Monday, March 16, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

early breakfast: organic apple slices

breakfast: scrambled eggs with sopressata in them plus water

snack: orange

lunch: Nature's Promise hotdogs (no bun) with a sliced organic plum tomato (from Saturday's delivery)

snack: will be apple slices again (ugh... gotta watch him for constipation) and the remaining segments of orange from this morning with a fruit punch juice box (Apple & Eve I think). He'll be at drop-off daycare while Mike takes me to some health tests.

CORRECTION: What Matthew ACTUALLY had was "orange flavored juice and pretzel sticks". Can I tell you how livid I am? You know, if *I* decide something is okay and I'm willing to take the chance on the behavioral backlash--that's MY decision. I know what I have on my plate, what's okay and what we can handle. For someone else to do it by accident when my son is in their care is another story.

On the drive home, he had his apple slices (untouched from the daycare place) and a bottle of water. They had no idea what was in the "orange-flavored juice" because there were no ingredients listed on the package. How the HELL does this happen?? I REMINDED them when I dropped him off that he eats HIS food--it's never been an issue. Of course, I don't drop him there once/week for an hour anymore, either.

dinner: Mike's already formed the clover-shaped meatloaf. We have some kale or small collards in the fridge and we'll just wash & chop them, then throw them in a pot of EVOO with garlic and pine nuts until they wilt (about 5 minutes). Matthew's not likely to eat the greens. We have about a Matthew-sized portion of frozen organic peas, though. be continued...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Keeping a price book

I don't think I've mentioned this before, but it's critical to saving money--whether you eat organically or traditionally.

For 11 years, I kept a price book. I started when I was in my early 20s (yes, seriously). I have been on my own since I was 18 and every penny counted since my father bullied me into using all of my savings as a down payment on a NEW car instead of full payment on a USED car--and then bullied me right out of my house. I never missed a payment on that thing. I only had to borrow (short-term) ONE payment. Ever... in 5 years.

You can't remember the prices of everything. Of course, after shopping for many years, specific things will stand out: I know I'll never buy meat over $1.99/lb and that any meat with bones in it that costs less is subject to much scrutiny. But by and large, you're not going to remember. Especially for things you don't buy all the time--like measuring cups.

A price book is nothing more than a place to keep track of the stuff you buy and how much you pay for it. I have finally found a very small 3-ring binder that is ideal for this, but you can use just about anything and put some self-stick tabs on the side of the page so you can find what you need quickly. The price book goes EVERYWHERE with you. EVERYWHERE.

My price book taught me that places like BJ's, Costco & Sams could never outdo a grocery store sale. My price book taught me that some things were cheaper without coupons if I could tolerate a brand change. My price book taught me that sometimes a place that sells the most of something will have the worst prices; and a place that you wouldn't really expect to buy something unless you REALLY needed it and happened to be in that store--had the best prices. My price book taught me that sale prices weren't always the lowest prices. My price book taught me that what they tell you about how to save money is usually wrong.

Each page in my book is devoted to a specific item and I mean SPECIFIC. It's not just "peas", but "canned peas" or "frozen peas". If you are sometimes buying organic and sometimes traditional, you would then have separate pages to separate the two. Each page has the following information:

Date of the price
Store (I have abbreviations with a key in the back)
Item (brand)
Size (what size packaging)
Unit price (so the price per ounce or whatever)

These headings are horizontal across the top of the page. My paper is lined, so I leave 3-4 lines between entries because there will sometimes be a sale that only happens occasionally for the same thing at the same store and I track those, too.

I can't tell you how much I HATE (and I mean HATE) pencil. Even in school I did my math work in pen (and that was okay because mathmatically, I had it like that! ;) But it drove my teachers INSANE) but I have learned the hard way to do all my entries in pencil. Especially when you keep a book for many years and start to realize that the best price for an item is now 7 years old and you're never going to see it again!

It takes time and effort before your price book becomes REALLY handy. Of course, it may not. Within a week of first using mine I found that I was paying a fortune for deodorant and the cheapest place happened to be a place I'd never think to shop for deodorant.


Start with a list of the top 20 items you buy all the time and build from there. It's a start!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

early breakfast: the tangerine I peeled was rejected (so I ate it) and Matthew had organic apple wedges. Loving my apple corer except that it's so prone to rust.

breakfast: well, Mike got us half of a pie last night to make us feel better and since the only negative it had in it was gluten, I let him have a piece of cherry pie. It didn't have corn syrup, dairy or soy--but it had plenty of other crap in it (no dyes--mostly preservative nonsense). But then Matthew had scrambled eggs with ketchup.

snack: now he ate an orange.

lunch: Matthew had a half of sandwich. It's always half because our homemade (bread machine & mix) bread is really big--so one slice cut in half is good enough for him. Of course, with Skippy Natural peanut butter and mom's homemade Concord grape jelly.

snack: well, for Matthew it was a snack: a hamburger Mike made with organic mushrooms mixed in (they came from the coop delivery yesterday). Mike & mine also had fried peppers (also in the delivery yesterday).

dinner: at Mike's grandmother's... she made rice pasta (born and raised in Italy, btw--came here as an adult... it's good pasta!) with homemade sauce then chicken cooked in EVOO and homemade tomato sauce (kind of stewed) plus green and red peppers fried in EVOO. Nonni rocks. ;)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Horrible, horrible day. Lots of horrible news. I'm a little in a fog.

early breakfast: I think Matthew had some leftover Apple Pandowdy

breakfast: wondering if I actually ate. Oh wait--I did. Mike made the apples, cinnamon, cranberry stuff from the apple pandowdy because I told him I was sure the smell of eggs would make me sick and I was already not feeling well this morning. He then microwaved an egg for Matthew.

snack: skipped I think

lunch: Wendy's. Matthew had a burger and fries. Mike and I had fish sandwiches and fries. All with water.

snack: organic peeled baby carrots.

dinner: I think Mike is out picking up sushi.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

early breakfast: apple pandowdy made last night (see yesterday for recipe). He woke up at 5:19am (and since DST just started a week ago, that's like 4:19am on the body clock--and he went to sleep at 9pm).

breakfast: plain scrambled eggs with ketchup for all... and water

snack: will be skipped--he's at a class from 9:30-11:30am. I had a yogurt (cultured coconut milk)

lunch plans: Matthew had leftover chicken and peas from last night. I caved and got an Italian hot dog (hot dog with potatoes, peppers and onions--I'm sure this was drenched in soy and corn oil with corn syrup in the hot dogs and roll). Mike opted out of lunch.

dinner plans: no clue. possibly pasta.

.... to be continued.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

early breakfast: cereal bar

breakfast: eggs scrambled with canned (Nature's Promise organic) peas. With it, I had a small glass of OJ (Tropicana mixed with water) but everyone had water.

snack: skipped--we ate breakfast late

lunch: Correction--Matthew had Nature's Promise hot dogs and leftover peas from this morning. Mike and I had left over London Broil from last night with the rest of the peas that went unused this morning. The London Broil was marinated in olive oil and chopped garlic (we buy it already chopped and have a hell of a time finding garlic that isn't in soybean oil--but one of the really cheap ones happens to be safe).

snack: potato chips (Lays Kettle Cooked are safe). I also had some Cedar's garlic lovers hummus. Both with water.

Dinner: boneless, skinless chicken breast (non-organic) with organic dijon vinaigrette dressing (Maple Grove Farms of Vermont brand) and Nature's Promise frozen organic peas... with water.

Okay... dessert. Well, it's 8:24pm and Mike's apple pandowdy just came out of the oven. It's kinda like a cobbler, but more cake-y:

3 cups of apple slices
1/3c. dk brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix these and microwave on high for 5 minutes (to soften them) and put in the bottom of a 2 quart baking dish. If desired, add 1/3 c. raisins or dried cranberries on top. Then prepare a 13 oz. pouch of light cake mix per the box. We used GF Pantry's Cookie & Cake mix. Spoon it over the fruit. Bake for 30-40 mins @ 400 or until tester comes out clean.

You can use peaches (if using canned, make sure to drain them) or cherries (remove raisins). If you use frozen fruit, make sure it's thawed. ;) With peaches and cherries, you skip microwaving them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sorry all...

for the lack of recent posts. Our family is dealing with some major traumas (plural) at the moment and I've had all I can do to keep us eating at all.

Hopefully I'll get back on track quickly. If you're the sort that prays, please keep our family in yours.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

early breakfast: I believe Matthew had a cereal bar

breakfast: eggs with canned (Nature's Promise) peas. I had a tiny bit of that and half a broiled grapefruit. All with water, of course.

snack: organic grape tomatoes

lunch: tuna pods

snack: carrots (organic, baby peeled)

another snack: potato chips (Lay's Kettle Cooked) with Hummus (Cedar's brand). Matthew isn't big on hummus

dinner: boneless, skinless chicken breast coated with Robert Rothschild Farm's Pineapple Coconut Mango Tequila sauce. This is safe (modified starch=corn starch, but otherwise safe) but expensive and a little spicy (I am very sensitive to spicy--Mike and Matthew notsomuch). We had it with some steamed frozen organic peas.

dessert: Rice Dream ice cream--strawberry & vanilla with some Ah!laska chocolate syrup. YUM!