Monday, January 16, 2012

January Challenge ~ second two week meal plan

As I wrote before, the last half of this month in the January Challenge is going to be a little harder.   I was able to switch out some of the fruit salads from the last menu plan thanks to some great deals on cantelope and cherries.  Because of that I can utilize some of the supplies that I purchased last week for this week.  Also, we started purchasing eggs from a neighbor (and relative), so that saves us a bit.  I took stock of my freezer again and this time I spent some time in my pantry figuring out what I had.  My cash is running low heading into the next two and a half weeks and I will have to purchase some meat to get through the month, but I am determined to still make this work. Here is the menu plan for the next two weeks:
Sunday, Jan 15th ~ Chilli, Cornbread, Salad, leftover fruit salad
Monday, Jan 16th ~ Grilled Chicken Strawberry Spinach Salad, Homemade bread
Tuesday, Jan 17th ~ Meatloaf, Garlic red-skin mashed potatoes, spiced pears
Wednesday, Jan 18th ~ Chicken Crescent Wreath, Triple berry yogurt parfait
Thursay, Jan 19th ~ Turkey kielbasa with green beans and potatoes, Homemade applesauce
Friday, Jan 20th ~ Date Night! *Side note, gift cards are fabulous things!  Don't be afraid to request gift cards for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas gifts, etc . . .  It gives you the opportunity to eat out and enjoy something special without busting the budget!  We were able to use a gift card for our last date night and we only paid 99 cents for our meal!  Love that!
Saturday, Jan. 21st ~ Takeout and foreign movie night with my wonderful sister-in-law!
Sunday, Jan 22nd ~ Curried Coconut Chicken, mixed veggie blend, mandarin oranges
Monday, Jan 23rd ~ Amy's soup (yummy gift from Christmas), cornbread, pistachio fruit salad
Tuesday, Jan 24th ~ Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Botan rice, Pineapple
Wednesday, Jan 25th ~  Tilapia, Honey-roasted red potatoes,  sliced peaches
Thursday, Jan 26th ~ Parmesan-sage baked pork chops, Mama's fruit salad, Cucumber-tomato salad
Friday, Jan 27th ~ Family night (We could use yet another gift card, do leftovers, make our own pizzas, etc. It's kind of up to the kiddos.  We usually do a very laid back dinner and either watch a movie or do board games until bed time.  Good times for all!)
Saturday, Jan 28th ~ Pizza party with our small group from church

Phew!  So there it is!  I'll make it through the next two weeks and then there are only 3 days left in January.  We will make it after all!  I can say though, that on this restricted budget I have no option but to stick to ALDI for just about everything.  I have also had to be more cautious about what I plan to make for dinner.  I have really been craving Lasagna Soup, but it has some ingredients that I don't have on hand that can get expensive.  So, no soup for us (forgive me, I am a child of the nineties!)!  It has been good to get out of the habit of picking up ingredients at the closest store even if it is more expensive.  I got used to convenience shopping versus economical, planned shopping.  It has also made me shop my own home, too.  For our weekly prayer meeting at our house last week, I used all stuff I had in my pantry.  I made two different kinds of Chex Mix and made a fruit bake with canned fruit.  The fruit bake called for almonds, which I didn't have, so I simply made it without it.  No one seemed to mind!  This week I am making a couple different kinds of muffins and maybe whatever fruit I can find on sale. We will see!
On to the Walmart part of the challenge, that has gone well, too.  Now, I have to confess I have been to Walmart twice.  Both times though I needed things that I could not get at any other local store (and yes, I tried and searched!).  My only other option was heading about 20 minutes away to the closest Target.  Now, in the interest of saving money, I decided to just head to Walmart.  Gas isn't exactly cheap and it makes no sense at all to spend the extra money on gas just to prove a point.  Both times that I went to Walmart though, I was in and out and ONLY purchased exactly what I needed.  So I still consider it a success.
Now, on to the rest of my to-do list now!

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