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A few weeks ago I was at Grocery Outlet (one of the four stores I hit on my grocery days) and picked up a bag of mixed dried beans. We're talking this bag had beans that I'm not sure I'd ever seen before. I thought would make a yummy soup. I was right and I'll share that recipe in a bit.With Joy UNquenchable,
My kitchen tip is that it benefits me to shop at several different stores on my grocery days. All the stores I shop at are within a reasonable distance from each other so I'm not wasting money on gas. I find that different stores offer certain items I want, or often times better deals. Usually there are four stores I shop at (I live in SW Washington). They are, in order that I shop them:
* 1) Trader Joes: Here I purchase Organic ketchup, the yummiest baby potatoes, yogurt and whatever else draws my attention.
* 2) Grocery Outlet: This is a hit and miss store. Often I find Organic toaster pastries (which my girls love), cereal, cleaners, granola bars, toiletries, and cheese. Recently I've been picking up some sharp white cheddar (which I think I understand white cheddar to be better for you because it doesn't have the coloring dye in it). Either way, it's good.
* 3) Winco: Here I buy the majority of my groceries. They have a huge selection, though not so huge on the organic or real specialty/gourmet things. Here you bag your own groceries (which I don't mind) and their bulk section is simply to die for!
* 4) Costco: I buy my toilet paper (it lasts forever), water, chicken tenders, chicken thighs, salmon, sometimes bread, or anything else that catches my eye.
* 5) Produce store: I'm going to start adding a local produce store. Some friends of ours own it and I used to frequent it all the time, but it was out of my way so I stopped going. Now it is in the general area of where I go so I will start going back. They buy local produce and it is less expensive. Sometimes you have to dig or hit the right day for the best produce, but I'm going to give it a shot again.
I know some people probably think this is a waste of time, but it really helps me with our budget and finding creative things. I also check coupons or deals at Safeway or our local Dollar Tree, or Big Deals. You may not have these exact stores, but you probably have some similar ones that you could frequent.
Bean and Ham Soup: Really, I didn't even use a recipe. I rinsed off the bag of beans I bought and added about 4-6 cups of water. I added a bouillon cube (chicken) and let them cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, until they began to get tender. I had bought a pack of pre-cooked, cubed ham and I did make the mistake of adding it right away (which the directions on the package said to do), because the ham "shrunk and shriveled a bit. I suppose if you're using a ham hock, go ahead and put it in right away. Next time I'll wait till the end, but I wanted the ham to flavor the beans. When I figured I had about 30 minutes left I added some cubed potatoes, sliced carrots and some fresh spinach and cooked till they were tender. This was such a yummy soup. It didn't need any more seasoning then the bouillon and a bit of garlic powder (because you just have to add garlic). I served it with some flat bread that I had bought at trader Joe's. Yummy, warm and very satisfying.
Check out Tammy's Recipes for more great Kitchen Tips.