Monday, March 29, 2010

Making Do

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

I heard this saying recently, and was shocked that I hadn't heard it earlier, since I have lived my entire life this way. Making do, especially, is not only how we get is how my family thrives.
Here are some of the miscellaneous ways we run our thrifty household. This will probably be a review for some of you ultra-hip housewives, but hopefully, you might have some tightwad tips of your own to share.

1. We enjoy a great "Hamburger Helper" around here by simply browning some ground beef, adding cooked macaroni, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Frozen corn is also great in this dish.

2. I make my own brown sugar, mixing 1 tablespoon of dark molasses into a cup of granulated sugar, then mashing and stirring it with a fork. I also make my own pancake syrup, using brown sugar, water, and vanilla. It's superb!

3. I don't use buttermilk in recipes. Instead I use a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for each cup of milk. This sours the milk, creating a very worthwhile substitute.

4. I use powdered milk for any recipe that calls for milk, either in cooking or baking. Hubby hates the taste of powdered milk straight, so we drink acidolphilus milk if we want something in a glass. It's a bit more expensive, but I figure the health benefits are worth it. We also drink a heck of a lot of water, straight from the tap. We seldom, if ever, buy soda.

5. I buy potatoes in large bags, and am always doing KP duty, peeling spuds. Potatoes are high in vitamin C, and they are perfect for rounding out meals. We also like to make impromptu skillet dishes with fried potatoes, tossing in any kind of leftover vegetables or meats we might have on hand.

6. We don't eat boxed cereals because it's just too painful on the wallet. Instead, I make oatmeal, scramble eggs, or pop toast in the toaster. Once in a great while, I get indulgent and make my own granola.

7. Making your own pudding is almost as fast as making the "instant" variety.

8. We buy vegetables when in season, but also rely a great deal on those that are frozen.

9. I buy a great deal of apples and cabbage, because they keep for a long time and are great in so many dishes.

10. I freeze leftovers while they're still good, if I know that we won't eat them before they spoil. They make excellent mini-lunches for me. I also like to search the refrigerator, looking for leftover noodles/rice, vegetables, and meat. Combine them with a cream soup, and often you've got a unique, yummy casserole.

Well, that's ten that I can think of right now. I'm sure there will be more to come.

(Image: "OakTree Beauty" Acrylic on Canvas, Cory Jaeger-Kenat, 2000.)

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