budget talk

The Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Gourmet Foods

Budget gourmet might sound like an oxymoron, but even Budget Smart Girls can enjoy gourmet or gourmet like foods now and then. And here’s the good news, because the economy’s in a slump, lots of companies, yes, even those who sell high end foods are slashing prices. I searched the Web and found these sites offering gourmet foods this holiday season. They’re great for either treating yourself or giving as a gift. I’m taking a bet that others will think you’ve spent a lot more than you actually did.

The Fresh Market
This site has lots to offer, but check out the artisan vanilla granola for $3.99, lemon curd $4.99 and the cheese straws $14.99 There are enough good deals here that you can put together your own gourmet gift basket. www.thefreshmarket.com

Spices and herbs can really add some pizzazz to budget foods and I always keep some in the pantry. One company to check out is www.spicehunter.com I love all their spice blends but a personal favorite of mine is their Flavor Discoveries line, $5.99. I add these spices to everything from soup to scrambled eggs.

World Market
Take a stroll through the aisles of The World Market and you’ll find a ton of gourmet foods. And don’t pass on World Market’s own brand name items. They have a dark chocolate spread and gourmet drinking chocolate that are both excellent. Many of the food items are only available in their stores, but check out their Web site to get an idea of what’s available, click on the ‘eat and drink’ tab www.worldmarket.com

Gift Baskets
If you’re looking for ready made gift basket full of goodies, check out www.overstock.com. Type in Gift Baskets and then search by price.

Being the chocoholic that I am, I’m always looking for gourmet chocolate and these days it’s not hard to find and at prices most Budget Smart Girls can afford. I found this site that has lots of items for under $15.99. And what I liked about this site is you can type in the amount you want to spend. Sounds like it was made just for us. www.worldsfinestchocolate.com

One of my favorite stops in the supermarket is the cheese counter. Sometimes the selection is overwhelming and sometimes the price is, well, let’s say unbelievable. But I found this site where you can select cheese by price. I was surprised to see they sell an Asiago for under $10. That’s sometimes the highest priced cheese at the store. It’s full of flavor so a little goes a long way. And a wine and cheese get together makes a really low cost way to throw a party during the holidays.

Just the other day, I decided to pull out the bread machine and make a loaf of bread from scratch. Check out this site for mixes you can give us a gift, use for the holiday meal, or combine with other goodies in a gift basket. www.preparedpantry.com Check out the Gourmet Artisan Breads and it’s a good site too for learning bread making and baking.

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