Menu Plan for the Week and a LOT of Groceries

Goodness.  Remind me not to grocery shop at the store until after I pick up my Bountiful Baskets order.  Come to think of it – never mind.  We’ll eat all of this, and maybe I won’t have to buy as much next week.  Maybe.  It is a good thing we have a second refrigerator because we have a lot of food in our house right now.  Here’s how this week’s grocery shopping went for me:

On Tuesday night, we picked up our Azure Standard co-op order.  I got 5 pounds of carrots, 6 pounds of yams, 5 pounds of peanuts, 25 pounds of red beans, 6 pounds of chicken thighs (not pictured), and 50 pounds of yellow potatoes (not pictured).

groceries feb25

I use roasted, unsalted peanuts (like the ones pictured above) to make delicious homemade peanut butter.  If your family wants to avoid hydrogenated oils, but you don’t like the taste of plain, natural peanut butter – try this recipe.  It’s incredible!

On Friday, I filled my cart at the store – mostly with price-matching items.  I scored some great deals!  I got apples, pears, sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, bananas, grapes (two varieties), spinach, mixed greens, baby carrots, cucumbers, and a cantaloupe.

groceries feb 27

Then on Saturday, I picked up my Bountiful Baskets order.  Mmmmm!  Asparagus, celery, apples, oranges, bananas, lettuce, pineapple, carrots, broccoli, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and avocados came in the surprise basket this time.  Plus, I had ordered 28 pounds of green beans.  It was perfect timing for these to be offered since we are almost out of our garden-grown green beans from last summer.

groceries feb 28 (1)

I had also ordered heirloom tomatoes and strawberries.  It feels like a little taste of summer with these goodies!

groceries feb 28 (2)

I’d say our family is pretty well set for at least one week – if not two.  I am so thankful we have such great sources for such great food!

We are feeding a big group of high school kids from our youth group here on Sunday night, and I plan to put out a big plate of veggies and a big plate of fruit along with sliced ham, french bread, and Angeled Eggs.  Maybe I’ll need to grocery shop next week after all.  :)

Here’s what’s on our menu this week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Sweet Potato Fries
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Clementines
  • Oranges
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Cantaloupe
  • Avocados
  • Grapes

We’ll be heading out of state for our end-of-season Homeschool Basketball Tournament on Thursday night.  I’ll be saving many of the “packable” fruits and veggies to take along with us to munch on all weekend.

Because I’m sure you’re dying to know:  The toilet is still sitting right outside my kitchen - but looooook!  There is tile on our new bathroom wall and floor…

bathroom 8

It looks so very pretty!  My husband is a work horse right now.  I am thanking him by loading his plate with heirloom tomatoes and fresh green beans.  I do what I can.  ;)

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Menu Plan for the Week – And I Am Officially Finished With Our Pantry Challenge

Since the beginning of January, I have been challenging myself to see if we could live off the food we have in our pantry and freezers – purchasing only fresh produce and dairy products.  It’s saved us several hundred dollars and we haven’t starved even a little bit.  I have loved getting more creative as I’ve been digging deeper into our bulk food supply to use up the food that has been in storage.

My goal was to continue this challenge through January and into February as long as I could.  On February 9, I hereby declared this challenge to be over here in the Coppinger household.  It was time to buy pantry items because running out of minced onion, garlic powder, sucanat, pasta, and tapioca – well yikes – how would I make my pudding?  :)  One of the biggest ways I save money is by buying food in bulk – as needed – so that I always have a nice supply of all staple food items.  So I caved.  Here’s what the UPS man brought to my door this week:

I had some credit at iHerb (thanks to those of you who took advantage of the $10 free groceries deal), so I used it to get bulk garlic powder, minced onion, and my favorite brand of sucanat.

groceries 2211

I rounded out this month’s Amazon Subscribe and Save order by getting two cases of Bearitos Organic Tortilla Chips (with a coupon!), a case of Tapioca Pearls, and a case of Organic Delallo Gemelli Pasta.  (For whatever reason, that shape of pasta is my favorite right now.)

groceries 2212

I also bought milk and eggs from our farmer friends this week.  We have been well stocked on fresh fruits and vegetables with my huge grocery store purchase last week, plus our Bountiful Basket delivery (need I remind you of my 36 crowns of broccoli?).  I did send Matt and Elias to the store yesterday to pick up a few items (their first price-matching experience!), but we’ve all be a little under the weather, so I didn’t get a picture of their purchase.  They picked up apples, pears, cucumbers, avocados, and grape tomatoes for great prices.

Here is how our menu this week is looking:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

What do you have on your menu this week?  Did you do a pantry/freezer challenge the past month or two?

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Menu Plan for the Week and My First Bountiful Basket!

Many of you have told me about Bountiful Baskets through the years, but it wasn’t an option for me until now.  Early Saturday morning, this is what I picked up:

bountiful baskets

It was so fun to get such a huge amount of good produce for such great savings.  The best deal I got was 20 pounds of broccoli for just $12.50.  It ended up being 36 broccoli crowns.  That, my friends, is a lot of broccoli.  I’ll share more about my broccoli adventures later this week.  Be on the edge of your seat for this.

My actual basket order included everything from purple potatoes to asparagus to jicama to an English cucumber.  Wow are we set for this week!  Plus I had already purchased $80 worth of produce at the store like mixed greens, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, cucumbers, mushrooms, carrots, cantaloupe, apples, and pears.  (Remember, we are a family of 6 and three of our boys are teenagers, so we tear through the groceries!)

I decided to share my weekly menu just a little bit differently today to give you a better idea of how I am now (easily!) adding many more fruits and veggies to our days.  Ever since I began including 1-4 fruit and veggies sides with our meals, my menu planning has become so much easier.  This seems opposite to people who feel that healthy eating is time consuming.  Not the way I do it – I promise!  Take note that all I have to do for most of the side dishes is pull them out of the fridge and give them a wash.  I also try to keep raw veggies sliced ahead of time to make them easy to throw on the table with our meals.  Cooked veggies only require a quick steam before serving.  Easy, easy!!

Here’s an idea of what a week’s worth of meals looks like for us:

Breakfast

1.  Peanut Butter Honey Toast, Applesauce, Blueberries
2.  Pumpkin Donuts (pumpkin is a bonus veggie!), Sliced Apples
3.  Quick Mix BiscuitsSausage Gravy, Pears (Justus’ bday choice)
4.  Scrambled Cheesy Eggs with Spinach, Strawberries
5.  Zucchini Carrot Bread, Applesauce
6.  Green Machine Milkshakes (yay, avocado!), Apple Slices, Toast
7.  Instant Oatmeal Packets, Blueberries, Clementines

Lunch

1.  Taco Salad (mixed greens, tomatoes), Pineapple
2.  Tuna Casserole, Mixed Greens or Spinach Salad, Peas, Cantaloupe
3.  Pizza Soup (includes carrots and tomato sauce), Clementines, Raw Carrots, Cucumbers, and Sweet Peppers
4.  Easy Cheesy Bean Dip with Chips, Avocado, Salsa, Pineapple, Raw Carrots, Cucumbers, and Sweet Peppers
5.  Lamb-burger patties, Cheesy Cauliflower Cakes (with spinach added), Sweet Peppers, Homemade Dill Pickles, Green Beans
6.  Baked Potatoes in the Crock Pot with Broccoli and Cheese, Peas, Kiwi
7.  Pizza Boats, Mixed Greens, Olives, Sweet Peppers, Raw Carrots and Cucumbers, Apples

Dinner

1.  Lasagna (recipe in What to Do With the Cow in Your Kitchen eBook), Mixed Greens, Green Beans, Strawberries (Justus’ bday choice)
2.  Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls (with spinach), Fruit Salad (apples, strawberries, pineapple)
3.  Calico Beans, Mixed Greens, Raw Carrots, Cucumbers, and Sweet Peppers, Pineapple
4.  Easy Noodle Stir Fry with Asparagus, Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach, and Yellow Squash; Cantaloupe
5.  Crock Pot Barbecue Chicken Breasts, Mixed Greens, Green Beans, Honey Glazed Carrots
6.  Popcorn ChickenSweet Potato Fries, Raw Carrots, Cucumbers, and Sweet Peppers
7.  Potato Soup (carrots and onions cooked into the broth), Homemade Pickles, Olives, Mixed Greens or Spinach

Now that doesn’t seem so hard, does it?  Really, the trickiest part is finding room to fit all the food into the fridge (I have two, thankfully) when I get home from the store – or in the case of this week – when I get home from picking up my co-op order.  Preparing and serving it though?  That’s a piece of cake cucumber.

Tell me about some of the fruits and veggies you’re serving and eating this week!

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Menu Plan for the Week – and What is Up With All the Strawberries?

Never, ever, ever have strawberries been available in our grocery stores this time of year that are both tasty and reasonably priced.  Typically between the months of October and April, we go strawberry-less.

Somehow though, the past few weeks have brought very tasty strawberries to our stores at a very good price – in January and February.  What in the world?  Seriously, does anyone know how this can be possible?  These particular strawberries are coming from Florida.  Are you able to find good strawberries in your area at a good price right now?  Shocked as I am, this Nebraska girl is thrilled.

feb 5 groceries

I price-matched (more on that tomorrow!) and got strawberries for just $1.29 per pound.  That price is amazing.  The strawberries are super tasty, too.  As you can see from my huge haul from the store, it was a great price matching week.  I loaded up on produce even more than normal.  All of the above cost under $100, so I’m very grateful.  We will have a great week of delicious food!

Here’s what this week’s menu options look like:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Cantaloupe
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Green Beans
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Cheesy Cauliflower Cakes
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Clementines

Thanking God for such abundance of wonderful food.  How blessed we are.

What’s on your menu this week?

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The Groceries I Bought This Week and Why I Bought Some Junk

Well, I can’t really say that I blew the grocery budget plan that I had this month – but I did end up spending over the $400 I thought I’d spend this month during my freezer/pantry challenge.  It’s food, and we need it, so all is well.  Since I stayed right around $500 for the month, this is still huge savings for our big family.  My hope is to get back at it and continue through the month of February with this challenge.  We have plenty of meat to work with and plenty of pantry items.  Sticking with purchasing only produce and dairy should work for one more month just fine!

Here’s a peek at what that extra spending went into:

Our Azure Standard order came in, which is always fun.  I ordered sweet potatoes, frozen peas, carrots, chicken thighs (love these!), and roasted peanuts.

azure order jan

I filled my cart at the grocery store – mostly with produce.  But as you can see, I also bought some junk.  Be glad you can’t see the frozen pizzas hiding behind the chips.

jan 28 groceries

 

Why did I buy junk, you ask?  Our church hosted a big youth rally this weekend, and our family signed up to host several of the boys for two nights.  Many of the boys who came to town (from 5 different states) are good friends with our boys, having become acquainted at church camp the past few years.  Youth rally weekends like this are like reunions for them!  All that to say, we housed 17 teenage boys Friday and Saturday nights.  There is no shortage of great friends for our boys, that is for sure!

Their meals were all taken care of at the church building, but once at our house for the night – they  needed snacks.  I laid out huge bowls of fruit for the boys to help themselves to, and I also provided chips and a little bit of pizza.  Homemade food was out of the question this time as Matt and I have been teaching classes at the youth rally all weekend.

Surely you’re wondering:  How was it housing so many extra teenage boys?  Oh my, it was so much fun.  We know most of the teens at the rally.  So having the boys in our home was awesome.  It always sounds like a lot – having so many extra teens.  But truly, they are so nice, so polite, and so enjoyable.

I will say, with much affection and a bit of a cringe:  My entire house smells like a 3,000 square foot sock.  Whoahoho.  I love these boys and will gladly fill my home with them.  But 34 teenage boy feet is something else.  There are no words.

I should also let you know about the um…interesting situation with our bathroom remodel.  All is well really – but as is typical of home improvement projects, this one is taking longer than expected.  Matt had been working and working to at least get a working shower in before all the boys (and their feet) showed up.  He was up until 4:30 this morning finishing it.  (And then he taught Bible classes all day today at the rally.  He is a Rock Star.)

bathroom 3

 

Everything else looks pretty disgusting in the bathroom right now, but hey, how about that pretty shower?!!!

Fun as all this is, I am one tired mom.  Sleep isn’t on the agenda much during youth rally weekends.  I’ll nap after they all go home on Sunday afternoon, you can bet on it.  Writing out a menu plan for this weekend to share with you isn’t within my physical or mental capability.  Maybe you can leave some yummy meal ideas in the comments for me this time?  Aw, aren’t you sweet.  :)

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Menu Plan for This Week and a Freezer/Pantry Challenge Update

Well, with my huge stock-pile of food, we are still doing just fine with only purchasing fresh produce, eggs, and dairy.  Confession:  You will see a little package of Hormel’s Naturals lunch meat in this grocery shopping picture from this week.  I needed some slivered ham for a fun breakfast idea my friend Brenda told me about at Bunco.  I had to have it, yes I did.  You’ll be thankful she told me about this and that I veered off course just enough to buy it.  Just wait until I share the recipe.  :)

jan 22

This isn’t everything, by the way.  I had to make a mid-week run to the store since we were almost out of everything fresh.
I got cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and I can’t remember what else because it’s gone already.

Can you believe I bought strawberries in January??  I can’t even believe it.  Somehow, they were a great price and actually looked good.  This never happens in Nebraska, but seeing as we are having 50° weather, it does sort of feel like spring.  Even if these strawberries aren’t as delicious as they are in the summertime, I figure that at the very least we can choke them down with some Chocolate Whipped Cream.  Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.

I bought three packages of blueberries this week – woohoo for price matching!  I also price-matched broccoli, cauliflower, and apples.  This price-matching thing has been saving me a bundle.

Speaking of which, I am excited to share that our family has seen some significant grocery budget savings this month since I’ve bought only fresh food and have avoided buying anything for our freezers or pantry.  We will be ending the month with spending at just a tad over $400.  This number is fantastic for my family in this season of life.  (Oh my, I remember the days I spent less than that for everything including meat and pantry staples.  Hello, teenage appetites.)

I have also found it interesting to note that it takes between $100-$130 per week to keep us in fresh produce, eggs, and milk.  Seem like a lot?  I beg to differ.  That amount goes a long way toward awesome nutrition so it is very, very worth it.  I also love thinking about how our preserved garden produce helps keep that amount as low as it is.  I also (how many times can I use also in the same paragraph?) realize how blessed we are that our fresh milk and eggs are priced so very reasonably.

And now, here is our list of menu items for this week.  What a blessing to have so much variety and so much good food!

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Sides (I serve 1-4 with each meal)

If you are also taking an “Eat from the Pantry and Freezer” Challenge, I’d love to hear how it is going for you!

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Menu Plan for the Week, a Freezer/Pantry Clean Out Challenge Update, and How I Got Ahead This Weekend

It would appear that my “only buy produce, eggs, and dairy” challenge has also turned into a “see how deep you can dig down into the pantry and freezer to surprise your family with random food choices” challenge.  I’m having a lot of fun.  My family?  I don’t even think they’ve actually noticed.

It’s just food to them.  As long as there is plenty and as long as it is tasty, there doesn’t seem to be any argument to eating muffins made with freeze dried strawberries (this recipe, only with almost expired freeze dried strawberries) or an un-named casserole that used up the rest of our turkey and some odds and ends of pasta.

Kids: Mmm, what’s this casserole called, Mom?
Me: Dinner.
Kids shrug and get seconds

I have not made a dent in our store of food, though I am panicking a little bit as it appears we are completely out of the vital ingredient dried cranberries.  I’m not sure how we will survive.

I had fun doing some price matching and buying our fresh produce for the week.  Actually, most of what you see in the picture is gone already.  We plow through it.  I’ll probably head back to the store on Wednesday if we can wait that long.

groceries 116

Yes, that is one big sour cream tub.
I like that this brand contains only one ingredient, “cultured cream.”
We go through it pretty quickly, and as a side note:
When I use up the sour cream, the container is perfect for soup when I take meals to other families.

Regarding my plans to get ahead, can I just confess (again) how much I dislike cleaning?  I was very willing to spend hours in the kitchen, but finding the motivation to go upstairs to tackle some filth?  That is not nearly as much fun.  Let’s focus on the fun food, shall we?

First thing, I grabbed out my Oh, For Real book and all spices needed to make Turkey Sausage and Ranch Salad Dressing Mix.  Two full jars of spice mixes later, I put 12 pounds of ground turkey with spices on the stove to cook.

weekend 1

While the meat was cooking, I went to work on muffins.  I had already put together and frozen Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins the night before, so I started on Banana Muffins and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins.  Super easy!

Realizing I was hungry and about to faint (not really, but I thought I should add some drama), I pulled out tuna salad and a bunch of fruits and veggies.  The boys had slept in and weren’t hungry yet for lunch, so I munched alone while jotting notes in my Menu Planning Notebook.

weekend 2

After working on menu ideas for this week, I turned over to the Freezer Section of printables.  I decided to start jotting down what I have left in my freezers since I’m working on getting them cleaned.  Having a running list will be helpful.  I didn’t finish the list, because the turkey sausage was finished cooking and I was done eating.  I’ll take my list out to my freezers later to take final inventory.

weekend 3

Yes, I know.  Corn isn’t a vegetable. 

Last, I took a few minutes (yep, that’s all it took) to make a double batch of Instant Oatmeal.  It filled three half-gallon jars, so we should be set on that for a while.  I love having that on hand!

weekend 4

After the meat cooled, I separated it into freezer bags for easy “almost ready” meals.  We’ll be using some for Sausage Gravy this week!

Here’s what our menu choices look like for this week:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Sides and Snacks (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

By the way, this Easy Veggie Dip continues to be a big hit as we work our way through lots of raw vegetables!

How has your weekend been?  

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Menu Plan for the Week and My Grocery Budget Goals for January

Now that we’re back from our holiday travels, I have felt the need to clean out some of our pantry and freezer items.  Buying in bulk and buying ahead really works well for our family, but I’m thinking it may be a good idea to dig down to the bottom of my storage containers and freezers to see what random items I’ve kept pushing to the side for the last few months.  I have plenty of meat, plenty of frozen vegetables and fruit, plenty of pasta, plenty of so many food items!

So I thought to myself, “What if?  What if each week during January (and maybe February?) I only buy fresh produce from the store, eggs and milk from our local sources, and (wait for it)…nothing else?  What if I forced myself to think simply, to use what we have, and to be creative?”

I’m really not sure if this little experiment is going to work for me.  The beauty of buying in bulk when I come across a sale is that I pretty much never run out of anything we need and pretty much never have to pay full price for anything.  One or two months of eating from our food storage and not taking advantage of deals might set me back a little bit.  Plus, whatever shall I do if I run out of applesauce?!?!??!?!

Right.  I am not going to run out of applesauce.

applesauce_2

There are dozens more jars where this came from.  We had a great apple year.

Recovering from my bulk-food-obsession-panic, I realized that there will likely be good deals to be found in February and March when I’m ready to stock up again.  Duh.  In the meantime, I think we’ll see some big grocery budget savings.  Sweet!

Our menu this week reflects all the food I have ingredients to make without having to shop.  Because this is the beginning of our experiment, I have plenty to work with.  And who am I kidding?  My family could probably eat well for more than three or four months with all the food I have stored away.  It’s like a Coppinger Family Grocery Store in my back room.  I’d show you a picture, but it’s freezing in that room and therefore a terrible mess because it’s too cold to organize, and I’m not humble enough to share the insanity all over the internet.

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

 Fruit and Veggie Sides (I serve 1-4 with every meal)

  • Spicy Avocado Dip
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Baby Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed Greens
  • Spinach
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Oranges
  • Blackberries
  • Applesauce
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Pineapple
  • Zucchini

Have you ever done an “Eat from the Pantry and Freezer” Challenge?  Anybody care to join me in this little experiment?  That way, on January 31 at the end of this challenge, together we can enjoy eclectic meals of whatever is left of our rice, tuna, and of course, applesauce.  Don’t forget the applesauce.

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Menu Plan for the Week

We’ve been on the road for many days.  My husband’s family is from California, so once every two years we make the long journey to visit them.  Flying and renting a car would be super expensive for the six of us, so a three day road trip (one way) it is!  Phew, what a trek.

We are en route right now, getting hungrier and hungrier for home cooked meals as we go.  Once we arrive at home, here are the meals we look forward to (depending on what fresh produce I’ll be able to pick up at the store):

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Fruit and Veggie Side Dishes (I serve 1-4 per meal)

  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Clementines
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Applesauce
  • Asparagus
  • Spinach
  • Mixed Greens
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Pomegranates
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Cucumbers

Did you do any traveling this holiday season?

Be sure to get your free shipping and BOGO coconut oil this weekend!

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