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Spaghetti squash

Thursday, October 18, 2012

While a lot of stuff at the Farmers Market is not cheap, spaghetti squash is, at least at ours. They are usually $2 each, regardless of size, though I got some small ones last week for $1. The one I cooked last night was a big one (I usually buy the biggest ones I can find) and yielded between 6 and 7 cups of "spaghetti", or about 30 cents per cup. 200 grams, or about 1 cup, has 54 calories, .5 gram of fat, 12.9 carbs, 2.8 grams of fiber, 10.1 net carbs, and 1.3 grams of protein. It doesn't really have a lot of nutrition - the highest is 11.7% RDA of Vitamin C. But then spaghetti doesn't have all that much nutrition, either!

I don't like spaghetti squash as spaghetti. I KNOW what spaghetti tastes like and looks like and feels like and spaghetti squash isn't it. But I do like it as something in its own right. It works well in Chinese-ish foods like stirfries and that salad that you make out of spaghetti and chicken and sesame seeds. Or chow mein-ish sorts of things. Probably because I haven't had so much of any of those that I KNOW what the noodles in them are supposed to be like. Last night I just combined a bunch of veggies, including some spaghetti squash, with some leftover chicken and cooked it all in some chicken drippings. It was ok. It would have been better with some curry powder or soy sauce or something, but it was ok as it was.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUDGETMAW 10/19/2012 8:29AM

  Now I'm just the opposite, CreekLady. I love trying new foods. In fact, during the summer Farmers Market I'm always on the lookout for foods that I haven't tried before. Maybe it comes from liking to read cookbooks. I'm always finding recipes that sound great but require a new ingredient that I haven't seen before. Then I find the ingredient, buy it, and can't find the recipe!

You may be right at that, VWJ. I guess when I think of spaghetti squash as spaghetti, I think of it under red sauce. Maybe that's what I mean when I say it doesn't work. I don't think it works with what I think of as "spaghetti sauce" - tomatoes and hamburger and Italian seasoning. But I have had it and liked it in an Alfredo type sauce, and I made a good dish with fresh tomatoes and pesto the other day. But again, in both of those recipes I was eating spaghetti squash, not a substitute for spaghetti. Or maybe it's just that it's been over 8 years since I've had real spaghetti! Would you please post your recipe or suggestions for using spaghetti squash? Maybe in the recipe forum? Thanks.

Do try the spaghetti squash in various ways, Eschletz. Don't just give up on it. But please do think of it as a new vegetable, not as spaghetti. As for the butternut squash, the best way to eat that (in my far from humble opinion!) is with lots and lots of butter. Well, really the best way is with lots and lots of butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, but unfortunately the brown sugar is out. The cinnamon would still be good, though. Unfortunately, butternut squash isn't one of the lower carb squashes. You can get something comparable but with lots fewer carbs by using pumpkin. A blog post about pumpkin is coming up soon.

Comment edited on: 10/19/2012 8:40:20 AM

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ESCHLETZ 10/18/2012 2:45PM

    This was so helpful! Thank you. I just bought a couple squashes (spaghetti being one of them) and though I've tried (and didn't enjoy) the butternut squash I was really excited to try the spaghetti one. I'm not very inventive in the kitchen, but now I'll know to try it in a few different things before just thinking it's not my favorite dish.

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VJH-W65 10/18/2012 2:35PM

    It must be an aquired taste, I love it as spaghetti,
I don't do well with any flour foods so it suites me.
DH hates it, so he has something else.
I do not use the red sauce I love it 'alfredo' butter & parm cheese.
I say bravo for any way it can be enjoyed

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CREEKLADY1 10/18/2012 2:33PM

  I hate new thing to eat, especially if I don't know ways to cook them...

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Day 2 (Wednesday)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The day went much better than yesterday, with meals at usual times. I went to Kroger on my way to the library to get some yogurt (Dannon full fat plain for $1.88/qt) and ended up getting some other stuff, too. I have a feeling I may be running out of money before the end of the month, though not out of food. Guess I'll have to concentrate on eating what I already have.

I bought:
4 qts Dannon full fat yogurt @ 1.88/pt = 7.52 (Kroger sale)
1 can Juanita's Mexican Hominy = 1.39
1 box cornbread mix (for company) = .49

And I "bought" from my pantry/freezer/fridge:
1 can Juanita's Mexican Hominy = 1.39 (Kroger price)
1 lb butter = 2.29 (Kroger sale price)
1 spaghetti squash = 2.00 (Farmers Market price)
72 eggs @ 18/1.99 = 7.96 (Kroger sale price)

Total spent so far (and it's only been 2 days!) = 56.30

And I ate:
B - 3 eggs scrambled in 2 T butter
L - salad of 1 can tuna, 3 T mayo, 200 g celery, .5 c cherry tomatoes
S - concoction of 1 c chicken, 200 g spaghetti squash, 100 g broccoli, 2 T chicken drippings, .5 c cherry tomatoes, 45 g onions
T (evening tea) - 1 mug tea w/37 grams coconut milk and 1/4 oz gelatin
Estimated cost for day's food = 3.28


Day 1 (Tuesday)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Well, the day didn't go exactly as planned. I had planned out my food for the day, including lunch, then didn't get back home until after 3. I had planned to take my lunch with me, but didn't have time/make time/get around to it. While I'm not one of those who say they can go all day without getting hungry, I was starving, either. I had a hard boiled egg and a huge (1 qt) glass of water when I got home and that was enough.

I did the first round of shopping yesterday, since I was going by the stores anyway on my way back. I had studied the grocery ads on line, prepared a price book, made out a grocery list, and everything. And left it all at home. Grrrrr! I didn't plan on getting very much anyway, since there were few things that I wanted on sale. It did mean that I couldn't fill in the prices in my price book so I don't know how much I spent on things I "bought" from my pantry and freezer.

Here's what I did buy -

Walmart -
10 lb bag of chicken leg quarters - $5.90
6 cans of coconut milk @ 1.48 = 8.88
26 oz frozen chopped spinach - 1.98
1 lb frozen chopped broccoli - .98
cinnamon, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper - $2.88
Total - 20.62

In case you're wondering about the coconut milk, I use it instead of cream in recipes, tea, etc. It's supposed to be good for us (the kind of saturated fat is good for us), and it's actually cheaper than whipping cream, if I buy it at Walmart.

Sam's -
celery (3 hearts) - 2.48
2 lbs fresh broccoli florets - 3.98
2 lbs cheddar cheese - 6.28
Total - 12.64

The frozen broccoli is, of course, cheaper, but I prefer the fresh most of the time. The frozen is better in cream of broccoli soup, though. It used to come in a 3 pound bag at Sam's, and I never quite made it though the whole bag before it went bad. The 2 pound bag is a much better size for me, though of course they raised the price per pound when they went to the smaller bag.

Fortunately I didn't make it to Aldi yesterday, since they have some good deals on veggies starting today. I'll pick up some onions and mushrooms, and "buy" some zucchini and peppers from the fridge at the Aldi price.

Tuesday's food -
B - 3 eggs scrambled in 2 T butter
L (very late) - 1 hard boiled egg
S - skin from 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters, meat from 2 small leg quarters, 1 can of green beans, 1 T chicken drippings

Actually, I cheated a bit. I had some okra that I didn't get used up before this challenge started, and I really had that instead of the green beans. But I definitely wouldn't have bought the okra on a food stamp budget, so I'm counting a can of green beans instead.

Very rough estimate of actual food costs for day - $2.50. Which is higher than it should be. I did not plan to eat the leg quarters. The skin would have been enough. So I'll have to make it up later.

Oops! I was thinking it was about $1.50 per day, not $1.50 per meal! so my $2.50 is great.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 10/17/2012 2:26PM

    $1.50 per day! Not in this century.

It will probably be a few days before I can figure out costs, kind of busy at work. What I will do is start tracking so I can do it when time allows. I bought pork chops and rib eyes at Costco Sunday, they're vacuum-sealed and in the freezer. Need to find that receipt. I'm not sure how to price my home-canned tuna, as I'm not sure how many jars I got out of it (some have been eaten), or how much of what I paid for went to waste (bought whole fish). Maybe I'll just use the price in the store, probably not accurate, but trying to figure the actual price probably won't work well either.

If I get a deer (unlikely around here), I'm going to count it free. Obviously there are costs associated with getting it, but I budget that money for recreation, not food. If it results in food, that's just gravy.

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Starting to plan

Monday, October 15, 2012

I had forgotten how much cheaper food was in Idaho than it is here in Indiana, and how much food I was able to "stockpile" in January and February. It's a good thing, too, because I also forgot that I have invited 4 people over for dinner on Thursday! I've just heard from one of them, and she is coming. I think it will be fairly inexpensive, though I haven't priced it out yet. I'm planning to serve Pumpkin Hominy Chili (I got some big (for pie pumpkins) pie pumpkins at the Farmers Market for $2 each, and Juanita's Mexican Style Hominy, which is low carb, is also cheap. Unfortunately, ground beef isn't on sale this week. Maybe it will go on sale when the new ads come out on Wednesday.), coleslaw, and corn bread muffins. The corn bread muffins are for the guests, of course, not for me! Even though it will be fairly inexpensive, just the fact that I'll be serving extra people makes it more expensive than just serving me, so it's good to have stuff "leftover" from this winter.

At the end of February, I had the following foods left:

25 oz bacon
4 oz Bar-S franks
5 T butter
12 c cabbage
38 oz carrots
32 oz cheddar
4 c cooked chicken
45 T cream
1 oz cream cheese
15 T salad dressing
4 eggs
2 oz frozen broccoli
40 oz hamburger
1 c hominy
15 T mayo
2 oz mushrooms
2 oz onions
52 oz pork chops
80 oz pork roast
16 T sour cream
11 oz sunflower seeds
5 c homemade chicken broth
and some spices, which I didn't really track, other than to make sure I bought some of everything I used

As I said, I got some real bargains! When I have done this before, I happened, quite by accident, to start in a week with some great sales. No such luck this time.

Naypooie, that's $130 per person average actual or $200 per person maximum benefit. It's a bit less for additional people, so the maximum benefit for a family of 4, for example, is less than $800.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUDGETMAW 10/17/2012 10:45AM

  Great, Naypooie! Glad to have you on board. Will you be sharing your food, recipes, thoughts, etc.?

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NAYPOOIE 10/16/2012 6:44PM

    I had occasion to support my ex a few years ago, and recorded costs diligently. I put him on a 1800 calorie/day diet (yes, I added up all the calories on all the food I bought). Lots of carbage, a fair amount of meat and cheese (no hamburger or innards), canned veggies and beans, very little bought on sale. Cost me $5.99/day. Probably would have cost a lot less if I'd insisted on buying, for example, a whole turkey instead of deli sliced stuff, or dried beans instead of canned.

$130/month is $4.33/day. Way doable with the sort of things I fed the ex. Not sure what would occur buying the things I would like to eat.

Between groceries, eating out, convenience/fast food, I've spent almost $10/day so far this year. Which by the end of the year will add up to about $3500. It's convenient, but I could eat a whole lot healthier on considerably less.

Maw, I am joining this challenge. Tomorrow. I'm going to ignore the cost of spices (my spices tend to die of old age), and for simplicity I'm just going to ignore anything I spend on food for Mom, rather than try to figure her expenses somehow. Since that's mostly bagels, bread, and juice, not a problem as I just won't eat any of it. Better all the way around.

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I'm back!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Someone asked on one of the teams I belong to when I would be back and posting again. Well, here I am! I'm going to start doing a Food Stamp Challenge today, with absolutely no preparation or planning. I don't even know what's on sale this week, since I've been doing almost all my shopping at the Farmers Market this summer.

I just checked and the maximum monthly food stamps allotment for 10/11-9/12 was $200. Yikes! That's a lot more than I pay, I think, even getting most of my food at the Farmers Market, which, contrary to what you so frequently hear, is an expensive place to shop. That's assuming you have no income, though. Most people get a lot less than that. According to Feeding America, the average food stamp benefit was $130. It didn't say what period that was for, but some of the citations were from 2011, so I assume it's pretty current, at least in the last year or two.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go with the $130 per month limit, starting today. No, I'll start tomorrow, and today I'll use up the stuff in the fridge that I wouldn't have been able to buy on the FS budget. I am going to do an "actual" challenge, and really eat what my budget and menus allow. Well, sort of. I'm not going to duplicate buying stuff I already have, but will price it at current prices. So for example, I'm going to make chili for Friday night, using hamburger I bought at the Farmers Market. I'll price it at the current market price, not at what I paid for it. Things like that. I am going to assume that I have leftover whatever I had leftover after I quit doing the Challenge in the spring. After all, it is reasonable to expect that there would be a few things left over from the previous month (though most households run out of Food Stamps by the third week of the month, according to Feeding America). Other than that, if I don't "buy" it this month, I don't eat it. I'm going to give myself the full $130 for the month beginning tomorrow, 10/16 and running through 11/15. This is so I can do some bulk buying. One of the fallacies of the way a lot of people do a Food Stamps Challenge is to only do the Challenge for a week (or frequently just for 5 days), which means buying everything in little bitty bits, which is so much more expensive. I would like to stick with it through the middle of December, and see if I can squeeze a Thanksgiving dinner out of it, too, though that may be pretty ambitious. Unless I figure that I'm going to get a Thanksgiving basket from the Salvation Army or something like that.

So, that's the plan. As before, I'll be posting recipes on SparkRecipes, and my menus on my Nutrition Tracker. Anyone else want to come along for the ride?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 10/15/2012 1:47PM

    Is that per person, or household, or what?

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LIVINMYDREAMS 10/15/2012 12:58PM

    Hi, thanks for posting. I am not sure if I can do that budget but I am working on keeping our food costs low and maintain a LC way of eating, at least for me. My DH not so much. I look forward to following you on this challenge.

Thanks and blessings

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WOUBBIE 10/15/2012 10:35AM

    Welcome back! I was just wondering a few days ago if you were planning to post anymore as your alter-ego! Can't wait to see how you fare this time out.

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