Wednesday, February 18, 2009

How To Skimp On Groceries Without Really Trying.

Things are still a-churning with dear old Wells Fargo. I will keep you posted. I will keep them on their toes, never fear. The truth is, I filed my taxes and I put that account number on for my direct deposit refund, and I don't want that to get lost. So, I have to wait to exit in a huff- at least until my tax dollars are in and I am ready to Start A Savings Account. (Before you get your panties in a knot about how I don't have a savings account- I save 10% of my pre-tax income for retirement, and have done so since I started working real jobs. So chill.)

Moving on to my cheapskate du jour behaviors...

When you view saving money as a competitive sport, getting bargains takes on a new glamour. I went to the 99 Cent Only store last night to pick up some produce, hoping they had some more of that delectable accidentally vegan split pea soup. I was disappointed on the soup front, but instead I spent thirty bucks on an amazing variety of produce and soy milks. I have eggplants, small sweet peppers, cauliflowers, romaine hearts, yellow peppers, asian pears, cremini mushrooms... all manner of luxurious big ticket items. I know they're big ticket because I went to Trader Joe's today for budget shampoo and shaving cream (and cereal and tea and other things that those thrift-stores-of-grocery-shopping don't really carry) and realized that my thirty bucks at 99 Cents would have been at least 120 at Trader Joe's.

I also almost ran over some poor ginger boy with a giant VEGAN tattoo, because, OH HAI. But that's not a story about money-saving. 

Tonight's dinner was a curried carrot soup- 99 cents for the two pounds of carrots, 1.99 for the tetra pack of broth I poured in (when I am out of broth, I will be switching to vegan bouillon- I have the jar and everything and it's like 1/10 of the cost), and a negligible amount for the spices, the canola oil, and the third of an onion. One of the wonderful things, I think, about being la povera is that la cucina povera is so vegan friendly and delicious. I like the challenge of cooking on an itsy-bitsy budget- it may well be the only challenge I like. This soup fed three of us pretty comfortably.

Curried Carrot Soup:
Heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a big, heavy-bottomed pot. Add in some end of an onion, finely diced. If you want, put in some garlic. I forgot to. Add 1-2 Tbsp of your favorite curry powder and some salt. I assume you doctor your curry powder; I add extra cumin, and extra cayenne. Sautee. Let it all get good and dark. Deglaze with a little of the broth- then add the rest. Add the carrots- I had a two pound bag of shredded carrots from the 99 Cent store, so that's what I put in. Cover it, turn it down to a simmer, and cook it for like an hour. When it's close to done, toast like 1 Tbsp of cumin seeds in a very hot dry skillet. When they're dark, grind them up in a mortar and pestle. (They will smoke and smell amazing.) Stir that into the soup, put the whole mess into a blender and puree it, then put it back on to simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Taste. Serve with bread.

I'm up a couple hundred bucks since I started being really anal about my cash. Turns out that I like to spend like crazy on dumb stuff. I FOOLISHLY bought beer tonight, but, I bought cheap beer and it'll last. 

I think tomorrow will be roasted cauliflower and garlic mash, with beery cheez sauce poured over it. Did I mention that I am also trying to lose weight? I suck at multi-tasking.

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