Thursday, December 3, 2009

Making Do With What You Have Can Be Delicious!

With our trip to Missouri behind us, getting the house up for sale, and the Christmas holiday coming around the corner, our household is really tightening up the grocery budget. Determined to make it through the week without buying much food, I really tried to get creative with what I had on hand. Nate's parents sent us home with a bag of leftover rolls that had gone stale. Stale bread makes great french toast. Combine that with the last of our frozen blueberries from this summer and you have one delicious dish. This recipe came from a fellow teacher at Nate's school. I made this recipe without the cream cheese and substituted brown sugar for the maple syrup since I didn't have either of those on hand. It still came out great! This recipe is perfect for any upcoming holiday brunch or just to have ready for some special house guests.

Blueberry French Toast


12 pieces of Texas Toast, cubed (feel free to substitute whatever type bread/roll)
1/3 cup maple syrup (we used brown sugar)
8 or 16 oz cream cheese, cubed - depending on how much you like
12 eggs (I used less because that all I had!)
1 cup milk
1 pint of blueberries

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup of water
1 pint of blueberries
1 tbsp of butter

Grease a 13 x 9 pan. Place half of the cubed bread in the bottom of the pan. Cube the cream cheese and place on top of the bread. Add 1 pint of blueberries to the top. Beat the eggs, milk, and maple syrup together. Pour over the bread mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water. Cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and add butter and blueberries. Pour over the top of the bread mixture after removing from the oven. Let cool slightly before cutting and serving. Enjoy!

My Best Advice For Saving Money In Your Grocery Budget

Another way we are making do with what we have is making stock from my mother's turkey bones. Throw some leftover bones, a carrot and celery stalk broken into a few pieces, and a small onion, quartered, into your crock pot with a few tablespoons of vinegar. Fill with cold water and cook on low for the next 12 to 24 hours. Cooking your stock this long allows the most nutrients to come from the bones. The crock pot allows you to simmer the stock that long in a safe way. Strain out the bones and vegetables and use the stock to make your favorite soup. You can do this with any type of bones. And for a lovely golden color stock, leave the outside skins of the onion on. This is a wonderful way to make a meal from something that many would just throw away. It will save you lots of money and give you added nutrition as well. One of the reasons that people in many Asian cultures are so healthy is that they have bone broth with every meal.

Because the stock simmers so long, don't be afraid to use a small amount of bones. We will sometimes purchase two pork blade steaks for around three dollars. After eating them for a meal, we will take the small bones from each steak and make stock for split pea soup. Even though the bones are small, the stock is still very flavorful. So the next time you are at the grocery store, check out meat that has some bones in it and you will end up getting two meals from where you only used to get one!

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