Project: Food Budget Week 2

Sometimes life gives you lemons and that certainly happened to me this week.  Upon returning home from my trip I found that my boyfriend had moved out.  Wow, that was unexpected.  So now I’m cooking for one person, which is something I really struggle to do.

In the past, I haven’t wanted to spend the time to cook anything fancy because I’m the only person here to eat it.  Plus, I don’t really know what to freeze and I’m not always crazy about leftovers.  So typically I just made simple things and oftentimes, I ate the same 4 things over and over.  And when I got tired of those 4 things, I’d order a pizza.

So this week, I’m going to concentrate on clearing out.  There’s a ton of food in my fridge, freezer, and pantry and its time to use it.  I’m going to set a budget of $30, with the intention of using up as much as I can.  I’ll cook, freeze, and eat leftovers.  And then I’ll refresh my kitchen with summer ingredients and get a little more creative in the kitchen.  I’ll also focus on building an essential pantry that’s more in line with my tastes, which have changed quite a bit from when I first starting cooking.  I’m looking forward to this.

Week 1 Budget: $100
Week 1 Actual: $80.55

Week 2 Budget: $30

I’ve created a listing of everything in my freezer right now, so I can start planning some meals to use up things that have been around for awhile (and have room for freezing summer berries for winter smoothies!).

Shrimp, Chicken, Pork, Sausage, Peas, 3 Steamfresh Veggies, Marinara Sauce, Leftover Soup from Week 1 (2 portions), Ravioli, 1 Burrito, Bananas and Assorted Berries, Cool Whip, Bread Crumbs, Texas Toast and Alcohol.

There are some really great foodies participating in the challenge, so for more budget-friendly tips, check out their efforts:

Week 34 Participating blogs: 

To learn more about this project, I’d encourage you to check out the Details on Project: Food Budget here: http://emilylevenson.com/blog/project-food-budget/details

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Project Food Budget: Week 1 Update

As I said in my first post Week 1, this has been a bit of a strange starter week.  I’m going out of town tomorrow and won’t be back until Wednesday.  So I’m just going to update how I did this week.

Goal Budget: $100
Actual Budget: $75.56 (as of 5.13.12) + $4.99 at Giant Eagle (5.16.12) = $ 80.55 (still under budget)

I think I’ll be able to stay under $20 on Wednesday of next week, even if I eat out!

Here’s the huge result that came from week #1 – I saved money.  A LOT of Money!  I took my lunch to work all 4 days this week, saving about $7.50 per day on average.  So thats $30 this week.  I ate healthy food, moderate portions, wasn’t bored, and I felt good about it!

I’ve decided to jump into this project right where I am, so while I’m on Week 1, the larger group is on Week 33.  There are some really great foodies participating in the challenge, so for more budget-friendly tips, check out their efforts:

Week 33 Participating blogs: 

To learn more about this project, I’d encourage you to check out the Details on Project: Food Budget here: http://emilylevenson.com/blog/project-food-budget/details

Project Food Budget: Week 1

My awesome friend Emily Levenson has this neat food budget challenge going on  over on her blog, Project Food Budget, and there are lots of others who have joined her to share their experiences.  I’ve decided to jump in on the project mid-way through the year.

I’m cooking for two people, me and my boyfriend, for most dinners and I’m including my own lunches in the mix, too.  I have a big problem with lunches, so I’m going to make a strong effort to really plan for them carefully, so I won’t eat out, except for special occasions.

This week, we shopped at two stores, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  Unlike most weeks, we had a gift card for both places, but we had to pay for that gift card, so I’m including the broken apart totals for future reference.

Here are the five dinners we purchased for this week:

A Nacho Skillet with pasta
Make our own Pizza
Cooking Light RecipesChicken and Bean BurritosTex-Mex Chicken Soup, & Shrimp Florentine Pasta

We also splurged on ingredients to make a Strawberry-Rhubarb pie.
Lunches:

Monday: Leftover Nacho Pasta
Tuesday: Frozen burrito/Tomato Soup w/ Feta
Wednesday: Leftover Tex-Mex Chicken Soup
Thursday: Leftover Fettuccine Pasta

Goal Budget: $100 (seems like a good place to start – since I have no idea!)
Whole Foods: $34.51 ($32.90 gift card) ($1.61 CC)
Trader Joe’s: $41.05 ($17.20 gift card) ($23.85 CC)
Actual Budget: $75.56 (as of 5.13.12)  Under budget

I’m going to make a few adjustments to the recipes so I can use some things I have on hand, and I also need to pick up some more chicken for the soup, so I’ll spend a few more dollars on that.  I’ll also be out-of-town from Friday to Tuesday, so it will be a bit of an awkward week.  I’ll go shopping with a menu next Wednesday, so the next update will be a little more comprehensive, because it will include a full week plus a weekend.

Welcome March!

I’m so glad its finally March.  It means spring is coming soon.  There are lots of things I’m looking forward to this season.   Tonight, I’m watching West Wing, eating Chinese food with a wonderful friend, and getting ready for an early morning.  And talking about Paris.  Did I mention I’m going to Paris?!

It’s the Little Things I Love

1.  I love that there are still gentlemen in the world that will make a girl they fancy a home cooked dinner.  Bonus points for candlelight.
2.  Dependable jewelry.  On mornings where I need a quick bit of sparkle, I know my pink sparkle studs and necklace will do the trick.
3.  I love the sounds of a well played jazz trumpet and was glad to have discovered Nicholas Payton yesterday on my Chris Botti Pandora Station.  And speaking of Pandora.  I love Pandora 1.  So worth the money for unlimited play, no ads, and greater customization.
4.  I also love a mournful yet driving cello.  Looking forward to seeing Honeck conduct Beethoven’s Masterpieces this Sunday at the Pittsburgh Symphony.
5.  Anticipation of Yoga with Nikki tonight at 5:45.  There’s nothing like the promise of a little hot yoga to encourage me through my day.   You should check out Amazing Yoga; slowly changing my life.