This is how we do it… Smarter Grocery Shopping on a Budget

“It’s Friday Night and we feel alright” you know the song!  Anyhow, each post we hint at ways that we save and what to make seasonally to save money as well.  The other day I shared with a friend that we are budgeting $50 a week for groceries, which then led to this question ” how do you do that- share please!”  This week we will share some tried and true ways that we save money and eat meals that are better than you can get at a restaurant.  This post will go into our entire process of navigating a weekly meal plan, creating a list and how to shop the best deal at the store.

20121029-163017.jpgStep 1.  Look at your week ahead, how many meals will you be making at home, when will you be out-of-town, is there a special holiday or friend’s get together the plan around or plan for?  Determine how many meals you need to get you through your week.  We make a dinner each night that always has 1 set of leftovers that each of us can enjoy for lunch.  If a recipe makes more than 4 servings, we plan on a leftover night at dinnertime.  This week, we will need to make 4 dinners, one of which has 6 servings, so we have all weekday  lunches and one night from leftovers.  We are also making two make ahead breakfasts and 2 desserts that will go 4 nights with leftovers.


Make a list, go through your pantry- what do you already have on hand that you can use this week for your meals?



 Gather your favorite cookbooks, and use the index to navigate what recipes include items you already have on hand. This recipe includes acorn squash, which we already have, and requires us to get apple cider, so we picked a dessert that also uses that apple cider since we will have some leftover!  Write down ingredients from each recipe on your list ( see below) and pick recipes that sound great to you and that includes the bext the season has to offer: Fall is apples, squash, fennel, pears think cinnamon and spice and warm hearty meals



Flag your chosen recipes, and make your list in groups based on your store and shopping flow : Produce, Dairy, Pantry, Meats, Frozen



Shop Smarter: read labels, not just on your food but on the price tags!

The store tells you what the best deal is, look at the price per oz/ gallon etc. below the actual price; see where is says ” $.100 per fl oz” and above “$.179 per oz”?  The better deal is obvious, and those incremental deals make a difference!

Ok, so that’s a grocery shopping day from start to finish!  It’s all about planning, using what you have, and enjoying the leftovers.


New Flavors!


Christmas has come and gone; we had ample opportunity to spend quality time with our loved family and friends!  Our memories are what we will take in to this New Year.  One generous gift, thanks mama Diane and Mike, was an assortment of olive oils and balsamic vinegar from the Olive Gallery in Yorkville, Illinois.  These flavorful treats will provide us with ample opportunities to be more creative with our recipes.  So far we have tasted them in their original state, with fresh crusty bread of course, and they are all divine!  Here’s what we have:

     Jalapeno White BalsamicVinegar

     Cilantro and Roasted Onion Olive Oil ( used in our Roasted Tomato and Black Bean soup recipe!)

     Blood Orange Olive Oil

     Meyer Lemon Olive Oil

     Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar

     Oregano White Balsamic Vinegar

We’ll have more recipes using the others… stay tuned!

Pilsen Farmer’s Market

Each weekend from June through the end of October, we look forward to Sunday mornings browsing the local produce and products at our Pilsen Farmer’s Market. During this time, Basil, cucumbers, peppers, squash, sweet corn, swiss chard, blueberries, watermelon, tomatoes, and honey are all in season. Honey is brought to the market from 1 block away, where you will find a full functioning beehive on top of Simone’s, our local restaurant and bar. Another one is called the Carpenter Street Beeyard also in Pilsen- who knew we had so many? The Chicago Botanic Garden vendor seems by far, to be our favorite spot. All the produce is grown in local greenhouses near Pilsen, so each vegetable is picked VERY fresh and brought to the market that day. We had a lot of fun exploring the seasonal picks; each inspiring new recipe creations that we will be enjoying and sharing this week. Stay posted.

Bob’s Corn

Every year for the past 18 years, Amber’s family has celebrated TEVA fest ( Terry and Eva’s wedding anniversary Pig Roast, camp out fest!) Bob’s corn is the highlight of the meal, ok the pig roast is amazing too, but there’s something special about the freshest corn on the cob that you could ever imagine… perfect crisp bite, savory sweetness, grilled in it’s husk to perfection and dipped in real butter to make it the most incredible food you have ever eaten… you can’t duplicate it- so sorry, but this post is just to brag.