Please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die please don’t die . . .
Tag Archives: food
. . .And I’m ok with that. I had to have a box delivered to myself at work, as the contents are perishable and I can’t have the money I spent being ruined as it patiently awaits my arrival home. The contents of said box? Cheese.
Mozzarella stretching curds, to be exact. You see, I’m part Italian, a heritage that requires a constant infusion of olive oil, basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella (in various combinations) for me to remain stable. I’ve recently planted some basil and tomatoes to sustain that need more cheaply. Now the curd comes in–12 pounds of it, to be exact.
Making your own mozzarella at home is super easy (it requires hot water and curds. That’s really it, unless you feel like getting fancy.) and it saves a ton of money. A small package of mozzarella at the supermarket costs around $8 (for the vacuum packed mozzarella balls, which is the only way to have any flavor from purchased mozzarella). I paid $4-something/pound for the curds, and they’ll make about 24 of those little balls (maybe more . . . I haven’t been real scientific in my measurements).
I bought so much because I can freeze it and have fresh mozzarella whenever I need it. Frugal . . . and fantastic.
(A post with pictures on making it at home is forthcoming, as soon as I remember to put batteries in the camera and take pictures)
[Edited to add: They stopped making fun of me after I made some at work for them to try. Ingrates. 😉 ]
Obviously, the cheapest lunches are those you bring from home. And by this I do not mean those you bring from home in a little cardboard box that you pulled out of the freezer.
When planning meals for the week**, it is always a good idea to plan things for most nights that are “leftover-able.” Typically, this includes meals that:
- make more than one serving for each person (and by this I mean more than the person will eat in a given sitting, not more than the recipe claims it will serve). This is especially difficult, as Spouse tends to eat a lot.
- make good leftovers. I refuse to eat reheated seafood. Salads also do not age well, unless you pack a separate container of lettuce and such before putting your dressing on. That said, usually by the next day I want something more substantial than a salad.
- fit in with your own personal quirks about what you will and will not eat again (see above re: seafood and salads).
I try to plan for meals that are substantial and will make for good meals as long as possible. In the winter, this includes a lot of stews, chilis, and soups. In summer, it’s pasta salads, quiches, beans dressed up in various gourmet costumes, and other culinary delights that usually make the most of the fresh produce.
Another tip for saving money on lunches is to work in a place that is surrounded by vast fields of emptiness in every direction, for about 20 minutes. If my work were not near a Noodles & Co., Chipotle, Jimmy John’s, or myriad other problem places, I would save a lot more money myself.
**What, you don’t plan meals for the week? That is the subject of another blog post for later. Suffice it to say you should be doing this. Just know going in that for one or two of the carefully planned nights, you WILL call your husband/wife and tell him/her that you want Chipotle instead, budget be damned. That is ok. It’s the other nights that make up for it.
. . . means that in the three years that Spouse and I have lived in our home, we’ve never lost power. Never. This is despite the best that Michigan has thrown at us. We assume it has something to do with the fire station, but we could be wrong. Working under that assumption, I say a little “thank you” every time I go by it. You see, part of my frugal living strategies includes freezing a lot of food. We purchase meat in bulk from local farmers, I buy flour in bulk whenever I can get my hot little hands on a sale, and leftovers or big meals go right into the freezer to be pulled out on a lazy night sometime in the future. I’ve become inordinately fond of these food stores . . . I haven’t quite started referring to them as “my precious-es”, but sometimes I come perilously close. If I were to lose power for a long time, it would be quite detrimental to both my mental state and stomach. So if someday you find me in my garage dishevelled, sobbing, and with an armful of dripping, smelly food goods . . . you’ll know our luck finally ended.