Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Grocery Game: Day 2

Why should someone else boil your beans?

That's today's valid and very concerning question on Day 2 of The Grocery Game . . .

and furthermore - Why should the consumer pay for a tin can and the processing price that comes along with it?    Why should the consumer give away the right to all the nutrition found in the center of a legume?

For the price of one can of beans (any variety) - 15 ounces - two cups - one can purchase a one pound bag of dried beans and net themselves six cups of cooked legumes as well as retain a higher ratio of nutrients.

*That's* smart spending, folks.

All it takes is a little forethought and know how . . . and if you happen to know how, but forget to fore think . . . never fear!  The crock pot is near!  :D

Let's pause here a minute, we'll come back to this thought.

Yesterday I told you you'd get to see the inside of my fridge today.  I shall not let you down.  It just so happens that talking about the fridge actually ties right into all this discussion of beans . . . and you'll see why.






Do you notice anything?  Anything different from, oh, let's say the *average* inside of a refrigerator?

What should be quite apparent is that this device is chock full of fresh as possible, fresh as it can be got fruits and vegetables.  The only exceptions to this are the bottled apple juice (yes, even though I prefer fresh juiced, Keller downs juice a mile a minute.  I purchase ONLY 100% juice.  Ever.  End of story.  No 'cocktails' - no added sugars!  You'll have to do the math for your tribe.), the tortilla's (flour for us, corn for the gluten free GilGuy), the eggs, and the apple butter/jam/quinoa.

Absolutely everything else is a harvested item.

Did you get that?  A harvested item!

No cans.  No boxes.  No preservatives.  No processing.

Vegetables.  Fruit.  Fresh.

Now, tell me truly.  When you ask someone if they buy fresh vegetables, what do they say?

They say, "OOOOoooo!  That's SO expensive!  I buy canned!"  -or- they say, "By the time I get there in my shopping trip, I'm out of money!"

This, folks, is bunk.  I'll tell you why:

Remember that 66 cent grapefruit I drank for breakfast yesterday?  I obtained from it the freshest vitamins and minerals it offers, gave it to my body in a manner in which the body will assimilate those components, AND .  . . I've a grapefruit for the next 13 days - i.e. the next shopping trip!  Would a bottled juice last me that long?

Let's use the 64 fl ounce jug of white grapefruit juice I purchased on Sunday as our guinea pig.  How long would that jug last me, at 8 oz of juice a day?  Eight days.  And how much will each 8 oz glass cost?  .37 cents.  So I would need to purchase a second bottle of juice to carry through to the next shop, or, five servings.  That equals .42 cents.  Cheaper than the grapefruit, right?

Wrong.

The vitamin and goodness content of the bottled juice has been processed and heated and aged until the goodness left does not resemble the goodness found in the fresh grapefruit squeezed just before breakfast.

When we give away our food to the power of a mass producing processing machine, we loose quality.

I'll pay the extra .22 cents.  It goes nicely with my .16 cent eggs, thank you very much.  :)

As we discussed in the opening of this post, this math doesn't always equal logic.  The dried bean purchase will ALWAYS win over a canned purchase.  There you see the benefit largely in the pocketbook.

In the fruit and vegetable section, the benefit is found in flavor and health.

So, what to do?  How does one make the vegetable aisle a priority?  

Why, by shopping it first, of course!

Yes.  I shop the vegetables and fruits FIRST before entering into [cue scary music] The Processed Zone.

If it had to be put in a bag, or a can, it has already lost significant health benefit to me.  I've given away my quality to a machine.

It is not unusual for me to spend $70 in this department.

After you pick yourself up off of the ground, I reiterate:  I don't like it - I don't like that fresh is higher priced than it should be - but I will gladly pay it, if it means I can be around to enjoy life for a long time to come.

So, how then do I spend the $80 left in the bi-weekly grocery budget?

Repeat after me:  Fuits and Vegetables * Beans * Rice * Eggs * Cheese * Meats.

The most important on that list?  Fruits and Vegetables * Beans * Rice

What one is looking for is the denominator:  How close is this to as fresh as possible?  Has it been processed in any way?  Are there any chemicals found within? 

The above list of priorities will net you the closest to the bottom line denominator as possible.

I'm going to be showing you how to make very delicious meals with very little meat (even though I love meats of all sorts).  Meals you can tribulate on, if need be.

Which circles us back around to the beans.

Why should someone else boil your beans???!!!




One Dish Meal was on the schedule tonight.  This is my Grandmother's recipe, I remember her making it many times when I was a little girl.  A sort of stew . . . which goes great with fresh home baked bread, or freshly made cornbread . . . or simply saltine crackers, or . . .nothing.  Hearty, wholesome, and simple.  One Dish Meal.

The key players in this recipe are best when simmered in a slow oven, but more often than not I put it in the crock pot, where it does it's thing.

Today, however, I was rushed (remember that forethought bit?  well, I didn't do it!) so, I had to think quick on my feet.

When my feet hit the floor, I put a bag of dried beans in a soup pan, and covered them with water.  Turning the dial on high while I made my coffee and got my chicken's breakfast ready, I let them come to a full boil for two minutes.  Then I took them off the burner, covered them, and set them aside.  They needed to sit for one hour in this fashion before I could proceed.

I ran a couple of errands, then returned to the house.  I pulled out Old Mr. Trusty ~  The 25 year old crock pot, and turned him on 'low'.  I drained the beans, poured them into the crock, added water and the other ingredients, lidded it, and walked away.



I turned my attention to the other components of the One Dish Meal, quickly prepped all of that, 20 minutes tops, and put those ingredients in Mr. New and Shiny Crockpot, on high.

I left the house again, and as life coursed about me, I returned many hours later to fully cooked legumes, and a One Dish Meal awaiting them.  I added three cups of beans to the recipe, and let that simmer together another hour.



The remaining three cups of beans went into a freezer bag, for use in Chili, coming up not many days hence.

My job was done.  All we had to do was eat.



What did the One Dish Meal cost, you ask?

Hamburger, 5.5 lbs split into four segments:  3.99 each
Three cups Red Kidney Beans:  .54
Three carrots, sliced:  .30
Seven potatoes, diced:  .70
One yellow onion:  .33
Three stalks celery: .40 
One 28 oz can diced tomatoes:  1.24


For a total of 7.50.

I actually made a lesser portion than I normally do, however tonight this meal fed four adults and two toddlers, easily.  Everyone satisfied.

Take that, McDonald's!  :)

****
Today's Document will list how I make my beans (the added components) and the One Dish Meal recipe ~ it will also include a listing of what components I already had on hand, to aid those who would like to be prepared for the days ahead and cook alongside me.  The grocery receipt coupled with the listing will assure the reader that they are prepared for whatever will land on my table . . . because there will be no special shops for this 30 day stretch . . . nope.  It's you, me, the pantry, and we all have to get along.  :)

Beans, One Dish Meal:  The Grocery Game, Day 2:  click here

Any questions?  Comments?  Speak up!  :)

Enjoy!








7 comments:

Jules said...

Way to go, Angi! This is quite interesting and I'm sure fun for you to see the numbers all figured out.

I miss one pot meals. This meal looks so yummy. However, I can't do beans & potatoes and right now, this week, I'm VERY cranky about my eating plan. :(

Stephanie C said...

Love this post! I really should start doing beans from dry. Where are you buying the quinoa? It's $7 for a small box here.

MsDeb said...

Hi Angie,
This sounds like a great idea to do(the whole fresh foods thing). I pretty much cannot eat out, eat any canned, boxed, or processed food, etc. I only eat frozen veggies or fresh carrots, celery, etc. I eat fresh and frozen fruits, with nothing added to the frozen stuff. I just need to find a little more variety. I have been eating frozen catfish fillets from Desport's or chicken that is flash frozen, baby lima beans, and frozen green beans for about a month now, because I know it won't mess me up. LOL! So, I really appreciate you sharing recipes. I can share some things, too if you want. Just let me know. Love you, Debra.

MsDeb said...

Have you been to the Whole Foods Store in New Orleans? We go about once a month, usually on a Saturday. If you'd like to go with us let me know and I can let you know when we are going, in advance, so you can plan on it. Debra

~ Angi :) said...

I have been Deb ~ and I love to go, just do not go often. In our current $300 budget, I'd likely not join you, as I've got it down to a science, from known sources. However, once the $300 lid lifts, I'd love to! :) Thanks for asking!

And yes, variety is important so we don't crave the junk. Please do share. Send me a note, should something come to mind, and I'll incorporate it. :)

Cathy said...

Another great post! I also make dried beans in my crock pot all of the time too. (In fact, that is the only way I ever make them because I *NEVER* remember to let them soak overnight. Not even one time!) I also have never even boiled them before. I just rinse them and then put them straight into my crock pot with some water while I am serving the kiddos their breakfast. By the time dinner rolls around they are finished. Can I ask you something? How do your beans freeze? Do they turn out all mushy? I have never tried freezing beans before!

~ Angi :) said...

Cathy, the beans lose no constitution when frozen. They are just as if I'd made them fresh that day. :)

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