BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

5 Non-BrokeAss Splurges that are Worth it

If you’re cooking and eating at home, rather than going out to eat on a regular basis, chances are you can afford the occasional splurge. Below you’ll find 5 items which I believe are truly worth it. Buy them when you can, use them with an awareness that they cost more than your regular purchases, but enjoy every bite. That is, after all, the whole point of all this, right?

  • Pastured Eggs: $6-$7.50 If you’re lucky enough to live near an egg farm, try to buy your eggs directly from there. Otherwise check out your local farmers market or natural foods store for eggs that are not just organic and free range, but actually pasture-raised. Be warned: a dozen of these delicious beauties can cost up to $7.50, but the difference in their flavor is remarkable. While pastured eggs are perhaps not a good choice for baking, whip up an omelet, scramble or breakfast sandwich using one of these and you’ll taste the difference in their rich, dark orange yolk and creamy whites.
  • Muir Glen Organic Fire-Roasted Tomatoes(Crushed, Diced and Sauce): $2.50-$4 These are, hands down, the best canned tomatoes money can buy. Stir them into the sauce for a rich stew or Indian dish or cook them with fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, basil, salt and pepper for an impromptu tomato sauce. However you use them, they impart a charred-yet-sweet addition to whatever you’re making, adding layers of flavor in an instant. Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy them online through Amazon.
  • Kerrygold Irish Butter: $2-$3 This rich, deep-yellow, European-style butter is imported from Ireland, made from 100% grass-fed cows and is literally the best butter money can buy, in my opinion. I don’t use it for baking, but I’ll happily cook eggs in a dab of it, serve it with crusty bread for spreading, or melt it over steamed vegetables. It’s an effortless (and not too costly) way to kick a dish up several notches in the decadence department.
  • Good, Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $6-$12+ Good cooking techniques will take you far, but a dish is truly only as good as the quality of its ingredients. I use an inexpensive extra virgin olive oil (always buy extra virgin—“pure” or “light” olive oils are useless) for baking/frying, but any time I want the flavor of the oil to shine through (in dressings/sauces, for example), I use something with good flavor. Two options that won’t break the bank: Trader Joe’s California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (in a slim green bottle), $5.99, Whole Foods 365 brand Extra Virgin Cold-Pressed Italian Olive Oil (in a cylindrical tin), $8.99.
  • Organic Free-Range Chicken, Grass-Fed Meats and Wild-Caught Fish: prices vary It can be painful, whilst standing at the meat and/or seafood counter at the grocery store to bring yourself to spend several additional dollars per pound on sustainably-raised meats/seafood, but when flavor and quality count, it truly is better this way. I’m not saying it’s imperative to always do this (these are splurges, remember), but when you can afford it, this is the way to go. Buy only what you need (the biggest key to BrokeAss shopping) and augment your meal with plenty of fresh (and less-expensive) vegetables and/or other sides.

What are your favorite food splurges? Please share in the comments below!

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Marianna, on Aug 1, 02:53 PM, wrote:

Much as I love Kerrygold, I like Organic Valley Pastured Butter in the green wrapper even more. Again, kind of spendy, but I buy them on sale and freeze for later—which is also a good idea because this is seasonal butter, and only available in spring and summer when the grasses are green and yummy—I love its deep colour and herbacious back taste—highly recommend—

Deb in Indiana, on Aug 1, 03:31 PM, wrote:

I love farm eggs, and buy them from my friend “the egg lady,” who lets her chickens run around and eat bugs and grass and other good things, making beautiful orange and white stand-up eggs.

I don’t know why you say that they are not a good choice for baking, though — can you explain?

Gabi Moskowitz, on Aug 1, 05:23 PM, wrote:

Hi Deb—Oh, they’re a fine choice for baking. I only meant that, if you’re trying to save money, you might be better off saving pastured eggs for when you can really taste their eggy, yolky goodness, like in a scramble or omelette—as opposed to baked into a cookie or muffin. If you can swing it, I saw always use pastured eggs! -GM

Dee, on Aug 2, 12:25 AM, wrote:

Wooo – big shout out from all your irish readers – bring on the kerrygold… So flavoursome!1 However, this was launched this weekend – http://www.kerrygold.co.uk/index.php?p=new-kerrygold-lighter-unsalted-packet-butter,132. I have yet to try it, but it might be as tasty, and slightly less artery clogging than the real thing!

My favourite non-broke ass splash out – PINE NUTS!! :-)

John Tracey, on Aug 2, 05:52 AM, wrote:

Niman Ranch thick bacon. Thick enough to be just chewy, if you make sure you don’t overcook it …

Sarah, on Aug 2, 12:10 PM, wrote:

I agree with you- especially on the eggs, olive oil, and meat purchases. My own splurge is the type of chocolate I buy. My thought is if I have enough money to buy chocolate, then I can also afford to buy the kind that is produced by companies that pay their workers fairly.

Deb in Indiana, on Aug 2, 04:09 PM, wrote:

Thanks, Gabi, for the reply. One advantage of living in Indiana — “pastured eggs” run $1.50 – 3.00 here… and I drive past the farm on my way to work.