August Is For Fun


At least, that’s my motto this year! I haven’t lost interest in the minimal budget meal planning, but I have been using this time since graduation to work mostly on creative projects that got put on the back burner. I’ve been posting about them on my quilting/sewing blog, , if you’d like to check them out.

Also, while I haven’t lost interest in cooking by any means, I’ve really changed my mindset about cooking and food over the last year. I used to really approach things from a storage mindset but that doesn’t seem productive to me any more, at least not to the same degree. I am slowly adopting more of a minimalist approach to things (slowly is key, and it zigs and zags) and starting to consider what that looks like for us in the kitchen. Fair warning I will never be the kind of minimalist who expects dust motes sparkling in her barren rooms to serve as decoration, but I do feel overwhelmed but stuff and also serious about moving what we have on. So that might be the direction this blog takes because I do think documenting progress is helpful to maintain momentum!

What do you have going on this month? Are you looking forward to September?


I Graduated!


Done! And I’m going to Disney World! Lol, I really am although that is not typically how I would reward myself for a goal acheived. But my sister and her family are coming down this week to visit the park and it will be fun to hang out with my nieces and watch them experience the park for the first time.

Can I just say, though, that I am SO HAPPY to be finished? I’m really, really glad that I went back to school and now I am ready to embark on the next step of my career. But first…a break. I’m taking August to recoup and restore some order before hopefully starting back to full-time employment.

Popping In

dog in sweater progress

I got busy working on my final, FINAL projects for grad school (graduation in 2 weeks!!!) and stitching up some goodies for the important people who’ve helped me along on this journey. I’ll be back with more low-budget menu plans after graduation. 🙂

$30 A Week: Grocery List & Meal Plan #2


Alright! We’re moving into week two and the reality of this meal plan’s limitations are setting in. There is going to be a whole lot of repitition and while that is what I end up doing for my regular meals (because I like it), somehow it seems rather stark when it’s laid out in these meal plans. I’ve also realized that $30 is a lot tighter than, say, $50, and it’s probably going to take me a bit longer to build up a pantry of reasonable depth than I first thought. While for the first four weeks I want to stick to the two stores I identified earlier, I think perhaps the four weeks after that I will change stores and see how I fare.

Grocery List: $30.60 (again – kind of random!)

  • Coconut Milk, $1 (DT)
  • Mayo, $1 (DT)
  • 3-oz dried minced onion, $1 (DT)
  • 20-oz bag popcorn kernels, $1 (DT)
  • Saltines, $.98
  • Italian dressing mix, $.98
  • Curry powder, $1.48
  • Eggs, 2 doz, $2.24
  • Shredded cheese, 8 oz, $1.48
  • Frozen spinach, 12 oz, $.98
  • Frozen broccoli cuts, 12 oz, $.84
  • Frozen peas, 12 oz, $.84
  • Mixed fruit, 2 cans, $1.88
  • Whole wheat bread, 1 loaf, $.92
  • Lentils, 1lb, $1.54
  • Tri-color slaw, 16 oz, $1.77
  • Classic iceberg salad, 12 oz, $.92
  • Tuna, 2 5-oz cans, $1.32
  • Enriched white rice, 5lb, $2.18
  • Pasta sauce, $.88
  • Grape jelly, 18 oz, $.94
  • Sweet relish, 12 oz, $.98
  • Carrots, 2lbs, $1.14
  • 1% Milk, $1.33
  • Bananas, 6 ct, $1.42

Meal Plan


  1. Oatmeal made w/milk, sugar & cinnamon, half banana, tea w/sugar. 333 calories, 3x/week
    1. Uses: 3 cups rolled oats, 4 cups milk, 12 tsp. sugar, 1.5 tsp. cinnamon, 3 bananas, 6 tea bags
  2. Scrambled eggs made w/margarine, cheese, spinach, & onion, toast w/margarine, tea w/sugar. 352 calories, 3x/week
    1. Uses: 9 eggs (1.5 per person per day), 12 tsp. butter, 3/4 cup cheese, 2 cups spinach, 1 -2 T. minced onion, ketchup/hot sauce as desired, 6 slices of bread, 6 tea bags, 6 tsp sugar
  3. Surprise muffins w/jam (2 each), hard boiled eggs, tea w/sugar. 442 calories, 1x/week
    1. Uses: 1 3/4 cup. flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1 egg, 1/4 cup oil, 3/4 cup milk, 12 tsp. jelly, 2 eggs (yield is 12 muffins, so 8 left for snacks)


  1. Peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, carrot sticks, half banana, water or iced tea. 395 calories, 3x/week
    1. Uses: 12 slices bread, 9 T. peanut butter, 6 T. jelly, 4-5 carrots, 3 bananas.
  2. Tuna & egg salad w/saltines, salad w/italian dressing, half cup mixed fruit, water or iced tea. 461 calories, 2x/week
    1. Uses: two cans tuna, 4 eggs, 5 T. mayo, 2 T. relish, 2 – 3 tsp. mustard, 24 saltines, 1/3 lettuce & coleslaw combo (mixed together), 6 T. Italian dressing (prepared — used 1 packet dressing mix, 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup vinegar), 1.5 cans mixed fruit
  3. Leftovers, 2x/week — choices described in dinner section


  1. Lentil Soup, Drop Biscuits, water or iced tea. 480 calories, 6 servings
    1. Uses lentils, water, 3 carrots, 2 T. minced onion, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 2 cups spinach, 1 c. flour, 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 T. sugar, 4 T. margarine, 1/2 cup + 2T. milk
  2. Chicken and Veggie Curry, Rice, water or iced tea. 460 calories, 6 servings
    1. Uses: 1lb chicken, 1lb broccoli, 1 cup frozen peas, 5 carrots, 2T. minced onion, 2T. oil, garlic powder, salt, pepper, 2 cups uncooked rice
  3. Spaghetti w/Marinara Sauce, Salad, water or iced tea. 440 calories, 5 servings
    1. Uses: 10 oz spaghetti, jar of pasta sauce, 1/2 c. cheese, 1/2 lettuce & coleslaw mix, 7 T. prepared salad dressing
  4. Open-Faced Tuna Melts, Salad, water or iced tea. 509 calories, 2 servings
    1. Uses: 2 slices of bread, 2 servings tuna & egg salad, 1/4 cup cheese, remainder of salad mix, 3 T. prepared salad dressing

Leftover Choices for Lunch & Dinner (need 10):

  • 4 servings Lentil Soup
  • 4 servings Chicken Curry
  • 3 servings Spaghetti Meal

Snacks & Beverages:

  1. Cinnamon or Jam Toast. 167 calories, 4 servings (1 slice of bread, 1tsp. margarine, 1tsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon) or (1 slice of bread, 1 tsp. margarine, 1/2 T. jam)
  2. Hard Boiled Eggs. 70 calories, 10 servings (10 eggs)
  3. Popcorn. 200 calories, 8 servings (1 1/2 cups kernels, 6 T. margarine [air popped])
  4. Muffins. 186 calories, 8 servings
  5. Cinnamon Biscuits. 157 calories, 12 servings (2 cups flour, 1 T. baking powder, 2 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cup margarine, cinnamon sugar)
  6. Milk. 2 servings, 100 calories (1 cup milk).
  7. Iced Tea, lightly sweetened. 76 calories, 16 servings (8 tea bags, 1.5 cups sugar)
  • 1500 with 2 snacks, water only
  • 1800 with 2 snacks, tea and milk for beverages

This week I feel like there was a bit more variety of flavor but that meant that there was very little overage for snacks and the calorie counts seemed a bit leaner over all. In the meals where there is a higher calorie count, it’s coming from the salad dressing. So the volume of food being consumed overall is pretty low, too. I’m also really starting to get that “the-cupboard-is-bare” feeling and know that I have to replace some of my staples in the next trip while also finding a reasonable variety of foods for meals and so on. I’ve pretty much run out of the following:

  • rolled oats
  • peanut butter
  • margarine
  • oil
  • possibly hot sauce (hard to tell on an “as desired” serving size)

Also, the I realized that I had been miscalculating the calories for the oatmeal — we usually use 1/3 cup when we make it here, but the serving size on the Great Value container is 1/2 cup. This means I also miscalculated the volume in each container — I corrected both the total used and my report of the total left. Because I do think the extra 50 calories are worth adding to the diet, plus it’s healthy fiber. I’ve gone back and corrected the count for the previous week’s breakfasts as well.

So what do I have left? In addition to most of my pantry items (excluding those listed above), I also go into next week with:

  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup dry pintos
  • 12-oz spaghetti
  • .5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 bag frozen spinach
  • 1/2 bag frozen peas
  • 10.5 cups rice
  • 1/2 jar grape jelly
  • 1/2 cup cheese
  • a few carrots
  • lots of dried minced onion
  • 64 tea bags

Definitely a shorter list than last week! What do you think?