Monday, February 13, 2012

A new experiment

Life in the northern states can be rough when it comes to food. For the winter months, much of our food has to be imported from somewhere. There is little here in the way of local fresh foods because of our short growing season and cold winters (that start in October and last until June some years). This makes eating on a budget really difficult. We've watched our limited home stores dwindle over the past 2 months. It's been hard to maintain a healthy diet on a tight budget. We did up our budget from $100 a month to $150 to accomodate 2 Bountiful Baskets every month and some additional bulk fruit/vegetable purchases. Our goal is to still keep the cost as low as possible but January did not come out as well as we hoped as we maintained our normal shopping patterns for our $100 budget (we got 2 bountiful baskets and 1 big box of tangerines with our extra $50).
So we thought we'd try something interesting while waiting for spring. Our new plan is to eat like a "normal" American. Attempt to feed our family on our budget without regards to nutrition.
Normally when I plan a meal, I plan nutrition first and then find a way to find a budget into my plan. This time we are budgeting solely based on cost. I'm not sure how this will work but I get tired of people saying they can do a better budget (no complaints here on this blog but I have seen it elsewhere) because they feed their families bean soup and top ramen. We didn't stoop quite that low even though I did buy some top ramen because my teen begged for it (who can resist eating something that comes out to 22 cents per meal or 44 when he's extra hungry).
We planned for a lot of soups. We swapped out our more expensive wheat bread for the cheaper white bread (with the hope I can find a recipe that makes the perfect loaf of bread). We bought family sized cream soups. We planned for lots of soup this month because it's cheap to make. Tonight we start with Chicken and Dumplings (one of the more expensive meals because I bought the ingredients last month to experiment with the baking mix). We have cheap cereals because we hit a great cereal sale.
The bountiful baskets will provide some variety while we try to stretch our budget further with package soups that were given to us.
We have onions and potatoes for more soups.
I may hate soup come March but we have to come with a better plan to get us through these winter months. I feel like a pioneer. Our harvest was not great last year and we're still learning all about the foraging (which had some good and bad harvests last year). we'll be stocking up on fish and crawdads (hopefully) this summer so the winter will not be so bad but we have to wait and see how the weather goes. Maybe this year my garden will grow like crazy.

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