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Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill Paperback – September 1, 2009
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First off before I get to it, understand that it IS a good book and is worth the buy because you will find some ideas to shave a few dollars off of your grocery bill. Just know that the average family will very likely never get the cost down to the promised $75 a week. Some can, most probably cannot and here is why:
* She tells you that she saves on produce because she has a vegetable garden and an orchard (pg 46, 47). If you have a house and a lot of time this is great, but nothing none of us have not thought of before. If you live in an apartment without a community garden, then you're sunk altogether. She is careful to not say that you SHOULD do this, but this IS part of the $75/wk plan.
* Along that same notion, she cans her items too. If I had a garden, I would probably can also. However she did say that you could stock up on in-season items and can those. Just remember to do the math yourself because you may find that the "sale price" coupled with the cost of jars, etc. is no cheaper than buying a can. You really only save well here if you have a garden.
* She frequently talks about freezing food and mentions a deep freezer often enough to make you feel that this isn't going to work for you. Granted, she DOES offer tips on freezing for those with space limitations, but to get the full benefit that she describes, a deep freeze is essential. The first example off the top of my head is sales on milk. You can't buy several gallons with only a standard-sized freezer and still keep food in there.Read more ›
As I sat cackling over the money I've saved since reading a pre-publication copy of this book a month ago I said to Ryan, "I can't believe how much money we've saved this month! I've cut our budget by 50% and I think I could easily go lower if we needed to." To which he replied, "That's insane, because we have been eating really well recently, too!" High praise coming from a man whose own mother (an amazing cook) dubbed him The Food Diva several years back when he commented on the amount of carrots she'd used in a favorite dish of his when we were home visiting for Christmas.
In case you aren't already heading out to order a copy of the book based just on that, let me elaborate just a little. Because if you're anything like me you might be thinking, "Come on, seriously. Do we really need another book on how to save money on groceries and inexpensive recipes to feed our families? How many tater-tot casseroles with cheese whiz and Ritz cracker toppings can a girl try?"
If that's you, I'm with yah sister. But let me just mention a couple of things.
1. Delicious Recipes Suited to Any Skill Level: While Mary DOES mention tater tots once in her book it is only to tell you how much better homemade fries are. Not only that, but she upgrades the oven fries with her own homemade Ethiopian seasoning mix (and provides several other easy suggestions for seasonings if a mouth on fire is not your particular version of tasty). And all joking about those spuds aside, her recipes are seriously good, seriously easy and seriously cost effective.Read more ›
I read - quickly and easily - through the chapters on grocery shopping and then started reading through some of Mary's recipes. The thing I LOVE about them? They all use such spectacularly ordinary ingredients and they're delicious! The first one I tried was her recipe for granola. I'd never actually made my own granola, always turned off by the cost and specialty of the ingredients used (wheat germ is not a staple in our house, e.g.)... The granola recipe in this book turned out great and I used only things that I already had on hand (AND I didn't have to make any substitutions).
Shortly thereafter, I made the eggy breakfast muffins, as I was in search of a substantial, quick breakfast that wasn't loaded with carbs. Not only are these relatively inexpensive (they cost less than a pre-fab equivalent and are better for you), they are ... wow! flavorful and satisfying!! If you cut the bacon out of them for a vegetarian version, they'd be even cheaper and probably (almost) as good. :)
Skimming over some of the other recipes, I saw one for blueberry muffins. I almost skipped right past it, since I'm always hesitant to use fresh blueberries (even if they taste delicious), because - in my experience - they're so expensive and spoil so quickly if you don't use them right when they're ripe. To my delight, I realized that her recipe called for blueberry YOGURT! What a genius idea! She adds that if you want more blueberry to the bite, you can add frozen blueberries.
Yes, I dearly love this cookbook. It goes in my top ten best purchases ever. :)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've had this cookbook for awhile and finally feel inclined to leave a review. I tried another recipe tonight and while it wasn't terrible, it left a lot to be desired. Read morePublished 2 months ago by r3b0t1c4
I really love this book!
Reasons it works for me:
-I also have a big garden
-I do a lot of preserving and canning
-I cook mainly gluten free and many of... Read more
As a busy stay at home mom of 8 I ordered this in hopes it had some info I wasn't aware of yet to save a little money. This wasn't very informative sadly. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Momofmany
I could have written this book. And I'm not a writer or a meal planner. HorriblePublished 6 months ago by Stephanie R
book was intended as a gift for a welfare family who were dependent on Food Banks for groceries. I'm of the opinion they do not shop smartly.Published 8 months ago by David Antico
Got this book for $5 at Tractor Supply about three years ago. I own hundreds of cookbooks and this one is at the top of the pile. Read morePublished 9 months ago by really?
This book would be very helpful for someone who is an absolute beginner at saving money. If you have never shopped sales, if you eat out a lot and buy a lot of convenience foods,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kelly
Great cook book with easy recipes with few ingredients. I love that she has included a shopping list so that you can keep what you need on hand to make these tasty dinners. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Carma Foley
Love this cookbook! I've made several of the recipes with lots of success. Great tips too.Published 10 months ago by Paula Freeman