Saturday, October 15, 2016

DIY Time - Buying Tips and Burritos

With storms in the forecast, I did my grocery shopping early.  I shop at a small family-owned grocery. It's not tiny; they have an in-house butcher and baker, but it's MUCH small than a chain grocery, probably a sixth of the size.  But I like that I can wander down EACH aisle looking for things marked down that may not be in their flyer.  I can't do that at the little hell on earth that is Jewel-Osco on a Saturday morning where you almost need a Sherpa to find everything as they are constantly moving items so you have to HUNT for them (oh look, while I'm on this aisle spray cheese for $8!)

The food on the table is one week's worth of groceries and household supplies, for which I paid less than $65. I don't know how many times I've stood in line behind a couple buying food for themselves for one week and it's close to $200, the cart FILLED with prepackaged, pre-prepared food and junk food.  Today at the store they were selling little aluminum containers of fresh cut up stew vegetables for $14 and young people were buying them.  I bought my veggies for this week's stew for $3. Because you know, dicing is so hard.

The only splurges were the extra large pizza, on sale for $6 and some beer. The jars you see are my sourdough starter which was drained to start the week's loaves of bread going and the other some homemade canned sauerkraut which will be eaten with dinner one night.  The sourdough starter was used to make this week's bread (no pricey yeast!) both sandwich and breakfast muffins, and then will then be refreshed daily and by next weekend will have enough to make more bread. I probably save $700 a year baking my own bread  and muffins as opposed to store and coffee shop prices and if you figure in bartering it with friends who have produce or eggs, even better. I got enough fresh garden tomatoes from my friend Birgit (I know Brigid and Birgit - we sound  a dyslexic law firm) to make pasta sauce for several months with just some homemade banana bread and beer bread. Sweet!

There was TP on sale, but I've learned to make my own laundry soap and I clean with DIY vinegar products so I save a bundle in the "home cleaning" aisle.
Wild Yeast Sourdough Beer Bread

There is only one large roast but last week there was a "buy one get one free" on pork tenderloin and the family pack of chicken, which will give me enough for other meals. The cheese this week was "buy one get one free" so that extra package will go in the freezer. There's fruit and fresh veggies for salads and green smoothies, and I have other veggies canned in the basement as side dishes or to make pasta sauces, as well as bulk rice and beans. I did buy a package of brown rice for less than a buck as in our long-term stores we just keep white rice, brown not keeping NEAR as long in prepping supplies. I also bought some canned pinto beans for .75 cents a can on sale, to use some of the canned beans in our supplies that are nearing an expiration date.  That way we make sure what we have stored is cycled through.  I had eggs, but these were .49 cents so I figure I can make a pie crust and use up the leftover veggie and cheese bits to make a quiche with the older eggs for lunch next weekend.

For lunch, Partner likes sandwiches with a piece of homemade pie or cookies so I picked up some fresh cut deli meats, which, when taking advantage of products they've marked down are cheaper than pre-packaged.  With it being super busy, the last couple of weeks I had been toting an Amy's Organic burrito to the office, as it's quick and nothing around work is cheap to eat at.  That with a cookie and an apple I'm set as they are very filling.  Then I realized, I was spending about $40 for lunch for two weeks and they are high in sodium, as is most processed food. I can DIY that.

So my goal today was to come up with a healthy, low sodium, high protein frozen burrito
Start with cooking up 3/4 cup of dry rice in 1 and 1/2 cup water.  In the steamer, brown rice needs about an hour, white only 40.  I used some of the liquid from a can of Rotel to replace the water.
While that cooks, get out your seasoning.  I addTablespoonepoon each of Penzey's Adobo seasoning, cumin and

Cowboy Crooner Hot Sauce to 3 cans of drained and rinsed pinto beans which I had simmering with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 a chopped onion and some fresh garlic (optional, use bell peppers if you don't like garlic and/or onion).  Simmer til the beans are softening and the liquid is gone. On medium heat about 15-20 minutes. Note:  The Cowboy Crooner is the mildest of all the Scoville Brothers sauces - if you use a hotter sauce reduce amount ofhot  sauce to 1 teaspoon.
 When the rice was done, I put it in a bowl to cool faster.
And then I added a can of Rotel tomatoes and chilis and a small splash of lime juice.

Using some store brand generic whole wheat tortillas (fajita sized) I started assembling when the rice and beans were cool to the touch (so the tortilla doesn't get soggy) using a generous 1/3 cup each of beans and rice and about 1/4 cup sharp cheddar. You can add a bit of green or red chili sauce, but I kept mine simple so it didn't drip on my desk while I work.
Don't use so much filling you can't roll it up and tuck the ends under.  You're not going for a Burrito the size of your head but a protein filled, healthy meal or snack.

I ran out of tortillas before I ran out of filling so I used a half dozen leftover smaller Sprouted Grain Tortillas from when I made soft tacos one night.
 To those,  add some scrambled egg and some salsa for a breakfast burrito.

In a little over an hour, most of which was rice cooking time, I had eight lunch sized burritos and six smaller breakfast burritos.   The cost was less than $8 and most of that was the tortillas which can easily be made as well. Buying the same amount of Amy's burritos would have been $56 at our nearest health food store price.

The larger burritos are about 400 calories with close to 20 grams of protein and very little sodium since I used low sodium beans and rinsed them thoroughly.

These will go into the freezer.
To serve, unwrap, wrap in a  paper towel and nuke from frozen for 2 to 3 minutes for the larger burrito and about two for the smaller (may vary depending on your microwave.)

This had a great taste and a nice bit of heat without "reach for a glass of milk" heat.

DIY - not because you have to, but because it feels good to do something yourself and have money left over the important things (like good single malt scotch and a ready supply of ammo)


  1. hehehehe, 'dicing is so hard.'
    great post, and i agree on having money left over for beverages and ammo!

  2. We shop WM for about 75% to 80% of our groceries. Our local market has its own butchers and they have sales way cheaper on meat then WM. I pick up some cleaning supplies at either WM or Dollar General, buck a bottle.

  3. FWIW for the deli meats, it's really easy to make Canadian bacon from pork loin at homr, and those are usually pretty cheap. Depending on what you want for lunch meat, other things can be made as well, with varying difficulty. The most important thing is either having a meat slicer, or a very steady hand.

  4. DIY is just plain tastier, too. We use homemade Vietnamese caramel sauce in a lot of our dishes. Really excellent with chicken and pork, and super cheap to make, though it takes some caution:

  5. There was TP on sale...
    Read that before my first coffee, and I thought you were going to describe "expedient" substitutes for DoD Form 1...

    I confess to having bought a bunch of Trader Joe's Mirapoix when I was making a large batch of soup to be canned.

  6. Brigid,
    Uncle Ben's PARBOILED Brown Rice stores almost as long as white rice and has 80% of the nutrition as regular brown rice which will spoil soon. The key is to get "parboiled" rice. I have a post on my blog under "rice." Or, you can google this information. I am not trying to redirect to my blog to hijack yours. I kept some of this for about 6 years in a room that was not climate controlled.

  7. Sounds like a good burrito recipe...if I find a safe brand of corn tortillas I might try it some day.

  8. As long as the lights still work I keep brown rice in the freezer.


I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..