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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Food Prices for Thought

I got my Harris Teeter Flyer online this morning for this week's sales-- yikes! The flyer generally tells you what the sale price is and what you save-- well-- I gotta tell you-- there is a noticeable increase. I looked it over and saw that most of the things I wanted to buy had increased about $1.00 per item. Now my paycheck hasn't increased nor has hubbys. What has increased is our household--our daughter wants to move back in and we expect her here this Sunday. So now we will be feeding 5 adult sized folks on the same budget we were feeding 4, but with all the prices going up. I also had recently decided to not do the Grocery Game at this time--as I was finding it difficult to shop on the days that were best for that plan. So what to do???

Well one thing I am glad I did go ahead and plant a small veggie garden, that will help. I think also its time to do more scratch cooking again, and go back to shopping more at Food Lion, increase my Aldi shopping and start looking a bit more at the ethnic grocery stores in our neighborhood--there are some I haven't looked at, and my neighbor tells me that he gets great deals on spices at one of them. Another thing I need to do is make less trips to Sam's club as it is further away and gas is crazy!

Another thing-- bread has gotten so high! I love to have a bit of toast and we like to make grilled cheesy breads and croutons etc.. Hubby and I visited a couple of thrift stores Monday evening and found a nice big Oster bread maker in almost new condition there for $5.00-- that's about 2 loaves of store bought bread. I searched online and came up with a pdf file of instructions and recipes for different Oster model--turns out it works for this one too. Also turns out I can probably make jams in this breadmaker as well as breads and doughs.I used to have breadmakers in the past but got away from using them and gave them away eventually, that's ok, we can go right back to that. I set the breadmaker up on the old cabinet I found on the curb a few weeks ago. This odd freebie cabinet actually fits perfectly along the wall between Bubba & Sweet Pea's birdcage and the hallway. I put our foodsaver on it and the breadmaker and a nice wooden mail sorting thing which is helping declutter and organize things in the kitchen. Inside the cabinet I am putting things like supplies for the birds--next to the cage--very handy--and supplies for baking etc--so that I can make more scratch things and dejunk my pantry at the same time. All things work together when you start to get more organized I think.

In the scratch cooking area--I know what costs us most is those prepared foods we like-- sauces & dressings I think are a target area I could work on improving our cost. Different ways of doing that include scratch cooking, trying cheaper brands, bulk buying--for some. We shall see. I think often I use things that I could make easily just because I haven't made them often enough to make it an 'easy habit'. In scratch cooking the more you make the same recipes the easier and more routine they become. Last week I made homemade tartar sauce and coleslaw for our fish dinner and everyone said it was the BEST they'd ever had. I thought--sheesh! It really was not very hard to do and it was much cheaper than storebought--why don't I do this more?
food for thought.

Well in keeping with my 'semi-frugal' mindset, I know I am one who is prone to going off the deep end with ideas, and I always need to take things slowly and just give them a try--get used to one change or two and not just plunge all the way in at once. So today I plan to get some fresh yeast and flour for the breadmaker, and ingredients for a few fresh salad dressings. I also plan to do my shopping all along one street and stop in at the Asian grocery for the first time to investigate the spices and etc. Perhaps I'll find some nice veggies there? We shall see. I'll also hit the Aldi store.

I haven't been shopping much lately due to not feeling well. Last night I got a good deep sleep for the first time in a while and so I am glad to be going out and looking again. I'm also craving some good fresh veggies and fruits, the food has been sort of dull since I've been ill.

What's fun is that when you have an adventurous mindset-- rising food prices are not horrifying--they're a fun challenge. It just makes the semi-frugal adventure more fun to take it up a notch. Well, off I go, happy hunting!

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