SO! We’re doing something a bit crazy this month! It’s the start of a new month and I’ve already nearly completely spent my month’s grocery allowance! So I need to make what we have, nearly work for the entire month; therefore, I’m planning this whole month’s meals all at once!

 

Long story short: We’ve been trying to reduce our food budget to $500 per month. I don’t know, what do you think? How does that sound in order to feed 2 kids and 2 adults all the time plus 2 adults join us for the weekday meals of lunch and dinner…? The 2 adults who join us are both vegetarian. One eats eggs, the other does not…but that info isn’t that important for you to know since they don’t eat breakfast with us and we would rarely have eggs for lunch or dinner; however, it does mean that all my baked goods (breads, buns, flatbreads, pizzas, etc.) have to be made with no eggs. My little family of 4 does eat a LOT of eggs for breakfasts and those are something that I will not compromise on. I will buy farm fresh, pastured (not pasteurized), non-GMO fed eggs always! We go through about 2-3.5 dozen per week and they cost about $5 per dozen, but I will not compromise! Eggs are some of the most protein-packed, nutrient dense, complete foods there are!

 

I have about $130 left (written Monday, September 29…see what happens after this date below) to spend for this month on the eggs, a few extra things, and milk (the vegetarians LOVE milk chai, coffee and warm milk and we get either a low temperature non-homogenized local farm’s milk or organic milk that is not ultra-pasteurized since we are now unable to get raw milk). We made a Costco run last month and so that ate into October’s budget some and that is why after stocking up at the local Farmer’s Market on Saturday the 27th also, our money left is so low. BUT while at Costco I did get some great freezer things like organic broccoli, organic peas, and organic green beans…those are in really big bags ya know! We also stocked up on almond flour, different varieties of nuts, almond butter, coconut oil, butter, organic cheese, and gluten-free flour at Costco. I also do have quite a stock-up from the meat vendor at the Farmer’s Market of good quality, grass-fed, pastured meat, chicken and fish in the freezer. I have some fruit in the freezer and preserved in jars. Plus we still have the garden producing a few more things for the years such as eggplants, pumpkins, green beans, kale, swiss chard, melons and tomatoes.

 

With all that said, I do believe I’m ready and capable of planning the meals for the whole month now! I’m hoping to take out November’s money by the end of this month to get to the last Farmer’s Market of the year on October 25th and probably make another Costco run by then (we’ll be out of coconut oil and Kerrygold butter by then for sure!)!

 

So that you can see what we’re working with, let me show you what veggies and fruits (a non-mentioned, but important part of every meal) are stored at my house, because this is how I will be able to plan and make this work!!!:

 

FREEZER PANTRY REFRIGERATOR GARDEN
2 servings green pepper halves Potatoes – red and yellow 1 taro root (don’t know what to do with it yet!) Eggplants
6 servings chopped green peppers 3 sweet potatoes Carrots (1 lb bag) Pumpkins
Chopped colored peppers (4 cups) 1 white yam 1 Cauliflower Green beans
Broccoli (3 – 1 lb bags) 2 large butternut squash and 4 tiny ones 1 large Cabbage head Swiss chard
Green beans (3 lb) 3 spaghetti squash 4 small leeks Kale
2 packs Spinach 1 kombocha squash 2 small zucchini Roma tomatoes
2 gallon bags sliced green tomatoes and 1 gallon bag diced) 1 pie pumpkin Celery (1 organic grocery packet) Variety tomatoes (lots are rottening before ripening…too much rain…hence freezing green tomatoes)
1 gallon bag red tomatoes 1 opa squash (Indian variety) 3 small bok choy Mini yellow tomatoes
1 gallon bag large yellow tomatoes Home-canned corn (1) 1 bunch radishes  7 small poblano peppers
Peas (2 – 1 lb bags) Home-canned green beans (1) 4 large bell peppers
1/2 gallon bag each – Diced yellow squash and zucchini  Canned Black Olives (2)  several assorted hot peppers
FRUITS
Mango/strawberries/kiwi (Costco organic mix) Apples (given from neighbor’s trees and home-canned) Organic Grapes (1 lb) Melons (don’t know if they’ll turn out anymore as it’s cooling off)
Organic Cherries Applesauce (given from neighbor’s trees and home-canned) 12 Pears (from Farmer’s Market)
Lychees Pears (given from neighbor’s trees and home-canned) Oranges (in the discount section of the grocery store for bruises)
Organic Blueberries (Aldi!) Peaches (given from neighbor’s trees and home-canned) 7 Kiwis
Organic Strawberries (Aldi!) Organic Canned Cherries (home-canned) 1 Mango
6 Organic Green Apples
1 Pineapple

 

Are you curious on how I spent my approximately $900 for these 2 months and how all these things got in my freezer, pantry, and fridge?  ME TOO!  Shall we go through the receipts together?  OK!

Saturday September 27, 2014…Took out $350 from account and went to Farmer’s Market and Natural Store…Got:

Farmer’s Market (all organics):

1 cabbage, 3 red bell peppers, 11 green bell peppers, handful assorted hot peppers, 2 large spaghetti squash, 2 large butternut squash, 15 pounds red potatoes, 5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, 1 bunch radishes, 2 pounds carrots, 3 orange beets, 2 bunches cilantro, lots of red onions, 1 large white onion, 3 pounds pears (that I let the girlies pick out and wasn’t paying attention…that’s a lot of fresh pears and the price wasn’t all that great, but I paid it anyways…I hope we eat ’em all!), a few decorative small pumpkins (girlies), 6 fuzzy acorns (our farmer friend’s little boy thought it was his great business plan to collect and sell cool fuzzy acorns 5 for $1 and they threw in the extra for our Angel)…then because we had bought the pears, acorns and hot peppers from her she gave us several bunches of bok choy to try out for free!  Thank you!

ESTIMATED TOTAL BECAUSE I CAN’T QUITE REMEMBER AND JUST COUNTED WHAT WAS LEFT IN MY WALLET = $110

Natural Store:

3 doz. medium farm fresh eggs (1 @ 3.39) = $10.17

8 green apples = $5.87

Non-homogenized local farm milk = $4.39

same farm’s whole cream = $3.39

macadamia nuts = $5.56

gluten free macaroni and cheese = $2.97

organic red grapes = $4.29

2 raw honey sticks = $0.50

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $37.51

 

Sunday September 28, 2014…After Church, Stopped by Meijer for other things we would need this month, found a few extra sales…Got:

Clearance Oranges:  17 oranges for $4.25

Blood oranges (8) = $2.99

Avocados 3 @ 1.79 = $5.37

2 packs organic frozen peas = $4.98

2 packs organic frozen chopped spinach = $4.98

snow peas = $2.69

snap peas (3 snack packs with dressing the girlies convinced me to get) = $2.00

7 kiwi (1 pound) = $2.99

1 organic cauliflower = $3.49

natural raw fresh chicken breast strips = $4.34 – $1.00 off coupon on the package = $3.34 for 1 pound

lamb arm chop (0.75 pound) = $3.32

Sunflower butter = $5.99

Cashew butter = $8.59

Almond butter = $6.99

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $62.60

 

Next day: Monday Sept. 29, 2014:  needed milk and went to Jewel around the corner…Got:

3 Silk Coconut milk on sale = $7.50

Whole Organic Milk 1 Gallon = $5.99

Organic Celery = $1.99

Organic Cucumber (I would usually never pay this much, but needed it for a recipe I’ve been wanting to show you in a book) = $1.79

Deli Turkey Slices fresh cut, 1.5 lb = $10.22

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $27.77

 

Was out of the house 2 days later and needed more farm-fresh eggs from the natural store…Got:

Applegate Farms Organic Uncured hotdogs = $8.09

Tapioca Flour = $3.19

Tomato (It had been raining so much, that I didn’t have any reds in the garden and needed this quick tomato for sandwiches and above recipe with cucumber) = $1.11

Fresh Hummus = $2.27

Organic Bananas = $2.42

Non-Homogenized Local Farm Milk = $4.99

Farm-fresh organic eggs (4 doz. @ 4.69 each) = $18.76

fresh-baked big gluten free brownie = $2.59

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $45.02

 

Sunday after church, October 5, 2014, needed more milk, went to Schnucks…Got:

Coffee (very particular about what we like) = $6.99

brown rice flour = $3.99

Nature’s Way Organic Coconut Oil …oz. On Sale = $7.99

Fresh carved deli turkey (1 lb.) = $8.07

Non-Homogenized local farm milk = $4.52

Mini Moos Half and Half Creamers (my King remembered them as a child and begged for them!) = $2.99

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $34.90

 

Sunday evening, ended up moving furniture at relative’s house and needed a quick dinner so went back to the Jewel around the corner to get chickpeas in jars and tomatoes in boxes from Italy…Got:

Chickpeas in jars (5 @4/5) = $6.25

Tomatoes in boxes (happened to be on sale, so I got 5 @ 1.08 each) = $5.40

Trident gums (2 because the girlies convinced me) = $1.39 and $1.19

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $12.53

 

After telling my King about the sale on boxed tomatoes from Italy, he convinced me that I needed a whole bunch more so I would have them through the winter whenever I needed, especially since we had depended on our garden for tomatoes this year and it had been such a wet year that many green tomatoes rotted before reddening.  So I was back at the Jewel around the corner on Monday morning October 6 and Got:

30 boxed of tomatoes from Italy = $32.40

mustard greens (2 16 oz. packs) = $2.99 x 2

avocadoes (2 @ 2/3) = $3.00

cauliflower (2.23 lb @ 2.29/lb) = $5.11

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $46.95 (Used Debit Carb since this was an Extras purchase because of the tomatoes.  I will cut and paste and average that later to account for the mustard greens, avocados and cauliflower.)

 

Had a dentist appointment Monday afternoon and stopped by Meijer to get some fruit, Daikon radishes and cashews.  They had a 10/10 (with the 11th item free) going on and I was persuaded to buy a few extras…Got:

Cactus pear = $0.50

Starfruit = $1.29

Daikon radish = $4.83

Ginger root = $1.97

Organic strawberries = $3.99

turmeric root = $0.13

Raw Cashews = $7.99

Organic red grapes (2.82 lb. @ 1 lb/ 2.29) = $6.46

frozen okra (2 @ 1.75 ea) = $3.50

4 avocados = $4.00

sour cream = $1.00

organic baby carrots = $1.00

spinach = $1.00

frozen peas = $1.00

2 organic mushroom packs = $2.00

pomegranate = free

Cottage Cheese 2, 16 oz. containers (clearance, almost expiring) = $1.44

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $42.52

 

Tuesday morning, October 7, 2014…dropped girlies off at school and preschool and had a sinking feeling that we’d be out of milk again soon, so went back to Schnucks…They had a 10/10 sale going on, but this time I just got 3 avocados along with the milk:

3 avocados = $3.00

Non-homogenized local farm milk = $4.52

TOTAL AFTER TAXES = $7.60

 

WHAT HAPPENED between the time I started this post on Monday Sept. 9 and until this last shopping trip on Tuesday October 7th???!!!  WELL, you see, I’m still adjusting to feeding our 2 extra relatives full time and at times got nervous that I had enough.  They ADORE chai tea made with real whole milk (whereas, my King and I were getting quite used to and enjoying chai tea made with coconut milk), plus the milk was being used extra for yogurt (eat a ton of that) and paneer (Indian cheese made by boiling milk then adding a souring agent and separating and squeezing all the whey out)…so we were going through milk WAY FASTER than I’m used to and wasn’t quite prepared.  Since I continued to need to go back to the stores for more milk or a few extra things to cook a really quick real food meal (as opposed to getting food from a restaurant), I would pick up a few avocados here and few bunches of fruit there, a veggie someone was craving here and some nuts we buzzed through there…with all that going on, I was a bit on edge at first and at the stores a lot.  Things will settle down and we will get into a routine of shopping for exactly what is need and/or going without a certain item and making due with what we’ve got/can make.  Alsoit is fall…IT’S NOT WINTER YET!  I hated the thought of starting in on my store of frozen and canned winter foods when there is still so much good food and at good prices in the stores!  When the strawberries and grapes looked oh so juicy and not wrinkly at Meijer when I ran in for some cashews, I just couldn’t help it!  There were splurges along the way for each individual here and there also, as you can see!  AND GOD PROVIDED!  If you count the TOTALS of all those shopping trips you get:  $380.45 (not including one stock-up trip where I used the debit card and will pay off by not spending all $500 in winter months).  OK!?! That is MORE THAN THE $350 that I took out when I started shopping for the month and I REALLY DID USE ALL CASH!  HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?!  While doing laundry on 2 different occasions, I first found $30 in one pant’s pocket (and it was mine…I hardly ever leave money there) and then the other time I found $26 in some shorts I wore a couple months ago!!!  I also went through purses and pockets and corners and collected all the change we had collected.  AND we got 2 $5.00 coupons in the mail from the natural store because they have a program that when you spend $100 you get a $5.00 coupon back which eventually comes in the mail!!!  So now, I have $36 and $10 in coupons (can be used on any purchase) in my wallet!!!  It is Wednesday October 8th and I am determined to spend these $48 ONLY ON MILK AND EGGS and NOT go to the store (except for those milk and eggs) until I take out next month’s money of $500 on Saturday October 25 so that I can hit the Farmer’s Market on this last Saturday that they will be there!  That is my plan and I will update you throughout the month!

Not letting you in on what I stashed in the freezer as far as meats go…nope…not letting you know! My secret meat stash! Also, our pantry contains some old staples of canned tuna, sardines, avocado oil, olive oil, basmati rice, bean and lentil varieties, quinoa, and several rice pastas. My King also recently developed a protein powder (he uses organic grass-fed whey) “cream-of wheat-ish” “hulva-ish” recipe that he has been eating often because he’s feeling like his body is needing more protein, especially on the days that I don’t cook meat. The following meal plans are made considering the 4 in our family only eat the breakfasts and so all the lunches and dinner meals will be served vegetarian/vegan and if me or my hubby need/want meat those are written in parenthesis (). My girlies will often not be eating what is on the menu for lunch and dinner, so you can look at the post called Personal Fooder Philosophy to see examples of the lunches and dinners that they eat from the pantry or freezer most often.

 

Now, without further ado…4 FULL WEEKS OF MEAL PLANS!!!

 

 

September 29 – October 5, 2014

 

Monday: B- Vegan Paleo Breakfast Cookie (recipe adapted from…www.cookituppaleo.com)

L- dry potatoes with bell peppers and onions and Paleo Naan* and fresh salad and yogurt

D- broccoli cheese rice with butter and mashed chickpea base

 

Tuesday: B- gluten-free raisin toast and yellow squash scrambled eggs

L- potatoes with peas and yellow squash sabji* with Paleo Naan* and fresh salad and yogurt (turkey slices)

D- Vegan Paleo Stuffed Butternut Squash** with homemade gluten-free bread (lamb steak)

stuffed butternut squash

Wednesday: B- cereal

L- sandwich on gluten-free bread with hummus, tomato, avocado, onions and organic cheese slice

D- white dal and quinoa and salad (2 uncured organic hotdogs)

 

Thursday: B- yogurt/coconut milk/banana/nut/cocoa/raw honey smoothies and Paleo eggs-in-a-basket using eggplant

L- broccoli curry* and Paleo Naan* and yogurt

D- spicy tomato rice with green beans (*VP version in VP Indian e-book) and yogurt

coconut curry

Friday: B- VP Pumpkin Muffins***

L- potatoes with eggplant sabji* with Vegan Paleo Flatbreads* and yogurt (tuna with Paleo mayo)

D- spaghetti squash with ricotta and marinara (jalapeno hamburger)

aloo baingans

Saturday: B- Paleo or GF muffins or waffles

L- Salad (sometimes Vegan, but sometimes with some bacon or other meat)

D- Cream-cheese-stuffed/bacon-wrapped poblanos

 

Sunday: B- eggs and leftover baked goods

L- gluten-free out to eat or yogurt smoothies and GF nut butter sandwiches at home

D- gluten-free pasta dish or vegetable noodles (ie: spaghetti squash or zucchini)

 

October 6 – 12

 

Monday: B- eggs, banana, toast

L-  Opa Squash Paneer Sabji* with Paleo Naan* and romaine salad with oven-roasted roma tomatoes in olive oil (Costco)

D-  VP Cabbage Rolls** (butter-herb roasted chicken legs)

opa sabji

 

Cabbage Rolls

Tuesday: B- yellow squash scrambled eggs with GF raisin toast and butter

L-  Spinach Leek Macadamia Burger** on Paleo and/or Vegan Paleo Bun (I LOVE, Love, love “Against All Grains” cashew based rolls and “MyRealFoodLife”s Egg-Free Almond Flax bread recipe which I adjust just a bit and turn it into buns by using English Muffin rounds while baking…we eat these two recipes A LOT…I don’t think that flax is good for my guys because of the estrogen properties it has, and my mother-in-law does not eat eggs but her body can definitely put the flax to good use, so when I want buns for our family I make big batches of both of these recipes…and I always try to keep raw cashews and almond flour on hand!)  with oven-fried potato chips

D- Black-eyed peas with broccoli sabji with rice (baked salmon filet)

leek mushroom macademia burger

Wednesday: B- Paleo Granola*****

L-  VP Cabbage Paranthas* with coconut milk yogurt* and fermented mint chutney*

D- Saag Paneer (made with spinach, kale and mustard greens) with gluten-free roti

cabbage paranthas saag

Thursday: B- lilipads (GF pancakes with extra eggs and spinach/kale)

L- Korma* (see recipe in the Whipping It Up: Recipes section of the blog) with Quinoa

D- Saag paneer leftovers with gluten-free roti

korma

Friday: B- sausage egg Paleo bun breakfast sandwich

L- potatoes with green beans sabji* with Paleo Naan* and salad

D-  VP Seven Layer Dip*** with organic corn chips and Y’aloo (white yam) Cutlet* and fermented mint chutney*

aloo falia

Saturday: B- Paleo or GF muffins or waffles

L- Salad (sometimes Vegan, but sometimes with some bacon or other meat)

D- leftovers or whatever we can CREATE from the freezer or pantry

 

Sunday: B- eggs and leftover baked goods

L- gluten-free out to eat or yogurt smoothies and GF nut butter sandwiches at home

D- gluten-free pasta dish or vegetable noodles (ie: spaghetti squash or zucchini)

 

 

October 13 – 19

 

Monday: B- eggs, banana, toast

L-  green bean and kombocha squash sabji*  with Paleo Naan* and coconut milk yogurt*

D- yellow dal and rice (sardines)

Squash Bean Sabji

Tuesday: B- GF chocolate chip pancakes

L-  potatoes, cabbage and peas sabji* with Paleo Naan and coconut milk yogurt

D-  VP Greek “Lamb” “Meatballs” (plus the original lamb ones for my King and I) with VP Alfredo Sweet Potato Noodles and with caramelized garlic sautéed black bean noodles with kale ribbons

Greek balls

Wednesday: B- Paleo Noatmeal***

L- Red Thai Curry made with mixed veggies** (cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, peas, black olives) and boiled millet

D- Caramelized Onions with potatoes and plenty of greens (kale)** with gluten-free mock-rye bread

red thai curry

SP onions greens

Thursday: B- sausage links and hash browns

L- baingan burtha* (spicy roasted eggplant) and VP Creamy of Celery Soup******* and Paleo Naan*

D- Pepper Paneer Sabji* with Paleo Naan*

baingan burther

pepper paneer

Friday: B- omelette with onions and swiss chard

L- Kardi* and Black Olive Bindi* with rice

D- Cheesy Vegetable Pizza with Vegan Paleo crust adapted from “Everyday Paleo”s Italian cookbook

bindi

Saturday: B- Paleo or GF muffins or waffles

L- Salad (sometimes Vegan, but sometimes with some bacon or other meat)

D- leftovers or whatever we can CREATE from the freezer or pantry

 

Sunday: B- eggs and leftover baked goods

L- gluten-free out to eat or yogurt smoothies and GF nut butter sandwiches at home

D- gluten-free pasta dish or vegetable noodles (ie: spaghetti squash or zucchini)

 

 

October 20 – 26

 

Monday: B- eggs, banana, toast

L- Coconut Curry with Mixed Veggies* (onions, broccoli, carrots) with Paleo Naan*

D- salsa black bean soup with rice flour biscuits (fried white fish from www.thepaleomom.com)

coconut curry

Tuesday: B- VP Breakfast cookie

L- Aloo Gobi* (potatoes with cauliflower sabji) and Paleo Naan*

D-  Kale with Garlic Tomato Almond Butter Sauce** and VP Twice-Baked Taro Root** (roasted cornish hens)

pale'ya'loo gobi

Wednesday: B- Quinoatmeal (recipe in the Whipping It Up:  Recipes section of the blog)

L- Vegetable Vindaloo* with quinoa

D- Coconut Green Beans* and Cinnamon Spice Baked Squash Cubes**

vindaloo

coconut grean beans

Thursday: B- bacon and eggs

L- Palak Paneer* (spinach with Indian cheese) and baked potato chips

D- Pumpkin Sambar* and rice

palak paneer

 

Pumpkin Sambar

Friday: B- cereal

L- Shimla Mirch* (spicy mashed potatoes stuffed in green pepper halves) with VP flatbread

D- VP Fried Green Tomatoes****** and Paneer Pakoras (bison burger)

stuffed pepper

Saturday: B- Paleo or GF muffins or waffles

L- Salad (sometimes Vegan, but sometimes with some bacon or other meat)

D- leftovers or whatever we can CREATE from the freezer or pantry

 

Sunday: B- eggs and leftover baked goods

L- gluten-free out to eat or yogurt smoothies and GF nut butter sandwiches at home

D- gluten-free pasta dish or vegetable noodles (ie: spaghetti squash or zucchini)

 

 

 

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