Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Spending

This week, I didn't do any grocery shopping for myself. I did go to the store to get supplies for a study group party, but I didn't even keep the receipt since it wasn't groceries in the normal sense of groceries. So, my total is the same as last week. I'm a few dollars under monthly budget. I'm going to see for May if I can do an $80 monthly budget. I think if I keep it in the $20/week range but allow myself for an overall monthly amount, that might be easier for me in terms of the way I think about grocery shopping and budgeting while still trying to convert over to a monthly system.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Sunday Storage

Well, I forgot to put up a post for y'all on this one for last week. But that's okay, since I'm combining it with this week's storage totals. I suspect somehow as long as I tell y'all everything I remember, that things will be just fine with keeping up with what's being used. With finals coming up, I've mostly just been making foods you already know about: tossing together a can of coconut milk and Thai curry then adding some meat and veggies in it to simmer; baked zitis and lasagnas; polenta with some cheese mixed in, etc. Nothing new or exciting. As it stands right now, I'm just trying to keep my academic head above water for the next couple weeks. So mostly you can expect to see nothing new or exciting from me until this semester ends. But at the very least, I'll let y'all know generally what's happening in the kitchen.

1 pound penne (okay, so I didn't make baked ziti. I made baked penne. 6 and 1/2 dozen, I say)
1 pound linguini (puttanesca, of course)
boatloads of rice (most of the jasmine is gone)
thai curry paste
most of the polenta
chocolate chips (for brownies)
2-3 bars of chocolate (also for brownies)
most of the nuts (I believe there's most of a pound of almonds remaining, and a half pound of pecans)
some instant coffee (also for the brownies)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Spending

Well, I finally made it to the store. I'm so proud. And I didn't just buy snacks, but actually got stuff people other than myself might consider to be food (so like, not just pickles basically). I'm not entirely convinced yet that I like the monthly budget as opposed to the weekly, but I'll try it during May also. Here's what I got at the store:


$2.99 - garlic juice
$4.69 - garlic powder (strange I was out of this)
$3.99 - milk (seriously, milk people. Is it necessary to charge so much for so little?)
$2.49 - kalamata olives
$2.99 - orange juice
$1.72 - salsa
$8.99 - 4 pounds chicken breast
$2.77 - 1 pound butter
$2.39 - coconut milk (which I mixed w/ some fried veggies, chicken and a can of Thai curry paste)
$1.50 - banana peppers :)
$1.94 - sugar (can y'all believe I nearly ran out of white sugar?)
$1.34 - coconut and pineapple juice
$2.28 - 4 cans of tomatoes
$3.00 - 2 cans of anchovies
$1.29 - fresh tomatoes
$2.00 - oranges
$0.99 - celery
$2.12 - acorn squash
$0.98 - cucumber
$1.04 - sweet potato

total: $51.50
total for April: $114.70
total remaining for April: $5.30

Friday, April 22, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week was not perfect. It was far from it, in fact. But that's okay. Next week I'll do better.

This week I wasted:

2 cups pasta salad
3 slices bread

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday Spending

Once again, I didn't make it to the store this week. This isn't a huge surprise to anyone, is it? I have a gigantic shopping list and unfortunately, no time to buy it all. End of semester and all that jazz. So mainly I've been living on pasta and pre-made sauces all week (sauces I made, not sauces I bought; which you probably knew already). I made a quick baked ziti, using some of the meat sauce, a pound of pasta and the last of the mozzarella (plus I tossed in some mushrooms, onion and red bell pepper that needed to be used up). I made puttanesca, again. I could live off that, I think, sometimes. Plus some bread. And that's mainly what I've eaten all week. Plus I baked a few things for others. The upside of me not grocery shopping is that I have no choice but to use up food storage. The down side is that I'd really like to eat some chicken and I'm fresh out.

So, for April, I'm going to go with the $30/week concept but scale it to a month. Which means I had $120 to spend in April on groceries. Thus far I've spent $63.20, so that leaves me with $56.80 for the next two weeks. I think that's got to be way more than I'll need, particularly given that I don't seem to make it to the grocery store ever. :) However, for one person who'll be in my study group for geometry, I'll be making sesame crusted fish over pasta, which is different from the homemade pizzas everyone else will be eating. And I've got a tray of baklava to make for one of my classes. So that will eat into the remaining budget slightly.

For May, my intention is to do the monthly budget instead of weekly as well. I won't be doing a reduced summer budget this year, since I'm still not clear as to what the food costs in this house are exactly, yet. Then after May is over I'll know if I can bring the budget down to $80, or if I should keep it in the $100-120 range. But of course, you all will know pretty much as soon as I do. :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week, I wasted (for the second week in a row):


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday Storage

I did well with the food storage use this time too. This time I used up:

1/2 box lasagna sheets
1 pound orzo
1/2 pound rigatoni
1/4 pound black beans
1 bag mint chocolate chips
almost all the light brown sugar
half a bag of bread flour
some all-purpose flour
more white sugar (I am actually nearly out of sugar now)
lots of tea (in fairness, much of this was actually used in an o-chem lab)
rosemary infused olive oil
some jams
half the kamruddin

Also, I blew up my pressure cooker. It was so spectacularly cool I'd kind of like to do it again. Except, of course, it'd be a waste of another good canner. I wasn't injured in the process, though I should've been since my face was right over it when it blew.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Saturday Spending

Well, once again I went a week without going to the grocery store. I'm not entirely sure why I didn't go, since there were things I needed like chicken. And a new pressure canner (not that that's a grocery, but you know what I mean). Nonetheless, I didn't go.

I am starting to think I may need to structure my entire system differently, having a monthly budget instead of a weekly one. Mainly because it seems like I don't go to the store for weeks on end, then, not surprisingly, I go far over the weekly budget (though strangely I don't typically spend more than one extra week's worth). What do you guys think about this? Should I set things at $100-120/month (This seems like a high monthly budget for two people, to be honest, even though that's what I bumped things up to. And which of course negates the occasional fifth week of a month and which will probably cause me to reduce the total monthly budget in addition to the extra occasional week), or should I stick w/ the $30/week and just accept that as I'm a grocery camel who only goes to the store when I'm really, really out of things, I will probably go over certain weeks?

Give me your thoughts on this, please.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Food Waste Friday

Finally - a waste free week. It's about time, no?

This week, I wasted:


Presto Pasta Nights #208 - The Roundup!

Thanks so much to Ruth of of Once Upon a Feast for letting me host this week's PPN, and thanks to all of you who participated; I'm definitely going to be spending some time trying out all these wonderful looking (made even better by the skills of photographers far better than myself :)) recipes! It has truly been a pleasure to host Presto Pasta Nights this week, and I look forward to doing so again.

Our first entry is from Val in British Columbia, Canada. She's made a stunning Ravioli Lasagna with Sausage and Mushrooms, one which I salivate at the thought of. Using raviolis to make the lasagna really lets you streamline the process while still getting all the deliciousness!

Our next submission is a Smoked Salmon Pasta from Katerina, in Athens, Greece. Her submission comes from a place of love and appreciation for her husband. This is one of his favourite meals, and I can definitely see why! I can't help but imagine the touch of Scotch adds a warmth and depth to it that one can't quite put their finger on.

Next up we have Slow Cooker Pizza from Tina in Florida. Next time I crave pizza, I'll be turning to this - all the pizza goodness without all the hassle! It's perfect for dinner and for lunch boxes, which makes it a double win!

Tandy, from South Africa, has a strong desire to travel to Spain. Until she gets there, however, she shares her wonderful looking Spanish-inspired Pasta Spagnolo with us. It looks so light and delicious I'm excited to give it a shot.

Now we have Georgia in Philadelphia, who brings my very favourite of all the pasta dishes I've eaten to us this week: Pasta Puttanesca. It's a perfect meal after a long day - comes together quickly and is rich in flavour without being too heavy.

(photo courtesy of
Next up, we have my submission. It's a summer salad with orzo, black beans and homemade mayonnaise dressing. 

Claudia, in Hawaii, reminds us of a meat we probably don't eat too often: veal. She showcases it in her lovely Veal Scaloppini Marsala with Peppers, making a succulent dish that seems as delicious as it is fun to look at.

Abby, over in the UK, has given us a wonderful dish: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. It combined four simple ingredients, pasta, cheese, pepper and water, into something far greater than the sum of its parts.

Next up, from The Food Hunter in Phoenix, Arizona, comes this Gooey Mozzarella with Italian Sausage and Peas. Filled with gnocchi and other goodness, it's a meal that I'd love to refresh my spirit with after a long day.

Following the gnocci is something equally enticing from Krista in Washington, D.C.: Vegan Sushi Wraps. Filled with noodles instead of rice, I cannot help but look at this picture with longing.

It's hard to believe, but following the submissions above come even more appetizing treats to look at. Jen from Malaysia put forth the labour of love to provide us with Homemade Udon Noodles in Dashi Broth. Looking at this photo, it's astounding to me that this was her first try making them!

Pam in Tennessee brings us this wonderful Goat's Cheese, Lemon and Pea Pasta. You all know of my love of lemons and cheese, so this one is sure to be a delight on the dinner table, made even better by its ease in preparation!

Kim in Maryland brings us a Roasted Veggie Pasta, which is one of my favourite ways to get more veggies into our diets. Kim likes to use pasta the same way, even if her family discourages her by saying it'll be disgusting. But as we can see easily, there's no way this way disgusting.

Aparna uses this Mint-Spinach Pesto Pasta to use up a never-ending supply of spinach in a way that won't drive her husband up the wall. I think I'd never tire of spinach, eating it this way!

From Unknown Specimen, we have this wonderful Garlic Shrimp Pasta.  Simple to make and rich in flavour, "hardest you'll do in this recipe is the prawn peeling."

Last, though by no means least, comes a submission from Joanne in New York City. Although she fears reprisal for putting lentils in the place of pork for this overwhelmingly beautiful Lentil Mango Picadillo, served above a fluffy couscous, I think they're going to let her off the hook for messing with a classic.

Thanks to all who participated, and for the rest of you who've shared this fun round-up with me! The dishes all look spectacularly exciting! Next week, Presto Pasta Nights #209 will be hosted by none other than Sweet Artichoke. To participate, email your submission to sweetartichoke(at) gmail(dot)com and cc ruth (at) 4everykitchen (dot) com by Thursday, April 14.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Orzo and Black Bean Salad - Presto Pasta Nights

This week, I have the pleasure of hosting Presto Pasta Nights, a weekly event started by Ruth at Once Upon a Feast. It's a fantastic opportunity to share in our collective love of pasta, and one I hope you all will participate in. To participate, post a recipe in your blog, with a link back to Presto Pasta Nights, and one to me as well. Then email the link for your post to me at bahpeanut AT gmail DOT com and to Ruth at Ruth AT 4EveryKitchen DOT com. In your email, please also include as an attachment the photo of your dish so I can include it in the round-up, which will be posted on Friday.

For my submission, I've made you an orzo and black bean salad. I used a homemade aioli as the dressing, thinned down a bit with some extra lemon juice to brighten it up just that much more. It's starting to get warm here in Texas as we prepare for yet another brutal summer, so salads are especially on my mind right now. I hope you all enjoy!

1 pound orzo, cooked to package directions
1 can black beans, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped palm hearts
1 carrot, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small green apple, cored and chopped (you can peel it if you like, but I like to leave the peel on)
salt and pepper to taste
1 recipe dressing (less if you prefer a drier salad)


1 egg yolk
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (this gives a strong mustard flavour, so if you'd like it weaker, use less)
2 teaspoons each: lemon juice, white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic juice, or  clove garlic smashed into paste
1/2 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup each: chopped cilantro, chopped Thai basil
extra lemon juice to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)

Whisk together the egg, mustard, lemon juice, white wine vinegar, garlic and salt until well combined. A few drops at a time, whisking constantly, add the oil until you've gotten a third to half of it in. Then whisk in the remainder of the oil in a thin stream, also whisking constantly. Whisk a few more minutes until it starts to thicken. The mayonnaise will still seem very thin compared to grocery store mayonnaise. Let sit 5 minutes, then whisk in the herbs and chill. Once chilled, whisk in more lemon juice to 1/3 of the mayonnaise.

Combine the orzo, beans, carrot, bell pepper, palm hearts and apple. Add the third of the mayonnaise that has been thinned with lemon juice and stir well to combine. If you want the salad wetter, add more mayonnaise in 1-2 tablespoon increments until it has the desired level of wetness. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 for a meal.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday Storage

Okay, so this week wasn't too bad either. I used up a good amount of stuff, though different stuff from before.

1/2 package no boil lasagna (I didn't feel like making pasta from scratch)
1 bag bread flour (now I only have one bag, like a normal person)
palm heart, olives, mushrooms (all in canned form)
all the meat sauce (though I made more)
tomato sauce for pizza (as in, home canned sauce)
some wheat berries for salad

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Saturday Spending

Well, this might surprise you guys, but I went over. Way, way, way over. More than double over. I'm not particularly concerned right now that I did this, given I haven't shopped in ages. But I did go over. Mostly I went over because I needed to get the stuff to make and can my meat sauce and tomato sauce, as I'm basically out of both. And there we have it. So let's see what I got:


$3.79 - matzot
$3.79 - matzot (yes, I needed two boxes. We are going through it at lightning speed these days)
$0.99 - 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (meat sauce)
$3.77 - 2 pounds pizza cheese
$3.99 - Horizon milk
$2.29 - dozen eggs
$1.39 - diet coke
$5.99 - chicken sausage (wow indulgence)
$2.99 - chips
$1.49 - hot dogs
$2.00 - mushrooms
$2.39 - ricotta (lasagna from meat sauce)
$2.99 - leeks (meat sauce)
$4.35 - tomatoes (tomato sauce)
$1.59 - can mushrooms (meat sauce)
$0.79 - cucumber
$1.67 - garlic (6 heads) (both sauces)
$0.50 - 2 lemons
$2.99 - onions (tomato sauce)
$2.00 - apples

total: $51.75


$6.57 - ground beef (4.5 pounds) (meat sauce)
$3.89 - 10-can tomato sauce (meat sauce)
$0.99 - hot dog buns

total: $11.45

Grand total: $63.20

Friday, April 01, 2011

Food Waste Friday

I've been doing pretty poorly on the waste thing lately, haven't I? This week is no exception, though I'm hopeful that hereafter I should be posting about no waste. I'm really appalled by how much food has been wasted this week.

This week I wasted:

1/2 pound cheese (I know what you're thinking. How does cheese go to waste in my house?)
some celery (which I apparently had been completely unaware was infested with bugs when I bought it)
1 mango that got away before I found it in the back of the produce drawer