Meal Prep // The First Attempt

I have to admit right off the bat that I can be exceedingly lazy. Like, I am that mom that goes grocery shopping and then I’m too tired from running around for most of the day – so I get pizza. Meal prepping is a mixed bag to me. One one hand it frees me from having to really stop to consider what constitutes our larger meal of the day for David and me, but it also requires a solid amount of effort to put together. Do I worry every day, or bust my ass once?

I figured I’d try the doing it once route – which for the record was really like a horribly planned 3 day affair for me this time around. I still managed to pull it off though!

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Menu Board

Pinterest strikes again. I saw Stephanie pin a menu board, and the description made me think “meh”, but at one point I finally clicked on it. The shopping list description was not really accurate at all from what I can tell, which was why I was not really interested. I have list making OCD. I don’t need help in that department. At all. I will stalk the stores a few days prior to grocery shopping to ensure I have the right prices, and then I make a spreadsheet.

I do have one problem though. Sticking to a menu plan. I manage to stick to it for a few days, and if I can get a week of actually following my menu plan I’d be shocked. Part of my problem is that I have my menu on my computer in a – prepare to be shocked – spreadsheet. David doesn’t creep around on here to find my menu plan. I’m glad he doesn’t because I don’t need him rolling his eyes at my always open SimCity Social window. 😛

Holy organization batman!

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A quick note…

I’m working on finding recipes that past muster in my house.

It’s not easy.

I’m picky as hell. David doesn’t eat pork, and is currently leaning towards being vegetarian. Sophia is a self imposed vegetarian 90% of the time. Nola, well this is a bless her heart moment, because the little turd has decided that she’s only a carnivore and does not like plants. *head desk* Anyone see how this could be tricky for me? No? Me either. /sarcasm

Despite all that, I’m at the very least going to stick to my few rules of thumb when it comes to food for my family…

~ No MSG.
~ No HFCS.

Pretty simple. I get a little skeeved out by the word hydrogenated as well, but that’s less a concern than the two listed. I’m not in a position to buy all organics anymore, and I’m not going to turn my nose up at a cheap bag of pasta. My problem is that so many of these “easy” or “omg yum” recipes contain cream of something soup, or Lipton onion soup packets. Both contain MSG. While I still have some left, and will use them up as not to waste them, I will not purchase them again. I can make homemade cream of mushroom soup, and I have a homemade “cream of ?” mix I made from a recipe on Pinterst as well. I’ll have to find an MSG free alternative to the Lipton soup mix. If you know of one please let me know!!

Now, back to getting this house back in order so it doesn’t look like I’ve neglected it for an entire week. 😛

Meal Planning: July 29 – August 4

Before I left for Alameda I said I was going to meal plan. I got my Bountiful Baskets stuff on Saturday, and over the remainder of weekend I finished up my shopping. I forgot some stuff from Costco when I went Friday, which worked out to my advantage. Saturday evening Stephanie and I brainstormed meal ideas via Facebook chat.

Sunday 29th – Crockpot Spinach Lasagna
Monday 30th – Crockpot Southwest Chicken
Tuesday 31st – Lentil Soup
Wednesday 1st – Southwest Chicken Burritos (also known as leftovers night)
Thursday 2nd – Beef Stew (I’ll post a recipe for this later in the week since I’m going to use Marmite!)
Friday 3rd – Homemade Pizza
Saturday 4th – Leftovers, or if no leftovers – David can cook, because I’m on strike today! 😉

I actually already have the starts of next weeks meal planning going! I have lots of veggies in mt fridge, a pack of tofu, and a 2-pack of roasts from Costco (one is getting cubed for stew). That right there is already 2 meals out of the way. Now the big thing for me is STICKING TO THE MEAL PLAN. Yes, some days it’s just so much easier to stroll into Papa Murphy’s and call it a day. Sometimes I have no issue with that, especially when I have a coupon, but I can’t cave in on the first week of trying to be good. I’ll reserve that for the first week of school when I feel like I’m in over my head. 😉

August Frugal Food Challenge

August is the start of a few months worth of crazy for me.  In the past all activities in the house have revolved around Nola.  School, soccer, Girl Scouts.  Well, Sophia turns 5 on Thursday (noooo!) and it’s her turn to start school, soccer, and Girl Scouts as well.  I’d mentioned in a prior post that I was doing AYSO coach training.  I’m coaching BOTH my girls teams.  O_O   My time is going to be limited.  With 4 practices each week (2 for each team) until games start on August 18th (then down to 1 practice and 1 game per week), soccer camp the first week of August, school starting on August 20th, and getting doctors appointments done for both girls out of the way I am going to be busier than ever before.  Oh did I mention that we may very well be moving units within the complex in the next few weeks?  Because that might happen too.

O.M.G!

What am I getting myself into?!  I know I need to make a solid plan for meals or I’m going to end up at Papa Murphy’s a few times a week, and that just can’t happen.  Two VERY active kids are going to need good meals.  Nola will be having bagged lunches going to school since we cannot afford nearly $4 a day for their organic lunches (Sophia is half day, lunch at home like normal for her).  The school takes a very firm stance on junk food not being brought in, and I’m perfectly okay with that.  It just means I need to plan on more than just PB&J.

Bountiful Baskets will help me with keeping produce costs down bi-weekly.  The only problem there is the basket is a mystery until I see it.  Not so great for planning ahead, but I can do it!  I want to try and avoid processed foods as much as I can.  Though sometimes a box of Zatarain’s red beans and rice paired with some turkey kielbasa is what happens, and I’m okay with it – so long as it’s remains the exception.

Inexpensive, but still healthy.

I’m going to be heading out to Alameda again to see my friend Stephanie and her three kiddos.  Once I get back I’ll plan as much as I can, especially for days where we won’t be home from practice until well after David is home.  I think he’ll have to help more than I want to admit.  😉

I hate to admit it…

My last post was about quality vs. quantity.

Quantity has won this week. 79c per pound for chicken leg quarters this week! Tomorrow boneless skinless chicken breast is on sale for $1.49 per pound. Monday bananas are 39c per pound. Tuesday ground beef is $1.69 per pound.

Stephanie sent me a link to a handy cost per serving calculator for meat.

“At $0.79 per pound, Chicken / Leg quarter costs $0.40 per serving. (2 servings per pound.) ”

“At $1.49 per pound, Chicken / Breast, boneless costs $0.37 per serving. (4 servings per pound.)”

“At $1.69 per pound, Other / Ground beef costs $0.42 per serving. (4 servings per pound.)”

With a bi-weekly food and household budget of $250 I needed to make some changes. This pay period I’ll have put more than 50 pounds of meat into my freezer. I’ll use a few pounds of it over the next 2 weeks, but I’ll still have quite a bit stored thus lowering how much I have to spend in weeks to come.

We’re still debating spending the almost $1000 on a 1/4 cow from UNR’s Wolfpack Meats though, but that choice will have to be made before I buy the hamburger next week. I won’t hold my breath (even though some beef tenderloin would be EPIC).

I feel kind of bad, but right now I’m not in a position to drop $9+ a pound for grass fed beef. I’ll just be glad I found the sales right at payday. 😉

Quality vs. Quantity

I struggle with this. I have 2 bottomless pits, err I mean growing kids, and 2 adults to feed. I’m also on a limited budget, $250 every bi-weekly paycheck to be exact. That covers food and most of the household needs (non-food items like paper goods and toiletries). It’s easy to spend more than half of my budget at Costco and not get much to make meals with. I want to make meals that don’t come from a box as to avoid things that I find to be questionable like HFCS and GMOs.

I also go back and forth about meat. A lot. More often than not I’m skeeved out hardcore by traditional meat.

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