What We Spent and What We Ate: Playing Catch Up

I’m still lamenting the demise of my Nikon, which quit on us a few weeks ago.  These ipad pictures, especially when they’re of sausages, remind me of these faded plastic menu boards I saw on every sidewalk in Eastern Europe in the 80s. Everything is kind of the same color.  The communist sausage pictures were often done in bas-relief, though.  I kind of like the aesthetic, but it’s unappetizing.

The temperature has finally fallen below 80 (72 today), so we’re cooking up lots of hearty winter meals, some with shockingly high alcohol content.  Here’s the last two weeks.

What we ate:

Sunday: roasted beets and potatoes, andouille sausage and cabbage deglazed with cognac 

For several years, I’ve looked to The Flavor Bible, a gift from my brother, whenever I have lots of ingredients and little inspiration.  This week I came across this under the “cabbage” entry:

Cabbage often has the connotation of being heavy but in the fall, we’ll make a fine chiffonade of cabbage that’s very light.  I like to cut cabbage thin and roast it in a pan so that the edges just get brown because that tastes really good.  We figured that out by mistake by putting cabbage into too hot a pan.  After the chef raised his voice about how that is the wrong way to cook cabbage, we tasted it, and it was good!  We now serve a green cabbage dish cooked this way with caraway seeds and walnuts, then deglazed with Calvados.  WE also add a little cider vinegar and olive oil to finish.  It is a nice, easy marriage.

-Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern (New York City)

I wasn’t about to spring for a bottle of Calvados, but I did stop at AJs and pick up several little bottles of interesting liquor.  Those little airplane bottles are perfect for cooking–you get to try different flavors without spending much money.  I deglazed the pan with some ginger cognac and added some chopped apples.  I have never enjoyed cabbage so much.

Monday: quiche with bacon and greens, and a garden salad

Tuesday: venison chili and jalapeno corn muffins

My mom gave us some venison from her freezer–a friend had given it to her.  We made the chili about half beans and half meat and it worked really well.

Wednesday: orecchiette with tuna puttanesca and a salad

We tried last week’s orecchiette again.  This time I had lots of help.  Pat made an amazing sauce in about 20 minutes.


Thursday: chili with squash and sweet potato muffins

I got some organic squash on sale at Safeway.  It was called confetti squash or Mardis Gras squash or something.  It sucked.  I added it to the chili to change it up a little and it turned to mush.  It thickened the chili to a gross paste and the kids wouldn’t eat it.  They liked the muffins I made with all the leftover sweet potatoes, though.  I used a recipe from Fast Paleo–I substituted butter for the applesauce, though.  Paleolithic man didn’t know what he was missing.


Friday: Leftover chili.  Again.  Next time I’ll remember to freeze it.  

What We Spent:  We spent $224.90 on groceries.  We couldn’t make it to either farmers’ market this weeks, so we had to make do.  I went to Safeway twice on Friday because they had the deal where you get a $10 off coupon if you spend $75.  I spend as close to $75 as I can and then go back again.  With coupons, specials and the $10 offer, I saved about $100.





What We Spent and What We Ate: Last Week


Saturday: beet greens vegetable lasagna with a beet salad

I’ve been having fun using beets and beet greens in the same meals.  It seems especially thrifty to me.  This was good–the beet greens were great in the lasagna and the beets were lovely roasted, chilled and served on a bed of baby lettuce.



Sunday: dal and carrot salad with flatbread.

The dal was ugly, but tasted okay.  I should have used red lentils. The carrot salad was delicious–the kids really liked it even though it was a little spicy.

My new favorite Lee Lee Market discovery is Masala Craft Malaysian Style Whole Wheat Roti Paratha.  You simply cook them in pan on the stove like you would a tortilla.  You can find it in the frozen section with the naan.  I always keep frozen naan for dinner emergencies.  From now on, I’ll be getting this flatbread, too.




Monday: carmelized onion and salami pizza and broccoli, brussels sprout and kale slaw

I made this pizza dough the same day–it could be made ahead, though.  And it could be made for the previous night’s dinner and baked as flatbread to go with the dal.  I love the idea of one dough–two meals, but I didn’t have time to actually do it.  Click the dal link on Sunday’s dinner for a corainder flatbread recipe.

I’m hooked on this packaged salad mix from Costco–it has kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli and other green things in it.  Skip the dressing, though–too much sugar.




Tuesday: tofu pad Thai

This Martha Stewart recipe is good, but remember to use our method of cooking tofu.  You cube the tofu, put it in a bowl, pour boiling water over it and let it sit for a few minutes.  Then fry it in coconut oil until it’s golden brown.



Wednesday: beef bourguignon and mizuna salad with pomegranate dressing

We’re now using the more difficult meat from our steer.  This week was a few pounds of shoulder steak.  Pat used a whole bottle of wine (as marinade and braising liquid) and you could taste it.  Yum.



I also got another chance to use my pomegranate concentrate (I used it a couple of weeks ago for a lamb stew).  This time I made a salad dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, honey mustard and pomegranate concentrate.  The salad was just mizuna from the farmers’ market and some apples and pomegranate seeds.  IMG_0781


Thursday: salmon and simmer sauce with couscous and broccoli—10 minute dinner

I got a free jar of Safeway Select Sesame Ginger simmer sauce at when I bought some pasta sauce.  I used it for this very quick dinner.  It was very, very, very sweet and high in sodium, so if I ever get it again I’ll only use a 1/4 cup or so.  The kids loved it, though and Ikey ate salmon for the first time in years.  I might try putting sugary syrup on other fish/meat to see if he’ll eat them.


Friday: spaghetti squash with mushrooms, roasted fennel and sausages

I layered spaghetti squash (cooked until just tender), tomato sauce, and sauteed mushrooms (two layers) in a baking dish, then topped it off with parmesan and baked it until it was brown on top.

Roasted fennel is the easiest thing ever, but it seems really special.  You just slice it, put it on a cookie sheet and toss it with a little olive oil, salt and pepper (and parmesan if you want).  I roast it until the edges are starting to get black–the crispy parts are the best.



What We Spent–Oops:  We spent $80 at the downtown and Town and Country Farmers’ markets.  We didn’t get there early enough to buy eggs, though.  This made me sad.  We went way over this week. Total: $247.14.

reciepts 12:1


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