Sunday, March 6, 2011

what we ate (trader joe's, recipes, grocery $$)

You know we were on a Trader Joe's kick...(and I still want to be, I just have to figure out a way to do it on my budget!!) So here are some meals we had the last few weeks.

Mojito salmon, brown rice, green beans. The family adores this salmon. What I love about it is that it comes in a handy little microwave package (but you can also cook it in the oven). I have such trouble baking or broiling salmon- it never comes out how we like- but this Mojito salmon from TJ's is so moist and perfect and seasoned deliciously! The green beans are awesome and the brown rice cooks for 3 min in the microwave.

Cilantro jalapeno hummus (usually with the baked pita chips but here with a corn chip). I don't care what you eat it with - hummus is so good! I never knew! It is so yummy for a dip-loving girl like me. A much healthier alternative.

Chick pea/couscous salad, green beans, spinach salad. Pretty good. Everyone liked this meal just OK.

Blueberry pancakes- soooo good! This recipe uses oatmeal and I added some flaxseed to make it extra healthy- and the fam gobbled them up.

Chicken burger with broccoli slaw (everyone else did not like, but I liked), peas, blueberries.

Reality of the days we had Cook-Out shakes for lunch....

2 out of the 3 kids got a stomachache (I felt like the worst mother possible)

Oh my dear! OK- this is not a Trader Joe's meal- these are recipes I got from our ladies group at church- the Apples of Gold is the best thing ever- we all get together at someone's house, one of us cooks a meal and demonstrates the process, then someone teaches a lesson on an applicable topic from the Bible- we have had lessons on pride, fear of man, insecurity, etc. Then we sit down in small groups to eat the awesome meal and discuss what we have learned.

EVERY single time I have gone to Apples of Gold I have gotten the hugest blessing and have been inspired to be a better wife, mom, Christian...I have been given the help I need to move along spiritually, I have been given lots of tasty new recipes that I use on a regular basis- not to mention little tips that people give when demonstrating how they cook certain foods.

The above photo is Elsie's Cajun Chicken Fettucine and her cheddar garlic biscuits- Yum. Pure comfort food there. The whole family loved that meal.

Mojito salmon- again! (we love it so much), caesar salad, ciabatta.

At the beginning of March we started Dave Ramsey's envelope system. I have all of the grocery cash for the whole month and that is all I can use. We budgeted $600 for the month- this includes all toiletries, paper product, pet food. I clipped some coupons and looked in the flyer- for just one grocery store (Lowes Foods). I got a lot of good deals- but we have had some less than stellar meals- things that we don't normally eat. Things I thought we should try because they were on sale. I saved some money- but think that it would have been cheaper to go to Aldi's or even Wal Mart. It is all a learning curve, and I know I can do better. It is just a balance- I do not want to get gross food just because it is cheap! What I really want to do is shop Trader Joe's! But now I know that store well enough, I think I can go once and month and stock up on stuff we really love (the salmon!)...(and hummus!)...(and the vanilla meringue cookies!!!!!!!!!!!! OH MY WORD! I am driving there just for the cookies!!!!)


Pam said...

Love it, girl! Love the healthy variety. Wish we had a TJ closer than 45 minutes away! My inlaws pass it all the time, and will shop for me, but I really need to be there to look at everything, if you know what I mean! I could go for some of those pancakes right now!

BTW, the easiest way to cook fish right every time is to lay it on parchment paper, add butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, close up the paper so it is wrapped up like a package, and then bake at 375 for about 10 minutes. This method is called "en papillote". You can also lay the fish on a bed of veggies and they will come out lightly steamed.

Oh, and if you want better brown rice, use the regular brown rice (not quick cook), and bake it in the oven. Comes out right every time. Put 1 1/2 cups brown rice in 8x8 inch baking dish (or something of similar size). Boil 2 1/2 cups water, 1 tsp salt, and 1 Tbsp unsalted butter. Pour the boiling water mixture over the rice, stir, cover w/ foil and bake at 375 for 1 hour. You can easily double this in a 9x13 pan. I like to bake several batches at once and freeze in meal-size portions. Brown rice freezes better than white rice. I buy organic brown rice at Walmart.

Natalie said...

The food looks delicious!!!!

gypsy@Hebrews11:13 said...

Ok, I don't know how you will feel about this advice...but what if you ate like Trader Joe's but made it yourself? I make hummus a lot, homemade is so good and so cheap. Buy couscous in bulk- it is so cheap. And REALLY tasty if you serve it right- my whole family LOVES it. And I wonder if Minute brown rice is cheaper than Trader Joe's? It's still quick to make and just as healthy, maybe cheaper too? You can still get most of your stuff at Trader Joe's as long as you cut in SOME areas. Walmart has the fresh green beans that you steam in their bag and these are MUCH cheaper than Trader's or Whole Foods...ok, I'll get off this horse now...eating healthy and cheap is something I love!

Kellie said...

Okay... even your food is colorful! Every meal had green in it with the only exception of pancakes and icecream shakes.. and with a little imagination I bet you could find a way to put some green into those too! Happy cooking... and eating!

Anonymous said...

Looks so yummy! I have a TJ addiction!

Megan said...

One thing that has really helped me with my grocery budget is finding a local coupon/deal website that gives match-ups for sales and coupons at my local stores. It takes a lot of the work out of coupon shopping by telling me exactly which coupons to use. If you could find a site that lists deals at the stores where you shop, it would be a huge help to your budget! :)

Chrissie Grace said...

yum!!!! I can't wait to try some of these!

justin, jake and jenna's mom said...

you're making me miss TJ's!! But I'm not doing so well on the grocery budget right now, so maybe it's good that I don't have that temptation! I'm trying to do coupons....but the savings don't seem that great....frustrating! The meals look delish!!!

Ruth said...

I agree with not wanting to eat cheap foods. I like to try new things and we love Trader Joes. It is difficult saving money, especially in this economy. You have to be careful with some sales and coupons, they are not always the bargain you think they are.
I want to try that salmon. I have wanted to but wasn't sure if it was good.

michele said...

I found that when I take a few minutes on sunday to plan the weeks meals we eat better, it costs us less and I'm not stressing out at 4:30 trying to figure out what what to cook. I think if you did this you could balance out cheap meals ,like pasta, with tj's and still meet your budget. Hope this helps.