Monday, August 24, 2015

Cream of Carrot Soup

Since the weather today feels a little bit more like the middle of October than the end of August, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make soup! Cream of carrot soup has been one of my favorites since I first made it in a cooking class in college. I have been craving carrot soup for the last few weeks and it completely lived up to my expectations. While making it I also decided it was fairly frugal considering it makes a fair amount and it is healthier and tastier than canned soups. I decided to share my version of the recipe and the price breakdown. 

Cream of Carrot Soup

- 2lb Carrots
- 1 Potato
- 1 Onion
- 3 cups Chicken Broth
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 1/2 cup Cream (I use 18%)
- Salt and Pepper

There aren't a ton of directions to follow since this soup is really easy and pretty hard to mess up. First peel and chop the veggies, they can be in chunks about 1/2 inch. Melt the butter in your pot over medium heat. Add vegetables, chicken broth and some salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, stir occasionally.

 Once the time is up, make sure the vegetables are soft and then let it cool off. Should look like the photo below. 

Next, blend the soup. If you're lucky, you have an immersion blender, if you're like me you will do it in batches in the single portion blender which is all you own... 

Next add cream, it can be more or less than half a cup depending on your preference, then add more salt and pepper to taste. 

Warm it back up on low and serve. My batch made about 1.5 liters, or four big bowlfuls.  Here was the price breakdown:

Carrots              $1.50
Potato               $0.10
Onion                $0.10
Chicken Broth     $0.75
Butter               $0.40
Cream               $0.50
Recipe Total        $3.35

In this case it may technically be cheaper to buy a few cans of soup at the store for less than $1 each (do they even make cream of carrot in a can??) but this delicious, homemade version is sure to leave you more satisfied, with less preservatives and a lot more vitamins, for a very decent price! Enjoy. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

1 Chunk Pork, 7 Delicious Meals

The other day my Mom and three brothers came up to visit. The increase in people meant a quick, unplanned, trip to the grocery store. While there, we came across a huge bin containing giant cuts of unseasoned pork loin for $1.39/lb. Since I try to buy all my meat for less than $3/lb (except salmon cause that's never going to happen around here) this was a huge find. It was the highlight of my day, other than seeing my family of course!

I didn't really feel like dealing with this huge thing when I got home but since throwing the whole chunk in the freezer at once would mean cooking the whole freakin' thing at once later on,  I decided to take the time to pre-portion it for the freezer. My husband put the groceries away once  few months ago when I wasn't feeling well and didn't divide the meat up... we had pork for like a week straight. 

In the end, it didn't take very long to deal with. I cut half of it into three chunks for pork roasts or pulled pork later on, grabbed some good freezer bags, labelled them with the date and tossed those in the deep freezer. Here are a few recipes to try with your pork roasts:

The rest of the meat I cut into strips to make pork and broccoli, which I will most likely serve over rice or noodles. I used this recipe for beef and broccoli from, (obviously replacing the beef with pork) and just tossed the marinade ingredients together in a bowl then poured over the meat in the labelled freezer bags. I separately bagged the broccoli in smaller ziplocs, since it doesn't need to cook as long, and added that to the bigger freezer bag containing the meat. It made four good sized packs, leaving me with a total of seven future meals from the one, $11 pork loin. 

I think that I am most excited about the pork and broccoli meal packs as they are a head start on all the pre-baby freezer cooking that I'm hoping to get done. They are something simple that my husband or I can throw in the crockpot without even having to add anything! Seriously, do not be afraid to buy large chunks/portions of meat at the store. They are usually cheaper and don't take very long to divide up and freeze, plus it means less trips to the store for meat as your freezer will get stocked up more quickly. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Big Changes

The past few months have been so crazy that I've barely had five minutes to think about blogging, let alone actually write anything out! Here's the short version... We got approved as foster parents, we found out we were expecting a baby, we fostered five different kids and then my house got really quiet as the kids moved on and my husband left the province for a two month training course (one month down, one to go!). I've basically been gone doing a lot of visiting family, adjusting to being pregnant, recovering from all the kids and social workers and attempting to organize the house.

But now I'm back and excited to start working on some new posts. Over the next few weeks I am going to share some of my favourite ways that summer time can bring big savings; food, energy and entertainment wise. Then I plan to work on a short series about freezer meals, how they can save you money, and my favourite things to freeze (with recipes). Be sure to check back!