Good Food

A couple of months ago, I talked about my newfound love of green juice. I’m happy to report that I’ve been imbibing chock-full of vitamins and nutrients in liquid form every day for the past seventy days, and I tell you, it’s changed my life. I’ve even got M and K drinking the stuff, and we feel so much healthier. On the rare days I can’t start off my day with a tall glass of green juice, I can tell a major difference in my mood and physical well-being. I’ve got a whole system down and keep a pitcher full of juice in the fridge all the time.

However, I have to confess that because I feel so virtuous about my veggie/fruit consumption, I’ve let other parts of my food intake slide. I’ve noticed that I’m drinking more coffee again (though nearly not as much as I used to) and somehow Trader Joe’s frozen foods have been playing starring roles in our dinners as of late. And let’s not even talk about dessert. Not good.

So I’m now turning my attention anew to our non-liquid diet for both nutritional content and economical savvy. I’ve gotten many lovely recipe ideas from you from past posts (of which I’ve tried many – thank you!), and I’m determined to assemble a solid list of go-to recipes that are quick, easy, and nutritious that don’t break the bank. Now that I feel more focused with K back in school, I’m finally ready to hunker down to make monthly menu plans. I was chatting with someone the other day and she’s successfully whittled her monthly grocery bill to less than $350 – I’m so inspired! What about you, do you make weekly/monthly menu plans? Do you freeze a lot of food (something I don’t do nearly enough of)? Any tips and tricks and websites/blogs on saving on grocery bills?

On a related note, I thought this was awesome! Also a good resource and very motivational.

10 thoughts on “Good Food

    1. I use a Vitamix for my “green juice” (I guess it would technically be a smoothie, but the consistency is closer to juice since I add a lot of water). It’s awesome!!

  1. Good luck!
    I am not sure if you can whittle it down to $350 in Seattle, I suppose it depends where you shop, going to Asian grocery stores might work. We spend quite a bit more but I do buy almost all veggies/fruit/milk/grains/meat organic and I like to buy farmers market stuff.

    I have a weekly plan and it is written down every Sunday based on the activities and weather of the following week. I have found that weather is important consideration, like today when it might hit 90 I will not want to turn the oven on or spend an hour in my sunny kitchen and noone wants soup or stew. I pick at least one new recipe every week so there isn’t much repetition. Some weeks I have recipes from pinterest, other weeks I turn to magazines and books.

    I almost never freeze food, I grew up not having a freezer in the house (well, there was a tiny one that fit about two boxes of ice cream) and I just don’t like frozen food, it tastes different to me. The one exception is lentil pasta sauce (recipe is in the book Vive le Vegan, very nice recipe, give it a try, Seattle library system has the book, there are also awesome Chloe cookies in there).

    One suggestion I have is that make your list flexible. I pick 6-7 dishes per week but I do not assign days to them. If I don’t feel like making/eating a certain dish on Monday then I can pick something else from my list of seven. It leaves me feeling less rigid about food, ikwim? In the same time the choice is not hard or overwhelming at 5:30pm because I have shopped for these meals and I only need to choose between seven.

    1. Wow, this is fabulous anu! Thanks for all the tips and I especially love the idea of leaving flexibility during the week – you’re completely spot on: I sometimes don’t feel like cooking the dish I’ve designated for the day and then I end up feeling guilty that I’m not following the menu plan. And yes $350 is difficult to achieve in Seattle, but the woman I was chatting with lives here so it seems like it might be manageable…

  2. Hi, when I was feeling particularly organised ( doesn’t happen often!) a while ago I went through all my foodie magazines and cut out or printed recipes I’d saved online and put together a folder. The folder has a menu plan (no days assigned to each meal) and also a shopping list for ingredients that I can just take with me to the shops and add anything extra to then at the back of that I have each recipe available in plastic wallets. At the moment I have about 7 different menu plans so that gives my family and I plenty of choice and never get bored, the best thing though is that if we stick to the plan our shopping bills are halved! Here in the UK the cost of grocery shopping has gone theough the roof so any savings and truly appreciated, hope this helps! By the way love love love your blog 🙂

    1. What immediately jumped out of me was “if we stick to our plan our shopping bills are halved”, Shelli! So amazing! And cutting out recipes and putting it along with an ingredients list into a portable folder for shopping is brilliant. I definitely need to do that — not only do you reduce the space taken up by magazines but you’ve created your own efficient recipe book.

  3. I make dinner 5-6x a week and on weekends, I make breakfast and lunch, too. (Two of my girls have life-threatening peanut/nut allergies, so I feel better about their safety when I do all the cooking.) I plan for 5 meals, plan roughly 1x a week, and know that some nights will be leftovers or going out. I grocery shop 1x a week. Flexibility is key – anu is spot on with her approach.

    I hate repeating dinners (not including leftovers; otherwise, having the same meal more than once per quarter is too often!), so meal planning takes some time. I don’t like frozen meals (have to eat them within a month or so, which is too soon), so my freezer typically has only ingredients (raw meat, frozen veggies and fruit, ice cream, coffee, leftover bread for Fr toast) and maybe some frozen prepackaged pasta (pierogies, tortellini).

    I’m lucky in that I don’t (need to) know exactly how it works out costwise – we shop primarily at our local co-op (80% of our groceries; I try to buy organic/fair trade/non-GMO/local/grass-fed/noncaged/hippy-crunchy/etc food as much as possible), make monthly trips to Costco (15%), and do a small bit at the conventional groceries (5%; American and Asian groceries) – broadly guestimating, grocery costs for our family of 5 in MN is probably $150-170/week. And that doesn’t include whatever the daycare charges for food, which is breakfast, lunch, and PM snack for the girls 5 days/week.

    Other things that affect costs – I bake about half of our bread, we eat meat and dairy (this really can get expensive), and our preprocessed foods primarily are dessert-type items (ice cream, cookies). We throw away about 10%-15% of the food we buy and prepare – goes bad before we get around to cooking/eating it. I rarely buy food at work – I bring fruit and bentos with leftovers to eat during the day and buy drinks (tea, coffee) and snacks (nuts, candy) in bulk at Costco.

    About 2 months ago, I started jotting down what we ate for dinner in a calendar. My hope is that I’ll eventually amass a long list of stuff we’ve eaten so that when I’m feeling brain dead, meal planning will become easier. I was a member of the “Six o-clock Scramble” for a few years after the twins were born, it helped somewhat with meal planning, but the meals overall were not to my husband’s taste (eg, he felt kale was a little too radical), so when the subscription ended, I didn’t renew.

    Sorry to go on and on…

    1. Holy cow, June, I am SO impressed. This is incredibly comprehensive and helpful! No repeating recipes for a quarter and baking half your bread are just blowing my mind – you’re clearly an organizational guru and I am taking copious notes!

  4. Your commitment to drinking green juice everyday is very inspiring- I’m so glad to hear it’s working so well for you! I feel like I could use some extra nutrients- I’ve definitely been in the habit of consuming too much junk food these last few months. Do you have any favorite recipes?

    1. Hi Robin! I don’t really use any set recipe, but I’ve tried all sorts of combinations and I’ve pretty much settled on making sure to include the following in my daily green juice (though I change it from time to time): kale, spinach, cucumbers, carrots, frozen pineapple, frozen mango and coconut water. In the summer, I liked adding watermelon. I also love adding celery, broccoli and zucchini some days. Never, I repeat, NEVER use cabbage. 🙂

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