How do you stretch a grocery budget when specialty bread costs $5.99 a loaf? I’ve thought that many many times. However, I’ve not been in the position of choosing between going hungry or feeding my child.
During Hurricane Sandy, I wrote about going to the shelters to see if there was anyone in need. Now, I’ve begun a committee through Kids With Food Allergies, comprising those active in three other charities, and with some very smart people, to assist in identifying and helping those with food allergies, asthma and other dietary restrictions find food and safe shelter in the event of another natural disaster. This is a daunting task, but thanks to the already hard work of many food allergic moms, people and policy makers, we are on a good path. We are approaching it not only from an on-the-ground standpoint, but also from a policy standpoint. Most food banks do not distinguish between Kosher Foods, let alone gluten-free or food allergy friendly foods. Most public schools do not provide allergen-friendly foods or gluten free foods for students. We are making headway, but the task is great. In case you don’t know what allergen-friendly foods look like – I posted an Amazon.com wish list where anyone can view it here.
In honor of Food Bloggers Against Hunger Day, I’m reposting a post that I wrote about a year ago on how to stretch a grocery budget as well as my part 1 of how to make white beans recipe.
How to stretch a grocery budget has always been a difficult task; stretching ones grocery budget and having food allergies is another challenge altogether. So I have a few food allergy grocery strategies to share with you. Have you ever dumped food into the trashcan and thought “WOW! That’s a lot of Waste!”? Do you hear your mother in your head saying “Don’t waste food!”. You’re not alone. I’ve been trying to get food to last as long as possible for the years since we were diagnosed with food allergies and found ourselves purchasing $5.00 loaves of allergen-free bread. Below are three ways to make and store food that will help stretch your grocery budget.
1. Freeze Canned Tuna
Did you know that canned tuna, after being taken out of the can, can be frozen? Our dear daughter loves her tuna in her salad with basalmic. But although I only buy the 3oz cans of tuna, she usually only goes through about 1 – 2 oz at a time. (A can of fresh caught tuna runs about $5.99.) After she’s done taking what she wants, I un-can the tuna into a large Ziploc bag and place it in the freezer (remember to label it!). After doing this for a month or so, I usually have what amounts to two (2) 6 oz cans of tuna. When we’re ready to have tuna again, I chip of the amount that I think she’ll like with a fork, then place it on the lowest defrost setting in the microwave (alternatively, put it in a ramekin and let it thaw in the fridge for a day).
2. Make your own Beans
Making your own beans is nutritious and easy (especially if you have a pressure cooker). I even make my own chili beans. Organic canned beans can cost up to 2.99 for 15 ounce can, whereas making our own costs pennies. I like to make a whole bag of beans, then put them in smaller containers and freeze (keeping the liquid). You can enhance the taste of them by adding onions, garlic, or other herbs and enhance their calcium content by adding a seaweed called Kombu. But never ever add salt until the end.
3. Make your own Broth
I love making my own broths and have for years because our child was once allergic to onion and garlic. I use anything that is in my veggie drawer (except bell peppers) and can’t be cut up and put into a salad for vegetable broth, including mushrooms, scallions, jalapenos and sweet potatoes. Don’t toss any part of that chicken! (Organic chicken costs $18.99 for one chicken at our Farmer’s Market). Freeze the wing tips, the neck, and leftover bones. When you’re ready to make your broth, bring the chicken parts and vegetables to a slight boil in enough water to cover, skim and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain then freeze the broth for up to 3 months, or store in the fridge for up to 3 days. Remember to always cool your broth with a cover on it before freezing or refrigerating.
Here are some past recipes that are easy to make with simple staples from your pantry.
FRUGAL FAMILY MEAL ROASTED CHICKEN, GREENS AND RICE
This post was inspired by a Nicole Gulotta, founder of The Giving Table for her Food Bloggers Against Hunger 4.8.2013 campaign to promote A Place At the Table, a new documentary film by Participant Media. The film raises awareness about the issues of hunger, and wants to encourage you to send letters to Congress to protect SNAP funding and make anti-hunger legislation a priority.
Other Food Allergy Bloggers have written good posts for today here:
A list of all the bloggers participating is here: