In our discussion last week about how we are handling the increase in food costs from inflation, many of you said you buy in bulk at Costco.
You inspired me to go to Costco, and while I was there, I noticed the delicious rotisserie chicken was still only $4.99 I bought the bird, and ate it for the next two days - lunches and dinners. Then I gnawed on the bones!
Have you found ways to eat healthy despite this awful inflation?
What do you recommend for healthy and less expensive alternatives for our meals?
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Get some friends together and share the cost of buying the whole cow: https://www.bastropcattlecompany.com/half-and-whole-animals
Emily - I agree with the cowshare idea - assuming you’re still in DC, it might be worth checking out Farmhouse butchery in Tightsqueeze, VA (seriously, that’s the name - it’s an hour south of Lynchburg). We’ve been buying from them for 3-4 years now, it’s the best grass fed beef that I’ve ever had. We don’t eat any other beef at home, and we drive an hour + from NC to buy 25 or 30 lbs of their meat, three times a year. (I have no financial or any other connection to them other than being a devout evangelist for their grass fed beef). Also, think like Grandma did, save the chicken bones from Costco and make stock - save veggie scraps and trimmings, toss them in a ziploc in the freezer and throw it all in a stock pot when you’re ready.
I agree with the bulk buying concept. BJs Warehouse Club is what I have instead of Costco. Not much difference. Steaming frozen vegetables instead of dealing with canned can be healthy. It's also not too hard to throw together a nice lettuce salad using salad mix. Rotisserie chicken already cooked is a decent idea. Otherwise, it's true that sometimes using the food staples of long surviving cultures such as rice, beans, lentils, and maize can really help. Refined sugar products should be used extremely sparingly. Unrefined sugars such as coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, and pure honey are much better. I am not into stevia myself but I am aware it's natural. As for oils, olive oil works best. Sunflower oil can be used for stir fry. Peanut oil is something that should be used sparingly but is excellent for french fries. And plenty of water based fluids. Soda is guaranteed to cause more thirst and problems. Kool Aid... not recommend. Artificial sweeteners... I hate them because they rot my cerebrum. I may sound like a health nut but I'm actually not. Oh...ocean seafood is better than freshwater fish. Food processor should be a part of your equipment. So should a good skillet and a good steaming system.
We grew up poor. A common meal that I remember from childhood that I enjoy to this day is salmon and rice. A can of boneless salmon, pan fried with onions, and pepper to taste with rice.
Biden idiocy proof satisfaction.
One staple I've not seen get outrageously priced is oatmeal. A bowl of oatmeal, flavored up with some honey and cinnamon, plus a cup of coffee gets my day going--simple, fast, easy, and nothing processed about it.
We don't have a Costco in my town but we do have Sam's Club. They still sell a large rotisserie chicken for $4.99. I do very little of my grocery shopping in regular grocery stores anymore. It's just too expensive. Although prices have gone up, on many items, at Sam's, they seem to be raising them slower than the big chain supermarkets.
I just wanted to inject a little humor and state that nobody needs a chicken that lasts that many meals, and we need to pressure the government to ban assault chickens (or at least expand background checks for the purchase of assault chickens).
Hunting! There are even ranches that let you "hunt" a buffalo. For $2,000 you can shoot a 3 yr. old bull that gives you packaged meat at $8 a pound, 500 pounds of it. No antibiotics, just healthy buffalo meat. They are cheap because they are able to survive the harsh prairie conditions vs. cattle which will drop calves in a snowstorm! And it's fun if you aren't opposed to hunting.
Survival videos on rumble, YouTube or books.. https://thesurvivalworld.substack.com/p/easy-tips-to-start-homesteading-now?r=ykqw5&utm_medium=ios
Small garden here🥒. (Cherry tomatoes are especially easy to grow, for beginners). GRILL your vegetables for a change up. Zucchini, peppers, onion, garlic, tomatoes tossed in EVOO with S&P as your main dish with a delicious grilled protein as a side. And perhaps, a wine.
I like to browse the market before I buy anything for the best prices & quality produce. I like Eco-Friendly Foods at DuPont for high quality pork & chicken; salad greens for salads; herbs (my apartment has an herb garden now.) I’m sure the meat is more expensive now, but the prices were good in the past for grass fed meat. Check the weekly WF specials online for your local store. Some WF’s have a rotisserie chicken special once a week. I started stocking up on sale items like Primal Kitchen vodka pasta sauce. The WF’s product line is also a good value. The Kirkland Olive oil at Costco is a good buy. It was recommended by several chefs. Let me know any of your favorite places in Baltimore.
Rotisserie chicken is definitely a value meal. The local grocery store always has them and they’re delicious. It’s around $6.60 IIRC but still cheap. For now 😉
Well, you pretty much blew my plan to wait by your trash can to grab the bones from your chicken!
I shop at the farmer’s markets. Baltimore has a couple of good markets and several farmers offer free delivery to my apartment building. The DuPont Circle market is my favorite in DC. Trader Joe’s is another great grocery store to save money. I don’t purchase the produce prefer farmer’s market I have Amazon Prime for extra savings for sale items at Whole Foods. I buy flour at the Bob’s Red Mill outlet.
Buy staples now and store for the future. With inflation, everything now is effectively on sale compared to the future.
My personal fave is broccoli soup, but the nice thing about the Vita Mix is that you can put in what you want. Some people taste certain veggies more sharply than others, so you may want to experiment - and know that even if it isn't perfect, you can tweak it, rather than have to call it a loss. Another one I like a lot includes tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, celery, onion, spinach, and garlic, or you can do cream of tomato, spinach, cucumber, potato, , corn, pumpkin or avocado soup. I also like to do, in my slow cooker, something I call chicken chili, which I've done a few times but without any recipe; I just kind of made it up as I went along. One time I took the cooker with me on an overnight trip with a friend who is super picky about what she eats, and she loved it. I can make it next weekend and let you know what I put into it if you'd like to check that one out too.
Do you like smoothies? I make one (recipe from VM recipe book) with cranberries, celery, an orange, banana, and a carrot (I think that's it but I'll double check if it seems like something you'd like to try). It sounds weird, but it's REALLY flipping delicious. I can smell (and sometimes taste) the celery more, and it doesn't bother me but my son's not in love with it. Also, blueberries are great at covering the taste of stuff you want to include but don't exactly love, or don't want a really sharp taste of (e.g. avocado). There's also a great tortilla soup recipe that one can make with or without chicken.
Oh, re: the smoothies: you probably know this already but also for anyone else: for the bananas you can buy the discounted ones that are starting to go brown. Then just peel, toss in a baggie or other receptacle and freeze. Or do this when you see you aren't eating your bananas quickly enough.
I would break down one right away, if you haven't already. You may be better at it than I, but I've found that no matter how well intentioned, I opt for something else in the course of those few days, and the chicken just isn't as yum as when you first get it. I'd probably keep it in the fridge for no more than two days. It's a tad more challenging to tear the meat off when it's not hot, so you can throw it into a pan and heat it up a little, then put on a pair of plastic dishwashing gloves (I keep a pair just for this) and then just tear that sucker apart. Then tear up the bones and you can use some immediately to make broth, and save some for next time (if, e.g., your slow cooker is small, like mine). Enjoy!
I tear apart the bird and put the meat (that I'm not going to eat right then) in a bowl, or freeze, depending upon what I'm going to do with it. Sometimes sandwiches or wraps, sometimes with salads, other times in slow cooker soups, for example. (These slow cooker soups, btw, often get divvied and frozen for lunches or meals when mom is not home.) When I get down to the bones I immediately make broth with them so that everything gets used.
As for those vegetables, Emily, you can use them up in soups that you can freeze - I use a Vita Mix, which makes doing soups so easy it's not even funny. That way you can get veggies cheaper and worry less about wasting them.