Mar 25, 2009

Cooking & feeding the kids: So far, so good + we're saving a lot of money

We're going on week three of not eating out (much). I've been cooking pretty much every night, and stashing a few things in the freezer (like my favorite bolognese) for future meals to make things easier on myself.

I know that shopping at multiple stores is saving us money but I couldn't tell you how much right now. My monthly bill is completely skewed by purchases for Alex's birthday party, which have been made during my regular shopping trips over the course of a few weeks. I should have a better idea of what's going on with my grocery bill in about a month.

But I think our grocery bill has pretty much stayed the same, while our overall spending on food has gone down significantly. This is because leftovers usually double as lunch and planning our meals ahead of time means I'm not wasting (as much) food.

A huge bonus to all of this is that we're all eating healthier. Although I must admit that there have been times when one or both boys has gone to bed having eaten only a bowl of fruit for dinner.

Overall, though, there have been fewer battles at the dinner table as we've continued to follow Ellyn Satter's plan. Serving all of dinner at once, instead of holding back the fruit that I know they'll eat, has made a big difference. If the boys don't like the entree, they just eat a lot of fruit (I take it for granted that they won't even try the veggie, though of course I hope that'll change someday – I'm picking my battles, though). I am much happier not having to scramble every night to come up with half a dozen alternatives the boys might eat.

I'll end this post with a couple of new recipes I've tried recently:

CrockPot Korean Ribs from A Year of CrockPotting - Marc and I liked these a lot. I left out the jalapeƱos because I forgot to buy them, and I'm not sure I would have used them even if I'd remembered them because I worry that even a hint of spiciness will freak the kids out. In any event, I didn't miss the peppers and the meat was very tasty.

Miso Chicken Piccata from Cooking Light - I made a lot of adjustments to the recipe, some intentional and some not. I used dark miso, left out the capers, and cut back on the lemon juice – all of those were intentional. I also left out the flour - most definitely not intentional. By the time I realized what I'd done, the chicken was all cooked, so I substituted cornstarch. Which would have worked beautifully if only I'd dissolved it in cold liquid before adding it to the pan. But I didn't. And ended up with lumps that I had to strain out. Needless to say, I made a lot of unnecessary work for myself. On the bright side, though, we all liked this dish fairly well – it wasn't outstanding, but I'm a big fan of anything the kids eat without complaining.


Dina said...

I am so glad to hear Satter's plan is working for your family! I read a different book of hers, I'll need to pick up the one you are currently working from.

Chief Family Officer said...

@Dina - Yes! Thank you again for the recommendation. I do need to get back to the book, I still haven't gotten very far in it.

Stephanie ODea said...

I'm so glad you liked the ribs! They were one of our favorites.

Christy said...

I've been wanting to try those ribs since I first saw them published over at Crockpot365! Glad to hear you liked them.

We're also trying to eat out less. Our food bill is too much!

Anonymous said...

Those crockpot ribs sound fantastic! I need to head over and give that recipe a look see!

I'm glad you're finding ways to get the kids to eat! I can't imagine how stressful that must have been to make so many different alternatives. Just curious, have you looked into the possibility that the kids may have food allergies and that's why they're avoiding foods? Or do you think they're just picky eaters?

Anonymous said...

Congrats! I know this has been something you have been working on. It gets easier as you find the recipes that work for your family. I have Crockpot Lady's chicken parm recipe cooking at home this minute, and I've used her yogurt recipe. I'm really into scratch cooking right now, and although it has added some work/time to my day, I am enjoying the results.