I had ALL THESE THINGS to write about, sort of an Indeterminate Number of Quick-ish Takes, but they have all gone poof! Alas! We spent most of this 95 degree day at my parents' house where Phillip and I did all sorts of alone and grown up things like go to the movies and browse in Costco (which is different from SHOPPING at Costco, an occasional necessary evil with children.) By the time I got to my computer, the brain was malfunctioning.
So I marinated meat instead. And thought about groceries. Between my regularl weekly shopping trip on Saturday and our Costco trip today, I thought I would discuss Feeding The Cheungs: Version 2012.
Sooooo, is it me, or did groceries get more expensive? I SWEAR I am buying the SAME OLD STUFF and my bill is $20 to $30 higher in the last several months. I even joined that stupid Safeway program even though I keep telling myself I WILL NOT SHOP AT SAFEWAY because their produce is TERRIBLE, but I spend even MORE money at other stores. I am BAFFLED!
Here are some new things you should know. The first one is that I am trying VERY VERY HARD to do a lot of my dinner prep work on weekends, or right after one of my shopping trips when I am feeling all foodie-like. So cutting up chicken and vegetables, marinating meat, that sort of thing, and shoving it all (neatly labeled, obvs) in the freezer. This makes me feel SO AWESOME. Maybe it's the fact that it's not eaten right away? And sits obedidently in my freezer, waiting for its Moment? And nobody says, "I don't like this one, Mommy."
I'm still doing a meal plan for the week and shopping that list, but now I'm trying to put a lot of the pieces together ahead of time. When it works, it's awesome. When it doesn't work, eh! No biggie.
But here is a New Thing, as of, like, yesterday, that throws a big kink into the works. Phillip is going low carb! This shouldn't be a problem, as low carb is basically How I Eat Now and I don't make a lot of dinners that I won't eat myself HOWEVER! I am, as you know, not really into eating (unless it is cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc.) and content to eat scrambled eggs for dinner and I will skip lunch entirely in favor of snacking on cheese and, well, Phillip is not that sort of person. Also, if you take away his potato chips, he will require MORE meat.
SO! While I am a proud supporter of this endeavor, it's going to be EXPENSIVE. Hence the Costco trip today where we loaded up on frozen thingies Phillip can eat at work if he doesn't bring a lunch, lots of fresh veggies (to cut up and freeze). But I don't normally SHOP at Costco. I might go once a month to buy a giant box of fruit snacks or those Costco hot dogs that everyone in my house loves and the giant tub of cherry tomatoes, but I don't SHOP SHOP there. I feel like the months I shop at Costco I always go over budget.
While we were IN Costco Phillip and I were talking about how we have ROOM to be Costco shoppers now. The old owners left TONS of food (and paper towels and toilet paper, almost a year's supply, SERIOUSLY) in a closet downstairs, so that is obviously the Costco storage closet. We COULD buy everything in sight and never go to the grocery store until October.
This month is an experiment, I guess. We came up with more ideas than just a week's worth of dinners. I have a ton of stuff in the fridge and freezer and next week I'll just be buying things to supplement dinner, not MAKE dinner. I'll still go to the store next week, but my load will be smaller - hopefully it will be smaller all month.
I would love to shop at Trader Joe's, but I don't know what you buy there that isn't a snack or some sort of gourmet frozen dinner. (Which means, obvs, that in a perfect world I would love to shop ONLY at Trader Joe's.)
I want to shop at Central Market, but it's more money and I don't really buy organic (*HIDES*).
Sometimes I meet my friends at Whole Foods for coffee and a bakery treat, and if I'm early I go walk around the produce section and shock myself.
When I get really mad at Safeway I go to the grocery store with the playroom which is more expensive and farther away, but has way better produce.
Poor my family, huh?
One of my friends has a similar grocery budget, but she makes AMAZING DINNERS and buys organic milk. I am not entirely sure how she does it. She says it's because she only buys what's on sale, BUT I DO THAT TOO. So yes, there are a few low carby things I require that aren't always cheap or on sale, but the fact that I do not buy organic milk should make up for that, right? So I don't get it.
Oh, she also goes to three or four different stores. I... do not do that. I COULD. I SUPPOSE. But honestly, just one shopping trip a week is enough for me, and I LIKE grocery shopping! I think she must go after work without kids? I don't know. I don't do in and out of car seats for a mid-week grocery shopping trip, not if I can help it.
In the meantime, I am constantly going overbudget and not entirely sure why. Except now I'll be able to say, "Phillip can only eat meat! Must buy lots of meat!"
Oh! One note about the plastic bag ban - I am in favor. I mean, I was always supportive IN THEORY, but I was a little nervous about HAVING bags, not FORGETTING my bags, making sure I had ENOUGH bags... turns out the only bad thing about the bag ban is the mass of teenage baggers who try to cram everything you bought into your smallest and crappiest bags. Seriously, the giant sturdy Target bags are RIGHT THERE. Don't use my flimsy thank-you-for-attending-our-event college department reusable bag. THAT IS A BACK UP BAG!
But I like not having the extra mess of cleaning up plastic bags, and it's easier carrying 4 or 5 heavy cloth bags up my stairs to the kitchen rather than nine thousand half empty plastic bags. Am a fan. My greenification is increasing. And I always remember to take my bags to the grocery store and I always forget to take them to the mall. Blargh.