Sunday, March 29, 2009

Foolproof way to save money on Pesach shopping and eat healthier

Every year, I wind up with some stupid KLP (Kosher La'Pesach) ingredients. For example, ginger. Given that I use ginger about, oh I don't know, maybe 3 times during the year, what possessed me to buy KLP ginger last year?

This year, money is a little scarce. While I've got enough consultant work to keep me from dipping into my savings, I don't have a regular gig, and not having a permanent job with a regular cash flow has made me tighten the purse strings a little. I will not buy stupid things for Pesach. I will not.

So I came up with a mostly foolproof system. When I go Pesach shopping and I reach for an item to put into my cart, I ask myself the following question:

Can I happily get through Pesach, feeding myself and my guests, without this?
If the answer is yes, the item goes back on the shelf. Putting every item to this test has had me putting back the KLP fake mustard, KLP wasabi sauce, KLP tomato paste, KLP black cherry soda, KLP mayonaisse, KLP egg noodles, KLP raisins, etc. I even decided to go without wearing lipstick for 8 days...what's the big deal?

At this point, I have a menu that I have used year after year (when I was home and married), with just a little occasional variation. The menu works really well. A few years ago, I decided that living on red meat, potatoes and eggs for a week was completely unhealthy, so I scoured some cookbooks and websites for healthy, adaptable KLP recipes. I made some simple changes. I serve a ton of fish, chicken and salad over Pesach. To avoid boredom, I rotate six different types of salad recipes. I think that unless you don't eat gebrukts on Pesach, cooking and baking with potato starch is icky and weird. I roast a ton of vegetables as side dishes for every meal. I use those KLP "egg beaters" whenever I can...they are composed mostly of egg whites and have almost no cholesterol. You get the idea.

If you celebrate Pesach at home every year, see if you can sit down and put together one of these menus for yourself before you go to the store and drop a few hundred. It will help you with your shopping and meal planning. And see if you can make at least a third of your meals free of any red meat. It's so bad for you. Serve salad at EVERY meal.

And don't buy KLP ginger.

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