Mission Motherhood

Stretching your Grocery Dollars at Aldi

Happy Friday, birdies!

Where has the month of June gone?

We have been so busy this month with trips out of town, home improvement projects, reading potty training “how-tos”, learning to sew, playing outside, and the list goes on…

This month our family has made a commitment to be mindful of our budget.  We’ve studied the ins and outs and have made a plan to be more cost savvy.  We had saving set aside and budgeting for me to be at home with the twins for one year… and here we are 18 months later in desperate need to rework the budget to keep me home.

With budgeting being a priority meal planning has been essential to maintaining our monthly food budget. I say meal planning loosely because what I really do is create a menu.  I’m a pretty obsessive planner in most areas of my life but when it comes to meals I like the flexibility of saying “that doesn’t sound good tonight, let’s have this instead”.  Aldi and I have become best buds… we take our relationship seriously but we only see each other every other week for about an hour.  An hour doesn’t seem like much, but we make the time count.

Image result for aldi is my friend

Last week I spent an hour at Aldi’s, bought 2 weeks worth of food and spent $185.

Here are my steps for a successful Aldi’s trip with children in tow:

  • Evaluate your pantry, fridge and freezer to get an idea of what food items will carry over into the next menu. It’s important to me to use up items that may go to waste soon.
  • Check out the weekly ads at your local grocery stores. You can often find them online.  I’ve recently discovered an application called Flipp that has been super helpful in tracking down grocery ads.
  • Peruse Pinterest for ideas.  (I have a board for dinners and breakfasts.)
  • Check out Aldi’s website for recipes as well!
  • Consider items that may freeze well if you’re planning for 2 weeks. Many produce items wont be fresh for that length of time. We utilize frozen fruits and veggies as we get into that second week, freeze meats and bread.  (Even things like milk and butter can be frozen, but I haven’t had to resort to that yet)
  • Write down a list of meals that will make the cut (I plan for 14-16 meals).
  • Write down the ingredients that go with each meal.
  • Evaluate your pantry for items you may already have (and look for items that might be good substitutes in your recipes).
  • Re-organize your list of ingredients in the order of how they are organized in the store. I promise this is the key to getting in and out of the store quickly… if you don’t know your store well enough just group like items on your list – dairy, meat, canned goods, etc.
  • Pack reusable grocery bags in the car… and don’t forget the quarter for your cart!

I honestly take about 2 hour prepping all of this. This much prep may seem exhausting, but not nearly as exhausting as roaming around a grocery store aimlessly with 18 month old twins for 2 hours and hoping for some combination of ingredients that will make a meal…. and then having to do it again every week or more.

What are some of your money saving tips when it comes to grocery shopping?

Stay tuned for a sample of our 2 week menu in an upcoming blog.

Happy Homesteading

Winter classic: Ham ‘n Beans with Cornbread

I decided to pull the leftover Thanksgiving ham out of the freezer yesterday so I could make a winter classic at our house (yes we had ham for thanksgiving because very few in our family like turkey). I had the last little bit of a spiral cut ham that was perfect for a crockpot of ham n beans. 

And you can’t have ham n beans without the cornbread. I accidentally stumbled upon my favorite way to fix cornbread. I went to get the milk out of the fridge to mix up my Jiffy box of cornbread and the milk was expired so I found an alternative – sour cream. Let me tell you, sour cream does amazing things to corn bread. I’ve made some alterations since and here is what I’ve settled with. If you like a light fluffy, moist cornbread give this a try. If you like a denser cornbread this probably won’t be your favorite. 


Here’s the recipe

Sour cream cornbread

1 box of Jiffy cornbread mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (you can substitute milk too)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix all ingredients. Grease an 8x8in Pyrex or small casserole dish. Pour batter into greased Pyrex. Bake for 15-18 min. 

When it comes to ham n beans, I like thick hearty ham n beans. Watered down ham n beans will completely saturate my cornbread and I just can’t have that. My go to recipe is a no frills, easy crock pot recipe that I found in Pinterest. 

Check it out here!

If I have onion on hand, I dice up half of an onion and add it instead of onion powder. I also add some garlic powder. 

Happy Homesteading

Meal Planning Crash Course: Week Three of October

Sad story, bro:  I wrote a draft last night and didn’t hit publish, because I wasn’t quite finished with the final links…and none- of- it- saved.  (Enter crying emoji here.  …Can I use emojis in WordPress?  …Can I use emojis on a laptop?  Remind me to research this at a later date.)

jettCan I also tell you the whole truth?  I didn’t make a single meal that was on my menu for last week.  Wanna know why?  Last week felt chaotic–and flexibility is key with a newborn.  And this week…I’m 1 for 3.  BUT I have faith that as long as I keep planning and purchasing the ingredients I need for what’s on the menu, eventually I’ll get to a place where I can actually focus on the intended meal.

 

 

kids

 

 

What’s your experience with cooking after having a baby?  Did you find yourself eating healthier?  Could you follow a menu or meal plan?–or did everything feel like you were flying by the seat of your pants every night?  I’d love to hear what you think and how you tackled family meal times.  ♥

 

 

Disclaimer: To those of you who know me, this may come as a surprise to see that I’ve written an entry on the blog about meal planning.  Please know that my intent is to share weekly meal plans of the most simplistic “easy-to-throw-together-and-have-leftovers-for-the-next-day’s-lunch” type of meals.  Basically, I’m just sharing with you what our family is eating to give you a fresh idea for your family’s menu.  I hope to have the next week’s menu posted by Wednesday each week, so you can prepare for the grocery store, if needed.  ALSO: I plan 5 meals a week.  That leaves one night for leftovers and one night for dining with family/outside of the home.  The majority of the meals you will see are not super healthy…and none of them are conscious of gluten, dairy, or other allergies that are so prevalent; however, if you would be willing to leave a comment on how you’ve tweaked the recipes to make them more “diet friendly” or “dairy/egg/gluten free” or even just better overall (I’m not a chef and I won’t be offended), we would LOVE your input.


October 2017

Week One:
Mama Mary’s “Homemade” Pizzas
Chili (we pair this with a cornbread mix that happens to be gluten free and delicious)
Chili Dogs (I feel like this is self explanatory, but: Prepare hotdog, then cover with leftover chili and cheese.  Have a salad on the side so you’re having something that your body will thank you for.)
Chicken Salad Sandwiches (I linked my latest favorite.  I had it for lunches regularly when I was following Weight Watchers. ♥)
Baked Burritos (If you don’t bake them, they can be prepared in bulk, SaranWrapped, frozen, and microwaved for later consumption.)

Week Two:
Breakfast (This is my husband’s night to shine in the kitchen!  He makes scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy…and it’s so amazing. –Oh, one more thing:  We use Pillsbury frozen biscuits.  They are the closest to the taste of homemade we’ve found…minus the effort.)
Potato Soup
Sloppy Johns (Okay, so it’s Sloppy Joes…but my daughter has always called them Sloppy Johns…so that’s what we call them.  Also, I’ve attached Dad’s recipe, as told by Dad.)
Tater Tot Casserole (I linked a recipe in another blog…Is that even legal?!  Am I going to get arrested?!  …I’m only half kidding.  But I haven’t tried this recipe yet, so I’m not sure what adjustments I’ll want to make.  If you try it before I do, let me know what worked and what you changed!)
Burgers (with a side of broccoli...nomnomnom)
*Note: My husband typed the recipes he uses for the gravy and the burgers…that’s why the wording and format is a little different than mine.  …I talk and carry on…and he’s very to-the-point.

Week Three:
Fajitas
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Pasta in Olive Oil (You will want garlic bread and salad to pair with this.  …Are you aware that you can buy OLIVE GARDEN dressing?!  It is HEAVENLY.)
Chicken Noodle Casserole (I love to serve this with corn and blueberry muffins.  SO GOOD.)
Jambalaya (If you are feeding kids or someone who gets heartburn easily, you might want to give them a head’s up before eating this.  It’s got a bit of a kick.)

Happy Homesteading, Uncategorized

Meal Planning Crash Course: Week Two of October

Week two of October is up and ready for your clicks and input!  I apparently am unable to stick to my word of getting this up and posted by Wednesday morning…Thanks for being patient with me!  …Here’s a picture of why I can’t get anything accomplished in a timely manner.  They’re cute, aren’t they?  The newborn in my husband’s arms is pretty mild still…but the other two keep me on my toes constantly.  CONSTANTLY.

IMG_9212

Curious: What did you guys have for dinner this week?  Or what are you having for dinner?  Have you tried any of the recipes my family has used?  What did you like, dislike, or change?

Disclaimer: To those of you who know me, this may come as a surprise to see that I’ve written an entry on the blog about meal planning.  Please know that my intent is to share weekly meal plans of the most simplistic “easy-to-throw-together-and-have-leftovers-for-the-next-day’s-lunch” type of meals.  Basically, I’m just sharing with you what our family is eating to give you a fresh idea for your family’s menu.  I hope to have the next week’s menu posted by Wednesday each week, so you can prepare for the grocery store, if needed.  ALSO: I plan 5 meals a week.  That leaves one night for leftovers and one night for dining with family/outside of the home.  The majority of the meals you will see are not super healthy…and none of them are conscious of gluten, dairy, or other allergies that are so prevalent; however, if you would be willing to leave a comment on how you’ve tweaked the recipes to make them more “diet friendly” or “dairy/egg/gluten free” or even just better overall (I’m not a chef and I won’t be offended), we would LOVE your input.


October 2017

Week One:
Mama Mary’s “Homemade” Pizzas
Chili (we pair this with a cornbread mix that happens to be gluten free and delicious)
Chili Dogs (I feel like this is self explanatory, but: Prepare hotdog, then cover with leftover chili and cheese.  Have a salad on the side so you’re having something that your body will thank you for.)
Sandwiches (I linked my latest favorite.  I had it for lunches regularly when I was following Weight Watchers. ♥)
Burritos (If you don’t bake them, they can be prepared in bulk, SaranWrapped, frozen, and microwaved for later consumption.)

Week Two:
Breakfast (This is my husband’s night to shine in the kitchen!  He makes scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy…and it’s so amazing. –Oh, one more thing:  We use Pillsbury frozen biscuits.  They are the closest to the taste of homemade we’ve found…minus the effort.)
Potato Soup
Sloppy Johns (Okay, so it’s Sloppy Joes…but my daughter has always called them Sloppy Johns…so that’s what we call them.  Also, I’ve attached Dad’s recipe, as told by Dad.)
Tater Tot Casserole (I linked a recipe in another blog…Is that even legal?!  Am I going to get arrested?!  …I’m only half kidding.  But I haven’t tried this recipe yet, so I’m not sure what adjustments I’ll want to make.  If you try it before I do, let me know what worked and what you changed!)
Burgers (with a side of broccoli…nomnomnom)
*Note: My husband typed the recipes he uses for the gravy and the burgers…that’s why the wording and format is a little different than mine.  …I talk and carry on…and he’s very to-the-point.

Happy Homesteading

Meal Planning Crash Course: Week One of October

Hello!

Other than the small piece I wrote to serve as a mini-autobiography, I’ve yet to contribute to this fabulous blog.  As mentioned, I have three kiddos…one of which is brand new– and while the adjustment to life with a big, middle, and little isn’t as difficult as I had anticipated, it’s still an adjustment…and adjustments can be physically, mentally, and creatively draining.  So I decided that I would do a blog on meal planning, because I assumed that would require the least amount of creative juice– and I think I was right…kind of.  However, as I’m working on this, I’m realizing that the expertise I had acquired during my web design class from summer school in the late 1990’s isn’t terribly applicable to what I’m doing now…20 years later.

To those of you who know me, this may come as a surprise to see that I’ve written an entry on the blog about meal planning.  Please know that my intent is to share weekly meal plans of the most simplistic “easy-to-throw-together-and-have-leftovers-for-the-next-day’s-lunch” type of meals.  Basically, I’m just sharing with you what our family is eating to give you a fresh idea for your family’s menu.  I hope to have the next week’s menu posted by Wednesday each week, so you can prepare for the grocery store, if needed.  ALSO: I plan 5 meals a week.  That leaves one night for leftovers and one night for dining with family/outside of the home.  The majority of the meals you will see are not super healthy…and none of them are conscious of gluten, dairy, or other allergies that are so prevalent; however, if you would be willing to leave a comment on how you’ve tweaked the recipes to make them more “diet friendly” or “dairy/egg/gluten free” or even just better overall (I’m not a chef and I won’t be offended), we would LOVE your input.


October 2017

Week One:
Mama Mary’s “Homemade” Pizzas
Chili (we pair this with a cornbread mix that happens to be gluten free and delicious)
Chili Dogs (I feel like this is self explanatory, but: Prepare hotdog, then cover with leftover chili and cheese.  Have a salad on the side so you’re having something that your body will thank you for.)
Sandwiches (I linked my latest favorite.  I had it for lunches regularly when I was following Weight Watchers. ♥)
Burritos (If you don’t bake them, they can be prepared in bulk, SaranWrapped, frozen, and microwaved for later consumption.)