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My mother used to say that pride was a sin, and made damn sure I didn't have any ... but that a story for the therapist.

It's week four ... hallelujah! Not that I'm complaining or anything, but finishing this challenge is going to feel good. I have to say though I am rather proud of myself. Although I haven't bought all my groceries yet for this week, I'm down to just a few items to purchase and $45 to do it with. We're good. It feels good. I did it... hopefully.

This was the most challenging week of the 4 week challenge. My canned food was depleted. On to dry beans. Out of coffee ... again. But you can always make something if you have some imagination. Not coffee, but other stuff. For instance, yesterday Lauren (my daughter) came to me and said "Mom, there's nothing to eat and I'm hungry. I'm gonna go to Subway." Now, in all fairness to my offspring, we were out of sandwich meat, bread, eggs and anything else that was quick. If it doesn't pour into a bowl, or get slapped on a slice of bread I'm afraid my daughter is at a loss. I said, "Never fear! Mama is here." and went to work.

I found a can of pineapple circa 1890. I had a few organic strawberries. Less than a handful of dark chocolate chips. A can of chickpeas. Some fresh spinach. A bit of chicken broth. Done.

I threw together some chickpea curry and plated it over a bed of fresh spinach, topped it with some peanuts and fresh cilantro. Sliced up the strawberries, added some pineapple rings, topped with some shredded coconut and a few dark chocolate chips.

Lauren came walking in ten minutes later and said "Wow Mom. You really can make something out of nothing." more pride (Sorry mom. Actually not really sorry...Sorry.) And it was really tasty and filling. This morning; however, was the last of the coffee and milk instead of cream (waaaaa) - we were getting into dire straights here. And yet, there is food for dinner and the roast and potatoes for Sunday dinner tomorrow. I can make an apple cobbler for dessert. Leftover soup for lunch. And I made a quinoa salad that will keep through next week. There's Oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow. We're just fine.

So here's what I've learned during the last three weeks.

  1. It is totally possible to feed your family very well in Canada for $50 per person each week. No preservatives. Organic dairy. Free range eggs. Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Organic dirty dozen items. Sometimes organic meats. High quality no flour bread. Sunday dinners. Desserts. Snacks. It's possible. It's not easy, but its possible. I've found some new places to shop, tried new recipes. Its been great!
  2. The hardest part was the planning. But even that gets easier each time.
  3. The second hardest part was making sure you found items without preservatives. The good news is once you find the brand without the preservatives you know, and less time is spent next go around. For instance, chick peas. I found a brand with ingredients of chickpeas and water, for a $1 a can. And you wonder why I've been eating chick peas. Western family peanut butter. I bought a 2K tub today for $5.99. Ingredients? Peanuts. Diced tomatoes - you have to really look for these ones, but you can find them with tomatoes, tomato juice and salt. Sometimes no salt. Looking at the labels is time consuming at first, actually it is always time consuming. But like I say, once you know the brands of your favorite items. They become your go to items and then it becomes easy.
  4. Even the food preparation hasn't been that bad. I tend to make stuff that is really simple. The fussier stuff I may do once a week.
  5. Buy what you need, I don't need to stock up like there is going to be a war next month.
  6. You can't always get what you want, and that's ok. For instance, I had made up my menu for this week and realized as I was putting everything into my excel spreadsheet that I was over budget. I needed to put in a cheap dinner and take out a pricy one. So out came the chipotle pork and in came ... you guessed it - something with chick peas. 
  7. Being on a budget is really freeing. Who knew? That part I find hard to get over. But it is. I know my limits. I stay within them. I plan around it. And that's that. There is freedom in restraint.
  8. Being proud of myself ain't bad. It's good.

Here's what were eating this week:

Dinners-
Monday - Strip Loin Steaks, Mashed Cauliflower, and Green Beans
Tuesday - Whole Wheat Penne with Mushrooms, Artichokes and homemade pesto. Side salad.
Wednesday - Chick Pea Curry, brown rice and fresh spinach
Thursday - Greek Chicken Breast with homemade Tzatziki, brown rice and fresh tomato
Friday - Moroccan Split Pea Soup with whole wheat baking soda biscuits and fresh butter mmmmmm
Saturday - Enchilada's with homemade tortillas
Sunday - Spicy Chicken Stir fry with brown rice.

Breakfasts we'll choose from:
  • Eggs, yogurt cheese, spinach, sliced tomato on English muffin, orange
  • Oatmeal or Red River Cereal, berries or apple, flax seed and cinnamon, maple syrup
  • Yogurt smoothie, raspberries, honey, spinach, flax, cinnamon and yogurt
  • Scrambled Eggs, English Muffin, ½ Grapefruit
Lunches we'll choose from:
  • Tuna Melt Sandwich, mini carrots, apple
  • Quinoa salad
  • Natural Ham Sandwich, Side Salad and fruit
  • Leftovers
Snacks will be:

Whole Wheat Banana loaf with chocolate chips
Blackberry Coffee Cake
Popcorn
Fresh fruit

So, I am proud of myself. I'm not done yet. There's more work to be done. But I'm confident we'll get there. I have so much more to learn and change - it's all a process. It's like when you paint a wall in your house, then you look at the ceiling and see that it needs repainting too, then the hall and off you go. I hope I've encouraged some of you to start looking at what you eat. That's how I started. Any change for the better is a good change. I encourage you to start.




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