Thursday, April 25, 2013

Hawaiian Beans & Rice; Grocery Savings

April 25, 2013

The kids both packed lunches today. Goldfish shaped pasta and (surprise) a goober sandwich. I really wasn't feeling like leftovers but I was in a hurry to get to the grocery store so I settled with the hash from last night.

Yesterday, my hubby and I watched a couple food documentaries. Ugh. If you ever want to be completely grossed out at how meat is produced/handled and how it affects our bodies, then I suggest you watch the documentary "Vegucated". We also got part way through "Hungry for Change" which discusses the dangers of artificial sweeteners (as in diet soda or crystal light). Don't get me wrong. I am by no way saying that we are always eating the right things. I eat ice cream a few (ok, many, ok most) nights of the week. I will probably never be able to give up mountain dew. I will never completely give up any type of meat. We have already started buying a lot of meat locally. However, if we can make a few small additional changes then I think it can only help our family's health. I would like to start making one or two vegetarian meals each week. Just the word "vegetarian" makes me feel like it will be meals that we won't like or will still feel hungry after we eat. I am going to beat that way of thinking.  With that being said, grocery shopping was difficult today. I was very unsure of what beans to buy (as a meat substitute) and how I will cook them. Here is how I did...

My pre-challenge weekly commissary average was $175. Today I spent $$20.62 on toiletries/cleaners. A worker came up to me in the produce aisle and held up a huge pack (18 double rolls) of toilet paper and asked if I had seen the sale price. I hadn't. It was normally $8 and some change but today was $4.24! I hadn't planned on buying that large of a pack and it wasn't the brand I normally buy but who could pass up that deal? Not me! Also, I normally get a box of 20 zipper quart storage bags (store brand) for $1.39. For some reason, I looked at the very top shelf today. The same brand had a box of 50 sandwich bags without the zipper. I noticed that the bags are slightly smaller than a quart bag. It was only $1.45. That's like I got the extra 30 bags for 6 cents! I spent $6.29 on impulse items. We love sea bass. I noticed that they sell a sustainable version called barramundi so I had to try that. I spent $5.08 on gossip magazines. I spent $98.89 on food. However, $46.29 of that was fruit, veggies, and beans. I bought a lot more of that type of stuff now that I want to do some vegetarian nights. For comparison, I pulled out a receipt from two weeks ago and I had spent $24.73 on fruit/veggies. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $134.97 out of pocket. This is a savings of $40.03. Our pre-challenge restaurant weekly average was $80. This week we went out once and spent $22.35 which is a savings of $57.65. The kids packed lunches a few days this past week and saved $12. This brings our savings for this week to $109.68 and our grand total savings to $3,193.02 in 190 days!!  I talked to my sister in law this morning and she mentioned how expensive eating healthy/farmer's markets can be. So I decided to do something different this week. One other blog I follow (The Peaceful Mom) always shows the groceries after she shops. I took some pictures of my purchases today to show just how much I was able to get.
Oj, sweet tea, milk, coffee creamer, bananas, grapes, strawberries, limes, avocados, apples, spinach, lettuce, mint, cilantro, red cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, cucumber, yellow squash, green onions, kale, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, portabella mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
Chicken thighs, barramundi, super pretzels, salmon burgers, half and half, yogurt, apple crisp, citrus fruit cup, muenster cheese,american cheese, cottage cheese/mango, sliced ham, mexican cheese, and morning star griller's recipe crumbles (meat substitute).
Pancake mix, cereal, quinoa, cornstarch, pineapple, mandarin oranges, dry black beans, dry great northern beans, canned black beans, canned cannellini beans, canned small white beans, beef broth, chips, bread, hamburger buns, tortilla shells, and coconut.
Gossip magazines, toilet paper, vitamins, dish soap, batteries, disinfecting wipes, and storage bags.

After I put groceries away, I wanted to make a snack. I saw a recipe on for spicy sriracha white bean dip. I eliminated two ingredients (sesame oil and curry powder), added an ingredient (salt), and adjusted the amounts of another (sweet chili sauce). In my food processor, I blended a can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed), one tablespoon of olive oil, two teaspoons of soy sauce, 7 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce, 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic, about 1/8 cup water, one tablespoon of lime juice, and just a few shakes of salt. The recipe had only called for two tablespoons of sweet chili sauce; however, I wanted this dip to not have the "bean" taste so I added extra. 

Tonight was our first night of vegetarian meals. My friend showed me a recipe on No Meat Athlete for Hawaiian beans and rice. It is sauteed onions and garlic, black beans, red cabbage, and spinach in pineapple juice seasoned with smoked paprika and soy sauce. It is served with white rice with toasted coconut stirred in it and topped with a seared pineapple drizzled with soy sauce. How did our vegetarian meal go? My hubby liked the dip but thought it needed a little heat so he added cayenne pepper to his serving. He said the beans and rice were good but could use some crunch, possibly chopped macadamia nuts next time. Whoa! He said next time! The kids weren't too thrilled with dinner though. Oh well. Can't win em' all. 

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