Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Think, create and save

In a previous post, I mentioned that in this hard times making a groceries list is not only quite useful but actually indispensable in any monthly budget.

It may sound easier that what it indeed is due to the fact, that we should have in mind this points (in my case at least):
1º; tight budget
2º; diversified meals
3º; a number of elements that is not overwhelming but still enough to combine in different ways creating many recipes.
4º; the time available to cook during the week
5º; food that may be re-heated and/or frozen

Being aware that once a week I dine at work, and that many times I truly appreciate a toast and some fruit or an yogurt, or even just soup (vegetables, grain, rice or pasta – freeze and use whenever the will to cook is non-existent). This saves me the work of some meals, allowing me to only have to think about 3 different recipes that will further then create 6 meals. Along with one or two leftovers I can always make a salad, an omelette or a tortilla and “voilà!” the week is done.
However, restrained when cooking there is always some leftovers that may and should be re-used. Actually combined with something else (found either in the fridge, freezer or kitchen garden) can create a completely new and delicious meal.

Examples:
- baked or roasted potatoes (to make tortillas or in a fish cake)
- rice (use cold in salads)
- fish (fish cakes or cold salads)

Last week I optioned for a (jardineira), a quiche, and roasted fish with boiled potatoesA semana que passou optei por uma jardineira, um quiche e um peixinho assado no forno com batata nova cozida e depois de fria envolvida num molho feito com iogurte de soja, azeite e sumo de limão, cenoura ralada, azeite, sal e pimeta-preta-

For this week, I thought about:
- Roasted fish (vou para o robalo, mas pescada ou red fish caí igualmente muito bem …) along with couscous.. de legumes verdes (brócolos, ervilhas e courgette)
- tortilla with onions, tomato, potato, tuna and a lettuces salad and lastly fruit.
- grilled fish with some pasta, carrots, broccoli and abacato (all cold – I really appreciate fresh salads during spring) wich I mix with an yogurt sauce.

Normally it is when I’m in the underground on my way to work that I take notes for future recipes and ingredients combinations. It´s when I write down things I like others that I read in books, saw on YouTube, TV programmes, restaurants I´ve gone to, etc. This way, it becomes easier to versify on my meals and the 45 minutes underground ride flies. 

We should think in a restrained way when the theme is food and what we eat. In other words, we should not bite off more than we can chew whereas it is while doing the groceries shopping or after, during the meal itself. The obesity rate is only increasing and we can never be too careful when it comes to health.

It is really helpful to have in mind a picture of what it is we pretend to cook during the week in order to make your supermarket list. It is cheaper to buy weekly instead of daily or even monthly. When buying monthly, there is always the tendency to buy more than what is actually needed and it’s simply harder.

At home, I like to have a minimum stock of products. I only buy exactly what is needed. Obviously that, just like my dear mother taught, I always have a group of products that suit many recipes like rice, pasta, some canned goods (grain, beans, tuna), basic spices, cheese, eggs, bread (many times in the freezer) and fruit.

It all seems very restrict and thought of and it is. It has to be so. Money doesn’t grow from trees and I like way to much to travel and spoil myself with some woman treats. Moreover, I still have bills to pay, a new baby coming and savings to do. Therefore, reflecting so much about the supermarket time is a must.

Perhaps, writing so much about something that is so of commonplace to many of you is an exaggeration. But, when recently I came across the information that in Portugal 40% of the monthly spending’s go to the supermarket I though it shouldn’t be as high. That is why I decided to write about some tips and techniques that may help decrease such number.

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