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February 2013

$100 grocery challenge ~ week 1

$100 dollar grocery challenge  ~  week 1

 

Let's start with what I spent in the last week:

local farm : $54 (grapefruit, lemons, cabbage, cauliflower, eggs & greens)

grocery store : $92 (lentils, black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, yogurt, sugar, almond milk, carrots, tortilla chips, salad greens, cucumbers, lime juice, bananas, apples, 2 pounds coffee)

*we ate out once, after a very long day of painting the house, $30

Menu for the week:

breakfast ~ oatmeal, granola & yogurt, banana muffins, pancakes & frozen fruit, pb toast

lunch ~ leftover dinner, popcorn & smoothies, kale & cheese pasta, smoothies & pb toast

dinner ~ nachos & big green salad, burgers, spaghetti w/ sausage marinara sauce & salad, roasted squash & wild rice w/ sauteed cabbage, carrot soup and big green salads, bean-rice-veggie wraps, veggie sandwiches

I had hoped to have a big green salad or green smoothie at least six days.... we actually did this five days... hopefully we'll do better next week.

How did you do? I would love for you to share your thoughts, challenges, successes in the comments below!

On another note......

I thought I would talk about two things that came up over the last week with readers and in emails.

Menu planning & snacks.

I think one of the biggest ways to save money is to plan a menu. I know some people do this once a month, every two weeks or weekly. For us, it works well to do the shopping weekly. I plan a weeks worth of dinners. Check the pantry and freezer for staples & then plan the grocery list off of that. This keeps us eating lots of fresh produce during the week and helps eliminate those little grocery pit stops that always knock me right off my budget.

I don't use anything fancy. Two sticky notes does it. One for writing down meals, the other for shopping. I try to list my shopping items in columns as to where they are in the grocery store. That way I don't zigzag back and forth to grab items. It's especially helpful when you are in the store with little ones and you need to focus and get in and out as quick as possible. I know you know what I mean by this.

The other great thing about menu planning is that I can see what we're eating, make sure we're getting salads several nights a week and varying our orange and green veggie intake as well. I usually plan two nights a week with meat as a main course, one to two leftover meals (more on that later on in the challenge) and the rest bean & rice vegetable rich dishes. This works well for our family.

And then there are snacks. My kids are eaters. Voracious eaters. Every two hours they are bugging me for food. I try to keep boiled eggs and roasted nuts around for a quick easy protein based snack. While I do love raw almonds, my little ones are not as fond of them. And carrots. We eat so many carrots. They are good dipped in peanut butter and organic carrots are HALF the price of organic apples. Celery with peanut butter and raisins is also a regular. I do encourage them to drink a lot of water too.

And popcorn. We love popcorn.

 

$100 dollar grocery challenge  ~  week 1

 

$100 dollar grocery challenge  ~  week 1

 

Today I am sharing our recipe for popcorn. It's easily made vegan. My husband says it's like hippie movie theater popcorn. Rich in b vitamins. Some good fats if you use good quality oil or butter. And cheap. One bag of organic popcorn is $3.50. One half cup of popcorn makes about 16 cups, perfect for each of us to have a bowl full. One bag is roughly 3.5 cups of popcorn..... so that means it costs about 50 cents to pop up a batch. Even after adding butter, olive oil, sea salt & nutritional yeast it is still around $1.50 for a huge batch. 

We pop a half cup of popcorn in our air popper. I melt 3 TBSP of butter or olive oil (I usually do a little of each) over low heat. Add a spoonful of nutritional yeast. Stir to combine. I drizzle this a little at a time over the popcorn, stirring well after each drizzle. Then I lightly salt it to our liking. Nutritional yeast is sort of cheesy-buttery tasting. It takes some getting used to.... but now we love it!

Popcorn is a great snack. It's really good (and easy) plain as well. We love it for lunch with hard boiled eggs, a handful of nuts or green smoothies to round it out nutritionally. 

What are favorite snacks in your home?

{pssst..... new to the challenge? read more about it here}

 


reading....... knitting......

I'm taking a late afternoon break. Having just run the youngest girl to & from music lessons.

Paint spattered jeans.... neck sore from the odd position required to paint baseboards & trim.

Hot black coffee sitting in front of me. (courtesy of the big girl, who knows her mama oh so well)

We made an appointment with the realtor for Friday.

This Friday.

I don't know if I'll sleep between now and then.

Work to do and anxious self both. Goodness.

But there is this......

 

reading....... knitting......

 

reading....... knitting......

 

reading....... knitting......

 

reading....... knitting......

 

Somehow there are still in-between moments. Waiting for paint to dry. Oatmeal to cook. Pasta water to simmer. Where I can steal a few rows of knitting and read a wee speck of this. It's beautiful, truly. Amanda is genius.

Oh knitting. I have missed you. Purl, slip, purl, slip. I think of this cowl warming my neck this fall. Almost the color of fallen leaves. I think the color may have been underbrush, in fact. Purl, slip, purl, slip. I dream of chickens. A greenhouse to grow kale and lettuce through the winter. Farmer's markets. The children of friends I haven't seen in years. Purl, slip, purl, slip. I think of cousins. Playing. Lots of them.

Oh, what fun this new chapter will be.....

 


~mindful monday~

~mindful monday~

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

mind.ful = conscious or aware of something

Something that speaks to your heart and leaves you feeling beautifully grounded right where you are. If you'd like to share yours.... please leave a link in your comment below for others to discover.

 

happy monday friends,

~stephinie

 


$100 dollar grocery challenge ~ share it

I have so loved reading through your comments from yesterday's post, and I'm so happy that many of you are jumping on board with me. My goal is to spend $150 a week on groceries to feed my family of six for the next four weeks ($100 per person for the month)..... so if you find your way here later, you can still jump in! Set your own goal that works for your family.

A lot of readers are making their own challenge, to which I say : rock on! There is strength in numbers, in community!

Speaking of which.... I made you a button. It's for you to share on your blog. The code links it back to the original post. Not a blogger? You can still share the challenge with your friends, on facebook, or pinterest...... the more the merrier!

 

Hundredbutton

fancy button code for 275 pixels wide - 

<center><a href="http://www.gypsyforest.com/welcome_to_gypsy_forest/2013/02/100-grocery-challenge.html"><img src="http://www.gypsyforest.com/hundredbutton.jpg"></a></center>

 

 

Hundredsquare

fancy button code for a 150x150 square - 

<center><a href="http://www.gypsyforest.com/welcome_to_gypsy_forest/2013/02/100-grocery-challenge.html"><img src="http://www.gypsyforest.com/hundredsquare.jpg"></a></center>

 

And just because I think it's so darn fun to give you a little gift.... I decided to offer a giveaway at the very end of this. You'll have to wait and see..... but it's going to something fun. And handmade-ish. (of course).

You're welcome to join in any time, just head to this post and leave a comment. 

happy weekending to you~~~

~stephinie

 


$100 grocery challenge......

$100 grocery challenge......

 

$100 grocery challenge......

 

$100 grocery challenge......

 

$100 grocery challenge......

 

$100 grocery challenge......

 

$100 grocery challenge......

 

So, with all these house projects going on. You can imagine our budget is uhm, strained.

I've been looking it over and while I do totally believe that food is the most important investment you can make in your health, I also think it's a place where I slip up and splurge. 

So, I'm challenging myself to spend $100 per person for the month of February. This is about $150 less than our usual budget of $750, which isn't huge to begin with. Our family of six means $600 for the month, or $150 per week. I set the amount per person, because my kids are enormous eaters. In fact, I think they eat more than Joe & I do! Each family will have unique needs, of course, depending on dietary situations and geographical location. I'm not starting empty handed either, so to speak. The freezer is stocked full of salmon & pork from our farm share and Alaska visit. The pantry staples are in average abundance. I didn't stock up before starting this, and I do hope to eat a lot of what is in the pantry and freezer. 

This is going to be difficult for me. I'm a foodie. Food is my language, my breath. I love to spend $6 on a sadly small wedge of fancy cheese and shave off tiny pieces of it for days..... I want sliced avocado on everything.... and maple whole milk yogurt on my granola..... and.......

If I could have an unlimited budget in one area, it would be food. Hands down. And while I don't think I could sustain this budget for the long haul, I do think it will be a good way to challenge my skills over the next month.

Here's some ways I thought of saving some money.... (some of them we already do, some I need to get back to)

make our yogurt

make our bread

skip the cereal & instead have eggs & toast, granola or hot cereal

no trips to the bakery

dried beans

make all of our snacks (no boxed stuff)

pack a lunch & snacks, always

 

As for how we eat...... my goal is whole foods, lots of fresh veggies, & mostly homemade. On top of that, I want to eat a green smoothie or meal sized salad every day. I would love to eat all organic food, but we honestly can't afford to. I choose local hormone free milk, free range eggs & only a portion of our produce is organic. (this is a good guide for what you should try to buy organic.) Honestly, in the end.... I still think eating huge salads for lunch vs organic pb&j sandwiches is healthier. You know? Life has compromise. I'm okay with making kale chips from conventional kale now and then. They've got to be better than cheese crackers.

So..... who wants to join me? C'mon. Look at your budget. Or set one up if you don't have one.... and see if you can carve a little off. (12% of your budget is the suggested amount) Make a few more things at home. Eat some more beans. That kind of stuff.

I'll be here every Friday for the next four weeks, sharing the previous week's menu & the low down on what I bought for groceries & what it cost. I'll be totally honest if I fail miserably. I'll share one delicious cheap meal with you too.

So here's to eating well and saving a few bucks...

and I'd really love some company! {hint,hint!}

 


february 1

 

Hello February~

A warm welcome to new sponsors:

 

125x125yarn

Luna Grey Fiber Arts ~ beautiful, colorful, modern, yarn

 

Cubits

Cubits ~ rare, heirloom & organic seeds

 

Monaluna

Monaluna ~ fresh organic fabric, gorgeous designs

 

Hipmountainmama

Hip Mountain Mama ~ hip, natural, eco-friendly, fair trade & reusable products

 

Clean

Lusa Organics ~ natural & handmade skin care for baby and mama

 

 

And welcome back to returning sponsors:

 

Whole Food Kitchen

Whole Food Kitchen ~ an eight week online workshop focusing on whole foods

 

Ziezo button -125x105

Ziezo Design ~ handmade waldorf inspired creations, from Kenya

 

Waldorfconnection

The Waldorf Connection ~ waldorf resources for homeschoolers

 

Alphabetglue

Alphabet Glue ~ a lovely literature rich e-book full of activities for families who love books

 

Jumpbook125

 Jump into a Book ~ literature rich inspiration to make kids books come alive

 

Fabricworm125

Fabricworm ~ beautiful modern cotton quilting fabric and sewing goods


I hope you will all take a few moments to wander their spaces and see their wonderful, creative, & beautiful offerings. I am so very grateful for their support and happy to share them with all of you.

 

Happy February to you!

 

Interested in sharing your business, e-course, or book in this space?  Drop me a line for details....