Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 182- Back on the Wagon?

So, it's halfway time. Sometime this morning (if it ever stops raining) I'm going to hit the grocery store. Actually 2 stores.

For the second half of the year, I said there would be some changes. And there will be. I want to cook more- even I get sick of junk food eventually, I'm tired all the time, and I really just want to not feel blah. Better food is a big part of fixing that.

How I plan to do that is easy (in theory)- I'll make a meal plan. Meal planning isn't fun, though, or sexy. It's useful, but that's about it. Some people can meal plan on the fly (Heidi), while others (that'd be me) run over horribly when we wing it. Which is why planning is my plan.

So, How does this plan work?

Well, it's my plan, so probably not at all.

Was that too negative? Ok, it works like this- I know what I want *right now*. I want chana masala, black bean humus, falafel, samosas, and sweet potato gnocchi. The first two are pretty easy, and the last 4 take a bit more work. In the case of samosas, it's a lot more work. This week's wish list is mostly pretty cheap.

What if I really really really wanted something super expensive? Something like Greek salad for lunch every day, or store bought curry sauce, or vegan cheese enchiladas? The steps start the same-

  1. Look at the food list and see if there's a theme or common ingredient. If the recipes are all over the place and the only things used more than once are salt and oil it's not going to work.
  2. If I have a theme (or at least a set of ingredients that overlap) I make a list- either in my head or on paper- of everything that goes into each recipe. I check the list against what I've already got and the missing ingredients go on the "shopping" list.
  3. I price out that list- using the last prices I've seen and sale fliers. When I get to a total of $6.80 it's time to stop.
Obviously this depends on me shopping, on not giving in to dreams of melty vegan (or other) cheese, and on my developing some follow-through.

My (estimated) grocery list looks something like this right now-
  • 1lb dry chickpeas- $1.40
  • 5lb bag white flour- $1.49
  • 1 small jar tomato paste- $0.75
  • 1 head garlic- $0.40
  • 1lb sweet potatoes- $0.70
  • 1lb carrots- $0.67
  • 1lb frozen peas- $0.89
  • 1 small tomato- $0.25
  • 1 tiny onion- $0.25
I already have onion, and it *should* be enough, but if it isn't, I'd rather have spare. I already have rice for the curry, chips and black beans for the hummus, potatoes and spices (sorta) for the samosas. It makes this first week rather more affordable, but with tax this will still come out right around $7.

I dunno. Guess we'll see how it works, right? There aren't any breakfasts in here. I'd like to start making/ eating breakfast, but I just don't see it happening. Perhaps I'll make some bagels with the flour, but I wouldn't count on it. Not this week, anyway. "Lunches" will probably just be servings of mains, I never really saw the point in special food for lunch.

Thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Shopping sometime in the next 5 hours (before the church/ brunch types are free).

Photo by Crystl


  1. I know you said oatmeal is not your favorite (I'm right there with you!) but have you ever tried grits for breakfast? It's inexpensive, and a serving is about 3 Tbls so even a small canister can last forever. And it can be dressed up anyway you like them. Just a thought. Congrats on making it to the halfway mark, and good luck!

  2. Momma- I can deal with grits if I've re-named them polenta and covered them in enough stuff that I can't taste/ see/ feel them any more. Not really big on cream of wheat, either. I'm just not a breakfast food kinda girl.

    My ideal breakfast is an open face sammich with hummus, onion, tomato, avocado or vegan cheese, and lemon/ lime juice/ salt/ pepper. Not very breakfasty, but it tastes good and I'm not starving 20 minutes later.

    Working on the luck. Hopefully this second half of the year will be easier. Or at least (slightly) better funded.

  3. I had a thought for you. Ever roasted garbanzos? I never have but I've heard they're a quite tasty, crunchy snack. Could be a nice chip replacement.

    Good luck with the meal planning. I used to do that but now I rarely do. I really should start again.

  4. So, I wanna know, how much did you wind up spending in the first half? And how much on 'cheats'? Are ya gonna tell us? I'm curious.

  5. Alyse- I haven't roasted garbanzos, but I might try it later this week. Dunno yet.

    Cyndee- my tracking kinda fell apart somewhere in there. Best guess on "official" food is between $190 and $200. Cheating was somewhere between $100 and $300- I really have no idea how much was actually spent.maybe I make a spreadsheet for this second half, actually keep real track this time?

    So the first half (and technically the whole year) is full of fail. Good thing I believe in do-overs, huh?

  6. Tip that may or may not be useful:

    Try salad bars for small servings of fresh fruits or veggies. If you don't need an entire 'something', a good salad bar might be cheaper. I think I might do this the next time I need carrots.