Another Week Begins…

One tricky aspect of “thinking like a restaurant” and making the menu before the grocery list is the front-end thinking it requires, and sometimes the ol’ gray matter isn’t quite up to the task. Last week’s went pretty well, I thought; good balance and variety, with room to improvise:

Keeping in mind that I don’t post my lunches, as I’ve already explained. I should probably delete that column in the template.

Anyway, this week’s hasn’t come together quite as cleanly; I just couldn’t pull it together. There’s a gap where Sunday’s dinner should be, there’s apples and rice everywhere-it’s a mess to my eyes. I’ll post it later for your entertainment.

I was going to bike the groceries this week; but My Dear Wife had a dentist appointment at 8 am, and she wanted a ride. Who am I to deny her? So we headed out, early but none too bright. I’m a little surprised I remembered the list. My first stop was The Co-op, further into town past the WinCo. After a delightful cinnamon roll and Americano from their deli(!), I was ready to shop-so I thought. ‘Hmmm…kinda spendy here; I need to make a price book. Organic tomatoes-from Mexico? $5 per pound? No thanks. Tomatoes grown in town for $2 per pound? Why yes, I’d love some. And some more. Six pounds or so ought to do it.’ Add two pounds of butter (from Oregon!), and four pounds of organic fat-free yogurt (from Oregon too!) and another little something for Dear Wife from the deli, and I was $36 lighter.  I knocked out most of the rest of the list at WinCo for $60, then dropped $24 at Safeway.

I like Safeway. I know, Big Corporation, Big Box, Big Brother, blah blah blah. It’s still a pretty nice store. They carry local and organic produce; they have crazy deals on close-dated meats (more on that in a bit); and they bake their own cookies. Right in the store. They’re really really really good. Usually on sale too, like 20 for $2.50. Yeah. I like Safeway. About the meat: a 1-pound package of 90% lean, organic ground beef, for…wait for it…are you ready? Here it goes…$1.49. Oh, yeah. I bought all four. Re-bagged ’em in zip-locks and stuffed ’em in the freezer. Maybe we’ll have meatloaf again on Sunday.

I like The Co-op too. Really, I do. I’ll write more about it soon, but there are some mixed emotions I need to sort out first. It may end up being me, not it, but I need some more time.

Here, then, is a visual record of what I got for $116.73:

this week's haul

Behind the peppers is a wooden bowl full of those AWESOME local tomatoes. The spinach, peppers, and zucchini were from WinCo, and I must say MUCH cheaper than “elsewhere.” Seriously-The Co-op is selling organic baby spinach for $16 per pound. That bunch cost 1/10 as much. I’m feeding FIVE, people-help me out. I hope it all lasts the week, as I’m right on track with the budget. And that’s a huge element of this project, to bring things in under budget. Once I’m doing that consistently, I can really try to dial in the local.

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About poorlocavore

Welcome to one family's journey towards a smaller food-mile footprint on a small food budget. How do our choices affect the environment, and what influences our choices? Read on and find out what I'm learning.
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2 Responses to Another Week Begins…

  1. Cassie says:

    LOL at apples and rice everywhere! That’s a funny visual, but I know what you mean. Over the summer I got a deal on peaches at the orchard and the kids were begging me to lay off the peaches after 3 days. Grilled, in oatmeal, on ham steaks…the peaches just kept a-comin’!

    I started devising a menu before the grocery list about 2 years ago as part of a weight loss effort. I wanted to have a plan for what I was eating so I wouldn’t be tempted to grab takeout. I was tickled to discover that slashing the food budget was a nice little side-effect. The menu plan pretty much shut the spigot on those mid-week “I’ll just run in and get something for dinner” shopping trips that always end up costing 75 bucks.

    Our groceries used to run us over $800 a month. Since the meal plan, we’re averaging a bit under $600 for our family of 4. We do include lunch in there–I make the kids’ lunches every day and I don’t like to do leftovers myself, since we eat them for dinner.

    One thing I have started trying is looking over the fliers first–finding the really good deals–then making my menu, then the grocery list.

    Organic extra lean beef for $1.49 a pound?! I could throw in the airfare to get out there and still maybe come out ahead if I bought in bulk!

    • poorlocavore says:

      I’ve figured out how to combine the apples and rice into one dish. I make an ABC casserole (diced apples, baked beans, and cheese), then just bulk it up with rice. Boring, but it works.

      You probably noticed that I’m not doing lunches right now-kids eat at school (I know) and Dear Wife usually takes leftovers. Don’t ask me to get four lunches ready by 7:45; it’s not happening.

      And that beef was on its sell date, and there were just the 4 packs, otherwise…dry ice is cheap.

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