Being economical while trying to stay true to the food values I mentioned in my last post has been sort of a challenge. I bought free-range, cage free chicken at Whole Foods for some chicken roll-ups I made and the price made me want to cry. You can buy two bags of frozen, tasteless chicken or 4 breasts at Whole Paycheck. And yet it sort of made me feel good at the same time. I’ve just had to re-configure my grocery spending.
Rather than make meat the main ingredient in my meals, I’ve been using a cookbook called Almost Meatless that focuses on using a little meat and making it go a long way.
The recipes are fantastic. They incorporate a lot of the vegetarian philosophy into cooking for omnivores. It is broken out into sections on lamb, chicken, beef, pork, and eggs and how to cook with them but use less of them. I absolutely love it. Using the recipes in this cookbook, it isn’t painful to buy meat at Whole Foods – because when you’re only buying a 1/2 pound or less, most anything is reasonable.
To be clear, I don’t usually buy more than meat at Whole Foods. I can usually get a better price on both organic and conventional fruit at my other favorite grocer Harmons. We’ve been focusing on having on hand more fruits and vegetables. And we’ve cut back on spending money on junkier food like chips and treats, even fruit snacks. My new favorite thing for my toddler is Stretch Island Fruit Leather.
My friend turned me onto them and I absolutely love them. They have no artificial sweeteners in them – just straight fruit like they should be. And as you can see they come in a rainbow of colors and flavors so I never get tired of them!
Another thing we’ve done is switch back to all-natural milk from Winder Farms. This one is a hard one for me – after spending $4 per dozen on cage-free, range-free eggs, I have heartburn over spending another $16 on 4 gallons of milk. I keep telling myself it’s ok and that it’s worth it. It does taste really good. In order to balance this, I’ve started using up the dry milk in our food storage. I had some before, but I just inherited tons more from my grandma. I tried adding dry milk to our milk once it was half gone, but my husband had a heart-attack over it. It just doesn’t taste like regular milk. So instead, I use dry milk in all my cooking and baking, instead of our Winder milk. It has definitely helped our milk last longer in the fridge.
Any tricks of the trade you’ve learned?