By Elizabeth Prata
I’m in the middle of the 6 weeks between paychecks. We’re blessed to receive our monthly paycheck prior to the usual last day of the month timing, to mid-December as we begin our two-week school vacation. But then, we don’t receive another paycheck until the next regularly scheduled payroll time, the last workday of the month. So we go from Dec 19 to Jan 31 between pay. It takes skill, self-control, commitment to one’s budget, duct tape and dental floss to hang it all together and make it through! LOL. I’m used to it by now and I plan for it.
So this week for food-made-ahead, I’ve got:
The fish dishes and green beans are dinners, and the chili and salads are lunches, and the fruit & yogurt are desserts/snacks.
I found something called Siggi’s, an Icelandic recipe for Skyr.
Skyr is an Icelandic dairy product, and it’s been a provision of Icelanders for nearly 1,000 years. Icelandic Provisions was developed in partnership with Iceland’s oldest farmer-owned dairy. It’s the only Skyr made in the US using the original Icelandic recipe with heirloom Icelandic Skyr cultures. That’s what makes it thick, creamy and delicious.
Yogurt and Skyr are both cultured dairy products, but the cultures that make them are different. The original cultures we use to make our Skyr impart a rich, creamy flavor, whereas yogurt cultures may provide a sour, tart taste. source
Siggi’s yogurt is skyr. Siggi is an Icelandic man transplanted to upstate NY, and he makes the yogurt skyr style. It’s thick and creamy, possesses mad amounts of protein, and lots less sugar. There are no artificial ingredients. My flavor (plain) has two ingredients at all, grass-fed milk and yogurt cultures. It has 25 grams of protein. It is more expensive, but since it is SO thick, you eat less per serving, so it evens out.
Coming out of the oven is burned granola. Sigh. Granola is hard to make in that it turns on a dime and burns quickly. It also browns as it cools, so you have to take it out of the oven before it is the golden color you want, trusting that as it cools, you’ve timed it to cook to the crispiness you desire before it stops cooling. I usually do OK with my granola, if I use my standard recipe.
This time, I changed recipes. Bad move.
The main binding agent in the recipe I usually use is honey. The recipe calls for 1/2 a cup. It costs $5.50 for a small jar that isn’t even 8 ounces, but 7.5 (we notice you’ve dialed back on the quantity, honey people! We notice!!) In an attempt to save $$, I searched for and found a recipe that uses brown sugar.
I don’t bake much, if at all, so I am not used to the different properties of baking ingredients. Apparently, brown sugar burns EASILY. Given the delicacy of the granola to begin with, I wasn’t paying strict attention to that split second when it turns from undone to crispy black, and I burned it. I am still going to eat it. Only the parts that had open spaces on the pan burned. I collected the rest, pretty dark as it was, and decided that the extra cost for honey is worth it to produce a large batch of granola that doubles as cereal or straight snacks all week. It’s also very sweet, and I don’t like sweet.
The Icelandic yogurt is $5.50 for 24 ounces instead of the usual Kroger brand I get, $1.99 for 32 ounces.
But frugality isn’t just about saving a dollar. It’s shepherding the money you have to obtain the most bang for the buck. The most bang could be more protein (the yogurt) a better tasting dish, a recipe that’s easier to cook (less time in the kitchen) less waste (batch of granola). Just because something is less expensive in the short-term doesn’t always mean it’s less expensive in thelong-term. Or better for you or less time consuming or easier to clean up or…whatever valance between time/money/ease of use you’re trying to achieve.
I’m looking forward to this week. I enjoy the kids,, I enjoy my home time, and the upcoming weekend is a three-day weekend. (Martin Luther King day is Monday.) It’s all good I’ll start a new book as I progress on my Tim Challies challenge of reading throughout the year, Book about music or Musician: Nobody Knows: The Forgotten Story of One of the Most Influential Figures in American Music, by Craig von Buseck
Have a good week everyone!