Rising Prices and Food Shortages. A Chef’s guide on where to shop and how to eat like a Flexitarian.

Greetings dear meows!

I hope this here blog finds you well and getting through this thing we call life! I’m just gonna jump right into it since there’s a lot of ground to cover. I, like the rest of you, have been navigating and adjusting to the lack of all kinds of products at the markets AND the ever rising cost of food in general. From non-perishables to meats and produce, the prices of most of our everyday items are soaring to places that are forcing most of us to not only change how we’re spending, but what we’re actually able to buy. I’ve gone to the grocery store with the intentions of making a particular meal, only to have to shift gears in the aisles due to either the astronomical cost of the ingredients, or the lack of products altogether. It’s really been stirring up some childhood struggle meal food memories and making me remember how we got by with not very much money to spend. Only now it’s a combination of both the lack of funds and food. So I feel compelled to share how I’ve been able to deal with the madness, and where I’ve been shopping for staple items and what I’ve been cooking these days to hopefully help with the frustration of once again having to adjust to a major change in habit that effects us all. Cooking is a great morale booster, especially in times like this where there is a ton of uncertainty. and just because we might not be able to afford the things we once used to, doesn’t mean we still can’t create deliciously tasty Mystic Meals and eat well! So here we go…

Dollar Stores:

I don’t know about you meows, but I love me a good old fashioned dollar store. Out here on the west coast there’s 99Cents Only (which is not true, but they still offer grocery items “around” that price range), Dollar Tree (which has also become $1.25 Tree… 🤣), Dollar General, and other groovy cheap places to shop where you can still get those pantry items at a decent price. One of my go to’s to purchase at dollar stores are pasta. Granted, some of the pasta is on the lower end as far as cooking quality goes, but I’ve found that 99Cents Only carries a decent variety of pasta brands, one of which has become a new favorite called La Molisana. It cooks like my other favorite pasta brand, DeCecco, but at a fraction of the cost. I can buy 3 to 4 packs of pasta for what I used to pay for higher end brands. Being able to make my dollar stretch on items like this that have tripled in price at most supermarkets has been a life saver, although I am having to travel around a lot more to find these bargains. Another great place for pasta is good ol’ Trader Joe’s! They still offer their store brand at 99 cents to 1.29 per 16oz package and if I were you, I’d stock up while you can before they raise the price on that, too! All that aside, always keep an eye out for sales at your local supermarket.

Dollar stores are also great for buying dry and canned beans, although to be more cost effective, I’d stick to the dry beans. They may require a bit more work to prepare, but again, making those meal dollars stretch as far as they can will help in the long run. You can often find that canned items are actually cheaper at places like Walmart, or Grocery Outlet, depending on the brand and where you are. Rice as well. Since cooking is my bag, I don’t mind shopping around, and another favorite place to shop are your local ethnic grocery stores like Asian, Mexican, or Indian supermarkets that carry a variety of staple and specialty products and great prices.

I also use mobile apps to the places I shop and always use those digital coupons! There’s always deals going on that’ll help save you a few bucks here and there while shopping. Another way to help save on spending are food banks and food pantry’s. These places are there to help anyone in any state of need, regardless of your financial situation. Most don’t require much more than a local address, and is a great way to offset spending by acquiring goods that might otherwise be thrown away. The amount of food waste in this country is astounding and very sad. And food pantry’s provide much needed help and support to those in financial crisis and are a reliable source of food when times are tough, as they are now. There’s no shame in my game and I have no problem visiting food banks and am often surprised by the items offered and food treasures I find.

Now what the flip is a Flexitarian, you ask? Well, the definition is someone who primarily eats vegetarian, but occasionally eats meat and fish. I think theses days you can reveres that… A meat and fish eater who is now eating more vegetable based meals simply because the cost of meat and fish is skyrocketing at a rapid pace. In order to navigate freely through the changed experience of stocking up, adjusting to being more flexible while shopping is key. Especially when you think you’re going to buy some chicken for dinner, and have to change things up on the fly because you didn’t expect it to be as expensive as it is, or don’t even find what you’re looking for at all! Being adaptable on how you eat and shop will not only make it easier when out for groceries, but possibly open some doors to new recipes and methods of cooking that just might surprise you and become part of your culinary repertoire.

Here’s a quick list of what I typically have on hand in the cupboard and fridge :

Eggs, Milk, Bread, Various Cheeses, Butter, Cooking Oil, Flour, Baking soda, Baking Powder, Pancake & Waffle mix ( complete so you can just add water ) Spices ( you already know! mysticseasonings.com 😛) Flour and Corn Tortillas, Potatoes, Pasta, Pasta Sauce, Fresh and frozen Vegetables, Canned meats and Fish, Canned and Boxed Soups, Dry and Canned beans, Rice, Gravy Packets, Soy Sauce, Hot Sauce, Salsa, BBQ Sauce, Mayo, Mustard, Honey, Maple syrup, Coconut Milk, Oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Cereal, Popcorn Kernels & Microwave Popcorn, Frozen Shrimp and Fish Fillets, A variety of Meats and Poultry for the freezer, Ramen, Bacon, Cold Cuts like Turkey and Ham, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Vinegar, Onions, Garlic, Lemons, Oranges and a variety of fruits like apples, bananas, and grapes, and sweet treats like cookies, and boxed cake mixes that don’t require too many ingredients. Peanut Butter, Jelly, and other types of nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts, etc… Trail mix and Granola bars, Water, Sugar, Powdered drink mixes, Coffee, Tea, Creamer, breadcrumbs, Crackers, and that’s just the short list!

Once a month I challenge myself to not shop and only eat what I have on hand to help keep things in rotation and to also take a much needed inventory of what I have to eat. Something I highly suggest you do often to prevent over buying things you already have, but may have forgotten about. Again, save that money! Compare prices, as well as the SIZE of the products!! Often times the bulk items that are on sale are price gauged, and it’s cheaper and more cost effective to buy the smaller items that offer you a better value by combined weight. Example… Instead of buying a large Family Sized box of something, you might actually get more product by buying 2 smaller boxes of the same item with a combined weight that is more than the family size option, for significantly less. Always, ALWAYS compare prices, sizes, and weight. Save that coin!

And that, dear ones is my two cents… For now. There are so many ways that we can save money on food without denying ourselves the pleasure of the eating experience just because we have to cut some corners here and there. The possibilities are endless with what we can create if we set our minds to it. Canning food is another way to make our food last and stretch, but that’s a blog for another day. Food preservation is a whole other rabbit hole to go down! ut until we eat again… Bone Crapple TEEF! Meow! 😛😻

Cheers, Hugs, and Meows!

xo Nikki ✨🖤😻🔮

Follow Mystic Meals on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s