Budget Day 72: Hosting the Holidays

It’s been a little bit of a challenge to track our real food budget over the Christmas holiday…especially since we hosted this year. I tell you what, I already felt like our real food diet caused me to cook and clean and run our dishwasher all of the time, but hosting family for the holidays took things to a whole new level. I of course had some extra helpers, but I also probably took on more cooking than I should have over the last week. I am feeling a little burnt out to say the least!

Regardless of how many dirty dishes we went through, the food highlight this holiday season was definitely the local lamb loin that we had on Christmas Day (I wish I had a picture!). We’d never cooked lamb before so we were a little concerned about how it would turn out, but my husband (who can cook by the way) made a rare appearance at our stove and managed to exceed all of our expectations. His simple preparation consisted of cooking the meat in a cast iron skillet with some olive oil, garlic, red wine, & rosemary…and it was delicious. Even our 3-year-old, who hardly even eats meat, was digging in. I was beyond shocked by her response (but of course pleased!).

The lamb, among other things, of course came out of a separate entertaining budget, but prior to the arrival of our guests last week I attempted to stick to our regular $125 a week budget. And shortly after the week started I ran out of money faster than ever. I only shopped at two stores in addition to our local milk delivery (which was $40.93 this time because I experimented with ordering some local eggs and butter) and this is what I got….

For $68.56 from Earth Fare:

  • Rolled oats $3.80
  • Peanut butter $3.47
  • Brie – free (thanks to an Earth Fare coupon)!
  • Sour cream $1.49 (with coupon)
  • Pimento cheese – free (thanks to an Earth Fare coupon)!
  • Whole wheat flour $2.50
  • Olive oil spray $2.63 (with coupon)
  • Unsweetened coconut $2.79
  • Raisins $1.67
  • Pretzels $5.29
  • Triscuits $2.99 (with coupon)
  • Ground ginger bulk $3.02
  • Ground nutmeg bulk $4.55
  • Ground turkey $4.99
  • Apples $3.07
  • Bananas $1.62
  • Lemon $0.50
  • Mango $1.25
  • Mushrooms $2.99
  • Onions $2.49
  • Oranges $0.75
  • Asian pear $1.99
  • Pear comice $3.83
  • Spinach $3.87 (which I later returned…long story!)
  • Zucchini $1.56
  • Tomatoes $4.61

For $19.09 from Trader Joe’s:

  • Plain yogurt $2.99
  • Cheese $2.16
  • Frozen raspberries $3.69
  • Cheddar $4.29
  • Pumpkin seeds $5.49

Now as I previously mentioned I’ve been warming up to Trader Joe’s, but I must share that they were out of 2 things that I had on my very short shopping list. I actually wanted frozen organic blueberries (but had to get raspberries instead) and I also needed some canola oil, which they didn’t have at all. I know it was the busy holiday season, but it is hard for me to accept a grocery store that doesn’t have a single bottle of canola oil in stock!  Anyway, with the groceries that we did get we had something that was a very special treat in this house…turkey burgers (albeit small ones!). And now that the holidays are behind us I look forward to getting things back to “normal” around here.

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  • Comments

    1. Charlene |

      I used to live in Atlanta. I would go to the Dekalb Farmers Market in Decatur (3000 E. Ponce De Leon). They have excellent pricing and you can buy bulk for the week. They have organic coconut oil for very reasonable pricing too. Coconut oil is a very stable oil and much better for cooking with. Olive oil which turns rancid and carcinogenic when heated should NEVER be used for cooking. Return to Eden is also a good place to shop. Whole Foods and Earth Fare, although lower in pricing do support corporate america and and take away from local small businesses. Hope this has been helpful :)

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        I’ve been wanting to try coconut oil, but it always seems expensive where I shop…soon our budget project will be over though so maybe we will be able to give it a shot!

        • Charlene |

          Yes I understand the budget game. There are some online places that are reasonable as well. luckyvitamin.com is a good one. They have a $5 flat shipping rate! Check them out, you may find many things you enjoy at a fraction of the price (including coconut oil).

    2. |

      Oh, if you ever get to Atlanta, you should definitely check out DeKalb. It’s where I do my weekly shopping. It’s like the mecca of real food. So much fun! We also have great ethnic markets, great ethnic food, lots to see and do, and well, you should spend a weekend in Atlanta sometime! LOL

      I also shop some at EF because of our time in Asheville. I still remember when there were just 2 sort of dark, small EF stores, and so going there brings back good fuzzy memories of that time. They may be corporate, but they are a small, regional corporation, so I’m okay with that.

      • 100 Days of Real Food |

        Good to know about Atlanta b/c I might have a girls trip there coming up soon! And no matter how corporate they are getting…I love Earth Fare too!

    3. Elizabeth |

      Have you considered starting your budget on Saturday? That way, the farmer’s market would be first on your list and it would be easier for you to afford local items each week.

      • Assistant to 100 Days (Amy) |

        Hi Elizabeth. That is a smart and strategic budget suggestion. Thank you. :) ~Amy

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