Food Prices and Menu Plan

Since the beginning of the year I’ve been sharing my rotating menu each week. The other day, I was listening to a video and was reminded just why I put together this menu plan. Why we have Stretchy Beans three nights a week on the plan. Why the bulk of our meals are based on ingredients that I try to keep on hand and are reasonably priced. The video is actually broken up into four Youtube videos (you can find them all here) and the title is Why Your Grocery Bill Will Double This Year and What You Can Do About It by Marjory Wildcraft.

You may have noticed prices increasing already, I know I have. The regular grocery store has had some very noticeable increases on things that I get regular. Azure Standard has also had some increases but not many (as of today). One of the biggest increases I’ve been seeing so far is at the feed store. Each time I go in, the grain prices have increased. Increases in feed costs will cause increases in meat and egg products. And we all know that fuel prices are steadily going up which will also cause food prices to go up because of the increased cost to ship and produce. The videos that I linked points out these reasons and more as to why the speaker believes that food prices will double.
 
We have a rather modest grocery bill. We average around $525 give or take monthly depending on what all we are buying. So if food prices doubled we would need to spend $1050 to get the same items/amounts we get now. WHEW. That is alot of money. Or on the flip side, we could still spend $525 and only get half as much food. I do not think that would work out too well with a hungry husband, two teens and a toddler to feed.
 
 
The video has some suggestions on how to help combat this price increase including growing your own veggies and backyard meat products. I like that she presents this info as a ‘do what you can’ option instead of saying ‘you must grow 100% of your food now’. That would have totally overwhelmed me! She also recommends buying what you can now. While I just found this video recently, this food price increase is something that I’ve been hearing about for some time. So one thing that we are doing is adding the beans to our diet. We’ve always eaten beans at least occasionally but getting ‘serious’ about adding them in three times per week was a change for us.
 
 
One of my reasoning’s for eating beans so often is to get used to it now so if we had to have beans-because they are cheapish- for the bulk of our meals it wouldn’t be such a huge shock to us. Both in the cooking aspect and in the eating aspect. I believe if we are going to buy extra food to have on hand then we should be eating that food. There is a saying “eat what you store, store what you eat” and I think that is important to remember. It would do us no good to store foods that we never eat. Or to store foods that we have zero idea how to prepare.
 
So we continue with our 13 week rotating menu plan featuring 3 dinners of Stretchy Beans each week plus 4 dinners either from our pantry or freezer with the occasional ‘special purchase’ meal plus veggies purchased for the week (not even close to gardening season here yet). Breakfasts are made from stored foods such as oatmeal, homemade sourdough pancakes or eggs from our chickens. Lunches are often leftovers or something simple made from items we have on hand.
This is Week 1 of the 13 Week Rotating Menu Plan and the second time through our plan. We were mostly pleased with the recipes/meals the first time around but there will be changes to some things. The biggest changes will be more seasonal style items. While we are not yet in the gardening season we are coming into egg season. The chickens are starting to lay quite well and we are starting to have an abundance of eggs each week. We are also in a no beef season. Our Beef CSA is actually out of beef until July. We have a few packages of hamburger left, a couple of pounds of stew meat and one package of steak. We still have a good supply of antelope and venison, a couple of packages of elk that my father in law gave us, a couple of packages of lamb and 7 home raised chickens in the freezer- so we have meat. Just not beef. Of course, we can just buy regular old beef from the store if we want to but once one is used to eating high quality grass fed beef, the store bought stuff doesn’t compare and of course the way it is raised is an issue.
 
This time around on the menu plan, I’ll be experimenting with grains. We have rice quite often and whole wheat in the form of bread products but I hope to add more variety. I plan to try wheat done in other ways, barley, millet and quinoa for sure plus anything else interesting I can come up with. Do you have a favorite grain?
 
Sunday
D- Antelope and Rice Skillet Dish
Monday
D- Savory Custard, Stir fry veggies
Tuesday
D- Garbanzo Bean Curry, Rice, Flat bread
Wednesday
D- Garbanzo Bean and Sprouted Wheat Dish (modified from this recipe), coleslaw
Thursday
D- Chick pea tacos
Friday
D- Sourdough Pasta with Meat Sauce, Glazed Carrots, Focaccia Bread
Saturday
D- Leftovers
 
 
Photo Credit: Tuktoyaktuk on Flickr

5 comments to Food Prices and Menu Plan

  • Tiff :o)

    >My favorite grain is quinoa…but you already mentioned that. I have started switching out rice for quinoa in some recipes. Amaranth is a very earthy grain and is good as well.

    Thanks so much for putting up your menu plans. You've inspired me to use beans once a week…starting slow for my husband. My husband recently quit his job to start his own business and it has been extremally slow so things are very tight. I have used a couple of your recipes and been very happy.

  • Millie

    >Tiff,
    I wondered about Amaranth but wasn't sure what to do with it. Do you just cook it like rice? I've make Quinoa once but I can't say my family was overly impressed. I'll be trying it again soon.
    I hope your husband's business goes well and glad that you found use for the bean recipes.

  • Tiff :o)

    >My in-laws are not impressed with quinoa either…I just love its fresh taste though. My favorite way to eat it is to cook it up and let it cool. Add diced bell peppers, corn, green chilies and a bit of melted butter, then season with salt and pepper.

    Amaranth is not something I've used a ton. I've only used it in soups so far. Here's my favorite way to eat it. It's not something that's easy to find recipes for.

    http://www.food.com/recipe/creamy-cannellini-bean-amaranth-soup-with-basil-283906

  • PaulaB52

    >I've been reading your stretchy bean menus and I've been thinking about it. The bad thing for our family is we eat low-carb. While beans are high in fiber, they are not nearly high enough in fiber to balance the spike when eaten.

    I was thinking about food prices and how high everything is getting. A 5 ct bag of avocados was 3.88 two weeks ago. This week it was 4.88 and single avocados are now .98/ea rather than .78. That's just one thing out of how many are bought each week!

    I may possible need to begin adding in beans to stretch the meals. At least it's almost warm weather, so much more veggies to stretch things out. Local crops haven't gone up by much, if at all this year.

  • Millie

    >Thanks for the recipe Tiff. I'll have to look into amaranth.

    Paula,
    True about the carbs/beans. I think I am glad that we are not low carb :-) It certainly makes it easier for me.

    I don't have anything to measure our local crop prices at. We are still some time away from things in season. Our farmers market doesn't start until the end of July. I'm hopeful my own garden will work out this year.

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