meal planning & groceries

I continue to wrack my brain over how to save any money with groceries. As it stands, we spend about $250-$300/week. Granted, that feeds five people all meals and snacks, with the exception of date night or the occasional carry out Sunday. We don’t eat out much as a family; in fact, my husband and I were just recently trying to recall the last time the five of us all went to breakfast together. (It’s been over a year.) I also try to buy high quality foods — I am big on grass fed and free range meats/eggs, hormone free dairy, and organic produce for at least the dirty dozen. I make fruit snacks and breakfast for the kids most days though we do the quick (store bought) cereal/granola bars as well.

Ultimately, it would be nice to grab a few things at Whole Foods and then a few things at our local Stop & Shop, with a quick trip to Trader Joe’s for the rest but that’s just not feasible. TJ’s is 35 minutes north of us and I just can’t imagine driving up there weekly or even monthly to grab a handful of items. I order most of our non-perishables through Thrive Market online and notice that there is a definite savings on some of our favorites (Siete grain free tortilla chips, Simple Mills crackers, chickpea pasta, tuna, salad dressings, nuts (if there’s not TJ’s trip on the horizon), and their dark chocolates to name a few).

In addition to the cost of food is the inconvenience of going to the store. Last Friday, my husband took three kids to Whole Foods where he spent about 90 minutes of all of their lives. I know I could have been in/out in under 45 but it was either yoga or WF, and obviously there’s no competition there. On the weekends 13/11 are with their mom, it’s easiest for me to head out on my own because there are fewer distractions and things to tend to, but otherwise, there are no real solutions we’ve been able to come up with.

I have proposed that I try to go back to planning for two weeks out or at least buy enough meat for two weeks at WF. I can get decent produce at S&S delivered through Peapod, which will eliminate any impulse buys and will give me my time back. (Note, I do not prefer this as I really like to pick out my own produce BUT I recognize that we have to sacrifice something to get that time back.)

We will see how this plan works through April and hopefully, we will start to feel a little less weight on our shoulders.


meals, march 29-april 1

We now are a home with a teenager, as 12 is 13.

It’s wild, man.

We are doing a celebratory dinner over the weekend to celebrate the teenage years. Because we will be out celebrating, my typical yoga schedule is going to need tweaked some, which means our meal schedule will need that as well.

Saturday and Sunday for breakfast, we will do parfaits. We did them last weekend for brunch and I want to make sure we use all of the granola before it gets stale. These parfaits will be simple: Icelandic plain yogurt, honey, granola, and berries. It’s a decent breakfast — high in calories and rather filling.

For the week, the kids are going to take egg sandwiches; they’re quick, easy, and filling and I can send them with a fruit and vegetable smoothie to round things out nutritionally.

Weekday lunches will be in the slow cooker. We have two freezer meals left and they’ll both be used this week. Easy. I will probably do salads and smoothies to have before class/yoga.

Dinners will vary, as usual.

Friday — I’ll be at yoga and will probably stop at Dig Inn afterwards; I’ll also swing by Georgetown Cupcake and grab a special treat for Saturday. My husband and the kids will keep it simple with a sheet pan beef fajitas with peppers, Spanish rice, and salads.

Saturday — Chrissy Teigan’s scalloped potatoes and beets on the side.

Sunday — We’ve been trying to keep Sundays simple; takeout or easy meals so that we have some down time and feel like we can actually rest some over the weekend. This Sunday is no different — I will make a pasta salad in the morning for dinner and we will load it with vegetables to make sure it’s filling enough.

Monday — Sheet sausage, potatoes, and peppers with a big salad.

Tuesday — I’ll be at yoga: Tuna mac and salads it is!

Wednesday — Cheeseburgers on the grill with sliced tomatoes, pickles, and thousand island dressing; plus fries and raw vegetables on the side.

Thursday — Date night! The kids will have frozen pizza and salads/raw vegetables.

meals, march 22-27

This week was busy! 10 turned 11 yesterday and my parents came up for a visit. They are staying through the weekend and I have some fun things planned for meals — the kids don’t have school on Friday, so we are going to do a fun, little brunch to shake things up some (and allow my parents to celebrate 12’s upcoming birthday in addition to 11’s). My husband and I are able to get out for an actual date night in Boston tonight, which is exciting, so I took a morning yoga class with my mom (her first ever yoga class) and will take another tomorrow (I’m trying to convince my husband to join). Sunday, my husband is running a 20-mile race (his last in preparation for the Boston Marathon), so I’ll take a Sunday night yoga class.

Friday’s Brunch: We will serve yogurt parfaits and will also have a charcuterie board with salami and manchego, cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto, olives, and nuts, and then crudité with hummus. We will have sparkling cider as well to fancify our meal.

Saturday: Breakfast will come from True Roots — we will do the stuffed acorn squash again with eggs (SO GOOD) and for dinner, Buffalo chicken salads with fries, boiled eggs, and some shredded cheddar. My husband uses tapioca flour and spices alongside an egg wash to make the tenders; they’re great!

Sunday: While my husband runs, we will do staples we have on hand — oatmeal, cereal, eggs or something like that. We’ve been trying to make things easier on ourselves and have adopted the idea to order take-out/delivery on Sunday nights. There’s so much food to prep for the week and this allows us to front load the day with that and then truly be able to relax in the afternoons/evenings. Plus, I’ll be taking a late yoga class, so it’ll be nice to come home to dinner.

Weekday breakfasts and lunches are going to be more of the same: Eggs/oatmeal and crockpot meals/sandwiches/salads. Dinners will vary —

Monday: Sauerkraut, Applegate Farms hot dogs, and mashed potatoes. I’ll look forward to eating when I get home from my night class.

Tuesday: After yoga, I may stop at Dig Inn for vegetables — this past week, I got a bowl with their citrus salad, beets, and apples. So good!

Wednesday: Steak and roasted potatoes with chimichurri, served alongside a healthy side of beets. (My husband has been making chimichurri almost weekly and I’ve been eating A LOT of it — I love using the leftovers on eggs and potatoes!)

Thursday: Date night!

meals, march 11-22

We are continuing through our March. I am taking 3 on a trip to visit my parents over my spring break next Monday and I’m really excited about it. I’ll get to eat all of those hometown foods that would send me into cardiac arrest if I ate with any regularity. Also, loads of mashed potatoes and my mom’s corned beef and cabbage (even though my husband makes it too) is always so good, as is my grandma’s HOMEMADE sauerkraut! We are in for the treatiest of treats!

I did not go back and read what we made last week to see what adjustments needed to be made for this week’s meals, but I’m just going to review our meals. We are making some changes to Tuesday and Friday nights to accommodate my yoga schedule. I’m not supposed to eat for four hours before yoga, so it always has my meals at odd times. I started researching what to eat before/after yoga; I’ve also been experimenting with these ideas, and it seems I can handle a light fruit smoothie with half an avocado, fruit, and some almond milk or juice before class. It’s light and keeps me from daydreaming of dancing french fries while I’m in savasana.

Monday, I had class but my husband made steak frites for my return. It was a long day for everyone and it was nice to unwind with a great steak.

Tuesday, I have yoga until 8:45 and am going to have a big salad with marinated chicken (Primal’s Dreamy Italian), artichokes, tomatoes, and some Alexia rosemary fries. The fam will be finishing up some rotisserie chicken with roasted potatoes & carrots, and a chimichurri.

Wednesday, I am making Chrissy Teigan’s pasta dish — it’s a favorite and it’s super easy. I’m looking forward to this meal!

Thursday, Date night! I’m not sure where we are going yet but we are looking forward to some much-needed 1:1 time.

Friday, the kids are going to do Trader Joe’s orange chicken with carrots, peas, and rice. My husband and I are going to have Chrissy Teigan’s carrot soup after my yoga class. It should be nice and filling.

Saturday, Brad is out for a 17 mile run at 4AM and I have yoga around noontime. I’ll probably grab a smoothie for breakfast while Brad and the kids have acai bowls after his run. For dinner, we are going to try Gillian’s GF frozen pizza dough and make our own pizzas.

Sunday, I am going to try to take a morning yoga class and possibly grab brunch afterwards. Last Sunday, my husband made stuffed acorn squash with sausage, celery, and over-easy eggs (True Roots). They were amazing. If I return home after yoga for brunch, I’m requesting these again!

For school, the kids are going to have the Cheerio bars we made last week (Cheerios, protein powder, honey, and nut butter) and smoothies (at least for Monday and Tuesday). Lunches and dinners while we are away, freezer meals for the slow cooker. There are a few things to choose from still in there and we will have to reload our freezer meals after we return, but I’m glad my husband has these to make the week easier. He will probably make tacos on Tuesday and then chicken parm on Thursday when 10 turns 11. Friday, we are celebrating 10-11’s birthday with lunch after airport pickup! What a great way to kick off the weekend — no school and a lunch out!


meals, march 1-7

Last weekend, my husband went to the store and bought a bunch of chicken and vegetables and we made several freezer bags with various sauces to use for lunches and dinners on the nights I have class/yoga. We’ve been trying to figure out how to simplify things so that we aren’t feeling stretched so thinly; we’ll see how this all goes.

We are back to integrating grains into our diets — this weekend, I plan to do oatmeal for breakfast Saturday before yoga. My husband and the kids will do a combo of overnight oats and chia pudding (True Roots, P 8-9). On Sunday morning, we are going to use the leftover zucchini bread from True Roots and make french toast (P17).

12 has musical practice that runs late Friday-Wednesday. Thursday is the opening night. We’ve planned a nice weekend of family meals because we won’t get any full-family meals in during the week until Wednesday (and possibly not even then).

Friday — Leftover meatballs and sausage from the freezer with lentil pasta. I will likely grab a salad of sorts after yoga.

Saturday — Chrissy Teigan’s Scalloped Potatoes; they’re amazing! (Cravings, P94)

Sunday — We are meeting a friend around 4PM for ice cream and will just have leftover potatoes for dinner afterwards.

Monday — I have class; husband and the kids will have crockpot chili when they get home. I’ll probably take some roasted vegetables for dinner and have a smoothie when I get home at night. I’m likely to stop for lunch after yoga.

Tuesday — Another crockpot meal (chicken tacos — super simple, chicken breast, salsa, taco seasoning, chicken broth, black beans, and peppers) for my husband and the kids while I’m off at yoga. Usually, I get to at least chat with them for a while before heading to class but probably not this week because of dress rehearsal.

Wednesday — Family dinner night! I’m going to make a butternut squash soup with prosciutto crisps (Cravings, P48)

Thursday — Date night! We are heading to see 12’s on-stage debut and will likely stop at SweetGreen on our way home afterwards. I’m making quinoa pasta, pesto, Italian chicken sausage, and spinach for the kids. I’ll send 12 with this for school, so she can eat before the show and and the other two will eat with the sitter.

Friday — We didn’t make EWYL’s pizza crust (P265) this past week, so we are going to make it next Friday, complete with fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, Rao’s pizza sauce, and artichokes (maybe some spinach if we have some leftover).

For weekday breakfasts, my husband is planning on oatmeal and boiled eggs; the kids are going to have cereal bars (Cheerios, protein powder, honey, and chocolate chips), breakfast sausage, and fruit. I’ll probably make eggs — the other day, I made eggs with chicken sausage, spinach, tomatoes, and jalapeños — they were so good!

For weekday lunches, my husband and the older two will take crockpot meals. As I mentioned above, we made several, so they’ll pick out which one they want to make first. I figure two freezer bags/meals will get them all through the week. I plan on eating mostly roasted vegetables because that’s seemed to serve my body well. I also made Chrissy Teigan’s carrot soup (Cravings… Hungry for More, P55) with dinner Wednesday — holy moly, it was amazing! It came out to be a beautiful color and was really rich in flavor. I will likely make a batch for my lunches this week!

What are your meals for the week?

meals, feb 22-28

We are moving right along through February! I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. This is the last week of semi-calm before madness hits the first week of March (12 is in the school play and has rehearsals that run late until opening night, which is next Thursday).

We are also going to try a little experiment for my husband and the kids for lunches. We are going to freeze a handful of meals for the crockpot, hoping that will make food prep days a bit easier on all of us.

Friday — I’m going to grab something after yoga. My husband is getting up at 4AM for this week’s long run, so he will likely be in bed by the time I get home.

Saturday — Saturdays are for long runs and hip hop yoga. We will enjoy leftover zucchini muffins that we froze for breakfast. I’m meeting my brother for lunch. For dinner, we are going to do steak frites with a chimichurri and some garlicky green beans.

Sunday — We are going to make Chrissy Teigan’s hashbrowns (Cravings, P31) and eggs for Sunday brunch. We will probably relax Sunday night and make Eat What You Love’s chili cornbread pie (P 170).

Breakfast for my husband for the week are going to be quiche to go (EWYL, P24); I will stick with smoothies and/or eggs. Lunches for the family will be turkey meatballs with lemon basil sauce with broccoli and carrots, and rice to go with it. I will probably make asparagus again for Monday and have leftovers the other days.

Monday — I have night class, so my husband will make something easy — either leftover meatballs/sausage or a sausage and pepper stir-fry.

Tuesday — My husband will man the kitchen and attempt EWYL’s Pizza Crusts (P 265) will be yeast free and I’m sure I’ll be looking forward to this after yoga! We will probably top our pizzas with pepperoni, roasted red peppers, and buffalo mozzarella.

Wednesday — Lemon potatoes and garlic-butter shrimp with spinach.

Thursday — DATE NIGHT! It’s been a few weeks since having a date night, so we are really looking forward to getting out of the house for a little.

meals, feb 15-21

Our reset has gone well so far. I have been going to yoga with regularity and really have been focusing on finding balance in all areas of my life. This week, we are trying to find more balance with dinners by incorporating some simple carbs into the mix but still staying mostly whole-food oriented. I want to stick with more vegetables than meat because I think it’s what works best for my body. This week’s meals are still gluten and dairy free, which are the irritants that we have the most trouble with.

My three year old requested noodles with no sauce, so we are going to make Chrissy Teigan’s Cacio e Pepe to appease him! We are also going to make hearty brunches over the weekend, as we are going to catch our babysitter’s brother’s hockey game on Saturday and just take it easy on Sunday.

Friday: We didn’t end up making chicken piccata last week, so we will have it on Friday with the lemon potatoes and some sautéed spinach.

Saturday: Brunch — Chorizo and potatoes with eggs. Dinner — slow-cooker sauce with meatballs, sausage, and zucchini noodles.

Sunday: Brunch — Zucchini Muffins (True Roots, P 16); we plan to freeze the remaining muffins and the loaf of bread to use later. Dinner — Roasted chicken from True Roots (P 54) with roasted carrots and beets.

Monday: Brunch — brussels sprouts and bacon with an egg. I plan to make dinner early and have it as a late lunch — Eat What You Love’s Italian Chopped Salad with Red Wine Vinaigrette (P148) and hemp hearts before yoga and EWYL’s shrimp fried rice (P193) for dinner when I return.

Breakfasts: For the rest of the week, we are going to keep things simple with smoothies for breakfast.

Lunches: I found a marinade for chicken in EWYL (P 243). We are going to make a batch of this and keep out two pieces of chicken for my lunches along with some roasted broccoli. My husband is going to take crockpot carne asada and typical kid-fare is on the menu as well.

Tuesday: I am going to have roasted asparagus (EWYL, P117) and prosciutto with maybe an egg for a late lunch on Tuesday and stop at Dig Inn after class for dinner.

Wednesday: Kraut, kielbasa, and mashed potatoes.

Thursday: Cacio e Pepe with spinach instead of arugula (Cravings, P79).




meals, feb 8-14

As you may have seen in my last post, we are trying to get our gut health resorted and are planning to shift back to how we used to eat when we both felt better. For the longest time, I’d relied heavily on Pinterest for recipes (there are some great ones) but lately, I’ve been using cookbooks far more frequently. I have really enjoyed trying recipes and we’ve found that we’ve had some really great luck with the cookbooks, so we are hitting them hard this week.

Typically, I go grocery shopping on Thursdays, but my husband and son are going tonight while I’m at yoga. Tonight, after class, I’m going to head to Dig Inn for my last bowl of chili oil brussels sprouts, beets, and mac & cheese.

Tomorrow, we are starting our reset.

My husband has 12 miles to run tomorrow morning, so I will probably just whip up some eggs before yoga. We will need to refuel after such a busy day, so I am thinking that Shrimp & Grits with Bacon Collards is just what fits the bill. It should be a really decadent meal and can be found in Eat What You Love (EWYL P30).

Sunday, we are going to have a lazy day and enjoy a nice brunch with fruit and Asparagus, Prosciutto, and Zucchini Frittata (P28, True Roots). I love her suggestion of mixing the ingredients the night before so that we just have to pop it in the oven; this is a food prep strategy I never thought to do with breakfast foods. Dinner will be EWYL’s Chicken & Dumpling Soup recipe (P173).

The rest of the week will be egg nests (P27, TR) for my husband and eggs or cinnamon smoothies (P170, TR) for me because we can prep these ahead of time; leftovers for lunch. If we don’t have leftovers, then egg salad or tuna salad in Siete wraps. I want to make things easy so that we don’t have to spend too much time prepping or thinking about them.

Friday — Dig Inn

Saturday — Eggs & fruit / smoothies / shrimp, collards & grits (P30, EWYL)

Sunday — Asparagus, prosciutto, and zucchini frittata (P28, TR) & fruit / chicken & dumpling soup.

Monday — I plan to use the leftover asparagus for Roasted Lemon-Chile Asparagus (P117, EWYL) for breakfast with an egg before heading in for yoga and class. I’ll probably take some dumpling soup to have after yoga/lunch and then at night when I return, I’ll probably load up with a minty green smoothie (P20, Balancing in Heels).

Tuesday — a simple crockpot meal of beef stew before I head into yoga. When I get home from yoga, I’ll probably have a cinnamon smoothie for a cool-down treat (less the honey).

Wednesday — sauerkraut and Applegate Farms hot dogs with mashed potatoes. This is one of my favorite meals (and my husband’s). We have a deep love of kraut and there are so many health benefits to it!

Thursday — Happy Valentine’s Day! We are going to make walnut-crusted lemon chicken piccata, lemon potatoes, and roasted broccoli.



meals, feb 1-7

I am really excited that I’m feeling better. Last week, I tried a new yoga studio for a hip hop yoga class. I’m hoping to attend yoga 2-4x per week at the studio.  I kept that in mind when planning meals this week; I don’t want anything that’s going to bog me down or make me feel queasy the next day.

Breakfasts: To keep things simple, we will go the sprouted bagel route with cream cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes Saturday. My husband and the kids are going to try homemade bagels from SkinnyTaste on Sunday — I’m hoping we can make egg sandwiches but if not, we will just have them on the side.

For the work & school week, I made pumpkin-walnut muffins this morning with spiced pumpkin seeds; otherwise, I’m going to make the egg sandwiches with Ezekiel bread. We will also have sprouted bagels, oatmeal, or eggs to choose from.

Lunches: I’m meeting my brother for lunch after yoga on Saturday. My husband and kids will probably have some leftovers or go out for a special treat. We will do leftovers on Sunday.

During the week, we are going to keep it simple with some roasted turkey breast wraps — I grabbed some sprouted grain wraps for these that I’m excited to try. I’m going to try a turkey recipe from True Roots for this. The kids are still taking kid things for lunch: Trader Joe’s orange chicken and their dumplings are big hits at our house and the kids can help make them!

Dinners: I am heading to yoga a few nights during the week and on Monday afternoons before class, so it’s important to plan for leftovers and easy meals!

Friday: We had A LOT of leftover chicken and vegetables last week, so we are going to have the shrimp quesadillas tomorrow.

Saturday: Unstuffed cabbage in the crockpot with mashed potatoes.

Super Bowl Sunday: We are going to do our dips lineup: buffalo chicken, spinach-artichoke, bean dip, and a pizza dip. We will also have a vegetable tray.

Monday: Leftovers & dips. Easy, peasy!

Tuesday: I’m taking a 7:30 hot yoga class, so I need to eat my dinner by 3:30. I am planning baked penne pasta with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, and vegetables (sautéed spinach, peppers, and zucchini). This is nice because I can eat before I leave and can keep the oven on the WARM setting for my husband and the kids to enjoy after work/school.

Wednesday: Crockpot chicken tacos with Spanish rice, toppings bar, and beets on the side!

Thursday: Date night, date night! Tuna noodles and peas for the kids and a night out as adults for the two of us! We’ve been on a big pho kick with the cold weather lately, so we are going to try to mix things up next week with someplace different.


meal planning, jan 25-31

My night class starts this week, so I wanted to make things that would be simple but still healthy.

Breakfasts: I am planning to try a new yoga class at a studio in Boston Saturday and my husband has a race Sunday morning, so I plan to just grab some sprouted grain bagels, cream cheese, jalapeños, and tomatoes for this weekend’s breakfasts.

During the week, KC’s cinnamon smoothies or eggs. I know this is simple and predictable. Classes start this week, so I wanted to make sure that I’m not overwhelming myself with too much prep.

Lunches: We have been going hard-core with the bowls; this week, we are roasting sweet potatoes, chicken thighs, and Brussels sprouts in a little maple, olive oil, salt, and pepper for lunches; we will probably do lime rice, black beans, lettuce, tomato & guac for the second half of the week.

Dinners: Now that it’s really cold in NE, we like to make a combination of foods that are hearty and light. The hearty for this week will come from a great roasted chicken recipe from True Roots and the lighter fare from Chrissy Teigan’s Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (a family favorite).

  1. Delivery or takeout. It’s been a long week.
  2. KC’s oven-roasted chicken with carrots, parsnips & roasted potatoes (shocker!). True Roots has really been a great staple for us when it comes to recipes.
  3. CT’s spaghetti cacio e pepe — this recipe is a real crowd pleaser in our house. Seriously, the last time we made it, our toddler had THREE servings! (It was fine, the rest of us didn’t need to eat that night…)
  4. Leftovers KC’s chicken– this will allow me to pack dinner to have after yoga and before class!
  5. Shrimp quesadillas — Siete makes a great grain-free tortilla and we fill these bad boys with mole and peppers!
  6. More quesadillas — probably chicken and pepper quesadillas. The Siete tortillas are great but they get stale quickly, so we need to plan meals to use them back-to-back.
  7. Date night