Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Massive Shopping Trip

Today's shopping trip encompassed a lot of firsts. It was the first time in 4 weeks I went shopping (no, not even little runs to corner store for milk or produce). It was the first time in a really long time that I spent this much money in one go. It was the first time I went grocery shopping since I did my calculations to figure out the true costs of different foods. It was also the first time that I bought organic food. So my shopping pics and list will reflect that.
Because I didn't spend any money on groceries in the last 4 weeks, (Ok, confession, I actually spent 10 dollars 3 weeks ago, but nothing aside for that), I saw no problem in spending extra this shopping trip, especially as I plan on having this shopping trip be the only one I'll be making for the next 4 weeks. Some of the stuff I stocked up on should last us well over 4 weeks. But, before I tell you the total, because I know you'll gasp, let me first show you a picture of today's shop.

Now for the shocking total- $192! But- just look how much food there is over there! And, being as I got enough food to last us for 4 weeks, and I last went shopping 4 weeks ago and spent 65 dollars then, this averages out to $32 for groceries each week. So doesn't look so bad now, does it?

So, what did I buy and why?
Flavorings and Spices:
Dried parlsey. ~1 ounce. I ran out, and dried parsley is much cheaper than the fresh.
Dried corriander. ~.5 ounce. Ditto.
Cinnamon sticks. 2. We're out and I needed this for a recipe.
Whole cloves. <1 ounce. Ditto.
Mustard seeds. 3 ounces. I was looking all over for this, and every place I saw it being sold was in tiny little bottles that barely held more than a tablespoon and cost a fortune. Fortunately I found these mustard seeds for $5.70 per pound, and again, because they're light, I am able to get a lot for my money.
Fenugreek seeds. 5 ounces. I use these to make a delicious and uber nutritious dip. It's very high in iron, and because it expands a lot in water, you end up with lots more than you started off, making this $2 a pound seed even cheaper than it appears.
Vanilla sticks. 3. I tried making homemade vanilla extract a while back but it never became stronger than vanilla vodka, even after sitting a while. I decided to add some more vanilla sticks to the mix, and hopefully now it'll become real vanilla and I won't be tempted to buy that fake chemical stuff or the very expensive real vanilla extract.

Dry Goods
Sugar. 22 pounds. I know this is a lot, but much of it will be going to feed our kombucha. Also, I don't want to run out of sugar because we use it frequently, and since I won't be going to the store for another 4 weeks... 
Pasta. 12 packages. It was on sale if you got 4, so I got 12 so we wouldn't run out.
Quinoa, red and regular. 2 packages. Because this is just about the healthiest starch you can get, not to mention chock full of protein. So what if it $3 per pound. Ok, it is expensive, but I'll explain in a future post why it's still worth the money.
Rissoto rice. 2.2 pounds. I use this to make sushi  instead of more expensive sushi rice. I plan on making sushi for my family as a treat one day soon.
White flour. 5 pounds. Though I'm using mainly whole wheat flour, I like to have some white on hand for some recipes that need to be lighter.
Split peas. 2 pounds. It was cheap and split pea soup is perfect for a winter day.
Navy beans. 4.5 pounds. These were on sale and they're one of my favorite beans, so I stocked up.
Cocoa powder. 1 pound. This is so expensive to buy, but even so, it works out cheaper to make my own chocolate syrup and hot cocoa mix with this. We're nearly out and I didn't want to have to make a trip just for this. We've been having hot cocoa lots to warm up on chilly mornings.
Salt. 1 package. We ran out! And you never want to run out of salt!
Coarse salt. 1 package. Again, ran out, and this is very useful for preparing some dishes.

Lemon juice. 3 bottles. Because they were on sale if you got 3, and we're nearly out.
Tamari sauce. 1 bottle. This is quite expensive, at $8.50 per bottle, but I refuse to buy the cheaper variety because it's just msg, a few different food colorings, and artificial flavorings. This summer I'll make my own real soy sauce, but in the meantime, I'll buy this, no matter how expensive.
Wine. 1 bottle. Cheapest kind there is.
Grape juice. 2 bottles. Cheapest kind there is.
Sunflower oil. 3 bottles. Soy and canola oils don't enter our house because of health reasons, and olive oil is too expensive for every day use. Coconut oil and sunflower oil are the oils of choice in our house because of health reasons. Fortunately, I've been able to find sunflower oil at the same price as the soy and canola.

When I got to the meat department, I was excited to see that many things were on sale. Unfortunately the insanely cheap fresh on sale chicken wings were finished before I got a turn, but I saw chicken breast, chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks, whole chickens, and beef roasts on sale. 
On first glance, the chicken legs seemed like the cheaper option, but upon plugging in the numbers from the chart I made, I was able to see that even with a higher original price, the chicken breasts were a much better deal. I really stocked up, and skipped the chicken bottoms entirely. The whole chickens worked out to be more expensive than the breasts (but still cheaper than the legs), so I only got one of those. 
The price of the beef was the same as the price of chicken breast, and since it also has no bones, it ends up being cheaper still than the sale price for chicken bottoms!
Chicken breast. 9 pounds
Beef shoulder roasts. 2 hunks, altogether 5 pounds. 
Whole chicken. 1 huge one!
Chicken gizzards. 13 pounds. These are always the cheapest meat, no matter what. I decided to stock my freezer with them.
Chicken wings. 8.5 pounds. As the second cheapest type of chicken, I stocked up on these as well. Don't want to run out of meat during the next 4 weeks! 

I got a ton of meat, but I expect it to last me more than 4 weeks- probably at least 6 or 8 weeks.

Tomatoes. 2.5 pounds. These weren't on sale, but I got them on request from my husband. They weren't outrageously expensive either, fortunately.
Onions. 5 pounds. Loss leaders selling for 12 cents per pound.
Hot pepper. 1. Going to make salsa, hopefully.
Grape fruits, ruby and yellow. 3 grapefruits. Loss leaders for 12 cents a pound.
Oranges. From the reduced rack.
Bananas. 3.5 pounds from the loss leaders, and some more from the reduced rack.
Cabbage. 3.5 pounds. Loss leader. So excited- this is the first time it was on sale so far this season. I missed cabbage!
Fennel. 2 pounds. Not on sale, but still in season, so a relatively decent price. I had a specific recipe I wanted to make with this.
Beets. 3.5 pounds. Ditto.
Fresh garlic. 4 heads.
Carrots. 6 pounds. These were loss leaders, and as root vegetables, they last a while, which will help me stretch the time between my shopping trips and still have fresh veggies.
Radishes. 4.5 pounds. Ditto.
Oroblancos/sweeties. 6 pounds. These were loss leaders and are one of my favorite snacks.
Kohlrabi. 4.5 pounds. Loss leaders, last a while, and they're one of my favorite veggies.
Red potatoes. 7 pounds. I love red potatoes! They rarely go on sale though, which is why I snatched them up when I saw they were 12 cents per pound. Yes, I know they're one of the veggies on the dirty dozen list, but maybe the organic other stuff that I got canceled that out? I know, I'm just wishing, but oh well.
Mushrooms. 1 package. No reason. I just wanted it.

Health Foods
Yogurt. 1 container. I plan on making my own yogurt; I just need this as a starter.
Butter. 1 large package. Because everything tastes better with butter. And because it's a great source of fat soluble vitamins as well as having many other health benefits.
Stevia leaves. 2.65 ounces. This is my first time ever buying stevia. I'd read about it, how it is a zero carb sweetener that is found in nature, not made in a lab (like splenda and aspartame). I don't know if I'll be buying this all the time, as its quite expensive- $22 per pound- but I figured I'd try it out. According to what I read, you end up using less of it than you would sugar, but we'll see. I just decided that my family was eating too much refined sugar, so maybe stevia could work as a replacement, at least some of the time.
Shredded coconut. 11 ounces. Though some might view this as a splurge and unncessary, knowing what I do about the health benefits of coconut, I try to keep this in stock in my house at all times. Fortunately, coconut is very light, so even 11 ounces goes a long way, making it not be such an unfrugal buy, even if it does cost $2.40 per pound.
Flax seeds. 10 ounces.  Ground flax seeds work as an egg replacement in many recipes. Flax seeds are also chock full of nutrients. Ground flax seed costs much more than the $1.90 per pound I pay for the whole seeds, so I buy these and grind them myself in a special attachment on my blender.

Organic adzuki beans. 8 ounces. I've never cooked these before, but I decided to get them because they were organic and were only $2.29 a pound, and knowing what I do about how beans expand tremendously when cooked, I know I'll get my money's worth with them. After seeing a documentary plus reading up about the pesticides in our food, I decided that if I could fit some organic foods into our budget, I will. Adzuki beans are the first step.
Organic mung beans. 5 ounces. Because these were organic and only $1.78 per pound, I couldn't pass them up. I'll have to try making them in ways other than just sprouting them, because I wasn't thrilled with how my mung bean sprouts tasted when I tried them last.
Organic buckwheat. 1 pound. This wasn't so cheap, but it was organic, it was on sale, and it's very nutritious. I decided to get it.
Organic brown rice. 5 pounds. Again, not so cheap, but  it was organic, it was on sale, and it's more nutritious than white rice.
Organic navy beans. 2.2 pounds. I did the math, and even though these navy beans at first seem more expensive than meat, once you calculate the amount of end product you get from these organic beans vs end product from meats, these expensive organic beans are still cheaper by far.
Organic chickpeas. 1 pound. Ditto.

Wow, this list took forever to type up! It's huge! No wonder it cost so much!
Do you think the amount and types of food I got was worth $192 dollars? Or do you think I overspent?
Have you ever bought organic stuff? What did/do you buy and why? I bought these things because they're what the store sold that was organic that I would have bought anyhow. Don't believe in buying organic cookies...
What did you buy this week? What's the longest you've gone without visiting the store at all? Do you think I'll manage to go for 4 weeks?

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