I sometimes take for granted how lucky and blessed I am. I have an amazing loving hubby that puts up with me and my crazy cooking adventures. I have two incredible children that I couldn’t be more proud of. I have parents and family members that support me in so many ways. When I go to the grocery store I don’t look at prices, I just buy what I want and not necessarily what I need. A small container of Haagen-Dazs at $8.00 no problem. I have often wrongly equated cost with quality.
When I started volunteering at the The Exchange I experienced a transformation. There are so many people who struggle everyday just to put food on the table. Last week someone sent me the 30 most powerful photos taken. I will share one with you as it is very relevant to my topic.
Hunger Awareness Week started May 5th. Take time and be thankful for the food that is on your table and try to support your local community by volunteering or by donating to those with greater need. Support local growers, too, as we have amazing Ontario farms and farmers whom we are reciprocally dependent upon – Farmers Feed Cities
For my small contribution, I want to share some simple tips for baking on a budget. It is possible to make great treats that don’t come from a box. I have also included a simple cookie recipe that can be made with only 4 ingredients.
Baking on a Budget tips:
#1: For essentials like flour and sugar, check out the bulk food stores, as these dry ingredients have a long shelf life. If your recipe calls for a spice that you don’t think you will use often, buy here as you can buy just the amount you need.
2: Don’t invest in a lot of baking equipment if you can’t afford it – there are several things you can use as a substitute
-rolling pin: use a bottle instead
– whisk: use 2 forks back-to-back
– piping bag: a zip-lock bag works great in a pinch
3: keep your baking simple; don’t choose complicated recipes with tons of ingredients
– don’t buy ingredients you will only use once or twice
– there are so many good baking recipes available that have less than 6 ingredients
– I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but stock up on basic ingredients. Also remember your freezer is your best friend as many things freeze extremely well. Keep in mind, too, it is very easy to dehydrate foods at home just using an oven. Kids love fruit roll-ups, so make your own. When applesauce is on sale buy lots and make apple fruit roll-ups.
5: waste nothing!
– If bananas go brown but you can’t immediately use them, zip-lock bag them and freeze. Thaw them on a counter overnight when you plan to use them. Leftover rice from dinners, helps make an easy rice pudding.
6: bake with friends
– have a baking party and everyone brings some ingredients and then you share the bounty
7: know your pantry
– decide what you will bake based on what is in your pantry,if you base your baking on this premises you will likely need less ingredients
8: make your own baking supplies
a) brown sugar
– one cup white sugar with 1 tablespoons of molasses
b) cake flour/so you don’t have to buy another bag of flour use all-purpose and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
c) colored sprinkles
– place 1 cup white sugar and add food coloring of your choice until you get your desired colour
– never buy those expensive decorating sugars again
e) icing sugar/if you have white granulated sugar you can make icing sugar
– place white sugar in blender and beat until sugar becomes fine powder
– if recipe calls for 1 cup of buttermilk fill measuring cup with 1/4 cup of lemon juice and then fill balance with regular milk- let sit for 10min
Peanut Butter Cookies – Gluten Free
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
Coating- 1/4 cup white sugar
Heat oven to 350
Line baking tray with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray
1) combine peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with hand mixer until combined
2) in small bowl whisk egg and then add to peanut butter mixture
3) add baking soda and combine until well mixed
– dough will look very crumbly, put will come together nicely when rolled into ball
4) roll dough into 1″ balls and coat in sugar
5) place dough on prepared cookie sheet about
1 1/2″ apart
6) using a fork lightly press down on dough
7) bake for 10-12 min or until lightly brown around edges
8) cool on wire rack
I thought I would share the below story with you, let’s all remember that one person CAN make a positive difference!
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)