Budget Day 19: Slim Pickings

I am just being honest here…it feels like we have absolutely NO food in our house. We are somehow still surviving and managing to find things to eat, but man is it desolate. It usually gets down to slim pickings by the end of the budget week, but this time it already started feeling this way on Thursday (with 3 more days to go!). I think it is especially noticeable this time because we are out of some key staples like eggs, cheese, and chicken broth. It seems like whenever I am in a bind my go-to meals are things like quesadillas, quiche, scrambled eggs, pizza, or soup, and it is tough to make those things with so many missing ingredients!

So last night I struggled to think of a meal (since my matzo ball soup plan got messed up due to my poor planning), and I ended up making some bread/nut stuffing, butternut squash gratin, and some greens from our garden (click to see picture). The stuffing had a good flavor, but it was a little dry. The greens were okay for greens. And the butternut squash was AWFUL! None of us liked it and it even provoked my 3-year-old’s (very well rehearsed) gag reflex. I am not quite sure what I am going to do with the leftovers…maybe make a facial mask out of it if I can somehow stand the smell.

After dinner I had the daunting task of preparing my kindergartner’s lunch for the next day. Oh the cheap and easy cafeteria school lunch has never been so tempting. But, I did not give in! I felt like I could make a good lunch if I just had some cheese so I asked my husband to pick up “cheap” cheese from the grocery store. I think I may have even said “the cheapest”…at least that’s how I remember it. Now, when someone asks you to pick out something cheap do you think that means to spend the least amount of money possible or buy what appears to be the best value? Just curious because my husband not only came home with a huge double-size block of cheddar that cost $4…but it was orange (click to see picture)! I haven’t bought orange cheese in 8 months because cheese is not supposed to be orange. I realize it is colored with some sort of natural vegetable coloring, but what is the point of that?

I almost wondered if he’s been paying attention to this whole budget thing. When you have approximately $16 left to spend at the farmer’s market (and you desperately need to spend $3 or $4 of that on eggs) you don’t go spending 2 extra unnecessary dollars on cheese just because it is a better deal. So I just hope this doesn’t mean my husband is going to get out of his Farmer’s Market duties this fall/winter (it’s his turn to go every other Saturday since it starts so darn early!). After the cheese episode I am not sure I can trust him to spend my last precious food dollars that have to get us through the rest of the weekend! And I am going to return the unopened cheese by the way.

On a much lighter note I decided to go ahead and roast the chicken tonight that I had been saving for the broth/soup. A reader mentioned that I could make broth out of the chicken carcass (that is such a lovely word) so I will be sure to save the leftover bones if they don’t gross me out too much! I felt like we might starve tonight if I didn’t go ahead and make the chicken though, plus I didn’t think it would hurt to redeem myself after the meal last night. As you can see (click to see picture) it turned out just lovely with a side of wild rice and sauteed sweet potatoes/apples, which rounded out the meal nicely. I can’t wait until I get more money on Monday, and I have to be sure I do a little better with the whole meal planning part of all of this!!