Mini-Pledge Week 3: Meat

The 100 Days of Real Food challenges for this week are to buy meat local/humanely raised (within 100 miles of your house) and to treat meat like a side dish rather than the main.

I already know I won’t be buying locally raised meat. I tried doing that one month and I realized how incredibly expensive local meat was. I think I’m pretty good at stretching our food dollar, but $12# for chicken and $9# for pork was too much to bear. Beef was the only semi-affordable option, but the farmer doesn’t frequent my farmer’s market anymore so I don’t have a good options. For a family of four with two small children, we aren’t able to feed the family, maintain my sanity and stay on budget with local prices.

Farmer's Market Bounty
Expensive local meat

The other challenge for the week is to reduce meat consumption to 3 or 4 servings, and to treat it like a side dish instead of the focal point. I would love to introduce a vegetarian meal once or twice a week because it will save us money, unless I’m buying ingredients that I don’t normally buy or go to waste (I’m a little concerned about the radishes in my fridge…) 90% of the time our main dish consists of meat mixed with something to stretch it across four of us – casseroles, rice, potatoes, tortillas, sandwiches, etc help me stretch a pound of meat. So, I already feel like we are #winning.

I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired by the vegetarian recipes provided, but I did find a slow cooker potato soup in her cookbook that sounded good. And we usually do homemade pizza once a week. Here’s the plan:


 

Monday: Leftovers from Sunday, Gimme Some Oven chicken alfredo

Tuesday: Homemade pizza. I used a new bread machine dough recipe and substituted WWW flour for AP.

Wednesday: chicken tostadas, using shredded chicken in the freezer and..wait..HOMEMADE TORTILLAS! More on that another day.

Thursday and Friday: Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup with homemade enchilada sauce (super easy)

Saturday: 100 Days of Real Food slow cooker potato soup, which isn’t available online. But I found a similar one from  Foodlets, which is a new blog I bookmarked

The soup days I will need to have a substantial side like quesadillas because I know the four year old won’t be interested, and the two year old is iffy.

 

 

 

On Becoming a Bulk Shopper

I am officially a bulk shopper. Well, sort of.

Since I started closely tracking our grocery expenses the past few years I have often considered whether a membership to Costco or Sam’s would benefit our wallets. For most of our married life we haven’t lived near either of those stores, but now we are 30-45 mins from Sam’s (Costco is over an hour). Continue reading “On Becoming a Bulk Shopper”

100 Days of Real Food Mini-Pledge

Ooh wee! I just signed us up for the 100 Days of Real Food 14 week mini-pledge. According to the intro video, each Friday I will get a pledge with recipes and shopping lists (!) and then we can start the pledge on Monday (to give me a day to plan and shop). Meal planning and shopping has been a HUGE part of my life for the past year+ and I’m excited and nervous about making a change. I think we already do a good job of limiting processed foods (except on the weekends), but even our weekend slippage isn’t a huge deal. I’m most excited about getting recipes from one blog sent directly to me, instead of mining the internet for ideas and recipes, and I’m also getting her cookbook. I also like the idea of making small changes and introducing new foods, but I have no plans to start serving hummus and alfalfa sprouts.

I will definitely track our progress. And if you want to join too, you have until this Friday!

A Year in Review

A few days ago I logged into my blog and saw a message from WordPress congratulating me on my 1 year blogversary. Since then I have been reflecting on my experience in the blogosphere; the things  I learned, how my blog has changed, and what the blog has done for me.

1,550 visitors from 30+ countries came to my little site in 2015. To a “real” blogger that number is eency weency, but I think it’s pretty good for a free blog that is maintained as a hobby in my “free” time (in the evening, in front of trash Bravo tv shows). Here are my thoughts on 2014-2015: Continue reading “A Year in Review”

Shopping Day

When it’s time to shop around here, it’s time to shop. This is the site that greeted me yesterday:

Healthy Kitchen Healthy Budget shopping day

We actually did have enough for dinner (chicken sausage and pasta, applesauce and salad) and breakfast this morning (apple pie pancakes, some juice and dried fruit), but for lunch we grabbed McD’s after a visit to the Farmer’s Market. We all went shopping together this afternoon and I decided that afternoon shopping is a bad, bad idea. Even though the toddler had a long nap and the pre-schooler had a snooze in the car, there was lots of crankiness and crying from the peanut gallery, especially the smallest peanut. Yeah, morning is much better, but at least my husband was there to push the cart around while I darted from aisle to aisle like a gazelle running for its life. Continue reading “Shopping Day”

New Azure Adventure!

Because our grocery bill ballooned so much towards the end of last month, I started cutting back on my organic purchases to about half organic/half not. Sometimes I buy organic dairy, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I buy organic fruit, sometimes I don’t and soak them in vinegar (for the record I think organic berries taste sweeter and are more ripe in the store). Continue reading “New Azure Adventure!”

Meal Plan 8.16 – 8.22 (new and improved)

For the past few months I have (mostly) written my meal plans and grocery lists in a small notebook that stays in my purse. I usually end up crossing things out, putting arrows pointing to different days and sometimes I even have to completely re-write the entire page because it’s such a mess. This week instead of trying to squeeze my dinner and grocery list onto a small piece of paper, I decided to use a sophisticated meal planning program to input my information and create a handy dandy printable to take to the store. Continue reading “Meal Plan 8.16 – 8.22 (new and improved)”

Meal Plan 8.9 – 8.15

I went food shopping with the tot on Saturday and I made out like a bandit…well, by my standards anyway. $126 for the entire week, and that includes beer (three meals/day/family of four)! I felt especially awesome because Publix had some BOGO/sales on items I usually buy (craisins, Kettle chips and Applegate ham) AND I added digital coupons for extra savings. I rarely use coupons because it’s almost impossible to find coupons for things we buy (i.e. organic) so I usually try to save by choosing the Publix brand as much as possible. But this time sales and manufacturer coupons were in my favor.  Continue reading “Meal Plan 8.9 – 8.15”