Where Did the Frugal Go?

My weekly grocery and meal plan frugal posts have been missing. This is because, simply, I have been missing. I was gone for the better part of July, and then had family visiting until just yesterday, which unfortunately left no time for blogging.

You can expect those posts to start up again next week. This week is playing catch-up from all the time I haven’t been living as I normally do: grocery shopping, house cleaning, car stuff, business stuff…the list is endless, really.

I ate a lot of things I normally don’t during this hiatus, and my body is really starting to rebel. Don’t get me wrong, the foods was spectacular; but, a month of it wasn’t necessarily the best thing for me. So, starting this coming Monday, I’ll be off processed sugars totally again, and cutting severely down on “white” foods, such as potatoes, white rice, etc. Normally, we don’t eat a lot of those types of foods anyway, but when traveling so extensively without kitchen access, they become pretty difficult to avoid.

We were able to do a meal plan this week, for the first time in over a month, and while I can’t list all the groceries and prices (because I haven’t done the shopping yet), I can tell you what’s On The Menu:

-Tonight is local HH Farms spicy Italian saugage & lentil soup (made in the crock pot). Served with homemade cornbread & local honey.

-Friday. BLTs, on UC’s homemade, whole-grain bread! It’s so nice to have bread again. The tomatoes are local from Waterpenny Farms. The bacon isn’t local this time, because we’re out and didn’t get a chance to order more, but the lettuce is also from one of my producers.

-Saturday. Fish (TBD) with quinoa risotto &  fresh vegetables. This is market day, so while we have a plan for the general meal, we usually keep it general enough to insert whatever looks best to us at the time.

-Sunday. Baked stuffed shells with vodka sauce, served with homemade ciabatta. This is our baking day, and we do pretty much everything we can to maximize the use of the oven. Stuffed shells are a great way for us to use up leftovers, like small bit of meat and veggies that didn’t get turned into lunches. Just run them through the meat grinder, mix with cheese, stuff into shells, cover with sauce, and bake. I use a variety, depending on went into the grinder, but it almost always includes ricotta or cream cheese. If things work out right, it’ll be cheese I made myself. The sauce will be homemade, as we’re putting up a decent bit of it again this year from scratch-and-dents from a few of the farmers I know.

-Monday. Spicy orange stir fry over lemon-scented brown rice. This is a fantastic way for us to use up any delicate veggies, such as squash, before they go bad. We’ll also be using some freshly made tofu from the Twin Oaks Commune here in VA. This is the best tofu I’ve ever had, made from bean to bar (so to speak) right on the commune. As far as I have been able to investigate, I should be able to have this tofu without interference to my  thyroid medication. Since I love tofu, this makes me very, very happy. And, it allows me to support a great local business and way of life. Also, at $2/lb, it’s hard to beat.

-Tuesday. Beef and barley stew, with homemade bread. Pannill’s Gate produces the best grass-fed beef I’ve had thus far, and we’re buying a good bit from them these days. I was lucky enough to spend some time on the farm with Patty, one of the owners, and got to take a serious look at their operation. They’re one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. Their cows are happy and healthy, and the farm does what it says it does: 100% pastured, grass-fed beef, no hormones, no antibiotics. Beyond organic. I’d give you the website, but they’re still working on it. In the meantime, if you’d like to talk with them about their beef, just email me and I’ll get you their contact information.

And, that’s where we left off. We’ll do more planning on Saturday after the market and our trip to SNP to help clear a blow down.

This week, we’re hoping to gather some more Chicken of the Woods mushrooms. We got about 4 lbs. last week, and they’re just fantastic. Unless it rains sometime in the near future, though, I am not holding out much hope. We’ll be cooking down more tomatoes, of course, for sauce. Baking day will include: ciabatta, sandwich bread, roasted garlic, The Best Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies In the History of the World, So Hippy it Hurts muffins, and possibly some other things.

It’ll be a busy week, but I am really looking forward to it.

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