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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- Chicken quarters baked at 350 for 70 minutes with butter, salt and pepper. Turned and brushed twice.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mashed white (for husband) and sweet potatoes.
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.
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The past few weeks have been hectic as I am knee-deep in a new career. After being in school all day for 12 months my routine of leftover lunches has now become leftover dinners because I typically work in the evenings. My family is left to fend for themselves (with the help of my menu planning and preparation, mind you) while I work 3-5 evenings each week. My house hasn’t been this organized in a year and we’ve been checking off the Pinterest ‘to do‘ list at lightning speed. Life is good. My weekly shopping trip, however, has been chopped into spurts.
I don’t mind shopping in spurts, but I received a lot of positive feedback on the weekly menu & receipt posts so my intention has been to continue doing a weekly $100 grocery trip and meal plan (you know, to keep myself busy) so, HERE I AM.
I put a few things back this week, like a 2nd box of k-cups ($5.99), in order to afford a few treats. I also decided against the organic butter (4.29) because we have some butter in the house and my sister recently picked us up 2 jars of Trader Joes Coconut Oil, which I have been using more of recently.
- Budget: $100
- Meal Plan: 1 week
- Final purchase: $92.61
Eating As A Family on a Tight Budget
During my hiatus, I will note, we were not living it up, it was quite the contrary as a matter of fact. My girlfriend, Jodi, recently asked “Without pasta or a starchy filler is it difficult to stretch (a dollar)?” and my immediate answer was “no”. We maintain our eating habits, as much as possible because we are committed to health. It’s almost better for us to spend our money elsewhere 😉 We (/I) are nowhere near perfect. Paleo is the goal and we live as close to it as we can. Sometimes, we don’t want to. 🙂
1. Snack less; It is a privilege, not a right
2. Pack meals with protein – no counting calories or controlling portions (within reason). EAT.
3. Cook with coconut oil instead of butter – it adds more fat to our lessened amount of food. Fat = energy and we all need energy to keep our brains and bodies working well.
4. Use more eggs – added protein and fat for a good price
5. Drink (even more) water.
6. GET BUSY and/or NAP – our bodies work best in these conditions
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Here it is! Don’t make fun of my bad paint job.
- Saturday: Tacos (seasoned ground beef and salsa on greens with carrot peels, cucumber slivers, chopped onions – check the bad pic on Facebook)
- Sunday: Kabobs (chicken, pork, steak with peppers, onions, sprouts and bacon) with Brussel Sprout and Bacon Speared
- Monday: Pork Chops with a salad and mashed (sweet) potatoes (and certainly applesauce)
- Tuesday: Burgers with salad and fries (or burger ON salad, hold the fries)
- Wednesday: Chicken Soup (broth, chicken breast, bag(s) of frozen soup vegetables, chopped and peeled additional carrots and onions, seasoned in the crock pot)
- Thursday: Steak (mmm, steak) with baked (sweet) potatoes and a salad
- Friday: $5 PIZZA NIGHT (or leftovers)
- Saturday: Jumbalaya (broth, peppers, onions, garlic, chicken, shrimp and sausage, seasoned in the crock pot)
My shopping list tallied at $100.33 according to my calculator, before check out. That was after I decided to put a few things back to swap out for more proteins; one of the 2 frozen pizzas my husband requested $3.99; the entire stock of k-cups because (I had a coupon for a buy 2) I can get through exactly enough days with the coffee and tea I have $11.98; I put back grass fed hot dogs and resolved to not take short cuts when feeding the kids (besides we have sliced chicken, eggs and there will be plenty of leftovers for lunch options) $5.99; I decided against another jar of olives since I blew through the last one (munchies) and I have guacamole and celery in the crisper I can crunch on instead $2.29.
The cashier presented me with the grand total of $102.55. Not bad. Mind you, that also includes $44.44 in NON Paleo foods or housewares items. HOLY SHIT. Imagine if we just ate Paleo.
I’ll also be making hard-boiled eggs for snacking and salad, cookie bars (grainless granola like concoction, basically nuts and honey) and I have apples and bananas to turn into yummy breakfast or dessert options for the girls. That makes a week worth of (almost) Paleo eating.
Some more thoughts on Paleo being as affordable as you want to make it:
- Robb’s rant, he will always hold a spot in my heart for opening my eyes to the power I have over my own health.
- I follow Paleo On a Budget on Facebook
- A quick google search (if you really want to know something, you can find the answer yourself) and here is a nice rundown on ways to cut the budget from the Lean Machine and 15 Tips for Eating Paleo on the Cheap from Following my Nose
- Now harvest your own information. If you want something, you’ll make it work. Don’t blame anyone but yourself.
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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.
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:
- uncured bacon
- large tub of mixed greens
- chicken breast
- ground beef
- sweet potatoes
- peppers, onion, cucumbers, carrots
- whole chicken
- nitrate free Turkey