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Posts from February 2012. Show all blog posts.

Six Budget-Friendly Ingredients
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With all of our talk lately about the high price of food, it seemed like a good time to share some tips about budget-friendly ingredients, and what I’ve been stocking in my pantry/fridge to help stretch the food dollars a little further these days.

  1. Beans. Whether canned or dried, there is no denying that beans are an economical replacement for meat. At just a few dollars per package, they can be used in dips, chilis, soups and stews, and even taste great when tossed with a favourite pasta.
  2. Eggs. We have an egg-based dinner every week. Whether it’s fried egg sandwiches, cheesy omelettes or scrambled eggs served on a bed of rice and greens, eggs are another inexpensive source of protein, not too mention one of the quickest cooking ingredients.
  3. Rice. I buy my large bag of basmati rice at Costco for less than $10. It feeds my family for almost two months (we eat rice weekly) and leftovers make for easy lunches when you’re in a pinch.
  4. Garlic. For just a few cents per clove, garlic is the one ingredient than can elevate the flavour of anything it’s cooked with without adding in a ton of fat or calories to the meal. I like to roast whole heads of garlic and use them in at least 10 different ways.
  5. Apples. Prices do fluctuate by season, but because apples are found locally throughout Canada, they are one of the most economical fruits we can purchase. Use them in baked goods, tucked into your favourite chicken and pork dishes, or plain for an after-school snack.
  6. Potatoes. They’ve received a bad rap in the past few years, but potatoes are actually good for us, and our wallets. Use them in place of a traditional fat to make soups creamier, or bake them and stuff them with your favourite ingredients and a touch of cheese for a simple dinner. In November, I purchased a 10-pound bag for $3.99, and turned it into at least five meals for my family.

Tell us, what are your favourite budget-friendly ingredients? Is there anything you must buy because it’s too good of a deal to pass up?

 

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog www.familybites.ca. She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
Comments | Tagged under food, shopping, money
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Jan Scott
February 17, 2012
Jan Scott
Doughnut Muffins
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While reading the new SavvyStories feature on our website last week, I was introduced to Kristine Fretwell, a food blogging mama from beautiful British Colombia. Kristine’s blog, Busy But Healthy, is a collection of family-friendly recipes peppered with a touch of personal anecdotes about her life as a mom.

One of my favourite things about this blog is that every single recipe Kristine shares is geared towards being as healthy as possible. Which makes her doughnut muffins a must-try for me, seeing as they’re totally good for you, not to mention gluten-free.

I asked Kristine if she would take some time to answer a few questions I had for her. Thanks for participating, Kristine!

Q: Which ingredient do you love these days?

Kristine: Oat flour. If you’ve seen any of my baking recipes, it’s definitely a staple. It’s so easy to make at home for cheap (just grind regular oats in your blender). I love that it’s a whole-grain flour, but doesn’t taste ‘bran-like’ unlike with other flours. The texture comes out great, and it still surprises me how versatile it is.

Q: What is the last meal you cooked for your family?

Kristine: One of the last things I cooked was my foolproof recipe for Peanut Butter Chicken. So easy and quick to throw together, the sauce is amazingly good, and the chicken comes out so tender. I served it with squash. I had some kabocha squash that night (sort of like Butternut squash), and the combo was great!

Q: What is your ideal cooking soundtrack?

Kristine: My ideal cooking music would be something calming like Adele, or spa music or some relaxing jazz-type music. The reality is the Treehouse channel is the typical soundtrack in my house, since I have a 3 year-old.

Q: Which do you prefer: chocolate or cheese?

Kristine: That’s a tough one. I could not live without goat cheese and feta, but on the other hand, I couldn’t imagine baking without chocolate chips or using cocoa powder. I think I’ll have to go with chocolate.

Q: Name the one cooking utensil you can’t live without?

Kristine: It’s got to be a spatula. How else would you get every last bit out of the bowl? I hate wasting even a little bit of a great batter. I’ve got four, so I would be quite panicked if they were all gone all of a sudden!

Jan Scott is an event planner, food writer and the face behind the family food blog www.familybites.ca. She's also the mom of two school-aged boys, and when she's not planning a party or writing about feeding a family she can be found in her kitchen whipping up lots of yummy things for her boys to eat.
Comments | Tagged under food, mom, blogs
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