We prepped quite a bit for Hurricane Sandy and probably spent $30 bucks just getting some stuff as we just don’t know how long this storm will last and when our local supermarket will be open again. So…a bunch of things were made. It’s also Phil’s birthday today, so a great birthday dinner was in order. If we couldn’t go out, we would dine in! Phil’s birthday menu included: homemade bread, mock chicken liver pâté and deviled eggs for starters; roasted carrot and avocado salad (modified) as the first course; a vegetable tagine with couscous as the second course and a cherry cobbler for dessert (thanks Mike for making this earlier!). Pictures to come!
Other things we made that we thought would keep in case the power went out included: black bean veggie burgers (the rest of the black beans are cooked and hanging out in broth for a number of other uses), whole wheat pasta, tomato sauce, a number of hardboiled eggs, a frittata, chocolate chip cookies and the aforementioned birthday dinner stuff (we still have leftovers). It probably sounds crazy, but everything was actually easy to put together and just used up a lot of dried good we already had.
Readers from all over, I know we haven’t been posting. In fact, people have been telling me this to my face lately, so I figured a quick post was in order. Pretty soon, $30/Week will be coming up on 3 years of blogging and we’re trying to figure out what to do. Maintain? Stop? Just put up our photos/recipes of frugal meals? We’re figuring it out. I might also be teaching a class in Brooklyn, so stay posted.
Just interested in recipes? Try the search function for now as we’ve got a TON of stuff out there. Comments? Post ‘em.
The fruit stand guy by my work had avocados, 2 for $1 today, so I totally took advantage. I also got a bunch of cilantro, scallions and a head of cabbage at the local green grocer for $2.75 and lemons and limes for another $2. Total spent today: $5.75 + 15.30 = $21.05
Total left for the week: $8.95
Tonight I made some brown rice that I simmered in water with turmeric, cumin and paprika which I then added black beans (cooked earlier in the week), a chopped onion and a bunch of garlic. I added all that while the rice still had some bite to it. I also quickly sauteed some of the yellow squash with garlic and made some guacamole with onion, cilantro and an avocado. To top it all off, I made some whole wheat tortillas.
Phil actually went to the Coop last night, so here’s a recap:
- navy beans: 1.50
- peas in the pod: 1.90
- eggs: 2.50
- carrots (bag): .51
- pears (4): 1.96
- salad mix: 1.06
- yellow squash: 1.62
TOTAL: 11.05 + 3.65=14.70
TOTAL LEFT FOR THE WEEK: 15.30
The yellow squash was actually quite expensive at 2.49/lb, but it’s organic and will be tasty. The Coop has a lot of little zucchini now, so I’m sure we’ll be getting those soon too. I’m pretty excited about the peas-the-pod too.
I am quite proud at the number of items I got this week for the price of $19.99! So with the $21 we got to spend this week, we still have $1.01 left.
Do to the generosity of a co-worker, I came into a tortilla press. This cinched it – I MUST make tortillas. I have a dirty little secret when it comes to things I know that I’ll need, but also know that it is more expensive in the Coop is that I troll supermarket circulars. For the corn tortillas, I knew I needed masa harina and the only version the Coop sells is Bob’s Red Mill (which is great, but I can’t spend $4 on a small bag). So I went online and looked at all of the supermarkets nearby to see if any of them had a sale on masa harina and our Pioneer Supermarket had a huge bag for $2.50! Counting on that on our weekly budget, we were looking to come in at just $30. However, no matter how hard you plan, sometimes people buy up all the masa harina and your stuck with getting a non-sale version. So we’re over budget, by a $1. We managed to also buy more nopales, the masa harina and a can of chipotle peppers. Even so, this bag of masa will last us a long time and make many delicious tortillas.
Back to the real concern – homemade corn tortillas! I used the recipe right off the back of the masa harina package (we used Maseca – their site actually has some amazing looking recipes) and utilized my trusty stand mixer to do the work. As recommended by a number of blogs, I let the dough sit, covered, for about a half an hour. The actual making of the tortillas was a breeze. It helps if you have two people – one to make the tortillas and one to cook them. Phil and I became a well-oiled tortilla making machine at one point. Served warm with a variety of rice, beans, salsa and other toppings, these were amazing and extremely cost effective.
You can make them without a tortilla press (use a heavy cutting board and a flat dish covered with wax paper and then a rolling pin to thin out the dough), but I highly recommend buying one if you see it for cheap – it makes a world of difference.
2 Cups Maseca Corn Masa mix
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/8 Cup Water (plus a little more on the side)
- Mix together all of the ingredients in large bowl using your hands or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Continue kneading until a dough ball forms. If you need to add more water, do so at a teaspoon full at a time. You want the dough to easy come together, but not be sticky.
- Let sit in a covered bowl for about a half hour or so.
- Take a piece of dough and form into a golf ball sized ball (make sure you keep the rest of the dough covered). Place on tortilla press that has both sides covered in wax paper or a heavy ziplock bag. Press into a tortilla.
- Heat up a skillet and cook tortilla for about 30 seconds on each side over medium heat.
- Place in a baking dish covered with tinfoil or a dishcloth and keep covered while you make the rest of the tortillas
This is much easier with two people! One person presses the tortillas and the other can use 2 skillets and keep those babies moving!
Behold! This week’s receipt. We have to add on $1.22 (for the nopales and 2 hero rolls from Pioneer supermarket) and .50 from Chinatown (2 ears of corn). That means, we’ve spent $24.87 so far and will be spending more later today to get more nopales and some masa harina.
I lost it. I brought it to work to scan it and I must have thrown it away while cleaning out my purse waiting for the subway. It happens. Phil went to the Coop and spent approximately $20 on various veggies, eggs and cheese (for the mac and cheese). I spent $3 at Jack’s on soy milk (a quart for a dollar! silk!) and two yves veggie products (burgers and chicken strips) and .50 cents on a cantolope (!!!) from my corner fruit guy who gave me a sweet deal. So, we’ve spent about $23.50 this week so far.
UPDATE: The White Bean and Kale Soup (see below) is even BETTER the next day. I highly recommend this as a make ahead dish.
The new apartment is getting into good shape! The kitchen is relatively unpacked, but we have to create some shelving for all of our pots, pans and large items (right now, they are under the counter space in large boxes). I was able to make some Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Fleur de Sel and the Popovers that I had written about. They both came out great! Pretty pleased with the new stove, although bummed that it doesn’t have a window to let you peek in. Lest you think we just ate delicious baked goods for dinner, I also cobbled together a tasty soup of white beans, kale and a ton of garlic (attempt at a recipe below). We ate the soup with a popover smeared with toasted garlic.
As soon as we unpack the camera wire, pictures will be posted!
White Bean and Kale Soup w/Garlic
2 cups cooked white beans and cooking water
1/2 bunch of kale, washed and chopped into bits (we had purple kale)
5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of fresh rosemary and sage (if you’ve got it)
Israeli couscous or any type of small pasta (optional)
In a large pot heat up a glug of the olive oil and saute about half of the garlic. Throw in the kale, lower the heat and cover until the kale is wilted a bit. Add 1.5 cups of the beans and a cup or two of the cooking liquid (use broth or water if you don’t have bean liquid). Let the whole mess simmer for a bit. In a food processor, process half the cup of beans with the rest of the garlic, herbs and a bit of olive oil – this will lend the soup some body. Pour the pureed mixture into the soup pot and mix. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper to your liking. Add more water if the soup is too thick. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes. I threw in about half a cup of Israeli couscous and some water to make the soup more of a meal. Let that cook for about 7 minutes or so.
I really had no idea what I was going to buy when I entered the Coop. Normally, I at least think things out a bit, but not yesterday. All turned out well and I even got some soap and bandaids, which are normally not on our food shopping list.