Project Food Budget: Weeks 32 and 33

Food Budget Piggybank

What’s left for the month of May:

Grocery: $200.12
Costco: $161.93
Beer/Wine: $25.69
Eating out: $20.76
Farmers Markets: $55.00

This week’s menu:

Um, I don’t know. The weekend I have coming up is absolutely overwhelming. I know that we are eating out Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and possibly sometime on Sunday as well. It’s going in the entertainment budget, though, as my parents will be in town, and we’ve some celebrations going on. Which is good, because $20 doesn’t cover my family at Burger King, let alone my family + six (or so) others at an actual restaurant!

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Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Charmingly Modern
* naMAMAste
* Twice the Twinsanity
* Brandon and on…
* French Press
* Veggie Meal Maker

Project Food Budget: Weeks 30 and 31

Food Budget Piggybank

Closed out the budget this weekend with $278.18 left in the grocery budget, and more than $50 left in the eating out budget! Whoo-hoo!

Upcoming month:

Grocery: $500 — I spent $144.54 last night.
Costco: $300
Beer/Wine: $60
Eating out: $100 — I spent $13.24 yesterday, and not on what I wanted! My favorite lunch place near work closed. They made a killer egg salad sandwich. I supposed it’s for the best because now that I know they’re gone, I’ll be better about packing leftovers.

This month should see Farmers Markets starting up again. I’m going to go ahead and add $100 for that. I’m waiting to see when my CSA starts. It may not be until June. I’ll figure that in when it I need to.

This week’s menu:

Thursday: French toast with fruit and vegetarian sausage
Friday: Tomato soup and grilled cheese
Saturday: Spaghetti and marinara sauce, veggie pasta balls, salad
Sunday: Granola, Faux chicken tacos
Monday: Easy Peasy Dinner Pie and broccoli
Tuesday: Stirfry with Soba noodles
Wednesday: left overs

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Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Charmingly Modern
* naMAMAste
* Twice the Twinsanity
* Brandon and on…
* French Press
* Veggie Meal Maker

Project Food Budget: Weeks 28 and 29

Food Budget Piggybank

What’s left this month:

Grocery: $476.67
Costco: $(78.44)
Eating out: $113.69
Beer/wine: $60

I blew the Costco budget again — I think I’ll have to raise it to $300 next month. Although, in my defense, Dan went Costco shopping, and he got things for his office, plus some “off-list” things. Also, he bought individually packaged snacks, which is more expensive. So I think $300 is realistic with some adjustments to how we shop. So far, eating out is good, and so is the beer and wine budget! Whoo hoo!

Menu:

Thursday: Pizza (from freezer, not from scratch) and salad
Friday: Vegetarian soft tacos
Saturday: Spaghetti and marinara sauce
Sunday: Black beans, tofu, and broccoli over brown rice
Monday: Bella’s house
Tuesday: Brinner
Wednesday: left overs

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Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity
* Brandon and on…
* French Press
* Veggie Meal Maker

Project: Food Budget Week 27

Food Budget Piggybank

Nothing big to report today. Closed out the March budget, coming in on budget or under except for my Costco spending. Something to keep an eye on. Menu-planning is going well, although I’ve run into unprecedented resistance at home as far as eating new things. We’ll see what happens as summer produce becomes available.

I probably won’t be spending much this coming week. We’re traveling up to Erie to have Easter with Nonna and Pap-pap. I’m going to contribute honey roasted brussel sprouts to Saturday evening dinner. But other than that, I’m going to eat whatever vegetarian dishes my mother decides to feed me — and hope she sends me home with leftovers!

I see egg salad in my future. Which is fine with me — I love egg salad!

If you are celebrating anything this weekend, I hope it is blessed and, if Easter, full of chocolate eggs. Otherwise, I hope you have a nice weekend and enjoy good weather and productive time.

Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity
* Brandon and on…
* French Press

Project: Food Budget, Weeks 25 and 26

Food Budget Piggybank

Halfway through! Wow!

We must have done a good job stocking up at the grocery store, because aside from milk, we haven’t had to go often. Although I am sending Dan tonight, so we’ll see.

We went through the Costco budget, so that’s going to need to be examined, and I think we’re still spending too much money on eating out. Although, we did come in under budget.

Grocery: Spent $230.75, leaving $160.44 until April 1
Costco: Spent $455, over by $255
Eating out: Spent $77.96, leaving $27.25

The April budget will be the same. If we underspend on groceries and overspend at Costco again, I will have to adjust that. Oh, and I have to recalculate my CSA for the upcoming season. Winter season total for the CSA was $528, or about $44.00 a week. Which I’m totally cool with. As summer starts, I will also be figuring in our weekly spending at farmers markets.

Menu for week:
Thursday: Take out, because the kids and I will be getting home late (there goes that $27.25)
Friday: Veggie burgers and potatoes, salad
Saturday: Granola bars; Minestrone soup and grilled cheese sandwiches; I will also be making marinara sauce this weekend
Sunday: Apple muffins; French toast, veggie sausage, fruit, and I’ll be cooking Coconut tofu and rice
Monday: Bella’s house
Tuesday: Coconut tofu I made Sunday
Wednesday: Pasta, Quorn nuggets, salad

Updated to add: I need your favorite mushroom recipes! I have mostly cremini, but a couple of portabellas, too. Please link me up in the comments!

Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity
* Brandon and on…
* French Press

Project: Food Budget, Week 24

Food Budget Piggybank

This weekend, I want to cook ALL THE THINGS. But I am going to focus on the following and construct my menu from there.

I have a CSA pickup tonight, but that’s probably just going to be greenhouse mesculen greens and apples.

I also have a major Costco trip to undertake on Sunday. With a budget (for food) of $151.66. I’m probably going to blow it there and then for the rest of the month. Lunchtime snacks are kind of killing me.

Tip o’ the Week:
When I shop at Costco for things to pack in my children’s lunch boxes, I don’t buy the big boxes of individual packaged snacks. I buy a large bag (or two) of the favored snack (which varies from kettle corn, to Cheezits, to chips of some sort). I use baggies and some other types of (non-disposible) containers to pack them. It’s much more cost effective that way.

Another cost-conscious tip: Buy the big bags of shredded cheese. I buy the bulk shredded cheddar and shredded mozzerella. Then I split the package into three freezer-size storage bags, freeze two and use one. For some reason we go through cheese like crazy in this house.

Mmm. Cheese.

This coming weekend, I plan to make:
Vegetarian chili
Lentil Meat(less)balls (new web site for recipes! I must stop!)
Pizza dough and homemade sauce (Saturday night dinner, with salad)
Coconut Tofu Rice
Granola and/or Chewy Granola Bars

Those will all be incorporated into next week’s menu in some combination. I also have a bunch of potatoes I have to use. Maybe I can convince my children to eat baked “French fries”.

Go see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity

Project: Food Budget, Week 23

Food Budget Piggybank

Remaining in Budget:
Grocery: $391.19
CSA: $168
Costco: $200
Eating Out: $105.21

This week’s menu is thin on the ground. Dan’s birthday is this weekend, so the special event budget will be taking a hit! For a good reason, though.

Thursday: Leftovers and Quorn nuggets
Friday: Kids and I eating at a friend’s house
Saturday: Dan and I are eating out.
Sunday: Tarka Dal, with samosas and Indian bread
Monday: Bella’s house
Tuesday: Raviolis or tortellini, with salad
Wednesday: TBD

Gah! I am not doing well on the menu front. I’m not really sure when or where we are going shopping because of the birthday event. I have a feeling I’ll be picking some things up at Target on Saturday for the kids’ dinner. I’m not 100% happy about that, but I also have a 9:30 a.m. birthday party to attend with the girls, and then have to get ready for a night out (overnight!) with my husband.

I guess I just have to regroup. Already! However, I did make those granola bars, and I plan to try them again, too. Win some, lose some.

Let’s see how everyone else did!

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity

Project: Food Budget, Week 20

Food Budget Piggybank

This week, we spent a little bit on groceries (about $11) and a bit at Costco (about $32).

Remaining in the budget for February:
Groceries: $459.00
Costco: $92.92
CSA: $34 (that will go away tonight)
Eating out: All ready blown.

I didn’t mean to add to the eating out total for February, but I had dental work yesterday that left me unable to chew anything harder than soup (I had to call restaurants around my office to find a vegetarian soup) and a Wendy’s milkshake.

Things are rolling right along! I wrote on Monday about menus, and I stand by the point I was trying to make. Having a menu leads to having a reliable list, which leads to spending better and cooking more. And cooking more is healthier and cheaper!

Let’s see how everyone else did! There are some new “faces” this week, too, so welcome them to the fold.

* Emily Levenson
* Dairy-Free Cooking
* Test Kitchen Tuesday
* Acquired Tastes
* Fit Flexitarian
* Warm As Pie
* Katy Rank Lev
* My Inner Healthy
* Little Blue Hen
* xox, b
* Project Food Budget 2.0
* Fresh…A New Chapter
* Chandeleah
* Two Eggs Over Easy
* That’s Just Me
* Eat Whole Be Vital
* Four Happy Violets
* Naturally {Un}refined
* Pgh Dad
* yogabeautylife
* What da Health?
* Twice the Twinsanity

Meatless Monday: Menus

The aspect of Project: Food Budget that has been the most revelatory for me is that creating menus really helps with shopping and saving money.

So it’s something I’ve been working on. When I see a dish I think I would like to try, I try to think about what would go well with it (soup? salad? some other type of appetizer?). Then I start a shopping list, and think about other things that I can incorporate into a meal plan with leftovers, and usually in a bit I have a plan for the week.

I’m still practicing, but I’m going in the right direction.

Last night, I made “Chinese” food for dinner — baked spring rolls with dipping sauce, steamed brown rice, and stir-fried Morning Star chik’n strips and broccoli. I used tofu instead of pork in the rolls. Dan ended up really really liking the spring rolls — I didn’t tell him they had cabbage in them — and asked me to try making other versions. Since I have lots of eggroll wraps and cabbage left over, and they aren’t too difficult to make (time consuming, but not difficult), I plan to accommodate his request. I think I’ll add baby shrimp for Dan and add bean sprouts to the cabbage and carrot mix.

Next Sunday, I’m having two other couples over for dinner, and I was completely stymied as to what to make. I solicited Twitter, and got a lot of ideas: baked pasta (which I love, but Dan is very “meh” about), lasagna (which I had toyed with as a plan, but Dan is a total fuss ass about lasagna), roasted chicken and potatoes (the roasted chicken part scares me a little) (okay, a lot).

My favorite idea came from @goob: polenta with blue cheese and beef stew. Obviously, as two of us are vegetarians, I’ll have to think of a good alternative that’s easy. I am leaning toward beef stew (done in the slow cooker), baked polenta, green salad, and creamy mushroom sauce for us vegetarians.

Now I just have to decide if I’m making the Tuscan Beef Stew or Beef and Mushroom Stew for my omnivorous guests. Which one would you pick?