Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Let's Talk About Food

A friend from another state recently (ok, it was about 4 weeks ago. Recently = Relative, Right? :) sent a message asking me how I feed our family. Her clan relatively recently increased from 5 to 6, no small number of hungry mouths to feed.

I know I've talked about our diet and menu several times in the past, but things are always changing and evolving, and maybe there is someone besides my friend who is interested in this topic. (I am VERY curious about the way people eat and how much they spend on groceries! If you and I are friends in real life, you know this very well!) I absolutely LOVE to think about food, prepare food, and feed my family thoughtfully and healthfully, without being too neurotic. It's definitely one of my passions! So, here goes....

I try to keep our grocery budget to $400 every 2 weeks (including all household items.) Try being the operative word. I often go over. Especially if I am buying meat that week.

**All our meat comes from Ranch Foods Direct, a local company who sells all natural, free range meats raised on a mainly grass diet without hormones, antibiotics, or large quantities of corn.

As much as possible, I prefer to have the majority of ingredients I use on a regular basis on hand. Running to the store is not an easy or convenient option for a country dweller with a slew of children like myself! I keep a good list going and store back ups so I rarely ever run out of things. Bobby's grandma taught me to do this when we were first married and I have found it hugely helpful! I've never been one to plan a weekly menu. I'm more of a figure it out day by day kind of gal.

Breakfast is either envirokidz or cascadian farms cereal, crock pot yogurt with fruit and honey, oatmeal with cinnamon and honey, pancakes, waffles, or toast with pb&j. Every Sunday morning we have a big breakfast.

The kids are always ready for a morning snack when they start school (almost a whole hour after they've eaten breakfast. :-) They'll have sliced fruit, veggie chips, back to nature crackers, muffins, maybe organic pop tarts for a treat.

** I let my Costco membership expire and I purchase all my formerly Costco specific items (and then some) off Amazon using subscribe and save. They are delivered right to my door during regular intervals and I can change, cancel, skip or schedule a delivery any time I like. I believe staying out of Costco saves me money (and huge amounts of time as it is not near nor convenient for me!). I avoid WalMart like the plague - especially when it comes to buying food. Sometimes it can't be helped and I must enter the devil's lair. It pains me to do so.

Lunch is often tortilla chips and hummus, tortilla chips and guac, tortilla chips and salsa, tortilla chips and beans (notice a theme?) sandwiches, wraps, scrambled eggs and toast, something I've baked that morning, usually with oats. Making over recipes to reduce sugar and increase nutritional content is a favorite hobby of mine using things like honey, applesauce, agave nectar, real maple syrup, spelt flour, etc.

Afternoon snacks are always fruit.

We eat meat approximately 3x/week - mainly chicken and beef, and turkey bacon, very little pork. This is a good compromise for us (me who wouldn't mind going completely vegetarian - and my husband who would mind going completely vegetarian). We are all happy with this arrangement. Eating less meat (which can be difficult and slow to digest) we believe is better for our bodies and it certainly helps the budget (and the environment!) to cut back.

On the vegetarian nights I have some favorite standby meals on hand. They are usually 1 of 2 types: a pasta dish (pasta with marinara, homemade mac n cheese, fettuccine alfredo, pasta with any combination of roasted tomato, cauliflower, broccoli, garlic, capers, olives, parm cheese, etc.) and/or some sort of bean with some sort of cheese, wrapped in a tortilla, served with spanish rice. We always, always have vegetables with dinner.

**Our kids are great vegetable eaters. They especially prefer caramelized cauliflower/broccoli/fresh cabbage/kale. Pretty much anything roasted with olive oil and salt, they like. We also serve lots of salads.

Meat meals include the usuals like tacos, roasted chicken, beef stroganoff, stir fry, chili, sloppy joes, chicken noodle soup, barbecue brisket, pot roast, etc. Then, there are some new, simple, inexpensive recipes I've found on pinterest that have been really fun to try. I ♥ pinterest for the food ideas!

There are no evening snacks. After dinner the kitchen is CLOSED!

It would be a happy day for me if we could avoid cow milk completely to further reduce our animal protein intake, especially casein, but that time has not yet come as I have a couple kids that are resistant to the idea. (I don't think we could or would ever do without cheese and yogurt, but we might be able to stop pouring cow milk on cereal and drinking it.) Currently, we use a combination of almond, coconut, rice and cow milk. No soy!

**I buy from bountiful baskets to get the bulk of our produce. It's a food co op where you pay a set amount for a "basket" and you get whatever they have on hand and deliver that week. In addition, they have lots of extras, such as boxes of bulk fruit and vegetables. This saves us a TON of $$! We so enjoy the variety and having the opportunity to try different fruits and vegetables than we normally would at the store.

We drink no soda, very little juice, and lots of tea and coffee. The kids like wildberry, raspberry, and peach tea best. I drink green tea with a splash of cranberry juice

There are few O's on our menu - no doritos, cheetos, oreos, spaghettios. ☺

Goodness. That's a lot of information. More than you ever wanted to know for sure. If you made it this far, I applaud your endurance! ☺ Thank you for reading. ♥

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Patty said...

Fascinating and informative, Tisha. Thanks for sharing!!

Tisha said...

Thank you for reading, and for commenting Patty! I always enjoy hearing from you! :-)

Hausfrau said...

Nice post. Anne just asked me yesterday why she didn't get the holiday shaped cupcakes in clear cellophane like the other kids in her class. I had to explain that this food really wasn't food at all...more like plastic. So, we made a huge batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her lunch. We made them with real butter and eggs. I hope she can carry this lesson with her.

Hausfrau said...

P.S. She told me my cookies tasted like heaven. Beat that Little Debbie!

Courtney said...

i loved this post. i've reread it a number of times...slowly making changes in our diet!

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