Thursday, October 25, 2012
I've been working at bringing my Food Stamp Challenge records up to date. What with "buying" a lot of what I'm eating out of my pantry/freezer/fridge, I know that not everything has been accounted for in the budget. And I'm not sure how much of what I have in the house is F/S and what isn't. It would be a lot easier in a lot of ways to just lock away what isn't F/S so I know that I can eat what's out. I also need to make a list of what I have. Especially in the fridge, so I can eat it before it goes bad. But also so I don't get in a rut because I've forgotten I have things. This Food Stamp Challenge, at least the way I'm doing it, is a lot of work! It's a good thing I'm not working and/or going to school full time and/or raising a family and/or caring for other people.
Wednesday's food -
B - eggs and Veggie Veggie Stuff scrambled in butter
L - salad of chicken, mayo, celery, sunflower seeds
D - hamburger sauteed with onion, carrot, and cabbage
T - tea with gelatin and coconut milk
Estimated cost of food eaten - $3.85
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Another good day yesterday, though a tad low on calories. I've been scrambling my eggs in 2 tablespoons of butter in the morning to get my calories and fat up (it still amazes me that I'm worried about getting ENOUGH calories and fat instead of TOO MUCH!), but forgot and only used 1 tablespoon. And then forgot that I had only used 1 tablespoon. Calories and fat were still fine, but they could have been a bit finer.
I really really want to get a tub of lard from pastured pigs at the Farmers Market, but it doesn't fit in my budget this month. That's the problem with having a tight budget - there's not as much room for stocking up on things. The lard is $10 for 4 pounds, which is about the same as the butter, but I figure it's healthier since it's almost organic and comes from pastured animals instead of conventionally confined animals. That will definitely be part of next month's budget.
I really took yesterday's post to heart, and took care of some stuff in the fridge that needed to be used. I had two great big zucchini from the Farmers Market, and some peppers that were still good. I "bought" them from myself, the zucchini at the FM price (50 cents each) and the peppers at the Aldi price (3 for $1). I'm not sure they were actually at the FM last week, since we had a freeze, but the paper said they would be there. And we all know that if it's in the paper it has to be true, right?! Anyway, I cooked up a pound of ground beef, half a big zucchini, a pepper, some onion, half a can of tomatoes, and some homemade taco seasoning to make Taco Veggie Stuffing. It can be used to stuff peppers or other veggies, or just eaten plain. It made 4 servings, at about $1.11 each. Then I cooked up the other one and a half zucchini, 2 peppers, one and a half cans of tomatoes, and some onion into Veggie Veggie Stuffing. (That's Vegetarian Veggie Stuffing.) It made 12 cups. I froze most of it, in two four cup containers, one 2 cup container, and one 1 cup container. The other cup and a half or so is in the fridge for immediate use. I cooked it up thinking that I would use it in scrambled eggs (it's delicious that way, by the way!), but didn't have enough smaller containers. The big containers can be used to make more Taco Veggie Stuff, or something similar, by adding meat to them. Mostly it got the zucchini and peppers used up so they don't go bad.
B - eggs and leftover spaghetti squash scrambled in butter
L - salad of chicken, celery, tomatoes (the last of the homegrown cherry tomatoes), mayo, sunflower seeds
S - Taco Veggie Stuffing, broccoli, carrots, butter
T - tea, gelatin, coconut milk
Estimated cost of food eaten - $3.83
Monday, October 22, 2012
Yesterday I threw out a bunch of peppers I had gotten at the Farmers Market to freeze and never got around to doing anything with. Definitely not a budget-type of thing to do! So I got to thinking about other ways I waste food, and thought Iíd share some of them, or rather ideas for not wasting food. Please jump in with your own ideas about ways to reduce waste!
Rule Number 1 Ė If you buy it, use it!
2. If you donít know for sure that youíre going to use it, donít buy it! (When I buy stuff because it looks good or it looks interesting, but havenít thought about how Iím going to use it, it is more likely to go bad.)
3. Know whatís in your fridge and use it before it goes bad.
4. If you canít (or wonít) use it right away, freeze it.
5. Know whatís in your freezer.
(Pretty obvious stuff so far. But how many of these basic rules of not wasting are you breaking right now?)
6. Save your drippings and use them for frying or sautťing. Bacon grease is obvious, but all drippings can be used. I poured off the drippings from when I baked a bunch of chicken a couple of days ago, and stuck it in the fridge. After it had solidified, I took the fat off the top, melted it, and ran it through a fine-meshed tea strainer. I have used the fat for the chicken dishes I have made, and put the non-fat juices in the bone broth Iím making. When I cook a pork chop or a pork steak, I usually leave the drippings in the pan and use them to cook my eggs in the next morning. Either pork or beef drippings are good in eggs, chicken not so much so.
7. Save your bones for making broth. Iíve got a big pot of chicken bone broth cooking now, since I had a bunch of bones from the 10 pounds of leg quarters. Usually I just accumulate bones of any kind in the freezer, and make a big batch of mixed broth.
8. Lots of cookbooks and so forth say to save the vegetable trimmings to make vegetable broth, but Iíve never been able to come up with any that tasted good. If you can, thatís great! I did pull off some onion skins to go in this batch of bone broth, and may start saving the onion skins in with bones in the freezer. If nothing else, they make the broth look darker and richer.
9. Use the bit of butter on the butter wrappers. We used to use them for greasing cooking sheets, but thatís out now, of course. But you can put one over a bowl of vegetables and let the heat melt it off. Or put it over chicken for a few minutes while you roast it. Or at least scrape it all off with a knife or spatula. True, thereís not much there, but you might as well get it all.
10. Keep a carton of soup makings in the freezer. Put in any dabs of stuff that you arenít going to use, including skimmed drippings (save the fat for other uses), bits of leftovers, the water from cooking veggies, etc. When it gets full, use it as the base for a pot of soup. Depending on whatís in it, it might be the broth part of the soup or it may be chunky enough that you donít need to add much more to it.
11. Rinse out cans and add the rinse water to the freezer soup carton, too.
How about it? What are your favorite ways to avoid wasting food? Or at least ideas for not wasting food, whether you actually do it or not.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
A good day today. Ate well, amply, and cheaply, with pretty good nutrition.
B - yogurt with cinnamon, flaxmeal and sunflower seeds
L - concoction of leftover chicken, leftover spaghetti squash, broccoli, and onion, all cooked in chicken drippings and seasoned with curry powder
S - pork steak, leftover coleslaw
T - tea with coconut milk and gelatin
Estimated cost of the day's food - $3.27
I reorganized my fridge and its freezer, so I have the Food Stamp food together. Still need to do the same with the deep freezes, but this is at least a start.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
I do most of my tracking on a Sunday-Saturday basis, so my first week on this Food Stamps Challenge is just 5 days. Here's how it went.
Average daily calories - 1519
Average daily fat - 113 grams (67%)
Average daily protein - 96 grams
Average daily total carbs - 34
Average daily fiber - 12 grams
Average daily net carbs - 22
Average daily estimated cost of food actually eaten (including guests) - $3.54
Cost of food purchases (includes what I haven't eaten yet, does not include what I started with) - $97.61 (which is a bit less than I reported before, because I forgot to back out what I "started" with)
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