Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's raining on top of the world

And wouldn't you know it, I got caught in the downpour. Carrying 2 bags of groceries weighing about 10 lbs each, I ended up walking fifteen minutes in the pouring rain to get to the busstop, and fortunately the bus driver saw me attempting to run to catch up, since he was pulling away before he finally stopped to let me on.

So as a reward for being cold, wet, and tired, I treated myself to a nice mug of hot chocolate at The Infusion, a local teahouse.

I'm pretty proud of myself today where groceries are concerned. I went shopping at the local bulk store, in the hopes of saving a few bucks by focusing on buying the product rather than the packaging. 22 cents shy of $40 got me the following:

  • 5 pounds of sugar
  • About 7 pounds of 12-grain flour
  • A bag of trail mix
  • A bag of mint candies
  • A bag of dried sage
  • White navy beans
  • Vegetable fusilli
  • A jar of yeast
  • Granola

    The beans will likely last for 4 meals, 2 meals each for Rachel and I. Possibly more, depending on how much we eat. The vegetable fusilli will probably make about 3 meals: 1 meal each when added to chicken stock, and 1 meal for Rachel, since she loves pasta all on its own. The bread and yeast will do for quite a few bakings of bread. The granola's for breakfasts. The trail mix and mint candies are for snacking on. The sugar's for, well, tea and whatever else we happen to need sugar for. (My weakness is a mug of hot sweet tea!)

    $40, for another week's worth of meals, or there about.

    Of course, this is assuming we eat nothing but bread, pasta, and beans for the week. This stuff is all going to be pieced out with the food we still have in, like the ham and eggs and turkey and potatoes and pork and cabbage and everything else still in the fridge and cupboards. I'll probably be heading out again tomorrow with another $10 to buy milk and apples and cheese, too.

    It may seem like I'm spending a lot of money on groceries. But consider that our monthly grocery bill used to be about $300. I'm whittling it down to about $40-$50 a week now, cutting out the junk and cooking large batches of things instead of eating microwave frozen dinners and cans of spaghetti as much as we used to.

    Oh, and I won't even go into how much we're cutting back on the junk food! I'd say about 1/4 of the grocery budget used to go to snacks of a more junk foody nature. Now our big sin is trail mix and some mint candies. Beats the heck out of chips and chocolate bars!

    Really, cooking more and controlling more of what goes into my body has done wonders for me, and I haven't even been doing it that long. I enjoy getting in the kitchen and making food now. I enjoy the work behind it, I enjoy the satisfaction of eating something I worked hard to make, and I enjoy knowing that there's nothing going into me that I didn't make a point of putting into me, instead of all the sneaky chemicals that come along with a lot of pre-packaged food from the grocery store.

    Tomorrow, when the ham and potato soup has run out, I think I'll make that quiche before the eggs go bad, and then boil up the leftover eggs so we have some hardboiled eggs for snacks. The turkey soup, turkey sausage, beans, and pasta can wait until the perishable food's been used up more.

    I might also be brave and attempt another batch of bread. The last loaf I made made me ill, but I think that's probably because the yeast was past its best. Serves me right for not checking, really, but this time, I've got fresher yeast and understand dough a little better, so hopefully it'll turn out tasty.

    1. The last batch of bread was it with whole wheat flour or some other whole grain bread? Those grains can go rancid when they get old (white flour doesn't go rancid). I'm not discounting the old yeast, but wanted to make sure you check your flour too. I hope you have better luck with the next bread batch - baking (and eating) fresh bread is just one of the best pleasures on earth in my opinion.

    2. The flour I used had only been bought a few days beforehand. It's possible it was the flour, but more likely it was the yeast. It's a good thing to remember, though, and I'll keep that in mind for future baking!

    3. Hi Ria, thank you for visiting my blog. Hope to see you back soon.
      I can't say that I am frugal but I do penny-pinch and watch what I buy. Brand names to me are nothing because I just refuse to pay for the names & packaging. I do know that a lot of the supermarket brand items are made by the same place that make brand name items.
      I have not gone too far back to read your past posts yet so I don't know if you do canning or not. But if you love spaghetti sauce and have not done any canning before, it is definitely great to learn it. We make tomato sauce every year and it just taste so much better than store bought jars(and of course it's cheaper too!)