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Sunday, July 3, 2011

July Food Stamp Challenge Day 2

Starting out the month, a shopping trip was called for. I like to go into the workweek knowing that I have food on hand. I know that Katy over at the Nonconsumer Advocate often shops at Safeway. I usually don't--there is a large locally owned grocery store closer to my house, as well as a small neighborhood natural foods store (love it!), and I find Safeway prices to be expensive. If a big stocking-up trip is called for, I will usually tag along on a Costco run with my mom or make the 6-mile drive out to a huge 24-hour deep discount grocery store in another part of town for staples. However, a co-worker offered me a coupon to Safeway for $10 off $50 purchase last Thursday. First I refused, thinking no WAY would I need that much food while my family is away, but then rethought...what if they had a good deal on dogfood?

Turns out they did (I checked first), so I surveyed the kitchen.

The food that I had left in the house at the beginning of July was heavy on grains (LOTS of brown rice, some quinoa) and low on protein. I have lettuce and kale in the garden, and a friend in the neighborhood still has winter squash from last year, so I felt pretty good with veggies. My blueberries are starting to come on and I've seen some early cherries in the neighborhood as well, so I figured I can glean most fruit (it's amazing how many fruit trees go unharvested! Disclaimer: ask the owners first). I ended up buying:
  • peanut butter
  • ground turkey, red beans, black beans, onions & canned tomatoes for chili
  • carrots (a staple for lunches)
  • peaches (couldn't resist)
  • locally made yogurt
  • oats for breakfast or bread
  • a giant bag of dogfood
  • canned salmon
All that took me to $49.00 after the coupon and applying for the Safeway Club Card. A bit expensive. Or maybe I just bought too much--it's been hard to adjust to shopping and food preparation for one after years of shopping for a family of four! This is why it's a good thing that I'm paying attention to shopping, saving, and food waste. It wouldn't be a pretty picture otherwise.

Minus the dogfood, I spent $27.00 so far this month.

Yesterday afternoon I made a huge pot of delicious chili. I can freeze a little, eat it all through the week, and take some to a 4th of July potluck.

Here's the recipe:
1 lb red kidney beans
1 lb black beans
1 large yellow onion
1 head of garlic (or less if you aren't a garlic fan)
16 oz can of tomato sauce
16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 lb ground meat or tempeh
seanoning to taste: cumin, tumeric, red chili flakes, oregano, salt, black pepper

Rinse, soak (4 hours) & cook the beans until soft in a large kettle. Save the cooking liquid.
Saute the finely chopped oniion in olive oil on low heat until soft and slightly browned. Add the chopped garlic, the ground meat, and the spices. Saute until the meat is cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes and simmer longer (if you cook acidic foods in a cast iron skillet it's a great way to absorb some extra iron). Add the tomato sauce and the ingredients of the skillet to your kettle. Stir and simmer. Check flavors and add more seasoning to taste.

Now today: it's time to work in the garden!

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