One thing that I value with this blog is always being honest and authentic. I don’t want to paint the picture of a perfectly organized life in which we eat healthy, organic, painstakingly made meals every night. Organization helps me stay sane, so you may see more of that than some have, but it is still so far from perfect. If you’ve read any recipes, you know I’m all about efficiency when it comes to meal prep. What I’m telling you now is that the $100 grocery challenge just isn’t working for us. It was a really nice idea. One of those that you’d surely see on Pinterest and add to a board to go back and study later.
the end of the grocery challenge
The problem is that when you later click that pin, it’s hard to find success. As I’ve mentioned before, we eat mainly organic and have to buy a number of specialty products. The milk we use is $2.99 for 32 oz. We need at least four cartons every week. I embarked on the $100 grocery challenge to get our budget back in check after some unpaid time off and overspending. I never made the amount goal, but I did at least reel in our budget.
What I’ve learned is that even though $100 per week isn’t working for our family, there are always ways to cut back. For us, meal planning and sale shopping are key. I do this most weeks. I try to stock up when I find things at a great price and be really mindful of what we have and when it’ll go bad to avoid food waste. I also use coupons and rebate apps. What I didn’t like about the grocery challenge is I was totally obsessing and stressing over it.
Every week when we didn’t make it, I beat myself up. This past week we were close, and then I realized we needed toilet paper from Costco and was super upset. I got really stressed trying to figure out what we could make for a larger group without totally hurting the budget, and lost some of the enjoyment of getting to spend time with that group. It all just wasn’t worth it to me. I’ve been focusing more on self-care and less stress for myself lately. Letting go of the $100 grocery challenge is one way I’m doing that.
If you were really looking forward to the challenge for all of November, I apologize. Rest assured my deal-loving self is still here and I’ll still share sales when I can (hello, Black Friday!). I won’t be obsessing over totals on the grocery shopping list each week though. I know most of them in my head and know how to keep myself in check from buying too many extras. Hopefully, that’ll be enough for my family for now!
Now onto our meal plan for the week…
butternut squash mac & cheese
This is one of our own recipes. We doubled it to have lunch leftovers. The sauce was a bit thin compared to usual, so if you’re ever doubling this, perhaps don’t fully double the coconut milk.
This is a signature dish from one of my aunt’s. Her version uses ground beef, Doritos, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, and Catalina dressing. Our allergy-friendly version subbed Xochitl tortilla chips for the Doritos and Organicville French dressing for the Catalina. I’m working on adding an ollergy recipe for our allergy-friendly version.
Well, leftovers for the boys I should say. I have to go to a work dinner. Erik and Ollie will have leftovers of some sort (we will have quite the delicious collection built up by this point in the week) and I’ll have food out.
date night/chicken nuggets
We have a Parent-Teacher Conference for Ollie and are going to use a gift card I won at an event recently to go out to eat after. We made these plans before I knew about the work dinner, so I’ve got some mega mom guilt about being gone two nights in a row. Erik and I for sure need a break together. Ollie will be home with his grandmother, thrilled to have chicken nuggets and some yummy sides. It will be fine! That’s what I keep telling myself.
roasted sweet potatoes, peppers, and chicken
Simple and easy. We use a homemade seasoning blend and some oil on everything.
These are a new obsession of everyone in our family. I’m going to share the recipe soon. There really isn’t much to it though. You bake tortillas in a muffin tin and then add whatever filling you’d like. We’re making taco tortilla bites with leftover chicken and veggies from the night before.