Tag Archives: sustainable food budget challenge

Food Budget Update and Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

As far as the Sustainable Food Budget Challenge goes, we’re failing.  Last weekend, I spent 137.20 at the grocery store and farmer’s market.  Today, I spent 167.70, which brings the grocery total to 304.90, out of the $323.00 allowed for the month.  Remember, I went into this challenge knowing we wouldn’t make it, but I’m doing this as an exploration rather than an achievable goal.

The bill was a little higher today because we’re having my brothers over for supper tonight, plus having my family over for a quick breakfast tomorrow before heading off to Ed’s side for lunch.  My mom’s bringing a lot for breakfast, so I didn’t have to get that much.  I also bought more of items that were on sale: cereal, canned tomatoes, granola bars. 

Since I’ll make scrambled eggs tomorrow and I love to make eggs for breakfast or supper, I’ll share my scrambled eggs recipe.  It’s easy, fast, and budget-friendly.

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

  • 6 eggs (or 2-3 eggs per person)
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar or monterrey jack cheese (adjust according to number of people)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Preheat a pan over low heat.  Beat the eggs with salt and pepper.  Melt the butter in the pan, turning the pan to coat.  Pour in the eggs and add the cheese.  Cook over the lowest heat setting, stirring constantly, until cooked as desired.  Ed likes his runny and I like mine well cooked, so I remove some for him while mine finish cooking.  Serve hot.

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Home, Living from Scratch, Sustainable Living

Food Budget Update and a Quick & Easy Pantry Recipe

Today, I did my shopping for the week.  By participating in Crunchy Chicken’s Sustainable Food Budget Challenge, I’m trying to keep our food costs for the month of April to $323

We do focus on preserving foods, and so we have started with beef, pork, fish, scallops, chicken stock and lobster stock in the freezer.  I also have flour, sugar, cornmeal, yeast, jams, maple syrup, honey, and various canned items in the pantry.

I started the day’s shopping at the Dudley Farmer’s Market, which is held on the first Saturday of the month in the off-season.  I was disappointed that NOBODY there had any vegetables at all, and since I know one of the growers has a greenhouse, I was hoping for lettuce.  Oh well.  I did buy a baguette and a carrot-cake muffin for Ed, for a total of $4.25.  Since I couldn’t get much there, I had to go to the grocery store.

At the grocery store, I bought pears, carrots**, potatoes, lettuce**, lemons, onions, chicken**, sandwich bread**, milk*, eggs*, buttermilk, butter**, cream, canned tomatoes**, tomato paste, cheese, yogurt**, canola oil**, brownie mix**, coffee, canned soup, cereal**, granola bars**, rice**, and Pirate’s Booty**, enough to last us approximately a week and a half to two weeks, depending on what I decide to cook. (*=local, **=sustainably raised and/or organic and/or eco-farmed and/or natural).  I bought extras of the dry goods and canned goods to try to stock the pantry.  Unfortunately, I forgot to buy the penne that I planned to make for supper, but we were headed out anyway so I ran in and grabbed a couple boxes.  The total from the grocery store came to $132.95.

That brings me to a total of $137.20 spent on food today, which leaves only $185.80 for the rest of the month.  I really don’t think we’ll make the goal for the month, but keeping track of spending is an interesting exercise.  I’d like to try this again in the summer when our garden is producing, my family is is growing many different fruits and veggies, and Ed’s family is fishing and shellfishing.  I have a feeling our grocery budget will really drop then!

And now for the recipe promised! Last night, we were running low on food but I didn’t want to order out or go to the store.  I thawed out a pound of ground beef, and then did a food network search for Rachael Ray recipes with ground beef, since she’s so creative and often has recipes to use items from the pantry.  I was inspired by her Mexican Deep Dish Pizza with cornbread crust, and made my own version.  It was really yummy, and great comfort food.  Here’s my version.

pantry-meal-and-turkies-001

  • double batch Johnnycake cornbread batter (my recipe)
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare cornmeal batter and pour into a buttered 12″ cast iron skillet.  Bake for 20 minutes until almost cooked through.  Meanwhile, brown ground beef in a skillet, then mix in the salsa and heat through.  Take the cornbread out of the oven and pour the beef on top, spreading it evenly.  Top with cheese and bake 10-15 minutes more until the cornbread is completely cooked and cheese is melted.  Note: you can reduce the cornbread to a single batch if you don’t want it as thick.

6 Comments

Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Recipes, Sustainable Living

Sustainable Food Budget Challenge

susbudget

Crunchy Chicken has convinced me to join another challenge.  In this challenge, we’re supposed to try to buy healthy, sustainable food while limiting spending to what we would get in food stamps.  For the two people in our house, that would be $323 per month.  Currently, our weekly grocery bill this time of year has been about $150, since we eat breakfast at home, bring lunches to work, and eat most suppers at home, too.  That number goes down in the summer because all of our fruits and veggies are grown at home or at my family’s farm. 

We’re supposed to buy sustainable food, which can be local, organic, sustainably grown, etc.  I personally classify food based on my own set of sustainability requirements, in the following hierarchy:

  1. Grown, raised, caught, or made by family or friends.  We grow a lot of our own veggies in season, get fruits and veggies from my family’s farm, both our families make maple syrup, Ed’s family raises pigs and now will also be raising turkeys (more on that soon!), we have beef in the freezer from Ed’s cousin, my aunt and uncle make honey, Ed catches fish and shellfish, etc.
  2. Locally grown and family farmed.  I buy milk and eggs that are hormone and antibiotic free under the brand “Farmer’s Cow” which is a co-op of Connecticut farmers.  Their eggs are great, and until I get my own chickens, they’re the best I’ve found.  I also frequent farmer’s markets in season, to get what we don’t produce ourselves.
  3. Natural, humane, organic when available, if #1 and #2 aren’t possible.

There are a few things I avoid: food shipped long distances from other countries, expensive packaged food.  Of course there are exceptions (chocolate!!!), but I do the best I can.  I also try to make things on my own instead of buying them (like tortillas, pasta, pizza dough), since it’s healthier and saves money, too.

I plan to go to a monthly farmer’s market with my mom on Saturday, and we’ll see what we can get there. 

Do I think we’ll stick to the $323? Nope! But I’m going to try.  The cost of living is high here, and the number doesn’t seem to account for that.  By relying on foods we’ve frozen or preserved in season, we’ll keep costs down, and we’ll also clear out the cupboards in preparation for the new season.  No matter what, I’m sure we’ll eat well and at least save a little money this month.

Are you joining this challenge? Do you have any tips for me?

8 Comments

Filed under Food, Living from Scratch, Local Agriculture, Sustainable Living