Friday, November 15, 2013

100 Days of Real Food--Day 25: My Budgeting Technique

I started talking last week about eating real food on a budget.  In the first post, I talked about finding somewhere local which for whatever reason has real/clean food for a better price--Asian or other "ethnic" supermarkets, bulk stores, etc.

This time, I thought I'd show you in detail how I go about saving money on purchases, and also optimizing the food I have.

I usually make half of recipes, unless it's something that can't easily be halved (like bread for instance), because I don't really want to have 6-8 servings that I have to eat in a few days.  So I also often have unused portions of things like diced or crushed tomatoes, since unfortunately, the only size cans they seem to come in is large!

In the past, before I started this 100 Days of Real Food, I would probably have forgotten all about the part can of diced tomatoes in my fridge, until at some future time I decided to clean out the fridge and saw it among all the other things I forgot about.

How much food and money have I thrown away in all these years?  I have no idea, though I hear that the average person wastes 40% of what they buy, and that doesn't even include the food wasted before it even gets to our kitchens.  Isn't that crazy?!  Check out this article by David Suzuki, "How to End Food Waste".  Also click here for 5 ways to end food waste.

Fresh things still to use:

Container egg whites (1/2)
Kale I'm going to make kale chips out of this today or tomorrow
Romaine hearts (almost 3)
Tortillas (8/10) will use 1 1/2 tortillas with lunch, so 6 1/2 left
Chicken broth (1/2 tetra pack)
Herbs--dill, parsley, cilantro, chives
Butternut squash (1/2) will use half of this with lunch, so 1/4 left
Spaghetti squash (1 small)
Acorn squash (1)
Tempeh (2 packs)
Carnation 2% condensed milk (1/2 can)
Sugar snap peas (about 10)
Mushrooms (most of a pack)
Zucchini (2 baby)
Red bell pepper (3/4)
Carrots (most of bag)
Onions (2)
Greek yogurt (1/2)
Apples (4 small)

Stuff still in the freezer:

Bananas (3)
Fruit (blueberry, strawberry)
Shrimp (1 1/2 bags) will use 1/4 bag with lunch
Whole wheat pizza crusts (5 single thin-crust balls)
Beef, strips (about 1 lb)

So obviously I need to use the fresh stuff first, and of that the stuff that will go bad first...first!

I have today and Monday off (needed some down time!) so I'm able to actually make my lunch when I intend to eat it!

Oh wait, here's what I made for breakfast:

It's a whole-grain waffle with frozen blueberries and a drizzle of honey. :)

Anyway, for lunch I'm making pumpkin shrimp roti.  It's not authentic because I use tortillas (or pita if I have that) instead of real roti, but the pumpkin/shrimp mixture is pretty authentic.

Other than the AMAZING flavour, the best thing about it is it's the easiest thing in the world to make!  You can find the recipe here.

Pause to eat my lunch...

Back to budgeting and using up food!

I see that I have carnation milk, chicken broth, and mushrooms.  At first I thought I'd make fettuccine Alfredo again, but now I think I may make chicken pot pie!  I love pot pies, but I've never made one before.  Sounds like fun!

I found this recipe, which also uses some of the ingredients I already have: yogurt, parsley, eggs, carrots, 2% milk (carnation), and onions!  I can half the filling recipe, but I'm not going to mess with the crust.  What I'll do is freeze half of the crust recipe!!

Pause to do some

Tomorrow, I'm going to make the temeh gyro recipe from that I've been meaning to try
for the past couple of weeks.  Every time I go to make it, I'm reminded that I have to marinate the tempeh strips for at least 4 hours, or even overnight.  DOH!  So THIS AFTERNOON (aka just now) I sliced the tempeh and it's marinating in the fridge.  Look at me go!  Preparation is key!

With the frozen bananas I think I'll make banana muffins (yum, and I use honey instead of sugar!), as it's always a good idea to have tasty snacks around.

What else is on tap for next week?  Don't stay tuned!

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