Meal Plan, Takeout Fatigue, etc.

>> Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Before I get into the meal plan for this week, I don’t check Facebook all that often anymore. However, someone added me to a group that I do find quite interesting. It’s called the Non-Consumer Advocate. It’s all about finding ways to do things without necessarily spending money or otherwise consuming. Or if you do spend money, how to be smart about it. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, I highly recommend joining!

So, you’ve seen our $98 Aldi haul for this week. Our meal plan this week is nothing shocking or particularly interesting. I am trying to use up the things we have left over from vacation. (PS: Want more meal planning? Here’s the last time I wrote about this subject. And here’s all my posts on it.)



I’ll just be giving you the dinners we’re eating. Breakfasts are usually eggs and toast for Stephen, a protein smoothie for me, cereal + fruit for Ada, and waffles for Eloise. Lunch has been quite random as well this summer. I’m still trying to eat raw once a day, by the way. Should I do an update on that? Let me know in the comments!

Also: I’m trying to get Ada into more diversified eating, so I’ll try to touch on this subject another day. Snacks are things like Greek yogurt mixed with peanut butter, popcorn, carrot sticks, homemade granola bars, etc.

DINNERS


The girls will eat the veggie burgers, quesadillas, pizza, hummus, omelets, and Mexican quinoa dish with us. Or at least try. We also have some staples on hand for them, like mac and cheese or pierogis, if we think they won’t enjoy a meal (or if we’re eating at different times).



Thoughts on Eating Out


We definitely have takeout fatigue. I loved sampling cuisine from our favorite restaurants while on vacation. That said, it was mega-expensive (regrettably so!). And you know what? I missed cooking. I think we may even make better meals than some we get out. While a good meal out can certainly be a nice indulgence -- even a regular one -- I think we’re going to skip for a while. Even with my birthday coming up, a home-cooked meal seems much more pleasurable than anything else right now.

You get a lot of facts and figures if you look up how much the average family spends going out to eat each year. I estimate that we probably spend around $50 a week on an average week getting a mix of takeout, dining out, etc. That’s figured into our “entertainment” budget category. So, if we stopped doing that . . . that’s $2,600 a year. I only took the time to figure this out just now.

And now I feel a bit sick to my stomach. Do you know how many places that money could go? Holy moly.

What’s your policy on going out to eat? I doubt we’ll stop doing it altogether. But I’d like to save it for only special occasions. Maybe once a month? That sounds like cutting to the bone, but I think it’s doable. 



Recipe Liberation


Here’s my parting idea for the day . . . and it’s something I’ve neglected to mention on the blog. I rarely follow recipes (even my own) exactly. Well, if I have everything on hand, yes. But if I’m missing ginger for a stir-fry, for example, I’ll skip it. Of course, it’d be nice to get the extra flavor, but usually there are other spices + things that will do enough of the heavy lifting. If the ingredient is non-essential, like peppers for veggie quesadillas, I’ll leave it out, too. (This rule doesn’t apply with baking usually. Especially with things like baking powder, baking soda, etc.)

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to explain is that cooking can be flexible. I am sure many of you know that. But I think some others think we must follow recipes exactly. Not the case at all! You can make all sorts of substitutions, swaps, and omissions. Heck, you can add things, too. It takes time to get cooking right. You’ll make missteps along the way. But you may even make something particularly delicious -- accidentally.

I’ll be back soon with a recipe for Greek salad, homemade granola bars, and some notes on getting back to from-scratch cooking and baking. Feels good.

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