Friday, February 25, 2011

Recipe Spot: Stuffed Mushrooms

This past weekend while we were grocery shopping we spotted some portabella mushroom caps on manager's special for a dollar. We figured "why not?" and scooped them up. Stuffed mushrooms should not be hard, but for some reason I pictured them stuffed with ricotta when typically they are stuffed with a cream cheese mixture. We mixed the ricotta with some basil, garlic, pepper, and the cut up mushroom stems and baked them for about 15 minutes at 350.

The verdict: They were good, but should have been cooked longer, and the ricotta cheese did not bake up all that well. Next time we will use at least some cream cheese to mix in with the ricotta.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Beef on Beef

On New Year's Eve we went to an awesome venue til the wee hours. Actually we babysat and watched movies, but it was pretty cool. One of the movies we watched was Food Inc., a documentary on the food industry in the United States. This movie touches on a lot of different aspects, but one major one is the beef industry and how it has changed drastically in the last 50 years. I won't go into a lot of detail that you could learn from the movie or any variety of other places, but the premise is that the meat you buy costs a lot more than what you paid. Costs like your health, the environmental costs, and costs to the workers who process this product. It's a pretty scary picture.

Now it's becoming more common that consumers are asking these kinds of questions about the products they buy, and we had already been thinking about them ourselves. Of course we could get AJ organic, grass fed, local beef, but at what cost out of pocket? In the past it was too expensive to consider this alternative.

But now that has all changed. AJ recently found out that his co-worker's family had a few head of cattle on a nearby farm and they slaughter periodically for mostly their own needs, but they also allow friends to purchase some of the meat. Okay, that's great, but the cost must be atrocious. Turns out it was less than $2 per pound! That's about what you pay at Meijer - if it's on sale! We were sold. So a week or so ago AJ picked up about 9 pounds of meat for our freezer, which should last almost a year since he's the only one who will be eating it.

The moral of this post is that it might not be as hard as it seems to make diet changes for the better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Cost of Food

It's been a while, all our plans to dutifully regale you with our food escapades seems to have fallen by the wayside. But fear not, we are making some changes to try to make writing posts a quick and painless process.

Just because we have not been posting does not mean we have not been trying some new recipes. Recently we I have been trying to work on my resolution to eat better (meaning less sugar, salt, processed foods, and dairy). It is slow going to say the least. Not buying as many processed foods hasn't actually been as hard as I would have thought, it's just that we get in a rut about what to make and end up eating something high in dairy or pasta and lacking in good proteins.

All of this is going hand in hand with our dutiful project to save as much as possible on our food. I recently came across a book at the library called "On A Dollar A Day" which looks at one couple's journey through a month of eating on a dollar each a day (what many people in the world live on) and a second challenge to live on the average food stamp allotment. This book is really opening my eyes to the challenges of eating healthy in this country on a minimum budget. Food producers make it very difficult to get the nutrients we need because the packaged, processed food swimming in salt and sugar and corn syrup is cheaper than healthy grains and veggies. Not to say that a lot of us don't like the convenience an easy meal-in-a-box provides us. We do this too. Grabbing a box of mac and cheese when we're tired and don't want to take the time to prepare from scratch is lovely when you've been at work for 10 hours.

So from this little soapbox post I am hoping that in the coming weeks we will be able to post more about the price of food (ie. not just the price you pay at the store), making foods from scratch/buying less processed, and sticking to our savings goals.