Tuesday, 3 April 2012

What We Spent Feb. 27 - April 1

Last month was a tough one.  It forced a choice between groceries for the fridge or gas for our car and we had to give up a number of other “optional items.”  Despite our best efforts to cut back, we still spent more than we wanted to.  I’ve come to the conclusion that this will be the trend.  Food prices are increasing and there’s precious little we can do to change that.

It’s the start of a new month, and a new month’s food budget, and I’m feeling more challenged than ever.  Our options seem to be diminishing.

Here are some changes we’ll be making this month:

Rice and beans for breakfast at least twice a week.  They’re not traditional breakfast foods in our part of the world but rice and beans for breakfast makes good sense.  They’re a good source of protein, fibre, B vitamins and iron, and stodgy and filling enough to make a satisfying meal that will carry us through until lunchtime.  Rice and beans are also less expensive than prepared breakfast cereals and, unlike porridge, they don’t require the addition of dairy products at serving time.

More foraged food.  The first wild greens are growing now.  Dandelion greens, nettles, and watercress are all available.  I’ll also be looking for morel mushrooms.  For us, foraging also includes clams and oysters.  They're available on the beaches right now but should not be gathered in the warm weather months.  (A good rule is to gather mollusks only in months whose names contain the letter “r.”) 

Growing and using more sprouts and micro-greens.   Sprouts and micro-greens are quickly and easily grown indoors.  Food safely issues surrounding sprouts from commercial growers are not a concern if sprouts are grown using proper care, and the nutritional benefits are huge.  Homegrown sprouts and micro-greens are much less expensive than salad greens.

Starting a garden.  We had our name on a waiting list for an allotment garden but there were far more requests for gardens than there were plots available.  We didn’t get a garden but we’ll continue to keep our name on the list.  In the meantime, we’ll be planting salad greens, herbs, and tomatoes on our balcony.  

My brother and sister-in-law have been kind enough to offer us garden space in their yard too.  We’re going to plant potatoes and peas there this week and prepare some planting space to use for other vegetables as the weather grows warmer.

Planting a garden does require an investment of both time and money but the return is worth the effort.  We've some money set aside in our planned spending account for just this purpose so, provided we don't exceed the amount we've budgeted for our garden, we consider this to be money well spent.  

Since we have limited garden space available to us, we try to focus on planting things that are not readily (or inexpensively) available to us in our local markets, and on greens that benefit from being eaten as soon as possible after they are picked.  

We’ll see if these changes have any effect on our bottom line in April.  In the meantime, here’s what we spent between Feb. 27 and April 1:

Feb. 27

.4 kg/87 lb. red onion

.42 lkg/.92 lbs zucchini
Feb. 28
.625 kg/1.38 lbs rutabaga

1.055 kg/2.33 lbs bananas

.505 kg/1.1 lbs  tomatoes

4 litres/4.23 quarts canola oil

4 litres/4.23 quarts 2% milk

soda crackers

1 loaf Chelsea bread

2 x 920 g/2 lbs coffee

20 kg/44 lbs high protein white flour (for bread)

500 grams/1.1 lbs cocoa
Mar. 4
250 ml/8 oz whipping cream
Mar. 6
Good Food Box pre-payment (2 boxes)
Mar. 9
4 liters/4.23 quarts 2% milk

800 grams/1.76 lbs aged cheddar

1 kg/2.2 lbs frozen peas

1 kg/2.2 lbs frozen green beans

200 g/7 oz plain yogurt
Mar. 14
4 liters/4.23 quarts 2% milk
Mar. 19
.205 kg/.45 lbs crimini mushrooms
Mar. 23
4 litres/4.23 quarts 2% milk ($3.83 in gas coupons redeemed)

200 g/7 oz plain yogurt

250 g/8 oz cream cheese
Mar. 25
10 British bangers (sausages)

2 kg/4.4 lbs brown sugar
Mar. 28
.83 kg/1.83 lbs yam

4 liters/4.23 2%milk
Mar. 29
200 g/7 oz plain yogurt

1.255 kg/2.77 lbs bananas



Correction:  I forgot to enter the purchase of 250 grams/8 ounces of cream cheese to the list above.  The cream cheese cost $2.97, bringing our total for the month to $135.59.  My apologies for the oversight.

Photo:  trustssaints.ca

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