By Patti Hermes – Parent to Parent 


vegetables family dinner Aren’t you just tired of trying to read food labels while shopping? The print is tiny, the words are long and indecipherable, even if I brought my reading glasses, and inevitably, I’m blocking the aisle for someone else. Sometimes I just buy the item, after all I have a coupon for it, and bring it home and put that label under a microscope.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand what most of the ingredients are anymore. I have the internet to help me out, not only with definitions, but both industry-backed marketing and your everyday bloggers who have done the research and share it freely for the rest of us.

That’s the long way of saying I don’t buy bread anymore. Not only am I not introducing chemical experiments into my body and that of my family, but when I switched to buying more flour to bake my own, my grocery bill has gone way down. Sure we eat less plain white bread, we’re still experimenting with recipes (see english muffins here ), and sometimes when we run out of toast, we can’t just run to the store and buy more. Sometimes we have to open the freezer and pull out the latest creation. Maybe it’s wheat bread, maybe it’s croissants (still perfecting those), and maybe it’s more like sandwich rolls.

And maybe it’s some crazy new recipe for cinnamon roll bread that the whole family wants in on, so we spend a Friday night together, mixing and kneading and rising and baking. Cheap entertainment, a learning environment, and the family hanging out together. Sometimes with friends. Sometimes with pizza, because we don’t stop at just baking bread around here.

Pretty much anything you buy at the grocery store, you could make yourself. And even if you simply don’t have time for more cooking, or you’re just not happy spending your free time in the kitchen, maybe your kids can do it for you. Plenty of kids start cooking for their families at young ages, and directing them away from throwing a bunch of cans together in a pan, and maybe making their own homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch is both frugal on your pocketbook, and healthier in the long run. Who knows what all those unknown additives are doing to us? I’m blaming my slow metabolism on them!

For fresh salad dressings, my favorite go-to is a Veggie Venture. You like your condiments on the fancy side? Try these recipes. Check out this blogger’s easy taco seasoning mixture, and be shamed by how much you spent on just one envelope of questionable flavorings. Pinterest is just loaded with all kinds of recipes that have worked, have beautiful pictures to show for it, all at the simple search bar. is a veritable treasure trove.

The internet community is here to help you not only eat healthy, but also sweetly. This recipe for chocolate pudding took me a whole two minutes longer than a box of instant pudding, and it tastes better because I can adjust the sugar to my taste. And I can make it even when I don’t have any boxed pudding! If you have a food processor or nice mixer, teach the rest of your family to use them and you will be amazed at their creations. If not, I’ve found wooden spoons and whisks do the job just fine.

Spending time in the kitchen, and teaching my boys how to make a meal out of what they call just nothing, will also pay off in the long run. I don’t have to fear anyone of mine starving if I get sick, go out of town, or spend too much time sunning myself by the pool (which I hope to be doing real soon!). They will always be able to feed themselves, even if I forget to go shopping.

Patti Hermes

Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at

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