Keeping your food budget down in inflationary times — here’s a great example

I’ve written about how important it is in these inflationary times to plan your weekly grocery shopping trip or trips based on weekly sales. So I loved coming across this rather long piece on BuzzFeed: I Feed My Family Of Five For $120 A Week — Here’s What A Week Of Groceries & Meals Looks Like For Us.

Pre-planning your shopping can save you significant dollars, as seen on this receipt of mine.

The author is a mother of three form Colorado. She mentions that her weekly budget has gone from $100 to $120, a 20% increase. And she reiterates my point, writing, “I start by looking at my local grocery store’s weekly sales so I know what items will get me the most bang for my buck. This first step has become more important than ever to my planning and budgeting lately.”

There’s a lot more to read, take a look and let me know what you thought of it in the comments here.

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Pandemic Food causality — Trader Joe’s High-Fiber Cereal?

Healthier foods — that is those low in salt, fat and sugar, have been disappearing off store shelves during the pandemic, as I wrote here. By now though, you’d think we’ve seen the last of disappearing healthier foods. Not quite.

Fiber One has more fat, calories and salt than TJ’s High-Fiber Cereal, but today it was my only choice, at $6.99 a box, more expensive than TJ’s as well.

I went to two different Trader Joe’s in the northern suburbs of Chicago today only to find they had no Trader Joe’s High-Fiber cereal. At both, I was told it was not available at this time. That’s been a code in the past for times Trader Joe’s was dropping, like its salt-free marinara sauce.

The manager at the second store I visited, in Glenview, Il., told me it would be back in a day or two. I wondered where he would put it since the cereal section of the store has shrunk and been moved to the very back. There were no empty spaces for high-fiber cereal there.

I was forced to go to a mainstream supermarket and buy General Mills Fiber One, which has twice the fat and almost twice the salt per serving as does Trader Joe’s. It claims to have more fiber but getting that at the cost of more salt is not a trade I wanted to make.

We’ll see if this is just another case of a store ending sales of a lower-volume, healthier item and blaming the pandemic for it.

July 4th’s gone, but Labor Day is jsuta round the corner — here are some Labor Day side dish ideas

You can tell I’ve been holding onto this piece for a few months, 4th of July Sides from CookingLight.com. It’s early August as I write this and Labor Day is looming at the next big family cookout day, so why not take a look at some of these for that meal?

A simple approach, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.
A simple side dish, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and wonderful olive oil.

As always, be careful about salt, fat and sugar content. Just because a dish makes it into a magazine that’s talking about “light” cooking, whatever that is, does not mean it is watching salt, fat or sugar content.

A recipe like Creamy Black Pepper Coleslaw has fat and salt in it. Not a lot you might say. But think of it as one part of your larger meal, the salt and fat can add up fast at a traditional American cookout.

I’m more likely to make sides with things I’ve grown during the summer, like tomatoes and green beans. Check out these side dishes I’ve written about in the past.

Don’t open that freezer door — not for these four foods you that should never freeze

Ever try freezing raw veggies? Don’t.

Freezing foods we buy on sale can be an economical way to stock up on deals, especially during these inflationary times. I’ve posted about that, just click here to read it. But not every food can be frozen. Just take a look at 4 Foods You Should Never Put in the Freezer from Myrecipes.com.

I’ll end the suspense for you, the four are whole eggs, soft cheeses, raw vegetables and milk/yogurt (ok, that’s really five but whose counting? Not Myrecipes.com apparently).

“To be clear, it (freezing) doesn’t make the milk or yogurt unsafe, but generally it will separate into thick chunky pieces suspended in watery stuff and is super unappetizing,” the article states.

When it comes to veggies, “if you freeze a raw vegetable, the process will expand the water in its cell structure and burst the cells. The result: soggy, thawed produce that will feel like its overcooked. For better results, blanch your vegetables for about a minute in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to stop the cooking,” the piece advises.

That said, the same site did say it’s ok to freeze tomatoes, I blogged about that but have not tried it yet. I suppose maybe it knows tomatoes are actually fruit?

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