Week 5: Menu & Receipt

Today was also prep day, which means I’ve been in the kitchen getting meals and food ready for both dinner and the week to come since I got home from the grocery. While one daughter laid down for a while then enjoyed a bath, the other played Operation and Clue Jr. with her daddy at the kitchen table. It was a lovely day.

Now, for this week’s menu.

There's nothing on here that isn't Paleo and it's all grass fed meats. $100 budget.

There’s nothing on here that isn’t Paleo. $100 budget.

And now for the receipt.

Notice I entertained two grocery markets today… a sunday… what was I thinking? However, I wanted to give Wegman’s a chance. Local friends are typically split between the two largest competitors in the area and I have to say, I’m sticking with GIANT for the majority of my shopping. I will continue to use Wegman’s to stock up on grass-fed proteins though. Their variety is to-die-for compared to what GIANT is currently offering and their prices are not insane. I was also a bit blown away by the Gluten Free section, although as I perused, I realized it was just more processed crap that I’d rather not eat. They had a few lower prices on certain items like Almond Flour, but their Coconut Flour inflation made up for it. Also, their gluten-free, non gmo cereals were priced at or higher than GIANT. Since I knew GIANT had Barbara’s brand on sale, and their organic apples (#1 on the Dirty Dozen) were dollars cheaper, I made up my mind that I would stop by on my way home… since it is on my way home.

Kudos to Wegman's for their compact receipt. I spent 70% of my budget there and got 30% less paper.

Kudos to Wegman’s for their compact receipt. I spent 70% of my budget there and got 30% less paper.

I went over budget by $10.61 today, the most I’ve ever gone over. I only have myself to blame, of course, deciding to ask my husband if he wanted lunch meat when I got to GIANT. His response was “No. Bread, soda and chips.” DARN!  The soda and chips alone were $8.19 and I bought my daughter a new pack of hair bands for $2.96. Without these items I would have spent $99.46 between 2 stores.

From the meats I purchased, all were Wegman’s Organic Brand . I also made sure to buy meats that would prepare well for more than one meal. For example, I knew I could use the leftover chicken quarters for a salad addition, we’d have roast beef for lunch and/or a leftovers dinner as well, OR I could use it in a stew. Always make leftovers!

Prep day went something like this:

  1. Chicken wings marinated in Frank’s Hot Sauce, onions, bell peppers, butter, salt and pepper. Baked for dinner at 350 for 45 minutes, turned and brushed twice. 
  2. Chicken quarters baked at 350 for 70 minutes with butter, salt and pepper. Turned and brushed twice.
  3. 4 large meatballs, 8 medium meatballs and a heart-shaped meatloaf made from 2lbs of ground beef and 1lb of ground lamb. Added to the mixture: 2 eggs; 1/4(ish) cup of coconut flour; (in the food processor) carrots, onions, celery, dates;  salt, pepper, thyme and savory seasoning. All sprinkled with garlic salt.
  4. A salad for my work-dinner tomorrow night was prepared while I made dinner salads. I added some of the extra roasted chicken to it after dinner was complete.
  5. Mashed white (for husband) and sweet potatoes.
I shaped my meatloaf into a heart to send my love to the fam while I am working. Thanks to Liz for the idea!

I shaped my meatloaf into a heart to send my love to the fam while I am working. Thanks to Liz for the idea! It’s her Valentine tradition.

After making a whole lot of dinner to satisfy each of our cravings (not my typical m.o.), we have half a dozen wings, 1 quartered chicken plus part of a quarter, and extra mashed potatoes for daytime meals and/or leftover night. Tomorrow, while I am enjoying my protein packed salad, my family will enjoy a meatloaf. I hope to have some leftover meatloaf with an egg Tuesday morning!

I forgot to boil eggs. They are such an important addition to my work-meals because of the protein and fat content. They fill me up and keep me going while on my feet. So, I’ll make time in the morning to boil a few.

What is on your menu this week? Leave a comment and let us know, or join us on our Facebook page to further the conversation.

To check out our other $100/week budget Menu & Receipt posts click below:

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Lifestyle Change & Frugality

Do you have a healthy living resolution for 2012? Emptying your cupboards into the trashcan followed by a race to the grocery store to fill your house with ‘healthy’ replacements can be exhilarating. However, this is not the way to start a new lifestyle and could cost you hundreds of dollars. Keep all aspects of wellness in mind and communicate with your partner, decide who is committing to this change. Is this a “you” thing or is this a family thing? Everyone must choose this for them self in order for it to stick.

When I began my journey a year ago, it was a very ME thing. I knew I could influence my children’s diet, but my husband’s was a different story and he was certain there was no Paleo in his future. I could have thrown my hands in the air and blamed someone else for my quick defeat, but I was choosing change. I had read too much evidence on how the Paleo diet can restore your body to health and prevent modern disease to quit on someone else’s accord. So, I never trashed the cookies and pretzels. I simply stopped buying it. My husband will buy items I categorize as ‘junk’ but rarely asks me to buy them for him. He respects my choice, as I respect his.

If it is, in fact, a household decision then TRASH AWAY! What a glorious day that would be. Check your fridge for leftover grain and sugars of your recent holidays, then to the cupboard, the mecca of JUNK. Someone living the Paleo lifestyle has very little inside their cupboard. (I’d like to use mine for appliance storage.) Aside from some nuts, perhaps a small baking section of almond flour, dark cocoa powder, molasses, honey, maybe some dark chocolate (high in cacao), I’m blanking on what else I eat from the cupboard. Clean it out, make it pretty, and store your extra serving dishes inside so you’re not tempted to restock.

The next step is the fun part, at least for me. I’m a grocery store, market, local farm junkie. I love food shopping and this is a major plus considering my next piece of advice is: Shop every 2 or 3 days and only buy items you will eat in 2 or 3 days – you’ll get better as time goes on. A slow start will help form a new habit which is more likely to stick. Paleo essentially means protein and plants. You want food to be fresh (and preferably on sale). You also don’t want to spend your entire grocery budget in the first week, so pace yourself. Create a tentative meal plan based on either what’s in your fridge or what’s on sale this week, use leftovers creatively and start eating them for breakfast, too.

Our taste buds are overwhelmed by the standard American way of eating. Once you have cleaned up your plate and taken out the chemicals and processing, you’ll start tasting food again. Real food. Salt and pepper and common spices are all you need to make a delicious roast. The natural flavorings of a roasted carrot or fresh cucumber are satisfying again. Cooking isn’t complicated so don’t over think it. And remember, it takes time for your body to purge it’s cravings and release old habits. Choose healthy and clean as often as possible. If you choose unhealthy, have a bite and move on, you’ll lose your taste for it over time. Until then don’t let it defeat you. Choose better at each next opportunity.

      Sample

   Monday – BREAKFAST: eggs & uncured bacon (maybe add some fruit for the kids); LUNCH: salad with chicken, hardboiled eggs and some crumbled bacon from bfast; DINNER: hamburgers, sweet potato fries, side salad

Tuesday – BREAKFAST:  omelet with a mix of your faves (mine are peppers and onions); LUNCH: leftover burger on lettuce, hardboiled egg; DINNER: roasted chicken, roasted veggies with salt and pepper (when finished with dinner, put the remaining chicken into the crock pot, fill with water, some spices and cook overnight to make your own broth)

Wednesday – BREAKFAST:  hardboiled eggs and leftover chicken; LUNCH: nitrate free Deli Turkey on a salad or rolled up with cucumber inside; DINNER: hearty chicken soup in the crock pot with the broth from last night’s dinner – get creative with big chunks of carrots (not baby carrots, real carrots), onions, celery, red pepper, throw a jalapeno or three in there, some herbs. YUM.

You can also eat soup for lunch the next day, turn leftover ground beef into meatballs with some shredded veggies for a lunch or dinner, and eggs & bacon make for a great meal any time of day!

Buy ONLY what you will need and stretch it as far as possible, use the entire animal and buy on sale:

  •  eggs
  • uncured bacon
  • large tub of mixed greens
  • chicken breast
  • ground beef
  • sweet potatoes
  • peppers, onion, cucumbers, carrots
  • whole chicken
  • nitrate free Turkey
  • jalapeno