Tag Archives: food

Will Blog For Food

Sandwich BoardI was startled to hear a recent story about a top executive who lost his job saying he’d know things were bad when he started drinking “wine out of  a box.”  While it may come close to snobbery, food choices do hit very close to home and having to make sacrifices in this area is probably where it hurts the most. In fact, I was smugly laughing at the ex-executive’s comment until someone pointed out to me that I also have “given up” certain favorite foods for this recession and I complain I miss them every now and then.  It almost made me want to put on a sandwich board and stand out on the street corner panhandling with a sign that reads “Will Blog For Food,” but only, of course, for those forbidden treats.

A Fair Trade?

That’s when I thought it might work on the Internet. If you are a business owner who wants some free marketing, heck, send me some food. No need to find some extra cash (which I know is just as hard for you to find right now). I will accept food in lieu of payment as my way to stimulate this economy and get your business needed Internet exposure. Of course, it has to be hard cheeses, fine wines, stuffed olives, shrimp, or any other delicacy that I simply can’t afford any other way during this recession. I will do my part and savor and enjoy your little care package for all it’s worth (and before these items hit their sell by dates and you can’t sell them anyways!) and then I’ll blog about how much I enjoyed it and mention your brand. 🙂

Isn’t the Internet grand?

Shopping Around Now That Gas Prices Are Lower

the bare necessitiesFood prices may still be a bit high, but gas is much lower, making it a bargain to shop around for your foodstuff. Today, I went to three different stores to finish my grocery shopping. They’re all very close to me because I live in a convenient area.

So, the first place I went was Wal-Mart, and I was surprised to find the prices there were going up too. I bought my meat and my produce there, even eggs which are reasonably priced and in bulk. But, I noticed that for items which are almost always relatively cheap, the prices were higher, like for beans and tuna. I’m scratching my head trying to figure that out. But, that’s okay because I know of a place that sells those items CHEAP, CHEAP, CHEAP: Dollar Tree.

Next stop, at Dollar Tree, I notice that the cheese and milk are outrageous, but there is my really large bag of dry pinto beans for $2.50. I was at Wal-Mart and they were offering one for $1.49 that was at least half less, if not more by weight. Next, I go to the tuna at 79 cents a can. That’s right, you can still get tuna for under a dollar at Dollar Tree, not so anymore at Wal-Mart. Some brands were even $3.00 a tin! I bought a few more items too that I saw at deal breaking prices and then made my last stop: Krogers.

Okay, I only went to Krogers to return the milk bottle because I like the milk made in Western NC that is shipped fresh in glass bottles. It’s got no hormones in it and it tastes like I remember milk used to taste when I grew up. So, I returned the bottle, got my $2 refund for it, and headed over to the milk section, when I realized Krogers was closing out on some organic foods. I love organic foods and I love almond milk and soy milk too. I picked up 4 cartons for a grand total of $2. Net cost? Zero, since I had just returned my bottle and didn’t get the bottled milk since I substituted. On top of that I saw some organic beef jerky, which my daughter loves, regularly at $4.50 for 50 cents each. Guess what Santa’s putting in her daughter’s stocking this year?

Grand total: $34 for food for two people for two weeks. The extra cost in gas at $1.67/gallon was minimal.

When gas is relatively cheap, it really does pay to shop around.

Ways To Save Money On Food, Year-Round!

Preserving summerWhen you are intent on making a particular recipe, you may find that the one ingredient you are missing is now too expensive to be worth making the dish. Having that sinking feeling when you go to buy groceries? If it weren’t bad enough that gas is sky-high, food prices have shot up too.

As food prices escalate, you may be wondering how to save money on your food bill. There’s actually a number of different ways to cut costs there. If you are a good cook, it helps to make things at home from scratch rather than buying processed foods. It’s also healthier! But, if you don’t plan ahead, you may end up making a trip to the grocery store only to realize that you could have bought the item already made for less. That’s because certain foods fluctuate in price due to the season and also due to economic conditions, like recently. So, now, we are forced to take the long view in order to save money on food.

So, here’s what I’m doing…

  • Preserving lemons for the winter. Who wants to pay over $1 for a single lemon just because they’re out of season? It turns out to be pretty simple to preserve lemons in the refrigerator too, so that you have a few batches all winter long.
  • Making my own salsa. A jar of canned tomatoes, a few jalapenos, a half of an onion, some cilantro, and some preserved or fresh lemon. Whir in a blender and I’ve just saved $3 a jar.
  • Stock up on basics. Okay, I can pretty much make my own tortillas, breads, pancakes, jams, jellies, etc. So, if I stock up on sugar, cornmeal, wheat flour, and other staples, I don’t have to pay premium prices on convenience foods.
  • Embrace beans. I’m half-Mexican so I can’t say this is all that hard for me. I love beans – black beans, pinto beans, lima beans – you name it! Learn to make soups, refried beans, add them to salads, stews, and more. You can even make dips too, like hummus from garbanzo beans. Buy them dry to save money and learn to soak and cook them properly for meals that are literally less than $1.
  • Hydrate with teas. Iced tea is one of the most economical beverages out there and if you’re not from the South, you should try it.
  • Can your own jellies and jams. Canning kits are very cheap and learning to can is super easy! You can even “sanitize” your jars in the dishwasher, eliminating one of the most bothersome steps of the entire process. Canning your own jellies, jams, fruits, and vegetables, allows you to buy when in season and can them for later use.
  • Build a year-round pantry. Buy extras when things are on sale, like extra canned pumpkin during Thanksgiving or things that you know will keep for a year. Then, use them out of season.

Once you have a little breathing room, you can start planning your meals way ahead of time – keeping you from landing in the store when the price of the “must have” mayonnaise is $6 a jar. Or, by then, you’ve learned to make your own mayonnaise and skipped the trip to the grocery store altogether, saving gas.

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My Appreciation And Gratitude Experiment

Giant spider strikes again!I guess I’ve been doing the gratitude journal a few days now, and I have some interesting things to report. I’m beginning to think I’ve stumbled on the key to the universe.

Noticing A Change In Taste

A very peculiar thing happened while I was fixing my food recently. I have a very picky diet because I love good food. I am always grateful for having food to eat, but I have a preference for really high quality meals, partly because I am a very good cook. It’s hard to appreciate food that you know you could have cooked better. But, due to the hit on my pocketbook recently with the real estate issue, I have been attempting to reduce my food budget so that I can make up some of the shortfall. So, I am buying things I don’t normally buy to eat. I bought some potato salad recently and shared it with some friends in a meal of fried chicken, cole slaw and potato salad. It was truly awful. I mean, awful because it was all store bought food that tasted like it too. Store bought potato salad – yuck! I remember eating it and thinking:”Gosh, I hope I’m the only one who thinks this is awful.” But, I was grateful that my friends had come over to help me with some hornets in the lawn and I had bought this food in appreciation for their work and friendship. One of my friends did say that next time I had to cook (so I think it was pretty bad overall), but it’s hard to tell when you are spoiled on your own cooking what is truly awful and what is just plain ordinary.

Today, I decided to have some more of that potato salad and appreciate it in my newfound experiment to appreciate all the awful things in my life. It was very strange because today the potato salad tasted really good! I was like:”What?! How come today it tastes good?” I half suspect it was due to my insistence on appreciating it before I ate it.

The Spider Surprise

Oh, yes, I hate surprises – almost as bad as I hate spiders. I used to be quite phobic of spiders until I had a dream that suggested I had died of numerous spider bites in a past life. Since then, I am no longer phobic, and I even took the trouble to learn to appreciate spiders for all the good they do. But, they are not my favorite creatures, regardless. So, I am taking a bath this morning and concentrating on the water droplets on the stopper and the pattern of the water to deepen my appreciation of What Is and then I notice this big black thing that has suddenly appeared in the water. I reach over for some spectacles and when I put them on I had quite a shock. There was a big, black, spider right between my toes wriggling in the water! I got out of there fast and then realized I was hugely relieved not to have been bitten. It even looked like a black widow, one of only two poisonous spiders in North Carolina. Boy, was I GRATEFUL that spider had landed in the water instead of on me!

So, are bad and awful things still happening? You bet. The only difference is I am perceiving them a bit differently now and maybe that’s all that’s necessary to shift our reality.