Monday, February 2, 2009

The Bean Solution

Well, I've joined the world of "couponing"*, and there's no turning back.  I admit, I get a kick out of figuring out ways to buy a $4.50 box of cereal for less than $1.00.  I was seen yesterday glaring at a Safeway clerk because she didn't want to give me a raincheck for the incredible soda deal that had already left the drinks aisle barren.  But I've spent most of the day feeling sorry for myself about it.  You see, around here, sugar and refined carbs are unacceptable.  Fats have to be "good", calories have to be low, and everything has to have nutritional value (except for diet sodas, which I don't drink very often and only buy if they're super-cheap).  I prefer to buy organic food for Emily, too.  These are all good things, but they make getting good deals on food extremely difficult.  If we ate nothing but frozen meatballs and Pillsbury rolls, I could feed us on next to nothing.  But we eat only real food, and unfortunately there are rarely coupons for flank steaks or broccoli in the newspaper.  It hurts when I have to pass up $0.17 boxes of pasta because they are not 100% whole wheat.  

I've been wandering around online today, searching for inspiration from blogs, trying to find others who share my plight, and it's quite difficult.  That's a lot of food-related restrictions to try to balance.  But after extensive research, the answer, it seems, is beans.  

They're cheap (even organic), they're healthy, and even better, Emily will eat them (the girl won't touch most least that means I can buy the $1.59/pound chicken breasts instead of the $8.99/pound organic chicken breasts).  I always feel like I should incorporate them into my cooking more, but the problem is that they take planning.  You have to soak them overnight, and cook them all day.  I could always buy canned beans, and I sometimes do, but they're more expensive, don't taste as good, and are not as good for you.  

So today, motivated by a blog I came across where the writer ate mostly organic for a month on a food stamp budget, I am trying a lima bean cassserole (Fassoulia Fourno) for dinner.  This is what it looks like right now:

Mmmmm....nothing like pasty, scummy beans to whet the appetite.

It's supposed to be really tasty once it's finished, so I am cautiously optimistic.  I am not against trying vegetarian meals, but it just seems wrong that I haven't put any meat in it.  

I'll let you know how it turns out.

*No, I do not use this term in day to day conversation, and yes, I hate the way it sounds too.

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