(In case this is your first time reading The Dollar Diet blog, my family and I are on a quest to go the entire month of February without spending any money. No kidding. We'll pay the monthly bills, put gas in our cars to get to and from work and spend just $10 a week on milk and produce, but that's it. If it's discretionary, it's off limits. Click here to read the introductory post.)
As you might imagine, 17 days into our 28-day no-spend challenge, our normally packed pantry has some gaping holes.
When you're replenishing with regular trips to the grocery, you don't really notice the steady stream of cans, boxes and bags of food that a family consumes each week.
If you've been reading along this month, you know that when the granola bars ran out, I made my own. No honey? No problem. I substituted corn syrup. Ditto for oil. I used applesauce instead.
Then we ran out of bread.
I had silently fretted as I noticed we were running low. Down to our last slices, I canceled a grilled cheese and tomato soup supper, but it was only delaying the inevitable.
I got out my bread pans, washed away the dust and baked my own.
I have baked bread before but not very often. I was definitely leaving my comfort zone.
I'm told by those who regularly bake bread for their families that it becomes second nature. But at this stage in my bread-baking journey. I'm not convinced.
Thankfully, I followed a recipe
I found on one of my favorite blogs, The Frugal Girl
, which came complete with photos. A sort of bread-baking for dummies.
With Frugal Girl's high-tech hand holding, along with a lot of serious hand-wringing over whether the bread would rise, I was able to produce two tasty golden brown loaves.
But it was a lot of work. And it took a lot of time.
I kept thinking how easy it is to pluck a loaf of bread off the store shelf.
And yet....it did give me that self-sufficiency high, knowing I had made something as basic as bread.
And it tasted so good, all warm and yeasty when it came out of the oven and paired with stuffed Italian shells. And later when used to make our postponed grilled cheese and tomato soup.
But guess what? Just four days after my triumphant bread-baking for dummies session, we've only got one third of one loaf left.
If sandwiches are in the plan for the waning days of February, I'll have to do it ALL OVER AGAIN.
This extreme-frugal-living business, while rewarding, can be exhausting.