Married to the Empire

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Price of groceries on the rise

I read in The Dallas Morning News today this article about the cost of groceries rising. As anyone who does the grocery shopping has probably noticed, this wasn't exactly news, but it does offer a clear explanation as to why costs are rising.

Reading this really affirmed my shopping strategies. I've become diligent about reading the grocery ads that come in the paper on Wednesdays and cutting the coupons that arrive on Sundays. As a result, I have a nice little number of loss leaders stocked up out in the garage.

I've been a SAHW for over 8 years now, but it's only in the last year or so that I started doing this. Saving money on groceries frees up extra cash to save or spend on something fun. It also ensures that I can spend freely on special things, such as really good fish, crab, or whatever. Several months ago, I spent a ridiculous $22 on all the ingredients for a supposed-copycat recipe of Pappadeaux's crawfish bisque. (Part of the high cost was having to buy a bottle of brandy.) The recipe was a total dud, but because I saved money elsewhere on groceries, I didn't lament the loss of that $22 too much.

We don't have to cut coupons or shop sales, but I think it would just be a waste of Ruf's hard-earned money not to do so. And now that I'm in the habit of it, it won't hit us so hard as grocery prices continue to rise.


Ruthie said...

Oops I can't believe I missed your vegetarian meal request. :-)

My husband and I eat no animal products, and I have lots of meals we've tried on my weblog. I know many people are hesitant to try veggie food at first, and we used to be ones of them!

I suggest finding a veggie burger you really enjoy. Russell and I love Amy's Chicago and Texas burgers (we now make our own versions from scratch). When we first met we lived off those, but they are quite pricey.

I also suggest TVP. Amy Dacyczyn discusses it in the Tightwad Gazette. We buy TVP crumbles at our local health food store, hydrate it with equal amount boiling water, and mix with taco seasoning packet and Rotel to make a yummy taco filling that non-vegetarians like. We also make chili with it, chili seasoning, kidney beans and canned tomatoes. It is hard to tell the difference. We also add it (hydrated) to bottled pasta sauce. It doesn't affect the taste of the sauce and adds a lot of protein and texture. We eat those foods (spaghetti with whole wheat pasta and TVP in sauce, chili with TVP and cornbread on the side, and TVP tacos) quite often. They are quick, healthy, yummy and easy.

A really great book to look for (and I am almost absolutely sure the Dallas library system has it) is Vegan Vittles. It is one of my first and favorite veg cookbooks. It has recipes for bean burritos, chili bean macaroni, unrolled cabbage rolls, black bean soup, etc. One of the best parts of this book may be a section on page 29 called Alternatives to Protein-Centered Meals. She briefly discusses a few alternatives to your general meat-and-potatoes diet, which would be great for someone wanting to try vegetarian food but who wasn't too into vegetarian mock meats, etc. Her suggestions include: Salad meals, soup meals, baked potato meals, pasta meals, grain meals, and vegetable meals.

Another cookbook I highly suggest is Laurel's Kitchen. It's super old but has been in publication and is still rather popular. It came out when vegetarianism was "new" so it doesn't contain a lot of weird ingredients. Recipes include more traditional favorite like Eggplant Parmesan, Latkes, Stuffed Peppers, etc.

We use The Tightwad Gazette for a lot of our meals. We make her shake and bake for firm tofu (sorry) and potatoes, soy-cheese pizza using her crust and sauce, her create-a-casserole using beans as the first ingredient and homemade white sauce as the binder (made with soymilk), and her universal pilaf recipe with beans or other vegetarian source of protein. She also has recipes for lentil rice casserole (we add tomatoes and peppers cause it's kinda bland) and a universal beans-and-rice dish using a pressure cooker. Her lentil burritos are also great.

You may also want to walk down the canned bean isle in your grocery store. Baked beans, refried beans, Mexican style-beans, Santa Fe beans can all be the protein part of a meal, teamed with tortillas, a yummy bread, potato, or rice dish on the side.

And the classic suggestion, even though I prefer mostly American food, try different ethnic foods. Mexican food is a given (soo many options for beans and rice!), but there is also Italian, Chinese (stir fries are delicious!), Japanese (veggie tempura), Thai (pad thai without the chicken is soooo good), Vietnamese, etc.

And don't forget the multitudinous vegan blogs out there, just check out Bazu's side-bar.

Good luck! :-) But a word of wisdom. It's nearly impossible to MAKE a meat-lover enjoy meatless foods. They have to approach the situation with an open mind and reasonably open palate. But... I bet you know that already. :-)


Ewokgirl said...

Thank you so much!

I think I figured out the main problem; stuff wasn't spicy enough for him. For example, I made this fabulous (IMO) eggplant casserole a couple of weeks ago. I loved it, but he was scrounging in the fridge looking for something else. It was too bland for his tastes. But he loves my cheese enchiladas and a chickpea soup with cumin--all spicy.