Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's Cooking 4.20-4.26

Sustainable Food Budget Challenge - April 2009

I work on Monday for the next two weeks, so Saturday is the best day for me to get in this post, and may continue to if I end up frequenting the Farmer's Market on Saturday. My son and I went yesterday and had a blast. There was live music - a trio playing banjo, fiddle and guitar - that my son just loved and made him dance his own little gig that was so infectious in its joy that I had to join along.

Our favorite baker was there, too, and we shared a delicious banana chocolate chip muffin. (When asked late that night what his favorite part of the day was he cited the muffin. He's a foodie after my own heart for sure.) Our farmers only had plant starts - and I've learned from past years that we can still get a pretty mean frost before Mother's Day, so I'll hold off on planting my garden for a few more weeks.

So it was off to our regular grocery stores: I spent $38.05 at Amazing Savings on these items - the big score this week was Buy One, Get One Free on the Stonyfield Farms organic dark chocolate frozen yogurt - 2 containers for $1.49. And I got more of Barbara's organic kid's cereal because my kid loves it and at $1.25 (compared with over $4 usual retail) it's the one item I think is worth stockpiling.

and $49.50 at Earth Fare for these -

For a grand total of $87.10 - a little over my dream budget of $80 but I have been under the last two weeks so I think it will come out fine by the end of the month.

I continue to be impressed by the cost of organic/local produce - I scored a pound of organic butter at Amazing Savings last week and thought it was a good price at $2.50 (I paid $2 for a pound at Aldi), but hadn't priced organic butter in a long time and just tonight I noticed that a pound of organic butter at Earth Fare is $6.50!

I mentioned in an earlier post that Amazing Savings does not order/stock items, but simply acts as a clearing house for other stores who give up their goods once the expiration date hits or an item somehow loses its pristine sheen. (I bought a couple of cans of organic beans that were quite dented, but at 79 cents I snapped them up and they will make a nice quick lunch with greens sometime this week if we don't have leftovers.)

Here's the really big news from the shelves - I looked at the price of organic mayonnaise at Earth Fare. (I googled the price last week when I wrote about making my own and the price I hit was a little over $5.) The cost for 32 ounces of the stuff at Earth Fare? $10.65!!! At that price, I will continue to make our mayonnaise for the foreseeable future.

As I've said before, I want to keep our food costs low because it's such an obvious area where we can save money to free up funds for other things we'd like to do. (I started to look into rentals for a beach house in September and with the money we have been saving on groceries I think we will be able to rent a home on the beach for a week, not just a long weekend as I originally thought.)

I also want to make choices that support safe and humane practices in the production of our food. It has required some extra planning, creativity and flexibiliy, but so far I have created the conditions for us to have our sustainable cake (or vegan sanwich loaf, as the case may be) and eat it, too.

Here's what we're eating this week:

Five Bean Casserole
Green Salad

Potato, Spinach and Chickpea Curry
Brown Rice

Whole Wheat Penne
with Beans and Greens

Stracciatella (Italian Egg Drop Soup)
Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls

Pizza (with homemade crust and sauce)
Roasted Peppers and Onions
Spinach Salad

Black Bean Chili with Dark Ale
Corn Scones

Asparagus-Ricotta Frittata with Parmesan

Spinach Salad

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