Sunday, January 5, 2014

How not to start the new year...price book plan

With a stomach bug.  I don't know if it was food poisoning, a little bug, or just my sensitive tummy...but on January 2nd I left work at 9:15 am (I went in at 7:45 am) and came home and slept all day.  It took me 2 days to get back to normal.

The frustrating thing (aside from being sick) is the waste.  I cannot (and should not) cook for others when I don't know WHAT it is exactly.  We end up eating out more (and by "we", I don't mean "me".  I was eating applesauce and crackers.)  The big pot of stock I made on Wednesday ended up getting thrown out because I forgot about it.  Hate it hate it hate it.

On a more positive note, I've decided to try to declutter this year.  I found a recommendation for Home Storage Solutions "Declutter your home in 15 minutes a day" calendar.  It's a full year calendar.  Now, I'm unlikely to do everything on the list and every day.  But if I even do 1/3 of it - it will be a pretty good start.  It pains me to throw out food, and the kitchen is the focus of January.  But seriously, if I don't exactly remember what that meat is, and when it went into the freezer, it's time to say goodbye.  While I like to think of myself of pretty organized, all of that goes out the window when I have babies or toddlers in the house.

So, we ended up eating half of the "lentil dish" that I made up on New Year's Day.  It was okay, made better when scooped up with naan.  I put the rest in the freezer for another day -  most likely next week when I'll mix it with some precooked ground beef.  And probably eat it with naan. 

Price book thoughts:  I used to have a price book.  In paper, then in Excel.  At some point I realized that I didn't really need it anymore.  The "best prices" for each item rarely changed stores.  I knew the prices for the staples in my head.  And quality comes into play.  While Ralph's often has really good prices on produce, their quality really sucks.  At least locally.  I have also decided to limit the stores that I shop at - in order to save time. The grocery store with the best deals varies by the week. 

Food deals of the week:
Fresh and Easy: We got a Fresh and Easy in the last couple of years, and they are the best source of onions and carrots (0.50/lb).  They also have good deals on meats from time to time.  And the naan that I bought I got from their discount rack.  I froze it right away and only defrost when we are eating it.  They send you email coupons for things you buy regularly.  For me this would be onions and carrots, frozen fruits and vegetables, hummus and crackers.

Trader Joe's is my staple store.  I shop there every week.  This is where I get brown rice, organic dairy, salad mix when the CSA is not in season, salad dressing when I'm too lazy to make my own, marinara sauce, broccoli and mushrooms, frozen berries, crackers, salsa, tortilla chips, frozen chicken fingers and meatballs.

Albertson's: We have Ralph's, Albertson's, and Vons as our "regular grocery stores".  I tend to shop at Albertsons because (1) they are close.  They are 1 mile from home and I can walk there (well, up and over a really big hill). (2) they have the best prices.  Now they do.  This changes as the years change.

The Albertson's deals this week were KILLER:
cheese: $3/lb
sour cream: $1.50
broccoli: $0.49/ lb (which is why is it featured so heavily in my menu below)
mushrooms; $3/lb (also featured in my menu)
pasta: $1/lb

Here's the loose menu plan for the week.  It's a little harder for me to plan now that we don't have the CSA (it starts up again in February):

Lunch: free for all (leftover lentils, tacos)
Dinner: whole wheat spaghetti with marinara, mushrooms, meatballs.  Salad with apples and feta.

Lunch: freezer burritos
Dinner: Sunday leftovers

Lunch: Leftover spaghetti
Dinner: Chicken fingers and broccoli (what else?)

Lunch: Freezer burritos
Dinner: Beef and broccoli with rice (I cheat by using premade freezer meatballs)

Lunch: ??
Dinner: Leftover beef and broccoli

Friday:  I can't think that far in advance.  Probably pizza.

The other store we shop at regularly is Costco, but not this week.