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

Week 47 Budget and Menu

A packet of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Our weekly menu will no doubt include some of this. Not vegan, organic or local. But still…

 

Happy Halloween! This week, we are back to spring-like temperatures. It’s crazy, this weather, but great for trick or treating, running and yard work! Our shopping this week reflects a super busy mom–not only are we hosting a group of teenagers for Halloween, but Tom and I are running in a Day of the Dead race and I’m working late a couple of nights. So, we have more grocery store items this week, but we’re still focusing on the organic and making healthy choices.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Halloween! Here is what is on our menu when we are not sneaking Reeces Peanut Butter Cups.

Budget [$103.42]

  • The Produce Box (pears, organic kale, organic bibb lettuce, organic radishes, organic beets, pesticide free persimmons, pasture-raised ground beef): $40.00
  • Trader Joes (mushrooms, steel cut oatmeal, chicken sausage, organic pumpkin, organic beans, goat cheese, frozen pizza, candied pecans, organic yogurt, frozen fruit): $63.42

Menu

  • Wednesday–Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
  • Thursday–Pizza (and, probably, candy)
  • Friday–Swiss Chard , Beet Greens and Mushrooms with Egg
  • Saturday–Chili with Buttermilk Cornbread
  • Sunday–Lentil Soup with Sausage and Kale
  • Monday–Leftover chili
  • Tuesday–Pumpkin Coconut Ginger Soup

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 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 35 Budget and Menu

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One of the great aspects of working in a downtown area is our Wednesday downtown farmer’s market. Not only can I walk down the street to do my shopping, but I can get lunch, too! I am completely in love with this Korean mixed rice bowl offered by Kim Bap (see photo above)–I may very well be addicted to the chili sauce. The whole bowl is filled with warm rice, brisket, kimchi, and vegetables (today it was cucumber). Yum!!!

Well this week’s produce at the market was beautiful, but I can definitely see that the seasons are starting to change. The berries are gone and tomatoes and peaches are on their way out. For the first time this year, I saw muscadine and scuppernog grapes and many of our vendors have early apples. Sigh. I’m still not finished with summer, but it is clearly coming to an end.

This week’s menu for Labor Day weekend features some wonderful, late summer produce like corn, bell peppers, butter beans and figs. I tried a fig and almond cake that was wonderful, but ugly. I’m going to try again and hope that the next version is more photogenic!

Budget [$90.32]

  • The Produce Box (peaches, sprite melons, gala apples, sweet corn, bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini, lettuce, onions, butter beans): $36.00
  • Hilltop Organic Farm (cherry tomatoes): $4.00
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • Rare Earth Farm (steak): $14.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (goat cheese, figs): $9.00
  • Trader Joes (pie crust, frozen fruit): $12.32

Menu

  • Wednesday–Tomato sandwiches (Girl Scout night!)
  • Thursday–Skinny taco casserole, salad
  • Friday–Leftover casserole, salad
  • Saturday–Fig and goat cheese pizza with caramelized onions, peach cobbler
  • Sunday–Roasted red pepper tart
  • Monday–Grilled steak, butter beans, stewed okra and tomatoes
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

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 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 28 Budget and Menu

This week I am playing catch up of sorts. I haven’t been blogging as regularly because I have been canning and freezing much of our summer fruits and vegetables. I have recipes to share coming up! We’re slowly getting closer to our budget goal of $100 per week, but we are still a bit high. Due to the heavy rains and unseasonably cool temperatures this summer, many of our farmers have lost their tomato crops and watermelons aren’t doing so well either. Hopefully things are turning around, but the end result is that prices at the farmer’s markets are a bit higher than last year. That’s life, right? We still have some great summer treats in store this week–a wonderful local shrimp salad, fruit salad and grilled kabobs. I can’t wait!

Budget [$111.32]

The Produce Box (watermelon, cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, blackberries): $25.00
Locals Seafood (shrimp): $10.00
Mae Farm (bacon): $8.00
Rare Earth Farm (kabob beef): $12.00
La Farm Bakery (sourdough bread): $6.00
Various farmers market vendors (onion, okra, tomato, peppers): $12.00
Trader Joes (avocados, organic rice, organic chicken, organic sugar, frozen fruit, yogurt): $38.32

Menu

Wednesday–shrimp chili lime salad
Thursday–BLT sandwiches, roasted baby okra
Friday–tuna salad in tomato cups, fruit salad
Saturday–birthday party (out)
Sunday–grilled beef kabobs, rice, grilled peaches
Monday–pasta with ceccha sauce
Tuesday–chipotle chicken salad in avocado, fruit

Week 27 Budget and Menu

I love the July 4th holiday with all it’s patriotic red, white and blue, ice cream, fireworks and fun. It is one of my favorite holidays, which is good because I get to officiate at a July 4th celebration every year! This is great fun and always a summer highlight. But working on July 4th means that I’m not all that excited about cooking when I get home. Mostly, I need a shower and a glass of wine. So our menu this week reflects Tom’s grilling and my make-ahead cold salads. We are still a bit over budget this week, but we splurged on some grass fed, ribeye steaks for the 4th of July–I think it’s worth it!

Budget [$110.45]

  • The Produce Box (fresh garlic, sweet corn, blueberries, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onion, Bibb lettuce): $28.50
  • Mae Farm (grass-fed steaks, eggs, ground beef): $27.00
  • Other market (peaches): $7.00
  • Trader Joes (taco shells, organic chicken thighs, yogurt, frozen fruit, almond milk, wine, cream cheese): $47.95

Menu

  • Wednesday–Tuna sandwiches
  • Thursday–Grilled steaks, potato salad, grilled eggplant, peach cobbler
  • Friday–Tuna and white bean salad
  • Saturday–Grilled chicken and peaches, farmer’s market pasta salad
  • Sunday–Pimento cheese ravioli with onion and crispy prosciutto
  • Monday–Southwestern vegetable pizza
  • Tuesday–Taco night!

Week 22 Budget and Menu

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The farmer’s markets are once again bustling with shoppers and bursting with late spring goodies! We are also getting more fresh tuna and fresh shrimp from the NC coast and that is reflected in our budget this week (it’s too good to pass up!). We are over budget by $22.59, but we have been under budget the last two weeks, so I guess it all works out in the end. My budget was helped slightly by a terrific electronic coupon from Locals Seafood, which saved me $5.00!

This week’s budget also reflects our need to use up some of the wonderful things we canned last year–jam, pickles, salsa–and some vegetables we froze (field peas, roasted tomato sauce). Since we don’t count our “stock up” expenses in our weekly budget, we figure a “per container” rate and pay ourselves back when we use them.

What is on your menu this week? Are you finding new foods at the market? We are so glad to see sugar snap peas again! Have a healthy and happy week ahead!

Budget [$122.59]

  • The Produce Box (blueberries, broccoli, tomato, romaine lettuce, potatoes, kale, bok choi, sourdough bread): $32.25
  • Locals Seafood (yellow fin tuna): $20.00
  • Mae Farm (pulled pork barbecue): $8.00
  • Trader Joes (fresh ginger, organic butter, pasta, frozen fruit, soy milk): $25.34
  • Wild Onion Organic Farm (celery, carrots, yellow squash): $10.00
  • Homestead Harvest Farm (eggs): $5.00
  • HillTop Farm Organics (strawberries, sugar snap peas): $8.00
  • Mitchell family pantry (jam, pickles, salsa, field peas, roasted tomato sauce): $14.00

Menu

  • Wednesday–Farmer’s market salad
  • Thursday–Egg salad sandwiches on local sourdough, homemade pickles
  • Friday–Grilled tuna steaks with stir fried vegetables
  • Saturday–Out for our anniversary!
  • Sunday–Mae Farm pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, greens
  • Monday–Pulled pork hoe cakes with homemade salsa, field peas
  • Tuesday–Ellie’s spaghetti tacos with homemade roasted tomato sauce
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