(Your bank account, that is!)
Most things are better made from scratch, with love. It is healthier, and often times cheaper (but not always). You will have to do a cost comparison to really know for sure.
This past Saturday we again went to the market, and we spent a lot more money than we did the week before. I was so excited to buy a flat of strawberries for $22, and the kids each bought a quart of their own. That is one heck of a lot of strawberries! So we brought them home and washed them up and I dove in enthusiastically. Hubby says to me in a sarcastic voice "Good strawberries, honey?" because, oops, they taste bland and sour! He could see it all over my puckered face. I was told that this week is the last for the strawberries, due to Mamma Nature and our wonky Ontario climate as of late. But rather than waste all of those berries, I will dice them up and freeze them for smoothies, baked goods, maybe even a new soup recipe.
Speaking of soup, that brings me back on track. We visited our favorite booth, the chef guy. The chef guy makes vegan and non-vegan things for all occasions. We particularly love his soups, but this time he was almost out of EVERYTHING. There was one soup left that was vegan acceptable that when simmered can double as a spaghetti sauce. It tasted so savoury! But at just one container (enough for two servings) it costs $11.00! We bought two. Mr. Chef Man is very generous though, for on all of his containers lay the ingredients and if we ask him he will tell us how he makes the dishes that he serves us. This will make it much easier on my family and I, because we now know how to make it at home for a small fraction of the cost. Mr. Chef Man also sells hummus, salsa and salads (bean and noodle, potluck dinner salads). We will continue to support Mr. Chef Man in the purchase of a new dish, and hummus, every week. Trust me, I have made hummus at home and my family does not like it. I am hummus impaired. In this case, it is cheaper to buy it than to make it and have it sit in the fridge until we throw it away. Mr. Chef Man was also kind enough to offer a free container of hummus with a minimal amount missing for samples.
By the way, one quart of strawberries at the grocery store rounds up to about $5. Sometimes more! So to purchase an entire flat for $22 (6 quarts) is much more friendly to our wallet. Besides that, this week they had a deal on that if you buy a flat of strawberries you can take home a free bundle of rhubarb. It is an excellent deal, as later this week I plan to make gluten-free, banana muffins with a rhubarb crumble. So I was going to buy some anyway.
We were also able to purchase an entire box of oranges for $35 that will be made into our Super Orange juice (freshly juiced with some carrots, to give a richer colour and sweeter taste). The kids purchased bags of peanuts, a small bottle of apple cider each, and their strawberries. They each came out of it with around $1 left over for their piggy banks. Hubby bought some hot pepper jelly, we made sure to get lettuce, two bunches of scallions, 3 containers of sprouts, 8 bell peppers, a container of mushrooms and a head of cauliflower.
As mentioned before (and getting back on topic) I will be baking muffins this week. Here are the three things I will make:
Banana Muffins with Rhubarb Crumble
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Multi-grain Hemseed Bread
All of these will be gluten free and will do three times as much per recipe as buying it from the store. The ingredients are costly, but the premade stuff in the store costs even more than that, and does not taste very good. My plan (because our oven was broken and just became fixed today, though the plan remains) I am going to bag up all of the dry ingredients in large ziplock bags per item and have a bake fest at my parents house. This should make transporting the ingredients easier, and whipping up the recipes easier at the time of baking too. So, I will do an extra batch of each and have it ready to go for the next time I want to make it. The week after, I will switch to three different recipes. Note though, I tried to keep the recipes in relation to each other. This was to save on costs and convenience. I will be using banana's in two of the recipes. I'm going to try and keep this theme going, and next week will be either blueberries, or strawberries.
Pizza on take out? $60
Pizza at home? $25
Burritoes in the grocery store? $4 each
Burritoes at home? $1.50 each
Canned soup to feed one? $3 (for 4 people, twice? $24)
Soup at home to feed 4 people at least twice? $10 total (or $1.25/serving)