Alameda Frugal Family: Burgers, Baubles and Bread

Your guide to thrifty tips, tricks, and tools on the Island and beyond.

Best Wishes for  — the ultra-hip card and gift store at 1428 Park Street. They're closing their doors for good Saturday night and urging customers with gift certificates to use them this week. All regular merchandise is 40 percent off; Christmas and Halloween goods are 60 percent off. I hear there's not a lot left, but you still might be able to find something for a baby shower, birthday gift or upcoming holiday.

Kid Meals for Adults -- This is a cherished Frugal Family secret and one I'm finally ready to reveal. You know how most restaurants only let kids order off the kids' menus? That's not the case at , where adults with kid-sized appetites can order a kid-sized burger (which is still a full quarter pound). Add some of their fabulous onion rings or cole slaw and you've got a full meal for less-than-full price.

Books on Tape Galore: As you're getting ready for summer car trips, remember this:  has a huge collection of audio books to help you while away the miles. The Bay Farm branch (which has been , by the way) alone has more than 250 books on tape for adults — plus a collection of recorded teen and kid books, too.  All free unless you miss the due date, of course.

DIY Bread: Everyone says that buying processed food is more expensive than making it from scratch, but have you ever put the theory to the test? This week I decided to calculate the cost of making versus buying two loaves of white sandwich bread. At the end of the day, my bread cost about $1 per loaf (that's .40 cents for the flour, .5 cents for the sugar, .40 cents for the milk, .50 cents for the yeast, and 50 cents for the butter), versus $3 to $5 for packaged white bread. That's a good deal.

Think you don't have time to make bread? It takes about 15 minutes to get the dough ready, then a couple of hours for rising and baking.  That's easy enough on a day when you're around the house and it fills the whole house with wonderfully down-home aroma.

Yenju Chen May 18, 2011 at 01:33 PM
Better yet, get the library's digital books and download audiobooks to your mp3 player. No worries of losing discs or tapes, and never get a fine for late books!
Donna Eyestone May 18, 2011 at 01:42 PM
What's your bread recipe?
Cecelia Leong May 18, 2011 at 03:01 PM
If you use a bread machine and buy your ingredients in bulk, the cost per loaf drops to an amazingly low 25-50 cents per loaf, depending on your preferences (whole wheat or not, olive oil, butter or whatever). My child sets up the ingredients, hits the timer and we wake to the smell of fresh-baked bread.
Kimberlee MacVicar May 18, 2011 at 03:59 PM
With permission from "Alameda Patch," I write to mention another frugal event happening this weekend: a Children's Clothing Swap of infant through preschool sizes, Sunday, May 22, at Temple Israel (3183 Mecartney Road, Alameda, CA 94502). Drop-off time is from 9-10 a.m. with the swap happening from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Price: $5 w/bag of clothes, $10 without and $5 for any additional bags to fill. Download flier on Patch's Event's page to share. Questions: templeisraelevents@yahoo.com. An environmentally and budget-friendly way to help families dress their kids. Expectant parents and grandparents encouraged to attend. Thank you Alameda Patch!!
Susan Davis May 18, 2011 at 04:22 PM
Cecelia -- thanks for mentioning the bread machine. Yes, that saves time for people! And Donna, I am so glad you asked about the recipe, because I get such a kick out of it. I followed Bernard Clayton's recipe for "Sister Virginia's Daily Loaf." Sister Virginia, Clayton explains, was a Shaker and the Shakers were fine bakers. "As that was a celibate order," he writes, "all members were gone by the mid-1920s, but Sister Virginia earned for herself a certain immortality for creating this fine bread." [Bernard Clayton's New Complete book of Breads.]


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