Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm saving up to buy a house right now, so I'm watching my budget pretty tightly, and one thing that I'm doing is making more stuff from scratch, including bread. Which itself doesn't seem like it would be a huge money saver -- I mean, as a household we only go through about one loaf of bread a week, and even buying it from the nice hippie organic bakery that's still only about $3. But $3 a week over the course of the year adds up to over $150. And then if you factor in making cookies from scratch rather than buying a $3 box of cookies every week, that's another $150, And so on and so forth.

However, my frugality borders on the obsessive at times, like last time I went shopping and went to buy breadcrumbs. I can't even remember how much they cost now, but whatever it was I was aghast. This was at the co-op, and they were organic, so it was probably about $3 or $4 for a 15 ounce container. Highway robbery! Even though I hardly ever use breadcrumbs and only go through, like, one container a year.

Then it occurred to me that, duh, if I'm making my own bread I can make my own breadcrumbs. It was one of those realizations where it feels like everybody else already knows this but I am just now figuring it out.

Since I think I have a genetic predisposition to not follow/read directions, I sort of just winged it, and I grated the butt ends of a few loaves of bread with a cheese grater and then toasted it in a 200 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Afterwards I consulted the Joy of Cooking and realized that I had done it backwards -- they recommend drying out the bread in the oven first and then running it through a food mill or something.

I had about four inches worth of bread, and that yielded a little under one cup of breadcrumbs, which will be more than enough for what I need it for: stuffed mushrooms. The local paper incorrectly listed today, February 21, as National Stuffed Mushroom Day (according to the internet it's apparently actually on February 4; today is National Cherry Pie day, however) so tonight for dinner we are celebrating this blessed event with Spinach-Feta Stuffed Mushroom. Recipe and picture to follow later tonight or tomorrow morning.

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