Monday, May 09, 2011

It Costs HOW Much?!

Oh my goodness!!!  It is bad that I was excited to get gas for $3.50/gallon today.  But that is really good seeing that gas at "my" Kroger was $3.75...big difference!  And gas isn't the only thing that is getting more expensive these days.  Just about everything is showing signs of inflation.  Milk and eggs are more expensive.  Oddly enough, yogurt is 3 cents cheaper...go figure!  Fruits and veggies are move expensive as well.  A green bell pepper...GREEN!...was near $1.50 today.  Sorry, just can't do that.  So, how do you maintain healthy eating habits when prices are going up? 

That is this week's topic on Eat. Live. Be.  I haven't really mindfully thought about this, but I think I tend to practice these ideas. 
1. Buy in season.  Unless there is something that you just can't do without, buy the fresh fruits and veggies that are in season...and buy frozen those things that aren't.  Despite what you may have thought, frozen veggies still have the nutrients that are so important.  Just get the simply frozen kind, not something that is salted or oversauced.
2. Buy what is on special.  As mentioned above, I didn't buy the bell pepper...but I have no doubt that this summer, all those beautiful orange, yellow, and red bell peppers will go on sale.  THEN, I will buy them! Sometimes, I'll even find some produce on manager's special.  They might but it on sale because the sell by date is near or there are some bruises on fruit.  In general, this produce is still good.  Even if the fruit is bruised, you can cut off the bruise.  If canned beans are on sale, I grab several cans.  I only buy avacados on sale.  Buy store brand, in general there is no (or not much) difference (though I did decide this week that store brand "honey nut cheerios" just don't cut it!).
3. Buy what you know you'll use.  In this category, I'll talk about milk.  I do buy organic milk but only because it lasts SO much longer than "regular" milk.  Yes, it is more expensive; but I don't use it fast enough to warrant the other milk.  This actually saves me money.  If there is fresh produce on sale (for example, today corn was 10/$3), only buy what you will use before it goes bad.  I would not need to buy 10 ears of corn...unless I have a deep freeze and could take the kernels off and freeze them.  If that's the case...go for and freeze!!
4. Buy local. Now, this is a better buy for others, I think.  We have a farmer's market here and I do love using it because the quality of the produce is SO much better that that in the stores.  However, the price difference is not that much.  Occasionally, it is actually more pricey.  But I still use the Farmer's Market (when I can get there).  I'm a bit jealous of some of the produce other people get with quite a bit of savings at their markets.  It seems that prices at markets in the NE are a better deal than down here...and if the MS floods like they are predicting, it could be worse with farmlands flooded.
5. Grow your own!  I don't do this as I have absolutely NO yard, no porch, no nothing.  But one day I would love to have a garden.  My Papa have an extensive garden and those veggie dinners were my favorite!  There is nothing that compares to homegrown tomatoes, green beans, and okra.  Oh so good!!!  This would be a good family activity, too!  Teach kids about responsibility, how things grow, and about working together.

Along those lines, another good way to save money is to "make your own."  A couple of months ago, I made this tomato soup.  It fed me for about 5 servings.  So it would be perfect for a family of 4-6, and it was very inexpensive and easy to make.  I just got a large can of stewed tomatoes, thinned it out with some water and seasoned it.  Then added about 1/2 cup uncooked lentils and some spinach.  It turned out great.  Sometimes, just throwing some things together makes a great, delicious, and inexpensive meal!
Tomato Spinach Soup
1 large (can't remember the oz, sorry but ust the large version) can stewed, diced tomatoes
1/2 cup uncooked lentils (for a thicker more lentil-y version, use 1 cup...this would be really good!)
water (to your preferred texture)
salt, pepper (season to taste)
1 box frozen spinach

In a large stock pot, put tomatoes.  Add water to get tomatoes to your desired consistency.  Add lentils.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are cooked.  Taste and season as desired.  Add frozen spinach.  Cover and cook until spinach thaws.  Stir to distribute evenly.  Enjoy!


The JR said...

Eating healthy is more expensive. I'll be glad when our garden starts coming in.

Should have eggplant this week.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you! I love seeing gas for cheaper, even just a few cents! Like you, I don't have the room for a garden. But my parents do grow a pretty impressive garden, and when I come home to visit, I always manage to come back with some tasty veggies. One thing that I have learned to do is freeze stuff. Like cutting up peppers and then freezing them to make my own fajitas and stuff like that. The only problem I get is sometimes they are a little too watery.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I haven't been a fan of my grocery receipts lately. It's a good thing summer produce is just around the corner.

Erica said...

Agree! I always plan out our weekly eats and make a list. I try to make alterations based on whats on sale/in season! Its amazing how expensive things are getting!

Ada said...

Wow, I can't believe I'm only just discovering your blog now! I'm a pre-med undergrad student, so it's really cool to read about a real-life physician's life. Awesome blog and recipes!