Okay, so I’m continuing the theme of reducing grocery costs / meal planning / thrifty eating…whatever you want to call it. This whole concept came about because I am a bit of a food snob. Well, that’s what people tell me. I prefer to think of it as I simply want what’s best for my family. Having gone to culinary school, I tend to have a bit of a different viewpoint and a somewhat more open mind than most people I know when it comes to food.
So in the beginning of this pregnancy (who am I kidding, this is STILL happening!) I had really bad morning sickness. And when I got a craving—I HAD to have it. Like seriously. So we ended up eating out / getting food to go. A lot. When I finally sat down to do our budget, since we had like no money left at the end of the month and figured out that like $700 had gone towards groceries / eating out…yeah I flipped a little. So obviously that couldn’t continue.
So I’ve been researching ways to cut costs and reduce our grocery bills, without compromising my values and feelings about the food we eat. Frankly grocery stores set off panic attacks for me now. I’m terrified of GMO’s and processed foods. Like it’s an irrational fear, but one that I feel is justified, given how much I’ve read about it. Just yesterday I read an article – from a reputable source, not a whack job extremist group – about how they’re sneaking preservatives into organic infant formula. Granted my definition of reputable source may be different from yours, but to each their own. I’m not telling you what to eat, simply that things like that make me even sicker than I already am.
Okay, so back to my point. Cutting costs has been an ongoing quest of mine in the last few months and I’m super excited about the development that I’m going to share with you here. One of our families absolute FAVORITE snacks is popcorn.
Seriously my kids will shovel it in their mouths and scarf it down before Mike and I get a couple handfuls. (And please don’t tell me what a horrible mother I am for letting my toddlers have popcorn. Heard it before. I know, I’m the most evil mother out there.) So we could legitimately go through a box of 6 bags of microwave popcorn in 2 days. 1 if I let them. But the thing is, microwave popcorn is expensive. And microwaves terrify me as well. They’re horrible for you!
**I read awhile back about an experiment where you water 2 identical plants with regular water and then water that had been microwaved. Supposedly the plant that got the microwaved water died. I’ve found differing opinions on this-snopes says it’s false, but there are many others who say it’s true. I personally tried the experiment (three times) and my microwave plant died all three times. Take from that what you will, but I hate microwaves and that’s when I decided to stop using mine.**
So we went without popcorn for awhile. Those were some hard times in this household. But I decided that I wanted to invest in an air popper. We ended up spending about $20 on the Rival Popcorn Maker.
You buy a jar of popcorn kernels, which is SO much cheaper than the boxes of popcorn, and follow the directions to pop. Seriously, even Mike said how easy it was. This was, it’s healthier because it’s cooked with hot air. Also, there isn’t all that fake butter crap that they put in microwave popcorn. We usually melt some butter (my fave is Kerrygold butter, yum!) and sprinkle on some sea salt. Seriously better than ANY other popcorn I’ve ever had. We leave off the butter and salt for the kids and it’s a happy night in our house. Mike and I even get to cuddle on the couch for like-10 whole minutes! It’s amazing.
So, while the $20 price tag may scare some people (and of course there’s pricier models out there), it’s an upfront cost. Overall, the money you will save is exponentially greater. From one “batch” or kernels being popped we get the equivalent of about 2.5 bags of microwave popcorn. And there’s almost NO unpopped kernels.
I’m my opinion, it’s a great investment. And the popcorn really does taste much better…fresher and cleaner. And it’s real butter. I know some people cringe at real butter and are “margarine all the way”, and hey that’s cool. I’m terrified of margarine too, but you can just as easily melt some and pour it over your bowl of air popped deliciousness.
Just do some number crunching of your own and see where you come out. Like I said, it’s already saved us a buttload in popcorn costs. We’ve gone through about 1/3 of a jar of kernels. And we’ve had popcorn almost every night for over a week.
**By the way, I’m not getting paid for these opinions. I actually do have the Rival Popcorn Maker and I love Kerrygold butter. I firmly believe in these products and would never endorse something I couldn’t have a clear conscience about. Just so ya know.**