Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Grilled tofu; grocery savings

June 19, 2013

Today was the last day the kids will have lunch at school. My daughter packed a banana granola nut peanut butter sandwich and an apple. My son packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some grapes. I had the leftover soybean pasta and spaghetti sauce.

Today was grocery shopping day. My pre-challenge weekly average at the commissary was $175. Today I spent $10.33 on toiletries and cleaners. I spent $94.13 on food. I spent $6.10 on impulse items. I got the kids an organic macaroni and cheese. I figured that they probably miss macaroni but I couldn't bring myself to buy the Kraft box. While the organic one still has some ingredients I would rather do without, it is better than the alternative. I also saw a new item that I thought my hubby would like (ok love). Crispy jalapenos. It was in with the salad toppers but you could also put it on a burger, etc. I also got a box of popcorn chips. I guess I was feeling snacky at the store! I spent $10.16 on gossip magazines. After adding in their surcharge and taking out my coupons, I spent $124.03 out of pocket. This is a savings of $50.97. My pre-challenge weekly restaurant average was $80. This week we ate at a local pizza place, Moe's, and a local cafe when we went to the food & wine festival. We spent $79.03. This is a savings of only 97 cents. Oh well. It was Father's Day week. The kids packed lunches  and saved $16. This brings our weekly savings to $67.94. This brings our grand total to $3877.95 in 245 days!

I was feeling brave tonight. How brave? Brave enough to try to make tofu again. I've learned to like the tofu at Moe's. Granted, it is hidden amongst a ton of delicious taco toppings but I like it none the less. I found a recipe similar to what Moe's uses for a marinade. 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp coriander (I skipped this but added in some chopped cilantro instead), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp cayenne (I didn't add quite that much), 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. First, I took the extra firm tofu and drained and rinsed it. Then I set out a dinner plate. I put two paper towels on the plate then set the tofu on it. I topped it with more paper towels and another plate. I set two cans of beans and a small can of paste on top of the plate to press the tofu. You can use whatever you have that is roughly 2 pounds (a book, can goods, etc). Every 15 minutes or so I would change out the paper towels. I think it pressed for about an hour. Meanwhile, I chopped green/yellow pepper, red onion, mushrooms, zucchini, yellow squash, and potatoes. I added a little olive oil and garlic wine seasoning to the veggies. The tofu may stick to the grill so make sure you spray it (or oil it). I decided to just brush some marinade on the tofu when it was grilling. I didn't want it to get to soggy so I didn't let it sit in the marinade as I would meat. About 6 minutes per side and we were all set. I also made up a batch of my black bean dip. Well, I don't know if I should call it dip. I also use it as a wrap condiment. All it has is 2 cups of black beans and a few large spoonfuls of homemade salsa. I served that with some Italian bread and a handful of pea pods.

How did the tofu turn out? I preferred it with a bite of veggies. On its own, the tofu still had a squishy texture. However, if it was combined with some of the other grilled veggies, then I actually liked it! I'm looking forward to using the leftovers tomorrow and that says a lot! I think next time I would use less olive oil and red wine vinegar in the marinade that way the spices stand out more. I asked my hubby what his input is on dinner. "Delicious". I asked, "really, even the tofu"? He felt the same as I did that it needed to be put with the veggies though. Wow. Score! I forgot to ask the kids what they thought of dinner (they are in bed now) but they both finished their meal so I guess there's no complaints!

Oh yeah. I almost forgot about our new milk today. My son asked for cow's milk but I told him that there are a few other kinds we can try before we discuss cow's milk. I bought soy milk and rice milk today. My daughter liked the soy. She said the rice was ok. My son said the rice was ok. Ugh. I really don't want to go back to regular dairy. I'll have to see if there are any other options that he may like better.

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