Follow our family's weekly vegetarian menu, access recipes, and download weekly grocery lists, during my quest to get our weekly grocery bill down to $70 per week, while supporting local agriculture and eating healthy organic foods!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project vegetable garden!!

Spent: $50.53

This is the first garden I have planted since I was a teenager. I have always had the impression that the start up cost of a garden was huge. I was expecting $150. I decided not to go with a raised bed, as that would cost more for the lumber and extra soil. I only had to buy 3 bags of compost, and I mixed it with the dirt in the garden spot. It was a lot of work though. I tilled the plots with a hand spade... during a drought! Terrible idea. Although I guess it did save me money on supplies. I have two small beds. One has red and yellow bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, sun gold tomatoes, sweet basil, African blue basil. I have a trail of mint lining the sidewalk and a pot full of cilantro. The other bed has sugar baby water melons, Asian black water melons, and two varieties of  heirloom squash. Hopefully everything will grow well and the soil is not to clay ridden! That is actually my biggest worry. I am going to keep track of the production of the gardens in relation to average  market value of the produce to see how long it take for me to make the money back, and if it actually starts saving us money. 

Project Food Budget: Week 12

Goal: $70/ week - $ 280/month
Actual: 82.09 week- $341/month OVER $61

The Breakdown:

  • $15 1/2 CSA share
  • $31.59 Dinner Swap
  • $35.5 Staples
Dinner Swap Menu:
  • Kimbap (Korean style sushi rolls) with steamed Asian greens
  • Lentil and Butternut squash soup with side salad
  • Whole wheat pasta and veggies with creamy pesto sauce w/ home garden side salad and hibiscus tea
  • Minestrone soup and dinner rolls. 
  • Cacciatore
  • Lemon chive pasta with garlic roasted broccoli 
Additional meals/items:
  • carrot bread
  • home made tortillas
    • 2 cups whole wheat white flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 TBL coconut oil
    • 2/3 cup warm water
    • Mix all dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and  mix thoroughly. Add more water by the tablespoon if mixture is too dry. Kneed for several minutes and let rise for 30. Cut into 8-10 pieces and roll out. Cook in hot skillet flip when bubbles form. 
  • Fajitas
I really thought I was going to be right around $100 this week. I am not really sure how I stayed so close to the budget. I did buy extra items to make a special dinner for Easter. I think without those items I would have been on target. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Project Food Budget: Week 11

Goal : $70/week- $280/month
Actual: $87.48 - $258.91/month

The Breakdown:
  • $15 for 1/2 CSA share
  • $23.74 Dinner Swap meal
  • $43.98 Staples
  • $4.76 dog food ingredients
Dinner Swap Menu
  • Sweet potato and kale quesadillas w/ home made tortillas
  • Potato, apple, (veggie) sausage and sage casserole and salad
  • Spinach and mushroom quiche and roasted tomato soup
  • Fettuccine and white beans
  • Chickpea salad sandwiches and pasta
  • Vegetable biscuits and gravy with mashed potatoes and green beans
Additional recipes:
  • I tried my hand at solar cooking. The recipe was amazing. The solar oven made of random things laying around my house... ummm... not real great. So I am going to tweak it and try again! This recipe for solar cookies, with about 1/4 c of cocoa added is (as I said) amazing! I finished cooking them in the conventional indoor oven. :) 

  • I also decided I did not like the carrot bread recipe I have been using and found a new one. It is quite possibly the best bread I have ever made. I would definitely suggest trying it! I also threw it on the skillet for a minute to heat it up and then added a tad of butter and some fresh crushed garlic.. Yumm!
Dinner swap meal: sweet potato and kale quesadillas with home made tortillas and smoky pinto beans
  • 12 large sweet potatoes
  • 3 lbs dry pinto beans
  • 5 lb whole wheat white flour
  • coconut oil
  • chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 3 onions
  • 5 lbs Monterey jack cheese
  • peanut butter
  • oranges
  • black beans
  • lemons
  • limes
  • tortillas
  • eggs
  • cheese
  • pinto beans
  • cottage cheese
  • honey
  • cheese
  • cliff bars
I am on track to go approximately $50 over budget this month. I have $21.09 left to stay under the monthly budget. $15 of which is already spent for my CSA share.  Being that I have used almost all our grains, I don't think $6 will make it.

I have been $15-$20 over budget every week. I have decided once it comes time to renew my CSA, I am going to try to do a work share. That would shave off $15-30 per week and bring be right down to my goal. This won't happen until June though. We are also going to start a garden. I have not really done so before, so it will be a grand experiment. What in life isn't?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Project Food Budget: Week 10

Goal : $70/week -$280/month
Actual: $86.18/week- $171.43/month

Dinner swap menu: 
  • Edemame, peas and quinoa topped with blue cheese and cocoa beet cookies 
  • Spinach and mushroom enchiladas with black beans and flan
  • Carrot and ginger soup, croissants, broccoli slaw, hibiscus tea and chocolate raisin cookies
  • Vegetable noodle stir fry
  • Rice, dal and sateed veggies and chocolate chip zuchinni bread
  • Stuffed bell peppers with garlic bread and salad
The break down: 
  •  $15 1/2 CSA share
  •  $27.22 dinner swap meal
  •  $37.70 staples

  • salad mix
  • spinach
  • scallions
  • kale
  • radishes
  • beets
  • carrots
  • bok choy
  • rainbow chard
  • lettuce
  • dandelion greens
Dinner Swap: Edamame, peas, and quinoa topped with blue cheese and cocoa beet cookies
  • 5 bags of shelled edamame
  • 5 bags green peas
  • 4 oz crumbled goat cheese
  • 8 oz crumbled Gorgonzola blue cheese
  • 3 white onions
  • dry milk
  • peanut butter
  • butter
  • 2 lbs Monterey jack cheese
  • cornstarch
  • garbanzo beans
  • key limes
  • lemons
  • vinegar
  • cliff bars
  • tortillas
  • ancho chili powder
  • smoked salt
  • organic red delicious apples

 Thumbs up to these recipes:

I am going to reach my $70/week goal!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Project Food Budget: Week 9

Goal: $70/week - $280/month
Actual: $85.25

I am at a plateau with the budgeting that feels a lot like when you are trying to loose weight and your weight loss was great until you get to that last 10 lbs. I seem to be hovering around $85/week. I just want to squeeze that last $15 off our budget. I suppose I will keep on keepin' on. 

I thought the overage was due to choosing expensive dishes to make on my night of the dinner swap, but after doing the math, I only spent $30 total on my dinner. I don't want to go crazy and make really expensive dishes, but I also want to make sure they are getting high quality, delicious food. This week I made the pesto-infused sun-dried tomato stew with oatmeal dinner rolls. 

Dinner Swap Menu:

Additional meals:

  • Vegetable and tofu stir fry
  • Beans and greens
  • Carrot Bread
  • Breakfast apple pie
    • preheat oven to 400 degrees. Skin and cut 4 apples into chunks.  Place in sauce pan and fill with enough water to cover 1/3 to 1/2 way up the apples. Mix 2 tsp of cinnamon and cook on low until the apples are slightly tender. In a separate bowl, Mix 2 cups of old fashioned oats with 1/4-1/3 c honey and 1 cup of almond meal. Mix well until it makes a stiff mixture and all oats are covered. Lightly grease casserole dish and sprinkle  1/3  of oat, honey mixture in the bottom of the dish, top with cooked apples in liquid, top off with remaining oat mixture and bake for 15 mins. 
One of the participants in the dinner swap is splitting the CSA share with me. Which is amazing. We only have to cook one dinner a night for our own families, and a couple lunches. A huge portion of the share would go to waste. The half share works perfectly. I am able to pick it up on Friday nights, Saturday is the day we must cook for ourselves. This means fresh veggies for that meal. I don't have to lean on frozen veggies after all. :)