So first up: the bad news. The CSA we have been members of for 15 years is closing for the rest of the season, approximately 6 weeks early.
That is a measure of how bad the drought is in California. The farm did a great job of reducing water usage 50%. But agricultural rates tripled, and their costs went up so much that for much of the year, they've been operating at a loss. The board opted to end the season early. Members have a choice of: (1) free rental of the pizza oven + area for a party (but you'd still need a caterer), (2) gift basket of farm canned tomato sauce and squash, or (3) donating the remaining weeks.
I'm glad they gave the three options. Though when you join, they let you know that it's "Community Supported" and there is risk involved. You take on risk with the farmer. So some years are great and some, not so much. Honestly, this is the only year that they've had to close early. So we obviously donated the shares.
That's going to make my budget a little tighter.
That said, today I shopped with an extra eye at the 99 cent only store, to see what other items were there that I wouldn't normally buy. I tend to only see what I want to see. I am on the hunt for dried lentils right now, but I'm not willing to spend more than about 0.80 a pound. That means I have to wait for a sale. Today I looked in everyone else's cart in the produce area. I found one single bunch of asparagus (for 0.99), and a 3 lb bag of baby potatoes (as opposed to the 10 lb bag of russets) for a treat.
All in all, I came away at $12.40. Let me tell you what meals I made today.
Grilled lemon/herb/garlic chicken breasts: $2.00 ($1.77/lb on sale, plus herbs, garlic, olive oil. I cooked up about 3 lbs, will last several meals) (This recipe, except it took more like 15-20 min to grill. My breasts were fat.)
Sauteed asparagus: $1.20 (asparagus and olive oil)
Roasted baby potatoes: $0.75 (half the bag plus herbs and oil and garlic)
Food for four (though there were only 3 of us): $3.95
Prep for the week:
Refried beans in the crockpot, from 100 days of real food (except I don't mush them up)
1 lb pintos: 0.75
1/2 onion: 0.13
2 cloves garlic: 0.05
Spanish rice in the rice cooker:
1.5 c white rice: 0.26
1/4 can tomato paste: 0.20
1 T onion flakes because I'm lazy: 0.20
2 cloves garlic: 0.05
olive oil: 0.20
diced pepper: 0.25
cumin, tomato bouillon, parsley, salt, pepper: 0.30
dried corn: 0.25
About 12 cups of bean/rice mixture, because that's what I do with it, for $2.69. This will last us several meals, and we will probably get so sick of it that we'll throw some in the freezer for a Friday night in future weeks.