Sunday: Food, Meal Plans

food july 18-22

Above are a few of the things we ate last week; I didn’t remember to photograph everything. But it was a good week for cooking and eating. From left to right:

  • Pasta Pomodoro, using up the last of the cherry tomatoes I purchased at BJs earlier in the month. Served w/a salad.
  • Big Ass Salad: Salad Base, Chicken Breast, Cucumber, Cranberries, Chow Mein Noodles & Cucumber Dill Dressing (we had some version of this several times during the week)
  • My basic breakfast lately: Toasted English Muffin w/Homemade Peach Butter, White Cheddar & Apple Slices
  • Broccoli Cheddar Rice Cakes (that turned into a casserole — this was my new recipe for the week), Sweet & Spicy Roasted Carrots (these were both new recipes, actually, and they were both great, except for the fact that the rice cakes were resistant to forming cakes ­čśŤ )

I also made a large batch of oven fajitas for Book Club, which I served w/rice and black beans, plus assorted toppings. There were fruit and vegetable trays as well and I made salted caramel brownies for dessert — amazing!


Looking ahead, I’ve got a number of items in the fridge that I need to be diligent about using up this week, so my meal plan reflects that, as well as my desire to stay out of the grocery store as much as possible.

Meal Plan: 

  • Sunday: Mushroom Ravioli w/Mushroom Cream Sauce, Carrots
    • Mushrooms, Cream, Carrot Sticks leftover from Book Club
  • Monday: Pizza Margherita, Salad
    • Red Sauce, Basil
  • Tuesday: Tilapia w/Lemon and Vegetables, Baked Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Cucumbers
    • Peppers in Freezer, Sweet Potatoes, Cucumbers leftover from Book Club
  • Wednesday: Egg Roll in a Bowl
    • Cabbage
  • Thursday: Leftovers
  • Friday: Bean and Cheese Tostadas
    • Corn Tortillas, Queso Fresco, Tomatoes

For lunches we will have leftover oven fajitas, big ass salads, and other leftovers as they arise during the week.


What We Spent, What We Ate: July 7

This week has not been the best. I mean, grocery spending and eating-wise it’s been fine, even good. I just have had a headache for a couple of days and a few other things happening that have me feeling a bit grumpy. Medical bills are no fun. But. We’re here to talk about groceries!

What We Spent

I actually didn’t need a whole lot this week, since I had picked up so many things last week. My total for the week is $24.10, $4.48 of which was spent at Publix on hamburger buns and Morningstar farms corn dogs on the 3rd and which I did not photograph. The rest I picked up at Aldi ($18.48) and Target ($1/14), pictured below.


As you can see — not a whole lot. I needed tomato sauce as when I went to make the sloppy lentils earlier this week I used up my last can and I like to always have some on hand. I also grabbed some crumbled goat cheese because I thought that would taste good on salads and three containers of raspberries. The chow mein noodles were on clearance at Target and I thought, why not — I like them on salads.

My total remaining budget for July is $193.40.

What We Ate

I pretty much stuck to the meal plan. I’ll be making the cilantro lime soup tonight.

Sloppy _Lentils

Sunday: Lentil Sloppy Joes


Tuesday: 4th Feast

Red beans and rice

Wednesday: Red Beans & Rice

What I Spent, What We Ate

What I Spent

This week I spent $34.95 on groceries. I need to sit down and tally everything, but I am pretty sure that I am over $300 this month, which is $100 over budget and a consequence of allowing busy-ness and illness to get the better of me. And spending a whole lot at BJs in the beginning of the month. I’ll share all those gory details, though, in my grocery journal at the end of the month. For now, let’s talk about this week. I visited two stores, Publix and a discount grocer. I only needed fruit and didn’t feel like making the trip to Aldi, even if it would have been cheaper. I spent $14. Then I met up with my friend who is willing to explore discount and salvage groceries with me; like the previous month I had intended to only spend about $10, BUT they had my coffee at a great price, so that skewed the total a bit. I spent $20.95 there.

sheps salvage and discount

At the discount grocer, I picked up mostly snacks and 2 pounds of coffee beans. The coffee beans were a great deal — $4.99/lb; even at BJs I pay $8/lb for these beans. Tortilla chips, crisp bread, tea, chewing gum, and chocolate covered almonds. These aren’t exactly needs, but we will eat and enjoy them. I was very tempted to buy a case of Ghirardhelli chocolate caramel candy bars, but even I couldn’t justify that much chocolate, no matter how good the price.

Publix__April 2017

At Publix the fruit was my primary objective, but also wanted something snacky and salty. The fruit wasn’t the cheapest, but it’s all very good and I’ve decided that the time factor may be important enough for my filler trips to just go to Publix or Winn-Dixie. I’m not tempted to buy things that aren’t on my list, and both stores are so close to home that I pass them no matter where I am heading.

What We Ate

File Apr 17, 6 41 04 AM

Sunday — Easter Dinner: Ham, Whipped Sweet Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts,┬áDeviled Eggs, Rolls, Raspberry Almond Cream Puffs

Creamy ham and veggie soup 2

Tuesday — Creamy Ham & Veggie Soup, Rolls


Wednesday — Fajita Bowls w/brown rice and black beans

Monday, Thursday and Friday we had leftovers. I had also made ham and cheese egg cups, which factored into different meals throughout the week.

The upcoming week is my last of this semester, for which I am profoundly grateful. I am hopeful that the summer semester is less intense and that I can get a grasp once more on a work/school/life balance.

What I Spent, What We Ate

What I Spent

Since my last post I spent $18.82 on groceries. This brings me $1.67 over my goal of spending $100 on groceries for the month of March. There is almost a full week left in the month, but I am closing my grocery budget out a bit early this month because I want to take advantage of some coupons for items at BJs that expire before the end of the month (and that we need to stock up on). I have lots of thoughts about my pantry challenge for the month AND for this exercise in maintaining a $200 grocery budget (on average) throughout the year. The short story is that I really am at the point where I’m annoyed about several things. I do keep reminding myself that this is 50% less than I allocated for groceries last year and the reason I cut so sharply was because I was concerned about food waste. It might have been too much of a cut — but I can always revisit that and make changes if necessary. I want to go six months on this budget as much as possible, just to get an idea. Anyway. I’ll go on (and on) about that in another post, probably. Here is what I actually bought!

2017-03-22 19.20.48

At Aldi I spent $7.94 on peppers (a really good price and I love them), cottage cheese, garlic and oyster crackers. I thought I would make seasoned oyster crackers but I’ve just been snacking on them plain out of the bag. I also picked up a pizza and chips, but that is in the take-out/eating out budget. Which took a beating this month. More on that another day. I was annoyed that they didn’t have a few advertised items, especially Pink Lady apples as we were totally out of fruit for my husband (still plenty of grapefruit for me).

2017-03-24 18.16.31

At Save-A-Lot I picked up a small bag of halos and bananas. We promptly polished these off during our trip to Cumberland Island, so we’re out of fruit again. I spent $4.10 there. And finally, another bag of coffee — this time the brand and roast we prefer (we’re drinking the Aldi coffee and it’s not bad, but we really prefer a dark roast and they did not have any dark roasted beans). I’m not sure if we’ll need to open it before I get to BJs later this week, but it will be a close thing. I also grabbed an avocado as they were $.79 and nice on top of our oven fajitas!

What We Ate

Honestly at this point I don’t remember too much what we ate each day. We did treat the week a bit like a staycation and used the travel budget to underwrite some take-out purchases. Here are some highlights of what I cooked at home.

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Beef Stew and Herbed Popovers 

So good. It was a bit thin in the this photo; for some reason this batch took a long time to really cook down and thicken up, but once it did it was amazing. The recipe I (loosely) follow calls for a box of Knox gelatin to help make a really silky, unctuous broth and it definitely works. Its not a cheap meal, but it’s also not that expensive and it’s SO WORTH IT.

2017-03-19 09.30.16

Cinnamon Streusel Pancakes

This was an experiment using the leftover streusel from making the banana pecan muffins the other week and it worked out so well! I’ll definitely do this again when I have leftover streusel.

2017-03-19 19.15.05-2

Lentil Sloppy Joes over Roasted Cabbage Steaks

This was my new recipe dish for the week. Another success; I’d been a bit skeptical about the lentil sloppy joes (I’ve tried lentil tacos before and…I was seriously underwhelmed) but this was amazing. Really tasty over the cabbage steaks, too.

2017-03-23 18.36.19

Butternut Squash Soup

This made use of the roasted squash I had in the freezer and some sorrowful looking apples lingering in the fruit bowl. Always one of my favorite soups.

2017-03-26 14.17.00

Pork Chili w/Red Sauce and Kidney Beans

This is my new recipe for this week. And holy cow. Two weeks in a row the recipes have really been great. I didn’t know exactly what to do with the sirloin pork chops I’ve had in the freezer because they had a deeper, gamier flavor that the leaner cuts I’m accustomed to, and that’s why I’d let them hang out in the freezer for so long. This was a fantastic use of that cut, and it was so good that now I’m wishing I had more pork in the freezer!!