Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wholesome Foods for the Whole Family

Yesterday 920 visitors dropped by Market to Mouth to read about Amy Mennel and how she stays on budget grocery shopping for her family of 6-7.

There are 6 to 7 family members, because surrogate grown-daughter number 2 has theoretically moved, but she drops by for the occasional meal.

Amy is incredibly creative and comfortable in the kitchen so I can understand why Dina might turn up at mealtimes!

As I mentioned yesterday, Amy shops 2-3 times, and prepares up to 126 meals, per week. With her flexible work hours as a Realtor, she manages to juggle a lot, as most working mums do today.

Fortunately Amy loves to cook. Eating in and entertaining friends at home, versus eating out, is her preference, which is quite in contrast to her experience growing up in Manhattan.

As an only child, Amy and her father ate out most evenings. In fact, she and her father were photographed for New York Magazine, and the accompanying article featured them as the two Manhattanites most frequently seen eating out.

In our current economic climate, eating in is the top tip for families needing to trim their weekly expenditure on food. However, it does require planning ahead.

I wrote yesterday that Amy plans the meals she intends cooking for the family, then writes a shopping list and sticks to it, which is what I advice everyone to do when grocery shopping on a budget.

I also advice beginning the grocery shopping in the produce section and selecting the bulk of your groceries as whole, fresh food, which is what Amy did (pic of Amy's produce-laden cart to left).

From produce Amy transitioned to the fresh fish counter where she purchased previously frozen Sockeye salmon on sale.

She asked for it to be skinned. You can ask for your fish to be filleted, skinned, marinated, and even steam cooked at WFs, and for no extra charge.

Amy planned to make salmon kebabs, which she'd marinade in ingredients from her list: lime, coconut milk and Thai Chile peppers.

I pointed out WFs Whole Catch frozen Mahi Mahi (left), since Amy mentioned wanting to make fish tacos or fish tostado.

WFs Whole Catch is a great savings over fresh fish and perfect for a family meal like tacos or tostado.

Once in the dairy section, Amy made one impulse purchase: a 12-pack of Horizon organic chocolate milk. She deliberated for a moment, since as noted yesterday she avoids shopping off her list.

However, she says she'll buy on impulse if it's something the kids will eat and if it's good for them. The decision was ultimately made easy because of the sale price and because as shelf-stable milk, it wouldn't take up fridge space.

Then she made one impulse purchase for herself: Turkey Jerky (left).

I've never bought or eaten jerky, nor have I blogged about anyone who does, so this was new for me, but not for Amy whose gluten-free diet causes her to opt for protein snacks over carb snacks that might contain gluten.

Lastly, she did buy treats from her list for the kids. These included Nacho cheese tortilla chips and WFs 365-brand Oreo Sandwich Cremes.

She's planning on crushing most of the Oreo cookies and adding them to homemade ice-cream flavored with peppermint essence -- apparently the kids gave their mom an ice-cream maker for mother's day.

Shopping the periphery of the store, Amy bought fresh produce, fish, milk, 365-brand cage-free white eggs-- (We discovered white eggs are white because they're laid by white-feathered hens. Red-feathered hens produce brown eggs. There is no nutritional difference between white or brown eggs.)-- turkey jerky, flank steak, some nuts and buckwheat from the bulk aisle, and the snack items for the kids from the middle aisles.

She checked out 4 large bags (top pic) of whole, unprocessed foods (though she did buy the couple packets of snack items for the kids), for around $250.

Tomorrow and the next day, I'll share some of the delicious family meals she made with her groceries.

No comments: