Tag Archives: food

Eating on $20 per day?

Before you answer, I am feeding 7 people. It just seems like if I play my cards right, I should be able to average about $20 a day for food.


I’m going to start paying attention to where I shop and how much I spend. I also want to have a list of the meals I make and how much they cost.

After an initial attempt at keeping track of food spending, I think my biggest difficulties are figuring out how to calculate leftovers, calculating condiments and other things that we buy once a month or every other month and eat a tablespoon at a time, and also just finding the time and energy to keep track.

I’ve got a shopping list, and I’m going to keep the receipt with the list and also write all the prices on the list so I can use it to calculate how much a particular meal costs.

Does anyone have a good system for keeping track of the cost of meals?

Do you know about how much you spend on food for your family per day?

Do you have the stores dialed in where you can find the cheapest price on your staple items?

Lettuce Away!

I loved it last year when my husband would go out on the deck to pick some lettuce for the lunch he was packing himself. Thinking of him eating homegrown, organic lettuce in his lunch, which he might eat really far from home, covering some news story that was stressing him out and making him believe even more than he already does that the human race is f***ed… it makes me feel like I might be contributing to the good of the world.

Maybe he will taste hope. Maybe he will taste the love of a wife, the warm care of the sun, the solid affection of the dirt, the tasty freshness of lettuce grown on your own porch.

Maybe it will be reflected in his story, which many will read, and the love will make it through the labyrinth, somehow, and feed the world.

Such tiny seeds. Such big dreams.

NOT lettuce, obviously, but I am reusing the big black containers... also I like to remember my basil...

Marvelous Mismatch

I took my daughter out to the store looking like this yesterday:

Yes, her shirt is on inside out and backwards. Yes, the green and white stripes clash fantastically with the pink and white polka dots.

But she dressed herself!

Sure, if we were going somewhere super fancy, I’d have suggested she pick out something else (those are jammy pants, after all) and I’d have given her some gentle direction to put it on correctly.

But to the store? I was proud that she did it herself, and that she was pleased as punch at her independence.

But first, we had to have a banana muffin snack.



Good times!

Healthy Snacks

We are big snackers here. I want to revamp the meals I fix as well, but I want to start with what is available to munch on because I think we usually have too much junk.

Guiding principles: homemade, low sugar content, whole grains, fresh whole foods when available/affordable, nutritious and delicious!

(Another secret goal that I will never admit to so “I’m just speaking hypothetically…” *nervous whistling*… is, if my child snacks too much or too close to mealtime and isn’t hungry for dinner, I won’t stress about it. Because heck, if my kid has just munched on an apple, some cashews and a homemade oatmeal cookie, I’m thinking that’ll get ’em where they need to be.)

So here’s my sketched up list of…

Snack Staples

  • cut veggies (usually carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper)
  • cheese (sliced by me or string cheese)
  • hard boiled eggs
  • muffins or cookies (loaded with whole grains, nuts, dried fruit, or other tasty nutritious ingredients)
  • homemade granola (again, whole grains, nuts, etc.)
  • soy milk
  • fruit (in season and as we can afford it, although we almost always have a bag of apples on hand)
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • homemade bread or roll (whole grains/nuts) with some kind of topping (peanut butter, nutella, cinnamon & sugar, etc.)

I’m hoping to come up with some new ideas of things my kids will love (and forget about how much they loved the pre-packaged stuff.) If you’ve come up with something fabulous that your kids love, please share it in a comment! We could come up with a huge wonderful list of awesome snacks!

Here’s a pic of my “Breakfast Cookies” which are as healthy as can be! For the recipe, read this post: New Project

Land as Palette

Earlier this year my husband and I, with the help of the generous staff and volunteers of Habitat for Humanity, bought a house on .18 acres of land.

Yes, that’s a decimal point. That’s almost two-tenths of an acre. With a five bedroom house on it.

I’m not complaining. In my ideal world, I’d have more land, but in the real world, I never thought I’d own anything. I owe it all to the fact that my life partner is relentlessly driven and hopelessly dedicated to providing for his family.

Having lived here only seven months, the land is still relatively blank, like a canvas waiting for a work of art to bloom upon it.

Although our imaginations are constrained by space restrictions, in a sense, it allows us to be even more creative. We have to get wacky and funky (which we both love to do) with our designs, and we are forced to narrow down what actually matters to us and what we can live without.

For me, I very much want: vegetable garden, strawberry patch, fire pit/hang out area, herb garden

For my husband: fruit trees, workshop

This morning we drew a sketch of the property and played with possibilities. I am acutely aware of what a special time this is, to lay the foundation of the life we will live.

It will, Great Spirit willing, be a life of food, family gatherings and creativity.

Trail Mix Mama

Does an image from your past life ever flash across your mental screen?  You know, from those days gone by when your life was more your own, whenever that was, when you could go alone into the bathroom to do your business without small people screaming and banging on the door, when you had the time and energy to follow a sudden inspiration, when you had the freedom to arrange at least part of your life to go just the way you want it.

Yesterday, in the midst of the multi-tasking madness that is my daily routine, I was muching a few cashews, purchased purely because my husband and kids like them, when I suddenly remembered that I used to carry around trail mix in my backpack.  I would buy the ingredients separately from the bulk bins of the health food store: almonds, walnuts, dates, sunflower seeds, raisins, cashews.  I’d combine them into a big jar, and then I’d pour a couple of cups worth into a plastic bag and carry it around with me as a snack (or emergency survival tool!)

Why do I not do this any more?  I think the reasons shed much light on why I don’t do a lot of things I like to do anymore:

  1. I often can’t afford to buy quantities of expensive nuts and things
  2. Small children can choke on nuts, raisins, etc. so I couldn’t share my concoction with everyone
  3. I have to coordinate mealtime/hunger management with the entire family, so I am not at liberty to simply quench my own appetite whenever I fancy a nibble

Hank and Hank's Mama - 2007


What do we give up to set off down this path of parenthood?  What things that literally or figuratively feed us as individuals do we let fall by the wayside so that we can do what’s best for the new unit, so that we can harmonize with the new group we’ve created?  Which parts of me have disappeared into my existence as my children’s Mama, and someday, when those children no longer need me as much, which parts of me will still be there?