Sunday, October 6, 2013

Brekkie on a Budget

Originally posted 06/26/10

Don't break the bank for breakfast!

Yes, I made this breakfast! From the
biscuits right down to the hollandaise
and potatoes. It was amazing, and
barely cost a thing!*

This may seem obvious to some, and maybe not so obvious to others - but STOP BUYING FAST FOOD. Yes, this includes COFFEE SHOPS. Tim Hortons may have brainwashed you that buying a cup of their swill in the morning is part of being Canadian, but you've got to be smarter than that! If you buy a medium coffee every day at $1.30, you're spending almost 40 dollars a month and close to $500.00/year on a non-essential food item! The sad part is, most users of drive-through windows don't buy JUST one coffee a day, so imagine how the cost can double or triple. $500.00 doesn't seem like a big deal to you? You'd better be putting that much away in an RRSP then!

Not only is buying coffee from a shop expensive, it's also not the best coffee you can get (typically). Even on a tight budget, you can afford Fair Trade and Organic coffee. Our family enjoys beans from London Ontario, from a place called Las Chicas Del Cafe. Their father farms the beans, sends it to his daughters living in Canada, and they roast the beans fresh the day I order them (I buy bulk of course). If you can't find something as wonderful as this - investigate the different coffees you can purchase at your local farmers market or even the grocery store. Do some reading about black ink and see if you even want to support the mainstream coffee market - you may not want to be a part of the exploitation.

Breakfast on the Go:
Are you in a mad dash every morning no matter how early you set your alarm? Plan ahead! Make a batch of muffins, homemade granola bars or scones to keep in in the cupboard and grab for the commute to work. Sometimes getting the kids out the door for the bus is harried, and they've stood outside eating a muffin waiting for the bus on more than one occasion. Here's a basic recipe for scones that can be played with to suit your family's tastes. We personally love a bit of cinnamon and sugar, some raspberries, or a fruit/nut mix thrown in - but the possibilities are literally endless.

This scone recipe, from King Arthur Flour, has never steered me wrong. I've tried different variations of this recipe and have loved it every time.

Breakfast on the Cheap:
Do you love having an unhealthy treat once in a while? If you don't, I don't like you and stop reading my blog. Nothing, and I mean nothing beats homemade doughnuts, funnel cakes or fried bread. Just last week I made funnel cakes with whole wheat organic flour, so although it was fried and sprinkled with icing sugar - at least I knew what was in it! The point is you don't have to splurge to have a treat. Each funnel cake cost about .25cents and they filled us up until long after the lunch hour.

It may seem like I'm obsessed with KAF, but they have a great funnel cake recipe and fried bread recipe

Funnel Cake

Fried Dough

Sometimes I just keep searching for decent looking recipes until I find one that uses the ingredients I already have in the house. Don't go out and buy something just to make a recipe - take advantage of the age of Google and search for recipes until you find something you can make with what you have.

Where's the Juice?
We drink tap water, coffee, and occasionally milk. Juice is a pretty bad habit to get your kids into, and if you don't have kids you may want to look at the nutritional information on the side of your juice carton to see what you're actually drinking. If you want to drink something special, make a veggie shake (Feb.25,2010 blog). If you're going to consume calories by the hundreds make them count! Enjoy it in a cookie, not a glass of "fruit drink".

Buy everything else on sale and throw it in the freezer. I love bacon, I don't care what that makes you think of me - but I love it. Recently, a food wholesaler in the area had Canadian produced bacon for 1.99 a pack, but if you bought more than 5 it was 1.69/pack. I bought 6 and threw them all in the freezer. Same thing goes for cereal - when that stuff is on sale, stock up! The only thing is that healthy cereals don't often go on sale, it's the junk loaded with sugar that advertises "whole grain" or "fiber" to trick parents into feeding it to their poor kids! That leads me to the last cheap breakfast tip....

Do you eat oatmeal? You should. It's great for you, it's cheap (even organic is cheap) and it's quick. Don't buy the individually packaged stuff - it's insanely wasteful (garbage) and really expensive in comparison to the bulk bags. It takes 3 minutes to cook a serving of oatmeal on the stovetop (sometimes more if we're making enough for everyone) but that small amount of time is worth the health benefits and the savings. Some of the things we do to keep oatmeal interesting around here:

Applesauce and cinnamon (we do this one 9 times out of 10)
A touch of maple syrup on top
Super-ripe fruit
Raisins or Cranberries

We have had cake sprinkles in our cupboard for years and years. I bought them before I cared if things were fair trade or organic, and I won't throw them out - so, on Saturdays the kids get a sprinkle of cake decoration on their oatmeal and they think they've hit the jackpot. It's a FRACTION of the sugar you'd find in the individually packaged instant mixes (yes, even the so-called fruit flavours), and kids think it's a treat. Give oatmeal a try, you won't regret it.

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