Monday, October 1, 2012

Once a Month Shopping, Take 2

Let's try this again.  Lessons learned from September:
1) Better planning is required to avoid mid-month runs to the store.
2) I do not remember to defrost things from the freezer.  (Food that can safely defrost in my lunchbox (soup & muffins) or that can defrost and cook at the same time (mini burgers) work well.  My mini packets of fish, which need to be defrosted before cooking, are basically untouched.)

In light of those insights, I'm changing my tact this month.  Once a Month Cooking doesn't work so well for me.  I will make more mini burgers, probably next weekend, and muffins as needed.  Aside from that, I'm looking at big, easy meals that will have a lot of leftovers.  I picked 5 recipes that make 4-8 servings from The Everything Healthy College Cookbook and Cheap, Healthy, Good's huge post of healthy one-dish meals.

My shopping this weekend basically consisted of procuring the dry ingredients for those recipes plus some pantry supplies. Quinoa, rice, cornmeal, brown sugar, lentils, spices, lots of oats, and lots of canned beans*.  And ground turkey because it was on sale at Whole Foods.  All in all, I think the cost was pretty acceptable: $37 at WF and $19 at 4th Street Coop.  Plus $4.50 getting to the Coop by subway, if we're being picky. 

One more lesson learned about the Coop: if something I want is on the out-of-stock list, I need to call them and double check.  Because I gave up and bought cinnamon from WF Saturday, and I had opened and used it by the time I went to the Coop yesterday.  Where a new jar of bulk cinnamon was sitting on the shelves.  I could have saved $5 there.

I also decided to try a one-to-one price check on rolled oats at the Coop.  I picked that one because I have a brand-name (I know...) container from the supermarket a few blocks away from me.  It's a small container, but cost me $4.39 plus tax.  So I took the container to the Coop, and got it refilled.  For $1.24.  Between that and the savings on some spices, I'm ahead even with the round trip on the subway.

*I'm aware that dried are cheaper and possibly tastier, but my aforementioned trouble remembering to defrost things means I doubt I will remember to soak beans.

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