Farmer’s market
February 23, 2010, 12:24 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

Finally made it out to the winter farmer’s market. I had a limited amount of cash so I had to spend it wisely. Next time, I’ll bring more cash so I can buy eggs and try some meat. One of the meat vendors had pork on sale for $5/pound but it was only packaged in 3lbs.

For $12, I bought:

– 1 bulb garlic
– bag of arugula ($3)
– ball of mozzarella ($4)
– bunch of carrots ($3)
– 2 potatoes

Expensive, but with more practice hopefully I can find the good deals.


Dinner this week
February 16, 2010, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

Monday: tofu & carrot Szechuan stir fry, brown rice
Tuesday: Tilapia filets, roasted cauliflower
Wednesday: Butternut squash & duxelle casserole (From Feb 2010 issue of Veg Times), salad
Thursday: ditto
Friday: spaghetti
Saturday: ditto
Sunday: pizza

I’ve got some big cooking ambitions this week in order to plan ahead for busy days when I can’t cook or we’re out of groceries. I’m also trying to make some freezable lunches.  Why the preemptive measures? I’m going to Key West in one month for a wedding. Gotta lose weight and save money. It’s just too easy to grab a slice of pizza, a fattening sandwich, or head out for my favorite mac ‘n cheese when I have nothing to eat for lunch or dinner. I also want to eat well for the sake of eating better for health & the planet. (BTW, we find ourselves eating at Red Fez like every 2 weeks… sometimes more often than that.)

To-do list:
– make a few batches of pizza dough, one for now, one to freeze, one for hot pockets
– make a pot of marinara sauce (also with extra to freeze)
– experiment with homemade hot-pocket type things to freeze. I’ve had success with bean burritos, though they are a little soggy. Since I’m already making pizza dough and sauce, I’m gonna try these chicken parm things.

New toy
November 24, 2009, 11:34 am
Filed under: Shopping Day

I have a new favorite kitchen toy:

It’s a Bialetti stovetop espresso maker. You put water & coffee in the bottom black part, milk in the glass part. Here is what it looks like before:

On the stove, it heats up and builds up pressure until a valve releases the coffee and shoots it into the milk, creating an awesome cappucino or latte at home. (It was on the latte setting in the photo) We got some fresh Caffe Umbria beans in the mail, so sipping the coffee reminds me of our espresso days in Seattle. It’s sooo good.

I’m obsessed with this thing. It’s got a steep learning curve as you can see by the overflowed milk in the first picture, so I keep wanting to make more coffee in order to practice.

I got it at a trip to the Williams-Sonoma outlet store. They were on clearance for $30 (orig $100). Unfortunately, we got home, opened the package and saw that there were grinds in the filter – someone had used it and returned it. Thanks for telling us! But I decided to try it anyway, treating as if it were a thrift store score. And now I like it so much it doesn’t matter.

Other gadgets I got at the outlet: handle cover for my newish cast iron skillet, mesh strainer, and a Microplane. I say this every time I buy another kitchen item: I’m really starting to run out of room for it all!


Could this be…
November 11, 2009, 9:28 am
Filed under: Shopping Day

Could this be… the first week since the start of the semester that we don’t eat out?? I think it is really the first time I’ve got a week’s menu all planned out. It’s been a crazy semester.

Monday – frozen pizza, sauteed kale (it took me 3 hours to get home from work, so I was not in a good mood!)
Tuesday – goat cheese-stuffed chicken, sweet potatoes & kale
Wednesday – same
Thursday – tofu pot pie
Friday – same
Saturday & Sunday – squash lasagna, roasted brussel sprouts

And surprisingly, all of the stuff for this week came out to about $50 at Whole Foods.

Shopping Day and food resolutions
February 2, 2009, 9:42 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

Last week, we spent $60 @ Whole Foods and it lasted us exactly one week. I made beef stew, bean & cheese enchiladas, and something else I don’t remember. This week, we spent $57 @ Whole Foods and I’m very excited about this week’s menu. They are all new recipes to try, except for the stir fry of course. The plan is:

Tuesday – Mussels cooked with white wine and chorizo, Italian bread, arugula & beet salad
Wednesday – random veggie stir fry, rice
Thursday, Friday, Saturday – Roasted vegetable stew, spinach salad; maybe dinner out on Friday?
Sunday & Monday – mushroom-pea risotto, some kind of vegetables

We have consistently been spending $60/wk shopping @ Whole Foods, which I didn’t think was much until I added up that it’s $240/month, way up from the $160-ish/month we spent when we were on food stamps.  But the food stamps shopping was split with some shopping at the conventional grocery store, which saved a lot of money. So I guess we are eating better, if you count organic and better quality produce as “better.” Our wallets aren’t really hurting from the increase in grocery budget so I guess those two things are all that really matter.

We’ve been trying to tighten up on going out to eat and money spent at bars. It’s only been like 3 weeks, but man it feels like *work*. School has been in session for almost 2 weeks, and I resolved to spend less on buying food during school days. I have not bought a single cup of coffee! I’ve been sticking a tea bag in my purse just in case I need an afternoon caffeine fix. I was so proud of myself when I thought I was doing well, but it hasn’t even been that long. Still, I’m pretty sure I might have saved at least $20 per week, maybe even $30, when I stayed conscious about buying food on campus. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that I was spending about $10-$15 lunch once a week, then around $15 on coffee spread throughout the week. Yikes.

Return of Shopping Day
November 15, 2008, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day, Tips

Two weeks ago, I ran out of food and said to myself, “I need to go grocery shopping.” The week went by, and I didn’t have time to do the shopping, even on the weekend. The next week I thought “Damn, I have no food. Must shop ASAP!” And the week almost went by again with no new groceries. Finally I said I’d try out Peapod grocery delivery service since I’ve been busy with school, we only have one car, and our schedules haven’t been matching up.

This is the first time in a long time I shopped at Stop ‘n Shop, the big regular grocery store and not Whole Foods or the Marketplace. I was shocked at how much food I was able to buy. I have enough food for *almost* 2 weeks if I just grab a few more fresh vegetables.

The shopping: $63.25
baking soda
Puffins cereal
1 dozen cage-free organic eggs
cream cheese
mozzarella cheese
deli chicken breast
frozen corn
frozen mixed vegetables

lasagna noodles
3 pears
Ground beef
1lb bag of carrots
1 bunch celery
1 bunch kale
1 lemon
2lb bag of onions
5lb bag of potatoes
1 butternut squash
tortilla chips, 2 bags
Mint Milano cookies
Stacy’s Pita Chips
Gingersnaps cookies
garbanzo beans
beef broth
chicken broth

(blue means it advertises itself as “natural”, green means organic)

The Menu
Beef stew, meat I have in the freezer – 2 days
Butternut squash lasagna and kale – 2 or 3 days; I loooove this recipe, and I get to use the new immersion blender that I got for my birthday!
Tofu curry, tofu from the freezer – 3 days
Shepherd’s pie – 3 days
Spaghetti, sauce from the freezer
Sesame beef & celery stir fry (lunch)

Delivery service costs $10 if you order $60 – $99 worth of groceries, or $6.95 if you order over $100. But I found a coupon code so for $10 off your first order, so I got the delivery for free this time.

$10 is definitely worth it if I’m in one of those periods where I’m just too busy. If our schedules don’t match up and I have to take the bus to the grocery store, it takes like two hours, I can only get to the very expensive market, and I can only buy as much as I can carry. I’d gladly pay $10 not to have to do that. I wouldn’t do it every single week though. $10/wk x 50 wks a year = $500. That’s more than one month of worth of spending allowance, or more than two months worth of groceries! Maybe I’ll get deliveries once a month to stock up on staples that I don’t need to go to Whole Foods for, and for heavy things. For example, I was happy to get cheap baking soda & vinegar (which I use a lot of for cleaning), pasta, onions, and potatoes – I don’t usually buy those organic and this way I’m not overpaying for them at Whole Foods.

Shopping Day
September 10, 2008, 2:55 pm
Filed under: Shopping Day

I’m feeling more organized in the kitchen now. I have finally planned out a week of balanced meals and kept track of what I spent. Grocery shopping is a little harder than it was before but I won’t go into details. We’ve got busy schedules and only one car, which B uses Monday, Wednesday Friday. We were low on food and on time to shop, so I ended up doing the shopping this week without a car. My only bus/walk accessible options are farmers’ markets and one independent local grocery store. I could get to a Whole Foods but I might have to take more than one bus. I might have to look into that though, because the local grocery store was sooo expensive – even more expensive than Whole Foods! I also wanted to get scallops, but the little market didn’t even have them. I probably couldn’t have afforded them anyway.

This week I spent about $55 on groceries. That’s not too bad, I guess, but I think I might be short one or two dinners, and I had to think really carefully about how to stretch ingredients.

$24 @ farmers’ market
eggplants (3)
zucchini (1)
yellow squash (2)
green onions
garlic (3)
pint of cherry tomatoes
red bell peppers (3)
dozen eggs (they were collected this morning! and they cost the same as organic eggs @ WF)

$30 @ local marketplace
mozzarella cheese (national brand, not even local)
Puffins cereal
elbows macaroni ($1.50 for a brand that is always on sale @ big stores for $1)
baby spinach
deli cheddar cheese
deli ham
lemons (3) (non-organic, non-local lemons, and they were $1 each! ouch)

The Menu (Tuesday – Tuesday)

– Red pepper, Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato Omelettes with salad
– Burgers (from freezer), Spinach Orzo salad
Ditalini pasta, salad or squash (2 days)
– Marinated Grilled Vegetables, Lemon Spaghetti (2 or 3 days)