Monday, July 20, 2009

Grocery Challenge update: week 1

Yesterday marked the end of week one for All You's Grocery Challenge. I think we did pretty good, having spent only $42.47--that's $7.53 under the allowed amount ($25 per person per week). And better yet, many of the things I bought last week were items to help us get through to next week. I don't think I'll have to buy anything at all this week, and if so, perhaps it will just be fruit and a few other small items. Our food budget is actually less than what the challenge allows for. What makes this a bit challenging is that we've never added in the money spent on eating out into our budget (We don't do it very much, but it does add up). For the grocery challenge, eating out is counted so we have to be careful! It's already making us think of how we can continue saving money even after this contest is over.

Here's what's helped us so far with the challenge:

1. Friends and church family paid for three of our meals (two of them were at restaurants). We also had another "dinner for eight" where most of our meal was taken care of. (Isn't God good to bless us with free food?)
2. We ate eggs with some of our breakfasts and lunches. Eggs are so cheap and full of protein!
3. The only time we paid for something outside of groceries was two soft-serve cones at McDonald's (only totaled to $1).
4. I gained some change back from the grocery store for using my own cloth grocery bags.
5. We used some vegetables from our garden for part of our meals. We brought a salad and homemade croutons to the "dinner for eight."
6. I made more granola and some baked goods for breakfasts and desserts. I also made homemade applesauce (using my crockpot) for the recipes below.

After each week, I'll be posting updates like this to show you our progress. I'll also be sharing one or two new favorite recipes that helped us during the week.

I know you'll love both of the following recipes. On the morning I baked these muffins, we each had one, then I froze the rest. I figured it would be good to begin freezing more things now, so that when we move, we can have some quick snacks and meals and not be tempted to eat out.

Wheat germ streusel banana muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon cold butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (I used chopped almonds instead)

1. In a large bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, beat the bananas, egg oil and applesauce until well blended. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
2. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners; fill two-thirds full with batter. For streusel, combine the brown sugar, wheat germ and cinnamon; cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle over batter.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for five minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

This recipe came from Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking Magazine, Aug/Sept. 2009 edition.

This zucchini bread is so delicious! It was a great way to use up some zucchini from our garden. I did not use the walnuts and raisins like it calls for, and it still turned out wonderful! I plan on making it again this week as I have more zucchini and applesauce to use up. The recipe comes from Better Homes and Gardens Annual Recipes 2008. It was the first prize winner in the "sweet loaves, breads and rolls" contest.

Zucchini-Oat Bread

1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans 
3/4 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. Combine flour, oats, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and remaining cinnamon; set aside. In large mixing bowl beat eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or until foamy. Add remaining sugar, applesauce, butter and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Stir in zucchini, nuts, and raisins. Spoon into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture.
2. Bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on rack. Wrap and store several hours before slicing. Makes 16 slices.


The Watts Family said...

Wow that is really awesome I am super impressed!!Muffins and bread look so fabulous~Blessings Heather

Theo-Ann said...'s a constant project though that I hope is well-worth it at the end. Saving money is great!