Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 6 What are we cooking?

We began this new challenge as if we had nothing on our shelves. We have been shopping 2-3 times each day Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Each time we've run any errand, we have purchased 2 more dozen eggs. They are on a loss leader sale for $.28 per dozen. So far we have purchased 12 dozen. Because eggs are the cheapest protein source this week, we have had lots of egg dishes: German pancakes, scrambled eggs for breakfast, fried eggs for breakfast, boiled eggs for snack and shirred eggs over toast.

The other great sale that I could not pass up was tuna for .$40 a can. The case contained 48 cans making the total on the case $18.72. We have eaten tuna dishes: Creamed tuna over toast after church, tuna sandwiches plain and with tuna with apple.

Rice is the cheapest starch with the longest shelf life. So this is a great first purchase for building home reserves. To add flavor I bought chicken. The cheapest price on any meat I could find was $.76 per pound. Two small packages of leg quarters were boiled and deboned to provide a little protein in a chicken and rice combo. I made a chicken divan (rice boiled in the leftover water from boiling the chicken, one head of broccoli cut into pieced and added when the rice was almost finished cooking and s little sour cream added with salt to flavor. This made 2 large casserole dishes stretching the meat half the meat between four meals. (We ate half of each casserole at each meal. There is still one of the four meals left.) The other half of the chicken was added to a big pot of chicken soup with rice. Which I served as a main meal twice and twice with sandwiches to make it interesting.

We needed a more substantial source of protein! I was hungry. So I bought 4 pounds of pinto beans. I cooked up two pounds and flavored them with chili powder, salt and cumin. One meal was simply rice with beans; then Sunday evening we I made tortillas and layered beans, lettuce, tomatoes and green onions.

This approach to grocery shopping requires that one buys in bulk and then eats the same basic ingreadients for a while (week or more) slowly building variety. I have not done this for 20 years. I have not started from scratch with 10 children - we are using one of the most expensive ways to provide garbage sacks because of budget restraints. I can not afford to buy everything in bulk this first week. It is driving me crazy. I am not sure we can pull off this challenge. This is a real dilemma. All of my poignant lectures on saying "No" and exercising discipline are coming into application. It is requiring Preparation- a Day at a Time. Pictures coming....


  1. Curried Split Pea Soup

    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 cup chopped onion
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
    12 ounces dried green or yellow split peas, picked over and rinsed
    5 cups chicken broth
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    Place the butter into a large (4 to 6-quart) saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and sweat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, making certain not to allow onions or garlic to brown.

    Add the peas, chicken broth and curry powder. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook at a simmer until the peas are tender and not holding their shape any longer, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Using care and a stick blender, puree the soup until the desired consistency. Watch out for hot splatters

  2. I forgot the celery and you can also add Spam or something like that to give it a bit of ham flavor. Generally use left over ham around here.

  3. Hi Crystal,
    Where are you finding these deals?

  4. Hang in there, it will get better when you manage to get to week two and have a bit more variety. Sounds like the need for seasonings and variety is really showing it's face.

  5. The deals are eggs at Super Saver and tuna at Aldis thru today. Crystal

  6. Great Recipe for Split pea soup! Maybe in a couple of weeks I will have enough variety to buy split peas and the curry but I did not prioritize those items this week. Right now I am weighing the need for feminine supplies (do I buy 1 months supply at 3 X the price per tampon but the lowest cash outlay or a 3 months supply at the lowest price per unit, or do I gamble on finding a coupon - that will allow purchase for free?

    (I am covered in real life but to make the senario real - addressing why people don't have stores on their shelves.)

  7. Realising that life restraints often cause you to have to buy the more expensive but least cash outlay at the moment is something I am still learning. My husband keeps reminding me that with two of us and a baby, we'd be better off buying condiments in smaller quantities because we don't eat them fast enough and end up wasting more or "eating more" than we need because it's going bad...