Bits and pieces are essential

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If you only have a very small portion of food left in the bowl after supper is over, do you scrape that little bit of food into the garbage because it isn’t enough for one serving?

If so, do you also empty your pockets when you are getting ready to go to bed and throw all the change into the trash?

Sounds ridiculous when you are talking about actual money but it is no different if you are trashing perfectly good food just because it isn’t a dollar’s worth.

As a result of the fiscal cliff problem, all paychecks will amount to less beginning this month forcing us to make up the difference in where we can save.

Middle-class families that are trying to save money on food rarely find themselves in a position where savings can result in a huge savings on any one item. Most saving is a result of consistently saving in small amounts.

The marathon runner didn’t wake up one morning and rush out to run fifty miles that day. The concert pianist probably started her career by playing chop sticks and it is the same with saving as you strive to reach that goal of independence.

To reach this goal, saving should be made interesting and fun One fun method is using ice cube trays for freezing. Ice cube trays were found in older refrigerators but you still may be able to find one.

Consider using fresh herbs as an example. When your recipe calls for fresh herbs, most of us head to the market where we have to purchase a bunch of the fresh herbs because markets don’t usually sell by the teaspoon full, which is all we need for our recipe.

Take your bunch of fresh herbs, chop finely, measure out 1 teaspoon of the herb into each section of the ice tray, fill with water and freeze. After it is frozen, remove the frozen cubes to a freezer bag and store.

The fun comes when you are making soup, stew or sauce and your recipe calls for a teaspoon of this herb. All you do, is reach in the freezer and get one of these herb ice cubes to drop into your cooking mixture.

Make iced tea and freeze in the ice cube tray. Pulling out a tray of frozen ice cubes of tea to use as a glass of tea on a hot day is a pleasant experience or you can use these cubes instead of plain ice cubes which dilute your drink, .

If you do not have such trays, find the smallest containers suitable for freezing these bits and pieces.

No matter what you use, there should always be two separate, larger containers in the freezer.

In one container, put bits and pieces of left-over meat, vegetables or sauces that can be used for making soup or stew. When there is enough material add some chicken stock and make your stew or soup and just pop an ice cube of fresh herb into the mixture.

The other container should be used to hold small amounts of anything sweet, cake, pie, cookie, whatever. When there is enough, cover the bottom of a flat dish with this mixture and top with instant pudding for a cheap and interesting dessert.

Bits and pieces of food are the same as bits and pieces of money.

To prove how fast small amounts add up, place a jar on the table by your bed and put all your change in it every night for a month. This money should be added to your retirement fund.

Use everything that you purchase and enjoy making it a game because it really is a game, often you versus you. Good luck to you.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at opelikaobserver@att.net.

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