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Home Forums General Discussion save money learn to cook

This topic contains 11 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  caverdude 6 years, 3 months ago.

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    People often ask how we manage on so little. It took a bit of thinking to realize one big reason is our grocery bill is not as much as some people spend. We do not eat junk food or garbage scrounged by dumpster diving behind restaurants. We have discovered many of the dollar stores now sell food staples for far less than what the national brand name stores charge.

    Although we occasionally use coupons the real secret is knowing how to cook up tasty and appetizing meals from low cost staples. If you know five ways to prepare potatoes can you name the other ten? What would you use to prepare a meal for four people and only spend $5 but no more than $10.

    Its an art but one most people can acquire with time.



    I second this post. While your at it though read my article on dieting and nutrition …

    My Grandmother on my fathers side survived almost totally off the farm.. She fried everything. Starchy food was the main food. What she cooked was awesome. But unless you were working hard on the farm or had football practice every day you could become fat as a cow in a hurry.

    My article is more about weight loss than nutrition.



    You totally missed the point. Your article sounds like something from a nutritional magazine published for yuppies. Its great that your grandmother survived living on food produced on the farm. BUT!!!

    The reality in todays’s world is many people live in urban settings or rent and cannot get enough money together to escape. They feel trapped and feel the ‘system’ or establishment is digging too deep into their pockets so they cannot meet the demands of the bill collectors or save anything towards going off grid. I have lost track of how many people have told me they cannot afford to go off-grid. These are the same people who tell me to my face they cannot live on $150 per month. Yet that is all we can afford for groceries. Sometimes we have less so we need to go to the food bank. But we have never turned away a visitor from our table at mealtime. One time we met the brother in law and agreed to meet at his place for dinner. My wife went to the grocery store and picked up a few essentials and proceeded to cook a dinner for five adults plus two children for less than $10

    AS an example of how to save on food. In the fall many farmers cull their chicken flock to eliminate layers that no longer produce enough or maybe aqny eggs. These birds are sometimes listed as free to any home or maybe $2/ bird.

    We told a friend who is always short of money and on a disability pension about this. She says what am I suppose to do with them? Duh!!! put them in your freezer we said. This woman did not make the connection between feathered cluckers laying eggs and chicken meat in the supermarket. Incidentaqlly canning a chicken makes it more tender than just roasting it. However it takes a good cook to make such a chicken into a feast.

    I saw your article condemned starchy potatoes and lumped rice along with other foods to avoid. Its all about quantity. Take two potatoes, an onion, two cups of milk plus assorted spices and my wife can feed four people.

    BTW the dollar stores sell spices for a buck while the supermarket charges $3.95 – $5.95 for similar sized spice containers. Shop in ethnic food stores and also save money. The point being a good cook can make a meal with simple staples into a taste treat while using quantities that do not overload you with calories. My wife collect old cook books. She often find recipes for simple yet wholesome meals, not faddish dishes for urbanites intent on impressing their friends at dinner parties.



    no, sorry was not condemning, just pointing out foods to avoid when trying to loose weight.



    To be honest I have never seen a fat off-gridder. < smile> It probably has to do with the fact you are always working hard to keep up with chores. There simply is not time to sit idle and collect fat. wood to split, animals to feed, repairs to make and the list seems endless. I do not think getting fat is on the worry list for off grid people. At least not those with whom I am acquainted.



    If you do buy crackers from any store and they go stale you can put them in a metal basket and on top of your wood stove and they will lose their stale taste..

    I dice potato and frozen beans and add frozen corn = all from my garden and steam for say 4 minutes then add potato flakes to soak up the water left and then add natural salt and amish butter.

    For the above i also dice up yams and butternut squash or any carrots or brocolli or coliflour and do the same

    Oh i also add some cayene pepper while its steaming.. good for the blood stream..

    The above is a very tasty meal and never seems to get boring and wow does it keep your bowels regular :)



    I would love to hear peoples favorite off grid food dishes. For me eating the same or similar food types is not a hassle. I have eaten potatoes everyday for 17 years and have never got bored of them. I certainly think its all due to how you make things work. As i started my research nearly a year ago one of the first steps was a cost analysis. One of the highest bills after utilities and rent is food. I also noticed a huge portion was meat so maybe a vegetarian lifestyle might save a few bucks ?



    A person could save some money in replacing animal proteins with vegetable proteins. But most veterinarians I have ever seen do not have good muscle mass. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case. It might be that in trying to keep your carbs and starches down to minimal levels would meant that you simply do not get enough protein from veggies. Just guessing. I think a better solution would be to consider raising and butchering your own meat for small animals. For larger animals raise then take them to a slaughter house. Your meat would cast 1/3 to 1/2 that way. Of course this means having a lot of freezer space.



    When I started this thread I was thinking primarily about the difference between factory prepared foods and home made foods. For example Campbells soup has 30% sodium (salt) and cost three times as much as making it yourself.

    Same goes for just about every meal prepared and sealed up for sale at the supermkarket so the consumer only has to reheat it.

    We stopped eating red meat a long time ago for health reasons. Being vegetarian was not a consideration. I was first introduced to vegetarian food when I was 18 and discoverred vegetarian dishes do not have to be bland except when following a north american recipe. I worked with a hindu architect who showed me how varied and tasty such dishes are.

    Since then I have also discovered that there are two main types those who decline even eggs or cheese or milk and those who do not. This is not the forum to get into the theological or religious aspects. I have attended feasts and dinners put up by Asian, Indian and North American vegetarians. It is possible to get enough protein to bulk up muscles if that is your desire.

    However it is still possible to minimize your grocery bill and still eat meat.

    Except in urban reservations it is still possible to hunt your own. If you are squeamish about dressing and butchering your own there are custom meat cutters who will dress and package your kill. If you haven’t got a big freezer go halves with someone. Lastly if you simply haven’t got freezer space, there are still options of where you buy and what cuts you get. Being a good cook means knowing how to get the best use from whatever cut. Difering methods of cooking will tenderize an otherwise tougher cut. I mentioned before that canning a chicken will tenderize an old layer well enough it will be like an young roaster. A pressure cooker is a country cooks best friend.



    Back when I was a bachelor after the service, I had to generally cook my own meals as a matter of economics. It is cheaper to make your own meals. Studying books on nutrition was an eye opener. It was good that I was curious and paid attention when my Mom cooked growing up, too. Lots of backpacking trips. Growing up gardening and hunting helped. It certainly helps to grow some of our food and to know deals when we see them. The continuing education on nutrition and food is mandatory. Mother Earth News is a great source. A few good cookbooks are at our disposal. We try to get plenty of roughage, low fat, low toxics–high anti-oxidants, etc. The diets of old killed my dad at 3 years younger than I am. Others skipped on low salt and low fat and got heart problems, while still others skipped out on anti-oxidants and got cancers. Some drank themselves to death while others have aged fast with cigarettes. Many are obese.

    Like other things with off grid living, do it yourself, get knowledge, and shop for deals serves us well.



    If you listen to the guy how has a book on the “Paleo Diet”. He suggest that fats are not so bad, its carbs and starches that are the real killers. He suggest any meats are good, fats are good, but stay away from bread, potatoes, rice, pastries, high carb drinks and foods. He points out that fats is what our bodies most readily use as fuel. Where carbs and starches have to be converted. He calls it glucoside when people rely on carbs and starches too much for their energy supply. He says if your insulin level gets too high fat burning stops. Also a person gets a full feeling fastest on fats, but not carbs. I think there might be something to that. If you want to feel full faster fiber, proteins and fats fill you where carbs may not at all and starches only a little.

    Personally his diet for weight loss works because if you dropped your energy intake to only fats it might be tough then to meet all your energy demands depending on activity. I’m not totally convinced yet about the health benefits of low carb low starch diet. Though there might be something to the over production of insulin as being as bad a problem as getting too much of the wrong fats.

    I would have a really hard time giving up carbs in Tea for the sake of health. For other people it might be sodas.



    Also if you raise your own meat, a person could raise 3 of one animal for example and sell two to pay for the butchering of 1 and feeding of all 3. This is what I would do for beef probably and maybe even pork. Could buy my beef from sale barns as calves for example in which case I would not have to worry about keeping a bull and cows. Find a local meat processor and your in business. I’m glad we still have small scale meat processors available for our use. Won’t if the corps have their way. I have notices more small scale game processors now than ever before. I have friends who are big into hunting that send all their larger game to a processor. Hogs, Deer, Bear etc for around $60 per kill. They still clean their own fish, birds, rabbits, squirrel however.

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