Thanksgiving and Meal Prep: October week two

Thanksgiving weekend just happened and it was lovely!

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I had a great long weekend and I sewed/altered four garments! And I listed eight things in my etsy shop!

As far as meal prepping goes, thanksgiving leftovers are the name of the game this week! I finally ate up the last of that batch of pumpkin muffins so I tried out a new recipe and made some Oat and Nut Muffins. See my clever use for leftover cranberry sauce?

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I snuck some pea protein powder in these things and they are quite tasty for only 165 calories! A bit on the small side I must admit but good for snacking.

I bought some apples and milk but that’s about everything for the week. Lunches and dinners will be Thanksgiving leftovers and leftover turkey frittata supplemented by soup and bread from the freezer. I’m rounding out breakfasts with frozen baked oatmeal or yogurt with cranberry sauce and granola. No cost breakdowns this time I’m afraid. Thanksgiving food and decorations cost me about $60 and the milk and eggs ran me another $6. Everything else came from my very well stocked kitchen. The fact that I am completely out of freezer space definitely has nothing to do with the fact that I’m trying to eat what I’ve got in the kitchen. Totally unrelated.

Meal Plan: October Week One

I’m a bit late posting my meal plan for this week but here it is:

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I have a great big bag of carrots that I bought in early September so I decided to make carrot soup for lunches this week and use some up. I’m pairing that with hard boiled eggs instead of bread in an effort to change out some carb calories for protein calories. I still have some pumpkin muffins from last week and thanks to the 1/2 cup of coconut oil that went into that recipe, the muffins have kept very well in the fridge. I also got some Macintosh apples on sale this weekend as well. I keep trying out other fruits like pears or bananas and nothing seems to last well enough. Good thing I like apples!

Carrot and lentil soup

  • 20g Olive oil $0.20
  • 115g Onions $0.13
  • 350g Carrots $0.63
  • 185g Red lentils $0.61
  • 1 28oz can Diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 2L Vegetable stock $2.00
  • Spices (turmeric, cinnamon, paprika etc) $0.15

Total cost for 7 servings: $4.72

Per serving: $0.68, plus an egg ($0.21) is $0.88 per meal. Lunches this week will be 290 calories and 20g of protein.

Looking at this weeks plan the cost for a day of food will look something like this:

Breakfast (280 calories, 15g protein, ~$0.65)

  • 100g Homemade yogurt
  • 30g Homemade granola

Lunch (300 calories, 20g protein, $1)

  • Carrot and lentil soup
  • Hardboiled egg
  • Sugar free jello

Snack (312 calories, 5g protein, $0.72)

  • Pumpkin muffin
  • Apple

Dinner (458 calories, 21g protein, ~$2.50)

  • White bean and sausage soup
  • 60g Garlic bread with 5g parmesan

Dessert (176 calories, 29g protein, ~$1.07)

  • 100g Homemade yogurt
  • 25g Protein powder

Daily totals: 1527 calories, 91g protein, $5.94.

I’ll probably throw in more jello or fudge the dinner numbers a bit but those are the rough numbers for the week. I’ll also likely have the carrot soup for dinner a couple of times. I had imagined I could keep my food costs under $5 a day so this is a bit higher than I’d like. I’ll keep an eye on future weeks and see if that’s a reasonable expectation. I’d like to keep my budget reasonable and sustainable so looking at real data helps me figure that out. Speaking of sustainable: I went to Costco for my quarterly visit and now I have $15 for groceries for the rest of the month. Whoops!

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The soup looks yummy!

Meal planning: September week four recipe costs

So on my meal plan for this week is a pot of French onion soup and a batch of pumpkin muffins.

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French Onion Soup

  • Onions – $3.72
  • Beef base – $1.77
  • Flour  – $0.03
  • Worchestershire sauce – $0.10
  • Salt – $0.05
  • Bay leaf – free! From my mother’s plant

Total: $5.67 Makes 10 servings so $0.57 per bowl and is 208 calories a bowl. I serve it with a slice homemade bread ($0.10?) plus a slice of swiss cheese melted ($0.50) for a total of $1.17 for a meal. Can’t get much better than that!

Pumpkin Muffins*

  • Flour $0.18
  • Sugar $0.20
  • Brown sugar $0.20
  • Coconut oil $0.50
  • Baking soda, baking powder, salt, spices, vanilla extract $0.75
  • Eggs $0.42
  • Pumpkin $1.64

Total: $3.89 Makes a dozen muffins so $0.32 per muffin and they’re 224 calories each.

*I lost one of the receipts for this so I’m guessing quite a bit unfortunately.

 

Meal planning: September week four

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The last week of the month is always tight for my grocery budget. I do that on purpose though. It’s a fun challenge and every month I get better at it! Coming up this week:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • French onion soup
  • Vanilla “latte” oatmeal
  • Pumpkin muffins
  • Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Tis the season for pumpkin everything! I have a dinner party to go to next Friday so I’ll bring the coffee cake to that. I’ll toast up the bread with some cheese to go with the French onion soup at lunch.

I don’t generally plan for my dinners. I have a lot of frozen dinners prepped in the freezer plus my evening plans are usually busy and fluid which makes planning challenging. Instead I have a few quick recipes that I can make using pantry or freezer staples so that’s been working fairly well so far.

Anyway that’s the plan! I need to pick up some onions for the soup but that’s about it. Not a bad end to the month.

Let’s Talk About Frozen Pizza

So yesterday I posted about my meal plan for the coming week. I planned to make a couple of frozen pizzas from scratch. I’ve done this a few of times before but I wanted to do the math this time to determine if it was really worth my time to save a few bucks. I mean frozen pizzas are cheap already right?*

I made three pizzas, two pepperoni and pesto and one tex-mex-ish, and here are the ingredients:

  • 600g all purpose flour – $0.42
  • 20g yeast – $0.32
  • 30g olive oil – $0.30**
  • Few shakes seasoning – $0.20**
  • 4 tablespoons pesto – $0.50
  • 200g pepperoni – $2.20
  • 150g mozzarella – $1.50
  • 250g ground pork – $3.75**
  • 200g homemade refried beans – $0.50
  • 5 tablespoons salsa – $0.25
  • 150g cheddar cheese – $1.50

 

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Total cost of ingredients: $11.44, ~$1.63 per serving

Total time to make: 1.5 hours (including kitchen cleanup)

Number of servings: 3 pizzas, each serves 2-3 people

Pizzas in the frozen section seem to go from $5-7 or so. So did I save some money? A little bit, plus no weird ingredients and I can calculate the calories with certainty (238 per slice of the pepperoni and 337 of the tex mex in case you were wondering). It took and hour and a half of my life though. Luckily I enjoy cooking and I get lots of satisfaction of projects like this one. I think I will keep doing this! Although I might switch to vegetarian pizzas to get a better ROI of my time.

 

*I was feeling exceptionally lazy a few weeks ago and almost ordered a pizza like a normal person but that would have been $40 out of my $125 grocery budget and I’m definitely not normal about my grocery budget.

** I’m guessing on these prices.

Meal Planning: September, week three

I definitely want to write about my food.

I definitely want to write about my food. I spend a whole heck of a lot of my precious precious time thinking about, reading about and making food. Not so much with the eating though, that usually happens pretty quickly. I like to make things from scratch because it’s (usually) fun for me and often also cheaper than buying things ready-made. On that last point, I’d like to start tracking food costs more closely to better see when my efforts make it worth it.

I do a lot of prep-cooking and freezer cooking in an attempt to make my time more efficient. It usually works! As long as I remember to actually turn on the slow-cooker… I also happily use technology to streamline the food-making I do. I use a meal-planning website called Plan to Eat to organize my recipes and shopping lists. It does the job so well that I’m thrilled to pay for this service despite my tight budget. I highly recommend you give a free trial with those fine folks a go, if you’re interested at all.

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Not too much excitement happening here. I do my shopping early Saturday mornings because I hate people for maximum efficiency so that necessitates a Friday-night planning session. I have almost everything I need for the week coming. The blue box indicates a recipe while the grey an ingredient, which both end up on my shopping list all split into nice categories like produce, condiments, dry goods… It makes for very happy shopping.

 

And yes I make my own frozen pizzas.