After trying out Natural Grocers last week, I’m going back to my tried-and-true stores: Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers Market. There’s something to be said for grocery shopping in familiar territory; knowing where everything is makes the shopping trip much more efficient, both in time and money. A well stocked pantry (dried beans, pasta, dried herbs) also helped with meal planning and staying on budget this week.
Week 2 Wrap-Up
Last week’s menu went further than I’d planned due to kid’s sleepovers and an extra leftover night. So, I had an extra meal left that I’ll throw into Week 3 instead. I was also able to put some things in the freezer over the last few weeks (pita, ground sirloin, bacon, cooked beans, and some unused chicken broth) that will come in handy both this and following weeks. If I bought it before the 60 Day Grocery Makeover began, I’ll deduct it from this week’s budget.
‘Tis the season for holiday parties, and in this case, it’s working in our favor. My husband’s office party is next Friday, requiring us only to show up and eat (love!). There will be drinks and small bites provided. If we’re still hungry afterward, we can pull a meal out of the freezer when we get home. Fast, frozen, homemade take-out meals are perfect for this kind of occasion and will save us from eating out. This means one less meal I had to plan for in the grocery budget!
I had to pick up just one extra during the week, which I’d actually planned on doing. There is a cute little bagel shop around the corner from my house that sells other things as well, like baguette, cookies and muffins. There is a “day old” rack where they put, you guessed it, things that didn’t sell yesterday. I was hoping I could get two marked-down baguette and I scored! That added an additional $1.86 to my week total. So, after that, here’s how Week 2 turned out: $150.59
Wha wha whaaa….! I was 59 cents over budget, oh no! Even though I did go over by a little, I know that I was under by $15.18 for the month as a whole, so I think we’ll survive if I’m careful not to spend too much in the coming weeks. I did get a few extra things to put back, so hopefully it’ll settle out. So with the 59 cents accounted for, I still have $14.59 in wiggle room for December.
Wine Winter Weekend Plans
This weekend is supposed to be cold and snowy, which deters me from going out. I’ve planned on having some fun in the kitchen, cooking up a couple of more time-consuming meals. This will help keep us entertained and be delicious! We’ll put on some records, drink a little wine (there is no shame in boxed!) and enjoy our cozy kitchen.
About the boxed wine – I was pretty skeptical at first too, because boxed wine (think Franzia!) has had a much deserved bad rap, but there are actually a few newer ones that are kind of delicious! Here are the ones I like: Bota Box, Lab, and Vin Vault. You should try these out and see what you think. Their price points make having a pleasant glass of wine affordable. In case you’re wondering, I chose not to include alcohol in our grocery budget. We include wine in our entertainment budget, and try to find the best (and tastiest) deals.
When the Sprouts sale flyer came in the mail earlier this week, I was delighted to find a coupon on the front for $10.00 off a $50.00 purchase. I never have a problem spending that much there. I’m going to use the extra $10.00 to help cover additional costs for our holiday meals and, if I have enough left over, I have a special project in mind! I’ve been wanting to try a recipe for a peppermint sugar body scrub. I think it will make a perfect homemade gift – who doesn’t like peppermint during the holidays? And, who doesn’t like a sugar scrub? Especially at a lower price than store-bought or in a spa!
The Shopping Totals For Week 3:
I spent $57.89 at Sprouts and this is what I got (after $10 store coupon and rebates!):
- Limes $2.00 ( for 6 conventional – not on the Dirty Dozen list!
- 1 pound organic baby spinach $4.99
- 2.4 pounds organic tomatoes $4.53
- 3 pound bag organic apples $4.99
- 1 bunch organic leaf lettuce $1.69 (It’s not on the Dirty list, but its hard to wash and I don’t want all that junk on it)
- 2 organic Yukon gold potatoes $1.27
- 1 bunch organic cilantro 99 cents
- 2 pomegranates $3.00 (conventional)
- 4.7 pounds white onions $3.64 (conventional)
- 6 bananas $94 cents (conventional)
- 1 can line caught albacore tuna $3.99 (I almost never buy tuna for ethical reasons and when I do choose a responsible brand – this was a rare treat.)
- Organic turbinado sugar $3.76 (That’s for the sugar scrub!)
- 2 bottles of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice $7.00 (They were on sale, so I got one extra for next week.)
- 2 dozen organic free-range eggs $9.18
- 1 carton organic almond milk $2.99
- 1 gallon organic whole milk $5.99 (We still have a half-gallon left from last week. I’ll freeze this one for later.)
- 2 fresh mozzarella cheese balls $5.98 (Could not find organic!)
- Organic white cheddar $5.99
- 2 pounds dried pinto beans $2.18
- 2 pounds dried red lentils $3.94
*I got 3 Ibotta rebates for the limes (25 cents), the eggs ($2.50), and the cheddar ($2.50) I’ve subtracted these from the total.
I spent $73.26 at Whole Foods and it got me this:
- 7 pound Niman Ranch uncurred spiral ham $28.19 (Our Christmas ham for next week!)
- Uncurred organic bacon $4.99 (after $1 store coupon)
- 1.1 pound wild caught Sockeye salmon $10.99
- 2 large bags organic blue corn tortilla chips $9.98 (not pictured – oops!)
- 1 can organic fire roasted tomatoes $1.69
- 1 jar organic kalamata olives $3.00
- Organic butter $4.49
- Parmesan cheese $7.80
- 1 head organic garlic 99 cents
Freezer charge: $7.76 for frozen grass-fed beef and 2 organic chicken breasts
This brings the total to: $135.91!
I feel great about this shopping trip! I was able to get our holiday ham for next week, some sugar to make body scrub and a couple other extras, but still under budget! We still have several items to buy for our holiday meal/snacks so I think whatever is leftover in the budget will be spent then.
Feast Your Eyes – Week 3 Menu Plan:
- Saturday – Enchiladas, rice, beans and guacamole
Enchiladas are so forgiving; just throw in veggies, meat or just cheese and you’ve got a tasty meal. Using dried beans make this meal really affordable.
- Sunday – Red chili beef and flour tortillas
I make this version of New Mexico style beef and beans with Chimayó chili powder. Top with cheese, throw a tortilla on the side and it is a satisfying meal perfect for cold weather. I’m doing this meal right after our enchilada night so we can use up any rice, cooked dried beans or veggies leftover.
- Monday – Ratatouille brunch with toast
Hopefully the second attempt at this recipe will stick! All the produce I purchased last week for it is still in great shape, so postponing the meal from last week seems safe.
- Tuesday – Spicy Indian lentil dahl with pita
Lentils cook so quickly and this delicious soup is even better in lunches the next day.
- Wednesday – Pasta e Fagioli and salad
I love this Italian vegetable and pasta soup. As usual, leftover veggies are easy to use up in meals like this.
- Thursday – Leftovers
- Friday – Christmas party!
I’m not sure if you noticed, but I get 2 nights off from cooking this week! Time to play with sugar scrub!