In my previous blog, Cheap Food No More, I detail why I believe we are in the beginning stages of increased inflation, perhaps even hyperinflation. Families can manage some inflation with a few tweaks to their budgets. When the price of food inflates, along with everything else, it becomes more difficult to adjust. We might be able to live without a new car or even new clothes, but we cannot live without food.
Obviously, the first place to begin cutting your food budget is by eliminating processed foods. Not only are they not as nutritious as whole foods, they’re more expensive. When the cost of food inflates, the only way to keep ahead of the curve is to cook more at home…from scratch. Learning how to prepare for hard economic times is best done before there’s a dire need.
I had fully intended on writing blogs about food inflation AFTER the holidays in January. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the time to prepare is now. The holiday season is a perfect time to give a gift that keeps on giving, especially in tough economic times.
Zach is showing off his home-grown sprouts.
Here are some gift ideas that will combat food inflation:
Starting at $25 Sprout kits provide all the necessary vitamins and minerals you need to be healthy. You don’t need much space to grow sprouts. They are simple to grow and they grow fast. In just a few days you are ready to eat healthy life-giving spouts. Add sprouts to sandwiches, salads and soups. Puree them for dips and add them to breads. If you have a high performance blender add them to juices.
A food dehydrator is a small appliance for drying foods indoors. Dehydrated food doesn’t take up as much space as canned, as the water has been removed from the food. In addition, vegetables, fruit and even meat are stored without the need of a freezer. Dehydrated fruits make great snack foods, without all the chemicals. When you dehydrate food yourself, you’ll not only save grocery dollars, but the food will be free of the chemicals usually found in dehydrated foods. Dried veggies are a wonderful addition to stews, soups and casseroles. You can find a decent dehydrator for about $70 and they go up from there.
Yogurt is known for good bacteria (probiotics), which contributes to healthy gut function. Delicious fresh yogurt is easy to make and it’s cheaper to make your own than purchasing yogurt in little containers. Create your own flavors by adding real fruit for sweeteners. All you need is a device to keep the yogurt mixture at a constant temperature. Prices range from $30 to $80.
High Performance Blender
This is a pricy gift. A high performance blender will cost about $400. As far as I’m concerned, it’s worth every penny. I have a VitaMix and I don’t know what I would do without it. I use mine several times a day. A high performance blender will do the job of not only a blender, but a food processor, juicer and ice cream maker. When you calculate the cost of all those appliances, it doesn’t seem quite so expensive. In addition, just think of the kitchen space this one appliance frees up.
Homemade soups and dips are a snap to make with a high performance blender. If you purchase an attachment for milling grains (about another $100), you can bake bread, make pancakes, muffins, cookies, etc. with the highest nutrient levels. Grain loses a whopping 90 percent of its nutritional value in only 72 hours after being ground.
Trendy Kitchen Gift or Not
Make sure your gift kitchen gadgets don’t steal vital kitchen space, but are useful. Slow cookers, pressure cookers, cookware sets, knives, mixers anything, which makes cooking from scratch easier makes a great gift. Some trendy kitchen appliances I’ve tried, end up at the back of the cupboard, because they are for only for one specialty item. This takes up too much room in my kitchen. Unused appliances eventually get thrown out.
I have to regularly use an appliance to justify keeping it. I have no use for a waffle maker (I usually make pancakes) or an omelet maker (I now make omelets in a non-stick pan). Don’t make crepes often enough to merit a special appliance. I have NO use for a hot dog cooker (don’t eat food with nitrates) or a wok (I stir fry in one of my cookware pans).
I’m thinking of replacing my microwave (which I never use) with a convention oven. Threw out my electric can opener. It took up too much counter space. I now use a manual can opener, stored in a drawer. I had a bread maker, but gave it away. I didn’t like the prepared bread mixes (full of bleached white flour and chemicals) and all my loaves came out hard as bricks. Perhaps it had to do with high altitude. I don’t know.
Have a healthy holiday season and may your gift giving bless your family and friends.
Have you made emergency plans for your family?
What if the grocery store shelves were empty?
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