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Weekly menu plan (November 28 - December 4, 2011)

Here's my menu for the week ahead!

Monday

Chicken a la King (using leftover turkey), steamed broccoli, maple rosemary bean salad (leftover from Saturday)

Tuesday

Smoky Salmon Chowder (leftover from Sunday -- Joshua made this and it's delicious!), green beans, mixed fruit

Wednesday

Mexican Black Bean Burgers, seasoned baked potato wedges, cooked peas and carrots

Thursday

Turkey Sausage Kale Soup, homemade kefir biscuits, cooked carrots

Friday

Biscuit Crust Pizza, green beans

Saturday

Cooked pinto beans (in slow cooker), served with cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce

Sunday

Not sure yet, but I'd like to try a new recipe for something! :) I printed most of my bookmarked recipes last week, so I have lots to choose from... on a day when I'm feeling more motivated. (Right now I'm tired!)

Breakfast pizza
This was the breakfast pizza from last week's menu; it was okay, but not amazing.
I'll probably play with the recipe a bit... :)

This week's breakfasts:

Oatmeal and scrambled eggs (x2)
Cold cereal (x2)
Fruit smoothies (homemade kefir, bananas, and frozen fruit) (x3)

This week's lunches:

Leftovers or peanut butter and honey sandwiches (I'll pack leftovers or cooked pinto beans in Joshua's lunches)

Homemade cards

On Saturday, we had some friends over for dinner and then I had a little card-making party in the kitchen with the girls. I love making (and sending!) homemade cards. It's so relaxing. :)

I've also taken the approach of trying to make several similar cards at the same time, since it takes me a while to figure out a good design. I wrote more about that here, along with a quick tutorial of one of my simplest thank-you card designs. Winter is the perfect time for me to enjoy this indoor hobby, and with a new baby due next Spring, I'm hoping to replenish my stack of homemade cards before then. :)

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans! :)

Weekly menu plan (November 21-27, 2011)

Like last week, this week's menu plan is mostly soft foods. Joshua got his braces on Thursday, and he says his mouth doesn't really hurt, but it's very hard to chew (back molars not coming all the way together).

I'm actually having fun getting to make some of the less-healthy meals that I haven't made for a while. ;) Cheese, eggs, pasta, butter, or cream are all things we've been really limiting for the past 10 months or so. That took out most of my favorite casseroles!

This week's breakfasts:

Easy Baked Apple Oatmeal with whipped cream (x2)
Regular oatmeal (x2)
Fruit smoothies (homemade kefir, bananas, and frozen fruit) (x3)

Cooked pinto beans
Cooked pinto beans, with my favorite toppings

This week's lunches:

Slow-cooked pinto beans, rice, cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce (I will pack this in Joshua's lunches too); applesauce; bananas

This week's dinners:

Monday

Veggie Bean Soup with Spinach (leftover from last week), Broccoli Rice Casserole (recipe coming!), apple crisp (new recipe I'm trying!)

Tuesday

Enchiladas w/ground beef (still deciding on a new recipe to try; want to recommend one?)

Wednesday

Macaroni and Cheese Pizza (recipe coming!), green bean casserole

Thursday

A potluck that still needs to be completely planned (my fault!); green bean casserole and cranberry sauce are the two I know I'll be making so far...

Friday

Biscuit-Crusted Breakfast Pizza (recipe coming!), cooked peas and carrots

Saturday

Not yet planned, aside from homemade bread; we're having company for dinner and the meal needs to be dairy-free. :)

Sunday

Smoky Salmon Chowder, cooked peas and carrots

Visit Organizing Junkie for more menu plans! :)

Weekly menu plan + Eating with braces

It's been 9 months since I last posted a menu plan here. Too long! :) Here's my menu plan for the week ahead.

Breakfasts: Fruit smoothies (using milk and frozen fruit, including our blackberries!) and oatmeal.

Lunches: Peanut butter and honey sandwiches, bananas

(Weekend lunches: Leftovers)

Dinners:

Monday

Slow-cooked Herbed Beef and Gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots

Tuesday

Lemon-Dill Baked Cod, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli and carrots

Wednesday

My mom's chili, cornbread, and green beans

Thursday

Veggie Bean Soup with Spinach, leftover cornbread

Friday

Whole wheat blender pancakes, scrambled eggs, steamed broccoli

Saturday

Beans and rice, steamed broccoli

Sunday

Grilled salmon, cooked rice, green beans

This was a difficult menu to plan because everything needed to be fairly soft and easy-to-chew.

We've been eating a lot of soups and soft foods the past two weeks. Joshua had his wisdom teeth plus two other teeth out, and this Thursday he's getting braces! This is one of the things I mentioned at the beginning of the year -- something we've been trying to save for and hoping to do for quite a while. I'm so excited that it's finally happening!

I am not, however, looking forward to the eating restrictions he'll have while things are being fixed. (He won't be able to close his mouth all the way, with a bite plate.) The kids got pretty tired of soup after the first week. (Me? I may have lost a pound, and I think Joshua lost about 5!)

I'd love to hear any tips for what to eat when you can't chew very well / have braces! Soups in the blender worked pretty well, but between those and smoothies, it was just too much dairy (Joshua is lactose intolerant)... and by this point (week 3 of liquids and/or soft foods) we're all craving something besides potato soup, broccoli cheese soup, and gourmet bean soup! ;)

Grocery Shopping, Week 12 (Costco, QFC)

Groceries from QFC this week

All right, I have another grocery shopping trip to post... and then I think I am caught up! :) Joshua went to Costco and I went to QFC. He got a few things not on my list, and I got some expensive stuff just for fun. Hmmm. :)

My trip to QFC:

Dried black-eye peas (2 bags)         $3.78
Garbanzo beans                             $2.19
Dried split peas (2 bags)                  $2.18
Nancy's yogurt (4 lb.)                       $5.49
Dried navy beans                             $3.59
Dried great northern beans                $3.29
Organic Fuji apples ($1.25/lb)             $6.30
Bananas ($0.69/lb)                          $4.20

Total spent at QFC: $31.02

Notes: If I buy these dried beans again, I will look for a source to get them cheaper, in bulk! Since QFC is literally right around the corner, I allowed myself to spend a few extra dollars there and avoid driving to the next town over. :)

Groceries from Costco this week

Joshua's trip to Costco:

* = used coupon

Organic raisins (4#)                    7.79
Mixed nuts (2.5#)                      13.69
Organic sugar                             8.89
Heavy cream (1/2 gal)                 7.69
Organic tortilla chips (2.5#)           4.59
Best Foods Mayo (2 qt.)               5.42*
Nestle choc. chips (4.5#)               6.99*
Sour cream (3#)                          3.69
Folic acid supplement                   7.79*
Organic canned tomatoes (8ct.)    5.19*
Frozen blueberries (6#??)             11.49
Bananas (3 bunches)                   4.41
Turkey sausage                          8.59
Whole milk (8 gallons)                18.00
All-purpose flour (25#)                  7.43
Toilet paper :)                            17.99
White vinegar (2 gal)                   3.40
Liquid Plumbr (2x80oz.)              7.29*
Xerox paper                              6.37
Uncured turkey bacon (3#)          9.99
Romaine lettuce (2x6ct.)             5.98
Beef hot dogs                            10.99
Huge hot dog buns (18ct.)            2.99
Mission burrito-size tortillas           4.99
Large eggs (5 doz.)                     7.45
Red potatoes (10#)                     5.49
Yellow onions (10#)                    3.49

Total spent at Costco: $217.25 (includes $4.35 tax)

More Costco groceries

Notes: We usually buy the regular Mission chips (not organic) which are 3 lbs for $3.35, but I recently noticed that the organic chips have a LOT less saturated fat, so we decided to buy those. The bag should last us about a month, and this is usually the only kind of chips we buy! :) They're very good. :)

Joshua wanted to try the turkey sausage! He loves having meat with his weekend breakfasts. :) The turkey bacon is uncured (no added nitrates) and I love it! I freeze half the package to help stretch it out. :)

For those wondering when toilet paper would show up, take note! ;) The Liquid Plumbr was for our bathroom drain... it had almost stopped running, so I cleaned it out and used the Liquid Plumbr and now it's perfect. Yay! :)

The Xerox paper? Umm, all the ebooks I've printed lately... ;) (The Everything Beans Book, Sourdough A to Z, and Fundamentals!)

The hot dogs and buns were because Joshua considered getting the kids hot dogs from Costco's Food Court (yep, he takes the kids with him when he goes to the store for me!!!) but then he decided it would be cheaper to buy hot dogs and buns since we don't care about the free drinks anyway. :)

Total remaining for April's food budget of $420.00: $248.27

I think I will most likely go to Costco one more time in April, because I want to get some freshly-roasted coffee for my dad (to take when we go to visit the end of April!). I'll also probably run out of milk before then. But I'm planning to do a lot better this month than last month about staying under budget! :)

Grocery Shopping, Week 11 (several weeks rolled into one, actually)

My last grocery post was over 3 weeks ago. Eeks! I have pictures from some of our shopping trips since then, and all my receipts are here, so you'll get prices and items. :)

I am definitely over my $420 budget for this month though! :( It is mostly Joshua's fault because last week I asked him to go to QFC for about $10 worth of stuff, and he came home with $45 of groceries!! Hmmm, guess he was getting tired of beans. ;) Just kidding. :) I'm not too upset, and really, it's not worth being upset because:

#1. He got (mostly) healthy stuff. If we're buying fresh fruits and veggies and stuff like that, and I'm not letting anything go to waste, I call it good.

#2. We don't have debt and spending more than $420 in one month isn't going to put us in debt.

#3. I spent a lot, and I do mean a LOT!!! at Costco last week. So much for being over my addiction... heehee :)

So, here is the last grocery post I did, which detailed that we had $283.33 left for the month of March. I was planning to spend about $200 in a Costco trip, and about $20/week on fresh bananas or produce at a nearby QFC.

QFC, trip #1

Read more...

Grocery Shopping, Week 10 (Costco, QFC)

Groceries from QFC this week

Okay, here is the past 2 weeks of grocery shopping trips! This finishes out February's grocery budget and starts March's.

I had to run a couple errands Monday evening, and I stopped at QFC on my way home and picked up these items:

Cocoa powder ($3.59/each)                $10.77
Frozen turkey breast ($0.99/lb)           $6.55
Bananas ($0.69/lb)                           $3.65
Seedless grapes ($0.99/lb)                $1.94
Green bell peppers ($1/each)             $2.00
Organic Braeburn apples ($0.99/lb)     $12.66
Creamer (free with coupon)                ------
Plain yogurt (4 pounds)                      $5.09

I also had a $3 off catalina (register-printed coupon) for QFC which I used.

Total: $39.66

Notes:

We use a bit of cocoa powder because Joshua drinks a homemade mocha frappuccino daily.

The plain yogurt is for some frozen yogurt recipes we're working on. Normally we just use our homemade kefir. We are working on kefir ice cream recipes too, though! ;)

Read more for the other 2 grocery trips:

Grocery Shopping, Week 9 (Costco, QFC)

Eliyahu (5) with some apples we bought

I have bought lots of groceries in the past week! We made a trip to Costco (and spent a lot) and also got fruit and asparagus at QFC. I actually haven't totalled everything up -- yet -- so we'll see how much this knocks off of my remaining $346.82 (out of $420) for the month of February.

And last week, our propane tank for the grill went empty. I'm conflicted as to whether to count the tank refill as grocery money or not. I'm tempted to not include it, since I don't include things like electricity to use the oven, or water to wash the dishes. I mean, propane is more in the "utilities" category than the "food" category, right? :)

So, here's what I spent:

Local store:

Apples ($0.88/lb) -- pictured above
Propane tank exchange ($19.99) -- plus 9.5% tax

Total: $26.27

Groceries from QFC this week

Groceries from QFC:

Asparagus ($1.48/lb)            $4.88
Bananas ($0.69/lb)              $4.77
Donuts (yes, Joshua again!)  $1.00

Total: $10.65

Groceries from Costco this week

And then, the groceries from Costco. (Read more for prices and a final total!)

Weekly Menu Plan (February 6-13, 2011)

Homemade Belgian Waffles recipe
Belgian waffles, which I made on Sunday (and took new pictures to replace the outdated ones with this recipe!)

Here is this week's menu plan! :)

Sunday

Breakfast -- Belgian waffles (not a very balanced breakfast!)
Lunch -- Grilled chicken breast, cooked carrots, roasted broccoli (made in oven), rice
Dinner -- Bean & rice burritos, apples

Monday

Chicken Garlic Pizza (recipe coming!), roasted broccoli, green salad

Tuesday

Saucy Broccoli Chicken Bake, cooked carrots

Wednesday

Brunch (friends coming over) -- Low-fat whole grain waffles, eggs, & bananas
Dinner -- Beef in crock pot, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans

Thursday

Chicken rice burritos, salad, oven-roasted root veggies

Friday (friends coming over)

Homemade pizza, challah, salad, homemade sparkling grape juice

Saturday (with guests all day)

Breakfast -- Easy baked apple oatmeal, eggs, kefir fruit smoothies
Lunch -- Grilled cod, cooked brown rice, green beans, and carrots
Dinner -- Homemade pizza, green salad

Sunday (guests in the morning)

Whole-grain waffles, scrambled eggs, kefir fruit smoothies

Mac'n'cheese
One of last week's dinners: Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

Lunches this week:

Beans & rice, PBJs, or leftovers

Breakfasts this week:

Kefir smoothies

Grocery Shopping, Week 8 (QFC)

Groceries from QFC this week

Compared to last week, this week's grocery shopping feels like a frugal failure! I made out a menu and Joshua went to the nearby QFC (Kroger family) store. I'm not sure if I just didn't look at this week's ad closely enough, or what -- because the only thing on sale that I could use was avocados. (For example, grapes were on sale for $1.77/lb... not really a very good sale!)

So, we saved some time (by not going to Costco) but we didn't save any money. ;) We are having a bit of company this weekend (basically all weekend long!) and I won't be going grocery shopping again before they come, so I tried to make sure we would have plenty of good food to serve them. :)

Here is what we bought at QFC:

Romaine lettuce              $1.99
Leaf lettuce                    $1.99
Bananas ($0.69/lb)         $7.99
Pretzel sticks                  $2.19
Powdered sugar              $2.99
Avocados ($0.50/ea)       $3.00
Ranch dressing               $2.50
Apples                           $6.15
Green onions                  $3.87
Grape juice concentrate    $5.00
Club soda                      $1.98
Tomatoes                      $6.66
Donuts (not pictured)      $2.50

Total: $48.80

Total food budget remaining for February: $346.82 (out of $420)

My #1 mistake this week? Putting things on the list that I wanted, thinking that they couldn't possibly be that expensive, and not telling Joshua (who was the one going to the store) that I didn't really NEED something if it was too expensive.

If I had been at the store, I would have skipped the ranch dressing (we have enough to last another 7-10 days until Costco), apples (more bananas?), and tomatoes. And the pretzel sticks and donuts probably wouldn't have been purchased since those weren't on my list. ;)

Instead, Joshua had no idea just how essential the ranch dressing was, and purchased it since I had asked for it. Hmmm... is this a call for us to get cell phones so he could have asked me about it? ;)

Moral of the story: Stock up at Costco and try not to run out of things. If it's expensive at Costco, it's probably more expensive at QFC. And remember... we will survive without all the little "extras"!

The grape juice and club soda will be used to make homemade sparkling grape juice to serve to our guests this weekend. I'll post my week's menu shortly! :)

Grocery Shopping, Week 7 (Costco)

Groceries from Costco this week

It's been a while since I posted about my grocery shopping trips. There are too many things I would like to blog about on a weekly basis! Grocery shopping, weekly menus, kitchen tips, new recipes, posts answering your questions, and just random "here's what I've been cooking!" posts... Hmmm, maybe I should do a poll and see what you really want more of! As it is, I just blog whatever's on my mind, without sacrificing too much sleep or family time. ;)

Anyway, last week I shared about some of my money-saving intentions for the year. I'm very happy to say that I've already paid a bill online for the first time, Moshe and Ruth are in cloth diapers (potty training commences this week... I think), and I got our trash service reduced to the smallest can (which will save $84/year! on garbage!!).

And with 1 day left in January, my groceries have come in within-budget and that makes me pretty happy. :) We went to Costco 2 times in January (instead of 4!!) and even lived for 7 days without sour cream. We are spoiled and almost have to have sour cream with our beans. ;)

Today (January 30) was actually our second Costco trip for the month, and since I plan to not go for at least 2 more weeks, I spent part of January's grocery money (I had $137 left for the month) and a little of February's.

Read more for photos and items/prices and total spent: