Updated: Jan 5
In 2023 I’m resolving to save $1,800 to spend on a trip to a life changing destination. I don’t know where, but I know how I’m going to save this money! I’m going to plan my meals, shop from a list, and store food safely.
Plan my Meals
Weekly I’ll sit down and make a list of 5-7 dishes I can make using fresh, affordable ingredients. Then, I’ll add the ingredients to my shopping list. I’ll look through my cabinets and pantry for items I already have or that could replace an ingredient I already have. For example, eggs can often be replaced with baking powder or ground flax and warm water.
Shop from my List
Before I go to a grocery store, I’ll stop by a local farmers market. It might be a little more expensive, but the items are fresh, so they’ll last longer! (Check out the Produce Perks Program to see if you qualify for assistance.)
At the grocery store, I’ll shop the perimeter to get my fresh ingredients and then hit the aisles with staples like flour, peanut butter, and herbs. I’ll try to avoid the aisles with snack or “entertainment” food so that I can stay focused on saving my $1,800 for a dream vacation.
Store Food Safely
At home I’ll start by putting meat in the freezer that I won’t use in the next 2 days. I’ll store my fruits and vegetables as recommended on the food storage guide here and then I’ll pack away my dry goods - putting fresh items in the back and moving older items to the front so they are easier to access.
Bonus: Share the Bounty
After I make my meals, I’ll need to store food safely so I can eat it over a few meals. I’ll store food in shallow containers in the fridge or freezer. Shallow containers cool more quickly which will reduce bacterial growth and help food last longer. If I have extra leftovers that I can’t finish before they go bad, I’ll share those with friends, family, and neighbors. (Looking for more opportunities, volunteer at a local pantry- find opportunities here).
Wasted Food Stops With Us Vegetarian Chili (V, GF):
1 cup beans (we used red beans for our version)
1 cup green lentils
1 cup red lentils
3 cups water
1 additional cup of water
3 cups stock
4 medium tomatoes
2 jalapeno peppers
2 cloves garlic
1 red onion
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup apple cider (blog coming soon)
1/4 cup vinegar (we used apple cider vinegar)
2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
*More water can be added if items look dry
Bring water and stock to boil, add beans and lentils.
Reduce to a simmer, cook covered for one hour.
Bring one cup of water to boil, add cinnamon stick and let steep for 10 minutes.
Heat skillet, add 1 tbsp. olive oil.
Chop onions and garlic, add to skillet.
Chop tomatoes and peppers (removing chili seeds to reduce heat) and add to skillet.
Add apple cider, vinegar and cinnamon water.
Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat until the beans and lentils are ready.
When the beans and lentils are soft and tender, add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil.
Serve, or store covered in a refrigerator over night.
*If your water boils off before the lentils and beans are ready, add another cup.
**If your chili looks thick, add more broth, water, or cider.
***Letting the chili "mellow" in the fridge for a night is a great idea!