The winner of the The Frugal Foodie Cookbook giveaway is Sala of Veggie Belly: Congratulations!
Before I post a summary of the helpful hints you all came up with, I wanted to let you know that Anna (my twin) is super famous now ;) Her photo appears in Southern Living Magazine (she's the one in the blue)!
*Plan your meals around what is in season, on sale, etc., then search your cookbooks or blogs for ideas on how to prepare your food for the week/month.
*Do not let things go to waste! Try to keep the cupboard stocked but the fridge as clean as possible. When it is crowded, you'll inevitable miss something and it will go bad.
*Keep all your vegetable scraps in the freezer and use them to make stock. Put the ends that you cut off of onions and carrots and peppers, the ends you snap off of beans, herbs that are about to go bad, and anything else that you can think of. Store them in a Ziploc bag and occasionally toss a bag full into some water with some more herbs and make a little soup stock.
*FREEZE! Make twice as much of most meals and freeze left overs for later. Having a meal ready to go in the freezer leaves you less likely to stop out and grab a quick meal from fast-food or a restaurant!
*Go to pick-your-own-farms - they are usually cheaper and fresher than grocery stores!
*Cook beans in the crock pot--dry beans are dirt cheap, and then you can eat them for a week in all different ways.
*Two words... dumpster dive! Dive at the cans of your local gourmet grocer, and get cheeses, slightly bruised fruit, breads, stuff you would never dream. Stick to the high end places and have fun!
*Plan your menu for the week before you head out to the grocery store and create a plan so your food works together. For example you can pick up a few ears of corn for a BBQ chicken meal and then put aside an ear or two to cut the corn into a Mexican salad for the next day. Shoot, even the left over chicken would be good in a salad like that! Yum!
*Boiled rice water makes an excellent starch for dainty collars, cuffs and baby dresses.
*If you have a small amount of wine left in the bottle, freeze it in ice cube trays, put them in a freezer bag and save for when you need a small amount of wine for cooking.
*Buy extra when it is on sale and freeze. Along the same vein, cook ahead and freeze dinners.
*Have lots of friends with lots of fruit trees. Take advantage in the fall and freeze fruit sliced up and also dehydrate for snacking year round.
*Plan ahead what your menu will be and also plan to use your seasonal ingredients in several ways, so you don't tire eating what's in season. :)