Tuesday, April 19, 2011

#lowcarb Shopping at Sav-a-Lot, Part 1

I haven't focused much on the "cheap" part of "cheap'n'easy" lately. I used to post my shopping receipts, and occasionally I still do post the cost of the recipes; I really need to do that ALL of the time, but usually I'm either so excited about a recipe, or in a time crunch, so I don't bother to do the math. But if I'm as serious about the "cheap" part - and I am! - then I need to commit to that...

Anyway, one of the ways I keep the grocery budget in check is by shopping at Sav-a-Lot. Yes, their prices are also rising as are everyone else's but they're still the best deal in town Let me take you on a "shopping trip" with me around the store, so I can show you what I buy there...

Our store starts out with the produce aisle. I pick up whatever looks good to me at the time, because their selection varies. But I often grab stuff for salads (either bagged mixes or head or romaine lettuce, depending on if there are red stickers for discounted produce on them), rutabagas and/or turnips when they have some, onions, tomatoes, occasionally potatoes (for company but I indulge occasionally in a well-buttered baked potato), a sweet potato or 2 (for my grandson and parrots), and squashes. What I choose is dependent upon prices/sales/discounts, what I already have at home, and my own mood. Sometimes I go for several weeks without wanting salads, for example. So yeah, my mood comes into play here.

Next is dairy. I have been getting a gallon of milk each trip for my grandson, although I will probably start getting powdered instead due to radiation levels in milk; always 3 dozen eggs since we go through them quickly, full-fat cottage cheese, yogurt (they only have low fat so I don't buy it often, or only if they have plain to use as starter for my own batches), ricotta cheese, cheddar/italian/colby-jack/swiss cheeses either in blocks or shredded, full-fat cream cheese, butter. I have to say their butter has no junk in it, just dairy butter - more than I can say for most brands.

On to the meat department - past the processed meats where I toss a package or 2 of smoked turkey breast for hubby's lunches for work, and he occasionally grabs a package us hot dogs or smoked sausage. I must say that Sav-a-Lot has great meats! I have prices in my head that I won't go beyond: $1/lb for chicken, $2/lb for pork, $3/lb for beef or fish. But most times I find meats with the red discounted price sticker on them, and buy it all. (In fact, at any supermarket except Walmart, whose preservative-injected meats I don't like, I will buy their entire stock of red-stickered meats if they look decent, and are a true value.) And I can almost always find meats that fall under my personal spending limits at Sav-a-Lot!

Then the frozen foods: mostly we get fish and vegetables here. Sometimes they have "deals" on chicken parts that I will get, and sometimes something else will appear in the freezer that I pick up (as a treat, for example, pricey egg rolls will come home with us - at 9gN per, they're not an overly carby treat, but since they contain things I don't typically eat they aren't everyday fare)...but I don't spend a whole lot of time in frozen foods. But also on this aisle are the porkies in several flavors, and the peanuts which my husband likes.

Lastly I will go up a couple of aisles to pick up some other things I like to have around the house: SF pudding mix, canned tomatoes/paste/sauce, ranch dressing, mustard, mayo (but I'm probably going to start making this myself), SF jelly, spaghetti sauce, coffee, bottled water, Ole wraps, and occasionally a spice or seasoning.

As you can see, I get the bulk of my groceries from Sav-a-Lot. And if that was the only store I could use, I'd do just fine staying low carb and having lots of variety. I'd miss a few things (such as heavy cream) but could make do.

In the past I have had Sav-a-Lot's prices memorized on the things I typically buy there. But now that the prices are changing (rising!) from month to month I can't quote the prices out of my head anymore. So the next time I go to Sav-a-Lot I will take notes and post part 2 :).

Simply Amazing Squash Casserole #lowcarb

I had about 10 smallish yellow squashes in the fridge that needed to be used up, so yesterday I read a bunch of recipes for various casseroles and other dishes using it, just for ideas. Of course many were carby but that didn't matter because I'm so used to converting recipes that when I see the words "bread crumbs" I think "crushed porkies and parmesan".

This was GREAT as it was but next time I think I will mix yellow squash and zucchini, just for the color since it looks a little bland. I also might add some diced tomato (with the seeds and juices squeezed out) for more color - wouldn't that be LOVELY? And if I added some sort of meat - sausage or bacon or ground beef - it would make an excelent one-dish meal as well!

Anyway, here's what I came up with to go with the meatloaf (ground beef and sausage, egg, onion, seasonings, pork rind binder), and we loved it SO MUCH that we're going to plant some yellow squash this year! Yeah, really!

10 small tender yellow squash, washed and cubed
1 medium onion, cut into smallish chunks
1 c. mozzarella/provolone crumbles (from GFS)
S & P to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1 egg
1 c. full-fat sour cream
1/4 c. heavy cream
"bread crumbs" (2 parts ground porkies/1 part parmesan out of the can, plus 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)

Toss together the first 3 ingredients in a large, well-greased casserole dish; add S & P and garlic powder, toss lightly, and set aside. (NOTE: I salted this fairly heavily with sea salt.)

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the next 3 ingredients until well-blended; pour over the squash mixture evenly; cover.

Bake in a 375 oven for 1 hour; remove, lower heat to 350, uncover, top with "bread crumbs" and return to oven, uncovered, for 15 minutes more for some of the liquid to evaporate, and "bread crumbs" to brown. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

This is my first - but definitely not last! - time making this, and I'm looking forward to tweaking the recipe a bit with the additions I mentioned above. If you try it and tweak it, I'd love to know what you do and how it turns out, so I can try it too :).

Monday, April 18, 2011

REALLY?!?!? #lowcarb

Um...NOT! This is part of a diabetic recipe video from the Texas Diabetes Institute, Universal Health System on YouTube. Which makes it even...well, sadder...