Frugal cooking begins with frugal shopping

The Bountiful Baskets site closed down in our area, so for the last 10 months I’ve sadly been doing without. However a few months ago a friend who decided to make the trek to the next nearest site in the city offered to pick one up for me when she goes. I was grateful for that, and several times in the last few months I’ve once again received a wonderful basket of goodies. I truly miss the variety of foods, known and exotic. Satsuma tangerines, champagne grapes, jicama…all unfamiliar to me and unavailable in this area. As a matter of fact, the Satsumas were available for the first time in the US thanks to BB. As for the known foods, the word “bountiful” is not a misnomer. Last time there was a blueberry add-on and I bought a flat. There were 12 half-pints in it and after giving a few away, I ate every single half-pint within a few days. I could live on berries and tomatoes for the rest of my life.

My friend lives 10 miles up the road, pretty close to the city. All she needs to do is get on the highway and she can zip in. It is further for me, so I don’t go. When she returns to her home town I am there waiting at her nearby local convenience store to pick up the basket she got for me in the city. It works out. I’m so grateful for friends who offer to do things like this.

Speaking of friends, another one emailed me, alerting me to the fact that our local grocery store’s weekly special included blueberries this week. Usually a pint costs $4, but on sale they were $2. I will definitely buy a pint of delicious blueberries for that price. I was glad she’d let me know. I had not planned on doing a grocery shopping this week.

As it was, when I got there, various other items were on sale. I stuck to my guns, and bought only things on sale, and emerged with a good load of groceries for $19. The baguette that was $1 would be a bit stale, but Ill turn that into bruschetta with fresh basil from my herb garden and garden tomatoes a friend at work gave me. The cottage cheese on sale was an item I’d normally buy. That is the hard part about sales. You have to remain conscious of your usual habits and refrain from buying items just because they are on sale. Only buy what you use.

By sticking to mainly what was on sale or marked down, I saved nearly $7. I bought a variety, including protein, fresh fruit and veggies, bread, and a treat in the creamer.

The Deli/Bakery item is a marked down baguette. I used the bread to make bruschetta with garden tomatoes a friend gave me, with my own home-grown basil.

Anyway the other point of this essay about frugal living, besides buy what’s on sale if you’re really going to use it, is friends. In the pioneer days, and in the Depression,people depended on one another. Each person had a skill or a favorite food or was particularly good at growing thus and such. They keep each other in mind and swapped. That is what we like-minded friends do now. We keep an eye out for each other, remember what we like, and sometimes just pick stuff up at the store for each other unasked.

Friends and sharing make frugal living easier. Not only financially, as when I shared blueberries with a friend or another friend gave me the tomatoes, but emotionally, We are all trying to make it. It is nice to know there are like-minded people out there, and also that there are people looking out for each other.

As a side note, I have to say I love living in Georgia where there are home grown tomatoes already!! Here is a photo of my bruschetta, with honey lavender hot tea.

The back story is I came down sick during car rider duty yesterday, fever, chills, and when I got home the fever that had been 101 spiked to 103+ and hung there. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a high temperature as an adult. It was a little scary.

This morning I felt better and the fever was back down to 99, but this afternoon it’s back up over 100. However, I haven’t eaten much in the last two days except for a scrambled egg. With fresh tomatoes on the windowsill I cannot hold back any longer. I made bruschetta, with freshly picked tomatoes from a friend’s garden and fresh picked purple basil from my herb pot.

You brush the bread with olive oil, grill or toast, and meanwhile cut tomatoes very small and place in strainer to drain. Toss with a bit more olive oil, salt, and the basil. Top the bread with it while the bread is still hot. Who needs chicken soup when you have tomatoes?!

The baguette I bought was marked down to $1.19 because it was the expiration date. As time goes on and the bread gets staler, it will make even better bruschetta, since you need a hard bread to handle the juicy topping. Another thing the Italians do with older bread is make panzanella, a bread and tomato salad. A recipe for that one is here.

The lesson here is to be frugal with your shopping but never be frugal with your friends!


2 thoughts on “Frugal cooking begins with frugal shopping

  1. “…be frugal with your shopping but never be frugal with your friends!”

    I love that philosophy! For years I barely had two nickels to rub together and friends who shared from their gardens were such a huge blessing. Now it is my joy to be able to share generously and I am so thankful to bless others as I have been blessed. We need each other!

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