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03 April 2009 @ 09:53 am
How To: Hearty Split Pea Soup  
Okay, so after my crazyspaz post last night, I realized that (relative) poverty will be much, much more fun if I turn it into a fun challenge (and an endless stream of how-tos). :) Because then I am doing it for science. (Also, me and havocthecat decided about 8 seconds ago that we should all share cheap and homemade tips and projects with each other, because the not-so-great depression has made "cheap and homemade" cool instead of lame.)

I have the following main challenges when it comes to eating cheaply: 1) my own resistance to eat anything that's too processed/primarily made up of high-fructose-corn-syrup and/or plastic. So basically any F.M.V.-brand dollar store food is out. 2) my boyfriend's aversion to food lots of specific foods/textures of food/leftover-ness-of-food.

As a result, I'm working under two assumptions: 1) it's possible to eat relatively healthy and cheap if you put extra time into it, and 2) my boyfriend will still love me if I tell him "if you're hungry enough, you'll eat the damned leftovers," especially if I heat up the leftovers while wearing a negligee.

Shopping List (all prices estimated from Kroger/Fred Meyer):
1 lb split peas ($2.70 for a 2lb bag) (alternate: lentils)
2 regular ol' potatoes ($1.79 for a 10lb bag)
2 carrots (40c/lb)
1 regular ol' yellow onions ($2.50 for 5lb bag)
2 cups brown rice (I buy this stuff in bulk, so I'm not sure what it costs in normal quantities)
garlic (I buy the big containers of pre-minced garlic, which saves money and time, though real cooks will be horrified if they see it in your fridge)

Hearty Split Pea Soup:

1. Rinse 2 cups of split peas (1 lb). Make sure there are no pebbles hiding in there -- cheap versions of food seem to be a little dodgier on quality control. Toss into large cooking pot.
2. Sautee in olive oil a chopped onion and a spoonful or two of the minced garlic. When the onions get all glazey and see-thru-y, toss the whole thing (including oil & garlic) into the pot with the peas.
3. Peel and slice up 2 large carrots and 2 medium potatoes. If you really like potatoes, you can put more in, but I'm a little eh on them. Put in pot.
4. Fill pot up with water to completely cover everything that's in there, plus some extra for boiling room.
5. Add spices. I use soy sauce, pepper, garlic powder and random-mixed-spices like Spike.
6. Heat up pot to boiling. Let it boil rapidly for a few minutes, then stir, cover and bring down the temperature. Let it simmer for about an hour.
7. While it's simmering, make rice. I'm pretty sure you could alternately just toss the dry rice into the soup with some extra water when you've got 20 minutes left on the soup clock, but I haven't tried this yet.

Taste, season, serve on rice, feel warm and fed. This soup is pretty mushy, so if you want your peas to remain pea-shaped, cook for less time. Then freeze the extra and bring to work for lunch the rest of the week. Soup costs about $3 to make, and you won't be as embarrassed to serve it to people who come over as you would be for serving ramen. :)

Papa Red's alternate: Split Pea Soup, No Chopping Version:
1 cup split peas
2 cups water
garlic powder
soy sauce

Put in pot, boil, simmer until peas are soft (usually about 1/2 hour when my dad does it, somehow longer than that when I do).

Extra Hint: Hearty Soup is perfectly timed for doing laundry -- put in washer, prep soup and bring to boil, switch clothes over to dryer, simmer soup for 1 hour, dryer & soup = done and you've had an hour of waiting in which to watch TV and yet be doubly productive.
feel: accomplishedaccomplished
Havochavocthecat on April 3rd, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
(Also, me and havocthecat decided about 8 seconds ago that we should all share cheap and homemade tips and projects with each other, because the not-so-great depression has made "cheap and homemade" cool instead of lame.)

This is why I'm about to go on a DISHCLOTH KNITTING PROJECT. I have a fuckload of cotton yarn (that Sugar and Cream stuff?), and I was going to make an afghan out of it, until I remembered I hate cotton afghans. Plus I'm nearly out of sponges, and this will be cheaper than going and buying sponges. AND I CAN USE UP YARN.

All I need to do is find my size 7 dpns and I can DISHCLOTH MY LITTLE HEART OUT at game tonight.
Little Red: trek - spock knits! - lemonrocketmylittleredgirl on April 3rd, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
What I need badly is kitchen hand towels. I wonder if cotton-dishcloth-knitting can become hand towels if I just make them bigger?
Havochavocthecat on April 3rd, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
I only laugh because I'm thinking the SAME THING!

I was thinking the thread seems a little finer on kitchen towels, but I have some cotton sock yarn that I don't really like. I'm wondering if I got out some size four or five needles that maybe that would work for me instead.

Also, omg, can I please steal your icon?
Little Red: trek - spock knits! - lemonrocketmylittleredgirl on April 3rd, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
Yes you can! :) I don't recall the credit off the top of mi head, but it's on my icon page.

And yes, you're right about the finer gauge. Um... it'll probably be okay... I think most of my cotton yarn is worsted or sport. I'll let you know. ;)
Havochavocthecat on April 3rd, 2009 07:17 pm (UTC)
Most of my cotton yarn is worsted. I may use it anyway, just to use up some of the damned stuff. So let me know how it works for you!

I have GOT to use up some of my yarn.
Havochavocthecat on April 3rd, 2009 07:42 pm (UTC)
A.j.: foodaj on April 3rd, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Something I realized yesterday!

If you have those little, tiny 4oz snack cups (ziplock or whatever generic brand), you can get instant Jello pudding (Sugar free!) packets for like 3/$2 and fill the little 4oz snack cups with the instant pudding and eat those instead of pudding cups. You basically get 12 pudding cups for $2. DESERT.
Little Red: lazy - stephie squeemylittleredgirl on April 3rd, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! :) You know, I don't think I've ever had Jell-o pudding!???

I've thought of doing the same thing for yogurt cups, though. Buy yogurt in big tubs and divide it up for bringing-to-work. If there's ever a sale on frozen berries, I could blend those up and then would have yogurt cups with fruit on the bottom! ;)
A.j.aj on April 3rd, 2009 08:25 pm (UTC)
You could also do that with canned fruit, now that I think on it. Or, if you hit a sale on fresh, go through the process of canning them, just do them in the single-sized cup things. It'd be worth the plastic investment, at the very least!

Also a really easy one (that you probably already know) is using vinegar and water as a cleaner. Buy a spray bottle and you've got a cleaner that works on pretty much everything except the really, really hard stuff.

And the Jiffy corn muffin mix stuff is stupid, stupid cheap and full of corny, corny goodness.

Actually, there are tons of little ways to save money on food. Mind you, a lot of the ones I know are a bit useless as I'm not allowed to keep chickens and/or grow my own food. HOW DO I EVEN KNOW THESE THINGS!?
redbeardredbeard on April 3rd, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
You're cooking?! Hooray!

You know where to turn for recipes - and some are even cheap (I have lately become a huge fan of tacos) (also, don't forget the black bean soup!)
Little Redmylittleredgirl on April 3rd, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Max won't eat black bean soup!!!! *shock and horror*

He really hates all beans except for kidney beans in chili. (I tend to give him blank confused stares when he says stuff like that. But... but... beans! Protein! Gah.)

I will continue my efforts at cooking, though! :)
redbeardredbeard on April 3rd, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)

FYI, subbing in kidney beans into the tinga tacos, and upping the potato count is a lovely way to go with the tinga tacos I made at Pi. Or throw in any other veggies. The key is the chipotle. And corn tortillas. Yay!

Heck, if he likes Mexican, I recommend Mexican Everyday, as it has a ton of very adaptable recipes that are quite cheap.
Little Redmylittleredgirl on April 4th, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
... *hides*

I really don't like Mexican food, on the whole. I mean, I love the concept of everything going inside a burrito. But besides burritos, and putting other random things inside soft tortillas to make burritos (pasta-ritos, tofu-ritos, banana-ritos) I'm not that into it. ;)
-a.frog/gorf.a-froggoddess on April 4th, 2009 01:04 pm (UTC)
Have you seen this lady?
Lots of cheap cooking ideas, from someone who lived through the Depression the first time around...
ACcheekygal on April 4th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
I buy the big containers of pre-minced garlic, which saves money and time, though real cooks will be horrified if they see it in your fridge

Pffffft. My husband was a real cook, and he LOVED that stuff.

The recipe sounds great. I never put potatoes in my split pea soup -- I'll have to try it. :)