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 48 Budget and Menu

It seems like January was just a few weeks ago–not sure how this year flew by me! Here we are at the entrance to the biggest food holidays in the U.S.–Thanksgiving, Hannukah and Christmas. What are your plans? Are you going traditional or shaking things up a bit? Are you planning a Thanksgivukah meal this year? Share!

Week 48 of this year features some great local produce and seafood. We will also celebrate Tom’s birthday with his requested collard quiche and sweet potato pound cake, which fits into our seasonal rotation of food! Our budget is helped by some carryover in our freezer. We have some swordfish that was parked in the freezer due to a previously crazy week and we are using some of the last of our canned tomato soup from last summer.

Budget [$93.27]
The Produce Box (chemical free lettuce, organic sweet potatoes, organic kale, organic beets, organic persimmons, organic arugula, apples and pears): $39.75
Farmers Market (spinach, collards, eggs): $9.00
Trader Joes (lemon, pie crust, frozen fruit, yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, cucumber): $27.52
Whole Foods (raw cacao powder): $17.00

Menu
Wednesday–Apple, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad
Thursday–Out attending a fundraiser
Friday–Sweet Potato Kale Pasta
Saturday–Swordfish with Arugula Pesto, Braised Kale and Beet Greens
Sunday–Collard Quiche, Roasted Beets, Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Monday–Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Tuesday–Pasta with Roasted Tomato Sauce

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 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, sautĂ©ed 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 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

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 26 Budget and Menu

It is officially hot here in North Carolina. Summer came in with the customary heat and humidity that defines much of the South. I don’t care though, I love summer. Love it, love it, love it. We’re moving our cooking outdoors and to the fridge this week, with more grilling and chilling and less oven cookery.

Crazily, I signed up to run my first real 10K tonight,when the temperature will be a muggy 90 degrees. Will I make it? Will a thunderstorm wash me away? And what was I thinking??? Stay tuned to find out if I gas out or actually cross the finish line. Really, it could go either way at this point.

Have your farmer’s markets gone berserk with produce? Our farmer’s markets are bursting with goodness right now and I am planning to carve out time next week for some full-on canning and freezing. Can’t wait!

Our budget this week is horrible!!! Whaaaat??? $145.54 is way above our usual spending. I am finding that food prices–even at Trader Joes–are increasing quite a lot. The Ezekiel bread I love to eat for breakfast has gone from $3.99 a loaf to almost $5.00. Milk, cheese, yogurt have all increased as well. We are stocking up a bit on organic beans to use in salads and such, but still. Oi! So, chalk this week up to a menu win, but a budget fail! With July 4th on the horizon, I’m not sure next week will be much better.

Budget [$145.54]

The Produce Box (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, bell peppers, eggplant, white potatoes, smoked cheddar): $34.60

Trader Joes (frozen fruit, almond milk, Ezekiel bread, organic canned beans, organic lemon, canned tuna, guacamole, shredded pepper jack cheese, taco seasoning, organic chicken, buttermilk, organic corn chips, organic lime, yogurt, raw almonds, shredded cheese): $62.34

Locals Seafood (shrimp, fresh yellow fin tuna): $32.60

Black Hoof Farm (organic ground beef): $6.00

The Mitchell Family Pantry (jam, tomato salsa, pickled jalapenos, frozen peppers): $12.00

Menu

Wednesday–Out, pre-race dinner
Thursday–Tuna white bean salad–10k race and softball night!!!
Friday–Shrimp and string bean pesto pasta
Saturday–Softball team party (healthy taco salad)
Sunday–Grilled local hamburgers w/smoked cheddar, summer corn salad, eggplant
Monday–Grilled soy tuna steak kabobs, roasted potatoes, eggplant
Tuesday–Leftover buffet

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