In an effort to limit excessive spending Spencer and I have decided that we need to cut a majority of our shopping 'sprees' - okay, so it is not like we are going out and spending hundreds of dollars of food per week, but, we do buy a little more than we need because we buy every night...not per night. So, I admit we tend to spend around $15+ per night, per person on just ONE meal (confusing...I know).
Since Spence and I kicked it back into full gear with work and school again this year our meal planning skills have been less than stellar. So, after our wonderful weekend in Arizona we came back to California with a new plan for dining - our neighbors also played a big roll in this too. They have a fantastic little set up of a picture frame/whiteboard where they write their meals & travel schedule per week. Sounds slightly childish, right? But, it is amazing when you dumb things down how helpful it can be! So, we came up with a little system - this leaves neither Spence or myself wondering what on earth we are going to create for dinner :
Monday: Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sauce & Tofu
Tuesday: Butternut Squash bits & Baked Chicken with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Wednesday: Greek Chicken Roulades with Quinoa & Spinach
Thursday: Butternut Squash // Pumpkin Spicy Bisque with Focaccia and Brussel Sprouts
Friday: Meatball Stroganoff
We took our first trip to the store last night and actually got a grocery cart...we had a list of all the ingredients we needed, but, since this was our first planned week of meals I did not limit the budget because I wasn't sure if it would be possible (it was...). All together I think we spent about $60 - which is amazing considering we used to spend that in about 2 days.
Moving forward we are going to plan meals for 6 days and have one "floating" day, which we can either dine out, perhaps have dinner with friends or eat left overs.
We have also cut back dramatically on sweets. Every time that we would take a trip to the store it was really hard for us to leave without splitting either a Reese's or a bag of peanut M&M's. Now that we have cut our daily store regime we don't have to worry about the temptation of delicious chocolate.
The last thing we have limited in our diet (or at least I have) is wine. I am only allowing myself to have wine two days a week - they can be any day of the week...but...I prefer Friday & Saturday. At the end of the week it is a nice little treat.
Okay, so the best part of this entire eating plan that we have put together is that we are forced to test out new recipes which is GREAT because 1) I LOVE to cook and 2) I just got several AMAZING cook books for my birthday.
So I figured that it would only be fair, and perhaps maybe inspirational if I shared the recipes that I try on my blog (this gives me a reason to blog more than every few days too!).
Chilled Soba Noodles with Spicy Orange Sauce & Tofu
4 cups orange juice
1 pkg soba noodles ( you can find these in the Asian section at your store)
1/3 C. Soy Sauce
1/3 C. Granulated Sugar
1/3 C. Spicy Sesame Oil (I just used normal sesame oil
1/4 C. Rice Wine Vinegar
1 pkg of Extra Firm Tofu cut into small cubes
Peanuts or Cashews
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped Ginger
3 large Cloves of Garlic
2 bunches of Green Onions, with bulbs chopped up
- Put the Orange Juice into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 40-50 minutes (it seems like a long time, but, just clean your house or read the news or dance around your living room). You want the OJ to have a syrup-y consistency so that you have 1 cup.
- Cook the noodles according to the package - if you are into having lunch the next day I highly suggest cooking the entire package. Drain the hot water and rinse off with cold water. Once the cold water has drained place the noodles in a bowl with Tofu, nuts of choice and green onions.
- Assuming the OJ is at a syrup consistency place into a blender with Ginger, Garlic, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Sesame Oil and Rice Wine Vinegar. Puree until the garlic & ginger is chopped and mixed into the dressing well. Pour the dressing over noodle, add your desired amount of sesames seeds on top and mix with tongs.
This made dinner for two and 3 lunches. It was delicious both hot & cold. I am really looking forward to Wednesday night's dinner and of course Thursday AND Friday. I really hope that we are able to sick with our dinner plan - I will keep you updated.
He was a birthday gift from my friends Ella & BLC!
How cool is the tank? It is an old bubblegum machine that they painted gold (to go with all my other odds and ends). I am so EXCITED!
Sending Love from SoCal