So, I’m trying something new. Well, I’ve tried it once before, but I think I failed to have the proper plan in place or resources to pull it off.
I’m planning for about one month’s worth of meals.
Now, I’ll be the first to say, this isn’t for everyone. First off, if you get paid on a weekly or biweekly basis, pulling off “large” “for the month” kind of purchases can be tricky or down-right impossible. I have loads, and loads, and LOADS of weekly meal plans, so please peruse them here! We get paid twice a month … and this is a different animal.
So how did I come to the conclusion it was time to try this again?
First off, I had a great conversation on the facebook page with a follower about what it takes to do a monthly meal plan. That got the wheels turning. I sat down and calculated – how many pounds of ground beef do I typically go through in a month? How about chickens?
Then, I started thinking about how the other needs come into the house. I buy bulk grains like Einkorn from Jovial, and rolled oats and steel-cut oats in bulk from Wholeshare. (Wholeshare is unique for New York state, but there are loads and loads of options per locality/state!) I participate in a CSA, and shares are distributing… I don’t have control over what I get, and I pay for it throughout the year. (Just an FYI – my annual CSA fees reduce my monthly food budget as I often freeze/preserve the share to use later in the year, but obviously there are some things that I eat up fresh, like lettuce.) So I’m getting regular vegetables. Even my grass-fed cow’s butter from Kriemhild is bought in bulk (5# buckets, baby!) So why not try to come up with a plan for how much we eat in a month and then order and shop according to that?
So, I did it. I wrote out what I expect we’ll consume for the month. As someone who lives on a grocery budget, it wasn’t all that hard because I’m usually thinking forward and trying to anticipate how to get through the whole month anyway. If you don’t ever pay attention to what and how much you consume, I would start there before trying to do any sort of monthly meal plan. Primarily because you wouldn’t know where to start! Start the first couple of months just keeping small notes on what you did and how much you spent. (For example, how many loaves of bread did you need? Pounds of butter?) I’ll write up another post sometime on how to create a workable food budget, but for now ;-) that should help you get started.
A couple of notes here: obviously, there are not 30 options listed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Realfoodists MUST DO LEFTOVERS. There’s no way around it. Unless you are going to cook from scratch in tiny portions 3 times a day (not very practical if you’ve got other stuff to do)… you have to expect to eat some things twice. If you’ve been preparing food for your family for any length of time, you know what keeps well and what doesn’t. What does your family like on day #2 or gets shoved to the back of the fridge to become a science experiment (not that it EVER happens to ANY of us, right? *sarcasm*).
So, off we go on the monthly meal plan!
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Einkorn Cinnamon Muffins (no link here as it’s from a cookbook)
Sprouted Blueberry Muffins from Holistic Squid
Soaked Flour Biscuits from The Elliott Homestead
Soaked English Muffins from The Elliott Homestead
Homemade Granola + Yogurt
French Toast (no recipe, just some common sense!)
Coconut Flour Pancakes from Ditch the Wheat
Breakfast Meats: eggs (3xs a week), (1-2xs a week)bacon, (1xs a week) cottage bacon, (1-2xs a week) Homemade Breakfast Sausage from The Prairie Homestead (make it in bulk, freeze in smaller bags, thaw when you need it!)
Breakfast Vegetables & Fruits: will use the fruit we get every other week from CSA share, apples, bananas, frozen blueberries, jarred fruit, smoothies. We also will use onions, garlic scapes, tomatoes and other veggies we get in CSA sometimes in our eggs
A lot of dinner leftovers. Very few things are made just for lunch, it’s often a pull from something already made. I make a loaf of bread per week (at least).
Cobb Salad from The Elliott Homestead
Grain-Free Sandwich Wraps from Real Food Outlaws (used for sandwiches and quesadillas!)
Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwiches (mostly for the girls, I’m a whimp and don’t buy much GF breads! I usually just smear some Peanut Butter on an apple and call it)
Macaroni & Cheese. Sometimes homemade, sometimes from a box (but when it’s from a box, it’s as clean as we can find!). And this is why you don’t get any judgment from me on convenience foods. Friends, we all lllooooovvvveee them and have a few we aren’t really willing to give up. This is mine. I grew up on boxed stuff!
Hot dogs (nitrite/nitrate free!)
Other leftover breadish stuff from breakfasts
I make this bread at least once a week: Soaked Bread from The Elliott Homestead (It is NOT gluten-free. I do not indulge.)
Lunch Vegetables & Fruits: will use the fruit we get every other week from CSA share, apples, bananas, frozen blueberries, jarred fruit, smoothies. Whatever fresh veggies we get on share from CSA. We eat loads of cucumbers and carrots for lunches, too. (About 1-2#s of baby carrots a week!)
Skirt Steak for Fajitas
Cube or Thin Sliced Steak for Paleo Fried Steaks (no recipe. Maybe someday!)
Spicy Honey ChickenThighs
Chicken Thighs Cooked in Italian Sauce (twice)
Shredded BBQ Chicken (will use Chicken legs, with this BBQ Sauce)
Grilled Chicken Breast (not sure on marinade yet)
Grilled chicken and Shrimp kebobs (not sure on marinade yet… will probably depend on what types of onions we get in CSA)
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Italian Meatballs (homemade. someday, I’ll post!)
Beef Skillet with Potatoes and Greens from The Elliott Homestead
Korean Beef from The Elliott Homestead
Italian Sausage (1/2 #, cooked in red sauce… will do this twice)
Ham Steak – 2xs
Hot dogs or other Sausage
Bacon (breakfast for dinner)
Dinner Side Dishes (Breadish)
Side of fresh bread/garlic bread/butter bread
Gluten-Free Garlic Cheddar Biscuits (still working on the recipe!)
Baked sweet potatoes
Sweet potato casserole from The Hollywood Homestead
Roasted potatoes (cooked like roasted carrots)
Al dente pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, basil
Gluten-Free pasta cooked with red sauce
Butter + rice
Macaroni & Cheese
Beans + Rice
Dinner Side Dishes (Veggies-Ish)
Cabbage Stir Fry
Side Salads – Cobb, or Blue Cheese + dried cranberry + pecan
Steamed veggies (frozen mostly broccoli, cauliflower, green beans)
Fresh carrots + cucumbers
Sauteed peppers and onions
Roasted Tomatoes + mozzarella
Bacon Wrapped Green Beans