What's in my Shopping Cart is a way for you to peek inside my grocery shopping experience. My first published post in this series can be found HERE.
My final bill for this shopping trip: $242.00 I have offered a few suggestions at the end of this post of how I cut corners when grocer shopping.
You may notice that it was a bit less than my projected $300 dollars that I normally budget. The reason is we bought only two meat items. I mentioned in my earlier post that we don't eat a lot of meat. The meat that I bought at the beginning of the month has lasted us into this shopping excursion.
I spent the extra money that I saved on a few bulk items from Amazon: honey, maple syrup, gluten free soy sauce and a new Immersion Blender for the kitchen. My hand mixer died. These things are not pictured.
If we don't eat a lot of meat then what do we eat? Let me use the picture above to help you understand where the "main dish" would come from for our dinners in the form of vegetable dishes.
Spaghetti Squash--We love squash and this is a great way to use up our tomatoes from the garden and make a fresh tomato sauce to serve over the "noodles". In addition to this I would serve rice for the kids (starch) along with a bowl of pitted cherries.
Portobella Mushrooms--I am in love with these. I add some olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and then grill them on the outside BBQ. Amazing flavor, hearty "main course". I would serve the mushrooms with sauteed spinach (hidden under the mushrooms), steamed carrots and marinated olives.
Napa Cabbage--This will be made into a vegetable stir fry using rice noodles or rice.
Basil Leaves--How can basil be the main course? We love it on everything, including salads and pasta. I use my homemade pesto as the dressing for a dinner salad. I will use a variety of the vegetables that you see and make a large salad for our family. I still have lettuce from our last trip (not pictured). If I have chicken or shrimp left over in the refrigerator I will also add this to the salad. We eat a lot of salads for dinner.
Side dishes that I will make with some of the above ingredients include: Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, Broccoli Salad, lots of steamed carrots, sauteed zucchini dishes, and smoothies for our breakfast meals. We have one smoothie every day, including Finnley.
Compared to most families we do not spend a great deal of money on packaged food. I can't figure out yet how we would not spend anything. I have kids and they need lunches and they are not restricted in their diets and they want easy foods. I try to have a few things on hand that they can "snack" on. Again, my kids are not huge snackers and I believe this is because they eat meals made from scratch using fresh, whole ingredients.
Finnley has been a challenge to feed when we are out and about for the day. I try to make all her baby food but for outings I do buy the Ella and Plum bags of food. They are easy and mess free. Graham crackers, gluten free pretzels and cereal are just a few of the finger "crunchy" foods that we have tried for her when she needs a snack. We tried the cereal that you see in the picture and it didn't work out too well. They don't dissolve easily in her mouth. Oh well, it was worth a shot.
Our kids love pretzels and I usually buy the cases of gluten free pretzels from Amazon but on this trip I needed a few things for my big kids to take to school. I bought a few of the bags you see in the above picture.
Let me know what you think. Is this a helpful update for you? What would you like to see in these post? I try not to get too specific with brands in the post, but if you have questions then leave them below and I can try to answer them.
A few suggestions I use when I am trying to cut corners with my food budget:
1. Buy in bulk. I use Amazon Prime to save on shipping and for speedy delivery. (this is not a paid post.) I really do use them A LOT.
2. Allow extra money in your budget to buy items when they go on sale for future use.
3. Shop with a list. The days I go shopping without my list I usually spend more money then I had planned.
4. Shop the perimeter of the store. I know you hear this frequently but it's true. Everything in the center is packaged, canned or bagged. We try to avoid the center aisles as much as possible.
5. Eat more vegetable driven dishes. Meat is expensive, especially organic grass-fed meat. By eating less meat we have reduced our monthly food expense by about $200 dollars.