My 2-week cooking challenge.

Having your own business, especially a new business, is tough. Every dollar made is put right back into the “this is what we need to survive fund”. Lately I have felt like I’m spending more and more money on food. I know that the price of food is going through the roof and we are feeling it in this house. I consistently strive to buy fresh foods and the healthiest cuts of meat I can find and afford but lately it’s been taking a big chunk of change to do that. A couple of things have me looking closely at where our money is going. The first one is a big one. My business is continuing to grow and this is a great thing but I am in a situation where it’s time to purchase more equipment and finish building out the garage. If we put a shed in our side yard, I can take over the entire garage and add two additional people to my classes. I have people waiting for spots to open up so the heat is on to get this done. Right now my list of equipment includes 4 additional women’s barbells, a couple of 45 lb. kettle bells and various size bumper plates. The other thing that is high on the list is a new lens for Sean. He’s been wanting one for awhile and it’s been pushed aside for too long.

The one area I feel we can save some cash or reallocate some cash is in food. I decided to take an inventory of all our food and cook meals for two weeks using only the food that we have. The only things that I am allowing myself to buy over the next two weeks are eggs, lettuce, coconut creamer and fruit for the kids.

My goal is to make enough food so that Sean will take his lunch 3 days a week. Between the money saved there along with the money saved by planning our meals and not popping in to the store a couple of times a week, we can save bunches. If my calculations are correct, I will have the equipment I need in three short months. Even sooner if I can find other places to start saving money.

If I was feeling like I was doing without, I no longer feel that way after writing down all of our food. Holy smokes. I went through the pantry, the fridge and two freezers. I wrote down everything with the exception of spices, oils and vinegars. I found food that I know I bought for a certain recipe but for some reason or another, I never made it. For example, I have 2 cans of tuna in olive oil, 4 packs of tuna in olive oil and 2 cans of tuna in water. Looks like I will be eating a lot of tuna over the next couple of weeks.

One of my struggles is that I find all these awesome recipes, write down the names of them in my notebook, make a grocery list and then I can’t remember where I found the recipe. Another weakness of mine is Pinterest. I had a genius moment and created a Pinterest board called “2-week cooking challenge” (brilliant name) and that is where I am posting all the recipes that I have found and will make. I have already made one and promptly deleted it. Homemade French vanilla coffee creamer. It was made with coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, honey and vanilla. Sounded great but I basically ruined perfectly good coconut milk by mixing it with almond. I also ruined a cup of coffee. Now I remember why I don’t do almond milk. Here is my Pinterest board if you are so inclined to see what I am making.

I’m not very organized and I really do have good intentions to be. Taking inventory of our food really got me back on that bus. I put everything into Excel so I have a running inventory that I can reference when I need to. Just working in Excel is a major accomplishment for me. I should get a medal for this.

Now that I have all of these fabulous recipes, it’s time to plan meals for the week. Here’s what is on the menu for this week:
Tuesday: Grilled chicken thighs, sweet potato fries, salad
Wednesday: Thai basil meat beef balls, zucchini noodles
Thursday: Chicken and vegetable lo-mein
Friday: Chicken nuggets, broccoli bacon salad
Saturday: Sirloin, roasted Brussels sprouts, salad
Sunday: Grilled chicken, grilled vegetables

That’s it for this week. I’m going to spend more time digging around for awesome recipes to try next week. Stay tuned for another post!

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