September’s food budget came in just under the wire…sort of. I’ll explain in a bit. First of all, let me apologize for the sketchy formatting of the Google doc spreadsheet. It’s not nearly as versatile as a proper Excel sheet, but conversion and posting are relatively quick and painless, and that’s what I’m going for these days. Tomorrow I’m going to take a look at how transportation cost factors into this as well.
Also, here’s the menu from last week.
Notice that there is one more non-meat dinner than last week; I’m trying to both lower the cost and raise the healthiness of our dinners without putting anyone into shock or trying anything impossible. I’m also trying to use what we have on hand, augmenting it as necessary with supermarket additions. The diced chicken in Sunday’s dinner came from the roast chicken on Friday night, which came from the freezer. I’ve got chicken stew from the remainder in the crock pot right now. The 2-lb. bag of frozen peas I bought last week found its way into roughly half of last week’s dinners. However, we’re taking this week off from baked beans due to Impending Monotony. I wanted to make the chicken stew for Saturday night’s dinner, but I didn’t have any carrots, and it was one of those things to try and buy some-it just didn’t happen until Sunday. I wish that chickpeas, dry beans, and lentils didn’t take so much advance planning and cook time, as I’ve got plenty around. I’ll need to look into that.
Speaking of monotony, I’m cutting back on the oatmeal to twice a week, and never twice in a row. I’m also adding three ‘cold cereal’ breakfasts this week, both to buy myself some time in the mornings and avoid an insurrection by the whole fam-dam. We’re paying 80 cents per dozen for eggs right now, so more frittatas are in order. I need to find out where they’re coming from, though.
I didn’t bother with my lunch, as it was mostly either dinner leftovers or an extended snack break. We don’t eat lunch together during the week, as The Boys are having school lunches and My Dear Wife is either toting leftovers, raiding her office snack stash, or-gasp-buying something on-campus! Those are worthy angles of exploration, to be sure, and I intend to tackle them-but not today.
As for our going over-budget on food for the month, here’s what happened: apples. first of all, Our Local University has an organic farm which sells fresh apples and pears from its orchard, as well as fresh produce on-campus and at the local farmer’s market . I’ve dropped probably $20 at the orchard this month on some incredible Bartlett pears, pear cider, and Macintosh apples, and loved every second of it.
Another apple-related expenditure happened the weekend before last. We went apple-picking north of town and came back with 50 pounds of Cortlands for…wait for it…twenty dollars. Oh, yes, we did. Even figuring the cost of gas to get up there, it came to 60 cents per pound. we even got to press our own cider for $4 per gallon, not that it lasted long. So, those apples are going to get stored, stashed, chopped, frozen, baked, stewed, sauced, and eaten all winter, and cheaply enough that I might be able to buy a food mill or a corer-peeler to help me process them.
We are fortunate indeed to live in an area where such resources are available, and to be resourceful enough to find and take advantage of them. I just barely had an apple-picking bag in the back of the car: