Classy Frugality

Making the most of life while living on a budget

Category: Recipes

Finally Free!

One day, I look forward to sharing the news of being debt-free.

Today is not that day.

However, I wanted to share the story of another person whose life has been changed forever, and how her story affects us.

Like most of you know, when Fred and I were first married and recently graduated, we had over $90,000 in debt – the bulk of which was student loans, and a line of credit used to help pay for school and our vehicle.  When we started paying off our debt after that lovely six-month grace period, we were not paying on the line of credit that Fred and his grandma had taken out.

We were making ends meet, making minimum payments on several loans, and then we started feeling guilty.

Fred’s grandma was paying this line of credit off for us (the balance was around $27,000), and we knew that we needed to help. So about 2.5 years ago, we started making double payments with grandma, and we started seeing some progress.Debt thermometer

In February of this year, the balance was at $16,728. We started envisioning paying this off by the end of the year, so that grandma could enjoy as much time of the rest of her life being debt-free.

We started putting big chunks of money on this debt as much as we could. To keep us motivated so we could see how much progress we had made, I made a thermometer that I kept on the fridge that marked our progress.

You can probably guess the end of the story – we paid it off on October 3. It felt like such a huge burden being lifted – $27,000 that we didn’t owe anyone, and the end of a large monthly payment. We were so excited!

To celebrate, we took Grandma out for a nice meal. We splurged and went to The Keg (a fancy steakhouse, for those of you in America who aren’t familiar with it), where we each got a steak and ordered dessert.

(Sidenote: Each person getting their own meal sounds normal to most people, but usually Fred and I split a meal and only sometimes order dessert. This felt decadent. We spent over $100 on one meal – something we have never done before!)  

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At The Keg with Grandma

As we talked and celebrated over dinner, we asked Grandma how she felt now that she was debt-free. She said, “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t in debt.”

This was a moment I will always remember – someone’s life being changed by finally being released from the chains of debt.

We joked with her about getting another loan or having a balance on her credit card, and she just chuckled and said “No, I’ll never borrow money again.” 

Even though she is 91 years old, we know that her choices have changed the rest of her life, and will change her family tree (as Dave Ramsey often says).

BMO Bank of Montreal Online Banking cropped

What Grandma’s online banking says now that she had paid this loan off!

We still have $43,000 left to pay off, but we are are thrilled that we are past the halfway mark.

4 out of 6 of our debts are GONE.

We are working hard to pay off the remaining ones as quickly as possible. We want our chains to be broken too!

Get involved with the blog!

DIY Freezer Jam

This past week I bought 10 pounds of strawberries. My purpose? DIY jam! image

Some people get scared of making their own jam because they imagine standing over a huge pot, pulling jars out and waiting for the *pop* that tells you that your jars are officially sealed.

Today I want to share with you one of life’s greatest secrets: freezer jam.

My mother-in-law introduced me to freezer jam a few years ago (thanks, Lea!) and it has honestly been one of my favourite ways to save money. Now, don’t get me wrong, we don’t go through a ton of jam in our house, but it’s one less thing that I need to over-pay for. (I’ll give you the numbers breakdown later on in the blog)

So, I took my 10 pounds of strawberries and made a ton of jam, which is now in my freezer, and will sustain us until next strawberry season. It’s so easy, and honestly tastes so much better than store-bought jam. I’ll share my tips and tricks with you so you can make your own jam!

First of all, you pick up your supplies. You’ll need: 

  • Fruit (you can use any kind, and any combos, but my husband is a plain strawberry jam kind of guy)
  • Pectin (I like Certo brand, but you can use any kind of freezer jam pectin)
  • Sugar
  • Lemon juice
  • Jars (you can use plastic or glass jars, or even tupperware if you’re out of jars)

Photo 2014-06-25, 10 30 48 PMSecondly, you’ll want to use the instructions inside the pectin package. Each kind has slightly different instructions, so make sure to read them. I’ll tell you how I used the Certo liquid pectin that I picked up.

Third, you’ll need to crush your fruit. I used my Starfrit food processor to crush up my strawberries after I cut the tops off.  So fast and easy!

Trick #1: I use a Starfrit Manual Food Processor, a gift from my mother-in-law. It honestly makes crushing the fruit so easy! If you don’t have one of these, you can use a regular food processor or a pastry blender or potato masher (it just takes longer).

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Trick #2: Chop all your fruit at once. It makes it easier, and your hands will get all sticky anyways, so it’s worth it to just do it all at once, crush it all at once, and just do each step at a time instead of chop, crush, chop, crush. I use a tall measuring cup or bowl to separate my chopped fruit.

Trick #3: Use a glass or metal bowl for fruit – a white bowl will be stained by fruit juice. 

Fourth, you’ll need to combine the fruit, pectin, sugar and juice in a particular order with a specific amount of stirring and waiting involved. Again, check your own instructions. (I definitely ruined a batch of jam once by thinking I knew the right order to add things. Whoops! I ended up using it as strawberry sauce for ice cream, so it wasn’t a total loss.)Photo 2014-06-26, 4 55 49 PM

Now, you just have to wait for your jam to set, and you’re done! Once it’s set you stick it in the freezer until you’re ready for it.So convenient!

Trick #4: Wash your dishes and clean your counters right away. Strawberry juice stains in minutes, so do yourself a favour and tidy as your jam is setting!

Okay, now the moment you’ve been waiting for: the price and time breakdown.

Time: 

Total time from first chop to dishes being done: Approximately 1 hour

Price for ingredients:

Sugar: $2

Pectin: $3 (for 2 pouches)

Strawberries: $6.67 (I bought a flat for $20 and used approximately 1/3 of it for this batch of jam)

Lemon juice: $0.25 (rough estimate)

Jars: $0 (I had a bunch in my cupboard, and because they don’t need to be sterilized for freezer jam, you can reuse with no worries!)

Total cost: $11.92

Total containers of jam made: 5 

Cost per container: $2.38 

Now, when I was in the store I looked at jam prices. Even if you go off-brand, you’re looking at $5 for a comparable container of jam.

Result? Better-tasting jam for 1/2 the price? Yes, please! 

I can’t recommend making your own jam highly enough! Give it a try – you just might like it.

Feel free to connect with Classy Frugality in one of the following ways: 

*Disclaimer: This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. That means that if you use this link to buy the product I recommend, I’ll get a little something to support the blog and our journey to becoming debt-free. No pressure to use it, I just wanted to warn you! Also, I was not compensated in any way to discuss this product – I just really like it.* 

Snack Time

I don’t know about you, but I get hungry in between meals.

It seems that when I get hungry, I also get grumpy, and we’ve come to realize that Fred I often fight more when I feel hungry. To avoid these unnecessary fights, I’ve started thinking through some snacks that have protein and are healthy, don’t cost a fortune, and that I can throw in my purse and go.

I bought a few things that I like that I thought would fit well together, and put together my own little snack bags. I wanted to share some tips, and some things that I learned from this adventure.

Ready? Here we go:

1. Buy some well-priced, healthy ingredients for your snack bags. Also, buy or find some small plastic bags or tupperware (I chose the “snack size” ziplock bags). 

I chose pretzels, dried apple rings, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, and honey-roasted peanuts. 2014-05-12 14.29.00

2. Start with one ingredient and divide them among your bags. 

I made 10 little bags – 5 for me, 5 for my husband, which would last us about a week. I started with the pretzels. 2014-05-12 14.32.263. Divide your other ingredients among them.

I divided one ingredient among all the bags, then moved on to the next, to save time.2014-05-12 14.37.07 2014-05-12 14.36.57

4 . Enjoy! 2014-05-12 14.39.37

I wanted to make sure I spent a reasonable amount on these bags, as we try to keep our grocery budget as low as possible.

Here’s my price breakdown: 

Apple rings: $4 (I used the whole bag)

Pretzels: $1.25 (I used the whole bag)

Honey-roasted peanuts: $5 (I used 2/5 of the jar)

Cranberries: $8 (I used a very small amount of this bag, probably around $1.50)

Chocolate chips: $10 (Again, I used a small amount, probably around $1.25)

Total: 

$4 (apples)

$1.25 (pretzels)

$2 (peanuts)

$1.50 (cranberries)

$1.25 (chocolate chips)

= $10

So, each bag cost me about $1 to make. $1 to make sure that I have a blast of protein and avoid a fight with my husband? Totally worth it. 

 

Now it’s your turn – leave me a comment to let me know about your snack tips! You can also tweet me (@classyfrugality). 

Portable Breakfast (+ Smoothie Recipe)

I hate getting up in the mornings.

I usually hit the snooze button 1-4 times each morning. My husband usually has to coax me out of the bed. I’m working on being better at this, but until I become a morning person that just pops out of bed, I need to find ways to save time in the morning. Something that I do to save time is taking breakfast with me on the go.

Two months ago, I shared my mom’s granola recipe and talked about how I like to take granola with me on the go. Today I want to share with you another great way to have breakfast on the go: smoothies!

Smoothies are great for many reasons. They are versatile, portable, healthy, and delicious. Today I’ll share a simple recipe with you, along with some tips for making them easily and simply, but keep in mind that the possibilities are endless.

1. I chop my fruit the night before to make it even easier in the mornings. All I have to do is dump and go instead of pulling out the cutting board! (I used mangos and strawberries for this smoothie) Photo 2014-05-11, 11 59 28 AM

2. Start with juice. Your smoothie needs liquid to be a smoothie. I use orange juice because it goes well with most fruits, but you can use any kind of juice or milk if you’d prefer. I use about a cup.

3. Add yogurt. This makes your smoothie creamy, and adds some protein.  I usually use 1/2 cup. Photo 2014-05-12, 8 25 30 AM

4. Add your fruit. In addition to my other fruit, I usually put in a half or whole banana. This makes the texture creamy.

Photo 2014-05-12, 8 26 25 AM

5. Put in a bit of wheat germ (optional). I do this so I won’t be hungry an hour later. Wheat germ has a bit of fibre and protein in it. You could add some other kind of protein powder if you’d like.

6.  Add ice (optional) and blend. (I like to add ice to make it colder and give it texture, but Fred likes it without the ice – it’s up to you!)

Photo 2014-05-12, 8 27 30 AM

7. Enjoy!

Photo 2014-05-12, 8 28 11 AM

Photo 2014-05-12, 8 30 25 AMI like to make enough for 2 smoothies and then share with my husband or save the rest for the next day. This makes breakfast the next day even easier!

If Fred and I don’t share, I put the second half in a portable container so that I can take it with me easily in the car. Now that I live 30 minutes away from one of my jobs, it’s perfect to take in the car and just sip away as I drive.

Here are some pros and cons about smoothies before you decide to make it a part of your routine or not.

Pros:

  • Great way to use up fruit that’s going bad (I sometimes overbuy fruit, strawberries in particular, so it’s a great way to use them up)
  • Really healthy (makes me feel energized to have so many servings of fruit right away in the morning)
  • Endless combinations (you could have a different kind of smoothie every day!)
  • Portable- easy to take on the go (if you’re like me, sometimes you’re not hungry first thing in the morning and this is a great way to have breakfast over a  longer period of time)

Photo 2014-05-12, 8 24 53 AMCons:

  • It doesn’t really feel like “eating” (because it’s a liquid it doesn’t seem very “filling” and just drinking something doesn’t always feel like a meal)
  • It’s hard to have a smoothie and coffee all at once (if you’re a coffee drinker like me)
  • You might find yourself visiting the washroom (or “bathroom” if you’re from the Land of the Free) more often (due to all the extra liquid)
  • Sometimes you feel hungry mid-morning (that’s why I add the wheat germ!)

Overall, I highly recommend smoothies for breakfast and have even started craving them. Getting your 5 fruits/veggies a day just might be easier if you add a smoothie to your routine!

Now it’s your turn! Leave me a comment below to share some of your smoothie tips!

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Crockpot Broth

I promised last post that I would share my recipe for making broth in your crockpot, so here it is! 

Homemade broth is great – you can make it taste however you want, and it allows you to use your turkey carcass for something meaningful.

(P.S. We’re still eating our leftover turkey meat 9 days later –  I love it! I’ve used it in a stir-fry, in enchiladas, for sandwiches, with rice, and leftover with mashed potatoes. So versatile! )

Here’s my step-by-step guide to using your turkey (or chicken) bones to make a lovely homemade broth.

1. Put bones and giblets in the crockpot. I normally just pick the meat off the bones and leave everything else in there, including onions and any leftover bits of meat.

2. Add onions, water, and seasonings (and anything else you want in there). Some people add celery, garlic, or other veggies. I usually add the peels from my potatoes that I’ve made that day and some onions. My favourite seasonings are garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Sometimes salt and pepper. Fill up the crockpot with water, leaving about 2-3 inches from the top free just in case.Photo 2014-04-16, 10 34 08 PM

3. Set on low for 8-10 hours. I usually leave it on overnight and then do the rest of the steps in the morning.

4. After 8-10 hours, check on your broth. It should look something like this:

Photo 2014-04-17, 10 51 48 AM

5. Using a ladle and a strainer, ladle your broth into a bowl, separating the bones and other goodies from the liquid. 

Photo 2014-04-17, 10 53 49 AM

I use another bowl/container to collect all my meat scraps and then compost them.

Photo 2014-04-17, 11 11 57 AM

6. Ladle or pour your broth into jars or plastic containers. (I use a bowl with a pour spout – makes it so easy)

Photo 2014-04-17, 11 12 24 AM

7. Leave jars out to cool, then put in the fridge for a day. The fat will rise to the top, making it easy to separate from the other liquid. Photo 2014-04-20, 10 35 14 PM

8. Once you can clearly see the layer of fat at the top, use a spoon to scoop it off and throw away. (At this point, your broth may be a bit jelly-like in consistency. This is totally normal, and allows you to scoop the fat with more ease)

Photo 2014-04-20, 10 40 49 PM

9. Use (or freeze) and enjoy! I like to use to make sauces, soups, for cooking rice or for making pot pie broth. Really, the possibilities are endless!

Now it’s your turn! What do you use broth for? Leave a comment below! 

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Year-Round Turkey

Photo 2014-04-16, 9 54 59 AMI love turkey. It’s a delicious meat, and it’s a shame that we only eat it a few times a year.

The thing I love most about turkey is how versatile it is, and how affordable it can be! Today I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about stretching our meat budget by investing in this tasty bird.

I find turkey when it’s on sale and then cook it in my crockpot. This allows all the meat to be cooked through, and then you can use the bones to make homemade broth. Today we’ll stick with just the meat, and I’ll share more about making broth in my next post!

1. Buy a turkey that will fit in a crockpot.

(I try to find them when they are on sale, between $10-$12. You have to pick your timing, otherwise you’ll pay a lot more than you want. Around holidays is good because so many people are buying turkeys that they are generally on sale.)

2. Defrost your turkey (most come frozen). I kept mine in the fridge for 2 days and it was ready to  go.Photo 2014-04-16, 10 02 12 AM

3. Take out the giblets and neck. I set mine aside to use later when I make broth.

Photo 2014-04-16, 10 02 00 AM

4. Wash off your bird in the sink and pat dry with paper towels. 

 

 

5. Put the turkey in your crockpot, rub with butter, stuff with onions, put on seasonings, and add a bit of water to the bottom of the crockpot. I usually use Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper, but the sky’s the limit! You can also add lemons or garlic if you’d like.

Photo 2014-04-16, 10 03 41 AM

Photo 2014-04-16, 10 08 09 AM

6. If the lid doesn’t fit, cover with tin foil. Put on low for 8-9 hours or high for 5-6 hours (this is for my crockpot, you’ll have to figure out what works for you).

Photo 2014-04-16, 10 14 09 AM

Halfway through the cooking process, you’ll need to flip your turkey to make sure both sides get cooked through. I usually add more seasoning the other side and add a bit more water at this point.

Photo 2014-04-16, 2 10 02 PM

7. You can tell the turkey is ready when the legs start to fall off (this means the meat is cooked all the way through).

Photo 2014-04-16, 6 14 56 PM

8. Your turkey is now ready to eat! I usually make mashed potatoes and gravy to go along with this meal. Delicious!

9. Pick off the meat and store it for later. I was able to get 3 containers full of turkey pieces and 2 (large) legs.

Photo 2014-04-16, 10 35 06 PM

I use these little meat pieces to add protein to my meals. Here are some of my favourite ways:

  • Stir-fry
  • Potpie
  • Sprinkled on a salad
  • On top of pasta
  • With mashed potatoes
  • Enchiladas
  • Sandwiches

Usually the meat from one turkey will last for several weeks. I freeze the leftovers and pull it out when I need a little something to add to my meals.

Next time I’ll share with you how to use every part of the turkey by using the bones to make your own broth. Stay tuned!

Also, I wanted to share with you that I’ve added a subscribe form to my website so you can sign up for my e-newsletter. That way you’ll never miss a post! Click here to sign up or check out the sidebar on this page. 

Now it’s your turn! How do you use leftover turkey? I’d love some new ideas – leave me a comment below. 

Chickpeas Are The New Chicken

I hate the rising cost of meat. 

Photo 2014-04-13, 12 28 08 PM

As I alluded to in my last blog post, we’re trying out some new ways to incorporate more affordable types of protein into our diets. I love chicken, but I always end up paying more than I want to. Today I am going to share one of my favourite meatless options with you: chickpeas!

Chickpeas, otherwise known as garbanzo beans, are a great source of protein and they are quite inexpensive. Like many other things I make in the kitchen, I found a way to prepare them in my crockpot – this allows me to have them when I need them without having to pay the price for pre-cooked, canned beans.

I bought a large bag of chickpeas and cooked about 1/3 of the bag. This bag cost me $5.50, and it made 5 jars of chickpeas. Normally, each can of pre-cooked chickpeas costs $0.87-$1.00 per can. If I can make 15 cans of beans for $5.50, this means I’m paying only 1/3 of the price for something that has less preservatives and that I can make myself. That’s a win in my book!

Here’s my simple step by step guide to cooking chickpeas in the crockpot – feel free to use it in your own kitchen!

1. Pick out the shriveled/broken chickpeas.

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Place good beans in the crockpot. (I use about 2 cups)

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2. Pour water over chickpeas – about 2 inches above the beans. 

Photo 2014-04-13, 2 04 28 PM

 

 

 

 

 

3. Put crockpot on low for 4-6 hours. 

4. Beans are ready when they mush with a spoon or in your mouth (I always taste them to check). They will be doubled or tripled in size. 

Photo 2014-04-13, 7 08 42 PM

 

 

 

 

 

5. Put beans in plastic or glass jars or Tupperware containers. I freeze them and then pull them out when I need them. Usually half of a jar is enough for one meal for us, so one batch lasts me a few months.

Photo 2014-04-13, 7 32 24 PM

 

 

 

 

 

So there you have it –  a simple way to make your own meat substitute in a few easy steps!

I use chickpeas in stir-frys and curries instead of chicken (they just soak up the flavour of the sauce, which is great). You can use them in soups, make your own hummus, or put them on salads.

Now it’s your turn – what meat substitutes do you use? I’d love some new ideas – leave me a comment below!

Bulking Up On Beef

I love doing what I can to save money on groceries.

I don’t know about you, but I find that especially here in the Great White North, food is really expensive – meat and cheese especially! I like to do what I can to save money and still get enough protein in our diets.

Today I want to share with you a trick that I learned from my mom about ground beef. Fred and I are not foodies but any stretch of the imagination – we cook really simply, so ground beef is a staple at our house. We put it in soups, in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, on nachos, and in burritos. It takes a while to cook, so I buy it in bulk and freeze it in smaller portions. This saves me time and money!Photo 2014-03-18, 7 33 38 PM

Here’s a step-by-step guide with pictures. Ready?

1. Buy a big batch of beef. Lean ground beef is usually a bit more expensive, so I usually go with regular ground beef and rinse it after it’s cooked to get the extra fat off.

2. Get out the biggest pan you have. I use a non-stick frying pan. You could do two batches at once (2 pans) to save time.

3. Scoop out a bunch of the beef into the pan. I usually keep the stove on 6 or 7 (medium-high) while cooking. If you crank it up to high, the grease will splatter.

4. Flip beef over when the bottom is cooked. Make sure both sides get cooked. You might have to flip the beef over a few times to make sure it gets cooked through the middle.

5. Beef is done when you can’t see any more pink. Make sure that it’s cooked all the way to avoid any raw meet in your food later on!

Photo 2014-03-18, 7 40 07 PM Photo 2014-03-18, 7 59 56 PM

 

 

 

 

 

6. Pour into colander with a tin can underneath. This drains all the lovely fat off your beef and makes it more tasty. Wait until the grease hardens and the can is full, then throw away. Photo 2014-03-18, 8 29 00 PM

(Sorry about the shadow in this picture!)

7. Cool, then put in individual bags/containers. I usually separate them into the portion size I will use later. My mom taught me that 2.5 cups is one pound, which is helpful for future cooking endeavours. Put beef in the freezer so it’s there when you need it.

So there you have it! A simple way to stretch your meat budget and make it easier to throw together a meal later. The possibilities for ground beef are endless – it’s a must-have for your freezer!

What do you use ground beef for? Leave me some ideas below!

Waste Not, Want Not

I hate throwing things away.

It’s not hard for me to give things away, or to throw away useless things, but I have trouble throwing away boxes, ribbons, and food (specifically). I have seen mold in many different colours because I keep things in the fridge until I’m forced to by the fungus growing on them. (This grosses my husband out, but what can you do?)

This is sometimes helpful in being frugal, and has allowed me to save money by being creative with my leftovers. I would love to share some of my ideas with you to help you as you make the most of your groceries. (I’ll post about saving other things later, but today I’ll be focusing on food.)

Here are some little things that I never throw away and use to make something new:

1. Meat carcasses: Yep, I’m one of those crazy people that makes their own broth with turkey/chicken/beef bones. Click here for a guide/recipe if you’ve never done this before. It makes great broth and ensures all those bones don’t go to waste!

2. Cinnamon-sugar coating: This may sound random, but I think it’s helpful. When I make snickerdoodles, there is always leftover cinnamon-sugar mix and instead of throwing it away I save it for future baking or put it on my toast (which is really yummy).

photo (1)

3. Icing: I learned this trick from my mom – when you have leftover icing that isn’t enough to ice another batch of cupcakes, you can spread it on graham crackers for a tasty snack!

You can also add some extra milk and use it to glaze scones, cinnamon buns etc. I made some yummy cranberry scones this weekend with leftover lemon icing – see picture to right of how they turned out!

 4. Rice: Sometimes we have leftover rice, and if it doesn’t get used for a few days, it gets hard and unappetizing. I like to use leftover rice for two things: fried rice and breakfast rice.

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Fried rice is easy – scramble an egg with a little oil in a pan/wok, add some onion, leftover rice and veggies. Throw in some soy sauce and some leftover meat (I like to use turkey) and you have yourself a little meal. (See picture to left – I made fried rice with leftover pineapple, veggies and turkey. Really good!)

Breakfast rice is something mom made when she had leftover rice. You can add milk, cinnamon sugar and some fruit, and microwave for 30-60 seconds and you have a delicious little breakfast dish.

5. Bread: Unless bread goes moldy, I never throw it away. I save crusts or heels of bread to make homemade bread crumbs (throw them in a blender and use in place of store bought bread crumbs).

I also use bread heels for sandwiches – one of my mom friends once told me that if you turn the heel part inside, your kids will never know the difference! This is way better than throwing them away simply because they’re the part of the bread that kids (or adults!) normally don’t like.

6. Egg yolks/whites: If I have a recipe that calls for egg whites or yolks only, I save them in a little dish and make an omelette later in the week. I usually add another egg or two to balance out the yolks/whites.

These are a few ways that I stretch my limited grocery budget by using everything, sometimes in a “creative” way. Although this doesn’t save me thousands of dollars, it keeps me content with what I have and helps me to move away from a consumerism mentality. I try to never buy anything that I won’t eat or use – this keeps me content, creative, and frugal!

What are some things you never throw away in your kitchen and reuse in another way? Leave a comment below to share some ideas with me!

Breakfast on the Go (+ Granola Recipe)

This week, I lived a classic substitute teacher life. I was in my bed and got called out of a deep sleep to sub in 50 minutes – this happened two days in a row. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but the school that I am on the list for is 30 minutes away, so I only had 10 minutes to get dressed and grab my breakfast and lunch for the day.

Since I live this kind of life where I sometimes need pre-made/easy to grab food in a hurry, and refuse to buy packaged items, I need to keep homemade items on hand that I can grab and go with. This week I used some muffins I had put in the freezer for times like this, and some scones that I made one afternoon, but my favourite breakfast on the go, and the one I want to share with you today, is my mom’s granola recipe.

I asked my mom if I could share this recipe with you all and she agreed (thanks mom!). She got it from a co-worker in the 70’s. It is delicious, healthy, affordable, and has tons of variations.

I’ve taken some pictures so you can follow along as you make your own granola and make sure you’re on track. Ready? Here we go.

Kathy’s Granola 

Ingredients:

  • 6-7 cups rolled oatsPhoto 3-12-2014, 6 04 41 PM
  • 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
  • 1 cup dry milk
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 T. water
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (or craisins) – optional

Directions: 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. In a very large bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, coconut, sesame seeds, nuts or sunflower seeds and dry milk.

2. In a separate bowl (or measuring cup), stir together honey, oil, water, and vanilla.

3. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and stir to coat ingredients well.

4. Pour into 2 large, shallow baking pans sprayed lightly with cooking spray (or you can use a large turkey roasting pan).

5. Bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes (shallow baking pans) or 40 minutes for turkey pan. Stir twice during heating. Watch carefully – browns on bottom and burns easily.

6. Stir occasionally while while coo ling and crumble into pieces. If desired, add raisins/craisins at this point. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Step-by-step instruction guide (with pictures!) 

Combine dry ingredients (minus the raisans/craisans) in a large bowl and combine the wet ingredients in another bowl .

I use a 2 cup measuring cup with a pour spout on it for the wet ingredients and find it works well.

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*Notes: Wheat germ is found in the cereal/oatmeal aisle and is a great source of fibre. I usually add a little bit of extra brown sugar and oat bran for a bit more fibre. I also use coconut oil instead of canola oil, which tastes great!*

Stir dry ingredients together until it is evenly mixed. 

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Pour mixed wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir well to coat.

The entire mix should now be wet (if you see dry spots, keep stirring!

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Pour into prepared (lightly sprayed) pans. 

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Bake in oven and stir at least twice (I stir every 10 minutes). Granola is done when it is a bit brown and looks toasted. 

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Add craisins/raisins after it is out of the oven. Stir every few minutes to prevent clumps. 

Put in sealed container and enjoy!

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I love this recipe because it is delicious and allows me a healthy breakfast option that is quick and filling (I eat it with yogurt, but it is also good with milk or applesauce).

This allows me to still have a complete breakfast that will keep me full, even when I don’t have a lot of time in my day. You can tweak this recipe any way you want – adding your favourite ingredients and finding what works best for you!

What are some of your breakfast on the go ideas? Leave a comment to share with us!

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