As previously mentioned we are experiencing a complicated budget week between hosting a party and house guests. My parents arrived the day after our Halloween Party and we all took advantage of the leftover food, but I knew it wouldn’t last us throughout their visit. I did buy a few extra things from the farmer’s market last weekend (from a separate entertaining budget) in preparation for their visit including bell peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and apples. I was feeling kind of guilty that I bought some things outside of our regular $125 budget, but thinking back that isn’t really that much food!
- Two dozen eggs
- Bag of spinach
So this is how things totaled up at the end of week 4 after I spent every last penny!
- Trader Joe’s $58.73
- Earth Fare $12.33
- Harris Teeter $1.28 (I needed one organic onion and that is the closest store to us)
- Shrimp and sausage out of the freezer (for jambalaya) $10.95
- Milk $27.97
- A Wal-Mart credit! Since I returned some cooking oil -$6.10
I had shared our weekly dinner plan for last week before I got too distracted with our party, and I am happy to report that we mostly stuck to the plan! The only changes we made were to the pasta dish on Thursday, which didn’t include chestnuts (since they took too long to cook) and also the plan to have leftovers on Friday (we didn’t have enough to make a meal), which is when we had our little take-out experience.
This week I did not make too much of a dinner plan since my parents were here, and I thought it would be best to play things by ear. We did eat leftovers from our party one night, and I made fajitas for everyone (with all those bell peppers) another night. But, I am lucky I didn’t plan things too much beyond that because my husband and I ended up having an impromptu date night out while grandma and grandpa kept the kids! It was the perfect opportunity for us to experience some delicious local cuisine that we didn’t have to cook ourselves.
A few weeks ago (thanks to a blog reader!) I came across a website where you can purchase restaurant gift certificates at rock bottom prices. So I compared their list of options with my list of Charlotte restaurants that I know utilize local produce, and I found 1 match! Which is how we ended up at Gallery Restaurant within Ballantyne Resort. The meal was absolutely excellent, and these are the small plates that we spent $57.01 of our eating out budget on (after using and deducting the up front cost of our restaurant.com gift certificate)…
- French Onion Soup
- Spiced Squash Soup
- The Scallop Special
- Rabbit Cannelloni
- Apple and Brie Dish
- Mushroom and Spinach Risotto
Aside from the fact that we ordered way too much food our entire dinner experience was very much enjoyed! Now that is the kind of dinner worth spending money on so I am glad we saved up…it was quite different from our little take-out experience the other night. It is too bad high quality food is often times so expensive, but this was certainly a case of getting what you pay for!