week 4: the budget update

For starters, the fourth week of the project & fifth week of the semester is over. #terrifying

This week, I really tried to challenge us: lots of new foods. Limited ingredients. Not that tough, since I decided to impulsively buy a pumpkin when I was at the store for a bottle of wine… then got a pumpkin in our CSA basket. And a butternut squash.

So, here’s the thing: I’ve already been dreaming about bulky sweaters, coffee bowls filled with warm cider or cocoa & the hill of trees outside our window changing colors. I was excited to have this many orange meals. I knew I wanted that as our base, and I’ve been collecting fun recipes to try for a while. In an effort to minimize waste (buying the cheeses & cream just once and knowing in advance how I would use all of it), I made a rookie roster. Lots of challenging recipes in terms of time, but not technique. They’re all wonderful recipes, and I recommend each of them.

Notice how few things we had to buy. We had essentially  one specialty ingredient: spelt flour. I made myself really stock up, since I hate putting a cup of flour in a large plastic bag to bring home & throw away immediately. I wanted to make it worth it, which means there will be more ravioli in our future–I haven’t found another way that I enjoy eating spelt, and I haven’t been satisfied with the substitutes.

Speaking of substitutes: They’re what save our budget. $8 for pine nuts? Yeah right. Sunflower seeds in my pesto. Already have the ground flax seeds I need? Guess what I’ll be using in place of chia seeds for the ravioli! For the trickier things (like changing flour but keeping the right gluten content), I live by the Food Substitution Bible.

This week, I’m also noting which foods came from the farmers’ market (FM); the rest come from Bloomingfoods. The goal is to transition more to the market. Now, enough chatter. Check out our progress, and please check out some of these recipes. It was an incredible week.

MENU
*
denotes ingredients purchased/made in prior weeks
FM denotes farmers’ market (otherwise, from Bloomingfoods)

Breakfast: pumpkin loaf or Clif bars or smoothies

Meals:
Fri. lunch: leftovers 
Fri. dinner:
homemade mushroom-broccoli pizza
Sat. lunch: won tons with bok choi, mushrooms & pork
Sat. dinner: pumpkin chili & pumpkin garlic knots
Sun. lunch: more pumpkin chili & pumpkin garlic knots
Sun. dinner: homemade pumpkin ravioli with kale-sunflower pesto
M/T/R lunch: spaghetti squash with homemade pasta sauce & sweet peppers
Mon. dinner: 
random leftovers
Tues. dinner: butternut squash & goat cheese tart
Wed. lunch:
veggie sandwich at school (forgot lunch)
Wed. dinner:  mashed potatoes & sauerkraut with salad
Thurs. dinner: homemade pumpkin ravioli with kale-sunflower pesto

Snacks:
salted almonds*, pumpkin garlic knots, chips & homemade salsa

SHOPPING

CSA (average $25/week)
garlic
tomatoes
basil
sweet peppers
PUMPKINS!
butternut squash
zucchini
bok choi
extra tomato
cucumbers or beans

Organic Groceries ($55)
pork
onion (FM)
milk
1 starter yogurt
goat cheese
local butter
eggs (FM)
flours (bread, all-purpose, spelt)
kale (FM)
apples (FM)
peaches (FM)
potatoes (FM)
2 cans beans
1 can corn

Impulse Purchases ($10)
kambucha tea (in a glass jar we’ll reuse) & a six-pack

From Garden
basil
tomatoes
rosemary
thyme
eggplants
jalapeño peppers

WASTE

  • cookies I found in the back of the freezer, into the trash
  • a container of pasta salad & a chunk of bread, into the trash (How do so many things fall to the back of the fridge?!)
  • LOADS of compost
  • wrapper from my sandwich and M&Ms from Wednesday’s lunch
  • wrappers from Clif bars
  • six glass bottles & their cardboard holder, recycled
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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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