Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living Well on Less v2

Think of one skill your mother (or father/grandmother/father/guardian/aunt, etc) taught you that you are most thankful for. Go!

I'm most thankful that my momma taught me how to cook.

I did not know until the age of 18 that you could purchase garlic pre-chopped in a jar. Seriously. When I did find out, I was beyond baffled. No matter what anyone tells you, there is nothing like fresh garlic.

So when I say she taught me to cook, I mean really cook. Not only did she show us how to create healthy meals, but she also inadvertently taught us how to save a lot of money.

Many households have both parents working outside the home. It's now the norm. And as such, a lot of people are too darn tired to cook a healthy meal when they get home after a day at work. I get it. But if you're serious about saving money (and being healthy), learning to cook is pretty important.  Try prepping meals on the weekend and freezing them if you're short on time. If you have kids, you will be teaching them an invaluable lesson by showing them how to prepare their own healthy meals. They WILL thank you later on (maybe even via a blog post like this one!).

You do not need to be a chef to cook tasty meals. You don't need fancy equipment or expensive gadgets to get you through meal prep. Really, the extent of what I use in my kitchen is here:

two sets of measuring cups, measuring spoons, grater, ice cream scoop, and a yellow mud knife (stole from Brett) to scrape the counters after kneading dough

spatulas, french rolling pin, wooden spoons, olive oil ready to be poured, and a dish of sea salt

utensils, can openers, peelers, etc.

 cleaning supplies, bella blender (the poor girl's food processor!), a mini chopper, a hand mixer, and an ice cream maker

dish towels, dish cloths (for rising doughs), dish rags, pot holders, and a cool dark space for potatoes and such

A wood cutting board, a block of knives, a saute pan, a frying pan, a large pot for boiling water, pyrex, loaf pans, cookie sheets, a dutch oven, a pizza stone, a sink, a fridge, and a stove are not pictured...but are things that I use very frequently.

Most people will probably have quiet a few of the things I've mentioned, if you don't- check out thrift stores and yard sales to get a good deal.

I take it for granted that I know how to cook. I do. I often forget that not everyone knows how to make brown rice, or how to make a basic pasta sauce. If you're looking for resources on how to become a better cook, I would start with a cookbook. If while reading through a recipe you find yourself wondering what it means to roast, braise, saute, etc...call someone. Leave a message on my blog. I'll help! If you're shy, Google it. YouTube it. Take the time to learn. It will be well worth it. For healthy recipes and inexpensive menu ideas, check out my food posts!

Anyone out there with me on this? Let me know if you have time- saving tricks for meal prep, favorite make-ahead dishes, or if you want to share how much money you've saved since starting to cook.  I would REALLY love to hear from you guys on this one, because I think it's a big part of staying on budget. 


  1. I learned to cook mainly because I was vegan/vegetarian in high school and I cooked dinner for my mom and I before she got home from work. But my mom taught me how to make bread not with a machine but the old fashioned way. I love making bread and find it so relaxing.

  2. I agree that making our own food is a big part of keeping our spending under control, staying healthy, and instilling our son with these values! Both my husband and I work full time, so we prep on the weekends, use our crockpot, and freeze meals. It takes planning, but it's worth it! When I got married, I wasn't very adept at cooking, but my husband is a great cook thanks to his mom and years working in kitchens during college. He taught me a lot, and we share the cooking for our family. It's very easy to make and freeze healthy baby food, too, and now that our son's a toddler, he eats what we eat for dinner. You don't need a special food processor to make baby food- you can use a simple food mill, immersion blender, etc. and freeze portions in ice cube trays.

  3. Your drawers are so much more organized than mine haha.

    You're absolutely right! I plan our meals for the week, so we are more conscious of what we are eating. We save money that way when we go to the store. And I always prep my food the night before!


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