My budget is still not shrinking. But I am realizing a few things:
- I cannot go to the grocery store anymore, especially not with Zoe. That always seems to result in me caving in and buying something that we shouldn’t be eating.
- We do not eat legumes and grains nearly as often as I had initially projected. Most of the beans I ordered are still untouched. At this rate, my initial Azure order of legumes will last us a year, if not longer. It is a bit of a pain in the butt to always remember to soak them ahead of time. So far I have only done this twice, but I have started soaking and cooking big batches of beans, and then freezing them in 3 cup portions in Pyrex containers for future use. Makes me realize that canned beans are definitely convenient, but after reading about the high pressure processes they are made in, I don’t think I want to eat them anymore.
- We eat a lot of greens, but not as many root vegetables or salads. In part this is because I didn’t know how to cook root vegetables, although I have finally discovered the joys of roasting veggies with some olive oil, rosemary, thyme, sea salt and black pepper. I made roasted root veggies twice and it was delicious! As far as salads, I’m not sure why we don’t eat them that often especially since I actually do love salads, and have been known for getting pretty creative with them in the past. I think the big issue is that Dan doesn’t feel they are filling. I may have to come up with ways of adding protein to them because I do want to increase our raw food intake to about 30% of our diet. I think I mentioned I tried making a raw stir-not fry, but the beets in it made my throat burn for two days, so that was a failure… Oh, and finally, I have discovered that I love kale, collard and broccoli greens, and my new absolute favorite– rainbow chard!! (I can wait for our CSA to start and for my own gardening to get going– that should hopefully help a lot with saving money.)
- We (well, not so much Dan) eat a ton of fruit and berries– this is where most of our raw food comes from. I have modified our Organics to You bin so it contains more fruit than veggies, and we supplement with mangoes, grapefruit, and pineapple from Azure Standard. I know these fruits are not local by far, but it is just so hard to give up especially since the kids gobble them up and I’d much rather have them snacking on mangoes or grapefruit than crackers and chips.
- I have been very happy with the frozen Alaskan wild salmon fillets I bought from Azure back in February– it’s been really nice to have them on hand because I discovered that broiling them only takes 8 minutes and is a fast and easy way to prepare a quick lunch or dinner. I am glad that we are eating more seafood than if I was buying it fresh, which I somehow always felt was a hassle and required more planning ahead, and of course driving to the store. We just have 5 or 6 fillets left, and I plan to order another case of 10 lbs next time.
- I have made quiche twice with great success! Very easy and fun to make with fresh eggs, cheese, and cream from Noris Dairy. The second time I made quiche, I bought a small piece of some amazing aged sheep’s cheese from Pastaworks for $20/lb and some yummy black olives. It totally was outside of my budget, but it was so delicious!
- I think we are successfully cutting out restaurants. We did eat at Hotlips Pizza, went to Burgerville a couple of times, and Zoe wanted to use her own money to eat at Thai Thai one time, but all in all it is a lot less than before. It’s even nice to notice Zoe is asking to eat out less often as well.
- I want to buy an ice cream maker and make my own ice cream.
Anyway, here is my estimated spending report for March.
Azure Standard: $440
Organics to You: $110
Raw milk: $38
New Seasons/Fred Meyer: $75
People’s Co-op: $80
Uncle Paul’s Produce: $30
Zoe’s birthday treats: $180