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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

End of the month and running out of milk

We are in the last week of the month, and the budget is depleted, with just about 1 quart of dairy milk left.

I decided to make my own rice milk, once again. I'm using the rice milk for any cooking and baking requiring milk, and in a half and half blend for drinking or pouring over oatmeal. This seems to be working well, and will get me through, until I once again find milk on markdown, or the new month's budget begins.

So far, rice milk has worked very successfully in biscuits, quiche, French toast, and bread pudding. And as for drinking, the family seems fine with this blend, knowing that it's temporary.

As I'm using this homemade rice milk in savory as well as sweet dishes, I've left out the vanilla and cut back on the sugar. I've been making 1 quart of rice milk (using a quick version of this recipe -- soaking overnight, and only straining once) every 3 days for the last week. It's working for us, and getting us to the next month. with just 1 quart of dairy milk left. (I have managed to "stretch" 1 final gallon of milk for over a week now. I usually go through 2 gallons per week.)

I still may buy 1 gallon, if I feel I have to. I hate paying the regular price on milk! And, if I have a choice, there's beef on sale this week, and I'd really rather buy beef than milk, if I have to choose. We do have plenty of cheese, and a quart of whole milk yogurt in the fridge, so no one is suffering from lack of dairy, here.

The really great news, for me, in this situation, is I've been cutting my own soy milk half and half, with this rice milk, and I like it better! With the soy milk, I get Vit. D and calcium fortification (I could always take supplements, but this is handy for me, to just drink my vitamins/minerals). With homemade rice milk, those "extras" aren't there. But maybe a compromise on half soy/half rice milk would work for me, in the future, save some money and give me a product that I enjoy more.

How about you? Do you "sweat it" when you're about out of milk for a few days? Could you go a week without milk for yourself or your kids? Do you think I'm doing something neglectful by not buying more dairy milk this week? Just curious about your thoughts on this.


  1. I could go without milk for a week, but I have always been in a family (childhood and now) where the males considered regular milk essential. So we always have milk. We try to buy it at the cheapest place, but we we're lucky that we don't have to wait for a sale to purchase it.

    I think it's great that your family will drink rice milk and that you are clever enough to make it and get them to try it.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Well, I could definitely go without milk, but then I already do, due to lactose intolerance. But yes, I completely understand that some members of the family could object. And in my own family, it is one of the men who would likely express objection more than the other members. Hmmm, maybe a guy thing?

      I'm just grateful that, for now, everyone is onboard with this. I'll find less expensive milk again, soon.

  2. Hi Lili,
    We don't drink a lot of milk - mostly use it on our morning oatmeal and in cooking. Like you, I usually have yogurt on hand when the milk runs out, so we substitute yogurt in most instances (even on oatmeal!).

    I think if I had to go a week without milk and had rice on hand, I would make the rice milk.

    Jo Ann

    1. Hi Jo Ann,
      Interesting -- I've never tried yogurt on the oatmeal. I'm going to give that a try. I've got maple-rice cereal planned for Saturday's breakfast (using a container of rice pulp from making rice milk). I think I'll suggest yogurt on it!
      Thank you for the suggestion!

  3. Hi Lili,
    I could go a week without milk with no problem, hubby on the other hand it would be hard for. Not so much that he would mind but he starts work very early in the morning & does not eat breakfast at home but eats at work after he is there a couple hours. He takes a Tupperware dish with cereal & a refillable bottle with milk with him & that is much better for the budget than him buying something at work.
    I do not think you are being neglectful at all, you are making the rice milk which your family seems to be content with. My opinion is that is a great way to stretch the dollars until next month or until milk is on sale.

    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I get that! You are making the frugal choice to have him pack a breakfast over buying something to eat. That makes sense -- and cents ;-)

      I remembered this morning, that this coming Tuesday is the first Tuesday of the next month, which means Senior discount day at Fred Meyer. I'll be able to buy FM brand milk at 10% off. So, I'll continue to stretch this milk until then, if I can.

      Thank you for your input. I sometimes worry that my frugality is too severe.

  4. Thank you for the rice milk recipe! I have been trying to think of a cheaper milk substitute than soymilk. I think it would work perfectly combined with soymilk to stretch the quarts of Costco brand soymilk. I think I could weave the rice milk preparation with making bean patties since both uses brown rice. Instead of mashing the cooked rice for the patties, I could extract the milk first then cook the sieves grains. I'm going to try that. I can't thank you enough for the creative ideas that has helped our family son and his wife and my daughter are all hooked on it too. And best of all our grandchildren devour the patties and burritos like it was their favorite fast food. My daughter who is diabetic said she eats the patties for breakfast and lunch and finds she doesn't sweat in her hands as much. The insoluble fiber in beans helps regulate blood sugar. I also don't mind making the patties in batches and freezing it for them. Now I have another purpose to this batch making...making rice milk!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      This has been working well for us. And I like the half and half, soy and rice milk. You may want to experiment and tweak your own rice milk, so it suits your tastes. Double filtering, through a strainer/sieve, then through cheesecloth yields a smoother consistency. I've been skipping that second step, just to make this go faster, as I doing this so often.

      Your idea to use the pulp in bean patties sounds great. If you wind up making more rice milk than you can use in 5 days, or so, you can freeze extra, to use later.

      That's very interesting about your daughter's diabetes and how eating beans so often improves things for her. I didn't know that sweating can be a symptom of blood sugar out of control. That's just great that changing her diet a little is helping her so much. I know you must be really happy for her about that!

      As for egg substitutes, look in the lefthand sidebar, here. There's a link to a page of egg substitutes. It's my basic guideline for what to use for which purpose (leaven, moisture, binding). If used correctly, egg substitutes work very well, and I can't really tell with most of my baking, which I've used eggs and which I've done without.

  5. I don't think you're neglectful, not in the least. Sounds like you have given it so much thought, and find you can readily use cheeses and yogurts in its place. Plus green veggies provide a lot of calcium as well as tofu.

    I am trying to think of egg substitutes since the prices are going higher. Perhaps you have already covered it. Probably!


  6. Neglectful, no. Resourceful, yes. I sub using many items. Our grocery spending is no more than 150.00 a month for 2 adults and 2 kids. We eat just fine. When we are out of something, we get by til I get it. The family never complains. Lona

    1. Hi Lona,
      Thanks for saying that. I appreciate it. I try to find substitutes, as much as possible, too. And the new month is just around the corner. :-)

  7. Well... ever since someone named Lili taught me how to freeze milk, I have never been in the situation of running out! :-)

    Seriously, I'm not a big milk drinker, but I do like it on oatmeal and in coffee. You make me feel very spoiled though as milk here goes on sale every other week for $1.99/gallon - at least for the stuff from the local dairies. The stuff trucked in from across the country costs about twice that. Why someone would pay more for milk that's traveled so far is beyond me! :-)

    1. Hi Cat,
      My favorite spot to get marked-down milk must have hired a new guy to order the milk supply, as they don't seem to have any milk there that is getting close to the sell-by date, any more. So, I'm hoping for sales, these days. Tuesday is Senior Citizen Day (and yes, I just barely qualify, now!). I'll buy a gallon or 2 of milk then, at 10% off the regular price of $2.79/gallon (making it just over $2.50/gallon).

      I'm going to look for other places to buy milk, like dairies that sell to the public, etc.

    2. I used to belong to a CSA that sold milk and egg shares as well as veggies. At the time I was not drinking milk at all due to lactose intolerance, and I think it was also unpasteurized, which scares me, so I didn't really look at the prices to see how it compares, but it might be worth looking into. Hey, you could always get a goat! :-)

    3. Actually, we have casually talked of goats. Not terribly realistic, as our yard isn't fenced, and the neighbors would object, but we've talked about the possibilities. Could rent out the goat to chew down unwanted blackberry canes (they grow wild here). Milk, cheese, butter, whipping cream, yogurt -- all for the cost of some goat feed (I guess Purina make Goat Chow).

      More realistically, I will check to see if any CSAs that sell dairy are around us. Thanks for that tip.


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