When you’re too poor to be Martha Stewart.

I have great ambitions to be like Martha Stewart, just not with felony charges or jail time.  The woman is a good cook, a great gardener, and she’s crafty.  Oh, so crafty.

However, my wallet does not let me achieve my Martha Stewart dreams.  My grocery budget is $60 a week for a family of five, plus an additional $15 for my ‘stock piling’ needs (you know, replenishing the canned items or baking goods when there’s a really great sale.)  You can’t buy buffalo milk mozzarella cheese or coconut oil when your grocery budget is not in the triple digits.  And so even though I am DYING to make her fish tacos with salsa verde and radish salad, I need to wait for the planets to align so that tilapia, radishes, and cilantro are all on sale at the same time.

However, I have recently done something that makes me feel so much like Martha Stewart, that I walk around telling people, “It’s a good thing,” and I’m considering naming my next cat after a famous composer.  The fact that my brilliant idea is extreme in it’s thriftiness?  Just makes me feel like a superstar.

What idea did I come up with?  Storing lime juice and lime zest!

So many times I see a recipe that calls for a couple tablespoons of fresh lime juice or some lime zest.  And so many times I can’t squeeze in that purchase of a bag of limes into my budget.  ( In the spirit of full disclosure, sometimes I have enough leeway in the budget to buy a couple of limes but I completely forget in my scrambled efforts to keep control over three headstrong children in a large public arena.)

Last week I was at the grocery store, blessedly alone, when I noticed some shelves that were displaying clearance produce items.  There were some sad little onions and neglected red potatoes and a large bag filled with a dozen extremely ripe limes.   The bag filled with limes was only 90 cents.

The part of me that is hopelessly drawn to great deals (roughly 95% of my physical makeup) wouldn’t let me walk away from such a steal.  (The red potatoes smelled bad so they weren’t hard to pass up however.)  I racked my brain for a way to quickly use up the elderly limes before they went bad.  When suddenly it hit me–I didn’t have to use them, I could preserve them.

So I grabbed that bag of discounted citrus fruit and ran off to the check-out counter laughing maniacally the whole way.  (Tip- if you act like a lunatic, people will let you go before them in the check-out lanes.)

How exactly did I preserve those limes?  Well, I’m glad you asked.

First, I spread them out on the table and gloated over them like they were jewels.  This is a very important step, don’t skip it.

Second, I zested the heck out of those poor, innocent limes until they looked like shorn sheep.

Third, I put the zest in a ziplock bag and froze it.  Done!  Now whenever I need lime zest I can pull out the bag from the freezer, add however much I need, and viola!  Mission accomplished.

I then took the sad, little zested limes and I juiced the heck out of them and poured the lime juice into ice cube trays.

I froze the juice and popped the little cubes into a ziplock bag.  Now, whenever I need some lime juice I pull out some frozen cubes and use them.  Each ice cube is approximately 2 and a half tablespoons (did you notice the key word in that sentence?  Approximately.)  I can add them to salsas, soups, or jams.  Salsas, soups, and jams, oh my!

This entire process made me feel smart, frugal, and creative.  Plus, I kept singing, “Can’t Touch This” while I was juicing.  Only I changed M.C. Hammer’s words slightly to sing, “Can’t Touch This, Martha.”

Oh Martha Stewart, you bring out the best and the worst in me.

This entry was posted in Domestic Arts, frugality mentality. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to When you’re too poor to be Martha Stewart.

  1. Sarah says:

    I love you. You make me smile. And I can totally see you dancing and singing as you zest! =)

  2. All the frugal and crafty parts of me are rejoicing with your success!

  3. thefoodcharlatan says:

    haha. Watch out Ami. I am going to sneak into your house at night and steal your microplane grater. And while I’m at it, some of your awesome ideas too.

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