Heart-to-Heart with Diane

Hello and Welcome! Isn't raising a family the greatest!? I know I've got the best job in the world, just being Mom! I love sharing things I've discovered that make being "Mom" better, easier or more fulfilling, and that is what this blog is all about. Welcome!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What You Can Do Without (at the grocery store)

I think the recession is squeezing everyone. If not literally, then emotionally. People are not spending so much money; they are nervous with the economy. Me too. Here is what I cut out of my grocery list:

First week: breakfast cereal
The breakfast cereal got cut, to my kids' dismay. I would rather feed them oatmeal or homemade whole wheat pancakes for breakfast, but there are mornings when a quick bowl of cereal is what my college-going daughter Emily would love to grab. But, because there is no cereal, she is eating cottage cheese with homemade applesauce, or apple slices with peanut butter or homemade bread or other nutritious things instead. When you consider that a big box of cereal (16 oz.) usually costs anywhere from $2.50 to $3.97, that is a pricey purchase. At up to $4 a pound, you could spend your money much more wisely.

Next, bye-bye to store-bought bread
I have a favorite type of whole grain homemade-looking bread that I buy every week at the grocery store. As I was loading up my shopping cart with 5 loaves of it, at $3.50 (to $5 per loaf, depending on if it had seeds in it or not), I stopped and did some math. I could spend $25 just for bread each week! I came home without bread and thought of every way I could skip on sliced bread until I got around to baking some. We had pancakes, muffins, scones, breadsticks, biscuits, and coffee cake—and it was great! It doesn't take that long to mix up pancakes, and they are cheap if you make them from your own freshly ground flour. I started baking bread again, and my recipe makes 5 loaves—a week's worth—for not much effort. (I have a wheat grinder and a bread mixer that I absolutely love.) The bread is so delicious too! And I am using my stored wheat—that feels good too.

Now I am cutting out salad dressing
I read that by the time you use the salad dressing sitting on the shelf in the grocery store, the oil has already gone rancid, but is masked by spices and flavorings. I hope that is not the case, but even so, you will be surprised at how much fresher and more delicious homemade salad dressing tastes. And it actually does take only about 5 mintues to mix up a big batch of it that will last all month in your fridge, where the oil will stay fresh and healthy. Just a quick blend of olive oil, good vinegar and salt and pepper tastes great on salad. That's how they do it in France, so you'll be gourmet!

We have become accustomed to convenience, but it's pretty amazing how much we can trim if we need to.

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  • At December 4, 2008 at 8:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I would love your bread recipe!

  • At December 4, 2008 at 12:51 PM , Blogger Tammie said...

    Diane do you still sell that bread mixer that you love? I was on your site looking for it and could not find it. If you don't sell it anymore why? And do you know where I could get one if not from you? Thanks a bunch

  • At December 5, 2008 at 4:34 AM , Blogger JOHN said...

    Thanks for the great ideas. I, too would love to know where I could find a bread mixer and a grain mill.

  • At December 5, 2008 at 4:35 AM , Blogger JOHN said...

    Hey Mrs. Diane,
    Thanks for the great ideas. I, too, would love to know where I can find a grain mill and bread mixer. Thanks so much.

  • At December 6, 2008 at 7:04 PM , Blogger Mom to 5 Boys said...

    Yes, please post your bread recipe! I'd love to try it!

    Thanks for the ideas on cutting back!

  • At December 6, 2008 at 10:21 PM , Blogger Cassie said...

    You are so amazing. I miss getting your emails from Heart to Heart so I am so glad you have a blog. Thanks for the great advice. I really look up to you.

  • At December 7, 2008 at 12:10 AM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    Bread recipe forthcoming! Yes, we still do sell my favorite bread mixer and it is so, so worth the investment. Mine has never needed one repair in over 15 years of constant use. Just go here and you can see it: http://www.lovetolearn.net/catalog/index.lasso?page=hits&keyword=electrolux

  • At December 7, 2008 at 12:15 AM , Blogger Diane Hopkins said...

    oops, I left off part of the website url for the bread mixer. Here it is:

  • At December 15, 2008 at 4:42 PM , Blogger CompleteLee Blogger said...

    Excellent suggestions. I have recently started making from scratch dressings on a regular basis too! They taste so much better and have better ingredients than store bought. I am going to have to jot down my recipes and post to my blog, I guess. It really does only take 5 minutes or less!

  • At January 4, 2009 at 11:46 AM , Blogger Christensenmom said...

    When you put olive oil in the fridge, it gets hard! How do you overcome that with your salad dressing?


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