Food Tip 9

I’m all about having food on hand. I don’t like frequent store trips or surprises. I’m also big into getting as natural of food as is reasonable.

So, today’s food tip is:

Grow your own food.

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If you don’t know this by now, I draw my lines at convenience and comfort. Although all-natural and organic are great ideas, the most organic I go is our backyard garden. Even then, I totally called in our pest guy at The Battle of the Squash Bugs (that epic tale will need to wait till another post).

I also think saving money is important. But when the cost of garden boxes, soil, plants, and special vegetable wash exceed the cost of tomatoes at Sprout’s; I’m not going to waste the effort.

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So, start small. Plant one thing that you’ll use in a small bit of land or a pot. Add a watering system the next year. Over the next while; purchase and implement garden boxes, special mix-ins, and more interesting plants.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even start saving seeds for next season’s plantings.

Garden fresh tastes better and is healthier. It’s also fun for kids, especially if they have one plant that is all their own.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 8

Even when I’m more on top of life and have meals planned out for …days, I depend on my personal food tips and tricks. I can’t number how often I’ve started a meal and realized I’m missing an ingredient.

That is when my prepared foods and pre-purchased staples literally save my bacon. I realized, however, that I had not specifically recommended a vital food tip:

Keep a food storage.

Not everyone has extra space, I know. Not everyone has extra money. Not everyone considers buying ahead, knowing of those limitations. But I can also tell you that my husband and I have always purchased a little ahead of our food supply.

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Like with cereal. I have so many breakfast eaters these days that I load up on extra boxes when the local Smith’s Marketplace runs deals.

Since we are in a more spacious house now, we also store more Doomsday Preppers-type items like oatmeal, flour, sugar, and rice.

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Before we had children and a basement, our flour supply was a couple of buckets. The oats were an extra Quaker container. The tuna fish was three surplus cans.

Ah, tuna fish: The greatest, cheap protein that lasts and kids hate to eat.

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I don’t like tuna very much, either. I make a tuna salad mix for sandwiches or a tuna casserole with potato chips and cheese on top to make it palatable.

The point is that our basic food storage has many benefits. Keeping a year’s supply of wheat will sustain us in The Zombie Apocalypse. Ten buckets of sugar just might get us through the Christmas season. And, the spare Girl Scout cookies I hid downstairs help in the between-times.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 7

Today on Surviving on Little Income Because All the Kids Need Dental Work Except One and the Water Heater Went Out and We Had to Replace It…

My super thrifty food tip involving concentrated orange juice.

Water juice down a bit.

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When we’re living the high life right after tax returns; I purchase all natural, fresh-squeezed orange juice like a millionaire. At other times, concentrated juice or even Kool-Aid are our go-to.

You can stretch your buck juuuuuust a bit further if you add a bit more water than it says to. How much so depends on your ability to withstand what you mix.

Of course, you can always go cheaper and add food coloring to water. I’m sure they’ll never know the difference.

Manic Kids? Try Snacks!

Back when I gave some parenting advice, I mentioned food as a good solution for wild times. I like food; turns out that most people do as well. In fact, you might say we couldn’t live without the stuff.

And water.

So, my parenting tip for this Friday is:

Have snacks on hand. Like, all the time.

I know that not all snack foods are created equal. I know that not any snack foods are healthy, really. Seriously; think about it. When it’s between meals and you’re at the grocery store and still have two more errands, however, who cares about the exact nutritional value of that Chex Mix?

Certainly not the other people in line, I tell ya what.

So; whether at home or abroad, feed your kids a snack in that space between meals. Don’t go overboard, of course. The individual bags of Nilla Wafers and little squeeze bottles of applesauce are super expensive.

And to answer the ‘not healthy’ problem, throw in some chopped apples or carrot sticks. Eat nuts (unless you’re allergic). Drink milk. Try a cheese stick. Add some homemade bread that you baked lovingly with your child after cleaning the entire house and singing, “A Spoonful of Sugar.”

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Just get those grumpies some food.

 

Photo Credits:
Charles 🇵🇭
Juliet Furst

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Food Tip 6

We’ve had a lot of houseguests here for the last two days. Most of them are children, our nieces and a nephew.

Having them around has been fun for our own boys, who’ve only had themselves to smack around for the long summer days -not that there’s been any smacking, of course. The worst altercations so far have been slight tiffs regarding Legos.

Having them around has also increased The Meals Game to Maximum Level.

Where we once could throw together a few sandwiches or a pot of soup, I find myself instead considering the entire side of lamb at The World’s Biggest Costco or gauging the capacity of our largest pans.

Today’s tip has less to do with amount of food, though, and more to do with stretching what you have. Like, these apples:

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We only had six apples in the house and I needed a side for lunch. (Which, in case you wondered, was instant Ramen noodles.) Knowing this, I employed a little trick I’ve learned with my boys.

Slice thinner.

Yes, it sounds simple. That’s because it is simple. Using our sharpest, nicest knife, I cut all of the apple slices thinner. The kids know they ought to take a fair number each, and feel better about being allowed ten instead of four.

This trick also works for cookie dough (make the cookies smaller), grapes (cut them in half), and cheese slices (I like them nearly transparent anyway). Go ahead; try it.