Real Food on a Tight Budget: A Week in Review

by lydia on October 19, 2012

It has been a week since I shared my last shopping trip’s worth of groceries with my new tighter budget in mind. Today I am sharing with you how my week went. It was hectic, as I had to plan ahead even more than I usually do and I did a lot of prep work. Tighter budgets mean more time in the kitchen. However, I still have plenty of food on hand, so my shopping list will be very small this week, as I only have $80 to take to the store with me. Another $20 will go to my milk/egg order, putting me at $100 for the next week – for 5 people. For now, here is my past week in review;


The day of my food shopping, I was tired and busy for a bit, so dinner was not planned. Partly, because I had hoped to try my hand at a gluten/grain free pizza crust recipe, but needed more time – so I scratched that and put it on the menu for Sunday. I did have time to make up some chocolate pudding, since I needed to use up some of the milk I had in the fridge to make room. I made a double batch of chocolate pudding, using some new chocolate I had been sent to sample for an upcoming giveaway (stay tuned for that)! Had to run out the door to pick up two boys from football and came home, tired. I ended up making a big batch of scrambled eggs and served them with carrot sticks and white bean hummus. The kids did not complain at all because they knew pudding was coming later. The double batch of pudding made enough for 3 servings each child – I froze one round, served them one round and set some in the fridge to have to pack in school lunches. I also added more water kefir and millet flour to my starter so I could make sourdough pancakes for Saturday’s breakfast.


I made a big batch of gluten/grain free sourdough nut butter pancakes, and a pound of turkey breakfast sausage. I had some cashew butter in my pantry that I had purchased awhile ago, intending to use it to make a grain free bread recipe, but never did. I served the pancakes with whipped honey butter from some cream I had on hand in the freezer. The boys were not home for lunch or dinner, I only had to feed myself. I made one loaf of grain free sourdough bread, which I sliced and froze about half of the loaf. I also made some chicken liver pate for myself to freeze and portion for about 6 lunches. For my own lunch I just nibbled on a bunch of random things while doing food prep. and for dinner enjoyed some Turkey Florentine Soup I had leftover from earlier in the week, topped with a bit of shredded parmesan cheese. I had a bottle of hard apple cider in the fridge left from a 6 pack Andrew bought me a couple of weeks ago to enjoy that evening, along with some dark chocolate. Saturday night indulgences are fun ‘eh!

(A resource I used to help me tackle the gluten free sourdough pancakes and bread as well as the pizza dough I plan on making is this eBook; ‘Real Food Storage: How to’s & Recipes‘. It’s currently only $14.99 and I have been making good use of the book, especially lately).


Breakfast (for me only) – Tea, which I had on hand with coconut oil that I got free to sample and review for a giveaway (stay tuned) with a touch of honey, also had on hand, 3 fried eggs and 2 slices of the bacon ends.

Dinner РRoast chicken, rice cooked in broth with butter and herbs, giblet gravy, green salad (which Andrew brought over),  homemade mayo dressing and apple crisp using pantry items for the topping and Andrew brought some vanilla ice cream to go with it! I fed 9 people with that meal and I had leftovers! (and I pushed the gluten free sourdough pizza dinner back yet again!)

Food Prep – I made about 4 quarts of applesauce, 1 – 3 liter batch of water kefir and fed my grain free sourdough starter. After dinner I put away the apple sauce and started 2 -1 liters of yogurt in the dehydrator overnight. I chopped up my two giant heads of gorgeous broccoli to store in the fridge. (since they didn’t fit prior to that) Sundays are big food prep/kitchen day for me!


Breakfast– for the boys was the leftovers I had set aside from Saturday’s breakfast – sourdough pancakes and turkey sausages. I woke up to my teenager dishing himself some ice cream on top of the rest of the apple crisp (the two littles did not like it). I would have preferred he have something else, but sometimes on Monday morning, you just don’t care.

Lunch – In the boys lunches, I sent peanut butter and honey sandwiches with carrots and cream cheese dip and a small container of chocolate pudding and an apple each. I had the peanut butter on hand from an early stock up shopping trip this month, and the cream cheese I made last week from a batch of kefir.

Dinner – Morphed some chicken from Sunday into some Traditional Chicken Divan with broccoli, white sauce and cheese. Warmed up some of the leftover rice and served carrot slices to some of the boys and had enough salad for my oldest to have with his dinner.

Food Prep– Finished up the 2 -1 liters of yogurt I started last night. Started a new batch of milk kefir. Seasoned and formed the rest of the ground turkey into patties for breakfast sausages. Put some buckwheat groats to soak overnight to make pancakes for breakfast. Started a batch of chicken stock with the chicken carcass and veggie bits from my freezer stash. Started some herbs in the dehydrator.


Breakfast – Happy Belly Buckwheat Pancakes from my friend Lisa’s eBook; ‘Lisa’s Counter Culture and Other Well Bred Foods‘ (I love this ebook by the way! Use code DIVINE to get the ebook for $21, $15.99 off the price! Limited time only!) They were a hit with the kids, and I have extra batter for tomorrow. Turkey Sausage patties (recipe coming soon).

Lunches (for the boys) – Cheese & Pepperoni slices, carrot sticks , applesauce and small container of my homemade chocolate pudding. Lunch for me – Leftovers from dinner for me. Glass of water kefir.

Dinner – Potato Skins topped with cheddar and bacon with steamed broccoli and butter. Water kefir. Apples for dessert/snack.

Food Prep – strained chicken stock to put away. Dried herbs put away. Switched water kefir to bottle for second ferment.


Breakfast (for the boys) – Apple and Buckwheat pancakes from leftover batter and more turkey sausages. No complaints on the repeats. No syrup or honey either. I had 3 scrambled eggs with some shredded parmesan and a mug of chicken stock.

Lunches – I ran out of time and wasn’t prepared, so I let them get lunch at school <gasp>. I will have to plan much better for next week. I had some of my chicken liver pate with a sliced apple and glass of water kefir. My youngest eats lunch at home, and I honestly don’t remember what he had.

Dinner – it was just me, so I had random leftovers.

Food Prep – I started a batch of Kefir Fruit Leather and fed my sourdough starter


Breakfast – More buckwheat pancakes and turkey sausages. My breakfast was 3 fried eggs over top of 1/3 of a mashed sweet potato (had the potato on hand from prior to this weeks shopping trip) and caramelized onions. Sampled the Kefir fruit leather and loved it.

Lunches – Peanut Butter Pancake Sandwiches, carrot sticks with cream cheese dip, apples, 2 Dark Chocolate Mints and Clark also had 1 sheet of Seaweed Snax ( I had the seaweed on hand from the beginning of the month and the chocolate mints my dad got for the boys). My lunch was a wedge of chicken liver pate with one apple (not very creative, I know), but it was delish!

Dinner – Just my oldest and me for dinner – we had Humble Cottage Pie (recipe coming). There was quite a bit leftover too, since my younger 3 were not home for dinner, I set the rest aside likely for lunches over the weekend.

Food PrepMade these cookies – used palm shortening instead of butter and used up the last of the almond flour I had on hand. I used 75% dark chocolate pieces from the chocolate sent to me to review. I prepped one batch of sourdough pizza dough for Friday’s dinner.

The yogurt I made this week I didn’t use up yet. I have kefir left, and a few random leftovers too. I still have some carrots, leftover broccoli from one meal, sourdough starter, 1 gallon of milk, 2 dozen eggs. I have a few quarts of chicken stock on hand as well. I have many other odds and ends in my freezers and pantry that I hope to put to use this coming week.

I realized we did not eat any seafood this week, so I’ll be sure to add it for the upcoming week. I have already planned my menu and figured out where I had trouble and what I need to work on to optimize this budget! Stay tuned!



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Rebecca October 19, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Will you share your recipe for the grain free bread pictured above? It looks delicious!

lydia April 6, 2014 at 10:46 am


I used this recipe as a template for my own:

Heather October 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

Really like that you\’re sharing on budgeting. We are trying to get really strict here too! Did you use a certain method or system to figure out how much was reasonable per person? I\’m having a tough time finding my starting point!

lydia April 6, 2014 at 10:48 am

No system – I spend what I can afford…..I can’t figure out how to do it for any less than $400 per month – that is too low for us as it stands. To eat well I really need about $800 per month – some months are tighter than others – and in the months that I have a bit more I usually try to stock up on bulk meat to save in the months when it’s tighter.

Carly October 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

Recipe for whole buckwheat groat pancakes please. I know how to soak the flour overnight, but don\’t know how to start from the whole groats.

lydia April 6, 2014 at 10:48 am

The recipe is from a cookbook – you can soak the whole groats and then puree them after to make your batter.

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