Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Food Pantry Manifest—Provisions To Live By April 24, 2010

Here’s the list of groceries participating bloggers received of items typifying a share of food provided recently by a local food pantry.  This allotment represents a family’s one month allowance:

2 cans spaghetti sauce
4 cans veggies (choice of green beans and/or corn)
4 fruit cans (choice of sliced pears and/or mixed fruit)
1 meat selection: Anything and everything HEB has. Most of what was available was whole chickens, fryers and pork chops. But we really get everything from pig trotters to ham.
3 drink items: choice of large bottle of cranberry apple juice and/or powdered milk (shelf stable milk) boxes and/or apple juice boxes
1 bag spaghetti or bag of egg noodles
1 bag of pinto beans or white navy beans
1 bag of white rice
1 package of jalapeno slices
1 ready-made dinner (hamburger helper)
1 bag/container of rolled oats
1 bag of cheerios
5 lb bag of potatoes

I see potential here!

spoonful o' oats

We already eat oatmeal almost every morning.  I’ve come up with a method for cooking rolled oats that conveniently yields a less-sticky texture, with the individual oat groats nearly separate.  For my two children and myself (my husband’s not on board for this breakfast), I measure a rounded cupful of oatmeal into my pan and turn the burner on to HIGH.  I swirl in ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon and let the oats toast a bit.  Then I pour in just over ¾ cup water and swirl the pan to distribute the liquid (do NOT stir to achieve this texture).  As soon as I can hear the water steaming, I turn the heat off and let the pan sit there for a couple minutes (my stove is electric).  For the fluffiest texture, you can soak and steam the oats over boiling water, but I find my method a texturally-satisfactory compromise.

Lactating moms appreciate medium-chain fatty acids so in my normal life of luxury I dollop some coconut oil on top.  The kindergartner enjoys honey on his share.  A qualifying food pantry recipient’s food stamp benefits, which max out at $50 per week for one adult, may not leave room in the budget for such gilt, but the canned fruit off the list would complement the morning’s porridge.

I had stocked up on organic bulk rolled oats, quick oats and steel-cut oats when Newflower Market last had a great sale on those items.  We had already eaten our way through the rolled and quick oats (the quick oats I buy for baking but I’ll cook them for breakfast when necessary), and now are working on the steel-cut.  In the spirit of the challenge, and frankly, keeping within my  own budget, I am trying to hold out on purchasing more oatmeal until another sale comes along.  So, steel-cut it is!


weekly specials December 18, 2009

Filed under: newflower market,whole foods — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 2:09 pm

Newflower Market’s offering a great deal on all their bulk organic oatmeal:  rolled, quick or steel cut only 99¢ a pound!  (While supplies last.)  Throw your oats together with Wholesome Sweeteners organic light brown sugar at $1.99 for a 1½ pound bag, add organic butter and local pecans and you’re on your way to baking yummy holiday cookies.  Also on sale are Bob’s Red Mill 5# bags of organic flour:  all-purpose, whole wheat and whole wheat pastry varieties.  Lundberg Farms newest product, organic roasted brown rice couscous, is on special at $1.69 a box (plain, Mediterranean Curry, Roasted Garlic & Olive Oil and Savory Herb).  Shady Maple Farms 1 quart organic maple syrup is still only $17.99 (grade A or B), and with bulk organic walnuts and almonds at $7.99 and $6.99 a pound respectively, you’ll be all set for the season’s sweetmakings.

Update!!!  Whole Foods is selling Organic Valley butter 1 pound packs for $4.99.  Bake those cookies!  WF also has Green & Black‘s delicious organic chocolate bars, assorted varieties, 2 for $5 and local Out to Lunch fresh salsa $2.50 a pint.


clean bags, green bags May 19, 2009

Filed under: newflower market,Uncategorized — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:21 pm

Right now Newflower Market has a few unadvertized specials worth checking out.  Organic Valley heavy cream (my choice) is $2.99 a pint.  Shady Maple Farms organic maple syrup, grade B or grade A dark amber, is only $17.99 a quart.  This is a great deal because maple syrup prices are climbing.  Get it while you can still afford it.  Organic bulk almonds and walnuts are $6.99 a #.  Don’t forget to keep a couple of clean plastic produce type bags in your reusable shopping bag (leave one stashed in the car!).  Then you’re always ready for bulk bargains and small loose produce (think Texas  green beans, on sale at NM for 99 ¢ per #).  If family chaos interferes with your plastic bag washing efforts just throw them in the laundry.  Really!  Air dry them and you’ve saved some plastic.


slow artichokes part 2 May 12, 2009

What do you do with those giant artichokes on sale at Newflower Market (2 for $4, only one more day!)?  Yes, you can cook them in the slow cooker but you gotta cut them in half.  Otherwise you’ll be cooking them longer than you can stand it.  I use a large (6 quart) oval cooker.  Three of these big un’s just fit.

First load up your cooker with:

  • ½ cup white vinegar—Whole Foods (WF) 365 organic is the best buy I’ve found
  • about 6 cups of water
  • some celery leaves if you’ve got ‘em—Finca Pura Vida at Sunset Valley Farmers Market (SVFM) grows gorgeous celery leaves that keep well in the fridge, wrapped in a tea towel and cradled in a plastic bag.  OR a stingy to generous pinch of celery seeds, to your taste.
  • a strip or two of lemon peel—Central Market usually has the best price on organic lemons, not that they’re a bargain, but right now Sun Harvest has them on sale at $2.97 for a 3# bag.  OR if, like me, you bought a likely lifetime supply of lemon oil some years back, just add 12 drops
  • 2 cloves
  • 3 peppercorns
  • as many cloves of fresh garlic as you care for—Hairston Creek Farm at SVFM has it right now. peel them if you can, but don’t frustrate yourself.  Very fresh garlic is hard to peel.
  • About a tablespoon of kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal) or half that amount of table salt (I go for RealSalt and WF sells it in bulk for the best price.

NOW, trim up and rinse your artichokes.  Check for guidance.  Next, stand your globe stem end up and slice it into two equal halves.  Just slice right down with a good sharp chef’s knife.  It’s easier than it looks.  If the baby’s sleeping go ahead and scoop out the choke.  Otherwise just remove that part at eatin’ time.  Cram the artichokes into your crock stem ends up.  Here’s the fun part for Central Texans:

Put the slow cooker outside!

The slow cooker doesn’t warm up the house as much as the pressure cooker (my usual artichoke cooking appliance) or the oven, but why even let that heat in?  Turn it on to High and check your chokes in about 8 hours.  They’re done when you can easily pull out a leaf, no resistance.  Eat ‘em hot or cold and don’t forget to eat the garlic.  We don’t fuss ‘em up further with sauces ‘cause they’re already seasoned.  And portable!