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 266–Starting Week 39–Budget and Menu

We’re enjoying the last of the field tomatoes!

The weeks sure are speeding past! I always feel like the time between Halloween and New Years is a big slide and woooosh! Before you know it, you’re into the next year, looking around thinking “what the heck just happened?” We are definitely into our fall growing season, although there are still some vestiges of summer left. This week we are getting acorn squash AND a watermelon. Weird, but I’ll take it!

Our fall greens are doing well so far–no bunny damage yet, thanks to some product Tom sprays on my raised beds. I think it’s some form of coyote urine, which baffles me. We are actually paying for pee. If someone’s dog came and sprayed my raised beds, I would be highly irritated, but when it comes from Lowes, it’s ok.

We are rocking this week’s budget, which is mostly vegetarian and totally yummy. In addition, I’ll be making some maple oatmeal bread, which will be breakfast along with some more crock pot applesauce. Now that I have put up about 100 quarts of tomato sauce, my trips to the farmer’s market are a bit more contained, which is helping our budget also!

We spent $87.21 this week on groceries, which I’m thinking is a record low for us, but I will have to check. The eggplant we are using came in last week’s produce box, so that’s a carry over, which helps! Here is how the budget breaks down for this week:

  • The Produce Box (apples, watermelon, green beans, acorn squash, yellow squash, tomatoes, red and green bell peppers): $23.00
  • Farmhand Foods meat csa (Local hangar steak): $12.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Co (mozzarella): $6.00
  • Mae Farm (eggs): $4.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, olive oil, shampoo, oats): $42.12

What are we having this week? Here is our early fall menu:

  • Wednesday–leftovers or cereal (Girl Scout night)
  • Thursday–Eggplant Parmesan
  • Friday–Acorn squash and apple soup with yellow squash muffins
  • Saturday–Leftover Eggplant Parmesan
  • Sunday–Grilled hangar steak, green beans, mushroom risotto
  • Monday–Pepper steak stir fry w/leftover steak, rice
  • Tuesday–Baked sweet potatoes stuffed with apples and pecans

Enjoy all the wonderful bounty of local vegetables that fall brings us! Happy shopping and eating this week!

Day 253–Starting Week 37–Budget and Menu

We’ve had a wonderful turn of events in the last week–fall has arrived!!! Saturday was in the 90s and very, very humid. One tremendous rainstorm later and our temperatures are in the 70s, with beautiful, blue skies. It’s as though even nature couldn’t stand one more hazy, humid day!

Our budget this week is $99.46, just a tad under our $100 budget!

Budget

  • The Produce Box (okra, apples, tomatoes, potatoes, butternut squash): $23.00
  • Locals Seafood (shrimp, grouper): $18.00
  • Farmhand Foods (pork osso bucco): $10.00
  • Mae Farm (Italian sausage): $8.00
  • Mitchell’s pantry (homemade strawberry jam): $3.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, half and half, lemon, mozzarella, frozen leeks, red wine, garlic): $32.46
  • Farmer’s market (onions, peppers): $5.00

Menu

Wednesday–leftover pork and cabbage from Monday

Thursday–Italian sausage and peppers pizza

Friday–shrimp and lemon pasta

Saturday–flounder, stewed okra and tomatoes, roasted potatoes

Sunday–Tuscan ragu over parmesan risotto

Monday–leek and goat cheese tart, tomatoes (Meatless Monday)

Tuesday–leftover ragu sauce over Melina’s pasta

Day 155–Starting Week 23–Budget and Menu

green beans

We’re in that golden time right now–beautiful fruits and vegetables are plentiful and the oppressive humidity of summer is not yet here. Yes, there are mosquitoes and voles and an apparent flea epidemic, but there are also soft rain showers, cool evenings and the joy of finding new green tomatoes on my plants. Life is good!

Our budget is pretty good, too! We spent just $97.82 this week and that included some really yummy Spanish mackerel a whole chicken and extra peaches for grilling and making cobbler. YUM! Have a delicious and healthy week!

Menu

  • Wednesday–Broiled Spanish mackerel, sautéed zucchini, tomato and squash, steamed green beans
  • Thursday–Melina’s pasta with pesto, potato and green beans (recipe to come)
  • Friday–Salad with grilled peaches, blue cheese and peach balsamic vinegar (thanks mom!)
  • Saturday–Roast chicken, corn on the cobb, sautéed squash and onion
  • Sunday–Grilled pork chops, roasted new potatoes, butter beans
  • Monday–Leftover stir fry over brown rice
  • Tuesday–Scrambled egg burritos

Budget

  • The Produce Box (peaches, blueberries, strawberries, corn, green beans, tomato): $23.00
  • Locals Seafood (Spanish mackerel): $13.00
  • Homestead Farms (pork chops, chicken): 25.00
  • Various farmer’s market (new potatoes, butter beans, peaches, basil): $15.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, yogurt, soy milk, blue cheese, butter): $21.82

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!

Day 135–Week 19–Budget and Menu

After a few days of bad eating, we are back in the swing of things with another week of healthy, local food. I’ve missed cooking on something other than a fire or propane stove and look forward to cooking fresh vegetables again! I’m excited to see fresh zucchini and yellow squash at the farmers market. I know by July I’ll be sick of it, but it’s a new welcome addition to our menu! Also, it’s always super to see strawberries AND blueberries at the market. Unlimited deliciousness come from those two combined! I went over budget this week due to a weakness for fresh crabmeat. The last time we had crab was for our Super Bowl party and that came from India, which seemed really weird. The pork roast I picked up from Homestead Farms is huge and will carry over into next week, which should hopefully save us some money and bring us back into our $100 budget.

Here is how our budget broke out for the week:

  • The Produce Box (zucchini, squash, blueberries, broccoli, beets, pointy cabbage, sweet onions): $26.00
  • Locals Seafood (fish, crabmeat): $40
  • Hilltop Farm (arugula): $4.00
  • Homestead Farm (pork roast): $24.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (spinach fettucine): $6
  • Trader Joes (black beans, rice, tortillas, fat-free refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, frozen fruit, soy milk): $26.30

Here is our menu for the week!

  • Wednesday–Spinach fettucine with lump crab and arugula pesto
  • Thursday–Penne pasta with roasted squash and zucchini, salad
  • Friday–grilled sheepshead (this is a fish), sautéed swiss chard and beet greens, whole wheat cous cous
  • Saturday–Leftover pasta
  • Sunday–Cuban pork roast, black beans & rice, cabbage slaw, beets
  • Monday–Pork quesadillas, salad
  • Tuesday–leftover cleanup

Have a wonderful and healthy week!

Day 126–Starting Week 18–Budget and Menu

Our weather this spring is just plain ol’ wonky. Last weekend was in the upper 50s and by Tuesday it was over 90. So things are a little confused when it comes to crops. The chilly weather slowed things down and then the hot, dry weather pushed some greens to bolt. Still, we have a lot to choose from and starting this week we will even have blueberries! Spending was on budget this week at $99.78, thank goodness, although we do have two fewer meals this week. Ellie and I will be heading out with our girl scout troop to a Hunger Games campout (no actual fighting to the death allowed, of course) so we’ll be eating around the campfire instead of at home. Tom will be fishing, so no one will be home eating! Our weeks are getting so busy and juggling eating our precious veggies is getting to be a challenge. I’m thankful that our Produce Box gives us the option of skipping a week, although we haven’t had to do that yet.

Budget

  • Locals Seafood (scallops, flounder): $40.00
  • The Produce Box (blueberries, strawberries, broccoli, bok choi, onion, carrots, tomato): $23.00
  • Melina’s pasta (spinach fettucine): $6.00
  • Trader Joes (soy milk, frozen mango, peanut butter, lemons, baby zucchini): $26.78
  • Water Oaks Farm (eggs): $4.00

Here is what we’re having this week!

Menu

  • Sunday–Spinach fettucine with scallops and fresh peas, salad
  • Monday–Cornmeal dusted grouper, stir fried kale, baby zucchini
  • Tuesday–Egg salad sandwiches, carrots
  • Wednesday–Scrambled egg tortillas
  • Thursday–Spicy peanut vegetable stir fry over whole wheat cous cous
  • Friday–camping
  • Saturday–camping

Day 120–Starting Week 17–Budget and Menu

I thought I had my menu for the week worked out and then the temperatures dropped back into the upper 50s. Yes, I could still grill outside, but I’m wimping out. Week 16 was supposed to end with grilled beef and vegetable kabobs, but in the end, I made beef stew. It seemed to fit the weather conditions better and (since it was made in the crock pot) it was easier as well. And it made good use of my carrots from the Produce Box last week. And, thanks to someone who signed up for The Produce Box and listed me as their referral, I got a nice $12.00 discount on this week’s box of veggies (THANK YOU whoever you are!!!). This week’s budget looks great at $84.54!!! Here is our budget for this week:

  • The Produce Box (all organic this week! double lettuce, peas, onions, swiss chard, kale, garlic, rutabega): $14
  • Fickle Creek Farms (Boston butt): $20
  • Coon Rock Farm (smoked bacon): $10
  • Farmer’s Market, misc. (cucumbers, tomatoes): $5.00
  • Trader Joes (red wine vinegar, gruyere cheese, mozzerella cheese, frozen fruit, yogurt, organic half and half): $32.54
  • Great Harvest Bread Co. (honey whole wheat sandwich bread): FREE!
  • La Farm Bakery (Italian bread): $3.00

What’s on the menu of eats this week? Here it is! I’m still trying to figure out what to do with rutabegas…

  • Sunday–Roasted beet salad, bread
  • Monday–Crock pot pulled pork barbeque, salad
  • Tuesday–Asparagus and gruyere quiche, salad
  • Wednesday–Swiss chard and mushrooms with eggs
  • Thursday–BLT sandwiches, salad, carrots
  • Friday–Leftover cleanup night
  • Saturday–Family pizza challenge, salad

Here’s hoping for warmer temperatures and some sunshine!! Have a terrific and healthy week!

Day 92–Starting Week 14–Budget and Menu

After last week’s budget buster, we are back on track with plenty of fresh vegetables and good things to eat. We were glad to find fresh spinach fettucine by Melina’s Pasta at the Western Wake Farmer’s Market. We can’t wait to try it! This weekend was spent at the market and getting our own garden ready for action. We’ve planted a salad garden of tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers and some Japanese eggplant. I love eggplant, but a large, full-sized eggplant is a lot for us to eat. The Japanese variety are the perfect size for us (and they ripen quickly!).

Here is how our budget played out this week, with a total of $95.62:

  • Local’s Seafood (summer flounder): $18.00
  • Hillsborough Cheese Company (fresh mozzarella): $6.00
  • Coon Rock Farm (chicken and fresh eggs): $21.00
  • Farmers Market–misc (asparagus, swiss chard, broccoli): $10.00
  • Melina’s Pasta (spinach fettucine): $6.00
  • Trader Joes (organic garlic, ground turkey, tortillas, frozen fruit, soy milk, cous cous, onions): $34.62

And here’s the scoop on this week’s menu!

  • Sunday–cornmeal dusted flounder, sautéed kale (the end of our garden kale), homemade cornbread w/NC cornmeal
  • Monday–Chicken curry cous cous w/chopped veggies, salad
  • Tuesday–Turkey taco night w/quinoa
  • Wednesday–Eggs nested in swiss chard and mushrooms
  • Thursday–Pasta w/ham and spring asparagus, salad
  • Friday–Leftover pasta, salad
  • Saturday–BLT sandwiches with carryover Mae Farm bacon

Not bad for $95! Looks like we are back on track again! Thanks to everyone who read Ellie’s guest blog post and commented. It was a real boost to her (and a boost to her chicken advocacy efforts!).

Day 85–Starting Week 13–Budget and Menu

The title for this week should be “how I blew my budget on fresh scallops.” We are way over budget this week at $136.40. I think that might be a record in our 13 week journey so far! How did we go so far afield this week? Well, there are two reasons (really, three, but I’m not counting my lack of self-discipline):

  1. We ran out of several staple ingredients (flour, organic sugar, butter, vanilla, olive oil) and stocking up the pantry added to our weekly bill. Because I don’t track how these ingredients are used, I don’t cost them out over the weeks so they are reflected in this week’s budget.
  2. Locals Seafood had the year’s first fresh caught jumbo NC scallops. I caved. At $22/lb they were definitely a splurge. I also increased the amount of fish I ordered since we are all big fish eaters and I seemed to have disappointed faces when all the fish was gone.

Here is how our budget worked out for the week:

  • Locals Seafood (fresh NC scallops, fresh NC striped sea bass): $63.00
  • Heaven on Earth Organics (broccoli, swiss chard, onions): $13.00
  • Trader Joes (frozen fruit, Ezekiel bread, organic sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, organic lemons, soy milk, sardines, pasta): $50.40
  • Singing Turtle Farm (whole wheat pastry flour): $10.00

That is a whole lotta money. I’ll be under control more next week 🙂 What are we having this week for such a large sum? Here’s the menu:

  • Sunday–fresh caught NC jumbo scallops and lemon zest served on lemon pepper pasta; lemon blueberry pound cake
  • Monday–Pasta con sarde (pasta with sardines), salad
  • Tuesday–Scrambled egg Florentine
  • Wednesday–leftovers
  • Thursday–Pan seared rockfish (striped bass) over greens w/roasted carrots
  • Friday–leftover fish, broccoli and salad
  • Saturday–Pizza

So, austerity it isn’t, but a special feast every once in a while isn’t so bad, is it? With the exception of the pound cake, at least it is all low-fat and healthy–and at least the pound cake is homemade with whole wheat, locally milled flour and not store-bought. But still, when I look at our weekly budget, I’m seeing a lot of rice and cous cous in next week’s menu 🙂