Less is More - eat in

Now, mind you, I like to eat out as much as anybody.  Or I used to.  Then I figured out how much we could save by eating in.  A whopping amount.

Some of the items in our budgets are set (mortgage, tithe, to some degree- utilities).  But the "food line" is one place we can make some changes that add up in a big way.  One of the things that can have the greatest impact if to use up what we have instead of discarding leftovers or little bits of whatever and making something completely new.

Instead of eating out for breakfast or instead of prepackaged sweet rolls, try this suggestion by Amy Dacyczyn of The Tightwad Gazette.  Don't be intimidated by the long descriptions - it is way less complicated than it looks.  Especially once you try it and get the hang of it. And if you consider that these muffins cost less than a dime apiece (as opposed to the $4 box of cereal or $6 box of donuts), you won't look at the last 1/2 cup of oatmeal in the same way again!!


This process uses whatever pantry ingredients, or leftovers, that you already have on hand.  Brilliant!  Combine the dry ingredients, then mix in the wet ingredients.  Then spoon into greased muffin tin and bake for approx 20 minutes at 375 or 400.  Just long enough to take a shower and get dressed before feeding the masses!

Here are the ingredients you need:
Grains - use 2-2 1/2 cups grain (white flour, whole wheat flour, leftover oatmeal or rice or the dregs of the cereal box).  If using cooked grains, decrease liquid to 1/2 cup
Milk - 1 cup.  Buttermilk or sour milk or use the last swig of fruit juice as part of this 1 cup
Fat - 1/4 cup oil or 4 tbs butter.  Even substitute applesauce or peanut butter for part of this - whatever jar you need to polish off before tossing
Egg - 1 egg
Sweetener - anywhere between 2 tbs and 3/4 cup sugar.  If using honey or molasses instead, use up to 1/2 cup and decrease milk to 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp  (If using buttermilk or sour milk, decrease to 1 tsp and add 1/2 tsp baking soda)
Salt - 1/2 tsp optional
Dry additions - nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, raisins, etc.
Wet additions - blueberries, chopped apples, mashed banana, cooked pumpkin or sweet potato puree, cooked carrots, even a spoonful or two of jam! - whatever you need to get rid of
Spices - optional - things that complement the additions

Here is the summary:
2- 2 1/2 cups grains
1 cup milk
up to 1/4 cup fat
1 egg
up to 3/4 cup sweetener
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
up to 1 1/2 cups additions

Mix it up and bake it for about 20 minutes.