This Week’s Receipt & More

Finally went to the Coop and got more food for the week, leaving us with $1.23 for the week.

In response to a comment left by Janie, how do you fit “everything in your days and weekends and aren’t completely consumed by food and the kitchen?”

Phil actually wrote a bit about this a long time ago, but to reiterate, making food takes time.  It doesn’t have to take over your life though.

In terms of things like granola – making granola requires oats to sit in a warm oven for a period of time.  Just do other things while the oats get toasty.  Make two pans worth and you’ll have granola to last you for the week (and beyond, depending on how you eat it).

Beans – same thing.  Beans require a good soaking (put in water before going to bed or when leaving for work in the morning) and then cooking for a long time.  OR, get a pressure cooker.  They’re not too expensive, are loads better than you remember them and can cook unsoaked black beans in about an hour.  Make BIG BATCHES and freeze a bunch.  We got one as a wedding present and I love it because I can cook a pound of dried beans while watching Mad Men.

Rice and other whole grains – make a batch and use throughout the week.  Mondays brown rice became Tuesday’s lunch (lentils and rice), dinner (rice salad w/chopped veggies, tahini, mint, cilantro, lentils and navy beans) and lunch (leftovers from dinner).  If you’re adverse to taking leftovers for lunch, just add something extra to make it a different meal – smoked tofu, some cheese, yogurt and/or canned tuna, salmon or strips of chicken – for the carnivorous among us.

You don’t need to be in the kitchen every second to make frugal meals – many things (granola, beans, bread, rice, whole grains) require a bit of prep and then a whole lot of sitting around.


5 Comments on “This Week’s Receipt & More”

  1. City Share says:

    I love your blog. I actually eat meat and am not limiting my budget to $30/week, but it’s a great reminder that with a little bit of time you can save a lot of money. Cooking and eating at home is often healthier too. Keep up the good work.

  2. I agree-cooking takes time. It seems like a pain, but then once I realized I was watching about 2 hours of TV each day, I realized I do have time to cook!

  3. Daisy Mae says:

    I second the freezing idea. I always try to make a double batch of whatever I’m cooking, and then freeze some for future dinners. Or I pack in smaller containers for lunches. I do that with soup, pasta sauce, dal, casseroles, pizza, etc. Even when I make my bread, I always make sure to make 2 loaves so that 1 can go in the freezer. With my quick (sweet) breads, I’ve started making them as muffins – cuts down on the baking time, and then I can take one out of the freezer every morning to pop in my husbands lunch.

  4. Marcia says:

    Cooking does take time. Sometimes, I feel all I do is cook – I cook weekends for leftovers during the week, I cook many weekdays too. I have to plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 3 people, pack lunches. And we don’t eat much in the way of processed food, so it’s a lot of work. (Really, it’s the dishes that get me…)

    But I think it’s worth it. I do like your Park Slope Coop. We have one coop in town, and it does not offer such a great deal in exchange for time. (Plus, with a full time job, a kid, a husband, triathlong training, and the occasional CSA volunteering, I’m tapped out.) I read your receipts and feel a bit of jealousy.

    I would suggest that people start on baby steps.

    Instead of eating out: make something easy like rice and beans or pasta with bottled sauce and salad from a bag.

    Next step: make your own sauce.
    Next step: cook the beans from dried.
    Next step: buy a head of lettuce and wash it yourself.

    Next step: get used to eating leftovers, and don’t throw out food.

    Next step: eat your produce in the order of “what’s going to go bad first” not “what I feel like eating”.

  5. janie says:

    wow– Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions! I guess I just struggle with moving from 1.5 full-time workers to 2 full-time workers and how that has really changed our eating habits and I am trying to return to a better balance of home-made and easy — which your meals often seem to be. We live in Europe and the cost of food is so crazy here to what we were used to that this has also significantly changes our eating habits. Anyway, I love your blog and thanks for your thoughts and suggestions!


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