I'm hopping on a plane in a little bit to head to Chicago for the 5th annual BlogHer conference, where I'll be speaking on the "Food Blogging During a Recession" panel. I look forward to reconnecting with the talented women behind Simply Recipes, and Lunch in a Box, and meeting those behind Show Me the Curry, and Wine Girl.
I'm both excited and nervous. I'm excited to be going to another BlogHer conference---my first was last year, and I had a ball. I had more fun in 3 days at that conference than I had in all 5 years of college.
I'm nervous to leave the kids for so long. I'm not nervous for them---they'll have an absolute ball with my parents, I'm nervous about being so far away and missing them. Dreadfully.
hang on, I need to blow my nose.
I'm excited that Adam is coming with me. We haven't gone away alone for about 6 years. I love that Adam has agreed to share his birthday and our 10-year anniversary with 1500 women bloggers.
I'm nervous about flying. Super nervous.
I really shouldn't talk about it, or I'll hyperventilate.
I'm also kind of nervous to be around so many people, who all seem to know each other. I'm a fairly new blogger, and I definitely get butterflies in my stomach at blogging events.
I'm thrilled to be speaking on the Food Blogging panel, but I feel a bit like I'm cheating since it's about Food Blogging During a Recession. Slow Cooking is pretty much built for recession (I hate that word) eating.
I first started slow cooking as a newlywed to save time and money. I loved it that I could throw in some forgotten and frostbitten meat with a jar of pasta sauce and come home to a tasty meal with literally no work on my end. I love how you can save SO MUCH MONEY through slow cooking. It does take a bit of beforehand planning, I know, but the reward of not slitting your wrists at the end of the week is well worth it.
I've shared in the past that I didn't save any money last year with my year-long slow-cooking challenge. We knew that I would spend more money on groceries and planned accordingly. I'm so glad that last year was last year, because I'd have a hard time justifying the spices I bought last year and the duck and the haggis parts this year. It would just be wasteful.
Here are the top 10 ways that you can save money right this minute by slow cooking:
1) Plan your meals. Seriously. Take the time on Sunday night to plan your meals out. Many people do red meat on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, leftovers Wednesday, vegetarian on Thursday, and fish on Friday. It's up to you if you plan for the weekend days. We seem to always be out of the house for at least one of the weekend evenings, but I still try to have an idea for a dinner so we're not reaching for the take-out menus.
2) Use dried beans. They are filling, nutritious, freeze well, and are CHEAP.
3) Make your own yogurt. Yup, in the slow cooker. It totally works.
4) Make your own granola. Granola is wickedly expensive, and can be laden with preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
5) Make your own baby food. This is so easy, and really makes a whole lot of sense. The little jars are bad for the environment and your wallet.
6) Make your own take-out. In my book (have I mentioned the book? It's oh so pretty, and frugally priced, I might add) I have a chapter I've entitled Take Out Fake Out.
here are some of my absolute favorites:
Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
Thai Coconut Curry Soup
Chow Mein (this is SO SO SO good! great, now I want this. Now. have I mentioned I'm pregnant?)
7) Cook the lazy way.
8) Re-purpose leftovers. Cook a Rotisserie-Style Chicken. Then make Barbecue Chicken and Cornbread Casserole the next night. Then make broth. Then make Clean-out-the-Pantry Minestrone Soup, or Chicken Noodle Soup.
9) Stretch your wine budget by making mulled wine.
10) If you, or someone you love, has allergies, cooking from scratch is a necessity to ensure that you have safe food. There is no easier way to cook than to slow cook. I'm a complete fool in the kitchen, yet I can work a slow cooker. You can too.
For further reading:
Save Money By Using Your Slow Cooker
Meal Planning with the Slow Cooker
Frequently Asked "A Year of Slow Cooking Questions"
Alphabetical Listing of All Recipes
There are so many other great ways to save money through slow cooking, and I'd love to hear other great ideas---feel free to leave as many as you'd like in the comments, or a link to your favorite budget-friendly recipe.
If you're headed to Chicago for the conference, please come by the Food Blogging During a Recession Panel and say Hi! I look forward to meeting new people, and reconnecting with those I met last year.