The Hard Times Kitchen is dedicated to reviving the lost skills of home economy – cooking, kitchen know-how, frugal shopping, menu planning, wasting less, economizing, and even growing food. Knowing how to cook, and learning a few tricks in the kitchen makes it possible to eat really great food without spending a small fortune.

I try and share my best thrifty kitchen tips, and frugal recipes. My recipes rely on ingredients, – not packages or mixes. I make most of my meals with whole, unprocessed foods that are either fresh in-season, or come from my pantry or freezer. I always try to make my recipes nourishing and delicious, but usually not too fancy. In my house, we like simple, rustic food, as well as updated versions of classic recipes.

I am a gardener, and I do try and grow some of my own food every year, so don’t be surprised to find a little bit of gardening info here and there. I believe that nearly everyone can grow a little food – even if it is a pot of herbs on a windowsill.  Although I still shop at grocery stores, a fresh fruit or vegetable from your garden, a farmers market, or an orchard still can’t be beat.

I am an avid food-preserver, jam-maker, and baker. You will rarely find me spending money on a jar of jam, or a store-bought cake. I’m not against buying these things in a pinch, but I find that I can often save money (and have a much higher quality product) when I make these things at home.

In the end, I find that it is all about balance – to pick and choose the money-saving strategies that suit you and your family.  You may decide to make jars of jam with strawberries you picked at the U-Pick farm. Or, you may buy your strawberry jam at the grocery store with a BOGO sale and a coupon. It is never about perfection, but more about gathering the knowledge and then applying it in the way you see fit.  A little less stress, and a little more happiness is the goal.

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