Last weekend I was looking through some “frugal” mom sites, trying to come up with my meal plan and shopping list for this week’s grocery day. I often buzz through sites looking for recipes and don’t really take the time to read. I will “like” a page or “pin” a recipe in hopes that I will get back to it later. In scanning through recipes, I saw a recipe that I thought would fit my plan and took a minute to continue reading, and reading, and reading, and I finally realized I had gotten really excited about what I was reading and I was devising a new plan in my head.
I am always looking for ways to cut our grocery budget. One thing I do is shop at Aldi. When I compare prices to other grocery stores, I don’t know how I would possibly manage to make enough meals for our family on our budget. Even at that, I want to save all I can! When I first came to this large family as the step-mom, I was cleaning out some boxes and found a cookbook entitled “Once a Month Cooking” and I was intrigued. I decided to try this “all day cooking” technique and see how it went… well, it didn’t!! The whole idea of taking a day to shop, a day to prep, and a day to cook was more than my focus-challenged mind could comprehend. I got the stuff, but then as usual, life happened and the evening of prep didn’t happen and the day of cooking didn’t happen. I did manage to get a few things done, but not enough to see any fruits from my labors.
The blog I started reading this weekend intrigued me because she takes one hour, ONE HOUR, to prepare healthy meals for her family to go in the freezer and help save time. This sounded like something I could manage. I had been pinning recipes from Money Saving Mom for a few years, but had never really taken the time to realize what her page was all about. WOW, I couldn’t believe what I was missing out on. I started adding some of these freezer meals to my meal plan and shopping list. I made a grid that worked for me on my computer with days/dates, breakfast menu, dinner menu, and tasks to do each day to start my freezer prep.
I was so excited! Sunday evening I shopped some awesome meat deals at a couple of local stores and Sunday night, I went to sleep with dreams of productivity swirling in my head and I couldn’t wait to try some of these recipes and get started. Monday morning I woke up… SICK and devastated. I didn’t know what I as going to do. I had meat that needed to be prepped and frozen, I had bread I wanted to make, and I didn’t want to get my family sick.
Sometimes I think God gave me such a wonderful husband for such a time as this… I call it moments of “logic.” He had the perfect solution…the three kids! We don’t have young children and they are all capable in the kitchen, so I took his suggestion. I sat across the bar from them and instructed while they prepped! It was such a huge help and I was able to begin my freezer journey!!
I bought chicken quarters, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and boneless country style pork ribs at a reduced price. The boys (Music Man and Sports Man) put the ribs in a freezer bag, cut up half of the breasts into bite size pieces, and got the other half in the oven to bake. Part of what was baked was used for dinner Monday night and the other part was cut up by my hubby and put in the freezer. He later skinned the chicken quarters for me. Our daughter (Sweet Pea), helped get the cinnamon rolls in the bread machines. I serve cinnamon rolls every Sunday morning by making my “Almost Homemade Cinnamon Rolls,” but when cutting costs, this was an awesome alternative, and even quicker Sunday mornings for me. I used MSM’s Cinnamon Roll recipe, used both bread machines and I had enough rolls for three Sundays, plus enough for us to have dessert Monday night. They were so yummy!
I was out of coconut oil, as the recipe calls for, so for the first batch I used 2 TBSP of butter in substitution for the coconut oil and second oil.
This is my photo journal of Sweet Pea putting the CInnamon Rolls together:
She rolled the dough into a large rectangle, brushed it with melted butter, and sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar. She then rolled the dough and I remembered to use my camera at this point! I told you, “I was sick!”
She then used a piece of embroidery thread (floss works, too) to cut the rolls into nice even slices. She placed them on a cookie sheet (jelly roll pan), lined with parchment.
We flash froze them by put them in the freezer on the pan, for about 2 hours. We then divided out the amount we would need for Sunday morning breakfast and placed them in freezer bags and labeled each one. I am planning on doing these each week until I have an ample supply of cinnamon rolls. I like to share them with others and have not had an opportunity or time to do so. This will be a quick and easy way to get back in the habit of serving others and letting them know I care about them.
Breakdown of my savings: I spend $1.29 at Aldi for Crescent Rolls (99 cents when they are on sale)
Water: No cost (or minimal)
Butter: .08 cents ($2.49 lb)
Honey: .31 cents (I buy a pint of pure clover honey for $4.99)
Salt: .01 cent
Bread Flour: .45 cents (bread flour is $15 for 50 lbs.)
Yeast: . 48 cents (4 oz. $4.59)
Total cost of a batch of dough for cinnamon rolls: $1.38.
To make the same amount of cinnamon rolls with crescents: $7.74.
I was spending $10.32 each month on crescents for Sunday Breakfast as compared to $1.84 ($1.38/3 breaks down to .46 cents a week) That is a savings of $101.76 a year!! WOW!
Now, for even more savings–Health Savings!
This is the breakdown for Nutritional Value:
Store bought Crescents- 100 Calories 6 grams fat 220 mg. sodium
Homemade dough- 103 Calories 1.7 grams fat 10 mg. sodium
These make larger cinnamon rolls than the store bought dough. For a larger roll, you are adding 3 calories, but you are losing more than 4 grams of fat, 210 mg of sodium and losing ALL of those preservatives and additives, making this a much healthier alternative. Considering I serve cinnamon rolls every week, I am saving 224 grams of fat and a whopping 10,920 mg. of sodium, not to mention those unrecognizable ingredients in the canned version!
That makes this alternative much healthier and frugal!!
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