I discovered several things this month. It is amazing how your spending can change when you really look at everything....I mean every last detail. I am pretty frugal, but I am still discovering new ways to save. One of my biggest surprises came unexpectedly when I ran out of cumin.
I usually just pick up a new jar. I consider it a need and usually pick out the best deal I can find in the baking aisle. Not anymore. A jar can easily cost you five dollars. This month I went to the bulk section. I was able to refill my jar for 36 cents. That is a big savings.
Now, I don't always recommend buying in bulk. I have a couple of stores where I live that take precautions to avoid cross contamination. One store even requires that you wear disposable gloves. I always check and make sure the location of gluten containing items compared with gluten free is enough to avoid any possible contamination. I also check to see if scoops can be used in other bins. Still you may run a risk of contamination. You have to judge for yourself if the savings are worth it.
My other cost effective discovery this month was making homemade chicken stock. I roasted a whole chicken earlier in the month and threw the carcass and remaining scraps and leftover chicken into a bag and placed it in the freezer. Later those leftovers and the carcass became 4 quarts of chicken broth and 12 servings of chicken noodle soup. That was not the surprising part! I was amazed at the savings. I made 4 quarts of stock for 93 cents! It costs $2.94 for 32 ounces of the brand I buy at the store. It would cost me $11.76 for the same amount of broth!
I made chicken noodle soup using the broth. Cinnamon thought it was so much more flavorful. The soup made 12 servings for approximately 40 cents each! Compare that with a can of soup and the savings are great. I freeze my leftovers for lunches. Since I have started this challenge, I no longer buy soup. It is so much cheaper to make a large batch and then freeze it in individual containers. I make several pots of soup each month with this in mind.
2 large carrots chopped
4 celery stalks chopped
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 chicken carcass
1 or 2 bay leaves
Salt and Pepper
In a large pot, begin to cook vegetables over medium heat. Add the carcass and enough water to cover it. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium simmer and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove carcass saving any remaining meat. Remove vegetables and discard. Pour liquid through a strainer into a second pot. Divide and freeze to use later or use immediately for chicken soup.
CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP:
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 large onion chopped
4 large carrots chopped
4 celery stalks, including leaves, chopped
2 T olive oil
4 quarts of homemade chicken broth
Leftover chicken pieces (1-2 cups)
1 15 oz can of chicken broth + one can of water (if you want more soup. I wanted to fill an 8 quart pot)2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Italian seasonings to taste
1/2 to 1 package of gf noodles (I used spaghetti noodles because I had them and I used the whole package because my family likes lots of noodles. I broke mine into small pieces)
Cook garlic, onion, carrots, celery and leaves, in two tablespoons of olive oil until onions are fragrant and translucent. Add chicken, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Add seasonings to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until vegetables are soft and your house is smelling delicious! I probably let mine simmer for an hour. Increase heat. When the soup boils, add noodles and cook until they are done.
Now it is on to December which is crazy in my house! I just seem to run and run. I promise Sarah, I will try and answer your questions in the next day or so and Erin, thanks for the Versatile Blog Award. I am trying to figure out what exactly I am supposed to do :)
I wish you all well and leave you with some pictures from our celebration of the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas.
Each year we open our stockings on this day!
It brings out the "kid" is all of us!
Even the 18 year old!