Frugal eating

Food preparation has never been something I obsess over, it’s something I need to have to be healthy after that it needs to be edible.  I eat very simply and put as little time into my daily meals since I am only preparing food for myself.  I thought I would share a meal with you to show you first how I can keep my food bill low and why a fridge isn’t a big deal.

Last night I had a craving for something sweet yet crunchy.  I don’t buy snack foods so what to do?  I looked around my house and came up with this.  In approximately 10 minutes in the rice cooker, most of that on low heat, I ended up with exactly what I needed.

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Looks delicious doesn’t it?  You are running for your kitchen aren’t you?  That’s why I don’t post recipes or pictures of my meals.

Okay so what is it?  I sliced 3 small apples, tossed a little cinnamon on them and put them in the rice cooker bowl, then in a small bowl I combined some old fashioned oats (oatmeal) with cinnamon and a pat of butter tossed it on top the apples and cooked.

It was sweet, crunchy and made a complete meal for just one.

My boys were famous for looking through the kitchen when they wanted something and calling to me that there was nothing to eat when in fact the fridge and pantry were full.  They were like a lot of people, looking for that something they could grab and go.   I would ask them a few questions about what taste they were after and then could combine a few ingredients into something that satisfied them, it was cheaper and healthier than bags of chips.

Do you cook from recipes right down to the exact measurements or do you wing it like I do?

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24 Comments

  1. I’m a bit of a winger which my boys will tell you isn’t always a success. My most spectacular winging failure was not wanting to waste the roast vegetables from the previous nights dinner. I put the roast pumpkin, potatoes, zucchini and beetroot into some stock to make what I thought would be a delicious soup. It went a strange purple colour and tasted strange too. I think we ended up with eggs on toast and my boys still like to tease me about it. Your dessert looks much nicer!

    • That’s funny, there isn’t any thing that comes to mind right now that turned out badly, but my daughter-in-law still asks me if I remembered a fruit crumble I made that she loved. Since I work with what’s in sight, if you don’t tell me right away that you like it I will forget totally what I made even a week ago. It’s been 7 years and she still asks saying it was the best dessert she’s ever had.

  2. I feel the same way about pictures of my food – it just never seems to look appetizing but none the less taste great! I almost always wing it. On rare occasion I might buy some cookies from a bakery but most times I force myself to use what I have to satisfy my cravings. Oatmeal, fruits, and nuts do the trick most times for me too. Oatmeal is healthy, inexpensive, and can be flavored in so many different ways!

    • It’s funny to me how the most satisfying (to me) meals aren’t the ones that would never make the glossy pages of a magazine. Those meals look good, but if I were to make them they would never taste as good to me as what I come up with from winging it. My staples like you are oatmeal, fruit and little bits of nuts or seeds as my body doesn’t like too much.

  3. I use recipes as a guideline only, some of the best dishes have been just things I have thrown together. I am just starting to become a baker though and very carefully follow those recipes to exacts (except muffins of course where you can pretty much throw anything in and they still come out tasting good).

    • Hi Cheap Chick, I think using a recipe as a guideline is best, you know your own tastes better than anyone else and can personalize any recipe to fit your needs. Aren’t muffins great, you really can toss just about anything in them and love them. My daughter-in-law brought me a muffin today she made from one she had at Tim Horton’s it was blueberry and cranberry. I never thought to put those two together but it was delicious.

  4. Ha, have you read any of my recipes, Lois? I wing it with EVERYTHING, even bread!

    The trick is motivating myself to actually cook…When I do, we do a lot of grains, WG pasta, cheese, eggs, rice, etc. Sometimes I just clean out the fridge, throw it all into a pot, and viola!

  5. I too cook with just putting in what feels right. I think this comes from experience. My two sons cook this way also. One son does this because he likes experimenting. Let’s just say that he has come up with some “interesting” dishes also.My other soon cooks like this because he has finally had enough experience to understand substitutions and amount.

  6. I don’t like to bake because you have to be so exact in the measurements. I like to just go by what I feel. Now if I make up a recipe and want to post it, I have to measure. But for myself nah. I’m always experimenting with different spices and add ins. Makes things interesting. I very rarely make anything that ends up in the garbage. Lots of practice. Your stuff actually sounds really good Lois. :-)

    • It is so refreshing to find I’m not the only one who cooks by what feels right! I’m not sure I could ever write a blog about food and actually have to take the time to measure things, it would feel like such a chore to measure everything, I give you a lot of credit, Jackie. Baking, yes I have to measure to make sure I have the right ratio of dry to liquid ingredients but even then I play around substituting for things that sound to me like they would work. Of course I’m not a huge fan of baked goods so even with an oven I didn’t do much baking.

  7. I made a pot of 18 bean soup that I bought from Bob’s Red Mill last time I was there. I can make several more from the bag of beans that are organic and I added chicken stock, garlic, sea salt and pepper along with 2 leftover Italian sausages for extra zip. I have 3 more meals from that pot that went into the fridge and freezer. I follow a recipe to some degree then add or change to my taste. Unlike you, I can not be without a fridge/freezer. I don’t get out often enough and have had more than one occasion, earthquakes, fires, ice storms , that groceries could not be purchased for weeks. I always want some backup just in case. My storage of fresh vegatables, lemons, etc need refrigeration at minimum. I keep some frozen but I want nothing canned. We are all so different but in the end, we all want to do the best we can. I like my simple life. Not too much fuss. I like to cook once, eat many times. :) My treat when I have one is frozen pinnapple or a piece of very good dark chocolate. One piece is very satisfying and almost healthy. Your oatmeal and apples looked delicious.

    • Thank you, it still tasted better than the picture:-)

      I love making a large bean soup it’s one of my favorites and I stock up on all the beans before winter hits. I have had to cut down to single servings until I purchase a freezer, but am managing. I do understand living in the snow belt how hard it is to get fresh ingredients if a large storm hits.

      One tip I learned about lemons is that you can keep them out as long as you put them in a bowl of water so they don’t dry out. I’ve done it a few times and it really does work.

      Pineapple and dark chocolate are two treats I also love. I found organic pineapples this year and bought several then dehydrated them so I could have pineapple all winter, I just have to keep most hidden when my son visits me or he’d eat them all.

  8. Hi Lois,
    The only recipes I follow are for baking things like cakes. Otherwise, well, I just sort of figure it out as I go. This is not always terribly successful, but I have a hungry family, who will eat almost anything I make.

    Your apple snack reminds me of mock apple pie. You microwave 1 chopped up apple, with a pinch of cinnamon and a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, until the apple is tender. Then you crumble half of a graham cracker on top. It tastes like apple pie, and so much healthier. Now I’m hungry again!

    Time to go pop a pan of popcorn.

  9. Actually that sounds totally delicious!

    I’m a total winger when it comes to cooking… recipes are only a rough guide as far as I’m concerned. I think this is a skill that grows with time and experience though. Once my Ex figured he would try his hand at at “kitchen experimentation” as he called my concoctions. His creation? Macaroni & cheese with Grape Nuts cereal! It was um….. interesting!

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