Thursday, May 22, 2014

What We Ate - Weds May 21

waffles with syrup, cantaloupe, cranberry juice (D)
waffle with butter, cantaloupe, yogurt with applesauce, milk (G)
handful (2 tb?) trail mix,cantaloupe (E)

smoothie with beets, cranberry juice, pineapple, kale, blueberry, banana (G)
smoothie with beets, blueberries, kale, pineapple, banana, almond milk (E)

graham cracker with PB (G)

leftover pasta Alfredo, green beans or salad, watermelon (G, E)
Catfish po'boy, slaw (D -- went out to eat with coworkers)

waffle, cheese cubes, apple (G)
spoonful PB, apple (E)
ice cream (D -- he gave G a few bites!)

Tacos: flour tortillas, black beans, hamburger/TVP cooked with squash, onions, peppers, and taco seasonings, lettuce, guacamole, salsa, cheese, sour cream
Corn on the cob

Green pudding (yogurt/applesauce/avocado) -- G (a few bites E)
Popcorn (E)

1 glass red wine each -- E, D

Sourdough bread fail -- this house (1 level!) gets hotter and i let it rise too long. Was too crabby and tired to come up with a good way to use the heavy, flat loaves -- threw them away.
Attempted to make YOGURT (with 1 qt milk) -- will report when i taste it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What We Ate - Tues May 20


BF: whole-wheat bagel with Nutella, cantaloupe, scrambled egg, cranberry juice
L: KFC fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and biscuit; ice-cream cone (I packed a sandwich, but a bomb threat disarranged his lunch schedule!)
D: Pasta primavera (whole wheat pasta, broccoli, peppers, mushroom, carrots, zucchini in a tofu Alfredo sauce); green salad (red leaf lettuce, cucumbers, tomato); 2 glasses red wine

BF: 3 Tb trail mix (almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, apricots, chocolate chips), cantaloupe, 2 spoonfuls wholemilk yoghurt (3 tb?)
BF2: Smoothie with kale, spinach, banana, pineapple, cucumber, lemon, almond milk
L: Egg with onion, zucchini, pepper sauteed in olive oil, cantaloupe
S1: Spoonful PB (2 tb?) with about 1/3 banana
S2:2 handfuls (5 or 6 tb?) trail mix, 2 rectangles of graham cracker
D: Pasta Primavera (2 helpings), salad, 2 glasses red wine

BF: 4 oz whole milk, 1 scrambled egg (butter), 1/4 whole-wheat bagel with PB (she only ate 1/3 of it), cantaloupe
BF2: Smoothie with banana, beets, pineapple, cranberry juice, kale, spinach, yoghurt (about 8 oz)
S: 2 tsp PB
L: Scrambled egg with veg, green beans, cubed Cheddar cheese, 2 oz milk
S: rest of smoothie (3 oz), 1 tsp PB with 1/4 banana
S: 4 graham cracker rectangles
D: Pasta Primavera, green beans
S: 5 chocolate chips

Shopping trip, May 19

Menu plan for the week of May 19-26. Ingredients to buy highlighted, rest from pantry, freezer, or last week

Bibimbap, Cantaloupe
Leftover rice, 1/2 chicken breast, 3 eggs, stirfried zucchini, mushroom, carrot, onion, garlic, ginger, spinach

Beans (white beans with a tangy sauce: tomato, onion, bell pepper, seasonings), cornbread (cornmeal), collard greens

Curry (tilapia fillets, coconut milk, curry paste and seasonings, onions, mushrooms, bell pepper), seasonal vegetable, rice

Stew with eggplant, bell pepper, tomatoes, parsley, lemon juice, spinach, seasonings; rice or bread; green salad

Pasta primavera (whole-wheat pasta, tofu, broccoli, peppers, carrots, green peas, mushrooms), green salad

Leftover soup, cornbread or Focaccia bread

Granola (oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, honey)
Snack Mix (nuts, seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips)
Sandwiches (cheese, ham)
Smoothies (bananas, juice, almond milk, spinach or kale, cucumbers, other fruit and veg)
Eggs, coffee, avocados (2), ice cream

The shopping trip
TOTAL (ish) with tax: $125

Meat and Dairy -- $16.58
1 qt ice cream $2.59
1 gallon whole milk $3.69
1/2 gallon almond milk $3.25
9 oz sliced cheese $1.99
2.5 doz large eggs $4.79

Produce -- $33.40
Celery $0.99
3 ears corn $1.00
16 oz white mushrooms $1.98
1 head red leaf lettuce $1.00
5 oz baby spinach $1.50
1 large eggplant $1.49
2.4 lb zucchini $2.39
Cantaloup $2.50
Live parsley (can plant) $1.00
2 avocados $2.19
1 bag (12 oz) frozen green peas (-$0.75 coupon) = $0.25
Discount tomatoes $1.65 (overripe, can salvage most)
1 lb carrots $0.78
1 stalk broccoli $2.29
2 cucumbers $1.72
Watermelon $2.99
1 onion $0.45
Bananas $0.64
2 Gala apples $1.47
4 pears $2.70
4 lemons $1.42

Pantry/canned/staples -- $40.46
Canned tomatoes and sauce $2.76
2L diet ginger ale $1.45
Local honey $8.00
Canned beets $0.70
Sunflower seeds $1.43
Turmeric $0.82
Almonds $2.01
11 oz raisins $1.55
Raw peanuts 0.7lb $1.80
Chocolate chips $1.72
2 lb Popcorn $1.79  
Yeast 3strip $1.39
Simply Heinz ketchup $2.50
(BOGO) 2 (32oz) cranberry juice $4.29
1 can reduced corn $0.50
(BOGO) 2x11 oz 8o'Clock Coffee $6.99
(BOGO) 2x16 oz whole-wheat rotini $1.67
Yellow cornmeal $1.59

Non-Food -- $22.54
Package instant grits (for ants) $0.76
(BOGO) freezer bags - qt and gallon, 4 pkgs for 80 bags total $5.58
Outdoor trash bags $7.29
Diapers (Luvs 82ct) $15.71
Travel pack wipes (-$1.00 coupon) =  $0.49

Analysis: Would consider this "not bad" EXCEPT i spent way too much money last week. We have plenty of meat + a bottle of wine leftover from last week.
I spent $7.50 (before tax) on items primarily for ME -- watermelon (OK, i do share this one, but i eat about 2/3 of what i buy), diet soda, and almond milk. If i count the portions of fruit/veg that go into my smoothies, the total is more...

Action plan for this week/next week:
Bite the bullet and go back to cloth diapering, since potty training before 18months wouldn't be good for me OR Geneva
Invest in seeds or seedlings (up to $20 seems reasonable) in garden. Hopefully saving on produce later.
Try to get creative and stretch the meat i have until the end of the month. Research grilling options (kebabs to space out chicken, grilled pizza) that don't involve buying more meat.
Tried a bean and rice salad that was awesome last week. Incorporate at least one cold pasta or rice/bean salad per week during the summer!
I spend a lot of money on smoothies. Fruit and almond milk are kind of luxury items. Next week i am going to go on a "fast" from smoothies and see how that goes. Game plan: eat EGGS WITH VEGETABLES instead. My only nutrient concern in cutting out the smoothies is calcium. If i can make my own whole-milk yoghurt i will eat that happily for much cheaper. 



Monday, May 5, 2014

3 week results

Analysis of receipts WEEK 2 (April 13-20), WEEK 3 (April 21-27), and WEEK 4 (April 28-May 4)

Total grocery expenditure was $518.70
Week 2 total was about $190.00 (includes Easter shopping)
Week 3 total was about $193.00
Week 4 total was about $125.00 (short week because of wedding trip)
Average spending for these three weeks was about $170.00.
Estimated total month expenditure following this trend would be between $680 - $850.

Total amount spent on            was $$            
Meat                                       $29.12             ($10 per week)          
Largest single item was $12.82 for 2 small hams (Easter sale). I also bought:
bone-in chicken         $6.50
*reduced beef for      $5.77
*smoked sausage       $0.99
*breakfast sausage    $2.99
WASTE: Left half of beef roast out overnight instead of thawing in fridge: -$2.00
I felt like this was a more meat-heavy month than usual. I would probably have bought ground beef if the beef roast meat had not been reduced. Pleased with ham purchase; $12.82 provided meat for 2 meals, 1 soup, 2 broth bones, and almost 4 weeks of lunchmeat. Normally I would expect to spend at least $12.00 for 3 weeks of lunch meat.
Try to pack sandwich alternatives for Dennis at least twice a week (pasta salad, curry, enchiladas). This will cut down on lunchmeat expenditure and be healthier!

Dairy                                       $61.02             ($20 per week)
Bought 6 lb butter for $9.00 on clearance and cream for Easter treats for $3.47. I also bought
cow milk                     $9.04
almond and soy milk $9.57
cheese (all kinds)       $6.16
eggs (medium)           $14.09
*margarine/spread   $1.50
yogurt (tub plain)      $6.19
yogurt (all cups, *)    $2.00
WASTE: Geneva broke seal on two yogurt cups. ½ gallon milk too sour to cook with: -$3.00
Bought chunk cheese and sliced for sandwiches for an estimated savings of $1.00 per week.
CHICKENS. Begin research now!
Try to make own yogurt. Also, pack homemade yogurt tubs (with jam + plain yogurt) for Dennis.
Try to make own almond milk (query – calcium?)

Produce (fresh and frozen fruits, vegetables, and nuts)   $111.79           ($40 per week)
Subcategories include FRUITS & NUTS, $54.60 and VEGETABLES, $57.19
Especially heavy purchases were for
apples (all fresh varieties)     $10.02
bananas                                  $5.68
blueberries (frozen)               $7.89
pears                                       $10.38
zucchini                                  $4.85
yellow squash                                    $5.58
fresh spinach                          $5.28
Total expenditure on fresh vegetables was $47.80 and frozen vegetables $9.39
WASTE: ½ package of okra, two ends of zucchini: -$1.90
Be more careful to package and freeze vegetables before they spoil. Frozen blueberries are almost all for me. I wish I could eat strawberries – they are much cheaper now

Pantry and canned goods                $78.76                                     ($25 per week)
Most expensive item purchased was olive oil, $16.10. I also bought
canned tomatoes                              $9.09
other canned veg/beans/fruit         $13.47
coffee                                                  $5.98
This category usually includes lots of flour as well as flour, peanut butter, condiments, dried beans, rice, pasta and cereal (oatmeal, grits, and Cheerios).
WASTE: Charged twice for peanut butter; ate half a box of raisins in a week          (-$3.00)
Store raisins somewhere really high up. Source wheat or flour for bulk purchases?
Stock back up on dried beans after move.
Pre-cook vegetables for Geneva each week (pick a day) so less tempted to open a can for her.

Baby-specific purchases                    $33.37                                     ($11 per week)
Bought infant pain reliever for a total of $14.97 because Geneva was sick all week. Also purchased diapers ($14.97), wipes, and go pouches for our trip.
Spent much less than usual on diapers because I had 2 coupons for free store-brand diapers.
Ask Dr. Morrison about toilet training! Try to make own wipes.

Non-food and cat-specific items      $59.99                                     ($20 per week)
Large purchases include cat litter ($6.99 with coupon), charcoal ($10.99), and packing tape ($13.14). I also bought laundry and cleaning supplies, cough drops and cold medicine, toilet paper, paper towels, and zip-lock freezer bags.
Tried a new brand of cat litter – see how it works.

Snacks, Luxury Items, and Miscellaneous Purchases         $80.71             ($27 per week)
I’m going to copy down this complete list and analyze it one chunk at a time.

“GOOD” items            $45.47
2 6pks beer                 $16.98
2 bottles wine                        $13.98
Fresh juice for G         $2.50
Trail mix                      $7.29
Chocolate chips         $3.00
Popcorn                      $1.72
ANALYSIS: Quality items worth the expenditure. I would like to buy more wine, in fact.
ACTION: Ask re. case discount on wine. Make own trail mix. (Future: juicer!)

“NEUTRAL” items       $26.62
Crackers for Geneva  $2.98
Ice cream                    $2.39
Pkg PB crackers for G            $1.39
12pk seltzer water     $3.34
String cheese for G    $0.49
Tortillas                      $4.54
Unidentified item      $11.79
WASTE: crackers left to stale by Geneva -$0.80
ANALYSIS: Mostly unnecessary purchases. Tortillas are abnormal (several are in our freezer still). I didn’t recognize the $11.79 item on the receipt, and could not remember what it was.
ACTION: Use “baby day” as for canned vegetables, to pre-prep and have easy snacks already made for Geneva. If she doesn’t want a snack, put it away immediately and offer it later.

“BAD” items                $9.25
12pk Diet Dr Pepper  $3.98
Misc. sodas/drinks E  $2.40
Jelly beans (*Easter)  $1.98
Pudding mix               $0.89
WASTE: Jelly beans were gross. -$1.98
ANALYSIS: WHY THE DIET SODA. This was a total list fail.  Pudding mix is on “bad” list because of dyes/flavourings (after a cake fail Easter week I wanted a shortcut for the trifle pudding). Jelly beans I bought on clearance (I like the black ones)…except they were totally nasty. My tastebuds have changed.
ACTION: Exercise some self control and stop buying crappy sodas. Drink water instead. Carry a water bottle everywhere when I go out.

TOTAL WASTE: -$10.78          (-$3.59 per week)

Actions to implement immediately (or ASAP) are highlighted in blue.
To Do Right Now:

Choose a “baby day” once per week (Monday or Tuesday). Prep and cook vegetables and snacks (crackers, snack mix, cheese portions) for Geneva. Package them for easy access throughout the week.

Take stock at least every two days of what’s in the fridge – does anything need to be used up or frozen before it spoils?

Begin emptying the freezer.

Attempt to make yogurt.

Dennis’s lunch: twice a week, pack an alternative to sandwiches to save on meat and cheese. (Sugg: curry, pasta salad, calzone, turnover)

Make trail mix at home.

Carry a water bottle whenever I go out.

Research CHICKENS (ask Lauren Souers!)

Ped appt May 19th: ask re toilet training.

As much as possible, dry clothes outside instead of in dryer.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Accountability -- Thoughts & Purpose

What shapes my "food philosophy" The WHY that goes into the planning, preparation, and consumption of our family's meals?

There were quite a few "lean years" when Mom and Dad were trying to feed 2 adults and 6 children (and most of us had good appetites) on an income of less than $20,000 a year. That's $20,000 for groceries -- AND housing -- AND transportation -- AND medical bills -- AND student loans ... AND ... AND ...

God is good. We always had enough. But i think that even as a child i picked up on the stress associated with acquiring just the basic needs of life. Whenever Dennis or i get stressed (even if the stress has nothing to do with money) i immediately start worrying about finances. I start plotting how i could work without putting Geneva in childcare.

I buy groceries.

Even if we don't really need them. Even if i'm stressed BECAUSE i've spent too much money (on groceries, since i rarely spend money on anything else).

Buying food calms me down.
We may not have money to pay rent, but at least we can eat this week.

This is not only irrational, it is sinful -- a disconnect between what i think i "know" and what i actually feel and believe. I need to bring this response to stress to God. I need to REMIND MYSELF that i can trust His care of us -- that imminent doom is NOT over the horizon -- and that i CANNOT stave it off by spending extra money on extra groceries. I CAN be grateful for what we have, TRUST God to provide what we need, and choose to act accordingly.

I will address this by:
Memorizing "fighter verses" that remind me to trust God's provision
Resolving to shop only once a week -- if i think i need an extra trip -- resolve to wait until TOMORROW!

I am SO grateful to be restored to what is (i believe and hope) a healthy attitude about my body, food, and eating. But my past definitely affects the choices i make about food today.
I eat -- and choose for my family -- healthy foods. We don't eat prepared, packaged, or processed foods. But i am VERY hesitant to give myself or others limits about food -- especially limits of quantity -- portion size, numbers, frequency.

This is a bit tricky. I do think we (especially me and Geneva) eat a lot MORE than many people do, especially considering our size. I do think i sometimes eat when i am not hungry, but i am very reluctant to address that yet. After years of denying myself what my body needed, i still feel that eating is ALWAYS good -- right?

Do i really need two servings of the casserole at dinner? Do i really need a big bowl of popcorn right before bed? Isn't almond milk kind of a luxury purchase? 

This is something that still feels too new to really challenge myself with. I don't want to use my past as an excuse for laziness or self-indulgence, but i think i need more time to mature/get more solid (hah!) before i really look at this. I want to be a good steward of our groceries, but i DO NOT want, at this point in time, to impose any kind of portion control, or to outlaw any food items.

I will address this by:
Praying that God will establish me in healthy ways of thinking
Trying to be MINDFUL before, during, and after eating
Trusting that any maturing that needs to happen here will be in God's timing -- i don't have to make it happen.

Sensuality as an aspect of my character -- a neutral term, not necessarily good or bad in itself, but lending itself to specific virtues and sins.
I am a person who loves physical pleasure -- including the pleasure that comes from generous amounts of delicious food and drink, for myself, for my family, and for anyone else i can bring into the family circle.

I like eating well, and I am OK with that. I would rather spend money eating well each week than subsist on mac-n-cheese and have a vacation every year.

Under the governance of the Holy Spirit, i think this is a VERY GOOD quality. Food IS good. Hospitality IS good. Having PLENTY is good. Rejoicing in and enjoying those things is good. I am glad that i am a person who enjoys food. I am glad that i live in a culture that allows me to enjoy those things, and i don't thing it is wrong to do so.

Where this quality, corrupted, opens me to temptation -- self-indulgence and ingratitude!
How many items on my grocery receipt are there only because they will increase Emily's pleasure -- personal or vicarious?
This week --
Frozen blueberries $2.91
Almond milk $2.89
Extra pkg sandwich cheese (Dennis) $1.69
Popcorn $1.88
Kale $1.99
Coconut shreds $0.70
Can of soda $0.40
Pineapple $1.99
Ben & Jerry's Bonnaroo Buzz (for Dennis) $3.00

This is a tricky one -- especially considering my past. I DO tend to make choices that show that i value immediate, physical pleasure more than i value long-term goals. All of the items on that list, except for the soda (and maybe the popcorn) seem like GOOD items ... but maybe they aren't the BEST items for our situation right now.

I will address this by:
Praying a prayer of gratitude RIGHT BEFORE I GO SHOPPING, asking God to help me make wise choices
Marking any "want" items on my list. As an exercise in self-control, for the next month choose JUST ONE of these items from each list and DO NOT purchase it. I think this will be enough to exercise my flaccid self-control without dooming myself to failure, or making it into a monster.

What We Ate 04-15

B - boiled eggs, yogurt, biscuits (E, D; G did not eat most of hers)
L - sandwich with ham, cheese, spinach on leftover hamburger roll; trail mix; banana (D)
  Leftover chickpea casserole (E, G) with peas and carrots (G)
D - chicken thigh/leg quarters baked with yogurt mustard sauce, green beans, roasted sweet and russet potatoes, fruit salad with pears, orange, and canned peaches; 1 glass wine each E and D
     apple slices, PB and cheese (G); rest of apple with PB (E)
     smoothie with spinach, carrot, applejuice, yogurt, pineapple, and banana (G)
     smoothie with blueberry, banana, kale, cinnamon, and whole milk yogurt (E)
     package Ritz PB crackers (E, G)
     homemade crackers -- LOTS (E, G, D)
     1/2 slice cheese with peas, carrots, and banana slices (G)
     handful trail mix (E)
Prepared meals as planned; except added fruit salad to dinner (trying to up D's fruit intake :D)
Not super happy about the purchased package of crackers. In general, want to do better about having G-friendly snack foods pre-prepped and available (she tends to eat too much cheese and fruit since it is the easiest to serve her).
Prepared extra chicken -- saved meat for pot pie and soup later this week

Baked bread (double batch sourdough bread in 3 loaves)
Baked homemade "Ritz" crackers (whole wheat) -- 1/2 batch . Make a full batch next time!

Monday, April 14, 2014

What We Ate 04-14

BF: Cinnamon biscuit rolls, scrambled eggs (D, G)
   Smoothie with greens, almond milk, pineapple, banana (E)

L: Pasta salad, yogurt (D)
   Pasta salad, canned peas, fruit (E, G)
*whole wheat pasta, Parmesan, broccoli florets, carrots, onion, garlic, vinaigrette (homemade, not low-fat)

D: Chickpea casserole with brown rice, ricotta, lemon, parsley  *added broccoli florets
     -> everyone had 2 helpings
   Squash & onion sautee (from last week)
   Green peas (from freezer)
   2 glasses wine each (D, E)

Snacks & Misc
   Ice Cream (D)
   1/2 Go-Gurt (G)
   1/2 slice cheese, 1/2 apple sliced (G)
   1/4 cup canned peas, 1 squeeze packet with apple, sweet potato, wheat (G)
   2 tablespoons peanut butter (split E, G)
   3 tablespoons trail mix (sunflower seed, peanut, almond, raisin) (E)
   1/2 apple (E)
   1/2 banana 1/2 slice cheese (G)
    Latte with coffee, almond milk, cinnamon (E)

NOTES: Added peas to dinner (not enough squash). Too much sugar in Go-Gurts -- buy 2oz popsicle molds and make own after gone! Trail mix -- was nervous when i saw calorie count for 1/4 cup -- reminder my body NEEDS the fat and sugar in it!
Made extra casserole to freeze. Geneva likes rice when baked with cheese :D

Should this cake happen?