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spend too much on food...


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Advice I saw in the newspaper years ago stuck in my mind, and I've found it helpful: "Cook everything you buy, and eat everything you cook. " Using that guidline, I found myself either buying less to avoid leftovers, or making sure to eat the leftovers.

I also remember that my co-workers's heads would turn towards my desk when I unscrewed the top of the thermos at lunch break, releasing the rich scent of chicken/vegetable soup, or of lentils and rice. Just leftovers, heated up quickly before leaving the house, eaten with a hearty sandwich or a big salad retrieved from the office fridge.

One thing I have noticed from a lot of great chefs, is that they are extremely thrifty. Nothing is wasted, and very rarely is anything thrown out. Those leftover vegetables get put into a soup or stew, or an egg or pasta dish. That little bit of leftover tomato sauce gets used for something else. The chicken carcass gets thrown into the stockpot for the basis of a great soup, or the remmants of it get turned into hash, or a salad, or something like a chicken pot pie.

I do the same with leftovers when I am working. But it does take planning ahead. I may cook several things on my days off, which will then form the basis of my meals on my working days. Except for rare occasions, the main dish has to extend to at least 2 meals. Not necessarily in the same form, but that is part of the fun of cooking to me: to see what tasty thing I can prepare from this original preparation.

I personally am curious as to what at typical week's meals are at CKat's house. And what a typical grocery list would be for her, for that week.

Christine

Edited by artisan02 (log)
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...

Another way is to serve soup before the main meal of the day; good soup obviously, even if it's just a quick miso. My husband is not a vegetable lover, but I found that he'll eat almost anything in soup form, especially if it's blended. As he has several chronic ailments, I'm always anxious to boost his nutrition. I found that once the (vitamin-packed, mineral-rich) soup is consumed, he doesn't feel the need to eat vast quantities of animal protein, as he did before. Better for his health like that. And a pleasant surprise was discovering that our grocery bill has gone down. Getting adjusted to buying and cooking less meat took a little while, though. A few times, we had to face lefovers we were just tired of, for me to break the habit.

...

What a good idea on many fronts. Thank you, Miriam. I do enjoy soups and make them quite often but keeping your points in mind may encourage me to make them even more often.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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that is part of the fun of cooking to me: to see what tasty thing I can prepare from this original preparation.

I also find it fun and challenging to reincarnate a meal with leftovers. I don't like eating the same meal over again but turning it into a new dish makes it interesting.

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[What a good idea on many fronts.  Thank you, Miriam.  I do enjoy soups and make them quite often but keeping your points in mind may encourage me to make them even more often.

You're welcome, Ludja. My mother likes to say, "Soy muy sopera!" (I am a soup lover.) So am I. Today's was spinach and mushroom soup on a light bechamel base, with a little rice in it. It was cool weather soup, filling, and followed by warm fish croquettes, then a salad of mixed greens. Simple food, and I am still amazed that my husband rose from the table satisfied, where before he would have needed lots of of chicken, or liver, or beef. He still gets all those foods, I just know to plan on smaller portions now that soup is served first.

Miriam

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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Advice I saw in the newspaper years ago stuck in my mind, and I've found it helpful: "Cook everything you buy, and eat everything you cook. " Using that guidline, I found myself either buying less to avoid leftovers, or making sure to eat the leftovers.

I find it intriguing that you say processed food is actually cheaper. Are you buying out-of-season produce, or paying top price at a fancy greengrocer's? Even here in Israel, where fruit and veg are abundant and cheap, I could run up a large bill at the upscale greengrocer's, buying speciality produce on whim instead of getting less sensational stuff at the shuk.

Another way is to serve soup before the main meal of the day; good soup obviously, even if it's just a quick miso. My husband is not a vegetable lover, but I found that he'll eat almost anything in soup form, especially if it's blended. As he has several chronic ailments, I'm always anxious to boost his nutrition. I found that once the (vitamin-packed, mineral-rich) soup is consumed, he doesn't feel the need to eat vast quantities of animal protein, as he did before. Better for his health like that. And a pleasant surprise was discovering that our grocery bill has gone down. Getting adjusted to buying and cooking less meat took a little while, though. A few times, we had to face lefovers we were just tired of, for me to break the habit.

I guess the main issue for you would be finding an alternative to your hubbie's fast-food lunches. One suggestion: a wide-mouth thermos may contain not only soup, but stew, beans, all kinds of hot food. A goodly slice of  cheese, a small salad, and some fresh bread on the side - I used to pack my kid's school lunches like that. I also remember that my co-workers's heads would turn towards my desk when I unscrewed the top of the thermos at lunch break, releasing the rich scent of chicken/vegetable soup, or of lentils and rice. Just leftovers, heated up quickly before leaving the house, eaten with a hearty sandwich or a big salad retrieved from the office fridge. Those gals would look hungry. Then they would all troop out to the falafel joint around the corner, wishing me a good appetite, a little sourly. Even the boss, on her way out to a restaurant lunch, was attracted by my meal. I was hard up in those days, but I believe I ate pretty well. It does take a little planning, is all. Would that work for you?

Miriam

Good ideas! I like the advice from the newspaper you mentioned. My husband eats lunch out daily and when I brought up the idea of me packing him something he was all for it. Normally we take turns doing the evening cooking, but I am the main cook in the house and could whip up some soups that pack in a thermos. I pack my lunch daily. As I have gotten older I noticed I just can't eat out like I use to. When I calulated it all by the month the eating out is what is killing me. We spend 100 a the grocery store....not a high end grocery store that sells out of season stuff, or what would be considered gourmet, but a store that is actually cheaper than the super Walmart here. On top of the 100 in groceries, is another 100 eating out. I never realized the waste!

Christine ~ I will give you this weeks meals -

breakfasts- english muffin egg sandwhiches or oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds or homemade granola w/ soy milk

lunch - I take canned soup or some japanese dish I made, popcorn. (the hubby eats out..)

dinner - monday - homemade pizza, tuesday - ham cassarole w/ bread, weds - homemade pot stickers, rice, veggie stir fry, thurs - homemade BBQ wings with fries, Friday - chicken yakatori, rice, I probably will put some veggie dish with this...I have also home made bread and pumpkin bars for the week.

That is about an average week for me and my hubby...I don't consider this fancy food at all, so the fact my grocery bill is so high is what was killing me! I can see from everyone's response they cook very different. As you can tell from the menu there is nothing on there that is "cook once - eat twice" even the pizza crust came from scratch. The serving sizes huge! Of course I am leaving out beverages, which we don't drink, so it's tea or colas.

Beefcheeks - I will have to try that cookbook, can you get it on amazon?

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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[What a good idea on many fronts.  Thank you, Miriam.   I do enjoy soups and make them quite often but keeping your points in mind may encourage me to make them even more often.

You're welcome, Ludja. My mother likes to say, "Soy muy sopera!" (I am a soup lover.) So am I. Today's was spinach and mushroom soup on a light bechamel base, with a little rice in it. It was cool weather soup, filling, and followed by warm fish croquettes, then a salad of mixed greens. Simple food, and I am still amazed that my husband rose from the table satisfied, where before he would have needed lots of of chicken, or liver, or beef. He still gets all those foods, I just know to plan on smaller portions now that soup is served first.

Miriam

Do you make a new soup daily?

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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aah, soup....I'm always saving small bits of things in the freezer because although they aren't enough for a "meal" they can contribute to soup sometime in the future. If you want to stretch the food dollar, it's fun to be creative and make a "kitchen sink" soup. Never the same twice, but always tasty! Little portions of meat are also good to save for chili or enchiladas, or chopped finely to use in lasagne.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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If you live in an area with a substantial Muslim polulation, the local halaal butcher is an excellent source for lamb, goat, and bones for stocks, all at a reasonable price, in my experience.

If you haven't had goat, I highly recommend it. It kind of splits the difference between white-tailed deer and lamb, leaning toward lamb. Not available everywhere but a total bargain in terms of bang for the buck.

This whole love/hate thing would be a lot easier if it was just hate.

Bring me your finest food, stuffed with your second finest!

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Normally we take turns doing the evening cooking, but I am the main cook in the house and could whip up some soups that pack in a thermos. I pack my lunch daily. 

Christine ~ I will give you this weeks meals -

breakfasts-  english muffin egg sandwhiches or oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds or homemade granola w/ soy milk

lunch - I take canned soup or some japanese dish I made, popcorn. (the hubby eats out..)

dinner - monday - homemade pizza, tuesday - ham cassarole w/ bread, weds - homemade pot stickers, rice, veggie stir fry, thurs - homemade BBQ wings with fries, Friday - chicken yakatori, rice, I probably will put some veggie dish with this...I have also home made bread and pumpkin bars for the week.

That is about an average week for me and my hubby...I don't consider this fancy food at all, so the fact my grocery bill is so high is what was killing me! I can see from everyone's response they cook very different. As you can tell from the menu there is nothing on there that is "cook once - eat twice" even the pizza crust came from scratch.  The serving sizes huge! Of course I am leaving out beverages, which we don't drink, so it's tea or colas.

Okay, I snipped some of your post. You mentioned taking canned soup for your own lunch and also about making some for your husband. Why not make a pot of soup for lunches for you both? Much cheaper than canned soup, and much healthier!

Do you buy any ingredients that can be found in bulk bins? I am thinking of your oatmeal, for instance. It tends to be much cheaper and you are not paying for packaging. Same for a lot of ingredients though.

One thing struck me as I was looking at your dinner menus, and maybe this will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

You mentioned ham casserole. Did you buy all the ingredients for that particular dish? Such as a piece of ham, etc?

Now mind you, I am not a particularly inventive cook myself, but a few things came to mind. For me, if I thought I might be wanting that sometime during the week, I might buy a ham to start with, say for dinner on Sunday. Then I could plan somethings around the remainder of that ham, such as your ham casserole. Maybe ham sandwiches for lunch one day, or ham salad. Plan on saving the meaty bone from the ham, and make a wonderful bean type soup with the bone and some of the ham-there are more meals there for your lunch, maybe even as a main dish meal later on. I would probably freeze part of the soup and bring it out later on down the road, along with some good cornbread and a tart salad. To not get bored with the ham, I would probably freeze some of it, and then bring it out to add to something else down the road. And what is left of the ham casserole itself, would find it's way into my lunchbox the next day.

This is just one example.

Like many folks here, I tend to buy things on sale, and use them as needed. So for your chicken, I would have waited til I saw a good sale then stocked up on the chicken I needed. Then sometime down the road, say this week you could pull out what you needed from your stash to fix those chicken dishes.

Maybe others will have suggestions how to best plan meals, etc for you.

Hope this helps a bit...

Christine

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Sometimes the devil is in the details.

I buy spices in bulk from a local health food shop. I can measure out the quantities I need into little plastic bags, attach a sticker with the price per pound, and I recently paid less than $8 to refill 17 herb/spice containers. They weren't filled to the top, but rather with a quantity I think I will use within 6 months.

This same store sells dried beans and several other things in a similar manner. You can measure out what you want, and pay for only that. Less to store, less to spoil, less to pay for.

Progresso canellini beans at a local gourmet gocery are $2.99 a can. Across the street at a chain grocery store, they're $1.09. It can really pay to shop around.

I eat a lot of low-cost meals, such as spaghetti with Parmesan, macaroni and tomatoes, lentils, etc. It's healthier eating, and much less expensive. Many lunches are baked potatoes with whatever looks good. Even a baked potato and homemade soup is a great meal, and really cheap. Sometimes just a peanut butter sandwich and an apple is a treat. Deborah Madison's vegetarian cookbooks are a great resource for vegetarian meals.

My main area of waste is in not using all I buy. I throw a lot of food out, and I HATE that; it's something I'm working on.

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Most of those dinners sound like they'd make terrific lunches.

I'm none to fond of the same meal 2x in a row, but monday's dinner leftovers do well for wednesday's lunch, etc.

The freezer is a cost=saving friend. Leftovers go bad in the fridge. They live to be eaten if frozen asap.

That said, I think we spend more than you and eat less well. We've got the theory down, but are still not too smooth in practice with leftover conservation, 'repurposing' etc. I think if we tracked costs like you are now set up to do, it would be very motivating in forming new habits.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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This is a very interesting and topical thread for me.

Until recently, since my husband and I work full time and I used to commute 2-2 1/2 hours a day, my dear MIL (who lives with us) would make dinner during the week. She is a simple cook, making alot of preprepared dishes like...... rotisserie chicken (bought that way) or pot roast (bought that way), twice baked potatoes (bought that way), but fresh sauted or steamed vegies, sometimes mashed cauliflower. Not too many salads during the week. She would go shopping once a week to get the things that she would plan to use during the week. This is the only financial contribution she makes to our household expenses. I am not sure what amount she spends.

I, on the other hand, cook on the weekends. I spend some of my free time during the evenings dreaming and then planning what menus I will have over the weekend (a lot of the dreaming and inspiration coming from this site) and shop to accommodate those menus. I will invite family and friends to join us (I love to share the food I get to experiment with and create). So, for just the weekend more extravagent menu plans, I know I can spend up to $200.00 for the produce and other food stuffs needed....and not including the wine, spirits, etc. AND I do have a very well stocked pantry!

You see where I am heading....We, together, are spending A LOT of money on food alone. And I haven't mentioned the amount of fresh herbs and produce that spoils and needs to be tossed.

That is, however, only the first issue. :sad:

Things are changing. My MIL has been having some health issues and has less energy. She will soon be unable to do any of the shopping or food preparing. Probably, also, unable to contribute anything financially to the household or towards the grocery consumption. SOOOOO....all of the ideas and sharing on this thread has been helpful since I need to rethink and replan for this new era in our lives. I will need to shop, plan and prepare not only for the more extravagant weekend meals (if that is a possibility) but shop, plan and prepare meals daily. I need these cost cutting ideas, suggestions for stretching preparations to include multiple meal plans, and accomplish all of this while not compromising my love of GOOD FOOD. Luckily, I now live closer to where I work, so my commute is significantly less.

Thank you to you all for your great ideas!

Edited by eldereno (log)

Donna

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There once was a thread somewhere on eG where people wrote in "what they had in their fridge" that night to use (when they were flummoxed as to what to do with the odds and ends), and others would respond with ideas and inspirations for meals that night, and on into using leftovers the next day for lunches.

This sounds like it would be a useful sort of tool to revive. . .for those times when there *is* food just sitting there, good food, that otherwise might be thrown out. . . but I can not for the life of me find that thread to link to here.

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There once was a thread somewhere on eG where people wrote in "what they had in their fridge" that night to use (when they were flummoxed as to what to do with the odds and ends), and others would respond with ideas and inspirations for meals that night, and on into using leftovers the next day for lunches.

This sounds like it would be a useful sort of tool to revive. . .for those times when there *is* food just sitting there, good food, that otherwise might be thrown out. . . but I can not for the life of me find that thread to link to here.

Along the same lines, don't forget Cookin' with Google

Put in your ingredients and............voila!

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When I first started earning a pittance, eating meat regularly simply wasn’t an option. Most nights, I dined quite happily on Mexican vegetarian and egg dishes: huevos rancheros; huevos al albanil; requeson revuelto con salsa de jitomate; arroz verde; chayotes or hongos al vapor; calabacitas guisadas; papas chirrionas; and camotes. For a change of pace I would make fettuccini Alfredo, spaghetti and sausage, spinach curry, or frozen pizza.

Chilies, garlic, onions, cilantro, herbs and spices, and a little feta cheese sprinkled on top provided enough satisfying flavor that I never felt meat-deprived. I would probably still eat this way if the rest of the family wasn’t so carnivorous. Can you find inexpensive foods that satisfy you while fitting into your schedule and budget?

Fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers.

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When I first started earning a pittance, eating meat regularly simply wasn’t an option. Most nights, I dined quite happily on Mexican vegetarian and egg dishes: huevos rancheros; huevos al albanil; requeson revuelto con salsa de jitomate; arroz verde; chayotes or hongos al vapor; calabacitas guisadas; papas chirrionas; and camotes. For a change of pace I would make fettuccini Alfredo, spaghetti and sausage, spinach curry, or frozen pizza.

Chilies, garlic, onions, cilantro, herbs and spices, and a little feta cheese sprinkled on top provided enough satisfying flavor that I never felt meat-deprived. I would probably still eat this way if the rest of the family wasn’t so carnivorous. Can you find inexpensive foods that satisfy you while fitting into your schedule and budget?

Fried rice is a great way to use up leftovers.

When I first started earning money, I had enough for meat, etc. But I had a mother that knew how to stretch everything...and it was ingrained in me to buy ingredients and stretch them.

I have rice in the fridge now, that was cooked Afghani style..and I am thinking of fixing fried rice with the leftovers. Should be an interesting fried rice.

Christine

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First, some mathematics.

"But every so often I begin to wonder if there could be a different way, a way to eat good quality stuff and do it cheaper than I do now."

+

"It is nothing for the two of us to use a whole pound of meat and throw out the left overs, if there is any."

=

Incredible.

To achieve your aim of cutting the bills, you need to organize and educate yourself, probably nothing more than that. Why educate? Well, what you said above is a glaring contradiction. So is your observation that healthy food is more expensive, when you also said that you eat "huge, I mean huge" portions, suitable for four rather than two people. Portion size is your choice, but it's worth either considering cutting down, or accepting that what you spend now is a lifestyle choice.

Educating yourself also means finding out how other people eat, reading cookbooks, accumulating food knowledge, etc. You say you like cooking Chinese, well you chose the perfect example, it can be incredibly economical (e.g. congee). But you probably have to know your Chinese food quite well to really do it effectively (free education is available over at the EG Chinese forum.)

Budgeting is where the organization comes in: a monthly budget is handy, but it's easier to set a daily target, or at least a target for each time you go shopping. In my household (we're in Japan) we have a daily budget that converts to about $6.85. That's for our evening meal for two. I don't really cook for leftovers, as everything gets eaten on the day usually, and I never buy to freeze. Our daily budget covers fresh ingredients but not basics like rice/sauces/oil/salt/sugar etc. There are often days when we can come in way under budget. But we eat an awful lot of fresh fish and shellfish. Even so, we don't find our budget excessively difficult to meet. Having the daily figure in my head helps me choose what to buy and cook.

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[Do you make a new soup daily?

Yes, most days, and if I made enough for two meals, I wait till the day after next before serving it again. It's all a mindset, isn't it? It doesn't seem like a big deal, making soup every day. It goes fast, a few minutes chopping and sauteeing, and the soup simmers away quietly while I'm doing something else. On the other hand, if I had to make a quiche or pie every day, I'd get flustered - at least, till I got used to it.

Miriam

And Eldereno, I admire your ability to foresee changes and to start planning for them, and wish more people had the cheerful, forthright attitude you show towards the elder in your care.

Edited by Miriam Kresh (log)

Miriam Kresh

blog:[blog=www.israelikitchen.com][/blog]

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There once was a thread somewhere on eG where people wrote in "what they had in their fridge" that night to use (when they were flummoxed as to what to do with the odds and ends), and others would respond with ideas and inspirations for meals that night, and on into using leftovers the next day for lunches.

This sounds like it would be a useful sort of tool to revive. . .for those times when there *is* food just sitting there, good food, that otherwise might be thrown out. . . but I can not for the life of me find that thread to link to here.

I think that was this one cook from the pantry

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Normally we take turns doing the evening cooking, but I am the main cook in the house and could whip up some soups that pack in a thermos. I pack my lunch daily. 

Christine ~ I will give you this weeks meals -

breakfasts-  english muffin egg sandwhiches or oatmeal with dried cranberries and almonds or homemade granola w/ soy milk

lunch - I take canned soup or some japanese dish I made, popcorn. (the hubby eats out..)

dinner - monday - homemade pizza, tuesday - ham cassarole w/ bread, weds - homemade pot stickers, rice, veggie stir fry, thurs - homemade BBQ wings with fries, Friday - chicken yakatori, rice, I probably will put some veggie dish with this...I have also home made bread and pumpkin bars for the week.

That is about an average week for me and my hubby...I don't consider this fancy food at all, so the fact my grocery bill is so high is what was killing me! I can see from everyone's response they cook very different. As you can tell from the menu there is nothing on there that is "cook once - eat twice" even the pizza crust came from scratch.  The serving sizes huge! Of course I am leaving out beverages, which we don't drink, so it's tea or colas.

Okay, I snipped some of your post. You mentioned taking canned soup for your own lunch and also about making some for your husband. Why not make a pot of soup for lunches for you both? Much cheaper than canned soup, and much healthier!

Do you buy any ingredients that can be found in bulk bins? I am thinking of your oatmeal, for instance. It tends to be much cheaper and you are not paying for packaging. Same for a lot of ingredients though.

One thing struck me as I was looking at your dinner menus, and maybe this will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

You mentioned ham casserole. Did you buy all the ingredients for that particular dish? Such as a piece of ham, etc?

Now mind you, I am not a particularly inventive cook myself, but a few things came to mind. For me, if I thought I might be wanting that sometime during the week, I might buy a ham to start with, say for dinner on Sunday. Then I could plan somethings around the remainder of that ham, such as your ham casserole. Maybe ham sandwiches for lunch one day, or ham salad. Plan on saving the meaty bone from the ham, and make a wonderful bean type soup with the bone and some of the ham-there are more meals there for your lunch, maybe even as a main dish meal later on. I would probably freeze part of the soup and bring it out later on down the road, along with some good cornbread and a tart salad. To not get bored with the ham, I would probably freeze some of it, and then bring it out to add to something else down the road. And what is left of the ham casserole itself, would find it's way into my lunchbox the next day.

This is just one example.

Like many folks here, I tend to buy things on sale, and use them as needed. So for your chicken, I would have waited til I saw a good sale then stocked up on the chicken I needed. Then sometime down the road, say this week you could pull out what you needed from your stash to fix those chicken dishes.

Maybe others will have suggestions how to best plan meals, etc for you.

Hope this helps a bit...

Christine

OH...I get it..buy one big thing (like a ham) and figure meals that you could use all week with it...makes sense...thanks! I was buying fresh for each meal. I just never knew how people did that...

thanks a bunch!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Educating yourself also means finding out how other people eat, reading cookbooks, accumulating food knowledge, etc. You say you like cooking Chinese, well you chose the perfect example, it can be incredibly economical (e.g. congee). But you probably have to know your Chinese food quite well to really do it effectively (free education is available over at the EG Chinese forum.)

Budgeting is where the organization comes in: a monthly budget is handy, but it's easier to set a daily target, or at least a target for each time you go shopping. In my household (we're in Japan) we have a daily budget that converts to about $6.85. That's for our evening meal for two. I don't really cook for leftovers, as everything gets eaten on the day usually, and I never buy to freeze. Our daily budget covers fresh ingredients but not basics like rice/sauces/oil/salt/sugar etc. There are often days when we can come in way under budget. But we eat an awful lot of fresh fish and shellfish. Even so, we don't find our budget excessively difficult to meet. Having the daily figure in my head helps me choose what to buy and cook.

Oh I agree with you on that one! I do need to educate myself more on food and how to cook, how others do it, etc.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I find that when I am not really "paying attention", incredible amounts of money are spent on food. When one is dashing around, trying to fit doing things into the time available, the time becomes the focus and the $$ focus goes right out the door.

That's a very common problem in the way many of us live today, and the intensity of the conusmer society that we live in drenches us in the ethos of it further.

Several weeks ago I got disgusted at the whole thing. I tried several things - the first was that instead of trying to plan menus that would fit the week, I would go "day by day" (sort of like that AA thing :biggrin: ). Because when I plan and buy for the week, the week invariably changes in what happens, schedules change, and nothing ever really works out as planned (two middle-school kids in the house contribute to this occurence. . :wink: ). Then of course things either end up getting stuck in the freezer, or "lost" to be finally tossed. . so on and so forth.

Plus when I buy a huge cartload of groceries I tend to start feeling that "more more more" thing. If I have this much, then why don't I get even more? :laugh:

I went to the grocery store once a day, briefly, in the afternoon - a quick stop in.

Instead of planning the meal based on *meat* I started the plan with veggies. For often the veggies follow the meat, and really I prefer it to be the other way. It actually does come out to be more economical, but my original intent was merely taste, and healthiness.

Chose my favorite fresh veggie. Often the best ones *are* the least expensive, for well. . .seasonality, you know. :smile: Then went and chose a grain - rice, or lentils, or potatoes, or barley, or pasta. . .whatever came to mind as melding into a dish well with the veggie. Then went on to choose the meat/seafood/poultry to finish the "canvas" so to speak. Then if a can of tomatoes, or a spice, or whatever-to-add was needed, I swooped back through the store on the way to the registers, to collect it.

I was stunned both at the ease, the relaxed-ness of the whole thing. . and was surprised at the cost. I did not exceed spending ten dollars per day (!) on these things. . .which did make lovely fresh dinners with leftovers for sandwiches or thermos-containers for lunch the next day perhaps dolled up a little.

Naturally, I got "busy" and started going back to the more usual way of shopping. .and the $$ went right back up again.

It's focus. Just focus. But what a precious thing to be able to clasp to oneself when possible.

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Miriam - soups on at my house this weekend.... :biggrin:

dock - thanks for that...I always would just go out and buy what I wanted because I never knew what to do with what was in the pantry. Thanks for that!

There are no bulk bins in Oklahoma City, inless there is some in a store I have not found. The only ones were at this one health food store that is very limited in selection of stuff. When I lived in Austin, TX. I would shop at the bulk bins all the time and save all kinds of money that way. I do go to the ethic food stores and shop for spices...

I will have to look for a muslim butcher in my area, I know there is one as a friend of mine at work was talking about it one day.

Thank you everyone!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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