Another downside to the Bush recession is that I now have to pay attention to what I'm buying for groceries/meals. All of the bailouts the government has done for private banks, etc has made ME have to watch what I'm getting (and I try not to think of the Countrywide guy off sipping champagne with his moolah). Before, I'd go to the store and get whatever I dang felt like, including prepared foods. Now, I was raised with the idea that if you can cook it, you ought to, instead of buying foods that are already made up, because you PAY FOR THAT. So I don't ever buy, for example, Hot Pockets because I know I can make little meat pies or turnovers for cheap and I can't stand to pay all that money for something that might taste good, but not when I know I'm being gouged on price.
So, here's what I'm doing to cut down on food costs. First up, I decided to stretch the meats. Instead of having a big steak with minimal veggies and sides, I use only a small part of the meat item and add a salad. Last night I made pepper stir fry with half a roast I cut into small meat bits and a package of Bird's Eye pepper stir fry, fixed a salad with lettuce and tomato and some croutons, some veggies and, here's the second best part, some NOODLES.
I had gotten, some time back, the Atlas 150 pasta maker but I never used it. I guess I was intimidated or thought it would take a while to master. Nope. It is ridiculously easy to use and the noodles are delish. I took 2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 -2 tbs cold water. (Put the flour out first, make a well and put the eggies into the well and mix in, add a little more flour if sticky). The first time I did it I put the noodle dough in the fridge for an hour to chill but last night I made it up and then ran it through the noodle maker right away. TOOK ME ALTOGETHER FIVE MINUTES to make them. The Atlas 150 has two main types of noodles it makes, flat ones and spaghetti and you can adjust the thickness, AND you can get more attachments that make more kinds of noodles, including ravioli. Basically, you run the dough through one side first which makes a flattened long piece and then run the flattened piece through the other side which makes the noodle shapes. Although people might have pasta dryers, I just draped the noodles over a tall plasticware piece. Then I put them into boiling water (with a little salt in the water) and cooked for a few minutes until they all rose to the surface. Rinsed, put in some butter and parmesan and presto, some delish noodles that taste infinitely better than any in the stores (and I'm going to price, the next time I go, what it costs to go to the deli section and BUY those fresh noodles-I figure it costs pennies a serving, not counting the butter and parmesan sprinkles, to make the noodles. You just can't beat that.
I also started making sun tea again to drink during the day. 1 quart of water, 3 tea bags, out for 3-4 hours in the sun. Cheap and also doesn't make me as thirsty as coffee does, don't know why because it sure does have the caffeine.
We quit making trips to town to get a Dairy Queen shake or pick up ice cream (which we LOVE) at the convenience store. Not just for the gas but also the food costs.
Got oatmeal to eat for breakfast. I noticed that the Quaker Oats box has a *heart healthy* section which seems like a scam to get you to eat more oatmeal, but also says eating oatmeal will lower cholesterol. Hub also eats it for a snack at night.
Philosophically, I have always been a little disgusted to hear Bush's solution to tragedies or problems - "Go Shopping! Go to Disneyland!". It might just be my own family but my grandparents lived during the Depression and frugal living was what they had to do. I heard that people who had farms did all right during the Depression because they could grow their own food. I'm looking for people to run this country that are sensible and don't think the answer to everything is to get hugely in debt and spending more money, but to value what we have and use it wisely.
I'm keeping the receipts from shopping this month. Will be interesting to see what I end up spending for food.