Day 353–Starting Week 51–Budget and Menu

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We’ll be harvesting some of our own Swiss chard for dinner this week!

The holidays are almost upon us and while I am not at all ready, I am sprinting to the finish line of 2012. Later this week I will post some of our traditional holiday recipes and how we are using local ingredients to improve our standard Christmas Eve and Christmas menus. As for this week, we are keeping it simple and trying to have fun in this last rush before Santa arrives.

Our budget is $77.93 for the week. Here is what we spent:

Budget

  • Walker Farm (ground bison): $8.50
  • Mae Farm (ground pork, pork tenderloin, bacon): $28.00
  • Rare Earth Farm (eggs, buttermilk): $6.00
  • The Mitchell’s pantry (sticky fig jam, strawberry jam, green beans, corn, applesauce, tomatoes): $12.00
  • Trader Joes (cheese, bread, frozen fruit, steel-cut oats): $23.43

Here is what we are having this week!

Menu

  • Sunday–Bison meatloaf, roasted cauliflower, kale
  • Monday–Angel hair pasta with roasted tomato sauce
  • Tuesday–Whole wheat reindeer pancakes and homemade applesauce
  • Wednesday–Sauteed Swiss chard topped with eggs
  • Thursday–Grilled cheese and homemade tomato soup
  • Friday–Leftover buffet
  • Saturday–Pork tenderloin with sticky fig jam, summer green beans, corn
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Day 343–Starting Week 50–Budget and Menu

Although winter is just around the corner, we are still experiencing daily temperatures in the 60s and 70s. The farmer’s markets are still offering a wide variety of fall and winter vegetables, no doubt helped along by the unseasonable weather! This week’s budget is $63.46, far below our $100.00 limit. While I would love to say this reflects some creative frugal spending on my part, we have two evening events to attend this week, so that’s two fewer nights for me to cook dinner. On a real plus side, I found two NC farmers/ranchers who are raising bison and we will try some bison burgers as our celebratory meal after the Reindeer Romp 5K next Saturday!

Budget

Mae Farm (bacon): $8.40
Rare Earth Farm (eggs): $4.08
Farmhand Foods (small steak): $5.00
General farmers market (sweet potatoes, kale, onions, cauliflower, brussel sprouts): $13.50
Greenland Farm (bison): $8.60
Trader Joes (burger buns, spiced pecans, soy milk, cheese, sour cream): $23.88

Here is what we’re having during what I hope is our last super busy week before the holidays!

Menu

Sunday–chipotle steak and sweet potato quesadillas, kale
Monday–quiche lorraine with brussel sprouts
Tuesday–Evening event
Wednesday–leftover quiche, roasted purple cauliflower
Thursday–evening event
Friday–pasta con sarde (prep for the Reindeer Romp 5K)
Saturday–bison burgers, mashed cauliflower, kale

Day 327–Starting Week 48–Budget and Menu

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Ellie making stuffing, which we are still enjoying!

This week following Thanksgiving is a “use up what we have” week. We have lots of leftover bits of things–vegetables, turkey, ham, bread–and this week is going to make good use of them rather than spending more money on groceries! Thankfully, my family loves turkey leftovers 🙂 By mid-week, I should have a fair amount of turkey stock put up in the freezer to use later as well! Since I’m trying to really use just what we already have, I’m making some recipe substitutions here and there and hope that in the end, it will all work out 🙂

Our spending for this week is low–$31.54! That includes “paying” ourselves back for stock up vegetables that we froze over the summer!

  • Trader Joes (tortillas, cheese, noodles, onions, Greek yogurt): $16.54
  • Mitchell’s freezer (green beans, jalapeno, tomatoes, field peas, corn): $15.00

What are we having? Here is our post-Thanksgiving week leftover festival 🙂 Recipes to follow.

  • Monday–Turkey and sweet potato hash with egg (a variation of THIS recipe) and broccoli
  • Tuesday–Ham and field peas, sweet potatoes
  • Wednesday–Scout night–everyone’s on their own
  • Thursday–Southwestern turkey and veggie casserole
  • Friday–Leftover casserole
  • Saturday–Turkey noodle soup, grilled cheese

What is your favorite way to use up holiday leftovers?

Day 308–Starting Week 45–Budget and Menu

What a fun week we have ahead of us! It’s making for some challenging meal planning, but we are going to enjoy it! Our farmer’s market is chock full of squash, sweet potatoes, kale, collards (which are better after a frost, so we’re leaving them for now), Swiss chard, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Apples are in supply, but pricier than usual. In preparation for Thanksgiving, I have ordered our heritage breed turkey from Homestead Harvest Farm and have a small, boneless ham from Mae Farm as well. But in the weeks before Thanksgiving, we are still managing to eat well and make the most of our fall crops!

Our budget this week is $94.82, but we are eating out one night (Tom’s Birthday!!!), so that’s one dinner that is not on our menu (and I can guarantee it will cost more than $5.28), so we’re not really ahead food-wise, but we will have fun celebrating. Also, Tom #besthusbandever surprised me with tickets to my first ever NFL football game to see my beloved Broncos play in Charlotte (awwwww!). Since food at the stadium costs a small fortune, we are planning to save money by emptying our fridge tailgating with our pork roast leftovers and some other yummy homemade foods! I figure we are probably saving about $1,000 $50 not buying food at the stadium, so we are technically ahead this week, right? Right? I think this is why I am not an accountant.

Regardless of how you count your pennies, have a healthy and happy week!

Budget

  • The Produce Box (chestnuts, carrots, broccoli, apples, purple potatoes, grape tomatoes, cilantro, spinach, cauliflower, Swiss chard, apple cider, sweet potatoes): $29.00
  • Mae Farm (pork roast, Italian sausage, chorizo): $26.00
  • Rainbow Farm (chicken thighs): $7.00
  • Trader Joes (rice, rolls, cheese, tortillas, frozen fruit, soy milk, dried cranberries)$26.82
  • The Mitchell Pantry (canned marinara sauce, peach salsa): $6.00

Menu–Here is what we’re having this week!

  • Wednesday–Sweet potato/Swiss chard quesadillas w/homemade peach salsa, quinoa
  • Thursday–Chicken-veggie stir fry with rice
  • Friday–Slow cooker pork roast w/apples, cider and thyme; roasted potatoes, squash
  • Saturday–Out for Tom’s Birthday Celebration!!!
  • Sunday–NFL Tailgating Special–Pulled pork w/cider slaw on rolls, broccoli salad, apples, and sweet potato pound cake
  • Monday–Baked pasta with homemade marinara sauce and Mae Farm Italian sausage
  • Tuesday–Leftover pasta

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Day 260–Starting Week 38–Budget and Menu

Now that the summer growing season is shifting to fall, our menu is changing as well. I’m hoping we will have fresh greens from our garden this winter–we have planted two kinds of kale, collards, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, and Swiss chard. If we can keep the bunnies away, we might just have some really wonderful and truly local meals this winter!

Our budget is good this week at 84.92! We benefit by having a free pound of shrimp thanks to a special last week with Local’s Seafood (BOGO shrimp is something I can’t pass up) and some butternut squash I roasted and froze a couple of weeks ago.

Budget

  • The Produce Box (apples, field peas, eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, bell peppers): $23.00
  • Mae Farm (boneless pork chops): $12.00
  • Harvest farm (whole pasture raised chicken): $12.00
  • Locals Seafood (Pamlico green tail shrimp): free!
  • Melina’s Pasta (lemon ricotta ravioli): $6.00
  • The Mitchell family pantry (homemade raspberry jam): $3.00
  • Trader Joes (pie crust, frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, oatmeal): $28.92

Breakfasts are shifting to steel-cut oats with apples! Lunches are the usual leftovers, which are always yummy. Dinners are looking more fall-ish with apples and sweet potatoes.  Another positive this week is that with the chicken, I’ll also be able to make homemade chicken stock and freeze that for later as well!

Menu

  • Wednesday–Butternut squash risotto
  • Thursday–Working; leftover leek and goat cheese tart from Tuesday
  • Friday–Shrimp with lemon ricotta ravioli
  • Saturday–Pan seared pork chops w/sautĂ©ed apples, baked sweet potatoes
  • Sunday–Roast chicken, field peas, sautĂ©ed squash and zucchini
  • Monday–Chicken pot pie with leftover vegetables
  • Tuesday–Leftover chicken pot pie

Is fall catching up to you yet? If so, what is on your fall menu this week?

Day 239–Starting Week 35–Budget and Menu

What is it about school starting that throws the world into a tailspin? Or maybe it’s just MY world that goes into mild chaos… Suddenly, there are evening meetings, tutoring, extra-curricular clubs and ridiculous amounts of laundry. I really enjoyed the lazy pace of summer, and my adjustment to the school year…well, let’s just say it hasn’t gone well. So this is another easy menu week that takes advantage of what is available at the farmers markets. I’m not tackling anything crazy or time-consuming because I’d like to keep what little grasp on reality I still have! The good thing is we’re on budget at $95.42 for the week and that includes some very fresh, lovely NC fish. Yay!

Budget

  • The Produce Box (apples, watermelon, tomatoes, corn, sweet peppers, organic zucchini/yellow squash, sweet potatoes): $23.00
  • Hilltop Farm ( organic cherry tomatoes, organic basil): $9.00
  • Homestead Farm (eggs): $4.00
  • Locals Seafood (black sea bass): $19
  • Farmhand Foods (hangar steak): $12.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk): $28.42

Menu

  • Wednesday–Pan seared sea bass with cherry tomatoes, creamed corn, roasted okra
  • Thursday–Barbecue quesadillas (carryover from last week), roasted okra, field peas
  • Friday–Pasta with cherry tomatoes and roasted vegetables, salad
  • Saturday–Red pepper tart, cucumber and onion salad; peach pie
  • Sunday–Leftover red pepper tart, oven baked sweet potato fries
  • Monday–Grilled hangar steak, peppers and onions, corn; peach pie
  • Tuesday–Southwestern black bean pizza with leftover steak, veggies and cheese

Day 232–Starting Week 34–Budget and Menu

How in the world is this week 34 out of 52? There are only 18 weeks left in the year? It seems impossible, yet the apples and butternut squash at the farmers markets tell me otherwise. We’re at the cusp of a food shift that will usher in fall vegetables and fruits and send us pining for peaches and strawberries again.

Last week’s menu was a lot of fun. Many of the recipes came from other bloggers and all of them were wonderful! I had planned to do that again and then I looked at the calendar. This is one of those frenzied food weeks where we all have something going on in the evenings, so I’m planning some quick meals this week instead.

I am just over budget this week at 103.70. This overage is due to an indiscretion of mine. I made a frivolous purchase this week through The Produce Box. They are carrying some locally produced nut butters and when I saw “Coffee Vanilla Peanut Butter” I could not resist. I probably should have ignored it, but I didn’t. So that will somehow be worked into dessert this week. Any suggestions? Thankfully I had some Mae Farm Italian sausage in the freezer. That’s a carryover from a previous week.

We’re also using our own tomato sauce and barbecue sauce this week–YUM! Since I didn’t add the cost of making these into our weekly budget, I am paying us back by charging those against our grocery account for this week.

  • The Produce Box (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, grapes, butternut squash, corn, coffee vanilla peanut butter): $40.75
  • Mitchell Pantry (one jar jam, one jar barbecue sauce, 1 package tomato sauce): $9.00
  • Locals Seafood (scallops): $12.00
  • Mae Farm (pork shoulder, eggs): $15
  • Trader Joes (oatmeal, rice, cheese, yogurt, soy milk, tortillas): $26.95

What are we having this week? Here is the list, which reflects a bit of fall!

  • Wednesday–Egg salad sandwiches, pickles (Girl Scout night)
  • Thursday–Mixed green salad with leftover pork loin and homemade ranch dressing from Creative Noshing (Girl Scout leader night)
  • Friday–Pan seared NC scallops on butternut squash risotto; salad
  • Saturday–Crockpot barbecue with homemade roasted pepper barbecue sauce; roasted okra
  • Sunday–Barbecue quesadillas, carryover quinoa
  • Monday–Pasta baked with roasted tomato sauce and Mae Farm Italian sausage
  • Tuesday–Leftover pasta (PTA night)

Day 226–Starting Week 33–Budget and Menu

Whole green beans in a carton.

We still have plenty of summer here in NC, and I am enjoying every last second of it. This week’s menu takes advantage of our sweet corn (thank you, rain!), tomatoes, okra and squash.

One of the wonderful parts of this journey is getting connected to so many other people who are interested in locally sourced foods (and cooking!). Most days I make notes of posts that feature stunning recipes or new ways to cook old favorites. Usually, the list is so long that I get overwhelmed. But this week I’m picking some yummy dishes from some awesome bloggers and I plan to do that next week as well. It’s fun to try something new!

We came in just under budget this week at $98.32. Not too bad! Two weeks in a row under budget. Let’s see how long I can continue that! Here’s how it breaks down this week:

  • The Produce Box (all organics this week!–cantaloupe, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, Yukon gold potatoes + conventional okra, scuppernog grapes): $39
  • Local’s Seafood (NC wild caught shrimp): $10
  • Hilltop Farms (organic green beans): $3.00
  • Mae Farm (bacon): $10
  • Trader Joes and Lowes (shallots, rice, shredded cheese, sour cream, burger buns, pita, yogurt): $24.32
  • Farmhand Foods (small pork roast that is a carryover, ground beef): $12.00

So, what are we eating this week? Here’s the menu!

  • Wednesday–Sweet corn and bacon pasta (from Rachel’s Table)
  • Thursday–PTA volunteer night; everyone’s on their own
  • Friday–Shrimp and bruschetta risotto; local peaches (from Local Kitchen)
  • Saturday–Grilled burgers w/roasted pepper ketchup, roasted okra, sautĂ©ed squash
  • Sunday–Pork roast, green beans w/bacon & shallots (from Creative Noshing), roasted potatoes
  • Monday–Southwest black bean pizza (from Sugar Dish Me)
  • Tuesday–leftover buffet

Thanks to these wonderful ladies for sharing their recipes, their ideas and their passion for good food! Have a wonderful and delicious week!

Day 212–Starting Week 31–Budget and Menu

Now that our suitcases are unpacked, the beach toys are put away and the sand is (mostly) vacuumed up from the car, we’re ready to get back on track with our locavore menu. It has been hot here, but not the insane hot we had in early July. Just our regular ol’ dog days of late summer in NC. I’ll still take this over ice storms any day! Still, the heat and the tremendous rains we have had mean that berries are almost completely gone from the farmer’s markets. We still have peaches, though, and that makes me happy!

Our menu this week represents some of what is best about late summer–plentiful seafood, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and peaches. At $120.27, our budget is over by a lot, but I ended up ordering TWO produce boxes–one a mix of veggies and fruit and one just fruit so I have enough to can and make my sweetie some blueberry muffins for work. Also, I am stocking up on some staples (frozen mango and organic beans and rice) and those will actually last several weeks. But, all-in-all, I went over budget and will try to get back on track next week. Here’s what we got:

  • The Produce Box (peaches, blueberries, sweet peppers, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon):  $36.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Co. (mozzarella): $6.00
  • Harvest Farm (eggs): $4.50
  • Locals Seafood (scallops and shrimp): $28.00
  • Farmhand Foods (local hangar steak): $15.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen mango, lemons, yogurt, black beans, kidney beans, Ezekiel bread, soy milk): $30.77

Here is the menu for the week!

  • Wednesday–Shrimp and pasta; fruit salad
  • Thursday–Olympic Salad Building (Saladpalooza w/a new name)
  • Friday–Scallop risotto with roasted red peppers
  • Saturday–Grilled, marinated flank steak w/rosemary roasted potatoes
  • Sunday–Leftover steak and mushroom risotto
  • Monday–Turkey tacos with salad
  • Tuesday–Make your own flatbread pizza

Have a wonderful and healthy week!

Day 150–Starting Week 22–Budget and Menu

Does spring seem to put time into warp speed for you? I find myself stunned that today is June. What happened??? Between end-of-school-year ceremonies and performances, sports, last-minute projects that are due and weekend outings to take advantage of the weather, I feel like I’m struggling for some level or normalcy. I’m not sure I’m getting it this week, but I’ll keep trying!

Here is our menu for this week. You’ll notice I’m already two days behind in posting this, but whatevs. I’m just rollin’ with the spring tsunami of activity…

Menu

  • Wednesday–Egg salad sandwiches (a bachelorette night for me)
  • Thursday–Pasta with ham and asparagus
  • Friday–Tuna salad bowls
  • Saturday–Shrimp w/broccoli over rice; blueberry/lemon pie
  • Sunday–Grilled burgers, squash and zucchini, potato salad
  • Monday–Chicken salad in pita, leftover potato salad, carrots
  • Tuesday–Leftover buffet

Budget

Our budget this week is under control and within our goal of $100 or less! We spent $92.90 this week (and as you can see, we are eating pretty well!).

  • The Produce Box (squash, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries, blueberries, new potatoes, asparagus): $27.50
  • Rare Earth Farm (ground beef): $12.00
  • Great Harvest Bread Co. (whole grain burger buns): $6.00
  • Locals Seafood (fresh NC shrimp!): $15.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, rice, lemon curd, pie crust): $32.40

Have a wonderful week, enjoy the strawberries, blueberries or whatever else is growing in your area right now. This is truly a glorious food time of year!