Sunday, February 1, 2009

This Week's Shopping List

This week was full of good, old fashioned winter comfort foods. Winter is the reason I, and many other cold-climate folks, put on weight (who said a couple extra pounds of insulation is a bad thing? You'll take it off come spring time!). It's not a time for bright and light flavors. It's a time for slow-cooked, warming, filling, snuggle-up-with-your-honey kinds of foods. Two of the menu items for the week easily exemplify that: Chili and Squash & Carrot Soup. The rest still works as comfort food, I think, but minus the slow cooking element.

The menu for this week goes like this:

Lunch: Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup with english muffins & sardines

- Ground Beef Chili with tortilla chips
- Whole Grain Italian Bread Pizza
- Salmon Stir Fry with Broccoli & Baby Corn

Dessert to bring to birthday party: Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

It's been a very long time since I've made chili with beef. I've mostly made it with ground turkey, but I really do prefer beef. Of course, since we got our ground beef so cheaply, I thought, why not make the real thing this time? That impulse paid off, since it made this comfort food intensely comfy in my tummy. I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the beef. It was so red and there was almost no fat in it. After browning the meat, there was nothing of note to drain. I can't even say that of the ground turkey I usually use. As I've said before, I'm craving lots of red meat this pregnancy, so if I can get my red meat fix without much of the fat usually associated with it, I can feel that much less guilty about it.

We had a lunch and dinner guest this week, my mom. So, that added a minimal amount to our bill. She seemed to really enjoy the soup (what little of it my daughter let her have) and the chili. My mother is generally a light fare eater, even in winter, so I take it as a great compliment that she finished her bowl of chili (and ate my daughter's leftovers).

The shopping list for the week goes like this (* indicated non-organic):

butternut squash
red pepper
broccoli* ($0.99/lb)
tortilla chips ($1 off 2 coupon)
Clif bars* ($0.50 off 2, doubled)
quinoa (white & red)
Kashi cereal* ($2.89 sale + $1 coupon)
Traditional Medicinals Tea ($0.75 coupon, doubled)
Tamari soy sauce ($4.49 sale, $.055 coupon)
heavy cream
monterey jack cheese
boneless chicken breasts* ($4.49/lb sale - antibiotic, hormone-free)
baby corn*
frozen spinach
orange juice* (2/$5 sale)
whole grain fresh Italian bread*

I have to make a comment about the Clif bars. They are a "treat" for my husband, and I periodically buy bars of some sort for him. He eats them sometimes as a snack, but mostly as breakfast when he gets up too late and needs something quick to take with. I prefer this to him buying something at Dunkin Donuts, for sure, but I'd still love to find a better solution. One of my goals this winter is to find or create a recipe for a bar that will make him happy, our budget happier, and make our processed food list a little shorter. Any suggestions? I'm open!

I was able to buy everything on the list this week, and I bought only one extra: some kumquats, to be used next week ... I'm so excited! And I had a bonus $2 store coupon at the healthfood store. I feel so much better when I get to use coupons, but the reality is that I hardly ever use them. There just aren't many products that we buy that have coupons. That's partly because we buy mostly fresh produce, dairy and meat/fish, and we buy a lot of local products made buy small producers. It's the mega manufacturers that make packaged and processed stuff that offer coupons, especially for junk packaged foods. No wonder so many people feel encouraged to buy them, and no wonder we have a health crisis in this country!

The grand total for the week came to $109.65. Since there was nothing to add to our bill this week (no co-ops, buying clubs, warehouse shopping, etc.), the total stands. We fall $12.85 below the weekly budget, bringing our deficit down to $91. We'll get there, slowly but surely.

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