Author Topic: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop  (Read 92503 times)

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« on: October 09, 2012, 04:45:23 PM »
Due to an unfortunate leakage from my checking account last weekend, I have decided to SKIP my scheduled weekly grocery shop this Friday.  I have allotted myself $10 for a couple of things that will help stretch what I have on hand for another week.

I'm going to use up some freezer leftovers, eat simply, and get creative.  Anyone want to join me in skipping a grocery run this week, with a $10 head start?  =D

 

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 09:23:50 PM »
I'm totally in!

I have a few friends, we usually pick each others brain's Iron Chef Style Ie: I have chicken, apricots, beans and watermelon at home what can I make??? Then we all email back our ideas. We usually assume the basics such as flour and spices and such can be found.

Let me know if you want to brainstorm some tasty ideas to make with your staples and leftovers.

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 09:35:08 PM »
I might be able to join in. I just got a coupon in the mail from Central Market - free bag of groceries worth $25 with any purchase (no minimum). I don't have it in front of me, but I know it included olive oil, tuna, popcorn, chips, salsa, maybe some rice and a couple of other items. Can I use that? I might need to increase the $10 to take into account the fact there are 4 of us in the house. If I can use the coupon and go with $40, I'm in.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 09:53:41 PM »
The 10 Dollars will allow me to get eggs and milk and that's about it (Darn expensive food living up north) But I think that will be ok, the plus side of Northern living is you always keep a good supply of staples around in case your snowed in:)

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 10:59:58 PM »
You can make your own rules and participate with whatever goals you want if my situation doesn't work for you.  I think this is good practice for emergencies, financial or otherwise.  =D  With my $10 I plan to buy a loaf of my gluten free bread, and a tub of organic strawberry yogurt.

My challenge starts on Friday afternoon!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2012, 11:11:31 PM »
I think it is a great idea and great timing. I suffer from the "lack of planning" that sometimes makes me head to the store instead of the pantry. Without a plan, I tend to not factor in the soaking time for dried beans or the thawing time for frozen meat which means we eat really late or run to the store for (often poor quality) substitutes.

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 05:33:45 AM »
I'm in! but that $10 is about half of my normal food budget anyway so this won't be pushing it too much. I'll be buying a bag each of frozen corn and broccoli, a sack of onions, and as much oil as I can buy with the remainder.

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2012, 07:52:19 AM »
I'm in too, except my rule is not to grocery shop at all (except for buying stuff for work, which doesn't count because I get reimbursed for it.)  As I posted in another thread, last week I did a shop similar to the one Russ describes (except mine was milk, eggs, and as much produce as I could afford after that), and that should be enough for me to get through to my next pay on the 25th.  It also means I'll have to make my own bread.  Which caused me a bit of stress when I got home and realized I was really low on flour.  But my sister lives downstairs, and is not much of a baker.  She's given me permission to use her flour, as she had an unopened bag that will expire early in the new year.  She's not likely to use it up before then, so really, I'm helping her, right???
 

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2012, 08:59:43 AM »
Yes, you're totally helping her!

Okay, I've got the Central Market coupon in front of me. (They just opened a block from Whole Foods, so we're getting some awesome coupons from both Whole Foods and Central Market. Gotta love healthy competition!)  The coupon is for the following: chips, salsa, cornbread mix, olive oil, canned tuna, chicken broth, cereal, popcorn and italian soda. We have to make a purchase, so we'll buy a salad mix for $2.49.

So, we'll aim for a $37.50 spend outside of this. We do our shopping on Sunday.

Aldi Shopping: The $40 will go to buy a pound of ground beef ($4.50), a whole chicken ($4.50), loaf of bread ($2), lunchmeat for sandwiches ($6), frozen corn on the cob ($1.59), 2 lemons ($.75), fettuccine ($.99), yogurt and cheese ($8) and the balance will go to fresh produce and milk if we need it.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2012, 10:04:05 AM »
This challenge has been a great thought exercise for me and it hasn't even started yet!

How do you only spend 20 a week on food, Russ? That works out to about 0.93 per meal, I would love to see what an average week of meals looks like for you so I can get some ideas:)

What kind of bread do you make PJ? I'm attempting the "Artisan bread in 5 minutes" method, which I have never done before. Usually I make sourdough, but our starter died while we were visiting family.

At first I thought it would be an easy challenge because we had done our once a month shopping trip and would only need a couple of fresh things from our local store. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I don't actually have any idea of what we spend per month on food. We have a budget of 600 (which I know is crazy for two people) but with the high cost of food in northern BC and the potential of being cut off from the highway, snow storms in the winter and landslides in the summer, we have quite a store.

We often buy large volumes of things as we can get it, which means figuring out what we are actually consuming per month in dollar value gets pretty difficult.  I think because we tend to buy in bulk and when things are on sale that we really don't spend 600 per month. We don't eat out and don't buy a lot of "convenience" type foods. I know we always work within the 600 - but budget vs. actual gives you a very different picture. Anyone have some ideas for how I can start keeping track?

Thanks for the challenge suggestion, KulshanGirl!

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2012, 10:38:31 AM »
One of my big problems is that I have all kinds of things in the cupboard that I buy with good intentions, and then it just sits there.  I bought a case of instant refried beans.  I LOVE these beans.  I have not been eating them and they expire in 5 months or so.  It's only cheaper if you USE that food that you buy at a great price.  I get good deals and then keep on shopping.  :/   My other fail is my freezer.  I put all kinds of things in there:  leftover yummy soup, little servings of beets, green beans, or onions from the garden, salmon portions from Costco.  Do I eat those things?  No!  I forget they are in there or get lazy and go to the grocery store.  So my goals are to consume the following next week:

Refritos, at least twice.
One each beets and green beans from the freezer.  Also, remember to thaw some raspberries for my oatmeal one day.
All of the ugly potatoes out of the bin (there are probably 6 or7 really pocky ones.  Homegrown with more enthusiasm than skill)
Koshari!  This is something I can make at any time from the pantry.  But I don't.  Because OOOH!  Lookit this recipe I found!!!

Have you guys ever read the book Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel?  I am going to add to our challenge here:  Go to the library and check out this book sometime during the challenge.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2012, 11:30:24 AM »
That sounds very, very familiar...Most of my food hoarding/forgetfulness habits do come from my mom, she is the exact same. It might have expired 5 years ago but damn it I feel secure because I have canned sardines - not that anyone in the family likes them and they will never get eaten, but they are there. (I'd like to think I'm not so bad, but living up North gives us an excuse and I have to be very aware of it)

I am extremely bad at using up those "Little Leftovers" it has been drilled into me that we don't waste them so I put them in little containers to be forgotten about in the fridge. Big leftovers get used but it is all those little bits (btw: you can find tomato paste in tubes...brilliant! This has saved me a lot of $)

My Goals (so far):

Check Hungry Planet out of the Library (if they have it, otherwise order it in an inter-library loan)

Make a "Garbage Soup" freezer container like my Gran use to - all little edible bits that would taste good in a soup get tossed into the freezer bowl until there is enough to make soup/stew with.

Create a spreadsheet that allows me to break down the bulk purchase price into individual serving price.

Keep a food journal to actually track what and how much we are eating.

Think that's a good place to start:)

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2012, 11:53:16 AM »
I don't have a particular type of bread I make all the time, but I have a bread machine (and 2 more hand me downs stashed away for when this one dies - I've already used one til it broke and this one is starting to sound rough.)  Plus, a bunch of bread machine recipe cook books. 
 
So, I can also be prone to the "buy things on sale then never use them" practice.  That's why, when I needed to really buckle down my spending this month, I knew that not shopping except for perishables was the first step.  I had two packages of couscous, and when I used the first one recently, it tasted off.  Couscous gone bad!  There's a wake-up call - use your food!  It really hit home when I went to visit a parishioner lately.  His wife died last year, so I agreed to take away some of her toiletries.  There were multiples of some things, obviously bought on sale.  There were products with sample products attached.  These are things people would have seen in my own bathroom cupboards in the past - symptoms of not being able to resist a good sale.  And then, because their freezer had died, he also gave me a couple of big blocks of cheese that he'd had frozen.  I wouldn't have taken them (I try not to accept gifts from parishioners) but I could see he had more than he could realistically use in a reasonable time.  Got them home and realized one was from 2007, and one from 2010.  I used the 2010 one but frozen or not, I couldn't bring myself to eat something from 2007.  So I'm really going to try to work through my stock, anything older than 6 months or so should get used up before I start buying groceries again!  If you have things that you know you're not going to eat, just get rid of them, please - especially if they expired 5 years ago ;-) 

KulshanGirl, I have a half dozen or so potatoes at the bottom of the bag that are pretty wrinkly looking.  They are on my "to be cooked" list for next week! 
 
And if I may offer other book recommendations - my favourite cookbook is the More With Less Cookbook.  It's a cookbook and commentary on eating practices around the world, produced by the Mennonite community, many of whom have done overseas missionary work. 

Happy Eating all!

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2012, 12:05:15 PM »
I am SO going to use that idea of the garbage soup container in the freezer!  My grandma did this too.  Right now I know I have a couple of limp carrots in the fridge drawer and some of my garden onions are not the storage kind and are already getting a little soft.  I have the start of soup already! Now, I just need to remember to USE THAT at some point.  :)

Hungry Planet is actually a photography book more than anything:  Gorgeous family portraits from around the world, but the families are photographed along with one month's worth of their groceries.  Each profile goes into what kinds of things they eat, percent of income that goes towards food, favorite recipes, etc.  The "poorer" the family by western standards, the yummier and healthier their food looks, to me anyway.  A great read, or really just a great LOOK. 

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2012, 12:29:22 PM »
How do you only spend 20 a week on food, Russ? That works out to about 0.93 per meal, I would love to see what an average week of meals looks like for you so I can get some ideas:)

Pretty much all I eat is vegetables, beans, nuts, and rice, with occasional fruit, dairy, and meat. It's pretty cheap if you only buy what's on sale and get beans and rice in bulk. I also don't mind eating the same thing all the time.

But if you're still curious, an average week of food is:
Breakfast
-handful of peanuts at the desk M-F
-sleep on the weekends
Lunch
-whatever was for dinner the day before M-F
-usually the same on the weekends, but sometimes I make warm berries and heavy cream if I'm feeling saucy
Dinner
-a bunch of stuff (mostly vegetables and beans), chopped up, sauteed, and seasoned however I feel like, over rice
Dessert, if I feel like it
-homemade whipped cream, various flavors
Snacks
-rice and oil... this is surprisingly good and very filling, try it! I recommend peanut oil

Things I keep in the pantry:
onions
potatoes
spices
rice (bulk)
quinoa (bulk)
oils (bulk)
dried or canned beans & lentils (bulk)
frozen broccoli
frozen corn
frozen berries (in winter... in summer fresh berries are actually less expensive)
meat (only buy on sale, freeze for later)
lightly salted peanuts
heavy cream
plain yogurt
and sometimes I'll buy a vegetable like green peppers or carrots for something special

$20 isn't a strict budget, just the average of what I've been spending recently. Some weeks I'm over, like when there's a good sale on meat. The past couple of weeks there hasn't been anything to stock up on, so I've hovered around $15.

It probably helps that I don't eat much. Slow metabolism, I guess. This also doesn't include eating out, which is once or twice a week. That comes from the fun money.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2012, 12:37:53 PM »
Couscous can go bad? Drat! Yes, it is definitely time to go through the pantry and start using up our supplies. This might last longer then a week...I would rather use up everything we can and save our grocery budget to restock if and when we need to.

I think I have been putting off the throwing out really old stuff (actually quite a bit I inherited from my mom and moved up with us) but it's time...adding to my goals for the week list:)

Is there a website on the same idea as Hungry Planet? I remember seeing somethign similar...just noticing our "western" diet and the size of the people in it really stuck with me.

I'm struggling between being prepared and hording vs. the life I lived in Turkey for a couple of years. Food is cheap and luxuries are expensive (what happens when you have a country that is totally self-sufficent for food) which is totally different then here where food is much more expensive.   

Here is the Times photo essay based on Hungry Planet: http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1626519_1373664,00.html

mustachecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2012, 12:50:40 PM »
I'm in with $20!

I have no idea what I'm going to buy, but I'll post my grocery list after I go shopping.

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2012, 12:53:18 PM »
I can see this being extended past the week.  Maybe after skipping a shop, we can see how low we can go cost-wise to use up our languishing pantry itmes until they are gone.  :)  I am going to do a better inventory of what needs to get et.  Maybe move the offenders to a cardboard box front and center on the kitchen counter so it's right in my face all the time instead of hidden in the cupboards. 

In addition to the refried beans, I can add:

Multiple bags of half-used gluten free flours
Two good sized bags of bulk instant soup mix
Millet
Some dry soup beans I grew a couple of summers ago, I think they are still okay to eat.

Okay, this started out being about skipping a shop to save money, but now I am feeling quite ashamed at how much food I actually have and am wasting.

How do you post pictures here? I think I will post a photo of my food pile that I intend to work through.  :) 

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2012, 01:10:31 PM »
I'll be doing an inventory too:) I also like the idea of photographing what we do eat in a week - not sure how I'd go about that. I like the cardboard box front and centre idea. I think that may be a big part of the problem I'm an extremely visual and what I don't see goes out of mild. I'm all for a clean out the pantry challenge, it does seem like a long-term project:)

Thanks for the info Russ, That doesn't really seem all that different from the way we eat, there might be hope for us yet! I was just wondering this rice in oil...is it just leftover rice that is fried in oil to reheat? If so, I do that a lot and sometimes add in an egg to make my mom's old stand by "Scrambled eggs n' rice" which can be customized with all sorts of different spices (I love smoked paprika) and if we have it and are feeling decadent a little grated sharp cheddar cheese.

 How much does everyone pay for a dozen eggs? Ours (for the low-grade battery hen eggs) are 4.50 a dozen.  The free-range (basically organic) ones I can sometimes get from local farmers are 5.00 otherwise it is the free range from the store for 6.00. I'm willing to spend a little more on good eggs because it is really not that much more and the quality is much, much better.

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2012, 01:21:03 PM »
Oh no, not fried, although that would probalby be very tasty. I steam a whole big pot of rice once or twice a week so I have it on hand, so all I do is take some rice from the fridge, zap it in the microwave, and drizzle some oil on top. The oil's just there for tasty, filling fat, not for cooking.

I don't pay more than $1/dz. for eggs at the grocery store. Always buy them on sale, like most everything else. They hardly ever go bad as long as you don't mind runny whites. I usually don't buy them though unless I'm making something special. They're a great frugal food, but I just don't like them that much
« Last Edit: October 10, 2012, 01:22:51 PM by Russ »

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2012, 01:46:02 PM »
I'll have to try your rice and oil:) The perfect excuse to use to too big can of sesame oil I bought (I love the stuff but when I bought it I forgot a little goes a long way)

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2012, 02:54:28 PM »
Couscous can go bad? Drat!
 
 
Well, I wouldn't have thought so, but I know what couscous is supposed to taste like, and this was ... different.  In a not pleasant way.  I had cooked half the box, and I did finish what I'd cooked without actually getting sick.  But it wasn't nice.  And I couldn't bring myself to cook the rest ... 
 
What a great thread we have here - so many people inspired to shop at home and pocket the cash they would have spent!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2012, 03:08:26 PM »
my un-mustachian mantra for the next few days may have to be "When in doubt, throw it out!" although...I suppose the risk of food poisoning, hospital visits and missed work might make it easier to swallow.

My benchmark should probably be: "Would I want the Mr. to eat it?" I have the bad habit of being more concerned for his safety then mine...but he is the same way so it balances out.


KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2012, 03:31:42 PM »
I will surely be throwing out some things.  It'll be a good punch in the face.   I will also probably get brave with a few things.  I have those dried soup beans.  I imagine they are still okay but other than a sniff test I'm not sure how to tell.  Of course, I will be boiling the everloving snockeye out of them before I eat them, so I should be okay, right?  Right?  Also, I am going to crack open two pints of pickled beets that I didn't label with a date.  I would guess that they are probably from 2008 or 2009.  But they're pickled.  Pickles last forever if they're sealed well, don't they?  Maaaaybe I'll toss those.  (after opening, listening for the shh-pop then and sniffing and probably tasting one)

We should definitely have an award for Bravery in the Face of Expiration Dates/Questionable Food.  LOL!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #24 on: October 10, 2012, 03:55:06 PM »
Soup beans should be fine from a safety standpoint, they might not be palatable though. Beans that are really old seem to change and sometimes they will just never soften no matter how long you cool them for. Worth a try cooking them...oyy I am going to be eating A LOT of beans and quinoa.

I have a feeling this: http://www.stilltasty.com/ will be a very important tool to a few of us:) I may as well just leave it open!

Wile I might not suggest other people do it, I have been eating way old home canned good for years with no ill effects....we just finished some ginger pear butter from 2005.

Definitely check the seals though, even on commercial cans. I had a can of cherries (purchased from the store about 3 months ago) I went to use it and noticed when I picked it up there was a weird stain on my shelf. The can had been leaking ever so slowly from the bottom while the top looked fine and there was no bulging and it had moulded the wood beneath it. Scary stuff.

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #25 on: October 10, 2012, 09:19:35 PM »
I was going to say exactly the same thing that swick did about old dried beans not seeming to soften up in the same way.  When I did my big cooking session last weekend, I actually used a bag of navy beans that I've had for quite a long time, and expected that problem, but they weren't too bad.  What I did was soak them overnight, then do the "boil until tender, about 1 and a half hours" thing.  They got to the point that I expected them to - easily chewed, but sort of grainy.  With very old beans, in my experience, you can boil them longer and it won't really make a difference.  Then, because I was making baked beans with them, they got to go in the oven for several hours on low heat.  And by that point they were much better. 
 
Kind of excited about using all this old stuff up and then being able to start fresh ... overstock of pasta, I'm looking at you!  And old baking supplies - don't go too far, I'll need to have a chat with you too. 
 
Stay safe and eat well, folks!

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2012, 09:41:01 AM »
Gooooooood morning! 

Today is the day for me.  I have grocery shopped in my pantry and made a pile.  Guess what!  I can probably do a similar shop for the next many weeks and have a nice bit of food to work with.  I also found a full, unopened bottle of mirin! 

This morning I will walk down and do a shop at the co-op for my tub of yogurt and some bulk raisins.  Later, I'll walk over to the other store where my gluten free bread is on sale for a dollar off!  There is something to be said for reading your grocery junk mail, it appears. I usually chuck it straight into the recycle bin, but thought I'd peek when it showed up this time.   WIth my saved dollar, I will get a dozen cheapo eggs for 99 cents, with a coupon.  From that mailer.  I will be checking that from now on.

Yogurt: $4
Bread:  $4
Raisins: $1
Eggs:  $1

I usually eat organic eggs for $4.50 a dozen.  But this week I'm going cheap.  :)


swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2012, 11:39:54 AM »
Good Morning! and YAY for unopened Mirin!

My Plans got slightly derailed due to Mr. putting in an order he forgot to mention with our local healthfood store for organic produce. I'm looking at this as a good thing becuase we ususally use the "We are out of fresh produce!" excuse to hop in the car drive for two hours to shop...we can ususally recoup the cost of gas and milage just by the savings on the produce alone - but then we often fall into the trap of "well we came all this way we better make it worth it by stocking up" which is why I have a rediculous amount of food in our pantry.

Looking through our pantry I think we can go probabaly 4 or 5 months without taking a trip into town if we can get our veggies occasionally. This is a new thing our tiny healthfood store has been doing becuase there is zero options for produce in our town - well heavily sprayed apples...they take up 3/4 of our one produce shelf. So we want to support them, and keep the fresh stuff coming. We ususally go in one a month, month and a half so this is great.

Small successes: Made homemade bread using up several odd bags of flours, made a beef stew out of pantry/freezer ingredients getting rid of several partially used bags of frozen veggies and some green lentils I didn't know I had.

Hope everyone ahs a successful week:)

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2012, 03:12:03 PM »
Meal one:  Dinner tonight!

I have this nifty thing called a thermal cooker.  It works like a crockpot, only using insulation to keep something super hot to cook it, no electricity!  I made a pot of soup while home on my lunch break, it's this recipe:

http://www.food.com/recipe/canary-island-cilantro-soup-32441

It also has a little top pot that slides in if there's room, so a batch of rice is in there too.  Get everything to a boil, let it boil for a few minutes, and then slide it all into the thermal outer pot, secure lid.  In a few hours I'll be home and hot soup will be ready for us!  The good part of the thermal cooker, you can't really overdo anything.  There is no boiling action, so things like potatoes keep their shape.  The downside is that water doesn't evaporate off, so you have to not add quite as much liquid to start.  I am mostly vegetarian, and supposedly it works to cook meat too, but I can't vouch for that.  Beany veggie dishes turn out super though.

I used a few of the Ugly Potatoes, a bunch of cilantro I meant to use for a different recipe but didn't get around to that one, it was much more involved, and everything else I had on hand.  And the rice I'll use with the refritos I need to eat later this week.  Woot!

Off and running!

Also, I picked up Hungry Planet from the library.  Question number one, if you are going to grab the book:  Just looking at the photos alone, no reading, which family/country do you WISH your diet resembled?


PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2012, 04:01:31 PM »
KulshanGirl, you've reminded me of something I read about in one of my Mennonite cookbooks ("Extending the Table") - wonderboxes.  Sounds like a similar thing to your thermal cooker.  Going to start a new thread, as I had been intending to do when I first came across the idea ... 
 
And done! 

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/wonder-boxes/

kolorado

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2012, 04:32:32 PM »
You can also cook old dried beans and then freeze them. It breaks down the fibers more.
I'd join but I'm kinda already doing it. We're moving in a week and I want to eat down our supply so there's less to move. Haven't been out in almost two weeks now(spent $200 on the last outing) so it will be over three weeks of no shopping when we move.
I freeze sale milk, eggs, flour, butter, cheese and bread as well as sale meat, produce and leftovers. A large freezer is such an asset to shopping less and keeping the budget in check!

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2012, 05:34:04 PM »
kolorado, good to know about the beans.  I only used half the bag in my baked beans, and froze the rest to use in week or two.  I'm glad to hear they'll be a bit better texture by then. 
 
Also, what do I need to know about freezing eggs?  I'm vegetarian, and although I do eat eggs, I can only eat them cooked certain ways or else I feel a bit turned off by them.  As a result, I often find it hard to finish a carton.  I used to buy half dozens instead, but they are more expensive.  So ... do you freeze the eggs in the shell, or have to break them into containers?  Are there restrictions in how you can use them, like for baking only or ... ?

kolorado

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2012, 05:53:39 PM »
I break the eggs and scramble them. Then I freeze them in standard ice cube trays and transfer to a ziploc. 2 cubes equals one egg. I use them for baking and for omelettes without any flavor or texture difference. You do need to remember to take out the cubes an hour or so before preparation of your dish to thaw properly.

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2012, 06:43:46 PM »
Thanks!  I'll try to remember to do that next time I have a half carton of eggs that's about to expire!

DocCyane

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 390
  • Location: USA
  • Keep going. You're doing just fine.
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2012, 08:40:55 PM »
I'm in! $10.
Already spent $2 on eggs. Time to raid the pantry.

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2012, 08:52:02 PM »
I'm like a school girl before Christmas on this challenge. I can't wait until the Hubs does the shopping on Sunday so I can report back. I'll be doing a deep dive into our pantry and fridge before finalizing the list. Can't wait!

mustachecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2012, 12:45:41 PM »
I went to Chinatown last night to stock up some things on our head start and ended up with big two bags of groceries for $15.18. Why, why, why don't I go to Chinatown all the time?! Anyway, that was probably necessary as our CSA pickup today was tiny: some turnip greens, some chives, some kale, and some green tomatoes. I defrosted a little pork belly and a giant pork shoulder.

This morning, we ate the last of our eggs scrambled with chives and some homemade bacon. Lunch is turnip greens with spaghetti and pecorino , and dinner will be pork buns! Yum.

I'm saving our last $5 for some eggs and more greens later this week.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2012, 08:18:24 PM »
Sounds like everyone is getting geared up!

That cilantro soup sounds yummy! Unfortunately fresh tomatoes and cilantro (really expensive here) won't be part of my challenge...unless...ohhh I might have some cilantro cubes in my freezer:)

I spent the day raiding the pantry and cooking for the week and am feeling pretty darn good!

I made Apple and Pear baked oatmeal http://www.livelovepasta.com/2012/10/apple-and-pear-baked-oatmeal/
I found a opened buy barley used bag of "Porridge Oats" that have wheat bran and flax in it. I made a double batch of this baked oatmeal in a 9x13 pan which will be enough for the Mr. and myself for the week!

I also made Crispy Red Lentil Garbanzo Bean Burgers http://veggieandthebeast.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/crispy-red-lentil-garbanzo-burgers/ looks like I will get enough patties to have for supper tonight and freeze for lunches. I
used the porridge oats again, and dried chickpeas.

I made extra chickpeas and turned them into Hummus so we can snack on that throughout the week with some home made crackers that I'll make tomorrow. I used the cooking water from the lentils to cut back on the olive oil in the hummus, and the oil I used was some opened spice dipping oil that has been sitting in the fridge we received as a gift.

We were able to use up some Asian cabbage, I think? that had gotten frost bit in the freezer in our soup for lunch and it worked very well. I have lots of mysterious ice caked little bags of bits in our freezer...so it will be interesting to use them up.

Tomorrow I'm also planning on making my mom's banana chocolate chip muffins but using a "Flax Egg" instead of a real egg. Recipe is here:http://growingcreativekids.com/creative-kids-food-bananas/ I'll let you know how it goes:)

One thing I would like to figure out is a good basic granola bar recipe. Needs to be healthy as I'm really bad at eating breakfast and sometimes lunch - I have tried several recipes but still haven't found one I'm in love with that balances nutrition and taste. Anyone got a favourite recipe they could share?

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2012, 10:47:45 PM »
Made a big batch of a GF multi grain hot cereal/porridge tonight for the next couple of days' breakfast.  I bought this bag of cereal a while back and hated it - the bits of corn in it stayed hard no matter how long I cooked it for.  So I pretty much went shock and awe all over it with the crockpot.  Success!  I would have probably chucked the stuff.

I went $1.50 over to buy some yeast so I can do something with the abundance of GF flours I need to get rid of.  I'm going to make some pizzas!  Picked up my sale bread and coupon eggs too.

I've decided I don't want to eat those old soup beans, I'm afraid it will be yucky and I don't want to waste the other ingredients on a pot of soup I won't want to eat.  I'm still going to make soup, just use some of my canned beans.

I have already learned something about myself - I am a toast-a-holic.  I go through many slices of bread because I like it and it's easy and I'm bored and vaguely hungry.  At $5.49 ($3.99 on sale though!) for 14 slices of special GF bread, this is not going to work.  I just caught myself going for a toast fix - I have only just enough slices to get through the week.  I am in toast withdrawal.  :(   

So far so good though! 



swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2012, 10:58:23 PM »
Just had a thought reading your post KulshanGirl,

Would it work to use some of those GF flours and make a no-knead bread with it? I have made this recipe and am loving it, it isn't GF... but since you don't knead the bread at all and therefore do not develop the gluten stands...perhaps it will work?

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html

If you don't want to use the soup beans in soup..you might want to boil them till they are done and whiz them up to make a bean dip? there are very little extra ingredients that get wasted if you don't like it. The tricky part with bean blends in soup I have found is the beans all have different cooking times so the texture is never good...but in a dip you couldn't tell.

mustachecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #40 on: October 14, 2012, 06:37:33 AM »
I went through our pantry/fridge, and alas, we had to get rid of some objectively bad produce. But we have:
  • 2.3 lb. potatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 heads garlic
  • 5 apples
  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 small winter squash
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • bunch of green tomatoes
  • bunch of eggplants
  • bunch of peppers, sweet and hot
  • scallions
  • a terrifying amount of chives
  • bunch cilantro
  • small bunch basil
  • bunch rosemary
  • 3/4 lb. bacon
  • 4.5 lb. pork shoulder
  • duck gizzards
  • chicken liver mousse (I made this last night for the first time; haven't tasted yet, fingers crossed it's edible!)
  • milk (1/4 gallon left?)
  • half & half (tiny bit left)
  • various remnants of cheeses
  • kimchi
  • miso
  • lots and lots of lard
  • 1/2 lb. Tuscan kale
  • 1.5 lb. bok choy
  • 1/4 lb. green beans
Plus:
  • rice
  • beans
  • pasta
  • regular flour
  • chestnut flour (?!)
  • sugar
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 10 tins anchovies
  • enough spices to open up my own spice market, but no black pepper :(
I'm already craving eggs and non-pork meat.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2012, 11:18:34 AM »
You can make some very tasty mini pancakes with Chestnut Flour. It use to be a poor person's food in Tuscany but is now very expensive. One traditional way of making it is to pour some in a bowl, add enough water to resemble pancake batter while stirring with a whisk - then fry up like pancakes. Chestnut flour is very sweet on it's own so they don't usually add any extra sugar. They have a very nutty flavour. Apparently chestnut flour is something you either love or hate. I love it.

Then you can serve with any of your usual pancake toppings. I have served mini chestnut pancakes with carmalized pears and marscapone as a brunch appetizer - but they go well with jam too.

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2012, 12:29:58 PM »
Alright, so the final tally is in. We went a tad over our $40 goal: $42.41. 

Still, for a family of four, that's not too shabby. We used our Central Market coupon for $25 worth of groceries for FREE, and the total haul consisted of:

Stuff We Bought:
coffee creamer
great northern beans (1 bag)
bananas
2 loaves of wheat bread
1 whole chicken
1 pound of ground beef
2 containers of yogurt
1/2 gallon of milk
1 avocado
3 lemons
toothpaste
flour tortillas
1 box of fettuccine
1 cucumber
salami
turkey breast (lunch meat)
cheddar cheese
1 dozen eggs
spring mix (lettuce)

Free Items:
chips
salsa
cornbread mix
olive oil
canned tuna
chicken broth
cereal
popcorn
italian soda

Menu Plan
-pumpkin ravioli with butter sauce and parmesan, salad and fresh fruit
-fettuccine with shrimp, lemon juice, frozen veggies and parmesan
-pizza (homemade)
-roasted chicken, baked/roasted potatoes and corn
-cornbread and vegetable soup with navy beans (crockpot)
-leftover chicken with veggies and quinoa
-Beef and bean burritos with guacamole and salad

Russ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2213
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Boulder, CO
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2012, 01:18:58 PM »
I did my pantry inventory and shopping trip today as well

Food I have:
rice
quinoa
carrots
chicken
potatoes
eggs
cream
frozen berries
frozen corn
frozen broccoli
lentils
black beans
kidney beans
split peas
garlic
honey
various spices, seasonings, and baking ingredients (e.g. baking soda)

The carrots and eggs will probably be bad by the end of the week, so priority #1 is to use them up. I'm going to hard boil the eggs for snacks. I bought my groceries with the intent of making things with the carrots.

Revised grocery list:
onions (roast w/ carrots, potatoes, and garlic) - $2
ground mustard seed (honey-mustard glazed carrots) - $1.50, half-off!
peanuts (saute carrots, onion, and ginger. add peanuts, toss into rice) - $2

With all the carrot-eating I'm going to do, I didn't think I would need the broccoli or corn, so I didn't buy them. I also didn't see the point in buying a tiny little bottle of oil for twice the cost per ounce of a bigger bottle just to stay under budget, so I skipped that too. Grand total: $5.83 after tax! Not too shabby, and I'll finally use those carrots.


carolinakaren

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Charlotte, NC
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2012, 04:24:03 PM »
My plan was to make a shopping trip today to get through the week.  We have been in a bit of a rut lately...eating the same types of things.  I planned to go to a different chain of grocery in order to get new ideas, but in light of this challenge I cleaned out the fridge and pantry.  For lunch we had broiled flounder, mushroom risotto with green beans and a spinach and carrot salad.  I had never made risotto before, but it was pretty good!  In addition I made a huge pot of italian white bean soup with red kale....carrots and hummus for snacks at work during the week, and pressed the tofu (ready to throw in with veggies for lunch.  I appreciate the inspiration from this thread!  You guys saved me more than $100 I'm sure.  We still have more frozen fish, shrimp, veggies, apples, watermelon and ingredients to make soup and rice dishes.  Bravo Mustachians!  I think we can make it through the week without that trip after all!

KulshanGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 459
  • Location: Washington State
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2012, 05:17:57 PM »
Russ, I am going to make that peanut ginger carrot onion dish too!  Thank you!  I have a sad nub of ginger and all of the rest of those things on hand.  I even have about a cup of cooked rice left from the pot I made on Friday.  =D

The toddler and I had scrambled eggs, strawberry yogurt, and a shared slice of toast for breakfast.  I also had a bowl of my porridge.   Yum!

For lunch she had some organic boxed mac and cheese, avocado and apple slices.  I had the infamous instant refried beans over rice with some avocado slices. 

For dinner, she'll eat the rest of her mac, some thawed turkey meatballs, and some sliced cucumbers.  I am going to give Russ's recipe a try.

We are having a huge windstorm right now, so the power might go out.  Luckily we cook on gas.  Would you be able to continue with your plans without power?

carolinakaren

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Charlotte, NC
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2012, 06:25:38 PM »
My stove inside is electric, but the grill has a propane side-burner so we could still use that to cook.

mustachecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2012, 06:57:54 PM »
You can make some very tasty mini pancakes with Chestnut Flour.

Thanks, swick. I did get the chestnut flour at an Italian food store, but I can't remember why I picked it up. I made cookies last night with them--yum! I'll have to try pancakes as well. I'm sure they'll be delicious.

-roasted chicken, baked/roasted potatoes and corn

You probably already have a roast chicken recipe you like... but I swear by this one: www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/dining/a-new-breed-of-roast-chicken-cast-iron-seared.html

It cooks fast, and the skin gets so crispy.

Damn. Now I wish I'd bought a chicken.

kkbmustang

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1286
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2012, 09:05:34 PM »

-roasted chicken, baked/roasted potatoes and corn

You probably already have a roast chicken recipe you like... but I swear by this one: www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/dining/a-new-breed-of-roast-chicken-cast-iron-seared.html

It cooks fast, and the skin gets so crispy.

Damn. Now I wish I'd bought a chicken.
[/quote]

I used the roast chicken recipe I got from someone in the forum, but can't remember the thread. Maybe the convenience food one? It was really good. Put two lemons (pierced) in the cavity of the chicken, rub the entire outside with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until its 180 degrees. It was amazeballs. Then I made stock with the carcass. I got a lot of stock from the last one and still have a 32 oz container in the freezer. I'll use the fresh stock from this round to make the vegetable soup with the beans.

I have really enjoyed this challenge, I must say. It's so nice to have other like-minded people cheering you on.

PJ

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1427
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Toronto, Canada
Re: Fire drill! Skip this week's grocery shop
« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2012, 10:16:55 PM »

Menu Plan
-pumpkin ravioli with butter sauce and parmesan, salad and fresh fruit
-fettuccine with shrimp, lemon juice, frozen veggies and parmesan
-pizza (homemade)
-roasted chicken, baked/roasted potatoes and corn
-cornbread and vegetable soup with navy beans (crockpot)
-leftover chicken with veggies and quinoa
-Beef and bean burritos with guacamole and salad


Wow, I think I'd much rather be eating with kkb ... at least every 2nd day, when it appears to be vegetarian friendly :-)  Pumpkin ravioli!  Homemade pizza!  Cornbread and soup!  (Yay!)  And you can make my burritos bean only, with extra guac!  Everyone's menus look so inspiring!

Sadly, no delicious and exotic meals for me.  The fridge needs to get cleaned out.  Just did a mini inventory and realized that I have 3 meals worth of leftovers that need to go in the next couple of days, so I actually shouldn't do a big cooking session.  I've lined up those three meals in the order they should be used so nothing goes to waste, as they're already on the old side.  First up is the last of the broccoli cheddar rice I made last weekend.  Then leftover festive nut loaf and corn from last Monday's (Canadian) Thanksgiving meal at mom and dad's.  Then leftover couscous with veggies from a dinner at work last Wednesday.  With lunch and dinner, that'll get me through to end of Tuesday.  And I think tomorrow night I'll make one pot of veggie bean soup for later in the week.  I know I've got other complete meals frozen in single serving containers, so I can pull a couple out for some variety at the end of the week.  Plus, there are still wrinkly potatoes that I swore I was going to use this week.  I guess I could put some of those in the soup, or save them for later in the week. 
 
In a kind of good news/bad news situation, I discovered that what I thought was the dregs of a jar of sunflower seed butter in the fridge was actually almost half full (so now I'm eating toasted cornbread with sunflower butter and honey sprinkled with sesame seeds - a combo that's getting two thumbs up!).  But I also realized that a partial block of cheese I had in the fridge has developed some mold.  I sliced off the moldy bit and will salvage the rest, but still - what a waste of perfectly "goud" gouda!