Monthly Meal Plan + Grocery Haul: January 2021

 

The new year has finally arrived!  I'm not sure what grocery shopping looks like in your neck of the woods now that there's yet another rise in COVID cases, but it's actually not too bad in ours.  For the most part you can select curbside pick-up or delivery if you desire.  And lately I desire.

The photo above and info below outline our monthly grocery shopping.  We will need  a few additional items: milk comes from our farmers market as does coffee for Jay (probably another $20.00 total for the month), and I may get some fresh greens in another 1-2 weeks (less then $10.00).

Our groceries for January came from BJ's and Healthy Living, a local health food store.  Typically we would also do a Hannaford order or a trip to the commissary, however, we are really well stocked on pantry and freezer items.  You'll notice there is no meat purchased.  Our freezers are fairly well stocked.  We are finally (FINALLY) getting eggs from the Coop Girls, and as you know, we put up a lot of veggies in the freezer from the summer garden.

I don't plan on returning to Healthy Living until March so I stocked up with that in mind.  We will probably place another BJ's order mid February-ish.

The total spent for January is anticipated to be $299.41 or about $75.00/week.
 $269.41 (groceries already purchased) + $30.00 (coffee, milk & greens anticipated to purchase throughout the month) = $299.41.  Our January purchases are partly for January and partly for the months to come.

Healthy Living - $174.84 (almost half of this amount is from 2 items....the dandy blend and the goji berries)
BJ's - $94.57

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Our Groceries:

Healthy Living:
The Dandy Blend Herbal Coffee Alternative is AMAZINGLY good.  I absolutely love it for iced or hot "coffee".  It's kind of expensive and a bit of a splurge.  I purchased 2 bags which will last me through April or so.  The 14 oz bags cost $22.49 each.  I've looked on Amazon and they sell a slightly smaller (11 oz) bag for around the same price so this seems to be the best deal.

The Goji Berries are added to a trail mix (we already have the other ingredients on hand) for Jay that he eats daily.  Macular degeneration runs in his family and goji berries have been shown to help prevent this.  Plus they are high in antioxidants so we decided it was worth it regardless of whether or not it works to prevent M.D..  These bags are 8 ounces and $12.49 each.  I should have bought them at Amazon because I'm pretty sure I could have gotten them cheaper.  I'll research it and purchase them there going forward if it makes sense to do so.  The 2 bags should last him just about 2 months.

I know there are cheaper dairy alternatives then Oatly ($4.99/carton) but I really love Oatly.  I prefer the lowfat version but they were out of everything except for these 4 cartons. 

We bought 12 pounds of mixed yukon & red potatoes ($1.99/lb) and 5 pounds of sweet potatoes (I splurged and bought my FAVORITE Japanese Sweet Potatoes at $2.99/lb - I call them "cake sweet potatoes" because they are soooo sweet).  Oliver and I are on the last of the sweet potatoes that we harvested and stored in the fall.  I can't believe they are almost gone!!!  We go through a moderate amount of potatoes and only purchase them organic, and the absolute best ones we've found are at Healthy Living.  This is easily a 2 month supply of each.

I have a few apples and mandarin oranges left for fruit but Jay prefers grapes so I bought a bag of grapes ($2.99/lb) and I treated myself to a couple of grapefruit ($1.49/lb).  I typically try to only buy fruit that is $1.99 or less per pound (exception being the frozen berries & cherries), but that definitely didn't happen this month.

Que Pasa is our new favorite brand of tortilla chips.  They are organic, non-GMO, and reduced sodium.  We very rarely have chips but when we do it's tortilla for the win.  They were on sale (although I'm wondering if this is a permanent sale because they were on the same sale a few months ago when I last bought them...) at $2.99/bag.

I usually make my own bread and tortillas but I like to have a bit of each in the freezer just in case.  I've used up my freezer stash of both so I purchased a loaf of Dave's bread and a pack of limited ingredient corn tortillas and whole wheat flour tortillas for the freezer. 

BJ's:
Not shown in the photo, we also bought a bag of frozen organic sweet cherries and a bag of frozen organic blueberries (3 lb bags for $13.99/ea.).  We have 2 bags of each in the freezer already.  We each eat a 1/2 cup of a mix of the two every single day so we should be good for a couple months.  I also bought Kiwi (3 lbs for $6.49) as yet another splurge because we haven't had them in forever and one bunch of organic bananas (2 lbs for $1.59).  We've found that our very favorite bananas are organic Chiquita.  They seem to be the creamiest.  I have no idea why, but the non-organic Chiquita's and other brands organic and non-organic just aren't the same.  Strange....

I keep riced cauliflower on hand in the freezer because it's one of the cheapest ways to buy cauliflower off season.  (I roast it from frozen in the oven to use as a veggie side)  I wanted to make some buffalo cauliflower though for veggie tacos, and I need pieces instead of having it riced so I bought a bag (2 lbs for $4.29).  Jay likes cooked cauliflower with cheese sauce so he'll have that as a side a few times too. 

We eat a lot of mushrooms and BJ's seems to have the best price on them so I bought 2 which will get us through a few weeks.  (24 oz containers for $4.99/ea.)

Pom Juice was a special request by the husband.  We don't usually buy juice but he requested it last month for the first time in a long time and has been enjoying it.  (48oz bottle $8.99)  I'm running low on frozen peas and frozen corn and BJ's carries the organic at a reasonable cost (each is 4 lbs for $6.99) so I stocked up.  I'm low on carrots too and their price isn't bad (5 lbs organic for $3.99).  Also not shown is a 3-pack of frozen pizza.  We keep a couple vegan frozen pizzas and a couple meat/cheese frozen pizzas on hand all of the time for the days we need something quick.  We still have 2 of the vegan so we just stocked up on the meat version (3 pack DiGiornio $13.99).


January's Meal Plan
My goal was to start posting our meal plans again, per request from many of you, but to also add photos of some of the meals this time around.  Unfortunately, I have yet to get in the habit of photographing dinner before it's served.  I hope to add this to the posts as I remember.


A Note About Our Meal Plans
I create monthly meal plans because it's what I've found to be easiest for me.  There may be some change but usually not much.  Changing works because I rotate the same 30+ meals so we would use the ingredients at some point over the next 30-45 days.  If we have perishables that need to be used up then that becomes priority and I may make changes to avoid food waste.

I usually make 2 separate meals - Jay and I eat completely different at this point.  He used to be willing to eat what I eat as his side but not so much anymore.  He's not a fan of whole grains and can only tolerate one type of veggie per meal.  So.....you can see that I tend to eat the same thing multiple nights because it's easy and I don't mind at all.  Where there's only one meal noted, I make a meat & cheese version for him and a vegan version for me.  Where there's no veggie side noted for him I use whatever I've got that needs using up or I select a frozen veggie.

You will notice that for Jays meals there are a few noticeable rotations.  
  • In general, chicken meals are Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Pork is Tuesdays.  And Beef is Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays.  This is in part due to the fact that he tells me it's illegal to serve chicken 2 days in a row.  (insert eye roll)  
  • Also, other then the occasional new recipe that I try, his meals rotate about every month and a half (a different rotation will show up for summer).  
  • Our Sundays rotate around the same 5 meals (Tamales, Tacos, Homemade Pizza, Pot Roast, and Meatballs) because it's our farmers market day which means I want something super simple to make.  I do not make the tamales, we love those by Tucson Tamale (not an affiliate link).  Around us we can find a small variety at Healthy Living.  Tucson Tamale offers meat, vegetarian, and vegan varieties and they are sooooo delicious.  They do use oil in all of their tamales so if you are completely oil-free this is unfortunately not an option for you.
Recipe Links:
If I have posted the recipe or use a recipe posted by someone else this month then I will link to it below.  If there's a meal you'd like to see the recipe for let me know!

What about you?  Do you have favorite meals that you rotate?  Do you have to cook multiple meals for different eaters?

7 comments

daisy g said...

You might want to try out Misfits. It's an organic produce delivery service, but they also have staples like nut milks, chips and lots of other goodies.

Thankfully, I am no longer having to cook for anyone in the household but myself. After 20 years of making 3 different versions of the same meal, my boys are on their own. It has been good for all of us.

Don't know if you've seen the YouTube channel ElaVegan, but she has some great and easy recipes on there. Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC80facrUfOSKTiiMA6V6Owg
I also follow My Quiet Kitchen and Downshiftology. The latter is not always vegan recipes, but they are all clean and healthy options.

We are down to getting one egg (maybe) every day from our 5 girls. I'm hoping with the addition of increased daylight, it will pick up. I'm ready to make some quiche!

Blessings in the New Year to you, J, Ollie, Jack and the girls.

Windy Meadows Farm said...

Thanks so much for sharing this...I can't believe how much money is spent on food. Having kids in the house does make a difference, but I can leave the grocery with hardly any bags at all and I feel like it's a fortune...and I'm not buying expensive items. I feel like I simply need to plan better and work ahead on "plan-overs" knowing I'll have leftovers and preparing ahead to make them into a second meal. Thanks again...this will be a huge help on one of my 2021 goals! Mary

Cockeyed Jo said...

I tend to use what I have on hand most months. We rotate between chicken, quail, egg, and pork, with once a week beef. So that's five days in a week taken care of with occasional seafood/fish twice a month. So that's plenty of variety. Wednesdays is Italian night (spaghetti, lasagna, Italian sausage, or pizza). Saturdays are usually quick eats. Sundays are full meals with desserts. One dessert will last us a week. One night is usually leftovers.

Sharon @ Laurelhurst Craftsman said...

Wow, you are making two different meals for you and your husband. That's dedication. I'm so happy my hubby was a willing partner on our weight loss/health journey. I wish you a happy and productive 2021.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Daisy - thank you for the reminder about Misfits. I had looked into them a few months ago but they were not taking new customers because they had been inundated from the pandemic. I will take a look this week! And thanks for the youtube channels! I'm hoping you receive enough eggs to make that quiche soon.... :) Happy new year to you and your family as well!

Mary - boy are you right about the cost of groceries compared to how many bags you have. Prices have increased over the past year too which doesn't help the old budget at all. Happy new year!

Jo - thank you for sharing how you rotate your meals. I think it helps to have a rotation - makes it more simple in my mind anyway. Happy new year!

Sharon - yes, I am making 2 meals. But, I only make 2 different meals per week (usually) for me so I'm eating leftovers most of the time, so that helps. Happy new year to you as well!

Kathy said...

Happy New Year. When I single and before kids I used to have a monthly food budget and shopped monthly for most things with the exception of milk and fruit and veggies. I have been meal planning weekly for years now with kids.

Staci at Life At Cobble Hill Farm said...

Happy new year to you as well Kathy! Yes, I can see how meal planning with kids would be a bit more challenging to do monthly. :) Thanks so much for your comment!