Now that we’re here in Canada, and Husband’s last paycheck has stopped coming in, and we haven’t found a new job, and our G.I. Bill hasn’t started coming through yet, we find ourselves not exactly in a place of worrying, but a place of … food Nazism. That’s right, I said The N Word.
Saving money on food in Canada – yes please.
With a family of six, we can easily spend a fortune on food. And now we find ourselves in a place where the cost of food is even greater. So we’re gettin’ all kinds of serious about the num nums. Before the move we had gotten quite careless, nutritionally, and were rather wasteful, as well. (Unless you consider that we fed the dog leftovers, which lessened our dog food costs ?…) But all that is out the window now, y’all.
On my first shopping trip in Canada I (even in my drive-lagged state) tried to buy only whole, real foods, as cheaply as I could. But the price still rose quickly. Thankfully a kind blog reader turned Canadian friend had gifted us a giftcard which took care of half the price tag.
And so I’ve been painstakingly doling out the goods this week. We’ve, literally, not wasted a bite of food. It’s become a new requirement that a person, big or small, must eat every bite of what they’ve already been given before they can get something different.
It’s an adjustment for everyone, since we were used to much more food freedom before. But you do what you’ve gotta do. And so far everyone is adjusting pretty well to the new waste not, want not system. (Which isn’t to imply that very small people are always happy with having to eat every bite of their oatmeal or having less choices than normal, but we’re getting through it okay)
It’s been a sort of fun new challenge for me, as I navigate my way around a frugal kitchen. For example, on my first night that required me cooking an actual meal I realized I didn’t have much else but rice. Even though I had gone shopping recently, I bought a lot of staples, and fresh fruit, no set of ingredients that screams “dinner recipe”. So, I determined to just … cook rice.
The more I fiddled round the kitchen, the more I found to tweak my rice creation.
Caramelized half an onion, a big clove of garlic, and threw in some sliced up baby carrots.
Then I added it to my brown rice when it was finished, in addition to a handful of raisins. It was really flavorful and delicious, and I felt like it was slightly more of a nutritional punch than just serving rice.
One morning, to my dismay, the Wild Boys did not want to eat their oatmeal. I bought a big bag of oatmeal the other day, expecting it to be a new breakfast staple in our diet instead of cold cereals. But, again, we are wasters no more. So I did a quick Googling of “What to do with leftover oatmeal”, and ended up with oatmeal pancakes.
Which was actually a rather traumatic experience because of how I set off the smoke-alarm by adding butter and batter to my overheated pan and ran around like a crazy woman in sweatpants and tank top, waving around a hand towel while neighbors came to see if I was on fire, all the while desperately hoping the fire department didn’t show up at my building. Sigh.
But, in the end, they were Wild Boy approved.
And because I accidentally made way too much oatmeal this morning because of mis-reading the insturctions … looks like we’ll be having oatmeal pancakes for dinner, too. Hopefully leaving off the side of trauma and embarrassment this time. (Note: later in the evening I did, in fact, set off the smoke alarm again. Sigh.)
Rice was my friends this week (and will probably continue to be in the future). Again needing a meal and not having any meat on hand, I jazzed up another pot of rice. This time I blended up a can of black beans, a quarter of a raw onion, and a garlic clove, and mixed it into my cooked brown rice. And then served on homemade tortillas. (Thankfully, without setting off the smoke alarm).
In addition to the homemade tortillas I’ve been making homemade yogurt this week to help pinch pro-biotic pennies from the grocery bill. My kids love yogurt, but it’s pretty pricey.
Even after we find employment, I think the food game is one we’re going to have to play very carefully during our stay in Canada. We even visited a local food bank this week and were pleasantly surprised to come home with a treasure trove of good stuff. We may need to make an appointment in the future to see if we’re eligible as long term clients. I’m not too proud, y’all. Feeding these Wild Things while Husband studies Greek and Hebrew is no joke.
I’ve also taken the time create an Amazon wishlist of Bohemian grocery products you can browse if you’d like to send us a gift. It’s a short list of staple dry goods. ( Take note of the grits. Six Year Old has nearly decided that this whole move was a bad idea, solely based on the evidence of a lack of grits in the stores.) I tried to only pick things that qualified for super saver shipping through Amazon. You can find the lit here: Bohemian Bowmans Amazon Grocery Wishlist. It should be set up automatically to send to a Washington State shipping address where we can drive down and receive packages, but if for some reason it doesn’t work you can ship to:
1685 H Street #GD
Blaine, WA 98230
We would be honored and appreciative of any care package that comes!
So, have any super frugal food tips for me?