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Friday, March 2, 2012

You've Asked....for a Menu Planner!

A few weeks ago I told you all I was going to rock out a real food grocery budget at $400/month for a family of 4.  It's taken some creativity, especially when prices fluctuate, but I got as close to $100 ($116 to be exact) as I could.  Obviously you'll have some items on hand, and some things you won't...  Also, I have a salmon included here that is more expensive than other cuts of meat, but seafood is important.  You can always eat more chicken or beef to cut this grocery list down a few dollars!   

Week 1 shopping list:
example of the contents in my produce box for a week

2 dozen eggs- $8
1 lb. ground beef- $6
4 lb. chicken- $17
1 lb. salmon- $10
3 gallons milk- $21 ($7/gallon)- 3 quarts cultured into yogurt
Produce Box- $35
      1 head romaine
      2 onions
      1lb. green beans
      2 lbs. potatoes
      1 head garlic
      4 tomatoes
      5 apples
      7 bananas
      4 oranges
      4 pears
      4 tangerines
      1 mango
      2 lemons
      *1 head kale in freezer from previous week
      *1 bag frozen blueberries from a previous week when they were on sale
Peanut Butter- $6
Organic brown rice-= 1 lb. $3
Organic Rolled Oats- 2 lbs. $5
homemade loaf of bread- $2.50
chili beans- 1 lb. bag- $2.50

Meal Plan
Day 1:
Breakfast
1 cup milk (for kids- 2 cups total)
6 eggs, pat of butter

Lunch
1 cup milk (for kids, 2 cups total)
peanut butter and honey sandwiches
3 apples

Snack
yogurt with honey- 4 cups

Dinner
salmon with EVOO or butter, grey sea salt (Or other real salt)
roasted or steamed green beans with butter or EVOO

Day 2:
Breakfast
2 cups milk for kids
baked oatmeal (uses 2 eggs, 4 cups oats (about 1 lb), 1 stick butter, 1 apple, cinnamon, 3/4 cup sucanat, recipe here )
drizzled with homemade yogurt- about 1 cup total used for 4

Lunch
2 cups milk for kids
salads with pear, nuts you may have on hand, homemade dressing (evoo, lemon juice or cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, drizzle of honey)
Kids may also enjoy some yogurt or half a sandwich with this meal

Snack
2 peanut butter banana sandwiches, split

Dinner
roast chicken (recipe here)
use pan juices to make a quick reduction sauce
rice with garlic
leftover green beans from previous night

Day 3:
Breakfast
2 cups milk for kids
leftover baked oatmeal

Lunch
2 cups of milk for kids
yogurt parfaits with 1 banana, 1 cup walnuts, drizzle of honey if needed

Snack
2 oranges, 2 tangerines

Dinner
rice bowl with leftover chicken (diced or chopped) and sauteed kale

Day 4:
Breakfast
2 cups milk
yogurt smoothies (2 cups yogurt, mango, 1 banana, 1 fresh squeezed tangerine)

Lunch
peanut butter and honey sandwiches
split- 1apple and 1 tangerine, 1 pear

Snack
homemade granola bars- 4 cups oats, 1.5 cups sucanat, dried fruit (from a previous week), any other fixins you have on hand, coconut, nuts, flax seeds, etc.

Dinner
potato soup with 1 onion, garlic, (use chicken stock made from a roasted chicken earlier in the week)
side salad with remaining lettuce and homemade salad dressing

Day 5:
breakfast
2 cups milk
6 eggs
share 2 oranges, cut into wedges

Lunch
yogurt smoothie with frozen blueberries

Snack
spoonful of peanut butter (who doesn't do this?)

Dinner
leftover potato soup, end of bread if you have any left

Day 6:
Breakfast
2 cups milk
granola bars

Lunch
2 cups milk
Yogurt Parfaits with blueberries

snack- 2 peanut butter banana sandwiches

Dinner
chili- 1 lb. ground beef, 4 tomatoes, blanched and peeled, garlic, 1 onion, red and northern beans, soaked for 24 hours


Day 7:
Breakfast
2 cups of milk
6 eggs

Lunch
2 cups milk
yogurt with honey

Snack
granola bars

Dinner
leftover chili

So there it is!  Yes, this CAN be done!  Now, you'll have a few eggs and peanut butter left, but besides that, you will be ready for the next weeks groceries, and absolutely NOTHING went to waste!  Can you imagine living in a world where everything in your fridge was fresh, pastured, organic, and mostly local, and on top of that, NOTHING was wasted?  Nothing was a filler that robbed your pocketbook and your belly?  Think of how much more we could donate (and fresh, healthy food at that) if we weren't wasting money on food that will also go to waste?

I have made a realization that if I have junk food on hand, I'll eat it and my fruit will go to waste.  If my kids know there are goldfish in the pantry, do you think they will be satisfied if I say, "Let's have a banana sandwich for a snack?"  NO!  They will whine endlessly for the goldfish!  So my motto is, only buy what you want your family to be eating!  If it's not there, they may notice for a day or two, but all of the sudden, the orange will look beautiful and amazing, and you and your kids will want to eat it.  Keep your pantry and fridge real, baby!

How does this look to you?  Scary?  Surprisingly doable?  I am excited to hear what you think!

Have a happy and healthy weekend!
Anna



















  

6 comments:

  1. A tip for peanut/almond butter that I just learned... pour off the oil that rises to the top and replace with melted butter from grass-fed cows. Adds CLA and improves the omega3:6 ratio, and I hear it tastes fabulous!

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  2. Hey Brad! Thanks so much for the tip! I never thought about pouring the oil off of store bought peanut butter, but I love the idea! I actually make my nut butters a lot, and will add a little butter to the mix to help with that very thing, as well as the consistency. Have you made your own butter? It's super easy, but not sure your access to raw or non-homogenized cream sources.

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    1. I've made butter by putting raw cream from a local Amish farmer in a mason jar and shaking it up... that was fun! Do you make nut butter with a champion juicer? I should probably start making my own nut butters.

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  3. Hey Brad! That's a fun way to make butter! I culture mine and then mix it at room temp in my kitchenaid, which is super fast (since I make a gallon!) I make my nut butters in the food processor, and either add a little butter or nice flax oil to it. As you can tell, my menu plan is suited for 2 and 4 year olds, hence a lot of banana's and peanut butter (and milk!). But, they are still getting a pretty good variety, so I'm happy.

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  4. Hey! Great menu! As a family that eats mostly paleo, I'm trying to modify it to reduce breads, and here's what I've come up with.
    Snacks; almond flour tortilla fruit and honey wraps or other type snack wraps (or bake a bit longer for crackers with a cheese or pb) granola bars can be made with gluten free oats from trader joes, or quinoa and oatmeal bake could also be a breakfast casserole of sorts, using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. I want to try it, but I'll be honest...my kids are gonna want to eat more so I know it's gonna cost a little bit more. Still, You are amazing for putting this together, Anna! Thank you! Also, macaroni and cheese can be made with veggies instead of pasta and the kids still love it in their individual ramekins with cheese bubbling on top... just tossing out ideas. ;)

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  5. great, Gretchen! You are doing exactly what I hoped people would do, which is realizing that eating real food is doable, and modifying the menu to meet your needs. I had to work within the confines of what I had on the shopping list above, but typically I have a wider variety from items purchased in previous weeks, so this menu is a little boxed in, but it gives newbie's a starting point! This is far less grain than the typical American eats, with one, soaked whole wheat loaf of bread for the whole family for a week...so, I think this is a pretty good happy medium for those who want to cut back on breads and grains.

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