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Old 08-28-2014, 06:29 PM   #11
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Aunt Bea, I spend less than $35/week on groceries (okay, discount the fact that TL and I shared a side of grass-fed beef). A good time to shop is the day before the new flyer comes out--at least around here. That is when the featured meat will be marked down 30-40%. I also check the "discount" veggie and fruit rack. I dehydrate mushrooms from that rack. You don't need an expensive dehydrator, you can use your oven, but I snagged a very nice dehydrator for $15 at a Thrift Store. I have several different kinds of rice. Lots of dried legumes, frozen veggies from the garden, and powdered coconut milk, soy milk, buttermilk, and skim milk. Those are used in cooking. Tofu (yes, I know, tofu) is a very inexpensive source of protein. It takes awhile to learn how to season it so it has flavour. Tofunnaise substitutes well for mayonnaise.

I make a lot of vegetable curries. I don't really have recipes, but palek paneer with the addition of chick peas and tomatoes, substituting extra firm tofu for the paneer would work. The root vegetables and cabbage should be coming into season. I had seven (yes) seven very lean years re: work because of my mom's health. I learned how to cook and shop based on what I had available and how much money I had. Yes, it is extra work to soak the beans and cook them, but I can freeze them and add them to salads, make a quick hummus or refried beans. I also cut back on cheese because it was too expensive. Instead of sour cream, I strain plain yogurt (when it is on special--the least expensive source seems to be the Lebanese/arabic shop) to make a yogurt cheese, add a bit of lime or lemon juice for the "bite" of sour cream.

I don't grocery shop weekly. I don't garden because I want to, I do it so I can eat what I want and have $ for meat, cheese, etc. I also cook seasonally. I don't buy out-of-season things (like asparagus). I grew up eating seasonally available food and that's how I try to cook and eat now.
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Old 08-28-2014, 06:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
Take a look at CWS's breakfasts in the breakfast thread
Thanks, GG, breakfast is my favourite meal to cook. I've had a lot of fun going from a non-breakfast person to breakfast is the best meal of the day person.

Aunt Bea--favourites have been the poached eggs in a tomato sauce, chickenkeeper hash, and breakfast wraps using rice wrappers. And of course, my boring stand-by of poached eggs, greens, and grains. Loading up on protein in the morning means I'm not hungry later in the day and can focus on breakfast as my big meal. Breakfast is one of the least expensive meals one can make.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Aunt Bea, I spend less than $35/week on groceries (okay, discount the fact that TL and I shared a side of grass-fed beef). A good time to shop is the day before the new flyer comes out--at least around here. That is when the featured meat will be marked down 30-40%. I also check the "discount" veggie and fruit rack. I dehydrate mushrooms from that rack. You don't need an expensive dehydrator, you can use your oven, but I snagged a very nice dehydrator for $15 at a Thrift Store. I have several different kinds of rice. Lots of dried legumes, frozen veggies from the garden, and powdered coconut milk, soy milk, buttermilk, and skim milk. Those are used in cooking. Tofu (yes, I know, tofu) is a very inexpensive source of protein. It takes awhile to learn how to season it so it has flavour. Tofunnaise substitutes well for mayonnaise.

I make a lot of vegetable curries. I don't really have recipes, but palek paneer with the addition of chick peas and tomatoes, substituting extra firm tofu for the paneer would work. The root vegetables and cabbage should be coming into season. I had seven (yes) seven very lean years re: work because of my mom's health. I learned how to cook and shop based on what I had available and how much money I had. Yes, it is extra work to soak the beans and cook them, but I can freeze them and add them to salads, make a quick hummus or refried beans. I also cut back on cheese because it was too expensive. Instead of sour cream, I strain plain yogurt (when it is on special--the least expensive source seems to be the Lebanese/arabic shop) to make a yogurt cheese, add a bit of lime or lemon juice for the "bite" of sour cream.

I don't grocery shop weekly. I don't garden because I want to, I do it so I can eat what I want and have $ for meat, cheese, etc. I also cook seasonally. I don't buy out-of-season things (like asparagus). I grew up eating seasonally available food and that's how I try to cook and eat now.
Thanks for the tips, we share many of the same shopping strategies. I too have given up buying most kinds of cheese on a regular basis. I still buy a small container of imported Romano and make it go a long, long way. I also cook beans from scratch and freeze them. I have started seeing a significant increase in the price of dried beans, in some cases the cost rivals the canned ones. I still cook mine from scratch, I figure it is a couple less cans in the recycling bin. I need to start experimenting with lentils to come up with a couple of solid go to recipes. I don't garden, about the only crop it would be practical to grow in my apartment is still illegal in New York!

Funny you should mention the eggs and tomato sauce, I had a sunny side up egg with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Romano cheese the other day for lunch.

I have always been frugal by choice not circumstance, now it's more or less a habit or game to get what I want or need on my terms. The $35.00/week that I spend includes all of my cleaning, paper, basic HBA etc... I would say that I manage to stay within my budget 90% of the time. I splurge for the major holidays or for family and friends, I tell myself those things come under the heading of entertainment not food!
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Old 08-28-2014, 08:54 PM   #14
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Thanks for the tips, we share many of the same shopping strategies. I too have given up buying most kinds of cheese on a regular basis. I still buy a small container of imported Romano and make it go a long, long way. I also cook beans from scratch and freeze them. I have started seeing a significant increase in the price of dried beans, in some cases the cost rivals the canned ones. I still cook mine from scratch, I figure it is a couple less cans in the recycling bin. I need to start experimenting with lentils to come up with a couple of solid go to recipes. I don't garden, about the only crop it would be practical to grow in my apartment is still illegal in New York!

Funny you should mention the eggs and tomato sauce, I had a sunny side up egg with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Romano cheese the other day for lunch.

I have always been frugal by choice not circumstance, now it's more or less a habit or game to get what I want or need on my terms. The $35.00/week that I spend includes all of my cleaning, paper, basic HBA etc... I would say that I manage to stay within my budget 90% of the time. I splurge for the major holidays or for family and friends, I tell myself those things come under the heading of entertainment not food!
I find that buying the dried beans at ethnic shops is cheaper than those in the grocery store. And, you can grow baby greens in pots--broccoli sprouts, pea sprouts, baby kale, etc. Those can grow on window sills. I have a lot of single friends/ couples who like to cook and find ways to save money. We often get together to share a large bag of something--50 lb of wild rice split 5 ways, restaurant sized bags of beans, etc. I too have noticed that legumes have gone up in price. We also share 2 dehydrators, a meat grinder, and a grain grinder / mill. It works for us. Who uses those on a daily basis?

I guess having a pet laying hen is out of the question...
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:11 PM   #15
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Homemade split pea soup! Inexpensive, filling, and healthy. I just made some yesterday. I usually add chopped carrots, celery, onions, and sometimes a little ham or smoked neck meat. Even better the next day, and freezes well.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:05 PM   #16
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Lentils, YUM!
Salad
Soup
Stewed
... with any combo of veggies or proteins... sausages, chicken, turkey (there's another UBER cheap protien)

cheeses freeze very well, I buy stuff on sale, portion it of in zip tops and in to the deep freeze it goes...

Canned Tuna fish... CHEAP! I buy it at Costco for what, a little more than a dollar a can... stuffed tomatoes, tuna pasta sauces, like a puttanesca, (pasta is like what $1 a box), tuna ala king (ooh, chicken ala king), and on and on ...

If you want to know about eating on a budget, ask ME!
Trying to make a penny cry 'uncle' in Hawaii is a MUST!
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Old 08-29-2014, 12:51 AM   #17
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I second lentils. We ate a lot of them 'back when'. We were poor and ate vegetarian and they're cheap, fast, good for you and gasless. Cooked up and refried with taco seasoning for burritos, chili dip or 'surprise burgers'. Lentil burritos made with homemade flour tortillas are comfort food now.

Right now it's salad season...greens and whatever vegies are around dressed with a vinaigrette and topped with a little grilled chicken or shrimp or hard boiled egg. Last night it was leftover corn, some black beans and avocado.

Once it cools down we eat a lot of soups and stews. I dry garden vegies and whatever's on sale (celery is cheap at Thanksgiving). No one knows it's dried food.

I guess we are frugal by choice, although I'm not sure how much we save if you count time and energy. And jar lids and foodsaver bags and freezers and a bazillion gadgets and tools, hehe. Mostly we're spoiled on homegrown/homemade.
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Old 08-29-2014, 04:32 AM   #18
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I guess we are frugal by choice, although I'm not sure how much we save if you count time and energy. And jar lids and foodsaver bags and freezers and a bazillion gadgets and tools, hehe. Mostly we're spoiled on homegrown/homemade.
It takes a lot of time and energy (personal and electricity rates). I have bones cooking down for stock right now. Yes, I love homemade stock, but it takes planning and time to make the stock to make the soup/stew/whatever. If I want to make tacos, I have to grind the grain to make the flour to make the tacos...grind the meat...pick the veggies...not an impulse "let's have tacos tonight" kinda meal.

While doing the research to present a weekend seminar on the ingredients in pet food, I stumbled across an article about how convenience food came about after WWII (and how the rejected stuff was turned into pet food--floor sweepings, etc.). Back in my grandma's day, women spent a minimum of 3 hours a day preparing food. That brought it home to me how my grandma had time to make homemade bread, sausage, etc. I may spent 45-60 minutes cooking and cleaning up, but I sure as heck don't have 3 hours in a day EVERY DAY to spend cooking with all the time I spend on DC and watching the Girls. No wonder she had so many aprons. She probably wore those like I wear scrubs...
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Old 08-29-2014, 05:24 AM   #19
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Homemade split pea soup! Inexpensive, filling, and healthy. I just made some yesterday. I usually add chopped carrots, celery, onions, and sometimes a little ham or smoked neck meat. Even better the next day, and freezes well.
Sounds good!

I usually make a small pot of Senate bean soup when I cook up a batch of dried beans.

I remember split pea soup from when I was a kid. The taste was fine, it was the texture that put me off or maybe it was the jokes that my older brothers made about it. My mother always ran her split pea soup through a cone shaped sieve. I might enjoy it if it was cooked a little less and had some texture from other vegetables.

I will revisit it, thanks!
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Old 08-29-2014, 09:16 AM   #20
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Sounds good!

I usually make a small pot of Senate bean soup when I cook up a batch of dried beans.

I remember split pea soup from when I was a kid. The taste was fine, it was the texture that put me off or maybe it was the jokes that my older brothers made about it. My mother always ran her split pea soup through a cone shaped sieve. I might enjoy it if it was cooked a little less and had some texture from other vegetables.

I will revisit it, thanks!
Aunt Bea, I always reserve a portion of al dente peas to add back into the soup once it's cooked. Adding cooked barley, onions and carrots help with the texture problems, too. My split pea soup isn't sludgy like some I've had.
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