Tag Archives: budget

Menu, Week of 4/14 (with a side of sadness)


I am really struggling with grief here still. I really think it is a failing of our culture that people expect death and grief to only be a brief blip in your life–a week off to attend the funeral, be sad, then get back to normal. Everything is not normal. Even though my grandmother was very old and her death wasn’t entirely unexpected, I am really having a hard time getting back in the swing of things. (Hence, Menu Plan Monday on Tuesday…)

In a way, it is made worse by the fact that losing her was somewhat expected–we started spending more time with her, as much as we could. In one sense, this is awesome–I don’t have regrets, she knew we loved her, and she got to see me crocheting, which brought her a lot of happiness and satisfaction. But on the other hand, the change of her being gone is even more profound. Planning my week makes me sad, because it reminds me I don’t have to plan around our visits.

However, life goes on, as everyone knows. School activities keep on taking up our evenings, expenses keep coming up that make me want to limit our food budget (5th grade camp and new cheerleading uniform expenses are the big ones this month…), and those darn kids still want to eat every day. And, now that I wouldn’t mind leaning back on the occasional fast food meal, my kids suddenly have taken everything I have tried to teach them about eating  and nutrition to heart and they tell me they don’t want that, they want the healthy food I cook for them, ;). I guess that is good, something is sticking. We all want to have some normalcy, too.

Sunday: We ate McDonald’s after coming back from a weekend trip (more on that later)

Monday: Shrimp and langostino risotto with asparagus and peas
I took my dog outside and discovered some asparagus growing in my garden! Hooray!

Tuesday: It is foursquare day, so I am meeting up with some local foursquare people at Urban Eats

Wednesday: Salmon noodle casserole, steamed broccoli
The kids love it and it is easy to make.

Thursday: Peanut Coconut Curry Chicken, brown rice/quinoa
I seem to be incapable of making plain rice or plain quinoa these days.

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: Out with a friend or leftovers

See a lot more menu ideas at orgjunkie.com


Making Things: A Few Thoughts so Far


Today’s project is still in progress, and I suspect it won’t be done until late, so I am taking some time now to reflect on how the project thinking smileyis going in general. I know, it’s only day 4, but what is the point of havinga blog if I can’t use it for a little navel-gazing?

My biggest takeaway so far? I need to go upstairs to go to bed earlier each night. I am not saying I actually need to go to sleep earlier, although I do. I mean I need to stop thinking of going upstairs to get ready for bed as actually going to bed. I’ve been trying to write in my journal each evening, just a bit with some ideas and general thoughts, and it is hard to fit that in AND read for a bit AND brush my teeth and wash my face AND get enough sleep if I don’t head upstairs until 10:30 or 11:00 PM. That would be a fine time to go to sleep, but it is too early to start a before bed routine that takes an hour or more.

Also, if I thought I was obsessed with making things before (and I totally thought that), I was underestimating how obsessed I could get. Everything I look at now, I think about what I could make with it. Every piece of art or craft I see, I wonder if I could do the same, or use the same technique. I WANT TO DO ALL THE CRAFTS! ALL THE ARTS! It’s a little crazy. I thought making something every day would calm that urge. If anything, I worried it would *limit* my making; that I would make one thing and then move on to slothdom in front of the tv. Not so. I hope I keep up this level of momentum and inspiration.

On a related note, this could get very expensive if I am not careful. I want to save some money for a cool road trip with my kids this summer, so I have to be careful. I am thinking that I need to focus more on reclaimed materials. Here are some ideas I have for that:

  • Make some t-shirt yarn with the pile of outgrown t-shirts in the basement from my children
  • Visit Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for cool materials–I am particularly keen on doing something with old paned windows, but I also want to look at furniture and cabinets
  • Yard sales and estate sales in the spring are probably a good place to find all kinds of craft supplies
  • Do something with all the wine bottles and jars I have been saving from my own use–probably several somethings
  • Good will is another good place to look for materials

Where do you get cheap art and craft supplies?

Menu, Week of 5/6


I am once again in a place where I need to be extra creative, because I need to make due with what we have in the house. I did go buy a few perishables this weekend, but end of school field trips, fees and I don’t even know what else are squeezing our budget. Fortunately, I have a lot of staples on hand, and I like being creative!

Sunday: Fend for yourself – I made a big pan of Taco Lasagna Saturday night, so I wanted to get that eaten up. Unfortunately, the kids were not big fans of eating it two nights in a row, so only I ate it, and there is still a lot! They found other things to eat, though.

Monday: Speedy Jambalaya – We did some cleaning this weekend, and I found an old copy of Taste of Home with this recipe. When I told the girl what we were having, she was very upset and said “That is not a real food, that is just a world people made up” with great disgust. She has a problem with new things. This isn’t even that strange–we eat other creole dishes, some of which she even likes! It turned out very good, though, and she didn’t hate it at least.

Tuesday: Chicken in peanut coconut curry sauce, Red Lentil Dal – This is easy, cheap, and something the kids don’t appreciate as much as I do, so it is good for a night when they will be with their dad.

Wednesday: Chinese meatballs with peas and pineapple over rice – I will make this with ground turkey instead of beef.

Thursday: Beef stew – This will probably be more like what Rachael Ray calls a stoup–not quite as thick as a stew, but definitely not a soup.

Friday: Honey and hot sauce chicken strips, steamed broccoli, pumpkin pasta (made with corn pasta)

Saturday: Leftovers, or something creative…

This menu will be linked up at orgjunkie.com–head over there for lot’s more inspiration!

Menu, Week of 11/27


I went shopping on Black Friday with my mom and aunt, then I had to take my car in on Saturday to get the brakes fixed. They were making some grinding noises, but not every time I used the brakes, so I thought I might be getting in there before it became a huge issue, but that turned out not to be the case. $429 later, I am making a menu plan that relies heavily on what is in my pantry/freezer/garden. Yes, garden–there are still kale, broccoli, radishes and a few other greens available out there, plus some tomatoes and tomatilloes we picked two weeks ago when putting the garden to rest for the year. There are Brussels sprouts, too, but they are still growing, and may not be ready this week. Something gnawed at my plants all spring, summer and early fall, but they appear to be growing now. Hooray for cold tolerant veggies!

Sunday: Pepperoni pizza with chickpea flour crust
I know, no veggies to speak of. We were tired.

Monday: Turkey and rice soup made with the turkey carcass, fried green tomatoes, crustless chocolate pecan pie
I am working from home today, so the turkey has been boiling away all morning, and my house smells like T-day again. I will freeze some, because I am making a huge pot of stock–we had nearly 20 pound bird–and then make the soup with rice and whatever veggies we have in the fridge. We pulled a lot of tomatoes off of the tomato plants two weeks ago before we pulled them for the year; lots of them have turned red, but some are still stubbornly green, so I will fry them up since my mother is coming over. She and I are the only ones who like the fried green tomatoes. The pie is leftover from Saturday night.

Tuesday: Tomato and Crab soup, goat cheese and pecan Nut Thins
I do have some red tomatoes to use up, and this soup looks very interesting. I don’t like to go all out cooking when the kids are at their dad’s house, though, so cheese and crackers on the side is enough to round out this meal.

Wednesday: Black beans and rice, canned pineapple
I put a lot of veggies in my black beans and rice, so I don’t think I need extras on the side. I may put some Italian sausage in the mix to add some bulk, too.

Thursday: Pork and Tomatillo Stew, cornbread
All the crockpot recipe that require you to add things in the middle of the day usually really bother me, because what is convenient about that? Aren’t crockpots supposed to be for days when you are gone all day? However, I work from home on Thursdays, so this will be fine. I have some tomatillos from the garden still that need to be used up, so there may be more than a pound in this…good for the freezer, right? I bought a gluten-free flour mix I will use in this.

The kids will be at their dad’s for the weekend, so I am not sure what I will have. Maybe tuna salad, although my mayo is looking pretty old. Maybe leftovers. I should be able to get through the week not buying much more than some egg, juice, bananas and soy milk.

I think I will make another turkey and kale frittata tomorrow night for quick breakfasts. We also have cereal, oatmeal and plenty of lunch snacks.

What will you be having this week?

This post will be linked up to Orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday.

Menu, Week of 11/14


This is one of those weeks when I would like to avoid the grocery store. I may go buy some bread, orange juice, soy milk and bananas, but then again, I may not. I need more money! Or, less spendthrift ways.

Monday: Kelly’s Overnight Chicken, purple potatoes, broccoli, fried green tomatoes

Tuesday: Chicken enchiladas from the freezer, because I have to be at my son’s parent teacher conference by 6:20

Wednesday: pan-grilled chicken with cranberry salsa, pumpkin risotto, peas

Thursday: Creole Tuna, rice, steamed carrots

Friday: chicken enchiladas, salsa, avocado

I also need to make this quinoa salad on Monday for the teachers’ dinner during parent teacher conferences on Tuesday. I think I will have to make a double batch, because I love that stuff, and that will carry me through the week for lunch. I also need to bring cranberry sauce and pumpkin risotto to work on Thursday, when many of the people on my floor do a potluck holiday feast. So, I will make a double batch of cranberry orange sauce on Monday and a double batch of risotto on Wednesday and I should be set.

I will need to buy a few things, but I might be able to get away with only buying red onions, oranges and avocados, plus the items above. Not too shabby for a low-budget week!

This post will be linked up to Orgjunkie.com for Menu Plan Monday.