Someone asked me this week how to stay within a grocery budget while still shopping for real food. Organic food. Local food.
It’s a great question.
One I have pondered before.
One way is that i start with a pretty generous food budget in the first place. We budget about $800/month (yikes i know and we almost always go over!) on food and grocery type items, that includes eating out and toothpaste and toilet paper, but not easter basket candy or birthday presents. Right now these differences sometimes mean that I have to divide my items into different piles at the store, using different cards to buy the different piles.
Annoying, I know. Budgeting is one of those detail-oriented tasks that I sometimes drive myself crazy trying to perfect. Every year i have a new system (this year’s system is 4 different cards) to meet the new year’s budget better than I did last year. I like to think I get a little better at this every year, but some years are just harder than others.
I suppose that just like everyone else, we go up and down with budgeting and financial matters, but one of the ways I am trying to bring the food cost (and waste) down at the chino house is to make some of the things I am used to buying in a package.
Since reading through More with Less, I am realizing that I probably shouldn’t ever buy a bag of tortilla or pita chips again. I could make them.
I haven’t gotten that far yet but I have now twice made my own whole wheat tortillas for quesadillas and I am amazed at how very easy it is.
It’s like making your own pizza dough, it seems daunting until you get used to making it part of the routine. Pretty soon you have the recipe memorized and you just start throwing it together.
Yesterday afternoon I turned the music up and enjoyed every step of the process towards a meal I love so much. Black bean and cheese quesadillas with lots of onions, garlic, salsa and guacamole. So so good.
Now I have more than a little way to go on getting these perfectly round and uniform, but they taste great. I made double this recipe for our family which was just enough.
whole wheat flour tortillas
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
2/3 cup water
Combine flour, baking powder and salt. stir in the oil and water all at once, using a mixer or fork. toss quickly and gather dough into a soft mass.
Turn onto floured surface and knead just a few times. divide dough into 8 balls.
Dredge in flour. Roll each dough out to about 7 inches in diameter.
Place tortilla in ungreased, hot cast iron skillet (on about medium high). Cook 40 seconds on each side. (first side should be pale and sprinkled with brown spots before flipping.) Repeat with all the balls of dough.