Nick

Kara

1.24.2010

Cake Testing, Milk, Challenge

We'll start with milk - do I have enough milk? I have a milk thing when I'm pregnant (am I really pregnant? Still in denial) and just love milk. The new thing is milk with DHA for brain development. I have some of this for Nick (he is on whole milk now) and the soymilk for me. I mix it up between skim milk, soy milk and almond milk. What's your favorite milk?



Cake Testing - I made 4 different cakes today for trials for Nick's birthday in 2 weeks - 1 day.
I tried Gluten Free Gidget's Gingerbread cake and icing and Whole Baby Food's Vanilla Cake.
The icing was GF Gidget's cream cheese and agave. I used whipped cream cheese. Can you say YUMmmmmm????

Nick put his hand on the cake and started licking his fingers. It was so cute. First I tried the gingerbread with flax eggs and it was way to dense, and about 1 inch thick. Tasty though! Then I tried it with eggs and it rose! Then I did the vanilla one and had leftover and made a chocolate one for fun (not for Nick!) I think I am going to make the vanilla one with cream cheese icing from Katrina (GFG).





Gingerbread cake with squash cream cheese icing :)


Vanilla in the back and first gingerbread (w/ flax eggs in the front)


I'm psyched about the cakes.

Challenge:

I have been stressing about money - it is especially hard when I am not working, although I am making some money in tutoring, writing articles and doing online math grading. The amount coming in is not even close to what it used to be and we have more expenses with the little guy! Our food shopping bills are WAY WAY WAY too high each month. Buying organic and healthy food is not cheap. In an effort to decrease spending, I am going to try to do meal planning each weekend. I don't know how long it will last (a week?) but it is going to be my challenge for a month starting tomorrow. I make way too many trips to the supermarket, then add on Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Too much! I have been keeping track and spending around 400-500 a month on groceries. This month we went to Costco and spent over 200 which added on to our 400-500! So, rule #1 - I do not want to go to the grocery store the rest of this month, and I want to use what I have here for meals as long as possible. We rarely go out to dinner, and when we do, lately we have gift cards which is great. Other expenses are gas, baby things, clothes on occasion, 4 pairs of running shoes (?!) Starting tomorrow, until Feb 28, is my challenge. I want my Feb food bill to be in the 200-300 range if that is possible.

How do you save? Do you meal plan? What is your monthly food expense?

21 comments:

  1. I'm terrible with money and have been trying to be better. There is this website mint.com thats really good that helps with budgeting. my friend found the app for her iphone (so i put it on my ipod touch) and they send email alerts and u can personalize it... its awesome! :) good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think meal planning helped extremely with my grocery bill. It's probably higher than most single girls my age, but I eat out less too... probably spending around $250.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I stink at watching my grocery spending and stink at meal planning. But, from what I hear there are a few keys to saving at the grocery store: 1) meal planning 2) coupon clipping 3) comparison shopping the ads. You have to know what you need and when you need it, but also need to base that plan on whats on sale. Its a lot of work :( I think you need to plan out at least two weeks of meals, with the notion that you can swap out days. Fill in the meals based on what you buy at the store - but only buy things related to that meal. Good luck! I'd love to hear how it goes ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. We do ok at meal planning, but are SO bad at spending at the grocery store. We seem to spend 150 every time we go. We just aren't good enough about comparison shopping, etc. We also end up buying too many veggies and always end up throwing something out. It's so bad.

    Whole Foods is SO expensive. Is there another store that has a good organic section that is maybe a little cheaper?

    Good luck. I know it's hard.

    In other words, those cakes look GREAT!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I meant "in other news" not words.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are a baking fiend!
    I try to shop at locally owned stores. They tend to have better prices.

    ReplyDelete
  7. OMG food here is outrageously expensive. A gallon of milk is $5.69 and a little yogurt (not even Greek- just the cheap yoplait stuff) is $1.50. Scott and I added up our food bill a few months ago and NOT KIDDING it came out to over $1200! Since then I have started to do the majority of our shopping at Costco and we almost never eat out. Lots of that bill was Scott eating lunch out most days so now I make sure that I make enough food so there's leftovers that he can take to work. I cannot get out of a grocery store here for less than $150 though so realistically we're looking at a *minimum* of $600/month plus any eating out that Scott does. UGH.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeah, know how you feel - food shopping is a big expense for us too as I due to my food allergies I need to buy food without crud in it plus specialist breads and milks. The thing that annoys me the most is you don't even have anything to show for it!

    I always cook batches and shove them in the freezer so that helps with food planning as often I have several meals in the freezer and just need to think about the other days. Also a good way to ensure that no veggies go to waste too.

    I try to go to the big supermarket in the nearest big town (half hour drive) no more than 2 times a month or I would just go crazy, plus it adds on fuel costs. And then the other 2 weeks I just go to the wee supermarket in my local town to buy veggies, fruit, bread and milk. I have a budget every month which I put into a separate account so I can keep track of it and do my biggest shop where I buy fish and meat and beans and grains etc at the start of the month so I know how much I have left to spend for the rest! Sad I know but necessary as we are on a tight budget and allows us to eat out and have 'dates'.

    Happy budgeting!Oh and cakes look fab!

    Kaz

    ReplyDelete
  9. Scott and I have always spent a ridiculous amount on food compared to our friends. We go to Costco every 5-6 weeks and always spend about $500 and then will go to the regular grocery 3-4 times a month and end up spending a few more hundred! We keep track of all of our spending on Microsoft $ so it is nice to know where every penny goes. I tried clipping coupons but it just put me in a bad mood. Since I always shop with Elena, I try to get my shopping done as fast as I can and standing around sorting through coupons and then making sure I was buying the right sized product just added too much time to the trip.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's tough to manage food costs, but I think you have the right idea in mind with meal planning.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I meal plan and we have a lot of leftovers!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just drink plain old milk, although you have inspired me to perhaps try something different...

    GOod luck with the ongoing cake trials. You're creative in the kitchen!

    And good luck with the budget/meal plan challenge. Hubs and I alone spend close to $400 a month AND we eat out once a week. Seriously overboard...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Those cakes look tasty - great job! I am sooo bad with our food budget and it's only the two of us! I just hate grocery shopping so having to stop and compare prices and coupon clip would just make it that much more painful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I avoid soy as much as possible b/c it mimics estrogen and has been known to contribute to cancer, but I LOVE almond milk!

    If I have regular milk I always use organic. If it wasn't so expensive and quick to go bad, I would have continued to mail order raw milk which is worth every penny it is delish, healthy, and you can totally feel the difference!

    ReplyDelete
  15. i'm scared to know what we spend! suffice it to say i won't be quitting any time soon. feb is a good month...fewer days! and with you not eating meat, imagine how high if you did. cakes look awesome...

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hear you...it is expensive to eat healthy. The way we save is buy doing our shopping at mulitple places. It's a pain but thankfully Andy doesn't mind running a gazillion errands while I'm doing my long run. We also don't eat out, just one night a week on the weekend. We pack lunch every day, too.

    ReplyDelete
  17. The cakes sound yummy!

    I think meal planning will really help you get your costs down. Good Luck!

    ReplyDelete
  18. David tracks every penny I spend at the grocery store with Quicken. I like to make my list every week and then go online and see if I can find coupons. Some weeks I'm better about this than others. There's also a locally owned produce place with much, much lower prices. And I've just stopped going to Whole Foods altogether unless it's for a special occassion. It's just too much.

    ReplyDelete
  19. stay out of WF at all costs! There is nothing in there that you cant get at the reg groc, tj's or online. Seriously. I go in there 1x/ month and if i planned ahead and ordered online, would never go. Girl It's a RIP OFF for us SAHM;s living on 1 income; it's just too much $. In my prekiddo days, of course, i lived there :)

    Happy Bday to your little guy!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I plan all of our meals every week, plus snacks and resist buying anything that's not on my grocery list. It also helps to not take my husband with me to the store, as he's more likely to just throw stuff into the cart. I think your instinct to lessen the number of trips to the store is a good one. The more times you go inside, the more likely you are to spend extra money. My budget for groceries is $100 a week (for two adults and a five year old), but I routinely go under and spend more like $70.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love, love, love chocolate Silk. I switched my daughter and myself to a soy, almond, & rice milk when she had low iron because it allows for better vitamin absorption.
    As for the grocery shopping, you're luck you have a Whole Foods! We don't have one anywhere within 3 hours. I don't know how I'd budget for that either - maybe purchase a few of the more common items from a local grocery's whole food section? Also, every 2-3 months or so, we skip grocery store trips and eat what we have. It's amazing what you can come up with using the stuff you already have, especially since you're already so good at cooking healthy!

    ReplyDelete