So, this week’s tip could be shorthanded: Maintain control! I was staying with my friends for much of the first half of June, and I did most of the grocery shopping (they paid me back!) but remembered how hard it is to do this zero food waste thing when all the members of the household aren’t pulling in the same direction. Since I am normally a household of one, I only have to get my worst instincts in line with the rest of me, which is much easier than corralling an entire family.
Now that I’ve been home for a bit, though, I seem to have forgotten how to plan and shop altogether! I made a stunning number of trips to various stores over the first six days I was home, starting with two stops Tuesday night and finally finishing with two stores Sunday. Sheesh. Also, I spent a *ton* of money, more than I usually spend on two weeks’ worth of groceries! That’s partly due to stocking up on some very expensive things, but partly due to not having thought through things ahead of time, and having to pick up extras of stuff I could have bought cheaper in bulk. Next week, back on the horse.
I’m going to write down every grocery stop I made here because, seriously, ridiculous. I spent like a drunken sailor this week — a drunken sailor who really, really likes kale.
Tuesday, Whole Foods
Feta cheese, $5.99
Sweet potato, $1.22
Baking powder, $1.29
Whole wheat flour, $3.99
Brown sugar, $3.99
Peanut butter, $2.00
Wednesday, Meijer (after I remembered I’d agreed to host a small meeting; I made hummus, brownies, and lemonade with mostly ingredients I had at home already, and served the cherries from Tuesday night’s shopping trip and the pita chips along with those things)
2 cans chickpeas for hummus: $1.70
2 bags pita chips: $3.99
Olive oil: $11.99
Wednesday, Whole Foods
Total: ?? I’m guessing $10
Saturday, Farmer’s Market
Saturday, Martin’s (grocery store)
Dried dates, $5.38
Sunday, Whole Foods
Strawberries, $9.99 (huge steal — this is three quarts of local organic berries)
Pine nuts, $19.99 (I know, I know. This is an entire pound of them. This bag should last two years in the freezer, maybe three, depending on how often I use them. By the ounce, it was less than half what smaller quantities cost.)
Grand Total: $138.57 (approximately, because I don’t have that WF receipt from Wednesday)
That is insane. Seriously insane. Even if we call this two weeks’ worth of food, which it more or less is, I overspent what I’d normally allot for that by about $40! Note how I misjudged how much milk I’d use and had to buy it THREE TIMES (this is because I ate a lot of cereal this week). Also, I did not need to buy quinoa, sweet potatoes, yogurt, feta, or pecans this week — haven’t used any of them — although they won’t go to waste as I’ll be using them in the coming weeks. The real culprits here are the fruit (cherries and strawberries are substantially more expensive, and much less sturdy, than my go-to apples in winter) and the olive oil and pine nuts. Oh well. As long as I tighten up next weekend I should be able to get through the rest of June on the cash still in my wallet ($50) plus all this stuff I now have in the pantry. And no matter what I’ve been eating this delicious salad so it’s hard to quibble too much with all the expenses.
Kale, Avocado, and Date Salad
I cut this out of a Martha Stewart magazine a while back and it’s really, really good. It claims to serve 8, but that is obviously as a small side salad; when I make it, I get either 2 or 4 servings out of it, depending on whether or not I’m having toast or an egg or something alongside it, or whether it’s the whole meal. I’ve adapted it very, very slightly (less oil, basically).
1 bunch kale, preferably lacinato, stemmed and cut into thin strips
1/4 c olive oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c toasted pine nuts [I didn’t have these the first time I made this this week, so I used sliced almonds instead. It worked ok, but definitely wasn’t quite as good, so if you have pine nuts definitely use them, although other nuts will work in a pinch. I think pecans would be on the sweet side and go oddly with the parmesan, so if you are using pecans I’d swap out the parmesan for crumbled chevre and maybe leave out the avocado.]
10 dried dates, sliced into thin strips
1 avocado, peeled and cut into small pieces
2 oz parmagiano reggiano cheese, in thin strips (I use a vegetable peeler)
a pinch of sea salt
Once you’ve stemmed kale, it’s easy to slice — stack the leaves (you don’t have to do a neat job) and roll them up in a tight bundle. Then cut with a sharp knife like you were making slice-and-bake cookies. You’ll get long thin strips that are perfect for salad.
Toss the kale and pine nuts with the olive oil and lemon juice, also a pinch of sea salt. Then add the dates, avocado, and cheese, and toss again, gently. Grind a bit of black pepper over everything and you’re done.