Every time you turn around someone is talking about high gas prices and, in turn, high food prices (Oh – if these people only knew what a loaf of GF bread costs!)
Now they are talking about a shortage of rice – the base for so much of our GF food.
As I was unloading another $250 worth of groceries, I thought of ways that we are frugal gluten free gourmets.
Yes, I am frugal. I may have a list of pricey GF pantry items on my website, but in fact we make a lot of our food from scratch.
So, how do live Gluten Free on a Budget???
Here are some of our methods:
1. Eat food that is mostly naturally GF such as fruits, veggies and meats. Yes, fruits and veggies are expensive but an apple is still less expensive than a box of manufactured GF cookies. I am a big advocate of eating organic, but if organic produce is too expensive, just buy your berries, grapes and items such as those organic and stick with the conventional options for any fruit that will be peeled – such as bananas, cantaloupe etc. GF cereals too expensive?? Try fried eggs for breakfast or smoothies.
2. We don’t eat out that often – Traveling is a different story, but when we are at home we don’t eat out very often. With three kids and the limits imposed by eating GF, we find it is usually easier and much tastier to eat at home. When we do go out, it is now a special occasion (like it was when I was a kid), instead of a regular occurrence as it has become for some modern families. Since we do eat at home so much, we try to spice up our meals by lighting candles on the weekend or eating outside around the fire pit in the summer.
3. We sneak our own snacks into the movies – okay, I admit it; we take our own snacks into the movies. When we first went GF I called our local movie theater to see if the popcorn was GF. They weren’t certain but thought it was!! Not a good enough answer for me. So they actually advised me to just sneak my own in!! (Yes – truly they did). That is what we did. Tacky, maybe, but for a family of 5, it saves us $30 every time we go to the movies
4. Shop in bulk – if you have not tried Amazon.com yet, you really need to. Since everything is sold in bulk, it only works for food you know you like. But if you have something you like and the room to store it, this is the way to shop. For example, my kids like the Koala Crisp cereal. Right now Amazon has it for roughly $3.50 a box, while GlutenFree.com is selling it for $4.25 a box. And if you purchase $25 worth of food, Amazon throws in free shipping
5. We don’t waste anything – Maybe it is because I have been to Guatemala and seen true poverty, or because I still remember my Grandma’s stories of surviving the depression as Midwest farmers by selling potatoes and quilts from the back of their pickup, but I have a hard time wasting food. Leftovers are lunch for me or breakfast for the kids (they love cheese pizza before school). A little bit of leftover sausage becomes huevos rancheros for breakfast. Anything leftover is thrown inside a rice tortilla for quesadillas. Have a hard time throwing away that end slice of bread, put it in the freezer. When you need bread crumbs, process it in a coffee grinder until fine. For even drier bread crumbs, put it in the oven at 200 degrees for about an hour then process it. A bad batch of cookies, throw them in the freezer for a pie crust.
Just this week I was making a batch of chocolate chip cookies. I was distracted by the kids and did not put enough flour in the mix. We ended up with chocolate chip pancakes! They still tasted good but were extremely flat.
So what did we do? We pushed them into the bottom of a pie pan, added vanilla ice cream, topped it with Smucker's Magic Shell Chocolate Fudge, and we had an awesome dessert.
For more ideas go visit the Frugal Mom and see how she eats on a budget.
Okay, so what are your ideas for eating GF on a budget??