices and place them in fold top sandwich bags. My favorite brand is Glad Fold Top Sandwich Bags. They will hold a large slice of bread. The other brands that I tried were so small that they would only hold the cheaper sandwich type breads tightly.
2.  place the packaged sliced bread back in the bread plastic bag, twist tie it shut and place in the freezer.  It only takes a few minutes to thaw or 10 seconds in my microwave. This can be done with hamburger buns and homemade bread items.
You can pLace your sandwich filling on the frozen slices of bread.  Then just re-wrap them with the wrapper they were in and place in the fridge to thaw for lunches.  This can quickly be done in the morning, or evening for school or work lunches.  While you are at it, make yourself one and your lunch will be thawed and ready to eat for lunch or dinner.

Hot Dog buns are done a little different because of their length.
1.  I use a sheet of plastic wrap for 2 buns. 
2.  Place the buns toward the lower corner leaving some plastic as you see above. 

3. Then lay that lower corner over the top.
4.  Fold in the sides

4. Roll the buns until you have all the plastic wrapped around the hot dog buns.

Packaged bread and buns
5.  Place your wrapped buns in the bag they came in and freeze just like the bread.

NOTE:  Did you know that you can buy bread that is reaching it's expiration date and by placing in the freezer it will give it back that fresh baked taste.

Creating exact proportions is great for saving money and for restricted diets.  Dinner rolls are a favorite with us and stretch a meal and fill you up.  Upon finding a Whole Wheat Honey Oatmeal Bread  recipe, I adapted it for my dinner rolls.  The best way to do this (if it is not over 4 cups of flour) is to let a bread maker do the work.

Then remove and let rise in a warm place.

You will need a floured surface, rolling pen, sharp large knife, and  greased muffin tins.

1. After rising  place the dough on a floured surface and roll with the rolling pin into a  thin rectangular shape.
2.  Using a sharp knife cut the dough into 4 sections evenly.
3.  Then cut each 4 sections into 3 sections. 
This will give you 12 cut up sections.

4.  Take each of the 12 sections and with your hands roll and shape into a ball.
5.  Place each ball in greased muffin tins and let rise to twice the size.

6.  Bake in oven till golden brown, and let cool.
7.  Wrap or place in fold top sandwich bags one muffin each, and freeze.
Now you have individual dinner rolls that all you have to do is thaw or place in the microwave on just a few sections.
My "IC Diet" requires that my food have as little or no preservatives in it.  I came across these natural tortillas in the dairy area at Wal-mart.  They were called "Tortilla Land".  They are really good.  All I do is put them in a dry cast iron skillet until they are warm and toasted on either side. 
The problem was that almost a whole package molded on me before I could finish them.  My solution was to freeze them also.

1.  Place one tortilla on a piece of wax paper.  Lay another piece of wax paper and another tortilla.  Continue to layer your tortillas in this fashion until you have done so with all of the tortillas.
2.  When you are finished, fold over the edges of wax paper toward the center.

3.  Place in a plastic freezer bag and label.
 I used the original bag too, but they would not all fit in after separating them.

Cheese and other dairy products have significantly gone up in the last year.  Cheese is one of those items that just gives a dish that added flavor.  My favorite brand is "Tillamook Cheese"   When my son was hyper-active some 30 years ago this was the cheese that I bought for him, without dyes and preservatives. Also I lived in Oregon for a few years and I have seen their cows on pasture land.
If you buy the grated cheese there is some substance on it to keep it from sticking together.  So to avoid this I grate and freeze my own cheese.  This also prevents it from molding.  It takes very little time to thaw.

1.  Lay a piece of wax paper on a flat baking dish like a cookie sheet that can go in the freezer.
2.  Grate your cheese and place the cheese on this wax paper.
3.  Place this cookie sheet in the freezer for about an hour or how ever long it takes to freeze the grated cheese.  Meanwhile you can do another activity.  Setting your timer is a good idea too.

4.  When the grated cheese has frozen, remove it from the freezer and place in a plastic freezer bag.
5.  Place this bag in a handy place in the freezer so that whenever you need a little cheese you can get to it.

Frozen vegetables was another area that I could sometimes pour too much or not enough into a pan.  Some of the wal-mart brand items that had recently been purchased were no longer the quality that they had been.  So even though I want to save money, because of  the Diabetic and IC restricted diet, I really want to enjoy what I am allowed to eat.
Knowing the number of meals I get from a bag allows me to plan my meals and not buy food items I do not need.  Believe it or not this saves me money and allows me to spend it in areas that are needed.
In years past I would be buying things I thought I was out of and go home and find I needed something else and the money was already spent.  Experience, planning, and organizing are great ways of saving money.

1.  Buy a large bag of frozen vegetables.
2.  Using a measuring cup for amount needed for a meal, measure into a freezer bag.
3.  The only mixed vegetable I can find with lima beans in them is in a store that is not known for their good prices.  So you see in my picture above that I have mixed vegetables and limas.  I measured 1 cup mix and 1/4 cup limas per package.

4.  Label your storage package and freeze.  As you can see I reused the large bag for my vegetable lima mix and another for the left over mixed vegetables.
Now all I have to do is go grab the right amount for a meal.  I do this with Normandy and California Mix frozen vegetables too.

These are just a few of my money saving packaging ideas to save money.  If you have some tried and true ways of saving money leave me a comment as I would welcome any help I can get in saving money.