Week 49 Budget and Menu

How are we at week 49 of 52 already? I feel like the spoiled child who doesn’t want to go to bed yet. The year can’t be over–I’m still awake and having fun!

This week’s menu takes advantage of our seasonal vegetables and some last Thanksgiving leftovers. We are also trying some new gluten free pizza crusts delivered by our local Produce Box. We usually make our own, but this seemed like a fun way to support another local business!

Budget [$109.71]

  • The Produce Box (organic salad mix, pesticide free baby sweet potatoes, organic rutabegas, organic acorn squash, organic green kale, organic radish, organic broccoli, organic spinach, gluten free pizza crusts): $40.50
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, chia seeds, almond milk, yogurt, onions, Ezekiel bread, steel cut oats, goat cheese): $39.21
  • Mae Farm (pork roast): $16.00
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp): $14.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Chicken, cranberry, goat cheese salad w/sweet potato biscuits
  • Thursday–Soup and grilled cheese (Band concert night!)
  • Friday–Roasted broccoli with shrimp over rice
  • Saturday–Sweet potato pasta with bacon and kale
  • Sunday–Roasted pork loin with cranberry apple chutney, maple squash, rutabegas
  • Monday–Pizza Palooza! Make your own pizza night
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet
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Week 46 Budget and Menu

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Well, we’ve been out of commission for over a week due to events that absorbed all my extra time, but now we are back with another week of healthy, locavore goodness! The weather is turning cooler after some unseasonably warm temperatures, so our menu is gearing up for fall again! I made some delicious chicken noodle and vegetable soup this week using homemade stock from our freezer and leftover chicken and vegetables. And, we are getting some wonderful, fresh fall greens this week along with locally produced bratwurst– yum!

Enjoy your fall cooking! Hope you are finding wonderful vegetables and fruits at your markets right now!

Budget [$94.89]

  • The Produce Box (organic yellow squash, bokchoi, tatsoi, Swiss chard, turnips, kohrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, apples, cabbage, and bratwurst): $50.25
  • Farmhand Foods (small flank steak): $6.00
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Trader Joes (mushrooms, frozen fruit, yogurt, steel cut oats, almond milk): $33.64

This Week’s Menu

  • Wednesday–Egg salad sandwiches, apple slices
  • Thursday–Homemade chicken noodle soup, grilled cheese
  • Friday–Stir fried greens w/beef and spicy peanut sauce
  • Saturday–Swiss chard w/mushrooms and eggs
  • Sunday–Roasted whole bluefish, roasted broccoli, sauteed yellow squash
  • Monday–Braised cabbage, turnip and apples with bratwurst
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Week 44 Budget and Menu

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This week is full of fall goodness–pumpkin, acorn squash, chowder, kale–yum! Our weather finally feels like fall, and while I’m sad to see our summer weather go, I’m glad to get my cute boots and sweaters out of storage!

Our markets are full of peppers, squash, pumpkins, lettuce, kale, green beans and hopefully we will have broccoli soon! I am missing our summer berries–that season always seems too short–but we are enjoying apples. Last season, North Carolina had an apple shortage due to a late spring freeze in the mountains, but this year is a completely different story! So glad to see lots and lots of apples out there!

Breakfasts this week include homemade muffins, bagels, and steel-cut oatmeal. Our lunches are typically leftovers and fruit or oatmeal.

The budget this week is good! We are helped as always by Tom supplying us with the fish he catches (one of the benefits of living close to the ocean!).

Budget [$87.51]

  • The Produce Box (apples, green beans, acorn squash, lettuce, tomatoes, corn, peppers, kale): $47.25
  • Trader Joes (Romano cheese, pasta, ground organic turkey, taco shells, avocado, frozen fruit, yogurt, almond milk, whole wheat flour): $34.26
  • Panera (bagels) $6.00

Weekly Menu

  • Wednesday–Green salad with hard boiled eggs
  • Thursday–Leftover pasta with red pepper sauce
  • Friday–Chicken and kale stuffed acorn squash, quinoa
  • Saturday–Baked fish, green beans, salad
  • Sunday–Corn and crab chowder, salad
  • Monday–Pumpkin kale pasta
  • Tuesday–Turkey tacos, spicy rice

Week 42 Budget and Menu

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I know I resisted fall for as long as possible, but I am finally embracing it (which is good since I can’t do anything about it anyway!). We are all about warm, cozy, plant-based suppers this week, and I’m looking forward to trying out some new ideas, like acorn squash soup with heirloom beans, which is an invention born of necessity (I rehydrated too many beans for another recipe!), and pizza with pumpkin, sausage, fried sage and gruyere cheese, which has been on my mind a lot lately. Do you ever dream about recipes?

Our budget this week is helped by Tom’s big score! After a day of fishing, we have some lovely bluefish and mackerel that we will be enjoying over the next couple of months. We have a busy week ahead, but it should be fun as well! Have a happy and healthy week!

Budget [$111.63]

  • The Produce Box (lettuce, yellow squash, tatsoi, string beans, eggplant, bell peppers, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes): $41.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (mozzarella): $6.00
  • Locals Seafood (NC shrimp): $12.00
  • Coon Rock Farm (Italian sausage): $10.00
  • Trader Joes (organic rice, curry simmer sauce, pepperoni, sage, shredded gruyere cheese, frozen fruit, yogurt, Ezekiel bread): $42.63

Menu

  • Wednesday (scout night)–Green salad with hard boiled egg
  • Thursday–Girls night out
  • Friday (softball night)–Acorn squash soup with heirloom beans, cornbread
  • Saturday–Shrimp and vegetable stir fry with organic rice
  • Sunday–Curried eggplant, green beans and potato over organic rice
  • Monday–Make your own pizza night
  • Tuesday–NC bluefish, sauteed squash, green beans

Week 41 Budget and Menu

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This week’s Produce Box brings us delicious summer and fall goodies–the best of all worlds! We ordered heavy on the vegetables this week, but some of the items like acorn squash and spaghetti squash will be carryovers into next week and others like corn are in such huge quantities that we will eat some and freeze some for later. The items that are killing our budget aren’t the farmer’s market items, but the grocery store items! Have you noticed how prices have really increased?

I’m excited about some new recipes this week, including a corn and crab chowder with our fresh corn and fresh crabmeat and a hearty chicken and mushroom dish from blogger The Midnight Baker. Since our weather is changing from summer to fall, I’m switching breakfast up to include more steel cut oats and less Ezekiel bread. That should help our budget some as well!

What are you making this week?

Budget [$121.31]

The Produce Box (organic string beans, sweet corn, apples, organic lettuce, organic spaghetti squash, yellow squash, organic cherry tomatoes, acorn squash, watermelon): $51.00
Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
Mae Farm (smoked sausage): $6.00
Locals Seafood (NC crab): $11.00
Trader Joes (organic chicken, mushrooms, half and half, asiago cheese, wine, milk, steel cut oats, prosciutto, frozen fruit, yogurt): $48.31

Menu

Wednesday–Dinner with friends
Thursday–Game night! Tossed salad with eggs and prosciutto
Friday–Pasta alla ligure (pasta with pesto, green beans and potato)
Saturday–Local smoked sausage with cabbage, onions and apple, yellow squash muffins
Sunday–Asiago chicken with mushrooms, green beans, yellow squash
Monday–Corn and crab chowder with crispy prosciutto, salad, yellow squash muffins
Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Have a healthy and delicious week!

Week 36 Budget and Menu

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We have apples!!!

Are you noticing differences in what you find at the farmers markets this week? We actually have pumpkins AND watermelons out at the same time. Talk about seasonal confusion! I’m not quite ready for pumpkins yet–I’m still holding on to the last vestiges of summer! Our fall tomatoes are even better than the summer crop, now that our torrential rains have stopped, and we still have corn, squash, zucchini and lots of peppers. I’ve been freezing and canning food for winter–still not where I would like to be on that, but it’ll do.

What about you??? Do you put up some of your summer bounty for the off season? What is your favorite summer food to enjoy in the winter? For me, it is definitely tomatoes and our homemade roasted tomato sauce. Winter tomatoes are so sad and tasteless.

Did you know you can freeze tomatoes and cherry tomatoes whole??? Just pop them into freezer bags. When you thaw them, the skins will slip right off like magic! You can’t use them in salads, but they are wonderful roasted or chopped and added to chili, soup, and pasta.

Our budget this week is good–we have some carryover food from last week. Due to a family emergency, we never had our Labor Day cookout, so we are carrying our local, organic steaks to this week. We also had some chicken thighs left over from last week and froze those, so that is helping as well!

I became the owner of 30 lbs. of peaches this week. Not just any kind of peaches–canning peaches. You know what that means. It means “process immediately”. So…Wednesday night became peach processing night! On the plus side, I have 10 jars of peach jam and 8 quarts of chopped peaches in the freezer. And, I’ve learned to work on my timing 🙂

Budget [$97.07]

  • The Produce Box (smoked cheddar, garlic, chipotle-lime goat cheese, grapes, zucchini, squash, peaches, apples, corn, watermelon, potatoes, onions): $41.25
  • Trader Joes (organic rice, organic black beans, whole organic chicken, yogurt, cinnamon, cherry juice, almond milk, organic sugar, frozen fruit): $40.82
  • Hilltop Organics (okra): $3.00
  • Kimbap (kimchi): $6.00
  • Mitchell Family Pantry (jam, barbecue sauce): $6.00

This Weeks Menu

  • Wednesday–Grilled steaks, field peas, stewed okra and tomatoes
  • Thursday–Kimchi fried rice with egg
  • Friday–Zucchini tart, leftover vegetables
  • Saturday–BBQ chicken pizza with corn, black beans and smoked cheddar
  • Sunday–Roast chicken, new potatoes, sautéed squash and zucchini
  • Monday–Chicken and chipotle-lime goat cheese quesadillas
  • Tuesday–Stuffed sweet potatoes with apple and smoked cheddar

Have a healthy and delicious week!

Week 34 Budget and Menu

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I am not letting go of summer yet, no way!

Summer used to yawn out in front of me like a vast, open stretch of beach sand–lazy days, melty ice cream, the smell of cocoa butter and pool chlorine, and sweaty games of kick-the-can until late in the evening. And even a bit of boredom. This hazy, melty kind of summer stopped a long time ago for me. At some point it was replaced by status meetings, family schedules and concerns about skin cancer. What the whaaaaaat???

Now that I’m approaching 50, I definitely have a sense that time is speeding up. Months and years are whipping by and I find myself asking things like “How could summer be over…AGAIN?” Seriously. Where in the world did summer go? I can’t find my favorite sun screen at Target anymore, but I could go on Pinterest today and download 50 recipes for pumpkin. It is August. That is wrong, people. I want my summer back.

So I am making a stand. I refuse to let summer go, and will live in denial until I have had my fill of popsicles, grilled hamburgers, days by the pool and hot pink nail polish. I will not wear boots, no matter how cute they are and I will keep my flip flops by the door as a reminder not to give in. And no…I repeat NO…pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin protein bars, pumpkin oatmeal or pumpkin ice cream until late September. Ok, maybe pumpkin ice cream… Still.

Summer, I am not done with you yet. I have 4,264 summer recipes left to try, and about 600 canning jars still to fill. I need to ride my bike. And paddle my kayak. And make s’mores. And eat tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes. So here is my menu of summer goodness to celebrate summer, even though Target probably has Halloween costumes crowding out the school supplies. And if anyone knows of a way to filter out “pumpkin” from Pinterest, I’ll be glad to know it.

Budget [$107.13]

  • The Produce Box (peaches, watermelon, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, squash, okra, pink eye peas): $31.00
  • Locals Seafood (crab cakes): $20.00
  • La Farm Bakery (sandwich bread): $4.50
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (jalapeno goat cheese, figs): $9.00
  • Rare Earth Farm (ground beef): $8.00
  • Mae Farm (bacon): $6.00
  • Trader Joes (organic chicken, burger buns, cream cheese, frozen fruit, yogurt): $28.63

Menu

Wednesday–Pasta with chicken, eggplant and Nello’s lavender tomato sauce, green salad
Thursday–NC crab cakes, summer vegetable tian; watermelon
Friday–Egg salad sandwiches, homemade pickled beets, more watermelon
Saturday–BLT sandwiches, sweet potato fries, peach cobbler
Sunday–Grilled bison burgers w/caramelized onions and local hoop cheese, field peas, stewed okra and tomatoes, more peach cobbler
Monday –Crock pot chicken tacos
Tuesday–Chicken taco pizza with roasted peppers

Week 33 Budget and Menu

Where did the summer go? It is hard to believe that we are coming up on fall already! I haven’t had the time to can or freeze nearly what I wanted, but we have a few weeks left of summer produce, so I better get busy! On the horizon–peach salsa, roasted red pepper ketchup, roasted tomato sauce, and barbecue sauce. Yikes!

This week’s menu uses quite a bit of carry over food from last week, which helps the budget a lot! We ended up eating more sandwiches and random fruit last week, so some of the dishes on this week’s menu might look familiar. We’re starting to bridge over to fallish dishes, but we aren’t quite there yet for full-on autumn foods. Are you noticing a change in your farmers market finds?

Budget [$95.17]

The Produce Box (bibb lettuce, bacon, hoop cheese, butterbeans, purple splash tomatoes, peaches, watermelon, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, blueberries): $50.48

Trader Joes (yogurt, frozen fruit, Ezekiel bread, organic butter): $28.46

Mae Farm (smoked pork chops): $16.23

Menu

Wednesday–Crock pot barbecue chicken, tossed green salad
Thursday–Chipotle sweet potato pizza
Friday–BLT salad
Saturday–Healthy eggplant parmesan
Sunday–Butterbeans with bacon, squash & zucchini
Monday–Smoked maple pork chops over sweet potato grits
Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Week 32 Budget and Menu

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You know that song, “Life in the Fast Lane?” We’ll, I’m definitely not living the boozy, drug life the Eagles sang about, but life sure has gone back into hyper drive. Ellie is back in school, the fall sports season is cranking up, Tom and I are training for our first ever half marathon and we have some family crises to negotiate. So this week, I am planning our meals, but I’m not entirely sure we’ll get to eat them all. We may have some carryover into next week (thank goodness for the freezer!).

Our budget is way over. Again. That seems so crazy to me because we aren’t even eating much meat and we saved a lot by buying a whole fish to roast instead of fillets. But, there it is. Thankfully, we’ll have some carryover sweet potatoes and maybe tomatoes for next week!

Budget [$133.44]

  • La Farm Bakery (bread): $4.50
  • The Produce Box (sweet potatoes, sweet onions, organic cherry tomatoes, okra, pink eye field peas, watermelon, eggplant, mixed peppers, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella): $46.45
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp, whole Spanish Mackerel): $18.96
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (feta): $4.00
  • Other vendors (peaches, kale): $8.00
  • Trader Joes (Shredded cheese, black beans, lemons, rice, organic chicken, oranges, proscuitto, frozen fruit, almond milk): $46.53

Menu

  • Wednesday–Grilled Caprese sandwiches with homemade pickles
  • Thursday–Sweet potato, black bean and chorizo pizza
  • Friday–Roasted tomato and feta shrimp over rice
  • Saturday–Oven roasted fish with field peas, okra and tomatoes
  • Sunday–Citrus chicken with leftover field pea mix
  • Monday–Peach and prosciutto panzanella salad
  • Tuesday–Citrus chicken salad with leftover panzanella

Week 30 Budget and Menu

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Some weeks are full of culinary inspiration and others are just pure survival. We are in the throes of back-to-school, so this week’s menu is nothing extraordinary, but it is mostly healthy and local food. Ellie starts school on Monday, so we are busy this week celebrating her birthday and getting ready for 8th grade! We are also on a major household purging mission–getting rid of old toys, appliances we don’t use and anything that is not of use to us, but may be of use to someone else. It’s a good feeling to pare down to essentials, but it is also exhausting going through everything. And it is hot. Very hot. So our menu is more survival than exciting, but it still focuses on the local and organic foods that are fresh here. We may not be making anything adventurous, but we are still eating healthy! Our budget is helped along a bit by some carryover items purchased for previous week dinners that we never made. The pimento cheese ravioli from Melina’s Pasta and the chorizo from Mae Farm have been in the freezer, so we’re going to use them up this week.

Speaking of using things up, I have, like 7 pints of pickles left from last summer. This is after eating pickles during the winter. Why on earth did I make so many pickles??? I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time, but I’m making a note this year to chill out on the pickle business. I mean, they’re good and all, but we do not consume that level of pickle. Guess I’ll have an office giveaway this week!

Budget [$110.93]

The Produce Box (cantaloupe, watermelon, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, herbs, organic garlic, sweet onions, eggplant, new potatoes, heirloom cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, and bell peppers): $54.00

Trader Joes (organic roasting chicken, tortillas, avocado, frozen fruit, yogurt, almond milk, Ezekiel bread, organic frozen pizza, crescent rolls):$47.63

Mitchell Family Pantry (pickles, jam, salsa): $9.00

Menu

Wednesday–Pimento cheese ravioli w/corn and cherry tomatoes

Thursday–Chorizo, corn and black bean ring, fruit salad

Friday–Sandwiches, pickles, fruit

Saturday–Sandwiches for lunch, Out for Ellie’s birthday dinner

Sunday–Roast chicken, potatoes, eggplant and cherry tomatoes

Monday–Chicken quesadillas

Tuesday–pizza

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