Sometimes life has a way of catching you off guard. Last week, my husband was told that his last day at work would be this coming Friday. I think I spent most of last week in a numb state of shock. We have full faith in God’s plan for our family. And we know that he will always provide for our needs. I have spent the last several days going through our budget and seeing where we can cut what. I will look be looking for a job to help out until my husband finds a new job. We are making cuts here and cuts there. We will be ok. But how do I continue to cook REAL food on a tighter budget? What areas of my menu planning do I have to make compromises in? What areas do I stand firm in? Can I do it? Do I give up? These are all questions that have been tumbling around in my brain over the last week.
The answers I came up with are based on the main reason I switched my family from a diet of mostly factory processed foods to a diet of REAL food that I cook from scratch. The main reason we made the change is that my husband is uber sensitive to MSG and other food additives that mimics MSG. The smallest amounts of MSG can trigger a migraine that just won’t quit. A larger amount of MSG can send him into a week-long migraine. The more we learned, the more we realized that the only way to eliminate MSG was to eliminate processed foods. If you want to learn more about MSG and its hidden sources please read here. Bottom line, I can’t allow MSG to sneak back into my house.
The compromises I will have to make for the short-term: I will not be able to afford pasture-fed meats and dairy products. I will not be able to afford to buy what ever fruit or vegetable that tickles my fancy. I will be able to afford fruits and vegetables that are in season. I will be able to afford many of the same things that I buy now. We will be eating a more vegetarian diet with meat served 2-3 times a week or as more of seasoning instead of on entrée. My menu planning will be very precise, will focus on stretching each item, and trying to make sure there is no waste. Which should probably be the goal of every menu I write regardless – to make the best food with the resources I have available.
So here is this week’s menu. Next week we will be on vacation with my mother, so I’m waiting to write the vacation menu until later this week as we finalize our plans.
This Week’s Menu
SATURDAY: Breakfast: WW Maple Mini Donuts, Lunch: left-over Reuben Dip & Rye crackers, Dinner: grilled cheeseburgers, fruit
SUNDAY: Breakfast: Coconut-Carrot Morning Glory Muffins, Lunch: grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit, Dinner: WW Banana Waffles with strawberries & maple syrup, scrambled eggs, Other Prep: dry strawberries in dehydrator
MONDAY: Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast, Lunch: WW waffle & cream cheese sandwich, fruit, Dinner: Chicken Salad, Pasta Salad (recipe testing), Other Prep: dry apples in dehydrator
TUESDAY: Breakfast: oatmeal, Lunch: LO chicken salad &/or pasta salad, Dinner: Ham & Potato Au Gratin, sweet peas, carrots, Prep: dry pineapple in dehydrator
WEDNESDAY: Breakfast: oatmeal, Lunch: LO Ham & Potato Au Gratin, fruit, Dinner: Beef Stroganoff, broccoli with cheese sauce (recipe testing), Prep: Bake Honey Whole Wheat Bread
THURSDAY: Breakfast: whole grain cream of wheat, Lunch: LO Beef Stroganoff, fruit, Dinner: burritos with WW tortillas (ground beef & cheese sauce), black beans, Prep: make Black Bean Brownies
FRIDAY: Breakfast: oatmeal, Lunch: black beans, WW tortillas, shredded cheese, fruit, Dinner: self-serve dinner (time to clean out the fridge before vacation)