On some blog or another these last few months I encountered this oh-so-very simple idea... one week out of the month, don't go grocery shopping as you normally would. Use up all the old odds and ends you have on hand. I thought this was so brilliant (maybe you'll think I'm insane for not thinking of it/knowing of it before) but have still just been sitting on it for the last few months, not putting it into action, because it is oh-so-very much easier to just buy the snacks that work and the bits and pieces for meals that occur to me and push the other accumulated bits and pieces to the back of the fridge. That is oh-s0-very not depression-era of me (as I always say my mom still is, and of course my grandma was...) AND Matt's mom just left from a wonderful visit in which she always inspires me by using absolutely everything and letting nothing go to waste. So anyway, I am giving it a shot this week. It's actually been about 9 days... I just been stretchin' my brain to use up the stuff that's in the back of the cupboard and I feel quite frugal and savvy. We've been out of bread for awhile now and I'm realizing how much we lean on this glutinous staple... but I just made some bread tonight, made biscuits a few days ago, might even try my hand at tortillas because those do come in handy for wrappin' up those rice and beans... I've never been able to bake bread before but then I found this glorious book Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day and all of a sudden gorgeous golden-brown crusty loaves were flying out of my kitchen like you wouldn't believe. Almost every time I opened the oven, whether I'd put bread dough in there or not. It's that fast, people. Believe it. And just do a search on the ol' internet before you buy the book, I'm sure you can find the recipe instead of shuckin' out twenty bucks in these economically trying times.
My third and final tip is did you know that you can add use 2-4 tbsps Borax and put some white vinegar in the rinse compartment as an alternative to dishwashing detergent? So say the anonymous they out there on the internets. Haven't tried it yet, but I'm gonna. If my dishwasher blows up after I've directed you all to try this unproven method, I guess it will serve me right.