Don’t be fooled. I know it and you know it: food prices are rising with no end in sight. The recent edition of Kiplinger Magazine (August 2020, which I read for free, online, through my library) states that food prices have recently risen nearly 6%. Being that most magazines are 30 days away from reality, I would put most food prices rising twice that percentage. Try 12%! True we can seek out alternatives to what we normally buy (such as replacing beef with beans…..yeah! right!) but try as we might, we sometimes just have to bite the weenie (no pun intended) and just cough up the extra money.

screen shot of recent Kiplinger’s article on rising food costs.

Some of the techniques I’ve been using to keep food prices down is just add water to most everything liquid. Yes, I’ve been watering down milk, juice, broth, smoothies, soups and just about anything else I can get my grubby little hands on. Nothing, and I do mean ‘NOTHING‘ gets thrown away. If I have to hold my nose to gobble food down my throat, into my gut, well then, that is what I do.

Yesterday I found this unopened container of low-fat cottage cheese in the very back of my refrigerator, with an expiration date of 7/20/2020. It’s August 1st already and way past any ‘use by’ dating system. Nonetheless, I put the entire contents of the expired cottage cheese into my Kitchen Aid mixer, added two eggs, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, vanilla extract, 1/2 cup of sugar, the remains of an also-expired container of plain, Greek yogurt (around 1/4 cup) whirled everything around till fully blended, poured the entire contents into a ready-made graham cracker pie crust (.85 cents), baked all at 350Fdegrees till slightly brown on the edges and no longer wobbly, and voila’:

Breakfast, lunch and an occasional dinner dessert has been served! Delish!!

Thank goodness for my garden! It’s starting to harvest just in time. We’ve been enjoying broccoli rabe, green beans and now cucumbers, bibb lettuce, zucchini flowers and the actual vegetable!

Bibb lettuce growing right outside my door!

For the first time, I’ve picked some zucchini flowerettes and cooked them using an old Italian recipe (a batter similar to tempura but you add in minced garlic and parmesean cheese). Some recipes call for stuffing the delicate flowers with mozzarella cheese, capers and/or ricotta cheese blended with an egg). I didn’t stuff my flowers as this is the first time I’ve ever tasted them. They were, however, delicious nonetheless!

I also grated a whole zucchini and made fritters out of them. That recipe you can find here. The batter is a bit thicker than the flower one. Needless to say, both dishes were superb! later on this week I’ll be baking a zucchini bread/cake and sauteing up the last of my zucchini with onions and making a frittata (eggs and lots of parmesean cheese)

Next, I am going to address the high cost of meats, especially beef. While I understand the sense of replacing beef with beans, realistically that’s not 100% healthy…..at least for us. We have to have beef a minimum of at least once per month. That’s not a lot. We either get it through a steak, a hamburger (hand made by us) or in a stew or a soup. I don’t care what people say; beef keeps you strong!

I usually watch the weekly flyers. Most times Shop Rite or Adams Fairmarket Farms (local to my area only) run sales. Adams is local beef and slightly expensive even when on sale ($9.99 a pound, porterhouse steak). Shop Rite fares much better (commercial grade beef) at $5.99 a pound, porterhouse or NY Strip steaks, with a 5 pound limit per person.

This week, Shop Rite advertised a sale starting Sunday 8/1/20. I knew to get there as early as I could, which turned out to be 11AM. There was a line leading to the steaks. And by the time it was my turn, there were only 2 packages left, so I grabbed them. (I spoke with the in-house butcher. He wasn’t putting out any more steaks until tomorrow. He was done for the day!) Nonetheless, I was VERY appreciative of what I could muster. The NY Strip steaks were beautiful as well as amazing! I could only get 6 steaks. Hubby and I are contemplating going back for more (now that I have my freezer, I can stock up!) I also picked up a 3.5 pound of chopped meat @$3.99 a pound. Hubby and I will form this into hamburger patties and store them in the freezer for a quick, future use.

I bought a few more items, ALL on sale, such as sour creme, grated cheese etc. My total savings came to $35.02. So, rather than spending $108.42, I spent only $73.40. STILL super expensive, but I have at least a few months beef supply.

I made two steaks on the grill when we got back from shopping (served with a side salad of romaine, my cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and a Martha Stewart recipe for authentic Greek Dressing, click here. The feta cheese is blended into the dressing. Yum!) I was able to freeze only 4 steaks and the hamburger meat. That’s why we may have to head back, super early, to get a few more steaks. We’ll see. I really do NOT want to spend any more money on beef right now.

Lastly, every grocery shopping spree ends oftentimes with people buying a bunch of flowers, usually in season. I used to be guilty of that but no more. This year, I purchased 3,000 (that’s three thousand!) zinnia seeds from a foreign company (through Amazon) for only $3.50. My zinnias, although quite lovely, are starting to bloom BUT they are 4 feet tall! I had no idea they would grow that high!! Nonetheless, a bouquet of zinnias at Adams cost $6.99 a bunch. Mine cost me pennies and are just as lovely. (plus I have tons of seeds to last me for the next 4 years!)

Just trying, as best as I can, to make my retirement life, under a pandemic, as blessed and as wonderful as possible!