A Week in the Life: Homemade chicken stock, reusable smoothie pouches + more

by Melody on April 8, 2013

Welcome to a Week in the Life.  Each week I will be sharing a round-up of all the different ways I saved our family money or time.  Or both.  The purpose of this series is to highlight the fact that there are SO many different methods you can use to lower your overall budget that don’t involve mad-crazy coupon shopping.

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Make ahead snacks

I was already making smoothies for the boys for breakfast (spinach, strawberries, pineapple core and almond milk).  While the food processor was covered in green, I decided to make an easy second batch and set it aside for snacks.  We recently got the chance to try out these amazing Squooshi Reusable Food Pouches and they were perfect for the smoothies!

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We tend to go to the gym immediately after nap time most afternoons, sometimes I even have to wake the boys up.  I like to have a snack ready for them to take in the car, but getting out of the house is often hectic, especially if someone is grumpy from being woken up, which is every time.  Have you met a toddler who had to be woken up?  They are like an irritable grizzly.

I filled up four of our Squooshi pouches and threw them in the fridge, perfect and super healthy snacks for on the way to the gym.  Just rinse immediately after use and hand wash when we get home.  These pouches are BPA-free and super durable.

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Grocery shopping and planning ahead

Yoke’s Fresh Markets was having a fantastic Fresh Friday sale last Friday, with tons of good prices on produce and meat.  While I could have gone just for the sale items, I chose to make the most of my trip.  We had a few parties to go to this weekend, including our party to celebrate the end of the CrossFit Open, and I needed to make a few dishes.  Looking forward even a little more, Tuesday is my son’s snack day at preschool (I’m taking the Cuties mandarins).  I wrote out my list for everything we could possibly need for the weekend to save any additional trips.

I’m making this Cucumber Salsa, this Roasted Garlic Jalapeno Feta Dip and these Butterfinger Blondies, in case you are interested.

I also stocked up on bacon at $1.99/lb and ground beef at $2.49/lb.  I chose the ground beef packages that were as close to 1 pound as possible, so I didn’t have to rewrap before freezing.

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Homemade chicken stock

I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Every time I roast up a whole chicken, I save all the fat, bones, innards and the carcass to make chicken stock.  I throw it all in the crock pot with enough water to cover, a chopped onion, a few garlic cloves, some fresh dill and salt and pepper.  Cook on low for about 7-8 hours, strain the solids and let sit overnight.  Once the fat has mostly risen to the top, I strain it off and divvy up the leftover liquid into freezer containers.

Out of one roast chicken, I not only got at least two meals from the chicken itself, but about five cups of delicious stock to use in a recipe later on.  Super frugal and FAR more delicious than the store bought stuff.

Question of the Week: Where do you do the bulk of your grocery shopping?  Do you choose one store and make the deals work for you or do you shop around?

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bethany April 9, 2013 at 5:55 am

I love making the brothe from the chicken bones. I have even read that some people strain off the first batch of broth and then add water and cook for a second batch of broth. I have never tried that.
My stock up grocery store is Winco. They have lower prices on the staples that I buy week in and week out, and they have a great bulk food department. I will go to other stores if there is a great deal, but not very often. My best tip for saving at grocery time is to make a menu then just buy what I need to feed my family for the week. That way I am not just throwing whatever looks good in the basket.

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Brenda April 9, 2013 at 10:06 pm

We got our Zaycon chicken on Saturday. This is my 3rd time ordering it and have been so pleased with the quality and price. It takes time and some effort to process 40 lbs. all at once, but it will last us about 6 months and worth it. I roasted about 10 pounds of it and just trimmed the rest and put in ziploc bags for the freezer. The breasts are so large that I cut them in half and put them in individual bags so it’s easy to pull out one for dinner. I shred the cooked chicken and freeze it for easy meals as well.
Love your idea for smoothies to go, I don’t make them often but might have to try those reusable bags!

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