Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Feeling good about groceries (and a recipe to share)

Now see? This is just another reason why I'm so glad I started blogging.

Hearing from all of you about your grocery shopping budgets and philosophies not only made me feel good about what we're doing, but it also gave me a lot of great ideas for how to save more, or do things differently, if necessary.

Thanks, guys! Really. Your thoughts were all very, very reassuring - and helpful!

One of the most interesting responses to yesterday's blog post came from my friend and colleague Deborah Stein. Debbie sent me a chart from the USDA, showing what the gov't considers to be the amount a family should/could spend on home-cooked meals per month.

Couple things I took away from this chart:
  • It's the government, and they notoriously UNDERestimate how much it costs to feed people (hello, food stamps?) so whatever they say here is right, I know to add way more.
  • It's from 1994, and everything has gone up a thousand times since then, so again, I add more money to whatever they say.
  • Look how ridiculously low the "low-cost" level is. And the "thrifty" level? Debbie tells me that that's the level they base food stamps allotments on. Seriously? Seriously, gubment?! That's ree-dic. Sometimes I just can't believe how much our society seems to hate poor people.
So, based on that - we are doing awesome!

Anyway, I wanted to give something back to you all for your thoughtful and helpful responses. So in the spirit of feeding our children healthful, tasty, inexpensive meals, here's a recipe I made that was quick, delicious, inexpensive and a huge hit with the kids, me and Lester, too:

Homemade Sloppy Joes

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Yummy in everyone's tummy!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, coarsely grated (2 cups) [ I used shredded carrots, because it's easier.]
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced [ I used a little more garlic, because garlic = yum!]
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper [Regular salt and pepper worked just fine.]
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger rolls, split


  1. Step 1

    In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add carrots, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Step 2

    Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Step 3

    Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve on whole-wheat rolls.
Easy-peasy! I served these with baked potato wedges (just sliced potatoes, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and baked for 15-20 minutes at 450-degrees, turning once during baking) and salad greens.
Huge hit! Clair now can even say, "More soppy joe, pees!" That's how much she liked it.

(Note: The recipe was a smidge too sweet for my tastes, even with me adding more vinegar and more Worcestershire [I like my sloppy joes twangy!] so next time I make these, I'll add less brown sugar.)

 And Janna, I know this recipe won't help you so much, but I'll try to find something meatless to share just for you! Xxoxx!

 Happy eating, all!


Janna said...

HA! I was just thinking, "This is awesome! I will give this to Eric to make for him and the boys - they will love it!" and then I read your aside to me :)

cidell said...

I was just coming over to tell you we spend near $500. And that's buying a weekly CSA share of organic that gets delivered to our house. I could spend less on groceries, but Jordan is a huge eater and demanded I raise the food budget.