Cabbage fits perfectly into the frugal foodie's budget. It's often the best buy in produce aisles at grocery stores and a bargain at the farmers' market. I prefer local varieites because they're sweeter than grocery store versions, which taste starchy, possibly because the cabbage in grocery stores is old. I'm not saying I never buy grocery store stuff, but it's cheap and it's a trade off with flavor and possibly nutrients. You get lower quality, but it can still be good in cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, stir frys and casseroles.
Grated cabbage salads are one of my all time favorites. And salads call for cabbage with more flavor--the kind of cabbage you can only find at farmers' markets in Seattle. 101 Cookbooks had this great version of coleslaw made with lime juice and peanuts. Who knew lime and peanuts with coleslaw would be so good? I made this coleslaw a few years ago. I guess it's about time for another version.
But first some frugal foodie observations.
|Cabbages at Nash's Organic Produce|
Frugal Foodie at the Market
At the market everything looks so beautiful, it's hard to resist temptations, especially if like me, you're trying to shop on less these days. Check out this ginger at Mair Farm. Katsumi Taki seems to grow more every year. And it's so good when it's fresh and Mair Farm-Taki has the best ginger around.
I was tempted, really tempted to buy some because I know how good it is, but the $15 a pound price was steep for me this week. Still I may plan for it next week. One way to be frugal and still eat things I like is to write it into the weekly plan. I'd already planned more Mexican type meals for this week, and I couldn't see the ginger going into much beyond the coleslaw. If you can't see the whole picture when you shop, take a road map.
When I stick to my list, none of my purchases are wasted. I mentioned last week that King County was launching a campaign called Food: Too Good to Waste. Ever since I found out about this program, I've reflected on how food choices and budget restrictions make a big difference in food waste at our house. But then, I was also once guilty of buying more than I could use. In fact a CSA didn't really work out for us because it was hard to use all the produce, especially when two or three heads of lettuce arrived in a box
Our 7 day menu board this week looks something like this:
Saturday--Quinoa and Millet Pilaf, Coleslaw, and Tall Grass Bakery sourdough
Sunday --Curried Tofu Stir Fry, Lemon Romano Beans and Tall Grass Bakery sourdough
Monday--Black Bean Chili, salad and corn tortillas
Tuesday--Barbecued Tempeh, Balsamic Broccoli, Sweet Potato Fries
Wednesday--Southwest Vegetable and Red Bean Pie with Polenta Topping
Thursday--Vegetable-Tofu Tortilla Roll-Ups with green salad
Friday---Split Pea Soup, Sauteed Kale and Garlic, Cornbread
Yes I do splurge with Tall Grass Bakery after all everybody needs something special.
My goal is to keep each dinner below five dollars and have it generate food for lunches and sometimes breakfast. I may not know exactly whether we will have Romano beans or broccoli, but depending on weekly specials I can adapt. Meatless Monday just continues through the week at our house, but it still takes a bit of work to learn how to use what you have in your own refrigerator.
If you want soup-making tips for frugal meals, check out my tips for Marlene's Market and Deli this month.
One of the problems with food waste in this country is we're practically programmed to want something new all the time. That's why a menu board can be so helpful when planning and trying to use up odds and ends. It doesn't have to be a chalkboard, but that's on my wish list now because they're cool.
|This is a kind of savoy cabbage from Willie Green's Oranic Farm in Monroe|
Remember your weekly menu when buying. This may save you from wasting money and tossing food out at the end of the week.
Frugal Foodie at large
Ever since I learned about Food: Too Good to Waste, I'm continually shocked by food waste all around me.
On our weekend walk we saw lots of tomatoes that needed harvesting. Let me just say this is no way to treat a garden. These tomato plants appear to all have blight (that's why the leaves are black) but these neglected plants are also loaded with ripe tomatoes. Why so people make a big effort to plant tomatoes in the spring and when tomatoes finally arrive, no one cares? If these are your tomatoes, they are probably still good to eat so please pick them.
|This untended garden made me want to weep.|
My Cooking Assistant would never let a carrot or cabbage leaf go to waste. Perhaps every home should have a hound dog food disposal system. Everything but onions, raisins, chocolate and anything with Xylitol for the dogs.
Quick and Easy Coleslaw
2 to 3 tablespoons Italian salad dressing
2 tablespoon Nayonaise, vegan mayonaise or garlic aioli
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
4 cups thinly shredded green cabbage
1 cup grated carrot
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chopped tomatoes.
1/4 cup diced avocado
Blend the salad dressing with the mayonaise in a small bowl. Add balsamic vinegar, if desired. Gently blend the dressing with the shredded cabbage and carrots. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
Top with tomatoes and avocado.
|Finn, hovering a little too close to the salad.|
|Quinoa and Millet Pilaf, Coleslaw and Sourdough Bread|