By 1996 our family has grown to 6 and the food just flies out of the kitchen! The budget has increased but only because I am just buying larger quantities. I am now learning about doubling recipies and making things stretch. Left overs are a thing of the past!
At this point I began shopping at the bakery thrift store. We like to eat whole grain breads and they tend to be more expensive than white sandwich bread. I found the Orawheat thrift store and learned their sale schedule. Due to the distance I would plan to do once a month, stocking up and freezing most of the items. The kids enjoyed chosing flavored bagels and specialty breads. These items added some varity and interest to our meal, but did not add much cost. This thrift store had different deals on different days, so I went on the day that was the most benefit to me. We would purchase 20 loaves of bread, 5 packages of bagels and english muffins, 5 loaves of french bread on a typical trip. The cost was so much less than shopping at the grocery store I could afford to get these specialty items. We often ate sandwiches for lunch and at least once a week I would make French Toast for breakfast.
Cookbooks were still my best friends in managing feeding my family. In addition to the Betty Crocker cook book I had received as a wedding gift, I began using the “Whole Foods for the Whole Family” cookbook.
This cook book has a lot of basic recipies. It was written by LeLeche League, so includes recipes that promote extra protein and iron consumption that nursing moms often need.
More-with-Less is a Mennonite published cook book that promotes using whole foods. Most of the recipies are contributed by foreign missionaries who had to use non conventional ingredients. Lots of low cost basic recipies are included. My favorite corn bread recipe is from this book.
We have moved several times since 1996 and each time I have to learn to shop with a different variety of stores, each with things that I like and others that I don’t. And I have had to adjust some of the things that we eat because of costs. When we lived in Idaho we could get hard red wheat berries for free! I bought a grain grinder and began using a lot of whole wheat in our made from scratch bakery items. Now that we live in Tennessee, I have to purchase wheat berries ( $45/50#) so I do not use it as much.
On the other hand, we now live on farm and have chickens, sheep and cows. So we do not have to buy eggs, lamb or beef. So our consumption of all these has increased significantly, because these items are very low cost to us now.
I am always reevaluating our menus and grocery spending. What worked before does not always work now. For example, where we now live there is a bakery thrift store and it is rather conveniently located, but the prices are generally higher than purchasing bread at the grocery store. I do check prices every couple of months to see if there is a change, but have not shopped there since Sept 2010.
Next time: Menu planning, coupons