Our no spend September was great! We kept our food budget to well under our usual $150/month, so the extra will go towards paying off our home equity line. Having a well stocked pantry and freezer, as well as our CSA, really helped with this. We did splurge on Saturday on a family meal out, but we used a coupon we had through Restaurant.com and only spent about $10-12 for the three of us. Since we haven't done this in well over six months, and it was a perfect day (all the toddler planets were aligned!), we are glad we splurged a bit. We also restocked the freezer with bananas from the discount produce rack, so these will go into smoothies and breads throughout the next few months.
For October, our menu focus will be on making the most of what we can glean and using seasonal ingredients. We've already picked some apples in a public space and plan to glean some more from a friend's tree. These will be made into applesauce primarily, but we'll also use them for apple crisp, and we love the combo of apples and cabbage. We'll also try to glean some winter squash from school after we do a lab (I generally end up bringing about 10 home), which we process into puree for the freezer. This will serve double duty as prepared baby food and great filler for soups, chili, tacos, and muffins.
This is also the time of year when we try to make good use of our slow cooker. We use it for cooking apples for applesauce, making apple butter, baking potatoes, casseroles, and of course soups and stews. Now that Benny's working a few more hours a week, that gives us one less evening to really do meal prep. So, trying to do two to three crock pot meals a week that he can prep during the day really makes things so much easier, both for dinner and for planning lunches of leftovers.
October Menu Plan:
Breakfasts: oatmeal with dried fruit, baked oatmeal with applesauce from Simply in Season, banana nut muffins, pumpkin/squash muffins with raisins and/or nuts, bagels (from Panera with gift card), big boy breakfast of eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, and/or sausage
Lunches: leftovers, fill in with seasonal fruit/veggies/applesauce, homemade yogurt with frozen fruit, egg salad sandwiches
Dinners: lentil sloppy joes, tomato basil soup, meatball sandwiches with peppers and onions, enchiladas (I'm going to try a slow cooker recipe), pizza with homemade pesto and veggies, quesadillas with refried beans, cheese, and homemade yogurt and peach salsa, roasted winter squash with sausage and sage, winter squash salad with chickpeas, black bean chili, white chicken chili, roasted turkey with corn bread and roasted/steamed veggies, potato soup, loaded baked potatoes, homemade mac and cheese with veggies or stewed tomatoes, lentil and sweet potato soup, stir fry/fried rice
Also, we're kind of getting in a rut with our meals and are looking for new slow cooker recipes. If anyone has some to share, I'd love to hear from you! Here's to living green and saving green, and eating up all that yummy fall goodness!