This guest post from Cynthia is part of our Reader Diaries series.
I’m a mom of four boys, ages 3 to 13, in Los Gatos, CA. My goal in feeding my family is to routinely choose a wide variety of whole foods that are fresh, in-season, organic, minimally processed (homemade from scratch when manageable), and locally sourced (directly from local farmers when possible), seeking out pasture-raised meat and eggs and wild-caught fish. Our family’s real food journey was born along with our first child thanks to Ruth Yaron’s “Super Baby Food” cookbook and then propelled along by the “Food, Inc.” movie, 100daysofrealfood.com’s 10-day pledge, the “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook, and TheHealthyHomeEconomist.com.
My Reader Diary submission was selected to be featured so here is a list of everything I ate and spent on food for an entire week!
Breakfast: Red bean paste on sticky rice, diced pear, persimmon, seeds (hemp, pumpkin, sesame, chia). Milk kefir.
Lunch: Sourdough with pureed tomato, mozzarella, garlic, onion, arugula, leftover trout. Brine-cured olives, cherry tomatoes, cowboy cookie (oats, walnuts, dark chocolate).
Snack: Water kefir fermented with lemon/lime juices, pistachios, apple slices, a slice of dried peach.
Dinner: Salad with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, mustard, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar. Leg of lamb with olives, pistachios, tarragon, lemon, garlic. Caramelized carrots, roasted potatoes, birthday cake topped with a frosting of cashews, dates, cocoa powder.
Groceries at farmer’s market for family of 6: $171.90
Groceries at Whole Foods for family of 6: $99.20
Breakfast: Frittata (eggs, milk, onions, bell and poblano peppers, kale, gruyere, cheddar) with avocado. Sourdough English muffin with butter, orange slices. Milk kefir, second-fermented with cherries and bananas.
Lunch: Risotto with portobello, onions, pecorino, Parmigiano Reggiano, saffron, thyme, French sorrel, mint.
Snack: Hot water with hibiscus flowers, cowboy cookie.
Dinner: Wild mahi-mahi, green cabbage, onions, orange bell peppers, stock, dijon mustard, vinegar, watermelon radishes and their greens. Birthday cake with a clementine.
Breakfast: Leftover waffle, strawberries with sugar, whipped cream, fried egg, zucchini, milk kefir.
Lunch: Ham chowder (ham, pinto beans, barley, homemade stock, milk, poblano, fennel, celery, arugula, potato, corn, onion, thyme, turmeric, cilantro). Sourdough toast with olive oil, chili flakes, kosher salt.
Snack: Persimmon, Asian pear, cowboy cookies, hot water with hibiscus flowers.
Dinner: Hamburger on a pretzel bun, Swiss, mayo, dijon, avocado, onions, tomato, lettuce. Roasted sweet potato wedges (white and orange), beets with beet greens. Faux milkshake (milk, unsweetened cocoa powder, frozen banana).
Breakfast: Milk kefir, scrambled eggs with cheddar, fermented carrots and jalapenos. Romanesco and kale. Sourdough toast with olive oil and salt. Tomato.
Lunch: Broccoli cheese soup (broccoli, cheddar, gruyere, Parmigiano Reggiano, onion, leek, carrot, butter, stock, milk), sourdough toast with butter.
Snack: Apples, pretzel chips with liver pate. Water kefir, second-fermented with lemon and lime juice, cowboy cookies.
Dinner: Sockeye salmon with pesto, roasted cauliflower and onions with mizuna greens, brown rice. Treats husband brought home from work. Hot water with ginger.
Groceries at Costco: $93.49
Breakfast: Risotto cakes (Monday’s risotto mixed with a couple eggs and diced onion and gruyere), tomato soup (leftovers; tomato, carrot, celery, cabbage, stock). Milk kefir.
Lunch: Squash-lentil soup (roasted kabocha squash, red lentils, stock, onion, poblano, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, young coconut). Sourdough toast, buttered.
Snack: Hummus, gouda, olives, crackers, Asian pear, persimmon. Water kefir, second-fermented with lemon juice.
Dinner: Chicken and bacon on ciabatta with dijon and homemade mayo. Green salad (romaine, romanesco, tomato, avocado, lemon, olive oil). Fresh mango, hot water with ginger.
Groceries via Frog Hollow Farm CSA for family of 6: $25
Breakfast: Steel cut oats with cinnamon, fenugreek, fresh ginger, kiwi, pear, chopped raw almonds. Milk kefir.
Lunch: Baked potatoes with pintos, cheese, collards, onion, salsa, leftover bacon, avocado, cilantro.
Snack: Tangelos (cross between a mandarin and grapefruit).
Dinner: Chili (kidney beans, tomato, poblano, carrot, celery, yellow bell pepper, onion, kale, turmeric, black pepper, spices, a few pieces of leftover beef).
Cocktail Party: Bite-size nibbles: meatballs, shrimp, asparagus in phyllo, carrots, cucumbers, cheesecake, chocolate, water.
Breakfast: Pancakes (sourdough culture, kefir, baking soda, eggs, vanilla, salt) with maple syrup, whipped cream, walnuts, banana.
Lunch: End-of-the-week soup with some leftovers (stock, tofu, white miso paste, romanesco, onions, ginger, leftover mushrooms, leftover bit of mahi). The rest of the birthday cake.
Snack: Aged Gouda, pistachios, coconut water kefir.
Dinner: Fried rice (ham, egg, brown rice, white rice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chiles, onions, orange and yellow peppers, carrots, radish, radish greens, scallions). Mango “ice cream” (frozen mangoes blended with milk). Hot water with licorice root.
Reader Diary: Final Thoughts
For the week, I spent $404.69, which included groceries for my family of six.
Regarding food expenses, I’ve reconciled that it’s ‘pay now’ for real food or ‘pay later’ with our health. I also figure I’m tempering our expenses by preparing much of our food from scratch and aiming for minimal waste, home-composting the little that is left for our gardening attempts. I read somewhere we shouldn’t be shocked at the price of organic and pastured foods; rather we should be shocked by the price of conventional and processed foods and consequently moved to action (vote with your dollars) as we recognize what industrial food is doing to us and our planet.