kitchen garden.

We are on a major reset with our finances right now so in addition to me trying out a new (very low) grocery budget, I had an idea that I could plant foods that I like to eat.  When I shop for foo, I pretty much stick to foods for Kevin and Finley.  Then the animals get their food.  Then I get to buy what I really want.  So usually I don't buy vegetables and you know what, I really miss them!  I hadn't realized how much I missed eating veggies until I had a salad at church last week.  Lucky for me, I had a stack of seed packets that I bought last year for a fall garden.

I planted some seeds the first week of October.  It would probably have been better to have planted them in September but hopefully October works too!  I did not want to make another spot in the yard for the little garden so I used our front bed.  Kevin is already aggravated about the stuff I have in the yard, so I figured he would be much happier with me this way.  I cleared out the mulch from in between the elephant ears and then worked the ground for the seeds.  In one of the little plots I planted two different varieties of carrots and on the other side I planted broccoli and a lettuce mix.  And then the next morning, my dogs helped themselves to digging in the fresh dirt.  I raked the dirt back in the holes they made and now I'm just hoping for the best.  It's not very high hopes because I'm sure there will be more digging.

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Because I'm an impatient gardener, I also bought some romaine lettuce plants and a cherry tomato plant.  I'm including the cost for this as a part of my grocery budget because I would bought lettuce and tomatoes anyways.  I planted those in pots at the beginning of the week and they are starting to look pretty perky!  I was very pleased with the lettuce because it looked very healthy at the store and some of the little seedlings even had two plants in the individual compartment, so that's a bonus!  I also looked over all the tomato plants they had and chose one that already had several tomatoes on it and many more blooms.  Currently I have a few tomatoes that are the right size for a cherry tomato but they haven't turned red yet.  I'm wondering if I should go ahead and pick them and then let them ripen in the window sill.  I can't decide.  I suppose it won't hurt to do that, but I do love to see a beautiful little red tomato peeking out among the green leaves.  The dirt I used to for the pots is kinda old so in hopes of helping the soil, I used a couple shovel fulls of chicken poop!  I grow a little mini garden in a spot where my chickens used to live and it does very well!  So hopefully this will give me good tomatoes and lettuce!

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I had my first little mini salad from my lettuce plants and it was super yummy.  My mother introduced me to adding green onions to my salad and omg.  I love it!  I didn't have any tomatoes yet but I did add some carrots which added some pretty color to the salad.  I can't wait for my little plants to grow some more!

Meal Planning: Let’s Go!

I have talked about meal planning before and never really stuck to it but now that we are on a tighter budget, I plan to be more serious about it.  I asked people and researched and Pinterested about how to lower a grocery bill.  Everyone and everything I read had one thing in common: that meal planning is the way to go.  We have reduced all of our expenses as best as we can and the only two things that are really what we can control now are our fuel usage and grocery spending.

In the past, I usually had an idea in mind for what we were going to eat, but making a written plan of meals is going to make things a little easier.  And apparently it is going to help my grocery bill so we will see!  At the very least, it will make me feel like I’m being more productive.

I kind of did some planning in the last couple of weeks of September and strictly used my debit card for all my grocery purchases.  I use the Mint app and consult it often to see how my spending is going.  So by using my debit card I was able to see about how much I spent on groceries last month.  From that information, I was able to set my budget for groceries at $350.00.  I feel like that is a pretty strict budget for what we are used to doing but I am serious about this!

My meal plan for the week of 10/9 – 10/15

Sunday:                Jambalaya
                                Macaroni & Cheese

Monday:              Spaghetti
                                Brown Sugar Green Beans

Tuesday:             Chicken Spaghetti
                                Sweet Potato Strips

Wednesday:      Chicken Spaghetti Leftovers
                                Vegetable Leftovers

Thursday:           Shrimp Dinner at Methodist Church

Friday:                 Hamburgers
                                Vegetable Leftovers

Saturday:             Leftovers

Since I am a beginner, I’m starting with just dinner right now. Also, I do have room in there for a changeup such as going to eat with either of our parents. Kevin eats the same thing for breakfast every morning so I pretty much just have to make sure there is enough pop tarts for him to eat.  Finley and I eat a variation of oatmeal, pancakes, or eggs for breakfast.  It depends on my mood.  Lucky for me, he loves all food pretty much!

Well, we will see how this whole thing goes! I’ll check back later with my progress.