Last night I wrote a post about how I only spend $210 on groceries (you can find that post here) and in that post I mentioned that I have almost completely stopped using butter. This apparently struck a nerve with a lot of people! I have been getting Facebook responses and texts all day asking why and how I have cut out butter and butter substitutes from our meals.
First of all, I want everyone to know that I am not against butter! In moderation it is fine. However, just like many other things in our lives, butter is not usually used in moderation. We all use butter for frying, sautéing, baking, and even as a seasoning! I didn’t realize how much butter we actually used until I tried to cut it out.
For me there are two reasons to cut out butter. 1) Save calories. One TBSP of butter has 100 calories in it! That is a really sneaky way to load up on empty calories! 2) Save money. We only used real butter which can get really pricy! At a grocery store you pay upwards of $3 a pound. I usually purchase butter in bulk at SAMs where you can get 4 pounds for $8 making it $2 a pound. That is how much I spend on meat! I just seemed like an obvious place to cut for both reasons.
The first thing I cut butter from was our garlic toast. When we make garlic toast we just put butter on sliced bread, sprinkle with garlic salt, shredded cheese, and basil. I used to use a TBSP of butter for every slice of bread (100 calories of butter a slice!). At first I cut the butter to 1/2 TBSP, then 1/4. When we didn’t see much difference in taste I decided to drop the butter completely and see if anyone noticed. They didn’t!
This got me thinking about where else I could cut butter out. I used to use butter or oil to coat the bottom of the pan while cooking. I switched to only using non-stick spray instead. This is probably the only area I can tell much difference. Foods are a little more dry but not enough for me to justify using hundreds of calories for butter. I do like to use things like soy sauce, Worchester sauce, and lemon juice, which have little or no calories to help keep meats juicy.
The easiest ways to cut out butter has been in the places where butter was more of a seasoning than anything else. Mashed potatoes for example. I never would have thought that you could make mashed potatoes without butter, but I have and everyone loved them! I used only milk to help make them smooth and then added seasoning such as garlic salt and black pepper.
Up till now I have still used butter in baking. Most of our bread recipes for my machine don’t use butter so that saves calories there. I made cookies a couple of times and following the recipe used quite a bit of butter. This month I am going to try using healthy butter substitutes like applesauce in my baking.
Now, don’t go thinking that I am some sort of butter snob. There are still some places that we use butter and will continue too. For example, no one wants a dry baked potato! I use sour cream (and pickle juice, don’t judge me) on my potato but the boys don’t like sour cream so I put 1/2 TBSP of butter on theirs. And there are a couple bread recipes that I have used that require a TBSP or two of butter.
There are three pounds of butter in our freezer right now and that will last us a good six months or more! In our house butter has become a “use sparingly” option instead of a staple. My husband, wanted to make sure everyone knew that he still loves my cooking and hasn’t missed the butter 🙂