Menu For the Past Two Weeks- in Full Detail

 photo food_zpsca8f6b14.jpgRecently I've been talking a lot about how low our monthly grocery bill is, despite having a gluten free,
mostly refined sugar free and processed food free diet, and people want to know and have asked me repeatedly "What are you guys actually eating?"
So, I challenged myself- for one week to track every single thing our family eats. No matter what, I share it, even if it is embarrassing. I don't menu plan in advance, but do track things in retrospect.
And after a week, I decided to continue this for 2 weeks...

I realized from tracking this that more often than not, I don't eat breakfast. I don't even pay attention to the fact that I only get around to eating most of the day around lunch time. I need to start making more gluten free, high protein, baked goods that I can freeze and defrost for breakfast, since I noticed that the reason I don't eat breakfast is that I don't have energy to cook in the morning. I need to stock up on xanthan gum, since I am currently out, and it limits my ability to make breakfasts for myself.

If you notice, I don't make sure my kids have protein, produce, and starches every meal- just that they have it throughout the course of the day.
Typically they have breakfast before school, eat a snack in school roughly at 10 am, another snack again at around noon, then come home at 2 pm and eat a big lunch around 2:30 or three, and then supper (a smaller meal than lunch) at around 6:30 or 7 pm. On days that they don't have a morning snack, then they eat lunch at noon or so.
My husband eats his cottage cheese and potato chips in the morning while he's at work, and then eats lunch either with us or a little after, and eats supper with us.
When I eat "breakfast", it typically it at around 10:00 am... Or sometimes at noon. Rarely I will eat breakfast at the same time as my kids. When I eat with them, more often than not it is just a fruit.

Drinks are typically water. If we had something in addition to water, it was listed. My husband also often drinks olive leaf or rosemary tea, made with foraged leaves, at work. That's not listed. Nor is the coffee we occasionally drink.
All produce, unless otherwise specified, was bought from the "grade b" stores at the farmer's market, the equivalent of the "reduced rack" in the grocery store. The nectarines were all free from my friend's tree.

Everything mentioned is gluten free, and nearly everything is egg free as well (unless specifically it says eggs). The only dairy is what was written- milk or cottage cheese- and I didn't eat it.

I tracked the two weeks from Wednesday June 25, until last Tuesday. I would say it's a pretty average week for us in terms of amounts of times I served legumes vs animal products, etc... Here's what we ate:

Breakfast for kids and myself- homemade gluten free vegan pancakes with date syrup
Morning snack for the kids in school- popcorn and nectarines (that I picked from my friend's tree). For my husband at work- chips and cottage cheese.
Lunch- Mexican brown rice and lentils (seasoned with homemade chili powder and made with lentils I got free), nectarine salsa made with free nectarines, free peppers, free purple onions, free orange/lemon hybrid, and reduced rack hot peppers and tomatoes, sauted/carmelized veggies seasoned with dijon mustard and dill, made with cheapo onions, the cores of two reduced rack cabbages (purple and green), free fennel, and 2 reduced rack carrots. Also patties made from leftover lambsquarter risotto, chopped up free zucchini and yellow peppers, some mystery gluten free flour (probably millet) and flax eggs.
Supper: Eggs for the kids. Leftover sauted/carmelized veggies and Mexican brown rice and lentils for myself and hubby.
Drinks: Sunflower milk chocolate milk (made from scratch)
Snacks- lollipop (that Ike got in school) and taffies (that my husband bought them as a bribe)

Breakfast for kids and myself- cereal, lentils and rice, and nectarines
Morning snack for myself and kids, carrots, tomatoes, and nectarines, for hubby at work- chips and cottage cheese
Lunch- lentils and rice
Afternoon snack- chocolate, taffies, carrots
Supper: Mashed potatoes, chicken (left from chicken carcasses that I made veggie broth with) with leek and zucchini, brown rice
Drinks- Kombucha

Cactus, tomato, onion, chickpea, tomato, caper salad.
Breakfast/Morning snack- rice cakes with peanut butter and honey, pancakes with syrup, nectarines
Lunch- mashed potatoes and tuna or sardines
Supper (with a guest)-chicken veggie soup with dumplings and gluten free soup nuts, (foraged) cactus paddle/tomato/onion/chickpea/tomato/(foraged) caper salad, caramelized carrot salad, brown rice, and Brazzilian coconut milk chicken gizzards.
Drinks- Coffee-bucha (kombucha made with coffee)
Snacks- apples, tomatoes, roasted kohlrabi, roasted zucchini, two types of cinnamon streussel cake (one with sugar, one with coconut sugar), healthy "butterfingers" bars (sweetened with date syrup and coconut sugar), fruit salad

Breakfast- cinnamon streussel cake
Lunch (with guests)- potato salad, leek stuffed chicken breast, brown rice, roasted kohlrabi, roasted zucchini, caramelized carrot salad, and tomato nectarine salsa (made with nectarines I picked/got free). Our guests brought a salad with tomatoes, avocadoes, chickpeas, and peppers. For dessert- two types of cinnamon streussel cake (one with sugar, one with coconut sugar), healthy "butterfingers" bars, lemonade jello, and chocolate pudding.
Supper- potato salad, carrot salad, kohlrabi, chickpea tomato cactus caper salad (all leftovers)
Drinks- coffee-bucha

Breakfast- Cereal and milk for the kids, apple and cinnamon cake for me
Morning snack- rice cakes with peanut butter and honey, apples for kids. Cottage cheese with potato chips for hubby. Leftover roasted zucchini for me, plus chicken veggie soup with gluten free soup nuts.
Lunch- Brown rice with leftover Brazzilian coconut milk chicken gizzards for me, mashed potatoes, kohlrabi, cottage cheese, and nectarine/tomato salsa for hubby and kids
Supper- Brown rice with leftover Brazzilian coconut milk chicken gizzards for me, mashed potatoes, kohlrabi, cottage cheese, nectarine/tomato salsa for hubby and kids
Drinks- coffee-bucha and water
Snack- cinnamon cake

Breakfast- Cereal and milk for kids, apples and nectarines and sardines for me
Morning snack- rice cakes and peanut butter, apples and nectarines for myself and kids, hubby had chips and cottage cheese
Lunch- Fried rice with carrots, zucchini, and egg for the kids, hubby and I had corn pasta, ground turkey and carrot tomato sauce
Supper- Hubby and kids had corn pasta, ground turkey and carrot tomato sauce, I had black beans and rice, Cajun style (based on this "dirty rice" recipe), with red peppers, tomatoes, and celery.
Snacks- rice cakes, cinnamon streussel cake, chocolate halva, frozen (free) plums

Breakfast- Cereal and milk for kids, rice cakes with peanut butter and homemade plum jelly (made with free plums) for me.
Morning snack- rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly and apples for the kids, cottage cheese and potato chips for my husband, nectarines and dried pineapple for me.
Lunch- tomato curry, Cajun "dirty rice" made with black beans, rice and green beans
Supper- Rice and green beans, hot dogs, tomato curry
Snacks- popcorn, (free) nectarines, dried pineapple, mint chocolate

 photo food_zpsca8f6b14.jpg
Watermelon sashimi, rice with onions, pan fried hake
with lemon/caper/parsley dressing, tomato onion salad

Breakfast- for kids- cereal, popcorn, apples
Morning snack- potato chips and cottage cheese for hubby
Lunch- baked watermelon sashimi (made from free watermelon), tomato/purple onion salad (made from free tomatoes and free purple onions), rice with fried onions. For kids and hubby- lentil omelets, for myself pan fried flounder with lemon/capers (foraged capers)/parsley sauce
Supper- For kids and hubby- egg fried rice, tomato/onion/green beans salad, for myself pan fried flounder in lemon/caper/parsley sauce, black bean "dirty rice" with peppers and tomatoes, tomato/green bean/purple onion salad
Snacks- chocolate, halva, frozen plums
Drinks- nectarine and apple infused waters

Swiss chard, green bean, chickpea, onion salad with tahini dressing

Breakfast for kids- Cereal and milk
Morning snack- for husband- potato chips and cottage cheese, for kids- popcorn, carrot sticks, and cucumber sticks, for me- apples and chocolate
Lunch- Salad with swiss chard, chickpeas, green beans, onion, and tahini. For the kids- rice in addition.
Supper- Rice, tuna, mashed potatoes, tahini dressed tomato and cucumber salad, lentils with tahini.
Snack- apples, carrot sticks, nectarines, mango
Drinks- nectarine infused water

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Honey mustard lentils and rice
Breakfast- Cereal and milk for the kids
Morning snack- potatoes, carrots, cucumbers for myself and kids, cottage cheese and potato chips for husband
Lunch- rice and honey mustard lentils with carrots and zucchini
Supper- rice, breaded chicken made with some packaged gluten free breadcrumbs that my friend gave me, dilly beet salad, soy glazed pumpkin, honey mustard cabbage wedges
Snack- popcorn

Breakfast- for kids, cereal and milk
Morning snack- buckwheat cookies
Lunch- potato salad, dilly beet salad, soy glazed pumpkin, honey mustard cabbage wedges, breaded chicken, tomato watermelon salad
Supper- Honey mustard lentils with carrots and zucchini, dilly beet salad, potato salad, tomato watermelon salad
Snack- Mango, chocolate and tahini covered popcorn

Blackened hake, sauted lambsquarters and onions, rice, tomatoes
Breakfast- for kids- cereal and milk, for me- honey mustard lentils with zucchini and carrots
Morning snack- for kids- cottage cheese, cucumbers and tomatoes, carrots. For hubby- potato chips and cottage cheese
Lunch- for kids- eggs and honey mustard cabbage wedges, and melon. For myself and hubby- zucchini, carrots, and tomatoes with lentils and lemon and parsley
Supper- for kids- rice, leftover breaded chicken wings, and tomatoes. For myself and husband- blackened young hake, rice, sauted (foraged) lambsquarters and onions, tomatoes.
Snack- peanut snacks at a school party, mango, chocolate, melon

Lentils with carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes with lemon and parsley,
and rice with ground turkey, swiss chard, and carrots

Breakfast- for kids- cereal and milk, for myself- lentils with carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes with lemon and parsley
Morning snack- for kids- boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, carrot sticks, popcorn. For husband- cottage cheese and potato chips.
Lunch- rice with ground turkey, swiss chard, and carrots, lentils with carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes with lemon and parsley
Supper- rice with ground turkey, swiss chard, and carrots,  lentils with carrots, zucchini, and tomatoes with lemon and parsley
Snacks- (free) watermelon, (free) nectarines, carrot sticks, chocolate

Breakfast- Cereal and milk for kids, leftover lentils with veggies for me
Morning snack- for hubby- cottage cheese and potato chips
Lunch- rice with sprouted lentils and rosemary- for the kids and hubby topped with homemade plum ketchup, for me topped with homemade hot sauce, cole slaw made with cabbage and carrots and homemade flax based mayonnaise, and a salad made from roasted beets and (free) roasted watermelon with a (foraged) caperberry dressing.
Supper- Gluten free pasta with a sauce made from crumbled hamburger (which I buy for cheaper than ground beef, but still 100% meat, no fillers), grated carrots and zucchini, (foraged) lambsquarters, and tomato sauce. My husband and I had it with raw sprouted lentils mixed in as well.
Snacks- popcorn, gluten free soup nuts, chocolate, nectarines, frozen plums, apples, carrots, craisins

So, here you have it. What we ate for an entire two weeks. The good, the stuff I'm proud of... and the junk and nonsense and other expensive stuff as well...

What do you generally eat on a given week? Have you ever done a challenge as to what exactly everyone in your family ate for an entire week, or two, not just what you planned for meals?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I'm just curious, is there anything on the list you're embarrassed about? You mentioned that, but nothing seemed particularly embarrassing to me.

    1. All the chocolate, for one... :-P And the rest of the pure junk... And some processed food... I dunno.

  2. This was interesting to read. What's most interesting to me is that you and your family seem to eat a lot of repeats in the same day/week. I wish I could do that. I am not a picky eater, but I really can't eat the same thing more than a few times in a week without getting really sick of it. My mom eats the same thing for breakfast and lunch every single day. I wish I was like that, it would make my life easier!

    1. Its funny- I'm definitely NOT the type that can eat the same thing every day- I get bored of foods really quickly and am always looking for something new. Some people can have the same meals repeatedly and I just can't handle it- my menu changes from week to week- i often dont serve the same foods for months... That said, I don't want to waste leftovers, and i dont want to have to cook 3 meals a day, so I tend to eat leftovers for the next meal- or rather, I eat the same thing for lunch and supper often, or supper and the next day's lunch, but more than that i dont like, unless I revamped the leftovers by making it into a new dish.

  3. Do you ever get out of your kitchen? :-D I mean, okay, you obviously spend a lot of time blogging and you do shop and take care of your kids, so of course you do. But it's all I can do to make dinner every night--I can't imagine preparing and then cleaning up after all of those meals. We don't have a dishwasher, and I have dishydrotic eczema on my left hand, so I try to minimize having to do dishes as much as possible.

    Doing a challenge like this would drive me crazy. It's not that I'm ashamed of anything that I eat--I mean, I do occasionally enjoy a bag of potato chips, who doesn't--but during the day, my husband and I don't really eat meals. We graze--a bite here, a bite there. Kidlet at least has designated snack times. But even his lunch tends to look like one big snack about half the time.

    1. So my answer to you in part is connected to the answer I gave a previous commenter above- I dont want to have to cook 3 meals a day, so I do serve leftovers. I am not always in the kitchen. :-D That said, I do enjoy cooking, so cook a decent amount, but some days I dont feel like cooking, and thats when I serve hot dogs, frozen green beans, and pressure cooker rice. :-D Or instant mashed potatoes and eggs.

  4. so inspired by your post! This is my first time reading your blog - really enjoyed observing how you used leftovers or enhanced them a little bit. Impressed that your kids are receptive to a varied and somewhat out of the ordinary diet. Definitely something I aspire to do - write down everything my family eats in a week...and also help everyone in my family to become more aware of not wasting food while challenging them to be more creative in their food choices!
    Thanks - It was a pleasure reading your story! One Question: how do you get so much "free" produce?

    1. Here's how I get free produce-

    2. And thanks for the comments about my kids- its true, they are more adventurous eaters than your average kid, it seems, but there are still things they don't like- if you notice, there were a few times that the kids ate alternative meals- they dont care for beans, or greens, or sardines, and one wont touch any fish other than sushi or tuna... but I am appreciative of the fact that they will eat foods that others won't. Doesn't mean I never have any food battles with my kids... but when they do, usually they involve a kid refusing to try something, saying its "disgusting" and my saying that they cant say its disgusting unless they at least taste it... then they taste it reluctantly and say "I love it!" and gobble it up...

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