Monday, July 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday and My Grocery Spreadsheet

So The Hubby has switched his work schedule, and I now have the car on Wednesday instead of Thursday.  Why does that matter?  Let's discuss!

Probably 75% of my weekly food budget goes towards fresh produce.  However, with two littles, I am not interested in running to 3 or 4 grocery stores to pick up all of the best produce deals.  So, because we live in an area with intense grocery store competition, I've gotten into the habit of making a 10 minute spreadsheet with the weekly sales fliers.  I go through the fliers from the 3 or 4 stores I find typically run the best sales and jot down what produce they have on sale, and for what price.  The result looks a bit like this, only it's usually written on the back of an envelope which The Baby conveniently rescued from the recycling bin for me:

Store A Store B Store C
green peppers 59 c/lb
69 c/lb
red peppers 59c/lb

onions 33 c/lb 30 c/lb
plums 10 c/each

nectarines 79 c/lb 69c/lb

89 c/lb
cabbage 20 c/lb
50 c/each

Based on this imaginary scenario, I would decide to shop at Store A this week.  Yes, it's slightly more expensive for the nectarines and onions, but I'm only buying a few pounds of each, so for less than $2, it's not worth driving to another store.  We'll make do without peaches and cauliflower, because they're not on sale at Store A.  After deciding on A, I'll look to see what other staples for our cupboard they have on sale, and make a note to buy those (Penne at 79 cents a pound?  Deal!). 

Because A, B, and C also have different specialties, I'll also plan to buy whatever we like to buy from each place on a week when we're there.  (For example, A has a cheap deli and B does bulk dried fruit, so this week I'll buy extra cheese, and maybe next week we'll get some dates and raisins.)

Back to The Hubby... The best prices on produce are not at our local grocery store.  While it is possible for me to stroller to the closest place and back with both littles and a load of groceries, I'd pay at least a $30 premium on my produce each week for the privilege.  And as we HAVE a car, that's not a sensible trade-off.  But the sales run Wednesday through Tuesday, and the fliers come on Wednesday in the mail sometime between 11 and 1. 

So do I attempt shopping in the afternoon after naps and risk running out of time?  Or do I wake up The Baby early if it looks like she's sleeping longer?  Or do I try shopping on weekends again?  Or on the one evening a week when we don't have regularly scheduled plans?  Or do I just pick a store Wednesday morning and get what they have for a good price, even if it means picking wrong and only buying 2 or 3 things?  Or do I try another great plan that you, faithful reader, will suggest to solve my terrible first world problem?

Monday- Stir Fry with the thousand carrot and celery sticks leftover from The Baby's birthday party. 

Tuesday- Green salad with lemon vinaigrette.  Pasta with cilantro pesto.

Wednesday- Carrot soup with garlic cheese toast.

Thursday- Okonomiyaki (Japanese cabbage and egg "pancake).

Friday-  Risotto with zucchini, green pepper, and garden tomatoes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Monday- Carrot slices, tomato salad, egg salad sandwiches on homemade bread.

Tuesday- Fried Rice.  Asian cabbage slaw.

Wednesday- Indian spiced pan-fried potatoes.   Salad with lettuce, cilantro, and garbanzo beans in cumin vinaigrette.

Thursday- Broccoli and pasta in garlic butter sauce, also maybe chicken.

Friday- White bean soup in the crock pot.  Bread and butter.  Tomatoes in olive oil and lemon juice.

Saturday we're having a birthday party for The Baby (who will soon need a new moniker on my blog: feel free to make suggestions).  It is cleverly scheduled from three to five PM, a time when no sensible person could possibly want a meal.  So I'm making cake, punch, a tray of veggies with dip, and coffee (or maybe coffee punch!) and calling it a day.  And we're playing stupid "Initial" themed games.  Get it?  Initial themed first birthday party?  I amuse myself!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Things Other People Love!

Who wants to read a blog post that consists entirely of me complaining about things other people love? 

The house we bought last spring is older, but the folks who lived here before us updated the kitchen.  Who doesn't love granite counter tops and ceramic tile floors?  ME!!  First off, we keep breaking dishes.  I've broken more bowls from my hand-me-down corelle ware in the year and a half of living here that during the 15 years I used them in my mom's kitchen.  Every time a dish drops, it shatters into a million pieces.  And I've got The Munchkin living with me, so you can bet dishes go dropping. 

Second, ceramic tile is no fun to stand on.  And I both like cooking and like feeding my small people home cooked food, so I do me some standing in the kitchen. 

Third, and this is what's really on my mind tonight, my granite is black with brownish streaks in it.  That in itself isn't too bad, but our cute little village is infested with ants.  And wouldn't you know?  Occasionally (multiple times every day) during the spring and summer, there are ants in my kitchen.  Do you know how disturbing it is when you're, for example, pouring yourself a glass of wine after spending 2 hours trying to get your teething baby to actually go to sleep all the way, and what you thought was just another piece of the counter top RUNS AWAY??    Bah! 

Also, speaking of lovely things, we've got this charming antique clock.  It belonged to The Hubby's father, and I am generally a fan of things with family history.  So I put it up in my dining room, where it looked darling sitting next to the one plant I haven't killed yet.  I enjoyed it for a few months that way, but then The Hubby, whom I love, got the stupid thing working.  Every time it chimes, I freak out!  As in, "Who the $#)(%$^*#$ is ringing the doorbell!?!?  They're going to WAKE UP THE BABY!!!"  Every time.  And it chimes every thirty minutes.  Like clockwork!  This has been going on for a week.  I'm about to loose my cotton picking mind!

Ok, I'm done.  You tell me something everyone else loves that YOU hate.  Go on.  I won't judge.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Monday- Homemade pizza.  Broccoli salad.  Apothic red wine. Table moved out to the front lawn.  Vase of daises and hydrangeas from the neighbor's garden.  Charming and fun right up until The Baby gets stung by a bee, right on the eyebrow.  That idea didn't pan out so well.

Tuesday- Pulled pork sandwiches with quick-pickled carrot slaw.  Roasted cauliflower. 

Wednesday- Fresh fruit salad.  Green pepper and pork frittata.  For whatever reason, The Hubby will not eat quiche.  But he's more than happy to have frittata.  Isn't that just semantics?  Not that I'm complaining.  I'll totally take it.  But still, I feel like that's a little strange.

Thursday- White bean chili.  Cold cucumber slices.  Is that a weird meal?  Probably.  We're eating it anyway.

Friday- Black beans and cilantro lime rice.  Tomato salad.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Monday- Lasagna, bread, guilt over too few vegetables, fresh peaches for dessert.

Tuesday- Green bean and chicken stir fry over rice.

Wednesday- Red beans and rice in the crock pot.  Sliced green peppers.

Thursday- Japanese noodle soup, with miso and sea weed!  Salad with avocado dressing.

Friday- Cauliflower soup with garlic croutons. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hey! We're Alive!

Guess whose power was knocked out by the big storm on Sunday?  I'll tell you!  A hundred and something degree heat and no fans, let alone air conditioning!  The Baby's teething!  And both The Hubby and The Munchkin were sick!  And we were camping in the basement!!  Double triple awesome week! 

The electric company, after days of messages that said "We'll let you know as soon as we can about your power, sorry," told us on Tuesday morning that we'd have power by midnight on the 4th, and we actually got power on Tuesday at dinner time.  So even though they left me and the kids melting to death for 3 days, I was HAPPY with them.  Look!  They got our power back on EARLY!  D'oh. 

This week we're eating random combinations of things that melted in the freezer during our improvised camping experience.  We'll get back to planning after a grocery shopping trip over the weekend.

In the meantime, if you're looking for a hilarious baby gift for the breastfeeding mama in your life, here it is!