Tuesday Top Ten: Cheap Dates and Fresh Basil


We have some simple, practical goals for our family meals. We want our meals to be:

  1. Delicious
  2. Inexpensive
  3. Healthy
  4. Easy to Prepare

Our fifth goal is more difficult to pin down. If I write, “Good for the environment” or “Good for the rest of the world,” it sounds like we’re on a positive track, but ultimately I don’t believe that any of our current food choices are truly good for the environment or the rest of the world. Our default shopping spot is Safeway (a traditional U.S. grocery store that seems no better or worse than any other chain). We buy packaged and processed foods, out of habit and because they seem less expensive. We haven’t done much with our backyard garden, except grow a lot of mint. We’ve become typical American consumers, and we think we’re too busy and too lazy to reform our habits.

In the name of reform and in the spirit of taking small steps to create big changes, we’ve got ten ideas to try, to get us back on a greener track.

  1. Buy in bulk – this week we bought cheap dates, pecans, and shredded coconut.
  2. Do part or all of our weekly shopping at Sprouts, or seek out the organic sections at Safeway and Costco.
  3. Shop the Sprouts sale circular and take advantage of their coupons.
  4. Try buying some items through a Frontier co-op.
  5. Make a plan to join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) group, or a Neighbor Supported Agriculture (NSA) group. I just found out about a new NSA in our ‘hood called Little Raven Farms.
  6. Make a plan to share herbs and spices with friends.
  7. Stay on top of meal planning – when we make a plan and buy the right ingredients, we’re less likely to fall back on prepackaged meals.
  8. When grocery shopping, stick with the list. That goes hand-in-hand with the old maxim…
  9. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. Or kids with empty stomachs. And definitely not hungry spouses.
  10. Keep our little window-sill basil alive, and make a plan to start more indoor edible plants.
  11. IMG_7844

What ideas would you add?


One thought on “Tuesday Top Ten: Cheap Dates and Fresh Basil

  1. Good for you all with your buying/eating changes.
    I think we need to focus on eating what we like and keep it simple most days. I do try to go outside of the routine menus that are so comfortable and predictable. I’m also aiming to do preparation ahead of time so I’m not taking on an hours worth of planning and juggling when I’m tired and hungry. Leftover rice, potatoes and pasta are all good bases. I plan to make-ahead more sauces and dips that are ready to cheer up a meal.
    It might work for you (it never did for me), to have a set menu or theme for each weekday: Mon=pasta, Tues=Mexican, Wed=pizza, Thurs=soup, etc.
    PS More herbs! I love your basil. I miss basil…..

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