Grocery Shopping Tips

The Mule was your Ride and the Backpack your Head

You watch the Food Network and your mouth begins to water and somehow your stomach starts fighting for your attention. Could it be that the recipes you see are so tantalizing you can smell them through the television.

Yes, it’s true cooking from scratch is the best way to go. Celebrity Chefs and the Food Network thrive on all the amazing food they dish up to Canadians and Americans around the world.

But does it have to break the budget? Do we really need to be eating convenience in can because we think we can’t afford fresh food?

For the mere $1.29 cost of  canned pasta in sauce I can whip up something super healthy in a flash. Even College and University students are now taking a notice at their budget and meal planning in advance using flyers and coupons.

The Mule was your ride and your backpack was your head

You see, back in the day money was not so readily available to most families. You would see farmland from as far as the eye could see. Many families would grow produce, garlic,nuts, beans and grains etc on their land.

They worked hard to put a roof over their heads and food on the table. They would then take these products to other farms or into the town market to trade for items they needed.

Today in 2012 we work for a roof over our head, food on the table, investments, entertainment, trips, emergency funds etc…. Look at how family life has evolved and what it has created for us in society.

  • Are you busy keeping up with the Jones’ or rolling dough like Grandma!
  • Why are we busy making excuses and not time for ourselves?

Italian Nonna’s everywhere can’t be wrong making their sauce and meatballs at home and not buying it in the can.  Ask any Italian Nonna if she’d use sauce from a can and she’s gonna smack you upside the head.

Although we grow tomatoes in the summer we “borrow”-  ok, we beg for them) the jarred tomatoes from the relatives for winter use. That is another post in itself but we’ll get there.

Growing up watching my grandparents in the kitchen was a pleasure for me and for my stomach. I loved to watch how they made everything from scratch. There was no buying bread from the stores they made their own. The pasta was freshly spun through the machine and on plates that same hour.

You can’t blame society for the convenience in our lives, we have to blame ourselves for allowing it to take over our life. What are we going to pass along to the children of today?

I’ve pledged to work with my wife to make some recipes from scratch this year and post them for all of you. We are also growing a small garden and will keep you posted on our progress.  Keep in mind we are learning just like we urge you to do.

We believe it costs more money to buy items such as sauce then it is to make it from scratch. We also will be making crab apple jelly again this year and compare pricing.

I’m no Chef Gordon Ramsey  or Chef Mario Batali  and you probably aren’t either. We all have to start somewhere and here is where I share my knowledge with you.

We like to cook healthy meals on a budget, meaning keeping in line with our budget or with any great deals we find. Today, with all the convenience surrounding us we put work, friendships, money, travelling. all the wants in our life above taking the time to eat healthy.

So, although in 2012 we as Canadians don’t use mules for transportation and our heads to carry product we are blessed with life’s many offerings. Take advantage of the world around us.  I know our grandparent’s would relish in our victories as would other countries who haven’t evolved as fast as we have.

Keep an eye out for Nonna’s Pasta and Meatballs recipe this weekend!

Try it out and let me know what you think.


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  1. I’m no Gorden Ramsey either… I’m more of an Edna Staebler in the kitchen… in fact I have all 3 of her Schmecks cookbooks!!! We’re pretty basic in food likes around here. I don’t have the yard to grow much unless it’s in a pot and then I have to worry about the bloody squirrels here. They try to bury the peanuts in what ever pot they find!!! I lost a tomato plant last year and a nice petunia this year to the over-grown rats!!! For some reason they don’t like those pressurized water guns the boys have………

    1. Same here Christine. Food doesn’t have to be complicated but it’s amazing what we can make if we plan a bit and want to learn something new. Once a week we pick one ooey gooey recipe to try or create because we have one cheat day a week where we indulge. The rest of the week we try to eat relatively healthy with lots of veg and you know we feel like a million bucks. We realized we didn’t need all those granola bars, crackers, crispers, rice chips etc.. all we needed was good food, protein, veg, fruits, and pasta, rice, cous cous, beans, tuna, etc… life is what we make of it… but it all depends on how we want to live it. Everyone is different but we need to set goals and work towards achieving them even if they are small goals. It’s all baby steps. We can do this! Cheers Mr.CBB

  2. Mr CBB, did you see the beef recall has been expanded in a big way today? Nonna’s meatballs might be better with ground chicken/turkey/pork for the next while.

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