Sunday, July 02, 2006

my first trip to the local farmers market

so, we've been trying to cut back on spending money and saving (and if anyone has any suggesetions we'd really appreciate it!!). a couple of things on a long list of things we've done so far is:
1. save any and all $5 bills we receive
2. have 3 MEATLESS dinners a week (meat costs soooooooooo much)

the first one is a fun game, and now i find myself actually using a larger dollar bill to pay with something just so i can get a $5 bill in return to put away.

the second is getting easier with my vegetable/herb garden getting riper. that and we are now the gourmet GRILLED CHEESE chefs of the neighborhood. oh and PB&J too. any new ideas for NONMEAT dishes that a steak and potato lover would like, let me know.

the third came into play mainly due to trying to a) be healthier and exercise more b) i work about 40 miles away so i try to drive as little as possible on the weekends and c) the local farmers market is about 3 miles down the road.

giddy to check it out, i strapped on a little soccer sack pack, my helmet, took my bike out of storage, washed it and dusted all the cobwebs off, pumped up the tires, and rode in the beautiful weather that shined down this weekend. so i picked up a large perfect zucchini, bunch green onions, a TON of fingerling potatoes, huge bunch fresh dill, a TON of shelling peas, garlic scapes, and a hard necked green garlic stalk, all for about 6$ after haggling (and with a fresh squeezed lemonade for 1.50$ AND getting 2-5$ bills back to save to boot). i was excited to find the green garlic was hard necked (in the fall, i plan on getting a bulb of garlic and planting it after farmgirl's story) and looked pretty darn funny riding my bike with my soccer sack pack on my back with a green garlic stalk protruding out of the top and over my head! yep, i am an asian woman, riding my bike (complete with helmet) with groceries and a large stalk on my back in the middle of a detroit cityburb.

but all joking aside, i was amazed at how little frivolous things i bought knowing that i could only fill my little knapsack up and only buying what i need. it really helped kept the cost down.

so i've been making yummy things with my score at the market and my score in my garden (* denotes from my garden). this is my new vegetable dish (complete with that gourmet grilled cheese i was telling you about):

extra virgin olive oil
2 green onions, chopped
cherry or grape tomatoes (i had to use them up), sliced in half
zucchini, julienned
garlic scapes, chopped
salt and pepper
white wine (i used pinot grigio...just what i had open)
lemon thyme*
italian parsley*
grated parmesan cheese

preheat olive oil in skillet, throw everything but the fresh herbs in and saute over med heat. when tomatoes and zucchini are ALMOST to desired tenderness, add a splash of white wine and the fresh lemon thyme. simmer until vegetables are to desired tenderness. add parmesan, basil and parsley after vegetables have been removed from heat. enjoy!

oh and i must add that this grilled cheese was made with american cheese (what i had in the fridge), sliced red onions, and sliced roma tomatoes on trader joe's tuscan bread (the best, cheap bread-1.99$-around to make grilled cheese) on my grill pan.


steven said...

My best money saving tips:

1)rice and beans
2)save bones and veggie peelings for stock. Homemade soup is cheap
3)grocery shop with a list, no extras
4)never shop for food when you're hungry
5)consolidate all your errands to one day
6)walk or bike to anything you can
7)basic cable
8)get a library card instead of buying books
9)wash everything in cold water
10)biggest saving ever: wear a sweater and a hat indoors in the winter, you can turn the thermostat down into the 60's this way

rachelle said...

thanks for the tips!
although i think we do set our thermostat into the 60s already! and we haven't turned on our air once this summer. we've just been sweating our tushies off!

Anthony said...

Rachelle, I love the $5 bill idea and I'm definitely going to try it.

I already do something similar with all my change. Then I take them to a Coinstar machine once I have enough. It usually adds up to about $40 every 2 or 3 weeks.

Always breaking a new bill even with a pocket full of change makes for heavy pockets. I think I'll try the $5's.

rachelle said...

yeah, the $5 bill idea is a lot of fun. although my friend started doing it with the ones she got, and i think she is winning the savings competition! sometimes fivers are hard to come by....

Head Burrro said...

Hi Rachelle,

I can't help with the money saving as I'm a terrible saver :(

I can help with the veggie meals as I've been veggie for 12 years now. The secret is that you don't have to replace meat with a meat replacement (soya, TVP, Quorn or tofu or the like) - just bung more veg in! It amazing what great chunky mushrooms can be used for :)

Try the BBC food website veggie section ( and don’t forget the good old Vegetarian Society itself ( You’ll find that Middle Eastern and Indian/Asian/Oriental recipes are easily non-meatified (as an aside, being veggie in the UK is easy but being veggie in Europe is bloody hard work, believe me!)

I've been planning to use my local farmer's market for ages now (and my local co-op store) but breaking the routine of convenience can be hard. However, you've given me a push and I'll really try to start this month :)


rachelle said...

thanks! i am trying to remember the recipes i used when i went meatless in college (no money to buy meat...huh, kinda like now) but my husband is a meat and potatoes person. only like green beans from a can and peppers.