Hi! I'm Kaitlyn a 24 25 year old from Vancouver, B.C. transplanted to beautiful Bend, Oregon. I created this blog as a way to share my recipes with family and friends from afar. It also serves as an online recipe box for me, satisfying my slightly OCD need to organize everything.

I've found that cooking for two on a tight budget has meant a lot of planning and flexibility. I plan our meals ahead of time in order to eliminate food wastage and I've learned to become flexible when following recipes. For example; cottage cheese can replace ricotta, a little bit of sea salt added to garlic powder makes garlic salt, and dried herbs like oregano and basil when added to a can of cheap plain tomato sauce, makes a yummy marinara sauce. It's easy, I just use what I have!

We also try and eat as healthy as possible. We've practically eliminated both trans and saturated fats from our diet as well as high fructose corn syrup. I also try to make everything we consume from scratch, so I know what I've put in it. We do have our vices. Mine is gummy candy and cheese and Shawn's is maple syrup, powdered sugar and ice cream. Dark chocolate doesn't count as a vice ;-)

At the bottom of the page you can take a peek at our food budget. Whether you are looking for fun or you need some advice or guidance you can always contact me at: kaitlynmcfaddencooks@gmail.com

Top half of my pantry *old house
Fun facts about me:

Penny *in my old kitchen
Favourite Dinner: Tuna meatballs with sweet potato gnocchi and broccoli pesto.

Monthly Grocery Budget:  $200.00 USD (see below)

Most frequently purchased items: spinach, broccoli, bananas, cottage cheese, eggs, orange juice

Favourite food item to splurge on: Really good cheese.

Can't live without: whole wheat bread and AP flour (I make all of our bread), dark chocolate chips, peanut butter, and Shawn - my dishwasher and #1 fan.

Favourite dessert: Jam brownies - try it!

Favourite kitchen accessory: My sunshine yellow Kitchen-Aid mixer named Penny.

Pet: Sir Bubbles - my sourdough starter ;-)

On Being a Frugal Foodie

Groceries, dining out, entertaining, housewares and alcohol take a huge bite out of your checking account monthly. In the summer of 2010 I knew that we were spending A LOT of money on these items, but I didn't have exact numbers. So in July 2010 I decided to track our purchases to see exactly how much money we were forking out for food. It was in the $600.00 range! I was shocked but became even more shocked when I did some research online and discovered that couples were eating well for a lot less per month. Using  $100.00 per person per month, a number that came up quite often in my reading, I developed a $200.00 a month budget for groceries and alcohol and put it into place August 2010. Household supplies and entertainment was kept separate and tracked as we needed more history to determine an appropriate budget.  Our main goal with this initial budget was to become more aware of what we buy, where we buy, and to gain knowledge on the cost of individual grocery items.

We were very successful. My husband and I became knowledgeable about prices per pound/ounce for everything we bought. We learned the best places to buy certain items ie. Costco for flour and Trader Joe's for cocoa powder. We watched the news to know when drought, cold or civil war would affect the price of peanuts or chocolate. But most importantly we became aware of how quickly the cost of food was rising.

After we discovered that meats were doubling and produce was rising by 10 to 20 percent we made some changes. The most important change was deciding to purchase beef annually from a local farmer. Buying meat this way put a lock on the price per pound we'd pay. January 2011 we purchased 1/4 cow at $3.50 per lb. In January 2012 we will purchase half a cow for what we think will be $4.00 per lb. This means we pay more for ground beef but three times less for sirloin, tri-tip or t-bone so it balances out to our favor. Plus we know our beef is organic and hormone free.

Our budget as undergone a lot of tweaking since August 2010. We now structure it like this:

The $400.00 total gives us an extra $10.00 to use if we need it and more beef than we can consume. So far this year only 3 months out of 10 have been over budget, and in one of those months was our wedding. Also, stockpiling food will affect your budget as well. The few months we were over budget we were stockpiling canned goods and 50 pound bags of beans. But now I don't have to buy beans for a few years!

It's important to keep in mind that a budget is just that, a budget. There is no need to think that you have to go without milk for a week because there is no money left. This is advice that I need to remember too!
However you budget remember that you work hard, you partner works hard and he most certainly should never go without orange juice...even though it is more expensive than gold! ;-)