Real quick, because lately if it ain’t quick it ain’t happening! lol Two fast, fun things to eat:
First up, Banana Cups – basically a banana ice cream made and then portioned out to be portable and quickly accessible!
All you need to make them my way is bananas (very, very ripe) and coconut oil. Of course, you can add chocolate chips, coconut bits or anything that you would like!
Next is a dish I make a lot and I think I shared here before. At least a variation probably! I love to cook for my wife. It makes me happy that even though she is out of town I can still be a big part of her daily life.
So I started the cooking/counting and tracking with gusto. It was going well. I found that most of my meals cost between .55 cents and 2 dollars to make. I took a lot of pictures and several time sat down to load them. Here’s the thing: I can’t right now. There is too much with the packing and the schooling (wrapping up as winter break approaches) and the Christmas gift making and EVERYTHING else. So, I figured that documenting my food cost would be good enough for now. I am trying to remember every time I grocery shop to take photos and from there I should be able to tell how much the food budget is.
I have been really pouring over the budget, figuring out where and how to save. I coupon when it fits, but I don’t have the time or the space to “stock pile” and I don’t see any reason to save money on things I don’t actually use…
Anywho, as I Googled I found a slew of blog post and articles on the topic of stretching the family food budget and on feeding the family. Thing is half of those were couponers who fed their family on three dollars a week by saving a thousand dollars – um, not helpful for me. Many were people who were feeding LARGE families or who were challenging themselves to feed the family on ten dollars a week. Some utilized six deep freezers and hunted meat. Nothing resonated.
Then I found an article about a woman who talked about feeding her family on the 500 dollars that SNAP provided and how she often skipped meals. It struck me because that is my goal. 500 dollars for a family of four. I am not on any food programs, though I have used them in the past when I needed them. (Two particular times in my life is the months following hurricane Katrina when I lost my home and job and was completely lost in life, and another was after a storm took our power for days and we lost all of our food we were allowed a month of emergency food assistance which was seriously miraculous. I was so overwhelmed looking into the mess and thinking, “How can I possibly replace this in our budget!”)
I was reading it and there were several points that kind of confused me, but what really struck home was that I DO THAT. I feed my family of four (two adults and two teens) on 600 dollars a month, only lately I have been striving to make that number 500. Only we home school and ALL meals are made in the kitchen: breakfast, lunch, dinner, fruit, snack. The end. I decided to actually LOOK look and really get into where our food budget goes. Over the next week (I would like longer, but this week at least) I will be documenting all the meals that come out of my kitchen and the cost. To give a fair picture I decided to document all the food currently in the house.
Don’t be judgey about the mess of my fridge (I didn’t even realize until a flash was going off) or the quality of food. This isn’t about how to eat (though I try to be balanced and I try to talk about our choices with the kids.) This isn’t about what should or shouldn’t be cooked. You will see processed foods and you will see snacks and you will see me not eating enough or eating too much. I am going to be honest, and that will probably be messy. Be kind, I am opening myself and my kitchen in an effort to help myself and add something to the conversation.
The fridge and freezer:
The twee deep freezer:
The photo not included (because my phone ate it) was of the bread box and it would have revealed a half pack of small white tortillas (used before I started tracking,) a pack of hamburger buns (most of which were used before this,) and a half of a loaf of wheat bread.
And there it is, a full account of all the food in this home! Saturday is the first day that I am going to be crunching the numbers and documenting everything.
If I am honest here I tell you that I just have not been good. Pain levels are up, anxiety is up, fatigue is blanketing my life. I feel exhausted the moment the day starts. Stress is a factor and so is the fact that this is my moon time. (Think about it.) Add that to the fact that the last week’s delivery left me feeling overwhelmed (there was so much because we were still trying to compare farm boxes) and icked out (because one of the bundles of greens was completely infested with grubs) and you got a girl who just wasn’t in the mood to cook! Now, I do want to say in my unnecessary defense that even when I am so over cooking and moving and everything I still cook at least five meals a day – three for the girls and breakfast and dinner for my wife! That can make me even less creative or likely to do it for myself!
Yesterday I woke up feeling awful again, after feeling slightly better the day before I thought, “No! You get up and you stick to your plan!” So I rolled around the kitchen and I decided to cook! Once I got over the ‘I just want to sleep’s I was glad to be doing it. I even took out my camera and decided to make it a blog post! I am sure there are a thousand ways to make potato pancakes, I skipped looking any up and went my own way.
If you want to play along you will need five ounces of potatoes (fingerling for today’s exact dish but I will totes be playing with a sweet recipe and sweet potatoes,) one thin green onion, one large egg white, salt and pepper. Of course all of this is “to taste” so really you can add or skip anything you want!
Look, because we are so close on that level I will share this as well:
The other day I stumbled across a friend’s Facebook status about her produce delivery from Good Eggs and I was interested to say the least! I seriously have been complaining to my wife about the lack of fresh produce, the lack of a market for so long! Now that I don’t have reliable transportation it’s even harder to deal with, so finding a grocery option that delivers FRESH and local produce was such a blessing! As well as offering a variety of baked goods, freshly made food and groceries they offer several different weekly boxes. I ordered one from both of the farms I was interested in so that I could make an informed decision!
I swear that cooking is art to me, and the same thing that happens when I get new paints or pens happened in my kitchen! I was so inspired and excited to touch and taste and play with these ingredients! Also, it’s kind of like a week-long friendly Chopped basket because you don’t know what you are getting. I literally Google’d everything as we unpacked and I looked at things like – can I boil? can I roast? can I saute? What I learned it that I can kind of do whatever I want!
This weeks deliveries were great, again. This is also the last week I feel like I need to order from each. I have decided that on the regular basis I would rather order the box form Hollygrove Market & Farm.
That’s not a typo – this is a BACON post. PB & BACON! What?! I made this for my kids, after announcing that I wanted to do a food experiment. Both girls promptly rejected being my testing subjects. Honestly, I can not blame them there has been a lot of artichoke hearts and spinach-type dishes (I like that, they do not.) When I added that a main ingredient would be bacon they immediately changed their stance. The resulting toasted bread, peanut butter and bacon sammy has been a SMASH to say the least! lol They have eaten it with fruit for at least one meal a day (at their own request,) traded snacks for it and also had it for breakfast and dinner twice! lol