Monday, October 10, 2011

The Grocery Game: Day 1

I don't know how you feel about today's grocery store prices.  I don't know how you feel about nutrition, for yourself or your family.

I simply know that my Mom did her level best to feed us wholesome meals, introduce us to a variety of vegetables, and to regard treats as just that - treats.  When Gil entered our lives, he was a recovering vegetarian.  Well, more specifically, he was a pharmacologically induced gluten free man, and chose to eat accordingly, which meant he ate quite a bit of veggies, happily.  I remember asking him to teach me how to cook for him; and I recall many a time when he groaned at the topic of food ~ you see, he eats to live . . . and we love to eat.  His perspective on our dinner table was that we did not eat healthy in the least.  Of course, he was of utmost politeness about all this, and never refused what was set before him, and my staunch position at the time was that we did indeed eat quite well!  My children capable of eating a wide variety, and practically every meal made from scratch or close to it - compared to the national statistic of families who existed on packaged and processed food on a daily basis, for almost every meal.

He went about his suffering quietly, and I finally got fed up with it.  I began researching his dietary needs on my own, and creating -disgusting- dishes for his enjoyment.  This delighted him to no end, so I continued.  Along that road, I began adopting a 'gluten free and not a pre-packaged product, either' mantra.  This meant that I leaned more and more toward creating foods that were simply natural, and as fresh as possible.  The process was pretty easy, too.

Enter TTapp.  When I began the TTapp program, and removed a whopping 50 inches of post-partum baby fat off of my 5'4" frame in a few short weeks, I was hooked.  I began reading and researching everything Teresa Tapp had to say about this program, nutrition, and dietary guidelines.  That meant she influenced me even further toward vegetables, as fresh as I could get them, in large quantities.  She encouraged me even further into the world of coconut oil and olive oil and red wine.  Her dietary idea of two non-carb days followed by a carb day was easy to follow, and I found myself more and more satiated by proteins and healthy oils than I ever recall being.

Me.  The pasta snob.

It literally transformed my kitchen, and my cooking, even though outwardly, it would appear that very little has changed.

And do you know what?  I'm becoming a freshness snob.  :)  But that is a story for another day.

So, let's roll out the picture book, shall we?  Today is the official Day One of 30, living on $300 groceries a month, for a family of 8, reduced to 3, about to return to 4  (Yes, my Mom reminded me that my teen aged son is about to return to our home from Hollywood.  He will indeed be a hungry boy.) and often swelling into the 5's, 6's, and 7's.  Not to mention the meals made for others, or the dinner guests, or . . .  You get the picture.  :)

But I digress.


We go through a LOT of eggs around here!  Don't let the media fool you ~ eggs are exceptionally good for you, especially those obtained from free range chickens.  In addition to a being a protein powerhouse, an egg enjoys these benefits to a body:

Our breakfasts are generally very simple, alternating between eggs, oatmeal, and toast.  I do enjoy making muffins, and some breakfast goodies that I divvy up into ziplocks for the freezer. While I used to purchase cereal for my family, I rarely ever do now.  Not only have the prices of cereal gone through the roof, by the time they are processed into their respective shape and flavor, all life is wrung out of them as well.  I'm not saying I'll never purchase another box cereal again . . . I'm just happy not going down that very expensive aisle, thank you.

So, here we have it this morning:  two boiled eggs, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (one fruit makes a perfect size glass) and . . . since Keller only ate half, I polished off the second half of the peach he ate this morning.  

If you are in the habit of buying bottled juice, or concentrate even, I challenge you to a fresh juice survey.  Pull out your juicer, and juice that orange, or grapefruit, or . . . and do so for one week.  Now try to go back to your bottled concoction.  I just dare ya.  :)

Grapefruit is one of my favorite friends!  It is strong in the vitamins A and C, and packs 4% RDA of Calcium. (For me, a non milk drinker, I'm alright with that!)  Potassium, dietary fiber . . . the list continues for fresh grapefruits benefits.  Peaches are similar in nature, adding niacin and iron to the mix.

So this meal, fresh, wholesome ingredients, cost approximately $1.31 (even though the grapefruit I purchased was marketed at 5 for 3.47, one of the bags had seven fruit in it.  Score!)

Next up?  Lunch!  Of course I had leftovers!  I remembered them on the drive home this morning, and I couldn't wait to dive into them.  While I failed yesterday, today I did not:  a photo of lunch - a porkchop and a cup and a half of mashed cauliflower:

This was not on The List, so I'll forego the tally, however, the Roasted Garbanzo Beans I ate for a snack this afternoon?  Can't be beat!  A 16 ounce bag of dried garbanzos cost $1.57 (they'd gone up by 56 cents since the two weeks previous) and cook to net six cups of ready to use legumes.  I roasted a mere 1 cup of these tasty morsels today, a healthy, nutritious snack that cost .26!

I love what garbanzo's bring to the table:  protein, calcium, tons of iron and manganese, vitamin c . . . the goodness of these tasty morsels just won't quit!  Ya can't even by a one ounce bag of chips for that price, for less nutrition!  :)

For supper tonight, a cheat of sorts ~ an event wherein I knew there would be a snack table loaded with goodies, both fresh and healthy and sinfully delicious.  Therefore, the One Dish Meal I had planned for the day went by the wayside.  I'll be making it tomorrow.

This light fare day nets us only one recipe, and a simple one at that.

Roasted Garbanzo Beans

Line a cookie sheet with foil, pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over pan.  Add cooked and patted dry garbanzos, rolling them to oil each surface.  Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice, today I merely used sea salt.  

Bake in a 400 degree oven until beans shrink and brown slightly.  For a full cookie sheet, this can take up to an hour, the cup I roasted today took approximately 20 minutes.

Serve/eat warm.  Delicious!  

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the inside of the refrigerator, dine on a vintage family recipe, and find the value in making the crockpot work for you.  :)

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