When I started this blog, I truly had no idea how many different recipes I make. It was a lot of work typing them all along with all of my other daily tasks. I overtaxed myself during the Advent season and couldn’t keep up the pace.
After almost a month’s break, I’ve decided to take a slower approach. I’m going to post my weekly menu and then maybe one or two recipes from that menu. It’s the only way that I can keep up with everything without getting overwhelmed. I’d love to post recipes by request. If I put something on my menu that peaks your interest, make a request in the comments.
I am often asked how I can keep my family on a budget with food allergies. I hope this new format will help give a practical picture of my process.
First, I have a well stocked pantry and freezer. My pantry is filled with bulk grains, dried beans, GF pasta and noodles, home canned jams, oils, various sweeteners, and herbs. The deep freezer is full of meat that I found on sale or bought in bulk. I freeze homemade broth and cooked beans in old yogurt containers. I only keep a few frozen vegetables, but I have plenty of frozen fruit and nuts that I got on sale in season to use in porridge, smoothies, and ice cream. I also keep all my GF flours in the freezer as well. Some of my favorite sources for these items are local grocery sales, Azure Standard, Bountiful Baskets, and Zaycon. Always read product information carefully before you buy to make sure you are comfortable with each item’s potential allergen content. Some products are safe, others aren’t. Do your homework based on your specific needs. It took me about two years to build my pantry to the quality and quantity of staple items that help me cut costs in my overall budget. Don’t try to change your whole pantry system in one month; do it one bulk item at a time based on your family’s needs.
Second, most weeks I get a basket from Bountiful Baskets on Saturday morning. Once I know what I am going to get, I plan my menu. Here is what I planned for from this week’s basket and some other produce that was left from last week.
Fruit for snacks: apples, Asian pears, bananas, and blackberries
Meal ideas from this week’s basket:
Tomatoes (for John) and Romaine – Mediterranean Beef Salad
Asparagus – Grilled or Baked Chicken with asparagus and brown rice couscous (with cranberry sauce at Buster’s Request)
Broccoli – Stir fry something like this one subbing out the green beans for the broccoli
Zucchini – maybe I’ll serve it with the chicken and asparagus above
Celery (with carrots & onions) – simple bean soup, not sure what kind yet
Lots of Cabbage (traded my bell peppers for an extra cabbage) – maybe sauerkraut for the future, maybe for next week
Meals ideas from Produce I already had in the house:
Potatoes – Oven potatoes roasted with fresh turmeric and a Sunday Roast, but no rice pudding with tonight’s version (a great dinner for a feast day… The Meeting of the Lord in the Temple)
Spaghetti Squash – Something like this, only with ground pork, mushrooms, and pesto sauce
Butternut Squash – Adzuki Beans with Butternut Squash Carrots & Onions (celery, too) – Lamb and Rice Pilaf
This week was a great week where I only ended up at the store for about five items. One was three dollars worth of socks for Little Man, so I don’t know if I should count it in the tally. Not every week turns out so kind to the pocket book, but it’s weeks like this that allow me to set aside money for the next twenty-five pound bag of rice, millet, or buckwheat.
Now all I have left to do for this week’s food is decide what little something extra I’m throwing together for Snuggle Bunny’s name day tomorrow. I forgot to freeze some of her birthday cupcakes from last week, so I’m going to have to wing it tomorrow.