Every since we switched to organics, we have had high grocery bills.  I found a few ways to save a little here and there, but overall, our bill was still higher than I felt comfortable with.  S and I started discussing the issue and challenged ourselves to come up with ideas to cut expenses in the grocery department.  I began making the long distance monthly dairy run for our raw milk instead of buying it from the retail dealer.  I started buying bulk foods from a co-op.  Finally, we challenged ourselves to use the food we had available.  There was just one problem…..S was completely hooked on his mixing-bowl sized portion of cereal every morning.  He just couldn’t let it go.  However, I showed him that I was buying about 20 boxes a month at $3-$4 per box, and that was adding up.  So, he considered experimenting with other breakfasts. 

For the last 2 months, I have been thrilled with the results.  We have cut our grocery bill by several hundred dollars, yet we are still eating primarily organic foods.  We have not purchased or eaten any boxed cereal during that time, and instead, have eaten breakfast feasts of porridge, fruit smoothies, homemade bread, eggs–lots of eggs!, pancakes, muffins, cheese grits, and more!  Another benefit of the breakfast change is that my blood sugar levels have been easier to manage with the increased protein and decreased carbs in my diet. 

The more difficult challenge has been learning to be creative with my meals.  For a couple of years, I have used a monthly menu plan.  I had to toss that out.  While I will occasionally pick the ingredients for a specific favorite meal if I am grocery shopping anyway, for the most part, I must use what I have.  I am learning which items to buy in bulk and try to keep in stock.  I have also learned to freeze vegetables so I have some whenever I need them.  Despite the lack of preparations, we are still eating wonderfully healthy meals like beef roast (from the cow I purchased 8 months ago), steamed vegetables (fresh or from the freezer), rice or potatoes (whatever I have on hand), and occasionally a homemade roll.  I can then change the meal up by using different cuts of beef, different vegetables, different methods of cooking the food, and different sauces or seasonings.  I think I have unintentionally learned as much about cooking this year with all these changes, as I intentionally learned my first year of marriage (when I flat-out didn’t know how to cook)!

Next on the agenda:  learn to make pasta and can foods.  That’s right, I got my new canning supplies and pressure cooker, and I can’t wait for my next bulk-produce order to arrive (next week).  Stay tuned for the results!