Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wedding Food Shopping

Well, as you know I didn't do the Saturday spending, because pretty much the only food I've been buying has been for the wedding. But I did save the receipts so y'all could see what was purchased. Normally I separate everything out by store, but I'm feeling lazy and have a lot of other stuff to do to get ready for Thanksgiving, so I'm just combining them into one long list.


$8.69 - chickpeas
$18.00 - pita (108 loaves that I didn't have time to make)
$13.08 - 17 pounds onions
$8.99 - 10 pounds basamati rice
$5.29 - 8 ounces shelled pistachios
$4.99 - 1 pound raw almonds
$6.59 - 1 pound shelled walnuts
$6.89 - 10-can arabic pickles
$8.49 - 4 pounds nabulsi olives
$4.58 - 2 28-ounce cans tomato puree
$27.16 - 8 kilos dolma (yeah, I was too busy to make these)
$17.99 - 2 kilos kalamata olives
$3.99 - ras el hanout
$4.78 - fillo dough (2 pounds)
$6.87 - 1 1/2 pounds peeled whole garlic
$17.98 - 2 kilos tzatziki (this was more efficient than me making the mast-o-khiar from scratch)
$140.42 - 34.51 pounds lamb shank
$1.79 - lemon juice
$28.66 - 6 pounds bulgarian feta
$4.09 - 5 pounds tomatoes
$2.45 - 5 bunches scallions
$3.96 - 4 bunches celery
$3.49 - 5 pounds carrots
$5.46 - 3 pounds cucumbers
$5.85 - 15 bunches parsley

I didn't notice this until I was typing it up, but it appears they didn't charge me for the 3 containers of mint. I think they're about $2 each, so next time I'm at Phoenicia, I'll mention it to them and have them add it in on that purchase. So let's call that an extra $6.

total: $366.53

My budget for the wedding food was $300, so I went a little over. But in the grand scheme of things, it's really not too bad at all. The wedding, including the judge and license cost a total of $658.53. I'd hoped to do it for a total of $500, but I can't really complain at all about going over by less than $200, particularly given that it was for the entirety of the wedding costs. So there you go!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wedding Food and Details

So I've mentioned to y'all that I'm doing the catering for my wedding, but I haven't actually said anything else about it. I thought I might do that, since I don't have time right now to type up new recipes. Mainly because as I'm making them up, I scrawl little notes to myself, most of which are barely legible (on a good day I usually need help reading my writing; perhaps I ought to have become a doctor), and have so little detail that I have to extrapolate from pretty limited data what I actually did.

Anyway, I thought y'all might like to know what I'm up to for the wedding food. As well as the shortcuts I'm taking to make this manageable while I'm in the middle of crunch time in my semester. So here it is:

The Menu:

Braised lamb shanks and vegetables (onions, carrots and celery) (meat)
Dill rice (vegan)
Tabouleh (vegan)
Dolma (vegan)
Hummus (vegan)
Pita (vegan)
Pickles, olives and feta (vegan/vegetarian)
Mast-o-khiar (vegetatian)
Toum (vegan)
Baklava (vegetarian)
Wedding cake (vegetarian)

And, I think there's something else I've forgotten about. But I'll let you know if that's true once I'm home looking at the list.

And, the shortcuts:

Y'all will be surprised to hear this, but I bought the dolma. There're a few companies that sell really good canned dolma, and since it'll take so very, very long to make enough dolma for 60 people, I decided in the end to just go ahead and buy them. Likewise, I'm buying the mast-of-khiar. My friend who's hosting the reception/party is making my wedding cake, which is incredibly sweet of her (especially since we all know what a headache making wedding cakes is!). And instead of boiling the beans for the hummus, I instead purchased a 10-can of beans and will use that to save a few hours of cooking time. Lastly, I'm buying the pita from a bakery instead of making it all. Once again, making pita for 60 is just not something I feel like dealing with.

Already, I've made the toum (though I think I might make more, since I've only got a pint and that seems insufficient). I've also already made everything I need for the baklava, so all I have to do is assemble and bake it tomorrow. I haven't yet purchased the lamb or the vegetative matter needed for the tabouleh (or the feta), but everything else is already basically prepped and ready to go.

So tomorrow, S, the host of the reception/party, and I (and whomever else is on hand to do work with/for us) will be prepping the lamb in massive roasting pans and setting it up to relax in the fridge overnight. We'll also assemble the baklava, and make the tabouleh. This, honestly, is the part I think will be the worst. Tabouleh takes a while to make when you're making small portions of it; making it for 60 people might be a little taxing. And of course we'll make the hummus as well.

Saturday (the wedding day), I'll go over to her house early and we'll make the rice (and leave it in a warmer). We'll also take the trays of lamb and toss them in the oven before heading to the wedding so it'll be cooked when we get back from the ceremony. At that point, we'll put all the food out and move on to the celebrating.

And, for those who want to know, here's the basic structure of how the wedding is going to work:

We're having the ceremony in a park, using picnic blankets for people to sit on instead of chairs (I've heard that some people will be bringing camping chairs so they can sit in them, but that's got nothing to do w/ me so I only know a little about that). It'll be a fairly nontraditional ceremony, though there will be a few traditional elements. We aren't having any attendants, and I'll be getting a ring but he will not be. R isn't Jewish, so we're using a JoP instead of a rabbi. He'll break the glass and I'll walk around him seven times, but outside of that it'll be totally nonreligious. A good friend of mine, who's probably the most talented henna artist I've ever encountered is doing my henna today so it'll be perfect on Saturday. We're hoping for a very short ceremony, since neither one of us enjoy dealing with long weddings. Our guests have expressed preemptive appreciation for not forcing them to sit through a long, formal affair. I'm not actually even wearing a wedding dress. I'll be wearing a summer dress if the weather is as nice as it's supposed to be. If it's very cold, I'll probably wear jeans. I'm sure he'll be wearing jeans regardless of the weather. So, very, very short and casual. The ceremony will be filmed (by friends), and we're intending to put the film up on youtube so people from out of town who can't make it will still be able to see how it all went.

From there, we'll head over to the party and put out the food. We're having a big bowl of disposable cameras for people to use and put back in the bowl, and skipping a formal photographer. We both think the pictures we'll get doing it this way will be more fun, although one of his friends is bringing his own camera to do what I'm assuming will be slightly more traditional photos. There will be a first dance, to "In My Life" (Beatles) since R says it's probably the only time he'll ever get to dance with me (I am so not into dancing, but you can't really deny a guy a dance on his wedding day). My friend K will be handling all musical issues past that, since my plan was to put an iPod on shuffle and let it handle itself. Y'all know how I am - the only part I really care about it is the food and everything else is just stuff that doesn't matter to me. So people will be able to dance if they wish. The food will be buffet-style instead of plated, and we've asked people to bring beer, wine, and/or liquor instead of wedding gifts. A wedding just isn't a wedding without food and booze, but booze for 60 is way outside my budget so we're leaving it to the guests to handle that. I was told someone was bringing mead, and I'm scared since I find mead entirely irresistible but I turn into a wild woman when I drink it. I'm not really sure how the cake cutting will be happening, but I'm sure someone will decide and tell me while we're there.

And, I think that's basically all the information. Y'all probably won't hear from me again until after Thanksgiving unless I manage to get those recipes typed up.  We'll be in Austin for the holiday, so between the wedding, school/work and holiday travel, I'm having trouble imagining that I'll get it together enough to post anything before that Monday following the holiday. I hope y'all have a wonderful holiday!

*For those of you in Houston or the surrounding areas who're looking for cake bakers, henna artists, etc., please feel free to send me a message if you need their details. I'd be happy to pass their information along to you, or yours to them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Spending

This week we only spent $3.29, for bread flour. Otherwise, pretty quiet week in terms of groceries.

However, I did spend some on the wedding food. I'm still trying to figure out where I put the receipt for what I've gotten so far, but you guys know how I am with finding things I've lost.

(sorry for this one being late too)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Food Waste Friday

This week was good. We wasted nothing!!

(sorry about the lateness of this)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Easy Fruit Tart

I keep thinking I'd already posted this, but it turns out I hadn't. So, while I ought to have taken pictures (now that I found my camera!), I didn't because I thought y'all knew this one. This is one of the easiest desserts on the planet to make, and it's beautiful to look at and tastes wonderful. Hope you enjoy!

1 sheet puff pastry
2 fairly ripe pears, 1 apple, 2 peaches, etc; cored and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
1 beaten egg (optional)

Put puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet. Score with a one inch border, then dock the inside of the border (that means poke a bunch of holes with a fork). Arrange the fruit slices in concentric squares, not letting the fruit leave the scored border. Sprinkle with sugar and lemon, if using. Chill in fridge while your oven heats to 400F. Apply egg wash to the border, if desired. Bake 15 minutes. Cool on a rack, then transfer to a plate. Serves 8.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sunday Storage

So, more of the same these last two weeks. Piles of pasta, rice and beans. And loads of canned tomatoes. I'd also run out of tuna, but of course I bought more. I haven't made a bit of a dent in the mushrooms or in the kelp or in the bonito. I think I keep forgetting about them, but I'll get them started eventually, huh?

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Saturday Spending

Alright, so you're getting two weeks worth of shopping today, instead of just one. Though I've still spent far too much on food the last two weeks as well. After Thanksgiving is done (I'm doing my own catering for the wedding and also have some stuff to cook for the holiday, so my food costs will be up until after that's all said and done), I believe I'll be setting a $100/month grocery budget. If I need to scale it up a touch (or down), then I will, but for now I'd like to go w/ $100/month and see how we do. So that's settled now.

Fiesta:

$0.66 - tomatoes
$1.09 - acorn squash
$0.96 - snow peas
$1.69 - mushrooms

subtotal: $4.40

Walmart:

$2.41 - onions (3.25 lbs)
$2.48 - eggs
$5.16 - 2 pounds butter (this is for the wedding baklava, as there'll be two trays of it)
$3.26 - ham
$1.48 - salad mix (yes, I know)
$2.18 - spinach
$2.32 - shredded cheese
$3.97 - potatoes
$0.92 - tortillas (yes, I know)
$2.92 - chili powder
$2.08 - cocktail onions (y'all knew these would surface again, didn't you?)
$1.36 - 2 cans diced potatoes (I like these for hash browns)
$1.36 - 2 cans diced tomatoes (really, how is it possible we use so very many of these)
$6.00 - coffee (yes, I know)
$1.82 - non-stick spray
$1.24 - large can crushed tomatoes (chili days are coming... can you tell?)

subtotal: $40.96

Kroger: (this is the bad one)

$3.99 - sausage
$4.80 - pork chops (three massive ones)
$3.78 - milk
$2.98 - orange juice
$6.70 - pears (nearly 7 pounds, for use in baking pear tarts as thank you gifts for some professors)
$1.36 - celery
$5.99 - walnuts (need these for the baklava also)
$2.99 - salad mix (yep... I fail at this right now)
$2.50 - 3 lbs tangerines
$1.78 - 2 cans cream of celery soup (I like this for tuna casserole, which I like on days I don't have time to cook)
$3.99 - sesame oil
$0.79 - tomatoes
$4.98 - watermelon, 1 large
$3.98 - loads of Peruvian potatoes
$2.18 - 2 packages saltine crackers (did y'all know about that weird ranch dressing mix saltine thing? Lord they're good)
$5.87 - 12 cans of various tomatoes
$1.69 - banana peppers (shocker)
$7.98 - 4 pounds cheeses (colby and cheddar)
$3.99 - hotdogs (wow, I forgot I bought these; they're in the freezer)
$0.71 - cucumbers
$8.38 - mahi mahi (half a fish; I couldn't resist)
$3.98 - brown sugar; two packages
$3.99 - pizza cheese
$1.09 - 2 packages salad dressing mix for the crackers
$3.19 - bread flour
$2.98 - 2 cans anchovies
$8.78 - 2 pounds puff pastry (for the pears)
$2.29 - white sugar
$8.99 - shrimps (I think we must've been entertaining this day)
$5.00 - 2 pounds butter (yeah, I know. I really do go through a lot of butter)
$3.78 - 6 cans tuna in whater
$3.88 - whole pumpkin
$6.99 - 8 pound bag valencia oranges

subtotal: $136.35

Golden Grain (this is a Russian grocer by my house):

$5.35 - various chocolates
$4.07 - salami
$3.99 - cheese
$2.99 - cookies
$5.60 - I don't remember
$1.26 - fresh halva

subtotal: 23.26

also, there was another bag of flour somewhere in here, but I don't know where the receipt is for it. Generally this is $3.19, though.

total: $208.16

That's pretty much insane and unacceptable. Although we do entertain about once a week, there is absolutely no reason for us to be spending more than $150/month tops. So, this must be fixed. But now y'all know, since I don't like to hide my nonsense from you. :)

Friday, November 04, 2011

Food Waste Friday

Oops. I missed last week entirely, haven't I? Sorry about that. I've been crazy the last few days (couple weeks), with the semester and also with working stuff out for my wedding which is on the 19th (are y'all surprised?). I'm doing the food, so that's kind of been something I've been paying more attention to (and my homework, of course. Y'all know how I'm always doing that).

Anyway, for this week and last week, I'm pleased to say I had absolutely no food waste (see? Even when I don't remember to post, I do remember to keep track of what's happening). Tomorrow, I'll put in my receipts for the last two weeks.

Also, I found my camera. In my gym bag. Did I tell you that already? So pictures of the food should be forthcoming once I get that in the works again (the cooking of things you haven't seen yet, I mean).