22 August 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #6

#6: Where's the Beef?

Today (thanks to my job cutting back my hours) I was able to enjoy a small pleasure I usually just see on my way to work: The Grand Lake Farmer's Market where I also scored this great eggplant at the right. I've always found farmer's markets to be a lovely experience. Although it's mostly touted as something that White people like, going to the Grand Lake market illustrated that it's anything but. I found a very diverse group of people, both sellers and buyers. And though there is a certain "crunchiness" to the farmer's market crowd, there was also different spirit that I saw there. It wasn't about pretentious, vegan eaters but people who just wanted good, fresh food.

I've always had a pretty healthy and diverse diet. I don't obsess about what goes in my mouth but I do take note of it. As the amount of money in my pocket dwindles, I've had to make some hard choices but I think I've also found a nice balance of fresh and wallet-conscious items.

1. Ramen:
I came back to this after many years of disdain because my house-sitters left behind a few packages when they left. Instead of turning up my nose, I decided to combine my fresh veggies to the mix and to go easy on the "flavor packet" that's included in the package. I used my own spices and topped it all off with fresh cilantro and a few basil leaves.

2. Beans:
I tend to get a lot of my protein from meat. I'm a carnivore to the fullest, but beans are a good way to get protein and are much easier on my budget. So instead of eggs and bacon, this month I'm going to try eggs and black beans.

3. Fresh Herbs:

A lot of people are afraid of getting fresh herbs because they don't last very long. After walking around the farmers market (I always do a full lap around before purchasing anything), I found the best deals on basil and cilantro ($1/bunch) and to help them keep in the fridge, I've placed them, stems down, in glasses of water.

4. Sweet Treats:
Each month, I treat myself to a "sweet treat". Last month, it was a box cheesecake (because it freezes, I still have some left). This month, it's mango slices. Mango slices can also be frozen and they're great with hot sauce, a trick I learned from my friend Kira.

Before, I used to spend about $100 per month on groceries, and now I'm trying to bring that amount down to $50. That means eating at work (luckily my job contracts with a company that makes healthy school lunches) and cooking more at home. Hopefully, I won't have to skimp on taste and flavor just because my wallet is skimpy.

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