Saturday, November 3, 2007

November Weekend Cookbook Challenge

I have been watching the weekend cookbook challenge for a few months and wanted to participate last month but forgot. This month's challenge was right up my alley and I decided to go ahead and do it now. The Weekend Cookbook challenge for November is being hosted by Cady at $40 a week. The challenge is to plan a week of menus for your family at $40 per person for the week. That is a huge $160 budget for me, way more than I am used to spending.

Just a few months ago while we were still a student family, our budget was $60 a week for the whole family. That being said, I significantly upped the budget when we moved to TX and got a real job, and the budget has been $100 a week. I decided that since my boys are still pretty young, I'd half that amount for them and set a $120 budget for the week.

I usually plan meals for a week at a time, but have lately fallen out of the habit. I also have never planned the breakfasts, lunches and desserts, just the dinners. So part of the challenge here for me was to plan these too. In truth, I really need to, since I have been skipping them lately. (And I'm a pretty big breakfast advocate, but I don't eat cereal anymore, and its been an adjustment).

I sat down and thought about what the week held for me and what I needed to successfully cook dinner every day for a week. (Another challenge for me, as I usually only cook 2-3 times a week and we eat leftovers the rest of the time.)

Then I made the shopping list. Planning the meals and making the list took several hours and I did not want to face the grocery store with kids after that, so I put it off until Saturday when DH was home. I first went to the local butcher (I love local butchers) and then the grocery store. I was feeling pretty good and only had a few things left on my list. I headed to Sams Club, needing a few bulk goods and figuring I could get the last few things there. Nope, not all of them. Plus I bought extra things (like I usually do). A bit depressed, I headed to Target hoping they would have the last few things. They had 2 things, but I was still missing 2. Arrggh! 4 stores, and I still didn't have all my things. Very irritating. I should have gone to Central Market after the butcher, and been done with it. I love Central Market, it is foodie heaven here, but it is also further from where I live. I went home and later that day convinced DH to go with me and the kids so I wasn't trekking to a 5th store alone. And we got gelato as a bonus. Yum!

The thing I noticed was all the voices in my head telling me I was spending too much money, or that I wasn't going to be able to do this. And yet, I felt empowered, knowing I had a weeks worth of meals at home, that would work with our busy week to come. I will be posting about each day's foods, here is my meal plan:

B: German Pancakes
L: Sandwiches
D: Beet penne pasta & Apple chestnut soup (The Flexitarian Table)
Des: Slow cooker Chocolate Almond Cheesecake (Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker)

B: oatmeal porridge
L: sandwiches
D: Slow cooker apple pork roast
Des: Leftover cheesecake

B: breakfast pilaf
L: Sandwiches
D: Slow Cooker stuffed peppers
Des: Apple Cranberry crisp

B: Cranberry orange muffins
L: leftovers
D: Coconut curried chicken & applesauce
Des: Chocolate souffle

B: Oatmeal porridge
L: Sandwiches
D: Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
Des: Leftover souffle

B: Pancakes
L: Leftovers
D: Homemade Margherita Pizza
Des: Grapefruit Ice cream

B: Waffles
L: Leftovers
D: Swiss & Mushroom Quiche (Moosewood Cookbook)
Des: Chocolate cream sandwiches cookies

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