Ducks Really do March in a Row (but they probably don’t cook frugally)

This post may contain affiliate links, including Your price won't change but it enables free content & supports our family business.

Have you ever seen a group of ducks on the move?

Whether you’re watching a family with fuzzy little ducklings all following their mama or a dozen adult ducks heading for feeding time, they’ll be in one straight row.

We  humans tend to be much less intrinsically organized, don’t we?

Frugal Cooking Hangout on Air

Two of the statistics that we shared in this week’s Google Hangout on Air, "Frugal Cooking and Keeping all your Ducks in a Row," were shocking to some but reflect humanity’s basic scattered tendencies and natural laziness:

1. Most Americans throw away about 25% of the food they purchase.

2. The average American has less than 3 days worth of food stored up in their home.

Neither are good habits for cooking frugally, which is something most Americans really need to do more of.

My guests Jessica Fisher of Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats, Erin Chase the $5 Dinner Mom, and Erin Odom from The Humbled Homemaker shared their shopping habits, the simplest (but still nourishing) meals ever, the secret to a healthy pantry/fridge, and more in this hour-long online talk show, including my favorite finisher: a 5-minute "do it now" from each of them that YOU can accomplish immediately upon leaving your screen of choice, something that will make a positive impact on your frugal cooking habits without having to plan, make a list, or feel overwhelmed for one second.

Watch the Frugal Cooking Show

If you can’t see the embedded video above, click Frugal Cooking Show to view it on YouTube directly.

Find all previous "foodie" related HOAs HERE, including super cookbook authors, using technology to make kitchen life easier, and The Unprocessed Day.

Show Notes

If you don’t have a full hour and would like to "skim" to the questions and answers you’re most interested in, here are some minute markers to help you along:


  • Jessica 1:20
  • Erin O 2:22
  • Erin C 3:19
  • Including some really good allergy info, continued in question two…

What is your food philosophy? (i.e. how does your family eat, what’s important to you when it comes to deciding what goes on the table?)

  • Erin O 6:18 (had a time when family income was $18K/year…very difficult)
  • Erin C 11:02 (she’s the $5 dinner mom…what do you think?) Winking smile
  • Jessica 19:16 (killed lots of debt by serving tons of beans and rice…how things have shifted slightly since then)

What comes first: the meal plan or the shopping list?

  • Erin C 28:05 (starts with circulars…)
  • Jessica 43:38 (she said, "Neither!" – no fair!)
  • Erin O 37:43 (only shops at each store once a month)

What techniques do you use in the kitchen to keep food costs down and yet nutrition and family happiness up?

Let’s talk time in the kitchen – finding the time to make food from scratch and be intentional about buying practices can be one of the most challenges layers of this issue. What do you do to stay organized and on top of all the parts of your life without letting things fall apart? How do you prioritize?

  • Jessica 48:29
  • Erin O 50:03

I always like to end the show with something super practical, a 5-minute tip (maybe half hour tip) that a listener can do immediately upon standing up from the screen to make a difference in their frugal, real food cooking without a ton of planning or work. What’s your best 5-minute do-it-now tip?

  • Erin C 52:27 (choose 3 meals from your stock right now)
  • Erin O 54:32 (keep it simple…)
  • Jessica 56:03 (clean out your…guess what?)

Books and Products from these awesome ladies

You can see the event page with some of the references we made in the show, including links and resources, right HERE.

This is the last HOA for at least the summer as part of the "scale back plan" I mentioned Monday, and we’ll see if they return in September or January. I enjoy them, so I hope I can fit them back in!!

If you enjoyed the show, I’d love a quick rating right here.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon and ebooks.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

8 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. Beka says

    I haven’t gotten to watch the whole video yet, but I’m enjoying it so far! I have a few questions that I’ve been struggling with. First of all, I naturally gravitate toward less meat/no meat and my husband and daughter are content with minimal meat products as well. However, now that I’m pregnant, I’m “supposed” to be eating something like 71 grams of protein a day, which for me is A LOT even when I’m eating meat. Anyone else encounter this? I’m living in the very meat and potatoes Midwest right now and not finding a lot of support for minimizing meat consumption at ANY time, much less pregnancy. 😉 I just prefer to eat less of it based on my personal taste AND for cost/animal welfare issues. I’m trying to feed the family as much high quality food as possible and meat can really break the budget. Katie, I know you’re all about using beans and stuff like that … how do you handle pregnancy? Do you find that you get enough protein without meat at the center of every plate? I know that plenty of people practice complete vegetarianism during pregnancy, so I know it must be possible, I just can’t seem to find much guidance or support for it. THANK YOU!

    • says

      I’m sorry it took so long to reply! I’m usually really on top of current posts but I was spending time with my dad in the hospital after surgery for cancer…so that’s my excuse.

      Anyway, lots of thoughts for you! I’m in the midwest too, and I hear you, meat and potatoes. Here’s a good casserole with less meat and plenty of potatoes: 😉

      I haven’t done well at tracking my protein the 3rd and 4th pregnancies, just too much going on, so I’m not sure if I’m up there at 70s (our instructor had us shooting for 80-120 I think!!). BUT I can say that I eat a lot of cheese, love a glass of milk, and try to have canned salmon or tuna at least once a week, super high in protein, great for baby, and much less expensive than meat. I also eat a lot of eggs, but I know that at 6g or whatever, it still takes quite a few to add up to 70! Cottage cheese is super high in protein – here’s how I get it into breakfast: Also, using bone broth with your meat increases your absorption of all the good stuff, and meals with beans and just a little meat are also really good on the protein end. Beans are fine protein and great in pregnancy! Nuts are also a super duper pregnancy snack and have nice protein, and we eat a bowl of yogurt a day too. So it probably all adds up pretty decently on most days in spite of the fact that I usually cut the meat by 3/4 or 1/2 when making soups and casseroles with meat. It is expensive if you’re sourcing it well, which it sounds like you are, so you just have to balance it all out. If you feel good in pregnancy, you’re doing many things right. I am a firm believer that you need protein in pregnancy, and you need iron from red meat, but it doesn’t have to be a gazillion ounces a week, you know? I’m rambling, but I hope that’s some of the support you need, and if you can find great casseroles that your family enjoys, hopefully people won’t balk too much. Good luck and God bless your pregnancy!! :) Katie

  2. Teressa says

    Great Job ladies! I enjoyed this, and I’m encouraged to clean out my fridge and shop from my inventory!! :-)

  3. says

    Hi Katie, first time commenting here. I’m currently doing a rotation/AIP diet so I’m finding that means that I’m planning more about what to buy and eat – usually I have enough food to generally last through the week but i haven’t worked out amount/portion size which means that I’m also doing the 3 day shop thing too – even though I’m based in the UK.

      • says

        Thanks Katie :) The biggest problem for me right now is that here isn’t much I can stor dry goods wise. I mean I could probably store away some canned fish but the AIP is pretty strict. The freezer is my very good firend at the moment 😉

Take a Bite (of conversation)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *