Two-week, grain-free meal plan and cost breakdown Feb 11-24

This post is a couple days late, but I’ve had a sick baby on my hands and an over-worked husband!

I’ve been following a pretty strict primal/paleo diet these last few week and it’s going great. I’ve lost a few pounds without trying very hard and I’m feeling pretty good. We aren’t doing a diet as strict as the Whole30 program, but trying to do about 90/10.

Usually I post meal plans for the week coming up, but I’ve decided to start posting meals, shopping lists, and cost breakdown for two weeks at a time, since a lot of what we buy is in 1 or 2 week cycles.

The Lenten season has begun and I will admit, the start of Lent was not very self-sacrificing. I thought Lent was the following week and did not plan very well. I am breast-feeding my baby, so I am not fasting, but I am replacing breakfast with a shake that has lower calories than my typical cooked breakfast.

My husband eats dinner leftovers for lunch, but I have started enjoying protein shakes as meal replacements because it is quick and easy (which is necessary with my 9 month old!) and it ensures I get plenty of protein. We try and order the cleanest protein we can. We aren’t perfect, we aren’t nutritionists, we are just trying to figure out what works best for us.

two week meal plan 1

We eat a little cheese here and there, so I guess you can say we eat more primal than paleo. There are places to get paleo-friendly protein powder so if you are more strict in your diet, you can certainly find it. We could use more veggies in our diet (especially for breakfast), but we are a work in progress 😉

Meal plan, grocery list, and price breakdown after the jump.

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Nursery sneak-peak: Refinished furniture

The nursery is just about all completed. I need to put some pictures in frames, but I didn’t want to do the big reveal until I got some sweet baby pictures in them. But I will share with you some of the projects!

We decided to try and find a long dresser to use as a changing table and when looking on Craigslist was a bust, I made plans to hit some yard sales. Marc had never, ever, even once, been to a yard sale! We use to go quite often when we were children, but I hadn’t gone in some time. Luckily for my husband, the first yard sale we hit was a success! We brought home a dresser AND a nightstand for $30!

I sanded, primed, and used a sample size jar of paint to do the night stand. I am stashing all my breast-feeding supplies and burp cloths there since it is near the glider. Remember when I repainted the glider and said how great those sample sizes of paint were? Well, the size and cost is awesome, but the paint quality is not. I realized this after I painted the dresser. I bought a quart of satin paint for the dresser and the difference was HUGE. I didn’t even sand most of the dresser, just primed it, and it only needed one full coat of paint and some touch ups. All the other pieces of furniture I did with the sample paints had about 3 coats and still needed touch ups.

I really wish I would have taken a real “before” picture of the dresser. The old drawers only give you a snapshot. I LOVE how the dresser turned out! The blue was so lovely to work with and so pretty! I bought some regular knobs at Wal-mart and I just love how the dresser turned out.

We saved  lots of money by going this route as well:

  • Nighstand: $10
  • Dresser: $20
  • Primer: $9 (and used for other projects)
  • Sample of orange paint: $3
  • Quart of blue paint: $16
  • 12 knobs: $14

For less than $100 we have two pieces of furniture! You can’t even buy a dresser for that much, and sometimes you can’t even find a night stand for less than $100!

We are in our new house + Master bedroom redo on a budget

We have officially slept a week in our new house! Surprisingly, we are pretty much all unpacked (the craft boxes will await until another day) and just about all situated. I have curtains to finish and a few more things to hang on the wall, but that’s it.

I’m so thankful to have such awesome family – they painted, cleaned, moved, and helped unpack, so that we could have everything ready for when the baby decides to get here.

Marc indulged me with the ever-so-popular wall stripes and yellow, gray, and black bedroom motif. I love our new master bedroom!

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Grocery Savings Challenge: Week 5

Click the picture for more meal plans, grocery lists, and recipes

I can’t wait for the Farmer’s Market to open in May; local produce for better prices! But until then, I am left to wander the produce aisle at the grocery store (our former CSA box was just too much for us two).  I have been really craving strawberries and soon the many stands along the side of the road will be open as well.

But enough dreaming about the upcoming months (oh my goodness we will have baby in less than 3!), here is this week’s plan.

The Stores and their Deals
The Meal Plan
The Grocery List
The Final Cost

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Grocery Savings Challenge Week 4: Review (with meal cost details)

In this week’s review, I thought I would try and break down the meal costs to be more accurate. I did not include the cost of oil or seasonings, since the cost is usually quite small per meal and hard to determine. If I grill in butter, I include the butter cost (and we use butter than comes from grass fed cows, so it’s about $7-8 a box).

Here was this week’s plan and cost:

The Meal Plan

The Final Cost

Meal ingredients: $42.61
Other items: $15.53
Total: $58.14

What we actually ate and price details:

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Grocery Savings Challenge: Week 2

I’m actually finding grocery shopping a little more fun when I have challenged myself to eat good and healthy meals on a smaller budget. This week was a little harder, though, because I purchased splurge items for a Valentine’s Day dinner and dessert, and we were also out of expensive items like cheese, olive oil, and almond butter.

The Stores and their Deals
The Meal Plan
The Grocery List
The Final Cost

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Budget Grocery Challenge Week 1: Review

Here was what I planned for dinner (and leftover lunches):

The reality:

We had so much chicken chili left that I didn’t want to waste, we practically ate it all week (Marc also had a work lunch one day, so he didn’t have to pack lunch on that day). So I now have ingredients for vegetable curry and chicken and lentils for next week.

Total cost: I spent about $85-92, but I now have two dinners for next week. I also purchased yogurt and bread at the store later in the week – about $6. So for less than $100, for 3 adults, we ate healthy meals for one week, with two whole meals left over!

We have plenty of butter leftover, but we could have easily gone through more milk. This week I need to buy cheese, olive oil, and almond butter though, so we will see how our budget does when I go grocery shopping today!

I Love My Crock-Pot! Stew and a Whole Chicken

Saturday I made stew and yesterday I made a whole chicken in the crock-pot. It’s so easy cooking with a slow-cooker!

I made a different slightly different version of the stew I have posted before. Stew is so versatile, I think sometimes it would be hard to mess up!

Easy Saturday stew:

  • 2 packs stew meat
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup baby or diced carrots
  • 1-2 cups diced or small potatoes
  • 1 bottle of beer or 2 cups broth
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian seasonings
  • Olive oil

Directions:

  • Season meat with salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional – sear meat before throwing in the slow-cooker
  • Mix beer or broth, tomato paste, and a generous shake of Italian seasonings in the slow-cooker.
  • Add diced vegetables and meat (if you don’t like you vegetables too soft, throw them in half-way through the cooking process)
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours
  • You can also assemble the meal all together and freeze in large zip-lock baggies

Yesterday I also made a slow-cooker whole chicken like THIS ONE. I didn’t have any lemon, so I seasoned it heavily with garlic and paprika and tossed it in with a little bit of butter.

After I pulled the chicken out of the slow-cooker, I added about 5 cups of water to juices left in the crock-pot, 1/2 onion, carrots, and celery and a bay leaf and let cook on low overnight. I then strained the mixture and put it in the fridge to use today in a chicken chili recipe I’m going to try!

Grocery Savings Challenge Week 1

Week 1 of budget grocery shopping/savings challenge has commenced! I went grocery shopping yesterday and I was a little unsure of how much I would actually save, but after all was said and done, I’m happy with the results and I am sure I will learn more along the way. In our small(ish) town there are a few places to get groceries, but only one store (Raleys) sells the dairy products we like. I was willing to go to other stores if the prices were substantially different, but if not, I was just going to stick to Raleys.

The Game Plan
The Menu
The Grocery List
The Cost

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