Monday, June 15, 2009

a week of dinner.

huevos

Okay first of all, let's talk about how I had this big idea about how I was gonna post a week's worth of dinners and talk about my budgeting and grocery list and How We Live® and blah blah blah. I tried to remember to take pictures of dinner every night, but then I did a lousy job of keeping track of them. I worked late one night and had leftovers for dinner and forgot to bring my camera- the whole week was kind of a clusterfuck of obligation and I was BUSY! Baby-sitting for friends and family, extra shifts at work, meeting with photography clients, spring cleaning in the apartment- it's Sunday and I'm wrecked. In a good way, though- the kind of wrecked you feel after getting a lot of stuff done.

weekofdinner4

So I guess what I'm saying is, like everyone else- we are pretty disorganized. But, we try to make time for dinner together every night, because it kind of glues us all together. I'm pretty old fashioned when it comes to stuff like that, I really feel like every family, if they have the ability, should join each other for dinner, and cooking it is half the fun- even when you're stressed out and short on time. Whenever I throw together dinner after a crazy day, and my low blood sugar is making me snap at my family and I get frustrated and burn something, and then something else is undercooked when I got to put everything on plates, and I get super pissed but then it somehow all comes together in the end- it's just so satisfying to sit down and EAT IT.

weekofdinner2

Of course, all that said- I'm lucky enough to have a husband who cooks. We'd be totally screwed if it was all on me, because come 5:30 p.m., if I am not close to sitting down to a full meal, I turn into a loopy wreck who cannot function. That's just the time of day that my blood sugar plunges and I turn into a cranky, confused, useless lump. I do about half the cooking around here, probably. Maybe a little less.

weekofdinner

Anyway, the whole reason for this post is to answer some of the questions I get asked on a regular basis about our dinners and our shopping budget and all that crap. I feel like every time I mention that eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive, someone on the internet finds it necessary to yell at me (isn't that what the internet is for, though?) that I'm being insensitive to whatever lifestyle or cause or the destitute or whatever. All I can do is speak from experience, though- and my experience says that when I was eating lots of junk food, I got fat, miserable, and I was spending way too much money. We forced ourselves to start writing out a meal list every week, set a grocery budget and we stick to it as closely as we can, and I made a few lifestyle changes to lose some weight. Now I feel better and we're on track paying our bills, and that's enough anecdotal, one-sided evidence for me, thanks.

hippiechow

I recently posted on a local community asking if anyone had a good hookup for pastured eggs besides the farmer's market or the few specialty stores that I know of who carry them. There's ONE booth at the farmer's market who has them for 5 bucks, and everywhere else they run about 7 dollars a dozen, which is way, way more than I'm willing to spend, even though I'm happy to throw down a few extra bucks to support local farmers. Someone got on my case about the "morally offensive" idea of Five Dollar Eggs and suggested that I was a huge jerk for being willing to pay that much. When people think about eating healthy, I think they need to consider a few things. Yes, some unhealthy foods ARE cheaper- because you can buy huge portions of them. But you don't need to eat a GIANT BOWL of sugary cereal if you have a reasonable portion of oatmeal with some butter, it's just as filling. You don't need to eat extra portions of your frozen pizza if you take the time (5 minutes?) to make a salad. The reason we can afford to buy 5 dollar eggs every once in awhile (and I do mean "every once in awhile," because they really aren't in our budget) is because of the things we DON'T buy. We don't buy paper towels, we don't buy pre-made, frozen dinners. We don't buy candy, we never buy soda and we don't really buy juice, either. We drink (OMG) water. Consider how much paper towels, soda, and juice cost for a moment. When I was a kid, we had ALL of these things in the house at all times- we always had a backup 12 pack of coke in the garage, waiting to be guzzled. I tried to look up the price of a 12 pack of coke, and then I realized that I have never bought my own 12 pack of coke in my entire life. I think it's like 4 or 5 bucks, right? I think paper towels are like 3 or 4 dollars for a package of 2 or 3. And a big container of juice is at least 3 dollars. So, added all together, just NOT buying those 3 things that a lot of families consider to be staple items means that I have almost 15 dollars to spend on other stuff. That's how I feel okay about paying 5 dollars for eggs every once in awhile.

pizza3

Now, what we DO buy. Every week we sit down and write a list- first we pick out what we're going to eat each night for dinner. Last week it was hippie chow, pizza, chicken, vegetables, and polenta, pesto noodles (which we stretched over 2 nights), burritos, and then something else that I've already forgotten, haha. Our list this week says:

Sat- salad rolls
Sun- Kennedy School (We had a catered party to go to. Free dinner, woo hoo!)
Mon- Couscous + mezza
Tues- Alice at work- sandwiches?
Wed- Burritos
Thurs- Polenta + veg
Fri- Burger?

The way we make our list is pretty straightforward. We have a lot of standard dishes that we choose from, and we try to keep the stuff that uses the most fresh vegetables towards the beginning of the week, and then whenever we're going to have meat, we put it towards the end of the week so we can buy it fresh that night. That's why "burger?" has a question mark after it- if Friday rolls around and Jason hits the grocery and steaks are on sale, maybe he'll buy steak. Or maybe we'll be more in the mood for fish by then, who knows? Fridays are always kind of a scramble to get food in our bellies because that's when we go shopping. After we have our meals written down, we write down the ingredients we need for all our crap, and then we throw on whatever we're going to have for lunch- sandwich stuff, salad stuff, whatever.

Here is what we consider to be stuff we must ALWAYS BUY, every week, regardless of what is on the list:
Lettuce
Carrot
Celery
Onion
Garlic
roasting vegetables, like zucchini, squash, brussels, etc.
Tomato, usually
Apples
bananas
Grapes if they're on sale
Almonds (I buy a pound of almonds every other week or so, it takes me awhile to go through it, but I carry almonds in my purse with me everywhere I go. It's to keep my blood sugar level.)
can of fire roasted diced tomatoes
can of beans
at least a little bit of pasta
eggs (not 5 dollar eggs, haha)

And this is where I get thrown off when people say that you can't eat healthy when you're poor- usually the produce portion of our weekly grocery bill doesn't exceed 40 dollars. Vegetables are CHEAP, you just need to learn to cook them.

salt&brown

Anyway, I hope this wasn't just annoying information overload, like "OOOooOoOOh, good for YOU. You have your fancy stupid grocery list, WHO CARES?" I get questions about stuff like this a lot, and it seems like people are more interested in the more 'normal' stuff that I eat instead of waiting to see if I bust out something fancy. Over the next few days, I'll be posting recipes for staple items in our kitchen, like our spanish rice recipe, what we do on mezza night, stuff like that. Also I made pizza the other night and I made a little mini-calzone that blew my mind, so I'll probably post those too. And feel free to ask any questions you'd like. PEACE OUT.

weekofdinner3

56 comments:

Amanda Nicole said...

You are indeed so very lucky to have a man who cooks. I once told mine that the best birthday gift would be for him to cook me a dinner, and I'm still waiting...

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

if it makes you feel any better, my husband promised me a mix tape 6 years ago and i'm still waiting, hahaha

Megan said...

Hah, it's a small world - I read that egg-related flame war the other day and laaaaughed. :D

Rodica said...

Ah, great post, very helpful! I too have a week meals system similar with yours and it works great! Thanks for all the other tips!

I really can't understand the people that feel the need to publicly disapprove with other people choices in life. I mean, it's not like you buy your eggs with their money. Ughhh...

lindsey said...

i'm still not sure why people get so upset about other people's life choices such as what eggs you buy. judgers.

i for one like to hear what you make for regular dinners, because the worst time of the day is when i look at the clock at 5 pm and realize that i need to make dinner and i have no idea what to make. i am a total believer that menu planning and grocery budgets help you save so much money.

so 'hell yeah' to you.

Soon, Then said...

dude, people can get over it. I cook similarly to your family, and I'm right there with you.
You should have the right to be proud of how you eat and happy with the small pleasures of life. :)

Bossy Chef said...

I think that dropping a few extra dollars to support your local farmers is a great place to spend a little extra. You should never have to apologize for where you spend your hard earned money, and from the sounds of it you both work hard for your money.

I once had someone give me a hard time about spending the extra for a few organic items we spring for, mostly meat, dairy, and eggs. I ran into her in the grocery store. Her cart contained several bottles of wine, expensive paper towels, etc., soda, chips, frozen crap, and other expensive unhealthy foods. I then had the chance to follow them to the parking lot with our respective carts. She got into her Cadillac and her daughter (who was shopping with her) got into her own brand new car. I loaded my "ridiculous" organic eggs into our family's one car, and went home laughing.

I just wanted to thank you for the weekly laughs, you've given me lots of ideas for my one year that I would never have dreamed of trying, and also the inspiration to finally start the food blog I've been plotting in my head for about 5 years. Cheers... have a great week.

Pooka said...

Once I have a child with my tattooed, lumber jack boyfriend (hopefully husband one day!) i feel that you will be my inspiration to continue being cool. Having a husband and kids doesnt mean you have to turn into a big close minded old lady.

And good for you for those god damned $5 eggs! At least you give a shit, most people dont- and for that reason (along with many others) you are superior. Remember that. You actually give a shit about what you feed your family. :)

Jillian said...

People are assholes. You are doing such an awesome job and it's uplifting to know there are other people in my generation who think the family dinner is an important event. Keeping it real and keeping it old fashioned. I'm so happy you blog and are honest. Have a good day!

yarn_beans said...

Always very interested in how other people shop and stay on budget and I can't wait for the spanish rice recipe!

thelinus said...

this was really interesting! and i find it very strange that some one would get their panties in a twist about someone else eating healthy/enviormentally conciously. jeez. thank you for this!

The Daily Dose said...

Your blog is great (just an fyi)! Because I'm a total food junkie, I found your blog from stumbleupon.com and found your hippie post pretty freakin entertaining. thanks

Lisa-Marie said...

I'm pretty disgusted that someone had a go at you for paying $5 for eggs. You can spend your money however you want. On the rare occasion that I buy them, I buy either ones from the farmers market or free range ones. I am lucky though, as both my husbands parents and my sister-in-law and her husband keep chickens, so our eggs come from them, and we know how well the chickens are treated.

I think I may do this week of food thing when we do a new shop. The only thing is, I don't know how accurate I can be, because most of our store-cupboard stuff is bought at different times from meat. Do you count stuff you have already (pasta, spices, baking goods) of just the stuff you have bought in that week?

Elaine said...

I am totally with you on the meal-planning train; the hubs is convinced it's a superpower (and our friends are all jealous of our weekday meals) but it's one way to seriously rock the OCD.

Also, homemade sausages? Disgusting as hell (esp. if you get Chuck Palahniuk stories stuck in your head while rinsing the hog casings) but unbelievably cost-effective.

tyKa said...

I am a small farmer, and we sell honey and soap at the local farmers market. We recently stopped selling eggs and sold off most of our laying hens because we couldn't afford it anymore. We sold the eggs for $5. When you factor in the feed costs, the egg cartons, the market fees, and the time it takes to gather, wash, pack and label cartons of eggs, we were losing money. People were very upset to hear that we decided to stop selling eggs, but unfortunately we would have had to up the price to at least $7 to pay ourselves even a little bit. That wouldn't fly in a small town like ours. It's true that we have to pay a little more for better quality foods, and it is so worth it. Thanks for promoting this.

Bird_flew said...

i work for Whole Foods and we get such a mix of people in there. Filthy rich and penny pinchers alike. Im sure you wouldnt be shocked by the amount of times I hear the statements "Whole Paycheck", "eating healthy is sooooo expensive", "vegetables cost too much" or "it's so much cheaper at Publix" (similar to Fred Meyer). these are mostly the same people that come in chatting on their couple hundred$ cell phones, botox injection face lifts, BMW car key rings, and rib eye steak eating selves. Those 'poor poor souls' that arent dressed in the latest fashions are somehow still able to afford to buy tons of raw nuts and beans, fresh produce, and the occasional fresh pressed juice from the juice bar. also, buying a whole pineapple, uncut strawberries, or *gasp* unshaved carrots is much more cost efficient than buying fancy pants out of season frutis and veggies that have been pre cut and washed for you and placed into little plastic tubs 'ready to go'. let them eat cheap, they'll pay for it in medical bills.

cindy* said...

meal planning and grocery lists are the best...yay for less waste! also, if you use eggs as the main protein in a meal (poached eggs!), $5 for a dozen is probably much cheaper than meat for equivalent meals...just sayin'...

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

tyKa, thanks for your comment! it's good to have insight into stuff like that, i imagine that market fees are pretty steep these days since people go nuts over the farmer's market.

from what i understand, the cheapest way to get farm-fresh eggs (besides having your own chickens) is to join a buying group that buys direct from farms, which is something i'll be looking into if we don't manage to get a house this year like we're planning.

bird flew- whatever, whole foods IS pretty expensive for some things, haha! i never go there because it's out of my way and i'd rather go to new seasons (the local version of whole foods).

Fairlightday said...

Can I give you a standing ovation for this post??? This is so awesome.
I too get very tired of the whole "healthy organic food is too expensive" line. And it's so refreshing to see a grocery list that actually looks like mine instead of a list that includes a sugary cereals, hamburger helper, and velveta (because there was a coupon for it!) I can't wait to read more of your blog. Keep on doing what your doing. Your body and your family's body will say "thank you!" in the long run.

Chocolatesa said...

Wow, I wish I had the motivation to plan my meals out weekly like that, it would probably save me money lol. Nothing is ever planned more than a few hours in advance at my place lol.

Anneke said...

Hi, I really like you blog (you had me calling everyone "hippie" last week). I have two kids (and husband) and we eat similarly to you BECAUSE we are on a budget. Actually, I don't buy any crap because a) its too expensive and b) I always think I might as well make it for the amount it would cost me to buy it. I was also lucky to have my Mexican mother-in-law (I am Canadian) stay with me when I gave birth to each of my children, and she taught me how to cook with minimal ingrediants. Mexican cooking is extremley healthy, and you can adjust the spice to your liking. I make a pot of beans, chicken stock and rice every week, and you can do so much with those. I also have a little indoor herb garden (just started it) with some spices to make my dishes taste extra fresh. I use an express cooker (pressure cooker) when I am out of time (you can make beans in 40 minutes without presoaking overnight, chickenstock in 30 minutes, and its a very healthy way to cook).

Also, I never buy juice or pop. My girls have water or milk (juice is full of calories).

Love your blog!

ab said...

Thanks for the enlightening post. I, too, am always interested in hearing how people spend their grocery money. (Have you ever seen the book Hungry Planet, by Peter Menzel? Families around the world photographed with their weekly groceries... fascinating.) I feel like our grocery budget has exploded, and I can't quite figure out why, but I think it has to do with living in a place with a really weird growing season (MS Delta) AND a really small (like, miniscule) population of people who like to by natural and/or organic food. So, stuff is exPENsive. You're lucky to be living in a place where the growing season allows for a lot of great produce. That, combined with your informed choices such as not buying a lot of prepared food and paper products and sugary drinks, makes for a very sensible and doable grocery budget.

On a happy note, though, I did find a woman who sells eggs for 2 bucks a dozen... they're not organic, but they are local and come from well-loved chickens.

denise said...

nice post. your burrito looks really nice and toasty--mine never look that good. i love healthy ingredients and we definitely eat at home more than not, but i'm not so good with the weekly plan. i'm usually scrambling around an hour before dinner...what do we have...what do we need...ahhhh. it's about to start RIGHT NOW. i really must get into the habit of planning our meals for the week. thanks for the inspiration. also, i agree, eating dinner together, as a family, even though we are only a family of 2, is very important.

fitbird said...

Alicia, you rock! Kudos to you for knowing what you believe in, what you want, planning it out, and sticking to a budget. I, too, have a list similar to yours, with lots of organic veg, very little meat (only the man eats it), and many organic products, including organic, free-range, veg fed eggs. I don't make it to the farmers markets that often, so I've found that I can buy them near the expiration date for half price :) (I shop at Fred Meyer here in Portland.) If they aren't marked down yet, don't be afraid to ask the dairy/egg case person if they'll do it. Since eggs last a long time I never feel like I'm getting a sketchy deal quality wise. They're still bright orange yolks, firm whites, and strong shells. They're usually $4.50 or so regular price, and about $2.25 marked down :)

I think everyone who reads your blog can benefit greatly from what you post, including your grocery list, healthy approach to cooking, and everything else that is you :) Keep comin' with the valuable, fun, awesome posts!

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

Well I just love this post! And I drink water...wait for it...from the TAP! Buying a pur filter has brought us peace, happiness and hydration. I'm a big supporter of buying locally, and we go through very few eggs -- half a dozen a month? Tops? -- so I spring for the big buck farmer's market models. In fact I have pretty little blue ones in my fridge right now. Call me nuts (almonds? ;-), but I like knowing where my food comes from!

Thanks for a thoughtful post. :-)

A. said...

I don't understand why people feel the need to be judgmental on other people's blogs...if you don't like what's being written and you have nothing constructive to say, don't bother. If people leave negative comments on my blog, I don't address them unless I find them somewhat interesting. This prevents me from being defensive and annoyed.

That being said, I think it's very important to consider where our food comes from. I think if people truly knew about some of the disgusting conditions that surround factory farming, they'd be willing to shell out the extra bucks. Alice Waters was on 60 Minutes on Sunday night, and she was so good. She said, "Some people decide to buy Nike sneakers. I choose to buy (farmer's name here's) grapes." She is right. We all make decisions. As a young, independent school teacher, I have a very tight budget. Yet the food that fuels me and the people I care about is not worth skimping on. Thanks for your funny posts and awesome recipes. Don't let the haters get you down.

SAHM I am said...

The farmer's co-op we belong to gives us a dozen free range organic eggs a week. We can never use them all since my husband refuses to cook them any other way than fry them in bacon grease. Yuk!
I usually end up hard boiling a few and the difference in taste from mass produced ones is amazing. Organic eggs have flavor and much less cholesterol.
Don't let the judgers get under your skin, they are probably the ones loading shake & pour pancake mix and sodium and MSG filled frozen dinners into a big SUV that doesn't show their affluence, only that they are heavily in debt.

jek-a-go-go said...

i love this post. it's true. i think we get so conditioned to eat a certain way we can;t see around it. even when we eat well, i fall into a grocery slump and go off on a french bread binge and for the life of me. nothing else seems to be adequate or tasty enough. but then, i'm home and it's dinner time and there is no more french bread or anything else for that matter and i check the garden and peek into the pantry and pull off a most amazing meal that becomes a new favorite.

it's all about the choices we make. and the choices that we make are our own and very personal. having other people's choices out there to learn from is a great and grand thing. thank you so much for sharing. i am always inspired by your meals and writing and pictures. keep on, keeping on! (have you tried termuric in your oatmeal? it's so pretty with some pumpkin seeds and dried fruit!)

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

wait did you seriously say you don't eat all the eggs because your husband insists on frying them in bacon grease? oh hi, can i borrow your husband?

p.s. sounds like you're being a little judgmental yourself :P

Wendy said...

I think the reason people ever get mad is because they aren't willing to make that choice themselves.

Ever since I have been providing milk to my kids, I have paid twice as much for the hormone free stuff. I have caught some grief for it, but I think it's because they secretly feel guilty for giving lactating hormones to developing children. (If it were up to me, we would hardly ever drink milk anyway, but my stepkids go through gallons of it.)

Oh yah, we drink water too. (And in the summer, we sometimes keep a huge pitcher of iced tea in the fridge, which costs all of 50 cents to make.)

Also, I love hearing your everyday meals. Those are the ones that count. Those are the ones we need to share. Because I do the 5 o'clock Oh crap, what's for dinner thing all the time.

jen said...

thanks for your blogs. I actually am glad that you put up your everyday things because it helps motivate me into helping my family eat better. I always hear people say how expensive it is to eat healthy, so I usually opt for the cheaper side of things ( various trips to the damaged boxed and canned isle.) Thankyou for the posts. And sorry about crazy price-of-egg-weirdos. I guess everyone has an opinion.

...is it bad that I am totally enthralled by shake and pour pancakes?? Seriously, you shake and pour! It's like a fun toy and food all in one. ;)

Stash said...

This blog post spoke to me in many ways (mainly because it reminded me of a similar discussion regarding Alice Waters (AW) and Michael Pollan (MP) on a food board that I regularly post on).

Anyway, I guess I'll be checking in from time to time.

PS. I choose to support my local farmers because I believe that buying locally results in better food for all, and a better environment for this and future generations, in addition to the economic benefits it provides. So yeah, $5 for a dozen eggs is a justifiable expense as far as I'm concerned.

Lee Ann - The Lion's Share said...

Gorgeous Photos!!!

AshyCupcake said...

Hi, I was just meandering around your flickr and I noticed you did some art that was similar to the stuff I like, I was wondering if you have seen a book called the garden of eye candy? I think you would probably really like it. :D
xx

Lil said...

thanks for a great post! i never understand it when people say "i'm too broke to eat healty"....that drives me insane!!! btw, i buy $5 eggs too :)

Katie Z. said...

I loved this post =) My hubs and I used to make dinner lists every week too, and then also divvy'd up who would cook each night. We fell out of the habit and this is a good reminder - you really do save money when you plan ahead... even if plans change by the time you get there.

Catastrophysicist said...

Hi! I'm actually a neighbor of yours. I live in the SE, as well. I linked here from this blog, Anger Burger, that also linked my blog. I just have to say that I didn't used to give a shit about eggs until I bought some of those 7 dollar eggs from the guy at the farmer's market that's there with his son and a big ass basket of them. After buying some of those, they're serious the only eggs i care for. My gf and I are biting the budget these days pretty hard and so, and so i said eff it! They're eggs! and I bought the cheepest ones from Trader Joe's and if they aren't the shittiest eggs I have ever bought. I don't feel good eating them, they seem like a waste of time and are absolutely no better than any other supermarket mass-produced egg, wit a dull beyaond pale yolk and the runniest whites. Anyway, I am willing to pay 7 dollars for eggs. There, I said it.

I wonder if you make it down to Limbo, which is next to the Trader Joe's on 39th? If not I urge you to check it out. Last weekend I picked up bags of organic chard and kale with like 4 bunches in each bag for 1 dollar. and the week before that they had local asparagus for a dollar a bunch, as well. Plus they have this killer spice wall. Sorry if you've been there and know all about it, but if not, you must go. I just can't buy produce from New Seasons anymore, unless it's something off the wall I couldn't find anywhere else.

All right, peace out!

quarteracrehomestead said...

I hope to be as creative and industrious with food as you are when I have a kiddo to manage. There will be no Lunchables in our house!

By the way, I grew up with literally no access to soda (or Coke as we call it here in the South). My mom told us that all kids only drink milk and water. We believed her through maybe 1st grade...

Barbara said...

One thing I do is sit down on Tuesday nights and look at the grocery ads for the following week (the specials change every Wednesday where I live). I plan our meals according to what's on sale and sometimes it means that I have to go to two different stores to catch all the deals, and while that does annoy me sometimes, I find it is worth my while.

As for internet people trying to tell you what to do and how to do it, pppppffffffftttttttttt to them!

jo said...

I can't believe some people are all over you re $5 eggs - it is truly astonishing how odd some peoples priorities are. A box of sugar-coated cereal? Sure! Some MacDonalds? Why not? A magazine bought on impulse at the checkout? Not a second thought! Why on earth do they have a problem with happy hen eggs?? (Speaking as someone whose family eats quite a few eggs, for which we pay anywhere between $5 and $8/dozen, with absolutely no regrets)

Jennifer said...

So what do you use instead of paper towels? I'm cool using cloth rags for spills n' stuff, but what do you use if you need to soak up grease (a la bacon)?

Thanks! Love yr posts!!

olive said...

I agree with you that it's actually possible to eat healthy and cheaply at the same time. Whenever we're broke, we stir-fry up some broccoli, garlic, ginger, etc. and eat that for a week. It's the cheapest, easiest meal ever, and it's delicious. My best friend thinks I'm crazy because I care about organic food and high fructose corn syrup, and I think she's crazy for running on donuts and top ramen--I think what one eats when on a budget really depends on one's priorities (for many people I know, quality of food isn't high on the list). I love your blog because it doesn't make me feel as crazy for caring.

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

jennifer, we use rags for spills and cleaning, and if we fry something greasy and need to soak some of it up, we use old paper bags.

j.cro said...

Thank you for sharing this - the haters can all go jump off a cliff. To each their own, right?

brittany, steve, and gabe said...

we eat very healthy and fresh, and i am pretty sure that we spend less on groceries than most of the people we know. it is amazing what you can do on a budget when you apply yourself.

tifanie said...

brilliant! what a great post. there are so many things about this that i love. and i love the positive feedback you are getting! thank you for sharing.

Rosalea said...

I love the paper bag idea for soaking up bacon grease! Now if I can just get the fiance on board... :)

cbandj said...

it might be possible that we are kindred spirits. ha ha! I love your take on food and life. I'm lucky to have a husband who cooks with and for me and we are both "old school" in believing that it's important to eat together at the table (not in front of the TV). It's when we can catch up together after a busy day. I loved it when I was kid and I plan on doing it when I have kids. We are also really big on meal planning. It's amazing how much money you can save! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to more of your recipes. - chassie

chocolat said...

i too love your take on life, your writing and your photos. how refreshing to find someone elso who sees needless waste in using paper towels! thanks for the chicken in the slow cooker idea. also how to poach an egg. i like the photo of the soup with your feet on a stool :} be well...

Radiantsun said...

Bravo on this post! I am a vegetarian and people always comment to say "gah...what can you EAT?! It must be expensive" and my answer is...TONS...and it isn't ridiculous expensive because whole grains really do fill you up.


pfft. people are just too used to eating CRAP

Karen said...

great post. you tell 'em, sista! i don't understand people who will plunk down thousands or hundreds of dollars for stuff like a BMW or IPhone or 500 channels of crap on TV but have no problem putting 99 cent HFCS crap inside their body. WTF?!

Kara said...

We also follow the meal plan/grocery list method, and I don't understand how people shop otherwise. How do they know what to buy? We also try to shop the perimeter of the store because that's where whole foods are. Aisles contain processed, shelf-stable foods. That are expensive!

Irene said...

I buy a lot of organic food and yes, $5 eggs, but guess what, I'm the one who busts my ass to make the money and I'm not sorry to spend it on keeping my family healthy and happy and to keep organic farms in business! Jeez. That said, our grocery bill is also very manageable because we don't buy processed food and cook vegetables. Ok, getting off the angry soapbox now! It just drives me crazy when people get all *righteous indignation!* about things that are none of their business. Pfft. Btw, love your blog.

jasmine said...

really loved this entry about budgeting and your ideas on grocery spending. thanks ! :)

alicia said...

I love the grocery lists. The grocery lists and meal planning have completely changed my life, no joke. Back before I used to cook, my husband would just pick up whatever sounded good from the store on the way home. Since my brain reprogrammed itself with my second pregnancy and cooking is fun now, I have taken over the kitchen and we're saving $200+ a month compared to what we used to. And after reading your list, I realize that I could be saving a lot more if I weren't so appallingly lazy sometimes. Plus I am emotionally attached to paper towels. And my husband would find a new wife if I made him break his diet soda habit. ("It doesn't have sugar or salt, so it's not bad for me!"

Anyway, I've been a lurker for a while and couldn't resist commenting here because it's so true. I am also really looking forward to trying out your southern-inspired polenta with the vegetables!

sunflowerramos said...

Wow, I love your attitude. My husband & I do the exact same thing of our weekly meals. I usually stock up on certain things when they are on sale (chicken, steak, fish, seafood) and freeze it.
I have a white board on our fridge and we write it out. I think it has saved our asses so many times.