The Accountant's Garden

Scheduled non-accounting weeks: April 10-14, 2017 June 12-16, 2017 July 24-28, 2017

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting this week, we're on to Lucky for our grocery shopping. I may need to incorporate more fish into our meal plan, as the vegetarian "roasts" will probably not be available for purchase at Lucky grocery stores. They do, however, carry some of the other vegetarian items that I use.

True to the experiment, I will be using the same monthly menu plan that I used last month. I have an even simpler lunch menu, since the girls really only want either soy-nut-butter or veggie bologna sandwiches. I combine the sandwich with fruit, a Z bar, milk, and something crunchy.

This week's dinner menu:
  • Herbed roast fish (catch of the day) with broccoli and pasta tossed with olive oil
  • Meat loaf (vegetarian) with baked potatoes and green beans
  • Vegetable soup with corn muffins
  • Pan roasted salmon and tomatoes with mashed potatoes and green peas
  • Rosemary-garlic chicken with carrots and spinach salad
  • Ratatouille with couscous
The shopping at Lucky was not at all what I envisioned. The fresh fish area smelled "fishy" and not in the right way. I did opt for some frozen "Whole Catch" salmon fillets. The selection of vegetarian meats was disappointing, so I did the best I could. That meant that tonight's dinner was breaded 'chicken' cutlets with the spaghetti and broccoli.

The spending total was significantly less: $90.00. Plus, I spent $13.75 at the farmer's market this morning. I will need to return later in the week for milk and other staples. Actually, I will try to find a larger Lucky store, hoping for more varied meat substitutes.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Running: it's a blessing and a curse. It helps so much to release tension and anxiety, but it also causes stress on the body. I tried too much this past week. Having a 2 mile run and a 3 mile hike on the same day was a bit too much, so I opted out of the five-mile hike on Friday and went to Dailey Method instead. I finished my "long" run of 4 miles this morning, in good time, but it was tough. I'm going to have re-arrange my schedule a bit to make this all work I think. I'm going to try something new:
    • Monday: 3 mile run
    • Tuesday: TDM
    • Wednesday: 3 mile run
    • Thursday: TDM
    • Friday: hike 90 minutes
    • Saturday: 4.5 mile run

    Friday, January 27, 2012

    My final trip to Whole Foods for this part of the experiment (sniffle)... and I spent $47.77 on bread, milk, eggs, and snacks. Oh, and I stocked up on Yves' Veggie Bologna because I know I can't find it at Safeway or Lucky. So, the total for this week is $161.22.

    For all four weeks, the grand total comes to $674. That's less than $200 a week to feed a family of four (more or less - the baby makes five but he doesn't eat much). We do eat take out at least once a week (usually pizza) and we either go out to eat or eat at someone else's house for lunch on weekends. The spending totals do not include alcohol or coffee purchases.

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Week #4: $105.95 and I still ended up with three bags of groceries (plus two gallon jugs of milk). We also spent $7.50 at the farmer's market on broccoli and apples.

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    For some reason, I had more recipes than days this week. I guess that may be because we had one pizza night and one night where we ate the leftover vegetable ziti gratin. This actually works out well, as I'm not so fond of the last week of recipes on the recipe planner. My improvised list is as follows:
    • Pan roasted tuna with herbed green beans and brown rice
    • Spaghetti & meatballs with a green salad
    • Lentil soup with biscuits
    • Coconut chicken with spaghetti tossed with olive oil and broccoli
    • Vegetable & goat cheese tart
    Running went relatively well this week, except that I had fewer walking and hiking miles. I think I ran about 8.5 miles this week and my total mileage was only about 12.5. For the upcoming week, the schedule is dependent on the weather somewhat:
    • Monday: the Dailey Method
    • Tuesday: 3 mile run
    • Wednesday: the Dailey Method
    • Thursday: 2 mile run & hike
    • Friday: 5 mile hike
    • Saturday: 4 mile run

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    Another late week trip to Whole Foods for milk, bread, bananas and snacks. I only spent $35, though, which brings this week's total to about $170. Not bad for a family of four (I'm not counting the baby, although he does eat his share of the bananas and milk). I think the key to not spending too much is to (a) have a meal plan, (b) write a shopping list, and (c) stick to the list (if it's not on the list, don't buy it!).

    Just to recap the spending totals:
    Week 1: $156
    Week 2: $187
    Week 3: $170

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Another week -- another trip to the grocery store. This week's trip came to $135. Since I was out of town this weekend, I had to purchase all my produce at the grocery, not at the farmer's market.

    Another thought that occurred to me was this: some of the purchases I am making now will be ingredients used in consecutive months, so I hope that these initial purchases won't weigh too heavily on my shopping comparison.

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    I'll be away this weekend, so I'm post-dating my meal planning post.
    • Vegetarian roast with roasted potatoes and broccoli
    • Pan roasted salmon and sweet onions with peas and brown rice
    • Southeast Asian soup with spinach salad and french bread
    • Chili & cornbread with cabbage slaw
    • Curried chicken with mashed potatoes and carrots
    • Spicy winter ragout and spaghetti tossed with olive oil and parmesan

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    It felt good to stay on track with exercise this week. I actually fit in a couple extra hikes, which proved more challenging than I thought. My total mileage for the week was about 18 miles, 8 of which were running miles. Coming up this week:
    • Monday: strengthen & stretch & run 2 miles (fast?)
    • Tuesday: Dailey Method
    • Wednesday: run 2.5 miles (& 3 mile walk)
    • Thursday: hike
    • Friday Dailey Method & 3 mile walk
    • Saturday: run 4.0 miles
    I am still feeling some discomfort while I run and usually, some pain later in the day. The biggest problem seems to be a pull in my groin or my hip flexor on the right side and the arthritic pains in my feet and ankles. Strangely enough, my knee pain disappears after running. 

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Food spending update: I needed to make another trip to the grocery store, to fill up on milk and bread. Meanwhile, I bought most of the ingredients for Sunday's dinner and more apples (for lunches), since I will be away for Sunday & Monday of this coming weekend. I ended up spending $53.20! That brings this week's total to $186.92.

    Sunday, January 08, 2012

    Our farmer's market results -- $21.50.

    Our grocery total from Whole Foods for this upcoming week is $112.22, so far. That's about the same as last week, except that I had already spent the aforementioned $21.50 on produce. But, it does also cover one extra day. We'll see. I can already tell that the spending trap at Whole Foods is located in the novelty items it sells; and they are good at promoting those items!

    One more note: late Sunday afternoon is a really busy time at the Oakland Whole Foods store.

    Saturday, January 07, 2012

    I did need to return to the grocery store mid-week, adding $31.76 to my grocery expense, and, Rudy went for more sandwich items on Saturday (another $13.65). The grand total for week 1 at Whole Foods was $156.

    This week, I will be able to visit our Farmer's Market to buy our produce. I'll report on that later.

    This week's menu:
    • Roast chicken with mashed potatoes and peas
    • Pan roasted fish and white beans with a spinach salad and carrots
    • Minestrone soup with pumpkin-sunflower muffins
    • Spaghetti and meatballs with a green salad
    • Lemony goat cheese chicken with brown rice and green beans
    • Vegetable ziti gratin with a green salad
    Of course, I will be making vegetarian substitutions for the roast, the meatballs, and the chicken.

    I'm getting into running again. After a long bout with a recurring injury, I finally determined that the injury was caused and worsened by running or jogging with the stroller. I just can't do long runs with the extra weight of the stroller any more.

    I thought my running days were over, but I have found that if I run without that extra weight, I am mostly pain-free. My joints do still hurt after a couple miles, but not so terribly, if I stretch out the right way after running. So, I am re-instituting my goal of running a half marathon this June. I have to maintain a slow and steady approach to increasing my mileage. I ran 3 miles this morning, with a 10-minute walk before and after.

    Here's this week's running plan:
    • Monday: Strengthen & stretch and run 2 miles
    • Tuesday: Hike for approximately 60 minutes
    • Wednesday: Run 2.5 miles
    • Thursday: Strengthen & stretch
    • Friday: Hike approximately 90 minutes
    • Saturday: Run 3.5 miles

    Monday, January 02, 2012

    It's a new year! And I have a food-and-budget-related challenge. Actually, it's more like an experiment. I am curious to see whether it really matters, budget-wise, about where you shop. I have a monthly menu plan, which I adapted from Real Simple magazine. And I am interested to see  how my monthly grocery bill adds up when I shop at various markets: Whole Foods, Lucky/Safeway, Piedmont Grocery, and perhaps Target. I'll be using the same monthly menu planner, so the comparison should be mostly equal.

    A few other stipulations -- I will try to purchase most of my produce at the local farmer's market and will keep track of that expense as well. And, I will purchase household goods (soap, diapers, etc.) in a separate shopping trip, so as not to add in too many additional expenses.

    This week's dinner menu:
    • Pan-roasted salmon and tomatoes with mashed potatoes and peas
    • Vegetable soup with corn muffins and green salad
    • Meat loaf with baked potatoes and green beans
    • Rosemary garlic chicken with carrots and spinach salad
    • Ratatouille with couscous
    One night is reserved for leftovers or pizza. I omitted the Sunday dinner for this week (roast pork with broccoli and spaghetti). Of course, I make vegetarian exchanges for all meat but the fish. Additionally, I have to plan for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. Here's what I have for that:
    • Sunday: pastries, quiche, salad, cheese & crackers
    • Monday: waffles, sunflower seed butter sandwiches & oranges, banana & crackers
    • Tuesday: fried egg sandwich, bologna sandwich & grapes or berries, oranges & pretzels
    • Wednesday: oatmeal with fruit & nuts, cheese sandwich & apples, grapes or berries & crackers
    • Thursday: scrambled eggs & toast, tuna salad sandwich & carrots, apples & pretzels
    • Friday: oatmeal with fruit & nuts, egg salad sandwich & banana, carrots & peanut butter
    • Saturday: waffles, eat out or make Saturday's dinner, bananas & pretzels
    Today was my first week's worth of shopping at Whole Foods. The total came to $111, which isn't too bad. However, I did have some things on hand already (apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, crackers, cheese, pasta & rice) and the only meat I purchased was a $17 fish steak. I know I'll have to go back later in the week for more milk and bread, maybe.