Friday, March 6, 2009

This Week's Shopping List

I should be very happy with the low, low cost of this week's grocery bill, but it happens to also be the week we get our co-op order, and that means digging a deep, deep hole.

The menu for the week goes like this:

Lunch: Miso soup with carrots, wakame and tofu

- Homemade falafel in pita with Israeli salad and tahina sauce
- Chicken in Tarragon Cream Sauce with wild rice pilaf and steamed broccoli
- Pecan-Crusted Salmon with Spinach Sauce over Israeli couscous (large grain couscous)

Dessert: Hamantashen for Purim

I didn't originally plan to make my own falafel. This is one of those times that I usually opt for the packaged stuff, but that's always a complicated matter for us. So many processed foods have the potential for peanut cross-contamination, and given my daughter's allergy, we can't take that chance. The most available brand of falafel mix in the natural foods world is made by Fantastic World Foods, which processes in a facility that processes peanuts. So, that is out. There is also a mix by Casbah, which is less available, but is safe for us. This week, it wasn't available at all. So, I thought, hey, I'll buy some chick pea flour and see what I can whip up. And so, homemade falafel was born (in my house, anyway).

Here is the shopping list for the week (* indicates non-organic):

catfish* ($4.99/lb sale)
falafel mix*
Annie's worcestershire sauce
silken tofu
frozen mango
orange juice* ($1.69 sale)
whole wheat pita*
dehydrated corn
dried apricots
dried figs

There were only a couple of items that I could not get this week: the falafel mix and the dehydrated corn. The total for the groceries came to $82.28, which is $40.22 below our weekly budget. That would have brought our deficit down to $15, but ...

Our order from the Neshaminy Valley co-op threw quite a wrench into things. The bill for that was $137.52, which brings our total up to $152 ... eek! This order should hold us for a good few months, especially since we won't have the opportunity to order until May, at earliest. It included the following items: Annie's Whole Wheat Shells & Cheddar, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Eden Kamut & Quinoa Twists, Ezekiel English Muffins, Stick & Twigs, Bulk Brown Rice, Lowfat Monterey Jack, Neufchatel Cheese, Shredded Parmesan, Santa Cruz Lemon and Lime Juices, Wesbrae Whole Wheat Lasagna. I stocked up on some of these just for regular use, but a lot is also for my daughter's birthday party in May.

It's times like this when perspective is hard to achieve. Yes, it's worth spending this money now, because it helps to save money later. Buying in large quantities means not buying these things very often. The initial blow can be hard to take, but little by little it helps bring the weekly food spending down. The reality is that we were very nearly out of the hole, with only $15 left to go. It's disappointing to have not gotten to see the black ink again, but we will ... in time.

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