Saturday, March 16, 2013

Adventures in Nature - Incidental Budget Boosters

This is the most common protest I hear about eating natural/whole food ingredients only: it costs too much. It can, if you've gone to Whole Foods and stuffed your canvas bags hopefully full of things from the bulk foods section otherwise you've spent your Whole Paycheck all for the recompense of liberal self-congratulation. But it doesn't have to. Here are some things and places I've found to help adjust the way you shop in the same place you were shopping before.

Farmers Markets - It's not the season, I know, but I have to put it out there. Most towns, in particularly the liberal enclave that is Western Massachusetts, have farmers markets from May through October at least a couple of days per week. Not everything is always cheaper and sometimes the venders only accept cash, but oftentimes I've found that things are cheaper or very slightly more expensive and taste better because they haven't been packed with preservatives and made a journey worthy of Greek mythology to make it to your plate. Also, they've generally been made with care. You can also find local meats, dairy, and herbs at farmers markets.

Prego 100% Natural - Wednesday night I wanted spaghetti. I dragged out my whole wheat pasta, my soysage (soy sausage), and then thought, "Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck. I won't want the spaghetti sauce we have in the cabinet." I was joyously mistaken. Apparently my last shopping trip I had unintentionally picked up two jars of Prego 100% Natural spaghetti sauce, which means they must have been on sale (2/$5 or 2/$4...I won't pay more than that for spaghetti sauce). I bought flavors, Mushroom and Basil and Garlic, so they have about 10 ingredients, but nothing that makes my eyebrows raise and my stomach churn.
Bought at Stop and Shop - $2.50

Motts Healthy Harvest - I have a puerile fascination with apple sauce. I love it. And when I don't feel like making it myself, which is often, Motts Healthy Harvest is a good thing to have on hand. It's tart, fresh, and holds a comfort food fascination for me. It comes in myriad flavors and is flavored with vegetable juice instead of color dyes. I particularly like the Granny Smith apple flavor. It's magically delicious.
Bought at Stop and Shop - $2.00

Shur Fine Greek Yogurt - I do the majority of my shopping at an occasionally skeevy discount grocery place in Greenfield called The Barn. They sell cases of 12 yogurts, which I have for lunch during the week, for $5.00 and they're almost guaranteed to have unusual brands and flavors, like a personal favorite find: MediterĂ©e. It's like dessert yogurt. They also have So Delicious and other non-dairy brands. But anyway, I had bought this case of Shur Fine pineapple-flavored Greek yogurt, and it was another case of, "Probably not going to want it after I look at the ingredients" but, low and behold, all natural! Hooray!
                                                                                    Bought at The Barn - $5.00/12

Izze Natural Soda - Jake actually found these when he went to The Barn and was expecting, I guess, something different when he tried them. Fair warning: this is a spritzer not a soda as we know soda to taste. He spent $1.99 for a case of four, which isn't the best deal in the world, until you consider that you probably would pay that much for one bottle in most any store. Right now we've got Pomegranate and Grapefruit flavors in our fridge-porch. My favorite fact about Izze Natural Soda is that the coloring comes from beets.
Bought at The Barn - $1.99/4

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