Many of us want to reduce debt and increase wealth. I'm no exception. This site will chronicle my efforts to live more frugally, pay off my debt, and save money. I hope you will find inspiration to get a handle on your own finances too, if you haven't already.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How I saved money and food with carrot muffins

I've been so scattered lately! Today, however, I decided to recommit to my savings plan and to getting debt free.

You see, I was standing in front of the open fridge, about to throw away half a bag of perfectly fine shredded carrots. The only thing wrong with the carrots was that I paid to much by buying them pre-shredded instead of buying loose, bulk carrots and shredding them myself. So, picture me standing there, 1/2 full bag of shredded carrots in hand, when it suddenly occurred to me that I was about to put my hard earned money in the trash. I paid for those carrots, and I was going to throw away half of them? Really? That seemed rather counter to my financial goals. I decided to do something about it.

I had already made a full batch of lemon muffins for my son and had been craving something a little less sweet for myself. I've also been trying to come up with healthier snacks for work than whatever happens to be available at the cafeteria where I work (mostly junk food or really expensive salads). Why not use these shredded carrots to make muffins?

Savings #1: I found a use for perfectly good, leftover food (I don't even remember what I bought them for originally).

My son, however, already had a full batch of lemon muffins to keep his tummy full and satisfied. He also doesn't like carrot muffins. I can't eat a full batch before half go bad. I don't like the texture of frozen then thawed muffins. This led to...

Savings #2: Cut the recipe in half to make a smaller batch that I know I'll eat without any going to waste.
Halving a muffin recipe can be tricky if you aren't really precise and my batter was extremely dry and thick. I added a bit more egg, coconut oil (instead of butter or margarine), coconut milk yogurt (because I'm allergic to regular dairy), and some rice milk until the batter seemed about the right consistency for muffins. However, now I had a problem - leftover wet ingredients and leftover shredded carrots. I only need 1/2 the carrot shreds and since I mixed the wet ingredients separately, I was guestimating and only used 1/3 of what I threw together. This led to...

Savings #3: Use my freezer. I may not like the texture of frozen and thawed muffins, but I don't mind if the ingredients are frozen and thawed. I decided to put the extra carrot shreds and wet ingredients in freezable containers for use another time.
The muffins turned out perfectly! I used this recipe, but as mentioned above, tweaked the ingredients quite a bit since I halved the recipe and had to make adjustments and also due to a dairy allergy. The recipe, after halving it made eight muffins. I've already eaten three! I ate one right away and took another two to work in my lunch which also prompted me to...

Savings #4: Pack my own lunch for work. This should be a no-brainer, but I often forget or choose to get a little extra sleep when I wake up in the morning. Maybe if I make myself more yummy goodies like these muffins I'll be more inclined to take my lunch to work more often!
Seems simple and obvious, but how often do you throw out perfectly good food rather than finding a use for it? I know I do it far too often. My goal this month is to waste as little food as possible and save money along the way!

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