Fall is the time for reorganization. At least it is for me. I’ve been reorganizing lots of things around the house. Including this blog! How do you like the new face-lift? I have come to realize this season is marked with not only parenting moments but a balance of budgeting, meal planning as well as personal dreams and growth. So I am going to dive into all of it right here. I would so love to hear all your ideas too!
I began this reorganization in my kitchen. Here is why: last month our kids ate us out of house and home. About the time our grocery bill surpassed our last mortgage I knew something had to give and it wouldn’t be my coffee. And everybody said, “Amen!”
So, I began lengthy research on big families. Feeding them, managing the grocery budget, keeping meal preparation under an hour, tips on stretching food, cleaning… and I love you all so much I thought I’d share my newly adopted systems here. Yay!
What’s more, I want to hear about your systems too. We all have our little tricks when it comes to stretching the budget so please share with me your stories!
One the the biggest things I found and began doing in earnest was buying ingredients in bulk and making our food staples myself. For example, I make all our own bread because our kids can kill an entire loaf for lunch. So, all my flour I buy in 25-50lb bags and I store it in a food safe container. Which means it’s big. Not your usual pantry storage container. Here’s what I’m using for storage. They’re simple, but “food safe” is important. I don’t want anything to spoil my supplies. These come in different sizes so I can find the best fit for the space I have.
Fresh baked bread wafting through the house can be the most relaxing smell there is. It is also time consuming. Mix, knead, rise, poke, rise, shape, rise, bake. And you thought you were tired before! However life is made much more simple with a bread machine. It still takes about three hours for a loaf but my personal time invested is 10 minutes. Unless my kids are not helping, then I am down right 5-minute-fast if you know what I mean. Ha! I’ve been making my bread for almost three years now and one of my favorite kitchen appliances is my bread machine. I did a lot of research on them and the one that I like the best is by far the Sunbeam.
Unlike other machines it doesn’t require a special pre-purchased bread mix. Which saves massive amounts of money. I get to pick my own ingredients and I know exactly what is going into my loaves. Which means my kids aren’t eating genetically altered who knows what if I don’t want them to. (Which I never do!) It also comes with a recipe book packed full of recipes you can experiment with.
This was my first major kitchen appliance investment toward saving money and three years into it I still say it’s my favorite. If you don’t have one yet, you need one! Make your own fancy-schmancy bread for Thanksgiving and Christmas and everyone will think you are Betty Crocker herself.
With any major reorganization there is an upfront cost of changing things. I am slowly turning my kitchen over but I’ll keep sharing with you what other toys I have adopted.
Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
Speaking of bread… now is the time to start fantasizing about all those delicious seasonal recipes. Post your favorite recipes here and we can all get some fresh ideas for the holidays. This is my one of my favorite recipes to enjoy when all things are fall.
- 24oz pumpkin purée
- 1 1/2 cups coconut oil
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 t. black walnut extract
- 4 3/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 t. baking powder
- 1 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1 1/2 t. salt
- 1 1/2 t. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 t. nutmeg
- 1 1/2 t. cloves
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
Grease and flour three 9×5 inch baking pans and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together pumpkin, oil, eggs, sugar and walnut extract. Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add flour mixture to the pumpkin. Stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter equally into the prepared baking pans.
**Note: Walnut Extract and the chocolate chips are optional. If you are taking this bread to a party, make sure you write on the label whether this recipe contains nuts.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the center of the loaf is firm to touch.
Happy bread making!