I'm starting a new health thing today (again - I'm so boring). I happened to pick up a Shape magazine (with Gabby Reese on the cover) and it has a 21 day program in there. Each page is a day of information has a menu and workout, so I figured I'd give it a shot.
Therefore, my menu plan this week is semi-completed for me already (thanks, Shape!).
Weds: Chicken salad with oranges and
Thurs: Spaghetti with chunky tomato sauce
Sat: Noodle soup with
Sun: Rib-eye with Swiss chard and oyster mushrooms (that's not on the Shape menu, but I like to get these ingredients from the Sunset Valley Farmers' Market)
I've already spent $145 on groceries/household items and I haven't even shopped for the stuff above. I'm thinking I'll spend another $50 to fill in the gaps. *sigh* I can't say enough that I am sooooo frustrated at the cost of eating healthily. I've essentially cut out gluten and gluten-free products are expensive (noodles, bagels, etc.) so I don't buy as much of those as I used to, but still.
Update: I just got back from the grocery store and my "filler" ingredients for the week cost me $90. NINETY DOLLARS! UGH.
I just read this great article by a writer for MSN Money that asked the question, "Can a family eat on $100 a week?" and the answer was yes and no. The writer, with a husband, and two small kids, found that a lot more work went into eating on so little. There was less fresh fruits and nuts, and a whole lot of starchy fillers. She consulted with a nutritionist who said that frozen and canned fruits and veggies were "almost as nutritions [as fresh]." Do I really want to buy canned shit just to save some money?
And here's the kicker. Her rules for this experiment excluded eating out, no paper or cleaning products, major food-chains ONLY, and no coupons. Hell, maybe I really AM spending less on food than I realize because I go through a LOT of paper and cleaning products. I also use coupons, shop the farmers' market, and go to specialty/discount stores on occasion.
I think she summed it up well when she says,
Could we do this again? Probably. But I don't think we would. Saving money is like dieting: You can't cut back too much at once or you'll blow the plan completely. The next week I spent more than ever, to make up for feeling deprived.
I think I'll try to NOT beat myself up this week and just stay focused next week to hit the $200 mark. Then the $175 mark after that. That'd be a reasonable goal, I think, paper and cleaning products included.
Bringing it back to food, here's my recipe for the rib-eye with swiss chard and oyster mushrooms. It's seriously yummy, gluten- and dairy-free and relatively healthy (if you don't eat the fat on that steak).
Rib-eye with red-pepper swiss chard and oyster mushroom with garlic essence (yep, I said, "essence")
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
1 lb rib-eye
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves roughly chopped
1/2 lb yellow or grey oyster mushrooms, petals only
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 425. Salt and pepper one side of rib-eye. Set aside. Wash and roughly chop chard. Wipe clean mushrooms, roughly chop. In hot, dry saute pan (NOT a non-stick) sear both sides of steak, one side at a time, 2 minutes each side until dark, golden brown. Place steak, on the skillet, in the hot oven.
For rare steak, meat should register 125 degrees, which could take as little as 4 minutes once you put it in the oven and the steak will also need about 5 minutes to rest out of the oven to seal in the juices. so time the chard and mushrooms accordingly as they take only 5-6 minutes to cook.
Heat two non-stick pans to medium-high and drizzle approximately 2 tbls of olive oil in each. In one pan, add red-pepper flakes and all but 3 slices of garlic. When oil is hot and rippling, add swiss chard. With tongs, toss well and cover. In remaining pan add 3 slices of garlic to oil and add mushrooms. Toss to cover petals with oil and watch closely. Mushrooms will shrink and become very moist when done.
I'm telling you, this is a fucking awesome dinner. The oyster mushrooms are delicate and earthy and are really complimented by the garlic infused oil, the swiss chard has a texture with more bite than spinach and a more robust flavor showcased by the red-pepper, and the steak is juicy and tender due to searing it on both sides. I'm sure I'd pay $35 at a restaurant for something like this, at least.
There's nothing better than simple, straight forward food.