Menu Plan Monday – 10/12 to 10/18

This week has an abbreviated menu, as I’m taking DD to visit the grandparents, and DH is off to his annual men’s weekend, so we won’t be having meals at home Thurs.-Sat.

L/O = indicates leftover from previous meal

Sunday: (Apple picking at local orchard)

Pot roast with carrots, onions and celery from our garden
L/O scalloped potatoes
Fried Green Tomato salad
Chocolate banana snack cake

Brunch: Scrambled eggs, organic chicken sausage, biscuits with L/O gravy, cantaloupe, coffee/juice ($4.76 total for meal)
Snacks: Apples, peanut butter crackers, raisins, milk/juice

Monday:

Beef Fajitas (made from leftover pot roast)
Spanish rice
Shredded lettuce, tomatillo salsa, sour cream
L/O Dulce de leche ice cream

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, L/O biscuits and gravy, grapes, yogurt
Lunch: L/O pizza, L/O Spinach and matzoh pie
Snacks: Apple, peanut butter, cheese crackers, milk

Tuesday:

Ham and cheese quiche
Peas

Breakfast:
Lunch:
Snacks:

Wednesday:

Leftovers/clean out the fridge night

Breakfast:
Lunch:
Snacks:

Thursday:

Road trip – packing Bento box dinner/snacks for drive down to Massachusetts

Breakfast:
Lunch:
Snacks:

Total spent on groceries (food only): $433.44
Shaw’s – $75.15
Thompson’s Orchard (apple picking) – $11.29
Little Ridge Farm (pork order) – $347.00 

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Weekly Notes:

Because we were going to be away for part of the week, I wanted to make sure that we didn’t buy a lot of produce or milk that would go bad before it got used up, or leave a ton of leftovers in the fridge. As a result, my shopping list was pretty short this week – one red pepper, some chicken sausage, popcorn, tortillas, butter, strawberry yogurt and milk — we always need milk.

Since we had friends who called last-minute to say they were driving up from Massachusetts and wanted to meet us in Freeport on Saturday, I went online and looked at the Shaw’s supermarket circular that morning to see if there was anything on sale that i wanted to stock up on so we could combine the two errands. (We usually shop at the Hannaford store in Auburn after church on Sundays.) So I ended up adding organic grapes, cranberry sauce, crushed and whole tomatoes, bread crumbs and pasta sauce to the list. I also added a bunch of items from the circular that we buy fairly often to my price book just to start building up a database. Since the three of us went shopping together after we had hung out with our friends for a couple hours, I was worried we’d end up buying a lot of stuff not on our list. But other than a bag of potato chips, we were able to stay on track (thank goodness for the free cookies from the bakery!).

No eggs yet from our chickens, but DH says it should be any day now (I’m pretty sure he’s just guessing). Our pork order (with the exception of the smoked meats) came in on Monday, so I need to rearrange the basement freezer and update my inventory list.  I hope we have enough room for the beef when it comes in later this month!

I also need to start planning the menu and making things for our annual post-Thanksgiving Day party pretty soon – we invite all our friends to come the Saturday after the Thanksgiving weekend. I was able to reserve a turkey last week from the farmer who raises our pork and beef. I was a bit surprised that there were still birds available at this late date (in fact, she asked if I wanted one or two).

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Price Book idea revisited

One of my all-time favorite frugal authors, Amy Dacyczyn (I went to link to her Wikipedia entry – can you believe there isn’t one yet?), has long reccomended maintaining a price book for groceries.  I tried keeping a paper version before, but it was a real pain in the neck to keep up-to-date and organized in a way that I could actually use.  Attempts to use Excel to keep the data organized never really got off the ground.  But I recently came across this Grocery Price Book Spreadsheet at Sean Payne’s Uncommon Way to Wealth website which looks more user friendly than anything I’ve seen before.  What I like about it is the ability to quickly calculate a per weight/unit cost as well as the per serving cost.  

When I’m ready to go shopping, I can easily print out the price book pages organized by aisle so I can tell at a glance if the price has gone up, down or stayed the same.  And when I want to calculate the cost of a meal or recipe, it’s very easy for me to determine how much the individual ingredients (i.e., a single banana, a teaspoon of vanilla, etc.) cost.

Now I know that a cup of homebrewed Trader Joe’s coffee costs me 22 cents (including cream and sugar!).  I always knew that it was less expensive to make coffee at home than to go to Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, but I didn’t realize it was such a huge difference.  I’m definitely looking forward to using this price book spreadsheet in the future.

Menu Plan Monday: 10/5 – 10/11

The following is our dinner menu (and breakfast and lunches, when I can remember to update them, that is) for the week beginning 10/5. Notes specific to this week’s menu are below.

L/O = indicates leftover from previous meal

Sunday:

BBQ pork sandwiches (made from leftover pork roast)
Sweet potato fries
Sweet slaw
L/O cranberry sauce

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, home fries, coffee/juice
Lunch: L/O spiced beef cornbread cobbler, hot dog (DD), applesauce, juice/seltzer/water
Snacks: Apples, graham crackers with peanut butter, juice/water

*Monday: (DH out for the evening – it’s Girls’ Night In!)

Macaroni and cheese
Steamed broccoli
Green salad
Fresh baked chocolate chip cookies (DH usually makes these; he bakes up one or two cookie sheets full at a time, and keeps the remaining dough in the fridge or freezer for another time)

Lunches: L/O bulky rolls w/ BBQ chicken breast, provolone cheese, L/O sweet slaw
Note to self: need to freeze leftover pork gravy from last week for pork sausage, biscuits & gravy in the future. Use it up!

Tuesday:

Beef Stroganoff (made with L/O flank steak from Saturday night, )
Scalloped potatoes
Corn & edamame
Green salad
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil/Pistachio Ice Cream (homemade/improvised recipe)

Breakfast: Yogurt, cantaloupe, coffee, juice
Lunch: L/O BBQ pork, L/O sweet potato fries

Wednesday:

Pepper chicken with hummus
Saffron rice pilaf with apricots and almonds

Thursday:

LO’s/Clean out the fridge night

Friday:

Spinach and Matzoh Pie
Greek salad
Pita with hummus

Saturday:

Pepperoni pizza (homemade)

* – Indicates cost of entire dinner for family of three was $5 or less.

Total spent on groceries (food only): $133.60
48.70 – Hannafords (incl. bottle return and bag credits of $1.40)
84.90 – Trader Joe’s

I’m hoping in the future (as my recordkeeping improves) to include the cost per meal. I probably won’t break it down to a per serving amount (too difficult as we all eat such varied amounts).

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Weekly Notes:

Since he was going to be in the Boston area on Monday, I had DH stock up on multiples of some of our favorite items (coffee beans, crackers, olive oil, juice, etc.) at Trader Joe’s. I didn’t need to buy any meat this week (trying to use up freezer stuff as our pork order will be in next week!). We bought milk, feta cheese, broccoli, red pepper, red onion, matzoh and pita bread. I’m hoping to bake bread on Monday, too, as it’s been awhile and the recent onset of fall weather has got me in the mood to do it again.

To keep our meat expenses down, we purchase our beef and pork from a local CSA once a year. We have a dozen chickens that *should* start laying eggs sometime this month (October); in the meantime, we get our eggs from a local organic farmer who splits the income 60/40 with the church where I work. We have a very large garden (with quite a bit of produce in the freezer) and are hoping to grow some things (lettuce, broccoli, spinach, etc.) year round in our greenhouse.

Our household consists of two adults and one young child.