One month in and still going strong! I have more of a challenge as instead of a weekly shop, I have to make last Saturday’s last through next Tuesday, since I’m leaving for nearly a week then and it’s pointless to shop again this coming weekend for only a couple of days. That means stretching produce out over the course of nine days (Saturday morning through Monday evening.) So this week’s tip is about that, plus my normal grocery list, plus a flexible vegetarian dinner recipe.
No-Waste Food Tip #3: Substitute Sturdier Produce
A huge problem in terms of food waste for me has always been produce that doesn’t hold up — being a single person who can only eat so much doesn’t help there! Having a good fridge does actually help, as the kind of cheap fridges you often find in rentals seem to let things go bad sooner. But there are other things you can do to help and I’ll be covering some of them as the year goes on, especially “how to store stuff” tips. This is more of a shopping tip though. The original barley-bowl recipe below called for “arugula or bean sprouts” but I was worried that neither of those would hold up for a week. Instead, I bought kale, which is less delicate and ought to stretch out for a while.
Weekly Grocery Shopping
This week was on the expensive side; partly that was because I had to buy some household supplies, partly it’s because I did a little stocking up (butter was on sale, a pound for $3, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get two), and partly it’s because the recipes I chose for this week feature some relatively expensive ingredients (bacon, cheese) and I also got a little indulgent with my dried fruit which I put in my oatmeal. Normally I buy raisins, which are cheap, but I just ran out and decided to get dried wild blueberries (mmmm). Then it turned out the store was out of the raisins I normally buy! Maybe the truck driver is trapped in a winter storm? So I picked up some dried cranberries instead which are also more expensive. But whatever, I think this is going to be a cheap month overall so I don’t mind spending a few extra dollars on this week’s shopping trip.
Meijer (regular grocery store)
1 lemon, $.79
1 lb dried pasta, $1.34
dish soap, $2.39
dried cranberries, $2.49
dried blueberries, $3.99
toilet paper, $5.99
Total with tax: $39.28
Parmegiano cheese, $7.24
baby kale, $3.99
feta cheese, $3.46
blackberry oatmeal scone, $1.99 (it’s tradition at this point)
Total with tax, $26.22
Grand total: $65.50
California Barley Bowl
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks (which is a wonderful blog if you don’t know it)
This is a another really flexible “put in whatever you want” kind of recipe. You could start with another kind of sturdy cooked grain, use whatever vegetables you like, skip the dressing and stick a fried egg on top…. I got all the ingredients together on Sunday (cooked the barley, toasted the nuts, made the dressing) and then assembled bowls as needed every night, chopping up my avocados as I went. I got six servings out of it and it made me feel soooooooo healthy, I can’t even tell you.
6 cups of cooked barley
4 cups baby kale (or arugula, or bean sprouts, or some combination of other greens & sprouts)
1 cup combined toasted sliced almonds and pepitas (or whatever nuts you have on hand; I think pine nuts would be good as part of the mix here, maybe walnuts depending on what vegetables you use)
about 1/2 lb crumbled salty cheese (I used feta; original recipe suggested cotija which I’m sure would be wonderful but which I can’t find here. Use queso fresco or farmer’s cheese if you want a fresher, milder taste. I think a really young fresh goat cheese would also be a lovely choice although I’m not sure the yogurt dressing would work in that case and I might go with olive oil and lemon juice instead.)
salt (1/2 tsp or to taste, BE CAREFUL)
2 c plain yogurt
zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
optionally, 1/4 c chopped chives or other herbs (I didn’t use anything)
Mix all the salad ingredients except the avocadoes; shake up the dressing ingredients (checking carefully on the salt/lemon juice levels); dress the salad, then top portions with avocadoes. Voila!