Roasted beet salad, groceries, and musings

One of the hardest adjustments about grad school for me is that my work is never done.  Sure, I may leave for the night, but there is always something more I could be doing.  Like right now, for instance, even though my classes are over and I have turned in all of my students’ grades, I could be reading papers, writing a chapter I’m working on, doing experiments, planning experiments, analyzing data…really anything.  That’s why sometimes when I come home, I really only have time for a quick meal.  That’s why I LOVE to make salads.  Especially roasted.  An added bonus is that I can work (but truthfully rarely do) while the veggies are roasting.

This salad was especially good, maybe just because the colors were so pretty.  When roasting beets, I like to use balsamic vinegar.  I think the sweetness + acidity goes well with this vegetable.

Roasted Beet Salad

CSA goodness

-chop beets, leeks, turnips, and kale (use all parts of the vegetables- stalks/leaves/etc) and place into oven safe pan
-drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt

-roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees C.
-serve over your favorite grain (I did couscous) or add some protein (toasted walnuts, tuna, egg, goat cheese, chicken would all be good choices)

serve over a grain- I think there's couscous hiding in there somewhere!

As for now, I’m having a hard time determining costs for individual meals, since each CSA box was a flat $16.25.  In the upcoming weeks I’ll get this figured out so I can give a better idea.

Now onto things I can quantify.  I’ve done a lot of grocery shopping lately.  I want to do a better job this month of keeping track of my budget.  I feel like I’m always good about it in the beginning, and then fall off the wagon.

So far for the month I’ve spent $40 and it’s only May 1st…. I don’t know what to make of my CSA.  It’s a sunk cost so I don’t know if I build it into my budget or consider it a bonus supplement to my grocery shopping.  Again, this is probably something I’ll figure out as the time goes on.  So, what did I spend $40 on?

organic walnuts- 1.26 lbs at $8.29/lb- $10.45- I go in phases with walnuts.  I’m currently on a love phase.  I use them for everything- oatmeal, soups, salads, roasted vegetables (especially good roasted with olive oil and balsamic vinegar), and lately I’ve been having them as snacks
organic black turtle beans– 1.48 lbs at $1.39/lb- $2.06– I would like to start soaking my own beans instead of buying canned, since it’s supposed to not only taste better but be more cost effective.  We’ll see, I suppose.
organic short grain brown rice- 2.96 lbs at $1.49/lb- $4.41- With my new rice cooker that my sister bought me, I wanted to stock up on rice since it was on sale!
organic bananas– 2.07 lbs at $0.99/lb – $2.05 – my biggest weakness
organic orange juice- $5.29- still what I loathe buying organic the most
cage free/organic eggs- $1.99- we have somehow been going through eggs like crazy lately! 
organic carrots– 2 lbs, $1.99- my personal price point for carrots is $1/lb or less.  Carrots are a veggie that I can notice a very real taste difference between conventional and organic
Kentucky blue cheese- manager’s special! $5.60- I’ve been getting a lot of great deals on cheese lately by looking for manager’s specials!
organic milk- $6.69- I don’t know why milk prices have gone up, but it’s really annoying 😦

So, if we take a look at my groceries, it’s easy to see where the big budget breakers were- milk and orange juice.  The milk, however, will last me 2+ weeks.  The orange juice is what I take my iron with, and that lasts me about a month.  The rice and beans will last a while- probably a few months.  When you look at it that way, it’s not so bad.

Like I mentioned, I’ve been big on getting cheese from the remnant or manager special box at bloomingfoods.  The cheeses I’ve gotten recently are goat gouda, cocoa dusted cardona, and kentucky blue cheese.  The remnant section is great because it gives you a chance to try a cheese you may not normally.  It also allows you to have an expensive cheese for a fraction of the cost and without the fear of it going moldy in the fridge.  Plus, if you’re cooking for one, you can make a small chunk of cheese last a for a few meals.  If you’ve never had cardona before, I would suggest looking for it.  It’s apparently an artisanal goat cheese from Wisconsin.  The creator of it got the idea from one of his favorite sandwiches- a piece of swiss cheese and a hershey bar on bread.  I can barely detect the cocoa in this cheese, fortunately.  Anyway, I know a lot of people are leery to buy food that is marked down to sell.  I’ve never had a problem, though, and it certainly beats paying full price.

I think I had more I wanted to say, but I’m getting tired…


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